makoy

"New and Improved" Parts

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In the recently released Stranger Things set, 75810 - The Upside Down. I noticed a small variation in the bicycle frame that most people really didn't pay much attention.

The truth is, a retooled mould has been used for part no. 4719 for quite some time now.  We just didn't know TLG is slowly phasing out the old one from warehouse inventories while the "new and improved" mould for the bikes takeover new batches of products.

47809787502_7d9d3ac607.jpg

Case in point -- XTRA 40313 has been around for more than 6 months now. I looked up some videos in Youtube and I noticed some polybags contain the older variant with smaller chainstays gap. And then, majority of the times, the newer variant is included that has more space in the chainstays. Usually in Bricklink the part will be appended with "A" and "B" next to part number to differentiate the variations, e.g. 4719a and 4719b. However, for the last 6 months I don't believe anyone has noticed this with the bike frame. Maybe someone didn't know how to report/update database and Bricklink is just oblivious to these changes. I didn't even realise until I scrutinised the part over and over. 

So, do you think there are more undocumented parts that are "improved" or their moulds retooled that we just don't know about?

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Yeah, there are quite a few parts with variants BrickLink doesn't acknowledge yet. Some that come to mind:

There are others that even Rebrickable doesn't acknowledge the difference between, like 61645 vs. 14740 (different connections on the underside)

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It is quite funny on BL where some minor changes (even with the same mold / element number) get a's and b's and so on to differentiate them, whereas others with different mold numbers get tied to the same BL part number.

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8 minutes ago, Aanchir said:

Yeah, there are quite a few parts with variants BrickLink doesn't acknowledge yet. Some that come to mind:

There are others that even Rebrickable doesn't acknowledge the difference between, like 61645 vs. 14740 (different connections on the underside)

I think in most cases, BL relies on the community of sellers and buyers to distinguish the differences specially if the variation impacts the build if the variants have measurement differences.

The variation of the newer bike frame will certainly not impact any build but as someone who stumbled upon it, I am surprised how little information there is about these changes.

 

6 minutes ago, MAB said:

It is quite funny on BL where some minor changes (even with the same mold / element number) get a's and b's and so on to differentiate them, whereas others with different mold numbers get tied to the same BL part number.

This is the confusing part in BL. There are even "unidentified" version of parts when the variants are supposed to be "indistinguishable", or people  just can't be bothered about the differences.

 

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26 minutes ago, MAB said:

It is quite funny on BL where some minor changes (even with the same mold / element number) get a's and b's and so on to differentiate them, whereas others with different mold numbers get tied to the same BL part number.

Yeah, but then again does anyone seriously think that still is the ultimate authority on this? They even get set inventories wrong. This thing is ripe for a major overhaul and change of procedures, including a better way to deal with part revisions...

Mylenium

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There is also the clam piece

 800x591.jpg

 

 

And also the baby head 

 

24581.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I can also imagine that there are minor/obscure revisions (like that bike) that Lego itself wouldn't differenciate, and would pack in sets according to remaining stock. Now consider that a BL seller can part out a known set, it would be a problem if the inventory for that set lists the new revision, while the seller gets an old part in his.

Reminds me of one that actually matters, especially when you mix & match these slopes:
https://rebrickable.com/blog/107/mysterious-slope/

Edited by anothergol

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Just now, anothergol said:

I can also imagine that there are minor/obscure revisions (like that bike) that Lego itself wouldn't differenciate, and would pack in sets according to remaining stock. Now consider that a BL seller can part out a known set, it would be a problem if the inventory for that set lists the new revision, while the seller gets an old part in his.

That definitely happens. Sometimes a differentiating factor in whether a part is phased in as stock of the older version is depleted or replaces the part as a specific change to the inventory is whether the new version merely refines the part's existing functionality or actually changes its connection points—after all, in the latter case, sometimes newer sets won't even be able to make do with the older version if they take advantage of new functionality. The latter is also more likely to be recognized as a separate version of a part on Bricklink for a similar reason.

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Posted (edited)

An interesting topic...

3 hours ago, Aanchir said:

I was unaware of that difference, but I've had a few 30663s break it the past so I can see why TLG updated it. I've had no problems with the bicycle pieces before though, so I don't really understand why they changed it, it looks to be like it would only make the bicycle weaker...

3 hours ago, makoy said:

This is the confusing part in BL. There are even "unidentified" version of parts when the variants are supposed to be "indistinguishable", or people  just can't be bothered about the differences.

That brings to mind trying to shop for 15573 or 3794 :hmpf:... It really is quite frustrating when sellers list them as "undetermined type." I wish BL would do more about it...

Edited by TheL390Man

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6 hours ago, Mylenium said:

Yeah, but then again does anyone seriously think that still is the ultimate authority on this? They even get set inventories wrong. This thing is ripe for a major overhaul and change of procedures, including a better way to deal with part revisions...

Mylenium

The ultimate inventory authority is still TLG - but they don't make it easy to extract the parts inventory for sets that's why websites like Bricklink and Rebrickable exist.

You're right... the system is ripe for a major overhaul.

