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Lego and Warfare/Weapons

124

Comments

  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    ... ...
    Several posters earlier on suggested that Lego play is not the appropriate venue for teaching children about history as I recall. I couldn't disagree more about that. They surely aren't going to learn about it in history class! You have to make it fun or interesting for them, and incorporate the learning into the "real world" like when they are playing with their Legos.

  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    edited April 2012
    ^or they could stop relagating history at schools to the half hour time slot. Sorry just a bitter historian here.

    @ringlehelm I think, like mentioned in a few posts before, the issue comes down to how close people feel to the conflict. The second world war still has people alive who remember that conflict. It still stirs up powerful emotions esp with Jewish groups etc who suffered during the war. By recreating tanks or planes you risk angering and upsetting people because of the emotions and memories that come with that. While model shops have second world war tanks these are 1 less high profile and 2 cant be played with as easily as lego. So cause less issues for people. However to have a lego tank would and will be seen as trvialising these events which will cause a huge storms
    And this will cause even bigger issues if you start making modern fighter planes.

    Where they are able to create planes from the first world war is that it has passed out of living memory. So there is already an emotional distance from the conflict. Thus it causes less offense and less problems when they are made. This is why its okay to do pirate battles etc. No emotional attachment so no issues.

    I do think however in the next thirty years or so you will start to see tanks and planes being built in the creator line which is aimed more at AFOLs. but it will be because there is no emotional attachment left to those models.

    Maybe @Jaime would like to give a definative answer.
    I understand the "living memory" point, and it's not one to be overlooked. That does not justify the creation of the Sopwith Camel or Red Baron kits though. World War I is still a dirty war filled with death and destruction. The nature of that Sopwith Camel (machine for killing that actually existed) doesn't change just because there are no WWI veterans still living who remember seeing one fighting in the sky.

    Your approach is more pragmatic. Mine is more principled.

    Either Lego "just doesn't want to go there" with these types of sets, or they do. Which is it? Their track record is contradictory on this point.

    It would be easier to understand if someone from Lego came on here and said "Look, we regret making those 2 WWI fighter plane sets! It was a mistake and the only 2 times when we clearly crossed the line with our own policy. We wish we could go back in time and change that, but we can't!"

    That I could understand actually and accept. But rather than come out and say that, they are doing precisely the opposite! They are releasing a NEW Sopwith Camel this summer! HUH?

    I guess those "dirty" sets which glorify conflict, death, and misery are perfectly OK as long as the subject matter is "removed from living memory".

    So then in the years ahead maybe we'll get that Tiger tank kit I'd like to see.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^Well, Redbull's point of 'living memory' does make the most sense. Was a ship like the Imperial Flagship used for maritime warfare during its time? For myself and maybe age group, World War I is ancient and considered historical. But World War II, again in my own opinion, still feels like it was the recent past with current references to the atrocities that were made and being compared to for everyday events that take place now. Where the line gets drawn on historical versus current is subjective. But my bet on this topic is that, yes in the future there will be models based on World War II tanks and aircraft. But more likely one from the Allied forces, like a Sherman tank as opposed to a baddie like the Tiger.

    Either way, this point is still inconsistent with reality as Lego already makes modern warfare models. Sonic Boom (#5892), looks most like France's Rafale Fighter jet in shape and similar in size to US F-18 Hornet (but with dual thrusters). And then Fast Flyer (#4953) is obviously an F-14 Tomcat with variable-sweep wings. So @ringleheim, what are your sentiments on these 2 modern war machines that were released in the recent past?
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    http://www.bricklink.com/message.asp?ID=615311

    Definitely not my kinda thing but I can admire the build.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Clearly it is a fine line Lego walks, between selling what boys want and what won't offend anyone.

    Both world wars were horrible, but the second was much worse, it will take a very long time before that one becomes acceptable.

