It’s a mystery as to why there aren’t official LEGO Pokémon sets, given the immense popularity of both brands. Those brave enough to delve into the murky waters of eBay will soon discover a alternative world where Pokémon building sets are in bountiful supply, each as illegally manufactured as the last. Decades after Pokémon debut, the counterfeit scene is still in full swing.
Two sets arrived on our doorstep today from China – a large set from a company known as Elephant, and a small set from Dargo. Both feature Pokémon Go branding even though some artwork is taken from later games in the series.
We didn’t have high hopes for these at all, making a purchase simply out of curiosity. Also: they’re ridiculously cheap. After tipping out the contents of the smaller set – featuring Ash, Squirtle and Eevee – it soon became apparent that they don’t quite resemble the images on the back of the box. The Poké Ball, for instance, is missing all detail. It’s merely a badly painted red and white blob that’s impossible for Ash to hold.
When putting Ash together we ran into far bigger problems – one of his legs was missing and he had two right arms. Squirtle was missing the chest piece, too. Vital pieces, one and all – Ash Ketchum going into battle without a leg to stand on, yet again.
The larger set fared better. No pieces were missing, it came with printed building instructions (unlike the smaller set) and the Poké Ball had full detail. This set included two Pokémon, a character – Team Rocket’s James – and a circular battle area. Other larger sets include Misty and Brock, and such Pokémon as Geodude, Pikachu and Togepi.
The quality of the printed pieces – like Meowth’s face, which is on a 1×1 flat brick – is surprisingly good. Ash also has detail on the back of his shirt as well the front, and James’ hairpiece is nicely sculpted.
As for the Pokemon themselves, they’re made of very few pieces and as such resemble the work of preschooler. Meowth doesn’t have arms or legs – he just sits on two little studs – and Squirtle’s body is 1×1 block with some slanted blocks on the side. Squirtle still turned out better than Psyduck though, who looks more like Duplo than LEGO in the artwork for the set below:
Like all things counterfeit, we suggest approaching with caution or setting expectations low. Or, you know, just staying away altogether. Bootleggers are bad men.