Monday, October 10, 2011

Nintendo N&B Block - Overview (任天堂 ブロック, 1968-72)

Today we are going to take a look at all sets in the Nintendo Block (任天堂 ブロック) series, also known as Nintendo N&B Block. A separate post gives an introduction to this range of building sets.

Mixed (ミックス) set NB 1400-MX, includes a good mix (as the name suggests) of blocks and some construction examples to start your imagination.

The Mixed (ミックス) sets came in four different sizes, with different mixes of round and rectangular blocks. Pictured below are NB 800-MXB, NB 1400-MXB and NB 1800-MXA.

A special mixed set is the Universe Set (宇宙セット), with product code NB 2800-MX.

This set is the biggest of all N&B Block sets. It contains a large variety of blocks, and building plans for five space themed items.

The first releases of the Mixed sets had a different box design, with the blue, white and red stripes on the sides of the box extended over the front.

Besides the Mixed sets, there are two more generic building sets. These contain only rectangular pieces, and have product numbers NB 500-14 and NB 800-14.

Most of the sets in the Nintendo Block series were dedicated to building a single object or model. They included a building plan and precisely the right blocks to build the model on the front of the box. The oldest of these include: Jet Plane (ジェット機) NB 1480-J, Aircraft Carrier (航空母艦) NB 1200-K, Garden House (ガーデンハウス) NB 980-G and Rocket (ロケット) NB 980-R.

The Nintendo Block series also included a self-build version of the popular tumbling bean game: Coaster (コースター) NB 1200-CO.

As with any toy range, it is important to cater for different budget sizes; both large and small. In that later category fall the Reception Set (応接セット) and Bear & Crane Set (くまつるセット) both with product code NB 300-S.

After starting with one or two of the sets in the Nintendo Block series, the budding builder of course wanted to expand his supply of blocks. Sets were introduced to support this, with additional blocks for the two common block types: the standard 2x4 block (called block "14") and the N&B special 8-shape (called block "55").

A total of four of these sets were released: a small and large set with blocks of type 55, with product code NB 300-55 and NB 600-55, respectively. And a small and (not shown below) large set with blocks of type 14, with product code NB 300-14 and NB 600-14, respectively.

A large range of additional Parts sets was also available; covering all block types in all available colors. These were small sets, costing only ¥100 or ¥200. Each of these contained a handful of blocks in related shapes.

Overview of all sets with additional parts

In the picture below, eight different parts sets are shown (with product codes P-01, P-10, P-20, P-30, P-40, P-60, P-70 and P-80). Not shown are sets P-35 and P-90.

Targeting somewhat younger children than most construction sets shown above are Playing House Set (ママゴトセット) NB 980-MG and Leisure House (レジャハウス) NB 980-LH.

Three nice colorful sets are Flower Set (フラワーセット) NB 980-F, Zoo (どうぶつえん) NB 1200-Z and Gondola (ゴンドラ) NB 1200-GL.

In 1971, Nintendo introduced a number of electric clocks in a series called E-clock. At around the same time, they also released three self-build clocks in the Nintendo Block series. These are the Electric Clock  (電気時計) sets "house", "books" and "rockets", with product codes NB 1480EC-H, NB 1480EC-B and NB 1480EC-R, respectively. They include a working clock element, running on mains power.

A great action set in the Nintendo Block series is Crater (クレーター) NB 1800-CR. It includes a motorized space vehicle and three "mines" with powerful springs, which cause spectacular jumps and crashes when touched by the vehicle.

All good construction series include a train, and so does Nintendo Block. The N&B Train (N&Bトレーン) set NB 1700-TR comes with a battery operated electrical train as well as train tracks.

For those into super heroes, the Nintendo Block series includes the tokusatsu (特撮) sets Mirror Man Block (ミラーマンブロック) NB 800-MM, Silver Kamen Block (シルバー仮面ブロック) NB 800-SK and Kamen Rider Block (仮面ライダーブロック) NB 800-K.

More a musical instrument than a construction set, but nonetheless still part of the Nintendo Block series: N&B Block Ringer (N&Bブロックリンガー).

The last N&B Block set appeared in 1972 under the name Animal Block, and was called Build a Panda.

The final bunch in this overview are part of a series called People House (ピープルハウス). They are listed here because each of these sets includes a small box with N&B Blocks.

A total of six different sets exist in the People House series: Bambi and Milly (バンビとミリー), Cinderella (シンデレラ), Alice in Wonderland (ふしぎの国のアリス), Nurse Maria (マリアのかんごふ), Red Riding-hood (赤ずきん) and Ukiuki from the Flower Shop (ウキウキのお花やさん).

As you can see from all sets listed above, the Nintendo Block series consists of a wide range of construction sets aimed at boys and girls of all ages. Further background information for this series can be found here, and a gallery of N&B Block images is presented here.


  1. Nintendo didn't forget about N&B after the product line ended:

  2. I recently bought a mixed set with the code NB 800-MX, but I can't find the same product number on this post. What info do you have on this set?