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Random colors hidden inside of sets

high5debrahigh5debra DetroitMember Posts: 16
Does anyone know why designers put seemingly random colored bricks on the interior of sets?  I've seen this in a number of sets.  For example, on the interior of 7978 Angler Attack, there are 3 2x4 plates in blue.  They are completely hidden from view and the majority of the set is green.  I would expect them to just use more green (or black or gray).  So why do this?  

I've seen places (like in the Ewok Village) where bright, non-tree colors are used to help in the building/assembling process.  But that's not what I'm talking about here.

Thanks for any insight you might have into this.

Comments

  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,476
    The prevailing opinion is that they act as markers when building. Some other construction toys don't have thefm and it makes builing the set a pain.
    OldfanVorpalRyu
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFW/BGMember Posts: 7,343
    Probably whatever is in production already or is cheaper factors in as well
    VorpalRyu
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,980
    Yeah. Also, it makes the instructions more legible and makes it easier to find the correct pieces when they're all poured out.
    EluneVorpalRyu
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    Yep to all three posts, that's always been my assumption too. Unseen parts in a build are ideal opportunities to drop contrasting 'reference points' for ease of building/instruction-following/parts-identifying... and if the part is in constant production, it probably works out cheaper too.

    VorpalRyu
  • MissKittyFantasticoMissKittyFantastico AustraliaMember Posts: 197
    I suppose it's more of a side-effect than the point of the exercise (never actually considered the production and reference-point reasons, which make a lot of sense now they're mentioned), but I've always looked at them as providing some variety in what you end up with, regardless of what the set is intended to be.  So even if you've only bought a few Batman sets, if you suddenly decide to build something else you're not solely limited to doing it in black (and very dark grey).
    VorpalRyusnowhitierancorbait
  • DreamyBongoDreamyBongo Member Posts: 13
    I think the main reason (and most logical) is ease of building. It is easy to see high contrasting colors to reference in the instructions ad you build. 

    A secondary reason might be giving that piece to the buyer for fun to use in MOCs, or maybe just because that piece is already on production in a primary color.
    VorpalRyuVindic8ed
  • high5debrahigh5debra DetroitMember Posts: 16
    Thanks for the insight.  
    I'm not 100% sold on some of the reasoning (although you may be right, I don't know).  The ease of building argument seems very unnecessary to me.  Nowadays, with numbered bags and little boxes that tell you how many of each piece you need for each step, I don't understand who needs more simplification in the building instructions.  But maybe that's just the crotchety old man in me....  (When I was a kid, we built the entire Black Seas Barracuda in 28 steps!  You can't find Star Wars Battle packs with less steps than that!   I kid...)

    Someone mentioned the variety of pieces you receive.  My initial thoughts went against this mindset.  If I wanted to build some sort of a cohesive model with the pieces from my Angler Attack, I'm going to build something greenish.  Now what am I supposed to do with these blue pieces?  And maybe the 2x4 plates weren't currently in production in green, but black or gray seemed to fit the overall color scheme well enough.  But then why not red?  There were other red pieces in the set.  It just seems so odd to add one additional color out of the blue for no apparent reason.  So my initial thoughts were in the opposite direction.  I find it hard to believe that the designers are thinking "let's throw them a curve ball in the color department and see what they can build with blue plates."

    Maybe you guys are correct.  But if you are, it still just doesn't make complete sense to me.

    Thanks for the responses.  (By the way, I'm a long time listener, first time caller, so I hope I didn't overstep my bounds with any of these comments.)
  • aldreddaldredd United KingdomMember Posts: 203
    I'd always assumed it was simply to use up whatever part/colour they were running a surplus of - especially if a) apart/colour combo was being discontinued or b) there is a price different in manufacturing different colours (no idea if there is, but it's possible)
  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 943
    My qualm with "using up their surplus" is when it comes time that they do use up the surplus, but the set is still being produced. They then have to re-manufacture those pieces to make up for it, thus causing a new surplus.

