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The internal LEGO Colour scheme


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#26 jonwil

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 12:48 PM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 25 May 2011 - 08:01 PM, said:

It's a glow-in-the-dark color.
I am guessing its the same color as used for the glow-in-the-dark alien head in the Space Police III Lunar Limo set.

#27 Ro87n

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 01:15 PM

I wish that every colour would be used on all Minifig accessoires. Including hair, hands and head pieces.
Or is this alreay a fact and made already?
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#28 Aanchir

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 01:48 PM

Well, despite my name being mentioned frequently, it seems like most of people's questions have been answered without needing my feedback. =)

View PostLt. de Martinet, on 25 May 2011 - 11:54 PM, said:

This is my attempt to recreate it in brick, using Peeron's chart, to better see what new colors we might be seeing.

The lettered ones I wasn't able to match; the letters below on my chart show possible current colors (all of which are in production this year).

A: "Titanium Metallic"
B: "Spring Yellowish Green"
C: "Lavender"
D: "Medium Lavender"
E: "Dark Azur"

Other interesting things I found:
Maersk blue doesn't seem to be on this year's chart, unless E (321 Dark Azur) is Lego's acknowledging that the new Maersk parts are slightly different than the old Maersk parts (11 Pastel Blue).
"154 Dark Red" is now "154 New Dark Red". So, watch for a color change in dark red parts.
Peeron's list doesn't have 221 Bright Purple, though it was on LEGO's 2010 list too.
I'm pretty sure 321 Dark Azur is in fact the new color being used for the uniforms in the Alien Conquest theme (of course, you could also be correct in thinking it's Medium Azur-- impossible to really tell since we have only seen one of the two colors). It will also be appearing in more basic bricks in the Spongebob Squarepants theme this year. As for the difference in this year's Maersk Blue, I imagine the reason for this is that all previous sets with that color (11 Pastel Blue) have used pre-colored plastic granulate, whereas this year's Maersk Train presumably uses colorless granulate with dye added during production as is standard in today's sets. So a slight inconsistency is to be expected.

And as has been mentioned, I don't expect a major change in Dark Red parts. Note that New Dark Red has been the name listed for Dark Red on LEGO Digital Designer and Pick-A-Brick for over a year, with no major changes observed. Incidentally, if there were to be a major change in appearance, the color would probably be given a brand-new ID number, but since it kept the same one it's probably just a slight reformulation in hopes of achieving more consistency.

221 Bright Purple probably isn't on Peeron because most online databases treat it as the same color as 22 Medium Reddish Violet (BL's Dark Pink). Bright Purple is a newer version that replaced Medium Reddish Violet in 2004.

You also have a 2x2 slope in what looks like Bricklink's Metallic Silver where 315 Silver Metallic is on LEGO's color chart. However, BL's Metallic Silver is in fact TLG's 298 Cool Silver Drum Lacquered. 315 Silver Metallic is a color that debuted last year, which Bricklink tends to identify as Flat Silver (although there's a great deal of inconsistency in how they label this color).

Titanium Metallic is the name for the Pearl Dark Gray color used in this year's sets and some of last year's (specifically the Kingdoms theme). I'm having trouble identifying the color of the robot arm at the bottom of your chart, but if it's a Flat Silver part from this year's sets then it's 315 Silver Metallic, and if it's a Pearl Dark Gray part from this year's sets then it's 316 Titanium Metallic (if it's an older Flat Silver, Pearl Dark Gray, or Pearl Light Gray part then it's probably not a current color).

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#29 Niku

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 02:37 PM

There is also a great variety in the transparent ones.

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#30 Aanchir

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 04:59 PM

View PostNiku, on 26 May 2011 - 02:37 PM, said:

There is also a great variety in the transparent ones.
True, but this isn't the most transparent ones LEGO's had on the palette. That would probably go to a year like 2006, when many of the special colors for Clikits and Belville were still on the palette. Bricklink doesn't recognize all of these (many are conflated with more common or more relevant colors). There were over twenty different transparent colors on the palette at that time. See a palette from that time here (some colors are listed twice to show how they appear in different materials). Today's transparent colors are modest by comparison: no more than three variations on any one color.

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#31 arator

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 07:19 PM

The naming of the colors :laugh:
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#32 Jed

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 01:12 AM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 25 May 2011 - 08:01 PM, said:

It's a glow-in-the-dark color.

D'oh, of course. Stupid Brain.

Thanks, doc!

#33 Niku

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 01:54 PM

View PostAanchir, on 26 May 2011 - 04:59 PM, said:

True, but this isn't the most transparent ones LEGO's had on the palette. That would probably go to a year like 2006, when many of the special colors for Clikits and Belville were still on the palette. Bricklink doesn't recognize all of these (many are conflated with more common or more relevant colors). There were over twenty different transparent colors on the palette at that time. See a palette from that time here (some colors are listed twice to show how they appear in different materials). Today's transparent colors are modest by comparison: no more than three variations on any one color.
20 is a different level.  *oh2*
Wow thanks for the info, wasnt aware of the diversity, now the contrast you can achieve with the normal bricks expands the desired design effects on sets and Mocs.

