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About Aanchir

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    Color Encyclopedia
  • Birthday 03/29/1991

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    LEGO Elves
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    Dragon Master Jay

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  1. I'm not sure why you pitch that as if it's some kind of absurd question. There are plenty of people who would love to see more gay or lesbian representation in LEGO themes, myself included. Mind you, that sort of representation has more to do with characterization than design, so would pertain mostly to "play themes" supported by character-driven storytelling (like LEGO Friends, Ninjago, or Hidden Side), rather than to minifigures on a more general level. But that doesn't mean it's not something worth talking about. Just because you weren't aware of those sorts of concerns until recently, that doesn't mean that they didn't exist beforehand. And traditions lasting a long time doesn't prove that they're harmless. After all, in my home state of Virginia, chattel slavery lasted for over 240 years, and was followed by nearly 100 years of racial segregation. Many other offensive traditions in my state and country have continued even within my lifetime. I certainly never expect to live in a world where inequalities and prejudices against minorities don't exist. But even though attempting to resolve a concern like that won't guarantee there won't be similar concerns in the future, that's no excuse to disregard them entirely! After all, that sort of defeatist attitude would be exactly the opposite of LEGO's "only the best is good enough"/"det bedste er ikke for godt" philosophy.
  2. This sums up a lot of my thoughts pretty nicely as well. At fan conventions I've often heard black visitors asking why there aren't black people in more themes. So while it may be true that today's Bright Yellow minifigures are not INTENDED to represent any one demographic, a lot of buyers struggle to see it that way in practice. We can't simply treat this as the buyer's fault for not being open-minded enough, either. Consider this: I'm white, but I used minifig parts with Bright Yellow skin on my sigfig, which I based on my real-life appearance. Nevertheless, I can easily look at my sigfig and see myself in it. By comparison, if I were black, I'd have a much harder time looking at a bright yellow sigfig and convincing myself that it looks like me. Whether or not it bothers you personally, that's a real disparity that LEGO buyers experience. Moreover, why should we worry that adding varied skin colors to LEGO is somehow not worth the possibility of criticism? It's true that if LEGO represents human diversity badly, such as through harmful or outdated stereotypes, they'll likely be criticized for it, just as other brands have been for similar missteps. But it's not like criticisms like that ever tend to conclude with a plea for brands to avoid portraying real-world human diversity ENTIRELY. And anyway, criticism isn't some kind of worst case scenario to be avoided at all costs, but rather as a necessary element of helping companies to ensure a high standard of quality. To give a non-diversity-related example — we all know that for a long time LEGO has had plenty of issues with dark red and reddish brown pieces cracking or having inconsistent coloration. But would we really be any better off if LEGO never even bothered TRYING to make dark red bricks? All in all, I'm not tremendously bothered by LEGO using bright yellow for minifigures. I'm used to it, and I feel like they're steadily doing better at portraying diversity in other ways besides skin color. But I also recognize that if light-skinned people have an easier time seeing themselves in bright yellow minifigs than dark skinned people, then LEGO's use of that color for minifigures isn't actually achieving the "racially neutral" outcome that LEGO intends. I hope that if LEGO continues to listen to their customers, then they'll be arrive at a clearer idea of whether a shift in their approach to skin color is needed, and how best to carry out that shift. Personally, I suspect that even if a shift like that doesn't seem urgent, it could very easily be necessary in the long run.
  3. Aanchir

    LEGO Ninjago 2020

    "Coming Soon" doesn't usually indicate a specific timeframe — that's just how LEGO typically tags not-yet-released sets on their shop site. And in any case, August 1st is less than two months, which is pretty "soon", all things considered. TBH, it's not much difference to me one way or another. Release dates varying by a few months between North America and Europe is nothing new, and it's not even something unique to the summer sets — there's been plenty of waves of sets over the years where January releases in North America are March releases in Europe or vice-versa. But waiting a bit longer isn't a huge burden to me… after all, most of the time I'm not buying sets right after they're released anyhow, and it's not like being released later means they'll be available for a shorter time.
  4. Aanchir