    WWI was a war of equals, WWII was a battle between good and evil, with Hitler and the SS as evil as the world has ever seen.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^^Those are very nice MOC tanks, nice use in the gears. What piece with the pits are they using for the turret barrels? I haven't seen those before. And what kind of green is that? Doesn't look like a real Lego color.
  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    ^Well, Redbull's point of 'living memory' does make the most sense. Was a ship like the Imperial Flagship used for maritime warfare during its time? For myself and maybe age group, World War I is ancient and considered historical. But World War II, again in my own opinion, still feels like it was the recent past with current references to the atrocities that were made and being compared to for everyday events that take place now. Where the line gets drawn on historical versus current is subjective. But my bet on this topic is that, yes in the future there will be models based on World War II tanks and aircraft. But more likely one from the Allied forces, like a Sherman tank as opposed to a baddie like the Tiger.

    Either way, this point is still inconsistent with reality as Lego already makes modern warfare models. Sonic Boom (#5892), looks most like France's Rafale Fighter jet in shape and similar in size to US F-18 Hornet (but with dual thrusters). And then Fast Flyer (#4953) is obviously an F-14 Tomcat with variable-sweep wings. So @ringleheim, what are your sentiments on these 2 modern war machines that were released in the recent past?
    Fast Flyer and Sonic Boom are further examples of Lego being somewhat inconsistent with their own stated policy. Both are very slightly fictionalized modern military jet aircraft, with some bright colors to help "sell" the concept.

    You can argue neither should have been built according to the principles set forth by Mr. Lego back in the day.

    Yes, the Imperial Flagship certainly recreates a military vessel, but one from a long time ago. However, if the critical distinction according to Lego is "real world violence" vs. "fantasy violence" then things like the Imperial Flagship or Sopwith Camel should not exist. But they do!

    Maybe Lego thinks that if real violence occurred long enough ago, it fades into "fantasy violence" somehow, because no one is around who can remember what it was all about.

    If that's the case, when does Lego launch the "Napoleonic Wars" collection? Or "Roman Legion" theme?

    They did make a minifigure of a gladiator afterall!
  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    ^^Those are very nice MOC tanks, nice use in the gears. What piece with the pits are they using for the turret barrels? I haven't seen those before. And what kind of green is that? Doesn't look like a real Lego color.
    I like these too, but they are too small and toy-like for my taste. Whoever sells those is clearly making custom parts and that color is definitely not a stock Lego color....is it? I've never seen anything like that before.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    I looked through his portfolio and it is impressive. Especially the squadron pictures, with the all tracs. But the color is Old Dark Grey, he just played with the lighting to make it more authentic in color for the pic.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,975
    edited April 2012


    Fast Flyer and Sonic Boom are further examples of Lego being somewhat inconsistent with their own stated policy. Both are very slightly fictionalized modern military jet aircraft, with some bright colors to help "sell" the concept.

    You can argue neither should have been built according to the principles set forth by Mr. Lego back in the day.

    Yes, the Imperial Flagship certainly recreates a military vessel, but one from a long time ago. However, if the critical distinction according to Lego is "real world violence" vs. "fantasy violence" then things like the Imperial Flagship or Sopwith Camel should not exist. But they do!
    But that is my point it is once its past out of living memory it becomes fantasy violence. No one can remember it and so it takes on a mythical quality that it was a good war etc etc. As I said once the second world war moves out of memory you may well start to see models come out.

    The fast flyer and sonic boom are none descript jets. They dont look exactly like anything that the military use today. Which if they did, or they made an F22 je,t would have massive implications and take lego to a place it should not and does not want to go. Lego cannot be seen to be having a political point of view either by creating a definate set or stance people are going to use it and its going to cause alot of problems.

    The best example I can give about the distance to a conflict and how we view it is this: if is if I made a twin towers moc with planes and everything how would you feel? Now take that and imagine how someone who remembers the events from the 1930's and 40's feel about those events. Its the same feelings and that is why for the moment you wont see a WWII moc or any modern warfare lego models.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^I don't believe these are non-descript fighter jets. Fast Flyer is obviously an F-14 and still in use today. Sonic-Boom is the one that may have taken liberties, but is very close to the French-made Rafale, that is not only current but in fact one of the newest fighters being manufactured. Recently France sold squads of them to India for revamping their Air Force capabilities. Although it's not nearly as advanced as the upcoming F-22 Raptors.

