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BUYING (OR NOT BUYING) FROM INDEPENDENT MINIFIGURE ACCESSORIES COMPANIES

BrickForge. BrickArms. Brickmania.  Brickwarriors. These companies and others like them are making it harder and harder to be a LEGO purist! Brickwarriors has an accessory to make a two-headed ogre for crying out loud! LEGO needs to start thinking outside the box like these companies.

I wonder if, ironically, these companies have kept LEGO from making accessories that they have patented first? A prime example is the centaur body that BrickForge sells. Is this why LEGO didn't have any centaurs in there HP line because BrickForge made one first? (This is a theoretical question.)

As cool as the accessories these companies are making are, I have so far been able to resist. I try to be as much of a LEGO purist as possible although I do use DUPLO bricks in my larger layouts. If one of these companies makes a Death Dealer style helmet I might have to break down.

Do you embrace these accessories or do you shun them? If so, why?  Is the quality of the  products these indy companies are making as good as or even better than LEGO? Do you feel that these companies are just as bad as Megabloks and the other clone brands and counterfeits? 



 

Comments

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,222
    No. I have loads of brick forge and brick warriors parts, they both do good historical parts. Lego has copied many parts in the past (or done their own completely independently) such as Spartan and Roman helmets and shields, Minotaur heads, etc.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,222
    PS quality is just as good, slightly more detail sometimes.
  • TarDomoTarDomo FinlandMember Posts: 515
    I don't like the idea. Lego is Lego. BTW Brickarms guns looks stupid in my opinion, they're not lego'ish at all. Better to go with Lego even the guns TLG offers might be sometimes a bit lame or childish. You're not a true Lego builder if you use brickarms etc stuff. Just my personal opinion.
    CaptainClutchkiki180703
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,261
    A prime example is the centaur body that BrickForge sells. Is this why LEGO didn't have any centaurs in there HP line because BrickForge made one first? (This is a theoretical question.)
     
    I know that you asked hypothetically, but having recently rewatched a couple of the films I'd say it's more likely there were no centaurs in the Harry Potter becuse of how little they feature in the films compared to the books.

    Any time anyone gets high and mighty about being purist I always have to ask, have you ever tried any other brands or custom parts? Ultimately I'm of the opinion that you can't really claim LEGO to be the best without having a point of reference. A lot of custom parts are hard to tell appart from LEGO in terms of quality.

    *full disclosure - I don't approve of unauthorised use of intellectual properties, so wouldn't buy the "Lego Compatible fabulous four" type minifigures, but some custom parts etc really allow for some great stuff.
  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 531
    I'm a purist, through and through. I would never intermingle custom parts, even of a high-quality manufacture, with the rest of my Lego collection. And even then, that assumes I actually took time to spend some of my money on it.

    Here is where I stand. The customizers are capable of doing great work, but I feel bad by giving in and supporting non-Lego efforts. It seems trite written out, but time has validated me in several ways. Back in the early 2000s, it seemed unlikely we would ever see Lego go for the more "realistic" route for our favorite themes. Yet, here we are, over ten years later, with modular buildings, large train wheels, and sets featuring such previously-unlikely franchises like Ghostbusters and Back to the Future. In that rush forward, even established themes like Star Wars saw delvings in more realistic blaster rifles and pistols, as well as forays into the Expanded Universe beyond just vehicles (Galen Marek! Asajj and Anakin's duel on Yavin 4! DARTH REVAN!). These are all things that customizers and their ilk churned forth, but have become pure Lego reality over the years.

    The take-away from that is this: there is nothing wrong with embracing custom-made parts and figures. However, I feel that having in faith in Lego (and lots of patience) wins out, and we will eventually get those parts and figures we've long thought beyond their consideration or reach.

    Obviously, this isn't applicable when you consider Lego's "rules" (i.e. no modern weapons), but that is a different debate altogether. If I had an interest in military vehicles and weaponry, perhaps I would be of a different mind, but since I don't, I'll abstain from making a comment.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    A few years ago I splashed out for some gear from BrickArms to equip a SEAL Team 6 squad. They were of quite high quality and detail with realistic assault rifles that were accurate to the real deal designs. Along with a bevy of ballistic vests, night vision goggles, pistol holsters, grenades, battering ram and riot shields. All of it looked great and fitted well, except for the finish on the black plastic not having the correct sheen compared to official Lego black.

