A worrying trend: 'hybrid' minifigs in regular sets

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He's behind you!I bought most of the Super Heroes sets just before Christmas but I've only now had a chance to build them.

The most anticipated of them was probably 6862 Superman Vs Power Armor Lex in part due to the incusion of the Superman and Wonder Woman minifigs.

Unfortunately I have some bad news for those that can differentiate the quality between normal figs and Chinese-made ones.

Until the release of the Black Pearl last year you could be confident that the minifigs in regular sets (as opposed to collectable minifigs, Ninjago spinners and extended product lines) were high quality, moulded in LEGO's own factories in Europe and Mexico using high quality materials. Then the unthinkable happened: Davy Jones in the Black Pearl was entirely made in China (packed in his own polybag which is always a giveaway) and the quality difference was noticeable.

Now, I'm sorry to say that that wasn't an isolated case: in this set both hair pieces and Wonder Woman's legs are Chinese-made, so we have what I think are our first hybrid minifigs. The hair actually seems pretty good and better than those found in collecable minifigs but the lower quality of WW's legs is definitely noticable. The printing is exceptionally good, but the plastic has that cheaper look and feel, which really is a shame. I suppose this will become the norm for the more expensive-to-produce figs in future which is a worry.

I know I have a 'bee-in-my-bonnet' about this and a lot of you probably don't care but I thought I'd bring it to your attention anyway...

Update: a couple of people have asked in the comments how to tell the difference between regular figs and Chinese-made ones. Here's how:

  • Legs: the matt sheen and transparency of the plastic usually gives it away but to be sure turn upside down and look under the foot. If you don't see (c) LEGO they are Chinese-made.
  • Torsoes: Look at the inner arms. If they have a recess with numbers in, they are Chinese-made. Also, there is usually a number on the wrist part of the hands of Chinese-made ones.
  • Other parts: As far as I can tell all Chinese made parts have an underlined suffix on their mold numbers, for example 'B01'.

I took some photos to illustrate the differences a while ago:

One is Chinese, one is Danish... Can you tell which is the Chinese alien? The Chinese alien The Danish Alien

199 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

If it keeps the prices down I am willing to allow this drop in quality, but the way the prices are going, the service from Lego really ought to be absolutely perfect (which it is generally). But we must not forget that Lego is a business out to make money, so if they try to save a bit of money here and there by making some of the more complicated moulds in China, you can't really blame them.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm not too sure this is new. The dobby head from HP, and IIRC the ADU alien heads were made in China too...

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By in United States,

this is horrible! I've been with lego for over 12 years due to their higher quality over mega blocks and the other "clone brands", but this is outrageous! they're ruining their own company, i mean ya, its cheaper to produce them in china (everything is) but quality is why many people stay with lego! ya, lego is most expensive than megablocks and stuff, but that extra expense is for the quality and to support the company that we all know and love :( TLC has made me sad.

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By in United Kingdom,

Unfortunately I think the introduction of the lower quality parts into regular sets was always going to happen. The vast number of new pieces introduced by the Collectable Minifigures were always going to be used in regular sets as a further way of justifying the cost of new moulds. And presumably these moulds stay in one factory - the lower quality option. Also on Bricklink you can no longer guarantee that if you buy plain mini fig legs or arms, or hairpieces and hats for that matter, that they have come from the higher quality source. An example would be plain black legs that have been used on figures like the S1 Magician. That said I personally am prepared to put up with substandard quality (which lets face it is still a hundred times better than comparable brands best quality!) if it means Lego can produce the incredible variety of minifies we have seen over the last two years.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^^ Those cases are relatively acceptable given the complexity of the molds and that there aren't any 'normally' produced versions to compare them with. But WW's legs? There's really no excuse, IMO.

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By in United Kingdom,

@LegoCoastGuard - That's a good point, the Alien Conquest alien heads were made in China. So are the new Geonosian heads I believe.

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By in Canada,

@Huw, but my good sir, have you forgotten? Wonder Woman's Legs are the same basic design as our Bikini Clad friends in the Collectible Mini-Figures series, I'm honestly surprised her entire torso isn't made from the same Chinese plastic to be honest.

I also have really noticed nothing majorly different between the Chinese made Mini-Figs and the stuff from Denmark or such. All of these quality remarks and things that people make, I honestly can't see much wrong with the quality myself.

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By in United Kingdom,

I don't care where stuff is produced but any drop in quality is bad and if it continues much more and lower quality parts are produced for themes such as SW and City I will be moving away from this hobby. I return to lego and collect it due to it's obvious high quality, I can honestly say I would rather the cost go up than quality drop, if that is what "has" to happen to keep TLG competative. TLG should be ensuring that the quality is consistant thoughout their operation regardless of location.

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By in United States,

Huw, you got it. Some weird speciality accessory or hair is fine or even unique head, but Legs??? NO! First it is legs, then torso then the whole darn figure it is made like junk.

You know i could care less where the figure is made as long the quality is EXACTLY the same. So Lego, if you want to make your figures in China, get the factories up to snuff there! We demand identical quality or nothing.

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By in Canada,

@bellybutton290 How much of a cost increase do you think we should be forced to pay? five dollars for each set. ten? Twenty-seven and a half? I mean seriously, if the cost of living is constantly on the rise why then should the cost of non-essentials rush to meet it?

LEGO has done great, sets haven't been too bad with cost per piece ratio for a while now, but consider the cost of the Collectible Mini-Figures themselves rose just partway through last year. They cost more, is their quality still the same? Have they improved the quality of them? Personally I never noticed any problems with their quality before or after the cost increase, so I personally didn't see one good reason for why they should raise the cost of something that is meant to be an impulse, cheap buy for kids.

Now you say you'd rather pay a higher cost per piece in order to ensure that the Mini-Figures in System sets remain Made in Denmark, or wherever they happen to make them, so long as it isn't China. I'm afraid that is an illogical stand to make. You as a collector may be willing to eat the cost to ensure quality, but I can bet you a LEGO King's Castle or a LEGO Home One Set that the average parent would not appreciate a sudden hike in the price.

I feel that LEGO as a toy brand is already more expensive than it needs to be in this day's market. I can respect that they are this high price due to inflation and because of the high quality, and a rise in prices is only natural, but if they want to continue to make a profit and not just cater to the Super Rich they have to find a middle ground. Without that Middle Ground we'd be seeing LEGO Death Stars retail for 800$, a 130$ City set might become 175$ or more. I am unwilling and unable to afford such things, I may really WANT a lot of what LEGO has to offer, but I can rarely afford it even when it goes on sale. So I pick and choose and wait for the right moment to get one of the higher end sets on my Wants List, the problem is more often than not that it'll be gone from Retail by the time I have enough for it.

That being said, if they started hiking the price, well let us assume that an average 15$ Battle Pack set from Star Wars was jumped to 25$, it comes with the same basic piece count, the same basic builds, but LEGO wants to maintain their quality because the public, the vocal minority of it, is complaining that their not maintaining standards of quality. So LEGO jumps the price and keeps everything being made the same way it is now. I can guarantee that you wouldn't want to pay 25$ for four mini-figures and a small speeder or tiny piece of foliage.

I could be mistaken in your beliefs, but personally I know I wouldn't pay that much. I couldn't, not on my budget. I want to continue to support the brands I love so my future children can enjoy them the same as I did when I was younger, but if the prices are increased to a point where it is impossible for me to justify paying that much for such a miniscule payout just to maintain a certain level of quality standard... I'm sorry, but I won't be able to support LEGO Brand any more. And a fair number of middle class people in this economical atmosphere would probably agree with me.

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By in Sweden,

Okay, here's a stupid noob question but how can you tell the difference? I'm looking at my apparently-Chinese-made Collectable Minifigures and my untrained eyes can't see much of any difference. What are the tells?

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By in United States,

I'm not OCD about this, and I didn't even know about anything but Davy having Chinese plastic! Just another thing the world has to rely on China for. We're all going to be enslaved from this debt we have. And not just the US.

Shouldn't it be the other way around, anyway? The regular plain old minifigs being cheaply made, and the specially designed ones getting the special treatment?

I wish I could see cost figures, just out of curiousity.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Graysmith - Hold it up to light and you will see the difference. The light shines straight through the legs just above the feet when they are made of Chinese plastic. When they are not, there is no light coming through.

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By in United States,

Something I noticed on all of the super hero figs is that they have inprints on the inside of their arms, near the joint (just like the Chinese figs; just not nearly as noticable). I would imagine its from being made in Mexico...but it also seems like they are a bit lower quality...I compared my batman from the first wave of sets, from a few years ago, to the ones that just came out and I can tell a difference. I skipped out on a lot of the PotC sets, so I'm not sure if they had the same problem. But, I am concerned this slipping quality is a growing trend for our bricks and figs...

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By in Canada,

@Graysmith I have never really took the time to bother figuring that out before, but here are a few things you can notice.

First of all, you can't tell simply by looking. At least I can't, however the feel of a Chinese made figure is different in your hands compared to one of the non-chinese figures. The plastic feels... Smoother, I think, less denser. It has a thinner feel to it, the hair/hat pieces seem to be softer as well not as thick.
The legs bend much easier at the hip joints than on a regular mini-figure, regular mini-figures have tighter hip joints so as not to bend as easily.

All of these things seem far too nitpicky to me to complain about, I don't see anything wrong with their quality from these observations I've just made. They still look ideal as far as Mini-Figures are concerned. To my eyes there is nothing wrong with these Chinese made figures. Now if they started breaking more easier than I might see a problem with them, but I haven't had any Mini-Figures break on me in a very long time. The only one that is breaking at this point in my collection is the Cairo Swordsman from my Ambush in Cairo Indiana Jones Set. his head has cracked from the top to the bottom on one side in the back.

Would anyone happen to know how to repair that so it won't break completely in half?

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By in United States,

I personally don't notice much difference between the Chinese-made molds at all. Some of my sets have bricks that aren't from China, and they still break after a couple of years, like the 6212 X-Wing's landing gear, which is my most recent example. Honestly, @Odeinoichus is the person I most agree with on the issue; however, @CapnRex101 makes a good point; I got two stormtroopers, and the one from the TIE Defender didn't let light through the legs, but the one from the Imperial Shuttle did. Thanks for the tip; I'll be trying it for the rest of my collection.

Also, a suggestion for @Odeinoichus: Super Glue!? It's my best bet if you actually want to keep the same head, but the practical solution is to just get a replacement from LS@H.

@CapnRex101: It seems to only work for lighter color figs, not for Vader or TIE pilots. Just an interesting trend I saw.

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By in Canada,

@Bobszaar, I've looked into that, LS&H doesn't even have Indiana Jones replacement heads listed anymore from what I've managed to find in research. The next time I have some Super Glue in the house I'm going to see if the crack won't seal itself back up after having some applied to it.

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By in Sweden,

Thanks guys.

I just held a pair of dark tan legs from a Collectable Minifigure up to the light next to another pair of dark tan legs from a Star Wars Hoth soldier and lo and behold, there shines a light through the Collectable Minifigure's legs!

That said, looking at them side by side in normal light and I can't really see any difference between them, not even the stuff Odeinoichus mentions. But I'm new to being an AFOL so maybe it takes a little while to really know the difference in quality.

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By in United Kingdom,

Bobszaar - Yes, sometimes you can tell by feeling for figures where you cannot see the light coming through. There is something about them which doesn't feel quite right but apart from that I don't know any other way to test them (without getting some sort of acid which reacts with certain types of plastic and not others!)

A couple of weeks ago I found a few of my Clone Troopers had cracked arms, but I fixed that up with an ink eraser which actually bonds the plastic together somewhat in a hairline crack as well as covering it up.

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By in United States,

@Odeinoichus- I just went, and it seems that they do. Near the bottom left (nearer there), you change the page to page 4, and it's the last head you'll find on the page (to the right). The bricks per page is set at fourteen for me, FYI.

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By in United Arab Emirates,

Why cant lego contol the abs plastic from their chinese factories? Or are the chinese factories skimping out on the quality unbeknownst to lego?

