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fake lego

johnsbricksjohnsbricks Member Posts: 210
edited July 2011 in Collecting
Hi, I recent bought some Lego from ebay. 99% of the bricks were ok but some of the older looking bricks did not 'grip'. They were stamped with the Lego mark as per normal bricks. Do old bricks loose their grip? I thought that lego lasts 'forever'? or could these be fake poor quality bricks marked with the trademark logo (has anyone come across this)? Thanks.


  • yys4uyys4u USA SoCalMember Posts: 1,093
    Well I know some of my older minifigs loose their grip on the feet, so if that can happen I assume it can also happen with bricks?
  • acedogg77acedogg77 Member Posts: 110
    Lose their grip. He had loose shoes, because his laces were not tied properly. He loosened the screw.

    I'd guess the more action they've seen they could become worn down and a little slack.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 3,860
    I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but depending on the age of the brick, if they are pre-ABS (the current lego plastic) they are more likely to lose their grip.

    I've got a load of lego bricks from the 80's and a number of them are worn or loose through age and playwear.
  • EricEric Queensland, AustraliaMember Posts: 376
    ^ Really? That actually explains a lot.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 3,860
    To avoid confusion, my two points aren't directly connected.

    Point 1. They may be made from 'older' plastic (pre-ABS)
    Point 2. If the lego is well played with, they're more also likely to be loose.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 844
    Cellulose Acetate (CA) bricks were made by LEGO from 1949-1963 (and then by Samsonite for some time afterwards), and those bricks often warped with time-- so that could be the issue.

    ABS bricks lose their clutch power by being connected to other LEGO bricks. So if you leave your LEGO assembled for years, the clutch power will start to fade. Supposedly also the case with high levels of humidity, although I haven't really experienced that firsthand.

    Effectively, when your LEGO is assembled, the reason it sticks together is that there's some stretching of the plastic going on which is creating the grip. Leaving it together gradually keeps stretching until eventually the plastic will conform itself to whatever it's attached to. That typically takes many years-- I noticed it VERY slightly after about 3 years, but that was only a reduction in clutch power, not a total loss.

  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923

    Curious. Did you buy some parts from a seller overseas in Hong Kong, or just someone here in the states? There's a Hong Kong guy selling Lego-ish parts for dirt cheap, but his feedback is questionable.
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,038
    As others have said; older bricks can loose their clutch power just by being assembled with other bricks. An other thing I would like to add that bricks also deteriorate by being exposed to direct sun.

    Also, check the side of the bricks, they may have hairline cracks that you cannot see when the brick is unessembled, but you will notice it when attached to an other brick. This will definitely make them looser.
  • melissacurranmelissacurran Member Posts: 15
    Does this mean that it's a bad idea to store Legos attached to one another? I've been doing that for some to save space.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 844
    Storing LEGO assembled in one form or another will degrade the clutch power, yes. In that sense, it's bad to store it that way. However, the loss in clutch power is dependent on the element and the environment it's stored in. It might be pretty negligible.

    In my case, I built a LEGO AT-AT, whose head was held on by studs facing forwards. I left it together for several years. Initially, the head held up pretty well. But progressively over the next few years, when I would try to stand it up, the neck would break apart, forcing me to rebuild it. After about 2-3 years, I could still get it to hold up, but it took careful rebuilding (and a lot of pressing the studs together really hard), and careful positioning. And after 3-4 years, no matter how much I rebuilt the neck, it wouldn't hold together.

    However, with that said, I couldn't notice the loss in clutch power with my hands. There was no discernible difference in clutch between the bricks that were obviously slightly stretched and newer bricks that weren't used. But the model I built was JUST at the cusp of being within the bricks' initial clutch power, so a slight loss was sufficient to prevent the model from holding up (but not enough to be noticeable on human terms).

    In other cases, I've taken apart pieces that have been together for roughly 15-20 years. They've lost enough clutch to be noticeable, but they still grip. Also, it's important to note that they clutch differently in different orientations. So if you rotate the brick by 90 degrees, it may suddenly hold very well, since only certain parts of the brick are warped.

    So, I guess it's really up to you. Yes, ABS bricks will gradually lose their clutch power, but it will usually take a long time to be noticeable.

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,357
    edited July 2011
    Dave, correct on the Cellulose Acetate (a product called Cellidor at the time, and produced by the Bayer Corp. of Germany). Although first produced in 1949 for LEGO, not all LEGO parts are made of Cellulose Acetate in the early days. Some parts, such as the waffle bottom plates, 10x20 thick baseplates, and a few other parts were made of some mixed plastic composition... and to this day they have not warped.

    Although Cellulose Acetate does have a tendency to warp... kept under ideal conditions, it may not warp... (humidity and temperature). TLG knew by 1959 that something was wrong with the plastic they were using... in the LEGO catalog of European countries starting that year, they mention not to store LEGO above a certain temperature.

