Mario Kart Wii Building Set
Mario & Luigi
2 Inch Scale
By: K’Nex
$2.99

The Mario Brothers are easily Nintendo’s most identifiable franchise and they’re arguably one of the most famous brands in the entire world. Everybody knows who Mario is. Yet despite all that, the Brothers have had very limited toy selection through the years. Yes, Popco has a line of vinyls on the shelf and has for a few years, but it’s been a very mixed bag at best.


For some reason K’Nex scored the license, to build around their construction sets. I don’t know how big of a market share in the construction toys, K’Nex has, but I’ve never known anyone who had any. I’m sure kids who like Legos, probably play with them, but that was never me. Then again, I’m far from a kid.

Point being, K’Nex originally designed these around playsets, but soon realized there was money in the characters themselves. Likewise, there is a big trend to sell just mini figures these days. So K’Nex did what anyone would do in this situation and started to put out Mario Brothers in this format, single bagged. So is this finally the Mario toy line that we’ve so desperately needed?!

Packaging:
These come in simple bags. Just like a lot of blind bagged toys… Except they aren’t blind bagged. They say on the cover who they are. I didn’t know this the first time I encountered them, as it was just a box full of Marios. I assumed that the packages all had Mario on them. I was wrong, these aren’t blind bagged.


Unfortunately this presents another problem, do to the case packouts that K’Nex has chosen. The four figures in the line are: Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Bowser. But Bowser is packed ONE per case. Which basically means, you have to be really lucky to find Bowser. That would make sense if these are blind bagged, but since they’re not, it just means scalpers can come right to a box and snatch up the rare figure. It’s kind of absurd. Just pack them evenly!


The back of the package has the usual assortment of boring language. Nothing about who’s in the series though.


Inside your figure comes unassembled with a little instruction sheet on how to put him together. He’s also mummified in paper, to protect him from paint scratches. I like that.

Sculpt/Paint:
The one thing these guys really have going for them, is great head sculpts and pretty good paint applications.


Building the figure takes seconds. Even little kids can manage this with no issues.


Once assembled, they look like Mario and Luigi. Luigi’s my favorite, for the record.


There’s no complaints on my end about the paint. However, my Mario’s legs are warped, so that he can barely stand. It’s clearly a warp as Luigi’s legs are the right way, but Mario’s, not so much.


“Nice Hats!”

I do take a bit of issue with the placement of the “Made in China” logos and such, as they sort of tear into the aesthetic at the top of the hat. It’s a minor thing, though.


You can swap their parts around, as well. Nothing major, but you could play with it a bit.


Scale wise, these are sort of in the same scale as Minimates. I actually asked the folks at DST if they’d ever looked into doing Nintendo figures and honestly, it seems like a license they should have pursued. If K’Nex can do it, so can they!


The heads, which are arguably the best part… Could maybe be swapped onto a better figure. Like a GI Joe or something. Because they have those over inflated Mario caricature heads.

Articulation:
This is where these figures fall apart and bad…


These guys can basically just stand. If you try to move their legs at all, they’re going to fall over. Luigi can pose just a little bit, but thanks to my Mario’s warped legs, he’s falling over half the time when he’s just standing straight up. Their bodies are sort of fat and hollow, which makes their heavy heads cause them to fall.


Legos aren’t great for posing either, but at least with them, you can stick their feet into a Lego peg and pose them around. Unfortunately these guys do not interact with the Lego style foot pegs. Which is a HUGE disappointment.

Accessories:
They come with nothing. Which is another big strike against this line. I would have loved to get a little plunger or something, But even more frustrating, K’Nex has already sculpted Goombas, turtle shells, banana peels, stars, mushrooms and lots of other stuff that could have been included. One accessory per figure!


These guys feel a little weak with nothing included. Especially when I know K’Nex has already made those other things.

Value:
At $3 these do feel like a steal though. There’s very few if any other toys out there at this price point. With one glaring exception. Other mini figures. Lots of blind bagged minifigs come in at around this price. In order for K’Nex to compete, they need to either improve the figures or give them some accessories.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 3
Sculpting – 7
Paint – 7
Articulation – 4
Accessories – N/A
Value – 7
Overall – 5 out of 10


Ultimately these figures ended up a big disappointment to me. They look great and it seems like something you’d just fiddle with at the desk and mess around with all the time. Unfortunately, their inability to do much more than just stand makes them very frustrating. There’s a wealth of potential here, but it’s mostly untapped.


Yes they look cool, but looks can be deceiving. Some better articulation, a few accessories, something else to really put these guys over the top would really help. As they are, I can’t really recommend them. But at $3, they’re not the worst value out there these days.

A long time ago, Wesitron tried to tell me these figures sucked in his Desk Unfriendly review, but I didn’t listen. Check out his review of the Mario figure with a motorbike!

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