    What Lego did to stay within boundaries was the obvious vibrant color scheme and less obvious full-disarmament. A neutered fighter jet, is no longer a fighter jet and thus not a military vehicle of war. It is simply a very fast airplane with seating for 2. So it technically is a non-violent set.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,975
    ^but they are still not exactly like the ideas they are based off of. Which was my point and thus non descript. So if anyone asks lego can do the whole `any resemblance is pure chance etc etc`
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    But that is my point it is once its past out of living memory it becomes fantasy violence. No one can remember it and so it takes on a mythical quality that it was a good war etc etc. As I said once the second world war moves out of memory you may well start to see models come out.
    The difference of course is that we have thousands and thousands of hours of film of WWII, so that future generations can watch it over and over.

    We have exactly zero hours of film of the American Civil War, old Pirate attacks, or anything else in history...
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^I don't believe these are non-descript fighter jets. Fast Flyer is obviously an F-14 and still in use today.
    The US Navy no longer uses the F-14, and depending on who you believe, Iran has between 20 and 25 flyable F-14s... however how useful they are today in 2012 and how combat ready they really are, remains to be seen. The fact that they are frozen in time in 1979 means that while they do fly (they perform in airshows, one crashed in 2009), that doesn't mean they can handle modern air combat.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,975
    ^^True we do have hours of footage but there is still that emotional distance. I cannot experience first hand the horror of what they went through. Any more than I can say what a saxon warrior felt in battle. this creates a distance from the event and that is when the emotion fades for people and it becomes less contravoursly or likely to inflame passions.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^^True we do have hours of footage but there is still that emotional distance. I cannot experience first hand the horror of what they went through. Any more than I can say what a saxon warrior felt in battle. this creates a distance from the event and that is when the emotion fades for people and it becomes less contravoursly or likely to inflame passions.
    That would be a shame...

    If WWII doesn't inflame passions in 50 years, then the lesson will have been lost, and we'll end up repeating it...
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,975
    As we repeat all history lessons. In this age where its about now then I wonuldnt be shocked. I do think it will be remembered but there will be less contravoursy if lego made a spitfire than now.
  • weinnerweinner Banned Posts: 148
    What about my series 5 CMF "gangster"? Bootlegging killers are not violent? I don't understand LEGO logic.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ I'm certainly not going to say there isn't a large amount of 'grey area' in the way LEGO handles this. but in regards to the series 5 gangster, I can think of 2 things off the top of my head:

    1) it's a stereotypical caricature. the prototypical gangster has been so thoroughly represented in pop culture, it's almost reached self-parody status at this point. LEGO captured the stereotype pretty well - it's almost cartoonish in nature.

    2) it's a standalone figure, not a playset. This is significant. They didn't surround the gangster with an Italian restaurant, pull-chain toilet, and a crooked cop to whack.
  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    I think a stand alone set of a Spitfire would be perfectly acceptable and utterly non-controversial at this point, particularly in the wake of the new (and somewhat disappointing) Sopwith Camel. Lego can certainly get in on the "model kit" scene if they want to expand in that direction without ruffling too many feathers.

    A Sopwith Camel here, a Spitfire there...perhaps a somewhat nondescript battleship...all being represented as stand-alone display pieces devoid of minifigures. I see no reason why they can't do that, but it does seem like they are unlikely to.

    If they did build the kits and if they turned out like the new Sopwith, it's better to just try and MOC them in any event.

    What's with all the studs on the Sopwith? And look at the prop! Is that the best Lego could come up with?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=XvekGcmerGc

    Nice Power Functions Tank...

    This one, the tracks move of course, the turret moves, the gun self-balances, and it even has the option to have the turret machine gun stay forward while the turret rotates, that is pretty cool.

    The model isn't without its flaws, it isn't a commercial quality product, the tracks are too loose, the turret jumps a bit when turning, the machine gun isn't perfect, it needs more power to climb things, but heck, for amateur night it is a heck of a model and shows that Lego could do this right if they wanted to.


