A street to stroll down: the Qman City Corner series
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A street to stroll down: the Qman City Corner series

Ramon Schneider
Zurich, on 30.05.2022
Translation: Megan Cornish

Is the Qman City Corner series any good? I took a closer look at the building blocks from Asia. Minor spoiler: I loved them.

I came across Keeppley when I was looking for an alternative to the Danish market leader in the building block business. It’s a sub-brand of Chinese toy manufacturer Qman, which has been making plastic building blocks for almost 30 years. Besides the affordable prices, I’m particularly impressed by its printed blocks, as Qman doesn’t use stickers in any of its sets.

It all sounds very tempting in theory, but how good are the sets in reality? To find out, I ordered Keeppley’s full City Corners range, which consists of five buildings: a Hong Kong sandwich restaurant, a fan shop, a perfumery, a Japanese restaurant and a mojito bar.

One hour per building

There are around 300 blocks in a set, so you don’t need a huge amount of space for building. A small table will do. I’ve often had problems with the instructions from Asian building block manufacturers. Not this time. The assembly steps in the instructions are clear, simply explained and easy to understand.

The instructions are clear and easy to understand.
The instructions are clear and easy to understand.

I have to commend the manufacturer on the quality of the blocks. They’re very well made. There are no visible irregularities in terms of colour and the prints are all perfectly centred. The blocks can also be put together easily and they hold together well.

You won’t find any stickers here. All blocks are printed instead.
You won’t find any stickers here. All blocks are printed instead.

The finished street looks great

All the buildings consist of roughly the same number of blocks, have two floors and are particularly striking because of their decorated roofs. Joining all five together creates the best visual effect.

The rooftops are elaborately decorated.
The rooftops are elaborately decorated.

In addition to the decorated roofs and the detailed prints on the blocks, the sets also provide exciting settings inside the buildings. Despite the small dimensions and the limited number of blocks, the interiors are clearly recognisable. There are drinks in the bar, sushi in the Japanese restaurant and different coloured bottles in the perfumery. When assembled, the entire street is 40 centimetres long and 8 centimetres wide. The height of the buildings varies a little depending on the decoration, but they’re around 18 centimetres high.

There are beautiful details to discover inside the buildings.
There are beautiful details to discover inside the buildings.

Verdict

I'm impressed by the City Corner series across the board. The blocks are all of excellent quality, including the printed ones. The instructions are clear and easy to understand. The building designs are well thought out and implemented with attention to detail. And the price is absolutely great. A building with around 300 blocks for less than 20 francs is a clear challenge to the competition. You have to pay twice, if not even three times as much for a similar product made by the well-known manufacturer from Denmark.

The five buildings can be joined together seamlessly.
The five buildings can be joined together seamlessly.

If you’re also on the lookout for affordable building block alternatives, I can highly recommend the City Corner series. I can say with certainty that this won’t be my last encounter with Qman. I’ll be keeping it on my radar.

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Riding my motorbike makes me feel free, fishing brings out my inner hunter, using my camera gets me creative. I make my money messing around with toys all day.


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