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SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

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SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby etcknight » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:13 pm

Hi guys and gals,

Saw this post on Eurobricks regarding the Pirate tic-tac-toe set and use of cheaper materials in the minifigs. They also mentioned this was a problem in the Magnet sets.
http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=32278

Has anyone else encountered this problem? I purchased the SW Clone Wars Magnet set with Count Dooku, Mace Windu, and Yoda - but haven't opened it yet. If it is indeed made of cheaper materials, then I need to get my money back and buy the regular mini-figs.

Can anyone give some insight? Thanks.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby yankeeken » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:06 am

Unfortunately the figures in the new Star Wars magnets are indeed made out of cheaper plastic. I can hold both my Yoda from the magnet and my Yoda from the AAT in my hand and within seconds be able to tell which one is real and which one is a magnet. Aside from different plastics, their torsos also have slight differences in color. For example the green neck printed on the torso of my magnet Yoda is slightly darken than it is on the real figure. And finally the arms on the new Star Wars magnets have a rectangle with a number in it, such as in this picture.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby Draykov » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:13 am

I recently purchased a SW magnet set (Boba Fett, Imperial Guard, Slave Leia) and noticed that the Boba fig had an arm like this one:

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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby etcknight » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:14 am

yankeeken wrote:Unfortunately the figures in the new Star Wars magnets are indeed made out of cheaper plastic.

Oh, what the frak?! cheaper plastic?! And, they're still charging $15 for 3 minifigs?! What a waste of money then. Shoot. That's really annoying. Why would Lego Co do this? :S

Draykov, so does this mean the Castle battlepacks are also made of that same cheaper material / plastic? I was hoping to build up my Troll army with that, but now . . .
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby Draykov » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:37 am

etcknight wrote:Draykov, so does this mean the Castle battlepacks are also made of that same cheaper material / plastic? I was hoping to build up my Troll army with that, but now . . .


I've yet to determine unequivocally whether we're dealing with "cheaper plastic" at this point, but that seems to be the alarmists' standpoint (no offense to yankeeken - who may have information that I do not). The newest castle battlepacks, trolls and probably dwarves as well, do seem to be subject to this variation though. The red Classic Space guy that came with the CS bag as well...Vintage Minifigure Collections are unaffected, so far. The minifigure arm mold does seem to be different (hence the indentation in the minifig arm) and there have been reports of color variation both in terms of printing and actual plastic. I haven't personally seen anything yet to make me think the quality has suffered in terms of durability, but we can't rule it out at this point.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby Aharown » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:02 am

I just rushed downstairs and checked my magnet set and....it's true. :'(

All of the figures have the square indentations in their arms. I thought the plastic felt cheaper when I bought the set (I noticed it especially with Mace Windu), but didn't really suspect anything until now. Don't get me wrong, they're still really nice looking, but just not quite as good. The translucency may have to do with them using less dye, which I understand accounts for the majority of the cost in their parts.

I noticed when I received my free gold keychain with my last order that the label stated "Components made in China." At first, I thought only about the metal keyring and chain, but now I'm not so sure. Is Lego now farming out it's non-set parts to China? The new McDonald's Lego racers are, and they look quite close in quality to Lego. Non-brick parts like string and capes seem to have been made that way for a while now, to judge by the country of origin names on the set boxes I've been getting.

Is Lego planning on moving all of it's production to China? I sincerely hope not. Don't get me wrong, the new parts are very close to the Lego we've come to know and love (although that itself has undergone quality and colour changes over the years), It's just that Lego was one of the few companies not to rush to China (and still charge nearly the same price on it's product while doing so). That, coupled with trademark infringement, makes me want to say "Noooo! Don't do that!"

I hope I'm wrong, though.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby Puddleglum » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:09 am

Here's one picture from wunztwice's photostream, click through to see more. The summary is yes, the problem is very much affecting the SW figs. The plastic is duller, more see-through, and the headgear tends to not fit as snugly.

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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby Draykov » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:12 am

Pretty convincing evidence. It's a shame the battlepacks would be affected though. Those should be held as sacred as "regular" sets. I certainly hope we can count on the quality of regular sets not diminishing to this level.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby yankeeken » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:23 pm

Draykov wrote:I've yet to determine unequivocally whether we're dealing with "cheaper plastic" at this point, but that seems to be the alarmists' standpoint (no offense to yankeeken - who may have information that I do not).