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By in United Kingdom,

^i wondered this aswell. @odeinoichus I was simply stating that I want quaility maintained and I would be happy to pay more but I do agree with what your saying and being a parent myself cost is always a concern. I am simply concerned that the quality will drop further in years to come as I am sure others are and huw's discovery seems to me like the start of a slipery slope.

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By in Australia,

My interest is piqued by how impractical it sort of sounds to me - producing three pieces of a 200+ piece set practically on the other side of the world, then hauling them over to Denmark for packaging with the rest of the pieces, some of which are already produced en masse in other LEGO factories? I can sort of understand producing entire sets in China, like the minifig packs, but even shipping lots of the parts in bulk along with similarly handled parts of other sets this feels kinda impractical. Of course, I've pretty much no knowledge of business or manufacturing practices, so I've no idea what I'm talking about and it probably makes more sense than I perceive.

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By in Canada,

Wonder Woman's legs were atrocious imo. All that red on the back of the legs is ugly...

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By in Canada,

@Bobszarr, I'm not sure if you're looking in the Pick-A-Brick section or somewhere else, but I personally only see Yellow skinned Mini-Figure heads for sale in the PAB area, and I'm not navigator savvy enough to find the exact page you're on. Also, it could be that the replacement head is only available to customers in the United States, not Canada. *SHRUG*

LEGO can no more control their Chinese Factories than any other toy company.

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By in Canada,

I support Huw, 100%

As a life long lego collector, yes as a child as well. I enjoyed the durability of my most favorite toy as well as the playability regarding the diverse pieces and ability to build what ever you wanted.

Ill be honest durability and product quality was not my chief concern as a kid but once I hit my middle teens I realized my figs were starting to crack on the torso sockets, both hands and arms, and some at the leg point from my taking them on and off and exchanging them with other figures. It wasnt until this point that I realized even with the top grade plastic used at that time, ware and tare really played a toll. Not to mention my sweaty little hands removing most of the printing off of a large majority of my 80s castle figures. I can only imagine how that degradation process will speed up with cheapter figures and parts becoming the norm.

That being said I now am very careful as a collector to how I treat my minifigures and lego as a whole.

Now I realize Lego is a toy, first and foremost, and is there for children. So I can appreciate those who want the price to stay low so they can afford even the sub par plastic. I too believe lego has jacked its prices for nothing more then profit margin increases rather then covering costs and inflation. I cannot believe that this day and age it is harder to mass produce plastic figs even with a large variety of molds. I think they are saving enough money with the 100s of stickers they throw at us as is. Come on people we are paying 100s of dollars for chunks of plastic no more intricate then playmobile when it comes down to it. If lego wants to keep raising its prices the least it can do is keep the quailty very high so the consumer knows there child is getting a toy built to last. Raising prices may hurt all of us, but lowering the prices and decreasing the quailty will just depreciate the value of the lego as an investment for child or adult. As well as kill a rather large secondary lego market supporting lego in a big way. We do not want legos value to slump to the worthless value of a bin of ninja turtle figures from the 80s.

If you dont care about quailty please support megablock and other knock offs rather then helping support the degradation of the best toy brand on the market today. Lego was built on quality and that should never change.

My most favorite example of a cheap variant is the Series 5 lego lizard/Godzilla guy. Now if you cant see cheap plastic in that figure you may as well consider all figures equal.

Thats my rant and I am sticking to it.

Sorry Huw as I know this is "not a discussion forum"

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By in United Kingdom,

Please, rant away... :-)

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By in United States,

Everyone reading this knows I don't see much difference in minifigs, but I have another interesting quality issue that has deeply worried me (Sorry this is a bit off topic, @Huw): Why is Hero Factory, the horrible Bionicle replacement that has ruined my childhood so much, decided to get rid of the classic canisters so remembered from action figures? Why is Lego ruining my childhood? (Tears are coming down my eyes about now in my head). :(

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By in United Kingdom,

One of the areas of Lego's competitive advantage, is in their quality.

They need to remember that.

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By in Canada,

That's the real problem though, LEGO has no competition, Mega Blocks? What are these things? And do Kids really clamor for them as much as LEGO? I fear that LEGO has long had high quality standards in a market of no real competition.

When I was growing up I certainly don't recall there being any other building block toy like LEGO, it was Only LEGO I saw and wanted, nothing more. The market LEGO is more competing with in this day and age isn't about Building Block toys I think, but more the other toy brands from other companies like Transformers or He-Man or... My Little Pony. That's who they are competing against for the most part, and when Transformers, My Little Pony and He-Man are all made cheaply in China, why shouldn't LEGO do something to save their executive paychecks just as the other toy companies do.

Not that LEGO is anything like other businesses, after all they've maintained their factories for a long time going now, well over thirty years. Probably more, can't be too sure. But the cost of maintenance of those Factories eventually will lead to either forced closure or outsourcing. It is an inevitability that one can rarely fight against, though LEGO seems to be doing a far more commendable job compared to those self-same other toy companies who have outsourced more and more to China.

And these comments are starting to look more like discussion in my eyes, perhaps I should be biting that proverbial bullet and joining the forums in order to discuss this sort of topic. Oh well, these are my observations. I hope that LEGO will not lose their tenuous hold on what they have currently, but logic tells me that we may indeed be seeing more and more chinese made pieces in the inevitable future. But I could be wrong.

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By in United States,

I'm not surprised by this, but am surprised that LEGO is allowing inferior quality products from China in their sets.

All the Chinese LEGO 'partners' seem to be doing is purposefully making bad products in order to be on par with their inferior LEGO knockoffs (if they are not already using LEGO molds to make their LEGO knockoffs)

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By in United States,

AFOLS = Whiniest fandom ever. No wonder I'm in the closet.

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By in United States,

If you have to check for small numbers or letters in order to tell the difference, I guess it really isn't noticeable to you in the first place so it doesn't matter. I really don't dwell on it so I don't notice the difference but I'm sorry to hear this for the people who can tell right away.

Still, it's kind of sad to see that western countries are producing less and less as time goes on, not that I would want to work for the wages and benefits that they probably give to those Chinese factory workers. I guess that one day workers in China will realize that you can't get by without an iphone, two cars, multiple flat screen TVs, oh and health care i guess, they too will demand more compensation but they still won't improve their plastic.

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By in United States,

@fuelbreak you said it!

I agree with everyone, first LEGO notices they can save money on complex head molds by outsourcing them to China, then they realize they can outsource things like battle packs/CMF in China, now they they realize they can take elements of regular Minifigures and outsource them to China! Next is ALL minifigures made in China cause they can be reading this and think "hmm no one notices the change in quality nor do they care so why not!"

I for one will not stand for it!

@Nightshroud99 I agree, I always thought those legs were horrible!

Fuelbreak brings up a good point which I don't think many are considering. The minifigs we have now from the 80's etc are still for the most part decent. And there's a lot to be said from that, not many toys can survive for 30 years. How will these chines pieces/figs withstand the test of time?

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By in Germany,

To be honest, I do not think that we will notice a quality difference in two or three more years. Chineese are excellent at copying and a master in producing some sets "more" than ordered that can be sold for own purpose. What I am concerned about is that these parts have been produced in China by violating every law here in Europe in terms of working time and conditions as well as environmental concerns.
And for that parts I have to pay premium prices here in Germany (not to mention Australia, but this is a different story though)?
Of course LEGO could produce the sets completely in Europe/America for the same price but then their stockholders would not have a revenue of 10c/share but 8c/share only and would start crying as they could afford to buy one new Porsche a year only!!!

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By in United States,

Ironically the ones who are least likely to notice/care where the minifigs are made will be the ones most likely to break them through play due to cheaper plastic. Poor kids. Their childhood toys will be less likely to hold up through adulthood.

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By in United Kingdom,

I have just bought the Friends Heartlake Vet and the yellow pieces are of the inferior chinese molding too. So its not just mintfigs that are suffering. The pieces are just normal 3x1 bricks but the difference is instantly noticable. Now if I am paying £40 for this set I expect a first class product. I have seen other parts in other sets too like plates etc.
My worry is how many more cheep pieces will creep into other sets as Lego try and cut cost, and corners.

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By in Ireland,

Weren't the majority of specialized pieces from Pirates of the Caribbean made in China too? I could be totally wrong about that, but the side of the box mentioned parts being produced in a heap of countries, and some of the hairpieces have that Chinese matt-feel/appearance, like Orlando Bloom's hair (can't think of the character's name), which isn't glossy brown but a duller matt brown, and I assumed as much for the other head pieces too, e.g. for Jack Sparrow and Penelope Cruz's hat/hair (especially Jack since he came in those poly bags too, does that mean they were mass produced in China too?). I could be way off...

In any case, I don't like cheap plastic in the legs and torsos since they contain the moving parts, and can be prone to getting loose too quickly. But on the other hand, I don't mind cheaper plastic being used in special accessories and hairpieces. In some cases, there even seems to be improvements in Chinese LEGO production (imo). For example, the series 6 "sleepy head" kid's spiky hair is the best I've ever seen in collectable minifig quality terms, with no discernible difference between it and regular LEGO. It's glossy, hard solid plastic, fits the minifig head perfectly, and looks so damn cool, it's my favourite minifig hair ever! But I digress... :)

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By in Canada,

Long time lurker, first time poster. The easiest way I found to see if the legs are made in China or Denmark is to check the "tree marks" on the top of the leg. The legs from Denmark have a tiny spot (like most plastic toys have) where the piece was seperated from the "tree" it was attached to (think plastic model kits or the plumes from the older castle sets that came on those circular "trees"). The legs from China have a rectangle shape around that spot. I also don't mind accessories being made in china especially if it increases the variety and colours. I also collect action figures and I have gotten used to the QC problems associated with mass produced toys. I love Lego because of the consistent good quality that had never been a concern. I hope it doesn't become one.

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By in New Zealand,

I agree with fuelbreak - DOWN WITH CHINESE PLASTIC.

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By in United States,

The minifigure is the mascot of LEGO. Why make them in China? I hate the quality in China. LEGO co. should feel ashamed of letting their little people be made by people who dont care.

I'll pay more if it is not made in china. Open a plant in the US. I would love to work in a plant to make my favorite product :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Completely with you on this, Huw. I was very annoyed when I bought my first collectable minifigure, the Crash Test Dummy, and saw and felt that it was a cheap version made in China. Noticing the steadily declining quality in LEGO sets already, I feared that the Chinese plastic would soon spread to regular sets... and now my fears have come true.

Unfortunately LEGO won't do anything about it unless they get feedback from a considerable amount of people complaining; I vote we make a petition, perhaps even on Brickset itself.

Wasn't Ole Kirk Kristiansen's motto "Only the best is good enough"? He'd be rolling in his grave now if he saw that this is what happens to his company and the amount of his customers that are upset with it.

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By in Sweden,

Perhaps Brickset could add another category to the Set Details section on the set pages with a listing of where the parts in that set come from. As far as I understand it's always stated on the box where the parts were made, and it could be useful to have for those who want to steer clear of Chinese-made parts.

For example, the box of the 7953 Court Jester I got just the other day states that its components come from Denmark, Hungary, China and the Czech Republic, and indeed the legs of the minifigure shine through.

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By in United States,

Another way to tell is the hips: The LEGO printing on top is parallel to the torso in "regular" figures, and perpendicular to the torso in "Chinese-made" figures.

Also, do any Chinese figures have neck printing? I know they used to not, but they have gotten better.

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By in Canada,

Is it possible for the sets included in the "brickset" database to flag which sets have some/all Chinese manufacturing?

I really just can't stand the sub-par quality of the Chinese parts. Originally, I thought people were just making something out of nothing, until I purchased a batch of mini-figs and saw just how low quality the pieces were. Now I refuse to buy the collectable mini-figures and would like to avoid sets which exploit the sub-par parts manufactured in china. I really would appreciate if these sets could me marked or denoted somehow.

