Jim

Limited Technic Reviews

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I only want to chime in to voice my support for the written review, and @Jim’s were among the best. I appreciate all the effort that goes into the video reviews, but I always find myself pausing, rewinding, etc. A written review let’s me go at my own pace and generally provides more detail via the photos. 

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7 hours ago, Appie said:
 
 
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6 hours ago, Appie said:

Let me be clear, I really like Jim's reviews and he is very thorough with great photo's, but in my experience his reviews always came after the reviews of other people's like Sariel. And sure, Sariel's style of reviews is different, but he does all of them, does them well and does them fast at or before release. And Jim has valid reasons to need 1-2 weeks and also personal life is more important, but it could be that it is one of the reasons why Lego isn't sending sets atm. They are a business after all: if the same provided set can create more buzz at release elsewhere, they will send it elsewhere.

This started happening when TLG sent out the sets later. In the "early days" there was a clear deadline and we got the sets 3 weeks beforehand. That made it a lot easier. But @Catalinanmb definitely has a valid point that I have been late with my reviews. Although, I reckon that TLG would prefer quality over quantity. But maybe I have been too slow. Could be one of the reasons.

Nowadays, even Sariel doesn't publish all the reviews before the embargo anymore. It's simply not doable if you get the sets that late.

10 hours ago, Conchas said:
 
 
 
 
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10 hours ago, Conchas said:

Problem with requested reviews is that you probably do not feel the same engagement and have the same energy to do them for all the complete line of sets, and some may take longer or even be left behind. At certain point it all becomes a mess and I know what I'm talking about... But this happens to almost everyone, so we still didn't nail the reason to get excluded.

This is certainly the case. Last time I got 8 sets which I needed to review in 2 weeks. Well, we all know what happened. I started publishing pictures of vehicles with the cabin reversed, and all sorts of other stupid mistakes. In the end I felt like a reviewing zombie.

10 hours ago, Conchas said:
 
 
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10 hours ago, Conchas said:

The beauty of great AFOL reviews (text, video, or both) is that it all started to happen naturally and spontaneously, until LEGO inner layers took notice of it.
It worked fine for some time, but suddenly they tried to scale the whole thing beyond reasonable limits. Then there is no more Community Engagement managing it, but Product Line Marketing Heads getting in charge, and that's when it all turned to be managed into a business logic, which is far from the AFOL's logic, intentions, and availability...

If I needed to highlight a single comment, it would be THIS ONE. I think this is exactly what happened. It used to be a small-time operation, some sets go here, some sets go there. And now it's a full-blown marketing extension.

But let's not forget that TLG's marketing department is probably very satisfied with all the exposure, and I am just a single reviewer in a "niche" community. I can't blame them for sending out the sets to the media with the most views. 

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10 hours ago, schraubedrin said:
 
 
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10 hours ago, schraubedrin said:

I really hope you can sort this out with LEGO. With the designer interviews by @Sariel, there seem to be more communication channels open than before, maybe they'll hear it this way...

Since I am Ambassador, I can ask TLG directly. And maybe I will do that.

But the thing is; I wasn't really sure if I could motivate myself enough to do elaborate reviews with time limits again. On the other hand; reading all the comments here, already invigorates me :thumbup:

To be honest, right now I do feel like cracking open the 4x4 Crawler and start working on a review! :wub:

15 hours ago, allanp said:

This is a big shame. Technic sets always look better in real life than they do in pictures, except Jims pictures somehow did manage to capture how good a set looked in real life. your Technic photography was unique in that regard. I do remember when you would receive sets very early and could release reviews before the sets release date. Hopefully with the fall of a certain copycat company that won't be named those days might return eventually.

Thanks mate! And yes, I really hope we can go back to these days.

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That's good to hear:sweet: 

Trust me, your reviews are valued, even if they come out after the set does.
I for one tend to use your reviews as reference work.

Like if I want to know a particular thing about a set, it's easier to scroll through your reviews and find that thing than it is to scroll through a video, partially because you use a standard format for your reviews and partly because audio scrolls poorly.
 

