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I am picking at an old wound here - but I am still confused as why TLG is not putting more animals in their sets? I would love to see previously released animals as well as new animals (variety is the spice of life) in new sets. I was big into the Farm Theme partly due to the new cows and pigs. I Purchased 3 sets of the Mill Village Raid just to get more goats and chickens...
I was thrilled when the cows made an appearance, then the pigs, goats, Chickens, and bears. But they were all short lived - and included in exclusive sets. What is the hold-up? Why not plant them into more sets?
Case in point - the new Mountain Hut (31025
) : why not include a mountain goat, a bear, or even (God Forbid) a new animal - a deer?
Are they trying to prop up aftermarket dealers, or what is it? DUPLO has a plethora of items from the animal kingdom - what is it?
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The Duplo Zoo has been on my radar for a while now and I just haven't pulled the trigger probably because they are just a bit too large to mix in with the system line. Kids of all ages want more animals, they are not just for the 2-4 years olds! :)
Animals equal girl interest in the minds of toy companies, so goodness forbid that Lego add more animals to their boy lines.
Looking at animals one might find in the toy department at a big box store...
My little pony.
Little pet shop.
Dolls/figures often have an animal pet.
These are lines that there was absolutely no reason they could not have been gender neutral, since boys could like animals. Yet, both are explicitly targeted towards girls. There are plenty of figures out there for boys, but one will not find any with animal lets. (Even in the case where they make items available to both genders like squinkies, they utterly change the boy ones and make them cars and super heroes, and not animals.)
In general, toy companies have deemed that boys must only like animals if they are humanoid or a boy animal. Boys may like TMNT or Chima, but they would not like animals as accessories. In the few case, animals like snakes might be okay.
In the past, when I have mentioned no reason city could not be more gender neutral, people have thrown out farm as something that would be a failure with boys.
Looking at Lego and the cases they use animals, they do have a large number, but they are within Friends. They have the animal minfig packages. I usually by extra if those to have the animals. Many Friend sets come with animals.
Look at Disney Princess and again one sees animals. I just bought the Brave set for the bears for my winter scene.
It is frustrating, but personally I believe the animal thing is yet another area Lego and the toy industry tends to be stereotypical on. Another area that frustrates me, since my son likes cute animals, and one has to almost always look in the girls department or girl area to find them.
When our boys were 8 and 10 and complained about being bored on our rare snowy days, I would make them stay upstairs while I went down and built huge alligator farms and and horse ranches with our LEGO. I had a blast, and they finally quit complaining when they saw how much fun I was having. If we had had other animals in sufficient quantity, a zoo would have been possible, too.
Sure there's a lot of different types but we need a variety of molds for different breeds and sizes.
one of the biggest reasons friends is succeeding is the animals. Why is it that lego can have so many animals for friends but not in other themes? Think about it - in the animal polybags along, there's a total of 9 different animals to date including not one but two different dog molds, 3 more due at the start of the year, and 3 more that are coming after that.
Whether one likes the Friend's animals or not, the point is that there are a ton of animals in that line. Lego is highly gender focused on the choices they make for sets and lines and they fall in line with virtually every other toy company in this. ( Playmobil makes some exceptions. ) I would love to see more animals in other lines, but I just do not think it is likely to happen. Lego seems very risk-averse at times, so they stick with sharks for boys and dolphins and many other animals for girls.
I would love to see an entire fun line that incorporated polar animals or African animals, but Lego seems to be highly sticking to genderized and licensed themes. A zoo or circus has minimal fighting or vehicles, so my cynical side sees no chance of that becoming a theme anytime soon. Toy companies generally do not do animals for boys.
Companies like Schleich get the marketing just right and they appeal to boys and girls, adults and kids. There is no need to half the target audience by aiming them at one sex. Not when both sexes naturally gravitate towards them.
I agree with the OP, that Lego City/Town is crying out for a wider variety of animals, and I do think a circus/zoo/safari range would be a hit.
