KisKatona

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Should LEGO make a Military Theme?

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So, being a Call of Duty fan and a military builder, I started wondering what a LEGO Military theme would be like. IMO, if they make one, it should just be one-sided sets, like a Humvee and a squad of soldiers, or a helicopter with its crew. Personally, I'd leave the enemy building to kids, but at least have tanks, trucks and helicopters. Now, TLG has already made helmets (7595), vests (4439 or 8971) and various guns like the Tommy guns and pistols for Batman/Indiana Jones, and other themes. Face it: they've made guns, and pretty detailed ones at that, they've put them in themes based on movies including violence/death like SW, Batman, and Indiana Jones, and the Agents' theme has pistols. If parents allow kids to buy sets like these, why not make a theme like this? Plus, they have the age range on sets saying that this set was made to be built by kids or teens or adults. Other LEGO knock-off themes have done it, and LEGO kind of has started to do so. So what do you think? Should LEGO make a Military theme or not? I say yes.

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So, being a Call of Duty fan and a military builder, I started wondering what a LEGO Military theme would be like. IMO, if they make one, it should just be one-sided sets, like a Humvee and a squad of soldiers, or a helicopter with its crew. Personally, I'd leave the enemy building to kids, but at least have tanks, trucks and helicopters. Now, TLG has already made helmets (7595), vests (4439 or 8971) and various guns like the Tommy guns and pistols for Batman/Indiana Jones, and other themes. Face it: they've made guns, and pretty detailed ones at that, they've put them in themes based on movies including violence/death like SW, Batman, and Indiana Jones, and the Agents' theme has pistols. If parents allow kids to buy sets like these, why not make a theme like this? Plus, they have the age range on sets saying that this set was made to be built by kids or teens or adults. Other LEGO knock-off themes have done it, and LEGO kind of has started to do so. So what do you think? Should LEGO make a Military theme or not? I say yes.

Well, in part because real-life military conflicts are more controversial than fictional ones. I don't expect TLG to make a military theme. I wouldn't be too opposed to one if it were done and done well, but I can't picture being interested in the sets either. I much prefer fantasy/sci-fi inspired military-like designs such as those in Alien Conquest and Dino Attack, and I'm not even all that interested in those.

At the same time, it would be interesting to see how official military sets would be handled. Military vehicle MOCs often use a lot of advanced building techniques, precisely-sculpted shapes, and realistic technical details. An official set of a realistic tank would be much different so I'm curious how it would be handled with a realistic budget and age range.

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Simply Lego don't do 20th/21th Century military stuff, except for the bi-planes/tri-planes and Indiana Jones sets but that was a license deal.....even the vehicles in part were fictional or sci-fi based. :wink:

I guess when your country is right next to a country to caused great harm even a long time ago then perhaps Lego would have seen it as glorification of war which is not really child's play now is it ? :sadnew:

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LEGO is not going to make a military theme. Not much else needs to be said. It'd be awesome for us AFOLs, but it's not going to happen. LT's got it right, we won't ever see dedicated military system.

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It's known some people within TLG itself were somewhat averse to the military hardware and somewhat raw physical conflict of the Indiana Jones theme, and I half-suspect the series' connections to real-world, historical military conflict may have contributed to TLG abandoning the theme as early as it did. I love the theme (and the franchise on which it's based), myself, but though I'd be interested in more Indy sets, including ones depicting straight-up military engagements from WWI (if they were to do sets based on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which I know would be a miracle), I personally wouldn't really be interested in non-Indy related military sets. To be honest, I don't think it really brings out the best even in MOC design - most real-world, 20th/21st century military-themed MOCs I see (particularly the more contemporary ones) just don't strike me as nearly as interesting or engaging as most other creations. I just don't find them appealing; they tend to lack charm, which I think is fairly essential to so many LEGO models, whether TLG's own official sets, or fan creations.

Moreover, TLG itself seems quite reluctant to go this way. As noted, they do include a certain amount of conflict in some themes, particularly the ones licensed from (generally American) TV, movie and comics franchises, but that's more a concession to the realities of the toy market of today than something ingrained in the company, and even with licensed themes they're choosy about how far to go; I think Indiana Jones is the closest we're going to get to contemporary, realistic warfare-based sets, and that theme happened not because of that element but in spite of it - the focus is more on the adventure aspect that's essential to the character and franchise.

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True, true. But I meant simply little sets of of tanks and helicopters with a squad of troops on one side, not five guys shooting at each other. Basically like the Green Army Men Toy Story pack, just a Jeep and four army guys.

