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Slope Pieces

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Slope Pieces

Postby bigospedros » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:22 am

Just wondering, having recently ordered 4 4x2 slopes from Bricklink and received 3 rough and 1 smooth slopes, why are some slope pieces smooth on the angled surface and some others rougher ? Are these officially different parts, even if the size is the same ?

I note that Bricklink does stipulate the smooth versions on some slope parts, but not all ?!
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Re: Slope Pieces

Postby Puddleglum » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:56 am

I've heard different stories from different places. The gist is that the newer molds for slopes are much smoother. Depending on who you ask, they are either a) going to eventually all be smooth as they phase out old molds, or b) going back to making all the slopes textured based on customer feedback. The trick is that I think there are actually three variations - the traditional rough style, the completely smooth style (The slope is shiney, like the side of a brick or a tile), and a sort-of rough but pretty smooth when compared to the old style.

As for your question about whether they are "officially different parts", I'm not sure if there's really a good answer to that question. I don't think there is any public information about what LEGO considers distinct parts. Generally, when LEGO creates a new mold for an existing part (For example, the recent switch of 1x1 cones to the mold with the notch at the top) there is a year or two were sets might contain the old part or the new part (or both!) as LEGO clears out stock of the old part. So I would guess that LEGO considers the parts you received to be "officially" the same part, in the sense that they probably put them in sets interchangeably. But on BrickLink, they tend to categorize any mold variations that affect how the part looks, or how it can be used. I think they have only created "smooth" entries for slopes that are confirmed to have been produced *completely* smooth, and the "less smooth" variety is lumped in with the original. Not sure about this though.
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Re: Slope Pieces

Postby legodavee123 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:38 am

From what I heard from Lego, they were planning on switching all their slopes to being smooth, but then changed their minds a couple years later, deciding that all slopes would have some texture.

I'm not sure why, but my guess would be that for sticker application, smooth works MUCH better-- and they're doing a lot more stickers now than they did in years past as a cost-saving measure. It also did look a little strange that some slopes were smooth (2x2x2, 6x1x5, and 6x8x1), while the rest were textured. But for roofing, I expect that the textured roofs look far better.

Puddleglum wrote:As for your question about whether they are "officially different parts", I'm not sure if there's really a good answer to that question.

Yeah, I think it depends on what department you talk to at Lego. Technically, there are a bunch of different reference numbers for a particular element. So the "design ID" is the same across the board, but some of the other identifiers might not be (I think "part number" is probably still the same). Certainly in terms of packing, they were considered by Lego to be identical, since you could receive both smooth and textured slopes in the same color for the same elements for the SAME SET. But if you talked to the manufacturing departments, I'm sure they'd easily make a distinction between them. In fact, they make a distinction between each individual chamber of a particular mold!

As for the texture itself, it does indeed come in a lot of different varieties. The oldest texturing that I've seen looks somewhat like itty bitty craters scattered in with the texture, and is indeed rougher than current textures. I'm not sure how many grades of textures there have been, but it's probably been quite a few. And certainly they seem to have universally gotten smoother and smoother as the years have gone on (apart from the migration from actually smooth surfacing that was done recently). Some have suggested that this may be due to wear on the molds, but that seems very unlikely to me (although I don't think Lego has ever commented on the possibility).

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Re: Slope Pieces

Postby speaknspell » Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:52 am

Sticker applications may have had something to do with it Dave, but the main reason was so that the roof tiles (normal slopes) would go with the curved slopes. It was completely a visual choice so that when combining curves and angles it would all be smooth. they later decided that the change wasn't a good one and changed it back just like Dave said.

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