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Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

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Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Forestboy » Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:56 am

Dear Lego, as we are now in another decade, I look back and see that for most of the decade, there were almost no alternate models. It is disappointing to see because they're always fun to figure out. I am referring to the ones on the back of the box, or on the back of the instructions (See Ninja, Forestmen, Older Star Wars, etc.).

Yes there are those Bulk Bricks packs with instructions and an idea book, or those $10 (USD) 5 year old sets, but what about main stream sets?

Did they not seem so profitable? Because I value them a lot.

If you could bring them back, that would be amazing.

(Or if someone could tell me why they stopped, that would be great too.)
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Ye Olde Republic » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:39 pm

I kind of miss them too. They were kind of used to teach young kids that the main model of the set wasn't the only thing that could be built with the pieces and also to show other techniques. My guess is that with the on-line community becoming so prevalent they decided to save some costs and let the FOL's* show alternate models for them?

*FOL's? Fan of LEGO's? How about: F'sOL?
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby davee123 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:08 pm

I know LEGO always got a lot of inquiries about whether or not they could get instructions for the alternate models. Could be that LEGO decided to stop showing them because they got too many requests, or people thought there was some truth-in-advertising problems if they didn't show how to make the things pictured on the box.

Another issue could be that kids were too frustrated trying to build things out of technic-style parts. One thing we heard regarding Exo-Force sets was that some were deemed unfit for play-table-brick because they didn't have enough standard stud-and-tube elements. Effectively, if you give a kid a pile of bricks and plates, they more or less instinctively know how to play with them and make their own things. But if you give them a pile of technic beams, connectors, and other Bionicle-style doodads, they're lost. They just have a much harder time figuring out how to work with those elements. Hence, it could be that showing kids alternate models really frustrates them since they aren't as easily able to make alternates from what they're given.

Also could be pure marketing. Certain sets like Creator still play up the concept of alternate models. But it's entirely possible that they want to advertise the main model from all angles on the boxes. After all, boxes are often on the shelves sideways and upside-down and backwards, thanks to lazy staff, customer interference, and general squeezing-in. If only the main model is displayed, it's easier to identify on the shelves.

Could also be production cost. It takes time for set designers to come up with alternate models that are acceptable for display. Then you've got to set up photo shoots for the other models, and/or build them virtually and render them (for those boxes that have renders rather than photos). Shooting one model rather than a few is certainly cheaper.

As a LEGO hobbyist, I certainly would prefer to see them return-- although I expect they won't be returning anytime soon!

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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Frank_Lloyd_Knight » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:28 am

I have been on the verge of writing a similar post for some time. I agree that it is unfortunate that they no longer show alternate ideas on boxes. The alternate ideas emphasize the point that a LEGO set isn't just one toy. Although the boxes aren't the same as they once were -- lacking a lid, that is -- so there are fewer surface areas on which to show other ideas now.
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Nicker » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:36 am

I used to really like seeing all the different alternate models on the boxes and miss them like most other old school Lego fans do. I think having instructions available for alternate models would be great and would probably work well in this age of the internet people could just look them up online and print them off. Lego digital designer is a great example of what can be done with Lego, internet and imagination.
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Athos » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:27 am

I think they stopped putting them on the boxes because people [stupidly] thought you could make all the models pictured on the boxes at the same time. Or that the box included instructions for all the models.

An idea book may be a way to bring them back, without the issue of the boxes.

Though, why do you really need alternate models, when you have thousands of alternate models posted on Lego boards all over the internet...?

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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Sir Vincent » Tue May 04, 2010 12:43 pm

I never liked the alternate models because they never look as good as the main model. I either buy sets to build the main model or buy them to use as parts packs.
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Kevin1990 » Wed May 05, 2010 11:10 am

I totaly agree.. the alternate buildings were always awesome to build plus this way you can build more with the sets that really is an lego idea...so you can kind of call it an "offieel set"... any way also agree on the idea book myself I have #200 and #6000.. it has alot of wicked stuff in it to bad they dont make it anymore I would deffently buy some of the idea books or build the alternate buildings on the back
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Bruce N H » Wed May 05, 2010 7:52 pm

