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Cheap Plastic Davy Jones


13 replies to this topic  – Started by Walter , Mar 05 2012 08:38 PM

#1 Walter

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:38 PM

I looked around using search in case there was a topic on this already,
but I couldn't find anything. I'm not sure if this would belong in the PoTC theme thread or not.

My Davy Jones minifigure from The Black Pearl has an unusual quality to him. Upon inspecting him closer I see that he is indeed made up of the cheaper, less durable, Chinese plastic. He came in his own 'sealed' bag, unlike all the other minifigures in the set.

So my question is, does anyone who owns a Davy Jones minifigure have a non-Chinese plastic version of him. Do you have the same cheaper plastic version that I have? Do normal quality versions of him even exist? What's this cheap plastic doing infiltrating our beloved Lego sets!

I contacted Lego about the problem but I haven't gotten a response. I'd love your opinions on this. Thanks!

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#2 JopieK

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:06 PM

I think some designer told me all minifies nowadays are from China?!!

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#3 K-Nut

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:30 PM

View PostJopieK, on 05 March 2012 - 11:06 PM, said:

I think some designer told me all minifies nowadays are from China?!!
Not true. (as for as I know) Davy Jones had the new claw piece, leg/claw color, and beard. When new, detailed, special molds come out like that, they usually are produced in China, such as Superman's Hair from the new Super Heroes set. TLG probably found it cheaper to create the whole fig in China instead of the Head and Hat in ABS Plastic and the rest of the fig in China.  :pir-classic:
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#4 legomonk

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:45 PM

My Davy Jones is pretty good, the plastic seems to be the same as his non clawed hand. not all rubbery like the sword and beard/hair of black beard.
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#5 CaptainBermuda

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:17 PM

View PostJopieK, on 05 March 2012 - 11:06 PM, said:

I think some designer told me all minifies nowadays are from China?!!
that would certainly explain the 'new' quality of a lot of figs
"Men, we led those dumb bugs out to the middle of nowhere to keep 'em from gettin' their filthy claws on Earth... but we stumbled onto somethin' they're so hot for, that they're scramblin' over each other to get it! Well, I don't care if it's God's own personal anti-S.O.B. machine, or a giant hoola hoop, we're not gonna let 'em have it! What we WILL let 'em have is a belly full of lead, and a pool of their own blood to drown in! Am... I... RIGHT, Marines?!" - Sergeant Johnson

#6 yys4u

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:05 PM

Yup he's from China. Which is strange because as mentioned, usually only new molded pieces come from china, where as the actual figure like the legs and torso and head come from their Denmark facility. I don't know of any Davy Jones figure being made in Denmark though. A quick way to tell if your fig is from China is to bend them forward at the waist and check the newly exposed part of the back of the leg. If there is a square around a molding injection point, its chinese. If there is just a small dot from injection, its regular stuff. Now a days a lot of figs do come from china though. CMF, battle packs, spinners. Pretty much if a set isn't in a normal lego BOX, it's plastic (Edit: Meant to say Denmark stuff sorry)stuff. This was a rare exception that had a bunch of people heated...including me, I hate Chinese figs.

Edited by yys4u, 15 March 2012 - 07:00 AM.


#7 Aanchir

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:44 PM

Alright, I need to comment on some of the misconceptions I'm seeing here.

  • All of LEGO's factories use ABS plastic. Most of them also use other plastics for parts where ABS would be less effective. And many companies other than TLG use ABS. ABS isn't a specific word for the magical formulation of plastic TLG has used for so many years (which, btw, is frequently adjusted in small ways)-- it's a general term for plastic with that sort of chemical makeup. So there's never been an issue of "Chinese plastic vs. ABS"-- minifigure torsos from China are made of ABS just like all other min

  • A figure's parts being rubbbery has nothing to do with whether they're made in China, although parts with advanced printing are often made in China since their production processes are often more up-to-date and they can produce a greater volume of parts at a lower cost. Parts in individually-sealed bags are also usually from China. The easiest way to judge if a set may contain Chinese-made parts is whether it lists China among the countries of manufacture on the packaging. Some sets, like the Minifigures theme, have only Chinese-made parts. Others, like Ninjago spinner sets and certain battle packs, include a mix of Chinese-made parts and parts from other countries.

