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Castle Battle (minifig) Packs?

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Postby architect » Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:42 am

Emperor James wrote:i shouldnt have to pay more than $1 for lego figs, i mean wtf theyre just pieces of plastic, oh well :evil:


The molds to produce the arms, torsos, and legs are complicated. In addition there are machines to assemble the figs. There is multiple color printing on most figs. Sometimes this printing is on the legs and arms. Finally there are the additional accessories, headgear, neckgear, etc for each fig. While LEGO elements are just plastic, alot is involved in their manufacture, packaging, marketing and sale. That is why figs are expensive.

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Postby Brickzone » Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:00 am

Prices on the Lego online store for building minifigs using the separate parts on pick a brick come to about €1.25 (~$1.60) which compares favorably with buying old minifigs off ebay for €1-2 per fig (mind you soldiers and knights are hard to get even at €2 a pop!). If they just added parts for the other minifigs like the new castle ones to the Lego Factory pick a brick inventory, it would be fantastic.

I've gotten a few normal town minifigs to augment my very sparsely populated airport (5 minifigs was very meagre for such a size of set). Also got a couple of exo-force hairs for my space guys when they remove their helmets... if only they had the other colours it'd be great.

I'd like the minifig packs of old to reappear, but I think a Castle 07 one would look like poor value (compared to the existing small sets) unless they had one or two harder to get minifigs in it.
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Postby Kev » Sat Jun 09, 2007 5:07 pm

If they did do this, i would like some unique figs packed in with some common ones. Having the set include a couple or all with unique heraldry would be ideal.
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Postby bobthelegobuilder » Sat Jun 09, 2007 9:19 pm

I would just like them to put the castle figs on the PAB. That way everyone can buy as many as they want for relatively low prices.
I also think that LEGO should release some Castle Town type sets.
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Postby Emperor James » Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:52 pm

architect wrote:
Emperor James wrote:i shouldnt have to pay more than $1 for lego figs, i mean wtf theyre just pieces of plastic, oh well :evil:


The molds to produce the arms, torsos, and legs are complicated. In addition there are machines to assemble the figs. There is multiple color printing on most figs. Sometimes this printing is on the legs and arms. Finally there are the additional accessories, headgear, neckgear, etc for each fig. While LEGO elements are just plastic, alot is involved in their manufacture, packaging, marketing and sale. That is why figs are expensive.

Ben


they could sell them for <$2 if they wanted to
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Postby Bluesecrets » Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:03 am

they could sell them for <$2 if they wanted to


I highly doubt that. It is a matter of understanding how a product is manufactured. First you need the raw materials, then the machines to get the raw material into working shape, then the machines to make the brick and/or label if necessary. Then the machines to sort the brick, bins to put them in, and the machines to package the bricks. Then you have to pay all the utilities and the people involved and their insurance and other benefits. Then shipping to the warehouse, which includes more people and more utilities. And then finally you ship it to the retailers.

Its simple economics. If a machine is involved..it had to be paid for and the electricity to run it. If a person is involved then you have to pay them and all their expenses.

And THAT is the reason for price...not "wanting" to sell for a certain price.
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Postby Emperor James » Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:17 am

Bluesecrets wrote:
they could sell them for <$2 if they wanted to


I highly doubt that. It is a matter of understanding how a product is manufactured. First you need the raw materials, then the machines to get the raw material into working shape, then the machines to make the brick and/or label if necessary. Then the machines to sort the brick, bins to put them in, and the machines to package the bricks. Then you have to pay all the utilities and the people involved and their insurance and other benefits. Then shipping to the warehouse, which includes more people and more utilities. And then finally you ship it to the retailers.

Its simple economics. If a machine is involved..it had to be paid for and the electricity to run it. If a person is involved then you have to pay them and all their expenses.

And THAT is the reason for price...not "wanting" to sell for a certain price.


i (know) all that. but those things r mass produced like he11 (though), and i think they sent production to china to cut labor cost anyway. and selling them in bulk directly would cut out the middle man. its not unreasonable to expect a price of 1.50 or so per figure, altho it probly wont happen
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Postby J1A3L5 » Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:41 am

Hi Emperor James,
At Brickfest we were fortunate enough to have Bjarke, an expert on LEGO molding processes, quality control & manufacturing practices, talk to us. Both Ben and Bluesecrets echo the same ideas that he presented us. There are a lot of factors involved with the price of making parts, aside from the actual materials involved.

Each piece has it's own unique molding characteristics such as sprue location, cooling times, weak areas, and more. Circular objects and objects where the plastic wraps around and two "fronts" of plastic encounter each other have to be carefully controlled, since they weaken the plastic considerably.

Minifigures are very complex shapes with exacting tolerances, probably even more so than regular bricks. If built at all too tight or loose the joints won't turn properly or won't stand up to extensive play. As it is, minifigures loosen over time - I'm sure none of us would be happy if they lasted even shorter periods of time.

You suggested that minifigures should be cheap because they're made in such quantity - This is true to some extent, but is also untrue. Large quantities lead to lower costs, but there are now so many varieties of minifigures that quantities are much lower than they used to be. Back when minifigures were almost all classic smilies, they made huge amounts with a single mold and single printing machine.

