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LEGO parts made of Chinese plastic?


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#51 MinifigFreak2010

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 05:13 PM

I really can't stand lego doing Chinese made plastic. The quality of a lego product can really drop as a result. I picked up a lego alantis exploration HQ on clearance for 15 dollars(MSRP 50). While in the store, to my horror, I found on the "pieces come from" list that some components were made in china. If it wouldn't be for the interesting set and great discount(a little less then 1/3 of the MSRP) as a result of the clearence aisle at WM, I would of probably skipped it after seeing China on the list.

I tried putting the chinese made part in the back of my mind, but after seeing it fully assembled, i can  see that a couple parts, mainly the red pieces that make up the top and one of the longer grey plates don't seem to hook up right to other pieces. I really don't know if it's just a result of chinese parts(what ever the chinese parts are) or a problem w/ the way the model is built(i mean by the way lego designed it to be built).

However, the ultimate test to see if the model is sturdy or not will come this weekend. It'll be traveling w/ me in a container(Sterelite show-offs container, brand new) tomorrow.

#52 Aanchir

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:13 PM

View PostMinifigFreak2010, on 14 April 2011 - 05:13 PM, said:

I really can't stand lego doing Chinese made plastic. The quality of a lego product can really drop as a result. I picked up a lego alantis exploration HQ on clearance for 15 dollars(MSRP 50). While in the store, to my horror, I found on the "pieces come from" list that some components were made in china. If it wouldn't be for the interesting set and great discount(a little less then 1/3 of the MSRP) as a result of the clearence aisle at WM, I would of probably skipped it after seeing China on the list.

I tried putting the chinese made part in the back of my mind, but after seeing it fully assembled, i can  see that a couple parts, mainly the red pieces that make up the top and one of the longer grey plates don't seem to hook up right to other pieces. I really don't know if it's just a result of chinese parts(what ever the chinese parts are) or a problem w/ the way the model is built(i mean by the way lego designed it to be built).

However, the ultimate test to see if the model is sturdy or not will come this weekend. It'll be traveling w/ me in a container(Sterelite show-offs container, brand new) tomorrow.
The Chinese parts in those sets, at least those we know of, tend to be specialized parts like the treasure rings and printed Atlantis Guardian head/headgear parts. It seems like you cast your judgment of Chinese-made parts long before you knew anything about the quality of the parts in this particular set. That sort of attitude doesn't reflect well on the whole "Chinese parts issue". Have you had previous experience with Chinese-made LEGO parts that had severe quality defects, or are you just prejudiced against Chinese production in general based on hearsay?

There's really no excuse for that sort of reaction to simple "Components made in China" text on a box. What makes you so certain China can't produce LEGO sets as well as a European country, or for that matter, Mexico (LEGO's second-newest country of production)? Certainly there have been reports of Chinese-made parts with problems. But there have been reports of part quality issues for years even before LEGO did any of their production in China. Moreover, complaints about Chinese parts generally concern the collectible minifigures and magnet packs whose parts are made in China and no other countries. While the complaints have been somewhat consistent (despite appearing less frequently as time went on), it could just be chalked up to inherent problems with the production of those sets, and not with where they're made. However, some people are quick to assume that Chinese production is inherently flawed and that it's to blame for any and all errors or inconsistencies.

That's a good set from my experience, and 15 dollars is a huge discount off the original price, so good choice picking that up. Can't figure out why any of the plates have problems since my set's parts connect pretty much flawlessly, but a poor-quality fluke is bound to turn up from time to time. If the problems are really obvious, you can go to the LEGO Customer Service website and order replacements for any defective parts.

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#53 davee123

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:59 PM

View PostAanchir, on 14 April 2011 - 07:13 PM, said:

There's really no excuse for that sort of reaction to simple "Components made in China" text on a box.

Exactly.  The reaction should be to the low-quality pieces, NOT to the fact that it's made in China.

View PostAanchir, on 14 April 2011 - 07:13 PM, said:

What makes you so certain China can't produce LEGO sets as well as a European country, or for that matter, Mexico (LEGO's second-newest country of production)?

Or, conversely, what makes you so certain that European or Mexican facilities can't produce as poor quality elements as China? :)

Quality's dropping across the board, and Chinese manufacturing is taking most of the blame, even though they only manufacture a small percentage of the parts.

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#54 MinifigFreak2010

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 11:34 PM

I have issues w/ Chinese pieces. I have some series 2 and 3 "Collectible" Minifigures. The quality of them is medicore and I can't stand it. Why is lego being so cheap? I WAS hoping for quality on par w/ my other figures and the CF ones could be ones i would add in to my collection.