    But since then, I've disarmed all of that team and put the BrickArms away, as it just simply didn't seem right being placed on legit Lego figs. It very much bothered me each time I looked at them, knowing they were wearing counterfeit parts essentially. Almost like feeling pity for the little minifigure that they were being accosted by an alien and foreign parasite a la Symbiote Spider-man.

    So now I'm in the midst of re-establishing a line of military characters, but choosing to go the purist route by only using official Lego parts & accessories. Seeing the ones already completed this way ('Nam Delta Force, American Sniper Chris Kyle, Bin Laden, Jihadi John, etc.) is so much more satisfying.
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,412
    Doesn't bother me. Have a nice custom Juggernaut. The helmet is awesome.
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 778
    I'm purist just for the fact of being able to display at shows legitimately.
    Some of the modern military stuff out there is of fantastic quality and as a kid I would have killed to have my LEGO men kitted out in some of that gear!
  • deephorsedeephorse West Yorkshire, U.K.Member Posts: 83
    The day that LEGO makes an 'official' Plague Doctor* I'll happily give in.  Until then I'll keep buying any custom parts (not counterfeits) that ring my bell.  

    *the minifig wearing that outfit seems quite happy to me.
  • GallardoLUGallardoLU USAMember Posts: 644
    I've only purchased parts for 1 custom figure, Shae Vizla (SWTOR) after the line of Old Republic sets ended it was clear we would not receive her. her popularity will dwindle and unless references are made in the new films its not likely to surge later either. out side of her though I stick to official figures, everyone else I might have wanted has already appeared through official sets.
  • DedgeckoDedgecko Seattle, WAMember Posts: 799
    I just placed my first order for non-Lego parts from Brick Warriors!

    Why doesn't Lego provide a source of approved minifig accessories in excess beyond their current wares!?  Coming from Gamesworkshop and other table top miniatures that have huge "bits" markets, this seems to me a missed opportunity. 
  • gmonkey76gmonkey76 ChicagoMember Posts: 1,521
    edited December 2015
    I buy the most from G.I. Bricks but use others. I like my cops to have guns and my Stormtroopers to have blasters( not megaphones or stud shooters). If lego makes it I will only use their version. But in my city there's a wrong side of the tracks with bars and clubs for my motorcycle gang to hang out at. Won't by or use clone bricks but I like my figures to be more realistic. Also in my western town I like to have more options for weapons.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,830
    I'm not super-purist — I've bought a number of customized parts and figs in the past. However, I rarely actually use the custom figs and parts I buy. I guess mostly because I don't do a lot of MOCs focused on figs, and when I do they're usually themes where I wouldn't need or want a custom part. If I made more military MOCs, or post-apoc MOCs, or swords-and-sorcery MOCs, or town/city MOCs, then I guess I'd have more of a use for the type of stuff BrickForge and BrickArms make.

    For reference's sake, the last real MOC I made that used a lot of figs was my Ninjago Ultimate Battle back in 2012. And it's not like that has much room for a centaur or an AK-47. The themes I collect don't tend to be taken that seriously by a lot of AFOLs so I understand that customizers have little incentive to create custom parts geared towards those themes.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,222
    Dedgecko said:
    I just placed my first order for non-Lego parts from Brick Warriors!

    Why doesn't Lego provide a source of approved minifig accessories in excess beyond their current wares!?  Coming from Gamesworkshop and other table top miniatures that have huge "bits" markets, this seems to me a missed opportunity. 
    The reason they (lego) don't make them is that they are not "approved", so often modern military and so on. It would be odd to not make something due to company belief / policy but approve the same item from another company. For the historical ones, I'd be rather annoyed if Lego approved an independent company's Roman shield, for example, then later made their own.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    BRICK FORGE definitely has a lot of cool accessories and now they have entire weapons packs on blister cards. They are fulfilling a "need" in minifigure collecting. LEGO could go a different route with the CMF and release minifigures on blisters with random accessories so you knew what you were buying.

    I still wonder more and more if LEGO designers are being influenced by what these  independent companies are doing. Although they are not exactly the same design, for example, the new wings on the gargoyle CMF are reflective of the demon wings made by BRICK WARRIORS, who also have an incredible collection of fantasy accessories. The new wolf head pelt is very tempting.

