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What happened to Technic in the US this year?

I'm stunned that even though it's May we still don't have any of the 2014 Technic sets introduced in Europe in January. Not a whisper at [email protected] or any other US retailers.

Any idea what happened?

Are Technic sales in the US really that poor?

Does anyone know if these will be for sale in the US this year?
TXLegoguy

Comments

  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    edited May 2014
    All of the sets are coming... From what I heard, Lego didn't release them here as usual because of their focus on the U.S. market for the Lego Movie sets in... We're getting all of the Technic sets this summer...

    Lego actually does have the release dates on their shop-at-home page...

    http://www.lego.com/en-us/technic/?domainredir=technic.lego.com
    TXLegoguy
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,009
    As far as I remember they are all coming out in August. :)
  • tomahawkertomahawker Member Posts: 136
    Thanks, that clears it up. I have been checking the [email protected] Technic page but didn't think to check the main web site.

    It seems a strange argument that The Lego Movie was a reason not release in the US. After all they got all the TLM sets and the movie in Europe too.

    Not to turn this into a US versus Europe rant, but when it comes to Technic, those Europeans sure are lucky. They get all the early releases and better street pricing to boot! :-P

  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    edited May 2014
    The U.S. was the Lego Movie's major market though... The U.S. accounts for over 1/2 of the global box office sales...

    There is also more respect for Technic in Europe than there is here in the U.S. Just look at pictures online from other country's Lego shows... You'll see tables of Technic models... Then you go to a show here and well, not so much.....

    When you do shows, you really see a large number of people that turn their noses up at the Technic stuff(both attendees and the public)... Unless it is moving... ;) Americans like to see things moving...
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^Any thoughts as to why the US is not so into Technic?
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    edited May 2014

    ^Any thoughts as to why the US is not so into Technic?

    None of the top builders or Official Lego Designers are from the United States, I think that there may be a slight connection with that.. I don't know if it is people from the United States just don't have the talent or if we are just not as mechanically inclined and creative as some of the other European countries when it comes to Technic...

    I've had other builders and casuals at shows here in the U.S. tell me that Technic is just to difficult to build with... When I was in Brickworld Chicago in 2010, a woman just about ripped her son's arm off pulling him away from my display saying "We didn't come here to see that" I just looked at my wife and said "WTF...? You pay money to come in and see the models and you won't even look at them all..?"

    It is really nice to see so much Technic in many of the 2014 system and licensed sets.. I think this year's sets have more Technic in them than ever before...
    TXLegoguy
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,231
    Seeing how low on the world ranking the US is in the STEM it isn't surprising that Technic isn't appealing to most kids. It is used a lot to try to get kids INTO the STEM areas but without a good education base in math and science from day one kids move further and further from personal interest in things related to it.
    TXLegoguyCrowkillersLegoboystreeker
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    edited May 2014
    graphite said:

    Seeing how low on the world ranking the US is in the STEM it isn't surprising that Technic isn't appealing to most kids. It is used a lot to try to get kids INTO the STEM areas but without a good education base in math and science from day one kids move further and further from personal interest in things related to it.

    I think you nailed it, and not only appealing to most kids in the United States because of this fact, but also most adults as well...

    Many people probably don't know what "STEM" is, it stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. The last I read on this, the U.S. was on the decline, which doesn't really surprise me...



  • valenciaericvalenciaeric Member Posts: 12
    I would add that Technic is not as popular in all European countries either. Here in Spain it is quite hard to find in shops and the range they stock is generally the cheaper ones like the pull backs - although I did see 2 MISB Unimogs on my travels this morning.

    The first half 2014 models haven´t really grabbed my attention apart from the cargo plane. I hope the second half ones will be better like the MK11 crane was last year.

  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,112
    I don't think it is so much the STEM aspect as it is the "unfinished" look of Technic models. Over the past decade, system sets have gotten more and more detailed to the point where highly realistic designs can be made - things that border on art or scale models. You just don't generally get near that level of accuracy from Technic sets.

