So the Via Toy Box cubes came Thursday, about 200 pounds worth. They look great in person and went together very nicely. They're not quite slick or deluxe, which may explain the differences in price for otherwise identical-looking cube systems, but we like them, and I think they'll rock the nursery.
I posted a photoset on flickr with pictures of the unboxing, cube building, and the finished tower. Some quick impressions:
After reading Kaz's tale of building his kids' VTB's, I was expecting a lot of jiggering to get the cubes together, but they bolted up tight right away. [I was stoked about the Allen wrench drill bit included! but it wasn't included. Still, I just put on the CBC and spent about 15 min/box putting them together, no problem.] The jiggering came later, when I screwed the boxes to each other. It wasn't too dire, though.
Though they're tasteful and all, I was not blown away by the color options, so we went with mostly natural and two red cubefronts. Only the red turns out to be much darker than I thought, so I'll probably paint it over. I didn't notice it when we ordered, but Via Toy Box offers custom colors, $49/color at the moment. That might be interesting. Had I known, I could've gotten that natural birch & blackboard look I saw at the Gap. [Actually, blackboard paint might be awesome on these. Anyone ever done/seen it?]
The kid's already stepped up on the tower base to reach the top cube, so I've gotta get that thing anchored to the wall pronto. My thought is to thread a wire or cable in between two boxes rather than screw anything into the panels.
All in all, though, it's a huge relief to have them in, done, and filled. And it's a relief when something you see online and think you like turns out to be good after all.