Honestly, if Lego will be turning to the more compents made in China side, I think my days of a lego lover are over. I'm not against chinese made stuff, but I see no legit reason for lego to be taking the Chinese crap-stic route. Plus after seeing the way prices are jumping the the prices are getting ridicilous, I don't really like lego anymore. Plus the quality overall(Chinese plastic or not) w/ product design is getting worse. The right side of the Exploration HQ model(the 2X10 plate and a 1X2 w/ 2 technic holes) have seperated more then ones. That is from very little post build play w/ the model(Mainly only opening and closing it VERY carefully or putting in a storage container. I do want to travel w/ it on our micro vacation(leaving tomorrow), but I'm worried that something will go wrong. I'll just have to carefully put lego in around it and hope for the best.

And if stuff like the head gear is chinese made, that would explain why the blue head gear doesn't seem to be made of a good quality material and why the ring seems to have a haunting feeling of something not right w/ it.

#55 Aanchir

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 12:03 AM

View PostMinifigFreak2010, on 14 April 2011 - 11:34 PM, said:

I have issues w/ Chinese pieces. I have some series 2 and 3 "Collectible" Minifigures. The quality of them is medicore and I can't stand it. Why is lego being so cheap? I WAS hoping for quality on par w/ my other figures and the CF ones could be ones i would add in to my collection.

Honestly, if Lego will be turning to the more compents made in China side, I think my days of a lego lover are over. I'm not against chinese made stuff, but I see no legit reason for lego to be taking the Chinese crap-stic route. Plus after seeing the way prices are jumping the the prices are getting ridicilous, I don't really like lego anymore. Plus the quality overall(Chinese plastic or not) w/ product design is getting worse. The right side of the Exploration HQ model(the 2X10 plate and a 1X2 w/ 2 technic holes) have seperated more then ones. That is from very little post build play w/ the model(Mainly only opening and closing it VERY carefully or putting in a storage container. I do want to travel w/ it on our micro vacation(leaving tomorrow), but I'm worried that something will go wrong. I'll just have to carefully put lego in around it and hope for the best.

And if stuff like the head gear is chinese made, that would explain why the blue head gear doesn't seem to be made of a good quality material and why the ring seems to have a haunting feeling of something not right w/ it.
Fair enough; you have reason for arguing that you don't like Chinese parts. But is that any justification for assuming Chinese parts are inherently bad, and the quality can't and won't improve? As the minifigure series have progressed, quality issues have gone down. What reason do you have to believe that the ones that are left can't be eliminated?

It has been pretty firmly established that Chinese products use plastic from a different supplier, this is true. However, this had nothing to do with cost and had nothing to do with why LEGO began producing products in China. Chinese production started as a way of increasing the overall capacity of production, not because the raw materials are in any way cheaper (and in fact LEGO would be importing plastic from their regular supplier if not for the fact that Chinese manufacturing law requires them to use local materials). So the idea that Chinese production is evidence that LEGO is "getting cheap" is a fallacy, and one that's been thrown around by noobs since before Chinese production even began.

Also, the blue headgear's material has nothing to do with where it's produced. It's slightly rubbery as a part of its design, so that it's semi-flexible. That material, by the way, is in fact more expensive than many other LEGO materials. A similar rubbery material was used for certain dark blue BIONICLE parts from 2006-- long before Chinese production began. As for the ring, I can't ignore that since you had it in your head that Chinese parts are inherently low-quality before buying the set, that "haunting feeling" could potentially just be paranoia (note that no matter what the supplier, transparent parts are never made from the same type of plastic as solid-colored parts, so if there are problems with a transparent part like the treasure rings then they have never been reported in Chinese parts made from that material).

Product design getting worse, meanwhile, is a matter of opinion. I personally think that recent sets' designs have been phenomenal, and way better than anything I experienced during my childhood in the 90s and early naughts. Hero Factory sets in particular far outshine the earlier BIONICLE sets in their design quality. D2C sets like the Cafe Corner, Grand Emporium, Taj Mahal, and Diagon Alley are also all amazing in terms of design quality. Tell me, what product designs are you looking at as getting worse, and what period from earlier in LEGO's history do you consider "better"?

Overall, if LEGO isn't worth your money, then you're free to stop buying it. But I doubt you'll find any product that will seem to have promising potential if you're locked in a pessimistic mindset.

