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Unpopular Opinions about LEGO

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Yep, they are taking steps to minimize the segregating effect, and I appreciate it. It's certainly a far cry from when Friends was initially released and the TV ads deliberately omitted the phrase "you can build" from the copy, presumably under the assumption that the notion of building anything would be off-putting to the dear little feminine flowers.

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2 hours ago, Karalora said:

The cutesy aesthetic of Friends and the related lines bugs me, not so much on its own but because it winds up being stylistically incompatible with standard LEGO and effectively creates a separation between...not "LEGO for girls" and "LEGO for boys," but "LEGO for girls" and regular LEGO. It subtly enforces the notion that LEGO isn't for girls by default, because they had to make up a different girly version.

But, as I understand it, this is not TLG's fault. It's the fault of toy retailers, which maintain a rigid separation between girls' toys and boys' toys in stores and would not stock LEGO products in the girls' aisles without certain stylistic markers--the more doll-like figures, lots of pink and purple colors, etc.

Exactly, it's not really LEGO's fault, and it isn't as if they've tried to combat overly gendered marketing in the past. Heck, there's the famous "sometimes girls like spaceships and boys like dollhouses" insert from the 70s, and I've seen several 80s ads showing little girls proudly showing off their skyscraper and airplane models. At its heart, LEGO is a gender neutral toy and I wish retailers would understand that. It doesn't have to go in the boy's section just because there's a lack of pink and dolls.

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3 hours ago, Karalora said:

creates a separation between...not "LEGO for girls" and "LEGO for boys," but "LEGO for girls" and regular LEGO. It subtly enforces the notion that LEGO isn't for girls by default, because they had to make up a different girly version.

Friends theme exists specifically because _most_ girls don't like "regular" LEGO, and Friends was designed to appeal them. There's nothing wrong with admitting that boys and girls _usually_ prefer different things, and _usually_ play differently. The problem is when people/parents think _all_ girls must only play with Friends and mustn't play with other themes, and boys the other way around.

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3 hours ago, teljesnegyzet said:

Friends theme exists specifically because _most_ girls don't like "regular" LEGO, and Friends was designed to appeal them. There's nothing wrong with admitting that boys and girls _usually_ prefer different things, and _usually_ play differently. The problem is when people/parents think _all_ girls must only play with Friends and mustn't play with other themes, and boys the other way around.

The difference between boys' preferences and girls' preferences is a) less pronounced than you might assume and b) painstakingly trained into children rather than innate. In my experience, here's what you need to do with a toy in order to make it appeal to little girls:

  1. Put female characters in whatever narrative there might be.
  2. Show girls playing with it in the advertising.

That's it, really. Pink and glitter and frills and conflict-free scenarios aren't for the girls; they're for the retailers (who want every family to buy one set of toys for the sons and a different one for the daughters so that they end up buying more toys overall) and the parents (who may have Certain Ideas about what is proper for a little girl to do).

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1 hour ago, Karalora said:

That's it, really. Pink and glitter and frills and conflict-free scenarios aren't for the girls;

This.

100% agreed. This is the core of the matter.

Including what you said with regard to "That's it": 100%! I could start here stories about chemistry curricula (we have arrived at +50% females entering, but we are not even close when it comes to doctoral degrees, which are a more or less a prerequisite (85% of students surviving all the way to a get PhD) to get a job, in Germany that is.  But I don't :wink:

There is >a lot< of work to do. In every branch/aspect of our lives. Certainly also in an environment that is supposed to be "educational" or "learning by playing + doing", i.e., the LEGO world.

I cannot agree more on "put female characters in whatever narrative there might be".

Thank you very much for your opinion/input, @Karalora, it "feels" very good. And I will certainly not only keep your posts in mind, but bring them forward, when it comes to discussions usually titled with "... gender ...".

All the best
Thorsten

 

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7 hours ago, Karalora said:

The difference between boys' preferences and girls' preferences is a) less pronounced than you might assume

I'm not talking about "pink and glitter and frills and conflict-free scenarios".

The LEGO Group did a four-year long research to find out why girls don't like "regular" LEGO.

