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Is it this tile? If so, the part number is 6133120 . I found this on page 54 of the instruction booklet from here: http://cache.lego.com/bigdownloads/buildinginstructions/6150176.pdf
D'oh. Very bone headed of me. I totally forgot about the part numbers in the back. I'll have to see if this one and the one from the Beast Chariot are now available. I wonder if that new magic book part is to blame for the cracking
I went over to check the Lego website and I found this in the reviews:
"Just one single complaint... Lego seems to be going crazy with the whole "fusing two colors of plastic into a single component" thing. They started with just doing it for Superhero-themed minifigures' boots, but on this guy, they've done it for his chest and shark-head, which leads me to my problem: This technique makes the plastic much easier to crack, as mine did. It's a very small, hardly visible fracture in the shark's nose, but it is still there."
If this was the issue then why are they still available in UK?
There are periodically reports of large-scale cracking. Each time somebody else comes back and says they've never had any problems. Now, it's probably subjective according to where observers live, but it sometimes seems that more complaints of that nature come from America. There are exceptions, of course, which muddies the waters.
With that in mind, the question arises whether sets for the American market come from, or through, a different factory, presumably that in Mexico. There have been a variety of suggestions but one is about the humidity in the locations where multiple cracks are found. Perhaps, that's a near-miss. The thing is, that ABS is more susceptible to cracking when the humidity at the time it's manufactured is wrong. Clearly, whilst the conditions across the European factories are similar because they are geographically close, those in Mexico are probably not. That will presumably have been taken into account and adjustments made, but at the end of the day, they're still likely to be different. And that might be the root of the problem.
In fact, when I got a pair of new (a few months old or less) sets from a house with almost every other set having cracks, the pair of new sets showed no damage.
The trouble with making suggestions on this subject is that they tend to be jumped for reasons that have no substance.
I suspect that most, if not, all American (the continent(s), not the country) sets come from Mexico, whereas those in Europe don't. Other countries? I don't know. That wouldn't mean that all American sets crack, just that they'd be more likely to. It could even come down to the time of year when those sets are manufactured, or just the day when the air conditioning is undergoing maintenance.
I've heard the argument before suggesting it's the environment where sets are kept that makes a difference. That's largely circumstantial, and ABS shouldn't be affected by the conditions in which it's stored (within reason); it is, however, affected by the conditions in which it is moulded. Of course "shouldn't" doesn't mean "isn't", but it doesn't really prove anything, one way or the other. Yes, the US has varied climates that might make a difference, and also, perhaps significantly, many people have domestic air conditioning of some sort.
Somebody will then point out that most sets are listed as having parts made in most factories. I don't think that's necessarily strictly true - I think that the list is of those countries that might, in certain circumstances, supply parts for that set. For example, a piece that seems to have a lot of problems is the cheese wedge. It's a common part, so I imagine it's made in several factories. Usually, those parts end up particular geographic areas; it wouldn't make sense to make each piece in just one location and then ship them around the world. However, it still remains an option if there are production issues in a particular factory, so the list of countries on the packaging includes any that are part of a backup plan, whether or not anything is normally made there. Some more unusual pieces may be made in just one location and distributed.
Somebody will mention a set bought elsewhere that has many cracked elements. Again it's circumstantial unless there's a reasonable number of examples to suggest that the problem is universal and not more likely to occur in certain territories.
Yes, it's all conjecture, but we don't have many hard facts and that's probably the best we can do. However, it does seem to fit the little we do know. The storage environment theory might also be valid, but it goes against the properties of ABS. There may be other suggestions - in which case make them! Perhaps the moulding machines, being made by a German manufacturer, are optimised to work in Europe and don't do quite as well elsewhere.
The observation is (or appears to be) that certain people get a lot of cracks on different sets, colours and parts.
If it was happening at manufacture we would expect to see lots of cracks happening on certain sets, colours or parts for everyone.
You are right that the weaknesses may well be being created at manufacture, that makes more sense. It is even possible that this is why we see so little cracking in the UK (manufactured in Europe). But there has to still be some location or person specific issue going on to match the original observation.
Interstingly I was reading an article on the impact of (essentially) old man sweat on the aging of leather furniture (essentially, oils from human skin, that are more prolific in men, age the leather and damage it - I can't find it again for some reason - I don't think I dreamed it). Maybe the people with hot sweaty palms are reducing the impact of cracking due to moisturising the plastic with their natural oils as they build and the plastic being less likely to crack while warm. Or the other way around. You never know.
I think 'yes, it would be more evenly distributed'. However, since the majority of Lego is sold as kids toys and kids are the primary users of the product, it's possible that there is a ton of cracking that just goes unnoticed, or that kids don't report it/request replacements. My nephews had no idea that their lego was cracked until I went through their Star Wars Lego collection and showed them all the minifigures with splitting torsos and forearms. Their parents were not very happy with me....
Many of the cracks appear as hair-thin black lines at first, and do not emerge as fully broken Lego until much later. Sometimes, you cannot tell it even is cracked until you connect and unconnect it to studs and watch the slight appearance of the crack.