    I would be happy to pay $200 for a Power Functions version of this from Lego.
  • MultiversalMultiversal Member Posts: 29

    Several posters earlier on suggested that Lego play is not the appropriate venue for teaching children about history as I recall. I couldn't disagree more about that. They surely aren't going to learn about it in history class! You have to make it fun or interesting for them, and incorporate the learning into the "real world" like when they are playing with their Legos.
    Surely kids will, if their schools have any kind of creditability, learn from their history lessons - that is the purpose of having them in the first place (lessons, that is, not kids), and actual people are being paid actual money to make sure they do - and if making history 'fun or interesting' (as some of us might just want to argue that it already is, if you just know how to look at it) is required, then those actual people are supposed to make it so; it's their job. Not Lego's. ;)
    True, there might just occur the odd state school that's incapable of teaching anything that sticks, and probably that would be because they fail to make it interesting, but on the whole, I'd choose to be optimistic and call it the exception rather than the rule. =)

    That said, I don't think it's Lego's responsibility to teach kids about the world. I think the building system holds a wonderful and unique potential for teaching, but it's only relevant to the creative and geometrical skills. Therefore, I don't think Lego can be held responsible as to whether or not they manage to teach kids history (although of course, if they do, that's just great!). =)

  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=XvekGcmerGc

    Nice Power Functions Tank...

    This one, the tracks move of course, the turret moves, the gun self-balances, and it even has the option to have the turret machine gun stay forward while the turret rotates, that is pretty cool.

    The model isn't without its flaws, it isn't a commercial quality product, the tracks are too loose, the turret jumps a bit when turning, the machine gun isn't perfect, it needs more power to climb things, but heck, for amateur night it is a heck of a model and shows that Lego could do this right if they wanted to.


    I would be happy to pay $200 for a Power Functions version of this from Lego.
    I agree with your take on this, good and bad. This is a pretty strong foundation on which to build, despite the flaws you have mentioned. I'll add wrong color scheme, wheels/idlers/drive sprocket totally out of scale, etc.

    But all in all, this is a great Lego creation, I love the huge size of it, and the overall look of the tank is actually pretty darned close to the real thing.

    I will see your $200 Power Functions kit and raise you $50 or even $100. If Lego made something like this in the Technic line or elsewhere, made it in the correct colors, and designed new pieces in the critical areas (wheels, barrel, tracks) I would easily pay $250 or $300 or possibly more. I'm assuming it would be approaching 1:16 scale here.

    Heck, I paid $400 for the Super Star Destroyer and although I really like that kit, it is not NEARLY as cool as a motorized, functioning, Leo 2.

  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168

    Several posters earlier on suggested that Lego play is not the appropriate venue for teaching children about history as I recall. I couldn't disagree more about that. They surely aren't going to learn about it in history class! You have to make it fun or interesting for them, and incorporate the learning into the "real world" like when they are playing with their Legos.
    Surely kids will, if their schools have any kind of creditability, learn from their history lessons - that is the purpose of having them in the first place (lessons, that is, not kids), and actual people are being paid actual money to make sure they do - and if making history 'fun or interesting' (as some of us might just want to argue that it already is, if you just know how to look at it) is required, then those actual people are supposed to make it so; it's their job. Not Lego's. ;)
    True, there might just occur the odd state school that's incapable of teaching anything that sticks, and probably that would be because they fail to make it interesting, but on the whole, I'd choose to be optimistic and call it the exception rather than the rule. =)

    That said, I don't think it's Lego's responsibility to teach kids about the world. I think the building system holds a wonderful and unique potential for teaching, but it's only relevant to the creative and geometrical skills. Therefore, I don't think Lego can be held responsible as to whether or not they manage to teach kids history (although of course, if they do, that's just great!). =)

    Why do you get to determine the scope of Lego's educational value? Lego, like a lot of things, can be used to educate in many, many different ways, not the least of which are creative and geometrical skills.