One thing they found out is that boys play like if they were movie directors. The minifigs are actors, and boys are commanding them in 3rd person. Girls, on the other hand, choose a figure as their avatar, and playing like a role-playing game or video game. As if they were shrunk like in Polly Pocket. Girls didn't find blocky minifigs relatable avatars, hence minidolls were created.

Another difference is that boys prefer to finish the build first and then play with it, while girls prefer to build a little, play with it, build again, etc. This is why Friends sets usually contain several submodels.

These are not my assumptions, this is what the research found out.

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Hi. Lifelong FFOL here. 

My mother was determined that the only restrictions to play time for us kids was "do not violence others" and prevention of us damaging ourselves seriously (grazes and bumps are one thing. Accidental poisoning and broken bones/concussion were advised against and prevented). 

There was no gendering of the toys, we could play with what we liked. So, I had toy cars and planes. Duplo from the word go.

My sister is less than two years younger than me. She loved trains, Thomas the Tank Engine (Percy was her best favourite) but she also adored Princesses and fairies and sparkles. (Still does). 

We played LEGO together, but she was never engaged. I built jets and cars for me, hotels and restaurants for her. Minifigures were not as appealing to her. 

Many years later, Friends is introduced and she is hooked. Married, in her own home, but buying and requesting LEGO sets. The minidoll themes have captured her attention and imagination. Great for me and her husband, we can gift her a Cinderella set or something with Sleeping Beauty in and tick all the boxes!

I love that my sister is finally getting something she enjoys in LEGO. I don't personally need those themes and minidolls, but my sister and girls like her have a building toys that appeal. I welcome the new fans and won't ever gatekeep. Telling people that the thing that appeals to them shouldn't, that is gatekeeping.

It is frustrating that among AFOLs and FFOLs there is this vein of people determined to reject minidoll themes. I don't understand why, is it threatening to you? It doesn't undermine anything, or damage anything. It simply draws in a section of the market who were neglected or outright maligned previously.

 

 

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Agenda driven nutcases are not worth your time

I really don't like Friends, but then again I don't like any modern LEGO

My gf has a large collection of Friends but my daugther is not interested. She fancies daddy's spacebases instead :pir-love:

44 minutes ago, Peppermint_M said:

Accidental poisoning ..

That is oddly specific, don't think my parents ever mentioned that nor have I thought to tell my children

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1 hour ago, 1974 said:

That is oddly specific, don't think my parents ever mentioned that nor have I thought to tell my children

Our Suburban/semi-rural area had a number of fruit bearing plants. Some of those are tasty treats, others will make you riotously sick! (When you are small, the juicy and pretty berries are quite attractive and sometimes the difference between good berry and bad berry was hard to see)

 

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12 minutes ago, Peppermint_M said:

.. sometimes the difference between good berry and bad berry was hard to see ..

Thanx for the explanation :thumbup:

Got a chuckle out that bit though as my surname is Berry :laugh:

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Pokeweed berries look delicious and the plant grew all around my school... I learned by osmosis not to eat them, though. Blackberries, on the other hand? Delicious :)

I grew up before Friends was a thing but my toy preferences were fairly agnostic. My sister and I had LEGO sets from all the same themes (Town, Harry Potter, etc.) and she had a few Polly Pockets that I found fascinating from a mechanical point of view. We shared lots of toys... I think the only ones I had that were explicitly gendered were a couple of Action Man dolls, including the astronaut one that let you peep through the visor and pretend you were in space.

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11 hours ago, teljesnegyzet said:

I'm not talking about "pink and glitter and frills and conflict-free scenarios".

The LEGO Group did a four-year long research to find out why girls don't like "regular" LEGO.

One thing they found out is that boys play like if they were movie directors. The minifigs are actors, and boys are commanding them in 3rd person. Girls, on the other hand, choose a figure as their avatar, and playing like a role-playing game or video game. As if they were shrunk like in Polly Pocket. Girls didn't find blocky minifigs relatable avatars, hence minidolls were created.

Another difference is that boys prefer to finish the build first and then play with it, while girls prefer to build a little, play with it, build again, etc. This is why Friends sets usually contain several submodels.

These are not my assumptions, this is what the research found out.

