What's wrong with 21303 WALL•E?

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The last few days of LEGO news have been dominated by discussion of 21303 WALL•E and its patchy availability worldwide. It is a great shame that such an impressive set has incurred so much negativity, although not without good cause as there is a significant flaw in the design of the model.

There has also been some confusion about what exactly is wrong with the set. This has been exacerbated by an email currently being distributed by LEGO customer services which refers to 4265484 and 4211695 as the pieces needed to resolve the issue, contrary to the known problem. Hopefully we can clarify both issues now.

WALL•E's neck consists of four joints, three of which allow you to angle the head vertically while the other allows horizontal rotation. It is this rotational joint which is causing an issue as it does not have enough friction to keep the head in position. Instead it rotates freely, thereby restricting the poseability of the figure.

21303 WALL•E

However, to complicate things further LEGO customer service has suggested that there is a second fault which requires parts 4265484 and 4211695 to solve. Apparently this has only impacted upon a batch of sets destined for North America, hence the delay in the release of the set in the US and Canada. I suspect there are some missing or defective parts in this particular batch, although that has not been confirmed as far as I know.

21303 WALL•E

It therefore appears that LEGO will not be resolving the issue with the neck at the moment, in which case we will have to modify it ourselves. My first thought would therefore be to replace the problematic joint with something stronger, perhaps a large ball joint consisting of parts 4497253 and 4619760. I am having difficulty incorporating these elements without compromising the appearance of the model at the moment, but I will keep working on it.

If anybody has any suggestions for improvements I'm sure they would be much appreciated by everyone who owns the set, so let us know!

74 comments on this article

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By in South Korea,

So Lego is going to sell us a known defective product with no recourse and expects us to find a way to fix it?

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By in United Kingdom,

Oh great. Now I don't know what to do. Buy a faulty design now in case it's never fixed otherwise I will miss out? Or wait for Lego to rectify the problem and pick it up in a second run?

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By in United Kingdom,

What does the pin of that top joint go into? Is it just into one hole of a Technic liftarm/beam?

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By in United States,

Thanks LEGO. You sure do love your fans!

I'm sure they are thinking, people will buy whatever we tell them to.

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By in Canada,

@Xerics; this is not an isolated problem.

I've had problems with clutch power while building numerous sets. The Exo-Suit had some really flimsy holder pieces ( http://brickset.com/parts/4211644 ), and the "Powersauce" batteries in my Kwik-E-Mart kept launching into the air when I tried to stack them.

There are thousands of moulds currently in use, and sometimes things go wrong during production.

I contacted Customer Service about my problem with the holder pieces and they sent me a bunch free of charge, and encouraged me to ship the potentially defective pieces out to them for inspection.

They take this stuff very seriously, and I'm sure they'll do whatever they can (monetarily feasibly) to rectify these issues.

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By in United States,

@ Xerics,

In most cases, when an issue comes to light after release. Lego issues replacement part(s) and a modified instruction sheet, free of charge. But, you have to call or email customer service.

I know they have done it in the past, but, the only set I can think of it happening to is 7184. Maybe someone else can help out with the newer release. As 7184 is 15 years old.

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By in United States,

The joint isn't really too loose, the head is just too heavy. But how could LEGO not notice this issue? Is it only in the set because there were no other ways to make it stronger?

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By in United States,

The last time LEGO screwed up so badly was the Star Wars Radiant VII Republic Cruiser set, in which they put the EPIII Obi-Wan head instead of Qui-Gon's head, which was in 2007.

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By in Sweden,

I ordered the set today anyway. I just couldn't risk missing out on this set.
I'm pretty sure there'll be a solution at some point.

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By in France,

I was really really looking foward to buying this set, but if i can't put Wall-e's head how I like, I might pass on this set and wait for it to be fixed or a newer model.

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By in Canada,

I just recently found this model available on shelves in Toys R Us here in BC, Canada. It sold out that same day. Does anyone know which batches were affected? Batch Number?

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By in United States,

Why is everyone making such a big deal out of this? Yes, the neck moves, but once you have it in place where you want it - there is no reason to mess with it again. Geez...

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By in Singapore,

I'm wondering, does the original Ideas design had this issue too, or is it introduced during the productization phase within TLG?