    I don't think it's "Lego's responsibility" to teach kids a damned thing. That wasn't my point. My point was that a historical "weapon of war" kit could be used by an intelligent, good parent for that purpose.

    And by the way, Lego only has 1 responsibility, I assure you! And that is to make as much money as they can and stay in business. That's it!



  • pantenkindpantenkind Member Posts: 258
    I think at the end of the day we have become a world that is entirely too sensitive. As kids we played guns, war and all the other stuff that would corrupt the poor sheltered youth of today. I know what I am saying comes off as a bit mean but honestly this is a very sore subject with me. I wont stay on my soapbox and tell everyone else how to raise their children, but if I want to allow my children to play with tanks and stuff I should be able to. Its always the same thing....dont infringe on my rights, yet I can infringe on yours to uphold mine. Be responsible parents, talk to your children and be aware of their toys. You woould be surprised how well balanced your kid may turn out if you just talk to them. This is not to everyone, and I know most people are good parents, it just seems to me that the few who cannot take any responsibility are the ones who ruin childhood for the rest of our kids.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I think at the end of the day we have become a world that is entirely too sensitive. As kids we played guns, war and all the other stuff that would corrupt the poor sheltered youth of today.
    this, times a million...
  • MultiversalMultiversal Member Posts: 29
    edited April 2012
    Why do you get to determine the scope of Lego's educational value? Lego, like a lot of things, can be used to educate in many, many different ways, not the least of which are creative and geometrical skills.

    I don't think it's "Lego's responsibility" to teach kids a damned thing. That wasn't my point. My point was that a historical "weapon of war" kit could be used by an intelligent, good parent for that purpose.

    And by the way, Lego only has 1 responsibility, I assure you! And that is to make as much money as they can and stay in business. That's it!
    I don't, but I get to determine what I think the scope is. My point is that I personally see direct creative and geometrical aspects in Lego as a medium, aspects which are better represented than in any other toyline I can name - but why, for any other subject, it is to prefer as a tool of educational value over any other given toy is something I'd need explained.

    I agree with you that as a company, Lego's main priority is obviously profit. It should be added that as long as there are competitors, though, Lego does profit notably by keeping themselves the favourite brand of the consumers - and they do so by serving them well. If teaching history to the consumers' children is something that serves the consumers well, then that is likely also the most profitable thing to do. You're right, though, that perhaps 'Responsibility' wasn't the exact right word to use. =)

  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    I think at the end of the day we have become a world that is entirely too sensitive. As kids we played guns, war and all the other stuff that would corrupt the poor sheltered youth of today.
    this, times a million...
    And LegoFanTexas' million x another million!
  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    edited April 2012
    I don't, but I get to determine what I think the scope is. My point is that I personally see direct creative and geometrical aspects in Lego as a medium, aspects which are better represented than in any other toyline I can name - but why, for any other subject, it is to prefer as a tool of educational value over any other given toy is something I'd need explained.

    I agree with you that as a company, Lego's main priority is obviously profit. It should be added that as long as there are competitors, though, Lego does profit notably by keeping themselves the favourite brand of the consumers - and they do so by serving them well. If teaching history to the consumers' children is something that serves the consumers well, then that is likely also the most profitable thing to do. You're right, though, that perhaps 'Responsibility' wasn't the exact right word to use. =)

    Is Lego uniquely suited to teach children about history? No. That wasn't the point though. Some suggested Lego military themes could be used as a way to teach kids about history. Others responded by saying "Lego is not the right way to teach kids about history".

    My point is simply that actually, a Lego Leo 2 can be used very effectively to teach kids about geography, history, physics, morality, and a myriad of other educationally valuable topics. It comes down to the parent or the "teacher", not the toy.

    Lego is about to unveil a fairly accurate set of a WWI fighter aircraft, complete with reasonably accurate Vickers machine guns. My point is simply that Lego can also surely add more sets to this "war" theme, and it would be nice to see some kits of this ilk. And that any innocence or purity of intention on the part of the original founder has long since been sold out. I don't really see either of those points as contestable.


