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Lego and Warfare/Weapons

edited May 2012 in Collecting
I'm sure this has been beaten to death, but I am just a few months out of my dark ages and still learning the ropes of Lego in 2012.

I understand the history of Lego and its creator being a pacifist; he didn't think war/weapons/violence should be mixed with children playing with toys.

Well, times change, and Lego kits are filled with violence and weapons. Just about everything in the successful Star Wars theme is designed to kill someone. We have light sabres, X-wing fighters, TIE fighters. POC ships have cannons for waging naval battle.

This summer we will have the LOTR sets including one which depicts the battle of Helm's Deep from The Two Towers. That entire set's theme is "war" or "violence".

Isn't Lego's stance on this a bit contradictory? Yes, all of the violence I have referenced can be described as "fictional violence" or make-believe violence, as no real light saber has ever killed a real human being. But is that distinction even relevant, especially when dealing with toys for kids?

And how do you explain the existence of the Sopwith Camel (a real weapon of war) which will be updated later this year?

Isn't violence the same whether it's referenced in Star Wars or a World War I biplane that actually existed and actually killed real people?

My point is that Lego should abandon their alleged "policy" here and it is high time for the World War II theme. In my opinion, the day they unveil WWII kits, they will hit historic sales records.

Ditto for Lego: Modern Warfare.

I just finished working on Lego 8069, the Technic backhoe. I love the complication of the Technic pieces and the mechanisms they create, but a backhoe is just boring! It occurred to me while working on my ultimately disappointing piece of construction equipment that the perfect application of Technic pieces would be an AH-64 Apache gunship molded in olive green plastic. Or a Tiger tank in dunkelgelb.

Will we ever see a Lego WWII theme? Do they realize the endless kit opportunities here, the massive world-wide interest in such kits, or the mega dollars they could make selling a 2,000 piece Spitfire kit?
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Comments

  • edited March 2012
    Isn't violence the same whether it's referenced in Star Wars or a World War I biplane that actually existed and actually killed real people?
    I think there is a distinction between make-believe conflict and the war sets you are advocating: in LOTR and Star Wars (and ninjago, etc) there is a clear concept of good vs. evil. The same usually isn't true for real historical wars. Moreover, presenting real war as a play theme is invoking real instances of suffering and atrocities, and LEGO understandably doesn't want to do that.

    I know that the Sopwith Camel and Red Baron can be seen as departures from this policy, but I think the planes can reasonably be seen as historical and evolutionary for flight. This one kind of surprises me, though: http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=4953-1

  • And the castle theme, pirates, the Roman soldier, the toy story jeep etc etc.

    Yes their supposed position is becoming harder and harder to have any belief in.

    Its their company so i guess they can internally ban what they like but the decision is becoming harder to explain.
  • I think the line has certainly blurred a little with license themes. however you look at it the inclusion of guns and other weapons is promoting war on some level even fantasy. I don't remember guns in lego in my youth at all. Having said that it's no worse than video games (especially ones that children should not be playing but do so regardless). I think I was most suprised to see a small knife in the SW bountyhunter dropship set last year. Being a UK resident where knife crime is a real issue I was suprised and disappointed in lego at this particular inclusion.
  • Aquanauts had knives as well.

    I could imagine a theme based around 1800 which could tie in napoleonic battles and the war of independence in the US. You could have battle pack sized sets for each country (most European and the US could be included) with some artillery and cavalry sets. It would make use of the new horses, you could have some small fortressy components and perhaps even some men of war sailing ships. Could fill a hole left by pirates and castles.

    It would be war but not as we know it and really not that dissimilar from pirates and castles.
  • I think the Lego brand image will be damaged if they introduce modern war sets, even WWII sets.
    I think they could be seen as a little too 'realistic' as in most of the other themes are all historic, fantasy or a combination of both. Having sets like tanks and gunships in warzones are exactly what is shown on the news almost daily, and I don't think parents want to expose their children to much or any of that reality. Lego would lose what's left of its 'wholesome' image IMO.

    That said - the recent Police theme was populated with crooks and criminals, but I guess that's what their market research has told them kids want to play with.
  • I really hope they don't. As others have said the conflict that exists is not based on real life and has clear good vs evil. I think there are parents who would be disappointed if LEGO branched out into war sets.
    The planes are one sided I suppose, there's no one to be the 'bad' or 'good' guys, they're just planes, so are acceptable (ish)
  • edited March 2012
    That said - the recent Police theme was populated with crooks and criminals, but I guess that's what their market research has told them kids want to play with.
    They were flinging toilet paper, though, which is just a petty offense:
    http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=1927
  • ^ Yeah - its all very 'cartoony', same as all the other 'violent' themes, or at least they're portrayed that way on the commercials and videos I've seen of them.
  • @Savage_Steel - but who's the good and who's the evil in the pirates theme? Surely the pirates aren't the good ones? Yet most children would see it as such. In reality pirates were raping, murdering and stealing. Whilst Disney does its best to make pirates seem like a jolly bunch of rogues, the reality is far from that and far closer to the present day pirates of the North East African coast. Presumably giving children the wrong impression of right and wrong is worse than letting them play with guns?

