Cobi (building blocks)
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Cobi is a Polish toy company with its headquarters in Warsaw, Poland. Cobi's most prominent toys are building blocks with an interlocking stud and tube system similar to Lego blocks. Cobi blocks are sold primarily in Poland and central Europe.
The building block themes are: Small Army, Grunwald 1410, Action Town, Boeing, Renault F1 Team, Romans & Barbarians, McLaren, Pirates, and Creative Power. Small Army is a military theme with tanks, aircraft, artillery, forts, and ships; Grunwald 1410 is a medieval theme based on the Battle of Grunwald, it includes siege craft, fortresses, and knights on horseback; Action Town is a town theme with police, firefighter, and construction sets; McLaren is a Formula 1 racing theme; and Creative Power isn't a theme at all with sets of loose blocks and simple vehicle sets where the vehicles are less than 30 pieces each. The other themes are self-explanatory. Cobi's variety of themes is not nearly as expansive as Lego's product lines but they have an abundance of sets in each theme. The building blocks don't use very many special pieces and are reminiscent of older Lego sets from the 70s and 80s. The mini figures look similar to Lego figures, except most figures have a head with a nose sticking out. The most notable distinction from Lego is that Cobi has four military and para-military themes, with more than two thirds of the sets belonging to one of these four themes. Their WW2-themed toys have been controversial, with at least one Swedish retailer refusing to stock them; the company responded to the criticism by saying they are a way for children to learn about Europe's history.
Cobi and Best-Lock, a British building block manufacturer with a strong presence in North America and Asia, announced a merger on February 2, 2006. The merger has since yielded co-branded building block toys. Toys are still sold under the separate labels Best-Lock and Cobi, but many Cobi sets appear in North American retailers such as Toys R' Us and Amazon.com under the Best-Lock brand.
- Rick Noack, Polish company says Nazi toys are a ‘fun way’ to learn about history, Washington Post, 11 December 2014
- "Best Lock Group Ltd. Is Pleased to Announce Its Merger with COBI". Business Wire. 7 February 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
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