16 hours ago, Jim said:

Maybe it's because I said that "only the most profitable is good enough"

This honesty is also what I value about your reviews, some youtubers and other reviewers make their living on those reviews and other TLG dependent matters and might shy away from stronger language in order to not endanger their livelihood (understandably).
I trust you to call them out on their moves, and say it like it is (this topic is littered with proof that you have and will) and that has value to me. 

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55 minutes ago, Jim said:

Nowadays, even Sariel doesn't publish all the reviews before the embargo anymore. It's simply not doable if you get the sets that late.

It's a bit funny to be a yardstick for doing reviews quickly ;) Two points I'd like to make:
- I was getting Technic review sets from LEGO long before LAN existed, as far back as 5 or 6 years if I remember correctly, and for a long time LEGO had no problem sending them even 2 months early, with the embargo date clearly set. Things have gradually changed to what we're working with today, with the 42110 being a prime example of all of us being forced to race to publish the review first. Not a comfortable set-up, but I guess this is the price of having more reviewers in the program and of LEGO trying to fight leaks.
- personally, I just can't afford buying all the Technic sets myself. Family reasons require that I put my money elsewhere and for me, the support from LEGO is basically "to be or not to be" in terms of reviews. Without this support, I could maybe buy one of the larger sets from each wave, and not necessarily the flagship set. 

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@Jim Thank you for writing this post and giving us a peek behind the curtains. I too have always greatly appreciated your written format, because it allows for a more in depth look at a set and zoom in on for example an new mechanism or clever use of parts. Your reviews were always very enlightening to read and you have convinced me more that once that an upcoming set was interesting enough to buy even if at first I was unsure.

I wonder if another reason for this change in strategy might be that TLG anticipated a more critical (maybe even a negative) review from EB members? I think that at the moment the consensus here at EB is that while Control+ is a promising platform, it currently lacks some key features and components to be a complete replacement for PF. Maybe TLG was afraid that a focus on this (temporary) shortcoming could overshadow the launch of Control+ and its first two sets?

By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if EB has a reputation of a tough crowd at TLG and it might be easier to target the new sets at less experienced builders via other channels. We (myself included) like to poke holes in a new set and complain about what it could have been. This situation could be the results of TLG reaching a tipping point where it has had enough of the criticism and have found easier ways to launch their sets. On the other hand, if a review is nothing but praise about the set, without an honest and critical point of view, it is all but useless in my eyes.

As a final point, I like to add that if it is true that TLG is loosing interest in modifications of their sets like @Aventador2004 says, I think this is a big mistake on the long term. Similar as your reviews, MODs by builders like @efferman have also persuaded me to buy and modified a set which I otherwise wouldn't have bought. But recently, I have noticed that my personal interest in sets on the whole is waning. I haven't bought a new set since the Bugatti for multiple reasons, maybe there is a correlation with your decreasing number of reviews?

Edited by Cumulonimbus

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1 hour ago, Jim said:

This started happening when TLG sent out the sets later. In the "early days" there was a clear deadline and we got the sets 3 weeks beforehand. That made it a lot easier.

I took this fact into consideration when I made my comment, you even mention it yourself a few times after the apology I quoted from your reviews. Other reviewers that also had to deal with this fact, still had their reviews out faster.

While the reviews are solid, sets with a MSRP of €450, €230 or whatever price add up for a company like Lego if the review is launched 2-8 weeks after the release of a set, it's simply part of a marketing budget. Eurobricks might not even be the only site to have lost review sets. Stuff adds up fast then. 

As for complaining about them maybe taking a business approach, we all know what happened when they pretty much operated as a charity in the late 90's and early 00's. Stuff like micro motors being sold in sets under the value of what it cost to make them. I don't think anybody here wants to go back to those nearly bankrupt days. 

26 minutes ago, shadow_elenter said:

This honesty is also what I value about your reviews, some youtubers and other reviewers make their living on those reviews and other TLG dependent matters and might shy away from stronger language in order to not endanger their livelihood (understandably).
I trust you to call them out on their moves, and say it like it is (this topic is littered with proof that you have and will) and that has value to me. 