    LEGO Ninjago 2020

    LEGO has posted a promo page for the new Ninjago tabletop role-playing game featured in the latest wave of sets! https://www.lego.com/en-us/campaigns/kids/ninjago/choose-the-path Of most interest is the PDF gameplay guide: https://www.lego.com/r/www/r/portals/-/media/campaigns/kids/ninjago/choose-the-path/ninjago_howtoplayguide_2hy20_print.pdf?l.r=1428568717 It seems to be a pretty legit all-ages TTRPG — the rules and mechanics seem easy for kids and beginners to grasp compared to a more typical TTRPG like Dungeons and Dragons, but still with most of what players need for an engaging adventure, and well suited to building and writing custom adventures to play through with friends.
  5. Aanchir

    Officially not a toy anymore

    Yeah, sorry, that paragraph was kind of unfair, and you're right to call me out on it. It's definitely OK for people to dislike color choices like this, and I shouldn't have generalized its detractors that way. I guess I was just riled up about the complaints that were outright untrue like the claim about "no advanced techniques". But that's not an excuse or justification for lumping those together with subjective opinions about the colors, and I didn't mean to make people feel invalid because of their personal opinions. I'm not very active here anymore but I'll try and do better in future posts. I've never heard of such a clause. But even if there is one, there's a big difference between "not disparaging the final set" and "exuberantly praising it as a huge improvement on your own version, and telling people that the designers sought out your approval before making changes". And a lot of @paokus's comments have been in the latter category. I'm not at all comfortable assuming so many of our community's best builders would just lie like that about their own creations in exchange for 1% in royalties on the finished set. Maybe I'm an idealist, but I'd like to believe most of us would have more integrity than that. And LEGO couldn't force ANYBODY, particularly a non-employee, to sign a contract that requires to lie about their true feelings indefinitely. Even designers actually employed by LEGO, like Mark Stafford and Jamie Berard, are allowed to speak with fans about regrets or misgivings about sets and themes they worked on, such as intended features that ended up getting cut or altered in the final designs. So how are they supposed to keep a more conscientious builder from telling everybody about how close their project was to getting approved, and about the terms that their conscience couldn't abide by? It seems like it would be far too fragile a charade to maintain for this long…
  6. The existence of competitors in the region is itself proof that there's an audience for building toys in Asia that LEGO has previously failed to effectively cater to. I have little interest in playing "armchair CEO", and even less in wantonly speculating about "the current political climate" and what it might mean for the future. But the strong sales growth that LEGO has experienced in Asia in recent years seems to be a good sign that their efforts to expand their reach in that region have been far from futile. Moreover, I disagree that they "care little about actual European subjects". I mean, Nexo Knights was every bit as European-inspired as Monkie Kid is Chinese-inspired. The Elves theme likewise took extensive cues from European medieval fantasy. Furthermore, Technic, Creator Expert, and Speed Champions have featured many different European vehicle brands, just as Architecture and Creator Expert landmark series sets have depicted subjects from numerous European cities. There's certainly a case to be made that there are more futuristic or modern-day themes currently than historic ones, but that doesn't in any way demonstrate anti-European bias. After all, even within the past decade, themes with European historical settings have far outweighed ones with American or Asian historical settings. I'd certainly much sooner expect to see new Castle sets in the next few years than new Wild West sets… My comment about LEGO's familiarity with the tastes of European kids was not in reference to focus testing. But you are correct that LEGO still does plenty of testing and market research with European kids, and that the outcomes of that testing and market research are certainly discussed when developing new themes. That's all the more reason not assume LEGO is ignoring, turning their back on, or otherwise failing European kids just because their themes don't line up perfectly AFOL anecdotes and generalizations about which themes kids in Europe want to see. After all, LEGO sets still overwhelmingly dominate Amazon's construction toy best-seller lists in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. And the LEGO Group's 2019 annual results revealed that LEGO sales in Western Europe grew by single digits that year, while the combined EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) represented a 45% share of the company's net sales. It certainly seems like European kids are more satisfied with the current state of the LEGO brand than a lot of European AFOLs tend to suggest. And in any case, this is all tangential to the point of this topic, which was proposing a custom set ordering system specifically to cater to the AFOL market. On that note… It's a little rude to insinuate that LEGO fans who like the current product range are indiscriminate in their purchasing decisions. Who's to say buyers of the Winter Village Train weren't interested in it specifically BECAUSE it was a holiday train? In the collections of Brickset users, it's the second most widely owned Winter Village set (after Santa's Workshop), and the most widely owned Creator Expert train by a huge margin. That hardly seems to line up with what you'd expect if fans were just indiscriminately buying any train set LEGO makes. For my part, I had a much more passionate interest in Elves and Ninjago than I ever had in other castle or ninja themes. Their bright colors, compelling characters, elaborate fantasy settings and storylines, and exciting play features were all much more integral to my interest in them than what geographic area, culture, or chronological setting they happened to be based on. And while I believe LEGO is performing well (because, in all honesty, I haven't seen any reason to