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By in United States,

When I looked at the US LEGO store page earlier this morning, the WALL•E wasn't listed yet, but now it is showing up as "Coming soon"-- But the price is also listed as $59.99 instead of $49.99 that you reported in the review (http://brickset.com/article/16206/review-21303-wall%E2%80%A2e). Did they up the price, too?

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By in United States,

I pre-ordered from Amazon US when it came up, and just received the shipping notice. Seems they had to fill the pre-orders, but looking up the same item comes up empty page.

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By in United Kingdom,

Given how many excellent reviews this product had, where the fault wasn't even noticed, the hysteria of some posters on here seems a bit strong!

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By in United Kingdom,

@ScoBo - It was originally priced at $49.99 when announced on LEGO Ideas, so it seems rather unfair that the price has since been increased.

@CHERUBboy - Every review I have read has referred to the fault. It is still an excellent product in my opinion, despite the issue.

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By in United States,

If they did up the price it would be the second recent example. The Ferrari F40 press release on brickset showed it as 89.99 in the US not the 99.99 it sells for. Frustrating.

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By in United States,

It just says 'Coming Soon' on the USA [email protected] page..
The Brick Fan site is saying there was a mold problem in the Mexico plant that makes the parts for North America...and the Czech plant for Europe didn't have the problem.

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By in United States,

I just got off the phone with one of my local LEGO stores here (Houston Galleria), and they confirmed they are not putting it on shelves today and it will be a couple weeks before they do.

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By in United Kingdom,

Dumbest screw-up so far I think is this:
http://brickset.com/sets/9442-1/Jay-s-Storm-Fighter
Where they changed the stiffness of the plate hinges between design time and production time - at least in Europe - such that the wings would no longer deploy under the pull of an elastic band. And all Customer Services would do was ship out newer, even stiffer, hinges as replacements.

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By in United States,

Just picked mine up from Toy R Us in Portage, MI...First person to grab one there!

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By in United Kingdom,

@Evil Pixie Works er... except this was a LEGO ideas set voted for by 10K people?

I got one today. Haven't built it, but just glad I have one before there's any chance of it selling out. Unlike the series 14 minifigures, which they got through 25 boxes of and ran out already!

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By in United Kingdom,

Lego is for stimulating imagination and coming up with construction solutions with the bricks you have. It's not a fixed product like a Rolls Royce. My Wall-e will be mine to tinker with and improve, using my imagination. I'm sure thousands of builders come up with huge improvements in sets. That's what it's all about for me. The set is the starting point of a great adventure.

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By in United States,

Plan C: wait until the defective model goes on uber discount and everyone else finds the appropriate mods.

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By in United Kingdom,

Wow, sounds like someone got scared by Mickey Mouse at Disneyland once and has never got over it.

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By in United Kingdom,

Had a bit of a play around and fairly happy with the result (barring the wrong colour part):
Excuse the rubbish photos.

What you'll need:
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a380/willp2003/3E17C406-9A95-4154-87B9-0AD3B16A492A_zpsa5csi6hi.jpg
Parts left over:
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a380/willp2003/AB36561E-5A9E-4290-B870-44F1495F025E_zpsmpep0oql.jpg
Construction:
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a380/willp2003/82142183-8429-4CA8-B0B7-D011475DD0D8_zpsomlwd3qw.jpg
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a380/willp2003/94EA8295-83C6-476F-84F6-62F5001FC04E_zpsskoparwe.jpg
Stability:
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a380/willp2003/42F25BB6-2506-4E43-8685-2ED61734F83C_zpsobciqxb7.jpg

I removed the top 1 x 4 tile as well to increase the mobility. Hope it's of help to people. Now I need to get a grey brick with ball socket and other bits to put my hulkbuster back together!

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By in United Kingdom,

Omg! So I just watched a YouTube review and that head support issue is _really_ bad. How on earth did this get passed?

You see as he is fawning on about all the points of articulation the head just flops around uncontrollably. Defeats the purpose of said articulation if the end result is that you can't control his head movement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t86Ti9aPEnY

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By in United Kingdom,

A starting point is to use a black male joint that attaches to the 3 holed technic beam instead of the grey one. The black ones have better clutch however it is still not enough.