Hmm, guess I missed this thread when it first came out. Probably because I was busy with the CCC at the time. Anyway, just wanted to throw in my little rant. I really think that this corresponds to a philosophic shift at the company. I've ranted a lot about this in terms of 'just imagine' vs 'play on'. I think there are some at LEGO, probably in marketing, who do not believe in LEGO as a box of blocks for imaginative building, but rather think that the whole point is to get to the designed toy, with all sorts of cool action features. As such, the box art tends to focus on all of the cool features of the official design - how trap doors open or whatever. Alternate models go to the old fashioned notion that we're supposed to be creative. I love the alternate models. That's how I first learned how to MOC, back when I was a kid. I saw the pics on the back of my first minifig set (Rocket Launcher), and tried to recreate them. In the process, I had to figure out for myself how to put things together. Ultimately I'd come up with my own original, although related, design. Also, looking at alternate models is, for me, like looking at a Peeron inventory. I get a much better feel for the actual parts that are in the box if I can see them put together in multiple ways. Since I buy sets for the parts, not the design, anymore, alternate models are (were) a great help to me in this.

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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Forestboy » Thu May 06, 2010 6:38 pm

Bruce N H wrote:Hmm, guess I missed this thread when it first came out. Probably because I was busy with the CCC at the time. Anyway, just wanted to throw in my little rant. I really think that this corresponds to a philosophic shift at the company. I've ranted a lot about this in terms of 'just imagine' vs 'play on'. I think there are some at LEGO, probably in marketing, who do not believe in LEGO as a box of blocks for imaginative building, but rather think that the whole point is to get to the designed toy, with all sorts of cool action features. As such, the box art tends to focus on all of the cool features of the official design - how trap doors open or whatever. Alternate models go to the old fashioned notion that we're supposed to be creative. I love the alternate models. That's how I first learned how to MOC, back when I was a kid. I saw the pics on the back of my first minifig set (Rocket Launcher), and tried to recreate them. In the process, I had to figure out for myself how to put things together. Ultimately I'd come up with my own original, although related, design. Also, looking at alternate models is, for me, like looking at a Peeron inventory. I get a much better feel for the actual parts that are in the box if I can see them put together in multiple ways. Since I buy sets for the parts, not the design, anymore, alternate models are (were) a great help to me in this.

Bruce


Yes, I totally agree with everything you just said. It's not so much about how Lego can be anything you want it to be even with limited amount of parts, but now it's what has the most flick fire missiles in it. :P

I'm also disappointing how Lego has gone down the "Collect them all!" path. We have collect-able minifigs, collect all the Disney Brand minifigs (see catalogs), collect all the Atlantis keys. I'm starting to wonder if all Lego cares about is making super sheek looking sets, and getting the most money or having low price per piece ratios and expensive flair.

Now I'm guessing that this too/to/tue/whatever you call it/ shall pass and this will only be a small period in the company. I'm looking for bulk brick buckets right now that are pretty cheap, but there aren't very many. I wish I had a bunch of 3033 right now. Isn't the company made a huge comeback and is still getting even bigger than before?

Anyway, yeah, not really sure what they're thinking right now. Oh well, just my thoughts. :wink:
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby nanuck95 » Thu May 06, 2010 8:52 pm

Forestboy wrote:I'm also disappointing how Lego has gone down the "Collect them all!" path. We have collect-able minifigs, collect all the Disney Brand minifigs (see catalogs), collect all the Atlantis keys. I'm starting to wonder if all Lego cares about is making super sheek looking sets, and getting the most money or having low price per piece ratios and expensive flair.


I would tend to agree with you to an extent, it does seem like they've been milking themes like Star Wars to the point where it's getting a little silly (how many times have they re-released the same sets over and over?) But you also have to remember is Lego is a profit seeking company, not a charity. I know that's probably not what you meant, but if Lego is able to make cool products and convince people through marketing why they need to buy it, then more power to them.

I think sometimes it's easy to have a sense of entitlement that we as the customer are entitled to great prices, cool new pieces, great piece-to-part-ratios, etc because Lego wouldn't exist without us. The reality is they really don't owe us anything beyond selling their product. If people didn't like Lego products, they wouldn't buy them and it would be the end of the story. If Star Wars wasn't selling like crazy, they wouldn't be making the same sets into newer, better, versions, over and over again.

Just from what I've seen and experienced from joining the FOL community the last couple years, Lego is somewhat of a unique company in that they really do care and reach out to their fan base to try to cater to them as much as possible, while still remaining a profitable company. I don't know all the ins and outs, but just the fact that we get prizes donated for CCC is pretty cool, which is something Lego doesn't have to do. As far as set design, just look at the MMV or Armada Flagship and you'll see that we've still been getting some very high quality sets recently.