  • I have never heard of the Chinese ABS being less durable than other countries' ABS. I have not experienced any problems with my collectible minifigures breaking, while I have had other minifigures from before the introduction of Chinese production develop cracks in their arms. However, I have heard it recommended that you don't switch Chinese-made minifigures' arms around as this can make the connection looser. This is just common sense, as TLG does not approve of switching minifigures' arms around in the first place. Part of the reason torsos, arms, and hands come pre-assembled is that separating them damages the connection with any figs no matter where they come from, although with Chinese-made minifigures the damage may be more immediate. It's also not totally clear if the differences of resiliency in Chinese-made torsos and arms are based on differences in the plastic or differences in the molds, since the Chinese facility uses newer minifigure part molds than the company's other factories.

Personally, I have no problem with TLG producing parts in China. They've managed to bring the quality of the figs to the point where it's mostly identical to other figs, and there is the potential that Chinese minifigures' quality will continue to improve. But I'm not here to debate whether Chinese production is good or bad; I just wanted to clear up some of these tired misconceptions that have been floating around since near when Chinese-made minifigures first began to surface.

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#8 Walter

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 05:10 PM

From personal experience, I still consider the Chinese plastic to be less durable. Even if it is ABS, there is often an interesting quality difference when you compare a Chinese torso to a normal one. I appreciate your comments about my 'misconceptions' although I've always known that the Chinese plastic was ABS. I prefer to call it Chinese plastic however, so it is understood what type of 'quality' is being discussed. Forgive me if it seemed that I thought it was an entirely different plastic altogether.

My main purpose in starting this topic was to see if a non-Chinese Davy Jones existed. I didn't mean his hat, claw, or beard. I understand that they are most likely Chinese. That wasn't as much of an issue to me as the head, torso, and legs. I wish they could've been normal quality, although the fact that the claw is hooked to the torso explains why the entire minifigure is Chinese.

I just would've liked to have the classic quality head, torso, and legs that I'm used to finding in sets on my Davy Jones minifigure. That is all. :pir-classic:

Edited by Walt, 12 March 2012 - 05:11 PM.

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#9 19acomst

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:05 PM

Why are you guys complaining about Chinese plastic? :pir_wacko: It's the same as regular plastic(I Think :pir-blush: )
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Edited by 19acomst, 13 March 2012 - 10:06 PM.

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#10 1974

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:27 PM

The ONLY and absolute ONLY reason TLG uses chineese subcontractors are because of costs. TLG can do any damn advanced molding/printing they'd ever fancy in Denmark

But the chineese plants apparently can do it cheaper. Don't think they can buy the ABS any cheaper than TLG so it must be down to production costs. Either cheaper machines, cheaper labour or taxes. Whatever is the reason, it must mean a whole lot to the TLG accountants

It's not that hard to figure out, folks

While I have no knowledge of the chineese plastics durability (for obvious reasons), I'll not buy any more CMFs. The quality sucks. Just plain suck. It has nothing to do with the Lego I know (and have known for +34 years), shame rally. Such lovely minifigs

That being said, TLG themselves are horrible at quality control. I've bought _many_ of the current Dino series and lots of common yellow bricks (bricks they've made without problems in the last 40 years) are of the wrong colour!

Death to those damn beancounters. Producing ABS in the right shape and colour would not be so difficult with TLGs experience one would think, no?

Ok, rant over

I'm just a bit sad about all this. Shit like that didn't happen when I was a child

Anachir, how can it not be a problem?

You say that the chineese have managed to produce bricks "ALLMOST" to the quality of TLG. ALLMOST? What frikkin' good is that? I have bricks that are 40 years old. They're STILL much better quality than that inferior stuff from whatever country.