    Also, Cellulose Acetate has a tendency to not discolor as much as ABS does. Many white CA parts from the 1950s and 1960s are as pure white, as they day they were made... but when you do the "wobble test" (lay a 2x4 brick on a flat table surface and see if the bottm edges wobble at all)... that's when you know you have CA if the part wobbles back and forth.

    As far as ABS plastic... I've had LEGO buildings made of ABS constructed for 30 years (but stored in a cool basement)... and the clutch power on the parts has not changed significantly (I compared it to the clutch power of new parts, and couldn't tell the difference). As with all LEGO... store them away from heat.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,550
    From time to time Lego has produced pieces which just won't lock. I remember the parts that served as landing gear on the Cosmic Cruiser literally fell off or didn't stick at all to the baseplates comprising the underside of the ship. The hinge in that set also was offset meaning pieces attached to the hinged end didn't line up flush.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,357
    TLG always seems to have had problems with at least some parts.

    From 1970-74 TLG made those very nice looking granulated trees and bushes... but likely to their horror kids were chewing the green granules off the foliage, and that was a shortlived product. Too bad... they were much nicer that the conical (1974) and spherical (1978) trees that they replaced.

    I also remember the earliest 1x1 round bricks without a tapered base. Even back when they were new (I have yet to find one that wasn't made of Cellulose Acetate) many of them didn't stick together very well.... some did... but not a lot of them. Then in 1966 TLG redesigned that piece (after they alreadys started with ABS plastic) as a solid stud tapered base 1x1 round... and they stuck together quite nicely. Later of course they made them hollow stud, but not because the solid stud ones had a problem.

    One part that was redesigned really irritates me... the macaroni brick... why did they redesign it with cross supports underneath. Now you can no longer stagger them in a stable column form. Looks like it's time to store up on the old (pre-2010) ones...
  • dimefielddimefield Edmonton Alberta CanadaMember Posts: 314
    Thanks for the info, ive been making storage " towers" of similar sized and coloured bricks to save my limited storage space and was wondering if it might be harmful to the bricks. I can also add that my old 392 forumla 1 racer doesnt hold together like it used to. But mostly due to being pulled apart and rebuilt a million times usually with my teeth, no fingernails or brick tool when i was a kid!
  • jwsmartjwsmart Member Posts: 298
    Interesting. I've got several sets that were assembled when I went into my dark ages 12-ish years ago, and I haven't noticed they were any more fragile now than when I put them away all those years ago. It's possible that the clutch has faded a bit - but I can't notice it.
  • PerryMakesPerryMakes Member Posts: 73
    edited July 2011
    I asked about the possibility of stretching when stored in "stacks." The only response was someone saying that it was "obnoxious" to store bricks that way. LOL. I'm only doing it for a few items to save space: 1x1 round plates, cones, cylinders, etc... until some more storage bins (see attached pic) can be added to the mix. Found them at Menards - on sale for $12 each.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,357
    PerryMakes... there's likely a hundred different viewpoints on storing LEGO... "obnoxious" is not one of the better ones! ;-)

    There's some folks on Bricklink that feel if 2 mint LEGO parts are snapped together... that they are now no longer mint... and that they should be treated as used.

    IMHO... LEGO should be treated like EVERY other toy collectible..... Condition... Condition... Condition...

    To use Provenance (proof of where it originated or where it's been, such as snapped together with another brick) really seems rather odd... because once a part is resold to a 3rd party... then that particular provenance (whether it's been attached to another part) is pretty much lost.

    Some folks would still consider 2 parts scratching against each other for years in a sealed bag... as mint.... but 2 otherwise new unblemished parts that were stuck together... as used.

    That topic has been argued over and over again on Bricklink.

    Now I do concede that some parts may not have as much clutching power after assembly for many years. But I don't really see that with regular brcks (maybe some here do have bricks from batches that have lost some of their clutch).

    I (very fortunately) purchased 35 (USA version 760) London Bus sets in the 1980s, and used some of the windows and red bricks in other constructions that stayed assembled for about 30 years. I recently disassembled one such building... and tested the clutching power against new bricks of the same type... I couldn't tell the difference.

    Now that's not to say that this cannot be a problem... especially since the quality issue of LEGO (as well as the LEGO pelletts no longer being premixed and precoloured by the Bayer Corp.) now sometimes produces an inferior product in some parts, than say 30 years ago. And some parts (say for example minifig torso's) may be more prone to clutching issues.

    But obnoxious is not a term I would use to describe storing LEGO! :)

  • PerryMakesPerryMakes Member Posts: 73
    @jwsmart - to answer your question, yes, that is what I took away from your post. But in all fairness, after re-reading it I can say that I missed your salient point.
  • FattehFatteh Member Posts: 21
    In a similar vein, I have a new basplate from an SP3 set that minifigs will barely stick to. The same figs will bind just fine on older plates. Anyone else found this?
  • jwsmartjwsmart Member Posts: 298
    edited August 2011
    ^ Yes, I've seen that issue with newer baseplates as well, although there was always a slight difference in the clutch power of baseplates vs. plates.

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