  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ When I recently finished the "Red Baron":

    http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=10024-1

    It gave me a chance to show it to my son, then talk to him about what the plane meant, what it was used for, and why.

    He actually was interested, because there was a physical object in front of him. To be sure, it could have been a model, not Lego, but since my son likes Lego, he becomes interested in it.

    Models of other historic planes and such would be useful for the same reason. I would love a B-17 model, make it huge, 3 foot wingspan, 3 feet long, very detailed, 4,000 bricks, I'd pay $400 for that in a heart beat.

    Lego could include a little book with information about the plane, its missions, what they were trying to do with it, etc.

    I personally think they'd sell all they could make.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,975
    ^Looking more into this subject I found these two very interesting articles. That look at both education but also using lego to depict something (granted its art but it illustrates my point)

    http://www.othervoices.org/2.1/feinstein/auschwitz.php
    http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2007/02/27/when-lego-goes-to-war/

    As for the B-17 do you mean something like this
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,975
    edited April 2012
    My only arguement against warfare models is as I have stated before the distance from the conflict and the second is where do we stop with tanks and warfare models. Will we get to a period where lego is selling this? Because I hope not
  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    My only arguement against warfare models is as I have stated before the distance from the conflict and the second is where do we stop with tanks and warfare models. Will we get to a period where lego is selling this? Because I hope not
    I don't think it's an automatic or necessary slippery slope from a kit of a Sopwith Camel or B-17 bomber to a burning WTC on 9/11. Or a concentration camp for that matter as depicted in your attached article from Feinstein.

    I tend to agree with Legofantexas. A really well done kit of a Spitfire or B-17 would sell by the boatload, and I don't there is a thing distasteful about such things. They aren't any more distasteful than a Sopwith Camel, though I agree they are not as far removed from the collective memory of living people. Yet.

  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    Lego is a European company and there tends to be less romanticism and bravado surrounding war and its implements when your continent (to say nothing again of cultural memeory) still bears the scars. If you can MOC a tank or jet or whatever, fine, but I believe Lego is absolutely correct to keep their distance from such models, "hypocritical" or not. I would say the same (roughly) to girls who love the Friends theme and clamor for an anatomically detailed Justin Bieber. Make it if you can but don't expect it from as prudent a company as Lego.

    Lastly, I'd simply like to disagree that children are by and large too sheltered: if anything they are overexposed. Just saying... But this (and the whole warfare issue itself, come to think of it) might lead us to a debate of world views and from thence to politics, and if Huw can ban us for anything it should be talking politics in a Lego forum, yes?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Children are overexposed to nonsense and drama, but those very same children are clueless as to the "real world" of survival and war.

    I'm guilty, I know it, my poor rotten children have way too much stuff, they need to go spend the day in a soup kitchen or cleaning a public park. Come to think of it, that wouldn't hurt me either. :)
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,975
    No I agree with you that we wont see them yet. But I still dont agree with it. And as said you can always just MOC it
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    Agree with @Brickarmor over this. And again, a very nice and informative thread to read.
  • ringleheimringleheim Member Posts: 168
    I just saw over at Cuusoo that the Winchester project from "Shaun of the Dead" has been bounced by Lego, despite the 10,005 votes it received. Lego is basically saying the set is not appropriate for its core group of consumers, aged 6-11 (I think it said).

    If Lego won't make what is effectively a modular building in the form of a pub, with whimsical zombie minifigs running around, forget that accurate B-17, Tiger Tank, or modern military equipment of any description. It just won't happen.

    And yet they are happy to pound out a 2nd Sopwith Camel. I don't get it! The only way to explain it is to say that WWI happened long enough ago that it is now perceived as "ancient history" apparently, and there is something nostalgic or romantic about a crude wooden framed aircraft covered in canvas, and with 2 wings stacked on top of each other. It's so outdated and primitive as to be "quaint" now. It's perceived as more "golden age of flight" than it is "weapon of war".

    That's the best I can come up with.

