Collectible Review: BioShock and Fallout IncrediBuilds

IncrediBuilds, the line of collectible wood puzzles/models by book publisher Insight Editions, has some new kits available for gamers, including the iconic Big Daddy from the BioShock series as well as Mr. Handy from the Fallout universe. (There’s a Songbird model from BioShock Infinite as well, but I don’t have that one yet.) If you’re game for some DIY work, these collectible models are a fun challenge with a distinct handcrafted style.

I’ve talked about a couple different models in past gift guides, but for those unfamiliar with IncrediBuilds they are model kits of varying sizes and difficulties, made entirely out of wooden pieces that come pre-cut on sheets. All you need to do is follow the diagramed instructions step by step and carefully punch out the pieces as directed. Each piece is clearly numbered so there’s never any confusion over which piece to use for each step.

The pieces connect using an interlocking joint system; each piece has a notch or series of notches where it will connect to other pieces simply by sliding them together. Glue or any other type of adhesive is not required, though you’re free to add some if you want a sturdy, permanent fit. Painting is also entirely optional. The primary pieces come laser etched with design flourishes to add shading and lines of detail, so the finished models look great in their natural wooden state. But the instructions do provide tips and suggestions for applying a paintjob, if you feel so inclined to take it that extra step of customization.

Both the Big Daddy (117 pieces) and Mr. Handy (107 pieces) models are rated at four stars on the IncrediBuilds skill level scale, which is the highest difficulty there is. Each one took me somewhere between two to three hours to complete, so they shouldn’t be too hard if you have any experience with models or puzzles or any other form of DIY crafting.

The hardest part with any of the models is handling some of the longer, skinnier pieces, because you do need to be careful about not pushing too hard. Fitting some of the pieces together can be somewhat nerve-wracking as you try to find the right balance of pushing firmly enough that the pieces slide together but not so firm that you risk a piece snapping. Both kits do come with a couple of duplicate pieces, I suppose for ones that have been predetermined to have a higher chance of breakage. I’m honestly not sure.

With the Mr. Handy model in particular, the main hurdle is the body section, which consists of a rounded skeletal structure that gets covered in a series of small panels. Once you get to that stage in the assembly there are some tight spots that make it hard to get your fingers in a comfortable position to apply the appropriate angle and pressure. Big Daddy is largely painless up until dealing with some delicate and tiny pieces around the face and helmet area. That section requires some patience and a careful touch.

Fully constructed, Mr. Handy stands 6.5″ tall while Bid Daddy is a slightly shorter 5.5″. Big Daddy’s short and stocky build is supported by its two large feet, but standing up it does feel a little bit wobbly, so you definitely won’t want to put it on a desk or table or any other surface you’re more active around and would thus leave the figure susceptible to vibrations and getting knocked over. A bookshelf or cubby is probably the best spot for safely putting it on display. Mr. Handy, on the other hand, features a central stand piece with a wide circular base for stronger stability.

IncrediBuilds aren’t quite jigsaw puzzles and they’re not quite traditional model kits, but they do occupy a similar space between the two and require similar skillsets. And also similarly, once all assembly is complete, you’re left with a wonderful collectible to show off, with a greater sense of pride and satisfaction since you played a part in its creation. For me, the Big Daddy and Mr. Handy are the coolest ones yet. Now the only thing missing is a Little Sister IncrediBuild for Big Daddy to protect. As an added bonus, both kits come with 17″ x 11″ fold-out posters, which is a nice touch.

Buy From: Amazon or IncrediBuilds.com for $24.99 each.

Disclosure: BioShock and Fallout IncrediBuilds kits were provided to VGBlogger.com for review consideration by Insight Editions.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!