Back in March the world seemed to be taken by storm by a novel concept: Nimuno Loops Toy Block Tape which is compatible with Lego and other similar (lesser) products. A lot of people pledged money to the Indiegogo campaign, including me. My order just arrived, so let's take a look at just how effective this stuff actually is.
What is it?
Rubbery strips shaped like the studs on the top of a Lego brick, which means you can attach various different block-based toys to it. The underside has an adhesive strip that you can use to stick the tape to solid surfaces. They're available in various colours and various different lengths, though you can choose whether you want it to be two or four studs wide.
Also available are 'receiver rolls' which are essentially the same thing, but shaped after the underside of a Lego brick instead of the top. This stuff the lets you turn non-bricky objects into something compatible.
What's it do?
Pretty simple, it sticks to things, and you can attach Lego (or some other, lesser brand) pieces to it. Plus, Lego being Lego, nothing is permanent. Anything you attach to the tape can be removed or added to as you see fit. The tape itself is a slightly different story.
Is it any good?
For the most part, yes. Nimuno Loops does everything that was promised, and the only issues that I found were all issues with the laws of physics - rather than a flaw in the tape itself. I'll get to that later on.
The whole purpose of the tape is to be able to have a permanent fixture you can use with your block-based toys. It doesn't matter what your reasoning is, as long as there's some compatible block involved. Want to use it to hang your key? Provided you have a Lego brick keychain or something, that's not a problem. Want a good way to display your figures or sets without them shuffling around all the time? You can.
Nimuno Loops has a very basic and specific purpose, but it does that purpose as well as it could. It's actually really obvious, and surprising that it hasn't been done before now. The first thing I did was attach my Lego pen pot to my desk, and finally keep it fixed in one place.
The rubber tape isn't as rigid as proper plastic, and while this doesn't have the same grip strength you'd get if you stuck two Lego bricks together, it's more than enough to hold stuff in place. The rubber also means you can easily cut the tape as you see fit, and the flexibility means you have a bit more freedom. That means you have the option to stick it to uneven surfaces, or shape it however you like.
Now, if you plan on using the tape to mount any of your Lego to the wall, you might come across a few issues. Because the tape isn't as rigid as regular plastic, the whole thing isn't as strong. That means gravity is working against you more than it would if you had managed to stick a plastic base plate to the wall. Unless you have a fairly light set with evenly distributed weight, it won't be sticking to the wall. Check out this rendition of Star Wars: Rebels' Phantom as an example:
As soon as I folded the top/right wing into the set, it immediately fell off and wouldn't stick back on. Similarly Rey's Speeder and the DeLorean from Back to the Future wouldn't stick at all. Stupid gravity.
Minifigures, however, were absolutely fine - provided the figure didn't have some sort of back accessory.
As you can see, the four on the left are absolutely fine. The three on the right, however, have something on their back, and therefore need to be tilted forwards to a ridiculous extent.
The other issue is clearly stated in the mini instruction booklet that comes with each roll, in that the tape does not play well with painted surfaces. Or more specifically, it doesn't like being removed from painted surfaces. For obvious reasons.
That said, there is nothing stopping you from peeling off the tainted adhesive and putting your own on. The original adhesive is in its own indent, which makes it the perfect place to add your own without ruining the effect of the tape itself. Although the effectiveness of replacement adhesive probably won't be as good as the original stuff.
One final point of contention is that the longer rolls are clearly two smaller rolls stuck together with glue. It's somewhat irritating, but clearly just the way it has to be manufactured.
It's simple, and has its limitations, but it's a handy little tool for people with collections of Lego big and small.
The ugly truth now is that unless you purchased some tape during the initial Indiegogo campaign, you don't seem to be able to buy any right now. Presumably because the makers are still in the process of manufacturing and dispatching the orders for the campaign backers. But I have no doubt that they'll be up for sale eventually, so keep your eyes open.