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AFOLCON reports

edited May 2012 in Community and Events
If you're at AFOLCON, use this discussion to keep those that aren't informed of what's happening.


  • Thanks Huw; looking forward to hearing about what I'm missing :-)
  • First session with Mark Stafford talking about Ninjago about to get underway...
  • Excellent idea, Huw.
    Really looking forward to hearing what's going on up there in Manchester.
    Hope to be there myself next year :-)
  • Mark Stafford explaining to his audience about the process he goes through to produce his Ninjago designs and his relationship with the cartoon designers.
    3264 x 2448 - 2M
  • Thanks for the photo!
  • Yeah - keep 'em coming in!!!
  • it feels like we are there. Thanks everybody for updates!
  • Cheers for the pics @flump6523 I can see some of the usual suspects (DrDW and LIT) there. Have fun all. I'm sure Warren will give you a great long weekend.
  • Guessing that Ninjago snake train behind him is a future set?
  • Just a prototype and not for release....unfortunately!
    3264 x 2448 - 3M
  • Crazy! Ask him if TLG are planning a Ninjago Monorail :P lol.
  • It uses snakes for fuel :0)
  • One of the most entertaining talks I have had the pleasure of sitting in. "From Postie to Brickie". Alex Bidolak tells how from delivering letters for Royal Mail he became a Master Lego Builder for LEGOland Discovery.
    3264 x 2448 - 2M
  • HuwHuw
    edited May 2012
    Yes, Alex is quite a character and seems ideal for the job.

    We're now tucking into roast pork for lunch. Next session is the keynote form Mads Nipper at 2pm...
  • Alex was awesome!! Brilliant.
  • ^^ Wow - you get a decent lunch too! I really am missing out :-)
  • @LostInTranslation .... Glad you are having an ace time....
  • Did they talk at all about the Ninjago theme after the snakes?
  • Amazing talk from Mads. Complete honesty about how the company screwed up in the 2000s and survived.
  • I enjoy seeing pics of the Ninjago train. When my son and I watched that episode with the train, I thought, "How great would it be to have them make a LEGO set of this?"

    Instead they appear to have made a LEGO set of that atrocious junkyard assault vehicle.
  • We've had a couple of excellent sessions this afternoon. First off, Mads explained why the company declined in the early 2000s and how they recovered (by going back to their core products). He was an excellent speaker and his talk was worth the entrance fee alone.

    Then Bjarke Schonwandt spoke about quality and that was also very good. A couple of interesting points that came out:

    - I think it was 80% of all calls to customer services related to missing parts, but they estimate the only 20% of those were due to actual packaging problems. The rest were due to parts being lost in the carpet or whatever

    - Bizarrely, minifigs are 'missing' in licenced themes far more often than in, say, City, despite them all being packaged on the same production line. I wonder why that is :-)

    - The difference in quality of some Chinese manufactured parts is because it is not possible to import the same raw materials used at other plants, so it has to be sourced locally.

    - When someone rings customer services to replace a missing part, the call itself accounts for something like 75% of the cost of dealing with the complaint, so that is one reason why they send out a replacement part out f.o.c. regardless of whether it's actually missing or not.

    - But, they do keep records to prevent persistent 'offenders' taking advangtage.

    I'm sure other attendees will be able to add to this list...
  • LostInTranslation and Savage_Steel comparing bags of bricks...
    2592 x 1944 - 2M
  • Just to add to Huw's summary of the day, we did briefly discuss the Fire Brigade 'missing bag' issue.

    The issue only affected batch number 39R1 and only for a very short period. What was responsible? The omittance of the 'inner' bag was down it not being added manually during the packing process. He did go on to accept that there scales ought to have picked up the faulty boxes and when tested the scales were working. How they slipped through is a mystery.
  • @Huw and @flump6523:
    Thanks for providing us non-attendees with photos and a quick summary of the days events.
    More of the same tomorrow, pleeeease :-)
  • And to add to flump's comment, they then realised the same error happened in a couple of other sets i.e. not just Fire Brigade
  • ^ Which ones?
  • Didn't say......or wouldn't!
  • @caperberry: Sorry forgot to thank you too :-)
  • sounds awesome can't wait till Saturday.
  • edited May 2012
    AFOLcon has been great so far.. it's been fantastic to meet up with so many bricksetters, and as I expected every single person I've met so far is as mad as a box of frogs.