Who doesn't want to see a circus or zoo or fair ground in their lego town, replete with concession stands, balloon sellers, test your strength machines, dodgem cars, etc. Or a Circus Train set, with gloriously patterned carriages housing the animals on their travels.
A Big Top could be the marquee set, with elephant acrobats, lion tamers, ball balancing seals, rope-walkers, trapeze artists, etc. Or if too P.C. then a jungle safari (park) with wild elephants, crocs, lions etc.
But yes. More animals, however they get them in, even if just as 'extras' to add spice to a few sets.
It is still possible despite this that modern marketing types have erroneously categorised 'animals' as a 'girl thing', but anecdotal evidence in my neck of the woods would suggest they would be wrong to have done so. Animals where i am from is defiantly ;o) a gender neutral toy which everyone loves.
Of course, if they go and package them in pink boxes with ribbons on... then what do they expect. Could just as easily package them in red/green boxes with claw and bite marks, and an equal yet opposite effect might be encountered. It's all about presentation with marketing types.
Either way, Lego animals in the same style as seen with the cow, horse, bear, etc, would be welcomed by me, most definitely.
CCC I get what you are saying, I just have had a much harder time finding cute animals for my son. I do not get why animals seem to have gotten the girl marketing treatment, but I can list a number of animals off the top of my head that I can find in the girl toy area, but I really struggle in the boy area. I have found dragons for my son there, but generally, I have had to go with little pet shop or squinkies in the girl department.
Schleich/Papo are good examples of neutral, and a Playmobil as I mentioned earlier. None of these are at Target/Walmart stores. Neutral toy aisles there have little.
Maybe this is specific to my area.
Really, what I am simply saying is that the phenomenon I have experienced in those toy departments, is the same thing I am seeing with animals and Lego. Animals are easy to find in what Lego markets as girl sets. They are more difficult to find in what Lego market's as boy sets.
Did the Farm Theme really do that bad? I know that I have duplicates of almost every set - but then again, I am a sucker for farms, farm machinery, and animals (I did purchase 3 MVR just for the animals!.
Am I missing any?
They could do a "Current Animalia Zoo", a "Dinosaur Zoo" and a "Cryptozoology Zoo" (with all the animals having their own cards (a la Ninjago).
Could you imagine? Man that would be awesome! ...and probably VERY expensive!
LEGO Friends seems to be an exception, and I can't think of any reason why other than that the LEGO Group knows animal-based toys tend to sell well with young girls. A lot of the major animal-based toys, at least in the U.S, are VERY heavily targeted towards girls.
Personally, I like how the Legend Beasts from Legends of Chima are demonstrating a new option for larger creatures — brick-built animals. Overall, I think the best animal part designs are those which can be used for a wide variety of animals (it should be no surprise that my favorite LEGO dinosaurs are the ones from the 2001 Dinosaurs theme). Back in the day, brick-built animals would have invariably seemed blocky and awkward next to minifigures, but today there are plenty of curved slopes and other detail elements that can make brick-built animals a viable option once more. #70126 Crocodile Legend Beast is even more curved and organic-looking than the standard LEGO crocodile!
Dinosaurs are an interesting case, because that had some larger animals. That is really the one case where they did focus on large animals for boys, but really the toy market does market dinosaurs more heavily towards boys. It does show a line, though, with larger chunky cool-looking animals. I think the problem with a zoo with larger animals, may be what Aanchir said and come down to cost. To really get the size animals correct, one would need more than a few larger animals. Of course, companies like a Playmobil have done zoo themes and African Safari themes.
My suspicion is if we ever do get a more generic animal theme it would be one of the following:
- a sub theme such as Polar/Arctic/African Savannah, where they could incorporate just a few larger animals
- a Friend's petting zoo with a few small animals
- a Friend's zoo with a few larger animals, but mom/baby pairs, where they reuse some of the small animal moulds that they have already come up with.