EDIT: Ha, I see that I am not the first to pose this suggestion

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By in United States,

This was a horrible decision on LEGO's part! One of the things I love about legos are the always high-quality of the pieces; you can always expect them to never break under normal circumstances and they always have that nice rounded feature, where you never feel the sharp edges of the plastic, like it was cut off from another piece. If they are doing this because of the expense of those pieces...why? It's not like LEGO is low on money or anything! LEGO has always been the best of the best in their products, but this small difference ultimately makes them not as good as they could be! Stop using the Chinese-made bricks, LEGO!

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By in France,

China will produce more and more stuff from your life including toys, deal with it....
Seriously, all this story goes to nowhere, LEGO is a business company seeking profit for shareholders like every other company.
China is the key to more margin because of low cost production. But be sure of one thing, LEGO is clever enough to teach those chinese how to do the work correctly, they are still learning and experiencing with some CMF or BattlePacks. When they will get it, everything will be produced there. Like your TV, your fridge, soon your car, your life.
Then you will beg for some (less) cheap mexicans minifigs....

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By in United States,

I think the legs are understandable considering how complex the printing on them is. It's not like this is anything disastrous like entirely Chinese minifigures. So long as it remains a matter of necessity for complex part manufacturing, I say it's fine.

We've been getting these kinds of parts with the new ewoks, Toy Story minifigs, and so forth. If it looks complex to manufacture, just be prepared for it to be Chinese-made.

It would be nice if LEGO could at least send them some quality ABS to work with... Clearly they are working with substandard plastic and I'm surprised LEGO hasn't raised a stink with them. Or maybe they have, and China is just doing whatever it pleases, because they're cool like that.

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By in Germany,

I do not consider those Chinese minifigs lego. A main reason for me to still buy Lego (and why I know nobody who would consider throwing his Legos out) is the good Quality. The cheap plastic toys from other brands easily find there way to the trash eventually but Lego lasts. In the last years Lego driftet more and more into an unhealthy growth. Too many sets, too many special bricks, too many themes, too many so-called collectables and to top this all off, introduction of inferior quality bricks (especially in the collectables).
In my opinion the real value for kids is that Lego bricks can facilitate their imagination and creativity. Both is corrupted by the wide range of sets and bricks. Finally it has become exclusively about making maximum money but not offering top quality toys. No question, it would have been tragic, if Lego had gone down the pipes in the early 2000s and so I am happy that it's still alive (especially since there are still tons of great sets released every year). But if this corporate milking goes on like at the moment I don't think Lego will stay the kind of toy that we all love so very much.

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By in United Kingdom,

In 2010 I was disgusted that the new collectable minifigures were made in China, and very overpriced. That was a very bad year because Bionicle ended, and The Lego Company started low quality plastic, or so it seemed...

One day last year I saw a Clickits set in a shop (Not that I would buy it, of course.), but I looked at the packet and the pieces were made in China in 2004. So low quality Lego has been around for longer than we think.

At the start of 2011, I hoped that Lego would improve the quality and design of their sets. Because of the Extremely overpriced Ninjago spinners, and the continuation of Chinese plastic etc. , I was wrong.

On Christmas I asked my parents to buy me 8109 Flatbed Truck because I thought that all Technic would be high quality. I was wrong again and extremely disappointed. I think in the future I will make sure that all Lego I buy is high quality. If the Marvel Super Heroes sets are made in China, then what is the difference in buying Lego Iron Man or Mega Blocks Iron Man.

I think that this is disgraceful. Due to the worsening quality of Lego, I have yet to buy a 2012 Lego set.

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By in United States,

Son of a gun there are severe differences! :O

Thanks for the side-by-sides, Huw!

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By in United States,

So, with the Chinese figures, is that why certain figures that I have crack on the sides of the torsoes and up the backs of the arms?

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By in United Kingdom,

Looking at Wonder Woman's legs, my guess is that the piece uses printing techniques that were developed for the Collectible Minifigures and are currently only available in the Chinese factory.

The only issue I've had with any of the Chinese stuff is the translucency or poor colour match (I don't think it's even the quality of the plastic so much as the intensity of the colouring process). If they can solve that one then it won't matter where any given part comes from, but what worries me is that they don't seem interested in solving it.

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By in Sweden,

Man, I kind of wish I hadn't read this at all cause now I'm obsessively looking at my minifigures to see if they're Chinese-made.

The most bizarre ones I found was that the two snowtroopers from my 7749 Echo Base set have right legs made in China and left legs made elsewhere. Light shines through their right legs, and there's no copyright on the bottom of them like there is on the left legs. How utterly bizarre is that?

Also odd, light shines through the legs of my two yellow forest firefighters, but there's a copyright notice underneath both legs so I don't know what to make of that since I don't really have the eye to determine if it's Chinese or not. EDIT: Looked at the box for one of them and it says its components are made in Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic and Mexico. Do they make subpar parts in Mexico too?

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By in United Kingdom,

@Graysmith: Yes, some of the low-quality plastic is made in Mexico too, I believe.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ No, Mexican stuff is as good as any other. I'd be surprised if normal legs in normal sets are sub-par.

It's my understanding that parts made in China are made by subcontractors, not by LEGO themselves whereas all other production facilities are owned and operated by LEGO.

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By in United States,

There is some good points in here...is there a way to like post all these rants and thoughts to LEGO's customer service department?

Granted as toys kids won't care to much about where the fig is made, I think AFOL's (myself included) and maybe some TFOL will have a concern/rant.
I would hope that TLG sees what they are doing and try to make some middle ground. But I think figs should be exculsively made in denmark. At least the ones that come in sets.

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By in Poland,

CMFs - overpriced, there aren't any extra accessories anymore, quality sucks (I can tell Chinese plastic with my eyes closed), some elements are missing (happened to me a few times), they've got loose legs, uneven print...

Friends minidolls and all their new accessories are made in China, yet these sets are more expensive (new molds, OK, but they're Chinese!).

Now the licensed sets, which are always more expensive are cheap Chinese crap. Just excellent. Soon all minifigs will be made in China, let's hope at least regular bricks won't move to factories there.
Good thing is Chinese will steal all the molds and prints anyway and we'll be able to buy cheap clones which will be the same as Lego because the quality is so going down.

I'm overreacting but I am so angry now! These days you have to careful even when buying food because it may also come from China. I hate all the dollar stores and other places reeking of Chinese plastic.

Death to Chinese Lego parts! *all my CMFs scream in agony* ;)

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By in Sweden,

It's odd that LEGO doesn't make demands on its Chinese manufacturers for those products to be of the exact same quality as what's made in other countries. Just because this is China we're talking about, that doesn't mean everything has to be subpar. Apple makes all their iPhones, iPads, etc. in Chinese factories and there's nothing subpar about those products. Of course, LEGO isn't Apple and for the most part all these toys are going to be used by kids who aren't going to care (which means I think you all will have to get used to this). But there's really no reason that LEGO couldn't have top quality parts made in China, other than that it would cost a little more (yet it'd be much cheaper than making them in any other country they have factories in).

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By in United States,

@Graysmith

Weird thing is,I have the 7749 Echo Base set and mine aren't Chinese,they're Danish.So I guess the sets are made in both in China and Europe.It just based on which one you pick.My cousin has the Wonder Woman fig and she isn't Chinese made.

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By in Canada,

I noticed Wonder Woman's legs and hair piece looked different from the head and torso when I first built the Lex Luthor Power Armour set. It didn't click for me at the time that it was because of inferior Chinese plastic until this article was posted on Brickset. Upon closer inspection, the paint is already coming off of Wonder Woman's legs even though I haven't used the mini-figure since building the set. It has been sitting on display for about a month and has not been used at all. I am disappointed in purchasing a set with such a low quality mini-figure.

There are multiple reasons why everyone prefers LEGO over MegaBloks or other building toy brands. LEGO has superior set designs and a lot of choice in terms of sets and themes. I think the more recent City sets are not as good as the ones from the 80s and 90s but I digress. The company also has great customer service. If there is a problem with a set, they typically try to address the issue through replacement parts or accepting returns and refunds. The main reason why most people prefer LEGO is because of superior quality products. If the quality of the product declines, then there is no reason to pay a premium for LEGO. You might as well buy MegaBloks at a fraction of the price.

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By in United States,

You know, most of the A/TFOLs are acting like this is the end of the world. I have a few torsos from the early 2000's (like 2003, 2004) which have large cracks along the side, and this is danish plastic. Yes, the chinese figures are lighter and of lower quality, but really, what's the big difference? Would you rather Wonder Woman be barefoot and wearing a thong (do NOT answer that :D ). If it wasn't for producing select (empahsis on select) parts in china, we couldn't have beautiful detailed figures (like the new Poison Ivy <3 (my Batcave hasn't arrived yet, but I assume she has the same "problems" as WW). Sure, I would prefer that everything was made in Europe and Mexico, but I would also prefer that everything hits the golden ratio, something that is never going to happen. But this Superman set does, and it's licensed. I think that it can deserve to have one part made cheaply to be detailed (well, three, but I wouldn't expect those haripieces to be made in Mexico or Europe).

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By in United States,

I know I am totally irrational but lower quality minifigs is a massive pet peeve of mine. I once went to a Lego store with a build-a-minifig bucket and asked the employee if the CM pieces in the bin were regular or cheaper plastic. He gave me a bewildered look and started saying things like Lego plastic is 5-C quality or something and I started drawing attention and just dropped it. Either the employees are not authorized to say the Lego uses cheaper plastic for some things or I am just way to sensitive about the subject. My Lego-Fluent friends haven't even heard about 'lesser' Lego quality. I was fine and happy with the CM in cheaper plastic so as to make 'cooler' pieces but I hope it does not continue to leak into other sets. And it surely will leak IMO, one minifig torso here and a hair piece there, before you know it all Lego's are cheaper quality. I know that idea is irrational and I am being conspiracy theorist in this situation it's a genuine fear I have.

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By in Canada,

I was pretty upset that my Wonder Woman mini-fig seemed a bit rushed out of the production line. It's nothing too dramatic, but as I opened the package she had a small dent on the upper left portion of her leg piece, (barely noticeable fortunately). There's also a small red spot just below her blue swimsuit bottom that is even more apparent. The hair is comparable to Poison Ivy's in quality so it really isn't a problem, although the tiara looks a bit off on the right side.

I display all my LEGO sets on a bookshelf. So, the small imperfections my Wonder Woman has aren't apparent from a distance, and even from a couple of inches. It's just sad that the one figure I was really looking forward to is also the first in my 20 years of LEGO that is not pristine out of the box.

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By in United States,

i hope lego doesnt use chinese plastice on the sets, i dont want legos to be like the toys at a .99 cent store that last for a week, legos should be only made with their plastic not cheap plastic, but sometimes minifigure torsos break, but if minifigures were made of cheap plastic you would have to throw it away. i hope lego doesnt go on the very long list of toys made in china. when i read this i went to check my minifigures, my collectible minifigures were hybrids. why doesnt lego make a factory in the USA

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By in Canada,

Set is already more expensive because of the license and now its got cheap Chinese plastic. Depressing news.

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By in United Kingdom,

Back Huw on this:

The Chinese will waste the planet all the way to the bank (as much of the world does) and we are funding it.

Their recent human rights record remains also shocking and trade continues for their amazingly cheap price.

Chinese Lego should be what? Half the price of non-Chinese? Don't accept a cheap product with less lifespan and more damage in its production.

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By in United States,

As a parent, I am concerned about the quality of plastic used. But what concerns me even more than that is if the plastic used in China contains Phthalates from PVC plastic or if they have plastic with BPA in it. I would stop buying my son so many lego sets if this were that case!

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By in United Kingdom,

^ I don't think we need worry about the safety of stuff made in China, that's one thing I'm certain LEGO would *never* cut corners on.

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By in Canada,

I just emailed lego direct with my concern and tried to voice these comments.

If we all "CONTACT LEGO" separately, perhaps willy wonka will finally come out of his lego factory and tell us what is going on in corporate.

If a slight "friends" magazine issue is worthy of a Press Release surely this is as well.

If you decide to start a mob Huw, sign me up for the first pitch fork.