Anyway, I'm not privy to all the inside information, this is mostly just my observations, but from my perspective, it seems like there is a pretty good relationship between the company and the customer and we have it pretty good, all things considering.

Edit: Didn't mean to totally derail the thread, sorry. I think seeing alternate models come back is a cool idea, and I'd love to see it because it is kind of fun to see what other ideas you could use the bricks for. Even if it's not on the box, use some of the extra pages in the back of the instructions for alternate models. I do really like that the instructions include the inventory now.
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate s!

Postby Forestboy » Sat May 08, 2010 5:04 pm

nanuck95 wrote:
Forestboy wrote:I'm also disappointing how Lego has gone down the "Collect them all!" path. We have collect-able minifigs, collect all the Disney Brand minifigs (see catalogs), collect all the Atlantis keys. I'm starting to wonder if all Lego cares about is making super sheek looking sets, and getting the most money or having low price per piece ratios and expensive flair.


I would tend to agree with you to an extent, it does seem like they've been milking themes like Star Wars to the point where it's getting a little silly (how many times have they re-released the same sets over and over?) But you also have to remember is Lego is a profit seeking company, not a charity. I know that's probably not what you meant, but if Lego is able to make cool products and convince people through marketing why they need to buy it, then more power to them.

I think sometimes it's easy to have a sense of entitlement that we as the customer are entitled to great prices, cool new pieces, great piece-to-part-ratios, etc because Lego wouldn't exist without us. The reality is they really don't owe us anything beyond selling their product. If people didn't like Lego products, they wouldn't buy them and it would be the end of the story. If Star Wars wasn't selling like crazy, they wouldn't be making the same sets into newer, better, versions, over and over again.

Just from what I've seen and experienced from joining the FOL community the last couple years, Lego is somewhat of a unique company in that they really do care and reach out to their fan base to try to cater to them as much as possible, while still remaining a profitable company. I don't know all the ins and outs, but just the fact that we get prizes donated for CCC is pretty cool, which is something Lego doesn't have to do. As far as set design, just look at the MMV or Armada Flagship and you'll see that we've still been getting some very high quality sets recently.

Anyway, I'm not privy to all the inside information, this is mostly just my observations, but from my perspective, it seems like there is a pretty good relationship between the company and the customer and we have it pretty good, all things considering.

Edit: Didn't mean to totally derail the thread, sorry. I think seeing alternate s come back is a cool idea, and I'd love to see it because it is kind of fun to see what other ideas you could use the bricks for. Even if it's not on the box, use some of the extra pages in the back of the instructions for alternate s. I do really like that the instructions include the inventory now.

Yeah, and I agree with everything you just said. I do know that TLG doesn't hand out freebies (unless you go to the Monthly Mini Build :P ), and they need to make money. And yes, the relationship between the community and TLG is pretty cool too.

Thanks for the input!
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Blue Moon Knight » Mon May 10, 2010 12:05 pm

I hope they give us alternate models. The inspiration is always nice.
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Sir Kohran » Mon May 31, 2010 11:53 pm

I think it's safe to say the days of a child buying a Lego set and using its parts to build an incredible creation are largely in the past, and have been for some years now. The children of today instead live in a world where technology provides instant and endless gratification. Lego have to maintain a place in this world, which explains the 'shift in focus' from sets with fairly basic premises but huge creative possibilities (alternate models) to sets with more action and detail but far less scope for anything beyond what's already been designed.
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Re: Dear Lego, Please Bring Back Alternate Models!

Postby Ye Olde Republic » Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:44 pm

I'm not sure this post will be 'on topic' but it is fairly relative to the offshoot conversation in this thread. It's just a comment about my nine year old nephew and just an example of the latest set he got for Christmas. He got the battle of Endor for Christmas and it took him four months to even OPEN the box! Sure his interests lie mostly along the lines of Nintendo and potato chips but I digress....he's one of those kids who just build the set and put it on a shelf. Sure, I do that too, but I'm a 37 year old collector and there is a good chance that I either have two copies of the set or it won't survive long in it's original state. It's my opinion that a nine year old should put the set together, play with it and then take it apart to play with the pieces when they get bored. Not put it on a shelf and forget it. It's no wonder that I hear so many soccer moms and grandparents say that "You can only build the set. Legos used to just be blocks."

Yeah, when I was a kid I used to love my King's Castle and my Starfleet Voyager and I remember being able to put them together by memory. That also means that if I put them together so many times they also used get taken down and used for something else. Our kids just aren't the same as we were, just like we weren't the same as our parents when they were kids.


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