    That said, I agree I think a WW2 theme would be awful if only because its a slippery slope of where do you draw the line. Do you include the Waffen SS? Do you include a Churchill minifigure? What about a Hitler minifig? But its hard to come up with a particularly good argument for why no to WW2 when you look at a number of historical based collectable minifigs like the royal guard, roman soldier, viking etc. who, lets be honest were machines of war and violence.

    A small number of WW2 themed collectable sets like a spitfire would seem much more appropriate than a minifig based theme. But would a Lancaster bomber be inappropriate. It really is a minefield.
  • edited March 2012
    If they ever want to be taken seriously with this policy, they need to be consistent.

    World war 1 (or is it WW2?) dogfight anyone?
    http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=7198-1

    Amphibious military vehicle with russian army minifigs?
    http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=7625-1

    WW2 army truck and Nazi minifigs?
    http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=7622-1

    Pretty much a tank
    http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=7626-1

    What I think is one of hitlers Horten Ho 229 bombers
    http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=7683-1

    Army jeep and more russian army
    http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=7628-1

    Personally I'm in 2 minds - from a purely modelling point of view I'd be interested in a tank as I think they're cool vehicles. On the other hand, If Lego released a set where the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, this would be a step too far, as its reenacting the murder or large numbers of people. Where do you draw the line? Maybe their current policy, had they stuck to it, is the best thing.

    Personally I'd like to see it go the other way and have less conflict based sets (think of Atlantis humans v fish people, Ninjago ninjas v skeletons, monster fighters, powerminers v rock monsters etc etc etc). It feels like the original concept of non conflict is being worked around wherever possible. I know its what kids ask for but Lego is in a position to lead as well as follow.
  • What I'm about to say has, for the most part, been said already. However, the models that have been offered up as a departure from policy - the Sopwith Camel, the Red Baron - from a modelling perspective they are seen as works of engineering 'art' I suppose, and they're included for those who like to collect scaled models. A car nut loves to collect models his favourite cars, and there are casuals who will collect model cars purely because how they look - it's the same with lego models. The models of war planes are produced because they're an excellent model to represent as a scale model, and look great when put together. They appeal to both those who love planes and those who are just collecting, that like the way they look.

    Sets such as Pirates, Western, City Police, Indiana Jones - the 'baddies' are all represented as jolly rogues, or comical villains that just have mishaps. In the 'Police' sets, when you look through the booklets, the criminals are just getting involved in such things as stealing apples from a tree. You never see them actually committing any violent crime, because that's not how they're intended. Same with Vikings, Pirates - as mentioned, they're represented as lovable rogues, although historically, that is not the case. But children don't know that - I accept that some are articulate and intelligent, and may research it if so inclined, but chances are a child will not look at an Indiana Jones set and go on and research what Nazis are and what they did. They'll just want to play out the film.

    A lot of children's toys, including lego, involve conflict. That's what appeals to boys - playing the hero and stopping the bad guys. It's everywhere you look. However, most of the time it's fantasy, or it's history represented in a comical light. I remember when I was a boy, all my toys were conflict themed, because that is what is fun. It's what sells. Most children will enjoy building a Tower Bridge or a Taj Mahal, but after they've built it, what will they want to do with it? A set from Pirates, or AQ, will keep them playing for hours because they want to play out different battles and fights and keep playing the hero.

    I think it would work if there was a line. Minifigures are out of the question. Can you imagine the uproar with Taliban figures, or actual Nazi figures? Seeing the swastika represented on a lego man would be a reputation killer. Now, scale models are understandable. Most AFOL's would love a scaled tank, etc, but vehicles is the only way I can see it being viable. And they'd have to be stand alone vehicles, not part of sets etc. The problem is with Modern Warfare or WWI/II is that it's all to real. Many people still bare the scars of the earlier wars, and certainly still bare the scars of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You could never have a 'battle pack' from a war, it would just not be possible. Could you imagine being the wife of a man who lost his life in the Middle East, to come home and see your son playing out a battle between American/British troops and the Taliban?