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By in Singapore,

(Sorry if this has been posted already in the numerous posts above; I did not read them all) My 'theory' as to why WW's legs are Chinese is due to the intricate design printing. I would think that they have installed some more advanced silkscreening/stamping machine there that is able to churn out quite some complex designs commonly found in the collectors minifigs. Hence the usage of the poorer quality legs. OTOH Superman's legs are easily built from current parts made of the Lego ABS we have come to love.

However, I'm baffled by the torso. That one is true blue Lego ABS...

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By in United States,

I just ordered this set, hopefully the difference in plastic quality is not that noticeable since I am really looking forward to those new minifigures.

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By in New Zealand,

I used to be bothered by this, but not so much. I've noticed that all of my collectible minifigs from China have impeccable printing so that I can't distinguish two identical heads from each other, but give me any two 'good quality' printed heads and there are always differences - the printing will be thicker, darker and/or misaligned.

As long as the printed parts are unique (like Wonder Woman's legs), I don't mind any more. As long as when I order soldiers from Bricklink, they don't send me low quality doppelgänger minifigs from battlepacks or chess sets. Unprinted parts like white legs for my soldiers, I would rather have in high quality please.

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By in United States,

I would like some of the Lego Ambassadors to weigh in on this. I am utterly disgusted by the cheap chinese quality.

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By in United Kingdom,

I think they still look of a good standard even though the fact of some parts being made in china is a cop out. The only good thing with china plastic I suppose it makes the sets bait cheaper.

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By in Italy,

THAT's a REAL problem!!! no friends them or not!! the quality of OUR LEGO!!! We want the hight standard !! not this stupid chinese plastic!! Wake-up LEGO!!! :((

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By in United States,

Wow, this is a hot little topic. I have too throw my two cents in. I can see both sides of this debate, but for those who cant tell the high quality and the low apart ....REALLY! Lets not be lying to ourseles now. It is there and it is clear as day. I will say that I personally think the quality is improving. I just got the new series six figures and the first thing I noticed was they did not have loose arms and legs. The quality felt a little better too, but one thing still stood out strong: they still have a lack of sheen. My wife, who careless than anything else in the world for Lego, noticed that. They really are a far cry from the very sad knight battle packs that we were given a few years back... those made me sick. Also the red legs the keychain santa you could almost see right through it.

I would agree with the comment made early on. I don't care where they are made, just make them the same. To me it seems like the plastic pellets are coming from a different supplier and the dye does not mix the same in it.

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By in United States,

HOLD IT.....HOLD EVERYTHING! I own the this set and I have just discoverd that Wonder woman is the only minifigure made in China. The Superman and the Lex luthor have the: (c) LEGO on them. Still its a shame how Lego is making things in China now. Ol Kirke would be turning over in his grave.

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By in United States,

I also checked my Super Heroes minifigures, Wonder Woman does not have the (c) Lego under the toe part and have 08-B12 and 01-B12, where B12 is underlined, but I also checked some old Batman Minifigures and instead of the 08-B12 like number it has 3 and 9 number but no (c) Lego, same with the old Joker? I then checked the Minifigure series 6, and found the 08-B12 with (c) Lego, vs the Minifigure series 1, which has the underlined number but no (c) Lego. So no (c) Lego more often means its from china? Just asking...

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By in United States,

Also, I was doing a little hair swapping between the aerobics girl and the caravan girl, the CMF ones head was open with the "Y" in it, while the caravan girl is solid.

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By in United States,

I hadn't noticed the difference until Huw pointed it out, it wasn't as obvious as it was in the Skeleton Mummy Battle Pack. Not a deal breaker for me (the Lex Luthor Mech is terrific!) but I was wondering if anybody can say definitively that the Chinese-made plastic is inferior. Sure, it looks different, but is it of poorer quality? Will it not last as long as the Danish or Mexican plastic? I would prefer that all of my Lego look as nice as the Danish stuff but if all Legos last the same amount of time, then I don't mind that some look a little different.

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By in United States,

Just got a Series 6 sleepy dude. His foot right on the back before the stud opening have a plastic stress fracture. The blue coloring has gone white from the end to the stud opening. The plastic also feels pretty darn sub-par as well. I'll call up cust. serv. tomorrow and see if I can get a replacement. I'd love to send the pants back so their QA can inspect them. Also I had one of those sockets (62712) from power miners shatter on me. I've never had a Lego brick do that...ever.

I worry that if this trend gets worse, Lego may never have to worry about secondary markets for their toys... they'll all be broken in the recycling bin.

Also I hope Lego is testing their subcontractors to make sure the plastic is 100% ABS, last thing I want is someone cutting corners and putting in PVC, PETE, etc.

Does anyone else hate the swirls I'm seeing in gray and the crappy "gold" colors over the last say three years?

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By in United States,

Noticed the gold swirls. Not pleased but have nothing to compare since I just started LEGOs about 1/2 a year ago.

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By in Australia,

I've never been too bothered by this in the past.

But reading some of the comments here, about how people have had pieces that have shattered, or are broken in the bag/box, is a little bit worrying.

Also, knowing that Lego subcontracts out to other companies to make some of their pieces -- maybe I'm too cynical, but I hear the word "Subcontract" and I start fretting.

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By in Germany,

@ Huw
Are you really sure about that? Google for Mattel and production in China. I think they also did not want to have these chemicals in their toys...

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By in United States,

Hey they are attempting to make as much money while they still can...did you not hear that the end of the world is at hand?

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By in {Unknown country},

Over the years, I have tried to curb my addiction to LEGO sets and minifigs but have failed but it looks like TLG are giving me a way out now by introducing these low quality mini figs and whatever else they are trying to sneak in the sets that we're not aware of. If this is how they are going to go down line of following all the other big business and not care about the avid LEGO fans, they can kiss my money good bye. Why does every big companies just think about excessive profit at the expense of their loyal customers? I wouldn't like to collect them if they are only going to discolour or disintegrate in a few years.

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By in United States,

I couldn't find any comments about it anywhere else, but I'm pretty sure there's a similar problem with the Winter Village Post Office. The left (from the front) dark green roof slopes appear to be made of an inferior plastic, and the color is different.

I emailed LEGO and got no reply.

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By in {Unknown country},

One of the main reason I buy Lego for my kids is because Lego is one of the very few toy making company in the world that doesn't make their toys in China (earlier on). And not only that, my eyes and my touch can tell the difference. And I'm happy to pay the price they are asking for and became an AFOL myself mainly because of the quality of the products.

And since mid last year I began to see some "Made in China" appearing in sets and even more so now. Well if the quality is on par I believe no one will complain. But the problem is it's not. I will just keep emailing Lego whenever I see a sub-par parts. They should know that one of their core-competence is about making high quality products, and I don't wish to see them losing this competence.

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By in Philippines,

^^ Maybe they ran out of what I call cut-and-paste responses?

Anyway, aside from the visual evaluation of the quality, the final way I can see to really test the difference between the quality of Chinese and non Chinese bricks is through subjecting the material through a stress test to determine its modulus of elasticity. Does anyone have the means to do so? And is anyone willing to part with their precious minifigs for this?

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By in United Kingdom,

Simple solution - don't buy them! Gutted as I am, its the only way to make them change.

roguetrader1987 - agree 100%

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By in United States,

If not for this post, I never would have noticed that some LEGO parts are made in China.

As for people bemoaning stuff being produced in China, half of the things in your home/office probably originated from there. Chinese manufacturing occasionally leaves a lot to be desired, but you don't see your stuff blowing up just because it came from that country.

Remember when "Made in Japan" used to be a depreciative remark? Things change. Don't like it? Don't buy it. LEGO is not an essential product. Deal with it. (I'm sorry, but three-quarters of the posts in this topic just smack of Sinophobia.)

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By in Belgium,

^ As far as I understand, people aren't moaning about the fact the LEGO is produced in China, just the fact they produce inferior quality LEGO...

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By in United States,

Crap.

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By in United States,

@Markey: the assumption being that Chinese-made products are automatically inferior.

A quick Google search led me to this old thread (http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=53480&st=0) on eurobricks, and they seem to be much more balanced about the Chinese issue that some of the posters in this thread, i.e. they're not immediately caving into ridiculous mass hysteria.

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By in United States,

Believe me, a major reason why I (and I'm sure most of us) continue to buy LEGO is precisely because of its high quality. But what I don't like is people automatically blaming occasional lapses in quality (of LEGO) on Chinese production. As the eurobricks thread points out, LEGO sometimes had issues coming out bad long before LEGO ever outsourced production to China, and someone even pointed out that Chinese-produced Minifigs occasionally come out better than European/Mexican produced parts.

So I do not see this as a "worrying trend" until it can be conclusively shown that there is a direct and widespread link between pieces produced in China and those pieces being of lower quality. The data (albeit anecdotal) seems to show that that is nowhere near being true.

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By in United Kingdom,

@utarempire - I agree.....

personally, had this not been raised I wouldn't have noticed....my little boy certainly doesn't notice, he just enjoys daddy buying so many lego sets to play with.

Someone mentioned BPA in the plastic, but I would have thought the number of plastic items we all own will expose us to more BPA than lego would ever do.

I'm sure that without subcontracting or moving operations abroad then costs of sets would be more expensive and profit margins smaller. As such there would be a smaller range of products than the masses of lines we currently enjoy. I remember small sets use to cost around 99p in the 80s eg 6611. These sets are certainly so much cheaper now (for various reasons) and we all enjoy a cheaper product (referencing the scores of bargin hunting posts on the forum). Would we pay £10 for 6611 nowadays? If CMFs weren't outsourced, would we pay £5 for them? I know they wouldn't be as competitive in the grab box sense...if lego don't outsource then all their competitors will....business strategy either pushes them to a niche 'collectors' quality market or a more general all ages market....

Do Chinese lego break easier? I would have thought lego has some QA process to ensure quality. I know Danish lego isn't perfect, I have a few minifig torsos from the 80s with armpit or wrist cracks.

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By in United States,

@UltraEmpire - I agree with you.

Also being of Chinese ancestry, I take offense to some the remarks that are being made here. I was born in the USA so I identify myself as American, but some of the hating on Chinese products is uncalled for.

The problem is Lego quality control and the fact that they would allow inconsistencies in their production to be distibuted. Chinese factories produce what is provided and acceptable to their clients, Lego. The products have not been shown to be worse in durability than their countparts, but are visually different which is the main problem for a toy that prides itself for quality.

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By in Ireland,

@fuelbreak That idea crossed my mind too, LEGO should issue a press release to explain the situation and take into account our concerns about lower-grade plastic being used in their figures and sets, it's a much more prevalent issue than the Friends debate because it affects everyone who buys LEGO.

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By in Switzerland,

I would like to add some experience from a different perspective regarding production in $China, that of a model railroad fan.
As of today, all big model railroad companies produce at least some of their models in China. This has let to many, many, many similar posts regarding quality in the respective forums. What I have gathered over the years is that it does not as much seem to be a problem of production, but more of a problem regarding quality assurance. Models with printing errors, warped models (which apparently have been taken out of their molds to early), broken bodies - they all reach the customer who can easily blame production in $China. Actual production problems are rather rare ("polluted" alloys were used which let to the metal bodies of engines breaking after a few years. This affects plastic, too, but is even rarer. It was shocking though, since it was thought to be a problem of the past (i.e. fixed after the war)).
So far, I'd go with the topic's headline - it IS a worrying trend, because it shows a lapse in the QA system, but so far, nothing more. If the quality of the plastic itself is inferior (apart from the shine and see-through problem), we will probably only be able to judge in a couple of years, when the plastic has been exposed to oxygen and light long enough.

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By in Canada,

I have to agree with almost all posts. I have a daily argument with my 12 year old son about Megablocks Halo which he seems to think is a good product despite the fact that each and every one he has purchased (with his own money as I refuse to spend my money on that product) falls apart when he looks at it. I can't seem to convince him that Lego is a far superior product. While I don't mind paying more for a quality item the direction they seem to be taking is of great concern to me. I have been a very vocal Lego advocate for many years and I hope I can continue to do so. DOWN WITH CHEAP PLASTIC GIVE US THE QUALITY WE DESERVE!

