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Thoughts on modified bricks...

I'm a long time (childhood to pushing 40) Lego enthusiast and I've (if I do say so myself) gained some MOCing skill over that time. Still, even with the vast assortment of elements, I've often had those "if only this piece had insert-feature-of-choice" moments while building. I do quite a bit of "hybrid" building, frequently combining Technic elements with the more traditional bricks from other themes and this often presents interesting challenges. Personally I've always shied away from the temptation and am admittedly a "brick snob" who will not use any element not produced by TLG but the possibilities of alteration are intriguing. So I'm wondering what are other's thoughts on brick manipulation. Is this a purist no-no? If allowed are there parameters and limitations? For instance I've seen many MOCs with various chromed elements. What about cutting rods to a particular length? Or roughing elements to give an aged or decrepit appearance? Would drilling holes be unacceptable or permanently bending (utilizing heat) beams to specific curves?

I consider Lego as an art medium but also a very specific one with challenges presented by the available elements. To create, for instance, the realistic head of an elephant, takes a level of skill and shouldn't be as easy as simply as altering some elements into the shape of ears or a trunk. At the same time a hole in a slope would allow a round chimney from an old potbellied stove to pass through for a more realistic appearance. So I'm beginning to wonder if modifying for aesthetic rather than to ease construction would/should be sanctioned?

So, what do others think? Are there specific instances others have had where an altered element would have assisted an MOC?


  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,227
    Yes, it is a purist no-no. If you do it is obviously non purist.

    It is up to the individual. Personally, I modify prints but not parts.
  • namzepnamzep Member Posts: 42
    I've always been of the mindset that I'll make do with whatever parts I have on hand.  Never had actually thought about modifying the parts.
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,839
    I have different opinions about custom Lego bricks. I don't like to use custom molds because they are not Lego but I'll use custom printed parts because the actual part is still Lego. The only part I have cut to modify is rigid hose which I know is very common alongside cutting pneumatic hoses.
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 778
    I'll only use unmodified LEGO elements. I don't use stickers or non-LEGO printed bricks. Ultra purist but it does limit me and I have liked many MOCs made by others that have done all those things.

    Its up to yourself. If you want to use anything then go for it!
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,839
    I've still seen very beautiful MOCs done by purists and "legal" builders.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    @Davian07 - It's entirely up to you what you consider to be "legal"; there is no "Lego Police" that can tell you what you can & can't do ... but some people will judge you if you alter pieces. To me that says more about them than about you :-)

    We all have to work out what rules we set for ourselves when it comes to modifying Lego's products; it'll be slightly different for each person. Some people don't like building anything other than what's in the instruction book, others have no compunction about getting out a saw, a drill, glue & their paints; most sit somewhere in between. Some people will tell you that custom decals are fine, but paint/dye is a no-no, whilst others will tell you that cutting up Lego decals is evil incarnate. Others will say that cutting pneumatic tube to a custom length is fine (since some Lego instructions tell you to cut it to specific lengths), but that it's wrong to saw a technic axle to a custom length.

    My approach is that I don't do anything to permanently alter an element (exceptions to this is that permanent custom printing on common elements is fine, and so is cutting pneumatic & flex tube to custom lengths), but I try not to think badly of people who go further. I used to get uncomfortable with other people permanently altering elements, and using compatible non-Lego elements, but I got over it.

    Good luck find your own comfort point ... and be prepared for it to change over time :-)
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,261
    bluemoose said:
    ... but some people will judge you if you alter pieces. To me that says more about them than about you 
    Very well said, i think in all hobbies there are some people who take it all a bit too serious and let what others do get in the way of their own fun.
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