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The Downward Spiral - LEGO Quality Standards


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The quality standards at LEGO have long been understood to be among the best, but I doubt that could be accepted as fact any longer.

This Brickset article mentions the latest, but there have been far more issues of late - What are the reasons? Can it, will it be stopped? If not, how bad will things get?

http://brickset.com/article/16630/what-s-wrong-with-the-x-wing

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Just finished building wall-e with my little boy and it's got the floppy head problem, and the tracks really don't move that well. Such a simple thing like this really should have been picked up by Lego way before it reached the shelves. And now Poe's X-Wing Fighter was withdrawn from sale, because of the cockpit not closing properly. Maybe they are trying to rush things out because of pressure from TFA hype, and do too much at once. Shame.

 

 

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There have been quite a few errors showing up in the news about LEGO lately in particular these past months which can make me wonder how many other issues in the past were not reported or made known. This one about the latest X-Wing canopy 'not fitting' sounds similar to the many odd problems I have heard from people across the globe with finding cracked or loose fitting pieces in a new set where the common denominator is said person's general location ergo the kinds of temperature and climates the set in question is exposed to between transit, storage, and shelf sitting. The Wall-E model while possibly perfectly sound in all areas including the neck & head during the design phase, some individual important pieces may not have pristinely endured the long travels to the various outlets which upon arrival to be built by the fans inevitably surfaced a flaw previously unknown. The Delorean capacitor was nothing more than a simple human error.

In my own experience I have yet to see most any of the problems these people seem to find under their personal microscopes. Now I do have a couple of printed pieces not perfectly aligned or some smudging on a minifigure's face printing but those or any other potential error have been so extremely rare I couldn't tell you when was the last time something close actually happened. I have found some slight differences in color (still barely noticeable) but it usually seems to be between different part types than the same. Lastly all the negative remarks against the Minifigures line are hilarious. I have over a few hundred of those and no idea what they are going about between "inferior plastic", "bad printing", and some other picky nonsense. For one thing I can't make a light shine right through the legs of the characters from the Minifigures line any more than I can with a 'regular' minifigure.

Honestly a single spelling error and a few design flaws out of countless sets released over the past couple decades can hardly call for a 'loss of quality'.

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Errors are one thing, but how can you explain using miss-matched colors in expensive sets?

"Shouldn't we do something about that white brick in the solid dark orange wall? Yea, we probably should - but who cares?"

In this case, the white brick is an interior color/trim part which also adds some structural strength to the inner wall.  Could they have made it orange as well?  Sure, but then there would be less detail on the inside.  Considering that the Modulars are meant to be placed next to one another, most would never care or notice.  This is not an error, but a choice by the designer.  Many LEGO sets have similar situations in which there is no perfect solution.  

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I haven't had many problems with parts from sets, but I have seen several poor quality parts from the Pick-A-Brick wall in the Lego retail stores.  It's usually the parts that have printing like the 2x2 slopes with the radar computer screen.  Makes me think that some of the parts on the wall are from rejected batches that didn't make it into sets.

 

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I don't know what they can do about it, but the color batches not matching bothers me the most.  Doesn't seem to be an issue with the blacks(obviously)/whites/greys, but colors like dark red seem to have a large variance sometimes.  I've even had some noticeable differences in common colors like yellow.  Usually not too noticeable until you're working on a building like a modular where there are many of the same color next to one another. 

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Since this devolved into a NIN band discussion, I was never a big fan of the band, though this was probably their best album on a mainstream level.  Does anybody remember David Bowie's "I'm afraid of Americans?"  Trent Reznor is the guy chasing him in the video if memory serves me correctly, which is really hazy since this was during my college days and I wasn't in there for 5.5 years for no reason.

