With the Mega Bloks Advent Calendar out of the way, now seems to be a good time to check out another rather unusual set in Mega Blok's modern
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle line up: the Ninja Name Builder set. This set is quite different from the others in the line. It's not a play set or
vehicle to be used with the mini figures. Instead it gives you a selection of random parts that allow you to build a small wall with any of
the twenty six letters of the alphabet in order to make a name plate. It seemed more like a strange novelty than a part of the rest of the
Nickelodeon TMNT line. But upon opening it, I was pleasantly surprised.
Packaging - 8/10The idea of a building block name plate building set doesn't sound like the greatest idea on its own. So I have to give the graphics on the front of the box credit for making the set look amusing enough to pique my interest in the set. The window on the front shows off the included Leonardo figure. The back of the box shows a completed set as well as examples of all of the letters in the alphabet. The photos on the back aren't that interesting. But its important to show that the set can work even with less common names.
Sculpting/Design - 6/10The design of the set is pretty simple. Each letter is constructed separately as a section of wall. Those sections, up to eight in total, are connected together to form the name plate. Once they are connected, the body of the name plate resembles a concrete wall. They even included a few accessories to make it look more like a mini figure scaled wall. I'll give it credit, it looks a lot better than I expected. I actually think is could make a nice backdrop for all of the other small sets that Mega Bloks has produced. It does have some significant limits though. The set can make a name plate up to eight letters long, but at that length, the accessories become sparse and the wall starts to look pretty plain. Personally, I think it looks best with names between four and six characters. Which leads me to the other short coming of the set. It has a decent assortment of pieces so you can create any letter and in most cases, multiples of the same letter. But it isn't perfect. For example, I started by making every letter in the alphabet eight at a time. But in the first eight letters I ran out of one piece and could not complete the F section. So depending upon the name you are trying to create, you may not have the parts you need, especially if the name repeats any less common letters.
Paint - 6/10There's very little paint or decoration for this set. The Leonardo figure is painted as usual and there is a graphic printed on the pedestrian crossing sign. But the set really doesn't need more than that. The bricks used for the wall have a nice flake look to the color that makes a far more realistic looking "concrete" than the usual plain grey. And I love the crossing sign. They actually printed a traditional pedestrian crossing logo in black and then printed the blue graffiti over the top to turn it into Leonardo. That is a very cool extra touch.
Accessories - 5/10What exactly counts as an accessory for this set is debatable. But I'm going to consider the Leonardo figure, his weapons and pizza slice, and the additional decorative parts. The Leonardo figure is fairly standard fair. There's neither anything wrong with him or anything particularly interesting either. He does come with two swords and a slice of pizza. (complete with aluminum mushrooms from the looks of it) The set also includes three optional parts to decorate the name plate. The simplest of the three is just a pipe/railing piece. There is also the pedestrian/Leonardo crossing sign and a street lamp. Both are a bit small, but they look great. So the only remaining issue is the one that I already mentioned. If you are using the full eight characters for the name plate, especially if it includes a M or W as both of those letters are fifty percent wider than the rest, the accessories get very spread out.
Value - original price 5/10, clearance 10/10The Ninja Name Builder set sold for $20 to $22. It's a cute novelty, but $20 seems like a bit too much for a novelty. And if you happen to have a name that doesn't work with the set it's going to be really disappointing. But with the rebranding of the Mega Bloks lines in 2017, most of the existing sets are going onto clearance. If you can pick the set up cheap, it should be well worth picking up if only to use it as a backdrop for other sets.
Happy Hunting:The Ninja Name Builder set is part of the regular line of Mega Bloks Ninja Turtles line up. But it doesn't seem to be available in a lot of stores if they had a limited selection of sets. Locally, I have seen the set at both Toys R Us and Target stores. And both companies have the set available on their web sites as well.