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Why so few animals?


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#26 Lyichir

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 09:48 PM

View PostCallMePieOrDie, on 12 March 2012 - 07:26 PM, said:

Mill Village Raid.

A zoo theme has potential and TLG would have to be blind to simply ignore the possibility on account of 'it's not violent enough'.

The new horse mold is just begging for zebra printing... :grin:

The problem isn't that it's not violent; the problem is there's no conflict. With police and fire, you have a race to respond to various emergencies. Zookeeping, on the other hand, is largely routine feeding and medical check-ups. Mind, there doesn't necessarily need to be a conflict, as the farm theme from a few years back showed. But a theme that is built almost entirely around new molds would be hard to pitch without any sense of urgency. For this reason I think that a zoo will come when enough "zoo animals" have been created, not the other way around.

I'd reckon a circus theme might be more successful than a zoo theme, in any case. Not only would that require fewer new animals (lions and elephants might be enough), but there's a lot more action inherent in a circus than at a zoo. Perhaps once a few animals had appeared in a theme such as this, a zoo would be closer to becoming reality.

#27 1974

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 09:58 PM

I'm quite sure boys will dig a zoo!

If TLG can make all thse molds for Duplo (<-- yes, I've made a zoo for (my) City and had to do with the Duplo molds - my son doens't seem to care though), they can do it for it for City as well

It's not a question of money or expensive molds (the new Dino theme have _very_ expensive dinos/molds (and quite good ones, I may add!)), it's just a question of will .. and probably those damn surverys they do. But is a ten year old boy the right to ask? What if he was presented with a fullblown zoo with all the goodies, would he not like that? (Instead of a "would you like a T-rex or a pig)?

I'm sure it would sell like hotcakes. Is the Duplo zoo not selling? Does TLG not want Duplo users to step up to City?

Conflict (Police) is a selling point, yes, but it should not be THE seeling point. Or else TLGS 'no modern army' has very litte standing ground

Fire is not so much about conflict, renovation sure is hell is not and trains either. Nor is boats, medical and car/road repair ..

All the action themes are (about conflict), but I do not se many Dinos, Agents, Atlantis or whatnot in Lego/my/any City

So bring on those cute animals, please. No-one in my City wants to watch (only) a bunch of rats, cows, horses, camels and parrots  :classic:
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#28 sharky

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 10:01 PM

View PostLyichir, on 12 March 2012 - 09:48 PM, said:

The problem isn't that it's not violent; the problem is there's no conflict. With police and fire, you have a race to respond to various emergencies. Zookeeping, on the other hand, is largely routine feeding and medical check-ups. Mind, there doesn't necessarily need to be a conflict, as the farm theme from a few years back showed. But a theme that is built almost entirely around new molds would be hard to pitch without any sense of urgency. For this reason I think that a zoo will come when enough "zoo animals" have been created, not the other way around.

I'd reckon a circus theme might be more successful than a zoo theme, in any case. Not only would that require fewer new animals (lions and elephants might be enough), but there's a lot more action inherent in a circus than at a zoo. Perhaps once a few animals had appeared in a theme such as this, a zoo would be closer to becoming reality.
Are you kidding?  The farm animals rose up to challenge the farmer over control of the farm.  It was a battle royal to the death.   :laugh:

Seriously, though, I think they could do a zoo as  more of a Lego exclusive set not unlike some of the other sets that don't see a mass retail release.  Something like the exclusive Creator sets or seasonal Winter Village sets.

#29 AndyC

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 10:47 PM

View Post1974, on 12 March 2012 - 09:58 PM, said:

It's not a question of money or expensive molds (the new Dino theme have _very_ expensive dinos/molds (and quite good ones, I may add!)), it's just a question of will .. and probably those damn surverys they do. But is a ten year old boy the right to ask? What if he was presented with a fullblown zoo with all the goodies, would he not like that? (Instead of a "would you like a T-rex or a pig)?

Well if the aim is to sell the most sets, a ten year old boy is probably the ideal person to ask. And I think that looking at a shelf full of sets, the velociraptors will win the ten year old's attention far more often than a zoo full of animals. I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing, but it's probably the way it is.

View Postsharky, on 12 March 2012 - 10:01 PM, said:

Seriously, though, I think they could do a zoo as  more of a Lego exclusive set not unlike some of the other sets that don't see a mass retail release.  Something like the exclusive Creator sets or seasonal Winter Village sets.