I don't care where TLG gets their stuff made. Billund is not far away from me, but I'm not nostalgic. Nor nationalistic. China is fine with me. If my mothers factory made those CMFs, I'd still give her hell

But I may be slightly biased as I make a living of buying stuff from .. China. Quality is simply not well understood there. Regardless of costs, sigh
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#11 Aanchir

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:00 AM

View PostWalt, on 12 March 2012 - 05:10 PM, said:

From personal experience, I still consider the Chinese plastic to be less durable. Even if it is ABS, there is often an interesting quality difference when you compare a Chinese torso to a normal one. I appreciate your comments about my 'misconceptions' although I've always known that the Chinese plastic was ABS. I prefer to call it Chinese plastic however, so it is understood what type of 'quality' is being discussed. Forgive me if it seemed that I thought it was an entirely different plastic altogether.

My main purpose in starting this topic was to see if a non-Chinese Davy Jones existed. I didn't mean his hat, claw, or beard. I understand that they are most likely Chinese. That wasn't as much of an issue to me as the head, torso, and legs. I wish they could've been normal quality, although the fact that the claw is hooked to the torso explains why the entire minifigure is Chinese.

I just would've liked to have the classic quality head, torso, and legs that I'm used to finding in sets on my Davy Jones minifigure. That is all. :pir-classic:

My comment wasn't entirely directed at you. Other members use "ABS" to refer to non-Chinese plastic, which bothers me. I don't think non-Chinese-made Davy Jones figs exist.

1974 said:

Anachir, how can it not be a problem?

You say that the chineese have managed to produce bricks "ALLMOST" to the quality of TLG. ALLMOST? What frikkin' good is that? I have bricks that are 40 years old. They're STILL much better quality than that inferior stuff from whatever country.

I say they're almost to the same quality as TLG's plastic from other locations. I recognize that it's slightly different. That doesn't mean that I think TLG's plastic from other suppliers is inherently better. In truth any differences in opacity between Chinese-made figs and figs made elsewhere are perfectly irrelevant to me unless I intend to make a MOC with an extremely bright backlight. Under normal light (at least, the light I use in my building area or the light that I'm used to at conventions) differences in consistency are almost imperceptible.

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I don't care where TLG gets their stuff made. Billund is not far away from me, but I'm not nostalgic. Nor nationalistic. China is fine with me. If my mothers factory made those CMFs, I'd still give her hell

But I may be slightly biased as I make a living of buying stuff from .. China. Quality is simply not well understood there. Regardless of costs, sigh
Personally, I think saying quality is not well understood in China is a bit biased. I think the tendency towards lower quality in Chinese-made products is a management problem. After all, if TLG can make LEGO bricks in countries all over the world, surely they could ensure the same quality control in a country that happens to be known for cheap products?

There are a number of reasons Chinese parts have different quality. One is that unlike most of their production facilities, TLG doesn't actually own the one in China-- they lease it from another company, last I heard. So they might have a bit less authority over codes and standards there than elsewhere.

The main reason for the different consistency of plastic, however, is because China has manufacturing laws that require a certain amount of material to come from domestic sources. In most countries, while TLG uses dyes from multiple suppliers, their plastic all comes from a single supplier. In China, however, they were forced to use, yes, Chinese plastic.

Truth be told, I love my collectible minifigures, and never feel I'm buying an inferior product when I purchase them. And I know that inferior products exist because I owned this set in 2005, which had the worst color quality I've ever seen in a LEGO product. That set was far before Chinese production of LEGO parts began, and no Chinese-made part to pass through my fingertips has had the same horrid quality as some of those standard-issue parts.

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#12 Legonardo

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 05:01 AM

My Davy Jones is also Chinese, although he is still one of my favorite figs.
its unfortunate but I think we are only going to get more and more cheap Chinese thinngs

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#13 CaptainBermuda

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:18 PM

View PostAanchir, on 11 March 2012 - 11:44 PM, said:

Alright, I need to comment on some of the misconceptions I'm seeing here.

