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How do the quality of Star Wars sets compare to other licensed themes?


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#1 Fallenangel

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 11:35 PM

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I find myself looking at licensed themes like Cars 2 and Toy Story and thinking that some of them are too juniorized or use too many BUPs or whatever in comparison to Star Wars sets, and occasionally even making fun of them. In some themes such as Spongebob or Toy Story the deviation from the classic minifigure feels more excessive than it needs to be. Surely this cannot be the case. Please share your thoughts on this...

I realize that this sounds rather elitist, so I ask that you keep this in mind: I am not intentionally trying to bash other licensed themes. Rather, I am attempting to explore the reasons for why I perceive a difference in quality and how others feel about this. I will admit now that I do not follow other themes as closely as I have followed Star Wars, so it's more 'why do I think these sets don't match up to Star Wars sets and how am I justified or not justified in feeling this way?' than anything else.

EDIT: Could someone please fix the title so that it's grammatically correct? I can't get it to sound right.

#2 The Legonater

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 11:48 PM

Personally I think it's because of the audience. A lot of the licensed themes out there are often seen as 'kid's shows', and thus TLG spends less time consontrating on detail. SW, on the other hand, has a very clear and obvious adult following, and thus TLG tries harder to pelase them.
I think it also has something to do with LucasFilms. It's a well-known fact that TLG has to clear sets with them, and it's possible they too demand a higher range of detail than say- Disney or Nickledon.

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#3 StoutFiles

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 12:13 AM

I would think City/Pirate collectors look at Star Wars sets and feel the same way.  Overpriced piece count and usually boring builds(most ships have 2x builds).  

TS3 and Cars are for a younger audience; so easier builds and more accurate minifigs since they'll be the focus of the set.

#4 Brickdoctor

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 12:19 AM

View PostStoutFiles, on 23 August 2011 - 12:13 AM, said:

TS3 and Cars are for a younger audience; so easier builds and more accurate minifigs since they'll be the focus of the set.
Agreed. Once again, two key words come into play: Target Audience.

Besides, if you take all LEGO themes into account, anyone who's a Modular or D2C fan can say the same to the majority of all sets.

#5 Clone OPatra

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 12:22 AM

I think you've just inadvertently selected the wrong licensed themes to base your opinion on.  Because of their source material, Cars, Toy Story and to some extent SpongeBob have some weirder types of pieces.  I don't see many juniorized pieces in SpongeBob myself though.  The minifigures make use of different moulds for heads, but that's no different than Ewoks, Watto, Jar-Jar, in fact, many many alien races in Star Wars.

All of the other themes besides for the ones you've mentioned, though, are absolutely on the same level as SW.  Indiana Jones, Prince of Persia, the recent Harry Potter, and even Batman all had terrific designs with only the occasional large piece for a cockpit or something, no different from Star Wars.

Perhaps these themes are hard to compare because they are either not vehicle based or do not have sci-fi vehicles, but they absolutely have the same quality as Star Wars, if not better in some cases.
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#6 sharky

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 02:10 PM

View PostClone O, on 23 August 2011 - 12:22 AM, said:

I think you've just inadvertently selected the wrong licensed themes to base your opinion on.  Because of their source material, Cars, Toy Story and to some extent SpongeBob have some weirder types of pieces.  I don't see many juniorized pieces in SpongeBob myself though.  The minifigures make use of different moulds for heads, but that's no different than Ewoks, Watto, Jar-Jar, in fact, many many alien races in Star Wars.

All of the other themes besides for the ones you've mentioned, though, are absolutely on the same level as SW.  Indiana Jones, Prince of Persia, the recent Harry Potter, and even Batman all had terrific designs with only the occasional large piece for a cockpit or something, no different from Star Wars.

Perhaps these themes are hard to compare because they are either not vehicle based or do not have sci-fi vehicles, but they absolutely have the same quality as Star Wars, if not better in some cases.
Totally agree.  Also, one should keep in mind Star Wars has had a lot more sets and a lot of updates over the years above and beyond any other licensed theme.  Other licensed sets don't seem to have or had as long a run as Star Wars.  Harry Potter is the only license that comes to mind that has started to see good updates.  However, I'm no Lego historian.  I am just going off of what I perceive having been a casual collector for a while and only started collecting a lot more since last year.