Interesting stuff. I should probably confess that I am predisposed to be skeptical of research into the supposed psychological differences between girls and boys, especially if it leads to the conclusion that girls and boys should be treated differently. Do you know whether the researchers studied solo play or group play or both, and if they studied group play, whether they examined only single-sex groups or included mixed groups? I ask because girls and boys are socialized to play in groups very differently, and I wouldn't be surprised if this carried over to their solo play. (I can explain my reasoning further but I don't want to hijack this thread to grind my particular axe; maybe I'll start a new thread.)

I would also be interested to know which minifigs were offered as possible self-insert characters. A classic City minifig with the dot eyes and simple smile gives a child far less to work with in terms of potential personality than, say, a Hermione Granger minifig. I would also question whether girls found minifigs unrelatable because they are "blocky" vs. because this all came after decades of LEGO aggressively marketing itself as a masculine toy.

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18 hours ago, teljesnegyzet said:

I'm not talking about "pink and glitter and frills and conflict-free scenarios".

The LEGO Group did a four-year long research to find out why girls don't like "regular" LEGO.

One thing they found out is that boys play like if they were movie directors. The minifigs are actors, and boys are commanding them in 3rd person. Girls, on the other hand, choose a figure as their avatar, and playing like a role-playing game or video game. As if they were shrunk like in Polly Pocket. Girls didn't find blocky minifigs relatable avatars, hence minidolls were created.

Another difference is that boys prefer to finish the build first and then play with it, while girls prefer to build a little, play with it, build again, etc. This is why Friends sets usually contain several submodels.

These are not my assumptions, this is what the research found out.

That's a really interesting study!

I will note that when I played Lego with my cousins (both girls) when they were small, they tended to go "Okay these guys are yours and these are mine" while separating minifigs, and then we'd act out a story. So more of the "boyish" play style according to this research. Since I'm assuming the age range for this research was the typical 5-11 y'o Lego demographic, I wonder just how much of that is innate preference vs how the children were used to playing. Maybe the girls couldn't relate to blocky minifigs because they were used to relating to more humanoid dolls. I don't know. It's hard to do that kind of research while avoiding gender essentialism.

Also, to stay on topic, I remembered some other unpopular opinions lol.

1. I like the shrinkage of the CMF blind bags from 16 to 12 figures a series. I know reskins and gender swaps are a common complaint in CMF. So maybe now the designers can focus on quality over quantity. Now if only they weren't so expensive...

2. I don't think Harry Potter deserves to be an evergreen theme. Maybe let that one fall to the wayside and let Minecraft take its place as the semi-evergreen licensed theme? Obviously no-one is unseating Star Wars anytime soon, which is fine by me; that one works as an evergreen.

3. I'm fine with themes that integrate phone apps as long as the sets still have playability outside of the app. Hidden Side for example. You can still get plenty of mileage out of those even without the app.

4. It's been a decade and I'm still salty over how Lego Universe crashed and burned.

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43 minutes ago, Good and Swordy said:

4. It's been a decade and I'm still salty over how Lego Universe crashed and burned.

Same @Good and Swordy. I still dream about LU coming back / playing it sometimes.... I have given up on the restored edition the fans made (that LEGO took an interest in) ever coming out..

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On 6/24/2021 at 9:55 PM, Karalora said:

The difference between boys' preferences and girls' preferences is a) less pronounced than you might assume and b) painstakingly trained into children rather than innate.

A great deal of effort and resources have been expended over the last 50 or so years to inculcate the view in western culture that gender preferences are social in origin, but science doesn’t support that hypothesis. In relation to toy preferences in particular, the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of it being biologically determined. Of course there is some overlap, but nature, not nurture, is the better predictor of toy preference. Not my opinion. Fact.

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19 hours ago, teljesnegyzet said:

Another difference is that boys prefer to finish the build first and then play with it, while girls prefer to build a little, play with it, build again, etc. This is why Friends sets usually contain several submodels.

 

I can confirm the Friends submodels. You can get something to playable after completing bag #1.  The difficult part is to stop playing and continue building for the set reviews.  :pir_laugh2:

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14 hours ago, Karalora said:

Do you know whether the researchers studied solo play or group play or both, and if they studied group play, whether they examined only single-sex groups or included mixed groups?

I don't have any insider information. I only know what I read in articles and interviews.

For one project, Lego gathered a group of boys and asked them to build a Lego castle together. Separately, they gave the same task to the group of girls. Both groups worked together to build the castle, but once it was assembled, there were stark differences in how the two groups proceeded.