This is a pretty poor result, I cannot believe the people with high status' at LEGO passed this product with a huge problem like this to the global market.

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By in United States,

Similar to someone else noting above, I stopped by my local Lego store today (Northern California) and they told me that hadn't even received the WALL-E sets yet, and they don't know when they're going to. He said that both local Target and Toys 'R Us stores have them. (But I don't get points that way!)

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By in United States,

Wait a minute... they're sending out a service pack for a completely non-existent flaw while ignoring the serious one?! Something's screwy here.

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By in Australia,

People are getting riled about a Lego set of a Disney robot. If playing with Lego gets you this annoyed/anxious/righteous it's time to step into the Hall of Mirrors and take a long look at yourself. Me? I enjoy playing with my Lego because Lego is fun.

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By in United States,

@EvilPixieWorks
I seem to recall there being some 10,000 supporters being involved.

Maybe I'm just old, and I have bad memory.

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By in United Kingdom,

Best value, best looking set ever. Such a shame about the head/neck pin but even with this "flaw" i love it. I want it to have power functions and be alive 24/7 as our pet robot.

@Xerics
So Lego is going to sell us a known defective product with no recourse and expects us to find a way to fix it?

The product is not defective. The "problem" is a design choice. A poor choice but I'm sure it was intentional to have his head able to rotate freely.

@Sethro3
Thanks LEGO. You sure do love your fans! I'm sure they are thinking, people will buy whatever we tell them to.

I'm no fan of TLG but to be fair, we told them this is what we want to buy. 10,000 of us in fact.

@Lightningjay
I was really really looking foward to buying this set, but if i can't put Wall-e's head how I like, I might pass on this set and wait for it to be fixed or a newer model.

Even with that flaw, you shouldn't pass on this set. There are easy non-lego ways to temporarily fix the head in place for display.

@rcmadiax
Why is everyone making such a big deal out of this? Yes, the neck moves, but once you have it in place where you want it - there is no reason to mess with it again. Geez...

God forbid anyone wants to actually play with Lego... "How many times do I have to tell you? Lego is not for children!"

Aside from that, if angled even slightly upwards or downwards, the head is not poseable beyond a 45 degree angle from centre...anything beyond that makes the head swing round to the back. Even if you can get it stable under 45 degrees, a gust of wind or a slammed door is enough to make it swing round again.

@CHERUBboy
Given how many excellent reviews this product had, where the fault wasn't even noticed, the hysteria of some posters on here seems a bit strong!

I think the disappointment stems from just how good this set is in every other regard. As a display model, if the neck was poseable, I would say this is the best looking "model" Lego has ever produced.

@Evil Pixie Works
What's wrong with WALL*E? Really want to know? It wasn't popular? Or entertaining. Or had any imagination. It was out in 2008, a long time ago for something that wasn't all that popular. Perhaps because Disney owns Star Wars now, so they are far too powerful within Lego... they are telling Lego what THEY want to make, forget demand. Just an idea. However, thankfully Lego isnt letting a defective product loose on the masses... so we have that. :-)

Oscar winning, $500m box office, huge merchandise and dvd sales...not popular or entertaining? Are you ignorant or trolling?

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By in United States,

Here's my take on this,

Its a great set- if you don't mind it being over priced- as well as a kind of fun idea to go with, but I think LEGO needs to recall this set immediately not necessarily to make people happy (although that is a big part) but to uphold their reputation as LEGO, which people have come to know as a company that upholds the idea that toys be made with precision and quality.

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By in United States,

I'd be curious about why the price has increased $10 USD. I don't think I've seen that happen before - where sets are reviewed so close to them being made available, and the RRP gets changed between reviews and release [every site i see a review on, states it's $50 USD, not $60].

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By in United Kingdom,

@if_captain_rex_was_a_jedi
Here's my take on this, Its a great set- if you don't mind it being over priced- as well as a kind of fun idea to go with, but I think LEGO needs to recall this set immediately not necessarily to make people happy (although that is a big part) but to uphold their reputation as LEGO, which people have come to know as a company that upholds the idea that toys be made with precision and quality.