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#34 k_r_brown

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 04:43 AM

does anyone know what colour new holley shiftwell is ?

#35 prateek

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 05:06 AM

I'm gonna have a crack and say Holly Shiftwell is colour ID 124.

#36 Aanchir

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 01:50 PM

View Postprateek, on 28 May 2011 - 05:06 AM, said:

I'm gonna have a crack and say Holly Shiftwell is colour ID 124.
Yep. Bright Reddish Violet corresponds to Bricklink's "Magenta", so it's not a new color by any means. But it's still a fairly rare one, and probably new to a lot of people (I for one don't have a single piece in this color).

Incidentally, Bright Reddish Violet is one shade darker than 22 Medium Reddish Violet (the pre-2004 Dark Pink) and two shades darker than 9 Light Reddish Violet (the pre-2004 pink). Considering both of those colors, as well as one of the next closest colors, 104 Bright Violet, have disappeared, I consider it pretty impressive that 124 is still with us today. I hope someday it might end up appearing in a Hero Factory set.

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#37 Ecclesiastes

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 11:12 PM

In my opinion there are coming to much colors!

First improve the quality of the bricks and color differences, before making new colors!

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#38 Aanchir

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 03:17 AM

View Postmcdenbesten, on 28 May 2011 - 11:12 PM, said:

In my opinion there are coming to much colors!

First improve the quality of the bricks and color differences, before making new colors!
How exactly are there too many colors? There's only 57 listed here, plus a handful that aren't (309 Metalized Silver, 310 Metalized Gold, 298 Cool Silver Drum Lacquered, 299 Lacquered Gold, etc). Would you care to take a peek at the 2003 color palette (which is also missing a wide assortment of colors used in 2003)? 86 colors on that bad boy. And many of them are from extremely obscure sets or themes.

Color issues will never be fixed completely, because perfect quality control just isn't a possibility (and it wasn't in previous decades, either, so let's not put on the rose-colored glasses just yet). Fixing production issues is a continuous process, and the more TLG expands their production the harder it gets. But saying that TLG should stop making new colors until they have solved all of their quality problems is almost as laughable as saying they should stop making new sets until they've solved their quality problems.

Note also that some of the most recent colors-- 315 Silver Metallic and 316 Titanium Metallic-- were introduced for the specific purpose of solving inconsistency problems. The previous versions of those colors, 131 Silver and 148 Dark Grey Metallic, were around for many years, and TLG tried to adjust them frequently to fix seemingly inescapable inconsistencies. In 2006, they even tried replacing 131 Silver with 296 Cool Silver, which apparently had even worse problems-- it was discontinued in 2007 and 131 Silver was brought back. Now, TLG has finally given us two metallic colors which so far have been extremely consistent, not to mention more attractive than the previous versions (at least, by my own reckoning and the reckoning I've seen from anyone to compare the old and new colors).

Note also that many colors have been discontinued in the past decade to reduce the sprawling color palette. Several transparent colors from the Clikits theme and other girl-oriented sets have been discontinued, and today's color palette has a more conservative sampling of transparent colors. Likewise, in 2003 the number of metallic (pearl) colors was sprawling out of control. There were at least 16 of them. Many of these Bricklink doesn't even recognize, conflating them with more common non-metallic colors (Did you know there was a pearl red? You do now). Today, there are three "pearl" colors, hardly a sign of a cancerous growth in TLG's color palette.

I personally think we should be thankful that the recent colors have mainly been to fill gaps left by previously-discontinued colors. 321, 322, and 323 can be considered replacements for the long-discontinued 107 Bright Bluish Green (BL's Dark Turquoise), 116 Medium Bluish Green (BL's Light Turquoise), and 118 Light Bluish Green (BL's Aqua). 326 can be considered a replacement for 120 Light Yellowish Green (BL's Light Lime). And 324 and 325 fill a role as lavender colors that has never been filled unless you count the short-lived 136 Sand Violet (BL's Sand Purple). Some might argue that in that case TLG should just bring back the old colors, ignoring the fact that they were probably discontinued for a reason. After all, in the event that quality control really was better in previous decades, who's to say that a bunch of parts molded in those colors didn't end up as unused "rejects" due to color inconsistencies? The main colors that have inconsistencies reported these days are the ones TLG has decided firmly on never discontinuing, like Bright Red or Reddish Brown, but that doesn't mean other colors weren't more expensive than the value of producing them.

