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LEGO´s anti-war policy: A little hypocrite?


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#1 Paulski

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 01:30 PM

Since I was a kid, I've always wanted military vehicls in LEGO, like tanks battleships, fighter jets etc, and always wondered why LEGO never released such models. Somewhere last year, I've read that LEGO will never release war themed sets, because of an anti-war policy.

Now I can understand and respect such a decision, but when I thought about it, I think it's a little bit hypocrite. There are tons of medieval sets and even viking sets; the "warfare" in that era was very violent and nasty too, maybe even more than modern (mechanized) warfare. I just don't see how swords are less violent than guns.

What are your opinions about this?

#2 AndyC

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 01:40 PM

View PostPaulski, on 18 January 2012 - 01:30 PM, said:

Since I was a kid, I've always wanted military vehicls in LEGO, like tanks battleships, fighter jets etc, and always wondered why LEGO never released such models. Somewhere last year, I've read that LEGO will never release war themed sets, because of an anti-war policy.

That's not quite right, essentially TLG will not produce toys that represent or resemble modern warfare - they don't want kids to see LEGO sets of something which (potentially) killed members of their family. It's been a long time since TLG accepted that 'conflict' based play was something boys were going to do regardless and is why most sets now feature opposing sides (whether actual enemies or things like cops/robbers).
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#3 TLOR FETT

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 02:01 PM

I see both sides of the issue and think its kind of a load of poop to not have it.

The point of "they don't want kids to see LEGO sets of something which (potentially) killed members of their family"

LEGO Revolver, LEGO Rifle....those could have killed someone in a Child's family just as easily as a fatigued member of another Country, not trying to argue with you in particular just pointing this out.

Another note is they have tons of futuristic warfare like The Clone Wars, so it's fine for Anakin to decimate a wave of intelligent and able to speak natives of a planet without a hint of remorse. ) : Ha

#4 Fallenangel

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 02:04 PM

There have been many threads like this one before with all the above arguments put forth. I think I'll go dig some of them up now...

Should LEGO make a Military Theme?
No weaponry and violence in City sets?!
TLG's Written Stance About "Weapons in LEGO"
Lego and modern weaponry
WWII Lego
The guns steve the guns...

etc, etc.

Edited by Fallenangel, 18 January 2012 - 02:17 PM.


#5 Paulski

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 02:50 PM

View PostAndyC, on 18 January 2012 - 01:40 PM, said:

That's not quite right, essentially TLG will not produce toys that represent or resemble modern warfare - they don't want kids to see LEGO sets of something which (potentially) killed members of their family. It's been a long time since TLG accepted that 'conflict' based play was something boys were going to do regardless and is why most sets now feature opposing sides (whether actual enemies or things like cops/robbers).

I still can't really agree with that. Just like TLOR FETT posted, some kids could have lost their parents because of a revolver or rifle. Or they could've lost their parents because they were shot by a robber for example...


View PostFallenangel, on 18 January 2012 - 02:04 PM, said:

There have been many threads like this one before with all the above arguments put forth. I think I'll go dig some of them up now...

Should LEGO make a Military Theme?
No weaponry and violence in City sets?!
TLG's Written Stance About "Weapons in LEGO"
Lego and modern weaponry
WWII Lego
The guns steve the guns...

etc, etc.

I've used the search function with the words "war policy" and only got a bunch of posts containing the word "policy". But thanks, I'll take a look at them later today.

#6 Aanchir

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 03:10 PM

View PostPaulski, on 18 January 2012 - 02:50 PM, said:

I still can't really agree with that. Just like TLOR FETT posted, some kids could have lost their parents because of a revolver or rifle. Or they could've lost their parents because they were shot by a robber for example...
This could be part of the reason why LEGO City cops and criminals never carry firearms...

I think the policy makes a certain amount of sense. Modern warfare is a really touchy subject on a global scale. People have really deep-seated feelings about it whether or not they have been involved either directly or through a family member. While guns in general are anathema to some people, they are not nearly as controversial in a historical or science-fiction setting as real-world weapons are in a modern setting.

And the rule isn't necessarily becoming weaker as time goes on, the way some people think it is. True, TLG has allowed themselves to drift closer to military building over the years, eliminating unwritten rules like the avoidance of gray or green building elements wherever possible, introducing the Star Wars theme which has "Wars" in the title, and creating plenty of 20th-century weapons as well as science-fiction gun elements in place of previous "gun substitutes" like antennas, cameras, and megaphones. But in fact it is only recently that the "unwritten rule" against depictions of modern warfare in sets actually got written out for future reference. So it's clear that TLG has no intention of letting themselves slide down the slippery slope to authentic modern military sets.