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I have a friend who work for LEGO, and this comes up every year. And while every year a "theme" gets shut down, they are getting closer and closer to to making just what your looking for KisKatanna. Small sets that are vehicle based only. There also been talk about USC type sets. Hummvee's, Aircraft, Large trucks, all have been in the talks for some time since its not really a theme, just a model of a military vehicle. At this point the aurgument of Lego doesn't do violence is out the window and anyone who tries to use this aurgument as defense to why LEGO hasen't, or won't do a military theme is ignorant to TLC's current and past theme's sets. It doesn't matter that they were licenced or not. No ones putting a gun to TLC's head (sorry, no pun intended there) for them to make these sets. They know what there about before hand. If that's truely there policy, then they wouldn't have been done in the first place. The signs are all around us. Frankly its just a matter of time fore this happens. Especially with compeditor brands currently making full blown military themes (in most compeditor brands, there military themes are their best selling sets).

Edited by 5150 Lego

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No.

And none of your governments should have armies by the way. :tongue:

Edited by johnnyvgoode

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It will likely not happen unless there is a big change in TLG leadership. Like TLG gets bought or something.

The best they try is to include some military vehicles in futuristic or antiquate settings but they will likely never make a down right military theme.

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single-faction sets, much less themes, don't seem to be TLG's MO anymore. In this respect, I could actually imagine these sets being done in the 80s and 90s rather than now. So I'd say one of the big questions to consider before making this theme would be: who would the soldiers fight? I can't really imagine TLG making a tank and captioning it only with "Defend the borders of LEGO City with this all new battle tank! Turret really turns!" I expect that nowadays, TLG would give us some backstory.

I think our best hope for now are useful and MOD-able parts from the city theme, like the twin-rotor helicopter and tan hats from the forest police theme. I could imagine TLG doing an air show set and sneaking in a realistic fighter jet, for example. Though as time goes on and memories of WW2 fade, TLG might soften its stance?

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I had the pleasure of having dinner with two LEGO designers a few months ago. They attended a show at which I displayed a collection of military models.

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My display at GWLS 2011 (3) by Mad physicist, on Flickr

Military models were obviously a topic of conversation and they both were pretty clear about LEGO never going to produce a real-world military theme. It's not going to happen. It's simply against the company founder's principles. Full stop.

LEGO acknowledge that an element of conflict often plays a role in particularly boys' play, and that element is included in many of their themes, but it is fantasy violence such as humans against mutated lizards.

I agree with Blondie-Wan, by the way, that many military models lack charm. I think military hardware is fascinating and I enjoy the challenge of building them. I also think that there are people out there who build absolutely stunning MOCs with a military theme, but ultimately they are war machines and charm is not a requirement. I personally don't think that makes them less interesting, but many LEGO sets do have a certain charm that would most likely be lacking from a theme of military sets.

Finally, I don't think it's particularly important whether LEGO make a military theme or not. In the sets that they do produce there are plenty of parts that are very useful for building your own military stuff and plenty of accessories for military minifigs too. It's the ultimate custom toy!

Cheers,

Ralph

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I hope I'm not alone in thinking that it's actually quite nice that Lego doesn't make military themed models. Yes, they do have the 'conflicts' - Cops n' Robbers, Alien Conquest, Pirates etc, but all of these (except, perhaps, for the Police themes) are fantasy based. War is quite real, and quite un-fun, and it's a very mature topic overall. Yes, we all used to run around with sticks and shoot each other in the playground, but you didn't need a toy to make those stories up for you. And for all too many children in the world, war is a terribly real thing, either having had to deal with it themselves or lost family members in such events.

There are some amazingly detailed war-related MOCs around, and 3rd party suppliers providing the guns etc so there's no barrier for adults getting in and making their own war scenes if they like, but I'd always vote to keep the military out of Lego...

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I feel like we have had this debate, over, and over, and over again, ad nauseum. TLG has said they do not want to produce a military theme, and while they have gotten close, it would be too big of a step to go all the way. The second point would be, on the extreme off chance, what military and what war would they produce? I'm sorry, but I think a battle pack of WWII Germans is taking things waaaay too far.

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ye all makes sense, too bad an army of military figs and vehicles would be dope, but these days if you are keen enough you can custom something pretty close anyways

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Well, seeing the popular Alien Conquest and Pharoah themes, what if TLG made military themed sets kind of like World Racers, with one group acting as a sort of 'Army' of LEGO City and another attacking it? Have a sort of Navy, Air Force and Army for each side. I'm just saying that I'd think it'd another part of the city. Being a kid living in a city with a military base, I just think that it'dbe a cool addition. I don't know about everyone else, but playing with Green Army Men when I was little was kinda fun with the good guys and bads guys. If this were to happen, I'd makeit like the LEGO Army guys are tan, and the attackers are green and/or grey. Arm them with scoped M4 looking rifles, and put them in tanks. If they were going to make a base, put a UAV (Spy drone)thingy and a controller, some bunks, an armory and an office. Maybe put a trench outside. Add somefun things, like an AA gun with flick-fire, and give the UAV some too. Maybe make the UAV be able to break like it got shot down. I'm just trying to say that it shouldn't be too realistic, just a LEGO-ish thing, y'know? I just think that it would be a fun little addition to the City, apart from the Police, Fire and Farm that they've been doing for a while. Just to mix it up. I will try to have up a sketch of the figs ASAP toshow you guys. I'm just gonna base it on modern-ish armies, but I don't want them lokking too much like a real part (Maybe the City good guys will look like a US soldier).

