If you haven’t heard, LEGO lost the rights to the design of its trademark bricks to Mega Bloks in a 2010 lawsuit when the European Court of Justice declared that the 8-peg design of the original LEGO brick “merely performs a technical function [and] cannot be registered as a trademark.” Mega Bloks wisely goes where LEGO dares not and thus we have Mega Bloks branded after more violent franchises like Halo and Call of Duty.
This particular set details the Orbital Defense INitiative (ODIN) Space Station, a kinetic bombardment weapons platform that appears in Call of Duty: Ghosts. It basically blows up everything on the map in play. The craft is curiously protected by two astronauts holding what appears to be projectile firearms, which while feasible is a terrible idea — since the satellite is in orbit around the earth, you could technically shoot yourself in the back. The third astronaut has a different colored spacesuit, so he’s either a bad guy or a captain. For astronauts in bulky suits, they are surprisingly articulated. Putting these figures together was by far the hardest part of the entire set.
My son and I began working on assembling the rest of ODIN, and that’s when it became clear that although Mega Bloks is compatible with LEGO (at one point, we had to substitute a piece) it’s obvious Mega Bloks does not have the engineering know-how of their competitor. For one, there are black, gray, and dirty white blocks — all of them have a slight sheen to them, which means assembling them in yellow light is a bad idea. You’ll go crazy trying to figure out what’s gray and what’s black, and a few times we had to repeat a step because we used the wrong-colored block.
The other problem is that the ODIN is just poorly designed. There were at several times where, for reasons only Mega Bloks can explain, they used four pieces when one would have sufficed. As a result, the whole thing is a rickety contraption that is held together through tenuous placement of smaller bricks in a certain order. It’s clear that Mega Bloks cares less about stability and more about looks.
Make no mistake, this is a model, not a toy. The ODIN does look cool. The astronauts are fun to place in the air next to it. But the “articulated panels” pop off, the bricks don’t click together well, and the whole thing is wobbly. Which begs the question, why make it a LEGO compatible set if you can’t play with it? If this thing is protecting Earth, I’m heading for a bunker.