I have been a big fan of building sets for nearly a half a century. My children have followed in my footsteps and we have tubs of building blocks and pieces from hundreds of sets. While almost all of them are made by the dominant manufacturer, I recently learned of a new entry into the market: JMBricklayer. One of their new sets recently released lets you build three different medieval siege weapon models that really fire projectiles as well as a target at which to shoot.
The 3-in-1 Medieval Weapon building set comes with 568 plastic building pieces which can be assembled into either a catapult, a ballista, or a bombard. It is suggested for builders ages 8 years and up and made by JMBricklayer, a relatively new company that produces a number of interesting and varied building sets. This company was founded by some self-proclaimed ‘building set freaks’ who met each other through the hobby. They were looking for something to provide more creativity and individuality than was available in current building sets. Therefore, they decided to create their own line of building sets. The 3-in-1 Medieval Weapon Building is currently available directly from JMBricklayer as well as the JMBricklayer store on Amazon for the suggested retail price of $39.99. The company has provided a special coupon code for GeekDad readers to save 30% for Black Friday. Use code VIPJMB30 on Amazon for November 24-28, 2022 to get it for only $28! You do not need a code for their site during this time period to get the discount. Then after the 28th, use code MichaelVIP15% for 15% off the price through December 31, 2022 at the JMBricklayer site or code MYCT3JUI for Amazon.
In my younger years, I built more than one medieval siege weapon including a catapult. Therefore, when I first learned of JMBricklayer’s 3-in-1 Medieval Weapon building set, I was very interested to try it out, especially since it advertised that it actually fired projectiles. My first impression upon receiving the product was the size of the box and the organization of the pieces in several different bags. Along with the bags of pieces the set also included a 1/4 inch think manual of 153 pages with a binding rather than stapled together. The building instructions are language independent and include quality illustrations. I like how for each step, there is a box in the corner showing exactly what pieces you need for each step. In addition, for pieces which don’t have studs on them, such as axle pieces, a 1:1 image of that piece is shown on the same page so the builder can actually hold the piece next to the illustration to ensure they have the correct piece. Each step also requires the builder to only add a few pieces.
While the instructions are well done, the building pieces themselves are also well made. To me they have the feel of bricks and blocks made by major brand building set companies and in most cases, look almost exactly the same. Therefore, they felt very familiar to myself and my sons who helped me build the models. We started off by building the catapult since it was the first one in the building manual. As we built it, we were surprised at the size of the model. Of course, I noticed the wheels were large when I unpacked the pieces, but as the model came together, it was larger than I expected. There were a few spots where we had a bit of trouble when assembling the catapult. However, as we became familiar with some of the unique pieces, and paid closer attention to the details in the directions, we were able to push on. In fact, we actually liked the fact that the designs are intricate and use some interesting building technics.
We were able to build all three of the different models. I am impressed with the design of each model. They not only look great, they are engineered to work and are durable. While building them, I notice how the construction is reinforced so when you play with them and launch projectiles, they will not fall apart. This is even more apparent when you have to take them apart to build a different model. I also like how the color of the pieces simulates wood and metal that would have been used in actual medieval siege weapons. The set also includes a orange tool to help you with disassembly. At first I was not sure how part of the tool worked. I then realized that it is used to help remove the rivet type pieces. Once I figured that out, it really helped when taking a model apart so I can build a different model.
For my first experience with JMBricklayer, I am very impressed with their product. The quality of the materials is just as good as those of big name brands of building sets. I also like the way their instruction manual takes the builder through the process with small steps that are easy to follow. The inclusion of the size illustrations makes it much easier to find the correct piece since some look the same and vary only in length. I find myself holding up axle pieces all the time with the diagram to check the size. The design of the models also show that they are engineered by builders who want these models to hold up during play and use. I was not at all worried the models would fall apart while launching projectiles. The inclusion of the uniquely designed tool for helping with disassembly further shows that the customer was a consideration. Finally, the price of this set is much lower than a comparable set by the big name brands and you get a lot more for your money. I highly recommend the 3-in-1 Medieval Weapon building set for both children and adults who not only like to build models but then play with them as well. It also make a great gift. I look forward to getting my hands on some of JMBricklayer’s other sets and building them.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a sample of this item for review purposes.