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Themed LDD in the future?

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Themed LDD in the future?

Postby findyourfix » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:38 pm

I think I have mentioned something like this before in another forum, but thought it'd be nice to see if any TLG folks would answer my question. With the immense popularity of the various Lego themes, Star Wars in particular, why hasn"t TLG integrated some of the theme-specific parts into LDD? It would be an easy way for fans to MOC and buy their creation, especially if their stash of bricks isn't terribly large or diverse. Further than that, if the online instructions to various models throughout the total line-up could be integrated into a starter model option, it would make for a ton of happy kids ans AFOLs alike. What do you think?
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby dWhisper » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:18 am

My assumption would be that such a thing really isn't possible within the terms of the license. Any "Star Wars" item, be it a LEGO set, action figure, or breakfast set, has to be signed off on by Lucas Arts, the controller of the license. Opening up the LDD to parts and elements that are specific to a theme circumvents this control, and potentially has LEGO endorsing items that LA would not authorize. Beyond that, it provides incentive to get parts normally reserved for parts outside of that system, and that's not a great situation for LEGO or LA.

The same would hold true for any licensed line; those things are unique because they are in the license, and what makes them like that is capturing things from movies, TV, or whatever. While they should inspire imagination to make your own stuff, that should happen by re-purposing the official items that come out.
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby findyourfix » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:10 am

dWhisper, I have to agree with the licensing aspect of the situation. I have noted quite a few mixing and matching of parts from licensed theme sets to TLG's own proprietary kits. SW canopies, wing parts, etc. I can totally understand not having character specific parts out like minifig parts, large character molds, etc. I just think it'd be great to be able to open up a digital model of an X-wing (for example), and be able to tweak it to satisfaction. An good example is the recent re-release of the X-wing with all of the extra minifigs. In LDD, there aren't the engine housings, the canopy, etc.
I maintain a decent LEGO collection, but was unable for a long time to a) get the X-wing set, and b) couldn't part it out using pick-a-brick. My options were limited to bricklink, ebay, etc. I try to be a TLG loyalist if I can afford to be, unless I simply need that one unavailable part, in which case I happily support the Bricklink vendors. Aside from the legal aspect of the situation, do you think the idea has merit?
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby MrCRskater » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:46 am

dWhisper's right, I don't think this would fly. Remembering a conversation I had with a customer service rep at LEGO, I discovered that even when you're missing parts from a SW set, you can't get a replacement from the company without calling in and providing a proof of purchase number (I tried a few times online to get the Qui-Gon head for Republic Cruiser, and each of my online requests were ignored). The rep basically told me that regular plates and bricks were no issue, but any parts that were endemic to the line (like minifigs, the x-wing canopy, engine housings, etc.) are ultimately the intellectual property of LucasFilm/LucasArts, so they have to ensure that everyone is getting their fair cut, and a Star Wars pick-a-brick would undermine that.
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby hatcher » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:51 pm

MrCRskater wrote:dWhisper's right, I don't think this would fly. Remembering a conversation I had with a customer service rep at LEGO, I discovered that even when you're missing parts from a SW set, you can't get a replacement from the company without calling in and providing a proof of purchase number (I tried a few times online to get the Qui-Gon head for Republic Cruiser, and each of my online requests were ignored). The rep basically told me that regular plates and bricks were no issue, but any parts that were endemic to the line (like minifigs, the x-wing canopy, engine housings, etc.) are ultimately the intellectual property of LucasFilm/LucasArts, so they have to ensure that everyone is getting their fair cut, and a Star Wars pick-a-brick would undermine that.


That has not been my experience. Granted, I've only been missing pieces a couple of times, but both times they were from Star Wars sets and when I went on the customer service website to request replacements, I was never asked for proof of purchase. (And the first time it was in fact for the fleshy Gui-Gon head from the Republic Cruiser). Both parts arrived in less than 2 weeks, no questions asked.
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby dWhisper » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:01 pm

The proof of purchase is only for major parts or licensed elements (minifig heads, saber handles, huge parts) in my experience.

My point about opening up parts such as canopies or the like is that it encourages people to put together non-sanctioned models under the blessing of LEGO, which opens the company to risk. That alone would hamper something like a theamed builder.

