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legolatra

these figures are original?

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1 hour ago, BrickHat said:

As things stand, I think that if one is to spend money on these figures, one must accept the fact that they are not guaranteed to be genuine, by the facts outlined above by several users. In the worst case, you are buying a high-quality custom that looks (I'd say exactly) like a Lego figure would look like in those colors. If you would not be willing to pay the prices these go for for such a custom, then I'd recommend against buying them.

Not necessarily facts, but certainly reasonable assumptions strong enough to provide reasonable doubt. 

I'd agree with the rest though, entirely. After seeing the trans red clone trooper, I did contemplate for a moment about getting it, with the acceptance it may or may not be genuine. But just because so cool! But alas, boring sensibility came back in my mind and stopped me :laugh:

3 hours ago, TeddytheSpoon said:

I thought they'd made the switch a while ago, but don't quote me on that.

The idea that these are prototypes is... somewhat believable, although they do seem to be popping up at quite the rate for supposed prototypes, which by their nature are low-volume. Equally... Why prototype a Vader figure in red (or any other colour, or figure, for that matter)? That colour has been in LEGO's armoury from the start. On the assumption that they are prototypes, the only thing I can think of would be a test of the sugar-cane based plastic that plants are now made of, to see if minifigures are up to standard. Although again, why Vader and not, say, a minifigure with a similarly complicated but unlicensed hairpiece, I have no idea.

As for the night-shift theory... I highly doubt it. LEGO's production process is almost entirely automated, even down to the transport of bricks. So not only would you need to fill the bins with a different colour of plastic, you would need to purge the previous colour from the injectors (which are huge, by the way), prevent the printing from happening, and cut off the production line at the point where the pieces are thrown into bags and boxes, before doing it another 23 times and THEN putting it all back to how it was before. The actual production time would be fairly quick given how many of these are produced at once, but the machine down time would be colossal, and would definitely not go un-noticed. That's a hell of a lot for one person to do for the sake of a quick buck.

The theory that these are prototypes for a new plastic mix is semi-plausible notwithstanding the fact that they seem to be popping up everywhere. I won't buy the night-shift theory unless an employee can explain how they did it. They look cool, but I do think these are probably knock-offs.

Echoing what alexandrina said, I have also seen somewhere it state that red is used because it shows up the stress fractures best. And again though, why all the other colours, who knows... 

Your middle and last paragraph are exactly what I was assuming to be the case but not wanting to say because I've never had any experience with injection moulding machines and therefore while I'd assume switching colours would be a time costly and inefficient process that would be easily noticed, I didn't actually know. Good to know though! 

But as Blackman also said, playing devil's advocate here and trying to keep a neutral view, is it not also possible they have a smaller machine specifically designated for prototyping parts so as not to disrupt production capacity? I'd have assumed that too, as they'd have to prototype test quite a few parts/colours etc, I really can't imagine they squeeze that in between actual production, it seems inefficient. 

 

Being able to nab a bundle of already made minifigs to sell loads on bricklink would be a lot easier than actually producing one in many different colours... 

A possible theory I thought is that it's possible someone/a small clone company cloned the basic fig moulds by reverse cloning the pieces, and the same for darth vader head piece and are testing the quality using different colours. 

 

As for 'if it could be done, it would be done already' being a reason, it's not. Of course it can be done. Given enough time with silicone and dye, I could make cloned copies with the lego logo out of resin no problem. I don't have my own injection process machine. But if I can do it out of resin, you can bet it can be copied with abs. 

But even clone companies in China try and stay within the blurred boundaries of legality to not bear the full brunt of obvious 100% trademark infringement. 

 

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14 minutes ago, Fuppylodders said:

As for 'if it could be done, it would be done already' being a reason, it's not. Of course it can be done. Given enough time with silicone and dye, I could make cloned copies with the lego logo out of resin no problem. I don't have my own injection process machine. But if I can do it out of resin, you can bet it can be copied with abs. 

But even clone companies in China try and stay within the blurred boundaries of legality to not bear the full brunt of obvious 100% trademark infringement.

Yeah, "if it could be done, it would be done" ends up being circular reasoning, because it might be done with these figures!

I think the usual arguments are that injection molding usually involves high costs, which mostly bootleg companies can afford. People say those avoid using the Lego logo to avoid bigger legal problems. Making knock-off products that look indistinguishable from the real thing would not seem legal in most countries. The fact that these get distributed through established vendors, who would face legal risk if they knowingly distribute knock-offs, would suggest they believe these to be genuine. Multiple eBay sellers sell Lepin with (seemingly) no consequences, though, so who knows.