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#56 Brickdoctor

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 12:30 AM

Look, I don't mean to be rude, but first you complain that you can't find the minifigs you want. Then you complain that TLG took away a cheat system you shouldn't have had in the first place. Now you have minifigs and complain about their quality. Honestly, I find there aren't very many which are that bad. If you don't like it, don't buy it, and don't complain about it if you buy it anyways.

#57 davee123

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 02:21 PM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 15 April 2011 - 12:30 AM, said:

and don't complain about it if you buy it anyways.

I disagree with that sentiment. Our opinions as customers are important, even if they're negative. For me, LEGO hasn't gotten such awful quality that I won't buy them (actually, I guess I bought far fewer collectible minifigs [just 1 of each] thanks to quality issues). But even though I'll still buy them, I still disapprove of the lowered quality levels, and I don't intend to stop complaining about it. I want to be sure that LEGO is aware of my (and others') disapproval.

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#58 Brickdoctor

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 04:33 PM

View Postdavee123, on 15 April 2011 - 02:21 PM, said:

I disagree with that sentiment. Our opinions as customers are important, even if they're negative. For me, LEGO hasn't gotten such awful quality that I won't buy them (actually, I guess I bought far fewer collectible minifigs [just 1 of each] thanks to quality issues). But even though I'll still buy them, I still disapprove of the lowered quality levels, and I don't intend to stop complaining about it. I want to be sure that LEGO is aware of my (and others') disapproval.
What I'm trying to say is that if you already know it'll be of lower quality and you've already decided before buying that it's not going to be as good as other LEGO, there's no reason to keep complaining about it when you decide to buy it anyways.

#59 davee123

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 05:07 PM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 15 April 2011 - 04:33 PM, said:

What I'm trying to say is that if you already know it'll be of lower quality and you've already decided before buying that it's not going to be as good as other LEGO, there's no reason to keep complaining about it when you decide to buy it anyways.

In my book, LEGO quality has dropped from something like a 9/10 to an 8/10 in recent years. I'll still buy a product that's an 8/10, but I'll also complain that the quality is lacking. If the quality ever gets to the point where it's a 5/10, I personally would probably stop buying it. But until then, I'll probably keep buying the products, even knowing that they ARE of lower quality, and I believe I'd be justified in still complaining, even though I bought them fully expecting lower quality.

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#60 vexorian

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 05:09 PM

Quote

However, the ultimate test to see if the model is sturdy or not will come this weekend. It'll be traveling w/ me in a container(Sterelite show-offs container, brand new) tomorrow.
Couldn't you just transport it disassembled? You have instructions... And it is a magnitude times easier to transport disassembled LEGO...

View PostBrickdoctor, on 15 April 2011 - 04:33 PM, said:

What I'm trying to say is that if you already know it'll be of lower quality and you've already decided before buying that it's not going to be as good as other LEGO, there's no reason to keep complaining about it when you decide to buy it anyways.
I cannot disagree more with this. You are basically saying that buying something should make us unable to complain. There are two things that make me disagree. First, how can you have an informed opinion without buying the set and experiencing the quality issues? Second, since we are buying sets, we are paying LEGO's bills, we are costumers and we are entitled to voice our opinions negative or positive so that TLG know what costumers opine. Third (bonus!) there is such a thing as buying less. I would have bought two or even meltdowns instead of one but since there are color mismatches with the yellow, I only bought one just for display as the bricks are not so useful for MoCing with the color issues.

Edited by vexorian, 15 April 2011 - 05:13 PM.


#61 Enpaz

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 05:49 PM

Well, as for me, I haven't got anything against Chinese parts. I dislike lower quality. The problem is that this goes pretty much hand in hand!

I fully respect your need not discriminate Chinese labour, Anchir! But believing that the quality of pieces manufactured in China will improve more than ever so slightly is wishful thinking! There's a reason TLG built some new factories in China rather than anywhere else. They want cheap labour, and are willing to sacrifice equivalent quality for that. If that wasn't true, than they had better create new factories in the Czech republic, any other European country, or maybe even Mexico, but certainly not in China.
Sorry, but outsourcing some production plants to CHINA knowing that quality isn't top notch but with the intention of getting the quality to match Danish Lego in the end, that would be stupid.

On the other hand, though, I really think that you, MinifigFreak, are taking this whole thing too seriously. Of course you're entitled to have your own opinion, but actually, chinese parts in regular sets don't REALLY differ from regular parts. I mean, specialty parts have ALWAYS looked a bit different than others, haven't they? At least they don't concern me in regular sets. And I'm veeery pedantic. ;)

Yet it's an entirely different story with minifig parts. They are noticably lower quality and they are annoying me. I don't buy any magnet packs, for that reason. But you can undoubtedly buy ANY regular set without concern, if you ask me. Disliking Chinese plastic is difficult already (e.g. incomprehending bricklink sellers), so let's not extend this to regular sets.