At that point it would be a matter of whether an exclusive set, which inevitably will have lower sales, can justify the creation of a lot of new molds for the animals? I'm not sure it could, to be honest. If lion molds existed from some kind of jungle/safari based theme and then penguins from an artic theme, then you'd be looking at a more likely proposition as it would be feasible to do a zoo with a few new prints here and there.

Well, either that or release a zoo that has velociraptors in it!  :laugh:
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#30 1974

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:07 PM

AndyC said:

Well if the aim is to sell the most sets, a ten year old boy is probably the ideal person to ask. And I think that looking at a shelf full of sets, the velociraptors will win the ten year old's attention far more often than a zoo full of animals. I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing, but it's probably the way it is

But just how do they ask him/do those surveys? I'll bet a full-on zoo with all the goodies would appeal much more to a kid than a single dino. Of course a fullblown Dino setup would appeal more to the same boy then a lone zebra. See what I mean?
I know my kid has all the Dinos he could ever want but still lust for that Duplo Zoo (that dad had to buy in secret so he could make the City zoo, sigh)

And if looking at a shelf full of Lego (Starwars for instance) is the 'standard', I do wonder how thems like Atlantis and Power Miners came to life (both was quite popular in my home btw) ..

TLG has enough money to try out a theme like Zoo. Hell, they blow money on weird licenses (Avatar?) anyway, so whay not try a Zoo?

Dino is probably dead in half a year anyway and just how much did those magnificient molds cost?

A zebra, elephant (no, I did not like the one from Orient Express), hippo, lion, tiger etc would not be _that_ expensive to mold. And they could be used in a safari theme as well

They could be used in many themes and live on for years like the monkey, shark, parrot

They could make (and equally politically incorrect) circus theme as well!

Those animals are ICONIC in every childs life. But they seem to be absent from TLGs stock (except Duplo)

I find that very very strange
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#31 Legoist

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:05 PM

View PostNagyzee, on 11 March 2012 - 06:21 PM, said:

I think the main problem nowadays isn't so much with the lack of variety in animals but more like with their availability.

Several animals are commanding quite high prices on Bricklink for example simply because they were only available in more expensive sets, and not because how much it cost TLG to make them. Just for an example I don't think a camel is 5-7 times more expensive to produce than a horse.

I understand though that when an animal mould is new they are restricting it to bigger sets as it's a selling point. But after the novelty factor wears out / the sets they came in are getting phased out they could very well make them available on lego.com's PAB for example.

I am absolutely of the same opinion!

Don't they say that producing a new mould is expensive? Then why haven't they e.g. put out more cows?? The only 2 sets with cows have been the mid-size Farm and the large-size exclusive MMV, and only 2 per each set :angry:

Should they put out a "farm animal set" and a "zoo animal set" (similar to the minifigure city packs) on the 10-20e range, IMHO they would sell like mad.

Also... Duplo has zoo and circus, Playmobil has zoo and circus, clone brands have zoo and circus... what scares TLG so much that they aren't making these? At least TLG made farm, but IMHO they didn't make it that well... the biggest set was quite ugly, and 2 of the other 4 sets were off. If the small pig farm had cows instead, it would have been much more popular.

Edited by Legoist, 13 March 2012 - 01:12 PM.


#32 sharky

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 02:08 PM

View PostAndyC, on 12 March 2012 - 10:47 PM, said:

At that point it would be a matter of whether an exclusive set, which inevitably will have lower sales, can justify the creation of a lot of new molds for the animals? I'm not sure it could, to be honest. If lion molds existed from some kind of jungle/safari based theme and then penguins from an artic theme, then you'd be looking at a more likely proposition as it would be feasible to do a zoo with a few new prints here and there.
That's a good point.  I am curious if they have done something like this in the past though.  That is put out a new mold in those kinds of sets.  I guess my main point was not so much to be exclusive with limited production as it was to market it more towards AFOLS that would be into things like Modular Buildings, UCS sets, etc.

#33 Rook

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 02:08 PM

View PostA2L, on 11 March 2012 - 01:29 PM, said:

In my opinion, the animals released by the TLG over the years are very few, though the numbers have gone higher in the last few years, compared to previous years. Does anyone know how decisions are taken about which animals to release? Duplo has lots more of them. Does TLG believe that kids (main target group) stop liking animals once they grow beyond 5 years. I have been asking quite a few kids and most of them say that they love to see more animals. They say that once they transition from Duplo to grown up themes, they miss the animals.