    Technic has always been niche, this is nothing new.
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 237
    Quite honestly I've gotten a little bored with System, but I enjoy the challenge of Technic.

    I like both the Osprey and hot rod.
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    edited June 2014
    dougts said:

    I don't think it is so much the STEM aspect as it is the "unfinished" look of Technic models. Over the past decade, system sets have gotten more and more detailed to the point where highly realistic designs can be made - things that border on art or scale models. You just don't generally get near that level of accuracy from Technic sets.

    Technic has always been niche, this is nothing new.

    Maybe it is niche because of STEM in that area... Technic sets have evolved as well from the rough skeletal design that they had in the 80's and 90's...

    More kids and adults in the U.S. would rather collect minifigures than know how things work...

    I've probably talked through email with 1000's of people over the last 10 years and the majority of those people are not from the United States... I have about 10 kids(16 and under) that email me regularly about what they are building or if they need assistance with something, and none of them are from here...

    I think builders from the U.S. are talented in a artistically creative way and not so much in a mechanically creative one as they are in Europe and Asia...

    This is just what I've gathered building in Technic for the last 15 years and talking with people from every culture...
  • Davian07Davian07 Member Posts: 19
    Crowkillers is absolutely correct in his comments re. the casual US fan; Technic is simply NOT real LEGO to them. Even for those who should know better. At a local city competition held annually I didn't even receive notice when submitting Technic models that were very complicated designs. The judges were all ostensibly LEGO aficionados. Last year I submitted a diorama of Scooby Doo built of studded bricks and won 1st place and crowd favorite.

    I don't know why exactly but in my opinion today's modern/pop culture is somewhat to blame. Yes, people marvel at my Technic models and exclaim how they "could never build that". But when they see The Simpsons minifig collection or house they completely lose their minds. Last weekend I'm showing an adult man in his 30s who practices law a computer controlled life sized model of a human forearm and hand and all he can talk about is how "real" Krusty the Clown looks. A freakin' cartoon character!

    I wish that TLG would start- or at least lend some assistance with- promoting Technic much more robustly than they currently do in the USA. One way this could be done would be by sponsoring Science Fairs (with significant prizes) that required the use of LEGO Technic.

    Another way would be to reintroduce the Technic mini figure. My initial plunge into Technic as a boy was due to the Model Team sets which featured the fully pose-able "cool" figure who could be made to do ANYTHING. I STILL have this figure and the Model Team set he came in. The sheer playability of this character should generate huge sales in the theme if he is coupled with the correct sets.
    pharmjod
  • minicoopers11minicoopers11 USAMember Posts: 104
    I have a STEM job and have very little interest in Technic. Never appealed to me. Yet I still became an engineer. That said, I focus on dirt, concrete, and pavement in my job, not moving parts.
  • JamesJTJamesJT Member Posts: 440
    Davian07 said:

    ... reintroduce the Technic mini figure.

    Technic sets should NOT come with a doll (except #8457).

    I would prefer there to be fewer yellow technic parts in future.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I totally agree with the above comments...

    I'm probably the exception to the rule in the US, I love Technic and think it is amazing. To this day, Cube Stormer II remains one of my favorites...
  • TechnicNickTechnicNick Berkshire, UKMember Posts: 276
    I can't comment on the US scene, but here in the UK Technic seems pretty popular, it's in all the stores along with system Lego. While it's true that some sets look somewhat sketchy, the bigger sets these days (eg Unimog, upcoming Volvo) are detailed and convincing models.

    I'm with @JamesJT ; Technic sets don't need figures. I guess I'm not very representative of Lego builders in general, in that Minifigures don't interest me.
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    edited June 2014
    For what it is worth, I recently wrote an 8 page article for the new Technic based issue of Brickjournal...
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,230
    I love Technic. It's what brought me out of my dark ages, and after 18 months of collecting (with a few excursions into Star Wars and Architecture), I'm still 90% Technic.

