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Quality competitor to Lego...


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#1 David Thomsen

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:23 AM

I was thinking about my loyalty to the Lego brand just now, and it occured to me that the main reason I never purchase the product of any competing brand is that none of them are really any good. It's not that I'm a fanatical Lego devotee, but I'd rather not buy anything made of low quality plastic or poor design.

I'm quite sure that if someone were to produce an alternative to Lego that was made of high quality plastic, had consistent colour mixing and was targetted more at the adult collector and model-maker than at children, I wouldn't hesitate to start collecting that range as well.

What about you? If such a brand existed, would you stick with Lego, purchase from both brands or switch competely?

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:32 AM

I'd buy the other brand as well and ditch LEGO if I felt it was inferior; I'm horribly fickle! Even when I vote I have no set party, and I used to always buy Intel chips, but when all they sold was P4s I switched to AMD.

But sad to say there is no competitor. M$g! Bl*ks target kids, their pieces look like mis-moulds, and their figs make me want to puke. They aren't much cheaper either. So for now TLG has me by the short and curlies...





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#3 Svelte

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:40 AM

I don't think I would, for a few reasons:

1) The new brand wouldn't hold the 'nostalgia' factor that using LEGO for all these years has imbued my collection with
2) I've spent a huge amount of cashola building up a LEGO collection; it wouldn't make sense to switch horses for me in mid-stream. I have problems enough storing 1 collection; I wouldn't want to start on another!
3) As I evolve as an AFOL (becoming more parts focussed and interested in MOCin' rather than just building official models) my buying habits have switched to reflect this, so I spend more $$ buying parts in interesting colours than I probably do on official sets (although there's some good official stuff coming out like PoP and Harry Potter). I'm more interested in LEGO's darker shades anyway so whilst I do find colour inconsistencies depressing they seem to occur more with white and the primary colours nowadays which doesn't affect me so much as a builder (although as a retail consumer I hate it!).
4) LEGO already has the best 'AFOL-targeted' designer who does official sets anyway - one J. Berard :tongue: - so the sets would have to be pretty top-notch to impress me :wink:
5) One of the things most AFOLs seem to prize highly is minifigs, and I don't know if any competitor could come up with an alternative to the fig that would be as popular or as diverse as what LEGO currently offers.

#4 BearHeart

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:41 AM

If a new brand came out with higher quality plastic, a large variety of pieces and aimed at an older crowd I'd switch over in a heartbeat.

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:53 AM

View PostSvelte, on Feb 26 2010, 11:40 AM, said:

5) One of the things most AFOLs seem to prize highly is minifigs, and I don't know if any competitor could come up with an alternative to the fig that would be as popular or as diverse as what LEGO currently offers.
Actually that's a fair point. While TLG have failed to prove the stud is their property, it's clear that the Minifig is. I wouldn't buy another brand if it meant going for a fig replacement.

View PostSvelte, on Feb 26 2010, 11:40 AM, said:

4) LEGO already has the best 'AFOL-targeted' designer who does official sets anyway - one J. Berard :tongue: - so the sets would have to be pretty top-notch to impress me :wink:
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#6 Darth Legolas

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:57 AM

1. Lego has Star Wars
2. Lego is a record breaking toy, note the world-famous Mindstorms and very advanced Power Functions
3. Lego will always be the name people remember, especially when talking about any studded brick set, considering all of the others are rip-offs.

No. :tongue:

EDIT: For some addition, I really don't care about slight quality issues. Only major misprints.

Edited by Darth Legolas, 26 February 2010 - 01:58 AM.

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#7 BearHeart

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:58 AM

View PostSiegfried, on Feb 25 2010, 08:53 PM, said:

Actually that's a fair point. While TLG have failed to prove the stud is their property, it's clear that the Minifig is. I wouldn't buy another brand if it meant going for a fig replacement.
I answered assuming that this new competitor would include some kind of high quality mini-figs of their own. If it didn't, then I'd stick with LEGO.

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:04 AM

View PostBearHeart, on Feb 26 2010, 11:58 AM, said:

I answered assuming that this new competitor would include some kind of high quality mini-figs of their own. If it didn't, then I'd stick with LEGO.
Yeah, so was I!  :tongue: But legally they can't so this will never happen.