“The boys immediately grabbed the figures and the horses and the catapults and they started having a battle,” McNally said. “The facilitator said, ‘What about the castle?’ And they said, ‘Well, that’s just the backdrop for the battle.’”

The girls, on the other hand, were more focused on the structure—and not too impressed with what they found. “They all looked around inside the castle and they said, ‘Well, there’s nothing inside,’” McNally said.

(Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/05/legos/484115/ )

14 hours ago, Karalora said:

I would also question whether girls found minifigs unrelatable because they are "blocky"

The minidoll went through many iterations. One of the first steps was a taller (but still blocky) minifig, then it became curvier. You can see some of the prototypes in a photo here: https://forum.brickset.com/discussion/27994/how-i-think-lego-should-improve-the-minidoll

Okay, so staying on topic:

I appreciate the clever geometry of the Erling brick, but I've always found it hard to incorporate it in my builds. I was glad when LEGO introduced the "Brick, Modified 1 x 1 with Stud on 1 Side".

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Does this count as unpopular?

I like minidolls aesthetically. I think they look great. Look at the various Elves ones; just, excellent visual design work. I would wholeheartedly endorse them except... For two reasons.

One is their limited functionality. Lacking wrists and separate legs is a big deal. Obviously I can't get over this; minifigs are lacking poseability as it is! I can't be sacrificing more! Can't help but feel the minidolls are second-class for this reason. Yes, they can't have the thin arms and proper wrists; fine. But, it's really hard to get past.

The second is more fundamental; it's that they're in their own ghetto, not matching the minifigs. It just sucks to have them be their own (overlapping just via accessories) ecosystem. Imagine you're some little girl, and you have some Friends sets, and then you see a building in Lego City that interests you, but... Its minifigs don't match yours at all. This is a harsher mismatch than Exploriens in Lego Town meeting Johnny Thunder, than old-timey Black Falcons with worn prints meeting Jay and Kai in their swanky new, high-detail outfits.

You can't solve the second problem; one just has to accept it or reject minidolls as a premise. The first you might be able to work on. It's a shame, because as I said, they look great; figures like the Goblin King, and Noctura, are really stylish! Don't you want to be trapped in their lairs? Just a shame they can't hold a sword sideways.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Flak Maniak said:

Does this count as unpopular?

I like minidolls aesthetically. I think they look great. Look at the various Elves ones; just, excellent visual design work. I would wholeheartedly endorse them except... For two reasons.

One is their limited functionality. Lacking wrists and separate legs is a big deal. Obviously I can't get over this; minifigs are lacking poseability as it is! I can't be sacrificing more! Can't help but feel the minidolls are second-class for this reason. Yes, they can't have the thin arms and proper wrists; fine. But, it's really hard to get past.

I suspect my next comment will probably be at least as unpopular as yours (and full disclosure: I'm copying and pasting most of this from a comment I made on the Brickset forums in response to a similar discussion). But I feel like minidolls aren't really that much more limited in functionality than traditional minifigs… particularly considering how many mini-dolls portray characters with features that tend to limit traditional minifigs' range of movement, like long hair, skirts, dresses/gowns, and mermaid tails.

For example, if you compare the minifigure and mini-doll versions of Anna from Frozen, the minifigure version is entirely unable to turn its head or move its legs. So although the minidoll version lacks wrist articulation and has some slight inaccuracies (most notably Anna's pigtails hanging down behind her shoulders instead of draped in front of them), its improved range of movement for the head and legs adds a lot to the figure's playability and range of poses in the sets that it appears in.

There are also a few other areas where mini-dolls tend to have functional advantages over classic minifigs:

  • Traditional minifigs sitting next to each other need at least one stud worth of space between them to keep their shoulders from colliding, whereas mini-dolls can sit directly side-by-side. As such, a typical LEGO sofa, bed, bench, or row of seats in a vehicle can fit more mini-dolls side-by-side than minifigs.
     
  • Any chair more than 2.5 plates tall will make a traditional minifig taller when seated than they would be standing. The same chair would have to be more than four and half plates tall to cause the same issue for a mini-doll. And that difference is very liberating when trying to design "dollhouse furniture" with a lot of detail and variety!
     