Katona

Edited by KisKatona

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This is a topic that has come up at various times, as HuntleyFX mentioned (and in different forums).

LEGO obviously struggles with this. On one hand conflict and violence sells, in particular to boys, but on the other hand it goes against the company ethos and they want to avoid any kind of bad publicity. I've got a model of a He-219, a German WW-II night fighter. At the show at which I displayed it, which has permission to use LEGO in its name, I had to remove the Swastikas on the tailfins. LEGO does not want to be associated with anything nasty from the recent future and I completely understand this.

Having the good guys look like US soldiers will not go down well in many parts of the world. There are definitely regional difference in what is considered acceptable. I mentioned the humans vs mutated lizards in my previous post. The US (and probably a few other countries) got Dino Attack, which is probably the closest thing to contemporary military LEGO has done, bristling with guns. The adversaries, however, weren't human. It was deemed too violent by focus groups in Europe and instead of Dino Attack, Europe got Dino 2010 with the guns replaced by grappling hooks, nets and cages.

Cheers,

Ralph

Edited by Ralph_S

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I don't see this happening ever, that Lego would produce a modern military line (and Im not sad about it either) We as AFOLs have the colours and parts to produce what we want. There is already to much violence in this world as it is with plenty of war inspired toys.

Lego should not fall to the low levels of clone china brands an produce pure military set's.

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I don't think a realistic military theme would be a good idea. Lego has good reasons to avoid portraying real-world conflict, particularly its position as a globally-operating company (meaning it serves many markets where real war is a delicate topic). I would, however, be okay with more "pseudo-military" themes like Dino Attack (militaristic tanks and choppers and such versus giant monsters) or Pharaoh's Quest (historical militaristic vehicles like biplanes and halftracks in a non-war setting).

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Yes, yes they should. They could probably double their revenue with a big military theme.

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Yes, yes they should. They could probably double their revenue with a big military theme.

But in the meantime, they'd be hurting their brand's reputation in several markets, particularly those with recent or ongoing military conflicts. Even a historical military theme could cause controversy — for instance, anything featuring Nazi iconography would be impossible to sell in Germany, one of the LEGO Group's largest markets, and would be an inherently controversial product in MOST Western countries. War in general is an incredibly divisive subject, and with good reason. Even people who approve wholeheartedly of their nation's military engagements are not always fond of toy and media companies using those conflicts to turn a profit.

Beyond that, to be quite honest, kids and parents alike aren't as INTO realistic war toys as they used to be. Toy soldiers and "army men" are still around mostly as novelties, but the really trendy toys these days tend to focus on larger-than-life fantasy and sci-fi conflicts, much like a lot of major LEGO themes like Ninjago and

Obviously there are a lot of AFOLs as well as potential AFOLs who might take an interest in a military theme. But the AFOL community as a whole is a minuscule segment of the LEGO Group's market, and I don't think a military theme would do a whole lot to change that. LEGO is, by definition, a toy, and as such kids are the market segment where it stands to generate the most profit. I think the idea that ANY new theme would be enough to double the LEGO Group's revenue is balderdash, even more so if it's a new theme that's inherently controversial.

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TLG will not, I suspect, ever do this. One could argue that they could create a U.S. Exclusive line and it would do well - we're probably the only country that wouldn't bat an eye at the historical, political, or moral implications of a toy-line such as this - but I don't even think there's a need. They give us the pieces to make it, if we so choose. They feel the pressure of the third-parties' military lines and accessories (See the 2014 Movie Police Flak Jackets) but they won't get thrown into the mix themselves and make themselves the targets for any controversy.

Cartoon Armies/Factions etc - they will do this - and builders will continue to do what they do. I mean - Star Wars is arguably just a repainting of many images directly taken from historical Wars (Dogfights of WWII, Helicopter Cavalry Landings of Korea and Vietnam) - so the cultural value of war is already being sold. But the layer of remove provided by the Cartoon Fiction is still an important one. The Repurposed military look for Dino Attack still saw these weapons not turned against humans or homes or farms.

I support their difficult and ongoing decision to never do a true "military theme." I lived a year in Afghanistan as a combat medic...and while I would really enjoy building a model of the MRAP that was my home away from home, I am glad that when I go to the store, I don't see LEGO selling sets for children that focus on real wars.

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