Of course being an AFOL, I just love to collect animals. But I'd like to know from you guys if you feel the same way or most AFOLs don't care much about animals.


Yeah every time they have one of those AFOL surveys on Lego.com I always ask for more animals. They have done quiet a few since I started asking but Duplo has way more selection. A zoo/safari/jungle line would be great. Kind of like a Jane Goodall style, and not a dino hunter style. More Green Peace and less Captain Planet. Can you imagine almost every major zoo in the world carry Lego in the gift store.  :wink:  

I’d like to see pose able: tiger, lion, puma, deer, moose, dolphin, whale, zebra, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, bison, water buffalo, and while they’re at it a manatee.

Edited by Rook, 13 March 2012 - 02:13 PM.

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#34 Haltiamieli

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 02:26 PM

View Post1974, on 12 March 2012 - 11:07 PM, said:

But just how do they ask him/do those surveys? I'll bet a full-on zoo with all the goodies would appeal much more to a kid than a single dino. Of course a fullblown Dino setup would appeal more to the same boy then a lone zebra. See what I mean?
The Lego Group would have bankrupted decades ago if they did that skewed market research. We have no reason to believe that they wouldn't give fairly comparable representations of different theme ideas to their surveys. That's the best way to play safe and not to take unexpected risks (they may deliberately take foreseen risks, of course).

I'm pretty sure there exists a few Zoo theme pitches in the Lego archives - some mere sketches and some more fully developed. But such a theme has not yet (as far as we know, Lego is of course a few steps ahead of our knowledge) made it's way to the actual production. I'm not exactly as sure, but quite sure still, that sooner or later even that theme will have its day (and there will be much rejoicing). The more animal molds Lego chooses to produce for other themes, more easier it comes for a zoo theme to make it someday.

Actually, I don't think such a theme has been a realistic possibility for that many years, the Lego seems to have changed their attitude towards (and their ability to make) multitude of specialised and detailedly printed animals. The time when the only printed animal was the horse and the other animal molds could be counted with one's fingers is not that far away, and it's been gradually expansing change since then.

If I would be a betting man, I might make a small bet for a minor Zoo subtheme for Lego City in 2013. But only a small one. There's only so many City subthemes one can release in a year, and Lego also "has" to churn out new versions of the usual suspects like police, firemen and others. That's the way things are.
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#35 Mr Copperhead

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:47 PM

I'd love to see a zoo.  They could always add a robber figure to hold up the ticket office and give the zoo keeper some hand cuffs!

#36 sharky

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 05:51 PM

I know I'll regret suggesting this, but what if they licensed sets from the Madagascar movies?  Then they could do some sets with a movie tie and have a stronger hook for kids to buy them.  Also, isn't there a TV show that features the penguins?

#37 Lyichir

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:26 PM

View Postsharky, on 13 March 2012 - 05:51 PM, said:

I know I'll regret suggesting this, but what if they licensed sets from the Madagascar movies?  Then they could do some sets with a movie tie and have a stronger hook for kids to buy them.  Also, isn't there a TV show that features the penguins?

That would just give us animals cartoonier than those in Friends, and animal pens which we could probably have built on our own. Besides, while LEGO does have licensing with Nickelodeon, it seems that they've focused on Spongebob for the past several years, and why shouldn't they? Spongebob is a known merchandise mover. I hardly ever saw any Madagascar merchandise in stores, even when the films were currently in theaters.

#38 1974

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:56 PM

View PostHaltiamieli, on 13 March 2012 - 02:26 PM, said:

The Lego Group would have bankrupted decades ago if they did that skewed market research.

Ahh, but they allmost did, remember?

They've put out a lot of ideas and themes that didn't do well anyway. I'm sure they're employing a gazzillion market researches but the future is very hard to predict

But I can't see how a zoo theme would tank though. It could even be a subtheme in City that could go on for years. It's true that TLG recently have put out more animals (and more detailed than ever) so maybe, just maybe, that zoo is not so far away. I wouldn't bet on 2013 though. The Duplo Zoo is quite recent though, maybe they're testing waters?
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#39 Blondie-Wan

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:59 PM

I'm a bit curious about all the statements about there being lots of spiders, snakes and rats. There are many individual sets with those animals, but most of the sets don't have more than one or two of any given one of those animals, with the occasional exception (such as Indiana Jones and the Lost Tomb, which has ten snakes). TLG has a couple different rat molds, but going by Peeron, one of them has been used only in a couple Harry Potter sets, and there aren't any sets that feature more than one of either mold. As an Indiana Jones fan who'd love more rats for some subterranean Venice MOCs, I've long wanted more rats, and in more colors (I'm glad they were finally just added to Pick-a-Brick, but they're in only one color and cost 70 cents apiece).