Edited by Enpaz, 15 April 2011 - 05:49 PM.

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#62 Brickdoctor

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 06:11 PM

View Postdavee123, on 15 April 2011 - 05:07 PM, said:

In my book, LEGO quality has dropped from something like a 9/10 to an 8/10 in recent years. I'll still buy a product that's an 8/10, but I'll also complain that the quality is lacking. If the quality ever gets to the point where it's a 5/10, I personally would probably stop buying it. But until then, I'll probably keep buying the products, even knowing that they ARE of lower quality, and I believe I'd be justified in still complaining, even though I bought them fully expecting lower quality.

View Postvexorian, on 15 April 2011 - 05:09 PM, said:

I cannot disagree more with this. You are basically saying that buying something should make us unable to complain. There are two things that make me disagree. First, how can you have an informed opinion without buying the set and experiencing the quality issues? Second, since we are buying sets, we are paying LEGO's bills, we are costumers and we are entitled to voice our opinions negative or positive so that TLG know what costumers opine. Third (bonus!) there is such a thing as buying less. I would have bought two or even meltdowns instead of one but since there are color mismatches with the yellow, I only bought one just for display as the bricks are not so useful for MoCing with the color issues.
get you point, and believe me, I agree with it. Perhaps the wording wasn't the greatest; I was just annoyed with how the only thing MinifigFreak2010 ever does on this forum is complain. Anyways, I don't like attacking other members like this, so I'll stop.

#63 Aanchir

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 07:33 PM

View PostEnpaz, on 15 April 2011 - 05:49 PM, said:

Well, as for me, I haven't got anything against Chinese parts. I dislike lower quality. The problem is that this goes pretty much hand in hand!

I fully respect your need not discriminate Chinese labour, Anchir! But believing that the quality of pieces manufactured in China will improve more than ever so slightly is wishful thinking! There's a reason TLG built some new factories in China rather than anywhere else. They want cheap labour, and are willing to sacrifice equivalent quality for that. If that wasn't true, than they had better create new factories in the Czech republic, any other European country, or maybe even Mexico, but certainly not in China.
Sorry, but outsourcing some production plants to CHINA knowing that quality isn't top notch but with the intention of getting the quality to match Danish Lego in the end, that would be stupid.

On the other hand, though, I really think that you, MinifigFreak, are taking this whole thing too seriously. Of course you're entitled to have your own opinion, but actually, chinese parts in regular sets don't REALLY differ from regular parts. I mean, specialty parts have ALWAYS looked a bit different than others, haven't they? At least they don't concern me in regular sets. And I'm veeery pedantic. ;)

Yet it's an entirely different story with minifig parts. They are noticably lower quality and they are annoying me. I don't buy any magnet packs, for that reason. But you can undoubtedly buy ANY regular set without concern, if you ask me. Disliking Chinese plastic is difficult already (e.g. incomprehending bricklink sellers), so let's not extend this to regular sets.
I don't see how the lower labor costs in the Chinese plant have anything to do with the reported lower quality of parts there. Every indication seems to be that the quality is a materials problem or a problem in the production process, not a labor problem. Furthermore, while China has a reputation for inferior products, that is no reason to assume that a responsible company can't make comparable products in a Chinese plant to the ones they make in a European or American plant. Rather than saying LEGO is blameless in this situation, I am saying that quality control is their direct responsibility no matter where they're producing parts, and since they've demonstrated that they are capable of outsourcing to other countries without permanent quality problems, there will be no excuse for them if they cannot bring the quality of the Chinese-made parts up to par with at least the parts from the other plants they have in countries other than Denmark.

On a side note, LEGO actually is expanding their production facilities in the Czech Republic, according to a recent press release on their website. There is also a critical difference I know of between the Chinese production facility and the ones in other locations: last I heard, LEGO does not actually own the Chinese production facility. I'm pretty sure they're leasing it, just as they used to with a lot of their production facilities in other countries. Now, I am not an expert on mass-production and don't know if there would be a strategic advantage to LEGO buying the Chinese production facility. It could potentially give them greater control over what goes on there, and thus they could implement measures to reduce variance in part quality. But this is beyond the scope of my knowledge, which is part of why I'd like some word from LEGO, possibly through the ambassador program, on what their long-term plans are for Chinese production of parts.