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#9 BearHeart

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:07 AM

View PostSiegfried, on Feb 25 2010, 09:04 PM, said:

Yeah, so was I!  :tongue: But legally they can't so this will never happen.

Svelte is so smart.  :wub:

I don't necessarily mean a minifig exactly like LEGO's, just something up to par or better. Would it be illegal for someone to make a figure that's made up of three parts (legs, torso and head) that can be interchanged?

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:20 AM

View PostBearHeart, on Feb 26 2010, 12:07 PM, said:

Would it be illegal for someone to make a figure that's made up of three parts (legs, torso and head) that can be interchanged?
Well I personally would be against it if they couldn't be used with my existing collection. But assuming you would be cool with that, from a non-lawyer point of view, I'd say they'd be semi safe providing they we're compatible with LEGO minifigs.

It would depend a lot on the country of origin; if it came from the USA I think the legal system would protect the newbies, but I think they'd lose if they were European. (We all know the answer about China.  :wink: )





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#11 BearHeart

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:23 AM

View PostSiegfried, on Feb 25 2010, 09:20 PM, said:

(We all know the answer about China.  :wink: )

Well if we're looking for a 'high quality' replacement, then China is pretty much a non-issue.

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:37 AM

View PostBearHeart, on Feb 26 2010, 12:23 PM, said:

Well if we're looking for a 'high quality' replacement, then China is pretty much a non-issue.
Sorry to argue, but I don't agree. Many products that are seen as being of good quality are made in China, such as iPods, so China can do quality if they try. The fact is that China for some reason don't try hard to compete with LEGO outside of Asia.





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#13 BearHeart

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:45 AM

View PostSiegfried, on Feb 25 2010, 09:37 PM, said:

Sorry to argue, but I don't agree. Many products that are seen as being of good quality are made in China, such as iPods, so China can do quality if they try. The fact is that China for some reason don't try hard to compete with LEGO outside of Asia.
True, but iPods are just manufactured in China (as are a lot of other products designed by western companies). I meant if the product was developed and designed there, I wouldn't count on it being high quality.

#14 Palms

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:58 AM

First off I would like to say that I would never switch from LEGO, It is just so nostalgic and uh...LEGO like :tongue: .

Second I think that there would never be a brand that would have as much quality or followers as lego does LEGO.

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Edited by Palms, 26 February 2010 - 02:59 AM.

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#15 RileyC

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:14 AM

I wouldnt ever. There is a history that goes back 50 years and it all started with just one little brick. No other brand would be able to get Star Wars licensed either which is how I got into Lego in the first place. One attraction is also the minifigs. I think another brand would be hard pressed to come up with a better minifig design. But I just dont see that happening. Also whenever you talk to people about any product that resembles Lego they will always use the term "Lego" for it even though its not the case.

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#16 prateek

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:26 AM

View PostDarth Legolas, on Feb 25 2010, 07:57 PM, said:

EDIT: For some addition, I really don't care about slight quality issues. Only major misprints.
I don't care for colour issues, but it really pisses me off when the pieces crack or don't have strong grip. :angry: I'm sure this topic will start a huge riot now. :tongue:

#17 Svelte

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:32 AM

View Postprateek, on Feb 26 2010, 01:26 PM, said:

I don't care for colour issues, but it really pisses me off when the pieces crack or don't have strong grip. :angry: I'm sure this topic will start a huge riot now. :tongue:

There's a whole topic for general quality discussions; let's limit this thread to the original poster's intention, thanks.

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:45 AM

View PostBearHeart, on Feb 26 2010, 12:45 PM, said:

I meant if the product was developed and designed there, I wouldn't count on it being high quality.
Either would I, but it's a fact that China can do good stuff. It's also a fact that if not watched close enough quality can drop; for example the lead paint in Thomas the Tank Engine toys a few years back.

View PostRoncanator, on Feb 26 2010, 02:14 PM, said:

There is a history that goes back 50 years and it all started with just one little brick.
True, but it's not like they invented that one little brick.