    I must stay pure. I must stay pure. I must stay pure.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    What is ironic about the wolf head pelt I just mentioned is that it reflects one of the original LEGO design concepts for LEGENDS of CHIMA. Is this where BRICK WARRIORS got the idea? Whose to say since obviously the wolf head pelt is not an original concept in the first place, but minifigure accessory design between LEGO and independent companies could be becoming a case of "which came first?".

    Image result for fire and ice

  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    edited December 2015
    Minifigure Accessory - CrutchesMinifigure Accessory - Wrapped Baby Currently made by BRICK WARRIORS. A better design of crutches in my opinion. You'd be able to change the baby's face. The overall point is I'm pretty sure they did it before LEGO.


  • DedgeckoDedgecko Seattle, WAMember Posts: 799
    Im definitely interested in the classic/fantasy/pirate aspect of the bitz, particularly as it is a forgotten portion of TLG's current wares (Pirates 2015 was quite a disappointment and I'm not sure the itch will be scratched very well by Nexo Knights).  

    Modern combat is all well and fun until you shoot your eye out kid ;)
  • DedgeckoDedgecko Seattle, WAMember Posts: 799
    Crap!  That wolf pelt is awesome!  How frequently does Brick Warriors put out new stuff!?

    Again, with my history of table top miniatures, I'm thinking I need to bust out some primer and my Vallejo inks/paints and flesh out some of the details of these.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,222
    Quite frequently, every 3 months or so.
  • deephorsedeephorse West Yorkshire, U.K.Member Posts: 83
    To judge by the emails I get from them I'd say it was more frequent than that.
  • DedgeckoDedgecko Seattle, WAMember Posts: 799
    Dang, if I had just waited one more day...
  • sklambsklamb speaker of American EnglishMember Posts: 491

    The swaddling for the baby can also be used as a cocoon for an immature insectoid, or all sorts of things like that--sadly, at the moment it doesn't come in white, the only color I would use for a baby. But there were a lot of other tempting things when I went over to that site to check the swaddling out....

    I wouldn't buy anything from a third-party manufacturer that has a reasonable equivalent in authentic Lego. But there are some things that I doubt Lego will ever make that are just too cute or too clever to be ignored. Anyone who uses minifigs as gaming figures would surely fail a saving throw against the two-headed ogre armor, for example! I don't blame anyone for wanting to buy something like that!

  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,839
    I have a few Brickarms guns but I don't really use them. The only custom parts I use are custom prints, especially from these guys. http://citizenbrick.com/
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,222
    deephorse said:
    To judge by the emails I get from them I'd say it was more frequent than that.
    Are you talking about restocks or new parts? They normally advertise on eurobricks when new parts are out.
  • Sven_FSven_F CroatiaMember Posts: 17
    I don't mind 3rd party companies making custom accessories,  some of them are better than legos design,  but i would never buy them no matter how cool they are.  I  wouldn't allow their use in any lego contest or exhibition and if they were sold on bricklink they would need to be very distinctively categorized and labeled.  Otherwise I see no trademark violations neither moral nor legal, which i couldn't say about mb and other "clones" 
  • ModulaRModulaR USMember Posts: 39
    My primary source of disinclination towards using non-Lego parts--providing that they are from a reputable manufacture who uses quality materials--is that many of them don't quite match the aesthetic of Lego, either in color or approach to form. If there is something that looks great and has no current Lego alternative, then yeah, I'd go for it.

    Now, I completely understand that in the context of Lego exhibitions and so forth, parts-purity is a baseline mandate. But for my own purposes, building for fun at home, it doesn't bother me to use 'aftermarket' parts to fine-tune a creation.
  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 2,029
    I know that this thread is about custom minifigs and this is slightly off topic, but I have just come back from Germany and as you do when in a different country I went in to the Lego store in Cologne to buy a few bits as with the exchange rate some of the sets I was after were a good price.
    While I was in the store I noticed that they had a display of custom engraved bricks with varying different things engraved on them. I brought a couple of them as a memento of the trip and got VIP points from the shop for them as well.
    Would the purists say that as they were for sale at a genuine Lego store would they be classed as genuine Lego parts or not as they are modified bricks?
  • MokabaccaMokabacca CanadaMember Posts: 3
    I considered myself a purist, insofar as I would NEVER mix anything like Mega Blocks with Lego. That's a big red flag. However recently, after discovering Brickforge and BrickWarriors, I've eschewed the purist in me for the more detailed, realistic accessories provided by these suppliers. I've been super impressed with the level of detail and quality. Why a company as colossal as LEGO isn't leveraging their resources to produce an even wider array of detailed parts, is beyond me.