    The lack of a tank or helicopter is a little puzzling. I can only assume that planes are more recognisable, perhaps? There's a case to be made for famous tanks and helicopters, but the Red Baron and the Camel are recognisable around the world. Lego have to reach a balance between the market that they were set up to target - children, but also appease the AFOL's and collectors. Maybe they think that recreating a named helicopter or tank won't sell enough? Whilst it may get certain collectors and AFOL's excited, perhaps they won't appeal to children enough. There's also a case to be made that planes are more appealing to children as scale models. Plenty of lego sets include helicopters and planes, and I've always felt that the planes are done brilliantly, but the helicopters have never appealed to me. Bi-Wing Baron (5928) is one of my favourite sets, and it's overloaded with guns so Lego aren't afraid to include that.

    Perhaps it makes it all to real? The aforementioned themes are fun, they're not real, and so whatever the child does with them, whatever battles they create are all part of their imagination. When it involves real tanks/helicopters, it is perhaps pushing the lines of reality to far, and knowing that these vehicles are used in brutal conflict may be too much of a risk for lego. With the Camel/Baron, they are great to look at and build as models, but with a tank, it's kind of glaringly obvious as to what it's built for, with the massive turret sat on top. We may see a change in policy when it comes to models of vehicles, and it would make sense, but we will never see a full blown theme representing real war. At least, I don't think we will.

  • On the other hand, If Lego released a set where the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, this would be a step too far, as its reenacting the murder or large numbers of people. Where do you draw the line? Maybe their current policy, had they stuck to it, is the best thing.
    It would be too expensive anyway. Think of the number of minifigs you'd need for that!

    I'm not too bothered about death and war in Lego. I have done gladiators, roman and greek armies, William I / Harold and the battle of Hastings (albeit a small battle), vikings, etc. I have a custom made minifigs of Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt, Hitler, Rommel, Himmler, Hess, Montgomery, Lenin, Kitchener, Roberts, Haig, ... over the years (sorry for mixing up WWI, WWII and Boer War in one list). I've murdered Caesar more than once, Boudica has killed romans before being killed herself, and Joan of Arc has been burned at the stake. All in the name of Lego.

    I'd prefer they stayed away, simply because them issuing sets does stifle creativity. Their new roman looks better than my old romans, especially their headgear and shields. If they were around at the time, I probably wouldn't have bothered making them myself.
  • edited March 2012
    I just finished working on Lego 8069, the Technic backhoe. I love the complication of the Technic pieces and the mechanisms they create, but a backhoe is just boring!
    I'm both a AFOL and a modeller (mostly airplanes and sci-fi subjects) and I really miss model kits of earth-moving machines! :-)

    Bye,
    Max
  • I think there is a distinction between make-believe conflict and the war sets you are advocating: in LOTR and Star Wars (and ninjago, etc) there is a clear concept of good vs. evil.
    While you are correct in general, WWII is the grand exception...

    There was a clear concept of who was good and who was evil in that war... The Nazis and the SS were evil... if there is ever an example to be held up of evil in the world, they fit the bill. The Allies did not enter that war for any other reason than to stop the forces of evil from marching all over the face of the Earth.

    Seriously... But that is one of the few exceptions, most other wars are shades of gray to be sure.
  • I accept that some are articulate and intelligent, and may research it if so inclined, but chances are a child will not look at an Indiana Jones set and go on and research what Nazis are and what they did. They'll just want to play out the film.
    And that is a shame... Every child needs to be taught (at the proper age of course) what the Nazis were and did, and what the Waffen SS was able to do. They were evil, and almost won... It took the combined forces of more than half the world to stop them.

    Every German child is taught about it in school in detail, and they are taken to the remains of the concentration camps to be shown where it happened, so that it will never happen again.

    Those who fail to learn from their history are doomed to repeat it. So many young people today have no concept of what that time was like, and how different it is today to our current "wars". That war was a fight for the very future of our planet, today's wars are just pissing contests over resources.
  • Doesn't the Creator line have a couple modern day Fighter jets?

    Well what's your guys opinions on Brickarms?
  • ^^ totally agree although perhaps a lego theme would undermine the seriousness of that message. I think its also too real and too fresh.

    Hence why things like napoleonic and war of independence would be about the limit for me. Wouldn't want to stir the hornets nest of the boer wars either.

    The lack of proper space, pirate and castle themes at the moment is somewhat unsettling.
  • One difference between the Napoleonic Wars is that we don't have thousands of hours of film footage of it.

    That is one thing that will keep WWII fresh much longer than past major wars.

    Sometimes else to keep in mind. For all the horror of our War of Independence, it was chicken feed compared to WWII.