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By in United States,

CMF 6 Seems much better, tighter, better fitting.

I think it will take time for the chinese parts to catch up to denmark, but given time I believe it will.

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By in Canada,

I did the look into the light test on my WW mini and could see through, but no suprise. Later that night i was disassembling my 8087 Tie Defender and noticed that 5 of the 6 large black wedge wing plates had a matte finish in the back... are these Chinese parts?

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By in Ireland,

Just got this set and while the transparency itself is fine the paint quality is actually poor on the legs and is really noticable along the edges and the the front of the legs where they start curving near the top too.

Shame really. nice figure...mostly.

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By in United Kingdom,

Outside of the plastic quality Id like to add my concern over the printing of some of the latest figures from 2012 sets.
A lot of my Batman 2/ Superhero's Minifigs have some pretty messy printing on the heads/Torsos.
My Joker's torso is all smeared, and the colour print is misaligned. Smears on the head of my Riddler figure also.
Both my R5 units from the X-Wing and Y-Wing sets have wonky/ sloppy print on the head piece- from a couple of reviews I've seen on Youtube and Online It would appear im not the only one.
I find it pretty disappointing as as far as im aware none of these are chinese parts- and I would add that ironically enough all the printing on the latest collectable minifigs I have is flawless. I mostly collect sets because of the minifigs, and have never had any issues with printing in the 10 or so years I've been collecting.
Anyone else having issues with the Superhero figures, or the new R5's?

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By in United States,

Unless Lego sales start going down, why would Lego stop producing Chinese parts? Whatever the slight differences in quality are, is anyone going to actually stop buying these sets as a result? Not I...

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By in United Kingdom,

I think it's awful that we pay so much and then this happens. The prices are rediculous as it is but to drop the quality and still raise the prices is outrageous. If anything, the quality should improve! The worst figure i've seen for the quality is the samurai from CM series 3. The dark red colour is very transparent and the edges of the wrists werent cut very well. Also, the armour was also badly made.
@ smokebelch - I haven't actually had problems with my batman figures however the ink on my cousin's joker figure is quite thin. This happens a lot when a light colour is printed onto a dark one and it really shouldn't given the price!!!
I think that we should somehow give LEGO our message and tell them we won't buy their sets until the quality of minifigures is back to how it was. It won't happen but.....

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By in United States,

UtarEmpire: You have a point there, but my first interactions with lesser plastic was with the CM's (Which I agree that their plastic has improved) and I'm not being racist by disliking lesser plastic that I'm told is produced in China. I just am simply a huge Mini fig fan and I hate seeing them lower quality then usual. It as nothing to do with them being made in China, if the lower quality parts were made in the US or UK I would be equally upset. This has nothing to do with where the plastic is made, it's the fact that it doesn't have the 'Lego feel' to it that many or all Lego fans love.

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By in Ireland,

Just reading through some of the comments here. My further thoughts are as follows:

a. doesn't matter where something is made, if it is sub-standard that sucks. Don't go blaming chinese production just because it is made there - I certainly don't. The CMF are fine (except for lady liberty - she feels so cheap and poor quality compared to the others)
b. for the whole set there are 4 parts that are bagged separately. Superman's hair and wonder woman's hair are also in the bag with the legs and also with the lasso. The cost saving here would probbaly be minimal as it would have to be shipped to where they are packed so it makes you wonder why or how much they'd save on those few pieces.
c. Overall the set is quite good but pricy for what it is. I just wanted the minifigs

Looking at the figure again, there's at least 5 flaws in the paint with the legs. I should probably contact lego and ask for a replacement.

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By in United States,

I remember the very first CMF I opened, and instantly I could tell a difference in the plastic. I even commented on that to my partner, something like, "Aw, they've changed their plastic." It felt cheaper, lighter, more brittle. (It was the Flying Ace, BTW.) I also collect Asian Ball-Joint Dolls and that's a group even more obsessive about the quality of the plastic used in their toys (polyurethane resin, in that case), so I've gotten a real feel for telling the difference in kinds of plastic. That CMF was the first new Lego I'd bought in a while, and my disappointment that I hadn't managed to score the elf was almost as acute as discovering the decrease in quality.

I have a white Lego astronaut from the 70's that was a childhood toy and my very first Lego figure. He has a few bite marks in him, yet the plastic never weakened or changed opacity where my milk-teeth scarred him, and the density of the plastic kept the marks from going deep. And his plastic has the same heavy, creamy quality of good ABS even now. He's in my box with my other figs, in pride of place. I collected castle sets in my teen years and built and rebuilt with them for decades, and the only thing to ever break was one of the blue claw holders from the Wolfpacks' wagon, from having spears and such pulled roughly from it one too many times. If you handle quality Lego plastic long enough, you know it, how it feels and yields and its weight and the sound it makes when shaken together. It doesn't clink or jingle, it rattles. (Unless they are transparent small bits, which do have a kind of musical chime.)

Not so the collectables, or the body of the city speedboat set I purchased earlier this year, which felt sharp-edged and fragile right off. I know the CMF for what they are, and I still like to collect them because they're cute and have cute parts, but I expect a certain kind of quality from the sets and was pretty cheesed off to find such a big piece from that set was made of 'junk' plastic.

I just sent some of my old "filler" Megablocks to my nephew so he could use them as play bricks, since they don't meet my build standards. How long before I start sorting out Lego by plastic quality as well?

I don't care where it's made, Lego. Just make it right.

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By in United States,

@legoguy2805-What did you expect from a Crash Test Dummy? Isn't the name make it more obvious?

Anyways, I've been thinking: This is among the most commented news reports in the history of Brickset. I say we should make a record today, or by the end of the week. We can do this!

P.S.- What is the most commented article on the site? This is just one of my many questions of randomness I must know.

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By in United States,

Chinese plastic doesn't exactly woe me too much. Sure, it's a bit lower in quality compared to the traditional Danish plastic, but as long as it looks good and is about as durable as the familiar Danish bricks, I'm fine.

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By in United Arab Emirates,

After all the fuss i had another look at wonder woman's hair and legs. Hair felt fine. Legs only a smidgen off the 'normal' quality plastic but otherwise the printing on her legs are very passable.

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By in United States,

Next you're all going to say that you never noticed that the plain bricks in the same set aren't the same color (I've had reds, yellows, and browns that don't match), or that the Antenna 1 x 4 is now a bar, that they mangled the 1 x 6 arch, that they're shipping jumper plates instead of jumper tiles, and on and on.

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By in United States,

so my question is. if one figure if made out of chinese pieces are they all made out of chinese pieces.

example as taken from above.

Davy Jones

Are they all made from same mold in China or are there some made in Denmark.
maybe for that figure they are all made in china. But is this the case from every fig in every set.

is it going to create a benchmark across sets. people will start setting values of a figure made in denmark vs a figure made in china.

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By in United States,

@TooMuchLEGO, but it doesn't. That's the point.

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By in United States,

Man... and we thought set quality was going down. This is even worse. I just can't imagine what moron at LEGO would ever think that this is a good idea. They try to market LEGO as a "kid's toy", but then turn around and throw out toys that wouldn't last two seconds under the heavy play of a five year old. Of course, I might say that this isn't totally restricted to the above examples. Is it just me, or are minifig hands losing quality? My evidence for this would be that most of the minifigs in the NinjaGo sets my little brother has seem to be losing their grip... even after short times. Contrast this with older minifigs that are so durable they still have nice tight joints.

If these highly detailed minifigs are really costing LEGO so much to produce, then there are a few viable options for LEGO.

1. Raise set prices - I doubt many people are going to like this option, especially since set costs are already going up.

2. Lower set quality - Again, surely not going to be a popular option. Nobody wants bad sets. LEGO's motto has always been this: "Only the best is good enough." So, this option is not very viable.

3. Cut down on the crazy minifigs!!! - Personally, I would rather have less detailed minifigs in favor of better quality, lower prices and, for that matter, more minifigs. Hello, what happened to including enough minifigs to actually fill all the positions on a set? http://brickset.com/detail/?set=7163-1

Well, I'll probably post this on the LEGO.com messageboards, sometime. For me, the entire minifig phenomenon is starting to get on my nerves. Almost every minifig made today, in licenced themes especially, is specialized toward some specific spot. Have you noticed that you can no longer build up an army of basic clone troopers? Again, it might just me, but that doesn't seem right. But, LEGO is going to need to decide how they want to balance things out. I'll probably keep buying sets no matter what, but I'm going to be a lot more wary of sets now that I know this...

Blockman

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By in Ireland,

@Bobszaar The announcement of LEGO Super Heroes had 302 comments, but this one could get there if the debate keeps up!

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By in United States,

everett_xml: Yes, I have noticed that. I have three different tints of light grey in my collection, as well as two tints of white (One almost a very light grey) , two tints of brown (One more of a light brown as it has a red tint) but as far as I am concerned, their is no quality differences between them. Lego isn't infallible, there are sure to be some misprints or damaged pieces, but its RARE. It isn't a trend. I have well over 70 Lego sets and none of them have ever come with any imperfections. That's not to say that imperfections come sometimes, but the point is that it's rare, cheaper plastic is a trend, it's not a small imperfection that comes along every couple sets. And now the cheaper quality are leaking into regular sets. Now, what's getting me actually upset is that not only do the pieces have cheap and unfamiliar feel to them but they are coming dented, damaged and with cheap paint. This isn't a small unfortunate imperfection, 95% of people here that have bought it have reported WW legs to be dented or damaged in some way.

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By in United States,

:P I hate Chinese-Made Lego!!!!!!!!!

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By in Australia,

@Huw, I know that this has been asked before, however do you think we can have some sort of categories, or section so to speak on the actual Product Information Page of the set's, where it list's where the ''Component's'' are made?.

It really depends on what LEGO Product your looking at. Some set's do have specialized part's but don't say ''China'' or even ''Mexico'', although Mexico is actually good Quality.

As far as I know these are the Countries I have seen on LEGO Sets.

-Denmark.
-Switzerland.
-Hungary.
-Sweden.
-Germany.
-Austria.
-Poland.
-Czech Republic.
-Mexico.
-United Kingdom. (Once)
-Korea.
-China.
-Malaysia. (Once)
-Hong Kong. (Once)

The majority are Denmark, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Czech Republic, Mexico and China, of what I found.

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By in United States,

I get very excited when I can find sets with China not on the label of production sites.

Can we tell based on their rank order on the package how much of the set is produced in the various countries?

Is the first country where most of the parts are made, etc.?

If they are going to charge so much for the licensed stuff, they should manufacture all parts in Denmark.

@Huw I thought that most of the non-battlepack figs were not made in China. When I look at the reporters hips in the Alien Conquest mothership, it appears as if it is made in China (verticle not horizontal Lego).

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By in Canada,

LEGO's name is a title of quality since 1949.
It has been a better-quality brand compared to all the others since I knew of LEGO. I've always chosen LEGO because of the nice glossiness it has. But now, the unthinkable is happening and the quality of the plasitc is dropping. I not only dislike the texture of the new China-made pieces, but also the colour and infact I can feel that its slightly lighter in weight. (might be just my bias towards the quality and imagining it lighter)
Anyhow, hope they can keep their quality up.

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By in Canada,

I just received my order from LEGO.com and they give a booster pack from ninjago if you spend more than 75. When i was building the minifig I remarked instantly that something is wrong, the pants is made of cheap plastic. I hope it will not be the new trend in LEGO set to put some cheap minifig....

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By in United States,

Personally, I think by outsourcing parts to factories in other countries, not only has it prevented greater price increases, it has also allowed Lego to produce a greater variety of sets, themes, and minifigures. Just look at the gradual increase in the number of sets produced each year over the last ten years. The variety of themes and parts available right now is staggering... and fantastic (in my opinion!) If all parts were made in Denmark, it is unlikely we would see such variety. Anyway, to all who are complaining, just don't buy the "cheap chinese plastic" sets and minifigs... money speaks louder than words when it comes to business!

