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Third Party vs. Clone Brands

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Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby AK_Brickster » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:44 pm

I'm a purist (or at least 90%), but for those of you who buy 3rd party parts/accessories (BrickForge, BrickWarriors, etc.), I'm really curious as to why those are "acceptable" to you, but clone brands such as Megablocks are not.

Even if you don't want to use the inferior bricks, which is totally understandable (I admit I sometimes use them as "filler" for structural support underneath large landscapes) clone brands offer some accessories that Lego doesn't (such as Halo weapons, etc), so why are those shunned but 3rd party stuff is embraced?

Just curious....
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby mencot » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:03 pm

I am also curious to hear this.
As you said clone brands offer some accessories that Lego doesn't and so does third party customs.
But one the truth is that they are clones, they look like Lego, some are even supposely missleading some people to believe that they are the same as Lego.
We here in Europe have Cobi an eastern european clone brand, and their sets are so similar to Lego sets, only much uglier :D
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby lord_of_orks » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:26 pm

I'm a big fan of both BF and BA so here my reasons for buying them and not MB or other clone brands:
1-the main reason for me is the quality issue, both BA and BF make there parts out of the same plastic lego does(solid ABS).
2-there accessories fit much better than the MB ones which are often ridiculously large and goofy looking when put on the minifigs.
3-both BA and BF are now making halo weapons(BF is also making there armor) so why buy the cheap quality ones.
4-they are far more detailed and realistic.
5-99% of all lego fans hate MB due to there low quality design stealing ways so know one really wants to buy from them.
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby Forestboy » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:07 am

Here's how I look at it:
Customizers like BrickForge, BrickArms, and MMCB are made to accommodate Lego products. Customizers can give us similar quality to TLG's pieces, but in different genres in which TLG hasn't gone or won't go.
Clone Brands are made to copy Lego's tube-stud connection. Clone brands can be cheaper, but have inferior quality, more prefabs, and models/characters/whatever-you-call-their-minifigs that don't work in the Lego minifigure scale, etc.

People who see it as one whole medium is cool for them, like Dave and John Xandegar of Brixwerx. I think that's great, and if it's for you, good for you. But people who are absolutely convinced MB is totally better than Lego, then they must be outta their minds. :mrgreen:

As LoO mentioned, just the inferior quality turns me off since I already have Lego, and customizers give me things that I want for the scale (for example, I'm using BrickArms to create Team Fortress 2 characters).

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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby Karalora » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:07 am

What Forestboy said, pretty much. LEGO customizers design and produce pieces with LEGO sensibilities in mind. Clones...generally don't.
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby SPACE MARINE » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:34 pm

Forest Boy said it all, clone brands are cheap rip-offs of Lego, 3rd party customs are high quality parts that compliment official Lego by filling in gaps it doesn't or will not fill.
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby Quickblade22 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:50 pm

I think a huge reason third party brands are accepted by the community is because the owners are known fans of the hobby. How many people in North America have had personal conversations with Kyle Peterson or Will Chapman as opposed to the head guys of MegaBlocks? All these guys are more accessible than the clone companies and are more importantly fans themselves of the hobby. Fans also like to be able to bounce ideas off of the third parties (which the ambassador program was hoped to be in part) and the third parties are more receptive. They get feedback from by way of forums and or personal conversation. Fans feel like they are part of the process also when they share an idea and it gets produced in some form. The items are made to be integrated with your Lego. I was pretty skeptical about third party items before I made my first BF order. I was so blown away by the quality and the most importantly the way it works so well with Lego minifigs. The interaction is something that I think glues most members to third parties. I speak to Kyle Peterson usually at least once a week, and it's fun to get feedback from guys like Mark Parker at MMCB or Arealight when sharing ideas. I challenge any of you to contact a clone brand and see if they are more receptive than any of these guys. Third Party items are made by AFOL's, Clone brands are made my competitors.
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby Shadowviking » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:39 pm

Third party vendors are made to be used with LEGO. Clone brands are made to compete with LEGO. That about sums it up.
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby OverLoad » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:05 pm

Forestboy hit the nail on the head with his first point, at least for me:

Forestboy wrote:Here's how I look at it:
Customizers like BrickForge, BrickArms, and MMCB are made to accommodate Lego products. Customizers can give us similar quality to TLG's pieces, but in different genres in which TLG hasn't gone or won't go.