Take a look at a somewhat artistically-arranged map of the current color palette-- it forms a fairly fluid continuum, and the only possible complaints are that there aren't enough yellowish-orange colors, that there are no bluish-violet or reddish orange colors, or that there are too many earth tones. Of those three arguments, the first and second I've never heard before (bluish-violet colors have not previously been well-loved by LEGO fans, yellowish-orange colors are often ignored, and there have never been many reddish-orange colors to begin with), while the third would have plenty of Castle, Military, Pirates, and... actually, just AFOLs in general, outside your house with torches and pitchforks (although admittedly some of these earth tones are the "flesh" colors, which are not very well-loved). Note that this palette includes some metallic colors that are absent from the official one released by TLG, and yet the range of metallic colors is still sparse compared to 2003's palette.

Eh, rambling done. I doubt I've convinced anyone, but I just figured I'd share my perspective.

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#39 Lego Otaku

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 04:44 AM

I remember back (classic Space era) when you could count the number of unique color with just 2 hands: black, old grey, white, trans-clear, red, yellow, green, blue, trans-red, trans-yellow, and trans-green.  Ok that's 11 but that's 5 or 6 more than what used to be when I was born.  

They may say variety is the spice of life, but too much can overwhelm some of us. Do we need 6 or 7 different shades of one color? Not to mention variation in color, I have a pile of dark red bricks that shows about 20 minor variations of the same color.

But I'd like LEGO to work on ending minor variation of color shades, and also deal with some brick's tendency to crack for no reason.  There's a thread somewhere that has this issue covered, such as someone's white cheese slope cracking in just a few months without getting played with or getting exposed to sun.

#40 davee123

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 04:57 AM

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 03:17 AM, said:

How exactly are there too many colors?

I believe the sentiment is that there isn't a need for additional colors, and that existing or out-of-production colors ought to suffice rather than new ones.  I'm in more-or-less agreement if that's what was intended.

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 03:17 AM, said:

perfect quality control just isn't a possibility (and it wasn't in previous decades, either, so let's not put on the rose-colored glasses just yet).

To what previous imperfections are you referring? Prior to 2003, the only color discrepancies of which I'm aware was the switch to ABS plastic from CA, and a few batches of light gray for small elements like 1x1 plates with vertical clips. As an active member of the hobbyist community since 1999, I have to say that I never saw color discrepancies come into question from fans until (I believe) 2004. As I recall, the 2004 Harry Potter Knight Bus had color problems (and was bemoaned by fans), and people also found the new dark gray to be variable (in addition to hating the color change).

Other issues were brought up in that time frame regarding element quality, but they were few and far between. The only ones I recall being:

- Color fastness (mostly sun fading)
- Tolerances (minor inconsistencies being of lower quality in more recent parts)
- Plastic rigidity (newer elements being "squishier")

If there were other complaints, I don't remember seeing them-- at least as far as element quality goes (there were others regarding juniorization, set design, customer service, packaging, and other things).

Anyway, I believe it's within LEGO's power to produce high-quality color consistent parts. My guess is, however, that it's been deemed to expensive to do that, so LEGO has accepted lower quality in the color process.

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 03:17 AM, said:

saying that TLG should stop making new colors until they have solved all of their quality problems is almost as laughable as saying they should stop making new sets until they've solved their quality problems.

I agree that producing new colors isn't making anything worse, and it's not more expensive. But if what you say below is true, then it's not as laughable as you suggest.

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 03:17 AM, said:

Note also that some of the most recent colors-- 315 Silver Metallic and 316 Titanium Metallic-- were introduced for the specific purpose of solving inconsistency problems.

I wasn't aware that they were introduced to solve color inconsistency issues-- but if that's true, then I agree even moreso with the original complaint. IE, try to stop introducing "intermediary" colors that are sub-par only to get rid of them in a few years with a different solution.

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 03:17 AM, said:

Note also that many colors have been discontinued in the past decade to reduce the sprawling color palette.

There it sounds like you're agreeing with the sentiment of the poster, which I fully agree with as well.

Ultimately, from a hobbyist perspective, we're in it for the long haul. I want the elements I buy today to be of the same tried-and-true palette that was active 10 years ago, and will be active 10 years from now. I find the constant revision of the palette disconcerting, although thankfully its changes (apart from 2004) have been to lesser-used colors.

DaveE

Edited by davee123, 29 May 2011 - 04:59 AM.


#41 Jasper Joppe Geers

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 10:56 AM

To me, the color changes and issues have never been much of a problem,
although i noticed the sometimes huge differences as well, like many
of you. Remember the Green Grocer? Remember the old dark red bricks
from the 1st star wars era? Those were the bricks with that "chinese'
look so to speak. I'm not a fan of those, but soon learned how to use
those as well. The use of old and new dark red in tiled floor eg can be
highly useful!

I just think of it as an extra challenge. Play with it, have fun with it.

Cheers!

JJ

#42 Aanchir

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 02:50 PM

View Postdavee123, on 29 May 2011 - 04:57 AM, said:

I believe the sentiment is that there isn't a need for additional colors, and that existing or out-of-production colors ought to suffice rather than new ones.  I'm in more-or-less agreement if that's what was intended.