    Of course, a Spitfire with a piston engine, machine guns, and open canopy landing on a grassy field is also incredibly dated, nostalgic, and quaint now too. But we won't see one. I'm convinced!

  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    I just looked at the Sopwith and to me it looks like a "neutered" plane from the days of yore: whatever weaponry functions it had have been removed (as far as I can see) and what's left is a colorful model. I think it's all a question of context: Lego will give us cannons aplenty in the pirates theme, but woe betide the builder who MOCs a Civil War reenactment or Waterloo etc etc. Or I should say the fans who request from Lego such a set. My point being that it would be hard (not to say ridiculous) to "neuter" a tank, which is basically an armored artillery assault vehicle whose sole purpose is to crush anything in its path and rain down destruction. A plane on the other hand could conceivably be "merely" a reconnaissance vehicle, transport, skydiving, crop dusting... But there's no doubt Lego is blurring the lines a bit...
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,975
    ^the camel has both its vickers machine guns. They are just above the propeller
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    Ah, my precious perspective, dashed on the facts...
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,975
    ^no not at all I agree with you on your points. Its something ive been saying to. Im sticking with the 'is there anyone still alive to be offended by this' arguement and the 'you can always build one yourself' arguement.
  • tvihtvih Member Posts: 92
    Well, I'm no gonna debate the issue, other than saying that if they ever did release a well-done WW2 theme, they'd probably end up making me homeless because I wouldn't be able to pay the rent anymore!
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Regarding your first paragraph: you do realize they have "family friendly" tank shows just like air shows, right? And that you can go watch your favorite main battle tank drive over a Hyundai and turn it into a pancake? There are also many tank shows at museums which draw large crowds and at which historic tanks are driven and displayed. Does any of that change your thinking?
    No, it doesn't. I'm well aware that there are tank shows. There are also machine gun shows. One such show has a slogan: "Nothing brings families together like blowing stuff apart...safely." Obviously some people think a gun show is family friendly. You might be one of those people. However, I'd venture to say most people think a gun show is inappropriate for kids. Now I'm not saying a tank show is like a gun show; my point is that the standards people have for what is acceptable for kids vary. A vast majority of people don't have any issues with airshows. It is easy to see beyond the military nature of planes in an airshow and enjoy the grace and thrill of acrobatic flight. It is hard to see past the military nature of tanks, especially when they are driving around destroying things.
    I agree with you about it being easier to romanticize combat among knights and space explorers. But then how do you explain the existence of the Red Baron and Sopwith Camel kits?
    The Red Baron is a highly romanticized plane. I mean, it even had a prominent reference with Snoopy in Peanuts cartoons. The Red Baron and Sopwith Camel are both cultural icons associated with the idea of chivalry.
    If we can have a Sopwith Camel, surely we can have a Spitfire, can't we?
    We can, I actually don't see a problem with it. Although, it might not sell as well. The model planes developed by LEGO have been biplanes and triplanes. There is something appealing and unique about that kind of design. The Spitfire is closer to what planes look like now, and thus has a lot less mainstream appeal I think.
    There is also plenty of room for Lego to release a kit of a Spitfire, let's say, and call it the new "military engineering" series with an emphasis on the plane as a machine, not a weapon of war. Slap an "Ages 18+" on the box front, and call it good.
    I think you're missing the point here. Putting "military" on the set puts an emphasis on the machine being a weapon of war. They don't want to glorify war! And the age on the box is indicator of the complexity of the build (or in the case of younger crowd, the lack of a choking hazard).
    I am the one advocating that Lego make sets of a Tiger tank, Spitfire, or modern F-22 figther jet. For me, such kits would exclusively be about the building experience, the set engineering, the aesthetics, their role in history, and so on. My interest in a Lego Tiger tank certainly does not emanate from a desire to engage in role play whereby I fanstasize about the massive scope of death and destruction associated with, let's say, the Battle of Kursk.
    LEGO must be many things to many people. Foremost, LEGO is toy. Many kids role play with it. The company doesn't want to encourage kids to fantasize about death and destruction and I agree with their position.