It should also be considered that whether or not the rule makes sense relative to some of the other things like medieval or sci-fi weapons in sets, it looks good for a company to be willing to set limits for itself and stand by them. It's a decision that, for a lot of people, shows a great deal of integrity. This is probably a factor in TLG enumerating their policy against modern military content in sets-- the fact that TLG has included more and more sci-fi weapons in sets made people begin to question the company's integrity, and by setting a strictly-defined limit on their own content TLG holds onto its status as a highly-respected and conscientious company. And this gives them an edge over certain competitors that can't make the same promises.

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#7 Peppermint_M

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 03:28 PM

While waiting for Aanichir's post...

The fundamental reason is the devastating effect of modern warfare. The First World War and The Second World War swept across Europe and affected many people, many countries and all cultures involved. There is bomb craters on the hills behind me, there were bombing raids on the city not 30 minutes from my home. These are deep and long lasting scars that TLG respectfully wants nothing to do with. While Viking raiders and battling knights might seem to be hypocritical to produce, their warfare and combat are history from long ago. Archaeological sites and places of historic interest. Not something that a generation alive today still suffer the effects of and can recall. Then as we move closer to our own place and time, we are faced with terrible warfare in countries all over the world with major events occurring at least every decade since WWII ended. Children are still maimed and killed in these conflicts. Families lose loved ones and homes. TLG do not want to be party to that.

As for the gun debates, well I do not want that to come up, but a gun is a tool. It can be used to kill and maim other people but in the context of LEGO sets nothing "real" is to be hurt. Extinct reptiles, Flying Undead and faceless armoured goons. Yes, it is not the most moral argument but psychologically it is disassociated from current conflict and living breathing creatures.

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#8 fyrmedhatt

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 03:34 PM

Lego does not want to make light of modern armed conflicts by providing little kids with toys that simulate them. In my eyes it's an honorable stance that I respect, kids that want to play wars with their Lego can do so, without the Lego Group coming out and essentially endorsing warfare by producing such toys. It's the same with Lego's insistence of not using guns in the City theme, they do not want to promote violence in the themes that are closest to a kids everyday situation (by the way, in many countries in Europe, police officers do not carry guns and gun violence is less common then in the US.)

The position comes form a more European attitude against war, where it's not nearly as romanticized as it is in the US. My experience here in the US is that kids are brought up with the notion of patriotism and that our soldiers protect us and our freedoms through wars. Growing up in Europe, people had a negative attitude towards warfare even if the recognized war as a necessary evil. War has had more of an impact on the civilian population on Europe, where many of the kids have grandparents and great grandparents that actually experienced occupation during WW2, in Germany violence and war is to an extent taboo due their history, and in eastern Europe more recent conflicts come to mind as well. Just look at the movie rating system, where violent movies can get PG-13 ratings in the US and often a 15 or 18 year limit in Europe.

I agree that the lines have been obscured when certain action and licensed themes have items that are very close to modern military equipment, but I steel feel there is quite a gap between a few close to modern weapons included in certain sets and the production of a full military theme with soldiers and military equipment. They have a reasonably clear line where violent themes are either licensed or has some sort of science fiction/ fantasy/ historical feel to them that provides enough disconnect between the theme and modern warfare.

#9 davee123

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 03:41 PM

View PostAanchir, on 18 January 2012 - 03:10 PM, said:

And the rule isn't necessarily becoming weaker as time goes on, the way some people think it is.

I would argue that regardless of whether or not it was a written rule back in 1977, it's become weaker. LEGO's design department used to be much smaller, and they produced a lot fewer lines. Writing down rules when you only have (say) 10 people designing models isn't as necessary as when you've got (say) 50 people spread across multiple offices.

That's why you're seeing other documentation pop up these days, like written rules regarding how to portray minifigs (that one's particularly popular, it seems, since it shows you just how much emphasis you can put on minifig boobs).

The rule really HAS become less strict. And basically, it's not so much (as you point out) that a written policy was altered to be more lenient-- it's that the people making the decisions became so. The same people that decided initially to disallow skeleton minifigs (because they depicted dead minifigs, the horror!) reverted their decision several years later. And that's the way it went with a lot of other decisions as well, like LEGO weapons, LEGO Star Wars and so forth.