Any given figure is made up of a minimum of 10 individual pieces. With the generic 10 cents per part pricetag, that's $1.00 a figure. Considering that minifigures are far more complex and demanding (molding shapes, tolerances, printing, variety, assembly etc.) than the average LEGO element, it's obvious that they will cost somewhat more to produce. The 5 torso pieces and the 3 leg pieces also come pre-assembled, adding to costs that normal LEGO elements don't have.

You don't seem to understand all the factors involved with making LEGO elements, in my opinion. There's many I haven't even mentioned - Some colours are more expensive to make than others. Some molds cost more than others because they're intended for longer periods of use...and much more.

LEGO could probably produce cheaper figures if they wanted to, but they'd almost certainly be of a much lower quality. I'm definitely willing to pay a little more for a quality we've come to expect from LEGO.

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Postby E of Alshire » Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:51 am

Emperor James wrote:they could sell them for <$2 if they wanted to


Why would they want to? Enough people pay $2 for them that even if they aren't worth $2, that's the price everyone's come to expect and will thus continue paying. They need to make a profit if you want to keep seeing new stuff.
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Postby Emperor James » Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:11 am

J1A3L5 wrote:Hi Emperor James,
At Brickfest we were fortunate enough to have Bjarke, an expert on LEGO molding processes, quality control & manufacturing practices, talk to us. Both Ben and Bluesecrets echo the same ideas that he presented us. There are a lot of factors involved with the price of making parts, aside from the actual materials involved.

Each piece has it's own unique molding characteristics such as sprue location, cooling times, weak areas, and more. Circular objects and objects where the plastic wraps around and two "fronts" of plastic encounter each other have to be carefully controlled, since they weaken the plastic considerably.

Minifigures are very complex shapes with exacting tolerances, probably even more so than regular bricks. If built at all too tight or loose the joints won't turn properly or won't stand up to extensive play. As it is, minifigures loosen over time - I'm sure none of us would be happy if they lasted even shorter periods of time.

You suggested that minifigures should be cheap because they're made in such quantity - This is true to some extent, but is also untrue. Large quantities lead to lower costs, but there are now so many varieties of minifigures that quantities are much lower than they used to be. Back when minifigures were almost all classic smilies, they made huge amounts with a single mold and single printing machine.

Any given figure is made up of a minimum of 10 individual pieces. With the generic 10 cents per part pricetag, that's $1.00 a figure. Considering that minifigures are far more complex and demanding (molding shapes, tolerances, printing, variety, assembly etc.) than the average LEGO element, it's obvious that they will cost somewhat more to produce. The 5 torso pieces and the 3 leg pieces also come pre-assembled, adding to costs that normal LEGO elements don't have.

You don't seem to understand all the factors involved with making LEGO elements, in my opinion. There's many I haven't even mentioned - Some colours are more expensive to make than others. Some molds cost more than others because they're intended for longer periods of use...and much more.

LEGO could probably produce cheaper figures if they wanted to, but they'd almost certainly be of a much lower quality. I'm definitely willing to pay a little more for a quality we've come to expect from LEGO.

-John L.


what i dont think you sea is how much of the price you pay for them in a set is retailer markup. yes theres a lot of cost in making a figure, but it cant be more than 50 cents, probably much less. sold only through the online store in quantities >50 or so, they could do it and make a profit, except that few people would actually buy them. the problem isnt the cost involved, its the limited number of people who would actually buy them in those quantities.

anyway i am willing to pay $2 for a figure, but theres not even a way to buy them for that now. for a while on the lego store the battle at the pass set was $20 for 10 figs plus the rest of the set but they sold out fast.
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Postby Blue Monarch » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:44 pm

Donut wrote:
Blue Monarch wrote: That's $3.00 a pop and the minifig "bags" if you will, are usually only about $2.00.


Where can I find the minifig "bags" you are referring to?


Oh the Dragon Knights had a crossbow figure in a bag, just to name one... There was a Vladek figure in a bag too, more recently. There were others, usually found at Walmart or some such store.
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Postby Donut » Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:12 am

Thanks Blue Monarch. I can't believe I frogot about those.
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Postby Patron of the lego » Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:44 am

lets not forgot crossbowboat, and defense archer!
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Postby Baned » Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:06 pm

I've noticed the SW Battle Packs are consistently sold out at local retail stores (Wal-Mart, K-Mart), and always in the top 5 Best Sellers on Legoshop.com.

Let's hope they decide to make Castle Battle Packs, realizing how well the SW ones sell.
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Postby Count Blacktron » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:40 pm

Blue Monarch wrote:
Donut wrote:
Blue Monarch wrote: That's $3.00 a pop and the minifig "bags" if you will, are usually only about $2.00.


Where can I find the minifig "bags" you are referring to?


Oh the Dragon Knights had a crossbow figure in a bag, just to name one... There was a Vladek figure in a bag too, more recently. There were others, usually found at Walmart or some such store.


Perhaps we'll all luck out this Summer/Fall season and stumble into polybag clip-strips in stores. I'd like to see at least the Crown crossbowman or the pikeman well equipped in a couple of polybags. :D
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