Well, see, that's part of what I take issue with, since generally out-of-production colors were taken out of production for a reason. True, some, like the Clikits colors, were probably just removed for being superfluous. However, others, like 131 Silver, had problems that TLG tried for years to deal with to no avail.

Quote

To what previous imperfections are you referring? Prior to 2003, the only color discrepancies of which I'm aware was the switch to ABS plastic from CA, and a few batches of light gray for small elements like 1x1 plates with vertical clips. As an active member of the hobbyist community since 1999, I have to say that I never saw color discrepancies come into question from fans until (I believe) 2004. As I recall, the 2004 Harry Potter Knight Bus had color problems (and was bemoaned by fans), and people also found the new dark gray to be variable (in addition to hating the color change).

There's an annoying country song that plays on the radio occasionally over here It's first verse is "We were born to mothers who smoked and drank/Our cribs were covered with led based paint/No childproof lids, no seatbelts in cars/Rode bikes with no helmets and still here we are". I brought up to my mom how obnoxious this song's message was, and she summed the problem up fairly well: "The people who aren't here to tell about it aren't here to tell about it." In general, just because you don't observe problems doesn't mean they don't exist.

Frankly, imperfections are an inherent part of mass production. And I merely said imperfections existed before-- I'm not trying to claim that they were as bad or as frequent as those that occurred in 2004 and later after the switch in how colored parts were produced (and in fact, as I said, it becomes more difficult to ensure product quality the more TLG expands their production). I have indeed seen color inconsistencies in parts from the 70s and 80s-- it's not clear whether these are just because the colors didn't age well or because the colors were originally inconsistent, but either situation is a quality problem.

Quote

Other issues were brought up in that time frame regarding element quality, but they were few and far between. The only ones I recall being:

- Color fastness (mostly sun fading)
- Tolerances (minor inconsistencies being of lower quality in more recent parts)
- Plastic rigidity (newer elements being "squishier")

If there were other complaints, I don't remember seeing them-- at least as far as element quality goes (there were others regarding juniorization, set design, customer service, packaging, and other things).

You're referring to the 2000s time frame? I don't quite remember these issues, but then again I was not a part of the AFOL community until fairly recently, and the only issues I knew of for a long time were those that spilled over into the BIONICLE community like the whole bley controversy, a serious issue with breaking joints in 2007, and the switching of many Technic parts to more vibrant colors like red and blue rather than black and grey. And aside from the breaking joints issue, none of these were quality issues. I would speculate that this might be because many BIONICLE parts were mechanically-complex to mold and were thus molded in Billund, which is the most established place of production for LEGO parts and probably has the most well-established quality control to match. But that's just speculation.

Quote

Anyway, I believe it's within LEGO's power to produce high-quality color consistent parts. My guess is, however, that it's been deemed to expensive to do that, so LEGO has accepted lower quality in the color process.

This is something I think needs to be considered more seriously by some people. Why is it more expensive to get more color consistency? The way I see it, the most likely reason is that it's cheaper to put slightly-inconsistent part in boxes than to throw them out (after all, in issues regarding color you can't exactly recast the plastic and expect to come out with a better-colored part).

An additional factor is of course the switch in 2004 to adding colored dye during the production process rather than using pre-colored plastic granulate. This served a number of purposes, like keeping more of the production process in-house, but one of its main functions was as a streamlining and cost-cutting measure, and most of the biggest color issues seem to have been consequences of this process. LEGO could potentially return to pre-2004 levels of quality by reversing this change, but frankly all of their machines are now geared to work with this newer process, so it would be extremely expensive and there's no guarantee that it would even solve the problem.

Quote

I agree that producing new colors isn't making anything worse, and it's not more expensive. But if what you say below is true, then it's not as laughable as you suggest.

I wasn't aware that they were introduced to solve color inconsistency issues-- but if that's true, then I agree even moreso with the original complaint. IE, try to stop introducing "intermediary" colors that are sub-par only to get rid of them in a few years with a different solution.

So what would the alternative be? Discontinue inconsistent colors without replacing them at all? Continuing to use colors that are known to be inconsistent while you continue to test potential replacements (noting, of course, that experimental test runs will not be a completely reliable predictor of full-scale mass production)? These "intermediary" colors (I'm assuming you're talking about 296 Cool Silver) aren't anticipated to have similar or worse problems than the originals.

Quote

There it sounds like you're agreeing with the sentiment of the poster, which I fully agree with as well.

Ultimately, from a hobbyist perspective, we're in it for the long haul. I want the elements I buy today to be of the same tried-and-true palette that was active 10 years ago, and will be active 10 years from now. I find the constant revision of the palette disconcerting, although thankfully its changes (apart from 2004) have been to lesser-used colors.

