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Avoid Building Rage By NOT Buying These Toys

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NOTE FROM COLLIN: Similar to how we do our Try Me Tuesday posts with product recommendations, I thought it would be also fun to do basically the complete opposite. With that said, I introduce “Waste of Money Wednesday!” 😂 This post will be exactly that – the Hip2Save team will be sharing products that they aren’t happy with, products they feel are a waste of money – basically product UN-recommendations.

Hi There! It’s Jennifer – one of Collin’s Sidekicks!

My family likes this quirky animated show called Steven Universe. We love laughing together while watching it, but rarely see any memorabilia for it anywhere. That’s why when my husband and I saw the building sets at our local Walmart we were so excited! We looked at the boxes carefully and noticed they were similar to LEGO sets, but made by McFarlane Toys.

What are McFarlane Toys?

It’s a brand of toys that was founded by comics creator Todd McFarlane. They make highly detailed models of characters from movies, comics, popular music, video games and more.  We OWN McFarlane toys and love their quality! That’s all we needed to know. We proceeded to buy every set for every character of Steven Universe and wrapped them up for Christmas.


Christmas Morning Thrills!

My 13 old was thrilled to have them and started on the biggest set, the Van with Steven & his dad.  Then throughout the day I would look over and see the set pieces and no one putting it together. My son said the pieces didn’t fit right and the directions were confusing.

Over the next few days, I watched the pieces sit there until I finally decided to build it myself. I was too excited to wait to see the finished pieces.


The Worst Ever

And that’s when I learned about building rage. My son told me I had it as I tried to build the set. It should have taken me 45 minutes, but six hours later I finished and had said almost the worst words not allowed in our home.

The quality of this product is so awful! The instructions were hard to follow as the coloring does not match the actual pieces in the set. The pieces (which look like LEGOS) did not fit together without a bunch of pushing and shoving. At times I used my teeth to get them to fit (I may have a broken tooth now).

You would think that since they were so hard to get to fit together they would stay, but no – they do NOT. As soon as you touched something else, pieces would start falling off. They included the wrong size pieces AND they had you apply stickers. Once you apply the stickers, you are no longer able to disassemble it without ruining the set.


By the time I was done, I wanted to throw it away, but I’m keeping it because my money, blood, and tears went into what you see above. The unopened sets were promptly returned.


Other Waste of Money posts:

Join The Discussion

Comments 33

  1. Melissa

    We bought their Five Nights at Freddys sets that were just collectibles. My daughter wanted to just take them out of the box and display them on her shelf. Two of them broke just removing them from the plastic casing they come in. She wanted the Stranger Things figures but once we saw they were made my McFarlane, we passed. Never again will I waste my money.

    • Jennifer

      I have one of those horrible Five Nights at Freddy’s sets from last Christmas…it is awful. Best Lok sets are also terrible. The pieces do not fit together right and the instructions are less than helpful. Sometimes the pieces are missing or are completely wrong. Nothing has the quality of Legos!!

  2. Littlemansmommom

    I would contact the company I had a similar issue with the Paw Patrol advent calendar. I couldn’t get the figures out of the box even with a knife. They are now sending me a stuffed toy for all my trouble. Also avoid the brand Spin Master that is who made the calendar I also have a drum set and guitar sitting in a bag to return as they were broken and missing parts as well. Three items from the same company all of poor quality means no more items bought from them.

    • Just passing through

      Spin master makes hatchimals

      • Nan

        I’m also upset with Spin Master. My experience was with the Hatchimals. This was the one toy my daughter wanted for Christmas and it was DOA. It hatched just fine, but it wouldn’t turn on. My daughter was inconsolable 🙁 Spin Master’s customer service told me to replace the batteries and see if that fixed the problem. Are you kidding? After spending $60 for the toy I’m supposed to spend more money to fix it??? No way. It went back to the store and we got a new one. Thankfully the new one worked just fine, but I’m worried this toy won’t last.

  3. Karen

    We had a nearly identical experience with these sets. From now on I am sticking with LEGO brand only. It’s more expensive but worth the price to not deal with that headache again.

    • Jennifer (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I agree!

  4. Brandon

    My son got the meccano robot for Christmas and it was a pain to build. Small parts and big hands not a good combo.

    • Megan

      My husband had the “joy” of putting that one together. He was not a happy camper!

    • Laura

      I bought a Meccano robot for my son last year. My husband messed with it for hours, swore at it, and finally put all the pieces in a bin and they haven’t come out since. He told me to never buy anything like that again lol!

  5. Kalynn

    This was the experience I had using Shopkins Kinstructions. They were terrible! I promised I would never buy another set!!

    • Jennifer (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh no!

    • Nicole

      We had the same issue with Shopkins Kinstructions. Never buying those again.

    • Angela

      Agree! The pieces were hard to put together and the instructions weren’t clear.