think they aren't), that's hardly because I'm 100% satisfied with everything they do. Sometimes I get a little bit bummed when I think about how there aren't presently any themes that appeal to me the same way that Elves did, or the same way that Bionicle and Hero Factory did. I do my best to deal with those feelings is to work on brainstorming my own creations, characters, and stories that can give me that satisfaction (which is very difficult compared to having that kind of enjoyment handed to you), and by speculating about and holding out hope for future new theme possibilities. But I don't get any satisfaction from imagining my personal disappointment as some great failure on LEGO's part, or disparaging people who aren't as disappointed about the absence of themes like those as I am. Mind you, one major difference between my situation and yours is that I haven't yet seen any third-party building toys that come close to filling the void left by past themes that I miss having around. If anything, the enjoyment I got from those might've been MORE specific than an interest in realistic castle or train sets might be, since my enjoyment came from a combination of design and media-driven storytelling elements that resonated with me, and no other building toy brands have really created much original storytelling that has quite what I'm looking for (at least, none that I'm presently aware of). That said, if Mattel were to make She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Mega Construx kits, I could imagine buying those in a heartbeat, since that series exemplifies many of the storytelling elements I loved about LEGO Elves to an even greater degree (I'm still giddy from the pure perfection of the final season that came out two days ago), and Mega Construx has made some huge strides in their design quality that have previously piqued my interest on the toy side of things. Likewise, in your case, if you come across a third party brand that seems reputable enough and high enough quality for your standards, and has the type of sets you want to see, I'd say go for it! The concept of "brand loyalty" is hardly worth depriving yourself of enjoyment, and if LEGO's competitors do end up finding considerable success with train sets, it certainly won't discourage LEGO from making more stuff like that themselves. I feel like custom fan-made sets are a suggestion LEGO gets often enough that they are probably already keeping tabs on what sort of technological or strategic innovations might make it a viable possibility in a way that LEGO Factory/LEGO Design by Me was not. Their partnership with BrickLink (pre-acquisition) on the AFOL Designer Program seems like pretty strong evidence they're open to pursuing new possibilities for that sort of thing. But in terms of the particular steps they'd need to really make this work, I think that's a lot harder for any of us to really speculate on. We have some general, broad insights into the sort of costs and other potential pitfalls LEGO might have to wrangle with to really pull that sort of thing off, but we don't know the specifics like the people who actually work at LEGO exploring these sorts of possibilities. Needless to say, I'm not quite as optimistic as you about how well the specific steps you're proposing might work in practice, but I don't see much point debating that sort of stuff when it's really anyone's guess what the actual costs or outcomes of that sort of proposal would really look like. For all we know, they might already be working on something kind of like you're suggesting, and they just need more time to finish fine tuning the details and lay the groundwork before they're ready to make any sort of announcement about it. Conversely, it's possible that they've already looked into these possibilities, and wound up encountering an obstacle that none of us here could have anticipated, and that they currently don't have any solution for. Regardless, I'll be interested to see if LEGO ever does manage to come up with a custom ordering service that really lives up to its full potential. Their acquisition of BrickLink certainly gave them access to a wealth of data about AFOL purchasing decisions which will surely give them some clues about what AFOLs are looking for that they aren't currently getting — even if it might take time for them to sift through that data, draw useful conclusions from it, and act on those conclusions. Sorry for my usual rambling… you can disregard this if it's too tedious. A topic like this is a lot to think about!
  7. There's no limit to the number of potential other themes that LEGO could find success with, but there are limits to how many of those directions they can successfully cater to at any given time. You could just as easily argue that 30 years ago they were "missing out" on just as many popular and lucrative potential themes because they didn't have any themes like Ninjago, Friends, Dots, Star Wars, Speed Champions, Super Heroes, Super Mario, and Creator Expert. It's valid to be frustrated if at a certain point in time, there's not a LEGO theme in a category you're particularly interested in or passionate about. But that doesn't mean that LEGO would necessarily make any more money by focusing on the areas of "potential" that stand out most strongly to you than those that stand out most strongly to them. I mean, I know loads of LEGO fans who are passionate about Bionicle and other buildable action figure themes, myself included — but I'm not somehow convinced that they are making a grave error by not making that segment of their fanbase their highest priority. Bear in mind that LEGO is a European company that does the vast majority of their design work at their headquarters in rural Denmark. It's not like they don't have the means to learn what sorts of subject matter children in Europe tend to enjoy. Chances are, Europe is the region whose children LEGO designers and executives tend to encounter most frequently! If LEGO sales in Europe were in some kind of free fall, then that would be a more pressing reason to worry about "missed potential" within that market. But as of last year, they've remained an industry leader in Europe and even continued to grow their sales in Western Europe, all while tapping into the enormous potential sales in Asia that they've been "missing out on" for much, MUCH longer.
  8. Aanchir