    Some interesting points from the talks ...

    Bjarke of "Customer percieved quality" saying that he has talked to Wal-mart about the way they put returns back on the shelves - they are not supposed to do this, and is considering packaging which makes it more obvious if it's been opened already. Also that the trend away from baseplates is partly a quality issue as the studs next to the corner studs on the 48x48 plates lack clutch, also that the flex makes it hard to move models around.

    Mads saying that even if Friends didn't succeed, Lego would keep trying over and over to get the right product for girls - they'll never give up. Also hinting that a new TV tie-in is in the works for 11-ish year olds.

    Alex of Legoland Discovery centre admitting that they often make the models by building over a metal frame. Also telling the story of how he went on Britain's got Talent and building a red arrow jet in front of the Hoff! ...
  • ^ a tie in for girls/friends or more generally just another lego tie in?
  • Thanks for all the updates, keep them coming!

    No surprise at all on the 'missing' licensed figures issue. I have said this for a long time that I reckon a lot of alleged missing parts are people trying it on. It's so annoying some of these human traits that rise to the surface!
  • So many questions answered. And so many new ones raised. Thank you. Good to know!
  • Great first day at afolcon. Met loads of great people, fab talks (esp Alex and mads) and got my brickset brick. Cheers hew. Roll on may the 4th - hope they've got lots of r2s
  • Flump's a man! biggest shock to me that was lol! Sorry Flumpy
  • ^ must be because he's always on about how much he loves Friends!
  • ^ a tie in for girls/friends or more generally just another lego tie in?
    a general lego tie in, not necessary friends
  • ^why did you think otherwise! Lol. Sounds like a great insight into the company and 'behind the scenes'. The attendee lego bundles look great!
  • Maybe he thought he was an actual flump?
  • Ahh now I see
  • AFOLcon has been great so far.. it's been fantastic to meet up with so many bricksetters, and as I expected every single person I've met so far is as mad as a box of frogs.
    Thanks Si. Nice to meet you too ;-)

    Some personal favourite bits of today:
    -Seeing the evolution of the Ninjago samurai mecha, and the snake train.
    -All of Alex's talk, and his excellent photos
    -Building crazy animals with savage_steel out of my kilo of bricks
    -All of Mads' talk
    -Getting to build some of the summer Friends sets for display over the weekend and chatting to Adam Vaughn as we built
    -And in so doing also point our an instance of colour variation between two elements to Bjarke - I said something useful!!!
    -Doing a dance mat challenge vs DrDave in the arcade
    -Generally hanging out and chatting to people!!

    Roll on tmrw!
  • Much of LITs highlights were the same as mine. Including her dance off. Great day.
    My fave titbit, that they put up a list of the 10 most expensive bricklink elements at Lego and try and get designers to include them in sets :)
    Looking forward to tomorrow. Hope peeps bring their kilo's back, I love seeing what everyone's got!
  • Tucked up in bed. Had a great first day. Really enjoyed the talks but meeting people makes these events for me so everyone I've had some crack with today thankyou and goodnight!
  • edited May 2012
    Flump's a man! biggest shock to me that was lol! Sorry Flumpy
    I'm really sorry to have brought such disappointment to Manchester this weekend Pete. But really, I can be anything you want me to be....honey. xx

    The day's been a gooden. Was made even better by Doc and Lost's dance off!!

    [EDIT - horror video torched by Dr. D. to protect those of a sensitive disposition !]

  • My fave titbit, that they put up a list of the 10 most expensive bricklink elements at Lego and try and get designers to include them in sets :)
    Uh-oh, looks like I better start selling of my hoard stashes of light bluish gray doors, dark blue 1x8x2 arches, white flexible hoses, and LBG boat masts. :P
  • The Ninjago Train looks fantastic. Too bad it is only just a prototype, crossing my fingers for an actual release.
  • -Doing a dance mat challenge vs DrDave in the arcade
    Please tell me that someone had a camera handy...

  • Well I think I can summarise yesterday with a single! Last year I only visited the LEGO Show but the AFOLCON experience gives so much more. It's been great to meet some of the more well-known names from Brickset and other sites, and also gain some fascinating insights from TLG designers and execs. Looking forward to more today.
  • ^^ My video footage has not yet been deleted.....
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