Some of the cracks I've found on my display models, I did not notice until I looked at them from every angle with a flashlight, especially at all connection points. Once you start looking for them, its hard to stop because it freaks you out.
to clarify what happened. He said the following: "So far all that I have learned
is that Tesco apparently had an issue with the bar code system and it should
be fixed now. The rest is just rumors - there is no IP claim with the Shark Guy
- he was designed long before it became a costume with an uncoordinated dancer
in it. But it was definitely boosted by so many internet sites running with the
story with little to no research to back it up."
Also, this was not a recall as it was originally reported by employees from various
stores (and I believe the first report was from a Tesco cashier), but a stop-sale
at some locations. It is possible though that cash-register screens don't
differentiate between reasons you can't sell a product and they show the
same message whether it is a stop sale or a recall or whatever. So there is no
reason to believe the employees were making the story up.
So Shark Guy is clear of all charges."
Now I just wish they would use the same urgency in answering our repeated question of "Why are my bricks cracking?!?!"
There may then be a subsidiary question of what affects cracking of individual pieces within the Americas. Quite simply, if the initial issue is resolved and the incidence of cracking is similar globally, then this second question may be totally irrelevant.
I've long suspected something likes this, and judging by the comments of some other non-Americans, looking from the outside as it were, I am not alone. I'm fairly outspoken, but I've resisted the temptation to post something along this lines because I knew somebody would throw it out saying the evidence suggests otherwise. But it doesn't. There may well be wider factors at play, but the most important one is to determine whether this affects some countries more than others. If we find that it happens in the US more than Europe, and in particular, if it happens in those areas of the US that have a similar climate to Europe, then that's likely to be a significant step forward.
But at the end of the day, it doesn't affect me, so why should I be concerned? I'm simply making a suggestion that might help some other people, who are experiencing a problem. If you don't like ideas, you can always find your own.
Quite possibly, but those people who haven't been affected so far have to hope that it is only secondary to a more identifiable problem.
One of the things about ABS is that it's resistant to most forms of attack like this. Otherwise the first port of call might well be to ask countless questions about factors that might affect the environment.
Good for you! That's a positive step in moving forward with the problem, and was what I was hoping might happen.
As I also assume a sharply dressed CMF is British (and probably a diabolical villain), and the pencil-moustached waiter is French.
And that the red, white and blue daredevil is also American, and probably clumsy as well. Or atleast injury-prone.
I just finished taking apart the Ewok Village. It has been sitting on display for over a year and within reach of my 4 year olds (twins). Between them, their cousin and the other similar aged twins in the neighborhood, the village looked like the empire actually did have an entire legion of the emperors best troops there. In other words, pretty destroyed. I had to check the entire inventory to make sure it was all there and carefully bag everything. Surprisingly only 2 carrots and 2 sausages were missing. But even more surprising was that there was not a single cracked piece. There are many types of parts in this set I've seen cracked before, but in this set, not even a cheese slope had a crack.
Must have been made in Europe... :)
The other thing that's weird is that the EV set was fairly abused in terms of tough play. I've got other sets that were just displayed an have lots of cracked pieces. WTF.
In the quality world, when defects don't follow a statistical rational, it usually means special cause variation is in play. I have not been able to identify any special cause in my environment so I'm still in the manufacturing camp. Although I'm still not ruling out environmental causes.
An alternative idea is that some batches of plastic aren't up to scratch. That too would work its way through to parts created at a particular time being different. TLG used to get all their raw ABS from the same source that they've been using for the last half century; part of the reason they now self-colour is so that they can use different sources.
If all the bricks were similar, then I would expect to see cracking in a predictable (statistically normal) way. If environment was the root-cause, then I would expect bricks seeing the same environment (sun, heat, humidity, amount of play, etc.) to also behave in a predictable way.
Does anyone here really know TLG supply/manufacturing/distribution chain? I'd love to know.
Now? Who knows?
I too believe there is an interaction with the colorant. I have seen sand green, brown, pink, white, dark red, tan, and lt. Bley bricks mostly with cracks. Not really in red, blue, and black, or green.
The only ones that know what's wrong is the TLG. Until they sort it out, keep asking for replacements from their customer service department. If they get tired of hearing from you, as some have mentioned being cutoff, report TLG to social media, get in touch with a Lego Ambassador, and then notify some Safety Toy Government type officials since no one wants plastic cracking and potentially slicing children's fingers open, or getting stuck in the bottom of someone's foot, or exploding while it's on display (the more dramatic and blown out of proportion, the more likely you will see some progress).
If the design isn't at fault, then the problem should be fixable - even if it's only by producing the problematic pieces in a plant that can do so successfully. On the other hand, if the design is at fault, then there's a bigger problem in that it may be impossible to produce without some degree of cracking.
But the important thing is to talk about it in a way that generates more ideas and more information about when the problem occurs.
Seeing as someone has already commented that they've seen cracks in brick yellow pieces, what are people's experiences with them cracking in Tower Bridge? It's an interesting set because there are a large number of them, presumably mostly from the same batch, and will therefore have spent their entire life under much the same conditions. I think we'd have heard about it if a set had a couple of hundred that were cracked. Or do they all come from Europe? Or something else?