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#64 Pingles

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 08:21 PM

My only complaint is when companies ship their manufacturing to "cheaper" areas when they are making record profits.

In 2003-2005 Lego was suffering from some pretty big losses.  That is likely when they made decisions regarding "offshore" manufacturing.  

I hope now that they are experiencing large profits they can do a little more quality control work to keep their outstanding quality reputation intact.

Personally, I continue to be stunned by the engineering, packaging and model quality of Lego products.
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#65 AndyC

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 11:49 PM

View Postdavee123, on 15 April 2011 - 05:07 PM, said:

In my book, LEGO quality has dropped from something like a 9/10 to an 8/10 in recent years. I'll still buy a product that's an 8/10, but I'll also complain that the quality is lacking. If the quality ever gets to the point where it's a 5/10, I personally would probably stop buying it. But until then, I'll probably keep buying the products, even knowing that they ARE of lower quality, and I believe I'd be justified in still complaining, even though I bought them fully expecting lower quality.

Well you can complain, but if you openly say you will (and do) buy sets regardless of the overall quality, then there isn't really a lot of incentive for TLG to maintain such a high quality. They are, after all, a business and at the end of the day are supposed to be in this to make as much profit as they can (whether we want to believe that or not).

The thing that bugs me most about these "chinese plastic" complaints is that seems it's increasingly becoming the case that some people will automatically assume every faulty part is because it's made in China. With something like the collectible figures that are exclusively made in China, fair enough, but for sets containing parts from a mixture of sources it's just as possible a problem occured elsewhere. Furthermore, there are sets which do have parts made in China such as the recent Maersk ship about which I've not seen a single complaint of "chinese plastic", which surely there should be if the problem is so universal?
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#66 Riley

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 01:44 AM

Thanks for the info, it was very helpful.

#67 vexorian

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 02:11 AM

View PostAanchir, on 15 April 2011 - 07:33 PM, said:

I don't see how the lower labor costs in the Chinese plant have anything to do with the reported lower quality of parts there.
It may have something to do with the assumption that you get what you pay for.


Quote

Every indication seems to be that the quality is a materials problem or a problem in the production process, not a labor problem.
The result material, but the problems mentioned may be human.

For starters there is a variance in quality - some people get problems and some other people don't.  Less effective QA may be a case of either intentionally doing it poorly to reduce costs or because the people verifying quality are not qualified/motivated enough to do it correctly.

Color mismatches, in some cases according to the ambassadors this was caused by poor communication between the plants.

Printing errors many other things that are related to machines functioning are because of them not being calibrated correctly, or maintained correctly or designed correctly. And it also has something to do with those mistakes not getting caught before putting the bricks in boxes...

In 2007 the lime green sockets turned out to be far weaker than usual and it was related to a detail in temperature when producing them. This is a result of bad supervision of the plastic procedure. Of course, it has nothing to do with China but it shows that human factor can lead to bad materials.

#68 Aanchir

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 03:17 AM

View Postvexorian, on 16 April 2011 - 02:11 AM, said:

It may have something to do with the assumption that you get what you pay for.
The problem with that idea is that it assumes "reasonable" wages in China are equivalent to "reasonable" wages in the United States or other countries, when in fact this is not true. While the wages in China may not be fair, factory jobs in general have lower wages and worse benefits over there than they have in a lot of other countries. So a worker may be making less than their European counterpart, but they'll be a lot more grateful for what they do make than a European worker with the same wages (who could easily be making better money at a different job).

If a factory worker is as satisfied with their wages as they would be in Europe, then the only way that "you get what you pay for" would apply is if Chinese laborers themselves were inherently lower-quality, which any reasonable person knows not to be true. The workers there have as much potential to do a good job as those in Europe, and assuming LEGO isn't paying these workers near-minimum-wage, they have as much incentive as well.

Quote

The result material, but the problems mentioned may be human.

For starters there is a variance in quality - some people get problems and some other people don't.  Less effective QA may be a case of either intentionally doing it poorly to reduce costs or because the people verifying quality are not qualified/motivated enough to do it correctly.

Color mismatches, in some cases according to the ambassadors this was caused by poor communication between the plants.

Printing errors many other things that are related to machines functioning are because of them not being calibrated correctly, or maintained correctly or designed correctly. And it also has something to do with those mistakes not getting caught before putting the bricks in boxes...

