Ask a LEGO Fan

LEGO Basketball

Posted in Marketplace, Set Design by lfanquestions on August 27, 2010

Justin writes:

What are these Lego basket ball players on amazon all about?! Why are they so cheap? Shouldn’t these be really expensive? Are they new? What is happening?

Dear Justin,

After the unexpected success of LEGO Soccer sets, The LEGO Group expanded their sports lines to include NBA sets in 2003.

These licensed sets were produced in large numbers that did not meet market demands.  This is why the sets and figures are still affordable.

Sincerely,

LFan

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Minifig Scale

Posted in Set Design, Uncategorized by lfanquestions on August 27, 2010

Claus writes:

Hi

Great BLOG you have got there!

What is the minifig scale?

Is it 1/32, 1/35, 1/48 or ?

And, the brick it self, in in connection with above…

Thank you very much in advance.

Cheers
Claus

Dear Claus,

A minifigure has odd proportions that do not exactly match one scale.  This is also true of sets featuring minifigures.  They have been and are designed in a variety of scales.

Please check out this interesting article regarding the original development of the minifigure by Jens Nygaard Knudsen: http://www.minifig.co.uk/default.asp?id=10

Sincerely,
LFan

The Future of LEGO Pirates

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace, Set Design by lfanquestions on March 17, 2010

Dave writes:

I have a couple questions concerning LEGO Pirates.

First, it seems that the new 2009 Pirates theme was very short-lived and its cancellation rather abrupt.  Why do you think this is?

Second, do you think there is any truth to the speculation that the Pirates theme was cancelled to make room for a licensed Pirates theme based on Pirates of the Caribbean, especially with the new movie On Stranger Tides scheduled for a 2011 release?  That would seem to be a lucrative option for TLG as it would attract fans of both the film franchise and the Pirates theme.  If this is the case, would TLG be able to release Pirates of the Caribbean sets based off of previous movies (like with Indiana Jones and Star Wars), even though Mega Bloks has already made POTC sets?

Dear Dave,

All core LEGO product themes (Space, Castle, Pirates) with the exception of Town/City have been cancelled by TLG at one point in time.  This happened in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when TLG drifted away from their strengths.

Fans know that LEGO Pirates is universal and classic building brick theme.  TLG may have been hesitant to release their products head to head with Mega Bloks’ theme.

Fortunately they did revive Pirates once the MB line was discontinued.  TLG played it safe by designing Pirates as a one year line.  Hopefully they were surprised by the strong sales of these sets during the past holiday season.  The new Imperial Flagship and blue 32×32 baseplates are currently strong sellers on Shop at Home.  These strong sales numbers should indicate to TLG that Pirates is a core “evergreen” theme.

Any reasonable license is possible in terms of future set design.  In this case, I would prefer TLG to not pay for a license they do not need and continue their own theme design in house.

Sincerely,

LFan

Train Windows and Power Functions

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace, Set Design by lfanquestions on March 17, 2010

Gary writes:

Do you know why it’s so hard to find train windows.  Wouldn’t it make sense for TLG to incorporate these into smaller sets knowing that if the kids don’t like them that the AFOL’s will buy them for the parts?

I’ve recently started looking at LEGO train stuff again (now that my kids are old enough to play with them) after not paying much attention for the last few years.  It’s pretty disappointing that there are currently no train sets (with motors, track, etc) available from TLG.  The old 9v track is well overpriced on eBay, and the more recent RC sets aren’t going to be supported going forward.  I saw there might be some PF based train sets coming out later this year, do you have any insight into what we might be able to expect?

Thanks!

Dear Gary,

Train windows are hard to find for two reasons.  First, they are not released in many sets with low price points.  Second, the AFOL community creates a high demand for the windows in the secondary market.

In the past train accessory part packs including doors and windows languished on Shop at Home.  Many of these packs were eventually discounted.  TLG is likely hesitant to offer train parts in packs or even individual rail cars because they sell poorly.  Incorporating train elements into other theme sets is an excellent solution to this problem.  TLG could sell more sets and AFOLs could find the parts they need.

Leaked images of future train products were posted online earlier this year.  You should be able to find them through online search engines.

The jury is still out on the new Power Functions sets.  Strong set design would help alleviate the change to less desirable train system.  My current recommendation would be to be patient on eBay and find a deal on a used 9 Volt train set.

Sincerely,

LFan

Four wide vehicles

Posted in Set Design by lfanquestions on March 8, 2010

Joao writes:

Do you know why historically all Lego vehicles with minifigs seem to
have been single-file occupancy? What was/is the design idea behind
having these be mostly 4 and in some cases 6 studs wide and not have a
body that could sit two minifigs side-by-side like actual vehicles do?

Most other elements seem to be to scale (doors, windows, ceilings) but
when it comes to vehicles they are all much smaller.

Dear Joao,

When the first mini-figures without moveable arms and legs were introduced in the mid 1970’s, most system sets had the larger maxi-figures.  These larger figs usually had six stud wide vehicles:

http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=253-1

http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=218-1

Smaller figures needed smaller four wide vehicles.

Side by side figures would have required eight wide vehicles in the 1970’s and 1980’s prior to specialized auto body elements of the 1990’s.  Designing most vehicles four studs wide avoided this problem.

Sincerely,
LFan

LEGO Games

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace, Set Design by lfanquestions on March 3, 2010

Justin writes:

I notice that there are several other board games not yet on Lego shop at home. Robo Champ, Magikus, Race, Lunar Command, and Ramses Pyramid.
Is there any word on when these will come out? I really want them all!

Thanks!

Dear Justin,

I think that TLG is testing the waters in North America with a small assortment of the original games line.  Originally they doubted the popularity of the line and only introduced it in Europe.  TLG opted to release games in other locations once the sets sold well in Europe.

This new line of sets is one of TLG’s most original ideas in a long time.  Several sets are already in the Top 25 sellers in the USA.  With these high sales, I would expect to see additional games late this year or next year.

Sincerely,

LFan

Residential Buildings in City?

Posted in Marketplace, Set Design by lfanquestions on March 1, 2010

Chris writes:

Dear LFan,
Although not officially part of the LEGO: City line, are any of the currently available Creator 3-in-1 house sets (6754, 4996, etc.) scaled appropriately for minifigures?  (or close enough for a five-year old’s play?)

Where are the homes and apartments for LEGO: City?

Thanks for any clues.
Chris

Dear Chris,

TLG and fans have created a variety of minifigure scales.  The current Creator houses are designed to roughly the same scale as current City buildings found in sets such as 7641 City Corner.   The sets can fill a residential gap in the City theme.

Many young children prefer vehicle sets.  That is why the majority of the City line is comprised of Fire, Police, and Construction vehicles.  A large number of fans agree with you that TLG should add more buildings to their City theme.  AFOLs enjoy building the expensive Market Street buildings but it would be nice to have smaller buildings to give to our sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews.

Sincerely,

LFan

Purple Elements

Posted in Product Quality & Safety, Set Design by lfanquestions on February 8, 2010

Mike writes:

Do you have any idea why purple bricks are so rare, compared to the other main colors?

Dear Mike,

It is difficult to achieve color consistency with purple.  This is why these elements are less common and rarely used together in one model.  Fans complained about this consistency issue with the Harry Potter Bus set:

http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=4695-1

Sincerely,

LFan