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is lego using lower quality plastic?

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is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby lord_of_orks » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:35 pm

I ask this because I have been finding almost new minfigs(specifically CW clone troopers)with numerous cracks in there torsos and arms I have even found a few with cracked heads :?
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby Surduk » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:05 pm

I noticed it too.My white cheese slopes are cracking although they are new - i was searching on net about it and it looks like they have some problem with white parts - I bought around 50 white cheese slopes on bricklink (from a friend) - these slopes came in city camper set. I've found that some people were complaining about this set as white bricks are cracking.. It could be they were trying new mix for plastic or something and it went wrong.. Does anybody else know something about it?
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby theboywarrior » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:20 am

I have noticed that CMF parts are more likely to break than some of my older parts...Also the dark green plates from a few sets.
Surduk wrote:My white cheese slopes are cracking although they are new -

I've had that problem with all colors of cheese slope, but yes, white ones more than most.
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby Eklund » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:15 am

I've had problems with both cheese slopes and 1x1 bricks, including some of the medium blue 1x1s fromt the MMV.
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby davee123 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:43 pm

LEGO's using different plastic for a lot of things.

Around 2006 or so, LEGO started a new molding technique with (presumably) a different plastic. Rather than using pre-colored ABS pellets like they had done for years, they began using translucent ABS pellets with the appropriate colored dye injected into them at the time of the molding. It was basically cheaper for LEGO to do that, considering the storage space. It DEFINITELY affected the transparency of the bricks, making many of them appear milky or slightly translucent. Not sure if it had any effect on the cracking, though.

Chinese produced elements use a lower-grade ABS plastic, due to some sort of legal or cost issues in China. LEGO either can't get, or has to pay extra for its normal plastic, and therefore had to use an ABS plastic that is sourced in China and is of lower quality than LEGO would have liked.

However, cracking has been occurring for a long time, just in different ways. I personally first noticed it in 2003, with hairline cracks on some tiles, which appeared when placed onto hollow-studs, but did NOT appear on solid-studs. But there weren't any known plastic changes at the time. Supposedly, back in the 1999 timeframe, LEGO *did* tweak their ABS composition to be more rubbery, but this was never confirmed by the company, merely noted in hobbyist examinations of the bricks.

More recently, for some reason, it seems that some AFOLs receive TONS of cracked elements, and others receive very few. I, personally, almost NEVER see any cracking, but other AFOLs report that almost ALL of their minifigs develop cracks. Some people have speculated that it might be regional issues, like atmospheric conditions, or perhaps shipping conditions if you purchase ALL your bricks from, say, Wal*Mart, and Wal*Mart's distribution does something in transit that affects the bricks, whereas LEGO's internal distribution doesn't.

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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby Surduk » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:39 pm

Is this the right place to ask about Collectible minifig's hands?
I've noticed that it is quiet hard to put utensils in their hands and there's tendency they pop out of hand. Friend told me it was because they are manufactured in China and they use cheaper plastic, but I've feeling the hands on collectibles are bit smaller than on other minifigs. Any ideas about this?
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby soccerkid6 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:09 pm

Surduk wrote:Is this the right place to ask about Collectible minifig's hands?
I've noticed that it is quiet hard to put utensils in their hands and there's tendency they pop out of hand. Friend told me it was because they are manufactured in China and they use cheaper plastic, but I've feeling the hands on collectibles are bit smaller than on other minifigs. Any ideas about this?


I've noticed that the collectable minifigures don't hold utensils nearly as well too.
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby klorox » Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:03 am

speaking of different molds, has anyone noticed that the the newer minifig heads do not have three holes in their heads? they are as a matter of fact, solid! :woo: it's really weird.
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby Surduk » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:07 am

That is weird, because I read somewhere that holes are there in case a kid swallows it... so it can breath..
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby Kosh » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:27 am

I recall reading someplace that cheese slopes are made from a somewhat different plastic than the regular bricks, in a similar manner that the transparent bricks are. I'm not recalling where exactly that was, Eurobricks perhaps. What I am recalling is cheese slopes will be more prone to crack as they are made from a harder, stiffer and possibly more brittle plastic, as least that's what I remember taking away from the discussion about it.
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby Aliencat » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:24 pm

Kosh wrote:What I am recalling is cheese slopes will be more prone to crack as they are made from a harder, stiffer and possibly more brittle plastic.

I'm not sure about the material used for cheese slopes, but here's TLG's explanation about the 1*X bricks being more prone to cracking:

If you ask the engineers and material specialist in TLG they will say that 1X something bricks was invented by the devil due to difficulties in ensuring that they do not crack

When the plastic is injected in to the mould cavity the melt front tend to cool a little. On 1X something bricks two melt fronts meet at the end of the brick. At the attached picture you see very clearly on a brick where the melt fronts meets. It is the scratch like marks. the brick is weaker at this point and if the melt have been slightly to cool the brick becomes to weak. It can happen during start-up or if the machine have been stopped for some reason. When the brick is build tension is right at that weak line for 1X something bricks and if some "finger grease" is then apply the element might break.

It is a problem we always have had and if I look at my old LEGO collection that is 25 - 30 years old I can find many elements that are broken. It is normally not possible to se until you build with the element.

I hope this explain the technically reason behind.
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby OverLoad » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:11 pm

klorox wrote:speaking of different molds, has anyone noticed that the the newer minifig heads do not have three holes in their heads? they are as a matter of fact, solid! :woo: it's really weird.


Older minifigure heads have a solid head stud as well. i have yet to see any of the new figures without the three hole opening, but I haven't bought a set in a few months, maybe it's a 2012 set thing.
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby Medieval Guy » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:31 pm

klorox wrote:speaking of different molds, has anyone noticed that the the newer minifig heads do not have three holes in their heads? they are as a matter of fact, solid! :woo: it's really weird.

I've noticed it on this head:
http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=3626cpb312
I've got it with the little holes at the top and with the closed stud.
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby Hayden. » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:22 pm

Medieval Guy wrote:
klorox wrote:speaking of different molds, has anyone noticed that the the newer minifig heads do not have three holes in their heads? they are as a matter of fact, solid! :woo: it's really weird.

I've noticed it on this head:
http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=3626cpb312
I've got it with the little holes at the top and with the closed stud.

All, the CMF heads don't have holes, I wonder if its because to get the figures cheap enough to produce and distribute for $2.99/£199 they have to cut out expensive processes like Making holes in the head.
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Re: is lego using lower quality plastic?

Postby shmails » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:36 pm

I recently bought and put together the Black pearl pirate ship, and it included both skeleton heads with and without the holes on top. I was pretty confused, and thought one was for the ship and the other for skeletons, but nope, they all went onto the ship. Odd, very odd!
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