    I understand the "living memory" point, and it's not one to be overlooked. That does not justify the creation of the Sopwith Camel or Red Baron kits though. World War I is still a dirty war filled with death and destruction. The nature of that Sopwith Camel (machine for killing that actually existed) doesn't change just because there are no WWI veterans still living who remember seeing one fighting in the sky.
    The perception of the Sopwith Camel changes. It is how society perceives these things, the cultural meanings that society proscribes, that matter. Context matters. The living memory point is just an explanation of why the perception changes.
    Your approach is more pragmatic. Mine is more principled. Either Lego "just doesn't want to go there" with these types of sets, or they do. Which is it?
    Yours is more rigid. There is a third option between removing all conflict and glorifying death and destruction: a balanced approach. TLG allows for conflict while avoiding "realistic weapons and military equipment that children may recognize from hot spots around the world." The balanced approach requires making judgement calls and not creating ironclad rules.
    However, if the critical distinction according to Lego is "real world violence" vs. "fantasy violence" then things like the Imperial Flagship or Sopwith Camel should not exist. But they do! Maybe Lego thinks that if real violence occurred long enough ago, it fades into "fantasy violence" somehow, because no one is around who can remember what it was all about. If that's the case, when does Lego launch the "Napoleonic Wars" collection? Or "Roman Legion" theme?
    The critical distinction is how divorced the subject matter is from a child's reality. What hot spot in the world features attacks by biplanes? The thing about sets like the Imperial Flagship is that as a child you can create entire epic narratives about chasing the pirates who are trying to steal the treasure or other such things. The point isn't a war, its an adventure. With a tank there isn't a common narrative that quickly comes to mind, except of course for war. As for the Roman theme, I am confident they're going to launch it within a few years. Like you said, they've made Roman molds. There are plenty of adventures to be had in a Roman setting.
    And by the way, Lego only has 1 responsibility, I assure you! And that is to make as much money as they can and stay in business. That's it!
    Um, no. What about responsibility to obey the law? What about ethical responsibilities? I'm sorry, but people have this really bad tendency to forget that corporations can and should be held responsible to standards other than greed. Furthermore, a company may have secondary objectives related to the mission statement of the company. In the case of TLG, it's to "inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow."
  • seonadancingseonadancing Member Posts: 92
    I was taken aback when I saw that Lego was coming up with sets with criminals, and police now have their revolver. I still thought that Lego Town never had robbers on them so what's with the guns. And everyone is right, when weapons are introduced with the right themes like Starwars then it doesn't feel like the Lego town is being invaded by war machines. I'm with that guy who said that it's great to take a child to a Lego aisle and not see war machines, but if Lego come up with a military theme and put it at the far corner then i'm pretty sure i'll buy a few mammoth tanks and humvees.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,833
    ^ The memorable part of the city advent calendar last year was robbers stealing at christmas time, probably chrtistmas presents.
  • sonsofscevasonsofsceva 1904 World's FairMember Posts: 542
    On a whole other tack, I'm in Hong Kong for a spell and found a Chinese competitor who sells a brick air gun, with a spring loaded projectile system for shooting those Technic grey cross pins. China has moved from not only modern combat scenarios, to working gun mockups in bricks. I will post a picture when I get a chance.
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    edited June 2012
    One thing missing from this discussion (although I might have missed it) is that we are talking about a Danish company. Denmark had an experience of the Second World War very different from that of the UK or that of the US. It has caused trauma to generations of Danish people. This has fed into LEGO's policy of avoiding "war" themes rooted in reality.

    So what if LEGO have produced sets that edge more closely to a "war" theme? They have good reasons for the stance they've taken, and although like the rest of us they're not absolutely consistent 100% of the time, surely it's just sensible to respect their approach?

    It seems incredibly dogmatic to declare that because LEGO have not been absolutely consistent, then they have a personal obligation to me to produce a particular war-themed set that I would like. It's the kind of argument I'd laugh at were it presented to me by a child.
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    I'd rather see a cool Space Shuttle landing on an Asteroid, with mining equipment and nukes. Armageddon
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