Sariel and a few other reviewers don't shy away from harsh comments either. For example, I think alot of reviewers were expecting to never recieve review sets again from Lego after pretty much bashing the Porsche 42056 (and rightfully so). They still get sets to review to this day from Lego. 

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4 minutes ago, Appie said:

I took this fact into consideration when I made my comment, you even mention it yourself a few times after the apology I quoted from your reviews. Other reviewers that also had to deal with this fact, still had their reviews out faster.

Yeah, you are right. I am not saying I didn't have enough time. It's just that my motivation to speed things up slipped because sets were already available via retail channels.

 
 
 
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5 minutes ago, Appie said:

As for complaining about them maybe taking a business approach, we all know what happened when they pretty much operated as a charity in the late 90's and early 00's. Stuff like micro motors being sold in sets under the value of what it cost to make them. I don't think anybody here wants to go back to those nearly bankrupt days. 

I totally understand TLG is running a business. I mention that in most of my reviews. And please don't get me wrong; I am not "mad at TLG" and I am not complaining. I am just trying to figure out why we didn't get those sets and more importantly; I am trying to figure out if I want to keep doing reviews the way that I did. 

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It is a sad thing to see happen, personally i value written/pictorial reviews over videos (not just in lego, the same goes for games, computer hardware etc..), and a well-written and researched review is worth a thousand of quick and shallow youtube vids.

As others have said, i suspect lego providing the sets later and later is down to fighting leaks (we havent seen anything about the H1 2020 sets yet, which at least to me, feels unusual), this means deadlines get tighter, and at the same time any company is only paying more and more attention to marketing and social media, and in any industry, having the reviews out praising the product at or before launch is key. Sadly this has the effect of putting reviewers on a time-crunch, and pushing out those who cant deliver in minimal time, potentially to the detriment of quality.

@Jim Ill join the others here who have expressed a large appreciation for your reviews, i dont tend to buy sets at launch anyway, as i prefer to shop 20% below MSRP these days, so to me, being there at launch isnt a big issue, and as nintendo has said "a late game is only late once, a bad game is bad forever", and as others have said, when researching a set, 9 out of ten times the first hit is a eurobricks review, which often covers all bases.

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I'd like to add to the praise of your elaborate written reviews, Jim. 

In addition to the impeccable photos, your writing has always been elaborate, and with a positive vibe (constructive criticism). I have never seen you bash a set without justification, and I think you always are as positive towards a set as the set itself can justify. Which for me sums up to an informative, honest and well-meant review, which I'd be sad to see disappear. I think that purely photography-focused reviews would be a drawback, as it offers less in comparison with a video review than the full package.

Personally, I read your reviews, Brickset reviews and watch Sariel's, and enjoy them all very much (and I find they complement each other well). Usually, if the reviews show me an interesting model, and your review is generally positive, I end up being convinced to buy the set. (And have ended up with most medium and big sets since 42000..., 42077 and 42096 being notable omissions). Haven't gotten around to buying the latest wave yet, partly because I'm missing your reviews (and having to save up the dough first...), though you just convinced me to buy the Land Rover.

Please keep up the excellent work!

 

Btw, I cannot imagine review timing to be a factor in not receiving the sets anymore; Brickset are notoriously late with their Technic reviews, but they still keep getting them.

 

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1 hour ago, Appie said:

Sariel and a few other reviewers don't shy away from harsh comments either. For example, I think alot of reviewers were expecting to never recieve review sets again from Lego after pretty much bashing the Porsche 42056 (and rightfully so). They still get sets to review to this day from Lego. 

On the other hand, I once got the 75098 Assault on Hoth set for review, and we all know how it went - the set was a disaster and I was really hard on it. I never got another Star Wars set for a review. To be fair, this might have happened because LEGO decided that my channel isn't a good target for Star Wars reviews. It was around the time when I stopped buying SW sets for reviews because their popularity was limited.

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2 hours ago, Jim said:

And please don't get me wrong; I am not "mad at TLG" and I am not complaining.