View PostSvelte, on Feb 26 2010, 02:32 PM, said:

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#19 Thee Pirate

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:48 AM

I would never switch, for multiple reasons. Most of these have already been named, maybe my views vary a little so here it goes.

Nostalgia - I got my first Lego set when I was 5. Now I'm 25. That's 20 years of Lego. A new company will never compare to that. There's no way they can top that. Hell, I had old school KNex, but those never caught on to the same level of Lego in my case.

Cost - I have a ton of money invested in Lego. A new company would mean starting off with their stuff from scratch, and not spending anything on Lego. Quite frankly, that's not advantageous to me.

Space - I don't have the space to maintain a Lego collection, collector cars, rare/expensive liquor/beer, and a collection of anything else. There's just no space for it. Cars take up the most space  :tongue:

Time - Maintaining the previously named collections takes a lot of time, restoring cars, sorting Lego, and shopping around for that Belgian beer takes a lot of time. I don't have the time to devote to another hobby.
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#20 CP5670

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:58 AM

I've brought up this possibility several times around here before, and yes, I would buy anything that beats Lego in quality. I would certainly continue to buy Lego, as they have things like minifigs and Technic that the clones do not offer, but I would no longer remain exclusive to it. I think it is conceivable today than Lego's quality may be surpassed, whereas 7 or 8 years ago it would have been unthinkable. The reviews in the Community section have shown that certain clone brands have already outdone Lego in some specific respects, such as quantity of printed parts and even things like box designs. It may not be that long before some clone decides to step up their efforts and goes beyond Lego in every way.

Some people talk of wanting to maintain a pure Lego collection that is not "contaminated" by clones, and I once had the same thoughts about it, but today I would say it's much more worthwhile to maintain, say, a pure 80s and 90s Lego collection. As I said in this thread, "pure Lego" simply doesn't mean what it used to anymore.

I will also say that one reason the quality is relevant here is the high price of Lego. Lego is consistently priced much higher than any of the clones I know of, and in the past they could (rightly) justify it because of the unparalleled quality. Now that this is no longer the case, they need to bring down the prices to compensate.

#21 vexorian

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 05:11 AM

Definitely , yes. I consider minifigs part of 'quality' so if minifigs are lame like megabullocks' then I'd probably not consider it a quality competitor. But really, If somehow a competitor decides to compete on quality or LEGO's quality keeps dropping as bad as it has been thanks to Chinese outsourcing and also the color issues, then I'll definitely jump the ship. As a guy that focuses more on the actual building and durability of the toy than on nostalgic/historic value, It would be almost my responsibility to move, someone has to do it, else LEGO would not wake up and recover its quality standards (and people that buy LEGO for nostalgy's sake will have to keep buying low quality stuff)

Edit: I actually wish a company would dare competing with LEGO on quality and start shipping quality like what we had on the 90s. Not because I want to leave LEGO for that company but because I want LEGO to improve. I can't picture any other way for LEGO to actually care about quality the way I'd like them to care. LEGO has certainly been slacking off in terms of quality for too long due to the lack of serious competition in these regards, I don't think LEGO would ever charge 20 USD for five minifigs made in China with plastic of so bad quality that they look lime-ish instead of yellow if they had a true competitor.

Quote

True, but it's not like they invented that one little brick.
My understanding is that there are aeons of difference between the little brick that was around before LEGO made their little brick . I mean, look at : http://gupea.ub.gu.s...38/1/200544.pdf (page 21, ignore the rest of it, it is mostly propaganda, sorry but it was the only image of the kiddicraft brick I could find). The kiddicraft brick has ackward dimensions but more importantly, it lacks the hollow tubes that are meant for interlocking. I spent part of my childhood dealing with Rasti and although the plastic quality of my set was great, the lack of the interlocking pipes and "sticks" was very limiting. It made stacking bricks and disarming models harder, but it also limited the amount of ways you could stack them together and reduced structural strength... In fact, that's what made me fall in love to LEGO. Suddenly I had so many options in comparison to what my old Rasti accomplished.

So, maybe it is not history that began with a little brick, but history that began with a little triple of cylinders inside a little brick :).

Edited by vexorian, 26 February 2010 - 06:16 AM.