In 2007 the lime green sockets turned out to be far weaker than usual and it was related to a detail in temperature when producing them. This is a result of bad supervision of the plastic procedure. Of course, it has nothing to do with China but it shows that human factor can lead to bad materials.
This is a fair argument, and yes, there is a human factor to quality control. However, I don't see how factory workers themselves can be blamed for this sort of quality issue when (from my perspective) it seems to be instead an issue of the higher-ups failing to make clear what sort of quality is expected to the people doing the direct quality assessments on their products. In other words, failures of communication are the only place where that sort of problem seems like it can happen at such a massive scale. And a failure in communication is a delegation problem, not a problem with the workers themselves being poorly motivated.

In the case of the lime green balljoints, I'm not sure whether it's an issue of quality control ignoring seemingly-slight quality errors that turned out more severe, or an issue of quality control simply not being prepared to identify that sort of problem when it emerged. As I see it, LEGO probably didn't have any tests at the time that specifically tested the points at which those joints tended to break under the particular type of pressure they experienced when parts were added and removed (they have a heat test which indicates stresses or weak points in a finished model, which might do the trick, but I think that's more done during the actual set design process rather than as a part of quality-testing individual pieces) This would explain why they were only able to identify that problem in retrospect, and only able to fix it after multiple redesigns of those parts. That issue, by the way, is also why I'm cynical about many complaints regarding Chinese parts-- after all, many people blamed Chinese production back then too, and this was years before Chinese production even began.

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#69 davee123

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 03:18 AM

View PostAndyC, on 15 April 2011 - 11:49 PM, said:

Well you can complain, but if you openly say you will (and do) buy sets regardless of the overall quality, then there isn't really a lot of incentive for TLG to maintain such a high quality.

Well, as noted above, I'll buy LESS LEGO :)

With the Minifigures lineup, I probably would've bought a whole bunch more of them if they were higher quality. As it was, I bought one of each, and then stopped.  I also won't be buying any more "battle packs" as I did for Kingdoms and Castle, because of issues with the torsos and arms. Oh, and I also would have bought more of the "vintage minifigures" sets (as is I just bought 1 of each). Volumes 3 and 4 had some great torsos and other parts, but just weren't good enough quality to justify me buying more copies.

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#70 SpiderSpaceman

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 05:51 AM

there is a difference, I can tell it relatively easily, and usually the chinese production parts satisfy me.
Usually.

Actually that's not true.  It's half and half.

The plastic in the santa claus magnet set, which I got as a freebie from a bricklink seller (and that was awesome but it), was plastic from Hell.

the plastic in the vintage minifigures series isn't much better.

Toy Story's Woody - makes me want to cry, because it's full of parts that, in concept, I want so bad. In practice, the legs bend inward and have funky cracks and the arms don't fit the sockets as well as they ought.  

One of the legs on my collectible minifigures clown has insufficient friction.  I don't remember which color leg it is, but my brother has the same fig with the same issue.

On the other hand, sometimes the chinese parts are as good or better

All of my star wars magnet sets had gorgeous, gorgeous figures.  Truthfully, I'd still be inclined to think I got batches of danish production figures somehow.  But a cousin of mine got the Vader set I got, a bit later, and his was definitely inferior, the lines of the print were grotesquely thick  (printing precision issues).  The only one I count as an exception in my collection is my sole Han Solo.  He's definitely got that duller softer plastic and the shine of his printing makes it blatantly obvious.

Most of the individually bagged printed parts satisfy.  The benefits outweigh the slight plastic difference, they're usually entirely decorative, and actually I'll say it, A+ quality.  exceptions: Buzz Lightyear's suit (gritty), the three eyed alien head (actually feels too hard and brittle - though I've never put it through any abuse).  Even those parts I fully accept into my collection happily.  because they're just way too much fun to neglect.

A total aside, beg pardon: buzz needed to have more generic molds.  Not generic as in dull, but creative generic, multi-use. Say, something with an aquanauts helmet level of beautiful lego detail and connections, that could carry into new space themes. And Buzz did not need his own head shape, come on.  Even the construct-a-Buzz would have been better served with a giant knight's kingdom figure head.  Buzz was literally the first thing I thought of when I saw those sets. Further aside: squidward did need his own head shape :wink:

back on topic:
Rock monsters kick butt.

Collectible Minifigures are untouchable paragons of beauty and charming zaniness.  free pass forever :wub: :wub: :wub:


annnd I forgot what the 'better' was but I think I did have a concrete example :blush:

Edited by SpiderSpaceman, 17 April 2011 - 05:52 AM.


