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Torso Quality

StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
I've noticed a lot of my sons minifigs get a split up the side of the torso from the base (where the legs connect) towards the arm socket. In the past I've just put it down to him playing a bit rough with them, but tonight I built my Winter Village Bakery, which I hadn't built for 2 years, and 2 of the figs had the dreaded torso split!

This is definitely not because of rough play, as it is only a display piece. Now I'm worried a lot of my sets stored away will have the same problem. Anyone else noticed this trend? Also - I'm sure this is only a problem with recent parts. From my entire childhood collection of the 80s & 90s only one fig has this issue.

Comments

  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,028
    Yeah, the quality issues keep increasing. I was just building something and pulled out four brand new 2x8 brown plates from my storage drawer. They literally crumbled in my hands. I totally freaked out and checked the other 2x8 plates too, but it was just those four.

    I have seen the torso spitting issue with the early 2000 minifigs, but not recently. It is heartbreaking to hear that the problem is with more recent minifigs too.

    Always call LEGO and complain. They may be able to send you replacement minifigs (although it is doubtful for an older set like that), or give you a coupon or something. But most importantly, they do make notes on all complaints and in general take them seriously.

    However it is very clear that they are having serious quality issues. I remember someone explaining that splitting parts has to do with the plastic cooling too fast. This probably is the result of their factories running 24/7 and still not being able to keep up with production, so they are basically trying to hurry up the plastic. ;)

    There was a recent discussion on the LEGO Ambassador Forum about the growing issues with quality. Ambassadors were told that the best way voice our concerns is to call LEGO's customer service. There are plans to expand all of their facilities in the near future, so hopefully quality will get back to normal again. 
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,356
    Ive seen this, in figures form 30-35 years ago. The fact it is occurring with recent figures is really inexcusable. But I guess LEGO does not care about their quality anymore.
  • sklambsklamb speaker of American EnglishMember Posts: 481

    I'm sure they do care about quality--but they also don't want to have shortages while they're so popular, especially around this time of year. This forces them into a real balancing act. If people get used to the idea that Lego is great but you can't ever find the set you want when you need it, they won't be so popular fairly soon.

    And, frankly, while I can definitely tell the difference between old Lego and the very newest stuff (it just doesn't clink in the same way when you rattle a bag) I haven't had anything fail on me, either. So I think they're keeping fairly well on the side of quality, since the complaints seem to be considerably fewer than the number of presumably satisfied purchasers.

  • ReesesPiecesReesesPieces Member Posts: 815
    This has happened to many of my son's mini figures.... Especially on many of the movie figures.
     
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    akunthita said:
    Yeah, the quality issues keep increasing. I was just building something and pulled out four brand new 2x8 brown plates from my storage drawer. They literally crumbled in my hands. I totally freaked out and checked the other 2x8 plates too, but it was just those four.


    Wow, that is a worry! I've never had that happen to any of my parts.

    I will let Lego know of my torso issue though. Earlier this year I applied for some replacement torsos for a Star Wars Battlepack that had these splits and received the new parts. The main thing is that they have a record of this problem so they can try and rectify it.
    Aanchir
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,817
    I doubt they'll rectify it. It seems to be cheaper to replace when someone complains rather than change their processing. Plus that way, everyone thinks they have great customer service.
    madforLEGO
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    CCC said:
    I doubt they'll rectify it. It seems to be cheaper to replace when someone complains rather than change their processing. Plus that way, everyone thinks they have great customer service.

    Yep - that's exactly what they're doing. My new torsos are on their way, no questions asked.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,766
    If you're storing stuff for display, I guess the best idea would be to take the figures apart to prevent long term stress on the parts. I guess that the downside of a good 'clutch' can be that if the tolerance is slightly off, it results in a small stress on certain parts.
    StuBoykiki180703
  • xwingpilotxwingpilot UKMember Posts: 797
    andhe said:
    I guess that the downside of a good 'clutch' can be that if the tolerance is slightly off, it results in a small stress on certain parts.
    But what distingishes LEGO from other brands is the high tolerance! It's really shouldn't be acceptable to TLG if it's a new phenomenon.
  • LeonCLeonC United KingdomMember Posts: 364
    Almost certainly Lego, like all other 'high end' retailers, will have a good understanding of how all of their manufacturing parameters (such as cooling rate mentioned above) affect final product 'quality' (however they have decided to quantify this - e.g. number of 'defects' per 1000). Given that it is almost always too expensive to ensure zero defects (unless you are making safety critical components) they will perform sophisticated tradeoff studies, accounting for variabilities in things like raw materials, to arrive at an 'acceptable' quality level. The definition of acceptable will change for different manufacturers, depending on things like brand image (think of the clone brands!) but everyone will have one.

    Then they'll track their metrics for things like manufacturing defects, returns, customer complains, as well things like mentions on twitter & Facebook, to ensure that the reality matches their targets. If not, they'll adjust and try again. So its a very complicated balancing act involving a LOT of people, and they might not always get it spit on, but I bet they're close!

    Also, bear in mind that people on this forum are at the far end of the 'bell curve' when it comes to Lego consumption and will get through a lot more bricks than your average consumer. So its not surprising that we see more issues.

    But as other posters said, if you want to affect their metrics (and make their dashboards flash red!) then the best thing to do is complain. You really are doing them a favour - they can't fix what they don't know about.
    AanchirandheDedgeckoStuBoy
  • DedgeckoDedgecko Seattle, WAMember Posts: 799
    LeonC said:
    ...they can't fix what they don't know about.

    Or they do know about it and are doing their best to stave off the global concern about it.

    Major issues usually require a third party watch dog to record, analyze, and report out.  And I don't think the community has anything close to that.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    Out of the 600+ minifigures I own, only three (.5% !) have ever had their torso split, and these were all from two Orient Expedition sets.

    Rough handling of minifigs will certainly increase the likelihood of a torso split, especially if you push down on the figure too hard or twist the torso and legs.

    Yes, sometimes LEGO has a less-than-perfect batch, but every company ever has done so. As others have said, it is impossible to have zero defects.
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,296
    LeonC said:

    Also, bear in mind that people on this forum are at the far end of the 'bell curve' when it comes to Lego consumption and will get through a lot more bricks than your average consumer. So its not surprising that we see more issues.
    I guess the majority of consumers are children, who are probably less likely to care about defects. and if they care, their parents probably don't
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