In the United States, LEGOS pretty much rule the roost when it comes to bricks and torso parts that attach to form people, places and things.
Wikipedia has a nice summary of the history of LEGO’s.
Of course, instead of just a box of LEGO’s and some guidelines what you can build, nowadays, the best selling LEGO’s come with specific directions … and licensed choices – like Starwars, Batman, Spiderman and Spongebob.
The Death Star comes with 3,400 pieces … apparently 3,299 of them grey …
Though with this guy’s instructions, you can build the Starwars playsets with just a few pieces …
Or their very cool powered trains.
After that, their robotic controlled Mindstorms – and for consumer marketers, a great feature story from WIRED on how LEGO decided to leverage the power of their biggest fans of Mindstorm instead of trying to wall them off from hacking it.
Or the best homage of all – festooning your house with their stuff …
The coolest ICE CUBE TRAY EVER?
If you are a LEGOer, you are set for life in reading and collecting, here’s a place to wander nostalgically down the path of all the sets you missed … or the LEGO Wiki … or if you need parts. Online checklist of LEGO’s past & present. There are also plenty of people to share and meet. Of course, there’s the official LEGO Club.
And when you bored of playing, fiddling and displaying your bricks – how about films starring little LEGO people? The amazing and massive collection at Brickfilms.com – including of course, the now classic Monty Python & the Holy Grail (Lego Style).
If you’re going to join in the LEGO movie fun, consider iStopMotion for making stop motion films with your Mac & iSight.
Or the Brick Films Lego Film Festival?
So, Playmobil, how do you compete against that? Well, they started much later in making snap together environments and people but in many ways, the larger size allows for greater facial expressions and poses – and they have stepped it up. They create some amazingly detailed sets – definitely not appropriate for kids who’ll put anything in their mouths.
Playmobil also creates some sets that might be considered controversial and not sold in the U.S. and perhaps not for kiddie kids but rather for us grownups who never bother to grow up 🙂
I can hardly wait for the Gitmo one …
Okay, you be Caesar, I’ll be Brutus, ohhh, who’s that?
No wait, I’ll be Anthony …
You call that a Phalanx? And wipe that plastic smirk off your face!
What’s great is their devotion to exactness – the only thing missing is crumpled paper that an office worker ripped out of a xerox machine …
And it’s never too early for kids to learn what powered the Industrial Revolution … (yes, that is a heap of coal).
Or if you work in construction, what your toilet might look like at work …
unless you’re the foreman, of course … (or the mobbed-up union rep 🙂
Interesting how you can get St. nick sets but this Nativity is only available in the U.S. …
They too have a “funpark,” not quite a theme park.
There are also Playmobil movies though not as many.
Here’s one of the first catalogs.
Going by Google: It’s 9,040,000 for PLAYMOBIL and 43,000,000 for LEGO.
But really, both are pretty cool. Enjoy!