    I do sometimes think though, that it would be nice to get some sets, maybe one a year, that aren't vehicles. Like I say, I've only been collecting since Christmas 2012, and we're already getting 'repeats' such as another Pickup truck. I know it's not identical, but even so...

    Maybe things like a robot arm set, or various static machines... Printing presses, trash compactors, a standalone vehicle engine or gearbox?

    I know these sort of things are suitable MOC material, but then again, so are the vehicles, and we keep getting those produced as sets every year.

    I'm not complaining. As a 40-something with no understanding of engineering to speak of, I've not only had great fun building my sets, but I've learnt a huge amount too about gears, suspension and whatnot.

    It's due in no small part to Sariel's book too, but just to assemble something and understand how it works because you put it together is something that goes way beyond the enjoyment I get from building, say, a Creator set, or a Star Wars model.

    So come on, Lego design gurus! Come up with something a bit unexpected for the 2015 wave of Technic!
    Davian07aimlesspursuits
  • Davian07Davian07 Member Posts: 19
    I am not saying Technic "needs" a figure. I own every flagship Technic model released in the past 5 years and many going back some 20yrs. These sets, such as the Unimog, the #8455 Pneumatic Backhoe, and the #8258 Crane Truck are amazing builds with a level of sophistication unmatched by any other "toy". But that's just it- LEGO at this level and price point is NOT "just a toy". Very, very few parents are buying their son or daughter a $150US box of LEGO. And when they do it's usually a train, not a box filled with pieces that look like one needs to go to MIT to figure out how to assemble.

    To capture the hearts of 10-14yrs old boys (and consecutively their parent's wallets) LEGO Technic must appeal to THEM, not to us AFOLs with purist sentiment. While few of us would even acknowledge Bionicle, it sold more sets than Technic ever had using many of the same elements. HERO Factory did the same and it's #7160 is essentially a Technic helicopter with....wait for it...A figure. TLG shipped more of this set than any "real" Technic set EVER.

    So, maybe what LEGO should do is introduce a new "hybrid" theme that uses Technic elements and design/build acumen incorporated into sets that appeal to youth i.e. cars, trucks, & equipment. These sets will be smaller- 400pc-700pc - and priced at a more friendly scale for the casual consumer purchasing for birthdays and Christmas. These sets would include the "new" minifigure who would be able to drive, fly, and operate the "Technic" machines. But the Technic theme itself is reserved for purists. In this way LEGO might bring hundreds of new fans into the Technic fold many of whom will, later in life, happily spend $100-$200 on sets.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,577
    Davian07 said:

    I am not saying Technic "needs" a figure. I own every flagship Technic model released in the past 5 years and many going back some 20yrs. These sets, such as the Unimog, the #8455 Pneumatic Backhoe, and the #8258 Crane Truck are amazing builds with a level of sophistication unmatched by any other "toy". But that's just it- LEGO at this level and price point is NOT "just a toy". Very, very few parents are buying their son or daughter a $150US box of LEGO. And when they do it's usually a train, not a box filled with pieces that look like one needs to go to MIT to figure out how to assemble.

    To capture the hearts of 10-14yrs old boys (and consecutively their parent's wallets) LEGO Technic must appeal to THEM, not to us AFOLs with purist sentiment. While few of us would even acknowledge Bionicle, it sold more sets than Technic ever had using many of the same elements. HERO Factory did the same and it's #7160 is essentially a Technic helicopter with....wait for it...A figure. TLG shipped more of this set than any "real" Technic set EVER.

    So, maybe what LEGO should do is introduce a new "hybrid" theme that uses Technic elements and design/build acumen incorporated into sets that appeal to youth i.e. cars, trucks, & equipment. These sets will be smaller- 400pc-700pc - and priced at a more friendly scale for the casual consumer purchasing for birthdays and Christmas. These sets would include the "new" minifigure who would be able to drive, fly, and operate the "Technic" machines. But the Technic theme itself is reserved for purists. In this way LEGO might bring hundreds of new fans into the Technic fold many of whom will, later in life, happily spend $100-$200 on sets.