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By in United States,

Does anyone know if the Chinese-made ones have been tested for lead, cadmium, or arsenic?

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By in {Unknown country},

Having more variety of sets will increase sales figure. And when business minded executive cares about sales figure more than anything else, this is what we're seeing. The reason of having subcontract Made in China products in the executive minds, is about the advantages of lower production cost, faster time to market, and lower risk in times where the economy outlook is unknown; compared to having new production lines in Europe. So it's between quality and variety, what is your decision as a buyer? If we continue to buy into the marketing hype (cartoons, comics, videos, etc.) of new Lego sets, and put the quality of bricks (or minifigs) as secondary, I trust that we will see Lego putting quality as secondary too while having sales and marketing as their primary goal.

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By in Switzerland,

@blockofchip - I'd rather test for other stuff like PBA.
@Elli - I very much doubt there are any sets produced in Switzerland. That would be far, far, far too expensive.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Technic and other complex parts used to be made in Switzerland, I believe, but I don't know if they still are.

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By in New Zealand,

I really wish they'd look at reducing the number of new molds as a way of reducing costs rather than reducing quality.

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By in United Kingdom,

In regards to Wonder Woman I've compared mine to other figures and you can see a difference. The colours are not as vibrant and are absorbed into the figure which contributes to the dull look rather than the more colourful sheen on other figures. The printing on her legs is a little sloppy as some of the red from the inside of the legs has bled over onto the front and the weight of the figure feels less than others.

These may be relatively minor differences but when added together they do change my perception of the quality of the figure. If this reduction in quality is on the increase and is likely to be mixed into various sets across all of the themes then it will become part of my thinking when buying a set which it never needed to before and that is a real shame.

Quality was not a concern for me before, the odd misprint or missing piece was always rectified by Lego as it was a genuine mistake. They won't be able to replace any of these parts as the errors are inherent in the manufacture of all of the pieces. They need to stop this before real damage to their reputation as one of the world's favourite toys is done.

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By in United States,

I agree with many here and can tell a difference in quality visually as well as by weight and touch. One of the first things I do after opening a new set is move the legs back and forth. You can instantly tell if you're dealing with higher quality as the legs will be more stiff to move (also mentioned above).

This quality slip has already influenced my purchasing behavior. I had planned on collecting the entire Friends line, but it sounds like now even bricks are showing signs of the lower quality plastic. The same goes for the custom minifig series.

It's going to take a large group to make change and the quickest way is shown through our wallets.

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By in United Kingdom,

To be honest its not that i've got a problem with Lego made in China its just that if we are buying sets with Both Denmark made Lego and China made Lego then the price tag should be cut and the pieces be made to last forever!
If its just a set fully made in China and the pieces are not going to last then whats going to happen is that Lego is going to lose its reputation of being toys which can be passed on by generations.
By this happening parents and other Lego fans will stop buying these sets which will mean they will lose revenue and end up being in a 'sticky' situation as they were in the late 90's and 2004/5 era.

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By in Malaysia,

Clearly, LEGO needs to assert their quality control over these Chinese "sub-contractors". I would argue that not all things China-made are of inferior quality, but yes, most are only because they could get away with it. China cannot be relied on their own to make quality products because undercutting is their only business model, and they have to to survive the intense competition in a market as big as China. Apple products are also made in China but they have strict control over their suppliers and when Steve Jobs was around he'd check the quality of the parts personally and if they didn't come up to his standard he'd send them right back and have them redo again until it's there. LEGO needs to do the same here. Enforce the LEGO quality control that we all have come to know and love and the only reason we keep buying on the suppliers, those that can't meet them skip them until you get the ones that can. The moment TLG compromise on its quality is when they lost everything LEGO stands for.

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By in Poland,

This is a very sad news...
I've accepted the fact that the collectible minifigs are of lower quality but only because they are not too expensive. And at least they're well designed. It is worth noting that the quality of CMF has improved beggining with S3.
But still, I appreciated the fact that LEGO was separating chinese minifigs and "normal" sets.
However, even with those "normal" sets there have been some quality issues recently:
- cracking 1x1 slopes and other 1x1 bricks, cracks visible within weeks of assembly
- loose hats
- loose seats / loose legs
- visible color variations
- low quality molds/plastic for gold and silver elements

Recent sets look better, though. The worst are the ones from 2007-2008.

What LEGO is doing is probably perfectly justified in terms of the profitability. Kids see only increasing number of parts, variety of designs, lots of new themes. Parents (not AFOLs) like the fact that they don't have to spend a fortune and prices are not increasing. LEGO is happy that each new generation will want/have to buy and play with new LEGO sets...
The only thing that TLG is risking its reputation. And I believe that LEGO has long been among the top rated brands.

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By in United Kingdom,

@ TheCahleySlash - I agree, Lego is well known for being a toy which can be passed from generation to generation. I got a lot of the bricks I have today from my dad. People might not realise the inferior quality now but perhaps in maybe a few years when the pieces are broken and can no longer be passed down. Lego needs to have a word with the chinese company - surely they can't be happy that the pieces aren't up to the high standards which they have set themselves.

@Gime - yes , I've alo noticed lots of cracked pieces and colour variations. I don't however agree that recent sets look better - I'd say they're just as bad - there are cracks in some of the pieces in my pirates of the caribbean sets already! I don't even use them - they just sit on my shelf! And prices ARE increasing so it's even worse! Have you not seen the rise in price of the battle packs and the expensive prices of the super hero sets? That's why it's even more annoying that the quality is decreasing. If the prices stayed the same, I wouldn't be so mad!

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By in United States,

^If your pieces are cracking, you should request replacements from TLG. The more issues like this they are aware of, the more likely they are to take some action and fix the problems.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ That's what I have been doing but thanks anyway :)

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By in United Kingdom,

I don't know why but the figures I own that are cracking are the Chinese made. I only bought them about a year ago, for animation. This I do not like...

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By in United Kingdom,

Sorry about this, and I know I'll probably get ejected from the community for blasphemy, but...I'm not sure what you all are talking about. This is probably because the 'Chinese' figures I own are all fairly new and haven't had much wear and tear yet, but I don't see that much of a quality difference. Yes, I can see and feel the difference, but it strikes me (after a quick comparison between the CM Aviator/pilot chappy and the Pharaoh's Quest Johnny Thunder wannabe) that the Chinese figures are just as good. The pilot's legs move really smoothly, but his hands are a little stiffer, and his colours are softer and printing more vivid. Again, I haven't had him too long, but in the climate, all the figures I have that have cracked are 'traditional' figs who's plastic is more brittle.
But again, I could be crazy. Please don't hunt me down and kill me...

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By in Ireland,

I picked up 7930 assault gunship a week ago and had a look at the figs and one has chinese made legs. Weird thing is one leg has the (c) Lego inside. Definitely lets light through though.

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By in United States,

I conveniently received a survey from the order I placed at shop-at-home for 6862 (Superman Vs Power Armor Lex). In it I explained my concern in the quality of certain pieces and the trend as a whole to lower quality pieces and below is a snippet from the response I received:

Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in our survey. We love to get feedback from our fans, and yours is very valuable to us! We received your completed survey, and after reading your comments, thought it would be great to get back to you personally.

The majority of LEGO® pieces are made from ABS plastic [Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene] ...
It all starts with tiny plastic chunks called granules ...
...

This has been the same process and same type of plastic since we started making LEGO bricks out of plastic. I apologize that you feel as though the quality has suffered over the past years. We do not want you to feel this way so I have passed all of your comments along to the appropriate quality department.

We thank you for taking the time to answer our survey. With out dedicated fans, such as yourself, we wouldn't know what we need to improve on. Any positive or negative feedback you have in the future, please feel free to express to us. We want to know what our fans think!

My advice? Fill out the surveys as you receive them or give customer service a call to let them know what you think.

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By in Canada,

It took me a night to debate whether I should sign up and voice my opinion on this topic.

I've owned Lego since the eighties, and I can tell the difference from the plastic Lego used back then. Lego has never been perfect, many of the bricks manufactured before production began in China discoloured and cracked over time. I have no issues with the new sets made of components from various countries, none at all. I probably need a microscope to check every single piece of my Lego to really find out what the problem the majority here has been talking about.

I have also sets made strictly of European bricks and there were chips and scratches (not from packing or transporting, I am a self-proclaimed packer myself as I've moved 10 times in my life) that can be more bothersome to me. I don't remember seeing that when I was a kid in the eighties when every brick looked shiny, hard, and consistent in colours. But then, it didn't bother me as much since Lego bricks have transformed over the years, good and bad. And the good and the bad have nothing to do with the manufacturing country.

Nothing lasts forever.

My thinking is that, if you can take that much time of your life looking into tiny things like this, you are probably taking the joy out of building and playing with Lego. You are probably a sad person.

I am saying this because, after reading many posts here, particularly by individuals from the States and newly-developed European countries (Poland for example), the central idea is that everything "Made in China" or associated with China is evil. Some of you say that Lego has built up its name on its quality. Well, I don't know about you but the "decline" in quality has more to do with Lego's manufacturing process than the places where it was made. Also, how confident are you when you refer ALL the defective bricks come from China? You generalized that because the word is Chinese products are bad and China is easy to blame. At the same time, not many of you speak of the high quality your iPhone, netbooks and Logitech mice you're using now to look at my post. When speaking of higher quality from the Chinese, you choose to shut up.

I hope those of you who declared your anger on Chinese-made components take your time to look at your life. All of us, particularly those who are not rich, pay a hefty price on Lego and we all have expectations. But I cannot see where the problem is coming from. You want the price of your Lego to grow in time, thus thinking that if it were made in China, it has the tendency to depreciate its value. Well that's your problem. Go buy stock, funds or something that gives you the ability to sit back and enjoy without pointing this finger at something that's unnecessary. If you are a parent, I don't know about you but every time I was in a big-box store, most kids hung out at the Transformers aisle and I haven't heard anything like children got poisoned from a toxic Bumblebee. One of our moms here cried out "Hell to Chinese products" and she wasn't the first I saw on Lego forums. Many of you have vivid imaginations on things, but they were not put to good use in Lego.

And some of you even want Lego to open production in your country and hire you, again, if you cannot afford Lego, find something else to fulfill your life.

Sorry my rant is over. I hope Lego is reading this and disregard the country-specific and radical comments. These people don't PLAY with Lego, they think they own TLG.

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By in United States,

I agree with @Townpolice... and I'm not Chinese!

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By in United Kingdom,

very well made comment @townpolice!

China is an easy target for the west to criticise in terms of manufacturing but never praised for their achievements......

I was looking at some of the older posts and noticed one user to bringing issues about chinese human rights into a lego forum, that was a bit out of order....

I think that there should be some regulation of the comments made on this discussion as the sinophobic nature of some of them are detracting from the essential discussion of quality (regardless of where its made).

And lego bricks don't last forever, my childhood bricks certainly don't 'work' as well as the newer bricks in terms of clutch strength, not necessarily anything to do with quality but presumably due to the nature of plastic being exposed to temperature, light etc.

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By in United States,

Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no. What has LEGO done?!

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By in New Zealand,

Thanks to the pics linked halfway through this, I just realised my SW imperial guards are from a Chinese factory. Then I realised how the bricklink store I bought them from had most likely procured over 1,000 of these particular figures for sale. Say hello to grey market Lego. Always a danger with contracted production in another country I guess.

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By in Poland,

I admit I don't like and try to avoid all things made in China, I have many reasons for that but I won't be writing a personal tirade here as I want to stay on topic. I'm happy for the people that can't tell Chinese parts from others, unfortunately for me the difference is very visible.

I also played with Lego in the 80s, and taking out all my sets after 20 years and seeing as they're still in great condition (unlike my other toys) is what brought me back to Lego. When first buying CMFs I had no idea they're made in China, yet I saw the difference immediately. Now I expect much less from CMFs but that's not the way it should be.

