Eurobricks Vassals
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  1. I was attending a scientific conference last week and one of the speakers gave a talk on the use of databases and big data. The used lego trains as an analogy of the database "engine" and the data payload. I spent much of the talk trying to identify the trains (photos), they had. Certainly a lot from the 12V era plus a number of variants on the hobby train and a a few MOCs. Sometimes it is nice to see that I am not only person with a huge collection of Lego trains (and technic)
  2. I wonder how difficult it would be to add power functions for drive/steering, is there space to add this easily.
  3. The price in Euro hurts, you should see the UK price when compared to older sets (fall in pound).
  4. I provided a legal break down of this in some detail elsewhere which I cannot find now. As people have noted and in summary of my long discussion before... 1) There is no issue with ABS bricks, lego actually "copied" this years ago and has failed to "protect" the lego brick as a being covered by a patent. This is "correct". 2) First problem is loss of IP : where a certain company has made exact copies of the designs not just of lego but also of MOC's provided by AFOL's. The copy of these designs is a loss of revenue to Lego as design is expensive as it requires many people to both create these and QA them and make them accessible to the general public as a working model without errors, robust and easily made. This also highlights a problem of the Lego business model where the bricks themselves have a value which is of course much less than the price/brick value, but you have to pay for the design component of sets. But if you buy the bricks separately then this costs more than the set. So the price of bricks subsidizes the design cost - which is the massive problem here, and the price of brick cost massively subsidizes sets. So this Chinese company is undermining the fundamental business model of Lego where they have to charge more for "bricks" to pay for the design. Lego can only compete on this if it gets rid of all designs and only markets bricks ! 3) Breaking franchise agreement : there are multiple sets that have been copied where Lego pays a franchise agreement, ie Volvo, Porche, Star wars... Therefore Lego has loss of revenue since the company is breaking this, and franchise companies could join the legal action as you cannot sell a "copy" of a real thing (Ie a Porche 911) without paying Porche. 4) Loss of IP on design and printing - ie these copies a so close they are using the graphic design - again expensive. Just look at the packaging discussion on this forum to see how important graphic design is. Even the instruction are expensive to create - check and double check that they work. Think about taking a technic set apart - it seams so locked together - you wonder how you made it in the first place. 5) Loss of face : If people believe that they are "being ripped off on price" by Lego because Lego is more expensive (see 2/3/4) then Lego has Loss of face with the public. Ie the public cannot be expected in most part to understand ROI (return on investment) and other parts of Lego business model which requires them to sell Lego at a certain price point. I am certain most people will not realize the subsidization of design in sets by brick cost. 6) Future development costs : We expect Lego to come out with new product streams : for example Mind-storms and power functions; the R&D (research and development) costs are significant. We know that some of this is subsidized (ie MIT developed the first mindstorms ideas, so these came at cost), but even so this future development path is very expensive to maintain. Copies of Lego require protection (just like drug development) or there is no point of developing new Lego product lines. 7) Old designs and new designs. Lego makes no direct revenue out of old models as it retires old sets and makes no revenue from these. In fact it provides instruction downloads for old sets (though of course buying the bricks to build these is 2-3 times more expensive than the sets - see 2). New sets are the problem and I saw multiple technical sets available before Lego made them available - I wonder if 2017 H1 technical release date was brought forward because of this. 8) Loss of face : if people (children is the main target) believe that this brick is not very good and models don't work then they believe that the brick = Lego is a bad toy. Ie there is less of face for Lego if the customers believe that the ABS brick does not work as a toy. The critical issue here is "brand recognition" - ie more children actually probably understand "real-Lego" and "fake-Lego" at an early age as Lego brand recognition is so strong; so Lego is unlikely to win on this issue: ie this point only reinforces the Lego quality issue (particularly with Technics where the tolerances are so high, or mini-figures where perfection is only good enough). 8) Support : Lego provides a very high level of support, will replace missing parts, are always helpful even if you did not buy from shop@home. That is expensive, bet you won't get an answer from clone companies when you have a missing part. So think carefully, this is very bad for Lego but ALSO very bad for us : Lego could drop all design and support as the only way to compete. All new idea product streams would stop (power-functions are not perfect, but they really are very good and the PM (pulse modulation) control is way beyond anything from the model railway system - lego trains work much better than h-----y trains when running slowly or with lots of rolling stock). Then there are the AFOL's that loose all their designs - even now I imagine there will be restrictions on "free" design from AFOL's . Sorry about the typo's and also missed a couple of definitions: IP : Intellectual Property : the role of Patents is to protect ideas - it recognizes that a person came up with a idea and owns that idea QA : Quality Assessment
  5. I see that in the UK and Germany (but not the US) some of the H1 2017 technic sets came out today a little early I also see that there are no shortages this year before Christmas, first time for a few years.
  6. How do you do Lego?