    Officially not a toy anymore

    I don't think I'd consider it unhealthy, really. What people are most interested in seeing from LEGO tends to be driven by their personal tastes or preferences, and it's not surprising that a lot of people's personal preferences are driven by either nostalgia, or a more general excitement for the idea of seeing how subject matter from LEGO's past could be improved with modern parts/colors/building techniques. Both those things certainly appeal to ME a great deal, even if it's not strictly in the context of a reboot of a specific classic theme. For example, when looking at new set designs, I can't help but marvel at the thought of how exciting they'd have been to me as a kid, ESPECIALLY when they resemble an updated counterpart of stuff I actually DID have positive experiences with in my own childhood. I do think that the pleas of "bring back (insert theme here)" are often irritating, but not because there's anything WRONG with wanting to see reboots or updates of older stuff. What's more frustrating to me is how often those pleas are used to disparage newer sets and themes — for example, criticizing Power Miners for NOT being an extension of Rock Raiders, or Ninjago for NOT being an extension of Ninja, or Elves for NOT being an extension of Castle. It's also especially grating when people plead for the revivals of older themes in the name of "originality". Criticizing new or recent themes just for not being new-and-improved versions of themes you enjoyed in the past does nothing to advance the cause of "originality".
  9. Aanchir

    Officially not a toy anymore

    Having built Barracuda Bay myself, it has LOADS of advanced (and brilliant) techniques. Far more than the original project, which was mostly a standard studs-up build, even while maintaining all of the advanced techniques that WERE in the original project like the crooked windows and SNOTted wooden boards! Its color scheme is also nowhere near as "basic" as people make it out to be. It does use white, red, black, yellow, grey, and brown, like the original Black Seas Barracuda did (albeit with substitutions for obsolete browns or greys). And aside from the striped sails, almost all of those colors are used in a period-accurate manner. But it also uses lots of colors that weren't around or weren't used extensively back then to add further realism: Brick Yellow, Sand Yellow, Dark Stone Grey, Dark Brown, Medium Nougat, Bright Green, Bright Yellowish Green, Medium Azur, etc. Overall, the standard of realism ends up as high or higher than the original project, and it's puzzling that people are STILL acting like having any bright color is somehow a travesty. Even the Temple of Airjitzu and Ninjago City were both way more brightly colored than Barracuda Bay, and they got heaps of praise from AFOLs, even those who'd never previously had any interest in Ninjago as a theme. It turns out that dull, low-contrast color schemes aren't somehow objectively superior to brighter, high-contrast ones. Moreover, there is no "corporate formula" they forced the project into. They made these changes with the enthusiastic approval of the project creator, who vocally prefers the final design over his own original concept model. Turns out, not every artist or designer who disagrees with your creative tastes is secretly just sacrificing or denying their own creative integrity in the name of profit. It's fine if some AFOLs disagree with the designers' choices… but I wish people would stop acting like they were some sort of unfeeling, ignorant corporate "formula" enforced against the will of actual creative thinkers, when we have plenty of evidence that it was the set designers' and fan designer's shared enthusiasm for the project and for the LEGO Pirates theme that drove those decisions.
  10. Aanchir

    Lego is dropping behind dragon designs

    I don't think it's fair to treat that as any sort of trend. Ninjago dragons have ALWAYS covered a range of different sizes and levels of detail/intricacy. And when two of the biggest and most elaborate Ninjago dragons (Firstbourne and the Ultra Dragon) have come out in just the past three years, it seems a bit excessive to worry the quality is on a steady decline just because a few of the dragons since have been less remarkable. I think price point considerations also partly account for a lot of the discontent regarding the Horntail, Basilisk, etc. A lot of the time, the highest price points in a particular wave are relegated to stuff that couldn't possibly be represented at lower price points — location-focused builds and so forth. If LEGO had wanted to make the Basilisk or Horntail bigger, they might have had to wait for a wave when the higher price points weren't already being devoted to other scenes — and bear in mind, there's rarely a guarantee that a licensed theme will GET additional waves if buyers aren't excited enough for the current lineup! Regarding the "are wyverns a kind of dragon" debate, I think some medieval people