Last night, I finished wrestling with my ISD set (photos and review by the weekend). And while I was struggling with the top half and getting it to seat correctly on the lower half’s mounting points, I noticed that a few of the stickers were already peeling off. It hasn’t even been 48 hours since I put them there and they decided to start lifting away from the plastic they were adhered to. I am beginning to think of stickers as a scourge rather than an asset more and more with each set’s release.
I’m not stupid or close-minded, I understand that it’s most likely a cost issue. Less elements, more printed parts? Sign me up. Heaven forbid this thought: same price / less minifigs / more printed parts? That right there is one hard argument. But I love printed elements. And judging from the last poll, 86% of you agree and that’s a pretty big number. Printed elements are reusable years from now even if they fade and get scratched. Old stickers though, not quite the same lasting power. Have you seen how they deteriorate? Have you seen how they crumble at the touch and how difficult it is to clean up? This scourge as I lovingly referred to it has even hit bricklink. It is a sad day indeed when a seller is selling stickered elements. Maybe that’s not the only isolated case, but I sure hope it is.
I can accept thinner boxes, no inner box, boxes you have to actually tear open to gain access to the insides (those of you who save your boxes, you won’t like this round of sets). I can accept bley and redbrown. I can accept instruction manuals that are difficult to discern color, or the orientation of a black element. I can even accept rising prices and inflation. So if this time next year I have to pay $24.99 for a 200 pc set instead of $19.99, so be it. But if there is one thing I draw the line at, it is stickers. It is something I cannot accept willingly and will only do so because really, there is no alternative.
What will it take for LEGO to bite the bullet and do what it takes to raise the quality of their flagship line? More sales? By all accounts, LEGO Star Wars is their most successful line (though Bionicle might give it a run for its money at times). We love this stuff too much; we buy it, build it, play with it, with fury and great passion. But I can understand that what they are most afraid of is the final figure on the bottom of the last column on the last page of their books. I honestly believe despite whatever price tag is attached to a set, should the quality be remarkable, the sales will follow.