With all the new small animal moulds they have been using, I guess I would be surprised if Lego did not find a way to reuse them.
I made this but, given its chances at 10k and being approved, it was a flop. As a modular building, it fit within a proven sales model which would allow use of 2,000+ pieces. However, people want a horizontal zoo and it doesn't look as nice in that form:
So a few months (mostly) being a wash, I'm really trying to do my due diligence. Lots of good points here. I have some good ideas for the "lack of action" point made in this thread. At the moment, my concern is more about balancing trying to make exhibits that feel more organic (getting away from large plates, adding uneven terrain) vs. having the set be too fragmented.
Would love to hear anybody's thoughts on what your ideal Lego Zoo might involve, or how you would envision one that manages to fall under 2,000 pieces.
Don't get me wrong- this could be amazing, but trying to fit everything into a modular is seriously holding this zoo back.
I can address your points but ultimately there are 13,500 people that feel the same way. That's why I called it a flop and why I was asking for thoughts on an ideal Lego Zoo and yeah, Step 1: don't make it a 4-story modular.
Keep it coming, though. If you were to imagine the ideal Lego zoo, what would it have? What would the exhibits look like?
The problem for me is that I don't think it can work well as a single set, it would work as a sub theme of City but the IDEAs format doesn't work for this kind of thing.
Unfortunately I suspect that even if you manage to get the votes to reach review it would likely not pass for issues of pricing. That's not to say you shouldn't try, obviously no one can say it'll absolutely not work but I think expectations are best managed.
But let's toss the reasons why it can't work to the side for now... what would you want from a zoo set (or the sum of a sub-theme of zoo sets), and what would the exhibits look like?
The 100+ antenna pieces for the alligator fence, though, would run 10 GBP based on the 10-cents-per-piece rule-of-thumb. My "modular zoo" exhibits are only 16x16 and the total part count is 2,200. I'm starting to accept that creating a non-fragmented organic feel just isn't do-able. Buuuut...
Setting aside everything else, what do you think about how fragmented the Friends Roller Coaster is?
In order to give the animals "room to breathe" while not spending hundreds/thousands of bricks on terrain, the brown bear exhibit, for example, might look like this:
Minus the balloon, plus a fence that goes way, way around that made from, say, these parts:
http://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=6020&name=Bar 7 x 3 with Double Clips
I do like some of your enclosures. They are small, but then everything Lego is usually on the small side.
But I think you could make them bigger. The piece limit you've set is very sensible, but a lot of pieces are 'wasted' on having too many animals in fully enclosed rooms. You could do more the camel enclosure, meaning you could create larger enclosures or more of them.
As well, I love the 'front' of the building, but an impressive looking entrance, with ticket booth, could be build with half or even a third of the pieces you use.
I like your updates from the 7th July, spreading the enclosures around, rather than stacking them. It makes the whole thing more real and I love the flexibility it offers for the layout - you've shown quite a variety of layouts.
I think this is the way to go with the set, more flexible and spread out and doing that allows you to either reduce piece count, build more enclosures, or increase the size of some enclosures. If you do this, while still allowing the enclosures to be brought close together, should you wish, means you could have a really great set!
I think one could also create the feel of a zoo without walls/slopes around a habitat, if one was going for fewer piece.
One quick clarification: the pictures on the Main and Updates pages are actually of the exact same build. Only difference is the exhibits are removed. You can see exactly what I mean at the 0:59 second mark of the Teaser video.
Parts are 'wasted' on walls the around the alligator and bears, but predators + short walls in real zoos are accompanied by moats or trenches... something I haven't solved yet, even in the "open concept" I was suggesting above. Here's a simple mockup, obviously I'd enhance it a lot if it's the best approach:
- Gives the animal(s) lots of open space (& less boxy @tamamahm)
- Details like the sunflower patch and rock formation can be used to simulate an entire environment/terrain
- Minimal parts (about 30 for what you see & ~200 for something even bigger and way better looking)