  • The height that traditional minifigs can raise their arms is generally limited by whatever hair or headgear they happen to have. This is much less of an issue for mini-dolls, since their shoulders' axis of rotation is horizontal instead of at an angle.
     
  • Because mini-dolls' armspan is the same no matter what angle their arms are at, they can much more easily reach around another mini-doll (or animal friend) for a hug than traditional minifigures can. D'awwww! :wub:

Of course, there are also plenty of genuine advantages minifigs have over mini-dolls (particularly due to mini-dolls' lack of individually hinged legs or wrists), which I'm sure we're all well aware of! So it's not as though there are no valid reasons for preferring minifigs over mini-dolls, or for being more frustrated with the drawbacks of the latter than the former. But I think a lot of people tend to assume that the differences between the two figures can all be summed up as mini-dolls prioritizing aesthetics over functionality, whereas I think it's often just as much about prioritizing functionality in specific areas where minifigures would have considerably greater limitations.

10 hours ago, Flak Maniak said:

The second is more fundamental; it's that they're in their own ghetto, not matching the minifigs. It just sucks to have them be their own (overlapping just via accessories) ecosystem. Imagine you're some little girl, and you have some Friends sets, and then you see a building in Lego City that interests you, but... Its minifigs don't match yours at all. This is a harsher mismatch than Exploriens in Lego Town meeting Johnny Thunder, than old-timey Black Falcons with worn prints meeting Jay and Kai in their swanky new, high-detail outfits.

I certainly understand where you're coming from, but personally I don't feel like this is as much of a deal-breaker as people make it out to be. Certainly during my childhood in the 90s and 2000s, I had no problem enjoying all sorts of LEGO figures — from traditional minifigures, to the taller and more posable Technic figures, to the full-size action figures in themes like Bionicle and Knights' Kingdom 2 — even if they belonged to entirely separate "ecosystems". After all, even if I stuck to playing with them and designing MOCs within those particular "ecosystems", there was still plenty of crossover appeal thanks to the intercompatibility of the actual building elements from those various themes.

And frankly, even if traditional minifigures and mini-dolls don't match one another aesthetically, it's much easier to use them together in the same play scenario than it was with those differently-scaled figures from my own childhood, because the scale of minifigures and mini-dolls is similar enough that the buildings, vehicles, and scenery that accompany them tend to be about the same size.

Adapting a LEGO Friends building or vehicle to accommodate LEGO City minifigures (or vice-versa) is usually as simple as making some changes to the seating inside to account for the functional differences I mentioned above. And I've certainly heard plenty of accounts from parents whose kids have no problem enjoying play scenarios that use both tradtional minifigures and mini-dolls in spite of their varying design languages.

10 hours ago, Flak Maniak said:

You can't solve the second problem; one just has to accept it or reject minidolls as a premise.

I don't really agree with this, for reasons that I think are best expressed by flipping the argument around: "You can't solve this second problem; one just has to accept it or reject traditional minifigures as a premise". That sounds pretty extreme, doesn't it? But your statement is predicated on the assumption that traditional minifigures are the preferable default/standard, and mini-dolls are a deviation from that default/standard.

To people who have previously felt alienated by or disinterested in the minifigure (especially younger kids who have ALWAYS had both styles of figure available to them, and ended up preferring the mini-doll anyhow), the opposite could easily be true. And in that case, their frustration would be with sets/themes that opt for traditional minifigures, not ones that opt for mini-dolls.

And while some people assume this problem wouldn't exist if LEGO hadn't introduced the mini-doll as an "alternative" in the first place, the reality is that even when the traditional minifigure was still more of a universal default, there were still a lot of kids (especially girls) who didn't care for it. It was never as "gender-neutral" in practice as it was ostensibly intended to be, especially with the ways I mentioned above that certain feminine-coded clothing styles and hairstyles restrict its functionality.

So even if, hypothetically, there COULD be one default LEGO figure design that would satisfy everyone, the traditional minifigure itself falls far short of that target. And given its well established popularity among kids and adults OTHER than those that the mini-doll was created to appeal to, I feel like replacing the minifigure entirely with a brand-new design, even one that boys and girls seemed to enjoy equally, would have made a lot more people unhappy than introducing the mini-doll as an alternative that exists alongside the minifigure.