I was into another toy hobby before Lego and I left it because quality was going downhill (yes, Chinese factories) and the prices were constantly increasing. I was happy to move onto Lego as I thought I'm buying high-quality European product. Now, TLG didn't care that I had missing pieces (or e.g. 2 left arms) in my CMFs, copy-and-paste response is all I can get from them.

I do own some collectibles also made of China that are of excellent quality, but these are made for the Japanese market. So if the Japanese can make sure stuff from Chinese factories looks great why can't TLG do the same?
I don't expect my Lego to grow in price over time. I expect to be still able to play with it in a few years time and I already can't put my CMFs upright because their legs are so loose.

The sad thing is that our complaining won't change anything. Kids don't care, same with their parents and they are the buyers that count, not AFOLs. Until TLG has to recall their toys for lead paint hazard etc. like other toy companies the world won't pay attention to bricks being made in China. So all I can do is start getting used to this lower-quality trend and pretend that nothing’s changed.

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By in Belgium,

150+ comments and no sign of slowing down. Surely some record?

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By in Denmark,

About Lego making money for share holders, they can't, Lego doesn't have share holders.
The company is still completely owned and controlled by the Christiansen family through some kind of fund.
They actually have more incentive to live up to the old motto: Only the best is good enough...

I don't give a flying brick where they have their factories (but it's cool that it's in Denmark:-) as long as the quality is the same as we are used to or better.

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By in Australia,

@Mickitat, Switzerland was LEGO's Second Largest Producer and was on nearly every set from 1950-2005, unfortunately the Switzerland Factory had to be shut down because of LEGO's major Fiance drop in 2004 :( , So now Hungary is LEGO's Second Largest Producer.

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By in Australia,

I tell you what, though. One thing I have noticed recently is the quality of the 32 x 32 green baseplates.

Nothing sticks to them anymore.

I like baseplates, because a lot of larger sets (like the Christmas village sets) don't come with baseplates anymore. But recently, every baseplate I buy -- the pieces don't stick to the studs on the baseplate. They just pull (or fall) straight off. It's very disappointing.

I thought maybe this was done by design -- making it so pieces don't get permanently stuck to a baseplate (needing a blade or screwdriver or something to pry it loose).

But it seems looser pieces are starting to happen in more and more sets? Maybe this is part of some endemic problem?

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By in Switzerland,

@ Elli and Huw - you are/were right - Lego did produce in Switzerland until 2006. Shame on me, it wasn't even far from here...

Let's face it - Lego is a toy for kids. So production and QA will never be up to the standard of toys for adults. And even though there are many AFOLs who spend a lot of money on their hobby, they are still by far a tiny minority. As long as the quality is good enough for the kids (and it is), it is good enough for Lego to put on the market. Like with any other AFOST (Adult fan of some toy) there will be concern, anger and nerdrage, but unless the kids start to protest in front of the stores, nothing at all will happen. Yes, it is extremely annoying that my stormtroopers hands break so fast and the helmets do not fit (for long). But for kids, that is okay, toys break and they do not have to last for more than a couple of years - Lego is something most people (kids) grow out of. For collectors it is very, very bad. But if Lego was to keep the standard collectors and AFOLs want, prices would have to go up, simple as that. The same has happend with other toys for adults, please compare the prices of model trains - you can easily spent 400 Euros for a single engine and 50-80 for a car today. In this case, it seems much more appropriate to moan if something is wrong. The price increase for Lego seems moderate compared to this. And let's be honest - who pays full price for a set? I cannot remember when I did that for the last time, must have been years ago.

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By in Switzerland,

@Townpolice
What an amusing post. On the one-hand you are complaining about the quality of the discussion (even though it has been very civilized so far) and how people are bad-mouthing China, on the other hand, you are actually insulting people ("sad person"), something no-one has done so far.
You might not have noticed, but "China" is simply a place-holder (therefore I put a $ in front of it), people do not care a "flying brick" as one member put it, where the parts are manufactered, as long as the quality is good. And it is perfectly all right to complain about the quality, if one was made - over the years - to expect a certain quality. Of course there are thousands of items in my everyday life which can be of lower quality than I am used to and it does not matter whatsoever. But if there are expectations and they are not met, I can complain. This has nothing to do with "right to" or morals, or whatever. If I want lower qualitiy, I buy those clone bricks (made in $China, icidentally), which are only 2 Euros per 100 parts but which are so poor quality, I actually consider them a hazard to the health of my children).
Lego is a toy - yes of course - but it sure is a stupid idea to ignore the customers, even only some of them. This minority is the group that made sets like the Death Star or the Taj Mahal possible - not the kids.

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By in United States,

@Mickitat: So is there a reason why "China" is a placeholder for poorly-produced LEGO parts when
(a) we can simply use the phrase - wait for it - "poorly-produced LEGO parts", and
(b) as many other posters have noted but most still refuse to acknowledge, that LEGO, like anything else, is prone to faulty production, even for parts that were produced in Europe or Mexico?

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By in Switzerland,

@UtarEmpire
I guess this has a lot to do with China's image as a production center. Once a bad image about something has been formed, it takes ages to fight against it (if it is even possible). This is not just the case with China, it is also a problem for brands. Remember the elk-test which almost killed the Mercedes A-class? There have been so many news about dangerous toys produced in China, with all kinds of toxic components, it just sticks to the country, even if it is the producer's fault. Right now, one can think about the problems concerning working conditions at the Foxconn, a major supplier for Apple. It does come as a shock for people if all of a sudden, the bad stuff does not come from China, but from around the corner (like the catastrophic test results for the wooden Brio-brand toy trains which contained all kinds of dangerous chemicals. I have no idea where they are produced, but afair it is a German company).
As for back to topic - is it certain that the hybrid minifigs have appeared only now? Since when have lower quality minifigs appeared at all?

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By in United Arab Emirates,

Quality control is the main issue, and lego has the right to reject any bad 'batches' wherever it comes from! Who complains to apple about their iphones/pads/pods?

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By in Australia,

I just built the new City Garbage Truck 4432, and the two 1 x 2 plate hinges with 2 fingers were of disgusting quality. I haven't been to bothered by the CMF issues, but these are dull white (almost very very light grey), and virtually transparent, very light and make a higher pitched sound when they clink together. I am actually going to complain to LEGO about these parts because they ruin the look of the vehicle, despite their small size (that's how bad they are).

I don't care where the parts are made, as long as they are all the same. If this issue spreads, that coupled with the extortionately high prices we pay in Australia, could easily turn me off this until now wonderful hobby.

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By in United Kingdom,

I agree with Mickitat - no-one's saying that China is bad. It is a fact that the pieces of lower quality come from china so we're perfectly justified in calling them Chinese pieces. I don't see why people are getting so funny about this.
And @ Townpolice - You have no right to call us "sad". Keep those kind of comments to yourself! And why would anyone talk about "iPhones, netbooks and logitech mice" - it has nothing to do with this news article!!!! Anyway, no one's saying that all the things from China are poor quality - we're just talking about lego here!

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By in United Kingdom,

Really, guys. Can anyone (apart from Civic Bossman) point out an instance where these bricks are ACTUALLY lower quality, not to mention dangerous? Because otherwise, all Lego is doing is outsourcing, doing something that's cheap for them and is providing jobs in a developing country. China doesn't have to be synonymous with bad quality.

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By in United Kingdom,

Please don't get me wrong, I'm only saying this because there only SEEM to be isolated cases of bad quality bricks. I could be wrong, and it could be that every other Lego set is sold with defective parts, which is what you guys seem to be saying, but Civic Bossman is the first to post a real problem.

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By in United States,

@brix:
> It is a fact that the pieces of lower quality come from china

Is it now?
Can you see why some of us are slightly irritated by posts like this that smack of xenophobia when no evidence exists to back it up?

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By in United Kingdom,

@ UtarEmpire - yes it is - bricks from china are of lower quality - you can just tell from the translucency, weight and feel. Also, chinese figures have blunter edges making them looser - how is this not worse quality??? And I am not xenophobic for saying this - I would be saying just the same if they were from the UK. As many have already said, it's not about where the bricks are coming from - its about the quality NO-ONE IS DISSING CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!

On a separate note, another way of telling whether a figure is made in chine is from the neck - danish figures have a printed block of colour on the neck, chinese figures don't, they are just plain. I think this is the easiest way of telling where the figure is made.

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By in United States,

@Townpolice:

First off, I must say congratulations on what is seemingly a more or less well thought out argument. I'm still going to disagree, however.

About the iPhones and laptops, here is the way it does not apply to the discussion:

One is a toy, the other is an electronic product. The iPhone functions in a completely different way from LEGO. The plastic casing is just a small part of it, but LEGOs are entirely plastic. Thus, LEGOs should be consistently made with a very high quality to last a long time. Not that iPhone plastic shouldn't be good, but it doesn't have to deal with what a LEGO piece has to deal with. Also, apparently Steve Jobs himself would check the quality of the stuff his Chinese factories turned out and, if he did not like it, he would send the stuff back.

Next, why shouldn't LEGOs last a really long time and stay nice and sturdy? LEGO has long stood for quality and this is an affront to that quality. If pieces are falling apart, doesn't that signal something is wrong? I'll admit, since the days of magnet set minifigs, the quality of Chinese parts has seemingly gone up, but it still isn't there. LEGO has a lot of work to do on that front.

Well, I'll probably need to continue this post later...

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By in United Kingdom,

This topic is certainly causing a healthy debate isn't it!

The opportunity for LEGO to produce parts in China has allowed it to make complex parts that we probably wouldn't see otherwise, such as the myriad of non-human Star Wars, Harry Potter and Alien Conquest heads, for example. Generally these parts are excellent and without fault.

However, for whatever reason -- one we'll probably never know -- parts that are made of ABS are noticeably inferior and given that parts made today are as bad as they were when they first started making them in China 4 or so years ago, LEGO seems OK with that. No attempt has been made to make them better, and that what galls me.

It's not where things are made that defines their quality, it's the materials, quality control and processes around their production that do.

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By in United Kingdom,

you would think Lego would uphold there high standards of production across all there factorys in the

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By in Australia,

@Mickitat That's okay, we are Human haha, were not perfect :)

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By in Singapore,

I'm not sure if this was commented anywhere in forums. But apparently the green baseplate of the modular Pet Shop is of the same plastic. Place a normal one side by side against a strong backlight will reveal that the inferior one is more translucent. I was appalled by it and I immediately wrote to TLG.

Imo Lego is in a golden age where set design is concerned. They have been churning out great new models and improved designs of remakes. So it's a shame that quality has taken a slide with the intro of this plastic. Lego pieces aren't like those I grew up with.

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By in Canada,

This is what LEGO said to my comments about this issue... Lets see what HIGH PRIORITY means......Huw, perhaps you can bold the key points, I do not have this ability.

" ....Please know that the issue provided in the link (brickset) as well as your concerns are being addressed as we speak. Again, nothing is more important to us than the safety and quality of all of our products and this is certainly not acceptable. I would like to thank you for being an avid fan of LEGO for so many years and for taking the time to provide us with this feedback. While I cannot give you all details, this is something currently being reviewed by our quality team. ((((((I can assure you that they follow popular forums such as Brick Set very closely and the minute we see a concern it is put on high priority.))))))) Please do not hesitate to contact us again if we can be of further assistance. We wish you many more happy hours of creative building with LEGO brand toys in the years to come."
Lisa
LEGO Direct Consumer Services

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By in United Kingdom,

Interesting, thanks.

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By in Denmark,

The molds in China have exactly the same dimensions as in the other factories, there should be no difference, the colour and surface finishing quality is being improved constantly, hopefully soon there will be no noticable issue.

In standard LEGO production we can only print on the front of legs, in China they have newer technology and can print on the side of legs, in the case of Wonder Woman it seems appropriate she should have boots on. It's not a trend likely to escalate to other sets as the complexity of making a part in China and moving it around the world to standard packing lines is best avoided. In fact only parts that China can do better than LEGO itself are put in standard sets.

BTW, there is some doubt in my mind as to the validity of all of the China complaints as I've seen a lot of complaints on various forums moaning about the 'cheap' figures in the new Ninjago spinners - despite the fact that this year they are from the normal production line in Billund. I’m beginning to think some of this (not all, but definitely some) is just snobbery.