#71 Blondie-Wan

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 04:48 PM

View PostSpiderSpaceman, on 17 April 2011 - 05:51 AM, said:

there is a difference, I can tell it relatively easily, and usually the chinese production parts satisfy me.
Usually.

Actually that's not true.  It's half and half.

The plastic in the santa claus magnet set, which I got as a freebie from a bricklink seller (and that was awesome but it), was plastic from Hell.

the plastic in the vintage minifigures series isn't much better.

I must respectfully disagree with the second part of your statement (though certainly not the first, alas). I do have the Santa Claus magnet set and at least two of each minifigure from all four series of Minifigures, and I agree the plastic used for the torso and legs in the Santa Claus magnet set is terrible  :cry_sad:  - totally undeserving of the LEGO name, frankly - but I think the collectible minifigures are much, much better. I was a little perplexed at the CMF quality when I first got some, as there was definitely something different about them, but at the same time the quality was clearly substantially better than that of the Santa minifigure in the Christmas magnet set. After much consideration of both my own observations and the various discussions here, I've come to the conclusion the perceived differences between the plastics used for the minifigures line and those used for minifigures (and other elements) in "regular" sets actually have more to do with differences in the texturing of the molds than of the actual plastics. I do accept that there may be some slight differences between the plastics as well, but I think these differences are not so great as some are making them to be. I think the "matte" finish of the minifigures throws people off.

View PostSpiderSpaceman, on 17 April 2011 - 05:51 AM, said:

Toy Story's Woody - makes me want to cry, because it's full of parts that, in concept, I want so bad. In practice, the legs bend inward and have funky cracks and the arms don't fit the sockets as well as they ought.  

One of the legs on my collectible minifigures clown has insufficient friction.  I don't remember which color leg it is, but my brother has the same fig with the same issue.

Yikes! I'm sorry to hear it, and those definitely sound like quality issues, but I have a bunch of Sheriff Woody figures from various sets as well as two of the Series 1 clowns, and none of mine have those issues. I suspect your problematic parts are isolated bits of bad luck rather than endemic issues affecting the entire runs of those figures.

Have you tried contacting TLG's customer service to obtain replacements for the Woody figure elements?

#72 Aanchir

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 06:51 PM

View PostBlondie-Wan, on 17 April 2011 - 04:48 PM, said:

I must respectfully disagree with the second part of your statement (though certainly not the first, alas). I do have the Santa Claus magnet set and at least two of each minifigure from all four series of Minifigures, and I agree the plastic used for the torso and legs in the Santa Claus magnet set is terrible  :cry_sad:  - totally undeserving of the LEGO name, frankly - but I think the collectible minifigures are much, much better. I was a little perplexed at the CMF quality when I first got some, as there was definitely something different about them, but at the same time the quality was clearly substantially better than that of the Santa minifigure in the Christmas magnet set. After much consideration of both my own observations and the various discussions here, I've come to the conclusion the perceived differences between the plastics used for the minifigures line and those used for minifigures (and other elements) in "regular" sets actually have more to do with differences in the texturing of the molds than of the actual plastics. I do accept that there may be some slight differences between the plastics as well, but I think these differences are not so great as some are making them to be. I think the "matte" finish of the minifigures throws people off.
Note that his post said the vintage minifigure sets, not collectible minifigures. :wink: I've indeed heard terrible things about the vintage minifigure packs, even though I've also heard good things-- the color quality of the prints is apparently better, with printed colors being a closer match to the actual plastic colors. Still, they're the sort of thing I wouldn't risk investing in myself (especially since they share their greatest weakness with the collectible minifigures, that being that their parts aren't eligible for customer service replacement in the event of quality problems).

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#73 SpiderSpaceman

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 07:00 PM

View PostBlondie-Wan, on 17 April 2011 - 04:48 PM, said:

I must respectfully disagree with the second part of your statement (though certainly not the first, alas). I do have the Santa Claus magnet set and at least two of each minifigure from all four series of Minifigures, and I agree the plastic used for the torso and legs in the Santa Claus magnet set is terrible  :cry_sad:  - totally undeserving of the LEGO name, frankly - but I think the collectible minifigures are much, much better. I was a little perplexed at the CMF quality when I first got some, as there was definitely something different about them, but at the same time the quality was clearly substantially better than that of the Santa minifigure in the Christmas magnet set.


Yeah but I was talking about the Vintage minifigure line.  

series 5 is the one I own.  with the doctor, flight attendant, stunt woman, white ninja, pirate wench - But you're absolutely right.  I was unfair, they're just as good quality as collectible minifigures/ninjago spinner/magnet pack figures.


