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Lego actually does have the release dates on their shop-at-home page...
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
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...
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...
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...
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.
Technic has always been niche, this is nothing new.
I like both the Osprey and hot rod.
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...
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.
I would prefer there to be fewer yellow technic parts in future.
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...
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
As for technic looking unfinished, yes there are some that are but over time they look more and more like the real thing.