    Just to use a few numbers...

    Depending on the source (since the true number will never be known), anywhere between 50 and 100 million people died during WWII. This does not include the number of people who were wounded, crippled, or outright driven insane by the carnage around them.

    During the American War for Independence, about 25,000 people died on the American side, with an unknown number of British dead (funny that they didn't keep the numbers), but probably a similar number. Even if double the American number, the total number of dead from both combat and infection of wounds is probably under 100,000. A lot of people to be sure, but that many people were killed in the fire bombing of Hamburg alone over the course of just a few days during WWII.

    I just wanted to toss that in, because WWII is a subject I've studied and written papers on, it was my focus in school and something I wish more people would study, because as horrible as it was, it was very real and there is nothing in the world today that compares.

    If we don't learn the lesson, we'll have WWIII at some point in the future, but that one will be much worse...


    Ok, enough of the war stuff, this is a Lego forum. :)
  • ^Agreed, with the lessons to be learned and future pitfalls to be avoided.

    For LEGO sets, I can't imagine that a Danish company would be too enthusiastic about producing a WWII German playset, regardless of the many sound arguments for doing so. There's too much history there, that an American like me probably won't ever completely understand...

    That said, I would be interested in buying official TLG sets of "generic" military vehicles. The occassional clone-brick sets that appear look OK, but the brick quality is never up to snuff (as we're all aware!).
  • edited March 2012
    @LegoFanTexas

    Now that I can agree with. To even learn a shred about WWII in your education requires you to CHOOSE to take GCSE History, and that barely scratches the surface. You learn about the basic politics and economics in pre/post war Germany and Britain, but that's it. To get a real insight you probably need to take A-Level History. I know the curriculum may be too difficult for many children aged 11 - 14, but I agree that there should be some mandatory history involved in school, even if it isn't the whole subject. Especially since they raised the leaving age to 18.

    Although, with that said, I still don't think the correct outlet for educating children on history is Lego.
  • I have an A level in history, although didn't choose to do this at Uni.

    There was quite a significant module on pre-war Germany, covering specifically the immediate aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles, the Weimar Republic and the various issues they had such as hyper inflation, and the associated conditions that led to the National Socialists coming in. It's a very interesting period, and in my view is a key part of any education, particularly given what subsequently happened in this period.

    Personally I quite like Lego's general stance here, although appreciate its difficult to implement perfectly.
  • I think it has been well established in this thread that Lego's stance on the issue of "violence" or "war" has been compromised over the years. They aren't just making brightly colored houses anymore.

    There are many kits referenced here, all of which focus exclusively on machines of war, war in general, violence, or the idea of people killing each other. So Lego's innocence on this matter has long since been lost.

    Keeping that in mind, would it be such a big thing for them to make a stand alone kit of a Spitfire, or a Tiger tank? How about a grand battleship of WWII vintage that is a meter long and features thousands of pieces? Or a modern "fighter jet" that may or may not be generic? I think there is room for these types of kits in spades.

    I am not advocating for playsets featuring a "Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto", "Soviet rape of Berlin", or "Kampfgruppe Peiper Massacre at Malmedy" theme anytime soon, or "Nazi" minifigures, or anything bearing a swastika (what the Germans would call a "Hakenkreuz").

    I think people are reading too much into this. A stand alone kit of a spitfire is quite acceptable in my opinion. Kids and AFOLs alike are not attracted or even cogniscent of the intended purpose of such a machine. It's more about an appreciation of the mechanics of such a creation, its graceful flowing lines, and it's fun to swoosh around the living room factor.

    Have the posters here who oppose Lego "war sets" ventured beyond the Lego aisle at their favorite toy store? The other aisles are filled with toy guns, toy soldiers, and toys with a military/war theme.

    It is also in children's nature to act out violence or war scenes in any event, for some disturbing reason. I wonder how many kids are imaginatively depicting "war scenes" using Lego minifigures, parts, and kits not intended for that purpose in any event.

    If Lego can give us (2) Sopwith Camels, and a Fokker Dr 1 triplane, they can pop out a cracking kit of a Spitfire or "modern attack helicopter" without ruffling too many feathers I would think.