Sorry, that part of my comment was actually meant more in general to some replies in this topic, not you. 

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13 minutes ago, Appie said:

Sorry, that part of my comment was actually meant more in general to some replies in this topic, not you. 

:thumbup:

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Does it matter that a review comes out before the set?

I'd hope not. Jim's reviews are good (the pictures, but also the text). Isn't that what matters?

And, if reviews aren't allowed to be critical, then they lose their trustworthiness. I'd much rather have an honest review that is late, than a timely review whose truth is doubted. And I expect that most of us see it the same way. The question is: does TLC see it this way too? Is a critical review better for them than no review? Does them providing a set give them anything in return if the resulting review may end up being harsh? Does them providing the set influence how we see them, and therefore, how we review their sets? If they don't provide a set, may the review end up being even later, but harsher? I think those are questions only TLC and ambassadors can answer.

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I enjoy your reviews the most, I just check yours and If I see here a video review like Sariel's.ones I sometimes check those too.

I deeply hate Facebook, despise Twitter, and fantasize with meteors reducing PInterest data centers to rumble, so yeah Eurobricks is my Lego info hub. Perhaps I am at outlier...just hope not.

But I am old, my attention span goes beyond the 12 seconds, I am able to read, and don't get easily distracted by fast moving colors. Also my main monitors are 32" at work and 42.5" at home, and feel absolutely stupid consuming multimedia on a smartphone when I can use proper hardware...

Of course not being a millenial helps paying for that hardware and having a healthy Lego budget. I really wonder how many mobile browsing, Facebook dwellers are paying for those Bugattis or Liebhers...

 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Erik Leppen said:

Does it matter that a review comes out before the set?

In today's world? Yes. The reviews that come first, get the views. 

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3 minutes ago, coinoperator said:

Maybe this IS the reason,
They limit the reviews by a few selected persons.

Yeah, they obviously do limit the number of reviewers/media. And that's a good thing. 

(I didn't make that quote btw)

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1 hour ago, Jim said:

@aol000xw you just put a huge smile on my face :laugh: :thumbup:

I agree 100% with the comments expressed. I am surprised by the policy of TLG with regards to reviews before the model is available for purchase. Why do they risk poor reviews which may impact on sales. Maybe this explains why new sets are almost immediately available at 20% discount (set 42110 LegoPL 850 Smyk 680 set 42100 LegoPL 2000 Smyk 1644 and set 42098 LegoPL 700 Smyk 560). On the other hand it may be that the reviews have little or no impact on the eventual purchasers of the sets - for them the brand and visual impact of the packaging may be more important. In other words review copies are a gesture of goodwill to AFOL's.

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As another 'Oldie' may I add to the support for your well written reviews, I'm not particularly bother whether they appear well after the release date as i tend not to buy sets until well after the release date. but i do enjoy a well written review, maybe its because i come from an age when people wrote about things rather than took a quick picture or video, whilst i appreciate that there is definitely room for the type of reviews that @Sariel produces, I prefer the written word and good quality still photographs (such as yours) that i can study in depth before coming to any decision.

Keep going Jim 

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I appreciate your (old type) reviews Jim very much, those are well thought-out, come with astonishing photos and you always come up with similar verdict I have in my mind after I build my own set. Therefore your reviews have good indication for me if I would like to have a set in my collection or not. I also like Blakbird written reviews a lot but unfortunately he is done with LEGO as far as I know.

And IMO it is not necessary to come up with your review before the release date. Please continue great work, take your time, maybe concentrate on big sets only and these reviews will always be on the top of the list.

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Thanks for all the kind words. I haven't responded to each comment, but I have definitely read every word. This gives me new motivation to keep writing reviews, sponsored by TLG or sponsored by myself :wink:

Maybe it's not so bad to review a set I bought myself once in a while. I mean, getting a 200/300/400 euro set for free or paying it yourself does make a difference :tongue:

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You'd better continue with your reviews, Jim.

Or else all of us the senior Eurobricks roly-polies, myself included, will have to do something about you. Beware!

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