What’s wrong with this picture?
The answer is that these are a brand of construction toys from China called “Enlighten.” No, they’re not LEGO® brand building bricks. What’s the difference between Enlighten and construction toy brands that advertise themselves as “compatible with the leading brand,” such as Mega Bloks, Best-Lock, and Tyco? These latter companies all design and sell unique sets with distinct figures, while Enlighten manufactures almost-exact copies of LEGO sets with direct copies of the LEGO minifigure. Bear in mind that set designs are copyrighted, and that the LEGO minifigure is trademarked. In other words, Enlighten products are illegal.
So, pirated pirates? Yes indeed. To spot the differences, note that LEGO never produced chrome cutlasses, chrome flintlocks, brown rifles, yellow parrots, or wizard beards that don’t cover the minifig’s mouth. Of course, most Enlighten boxed sets we’ve seen aren’t labeled “LEGO,” so that makes spotting the pirate a bit easier.
If you’re traveling overseas and see some “cheap LEGO,” make sure you’re not buying illegally copied sets.
There, I’ve said my piece. Head on over to the Minifig Customization Network for an ongoing discussion.