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3 hours ago, Fuppylodders said:

Echoing what alexandrina said, I have also seen somewhere it state that red is used because it shows up the stress fractures best. And again though, why all the other colours, who knows... 

Your middle and last paragraph are exactly what I was assuming to be the case but not wanting to say because I've never had any experience with injection moulding machines and therefore while I'd assume switching colours would be a time costly and inefficient process that would be easily noticed, I didn't actually know. Good to know though! 

But as Blackman also said, playing devil's advocate here and trying to keep a neutral view, is it not also possible they have a smaller machine specifically designated for prototyping parts so as not to disrupt production capacity? I'd have assumed that too, as they'd have to prototype test quite a few parts/colours etc, I really can't imagine they squeeze that in between actual production, it seems inefficient. 

I didn't know about the red for stress fractures, that is interesting and makes sense.

I think they probably do have a smaller injection moulding setup for prototypes, but I don't think it would necessitate a night shift. They're not often quick to start up, but with the small quantities required for prototypes you could probably start up, do a small batch and close it off within a day. The possibility of genuine prototypes is there, but the night shift story throws up a lot of questions for me.

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1 hour ago, TeddytheSpoon said:

I think they probably do have a smaller injection moulding setup for prototypes, but I don't think it would necessitate a night shift. They're not often quick to start up, but with the small quantities required for prototypes you could probably start up, do a small batch and close it off within a day. The possibility of genuine prototypes is there, but the night shift story throws up a lot of questions for me.

I also would imagine that they do the prototypes at LEGO's HQ, rather than at their factories, which may or may not be in another country.  I remember a while back they did videos showing their process of designing sets for the Cars line about ten years ago, and I think they did their initial prototype production in their offices in Denmark.  Now, that may have been a simplified version of it just for the videos, and this was also a decade ago so the process may have changed as technology has changed, but it would make more sense than the element designers saying "Hey we need to test this new mold" and having to call their factory wherever, get them to set up the new mold, produce a handful of parts, and then ship them back to Denmark. 

think sometimes these colored figures are legitimate prototypes, but when all of these come up at once, I doubt that they were prototypes.  I mean, why would they need to make a clear version of the figure?

Edited by Kit Figsto

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1 hour ago, TeddytheSpoon said:

I didn't know about the red for stress fractures, that is interesting and makes sense.

I think they probably do have a smaller injection moulding setup for prototypes, but I don't think it would necessitate a night shift. They're not often quick to start up, but with the small quantities required for prototypes you could probably start up, do a small batch and close it off within a day. The possibility of genuine prototypes is there, but the night shift story throws up a lot of questions for me.

That's what I was just thinking, would a test injection moulding machine be used during the night. I would assume it would be located not on the factory floor and be used by research and development people who wouldn't be necessitated to work a night shift. As @Kit Figsto said, the machine is probably in a different building.

But then, that could be how factory workers could do it without interrupting production lines as I would assume they have some form of access.

,

Edited by Stuartn

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I cannot see how they are prototypes. What are they even prototyping? The parts have been in production for a number of years. The colours are well established. They don't need to make entire figures to prototype a part. If they are genuine, in the sense that they are made in a lego factory, they are probably being made for the black market. Whether a shift manager knows or not, they are probably made to supplement incomes paid by lego. We've seen employees leave before, and have literally 1000s of valuable minifigs that get sold off. Same with their in house gift sets, loads appear for sale at Xmas. No doubt all staff know there is money to be made from black market sales.

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If these are being made at a LEGO factory NO way does TLG not know about it. Come on, one of the leading members of TLG's social media team used to a moderator here

It's not like you can sneak into the factory at midnight, poor a bit of plastic and dye in a mould, press a lever and leave with these figs half an hour later. Those machines are highyl sophisitcated and computer controlled. There would need to be re-programming etc and that would leave a trail ... also they run 24/7

So if they're indeed made by TLG, it's done on purpose. For what reason? Don't know .. That company works in mysterious ways

 

1 hour ago, MAB said:

I cannot see how they are prototypes. What are they even prototyping? The parts have been in production for a number of years. The colours are well established. They don't need to make entire figures to prototype a part. If they are genuine, in the sense that they are made in a lego factory, they are probably being made for the black market. Whether a shift manager knows or not, they are probably made to supplement incomes paid by lego. We've seen employees leave before, and have literally 1000s of valuable minifigs that get sold off. Same with their in house gift sets, loads appear for sale at Xmas. No doubt all staff know there is money to be made from black market sales.

