The end of the line for Modulex

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If you've been following the discussion about Modulex bricks in the forum you will have read that there was hope that they were soon to be manufactured again. Unfortunately hopes have been dashed by an announcement on the Modulex Facebook page:

"We are pleased to tell that LEGO Juris A/S has acquired Modulex bricks in a mutual agreement. It has been important for the LEGO Group owner family to ensure historic rights stay within the owner family. The potential to produce Modulex bricks has also been addressed and there are no plans to manufacture Modulex bricks in the near future."

LEGO Historian Gary Istok has written this short article on the history of Modulex and the company owners:

It was looking to be such a promising new beginning. Modulex was the TLG offshoot that was formed in 1962-63 for architectural and commercial uses. It was spun off by TLG in the mid 1960s, and evolved from a miniature architectural system, into a commercial sign company. And in just the last year the Modulex building system license was purchased by a 4th generation Christiansen family member, with the intent to resurrect the small scale building system, under the name Modulex Bricks A/S.

Although Modulex looked like LEGO, it was smaller, and not compatible with regular LEGO bricks. The Modulex building system license was purchased recently by Anders Kirk Johansen, great grandson of LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen, and the nephew of principal LEGO owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (Kjeld’s sister Gunhild is Ander’s mother, Kjeld bought out that part of the family’s LEGO interest in 2007).

Modulex Bricks A/S owner Anders Kirk Johansen standing in front of his Rohan Gods Estate, where he lives, and on the estate grounds where Modulex parts were being produced.

Production for Modulex Bricks A/S was getting ready. Molds were being readied, test parts were being produced and given out to interested buyers. Then things went quiet in December. The reason for this became apparent on Jan. 7, 2015, when the decision was made that KIRKBI/AS, the parent company of TLG, was buying the entire Modulex line, and production plans were cancelled.

Here we see Modulex bricks test parts that were produced in white and gray, and then painted various colors. This was to help determine which colors were going to be put into production later.

These boxes appear to be what the Modulex Bricks A/S sets were going to look like, until the sale of Modulex Bricks A/S was announced and production ceased.

For more information on the early background of Modulex, see this Appendix B of my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide which explains the Modulex System.

For more information on the planned resurrection, and now demise of Modulex Bricks A/S, see the Brickset forum discussion on the evolving story.

 

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17 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

What a shame. Nanoblocks seem to be widely on sale, well regarded and adult-oriented. I had wondered whether Lego wanted to pursue that market. Does Nanoblocks count as a clone brand though?

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By in Australia,

It seems LEGO doesn't want to cannibalize the adult segment of the market (as well as their Architecture Line). Here's hoping that LEGO sees that there is much potential in us adults with di$po$able income and from this point forward produce more sets orientated towards the adult market.

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By in United States,

^^ Some people would say that for it to be a clone brand, it has to be compatible with LEGO, although I've always considered it to be a clone brand.

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By in United States,

^ Nanoblocks is owned and made by Kawada, a Japanese company. It's distributed in the US by Ohio Art. There's no relation to MB.

In function, I suppose you could call Nanoblocks a LEGO clone, even though the building techniques generally used are nothing like modern LEGO. In form, Nanoblocks are quite different from LEGO (beyond the similarity of being interlocking building blocks).

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By in United States,

What Sastrei is probably thinking of is the Nano Building System (http://scribeofages.com/nano/) that MegaBloks put out many years ago before the current product line of NanoBlocks. Those MegaBloks were very cool and I enjoyed them a lot.

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By in United States,

I personally don't consider Nanoblocks to be a LEGO clone since they are not compatible with LEGO bricks. Since I don't consider them a clone, I have purchased a few of the sets, and they are nice. The durability is definitely less than that of a LEGO brick, but I think it probably has to be due to their micro-size.

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By in United States,

As for the argument of Modulex not being compatible with LEGO... When you're dealing with SNOT (Studs Not On Top) building methodology... eventually everything is compatible with LEGO.... ;-)

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By in United States,

While it would be interesting to see more Modulex MOCs at conventions and online and stuff, I have a hard time believing the AFOL enthusiasts who think they were going to build something unique with this stuff actually would build something unique with this stuff. Maybe I'm wrong, though. But most Modulex usage comes down to cramming a few bits of it in here or there as an NPU.

Or small space ships. I've seen those, too, once again proving that all parts are space parts.

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By in United States,

I think that Modulex would have filled a niche for building in Micro scale. And the original Modulex had a window "system" that was great for building commercial buildings with. It had a range of nearly a dozen windows that were available with frames in clear, brown, gray, or black. Not sure how much of it would have been resurrected though. But it was one area that LEGO really lacks even to this day... a large window system where everything is compatible... and available in the same range of colors.

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By in United Kingdom,

Modulex also had a lovely simple way of rotating bricks at an arbitrary angle with a very thin circular base thinner than a plate.

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By in Netherlands,

OK, although I have been a LEGO afan for 25 years....
What is modulex and what makes it so special? The piece look identical to other regular LEGO pieces?

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By in United States,

hi ethan. :) *waves*

scribe and binary, thanks for pointing those out! I stand corrected. Never realized they were two separate product lines.

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By in United Kingdom,

That's disgracefully anti-competitive, to buy a potential competitor just so you can shut them down. That's just not cricket, LEGO. For shame.

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By in Australia,

Cortez, this wasn't really a competitor in the usual sense; it was a spin-off from the original LEGO group.

I never knew about Modulex until I read this news. I'm not an architect, so maybe that's why. I think Modulex sounds much better than those fiddly plywood models that architects use so much.

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By in United States,

What's the point of modulex anyways? All it is is the reverse of Duplo.

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