    For anyone who is hesitant to shift from "purist" to "semi-purist", it helps if you choose to view these companies as "official suppliers to LEGO", even if they are not affiliated. You really won't be disappointed (especially with Brick Warriors stuff!).
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,222
    bandit778 said:

    Would the purists say that as they were for sale at a genuine Lego store would they be classed as genuine Lego parts or not as they are modified bricks?
    I'd say genuine.

    Mokabacca said:

    For anyone who is hesitant to shift from "purist" to "semi-purist", it helps if you choose to view these companies as "official suppliers to LEGO", even if they are not affiliated. You really won't be disappointed (especially with Brick Warriors stuff!).
    They are not official suppliers to LEGO though. They are unofficial suppliers to LEGO's customers.
    bandit778kiki180703Kevin_Hyatt
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,261

    I've bought a few custom parts over the past year, but they are really specific stuff that LEGO will almost certainly never produce (e.g Munchkin Bricks made by Crazy Bricks which are officially licenced by Steve Jackson games)

    I keep all these parts separate until building, bit beyond a couple of silly little vig scenes I've done little with them.

    Crazy bricks have just provided a good example of why I generally don't buy much custom - they've been working on Satyr legs...which LEGO have trounced with the CMF satyr's legs that look much better and have the bonus of being official.

    andhekiki180703
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 253
    I'm a purist, so I only build with official parts, but if you need something that Lego doesn't provide, it makes sense to get it elsewhere. Lego makes tables and storage boxes but I don't limit myself to only those, and if my choice of builds demanded realistic military weapons, maybe getting them from third-parties would be fine.

    That said, I have once or twice used a megabloks piece that Lego doesn't make: the 2z2 plate with studs on both sides. It's damn useful. 

    It's good to know what the rules are, so that you know when to break them.
    kiki180703
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    I've bought custom things, but ultimately I've regretted it, because I consider myself a purist also.

    Btw, why the caps in the tread title?
    Bumblepantskiki180703
  • monkey_roomonkey_roo Member Posts: 1,381

    It really depends what you want the pieces for. Some of the custom stuff is excellent and the companies already mentioned are fantastic, likewise there are some amazing mini-fig prints going around and for some characters (DareDevil, Red Robin, Batman of the Future, Deadman etc.) where the chances of Lego ever doing an 'offical' one are slim to none and you can't MOC them using a mixture of offical parts then they are a great accompanyment to your collection so you can't go to far wrong, they are also excelent value.

    I would never use the custom bits and figures as more than 'added extras' to a MOC but sometimes they are perfect.

  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711


    Btw, why the caps in the tread title?
    I don't know. It wasn't intentional. I don't usually use all capitals in my titles. I guess I felt like typing loudly that day.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
     @bandit778 : I'm assuming if it was a display in a LEGO store that they were legitimately engraved by or for the LEGO company. What do they say and can you show a picture?

    I don't consider your post off topic. I've seen worse. :)

    I think I'm bothered more by the custom figures made of legitimate characters than the accessories that Brick Warriors and the like make. At least they are creating original designs. I still think you're ripping off MARVEL if you make a figure that looks just like Captain America but you call him "Star-Spangled Soldier" or something to that effect and mass market it.


  • monkey_roomonkey_roo Member Posts: 1,381
    I think there is a difference between the type of companies and people out there making Lego adjacent products.

    for the most part the good companies/people are taking a love of Lego, their natural creativity and skills and offering up something new, be it parts or figures and very rarely do you see those guys creating figures that are already on Lego's production slate, and if they do they tend to look very, very different. These are the guys that I think enhance the hobby and offer something worthwhile so I never have a problem buying their stuff the enhance my own collection.

    then there are the 'chinese' type companies that are mass producing clear knockoffs for money and no other reason and that is wrong. Yes in parts of the world they are allowing kids access to a type of Lego, but isn't Lego and likely the production standards are so low the toys could even be unsafe and they are damaging the Lego brand, these companies offer nothing of value.

    so really as long as you understand what you want and where it comes from then great.
  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 2,029
     @bandit778 : I'm assuming if it was a display in a LEGO store that they were legitimately engraved by or for the LEGO company. What do they say and can you show a picture?