Every part is inventoried. If thousands of parts go missing it would be a matter for the authorities

In house gifts get sold by employees, nothing strange about that. Those sets are not stolen from the factories

Also TLG sells/dumps parts through various channels and a lot ends up on BL. It's hardly a secret and have been going on as long as BL has been around

On 2/23/2021 at 10:59 PM, Tusserte said:

The sellers who have many of these parts sometimes sell LEGO minifigs months before the sets release if you know where to look.  They definitely have some sort of factory connection.

No point speculating how an employee could or couldn't do this.

Oh yes there is!

17 hours ago, Alexandrina said:

I can't remember where it was, but I'm certain I read somewhere on EB that red is used all the time for tests/prototypes, because red shows stress marks better than other colours.

Why Lego would make the gamut of colours for a prototype is another matter, entirely.

I have owned red prototype parts that are decades old

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4 hours ago, 1974 said:

If these are being made at a LEGO factory NO way does TLG not know about it. Come on, one of the leading members of TLG's social media team used to a moderator here

It's not like you can sneak into the factory at midnight, poor a bit of plastic and dye in a mould, press a lever and leave with these figs half an hour later. Those machines are highyl sophisitcated and computer controlled. There would need to be re-programming etc and that would leave a trail ... also they run 24/7

So if they're indeed made by TLG, it's done on purpose. For what reason? Don't know .. That company works in mysterious ways

 

Every part is inventoried. If thousands of parts go missing it would be a matter for the authorities

A large amount of plastic gets destroyed before leaving the factory due to quality control purposes.  The amount of plastic that was used to make a handful of these minifigs is probably not significant compared to the amount that gets destroyed.  As for how would someone hook up the trans-clear plastic to the Darth Vader mold, I don't think anyone here is going to have a good answer.  We don't actually know how those machines work.

There's also an assumption that this is a single rogue employee rather than a group of employees working together which we don't know is true.

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These are obviously chinese clones, especially when it's as basic as a Vader minifig. There's no SW minifig that you can't find on Ali, they even expand on it, you'll find tons of baby yoda's in different forms.

If a legit one exists (& it's often in red color), and you'll find it with the "HTF" tag on Bricklink, for big bucks.

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6 hours ago, 1974 said:

Every part is inventoried. If thousands of parts go missing it would be a matter for the authorities

It is very costly to do this, I doubt plastics toys worth to do that.  A fig that cost 100bucks in BL, would have the same material cost for producing a cheap city fig.  

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Protecting TLG's and the IP holders interests are worth a LOT more than that. IF these come from TLG, even without their knowlegde, they could be sued by Disney/Lucasfilm for breaking the contract

TLG almost lost the SW license years ago when an employee leaked some info (it was perhaps a video?) from EP 1 well before the movie was out

 

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6 hours ago, 1974 said:

Every part is inventoried. If thousands of parts go missing it would be a matter for the authorities

In house gifts get sold by employees, nothing strange about that. Those sets are not stolen from the factories

Neither are a lot of the figures that get sold off stolen. You only had to look at Kevin Hinkle's ebay sales when he left LEGO to see the 100s of minifigures of himself, other LEGO workers, and all the multiple copies of comic con figures that he had. Presumably all legit.

 

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Exactly. TLG dumps parts and sets in not-so-normal ways and employees can buy at very low prices (depending on how far up in the foodchain they are)

I'm sure some of that are not supposed to be sold, but I guess TLG turns the blind eye

However, these minifigs are something else

Edit : I looked up the former SW moderator here (as I mentioned some posts back), KimT, that got headhunted by TLG to be community coordinator. Looks like he got booted .. " On November 14, 2019 Kim was fired for breaking LEGO's rules and was swiftly terminated, but at this moment it is unknown why" (according the Brickipedia)

It would have been nice to have his input - or any official statement from TLG

Edited by 1974

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3 hours ago, 1974 said:

Edit : I looked up the former SW moderator here (as I mentioned some posts back), KimT, that got headhunted by TLG to be community coordinator. Looks like he got booted .. " On November 14, 2019 Kim was fired for breaking LEGO's rules and was swiftly terminated, but at this moment it is unknown why" (according the Brickipedia)

"swiftly terminated"? Man, LEGO really don't mess around with rulebreakers do they! :laugh:

5 hours ago, blackman88 said:

It is very costly to do this, I doubt plastics toys worth to do that.  A fig that cost 100bucks in BL, would have the same material cost for producing a cheap city fig.  

Absolutely they'd inventory it all - a good inventory of everything (including prototypes) is key to reducing inefficiency, and LEGO doesn't strike me as an inefficient company. I agree with @1974 on the IP front as well; I'd assume if LEGO's machines were used to make a Darth Vader off the back of which someone then profits, it'll be LEGO's head on the chopping block, regardless of who's making the money (as it probably won't be LEGO and certainly won't be Lucasfilm). Worse, it would represent a breakdown of trust with one of their most valuable partners.

