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LEGO Heads - Solid, Hollow & Recessed Replacements!!

collect_thatcollect_that Kidderminster, EnglandMember Posts: 1,327
edited August 2011 in Collecting
When it comes to LEGO I have severe OCD, every set has to be organised and perfect. This week I purchased set 6895 Space Police Spytrak of ebay, after opening it and inspecting the pieces and cleaning, I noticed that one figure had a solid stud head and one had a hollow head. I knew that these were meant to be hollow so I changed it from my figure spares box even though the one I was replacing was in excellent condition and just a standard smiley face! After years collecting this is the first time I'd thought about this having only replaced mismatched heads!!

Would this bother anyone else? And would it be viewed as not 100% complete to use another stud type??


  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    Not for me! I only go so far as to have the correct shade of grey for the era of the set, all the other piece variations don't bother me as long as the complete set looks correct.
  • EricEric Queensland, AustraliaMember Posts: 376
    The head thing bugs me too. Only ever happened to me once, but it had to be corrected. :/
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,153
    edited August 2011
    When it comes to LEGO I have severe OCD, every set has to be organised and perfect. This week I purchased set 6895 Space Police Spytrak of ebay, after opening it and inspecting the pieces and cleaning, I noticed that one figure had a solid stud head and one had a hollow head. I knew that these were meant to be hollow so I changed it from my figure spares box even though the one I was replacing was in excellent condition and just a standard smiley face! After years collecting this is the first time I'd thought about this having only replaced mismatched heads!!

    Would this bother anyone else? And would it be viewed as not 100% complete to use another stud type??
    When I sell sets I rebuild from Lots I use the original head type (solid vs. hollow) what is baffling though are that some sets had both solid or hollow type of heads as well.
    I usually use something like Peeron (Although I seem to be finding BL more accurate) in determining the head type..
    If push comes to shove and I just am out of a head type I switch the head type all of one of the other...
    It is a little thing (same with the different types of Clips and eye hole parts (Type 1-4 now) but I like to keep it as original as I can as I am a collector as well.

  • collect_thatcollect_that Kidderminster, EnglandMember Posts: 1,327
    ^ Interestingly I have not come across mixed
    designs in one set? Perhaps this is why my set had 2? But I have plenty of sets that I've had from new and not come across mixed!

    But as with the colour change some sets ended up with both old and new grey mixed in at the beginning??
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,611
    edited August 2011
    The whole hollow vs. solid head bugs me the most out of all other possible variations. I also have found both types in sets and those are sets I bought and opened from new. Even in the late 80's. I have also found that bricklink is the worst source for finding out which sets use which. According to them only early 80's sets used solid stud heads and that is clearly not the case. Update: now BL says the solid head stud was only used in 1991! Boy that has changed since I last checked. Those guys REALLY don't know what they are talking about.
  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 597
    I'm fairly certain hollow-stud-heads premiered in 1992. Now, if sets originally launched in, say, 1990 or 1991, were still in production in 1992, then minifigures would have received the new heads regardless of their original release. And in a few instances, both types may be found in set during the initial release. Such was the case with a few of the Blacktron 2 sets I received back in the day and my Launch and Load Seaport.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,277
    Actually... no one knows what they are talking about....

    That is what I call "LEGO Mayhem".... ;-)

    As a collector for 50 years... I have seen many anomalies that just don't make sense about LEGO. In many instances you will find old and new parts mixed together within the same sets... I've seen this over and over again in unsealed MISB sets that yield surprising results.

    Sometimes TLG tested out new molds... and guess what they did with the parts... they put them in production with the old mold parts.... and kept using the old molds until they wore out... and eventually switched over to the new redesigned molds.

    One thing has been clear about LEGO since the first bricks were produced in 1949... they NEVER threw anything away!! NEVER....

    Early spilled LEGO pellets intended for the molding machines were swept up on the floor, washed of dirt and dust, and the mixed color pellets produced some wonderful marbled "factory seconds" that TLGO sold to retailers (for individual sales) at Danish Kr. 0.08 instead of the regular price per part of Danish Kr. 0.11. These early marbled bricks are highly sought after today.