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#10 Fred Daniel Yam

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 03:41 PM

To answer your question, TLG is an international brand whose products are in countries all over the world. War leaves psychological and emotional damage in people and seeing it being reproduced in a toy is insulting and can take a toll on the mind. If you really want to have military stuff, make your own, TLG has created a steady flow of "military" items such as guns and the army helmet. You can get them from Ninjago or Toy Story. And about your point of hypocrisy, TLG uses the guns in a context that is "friendly" e.g. Alien Conquest, Pharaoh's Quest, Star Wars etc. TLG themselves have said that they only produce military things for licensed themes such as Star Wars or Indiana Jones. Hope this answers your questions.

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#11 Darth Nihilus

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 05:55 PM

Here's my stance on the matter:

If LEGO makes toys for children, there has to be the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys'. Say, if TLG made WWII sets and set Germany and Japan as the 'bad guys'. Wouldn't people in Germany and Japan be offended by that? If TLG made sets to appeal to the people in those countries, the country that is now set as the 'bad guys', Americans, would be offended. That's why TLG has the 'no war products' policy. :wink:
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#12 Jedi master Brick

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:04 PM

Like Darth Nihilus a do think it is good guys and bad guys.  Also war is bad, it would be as bad as making other modern disaster as sets.  I belive lego is right on the matter and should continue their stance.
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#13 Pingles

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:18 PM

I grew up with 12" GIJoes and made my own Lego tanks when I was a kid.

But I support Lego's decision.

I had a friend a long time ago who graduated from a University with honors and was offered a job with a big Defense manufacturer for tons of dough but turned it down because he didn't want to make a career of making weapons.  Silly?  Misguided?  Maybe.  But I respect that decision.

And I respect Lego's decision, silly or not.
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#14 Nightshroud99

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:33 PM

View PostDarth Nihilus, on 18 January 2012 - 05:55 PM, said:

Here's my stance on the matter:

If LEGO makes toys for children, there has to be the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys'. Say, if TLG made WWII sets and set Germany and Japan as the 'bad guys'. Wouldn't people in Germany and Japan be offended by that? If TLG made sets to appeal to the people in those countries, the country that is now set as the 'bad guys', Americans, would be offended. That's why TLG has the 'no war products' policy. :wink:

Yes indeed that would stir up quite the controversy, more-so than 'Friends'.  :look:

War themes are a bad idea imo.
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#15 Paulski

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:33 PM

View PostVolcanicPanik, on 18 January 2012 - 03:41 PM, said:

To answer your question, TLG is an international brand whose products are in countries all over the world. War leaves psychological and emotional damage in people and seeing it being reproduced in a toy is insulting and can take a toll on the mind. If you really want to have military stuff, make your own, TLG has created a steady flow of "military" items such as guns and the army helmet. You can get them from Ninjago or Toy Story. And about your point of hypocrisy, TLG uses the guns in a context that is "friendly" e.g. Alien Conquest, Pharaoh's Quest, Star Wars etc. TLG themselves have said that they only produce military things for licensed themes such as Star Wars or Indiana Jones. Hope this answers your questions.

Well, I didn't really ask a question, I was more curious if people would agree about the hypocrisy. However, I thought the policy was purely because of the violence of war. I didn't know there was a much deeper reason behind it (as described in numerous post in this thread, including yours).

And yes, I could build my own millitary models, and I already do (or at least try to, lol) in LDD ;) But that wasn't my point.


View PostDarth Nihilus, on 18 January 2012 - 05:55 PM, said:

Here's my stance on the matter:

If LEGO makes toys for children, there has to be the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys'. Say, if TLG made WWII sets and set Germany and Japan as the 'bad guys'. Wouldn't people in Germany and Japan be offended by that? If TLG made sets to appeal to the people in those countries, the country that is now set as the 'bad guys', Americans, would be offended. That's why TLG has the 'no war products' policy. :wink:

Well offcourse it would be a bad idea to use real-world factions, I agree to that, but they wouldn't even need to. They wouldn't even need to make two or more different factions.

Or they could include things like tanks and jets in themes like aLien Conquest (I know there is a jet included in one of the AC sets, but I'm talking about more realistic designs).

#16 Darth Nihilus

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 08:18 PM

View PostPaulski, on 18 January 2012 - 07:33 PM, said:

Well offcourse it would be a bad idea to use real-world factions, I agree to that, but they wouldn't even need to. They wouldn't even need to make two or more different factions.

Or they could include things like tanks and jets in themes like aLien Conquest (I know there is a jet included in one of the AC sets, but I'm talking about more realistic designs).
There really need to be two or more factions in order for the theme to sell well (e.g. Dino hunters with no dinos to hunt wouldn't sell well, neither would alien fighters with no aliens to fight, etc., etc.) I don't think a theme with made-up factions and real-life vehicles would work well either. :wink:

Edited by Darth Nihilus, 18 January 2012 - 08:19 PM.