One thing that's mystified me is how they decide what animals to create new variations of. For years there's been essentially one snake design, aside from the giant "basilisk" in a single older Harry Potter set; the new "missile" cobras in the current NinjaGo are appreciated if for no other reason than part variety always being appreciated, but I've long wanted a more "generic," non-rattle snake that can be used to represent all sorts of snakes. The NinjaGo cobras do at least give us a cobra, albeit one in a very specific position to facilitate use as a projectile. The classic rattlesnakes have appeared in numerous sets over the years, mostly in sets in which they're presumably representing other sorts of snakes (even in the Minifigures line, which uses so many new molds all the time even when there's no particular pressing need for them, they've retained the rattlesnake for the 'Egyptian Queen' when it actually would considerably benefit from a new snake mold).

By contrast, they've done a variety of dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles in just a few themes (Adventurers, Studios, Dinosaurs, Dino Attack / Dino 2010, Dino) in a little over a decade or so, with each major dinosaur variety TLG has represented (tyrannosaur, triceratops, etc.) appearing in just a handful of sets overall, and yet they've started from scratch nearly every time. There are the Adventurers / Studios designs, the Dinosaurs ones, the Dino Attack / Dino 2010 ones and the current Dino ones, each of these "families" having its own totally new take on triceratops, tyrannosaurus rex, etc., for creatures that appear in just a fraction of the total number of sets featuring snakes (or horses, sharks, or most other animals that haven't gotten nearly so many revisions). This of course isn't even couting the Duplo dinosaurs (or the various Creator-style ones built fully with "generic" bricks and so on). One would think that if they'd create expensive new molds for animals that in some instances get used once in a single set and then apparently retired forever, they could invest in perhaps a few more snakes, say, for all the new sets that come out each year in a variety of themes that use snakes, but it hasn't happened (until NinjaGo, and even that was presumably driven by a specific functional requirement).

#40 sharky

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:37 PM

@Blondi-Wan: I do wish they would do a coiled snake version of a snake at least. I think the way they have it sculpted now never fits in well with any set.  I suppose the idea is to have it in motion, but I tend view it as an accessory to dress up a scene and not necessarily an item involved in play.

#41 Mr Copperhead

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:47 PM

I was just at Walmart at lunch and looked at Lego sets of course.  I went over to the girl's aisle and almost all the Friends sets were sold out, but I'm realizing there are a lot of new animals in those sets.  They even have a hedge hog!  The series seems to be doing well and they've done a vet, a dog wash, a dog show and a pet patrol in the first batch of releases.  Little girls love animals at least from my experience and I bet we do see a zoo within a year or two, but I think it will come out in Friends.  Even if they are cartoony, I'll use them.  It's not like mini-figs are realistic!

#42 Lucanik-san

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:51 PM

Sincerely, I don't miss them too much.
Probably because I've always been more interested in minifigs. The only animals I've appreciated recently are the gorilla and the rabbit from the collectibles series: in fact both have a human shape.

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#43 A2L

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:05 AM

View PostLegoist, on 13 March 2012 - 01:05 PM, said:


Also... Duplo has zoo and circus, Playmobil has zoo and circus, clone brands have zoo and circus... what scares TLG so much that they aren't making these?

Thanks a lot! I completely forgot about Playmobil. I checked after a year or so and I was amazed to see their extensive collection of animals. I also noticed that they have recently introduced many small sets containing 2 or 3 animals each. Doesn't this mean that there is a market for this? So can't TLG take it up?

@Blondi-Wan: Your observations are bang on! And that is the confusing part. For Dino there are new moulds every few years. For others new moulds are considered expensive. And again some moulds (like the cow, camel etc) are used for only 2 animals in a set, never to be seen again (really wondering about cost effectiveness).

Edited by A2L, 14 March 2012 - 11:06 AM.


