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When did they stop putting alternate set builds on boxes and in instru


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#1 super curry max

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 04:32 AM

I stopped buying legos in 1998 then only recently began buying older sets I wanted when I was a kid when my daughter became interested in lego. It seems that most sets I have tracked down that we wanted from the last 2 years or so lacked the alternate builds on both the back of the box and in the instructions. Seems kind of weird.
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#2 Iron Moose

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 04:36 AM

Customers complained about not getting instructions for them.

#3 Tony Almeida

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 06:29 AM

Maybe they stopped putting the alternate builds on the back because the designers got lazy?

#4 The Green Brick Giant

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 06:58 AM

I personally think it was too many specialized pieces that were completely useless when trying to make a set that looks better than the box set.

Exo-Force had alt builds that were better than the sets released.

#5 -zenn

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 09:38 AM

I like those alt builds, some were pretty good.  :sadnew:
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#6 Tony Almeida

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 10:22 AM

I guess that proper alt-builds might now just lie in the domain of the Creator line.

#7 brickzone

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 10:43 AM

View PostTony Almeida, on 19 June 2010 - 10:22 AM, said:

I guess that proper alt-builds might now just lie in the domain of the Creator line.

And of course there are the Lego racers builds (including in instructions) that combine two different racer models into one.

#8 Mirandir

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 10:51 AM

Welcome back to the wonderful world of LEGO!

And it is as Iron Moose writes: LEGO has said themselves that they've stopped having alternative builds on the boxes because they were getting a lot of complaints that there were no instructions for them included.

#9 blueandwhite

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 02:15 PM

View PostThe Green Brick Giant, on 19 June 2010 - 06:58 AM, said:

I personally think it was too many specialized pieces that were completely useless when trying to make a set that looks better than the box set.

Exo-Force had alt builds that were better than the sets released.

I believe this is most likely the reason.  

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, many sets were almost entirely comprised of specialized or strangely coloured elements making it very difficult to create an adequate alternative model from the pieces provided.  While this may no longer be an issue in today's sets, the trend of not showing alternate models has continued to stick.  Certainly there is also the matter of parents being upset that there are no instructions for these alternates, however that didn't seem to bother anybody in the 80s or 90s when alternate models were the standard on most sets.

#10 AndyC

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 02:27 PM

Juniorization may have played a part. I think more likely is Lego's insistence that all models went through rigourous tests to ensure they used only legal building techniques, something which would apply to any alternates displayed on the box too. The cost of that process almost certainly makes it less viable to produce a bunch of concept designs solely for artwork purposes.
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#11 lightningtiger

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 02:58 PM

I think early SW sets had alternate set ideas in their instruction bookets.
The idea of junior styled products seem sound, with their large panel pieces pretty dam hard to make anything different !
Oh, besides that welcome back out of your dark times, back into the light of Lego so keep on bricking ! :sweet:

#12 Aanchir

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 03:17 PM

Power Miners had alternate builds on all the boxes for the first half of the year, and that was just one year ago. Of course, the alternate builds were ridiculous, but they were there. Likewise, alternate builds are one of the main draws of Creator sets these days.

But yes, the one comment near the beginning of this thread has the answer I've heard many times before. People complained about not getting instructions for the alternate models. Hence, today alternate builds are only shown when instructions are included or available online, which basically means only for Technic, Creator, and some other themes, just like it has been for most of LEGO's history.

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#13 super curry max

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 04:16 AM

Wow. I am floored that a legit reason is people complained about there being no instructions. That would have never of ever crossed my mind as a possibility.

Though I am a strange one, I have always had this habit of trying to build sets from the box using only the box art and not the instructions to see how close i could get and how little pieces I could have left over. :)

I loved the alt build pics because they would give me ideas on making my own strange stuff. I miss that.
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#14 Tony Almeida

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 04:40 AM

It's pretty ironic really, Lego is supposed to be about creativity and imagination. Removing alt-builds outright because some idiots people were complaining about the lack of instructions is still a rather strange and unnecessary response by TLG.

Edited by Tony Almeida, 20 June 2010 - 04:40 AM.