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#17 turtleman2020

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:05 PM

I agree you cant make real countries fight. However lego should make sets that are minfig scale models of real tanks/planes/any military vehicle then include one minifig with the right decals as the real person would have . They could sell these sets without goodguys and badguys and if u want you could make them fight

#18 Piranha

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 12:48 AM

No they are not.

There is one huge difference every theme that invovles battles is a "Fantasy" war and is not real, even when they made Indy sets with soldiers those were from a movie that wasn't real.

A theme with real life military vehicles involving real situations is against their policy and I agree and support it 100% fully.

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#19 Paulski

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 01:16 AM

View PostMacoco, on 19 January 2012 - 12:48 AM, said:

No they are not.

There is one huge difference every theme that invovles battles is a "Fantasy" war and is not real, even when they made Indy sets with soldiers those were from a movie that wasn't real.

A theme with real life military vehicles involving real situations is against their policy and I agree and support it 100% fully.

Vikings, pirates and knights aren't really fantasy... Except for dragons, wizards etc offcourse.

Besides, I'm not talking about real-world models of vehicles, nor real-life wars.

#20 Piranha

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 01:21 AM

View PostPaulski, on 19 January 2012 - 01:16 AM, said:

Vikings, pirates and knights aren't really fantasy... Except for dragons, wizards etc offcourse.

Besides, I'm not talking about real-world models of vehicles, nor real-life wars.

The way they are portrayed they are. They are romanticized versions. But this has been covered over again before like FA pointed out.

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#21 Omicron

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 02:42 AM

It's not necessarily anti-war as a whole. It is more so modern warfare in general. And for Lego, that is anything from 1900-Present. Give it another 50 years or so and we might just see some World War I sets.

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#22 Peppermint_M

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:36 AM

View PostOmicron, on 19 January 2012 - 02:42 AM, said:

It's not necessarily anti-war as a whole. It is more so modern warfare in general. And for Lego, that is anything from 1900-Present. Give it another 50 years or so and we might just see some World War I sets.

-Omi

So what, in fifty years time we will be eagerly lapping up fuzzy prelim holograms of LEGO WWI: Battle of the Somme  :hmpf_bad:

Paulski, plenty of custom builders make tanks and military hardware. Plenty of equal to LEGO brands make full on military themes (Take a look at OXFORD in Korea or Character's HM Armed Forces).  If you want some so badly, grab a few of the custom instructions and get building. Toy Story, Indiana Jones and Star Wars have provided suitable figure parts.

The original question has been superlatively answered by many different users.

Perhaps someone can come up with a reason why TLG should make real representations of more modern warefare?

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#23 Paulski

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:45 AM

View PostPeppermint_M, on 19 January 2012 - 08:36 AM, said:

So what, in fifty years time we will be eagerly lapping up fuzzy prelim holograms of LEGO WWI: Battle of the Somme  :hmpf_bad:

Paulski, plenty of custom builders make tanks and military hardware. Plenty of equal to LEGO brands make full on military themes (Take a look at OXFORD in Korea or Character's HM Armed Forces).  If you want some so badly, grab a few of the custom instructions and get building. Toy Story, Indiana Jones and Star Wars have provided suitable figure parts.

I know, but that's not the point.


Quote

The original question has been superlatively answered by many different users.

Perhaps someone can come up with a reason why TLG should make real representations of more modern warefare?

I'm nt saying TLG SHOULD release military sets, I just thought it was a "little bit" hypocrite. However, like I said in a earlier post, I thought it was because of the violence. Back then I didn't know there was a much deeper meaning.

I also read the threads FAllenangel posted, and it is clear to me the opinions are more different than I expected. And that's what I wanted to know ;)

This thread can be closed IMO

#24 Legogal

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 04:09 PM

As a parent, It seems that there are too many truly violent toys on the market already...especially in the US. And TV shows go way overboard in the amount of violence they portray. (We got rid of our TV when our sons were 8 and 10 ....for this reason.) Kids pick up on this and often it frightens them, especially at night when they are trying to go to sleep.

So I fully support Lego's decision to not make realistic, modern warfare sets. It is fine if adults make MOC's portraying these battles,  but I do not believe that Lego should sell them. Lego are supposed to be toys.

#25 LegoMavrick

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 11:57 AM

As much as I would like to see Lego Military I can fully understand and support their decision not to go down this route. Lego does quite fine I'm sure without going down this theme route.

Edited by LegoMavrick, 24 January 2012 - 11:57 AM.




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