might have considered them such, depending on who you asked — they were hardly applying any scientific standard of taxonomy to their monster myths and legends at that point in time. But sidestepping that, I also think I ought to point out that at least one Elves dragon — Ashwing from 41183 — was wyvern style, and also a lot more aggressive in its design than the more peaceful dragons that appeared in other sets. Design authenticity can be a fair concern with stuff like the Horntail that's modeled on existing IPs. But when it comes to non-licensed sets, I think that these types of debates can quickly get mired in subjective nitpicking. Historical portrayals of dragons could vary tremendously, to say nothing of subsequent pop culture portrayals that have further shaped our perception. Many modern on-screen portrayals of dragons in movies like "Harry Potter", "The Hobbit", and "Game of Thrones" are probably FAR from how medieval people might have imagined them, in part because the design choices for these dragons are informed by cultural exposure to sciences medieval people had far more limited awareness of — stuff like paleontology, aeronautics, physics, marine biology, optics, etc. Also, when building an articulated creature, just raising the size and piece count indefinitely usually isn't going to be an option. I'm not sure if you've ever tried custom designing creatures at that scale, but most LEGO hinges can only support a limited amount of weight or force. And while there are options for adding more friction to support more weight (doubling up the hinge pieces, adding pistons or gears, using the rubber CCBS friction connectors, etc), it doesn't take too much of this for the amount of force to rotate a joint to become greater than the amount that will literally pull the pieces apart from one another! Mark Stafford has spoken about this on Reddit, but I don't have the patience right now to dig up a link for you. Suffice to say, there's a genuine reason for the oft-criticized lack of knees or ankles on many larger LEGO mechs and creatures. Even from a biological standpoint, a bipedal body plan is only viable for a lot of creatures (including us!) because we can intuitively adjust our balance using our muscles if we begin to teeter this way or that. An inanimate object like a LEGO model doesn't have that ability, and I've found my own efforts at building particularly large models stymied by the pull of gravity on various occasions! None of this is to say that what you're proposing is impossible. In my opinion, LEGO has been raising the bar in tremendous ways with many of their recent character and creature builds (though it sounds like you've been less impressed with those efforts). But like pretty much ANY dream project or proposal, it's FAR easier said than done. Even with the Mega Construx dragon you shared, it's hard to know just from a picture whether it has other drawbacks (like hinges that fail to withstand the test of time, or poor balance, or inconsistent friction and clutch power) that might not be fully visible from a still image, particularly one that appears to be CGI. Given the perennial popularity of dragon sets in themes like Ninjago and Elves, I'd say what they've been doing lately is "an outstanding job". It's important to recognize that while screen accuracy is something people can generally reach a consensus about, most other aspects of set design are vastly more subjective. For every LEGO fan who thinks brick-built creatures look too blocky and inauthentic, there's a LEGO fan who thinks molded creatures look too "Playmobil-ish" and not true enough to the LEGO brand's core values. For every fan who loves elaborate printed detail, there's one who feels like it's too far removed from the open-ended minimalism epitomized by the classic minifigure. For every fan who is excited to see LEGO show just how scary and intense they're willing to go, there are fans complaining that LEGO has already ventured too far from the friendly, wholesome, and nonviolent ideals that were such a major selling point for LEGO sets in the 70s and 80s, back when many other toy companies were dialing up the dark or violent imagery in their own toys to outrageous extremes. The horntail in the Harry Potter sets definitely isn't perfect, but even just in terms of screen accuracy, I feel I should point out that the mouth of the Horntail design from the movies DOES taper to a point like that of an eagle or snapping turtle. I feel like the recent set incarnation is FAR more accurate to that design than the previous one, not just in terms of the head shape, but also the rough skin, the mottled colors, and the way the designers opted for smaller, straighter, more numerous "horns" over just a few huge curved ones. Suffice to say, I fully expect LEGO to continue to improve their creature designs, perhaps even implementing some of the ideas that have been suggested in this thread. But even so, I don't feel like their recent track record is cause for alarm.
  11. Aanchir