That being said, I could see the new Disney license trying something like that
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby speaknspell » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:26 pm

dWhisper is right, every time a licensed element is used it has to be signed off by the owner of the IP (intellectual property). For this reason we don't include licensed elements in online pick-a-brick or LEGO Factory. It would just be a logistic nightmare.

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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby Draykov » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:58 pm

Not that I don't love you, Steve, but this Naboo pilot torso is currently available for 54¢ on the Online Pick-a-Brick. I realize that's due in large part to the fact that it also comes in a Factory set (10200 Custom Car Garage), but the question remains: was this considered a SW part and if so, how did it make it to general distribution without violating the license?
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby dWhisper » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:40 pm

Intellectual property is typically defined as any object, mark, or concept that is easily linked back to the creator or property owner. So, Darth Vader's helmets, lightsabers, and the Jedi Starfighter canopy could all be called IP of Lucas Arts. A torso, if done generic enough (and honestly, I'm not sure I could tell the naboo starfighter torso apart from anything) wouldn't typically fall under that realm. Neither would, say, the torso RotJ Luke uses (generic robe look), but Vader's or a Stormtroopers Torso most certainly could be tied to the iconic images.
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby Draykov » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:48 pm

Makes sense to me. I just wasn't sure how flexible something like that would be. Given the limited use of SW minifig parts in sets outside the license, I just assumed that Lucasfilm had locked their intellectual property down tighter than a gnat's butt on a lemon wedge.
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby dWhisper » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:56 pm

Well, Lucas is a twilek for the money. I'm sure he's claimed that sand is IP of his, because he used it in the first movie...
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby Jake » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:30 pm

Thing is, the Naboo Starfighter/A-Wing canopy is available, it's used in Star Justice. How is that possible?

There's also a castle torso and two different coloured suits of armour, how did they sneak in there?
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby Turkguy19 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:29 pm

Jake wrote:Thing is, the Naboo Starfighter/A-Wing canopy is available, it's used in Star Justice. How is that possible?

There's also a castle torso and two different coloured suits of armour, how did they sneak in there?


Because, a round canopy is so general that it can't be completely tied to a vehicle. Also, that canopy was in other sets then the Star Wars sets (a couple Exo-Force if I remember correctly). It's the same idea that they were able to use the non-printed JSF canopy in the Mars Mission sets.
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby dWhisper » Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:46 am

As for castle, that's a LEGO theme, so they can do whatever they want with it...
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby BrickSith206 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:20 am

MrCRskater wrote:dWhisper's right, I don't think this would fly. Remembering a conversation I had with a customer service rep at LEGO, I discovered that even when you're missing parts from a SW set, you can't get a replacement from the company without calling in and providing a proof of purchase number (I tried a few times online to get the Qui-Gon head for Republic Cruiser, and each of my online requests were ignored). The rep basically told me that regular plates and bricks were no issue, but any parts that were endemic to the line (like minifigs, the x-wing canopy, engine housings, etc.) are ultimately the intellectual property of LucasFilm/LucasArts, so they have to ensure that everyone is getting their fair cut, and a Star Wars pick-a-brick would undermine that.


I was missing Assaj Ventress' skirt in a 7676 Republic Gunship. I filled out the missing part request online, provided no proof of anything and two weeks later Assaj's skirt showed up on my doorstep.

I think you experienced either a glitch in the system, or the consistency is starting to buckle at TLG. Sadly, I think it's the latter.
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Re: Themed LDD in the future?

Postby speaknspell » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:31 pm

Just to Clarify:

licensed elements can be pick and choose from various sets. sometimes the weirdest things get marked as licensed (for example: 2x2x2 Cone in Purple from the Joker Helicopter in the Batwing set). Sometimes things are generic enough that nobody claimed it, like the pilot torso you brought up Dray. Things that are specifically asy to pick out as licensed elements are things like:

Helmets - Darth Vader, Storm Trooper, Rebel Trooper, Rebel Pilot, etc
Character Specific Torsos - Darth Vaders Torso, Princess Leia, Han, Luke, so on
Unique Head moulds - Chewie, Patrick, Squidwerd (sp?), yoda, etc
licensed prints - UCS Falcon Dish
unique accessories - Dooku's light saber, Indy's hat
specific colors - like the above mentioned purple cone, but these are really weird how they're chosen.

Does that give you a better idea?

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