I stated about the Minifigures line:

Quote

Collectible Minifigures are untouchable paragons of beauty and charming zaniness. free pass forever  :wub: :wub: :wub:  

so to some extent I do give them a 'free pass' because they don't come any other way.

but no, I'm entirely happy with their quality.  I spoke rashly of my "vintage" reproduction figs solely from memory, holding them in hand now... they're pretty friggin great :wink:

Edited by SpiderSpaceman, 17 April 2011 - 07:00 PM.


#74 SpiderSpaceman

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 07:44 PM

View PostBlondie-Wan, on 17 April 2011 - 04:48 PM, said:

I've come to the conclusion the perceived differences between the plastics used for the minifigures line and those used for minifigures (and other elements) in "regular" sets actually have more to do with differences in the texturing of the molds than of the actual plastics. I do accept that there may be some slight differences between the plastics as well, but I think these differences are not so great as some are making them to be. I think the "matte" finish of the minifigures throws people off.


again, quoting myself:

Quote

has that duller softer plastic and the shine of the printing makes it blatantly obvious.
that's the issue. the matte is for the most part aok with me, it's the interplay between it and the same printing as the other figs, where the printed areas could just as well be the solid color backing or vice versa - my example: magnet set han solo very obviously has his shirt printed and shining conspicuously over the black torso, which is supposed to be the outer layer of his clothing - also seen in the Zombie, the pants are supposed to be ripped up, but the grey skin showing through floats above the texture of the pants.



But also, as for the mold being to blame: look at the caveman's club, an entirely solid piece, and tell me its not a different, softer, gummier plastic.  Again, I would be fine with it if it wasn't over in the printed parts causing big discrepancies.

The collectible minifigures/vintage minifigures/magnet minifigures/woody are made of plastic that seems to me to have more in common with what they use for the screwdriver-hammer-drill-wrench-wrench-and-oil-can, flippers, or knives parts, than with the plastic for standard danish parts.  Snake plastic over frog plastic, if it do ya.

My theory on that is that the chinese factory does have a counterpart to the harder plastic - but it's not quite right- it's actually too hard and brittle for the arms and legs of minifigures, which have to be snapped together, and therefore, use the 'sprued elements' plastic throughout for uniformity. (with the exception of parts like woody's head, three eyed alien head, some CM hairs and accessories, CM arms are possibly the hard stuff, placed easily into the soft stuff of the torso )

more examples of 'classic' danish parts to compare: laptop. rat (not scabbers). clam. suitcase. backpack (all varieties)


^small because I'm doubting myself on that :wink:


edit: oh forget all that, CM caveman is every bit as vibrant as my new potc figs.

haha... This is why I usually stay out of these discussions :blush: I'm wishy washy between arrogant confidence and open mindedness (which in itself can be too easily swayed by wishy wash  :wink: )
I have a big psychological problem with that. :wink:   :laugh:

CMs are every bit as good as set figs.

Edited by SpiderSpaceman, 17 April 2011 - 08:18 PM.


#75 Blondie-Wan

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 12:07 AM

View PostAanchir, on 17 April 2011 - 06:51 PM, said:

Note that his post said the vintage minifigure sets, not collectible minifigures. :wink:

View PostSpiderSpaceman, on 17 April 2011 - 07:00 PM, said:

Yeah but I was talking about the Vintage minifigure line.

Whoops. Reading comprehension FTW.  :blush:

I've read the three series "in the middle" (2nd, 3rd and 4th) were indeed more comparable to (some of) the magnet figures in quality than to other figures; I don't remember the exact thread, but I seem to remember reading somewhere around here that it was a noticeable drop from the first volume, and that the fifth one (the all-female one) was subsequently a step back up in quality, albeit still with the "different" plastic (or molds). I haven't touched the three in the middle (in part because of a hesitancy after seeing those quality complaints, and in part because I just never manage to get everything I want anyway), but I do have Volumes 1 and 5. I do agree the figures in Volume 5 are pretty much like the collectible minifigures - a softer, matte-type finish and possibly a different plastic, but nowhere near the horror of the Santa magnet minifigure. I find the volume 5 minifigures entirely satisfactory (and personally am very glad to have the set, since I don't have any of the sets the originals come in, alas). The minifigures in Volume 1 (which I see still hasn't been reviewed here; perhaps I should review it myself) don't even have the minor differences of Volume 5 and/or the collectible minifigures - they have the same shiny finish, the same look and feel of minifigures from regular sets, everything.




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