Lego has recalled or at least delayed the release of defective sets. The head pin is not defective. It works as it should, it's just that no one likes this aspect of it. The defective parts are unrelated to the spinning head. As to the value...i expected this to be £50 and would have paid £60 all day long.

@vjl
I'd be curious about why the price has increased $10 USD. I don't think I've seen that happen before - where sets are reviewed so close to them being made available, and the RRP gets changed between reviews and release [every site i see a review on, states it's $50 USD, not $60].

Perhaps we are getting closer to global pricing parity? You guys have had it too good for too long :) I had hoped it would be our prices coming down to match the US prices but oh well.

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By in United States,

I just cut the rubber stud off of a tooth & shoved it in th tchnics pin. Gave enough friction to pose the head. Lego custserv told me the 'fix it kit' for the neck is on the way

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By in Australia,

Yeah, the thing I can't get my head around is something a few people mentioned upthread.

Didn't Lego notice this? At some point between designing the toy, and shipping it to toy shops the world over ... shouldn't somebody have noticed a giant glaring design flaw like this?

And why didn't they?

I don't think that says good things about the company's quality control, no. Look, I still think it's a gorgeous model (even if I've never seen the movie. Maybe it's because I don't have children, but I just don't like Pixar movies. The appeal is lost on me. But I never cared to watch "Frozen" either *shrug*). I still definitely want to buy it.

But that YouTube video review, where the head is just flopping around uncontrollably whenever the toy is touched or moved? Yeah, that's not right. And that looks really unappealing.

And as an aside, the fact it's Lego (and that fans with the right skill or pieces can fix it themselves) isn't really a good defense. If you put out a product with a design flaw, the onus shouldn't be on the customer to fix the problem, the problem should've been fixed before the item was put out for sale.

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By in United States,

Just watched the video, and well: the head behaves exactly as I expected a loose pin in a hole would behave. Simple LEGO physics really. I still like the look, and the head should not be that much of a problem as compared to... trying to support my 2000 something B-Wing on that thin yellow stand LEGO provided... Besides the spinning head might mean something else: LEGO Wall-E has a mind of his own. ;)

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By in United Kingdom,

Heading off to Cardiff shortly. Is the set on sale in the Lego shop there?

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By in Australia,

There seems to be some disparity in the reviews - some saying excellent, some pointing out the neck piece. Then there is this youtube video - a motorised Wall-E where the neck seems quite fine and the MOD refers to motorising it only.

I must say, either way, this is a definite purchase from me, and if I have to for any reason change the neck piece, then I shall, but only after I have built and motorised the set first... :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EscEbLeOILI - for those interested...

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By in United States,

It's possible that, rather than this being "fixing a nonexistent problem", they're fixing one of the worst problems that could affect a batch of LEGO sets: a batch of sets missing those very pieces. That might explain why the sets aren't being sold rather than just releasing a running change like the Ant-Man sets. They're not just defective; they're incomplete.

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By in Canada,

I bought an early set last week here in Canada and it has the "nonexistant problem". There's not enough "click" between the black 1 x 2 hinge bricks and the gray 1 x 4 hinge bricks so that joint sort of folds under the head's weight in certain conditions. I called LEGO service and they are sending me replacement parts for which I am grateful.

As for the other "defect" it is more of a design choice than an actual defect. As another post mentioned, when the head turns it's as if Wall E had a mind of it's own. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to modify it...

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By in New Zealand,

I've replaced the grey pin in the neck with a black one I've found in my spares and it is significantly better. I suspect that the problem is that the parts made for this as a special run are of less quality. I've noticed a number of 1x1 yellow bricks that appear too small causing some gaps between parts. My 2 x 3 plates looked like a clone with vertical line marks. A beautiful model, great design, but the quality is a let down. These parts would stick out from a lot of used bricks as if they were fake...

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By in United States,

An old Technic technique is to just place a dime size circle of kitchen plastic wrap over the male end(s) of the joint before pushing it together to add more friction.

If I'm understanding the problem correctly, everyone could easily do this as a temporary remedy while waiting for LEGO to develop and ship an official fix.

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By in New Zealand,

This, from their own marketing blurb : "It has taken almost a decade to perfect the LEGO version". They also make the claim that it has "a posable neck [and] adjustable head".