That is true. I can't definitively say that they are made out of "cheaper plastic", but they do indeed seem to be made out of a slightly different plastic then the "real" minifigs. Which leads me to believe that the difference in plastic is a cost cutting measure. It will be interesting to see weather this "cheaper plastic" will stay exclusive to magnets and non-licensed battlepacks or whether the magnets are being used as a testing ground, which would mean that we will eventually see this "cheaper plastic" in all sets.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby etcknight » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:04 pm

Went to the Lego Co brick-mortar store today and was looking in the "Make Your Own Figure" bins. I was saddened to see they are pawning off these "sub-standard" pieces to children and collectors here as well. We need to seriously start some sort of campaign or something that lets our Lego Ambassadors and the Lego Co know that none of its collectors (adults and children alike) want this sort of "sub-standard" quality product to become what Lego brand products are known for. :(

I have been a happy collector of Lego for over 30 years, but sadly if this is what Lego products are going to be in the future, I will have to stop collecting. Part of the appeal of Lego products is their longevity and durability. If this "sub-standard, Mega-blok" quality piece is the future - then Lego products will lose their appeal and longevity. >8(
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby ThinkingImpaired » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:15 pm

I was planning on getting the dwarf battlepack and the pirate tic-tac-toe set but because of this problem, will choose to keep my money instead.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby bluemoose » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:05 pm

Any one that feels strongly about this issue should let LEGO know; providing feedback through their website would be a good start.

If you don't let them know how you feel they won't know they have to do something about it ...

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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby Solo » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:22 pm

BTW, this has been brought up in the Ambassador forum, so I'll be sure to post any revelations I see.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby etcknight » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:15 pm

Solo wrote:BTW, this has been brought up in the Ambassador forum, so I'll be sure to post any revelations I see.

Thanks, Don.

I sent my complaints to Lego Co with links to here and Eurobricks.

I think this mainly has to do with a quality control issue. Manufacturing in China doesn't have to be bad or low quality (or tainted with Lead paint or poisoned milk). But, the parent company has to have stringent control and oversight, otherwise stuff like this is going to happen - cuz businesses are going to cut corners. That said, I don't understand why the China manufactured mini-fig parts need to have the square stamping on the arms? What does it signify?

Again, I hope this doesn't reflect on Lego's overall direction for the future. :S
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby Obi-Wan Skywalker » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:58 am

I wondered the same thing now with the chrome stormtrooper. The body easily detaches from the legs.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby etcknight » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:02 am

Obi-Wan Skywalker wrote:I wondered the same thing now with the chrome stormtrooper. The body easily detaches from the legs.

You can easily check by looking at the arm for the square printing. I believe it is plagued by the same quality control and cheaper material issues from what I've read - only it's covered up by the chrome. Same as with the "free" gold chrome keychain. However, I double checked Chrome Vader and found that his components are made only in Denmark, and no square printing - so thankfully, he at least is made to original Lego Co standards.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby legomd » Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:13 pm

Wow. Thanks for pointing this out. I am really disappointed with this direction that Lego is taking. I finally got over the bley color change which was supposed to be part of a cost-cutting strategy. This is just plain underhanded selling shoddy products to unsuspecting customers. I hope the suits at Lego are reading this.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby Blacknight » Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:20 am

Draykov wrote: I haven't personally seen anything yet to make me think the quality has suffered in terms of durability, but we can't rule it out at this point.


I can confirm that not only are the colours a little off in the magnet packs, but they are inferior in terms of quality too. I bought the Mace/Yoda/Dooku pack on the assumption that you would be getting identical Lego minifigures that had the added bonus of being sealed in packaging that would prevent them from getting nicked or scratched in transit. Well, when I received my set I was shocked to see that the torsos of all three minifigures were covered in light wear scratches, the kind you would expect to see on used Lego. They did not have that glossy blemish free sheen you expect from brand new figures. I figured they might have been throwing their factory rejects into these packs but now the true truth comes out - they're made of crappy plastic.

Very cheap move Lego! >8( Do they think we're so dumb we wouldn't notice? Lego is raking in the money nowdays, there's no need for this kind of cost-cutting. If they're going to sell inferior figures in these packs, they need to put a disclaimer on the packaging, otherwise there is potentially false advertising going on here which they should think about from a legal perspective. Of course, Lego's predictable solution will be to start making ALL their minifigures out of third-rate plastic. If they do, I'm done with them. You're starting to get better quality parts with their competitors like Oxford or Sidan toys in Asia.

P.S. Everyone who was disappointed with the quality of their maget figs should send them back to Lego customer service and request a replacement.
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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby Solo » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:43 am

via the Ambassadors forum el Stevo wrote:I've spoken with the head of the quality department, and he's let me know that they're aware of the issues and 'cracking down on it'. The extended line (keychains, magnets, games (but not LGS), etc.) is in a different supply chain and therefore not our regular production facilities. the people in this group and now being watched like hawks to get the issue fixed. The current state of these products are hopefully just an abberation that will be fixed soon.

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Re: SW Magnets - Cheap Parts??

Postby etcknight » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:51 am

Thanks for the update, Don. Please let us know "when and if" this problem gets fixed and we can go back to confidently purchasing Lego Co products. :)
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