    That is simply my point.
  • I think it has been well established in this thread that Lego's stance on the issue of "violence" or "war" has been compromised over the years. They aren't just making brightly colored houses anymore.
    Probably one of the reasons why Lego is doing so well, even if they would be loath to admit it. If they just made brightly colored houses, they wouldn't be half the size they are.
    How about a grand battleship of WWII vintage that is a meter long and features thousands of pieces?
    That would make a wonderful large set, like Taj Mahal, give it 5,000 parts, make it the USS Iowa, and I'd be a buyer the day it was released. Give it proper sized parts, make it $399 and put it in the same size box as UCS SSD, and I'll bet it would outsell UCS SSD.
    Have the posters here who oppose Lego "war sets" ventured beyond the Lego aisle at their favorite toy store? The other aisles are filled with toy guns, toy soldiers, and toys with a military/war theme.
    To counter-point, perhaps this is why Lego deserves and gets its own isle, because parents like buying something that "isn't more war toys".
  • edited March 2012
    ^^ This is my own observation, and TLG may or may not feel the same way:

    The Sopwith Camel and Red Baron (Fokker Tri-plane) are nearly a century old, and without meaning to trivialize it, their combat victories number in the thousands. Modern day war machines have done an order of magnitude more damage, and are more fresh in the minds of people.

    Also, those planes were as much a token symbol of power and air superiority as they were effective war machines. In contrast, the modern tanks and attack helicopters you mention are part of ground campaigns that involve territory control and occupation.

    I'm not disputing that the latter would make impressive models. They would, and have when AFOLs MOC them. But with TLG being flush in profitability right now, there probably isn't a whole lot of motivation for them to produce one-off models not belonging to a theme that would potentially be controversial.

    I mean, look at the backlash they've endured over... wait for it... Friends!
  • CCCCCC
    edited March 2012
    ^ and ^^

    We have nominations for a Spitfire and a USS Iowa.

    I'd buy the Spitfire, but then I'm British. I wouldn't buy the USS Iowa. No offence to the USA, but it doesn't mean that much to me, whereas the Spitfire does.

    That is part of the problem, as soon as it is something specific it is often nationality based, which could significantly cut down on sales. I don't know how well architecture models sell, but I don't have any interest in ones foreign to me if I have never visited them. I look at the Statue of Liberty models and think, they're nice, but I don't want them. Whereas a fictional, generic castle or building somehow means more to me.
  • ^ and ^^

    We have nominations for a Spitfire and a USS Iowa.

    I'd buy the Spitfire, but then I'm British. I wouldn't buy the USS Iowa. No offence to the USA, but it doesn't mean that much to me, whereas the Spitfire does.
    I would take a Spitfire... Many people don't know this, but the Spitfire was a superior weapon in many ways to the German BF-109...

    The only problem, in the Battle of France, Germany had 5,101 combat aircraft, of which over a thousand were BF-109s. Britain had barely 100 Spitfires... If Britain had spent more time building them, instead of bombers, they might have made a difference.

    In the Battle of France, air power is actually the only place Germany was ahead. For all the talk given to Panzers and their armored divisions, France and Briton had far more tanks, and far more heavy tanks, than Germany did. Germany simply used theirs much better, they concentrated them, and they had air superiority, which was from that point, a requirement for armored warfare.
    That is part of the problem, as soon as it is something specific it is often nationality based, which could significantly cut down on sales. I don't know how well architecture models sell, but I don't have any interest in ones foreign to me if I have never visited them. I look at the Statue of Liberty models and think, they're nice, but I don't want them. Whereas a fictional, generic castle or building somehow means more to me.
    I love Tower Bridge, I would love a large scale model of Big Ben. I would also love a model of the Golden Gate Bridge, I'm not country specific. :)

    Speaking of large scale models, how about one of Red Square? That is iconic and well known, I think it could be beautiful with all the colors.
  • edited March 2012
    ^ and ^^

    We have nominations for a Spitfire and a USS Iowa.

    I'd buy the Spitfire, but then I'm British. I wouldn't buy the USS Iowa. No offence to the USA, but it doesn't mean that much to me, whereas the Spitfire does.

    That is part of the problem, as soon as it is something specific it is often nationality based, which could significantly cut down on sales. I don't know how well architecture models sell, but I don't have any interest in ones foreign to me if I have never visited them. I look at the Statue of Liberty models and think, they're nice, but I don't want them. Whereas a fictional, generic castle or building somehow means more to me.
    CCC, either you are far more nationalistic than I am, or you have much less interest in military history and mechanics. I would jump all over a RAF Spitfire, USS Iowa, Russian T-34, German Tiger, or Japanese Yamato. It is the machines themselves and the engineering that went into them, along with their place in history which interests me...not which country they came from or what idealized place they have in a given country's national pride.

    Same for architecture! Good and interesting architecture is good and interesting architecture. I don't care where a given project sits on the earth, or who designed it, in terms of nationalism. I am a huge fan of English, Spanish, Dutch, and American architects, and others as well. I would consider any architecture model if I find it interesting, architecturally.