That said, it doesn't sound like LEGO is chasing down these 'genuine' listings on eBay or otherwise; I guess since they wouldn't be sold by LEGO and as such don't represent a lost profit, it's not worth spending money to stop people doing it. All it really does is make a nuisance for hardcore collectors - it's not like the LEGO brand is being brought into disrepute here. And it gives us nerds with spare time something to speculate on and discuss on internet forums. :laugh:

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Instead of arguing the possibilities of how lego employees could mold vaders or debating legal consequences, I just googled this to see if anyone actually bought any to prove whether or not they were legit, and @just2good has a video where he bought and reviewed the helmets. They definitely seem to be legitimate lego molds.

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52 minutes ago, Mandalorianknight said:

Instead of arguing the possibilities of how lego employees could mold vaders or debating legal consequences, I just googled this to see if anyone actually bought any to prove whether or not they were legit, and @just2good has a video where he bought and reviewed the helmets. They definitely seem to be legitimate lego molds.

Several EB members have them and believe them to be genuine for this same reason. I think the question is, are they fakes indistinguishable from the real deal?

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7 hours ago, BrickHat said:

Several EB members have them and believe them to be genuine for this same reason. I think the question is, are they fakes indistinguishable from the real deal?

If the fakes are good enough that several eurobricks members own them, have examined them, and believe them to be real, with the little lego logos and whatnot, we might as well give up on buying anything off bricklink or ebay, because it means fakers have created fake lego that's impossible to identify.

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10 hours ago, Mandalorianknight said:

If the fakes are good enough that several eurobricks members own them, have examined them, and believe them to be real, with the little lego logos and whatnot, we might as well give up on buying anything off bricklink or ebay, because it means fakers have created fake lego that's impossible to identify.

I've heard some collectors that think this is the case nowadays. For instance, there is concern that fake Mr. Golds are now indistinguishable from the real thing (that might be another story, though, because it would just involve pad printing and chroming on existing Lego pieces). If I was in the prototype collecting niche, I'd be concerned about paying hundreds of dollars for items that are not guaranteed to be genuine.

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The most logical option is for them to be clones of excellent quality, almost undetectable, but this theory raises me a question: how is it possible that all these clones come from the same country and there are not several resellers of these figures all over the world? I mean, the person who makes them wants to make money, should have many resellers all over the world, right?
 

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24 minutes ago, legolatra said:

The most logical option is for them to be clones of excellent quality, almost undetectable, but this theory raises me a question: how is it possible that all these clones come from the same country and there are not several resellers of these figures all over the world? I mean, the person who makes them wants to make money, should have many resellers all over the world, right?
 

Not really. The market for these is incredibly small, at these prices. Having a band of resellers selling to a fixed pool of buyers just means less income for the originator.

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34 minutes ago, legolatra said:

The most logical option is for them to be clones of excellent quality, almost undetectable, but this theory raises me a question: how is it possible that all these clones come from the same country and there are not several resellers of these figures all over the world? I mean, the person who makes them wants to make money, should have many resellers all over the world, right?
 

I echo what MAB said, also, (this is purely going on the assumption these are high quality fakes) by keeping these low numbered, it retains their 'probability' of being real, as its not obvious. By keeping the numbers of these out there, low, it keeps their values up high. And the person can keep trickling them out in low numbers to keep the suspicion questionable, thus enabling the prices to stay high for longer and give them more profit. 

Again, I reiterate that's hypothetical to them being high quality fakes. 

For me personally, until someone can come forward with more information than 'night shift did it' then I'm cynical and not allowing myself to believe these are real beyond all reasonable doubt as my mind has too many unanswered questions-as much as I'd love these to be real because those transparent ones are frikkin cool! 

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First of all, I don't think there are few units, I'm seeing a lot of solid and translucent figures being sold. The problem here is that the second resellers (ebay) are making more than 100-200% profit on their purchase price. Let's give an example with the prices that I have found:

Provider: sell to 15-20USD to their local resellers. Dont know how much the profit here is ...

1st reseller (local sellers): buy from the provider at 15-20USD and sell to 25-30USD to local and international users.

2nd reseller (international sellers): buy from the local resellers at 25-30USD and sell to 100USD to the users all over the world.

This is the problem, the 2nd resellers are increasing their profit more than 100-200% and the final users are thinking that these pieces are prototypes or rare minifigs due are too expensive, but in fact, the figures are not too expensive in themselves, well, are expensive to be clones, if they really are....

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