We’re big fans of LEGO – who isn’t? There’s not much more we enjoy than zoning out as we build the latest and great LEGO dinosaur set we’ve managed to get our hands-on. But there’s one problem – there just aren’t enough of them!
This is especially true for buildable dinosaurs – in fact, the only set really worth writing home about in this regard is LEGO Jurassic World Jurassic Park: T. rex Rampage (75936) with its buildable and posable T-Rex figure.
Because of this lack of buildable dinosaur sets, we’ve decided to see what we can find elsewhere – looking to see what the Danish brick maker’s competitors have to offer.
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What makes a good LEGO alternative?
Before we do anything else, we’ll set out our criteria for this post – as this determines which brands and sets made it and why. Our criteria isn’t overly complicated – in essence, we’re looking for large, original sets that are LEGO-compatible. That’s it.
Piece count – we’re not looking for small, run-of-the-mill sets; we’re looking for impressive, big dinosaur LEGO sets, with 1,000+ piece counts. Several brands offer smaller dinosaur building kits, but we’ve left these out, as it’s just not what we’re looking for – and selection criteria that we suspect you, the reader, would agree with.
Originality and uniqueness – we’re not looking for cloned LEGO sets; we’re looking for those that are original and unique, offering us something different. If we manage to save a few bucks, that’s great, but it isn’t our priority – we’re looking for quality sets that LEGO simply doesn’t offer, not ripped-off, lower quality versions of those they already have.
LEGO compatibility – while there are alternative brick building systems, we like all of our bricks to work together, making LEGO compatibility a must. The brands and sets we include in this article all meet this criterion, making them not just great, standalone dinosaur sets – but also great additions to your existing LEGO collection.
LEGO-alternative brands with awesome Dinosaur sets
Without further ado, let’s get into our picks for some of the best LEGO competitors with awesome, fully buildable dinosaur sets that are well worth your time.
First up is brand Nifeliz – a Chinese brick maker headquartered in Guangdong – who make all sorts of brick sets, from cars and tanks to buildings and model ships – each being huge, impressive sets, with high piece-counts (our favorite kind of set!).
Nifeliz offers loads of excellent buildable dinosaur figures – their current line-up includes a Ceratosaurus, a buildable Spinosaurus toy, a Triceratops, and an additional Indominus Rex variant – aptly named “Indominus REX II”. Each of these dinosaur brick building sets has a 2,000+ piece count and retails for around $90.
And it’s not only their unique buildable dinosaur sets that make Nifeliz stand out – their pieces are also LEGO-compatible. Unlike many LEGO alternatives on the market, each piece is of the sort of quality brick fans have come to expect.
If you’re looking for a set as a gift for a friend or loved one this Christmas, a Nifeliz set might be your best bet – as most of their dinosaur figure range is in stock and available from Amazon, meaning you’ll definitely get it in time.
Another Chinese brick maker, Forange, is also based in Guangdong and has made sets since 2016. They’ve got an impressive, wide range of sets – with everything from firefighters and an airport series to a range of futuristic battle mechs.
The brand has two dinosaur product ranges – the “Dinosaurs Alive” series, which is more for junior builders, and the “Simulation Model: Dinosaurs” line-up, which boasts some incredible sets, perfect for more experienced builders. The range includes seven different fully buildable dinosaurs, including Brachiosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Indominus Rex, Pterosauria, Triceratops, and T-Rex.
Unfortunately, Forange sets can be a little hard to find – with most US retailers not carrying them. We’re not sure why this is; perhaps there’s some copyright issue – the sort of thing faced by many LEGO alternatives – but whatever it is, it’s a real shame. The Brachiosaurus set is hands-down one of the best buildable dinosaurs out there and well worth picking up.
At the time of writing, we were able to find two sets being offered on Amazon – the 1,756-piece Tyrannosaurus Rex and the 2,205-piece Indominus REX – with each retailing for $60 and $68, respectively.
If you’re interested in the others, you’ll likely need to order them from overseas. With the current global issues, it could be a problem if you’re ordering a set as a gift for someone at Christmas. That’s not to say it’s impossible – just that it’s something to be mindful of as we fast approach this year’s holiday season. That said – and in our view – some of the brand’s other dinosaur sets are well worth the wait.
Getting them in time for Christmas
As we’ve mentioned, you might struggle to find some of these sets domestically with US-based retailers, meaning you’ll either need to order them directly from the brands or order them from overseas retailers like AliExpress.
If this was any other year, it wouldn’t be a problem – however, with all the chaos that the Covid pandemic continues to unleash on the world, specifically on supply chains, getting your sets shipped over in time for Christmas might be a bit of a struggle.
To avoid disappointment, you’re going to want to act now – as the more time you give your set to arrive, the more likely it is that it will be under the tree in time. You’ll also want to check with support before placing an order to see what shipping looks like and any express shipping options you can opt for.
Well, there you have it – our picks of the best LEGO-alternative brands for dinosaur fans.
While there aren’t as many as we’d like, there are quite a few pretty nice, high-quality sets worth considering as additions to your existing brick collection.
All of those sets included in this article are well-made, with comprehensive instructions and high-quality, LEGO-compatible bricks – making them, in our view at least, some of the best alternatives on the market.
We hope you found this post useful and that you’ve discovered something new that you’re eager to get your teeth into and start building!