    Often mold switchovers meant that the leftover inventory of older parts were used up first, and often mixed in with the newer molded parts (hence the mixing of old and new gray parts in modern sets).

    One of the worst occurrences of LEGO Mayhem was USA/Canada Samsonite. When TLG switched over from Waffle bottom plates to circle bottom plates in 1962... and switched over from Cellulose Acetate plastic to ABS plastic in 1963... and switched over from hollow bottom to tube bottom 1x2, 1x6 and 1x8 bricks... guess what TLG did with the old molds and old Cellulose Acetate? They shipped it all to Samsonite... where all Samsonite sets from the 1960s have AT LEAST 2-3 different LEGO fonts on the studs... the hollow bottom 1x2, 1x6 and 1x8 bricks were found in Samsonite sets until 1972 (mixed in with the new post bottom parts).... and yellow and red Cellulose Acetate parts were found in Samsonite sets as late as 1970... long after Cellulose Acetate disappeared from LEGO elsewhere nearly a decade earlier. Even waffle and circle bottom plates were almost always found in the same sets. If I were to come across a Samsonite basic set where all the parts had the same font on top, and were consistent part wise... I would deem it NOT original... but a reassembled set, based on what people "thought" the parts should be.

    In the 1970s.... the 1x1, 1x2 and 2x2 tiles were redesigned (they were very difficult to get off of baseplates)... and the newer tiles had "grooves" at their base for easier removal. Thru much of the 1970s LEGO sets (mostly Homemaker sets) had with and without groove tiles mixed in the same MISB sets.

    This same scenario happened in the late 70s with the solid/hollow stud 1x1 round bricks.

    And then there was the switch from putting the molding "pip" (mold location of plastic insertion into the molds) on the sides of the bricks, onto one of the studs. I remember my Yellow Castle set (the USA 6075 1980-83 version) had some yellow bricks with the pips on the studs (1x3, 1x4, 1x6, 1x8 bricks and 1x4 arches) and other yellow parts had the pips were on the side of the bricks (1x1, 1x2 bricks and the 2x6 and 2x8 arches).

    In the 80s/90s this was the case with the solid stud/hollow stud minifig heads... and since 2003 it was the gray parts.

    The Bricklink set admins decided that it was folly (which it was) to identify every possible variation in each LEGO set. Some variations were included, but not many.

    Like I said... LEGO Mayhem.... many people who get a set with used (or even unused) parts... will replace parts with others that "they think belong", when in reality they often don't.

    I can usually tell if a used set is "reassembled"... it will often show variations to the wear on the parts... while original used sets will generally show a consistent wear on the parts. With MIB opened sets... it's not that easy to tell.

    So the next time you want to replace parts on your used purchased sets... you may want to think again...

    And here is an attached image of "factory 2nds floor sweepings" 2x4 bricks of the early 1950s... very valuable and highly sought after today....
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,277
    Sorry to go way off on a tangent about those marbled bricks... but they are beauties... aren't they....
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    Thanks for the info. I'm glad you clarified a couple of things, as I was assembling some homemaker sets tonight and felt confident the tiles were originals, but have a mix of groove (pat pend) and non groove. glad to know I'm not going nuts :)
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,611
    @collect_that I am also OCD about my sets like that. It does bother me when the figs don't have the correct head.

    @Lego_Lord_mayorca I pretty much agree with you. Except I believe they started swapping head designs around 1991.

    @madforlegos How can you determine which head goes in which set if BL is spreading mis-information about set contents? By the way you and I both like to do this except I haven't been able to let myself sell any!

    @Istogk I realise that some Lego sets came with both style heads. I've opened them myself. But you can't tell me with a straight face that Lego was making hollow stud heads back in 1978. I used to use BL because I thought they were an authority on set contents until I realised that the information they were giving in this area was completely wrong, so I started to ignore them and used my own experience to guide me. But forget about me. What about the inexperienced new AFOL who comes along and sees the bad info in BL's parts lists and starts to think that they have fake Legos becauce BL won't even aknowledge the existence of solid stud heads. To me I would have thought they pooled their collective experience and come up with a list of sets that had solid vs. hollow heads thereby giving some credibility to their lists. That doesn't seem to be the case here.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,277
    I never said 1978... my comments cleary state 1980s.