    Which is your preferred skull & bones emblem?

    I definitely prefer the square head over the round one. It fits more neatly into the world of LEGO, in my opinion. It's not that the round head is ugly or anything, but the discrepancy with actual LEGO minifigs and skeletons is a bit jarring whenever it catches my attention.
  12. Aanchir


    I am still considering basing my redesign on a sloop, but I haven't been able to find many examples of sloops that closely resemble the original set's shape and proportions… particularly as I've only been able to find one historical example of a sloop with a loose-footed square mainsail, and I'm pretty hopeless at trying to build ships with so little reference material! But if anyone knows where I can find better reference images of ships like that, I'd definitely appreciate some links! From what I've seen, a lot of American names for sets in the 90s were very often more about sounding cool or catchy than making a lot of sense or even clearly describing anything about their contents. For example, a lot of space set names in the United States like "Particle Ionizer" or "Mega Core Magnetizer" were mostly just technobabble, whereas those same sets had much more descriptive names like "M:Tron Cosmicopter" and "M:Tron Recovery Centre" in the UK, or "M:Tron Exo-Copter" and "M:Tron Rescue-Center" in Germany. And it's not hard to find even more examples of American set names in the 90s that are historically or geographically inaccurate, like Caribbean Clipper in LEGO Pirates, Amazon Crossing in LEGO Outback, or Shanghai Surprise in LEGO Ninja. That said, the main bit of story-related lore we have for the Cross Bone Clipper comes from an American publication — the LEGO Divers comic in the May/June 1997 issue of LEGO Mania Magazine establishes that it ultimately wound up as an underwater shipwreck, and depending on how you choose to interpret the wording, may have been deliberately scuttled. While the fantastical storytelling in the "Adventures of the LEGO Maniac" comics are explicitly framed as the Maniac's whimsical play scenarios, and I have no intent of regarding them as a reliable source of LEGO Pirates continuity, I do think I'll probably try and redesign the Cross Bone Clipper so it can break apart into a "shipwreck", just like the designers did with Barracuda Bay, so that if I can get it to a state I'm happy with I can also come up with an alternate design for the wrecked version!
  13. Aanchir


