And now for something a little less sciencey.
I’m always on the lookout for good fiddler crab arts or crafts…there pretty much isn’t any: most of what you find is reproductions of old figures and/or poor quality, while a lot of the rest that is labeled as fiddler crabs are actually other types of crabs entirely. Recently, however, I heard that there was a fiddler crab LEGO set; I found that rather surprising and went looking for it. Turns out the information was partly correct: nanoblock, a LEGO competitor from Japan, does make a fiddler crab mini-set. Naturally, I had to get it.
If you’re not familiar with them, nanoblocks are very similar to LEGOs, except much smaller. Way way smaller. I honestly wasn’t prepared for how small the pieces were. This makes building the set quite a bit more challenging, if for no other reason than my thick fingers had trouble dealing with tiny pieces at times.
The set comes in a small, resealable envelope. More than 150 pieces seems a bit non-specific, but that may be in part because it comes with a decent number of extras beyond those necessary to build the model. Ages 8+ (whew…I cleared that bar), mostly because younger would likely eat the small pieces. Actually, an 8 year old can probably handle the tiny pieces way better than I can. Interestingly, it rates 4 out 5 on the difficulty scale.
I’ll skip describing the build process beyond a few general comments.
- The instructions are not as clear as they could be and there were a few places I had to backtrack to discover that I’d missed something.
- Beyond the difficulties generated by their size, nanoblocks don’t stick together as tightly as I remember LEGOs doing so. This seems to primarily be due to the lack of tubes in the underside of the brick providing extra support. There are obvious pluses and minuses to this: the plus is it allows you to combine bricks off center in a way you cannot with most LEGOs; the minus is a lack of stability and tendency for pieces to come apart when you don’t want them to.
The end result is pretty nice. It definitely looks like a fiddler crab, other than the eyes which strike me as a bit more ghost-crabby. It’s life-size for some of the larger fiddler crab species (the carapace of the model is slightly more than 3 cm wide, which puts it in my large category of fiddler crabs). Because the company is from Japan (although the toy itself is made in China), the color-scheme makes me think it might be Uca arcuata, but I’m sure I’m reading a bit too much into that. The large and small claws (and to a very tiny extent, the legs) can actually be rotated and adjusted in or out, so we can pose him with the claws in as if he were feeding or out as if he were a horizontal waver (to move the claw vertically would require redesigning the build and the pieces are too fragile and small for me to bother).
The built model is sitting in a carefully chosen spot on my desk at home where cats and/or cleaning implements are unlikely to bump into it and cause it to fall apart.