    I can't find the article now, but I recall a LEGO designer talking about using pieces that are in production now in that color because it helps the assembly line keep running smoothly. It requires more steps to insert, say a 2x3 black piece than the blue, if the blue was already on the assembly line for other purposes and the black wasn't.  We need to think of longterm efficiency for set manufacturing. That way they can make the most money effectively.

    But in reality if it is hidden, it doesn't make any difference.
    Oldfan
  • KiwiLegoMeisterKiwiLegoMeister New ZealandMember Posts: 212
    I have on occasion substituted parts that are completely hidden with other colours in order to hand on to the originals that may be more useful to me.  I think it was the last Arkham Asylum had several 2x1 trans red plates embedded in the vehicle. I substituted for plain red, cos I can use the trans reds elsewhere.  I am not on-selling, so have no qualms about 'genuineness' (when I am eventually old and grey and look to sell up, it will all be 'as-is').
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 948
    aldredd said:
    I'd always assumed it was simply to use up whatever part/colour they were running a surplus of - especially if a) apart/colour combo was being discontinued or b) there is a price different in manufacturing different colours (no idea if there is, but it's possible)

    I don't know for sure obviously but I think this is unlikely, if only because production will be planned many months in advance, and the instruction books planned and printed quite early as well.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Some things will always be in production, so a surplus may well arise. The alternative is to shut down a line and switch it to producing something else - and do the reverse again later. If there's potential for that surplus to be absorbed somewhere where the colour doesn't matter, then it's simply more efficient to keep the line running.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    Some sets make the ease of building aspect quite obvious - I've seen sets where you have a thing you're building that's almost, but not quite symmetrical. Sometimes they stick say a red brick unseen on one side, and a yellow on the other. This helps make sure you build it the right way around, as the yellow/red make the right way around more glaringly obvious than it otherwise is.

    I can't think of any examples off the top of my head however I'm afraid. Maybe the Ewok village did a similar thing with the three trees where each tree had it's own colour so you knew which side of the main platform to place it? I can't remember, it's been so long since I built that one.

    Either way, the use of hidden colours to assist building correctly is pretty glaring in some cases, so much so that I can't see that it's mere coincidence.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,366
    Sethro3 said:

    I can't find the article now, but I recall a LEGO designer talking about using pieces that are in production now in that color because it helps the assembly line keep running smoothly. It requires more steps to insert, say a 2x3 black piece than the blue, if the blue was already on the assembly line for other purposes and the black wasn't.  We need to think of longterm efficiency for set manufacturing. That way they can make the most money effectively.

    But in reality if it is hidden, it doesn't make any difference.
    You often find the inserted piece is the same as one in the set, just a different colour. In your example, if the build is mainly black then chances are there are already 2x3 black bricks in the build. That's what makes me think it is more down to ease of build / identification points than down to using up a surplus of parts they don't otherwise need.
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 687
    Xefan said:
    Some sets make the ease of building aspect quite obvious - I've seen sets where you have a thing you're building that's almost, but not quite symmetrical. Sometimes they stick say a red brick unseen on one side, and a yellow on the other. This helps make sure you build it the right way around, as the yellow/red make the right way around more glaringly obvious than it otherwise is.

    I can't think of any examples off the top of my head however I'm afraid. Maybe the Ewok village did a similar thing with the three trees where each tree had it's own colour so you knew which side of the main platform to place it? I can't remember, it's been so long since I built that one.

    Either way, the use of hidden colours to assist building correctly is pretty glaring in some cases, so much so that I can't see that it's mere coincidence.

    Best example I can think of for this situation is #852293-1 Giant Castle Chess Set: there are different color bricks in each of the four corners of the board, to guide you in placing the correct "fort" in the correct corner.
    Aanchir
  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 943
    I have no doubt that it helps the build process go more smoothly either. And I didn't say it was to use up the surplus, I actually said it was the exact opposite of that. But I do recall an article about using what is on the lines already.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFW/BGMember Posts: 7,343
    I seem to recall the DeLorean having a red plate on one end and blue on the other to help you keep straight which side is which.
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