DaveE
I'm not agreeing with that poster at all about this. I'm glad that many colors from 2001, as well as earlier and later years, have been discontinued. Consider the color 157 Transparent Fluorescent Yellow-- Bricklink's Trans-Neon Yellow. It was only used in BIONICLE sets to my knowledge, and is basically just the same as 44 Transparent Yellow except that it fluoresces under a blacklight. I'm sure many LEGO fans and BIONICLE fans don't even recognize that there's a difference between the two colors.

Likewise, there's 158 Transparent Fluorescent Red. Used in BIONICLE sets between 2001 and 2002, it's similar to Transparent Fluorescent Yellow except the color it visually resembles is 113 Transparent Medium Reddish Violet (Trans-Dark Pink)-- so much that Bricklink doesn't recognize them as different colors.

Then there's the various pearl colors I've mentioned: specifically, 149 Metallic Black, 183 Metallic White, 184 Metallic Bright Red, 185 Metallic Bright Blue, 186 Metallic Dark Green, 187 Metallic Earth Orange. These are pearl versions of Bricklink's Black, White, Red, Blue, Green, and Brown, respectively, and were hardly used in any sets besides the 2003 Rahkshi sets. Bricklink recognizes only one of these colors; the others are conflated with the non-pearl versions.

And there are other colors that even I don't know what they were used for-- 108 Earth Yellow (similar to 25 Earth Orange, BL's Brown), 123 Bright Reddish Orange (notable for being the only reddish-orange color I know of), 4 Brick Red, and others I don't even know the names of. Should all of these still be on the color palette?

I won't claim that these colors weren't interesting. I'm certainly a fan of many of them. But were they necessary? That's a trickier question. And there's many colors just like them that were scarcely ever produced, and which I'm sure nobody ever shed a tear for. Few people even knew they existed. In comparison, today's colors are in general produced in multiple themes, for multiple purposes (excluding the newest six, which haven't shown up in much yet at all). And I haven't even brought up how much I prefer the "bley" and reddish-brown colors to their duller predecessors. Think of it this way: if red LEGO bricks had originally looked like red Mega Bloks bricks from the early 90s, would you have preferred purer, more vibrant colors? On that note, that's how some of the bricks I've seen from before the switch to ABS did look-- so was this change a bad thing? That's basically how I feel about the original greys and brown-- they may have their merits, but compared to other LEGO colors they were fairly ugly and by 2004 it was more than time for a change.

In general, a lot of things about the color palette are very subjective, but I don't feel that we can look at today's color palette and complain that "it used to be so much better". Perhaps some AFOLs do prefer the old palette with just a few colors (ignoring, of course, that there were generally far more colors even in the 70s and 80s and they simply weren't used most of the time in System-- does Fabuland Brown ring any bells?) This "constant revision of the palette", as far as removing old colors is concerned, began in 2004 when TLG realized there were just too many colors. But adding new colors is a process that's been taking place for decades, and I don't see the logic in complaining about TLG continuing doing what they've pretty much always done.

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#43 davee123

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 04:59 PM

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 02:50 PM, said:

I'm not trying to claim that they were as bad or as frequent as those that occurred in 2004 and later

Honestly, I took particular issue with you saying "let's not put on the rose-colored glasses just yet", which is precisely what's implied by the statement (IE that problems WERE as bad or WERE as frequent), in contrast to what you just said above.

I believe we're perfectly justified in believing that color consistency was pretty freaking high quality up until 2004-- IE, those AREN'T rose-colored glasses. We're seeing the past just fine, thank-you-very-much. If you aren't aware of any more explicit examples than the ones I listed, and you weren't really into the hobby at the time, I don't think it's fair of you to characterize other hobbyists' viewpoints of that timeframe as "rose-colored glasses".

For the record, the only color issues I remember being discussed from 1999-2003 (and in all the history I've read from 1993-1998 on ATL and RTL) were:

- Color fastness (sun fading), which was not really held against LEGO, since care could be taken in order to avoid it.

- Color anomalies in gray (I believe there were 2 instances) from back in the 1980's, which had been fixed in "present day" as it were. It was more like "wow, I found this not-quite-normal gray clip! what's the deal with that?" To my recollection, they ONLY appeared in one or two particular elements from one or two particular years of production, and did NOT affect any parts in current production.

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 02:50 PM, said:

An additional factor is of course the switch in 2004 to adding colored dye during the production process rather than using pre-colored plastic granulate.

As I recall, that happened in 2006, not 2004, after Jorgen took over as CEO. But there have been scant few details regarding the process and switchover from LEGO. LEGO still claims in much of their public media that they use pre-colored granulate, even though they've admitted to fans that this was explicitly done in 2006 with the 2007 set assortment, and was at fault for some of the inconsistency seen in 2007. Are you suggesting that it was started in 2004?

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 02:50 PM, said:

LEGO could potentially return to pre-2004 levels of quality by reversing this change, but frankly all of their machines are now geared to work with this newer process, so it would be extremely expensive and there's no guarantee that it would even solve the problem.