Who are they trying to convince? In fact, the claims they're making are tantamount to false advertising.

Next thing you know they'll be telling us that Chima was *supposed* to be heavily discounted rubbish that nobody wants....

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By in United Kingdom,

In order to take their promotional pictures, somebody would have needed to fix/mod Lego's own model in order to make it posable enough. At that point alarm bells should have gone off!!

At present, Lego are pretty close to having an issue with Trading Standards over this set if enough people complain about their consumer rights. THis set has been advertised as posable and appears not to be as advertised. In the UK at least, that can cause Lego a huge headache and they would have to revise the model or all of their promotional photos.

Lego are being very quiet on the subject, but they surely can't be deaf to this issue and the feedback from the fans. We have the option of an interim home fix, but Lego should really address this officially in order to retain integrity to their fans as a brand that can be trusted.

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By in Norway,

I may have missed it but is this issue only subject in the sets made in the Mexican factory? (USA and Canada)? The UK/EU version is ok?

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Apparently so, the piece quality issue only affects North America.

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By in France,

I finally decided to buy one for my nephew even with the head problem. We spent the afternoon building it together and he was so excited to play with it. He started pushing it along the floor and Wall-e head started spinning round. My nephew got really really scared and started to cry. He starts crying every time he sees it.
I’m really disappointed with Lego about this set. I’ll be returning it to Toysrus first thing tomorrow and get something else for my nephew.

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By in United Kingdom,

I hang my head low. So much venom and scorn over a minor quibble. Folk need to get out more

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By in United States,

I am incensed. How dare they produce billions of individual backwards-compatible elements per year with a tolerance of 2 micro meters, then compound the problem by making available for sale a fan-submitted model which head doesn't stay exactly put! This is unacceptable! Whoever is responsible for this should have molten ABS poured into their eyesockets. I mean, the audacity of them to put something for sale, forcing us to buy it! If only we had some choices in life, or the means to create our own model which improves on the design of the official model. But alas, all we can do is buy what we are sold.

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By in New Zealand,

^ A "minor quibble"? So we can assume that you'd be happy to buy a car with a steering wheel that has a similar joint problem?

The point is that it is a poor quality product. Using the car analogy again, would you buy a vehicle knowing that you'd have to modify the engine so it worked properly?

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By in United States,

^ Yes, because our safety depends on LEGO... well, at least yours does.

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By in New Zealand,

^ Thanks for your valued input. I guess we can also assume that analogies are beyond the comprehension of some people.

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By in United Kingdom,

I've wrapped a thin slice of sellotape around the pin and it's fine. Plenty of friction now.

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By in United States,

I'm surprised at all of the negative comments here. This is a relatively minor flaw in this model, in my opinion. There are several suggestions above on how to modify the joint that currently rotates freely until LEGO provides an "official" fix.

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By in United States,

I fail to understand how stiff hinges are a design flaw. You can just manually flex them in and out until they loosen up a bit, right?

I think you guys are overreacting. Yes, they shouldn't have used a frictionless pin on the neck, but it's LEGO. YOU CAN MODIFY IT YOURSELF.

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By in United States,

I called Lego Customer Service (USA). They're shipping me out one set of correction pieces for each of my two Wall-E sets. 7-10 days shipping from Denmark.

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By in Canada,

Hard to believe this is an issue for any serious LEGO builder. Just substitute a friction fit black techic lug for the frictionless grey one. If it's still too loose put a layer of plastic wrap or cello tape over the lug. End of "problem". If you still don't like how its built - rebuild it!

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By in Australia,

"LEGO. YOU CAN MODIFY IT YOURSELF."

Not really the point. Would you spend money on something (like a piece of furniture that comes apart when you lie on it, or -- as said above -- a car with a steering wheel that acts how WallE's head does) knowing that it's got built-in design flaws that you'll need to fix later on for the thing ti do what it's supposed to?

The onus isn't on the customer to do that. I'm sure a mechanic could easily fix a malfunctioning steering wheel, but that's not the point. This was a design flaw that Lego didn't notice until the darn thing was on shelves ... that doesn't concern you? 'Cause it concerns me.

