In this paper, we present the results of a comparative evaluation of a "virtual Lego" system against real Lego bricks with novice users. The virtual Lego system was designed to emulate the behavior of real Lego bricks as close as possible, while still allowing for efficient operation. We implemented two different user interfaces for the virtual Lego system, namely controlling it with a 2D mouse, based on an efficient mapping from 2D to 3D, as well as with a 3D haptics device, which provides haptic feedback to the user. The results of our study show that real Lego is still significantly faster for first-time users (i.e. users with minimal training). A more surprising result is that the 2D mouse condition and the 3D haptics condition did not differ significantly - even though the 3D haptics condition provides much richer feedback. We discuss the results and speculate about the underlying reasons.