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Why no Alt. Models?

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Why no Alt. Models?

Postby Flynn » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:13 pm

I've noticed that recently, the boxes of sets, particulary Star Wars ones, have lost those alternate models on the back. It used to be that there would always be at least one alt. model on the back, and then in the instruction manual there'd be a couple more, depending on the size of the set. No, those have been supplanted by ads for other sets and ads for what this set can do. Granted, you can still find alt. builds and instructions online, but is there any particular reason why they've been lost on the boxes?
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Re: Why no Alt. Models?

Postby TheThrasher » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:36 am

Flynn wrote:I've noticed that recently, the boxes of sets, particulary Star Wars ones, have lost those alternate models on the back.


Recently? ;) There haven't been alternative models for 3 years or so. The alternative models were pretty cool, and I built quiet a few of them from the sets that I got when I was younger. Now, I wouldn't build them mainly because I like to keep my sets together now. But I know that they would be a hit with the young LEGO fans.
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Re: Why no Alt. Models?

Postby Crusader » Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:12 am

Lego now uses the back of the box to highlight all of the play features of the set. Compared to the sets of just five years ago, the new sets seem to have far more play features. By all appearances the new features help sell the sets which is why they get the back of the box treatment (it is all about selling sets after all).

On a similar note, many of the new sets use far more Technic and specialized pieces. These don't lend themselves to as many alternatives, so there may not be as much to show using just the pieces in the set.

Some kids and parents may get frustrated by the alternative models shown on the box as well. While the old pictures do inspire creativity, the alternatives can be hard to actually replicate without instructions and are often very fragile as well.

In recent years, Lego has posted alternate designs online with instructions--not a bad idea.
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Re: Why no Alt. Models?

Postby Chief » Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:10 pm

The power miners sets have been really good about showing pictures of alt/combo sets in the instruction books, and how to get the instructions for them online.
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Re: Why no Alt. Models?

Postby speaknspell » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:11 pm

Good ideas Crusader but only part of the story (concerning highlighting play features and such).

The other part of the story is that when we went through our major overhaul a few years ago watching how money was being spent and how much certain things cost us became very significant. We'd been losing money on the production process for ages because people didn't always account for things like alternate model build time and other similar things that weren't focused on the primary set.

People still have the choice to do these things but it means that they have to choose where the money comes from and if it means taking bricks out of a set just to have a designer take a week or two to make an alt model, then they'll opt not to.

The place that's been really picking up the alt model banner has been the LEGO Club. Some teams, like power miners, see the combo/alts as a great selling point so they went through and used part of their budgets on them. Its just a matter of how different departments choose to spend their money to make what they consider the best LEGO experience possible.

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Re: Why no Alt. Models?

Postby Crusader » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:53 am

Great answer Steve. I learned something new.

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