    • Lindsay

      AGREE!!! Do NOT by the Sopkins building kits! The pieces don’t fit well, and the instructions are absolutely terrible!

    • vmm

      really? my daughter got a shopkins building set for Christmas and said the instructions were not as good as lego but she had it done in no time…she’s an8.5 yr old lego nut but still. she said it was fine….and the little building was adorable! she loves it.

  6. Sam

    We love Steven! Thanks for sharing because had I seen them, I probably would have purchased!
    I did get my son a cool Steven watch at GameStop during their clearance before Christmas for 2.50. I’ve also heard there are Steven blind bags at some Walgreens. I’m willing to pay the price for Amethyst

    • Jennifer (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You are welcome! The Steven watch sounds cool!

  7. krystal

    This is great to know! We have monster high mega blocks from last Christmas and really love them but my 8 year old daughter was all about Lego friends this year so we broke down and bought what is a very pricey toy for our house hold (I buy jan/Feb toy clearance for next christmas) plus with 2 younger sisters I also bought a Lego junior and Lego duplo. I will admit that I may skip some of the bigger ticket clearance items in favor of expensive Lego sets next Christmas. They are pricey, but awesome! My oldest spent hours putting together by herself the $30 set we got her plus the two $8 sets she got from others. They are adorable and amazing! My nearly 5 year old was able to do the junior with some assistance the first time and then got the instructions and did them all by herself the next time. It was so much fun and even my nearly 2 year old loved her Minnie mouse set!

  8. Suzanne

    We’ve had frustration with any brand NOT Lego. We’ve learned over the years to just stick with Lego.

  9. Carrie C

    Great review!!! I have 10 nieces and nephews and thanks to your review, I know to steer clear of these. Thanks so much!! 🙂

    • Jennifer (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You are so welcome! I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

  10. Amie

    I appreciate all the feedback!

  11. Heather

    Sorry this happened .. frustrating to say the least!! I found the same with any brand trying to imitate LEGO. I learned my lesson and stick to LEGO now. LEGO is more expensive but is quality!

  12. Janella

    If you want some great mechanical building sets, I highly recommend Lego Technic also. Some come with or you can add power functions. Super expensive, but worth the learning and they are quality! Side note on expensive legos, my 16 year old has success with selling lego sets he is done with and no longer interested in on eBay for sometimes more (sets no longer in production) sometimes less than he paid. He is just super accurate about if any pieces are missing and he does keep original box and directions.

    • Jennifer (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for letting us know, Janella!

  13. E

    I always tell my son we aren’t getting the junky legos… lol. Not worth it! I do have some of the American girl Megabloks (they are mine, not my kids’, lol) and they are easy to build and cute. But the minions sets were finicky. Thanks for the review!

  14. Katie

    This is too bad to hear. I’m in the toy industry and MacFarlane Toys used to be very high quality toys, always for collectors only but these LEGO-type construction toys sound like they are very poor quality indeed. Regarding other Building sets, you really are best to stick to Lego brand. There are no LEGO competitors that are better than real Legos. Mega Bloks is ok but just go with LEGO Duplo for little kids. Legos are amazing for their fine motor skills, their creativity and an all around a staple toy for children. The very best you can do is buy the brick variety packs to prompt their creativity. While the Star Wars and Ninjago sets (and all others that come with detailed Building instructions) are cool they are more about following instructions and limit the amount of creativity coming from your child. I personally hid the instructions from my 4 year old and he started building the coolest, wildest inventions all on his own. Not every kid will do this but challenge them if you can to make an invention or build something unique. Also, i feel like I have to mention this, small legos are definitely a choking hazard for children so please keep them away from you little ones!! We have “special big boy LEGO time” when little ones are napping…

    • Jennifer (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I agree about McFarlane toys. We actually own a lot of the figures and have bought them for years, but is seems like they really fell short on these building sets. It’s only LEGOs for us now!

    • MommySpendsLess

      My 8yo daughter is already very creative – writing songs and stories, drawing, etc. but staying focused, remembering instructions, etc. is a skill she needs to improve on so the step-by-step detailed instructions are actually one of the things I like about Legos!
      Not invalidating your point at all – just offering a different perspective and pointing out how one toy can have opposite lessons 🙂

    • Melissa

      I wish is was just the building sets that are poor quality but even the collector figures are falling apart. Unless the collector is going to keep them in the original packaging they aren’t worth the money spent. We had a few arms fall off just trying to remove them from the box to put on display. Its a shame also because the detail put into these toys are really amazing.

  15. Abby

    My 14 year old is OBSESSED with this tv show so I thank you for this review as you are correct there are not a lot of merchandise for this show. She now owns I think every single Funko Pop figurine from this show. Her favorite character is Pearl and I was able to find someone on Etsy who made pajamas that look exactly like Pearl’s outfit on the cartoon. Worth the money to see her face when she opened it!!

    • Jennifer (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that sounds so cool! Pearl is the awesome “mommy warrior” type!

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