#44 Palathadric

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 01:07 PM

Yeah, I think that is one reason Playmobil is quite popular as a toy, because they really put money into making a variety of animals, and decent ones at that. When I was young I was always disappointed by the amount of animals in Lego, and actually, my parents always preferred Playmobil over Lego because there was a whole lot more nature and the like, whereas Lego is "all just blocks" (although, that is what Lego is all about :wacko: ) Anyway, I think TLG could grab up an even greater slice of the toy market if they would start producing more animals, or at least put the animals they do have in more sets. Frankly, I would rather see Lego produce more new animals than pop out a whole bunch of varieties of ones they've been making for years, e.g: snakes, spiders, etc. (although, I think the horses were due for an upgrade as they have been using the ones they have for a long time and are in so many sets. I'm really glad they look quite similar to the old ones though). The amount of dinosaurs, although nice, is really unnecessary in my opinion, especially when there are so many "missing" animals.
I really hope TLG reintroduces the classic dragon though. :laugh:
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#45 Nagyzee

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:52 PM

@Legoist: I agree. I can accept that according to Lego's surveys a zoo theme wouldn't be popular enough. On the other hand it is always claimed that new moulds are extremely expensive so I don't understand why they don't leverage that cost over more items produced in case of some animals. If some of the rarer animals appeared in the online PAB after their novelty factor wore out I'm sure they'd sell tens of thousands of camels, goats and cows or later bears even if they were on PAB for 2x or 3x the price of horses. That's lots of potential sales and a significant potential profit missed.

Edited by Nagyzee, 14 March 2012 - 05:54 PM.


#46 sharky

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:14 PM

View PostMr Copperhead, on 13 March 2012 - 10:47 PM, said:

I was just at Walmart at lunch and looked at Lego sets of course.  I went over to the girl's aisle and almost all the Friends sets were sold out, but I'm realizing there are a lot of new animals in those sets.  They even have a hedge hog!  The series seems to be doing well and they've done a vet, a dog wash, a dog show and a pet patrol in the first batch of releases.  Little girls love animals at least from my experience and I bet we do see a zoo within a year or two, but I think it will come out in Friends.  Even if they are cartoony, I'll use them.  It's not like mini-figs are realistic!
I know what you mean.  When my daughter asked if she could get the Friends Vet Clinic for her birthday I thought it would be a simple thing to go to Walmart or Target and pick it up as I did my regular shopping.  Oh how wrong I was.  I only ever found it at 1 Target and there was only 1 left on the shelf.  Of course the Lego store had them, but at the time I was looking I was near my home and not my work.  I think perhaps it's popularity is due to the animals in it.

Edited by sharky, 14 March 2012 - 07:37 PM.


#47 Mencot

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:56 PM

View Postspzero, on 11 March 2012 - 02:51 PM, said:

I agree, tho I have far too many snakes!! theres loads same with rats/mice/spiders, but others are just too rare/expensive I have quite a few horses, cows, birds and a couple of the pigs, polar bears, dragons fish, scorpions, ostrich's, dinos etc.

I think we need a City Zoo. to bring down prices or a Noah's Ark :wink:

but even if you have 10 horses it is still very little, drive past any farm with horses you can often see 5 - 10 in one field and as for cows pigs sheep many farms will have hundreds and then they are all in the same pose.

at least new horses are coming.

Yea a city zoo and a circus is what we need. Noah´s ark goes maybe a bit over on religious side for a Lego set.
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#48 Nagyzee

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:22 AM

View Postspzero, on 11 March 2012 - 02:51 PM, said:

at least new horses are coming.

It's quite welcome though this most probably means that for several years the (new) horses will also be quite pricey. I'll probably have to sell a kidney if I want to build a cavalry from new horses. :laugh:

#49 Palathadric

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:24 AM

View PostMencot, on 14 March 2012 - 06:56 PM, said:

Yea a city zoo and a circus is what we need. Noah´s ark goes maybe a bit over on religious side for a Lego set.
I don't know about that. What matters is whether it brings in the cash or not, right? As far as I know the Playmobil Noah's Ark sold quite splendidly. I could be wrong about this though.
But, yeah, at least start with a zoo or circus. Noah's Ark can come a bit later... :laugh:
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#50 Lyichir

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 02:03 PM

View Postpalathadric, on 15 March 2012 - 11:24 AM, said:

I don't know about that. What matters is whether it brings in the cash or not, right? As far as I know the Playmobil Noah's Ark sold quite splendidly. I could be wrong about this though.
But, yeah, at least start with a zoo or circus. Noah's Ark can come a bit later... :laugh:

Playmobil Nativities also consistently sell well, year after year. Yet LEGO's holiday-themed sets are pretty much always secular. Religion is a sensitive topic, much like modern war, and as much as I would love a Franciscan Friar or Tibetan Monk as a minifigure, LEGO seems intent on avoiding religious controversy altogether.



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