#15 Black Rabbit

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 07:08 AM

I don't really care if they have alt builds or not. The only good ones i remember were the fantastic exo-force ones and the fantasy castle ones :wub: .
The alt builds for starwars and powerminers i remeber were pretty lame .

#16 davee123

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 02:21 PM

Star Wars was the first major line I'm aware of that did NOT include alternate models on the boxes. Instead, some of them (the larger sets) featured animated "comic book style" alternate models in the instruction booklets. Around the same time, other sets stopped offering alternate models, although some still had them. I believe the comic book alternates were last seen in 2000, although I'm not sure on that one...

Taking a quick look through some boxes in my collection, EVERY box from 1998 and earlier has alternate models. Star Wars (starting in 1999) seems not to have any alternates, and neither does Harry Potter (2001). Some sets seem to start leaving off alternates in that timeframe, but I still see alternate models on various boxes through 2003.

As for why, it's probably also due to:

1) As stated, customer requests for building instructions. These have ALWAYS plagued LEGO, not sure if this was getting to be a bigger problem in the late 1990's.

2) It's much more work to design and then photograph alternate models. Each one has to be approved and probably pass through the same design committees as the main model.

3) Less perceived benefit. I'm sure LEGO looked into how much kids liked or appreciated the alternates. I would expect that if LEGO still found kids being attracted to the alternates, they'd still have them. But my guess is that kids nowadays are more likely to simply throw out the boxes (they're less handy for storage), making the alternate models even less valuable.

4) Product representation. Probably not a big reason, but it's possible that LEGO was worried about misrepresenting the set they were selling.

My best guess is #2. LEGO was struggling in the early 2000's, and started cheapening their packaging. So I'd guess cutting alternate models was mainly a cost saving measure.

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#17 Artanis I

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 02:36 PM

View Postdavee123, on 21 June 2010 - 02:21 PM, said:

As for why, it's probably also due to:

1) As stated, customer requests for building instructions. These have ALWAYS plagued LEGO, not sure if this was getting to be a bigger problem in the late 1990's.

2) It's much more work to design and then photograph alternate models. Each one has to be approved and probably pass through the same design committees as the main model.

3) Less perceived benefit. I'm sure LEGO looked into how much kids liked or appreciated the alternates. I would expect that if LEGO still found kids being attracted to the alternates, they'd still have them. But my guess is that kids nowadays are more likely to simply throw out the boxes (they're less handy for storage), making the alternate models even less valuable.

4) Product representation. Probably not a big reason, but it's possible that LEGO was worried about misrepresenting the set they were selling.

My best guess is #2. LEGO was struggling in the early 2000's, and started cheapening their packaging. So I'd guess cutting alternate models was mainly a cost saving measure.

DaveE
I have to admit, I could never figure out how to construct the alternative models. But I did like looking at the pictures, it kinda inspired you to try different builds with those pieces. I think a lot of the modern sets have so many small and specialised pieces and so little bricks and plates that it's difficult to actually make much else with what you've got. I tried to build something out of the Gold Heist pieces but couldn't come up with anything that looked a fraction as good as the original - and I think the original looks ridiculous. I'm sure I could build something if I used other pieces from elsewhere, but that's beside the point.
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#18 Nikola Bathory

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 10:09 AM

View Post-zenn, on 19 June 2010 - 09:38 AM, said:

I like those alt builds, some were pretty good.  :sadnew:

Yes, I miss them too. It was a very good idea for free.  :thumbup:
It's cheaper and easier for LEGO not to do this....  :thumbdown:

#19 LegoDad42

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 01:02 AM

View PostNikola Bathory, on 24 June 2010 - 10:09 AM, said:

Yes, I miss them too. It was a very good idea for free.  :thumbup:
It's cheaper and easier for LEGO not to do this....  :thumbdown:

In LEGO Brickmaster magazines they have alternate builds often. A couple I remember were an alternate build 'Deep Sea Explorer' made from parts from Typhoon Turbo Sub, and another was 'Blast Roller' made from Titanium Command Rig.
I gotta' go through my collection to sight more, but the alternate builds are out there. :wink:

Edited by LegoDad42, 01 July 2010 - 01:02 AM.




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