    I still think some here are reading too much into the whole thing. Come on Lego, give us a battleship model already. It's not that controversial, and as LegoFan Texas pointed out, a tour de force battleship kit with 5,000 pieces would become an instant classic. Lego would sell all they could make, regardless of which ship it was or what country it came from. Just my guess.
  • CCCCCC
    edited March 2012
    I love Tower Bridge, I would love a large scale model of Big Ben.
    I used to walk past Tower Bridge every day on the way to/from work. I can do without seeing it in Lego! It's one of those famous iconic landmarks that everyone recognises and wants to photograph. But there is much nicer architecture in London that will never get made into Lego. Unless they are MOC.

    By Big Ben, I assume you mean the tower, and not the bell. The problem with that which people often forget or don't know from looking at postcards is that it is not a separate tower, but connected to the Houses of Parliament. So do you have the tower standing alone, or go for the whole thing?
  • I love Tower Bridge, I would love a large scale model of Big Ben.

    I used to walk past Tower Bridge every day on the way to/from work. I can do without seeing it in Lego! It's one of those famous iconic landmarks that everyone recognises and wants to photograph. But there is much nicer architecture in London that will never get made into Lego. Unless they are MOC.

    By Big Ben, I assume you mean the tower, and not the bell. The problem with that which people often forget or don't know from looking at postcards is that it is not a separate tower, but connected to the Houses of Parliament. So do you have the tower standing alone, or go for the whole thing?
    For what it's worth, I'd go for the whole thing if feasible! Bigger is always better with Lego! Indeed, London (and England in general) is filled with wonderful architecture. It would be great if Lego actually launched a kit of a lesser known landmark. It's all good.
  • edited March 2012
    Would love a collector quality spitfire. Just the idea of little SS minifigures running around that would be problematic.

    Maybe a theme of large scale 'amazing machines' along the lines of architecture to avoid being specifically military.

  • Same for architecture! Good and interesting architecture is good and interesting architecture. I don't care where a given project sits on the earth, or who designed it, in terms of nationalism. I am a huge fan of English, Spanish, Dutch, and American architects, and others as well. I would consider any architecture model if I find it interesting, architecturally.

    In terms of architecture, I love visiting buildings. I have a few MOCs of interesting ones I have visited, mainly Italian and German and a few British ones. I find some of the offical Lego ones a bit plain, and to be honest, a bit "tourist tat". The sort of thing that you would only buy while you are visiting. This is obviously not true of the large scale ones, but the recent Sydney Opera House? No thanks.

    I think part of the problem is realism. Some buildings (or insert other objects) don't always translate that well into Lego or corners are cut that are too much. I was looking forward the the SW X-wing until I saw the way R2D2 was forced in sideways. Some compromises are necessary converting things into little blocks. But some are too far from reality (if I can use that word for SW) and just mess up the model.
  • I have that X-wing kit you speak of, CCC, and on the whole, I think it's a wonderful kit at a reasonable price and captures the lines of the real vehicle quite well. Though it is a shame R2 must sit in there sideways as you say!

    No doubt, certain things do not translate into Lego very well, which is one of the main reasons why I would like to see Lego venture into military themes. Only they will be able to create the odd critical pieces needed to get a Spit "just right", or produce bricks in the right color, particularly if it's a color we don't already have. I considered an Apache attack helicopter MOC, until I realized the project will never get off the ground (pun intended!) without olive green pieces. Lego has to bail us MOCers out once in a while with kit offerings.

  • For what it's worth, I'd go for the whole thing if feasible! Bigger is always better with Lego! Indeed, London (and England in general) is filled with wonderful architecture. It would be great if Lego actually launched a kit of a lesser known landmark. It's all good.
    If I was designing for Lego, I'd go for Battersea Power Station then the OXO Tower. Probably not as good sellers as TB, but who cares.

    Although most of my creations are Italian rather than British, since I spent many years working there, getting spoilt for decent (classical) architecture.
  • I also have that x-wing and wouldn't let the r2 issue stop me from getting a great set. The opera house just looks horrible though.
  • I also have that x-wing and wouldn't let the r2 issue stop me from getting a great set. The opera house just looks horrible though.
    I know I am going to get it anyway. I just find some compromises too much sometimes!
  • edited March 2012
    Battersea power station would be a great kit! Actually, that might be something we'd have a decent shot at replicating as a MOC using available pieces. There is literally no end to the fascinating pieces of good architecture Lego could produce into a kit. And buildings are generally something that work quite well with Lego. I'd love to see a Taj Mahal/Tower Bridge/Eiffel Tower mega kit come out once a month, forever. It would get a little pricey, but I'd take a shot at buying them all.