#7 Brickdoctor

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 05:15 PM

View Postsharky, on 24 August 2011 - 02:10 PM, said:

Totally agree.  Also, one should keep in mind Star Wars has had a lot more sets and a lot of updates over the years above and beyond any other licensed theme.  Other licensed sets don't seem to have or had as long a run as Star Wars.  Harry Potter is the only license that comes to mind that has started to see good updates.  However, I'm no Lego historian.  I am just going off of what I perceive having been a casual collector for a while and only started collecting a lot more since last year.
Depending on how 2012 turns out, Batman and Spiderman could return with sets of the same caliber as Star Wars. Don't forget that Batman got as far as getting one UCS set last time.

#8 mutley777

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 05:52 PM

I am in total agreement with Clone O'Patra also. The themes you mention are all aimed a very young age group. The Indiana Jones, Prince of Persia and Harry Potter have all been of the same standard of the Star Wars sets in the same release times. The old Batman and Spiderman sets were very good also with some great set designs. The Star wars sets do seem to have pushed forward with the whole lego line. You only have to look at the 2000 Slave 1 and last years to see just how far things have come in 10 years.

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#9 The_Chosen_1

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 09:32 PM

I love looking at comparison pictures like that, it's amazing how far Lego SW has come in such a relatively short amount of time.  

The thing is, I can't really picture Lego SW looking any better 10 years from now. You get to a point where going any more lifelike would risk losing that unique "Lego-like" quality.
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#10 Fallenangel

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 12:17 AM

I don't think the age group argument is valid (aren't they all aimed at kids?) but the consensus here appears to be that sets in other licenses are very much on the same level as Star Wars sets.

View PostThe_Chosen_1, on 24 August 2011 - 09:32 PM, said:

The thing is, I can't really picture Lego SW looking any better 10 years from now. You get to a point where going any more lifelike would risk losing that unique "Lego-like" quality.

They will get better! :grin:

#11 Clone OPatra

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 12:42 AM

View Postfallenangel309, on 25 August 2011 - 12:17 AM, said:

I don't think the age group argument is valid (aren't they all aimed at kids?)
I disagree.  Kids is a very broad description, and some themes are clearly aimed at younger children than others.  Take the recommended age ranges for example.  On a $20 Cars set the recommended age range is 5-12, while the recent Clone Battlepack was ages 6-12, and $25 SW sets are 7-12.  I'm not suggesting one should take too much stock in LEGO's recommended age ranges, but there being a difference at all shows us that LEGO has a slightly different group of kids in mind.
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#12 22kane

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 03:46 AM

View PostThe Legonater, on 22 August 2011 - 11:48 PM, said:

Personally I think it's because of the audience. A lot of the licensed themes out there are often seen as 'kid's shows', and thus TLG spends less time consontrating on detail. SW, on the other hand, has a very clear and obvious adult following, and thus TLG tries harder to pelase them.
I think it also has something to do with LucasFilms. It's a well-known fact that TLG has to clear sets with them, and it's possible they too demand a higher range of detail than say- Disney or Nickledon.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Completely agreed.
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#13 sharky

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 02:05 PM

View PostThe_Chosen_1, on 24 August 2011 - 09:32 PM, said:

I love looking at comparison pictures like that, it's amazing how far Lego SW has come in such a relatively short amount of time.  

The thing is, I can't really picture Lego SW looking any better 10 years from now. You get to a point where going any more lifelike would risk losing that unique "Lego-like" quality.
It's one of the reasons I have been paying more attention to Lego since last year with an emphasis on Star Wars.  :classic:

View Postfallenangel309, on 25 August 2011 - 12:17 AM, said:

I don't think the age group argument is valid (aren't they all aimed at kids?) but the consensus here appears to be that sets in other licenses are very much on the same level as Star Wars sets.



They will get better! :grin:
Is that an early pic of a rumored UCS B-wing?  :wub:

#14 Clone OPatra

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 04:45 PM

View Postsharky, on 25 August 2011 - 02:05 PM, said:

Is that an early pic of a rumored UCS B-wing?  :wub:
No, that's a MOC.
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#15 sharky

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 06:52 PM

View PostClone O, on 25 August 2011 - 04:45 PM, said:

No, that's a MOC.
Thanks for the clarification.  After a 2nd look, I wasn't crazy about the cockpit.