    I also don't necessarily agree with a lot in the Bricklink database... but what are you going to use as a reference?

    Last time I checked there were nearly 800 different head types in Bricklink... keeping track of them is a nightmare... especially when (as I stated) TLG switched molds at will. The Bricklink DB is populated with inventories from folks who volunteered their information. Much of what you say is bad information was given to them by AFOLs. And many times you will get more than one variation on that inventory. That produces a dilemma that even Solomon would have difficult solving.

    Also, there are many packing variations to LEGO sets... I've seen one LEGO set that had 17 different packing variations.

    I know it's easy to blame Bricklink... and perhaps for the minifig heads, the Inventory Admins could have done a better job. Many times someone will make a CHANGE REQUEST, and it will be denied, for whatever reason. Yes they are not infallible... but these are volunteers.

    Also, the Bricklink Admins have admitted that their database is not intended to be an all encompassing Reference Guide.... but more of a easy to use Buyers/Sellers Guide. I don't agree with that assessment at all, and many old LEGO sellers/buyers aren't happy about this either. The Bricklink Admins have stated that they don't want their database loaded with the 22 types of 2x4 bricks that have been produced since the tube bottom bricks came out in 1958... because it will confuse both buyers and sellers alike.

    And as for changes to their database... there are changes every day. Sometimes they reject the changes, other times they readily accept them. But it is a constantly changing database.... manned by volunteers. And until something better comes out... Bricklink still is the best resource available.... whether we're happy about it or not...
  • collect_thatcollect_that Kidderminster, EnglandMember Posts: 1,327
    I was pretty much in agreement that the hollow stud design came in to play around the early nineties, not through any information source, just by looking at the sets I have from this period and how they change. BUT in my original post I stated that my set in question 6895(Release 1989) I knew they had hollow stud head because I had seen this info on BL and thought the crossover may have been implemented earlier or tested out!

    Now having looked on peeron this morning they have the set parted our with a solid stud, although that information doesn't come from a MISB set. Does anyone have this set to hand to look at?

    @Istokg What is your actual view regarding this manufacture crossover? And from a collectors point would it make a difference to you?
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,611
    @ Istokg I didn't say you said 78'. That's just where your statement vaguely went because you were agreeing with BL. BL says sets dating to 78 started using them. A few years ago BL said the mid 80's they were using hollow stud heads , now that's changed to 78. I expected since BL has been around since 2000 ( I think ) that they had a collective agreement based on their experience of opening sets ( assuming they were serious AFOL's ). I know you've been collecting a long time also. What does your experience tell you when they started using them? Knowing my experience since I was a five year old boy in 1971 and having opened 100's of sealed sets myself, I believe they started in 1991. I remember it very well when I bought 3 6989 Mega-core Magnetizers ( or Mulit-core Magnetizers depending on the brochure you're looking at ) because I thought they were the neatest thing since sliced bread. Two of them had all solid stud heads and one of them had one hollow stud head and I remember thinking that was kind of a good idea so that kids could get the heads off easier and not make that framiliar popping sound when they took their heads off. I also remember getting the Pirate set 6270 Forbiden Island and all of the heads were solid except the Pirate Captain with the cool new printed face had a hollow stud head also. As far as the quantity of heads goes, I am sure it is a nightmare keeping them all straight. But with the age of the solid stud heads, this should be well hashed out by now having a solid answer for which set got solid and which one got hollow.

    I also remeber the old tiles from back in the 70's, you had to bend the baseplate to get them off.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,277
    LOL... about those old tiles oldtodd33.... I've messed up more than one fingernail on those old tiles.... those 1x2 plates with center stud (jumper plates) still give me fits...

    I don't disagree with your assessment on the early 1990s as the date for the changeover to hollow stud. But there may have been a trial period in the late 1980s where a hollow stud mold was used, and the parts "might" have found their way into some late 1980s sets.... "might" being the key word here... I'm not sure either.