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I think that compared to Toyota they are doing pretty well on recalls - for me what would be worrying is if sets start to have missing parts. That´s a huge PIA for resellling, especially if the set doesn´t get opened till 5 years down the line. Try explaining that one to CS

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I think that compared to Toyota they are doing pretty well on recalls - for me what would be worrying is if sets start to have missing parts. That´s a huge PIA for resellling, especially if the set doesn´t get opened till 5 years down the line. Try explaining that one to CS

Are you seriously comparing quality control of a car maker to a toy maker? :O 20k-40k-??? cars are not in same league as $10-$400 LEGO sets. That might be the most foolish thing I've read on Brickpicker in months. Vehicles get recalled for issues of safety first and foremost... not because some pieces vary in color or the head droops on some silly robot. Let's not even start with the fact that car makers have far less makes/models than LEGO tries to produce in sets...  or that they're designed by teams of highly skilled, educated and experienced engineers rather than some kids with a dream.

We've bought and opened tens of thousands of dollars of LEGO in bulk and in sets. Not a single missing or broken piece. Color variations are so minimal we don't even notice (or care). Stickers always in good shape. I realize it happens, but it's pretty rare considering the amount of sets they produce.

As for missing parts, it happens... entire bags of parts were missing from a specific run of GEs. We've read on the forum of a bag here or there missing.... I wonder what would happen if Toyota delivered it's next model Prius without a steering wheel. :roadrage:

 

Edited by gregpj
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Are you seriously comparing quality control of a car maker to a toy maker? :O 20k-40k-??? cars are not in same league as $10-$400 LEGO sets. That might be the most foolish thing I've read on Brickpicker in months. Vehicles get recalled for issues of safety first and foremost... not because some pieces vary in color or the head droops on some silly robot. Let's not even start with the fact that car makers have far less makes/models than LEGO tries to produce in sets...  or that they're designed by teams of highly skilled, educated and experienced engineers rather than some kids with a dream.

We've bought and opened tens of thousands of dollars of LEGO in bulk and in sets. Not a single missing or broken piece. Color variations are so minimal we don't even notice (or care). Stickers always in good shape. I realize it happens, but it's pretty rare considering the amount of sets they produce.

As for missing parts, it happens... entire bags of parts were missing from a specific run of GEs. We've read on the forum of a bag here or there missing.... I wonder what would happen if Toyota delivered it's next model Prius without a steering wheel. :roadrage:

 

So we agree that Lego are not doing such a bad job in terms of QC, relatively speaking.

Perhaps people have high expectations because it is expensive for what it is - using the car analogy, you would pardon some loose trim on a Ford but if it happened on a Bentley it would be a different story.

I remember the case of the GE´s, what would be good to know is how long Lego would honour the supply of replacement parts for. Claiming a missing floor on a GE in 2020 might not fly that well, especially if the proof of purchase was dated 2013 or would the seal code be enough evidence?

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So we agree that Lego are not doing such a bad job in terms of QC, relatively speaking.

Perhaps people have high expectations because it is expensive for what it is - using the car analogy, you would pardon some loose trim on a Ford but if it happened on a Bentley it would be a different story.

I don't think LEGO is doing bad QC at all... I think some of their recent designs stink, but that's a QC issue at design time rather than production time (hence my jab "kids with a dream"). What I was really saying is that I just think the comparison to auto makers is silly and totally off base. Because vehicles are in a completely different price category, they get treated completely different from inception to delivery to maintenance than LEGO.

   I remember the case of the GE´s, what would be good to know is how long Lego would honour the supply of replacement parts for. Claiming a missing floor on a GE in 2020 might not fly that   well, especially if the proof of purchase was dated 2013 or would the seal code be enough evidence?

Who knows... if you have a receipt from a retail store, they'll likely try to help you out longer but at some point they'll probably either tell you to go fly a kite or ask you to return it to them for a credit rather than trying to replace the parts. But since we're making silly comparisons, no matter who you are, if you're business involves the use of "parts" you have to account for a certain period of time where those "parts" will be in demand. LEGO can do this because they know what the sales were and they reuse a very large portion of their parts catalog... they probably have an extremely good idea how many GEs had the missing floor bags. Auto makers know how many vehicles they sold so based on some educated knowledge, they'll know how many parts they need to produce for the expected lifetime of each vehicle.

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