Precisely. It's expensive. LEGO changed the process to save money-- but now that they're rolling in dough, you don't see them talking about returning to their previous quality levels. It says something about the character of the company that's changed. As for whether or not it would "guarantee" solving the problem, I think it would be guaranteed to solve the problems that I'm most annoyed with. (That is, if all their facilities used the exact same style of pre-colored granulate, implying also that the Chinese-production facilities ALSO used the SAME plastic).

But yes, I think other color discrepancies existed (like new-dark-gray, purple, and dark green) with the old molding technique, and obviously needed perfection in 2004/2005. I don't know the particulars of why those colors behaved strangely, but I suspect it's due to the particular dyes used those elements, and more testing was necessary to find something that worked better-- they (again, just guessing) just didn't keep at it because it cost too much money and possibly threatened their release schedule.

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 02:50 PM, said:

So what would the alternative be? Discontinue inconsistent colors without replacing them at all? Continuing to use colors that are known to be inconsistent while you continue to test potential replacements (noting, of course, that experimental test runs will not be a completely reliable predictor of full-scale mass production)?

Why wouldn't the experimental runs replicate mass production? If they're not good indicators, what would be the point of such tests? Are you suggesting that color inconsistencies didn't show up in initial tests, and that tests were made to sufficient parts to verify?

As for the alternative, my vote would be for not using colors that aren't shown to work. What was wrong with the metallic silver used in, say, 8417, BTW? (I'm not sure of LEGO's ID for that color/material)

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 02:50 PM, said:

I'm not agreeing with that poster at all about this. I'm glad that many colors from 2001, as well as earlier and later years, have been discontinued.
... [list of useless colors omitted] ...
Should all of these still be on the color palette?

I don't have a clear picture from you and the original poster, but my opinion would be that these wacky colors should never have been called into existence in the first place!  That is, just like the new colors that are showing up in the 2011 palette (which the post was objecting to), aren't these mostly extraneous?

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 02:50 PM, said:

And I haven't even brought up how much I prefer the "bley" and reddish-brown colors to their duller predecessors.

That part I agree with you on-- the old colors looked muddy and ugly. If I could wave a magic wand and *poof*, turn all my old grays and old browns into new grays and new browns, I'd do it. (Actually, dark gray I'm 50/50 on-- the new one's too blue, the old one's too brown)

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 02:50 PM, said:

but compared to other LEGO colors they were fairly ugly and by 2004 it was more than time for a change.

Darn. You had me, and then you lost me at "time for a change". Again, as a hobbyist, I'm in it for the long term. I do NOT WANT COLORS TO CHANGE. I'll say it again: I want the colors that I bought 10 years ago to be the same colors that I buy 10 years in the future. I don't believe in "it's time for a change" when it comes to colors.

View PostAanchir, on 29 May 2011 - 02:50 PM, said:

I don't feel that we can look at today's color palette and complain that "it used to be so much better".

I don't think anyone's said in this thread that the particular palettes used way-back-when were better than the current palette. There might be a few people out there that liked the limited palette from the 1980's because of its simplicity-- but by and large, I think people LIKE having a variety of colors like lime and tan and dark blue. But seeing those fringe colors appear only to disappear a short while later is what annoys me.

DaveE

#44 Aanchir

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 09:35 PM

View Postdavee123, on 29 May 2011 - 04:59 PM, said:

Honestly, I took particular issue with you saying "let's not put on the rose-colored glasses just yet", which is precisely what's implied by the statement (IE that problems WERE as bad or WERE as frequent), in contrast to what you just said above.

I believe we're perfectly justified in believing that color consistency was pretty freaking high quality up until 2004-- IE, those AREN'T rose-colored glasses. We're seeing the past just fine, thank-you-very-much. If you aren't aware of any more explicit examples than the ones I listed, and you weren't really into the hobby at the time, I don't think it's fair of you to characterize other hobbyists' viewpoints of that timeframe as "rose-colored glasses".
"Rose-colored glasses" means seeing the past as better than it was, not seeing the past as better than the present. Those years weren't as bad with color inconsistencies as today, but they weren't perfect either, and that's what I was trying to establish in that sentence. I had no intention of trying to claim everything has always been just as bad as it is today. Rather, I was trying to make it clear that things weren't necessarily as good as they are often remembered. Flukes in the quality of mass-produced items are a perennial issue, even if they can be brought down to far more reasonable levels.

Quote

For the record, the only color issues I remember being discussed from 1999-2003 (and in all the history I've read from 1993-1998 on ATL and RTL) were:

- Color fastness (sun fading), which was not really held against LEGO, since care could be taken in order to avoid it.

- Color anomalies in gray (I believe there were 2 instances) from back in the 1980's, which had been fixed in "present day" as it were. It was more like "wow, I found this not-quite-normal gray clip! what's the deal with that?" To my recollection, they ONLY appeared in one or two particular elements from one or two particular years of production, and did NOT affect any parts in current production.