    I buy mostly (flagship) technic,trains and the ideas; being quite old I fortunately have quite reasonable pocket money allowance. I have some 50+ sets which I try and keep complete, but occasionally MOC something which combines a few sets. I have a busy job and care for some terminally ill so quite often I just pick a technic set and build it over a period of a few days then take is apart; I build it slowly just to chill out, perfect solution for me. I also often fill a room with trains and have just completed a MOC of "evening star" to go with some 10 other train sets and lots of MOC rolling stock. I have got to the stage where storage is a problem as I like to keep the boxes in good condition so I am not sure what to do with the 2017 technic sets - 2016 was a "bad" year for me as I bought so many, I am not sure about the plane and the boat but I bet I end up buying them.
  7. Lego clone to the extreme

    Hi I saw a you tube video on Lepin when trying to find lego technic 2017 sets and more detail on these future sets. The important point to me is that it is a complete line up of 2017 technic sets for 2017 done by Lepin. Of course from a legal perspective this is loss of IP (intellectual property) and loss of revenue (design is very expensive for Lego) and I have provided a legal discussion on this in detail elsewhere. Yes I know there is a current open dispute in the courts on this. The implications of this video content is that Lepin has exact copies and presumably the detail design before release which suggests thyat Lego have loss IP by either hacking or leak of IP from a person. Ie if you are trying to copy design, you need time to tool up the new pieces, and you need the design instructions to do this, and to bring these out for 2017 at the same time as Lego is quite a problem and suggest more than a "copy" but a loss secret knowledge. Very sad.
  8. Completed , now I need to make a video
  9. [MOCs] Various American Freight Cars

    They are all really nice, put my efforts to shame.
  10. Power Functions Train Motor Stops by itself

    The power function motors keep going as they were previous set - power functions send messages only to change settings. Have you checked that you have quality batteries - power function will turn off if the voltage drops below a minimum threshold and if the batteries or of poor quality they will dip in voltage with the high current usage of the motors. (A well know bunny brand have been shown to be very poor quality with a reasonable probability of a duff battery which might be going to high resistance as it is dead).
  11. I took it mostly apart and the new version is much better with a longer boiler and better wheel placement and a better height between boiler frame and driving wheels. I am getting closer I think; working on the front again, it is very distinctive but difficult to get the front bogie to turn an not hit the cylinders . I also decided to run a drive shaft between the 2 driving axles rather then using the push rods to do the work - reduces the friction and makes for smoother running. Needs the correct tender too. Hopefully by the weekend I will do some more pictures.
  12. I have started on creating a MOC of Evening star (British standard class 9F), the largest and last of the British steam engines. My favorite above the class A3 (aka : flying Scotsman - aka Emerald night) and the mallard. This is a work in progress and so far I have been working on basic design to see if a 2-10-0 will actually go round a lego track as there is no trailing bogie to help. . I also wanted to use power functions to drive the driving wheels of the engine, and to get the basic "flying" boiler base design as a starting point. Here is where I am up to, and it drives fine and works well and goes round corners without de-railing. (Sorry the picture is terrible but it was late at night). If anyone is interested in this project I will post some more updates. You can see it is a heavily modified Emerald night as a starting point - the front has had more work since this picture. I need to extend the boiler length and try and reduce the diameter. Then sort out the detail.
  13. For the UK people : tesco direct is selling this for £90 again - but "you have to be over 12 to buy this item" ....
  14. Just add a comment here for the UK readers.... You cannot buy peroxide in the UK except in very small amounts for bleaching hair, it is a "controlled" substance here. Therefore I use white washing powder as it contains up to "30% peroxide". The enzyme washing powders have the advantage they digest off the crap - and ABS plastic is not affected by enzymes. Note that you should be careful with UK washing powder as it is very caustic (alkaline) but I have not seen a problem with washing stuff from ebay (euch !) I use a laundry bag, you can buy sets of bags from various places, and these are nylon nets; and wash in a sink as I think the washing machine bashes the lego around quite a lot. I dry the lego by spinning at 600rpm in the washing machine (2 laundry bags to balance things) - then use a fan to give a final dry. I always wash lego from ebay - it is usually pretty nasty. Bricklink second hand lego is usually pre-wash (mine is ;) )
  15. How Do You Budget LEGO?

    Being married - we both get "pocket money" which can be spent on anything, no questions. Though generally I only spend it on Lego. I might also do an offer on something like : clear out the old kitchen, refit the electrics and rebuild the pantry when we replaced the kitchen and charged £400 for this work - we get a huge saving on costs of someone else doing this work, and I get Lego.