And to the person asking if the paint was checked for harmful substances - yes of course it is, it is in fact exactly the same ink is used on all of the figures in every country, we buy batches and split them up for transport to all production facilities, (including the outsourced ones) as it means we only have to carry out one set of the (very expensive) safety testing mandated by the USA after the Hot Wheels paint issues a few years back.

Cheers all,
Mark.

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By in United Kingdom,

@ Nabii - Thankyou for the information. Just out of interest, how easy would it be to use the newer technology that china has in Billund so that we can have good quality plastic and side printing on the legs? Thanks

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks @nabii, that explains why her legs are produced where they are, but please feed back the comments about the quality of the ABS used in China, it's just not as good!

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By in United States,

there is a small problem, I dont own the set, it is my friends, but it is a response to the current problem, I dont know what to do

Dear _______,

Thanks for getting in touch with us regarding your new 6862 Superman™ vs. Power Armor Lex set.

We're very sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the quality of the set, specifically the Wonder Woman minifigure. The quality of our sets is very important to us as we want our customers to be happy with all the products they receive from us. Actually - controlling the quality of the toys that leave our factory is a big job (about seven LEGO sets are sold every second!) and we spend a long time trying to get it right. We have a whole department of experts (and machines) who test every LEGO set before it leaves us - they even weigh every box to make sure there's nothing missing.

We can assure you that no matter where our pieces are produced, our quality standards are global and they all have the same requirements. In fact, our requirements are checked even more strictly for production outside of Europe. We have taken a look at our Wonder Woman minifigure here at the office and there doesn't seem to be anything different about the material nor is there any fault in the design itself. If you wouldn't mind sending us the minifigure so we can have a closer look at it, that would be great! You can ship the Wonder Woman minifigure to the following address:

Please make sure to include that reference number on the package so we know exactly what it's for when we receive it. Again, we do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and we are more than happy to forward on your comments about this. We will keep in touch regarding your minifigure once we receive it and can take a closer look at it.

Thank you again for contacting us. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reply to this email or call one of our friendly Customer Care Advisors at 1-800-835-4386 (from within the US or Canada) or 1-860-749-0706 (from outside the US or Canada). We are available Monday through Friday from 8AM - 10PM EST and Saturday through Sunday from 10AM to 6PM EST. Please have your reference number handy if you need to get in touch with us:

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By in United States,

@Nabii I second the thanks for the explanation. The personal communications of Lego employees is much more satisfying that the standard corporate response. I agree with Huw. The plastic quality is just not the same, especially the legs of the collectable minifigs are really noticeable. To me they feel and look a lot like Megablock quality. I would imagine this is known by the company. I would assume they would be trying to do something about this. Do the facility(ies) that make the CMF's use the same batches of ABS plastic divided up among the sites? If not, I would imagine this would improve the quality.

Thanks Again.

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By in Switzerland,

Wow. I am really impressed by Lego's reaction. This is unusual and I am very much looking forward to the resolution of the issues.

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By in Belgium,

We dont have Lego stores in Belgium, but since I am a couple of days for the job in the UK, I paid yesterday a visit to the local Lego shop here in town (Liverpool).
Taking advantageof the fact that the average retail price here is about 15% lower... so even paying standard prices feels like buying on sale... :-).
Got me some superheroes boxes (for some reason not avialable in Belgium... yet?), but the Superman / Wonderwoman set wasnt there... Could it have to do with all the buzz about bad quality? Did they take it off the shelfs?
I didnt insist or ask the shop employees further about it... I collected already more then what I can take in my suitcase.. But it seems to be a strange coincidence..

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By in Ireland,

Hey all. If you have this set and you feel te legs are not great like I did, contact Lego. They've sent me out a hand-checked replacement. Hopefully it'll be a bit better than the one I have already.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ I doubt the base material of the replacements will be any better but at least if enough people do this LEGO might get the message that there's a quality issue and address it for future production runs.

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By in Singapore,

This is VERY disappointing! LEGO has been reducing the quality of LEGO Collectable Minifigures...the plastic was bad enough...now, the printing is HORRIBLE! I have to bring this up on the LEGO MBs.

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By in United States,

@bandana-joe: Hey, cool seeing you on here, too. :P You may know me more or less on the LUMB's as "Skywalker1966." You know? The guy who started the Rangers?

Well, anyway, back to the topic...

What I don't get is LEGO's response to this whole fiasco. On one hand, the Chinese-made minifigs are obviously made of lower quality plastic, and on the other hand LEGO is totally denying and difference in quality between the two types of minifigs. They just can't both be true...

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By in Denmark,

I have no knowledge of how plastic 'works' but could it be that it is the same raw material but it is influenced by a different temperature, humidity, dust in the air or something else.
That would explain that Lego says it is the same material and people experience diffent quality.
If nobody thought that the invironment had any influence they may not have tested it...
Just a thought :-)

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By in United States,

^I am sure TLG has it down to a very good science what time, temp and pressure are required. I will bet if you watch this: (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/ultimate-factories/episode-guide/) you will realize that as TLG has been manufacturing plastic parts for so many years, they know what influences the quality of the bricks. Maybe the subcontractors are messing with the parameters to save money or using substandard plastic? If TLG didn't make mostly quality bricks, they would have been losing a lot of market share to Megablocks.

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By in United States,

Legomylegos1: The part about "We have taken a look at our Wonder Woman minifigure here at the office and there doesn't seem to be anything different about the material nor is there any fault in the design itself." Seems like a lot of boloney. That is the same reaction that I got with staff at my Lego store, I guess they won't admit it. Even if it's not Lego's fault and sub-contractors are to blame, almost everyone can see the lesser quality, let alone a Lego employee who obviously works with Lego bricks often.

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By in United States,

Does anyone have a Death Star made when it first came out? I just went to look at where the parts were made for it and found that some of it came from China. I was a little surprised to see this, but I was slightly suspicious when I saw some of the quality of some of the plates and when I looked at the hips on some of the figs and noticed the Lego imprint was vertical. I thought that a set of this price would have all high quality pieces.

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By in New Zealand,

My CM collection smells REALLY SUPER BAD! Like cooked bathroom cleaning product chemicals. I'm not getting anymore as they just REEK! I now keep the CM guys and their gear separated from my main collection and will rarely go near them. Its not the quality of the plastic that bothers me so much (although it does), but its something about the hideous chemical odor/stench that this plastic gives from the time you open the bag up to now. It certainly cant be healthy. Poo to Lego for actually allowing this kind of quality of plastic to hit the market and then say 'oh we're sorting it out just be patient'. Seriously, that is certainly no where near good enough (especially for the daylight robbery prices we pay in the southern hemisphere). Get it right before you put it on the market Lego and stop being so blatantly Grubby and Greedy.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Ive never had a problem with the smell - all my bricks, even chinese one are odourless...

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By in United States,

This is the most ridiculous thread I've seen on Brickset to date. My Superman vs Lex Luthor came the other day and I still cannot tell the slightest difference between "regular" parts and Chinese-made ones.

All you are doing with your own hysteria is destroying the fun you get out of your own hobby. Enjoy that.

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By in Australia,

Well spoken, UtarEmpire...

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By in United States,

^^If you don't like the thread, don't read it. The facts are: 1) CMF's are 100% made in China, 2) The plastic is lower quality.

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By in United States,

UtarEmpire: Well then good for you if you cannot tell the difference. But some of us DO notice the difference, and this is the first sign of a very low quality minifig being included in Lego sets. Actually it seems to be more the ink than anything. Perhaps the plastic does not absorb the ink as well? And I for one am not destroying anything, just my feeling towards the CM's which I have been, "Meh." Towards since I first got one and immediately noticed the difference. Some of us 'Die-Hard' fans are wary of the upward incline of lower quality pieces, especially since the prices of sets are going up. And I'm not even totally sure that the lower quality pieces are made in China, but that has nothing to do with ANYTHING AT ALL. I don't care if I made them, they're lower quality and that is ALL THAT MATTERS.

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By in United States,

Initially, when I first knew about the lower quality plastic, I didn't react that strongly. Of course I was somewhat disappointed in LEGO, but I didn't think too much of it at the time. So, I just went on with life, buying my LEGO sets without giving it a second thought. Then, one day, I purchased a few collectible minifigures, which, when I opened them, were damaged.

Again, I will repeat, DAMAGED, when they came out of the packaging. And, it's not like the kind of damage that could come from someone handling it too hard while trying to figure out what the figure was. There was a crack in the back of one, and at the end of one arm, part of it was just not there, causing a very loose hand. It was easy to tell that they were production errors.

Since then, I've been cautious when purchasing anything from our beloved LEGO. I am constantly checking to see if any of the parts were made in China, which, if they are, there's a good chance I'll buy some other set instead. Now, with this news of "hybrid" minifigures, I'm extremely worried about the quality of the future LEGO products that will come to know my home as their own...

"Only the best is good enough." Where is LEGO's famous motto in all of this?

Signed, a very disappointed FutronBob.

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By in Canada,

Has Lego gone mad? If they think that is acceptable quality to keep up their fabulous reputation they may as well call it "Mega Blocks."

When I used to receive specially modelled minifig pieces such as Dobby, Ewoks, Watto, I was amazed at how they had improved them since their predecessors. But if this is just junk from China, I'd have to think I'd rather have the old ones, back when Lego took care and quality in where they made their exceedingly excellent products.

And what really ticked me off was how they think it's suitable to produce ALL of their Collectable Minifigures in China. After I heard this I just about lost it. How can they charge $3.50 for a fake minifigure!

The colours of the Collectable Minifigures are different too. The green on the dinosaur suit guy is off. I compared it to all of the shades of green bricks, and it didn't match any. The plastic smells really odd and the feel of the plastic is really waxy and it looks shiny,

The legs for Lego City minifigures are made in China and the green of the legs of one of the farmers is different than the torso. Some other China minifigures are Wald from the podracers and Jay from the skull motorbike is from China also. even Brains from the claw catcher ! I am VERY angry about this and I almost don't want to buy any more Collectable Minifigures. PS. And, how do you tell if battle droids are from China or not?

I'm not against China making Lego if it is up to the same quality standards. So far it hasn't been quite as suitable. My main concern is that Lego is not lowering it's quality and becoming worse in the future.

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By in Germany,

Just to see if all this moaning about the increasingly wide-spread use of Chinese bricks and their bad quality is justifiable or only much ado about nothing, I checked my CMFs as well as those minifigs from last year's Star Wars Christmas calendar with regard to Huw's criteria. Oddly, the clone pilot appears to have a normal right leg and a translucent (Chinese) left leg and Chinese belt... How could that happen? Is this simply a sign for a fluctuating quality of Chinese production or does TLC really assembles such elemental parts like the 'trousers' with bricks coming from two different production sites far away from another? Primitive parts like them can't be worth this effort!

It's okay if they have to produce the most special parts in China if there isn't any other option - But simple legs without printing? Seriously?!

As many of you already have mentioned: It was the high quality which made Lego leading in its line of business - and if the Chinese bricks really bring a loss of quality (and they surely will do) it could be disastrous for TLC... Apparently, something is rotten in the state of Denmark, eh?

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By in Canada,

wtf lego this is realy f**king gay!! I am going to stop buying lego.

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By in Canada,

^Please no profanity on Brickset, young kids might be reading this right now and other members might find the words you use to be offensive. Thanks.

Back on topic, I have noticed the lower quality ABS plastic being used in recent years. However, I do understand that TLG is trying to save some money by producing products in Asia. The money saved can be used for many things such as: new molds=new pieces, hiring more set designers= more sets and better design, and buying more ABS plastic. With that said, LEGO should lower their prices a little bit considering some, or most of the parts included in the set are made in Asia. Just my two cents, I hope what I said made sense.

-Brankell5566

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By in United States,

Does anyone have the scientific equipment to measure the transparency, strength and density of the same color bricks made from the different factories? That would put some numbers to the issue instead of just visual observation.

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