    Yes the display was in the lego shop, I only found them as I was looking round the display pieces  in the glass fronted cabinets and originally thought it was just a random build until I noticed the wrighting on the bricks. I purchased a red 2x4 with Koln 2015 and a green 2x4 with merry Christmas in German on it. The member of staff said that they had an outside company that does the job for them.
  • mmozzanommozzano UKMember Posts: 413
    edited December 2015
    The only non Lego item I've ever purchased is Dr Anatomini from minifigures.com (http://www.minifigures.com/dr-anatomini.html).  Saw him at Brick NEC and thought he was great.  The quality of the custom printing is fantastic (I believe they use genuine Lego parts).
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,522
    I got back into Lego in late 2013, after a 30+ year "dark age". Actually started back in with really large megabloks for my grandson, quickly transitioning to DUPLO. Grandson is 5 now, and mixes in not just "off-brand" blocks and accessories, but completely unrelated toys of all sorts. Fischer-price Playschool people and Playmobil cars running around Lego City and Lego Spongebob buildings. Minifigs riding Thomas the Train on wooden tracks. He's having fun, and for us that's all that really matters.
  • sklambsklamb speaker of American EnglishMember Posts: 491

    When I was a kid, the garage doors, house windows, and so on all were in perfect scale for my Matchbox car collection--and, of course, HO scale trains (I didn't have any, but the boy down the street did, and combined Lego buildings with his train set). The advent of the minifigure has shifted Lego away from any other common toy scale, which has assisted me in becoming much more of a purist.

    BrickWarriors have some clever ideas, but their level of detail and precision of manufacture, while good, are not up to Lego level. (On the other hand, their pieces do exhibit the old, familiar clink of Lego bricks rattling against each other--what is it Lego uses nowadays?) CrazyBricks seems closer to Lego quality; I shall have to see how well their new arm pieces match genuine Lego arms before deciding to let them into my main collection. And what am I supposed to do with authentic Lego bricks that have been printed with detailed and interesting designs by third party operations? My minifigs deserve Cadbury bars, darn it!

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,222
    I find BrickWarriors parts are more detailed than Lego, not less.
    andhe
  • MokabaccaMokabacca CanadaMember Posts: 3
    CCC said:
    bandit778 said:

    Would the purists say that as they were for sale at a genuine Lego store would they be classed as genuine Lego parts or not as they are modified bricks?
    I'd say genuine.

    Mokabacca said:

    For anyone who is hesitant to shift from "purist" to "semi-purist", it helps if you choose to view these companies as "official suppliers to LEGO", even if they are not affiliated. You really won't be disappointed (especially with Brick Warriors stuff!).
    They are not official suppliers to LEGO though. They are unofficial suppliers to LEGO's customers.

    I am aware that they are unofficial suppliers. I was just trying to suggest a strategy to think about it from a purist standpoint if someone was having difficulty rationalizing it in their heads, or were on the fence about a purchase. Some of these companies were definitely created with the spirit of Lego in mind, and design high quality compatible products. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,222
    ^ I definitely agree to the high quality design. Some of the parts are really beautiful. BW in particular do a great range of historical helmets.

  • GallardoLUGallardoLU USAMember Posts: 644
    anyone have opinions on Arealight as far as quality is concerned? really like some of their products but I cant tell how good their quality is from photos alone.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,222
    I don't own any arealight (they are mainly Star Wars and Super Heroes and I'm purist when it comes to those), but their reputation is meant to be good.
  • eggsheneggshen Middleton, WIMember Posts: 542
    I found some Brick Warriors parts packs in a bin at my local TRU. I'm thinking I need some of these. They look pretty cool and very LEGO-like. 
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    ^Good thing I don't live anywhere near a TRU anymore or I'd probably break down and buy something like that if I saw it in the flesh.
  • Came64Came64 Member Posts: 50
    The only thing I use that isn't made by Lego are selfmade stickers.
    kiki180703
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