  • All of LEGO's factories use ABS plastic. Most of them also use other plastics for parts where ABS would be less effective. And many companies other than TLG use ABS. ABS isn't a specific word for the magical formulation of plastic TLG has used for so many years (which, btw, is frequently adjusted in small ways)-- it's a general term for plastic with that sort of chemical makeup. So there's never been an issue of "Chinese plastic vs. ABS"-- minifigure torsos from China are made of ABS just like all other min

  • A figure's parts being rubbbery has nothing to do with whether they're made in China, although parts with advanced printing are often made in China since their production processes are often more up-to-date and they can produce a greater volume of parts at a lower cost. Parts in individually-sealed bags are also usually from China. The easiest way to judge if a set may contain Chinese-made parts is whether it lists China among the countries of manufacture on the packaging. Some sets, like the Minifigures theme, have only Chinese-made parts. Others, like Ninjago spinner sets and certain battle packs, include a mix of Chinese-made parts and parts from other countries.

  • I have never heard of the Chinese ABS being less durable than other countries' ABS. I have not experienced any problems with my collectible minifigures breaking, while I have had other minifigures from before the introduction of Chinese production develop cracks in their arms. However, I have heard it recommended that you don't switch Chinese-made minifigures' arms around as this can make the connection looser. This is just common sense, as TLG does not approve of switching minifigures' arms around in the first place. Part of the reason torsos, arms, and hands come pre-assembled is that separating them damages the connection with any figs no matter where they come from, although with Chinese-made minifigures the damage may be more immediate. It's also not totally clear if the differences of resiliency in Chinese-made torsos and arms are based on differences in the plastic or differences in the molds, since the Chinese facility uses newer minifigure part molds than the company's other factories.

Personally, I have no problem with TLG producing parts in China. They've managed to bring the quality of the figs to the point where it's mostly identical to other figs, and there is the potential that Chinese minifigures' quality will continue to improve. But I'm not here to debate whether Chinese production is good or bad; I just wanted to clear up some of these tired misconceptions that have been floating around since near when Chinese-made minifigures first began to surface.

You claim that the minifigures theme is all china-made. "coincidentally" that theme is all of this different quality. The parts are of a very slightly different color shade, but seem just about the same texture adn quality.
"Men, we led those dumb bugs out to the middle of nowhere to keep 'em from gettin' their filthy claws on Earth... but we stumbled onto somethin' they're so hot for, that they're scramblin' over each other to get it! Well, I don't care if it's God's own personal anti-S.O.B. machine, or a giant hoola hoop, we're not gonna let 'em have it! What we WILL let 'em have is a belly full of lead, and a pool of their own blood to drown in! Am... I... RIGHT, Marines?!" - Sergeant Johnson

#14 Aanchir

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:43 PM

View PostCaptainBermuda, on 17 March 2012 - 11:18 PM, said:

You claim that the minifigures theme is all china-made. "coincidentally" that theme is all of this different quality. The parts are of a very slightly different color shade, but seem just about the same texture adn quality.
I don't think it's a coincidence at all. The Chinese facility does use cheaper plastic because of Chinese manufacturing laws. I'm not trying to say that there's no difference in quality between Chinese-made parts and other parts, though personally the differences that there are don't tend to concern me. Most of my collectible minifigure parts match non-Chinese parts almost exactly in color, and differences only become apparent if you hold them up to a bright light.

It's possible that I'm simply not as good at differentiating colors than other people on this site, but even so it doesn't cause me any problems when building, and if I saw a MOC at a convention that happened to use generic legs of a certain color from a Chinese-made fig I would probably never know the difference unless I for some reason had cause to examine the minifigure closely.

People can say "only the best is good enough" all they like, but that was TLG's purported standard, not my own, so it has little to no bearing on my purchases as long as the parts suit my preferred level of quality. I'm not saying everyone should share my standards either. Just that I appreciate my collectible minifigures no matter where they're made.

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