    Do you have any specific statistics on those BIONICLE/Hero Factory sales? I'm not entirely surprised by them since, as you say, BIONICLE and Hero Factory have more "kid appeal" than traditional Technic. But I am surprised to hear that #7160 sold well, since there haven't been any HF sets over $35 since then, and it remains the largest Hero Factory set by piece count. You'd think if it were such a strong seller there would be more Hero Factory sets like it... but then again, I wouldn't be surprised if even with sales like you describe, it was still outsold by the smaller single-figure sets.

    Anyway, I actually got into BIONICLE (and subsequently, Hero Factory) by way of Technic, even though the Technic sets that interested me most as a kid were decidedly less "adult" builds than a lot of what you see today... things like Speed Slammers and Cyber Slam. From those I got into Throwbots, Roboriders, and soon enough, BIONICLE. It was many years before I bought another non-BIONICLE Technic set, besides the occasional Racers set that I bought for exclusive BIONICLE recolors.

    I only recently got back into Technic, but it doesn't interest me as much as constraction does. Part of this is just a matter of my building preferences and style. I am not good at building advanced technical functions on my own (most of my Technic creations as a child were lamentably static), but I have always loved building shapely articulated creatures and robots like the ones in LEGO Hero Factory. Most of the Technic sets my family has bought lately were "clearance" sets we got at LEGOLAND Florida this spring. And I can't even dream of taking those sets apart for MOCing purposes, because I know that the parts would never go to such good use in my own MOCs as they do in the original sets.

    I don't know if I'm a typical American LEGO buyer or not, but I thought I'd share my experience.
  • timinchicagotiminchicago USAMember Posts: 239
    Does anyone have any information when the US might get #42025 Cargo plane?
  • iancam33iancam33 Member Posts: 407
    I know I might take some heat for this but one reason many probably don't like the Technic sets here in the states is due to the complexity of them and the laziness of America. Hell, pretty soon you won't be able to buy a stick-shift car here anymore because no-one knows how to drive one and can't be bothered to learn. You should see how fat and sloth-like this nation has become. People want things now and only want to put in the minimal effort to get them. Our education system is poor at best and it seems as though there is more of a push for kids to pursue careers in white collar fields(lord knows we have to many lawyers and politicians as it is) and not blue collar, hence the overwhelming pressure to go to college out of high school and not a trade school.

    I loved technic as a kid even though they were harder to construct but the satisfaction of completing the model was much greater than any other type of set. I myself have now turned more in the direction of Technic of late.

    @Boo: some of those ideas sound good. A novel idea would be to maybe have a peace meal vehicle. I will explain. You mentioned a working engine of larger scale so how about having a set like the engine which could be combined with other sets to make a fully functional, larger technic model. Ie: an engine that could fit into the chassis of some other vehicle-a crane, plane, truck, boat, etc. Interchangeable chassis' for vehicles is another idea....kind of like the contest they held last year for the 4x4 crawler. Just a thought.
    BooTheMightyHamster
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,230
    @iancam33
    Excellent idea! I suspect that there are practical limits to the size of a model (quite apart from the 'space it would take up in the house issue'. There must be limits to how much weight a connection can take before that overcomes friction and the whole thing collapses into itself. (I'm sure @Crowkillers would have a better idea of stress limits than us mere mortals.)

    Trouble is, let's say you have an engine set, a gearbox set, a chassis set, wheels and accessories and so forth - maybe building up to something akin to #8880 but on a larger (+50% ?) scale.

    You'd have to guarantee sales in order to make it worthwhile producing all the sets in the series. If sets one and two do poorly, then any subsequent sets are unlikely to be produced, leaving those that did buy the early sets with half a project.

    It's a great idea though - I'd be straight in there!
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,835
    Davian07 said:


    So, maybe what LEGO should do is introduce a new "hybrid" theme that uses Technic elements and design/build acumen incorporated into sets that appeal to youth i.e. cars, trucks, & equipment.

