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Alternate/Inspirational Models

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Alternate/Inspirational Models

Postby architect » Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:46 pm

Image Image

In the past few years most LEGO sets have been made without pictures of alternate models on the back of the boxes. Instead their are several pictures of the set. Many of you may know that I am a big fan of alternate models but I want to know what our community thinks.

Please post whether you like or dislike alternates and why. Thank you. This information will be passed on to LEGO.

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Last edited by architect on Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Blue Head » Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:20 pm

The alternat models inspire me after I have made and destroyed the models (you know, after it's been sitting around the house forever and you want something new). I say keep the alternates.
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Postby Donut » Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:25 pm

I agree with Blue Head to keep the alternate models. Sometimes the original design may be not be as pleasing to look at as the alternate models shown in the back.
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Postby Sir Kohran » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:41 pm

Sometimes they can look a bit contrived but some (like the ship that can be made from VDF) are really good. So yes, they are good.

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Postby Remyth » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:58 pm

Yes! I like alternative models. I love trying to figure out how to build them with just a picture.

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Postby E of Alshire » Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:24 pm

I too am a big fan of alternates. Trying to build something from one picture is a fun challenge, and inspirational too. Especially in the older sets, a peice (like a pirate boat hull) would be used in an especially creative way (as a wall of a hut).
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Postby Dr. J » Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:40 pm

Yeah, I miss them!
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Postby reepblue » Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:07 pm

Alternative models were my favorite part of the set. The only thing about them is that the alternative models never came with instructions. You had to build them like if you knew LEGO as your best friend in the whole wide world. But even though I did not make ALL the pieces out, It always gave me Ideas.
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Postby wunztwice » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:26 pm

Huh...I coulda sworn I commented and submitted this, but anyway... :?

Alternate models were the best back when! I do really miss them, when I was younger I used to build alot of them. It was a test of my building skills to make a creation from just a picture. In fact there were a couple of sets I bought FOR the alternates!

I feel they encourage buyers to keep building and come back to the block again and again! I actually know a few folks who think you only make what the instructions are for! :shock: I couldn't believe it! Alternates would help to do away with that kinda thinking and get people to build more and eventually buy more too.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I would like to see alternates again. If TLG doesn't want to put them on the backs of the boxes, then at least in the instruction booklets!
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Postby Bruce N H » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:58 pm


This ties in to one of my major rants about LEGO - the change in mindset from "Just Imagine" to "Play on". I've ranted on this before here and here, so I won't say much now, but in short I think that LEGO has shifted emphasis from stimulating kids' imagination to producing playsets.* Pictures on the box are part of this. The old tradition of showing alternate model shots emphasized how many different things you could do with these bricks. The new pictures are just about emphasizing the "play value" of the official model once you've got that pesky building out of the way.


*Yes, there are various trends in LEGO that go the other way - the designer line, LEGO factory, pick-a-brick, etc.
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Postby Patron of the lego » Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:01 am

alternatives are intresting to build since the minifigs even alter!
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Postby Kev » Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:37 am

Don't forget that pictures of alternate models also encourage the purchase of multiples of the same set. I recall when I was a kid being so fond of an alternate model that I'd go out and buy a second of the same set just to build the alternate to play with along with the original.

Excellent point about Lego currently selling sets as playsets instead of as starting points for a child's imagination.
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Postby Maedhros » Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:28 am

Bruce N H wrote:Hey,

This ties in to one of my major rants about LEGO - the change in mindset from "Just Imagine" to "Play on". I've ranted on this before here and here,

Wow, I had never actually thought about that thing with the slogan, but now that you mention it, it's quite obvious.

On Topic: Yes, I too like alternate models on the boxes. If only for the reason that it prooves that the set is generic enough to be used for different models. ;)
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Postby Lamanda2 » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:21 pm

I was just thinking about this yesterday when I got three of the new Castle '07 sets. I had been looking over the boxes hoping that there would be some alternate model pics, but nothing was there.. (I havn't boughten many new sets these past few years, since I didn't quite care for the lines, so I had just noticed they removed them.)

It's just not the same without them, because you know something's missing. Something important.

Another thing I used to like were the idea books, my brother had two I think, and I always loved flipping through them for inspiration.

In short, yes. I would love to have the alternate model pics back where they belong,

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Postby Brickzone » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:20 pm

I consider it a good thing for sets to have alternate models pictured. If Lego designers can't create something else half-believable from the set it's a bad sign for the reusability of the set, even combined as part of a collection.

Incidentally, I recently became aware that there was a set of Blacktron II instructions for a model that uses parts from several sets. That's a cool idea to emphasise modularity of the sets where possible. I think even if kids are interested in building other models with the sets (i.e. not just use them as play sets) it is useful for some of them to give guidelines or starting points. Not everyone finds Lego as intuitive to work with, yet they still have imaginations to put to use.

Incidentally do any new sets have alternative build ideas? The first post-dark ages set I bought was the City theme ambulance, which does have an alternative build idea.
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