    Sadly, the only kit of that type that was available post Dark Ages is the Tower Bridge, which is sitting on my build table as I type, awaiting construction. And not to get off topic here (at least more than we have already) but does anyone know of the next building in this line to be released? I would imagine we will get a new one this year some time.
  • ^Which Italian MOC's do you have, out of interest?
  • edited March 2012
    Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Pharao's Quest = adventure
    Tiger Tank, battleship = war

    That's the distinction for TLG I think.

    I really can't imagine the classic minifig head with classic minifig smile on the Tiger tank commander.

    Btw. when I was in the TB a few months ago there was a Lego TB inside.
  • edited March 2012
    I'd like to see a LEGO "UCS" type build of the Enola Gay with removable Little Boy.

    Edit 1: A nice alternative build would be Bockscar with Fat Man.

    Edit 2: The battleship Yamato would be another nice model. The whole war in the Pacific is just full of interesting potential builds.
  • ^I think the Japanese would have something to say about the first two ideas.

  • I still don't think the correct outlet for educating children on history is Lego.
    I agree with this. I can just see the encounters:
    Mother "No, no honey, you don't want the Nazis to win, that isn't good"
    Kid "But the Allied guys won last time!"
    Now a history lesson has to take place, so the kid won't run off to school the next day and tell everyone about how the Nazis blasted away the Americans and it was so cool.

    Let's keep play sets planted in fantasy. I think venturing into real wars is not a good idea. I understand the Indiana Jones sets are an example of a deviance from this policy and though they can be identified as fantasy.. but I'd rather those sets be the deviance from rather than the reason to completely ignore the policy/rule. However, having model tanks, carriers, and other vehicles isn't a bad idea, but no people/minifigs.

    There really are enough other toys, as pointed out earlier, for kids/parents that want to just have war toys.
  • I considered an Apache attack helicopter MOC, until I realized the project will never get off the ground (pun intended!) without olive green pieces. Lego has to bail us MOCers out once in a while with kit offerings.
    While we're waiting for the olive green, dark green bricks should be an acceptable substitute for now. The "Flying Wing" from Indiana Jones looks pretty good in dark green...


  • I still don't think the correct outlet for educating children on history is Lego.


    I agree with this. I can just see the encounters:
    Mother "No, no honey, you don't want the Nazis to win, that isn't good"
    Kid "But the Allied guys won last time!"
    Now a history lesson has to take place, so the kid won't run off to school the next day and tell everyone about how the Nazis blasted away the Americans and it was so cool.

    Let's keep play sets planted in fantasy. I think venturing into real wars is not a good idea. I understand the Indiana Jones sets are an example of a deviance from this policy and though they can be identified as fantasy.. but I'd rather those sets be the deviance from rather than the reason to completely ignore the policy/rule. However, having model tanks, carriers, and other vehicles isn't a bad idea, but no people/minifigs.

    There really are enough other toys, as pointed out earlier, for kids/parents that want to just have war toys.
    The point isn't to rely on other toys to fill the "war" role. The point is for Lego to start making war kits! The kits I would like to see created would be much bigger and better than minifigure scale in any event. It wouldn't be about "play sets" and acting out "war fantasies" and such. It would be about making a large, stand alone military vehicle let's say. That vehicle could be a tank, plane, ship, or whatever else. I don't think this is a big deal and I think kits of this type would sell by the zillions.

    As an AFOL, I have no interest in minifigures generally, or "play sets" with lots of little bits and pieces in any event. I like the large, complex kits that create a single "thing" in a detailed, large scale, to be displayed as sculpture effectively. Lots of Lego kits go in that direction now, while others do not.

  • @ringleheim

    Though I did not clearly state it, I was trying to say Lego shouldn't be like everything else. It should be unique.

    Does lego have any theme that only exists on a non-minifig scale? I really don't know, but it seems unlikely to start down that path with a product theme they have been, at least up until now, unwilling to fully commit to.

    Also, the sets/themes they have now sell by the zillions, so why rock the boat and risk possible media attention?