Good information. I'll try not to go throwing it around, because I'll probably end up forgetting details and distorting the story like I did with what you were replying to below.

Quote

As I recall, that happened in 2006, not 2004, after Jorgen took over as CEO. But there have been scant few details regarding the process and switchover from LEGO. LEGO still claims in much of their public media that they use pre-colored granulate, even though they've admitted to fans that this was explicitly done in 2006 with the 2007 set assortment, and was at fault for some of the inconsistency seen in 2007. Are you suggesting that it was started in 2004?

I thought I had heard that it was a 2004 change, but I must be confusing dates in my head. My mistake.

In any event, I don't really have any confidence in TLG being perfectly honest about old shames. After all, TLG-endorsed media almost never mentions Kiddicraft bricks and the role they had in paving the way to LEGO bricks.

Quote

Precisely. It's expensive. LEGO changed the process to save money-- but now that they're rolling in dough, you don't see them talking about returning to their previous quality levels. It says something about the character of the company that's changed. As for whether or not it would "guarantee" solving the problem, I think it would be guaranteed to solve the problems that I'm most annoyed with. (That is, if all their facilities used the exact same style of pre-colored granulate, implying also that the Chinese-production facilities ALSO used the SAME plastic).

"Rolling in dough?" That seems to me like an exaggeration. The toy industry is still a struggling market, and just because TLG can still turn a profit doesn't mean they aren't at any risk. Furthermore, going backwards doesn't seem to me to be the solution-- it would just be putting them at risk again if they hit another slump. I'd be more happy if TLG worked to improve on their current process so that it doesn't have as many problems as it currently does.

And the reason China can't use the same plastic would apply whether TLG was using pre-colored granulate or not. The Chinese plastic issue arose because Chinese manufacturing law requires a certain amount of the materials for manufacturing to be domestic. So even if they were using pre-colored granulate there, they'd still have to be getting it from a totally different supplier.

Quote

But yes, I think other color discrepancies existed (like new-dark-gray, purple, and dark green) with the old molding technique, and obviously needed perfection in 2004/2005. I don't know the particulars of why those colors behaved strangely, but I suspect it's due to the particular dyes used those elements, and more testing was necessary to find something that worked better-- they (again, just guessing) just didn't keep at it because it cost too much money and possibly threatened their release schedule.

I do want to point out that some of my worst color inconsistencies in a set were from a set I got in 2005 (specifically, this one, originally released in 2004). This set uses mostly basic colors, and yet color inconsistencies were extremely obvious. This is part of the reason why I tend to think of 2004 as the start of serious color inconsistencies, although if that wasn't the time the coloring process changed then perhaps there's some other change that we don't know about-- perhaps one involving the supplier of the pre-colored granulate.

I happen to have an unopened copy of this set back home, so someday I may tear it open and get some solid evidence of whether this was a widespread issue or just a one-off occurrence.

Quote

Why wouldn't the experimental runs replicate mass production? If they're not good indicators, what would be the point of such tests? Are you suggesting that color inconsistencies didn't show up in initial tests, and that tests were made to sufficient parts to verify?

That's part of what I'm suggesting, yes. A full production run will be far larger than a test run. Test runs are not perfect indicators of the eventual product's quality, but they're basically the best indicators available.

However, I'm not suggesting that test runs didn't show any quality problems. Rather, I'm suggesting that they might have had misleading results suggesting the quality problems would be on a smaller scale.

Quote

As for the alternative, my vote would be for not using colors that aren't shown to work. What was wrong with the metallic silver used in, say, 8417, BTW? (I'm not sure of LEGO's ID for that color/material)

To be honest, I'm not too familiar with that set. What type of "metallic" color is it? If it's not a "pearl" color, then it's probably lacquered and doesn't even play into this conversation. Sorry if I was confusing-- "metallic" tends to be LEGO's term for what Bricklink calls "Pearl", which means there's no limit to the amount of confusion that comes up when discussing the various types of metallic colors.

Quote

I don't have a clear picture from you and the original poster, but my opinion would be that these wacky colors should never have been called into existence in the first place!  That is, just like the new colors that are showing up in the 2011 palette (which the post was objecting to), aren't these mostly extraneous?

They could be considered extraneous, yes. My point, though, was not that adding colors willy-nilly is a good thing, but that it isn't a new thing. TLG had much worse problems with this back in the 90s and early 2000s, and I think their current efforts at keeping the palette smaller and more manageable are admirable.

Quote

That part I agree with you on-- the old colors looked muddy and ugly. If I could wave a magic wand and *poof*, turn all my old grays and old browns into new grays and new browns, I'd do it. (Actually, dark gray I'm 50/50 on-- the new one's too blue, the old one's too brown)

Glad to see something we agree on.