4 hours ago, Robert8 said:

There is also the clam piece
"30218 vs 18866"

And also the baby head 
"33464 vs 24581"

The clam pieces have their own distinct listing in BL so we can say that the community knows the differences between these 2 types exist. From afar, I can't really tell the differences though. 

Same with the baby head, they are 2 distinct listings in BL so I believe it is already addressed.

4 hours ago, anothergol said:

I can also imagine that there are minor/obscure revisions (like that bike) that Lego itself wouldn't differenciate, and would pack in sets according to remaining stock. Now consider that a BL seller can part out a known set, it would be a problem if the inventory for that set lists the new revision, while the seller gets an old part in his.

Reminds me of one that actually matters, especially when you mix & match these slopes:
https://rebrickable.com/blog/107/mysterious-slope/

I think there is a fine line between obscure revision that won't change functionality and minor change that slightly update the geometry. You gave a very good example with that mysterious slope. Fortunately I didn't have to suffer the consequences made by mixing up these 2 different parts that are so similar but aren't actually the same. That would be so frustrating in MOCs.

The bike and clam examples are the kind of changes that you can "ignore" for the most parts because it won't break any build just because their functionality didn't change and their geometry (how they fit with other pieces) stays the same. 

 

4 hours ago, Lyichir said:

That definitely happens. Sometimes a differentiating factor in whether a part is phased in as stock of the older version is depleted or replaces the part as a specific change to the inventory is whether the new version merely refines the part's existing functionality or actually changes its connection points—after all, in the latter case, sometimes newer sets won't even be able to make do with the older version if they take advantage of new functionality. The latter is also more likely to be recognized as a separate version of a part on Bricklink for a similar reason.

It's very easy for TLG to differentiate the revisions. All the parts numbers also have an element ID and I believe the inventory is distinct per element ID (part + colour) so they know exactly about the differences and they know if the revisions is distinct enough that it should not be mixed with certain sets down the product pipeline. The problem is when the mere mortals like us try to sort the parts and cannot quickly distinguish them, then fail at figuring out what's the difference. It's very problematic with the case of those mysterious slopes mentioned above and quite benign for the bicycle and clam examples. 

4 hours ago, TheL390Man said:

An interesting topic...

I was unaware of that difference, but I've had a few 30663s break it the past so I can see why TLG updated it. I've had no problems with the bicycle pieces before though, so I don't really understand why they changed it, it looks to be like it would only make the bicycle weaker...

That brings to mind trying to shop for 15573 or 3794 :hmpf:... It really is quite frustrating when sellers list them as "undetermined type." I wish BL would do more about it...

I think someone had done the stress test on the bike frame and figured out that shaving some plastic in that area will save TLG money and the quality/strength of the frame will still be relatively the same. I think that has to be the business case why they even bothered updating the mould.

As for the jumper plates... I had the same frustrating experience trying to buy those different types.

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6 hours ago, makoy said:

I think someone had done the stress test on the bike frame and figured out that shaving some plastic in that area will save TLG money and the quality/strength of the frame will still be relatively the same. I think that has to be the business case why they even bothered updating the mould.

I have a hard time believing that they'd do this just to spare some plastic, because it's really little, especially for a part that's in no way mass-produced like plates, & most likely the flashing/holders from the mould are wasting more plastic than this.

I'd suspect that, because the wheel holders are not clips but holes, and require you to split appart the frame in order to insert the wheels, the gap was enlarged to leave more room to open the frame without risking breaking it?
Does the back fork have the same indent as the front one to insert the wheel easier?

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1 hour ago, anothergol said:

I have a hard time believing that they'd do this just to spare some plastic, because it's really little, especially for a part that's in no way mass-produced like plates, & most likely the flashing/holders from the mould are wasting more plastic than this.

I'd suspect that, because the wheel holders are not clips but holes, and require you to split appart the frame in order to insert the wheels, the gap was enlarged to leave more room to open the frame without risking breaking it?
Does the back fork have the same indent as the front one to insert the wheel easier?

I thought about that too. The indent is still there but there's merit into believing that it really improved the flexibility of that part of the bike. I tried to pull out the wheels once in the newer mould and it seems that it is less risky to break the back fork or chainstays.

However, I have not read any accounts that  someone broke a bicycle frame just by  pulling out the bike wheels  at the back before, have you? 

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59 minutes ago, makoy said:

However, I have not read any accounts that  someone broke a bicycle frame just by  pulling out the bike wheels  at the back before, have you? 

Would be irrelevant from an engineering standpoint. There may not have been any actual breakage anywhere in all those years. They just could have stumbled upon this during their own internal testing, in particular since in recent time they keep experimenting around with alternate types of plastic and mixtures. You know, a "Just in case..." scenario to preempt later potential complaints. It could also resolve not just an issue with the part itself, but also mold construction. The part may be positioned differently, it may be easier to push out and that sort of thing...

Mylenium

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Posted (edited)

I wouldn't have noticed the difference on the bicycles. But it seems out of 5 red bikes I have, 4 from Xtra, 1 from fun-in-the-park (2016), I have 3 of the newer variant. So I might have gotten 1 old and 1 newer in the same Xtra polybag.

I also remember getting 2 older, thinner 1x1 plate with clip in my Fortrex set.

Edited by TeriXeri

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