Review: Knock-Off LEGO ‘Short Circuit’ Johnny 5

Photo Credit: Mike Phalin

There are a surprising number of Johnny 5 “interlocking brick” sets. Each Short Circuit robot is drastically different, and some are roughly the scale of a LEGO Technic kit. However, they’re all far more affordable than an official set would be. The one we’re reviewing today is $17.99.

Johnny 5 comprises 370 pieces, many of which you’ll probably have encountered in official LEGO models. The skill level required is pretty low, as shown on the box. I don’t doubt that kids 6+ should be able to get this thing together with a few issues.

If we had not seen the box, we would not have known right away that this was not an official LEGO kit—the manual and how the parts are bagged match the style the legendary toy company used.

The full-color manual also makes the same annoying jumps in assembly that LEGO has been known to do occasionally. There are also far fewer spare parts left over at the end. We had two tread links and a single small tubular joint piece.

There are only two significant issues encountered when putting Johnny 5 together. The joint connections in some key areas are way too loose compared to LEGO’s friction joints. The lack of friction makes Johnny 5’s right arm incapable of being posed. It flops down while his left one stays in whatever position we put it in.

Issue number two is the laser. It is connected to a rod using a part we typically see as a “hot dog” or “sausage” in other kits. It’s very flimsy and snaps off if bumped. The laser should have been mounted on a ball joint similar to that in Johnny 5’s waist connection.

Besides those annoyances, the end product looks like Short Circuit‘s famous robot. The price and quality are hard to beat, especially when there’s no official alternative if you’re a fan of the movie. I’d 100% suggest this.

As expected from these “totally not LEGO” kits, the box lacks a company’s name. Amazon says Vonando makes these; however, web addresses on the back of the box go nowhere, and the various corporate entities appear nowhere during a cursory Google search.

Vonando sells two totally different versions of Johnny 5 at two different prices. So, who knows who makes these kits?

  • Review: Knock-Off LEGO 'Short Circuit' Johnny 5



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Mike Phalin

Longtime problematic entertainment journalist. The former workhorse for Dread Central,, and Fanbolt.

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