    Interesting! Personally, I was leaning towards re-imagining it as a cutter rather than a clipper. After all, if the set had been released globally like most earlier pirate ship sets, it probably would have been named differently in other countries anyhow, so faithfulness to the name is far from my chief priority. And this way, I could keep a lot of the most distinctive elements of the design (single mast positioned towards the bow, square-rigged mainsail, smaller and more streamlined hull than the Barracuda, etc), while introducing more minor changes for a semblance of authenticity (like a triangular headsail and upper deck). This feels closest to the approach LEGO took with the new Barracuda, retaining close to the same length, width, and color scheme as the original, while also adding an upper deck, additional gunports, martingale, and gaff-rigged spanker. Side note… does anybody else feel like some of this sailing vessel jargon really seems to put the "naughty" in "nautical"?
  14. Aanchir


    Even the idea of her being a female pirate who wears the clothes of a former male shipmate has the makings of an extremely compelling story, especially if you extrapolate on that and explore a possibility of a more personal connection between them (like siblings, or lovers, or rivals) and the circumstances of his death or disappearance! I can't fault you one bit for embracing that particular interpretation, and if it weren't for my personal experience as a trans woman, it might easily be my preferred take as well. I'm sure this was also a motivating factor, although that also ties into Samuel Johnson's explanation of wanting to cut down on repetition. A lot of folks tend to think about of gender parity among LEGO characters as just a matter of making sets more interesting to kids and adults who previously felt under-represented, but I think the vast majority of people tend to find stories more compelling, and can generate more compelling stories of their own, if they include varied portrayals of men AND women.
  15. Aanchir


    Just to keep folks updated, after posting my analysis of Robin Loot's character in the AFOLs of Facebook group, LEGO Ideas design director Samuel Johnson offered a little more detail about the design process behind this character! She was, as suspected, designed as a female version of the original green-vested pirate minifigure. However, the motivation for that decision was primarily driven not by the character selection in the original project, nor even by wishing for her to represent a specific crew members depicted in the Cross Bone Clipper set, but rather by the fact that the designers wanted to avoid the redundancy of yet another pirate with a striped shirt or mustache! It's certainly an understandable choice, and definitely far preferable to just inventing a new crew member without any sort of classic-inspired design. I have to applaud Austin Carlson for pulling off this redesign so smoothly without needing to resort to adding exaggerated curves or extensive decorative flourishes which would distance it further from its classic counterpart. In fact, the current design seems generic enough that it could easily be repurposed in future sets or MOCs for male crew members like the green-vested pirate figures of the 90s. I'm even feeling a little bit inspired to think about how I might update the Cross Bone Clipper in a similar way to the newer, more realistic version of the Barracuda. I understand it's widely regarded as the weakest classic pirate ship set, so an update with classic-inspired colors and textures but more attention to period-accurate detail would probably do it well! I've previously seen a few other MOCs attempting this, but I think some of the stuff that the designers did for the Barracuda could be great inspiration for even more ways of improving on the original design. In any case, as a trans woman who only "came out" after several years of presenting as a man, I appreciate them leaving these particulars of the character's backstory open to interpretation, whether or not they intended for people to think of her as transgender. I'm certainly going to continue thinking of her that way myself. And in the meantime, I'm definitely going to continue to hold out hope that there will be more LEGO characters trans folks like me can relate to on that level in the future! Even the little nods to the LGBTQ+ community that we've seen from LEGO in recent years are an encouraging sign of how people's views are gradually evolving and becoming more accepting.