Quote

Darn. You had me, and then you lost me at "time for a change". Again, as a hobbyist, I'm in it for the long term. I do NOT WANT COLORS TO CHANGE. I'll say it again: I want the colors that I bought 10 years ago to be the same colors that I buy 10 years in the future. I don't believe in "it's time for a change" when it comes to colors.

Fair enough. Just a matter of different attitudes, and now we've each shared our own. :classic:

Quote

I don't think anyone's said in this thread that the particular palettes used way-back-when were better than the current palette. There might be a few people out there that liked the limited palette from the 1980's because of its simplicity-- but by and large, I think people LIKE having a variety of colors like lime and tan and dark blue. But seeing those fringe colors appear only to disappear a short while later is what annoys me.

DaveE
Perhaps I just haven't been around long enough to become jaded by the whole thing. I was a KFOL back when the color palette was at its largest, so I didn't accumulate a huge collection of the more obscure colors. Those which I had I pretty much never used anyway because they were so obscure and I had so few of them. I've also never been much of a MOCist, so that also might play into it. And of course, seeing as new colors being introduced and old colors being discontinued was something I grew up with, the trend might never affect me quite the same way it does for veteran AFOLs.

My collection of parts in rarer colors has always been limited-- never did I have enough Sand Red to really care when TLG stopped making that, because I didn't expect to have a big collection of that color anyway. Nowadays, of course, TLG uses their newest colors a lot more widely than they did with so many "one-off" colors, so if a color like Medium Nougat or Dark Brown ends up discontinued I could genuinely have reason to be upset. But in case you hadn't gathered, I'm terminally optimistic. :tongue: So until a big disappointment comes around, I'm probably going to remain fairly happy with TLG for taking their color palette seriously and actually using the new colors they introduce.

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#45 k_r_brown

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 06:18 AM

can anyone tell me what the bricklink colour for the cars 2 blue car that comes with escape at sea set?

#46 Aanchir

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 05:11 PM

View Postk_r_brown, on 30 May 2011 - 06:18 AM, said:

can anyone tell me what the bricklink colour for the cars 2 blue car that comes with escape at sea set?
Which one? If you're talking about the color of Finn McMissile, I'm pretty sure he's just Medium Blue (the official name is the same as the Bricklink name). The bluish-green color used for Professor Z is 323 Aqua, which Bricklink calls Light Aqua.

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#47 CP5670

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 05:23 AM

There were some color issues in the 80s with red and blue, but they were limited to some specific parts (large-sized plates and 1x1 clip plates come to mind). On the other hand, the colors were very consistent and high quality in the 90s, especially in the second half of the decade. The stuff we get today is a far cry from what we had during that period.

As for the timing of the ABS change, the color opacity problem became very widespread in late 2006, affecting a number of different colors, but I think they did it with yellow quite some time earlier. It became widespread in yellow bricks dating back to at least 2004.

#48 jonwil

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 07:16 AM

Does anyone know of any good RGB or CMYK color values I can use in my paint program when printing stickers so that the stickers can be made to match the real bricks (or as close as I can get).

Interested in 01 White, 21 Bright Red, 22 Bright Blue, 24 Bright Yellow, 26 Black, 28 Dark Green, 119 Bright Yellowish Green, 140 Earth Blue, 194 Medium Stone Grey and 199 Dark Stone Grey.

#49 Aanchir

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 12:39 PM

View Postjonwil, on 31 May 2011 - 07:16 AM, said:

Does anyone know of any good RGB or CMYK color values I can use in my paint program when printing stickers so that the stickers can be made to match the real bricks (or as close as I can get).

Interested in 01 White, 21 Bright Red, 22 Bright Blue, 24 Bright Yellow, 26 Black, 28 Dark Green, 119 Bright Yellowish Green, 140 Earth Blue, 194 Medium Stone Grey and 199 Dark Stone Grey.
I've heard from some people that the color values on Peeron's color list are pretty reliable for stickers, but I believe I've heard others say that these colors aren't sufficient (and many more recent colors like Light Nougat and Medium Nougat are missing those details). I've never actually made and tested my own stickers, so repeating what I've heard from others is all I can offer, and I can't vouch for the veracity fo what I've heard.

Edited by Aanchir, 31 May 2011 - 12:39 PM.

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#50 Superkalle

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 07:59 AM

I had an opportunity to visit the brick production factory in Billund a few years back, and regarding colors I remember two comments from the guide:

"The fact that we are not using pre-colored granulates enables us to quickly switch colors in the machines."

"Yes, I know we have problems with color matching at times, and we are working hard on it, but it has also to do with the fact that we don't want to be dependant one supplier of granulates/dies, so we can keep our hands open for finding the best price at all times."

So I guess it's much an issues of production techniques and business (my conclusions):
- They want to be able to quickly switch colors (less manual labor, shorter lead times, smaller batches) etc.
- They can use one un-died granulate which they can then buy in bigger quantities
- They switch between suppliers from time to time to get the best price
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