    I'd probably be interested in buying some of the larger, non-minifig sets you speak of... I just don't think we'll see such a theme as long as other extremely popular (profitable) themes exist.
  • ^Which Italian MOC's do you have, out of interest?
    I've had a go at many of the buildings along the Grand Canal in Venice (mainly their facades only) and the Fenice, I've done full churches from a number of cities, I started trying to do the Duomo in Florence, but failed. Same thing with the Pantheon in Rome. I just couldn't get them right. I've done a half Colosseum but ran out of tan bricks. I particularly enjoy doing ruins - along the lines of Paestum and Pompeii. One of my favourites for realism is the Duomo in Prato. There is a lot of detail which was quite easy to recreate with small plates. I'd love to have a go at the Milan Duomo, but I know it would be the end of me. I also enjoyed doing Volta's tomb in Como, probably partly as I am a physicist.
  • @CCC

    I've visited neither Como nor Prato, but I had a feeling you going to mention the buildings in Venice or the Florentine Duomo. The Duomo would've been quite an achievement, it's a wonderful building. It's one of the few places I've seen in my lifetime that was actually breathtaking. The Pantheon too, would've been an excellent choice. The Colosseum should only be half-completed! I think a full one would be boring, and that the ruins would be much more fun :)

    I've always thought the Rialto, although plain, would've been an excellent Lego scale model. Especially with a little gondola floating underneath (although I'm not sure whether they actually go under the Rialto). St Mark's Cathedral in the main Square would also be a great MOC to have a go at; and perhaps the Basilica in the Vatican with a minifig Pope delivering his mass out of the window? Even the large circle in the middle of the Vatican would be good to have a go at, with all the columns around it.

    I didn't go inside the Milan Duomo, but anyone who would manage to build it would deserve a medal. It would be such a fun challenge.

    Sadly I'm a poor student so I would never be able to try these myself. But please, if you ever manage any of them I'd love to see them!
  • I did a Rialto a few years ago. It looked OK, but too "clean". In reality the area is very busy with lots of market stalls around it and on it, which should really be included for realism. There are also a couple of different scale examples of this in the DK "Lego Ideas Book".
  • edited March 2012
    I think that its not that lego dont want to make non violent toys but rather that its about sensitivity and distance away from a conflict. The Barons plane and the camel as well as the castle, roman and vking sets are way out of living memory. Where as building a Tiger Tank or Spitfire will still have conitations for people now still alive. Perhaps in, say 50 years, you might start to see them appear because those who were alive and went through it at the time will be dead and the living memory would have faded away.

    I do think they will sell well as WWI and WWII clog up the history curciculim as if there was no history before 1914. So kids will want to buy what they are learning about. And of course adult fans will love it for the build. Though id feel uncomftable with a swasticker on the side of my lego.

    Although if they did do sets to be realistic the american sets would have to turn up three years after the series started. :-D
  • ^Ouch...of course, once the sets were available we'd buy all yours too! :-p

    Anyway, regarding the national symbol on the Tiger tanks, they'd probably use an "iron cross" printed part/sitcker like they used for the Indiana Jones fighter plane set. Otherwise I wouldn't use it, either.
  • I really don't see WWII as some type of controversial topic, even for children's toys, in the year 2012. Does anyone here play video games? Your kids do! Some of the most successful franchises focus exclusively on WWII and/or modern combat, and probably 95% of all really successful games feature violence.

    I mean, how far do you want to take this? Didn't Lego have a viking theme? And they're Danish! I don't think anyone backlashed at those kits (viking ship) thinking "oh no, this will only fortify the world's notion that Scandinavia is the home of Viking barbarian raiders and rapists." I realize time heals all wounds and vikings haven't been around for a while, but WWII is pretty much ancient history to any kid these days anyway. I'm American, and I would bet half the USA could not tell you the dates of when the war started and when it ended. Some would probably put it in the 19th century.

    We are not talking about some highly distasteful, WWII themed "play set" that crosses the line of acceptability. I can see it now: LEGO 80345 "Liberation of Buchenwald" complete with an accurate cermatorium. THAT would get media attention as people would largely be outraged at something like that as a toy set.

    Come on. A huge scale Spitfire (flown by the "good guys" in the War from pretty much anyone's perspective anyway, including the Germans these days) would just be a really cool kit that would sell by the boatload, and I don't think it would catch a whiff of controversy or negative media attention. Ditto a battleship.

    One person in this thread mentioned he likes to build scale models, as I do. If you eliminated WWII from the model kit industry, there would virtually be no industry left. WWII is an extremely popular theme in other areas. And among modellers, anything German and WWII is enormously popular, around the world. I don't see a model kit an 8 year old could make of a Tiger tank as any different than a Lego kit of a Tiger tank. In either medium, you have the same outcome. A kid playing with and exploring a cool vehicle that is a part of the world's history. That's it.

    CCC: I like your style with those Italian buildings you have built. I am on the brink of trying to do an ancient Roman MOC myself. I am thinking an aqueduct could be great, or a temple. Some have made triumphal arches and those are great too. And your list of buildings has me wanting to get back to Italy, quite soon!

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