If anything, I think the ideal way to make the mini-doll's "ecosystem" feel less like a "ghetto" (as you put it) would be to EXPAND the number of themes that use it. LEGO seemed to be moving towards that goal for a while. But now that the Super Hero Girls, Elves, and LEGO Movie 2 themes have been discontinued, we're back to about where we were in 2014, with the mini-doll appearing only in Friends and Disney sets, as opposed to the MANY themes that still use the traditional minifigure. And even as a fan of both the minifigure and the mini-doll, I'm definitely bothered by that discrepancy.

I hope it isn't long before LEGO introduces more new mini-doll focused themes (ideally including one like LEGO Elves that targets a higher age range than Friends or Disney sets typically do) to balance things out a little more. But I am definitely grateful that both figure designs remain in use, and that LEGO continues to roll out new innovations (like the "baby" minifigure and "micro-doll") which show a continued commitment to both of those design standards.

Edited by Aanchir

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Mini-dolls are the LEGO version of Barbie. And that's meant in a positive way at all

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Posted (edited)

Honestly, I'm not that bothered about minidolls themselves, just how it seperates the style of animals and horses and such, and that heads/torso/legs cannot be interchanged between figs and dolls (hairpieces / accessories mostly can tho)

Now, Friends and minidolls are approaching it's 10th anniversary (11th year) in 2022, and while Elves, Superhero Girls and LEGO Movie 2 , came and went, LEGO is going pretty big with it's Disney Dolls as well, even it's first large scale set with the Frozen large Ice Castle.

 

Right now, with Creator 3-in-1 cutting back on houses a bit it seems, Friends seems to be the go-to theme for houses/shops, and while City also recently re-started their range of shops/house with roadplates, often come with a lot of extra things like vehicles.

 

The main thing that bothers me about City/Friends buildings compared to Creator 3-in-1 however is it relies on large panels for walls, often with a sticker for detail, which seems not that re-useable in MOC compared to brick-walls seen in 3-in-1 with brick details.

 

On the other hand most Friends buildings don't come with vehicles either (compared to City), and generally have a good price, and recent sets are way more then just a Facade, and mostly have walls that go all the way to the back.

The recent 41693: Surfer Beachfront even has removable floors and can split via technic pins between the 2 buildings, so it took a bit of the recent 3-in-1 mini modular approach, which is promising.

41693-1.jpg?202105040845

 

 

Edited by TeriXeri

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Posted (edited)

DOTS surprised me more this year, compared to it's launch.

I don't like the bracelets or bag tags (not taking LEGO outdoors), but the buildable pencil holders and drawer/jewel boxes are pretty cool.

Lots of DOTS also is a great addition and the best set so far for value.

Letter tiles are pretty nice as well, but the set itself it too expensive for just those, but I still got the Creative Designer set for the other parts as you can build a bunch of smaller hangers, drawers, holders with the parts.

The Rocket pencil holder is the most unique imo, has the more unusual parts like the coral rocket engines, silver quarter tiles and those blue wing plates are also nice.

The 2021 Secret Box set has 2 large pieces that form a box, so not much building involved, but it's also cheaper and can be decorated from both sides compared to the 2020 Jewel box, so both sets have their own pros and cons.

 

I think the theme can combine well with the Vidyo stage sets in terms of colors/parts and figures.

Edited by TeriXeri

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Posted (edited)

Another unpopular opinion. Great Vehicles deserves it own box art - just like stunts. They should also do more than just 8 or 9 a year. 

Edited by Poodabricks

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Unpopular opinion? Printing on minifigures is getting too detailed.

Minifigures are highly stylised with (usually) C-shaped hands, (mostly) rectangular feet, flat torsos etc and yet printing on them is just getting more and more detailed. The one doesn’t go with the other!

njo697.png

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8 hours ago, AmperZand said:

Unpopular opinion? Printing on minifigures is getting too detailed.

Minifigures are highly stylised with (usually) C-shaped hands, (mostly) rectangular feet, flat torsos etc and yet printing on them is just getting more and more detailed. The one doesn’t go with the other!

Not only that, but the printing goes from the upper body to the legs. That makes it more difficult to use them in mocs. If I only want to use the purple tentacles in the image you showed, I am stuck with the printing that only works with that upper body

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