Edited by sharky, 25 August 2011 - 06:53 PM.


#16 Zzz

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 07:45 PM

I think without a few exceptions (10198 Tantive IV, 4483 AT-AT, 7676 LAAT/i) the design, play features and price per piece for SW sets is just bad. Since I think it would be unfair to compare it to licences based on cartoons (as you mentioned Spongebob and Cars), I would like to compare them to Indiana Jones and Prince of Persia. Indy and PoP have better builds, better design, better parts, better minifigs, better price - they're overall just better in a diplomatic comparision. Still, SW has.... spaceships!  :classic: We love those.
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#17 Fallenangel

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 04:13 AM

View PostZzz, on 27 August 2011 - 07:45 PM, said:

Indy and PoP have better builds, better design, better parts, better minifigs, better price - they're overall just better in a diplomatic comparision. Still, SW has.... spaceships!  :classic: We love those.

That's a rather vague answer - would you care to elaborate?

Edited by fallenangel309, 29 August 2011 - 11:51 PM.


#18 Ceroknight

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 06:02 AM

View PostZzz, on 27 August 2011 - 07:45 PM, said:

I think without a few exceptions (10198 Tantive IV, 4483 AT-AT, 7676 LAAT/i) the design, play features and price per piece for SW sets is just bad. Since I think it would be unfair to compare it to licences based on cartoons (as you mentioned Spongebob and Cars), I would like to compare them to Indiana Jones and Prince of Persia. Indy and PoP have better builds, better design, better parts, better minifigs, better price - they're overall just better in a diplomatic comparision. Still, SW has.... spaceships!  :classic: We love those.
I beg to differ.
I think comparing POP, IJ, and HP has the same result as comparing Starwars with the Cartoon themes: it is unfair.
POP, IJ, POTC and HP are all playset based themes, with very few exceptions.
Starwars on the other hand is a vehicle based theme with a few playsets.
So if we compare a playset of each theme:
POP:Battle of Alamut
IJ:Temple of the Crystal Skull
POTC:White Cap Bay
HP:Hogwarts Castle
SW:The Battle of Endor
I say Starwars makes better playsets then some of the others. And their vehicles are much more thought-out I think.
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#19 Brickdoctor

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 06:14 AM

I don't think it's fair to judge those playsets with 8038. 8038 is simply at a much higher level. If you compare those playsets to, say, 7879, then the other theme's sets are around the same level or better.

#20 Zzz

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 12:12 PM

Oh yeah, 8038 - I forgot that in my small list  :classic: ! Wonderful set, one of my favorites.. Yeah, I would count it under the examples of high quality SW sets. The average SW set doesn't deliver that much for the money. Take those (around) 40€ sets: Mace Windus Fighter, Swampspeeder, Geonosian Fighter, Battle for Geonosis and compare it to Venice Canal Chase or Chase for the Stolen Treasure in the Indy area, or the Fight for the dagger for PoP. I can not elaborate, since this is my own personal opinion and based on my taste, but I get much more value from those latter sets and I feel that TLC puts much more effort in the design and quality of those. They seem finished, complete and ready to go once built. SW sets (especially the smaller and medium ones) lack of content and quality. Bricks, techniques, minifigs, it all seems made in a rush. With the other mentioned licences, I feel like designers really asked themselves how someone would interact with those sets. The builds are just nicer to look at. Still, I can not speak on the same level of HP, Cars and Spongebob. And also, there are SW exceptions. Those are marvelous and win every comparision. I am happy to own those, but for the mass of mediocre sets, I would say that especially Indy just delivers more quality sets. If I owned any of the upper listed SW sets for 40€, excuse me, no offense, but I would feel cheated.
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#21 prateek

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:52 PM

View Postfallenangel309, on 28 August 2011 - 04:13 AM, said:

That's a rather vague answer - would you care to elaborate?
That's not vague at all. From someone that likes all themes, I can say that IJ, PoP, and some POTC sets do have better builds, parts, minifigs, and price, than most SW sets, save a few like 8038. What's vague about that? The reason these sets are better from an AFOL perspective is because SW (mostly CW) is more aimed towards kids, while a lot of the licensed themes are aimed towards the people that watch the movies, which are teenagers and older.

Edited by prateek, 05 September 2011 - 09:54 PM.





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