Minecraft is a game that aims to capture the experience of mining through the earth and building complex structures that reach to the limits of your imagination. It is a game where you need to balance the time you spend building towering monuments against the time you spend fighting off enemies that come creeping around in the dark. It is also a game about cubes.
For a toy that combines all of these aspects of the Minecraft game, I decided to look no further than the Minecraft Papercraft Hostile Mobs set which I was able to pick up online for just under $7 before tax.
If you are not familiar with papercraft then I should first give you a primer on it as a hobby as this will better allow you to understand what is in this set and what you should expect from it. Papercraft is essentially a hobby or art form that uses folded paper to create objects. Unlike origami, papercraft uses paper that has been printed with designs and patterns. In addition papercraft generally makes use of scissors and glue, all of which are not part of traditional origami. As a result, the end product of building a papercraft model is more similar to a small toy than it is to an intricately folded piece of paper, yet it maintains the light weight of the card stock it is made from.
This minecraft papercraft set is provided as an slip case containing several sheets of card stock. These paper sheets have printed on them the designs of several minecraft characters, blocks, and enemies that will no doubt be familiar to anyone who has taken the time to play the popular video game. Included in the kit are several gravel blocks, a witch, a creeper, a spider, a zombie, and some slimes. In addition there are several accessory pieces such as flames and redstone torches to enhance any dioramas you may build.
Speaking of building, once you have removed the sheets of paper from the kit, it is time to start putting together the models. Simply pick out one that you are the most interested in having put together and go to work. I began by building one of the slimes, and if you are new to papercraft then I would recommend this as well. The slimes are essentially just cubes, so they are quite east to fit or glue together, making you more confident as you build these basic skills so that you will feel more confident as you build other figures in the future.
As far as the items in this kit go, the slimes and gravel blocks are at a beginner level of difficulty. The zombie is a more intermediate level of difficulty owing to its increased number of pieces and varied shapes. The witch is slightly harder to assemble than the zombie because of additional detail included in the hat. The spider is the most difficult model to assemble in this kit, so I do not recommend that you start with the spider unless you are very confident in your minecraft papercraft abilities.
Overall this toy has the look and feel of a quality minecraft toy at a fraction of the price of an actual action figure. This is obviously the case because the products are made from paper instead of plastic, and you build them yourself instead of having them provided to you. For me the actual building process is a major attraction to papercraft building, so I found that to be a very positive part of the experience.
On the whole the cardboard stock that the figures are printed on is quite durable, and it is easy to punch the figures out to put them together. Most of the figures are pretty self-explanatory to fit together which makes the whole process even easier to deal with. Once they are put together they are surprisingly sturdy, since the folding of the card stock only lends to reinforce the overall strength of the design. The only portion of the design that has issues with sturdiness is the legs of the spider, which need some help to stay in place properly.
All of the figures have the right color scheme and look just like a creature from the world of minecraft. The pixelated patterns on the paper perfectly recapitulate what you or your child would find as they tunnel through the world and run across a creeper infested cave. The accessory flames are also nice and enhance the look of the gravel blocks. Combined together with the creatures these blocks also allow you to build nice dioramas.
Once the figures are assembled together, the creeper and the slimes look especially fantastic!
Because these models are made of paper, you need to be gentle assembling them. If you are to aggressive then you may cause rips and tears that you will not be able to repair on your own. Additionally, there is an issue with the spider model in that its legs do not like to stay in place without some glue or a firm hand to guide them. All of these factors mean that these models are great for display on a desk or in a diorama, but on the whole they are not suitable for any sort of rough play that a child might impart on them.