Friday, November 9, 2012

Nintendo N&B Block Universe Set (任天堂 N&B ブロック 宇宙セット, 1968)

The Nintendo N&B Block sets were a successful attempt by Nintendo to step into the block-building market-segment created by LEGO. Thanks to good product design and clever marketing, Nintendo even managed to upstage the Danish company for a while in Japan in the late 1960s.

Nintendo N&B Block Universe Set(1968)

The N&B Block Universe Set is the largest, most luxurious set in the Nintendo N&B Block series.

It was released in 1968 and cost ¥2,800, which also makes it the most expensive of all N&B Block sets.

The product code was NB 2800-MX. This code shows that Nintendo considered it one of the so-called 'mixed' sets ('MX' for ''mixed'). These mixed sets contain a broad selection of different shape blocks, that can be used to build a wide selection of models.

But this is no regular mixed set, as it has a clear theme: space. The front of the box shows a nice picture of the moon, with the name of the set (宇宙セット) embossed in silver letters.

宇宙セットmeans 'Universe Set'

The box is about 40 by 40 centimeters big.

It contains a round sturdy plastic container that holds all the blocks, and a booklet with building examples.

The container has a transparent lid that has an Nintendo Game ('NG') logo in the middle.

As said, it is a big set. There are 26 different block types and a total of 291 pieces.

Overview of all block types in the Universe Set

The pieces come in four different colors: white, yellow, blue and red.

It is no coincidence that the set is featuring space related models. Not only do the round N&B Block shapes a great job building rockets and planes, but in 1968 the whole world population was gazing at the moon, thanks to the space race between the US and the USSR, and the American Apollo program in particular. Everybody was waiting for the moment man would set foot upon earth's faithful companion for the very first time.

This space craze caused a boom in space toys, and Nintendo also eagerly provided a number of these, like the N&B Block Crater and Rocket sets and the Space Ball.

But the Universe Set is the big daddy of them all.

The booklet that comes with the Universe Set has building plans for five space related models.

There are enough block to build all five at the same time, allowing you to create all you need to engage in your own space adventure.

The models include a Rocket (ロケット), Jet Plane (ジェット機), Space Ship (宇宙船), Robot (ロボット) and Space Tower (宇宙タワー).

Because the Universe Set was the most expensive of all N&B Block sets, it sold in relatively small numbers. This explains its relative rarity today.

All five models you can build with the Universe Set

For more information about the Nintendo N&B Block series, please take a look the following posts:

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