#22 Peppermint_M

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 08:28 AM

View Postvexorian, on Feb 26 2010, 05:11 AM, said:

My understanding is that there are aeons of difference between the little brick that was around before LEGO made their little brick . I mean, look at : http://gupea.ub.gu.s...38/1/200544.pdf (page 21, ignore the rest of it, it is mostly propaganda, sorry but it was the only image of the kiddicraft brick I could find). The kiddicraft brick has ackward dimensions but more importantly, it lacks the hollow tubes that are meant for interlocking. I spent part of my childhood dealing with Rasti and although the plastic quality of my set was great, the lack of the interlocking pipes and "sticks" was very limiting. It made stacking bricks and disarming models harder, but it also limited the amount of ways you could stack them together and reduced structural strength... In fact, that's what made me fall in love to LEGO. Suddenly I had so many options in comparison to what my old Rasti accomplished.

So, maybe it is not history that began with a little brick, but history that began with a little triple of cylinders inside a little brick :).

Ahem: The very first Lego brick was the exact same, but shaved off to European measures (Metric, old chap, not Blighty's Imperial measures) no tubes, no little extra lines inside. Just the exact same brick. TLG admitted as much in a 1983 court case (they were suing the pants of Tyco, a brand making very high quality bricks) it wasn't until much later that they developed the brick we know and love today. Check the Lego book (if you have it) and you'll see the patent of all the other sorts of connection they could think of. Not mindless propaganda, just uncomfortable truths.

As for the topic at hand: Yo, chekit "Queen of the Clone Brands" chances are I would have the first review up that started off people taking a little look "Just to see"  if it was any good. Heh, an eternal quest for comprable brands with a lower price.

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#23 Superkalle

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 10:26 AM

Now THIS is an interesting discussion. We had a similar one in the swedish SweBrick forum, and the discussion then was:

On the one hand, we fans are Lego-puritans who detest clone brands. Right? Yet, at the same time, we open our hearts to small, independet, fan-driven manufacturers like BrickForge and , Chromebricks. Haven't we by opening the doors to these type of bricks, also opened up to other brands? Or is it because BrickForge and Chromebricks are so small companies and driven by community people that they are accepted? What if these companies decide to start making more standard bricks of the same or BETTER quality than Lego. Would that be OK?

In the same way, we Lego fans are most often very sceptical to modified bricks (sawing, carving, painting), but at the same time there is now a big interest with Custom Minifigs (and acceptance it seems, there even a separate forum here at EB). If it's OK to make your own Minifig accessories, is it then OK to make your own (modded) Lego bricks?
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#24 brickzone

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 10:34 AM

I think it would have to achieve more than just "better quality" for me to switch. There's much more to Lego's success - versatility of even special parts, interconnectedness of measurements and types of connection, and then there's the style and design of sets, minifigs and the aesthetics of the parts.

I don't think I would switch unless someone achieved *all* these and for significantly lower cost than Lego (I wouldn't switch just to save a euro or two). Which quite frankly, I think is not improbable but rather impossible.

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 10:51 AM

View Postsuperkalle, on Feb 26 2010, 08:26 PM, said:

On the one hand, we fans are Lego-puritans who detest clone brands. Right? Yet, at the same time, we open our hearts to small, independet, fan-driven manufacturers like BrickForge and , Chromebricks. Haven't we by opening the doors to these type of bricks, also opened up to other brands?
I agree. I've never be a pure-purist, I just like quality. It's why I recently tried out some custom parts and for the most part I was impressed.

View Postsuperkalle, on Feb 26 2010, 08:26 PM, said:

In the same way, we Lego fans are most often very sceptical to modified bricks (sawing, carving, painting), but at the same time there is now a big interest with Custom Minifigs (and acceptance it seems, there even a separate forum here at EB). If it's OK to make your own Minifig accessories, is it then OK to make your own (modded) Lego bricks?
You've lost me here though. To me modifying parts ruins the re-usable aspect of LEGO, and few people can do it good enough.

View Postbrickzone, on Feb 26 2010, 08:34 PM, said:

Which quite frankly, I think is not improbable but rather impossible.
I agree.  :tongue:





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