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By in United Kingdom,

@denziloshamen
In order to take their promotional pictures, somebody would have needed to fix/mod Lego's own model in order to make it posable enough. At that point alarm bells should have gone off!! At present, Lego are pretty close to having an issue with Trading Standards over this set if enough people complain about their consumer rights. THis set has been advertised as posable and appears not to be as advertised. In the UK at least, that can cause Lego a huge headache and they would have to revise the model or all of their promotional photos. Lego are being very quiet on the subject, but they surely can't be deaf to this issue and the feedback from the fans. We have the option of an interim home fix, but Lego should really address this officially in order to retain integrity to their fans as a brand that can be trusted.

I'm not sure Trading Standards would have anything to say. Lego and all other toy companies routinely show their products doing things that they can't actually do. The box art on Lego has spaceships flying and super heroes with actual powers...unless your minifigs are very special I don't see this as being any different.

@Block-n-Roll
^ A "minor quibble"? So we can assume that you'd be happy to buy a car with a steering wheel that has a similar joint problem? The point is that it is a poor quality product. Using the car analogy again, would you buy a vehicle knowing that you'd have to modify the engine so it worked properly?

Your analogy is completely wrong. Wall-e works exactly as intended. People just don't like that one aspect of it. It's not broken or defective. It's not a design flaw even, it's a design choice. A poor design choice judging by people's reactions but a valid design choice nevertheless.

A more accurate analogy involving cars would be something along the lines of a Toyota GT86's drifting...seems a little silly and dangerous to have a car kick its tail out at even low speeds but it was certainly intentional.

@Zordboy
"LEGO. YOU CAN MODIFY IT YOURSELF." Not really the point. Would you spend money on something (like a piece of furniture that comes apart when you lie on it, or -- as said above -- a car with a steering wheel that acts how WallE's head does) knowing that it's got built-in design flaws that you'll need to fix later on for the thing ti do what it's supposed to? The onus isn't on the customer to do that. I'm sure a mechanic could easily fix a malfunctioning steering wheel, but that's not the point. This was a design flaw that Lego didn't notice until the darn thing was on shelves ... that doesn't concern you? 'Cause it concerns me.

Lego obviously didn't consider it a flaw. It's not like it's hard to miss. Your analogy is also wrong. Last time I checked, wall-e doesn't fall apart when played with. I agree that it's concerning that no one at any stage of development thought it would be nice to have a ratcheted head movement though.

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By in United Kingdom,

Some Lego fans really seem to hate Lego.

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By in United States,

No Lego set is perfect, but it's Lego! You can modify it till your heart is content. Even better, you can build your own MOCs!

Part of what makes the Lego company great today is that it is truly embracing the creativity of its customers with the Lego Ideas site, which gives everyone the opportunity to create new Lego sets that fans want to buy. This is a good thing! Are the sets perfect in every way? No. Are they a welcome addition to the Lego product line? Absolutely!

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By in United States,

@ Block-n-Roll

Well, not exactly. By using the car analogy, you are technically swapping LEGO for cars.
In which then the 'car' that we would all be discussing here is, ehh, 'special'.
And also in which case we all would technically have many other 'cars' and most of us would have the parts to fix this 'steering problem'. I think that is all.

By the way, please don't take offense by this comment, I'm not intentionally trying to prove you wrong or anything, I just happened to think of this and thought I would share it with you.

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By in United Kingdom,

Fixed mine in 10 seconds by twisting in my fingers a 8mm piece of plumbers silicone tape to make a thin twine. I then placed it over the grey joint that links the neck to the head. The pin has two slots in it, so the tape stays in place.
I then out the head back on and it now has the resistance required to stop the head spinning.

Here is a photo link.
[IMG]http://i567.photobucket.com/albums/ss112/rednaxela1972/b65c54ab6cf59ddd3ea1e190c1a9d9a1_zpsgfofslsh.jpg[/IMG]

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By in Germany,

The Problem with the loosen head is easy to fix without any New parts. I wraped a little piece of Tesa on the Stick which goes in to the head. Now the head stays like it shoud and you need a little force to rotate it. So Problem is fixed and you can't See it from the Outside.

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By in Netherlands,

@willp2003, that looks like a really nifty sollution!

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By in United States,

Got my replacement parts from Lego a few days ago. No instructions, though.

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