    But as for early 1980s as the date.... I concur with you... that seems highly unlikely.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,153
    edited August 2011

    @madforlegos How can you determine which head goes in which set if BL is spreading mis-information about set contents? By the way you and I both like to do this except I haven't been able to let myself sell any!
    I use both judgement (80's sets will (usually- at least I am pretty sure of this- will not have hollow stud heads) and have to rely on Peeron or BL. I also tend to rely on the instruction books because I am pretty sure that the instruction book shows what head type it is on the first minifig diagram of assembling them. Also, I use that most than anything as that is what the buyer of a set is going to see first when building the set. If it is a set where it could be either I either make them all one type or will note it in the auction. I also ask people to ping me if they have questions about my auction as well.
    If I were to sell on BL I would be sure to list all of that though.
    Same with part types, a good example of this is the big rig truck which I belive has both Typ1 and type 2 eye clips and regular clips in which I usually ensure they are all the same 'type' part and will note that in the auction if I am not using type 1 clips.
    Id rather get less for being descriptive for my sets (and sometimes critical of the condition) than say everything is fine and get a neg feedback.
    That and I usually only sell my duplicates that I find, I keep the first one for myself :-)

  • DeathleechDeathleech Member Posts: 8
    I know this is an old topic, but I felt like I should chime in.

    Recently I got back into Lego with the new Lord of the Rings sets released. After purchasing 14 of the Uruk-Hai Army sets and opening them, I noticed a large number of head studs were solid, but there were also some that were hollow in the same set (4 Uruk-hai per set and usually 2-4 solid and 1-2 hollow in any given set). Apparently in another thread someone said Lego was bringing back the older solid head stud because they could brand the "Lego" logo in it. They said the reason the change was originally made from solid to hollow head studs was to help prevent small children from chocking if they swallowed the head, and also to make the heads easier to remove. Now the branding of the head, which otherwise had no branding, seems to outweigh the relatively minor safety precaution.

    While it drives me crazy there are mixed head stud styles in the same brand new sets, it seems we are in the midst of another change so there isn't much that can be done about it. About 2/5 of the Uruk-hai I bought have the hollow head studs while the other 3/5 have the solid. I would be looking at replacing over 20 heads to get them all to match, and that is with the Uruk-hai alone. This doesn't even include any of the other minifigure heads from other sets which also seem to be mixed and matched, such as the Moria and Mordor Orcs. I would end up spending hundreds just to get all the heads matching. Oddly enough all the flesh colored heads seem to have the solid stud, at least in my experience though.

    Personally I prefer the solid since I think it looks more sturdy and all around nicer. What really strikes me as odd, is the first wave of sets I bought in May almost all had solid head studs. The more recent sets I have bought in September seem to be mixed and matched a lot more, with almost half being solid and half hollow. I would think it would be the opposite, with older sets having more mixed and matched head studs and newer sets having less and less hollow ones since they are phasing that mold out, but it would not seem to be the case. I am guessing it will be years before we finally see all the hollow heads finally phased out.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    The mixture of hollow versus solid stud heads has never bothered me much. I don't see why consistency would be important considering most of the time minifigs are wearing hats, helmets, or hair and you can't see the difference.
  • DeathleechDeathleech Member Posts: 8
    Really it's not a HUGE deal, especially because, like you point out, most minifigs do have something to cover the stud up. I can't speak for others, but for me personally it's more of an OCD thing. It just bothers me knowing some are different than the others. I would rather they all be the same, and more importantly all by the filled stud because I think it looks significantly better for the few figures who do not have helms or hair or what have you.
  • brickscapebrickscape Member Posts: 18
    edited May 2013
    On a related OCD minifig head note, I've noticed that some of the original solid stud heads look a bit more squared off on the "corners" of the head (if that makes sense). Was this just a molding variation that existed throughout the solid stud era or were these an earlier version?
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,942
    ^You're not alone. I had noticed this too, and was wondering whether it was just my imagination.
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