    I think TLG do sort of try this, I recently bought #70129 Lavertus' Twin Blade and the most interesting part of that build was the gear mechanism that makes the blades spin in unison. The problem is they always seem to leave any standard system that use technic elements looking unfinished, so the result it they don't look good enough to fit standard system stuff and they don't have enough technic about them to appeal to technic fans.
    I can't think of any other examples but I'm sure I've build a few sets that have a certain section that feels like a bridge into the technic theme.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 16,666
    Even some very small system sets (such as Wizard Battle) manage to incorporate technic elements (here a gearbox) into the build. Little bits like that are great way of getting people thinking or aware of technic parts.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,577
    Shib said:

    Davian07 said:


    So, maybe what LEGO should do is introduce a new "hybrid" theme that uses Technic elements and design/build acumen incorporated into sets that appeal to youth i.e. cars, trucks, & equipment.

    I think TLG do sort of try this, I recently bought #70129 Lavertus' Twin Blade and the most interesting part of that build was the gear mechanism that makes the blades spin in unison. The problem is they always seem to leave any standard system that use technic elements looking unfinished, so the result it they don't look good enough to fit standard system stuff and they don't have enough technic about them to appeal to technic fans.
    I can't think of any other examples but I'm sure I've build a few sets that have a certain section that feels like a bridge into the technic theme.
    The Power Miners theme felt a lot like a "crash course" in Technic functions to me. Lots of beautiful functions in that theme.

    I wonder somewhat if part of the reason for Technic's lack of popularity over here might be lack of replay value, though. Don't get me wrong, the sets are brilliant, and fun too! But what happens when you take them apart? Unless you're really knowledgable about how to construct elaborate functions, chances are your MOCs will not measure up to the original sets you took apart. Even when I was a kid playing with Technic sets, I wasn't much of a MOCist, as I said above: anything I created was rather boring on a functional level and designed more to look pretty than anything else. So instead of being real "building toys", they end up feeling more like model kits: things you assemble once, maybe disassemble to build the alternate model, and then leave on a shelf except when you want to play with them.

    Perhaps what Technic needs is something like Master Builder Academy that explains in detail how both certain parts like worm gears or clutch gears and mechanical principles like torque can be utilized in your models. This could help people see the sets as true creative toys rather than just model kits. It's possible the Technic theme's current audience of teen and adult hobbyists might not be interested in "beginner-level Technic" sets like this, but it might do well to expand the audience of the sets. Then again, I don't know if Master Builder Academy was all that successful as far as sales are concerned, so the LEGO Group might be hesitant to try something like that again, particularly with an emphasis on a more "niche" building style.
  • Davian07Davian07 Member Posts: 19
    Aanchir, I own a logistics firm that services several retail liquidation chains in the Southeast. We move quite a bit of product from the warehouses of huge national chains (including the largest) and so have made several contacts/friends in their logistics departments (Incidentally this is how I procure most of my LEGO). While common sense acknowledges that a theme offered in a mega national chain with a presense in nearly every American community will move greater numbers than one offered in only select retailers the reality of the actual numbers is even more stunning. The Bionicle line was so popular in it's day that special end caps (product placers at the ends of store aisles) were created for non-traditional outlets such as drug and grocery stores. Hero Factory, which was just Bionicle under another name in truth, was also quite popular. The numbers I extrapolated for the #7160 due to the number of units my firm moved to discounters. When I inquired as to the large number of overstock and if was due to poor sales I was told that it was a great seller, just not to the tune of the other Hero Factory sets. As you mentioned, this was likely due to cost.
    Aanchir
  • iancam33iancam33 Member Posts: 407
    As mentioned before I do think it is great that technic parts have been integrated with normal sets. It adds another level to those sets making them more intricate and playable. LEGO amazes me with every iteration of something they improve a little here and a little there.

    As for technic looking unfinished, yes there are some that are but over time they look more and more like the real thing.
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