Basically, third party customizers not only make pieces for LEGO, but most of them are TFOLs/AFOLs just like us, wanting to offer a wide selection of pieces/capes etc. Clone brands? Please. They want to take the market that our favorite construction toy company has, and normally they come from much much shadier places. Example, I remember a few years ago LEGO sued a company for smuggling LEGO bricks into their factories and replicating them in sweatshops throughout Asia. Not cool.

And of course, there's obviously the quality issue. Where most customizers feel and look like LEGO, clone brands often feel like hardened poo. :o
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby rogue27 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:46 pm

Shadowviking wrote:Third party vendors are made to be used with LEGO. Clone brands are made to compete with LEGO. That about sums it up.


Exactly what I was going to write. It's all about respecting the brick.
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby mencot » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:28 pm

rogue27 wrote:
Shadowviking wrote:Third party vendors are made to be used with LEGO. Clone brands are made to compete with LEGO. That about sums it up.


Exactly what I was going to write. It's all about respecting the brick.

I agree Shadowviking´s and Forestboy´s replis sum this up nice
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby AK_Brickster » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:40 pm

Great points, everyone. I personally loath Mega Bloks, so don't get me wrong, I'm on your side on this issue. :)

Everyone here has pretty well echoed what my thoughts were as I pondered this myself, with additional points being made that I previously hadn't considered. I think the argument that rings truest for me is that 3rd party products are made to work WITH Lego, as opposed to COMPETING AGAINST Lego. I guess I'm just loyal to the brand, in that regard :)

Maybe that helps to explain why I dislike Playmobile and Kinex too. They aren't even directly competing, per se, but share enough similarities that I think, "now why wouldn't parents just buy Lego for their kids instead of wasting their money on that crap?"
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby wobnam » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:56 pm

Those of you who say "[all] clone brands are inferior quality" - what brands do you have actual experience with?

I've used Cobi, Kre-o, Unico+ and at least two different China no-name brands. Yeah, they have some quality issues - but there are also things that some of them do better than third part lego accessories and even better than lego.

Let's face it, if a clone brand came out ~6 years ago with the quality of lego's china products, it would get bashed for being a cheap, inferior quality copy.
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby sidewinderl » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:18 am

A MB set was given to me once. I gave it a chance, but it went in the trash.

...and speaking of 3rd party, did Blasterman fall off the face of the Earth or what? Never did get any castle weapon packs...
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Re: Third Party vs. Clone Brands

Postby the enigma that is badger » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:12 am

Speaking specifically about the motivation behind BrickArms and its products, Will definitely intends to compliment, not replace, LEGO products and the LEGO experience, and speaking to many builders over the years, this seems to be the primary reason they are willing to use BrickArms accessories in their MOCing.

Over the years, LEGO had made and continues to make very clear that, for a variety of reasons, they do not have any interest in certain themes, particularly accurate modern and World War-era elements. However, many builders are interested in those exploring those themes, and Will is happy to provide them with elements, namely custom accessories and minifigs, that these builders might find useful in their MOCs.

Will is extremely respectful of LEGO and their products and demonstrates this respect in the following ways:
- He does not produce any element that could be mistake for a brick or in any other way replaces or encroaches on LEGO intellectual property (alternate minifig body parts, etc)
- He specifically avoids elements in themes that LEGO has historically explored or is likely to pursue with their products
- He has developed his own design aesthetic such that while BrickArms accessories capture the abstract and caricature tone of minifig accessories, they feature a style and level of detail that makes them clearly distinct from LEGO products. Will has no interest in copying or adapting LEGO design motifs in his work.
- All BrickArms products are clearly marketed as custom and not official LEGO products or associated with LEGO in any way.

Overall, the feedback Will has gotten from LEGO representatives over the years has been nothing an appreciation that he respects LEGO and its intellectual properties.

The best analogy I've heard used in reference to the relationship between LEGO and true custom elements is to compare it to car manufacturers and aftermarket car parts. Aftermarket parts are in no way necessary for your car to function nor can they replace the role a car serves. However, for those interested in exploring ways of modifying their vehicles to suit certain interests or needs, aftermarket car parts offer those individuals a wider range of options to explore.
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