This is the official WALL•E swivelling head fix

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LEGO has just published a revised instruction manual for troubled Ideas set 21303 WALL•E that details how it has resolved the loosely swiveling head problem.

Like Chris McVeigh's well publicised fix it utilizes a ball and socket joint although LEGO has employed a different ball joint piece, a Beam 2 With Ball Ø 10.2, of which there already two in the set, used for the arms.

It doesn't look quite as neat as Chris', but it should get the job done and, really, you have to wonder why such a joint was not used in the first place.

Not sure what's changed? Hoth Bricks has posted photos that shows the differences between the old and new designs.

Update: JangBRiCKS has just posted a video showing the fix in action:

53 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

So, will Lego give us the extra pieces needed..?

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By in United States,

I hope it is back on shelves soon! Other than this issue it appears to be a great model.

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By in United States,

The funny thing is, the original submission to the Ideas project DID have the ball joint for the neck. I'm guessing it was cheaper to produce it the way they did, but now that they're having to replace all these parts, print up new instructions, etc., I'm sure that's no longer the case...

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By in United Kingdom,

This is the email I received from Lego when I asked about getting the repair kit after purchase....

Dear

Thanks for getting in touch with us.

I’m sorry there’s a problem with your LEGO® Ideas set 21303 WALL·E.

Like you, we’re big fans of this bold little robot and we wanted to make sure that LEGO WALL·E was just as fun as the character in the film. For that reason, we gave LEGO WALL·E the ability to turn his head all the way around.

However, as we’ve since heard that some fans feel WALL·E’s head moves a little too freely, we’ve decided to take their advice and make some improvements to the set. Our designers are currently working on some small changes and we hope to have a new solution in the next few weeks.

I've marked the account accordingly so that two replacement fixes may be sent your way once we develop them.

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By in United States,

Funnily enough they sent me the parts a week or so back but no instructions or indication what they were for. Glad they finally are publishing something!

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By in United Kingdom,

I've received no replacement pieces. I like a new manual too, with the revised build in, but I doubt that will happen.

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By in Canada,

Many shops out here had Wall-E sets on their shelves during the recall, which makes me think there might be different versions floating around.

Is there any way to distinguish old vs new versions by looking at the box alone?

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By in Singapore,

Didn't they mention previously that the new version will only ship out around Feb next year? The revised online copy of the manual may be ready but I suspect the updated set is not ready yet.

Deusxanime, how many parts did they give you?

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By in Germany,

I called the German Lego Customer Service about the issue. They assured me, they would send me the parts as soon as they are ready. Probably beginning of December.

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By in United States,

I wonder if this will affect the secondary market. Will people now be willing to pay a high premium for an earlier, worse version simply because it's discontinued? Inquiring minds want to know.

I'm also extremely curious how this was allowed to happen. It can't be a basic quality control issue given how carefully sets are designed and tested. Did they just decide it was good enough and released it in order to meet a deadline? Did they really not know that the neck was this problematic? I'm sure we'll never find out, but it's a fascinating glimpse at how something can go wrong in the design and production process of even the best companies.

Then again, they also had a similar recall of that Ant-Man set because the ant's legs wouldn't stand up, so maybe design glitches aren't quite as rare as we may think.

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By in United States,

The only other time I can recall this happening was with 'Shuttle Adventures' from a few years back that had fragile flaps in the wings that where removed in a revised version. I am pretty sure these are just problems that Lego doesn't think about prior to release, as they have all been fragility issues that come inherent to the design.

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By in United Kingdom,

The tollerance on that particular pin on the Wall-E deisgn, however small it may be, might have just made their original version(s) passable. It's only wrong by a fraction of a millimetre. It's possible the original was even made using an older style part or something. (I discovered there are different thickness of technic pic recently when trying to slide them on a bar - some of them just don't fit (but don't ask if it was old or new ones or whatever!))

And a better question than how vauable will the old version be, is how many of the new version will actually get made? Ideas sets don't get a long run, and this has already been on sale the whole time here in the UK, and this fix wasn't even the one holding sets back in the states. If it doesn't arrive with new instructions before February then we might only get one batch of the new set. So that one might be the valuable one!

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By in United States,

@Modok
I think that fans overestimate just how carefully sets are designed and tested. More often then not whenever a strange design decision surfaces, fans will shrug it off in a "Lego must know better" kind of way. I think this is hard evidence that they're just not that sophisticated, and more decisions are made based on financial input than we'd like to admit.

"Weird color scheme on the Ferris Wheel? NO, that's just a BOLD design decision!" When in fact they didn't want to spend the money making more carriage colors, or thematically linking it to the Mixer.

"Why are there gray barrels on the Exo Suit arms? Umm.... it's SUPPOSED to look like that!" This was a weird one because the designer even said they had money to spare, but not quite enough to actually address these design decisions or something to that effect.

Those are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head, but I know there's more. I think you get the point, Lego isn't infallible, in fact they seem to be making more and more "errors" now that they're expanding so much. I just don't want the bubble to burst into a sloppy mess.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Modok I wonder if this will affect the secondary market. Will people now be willing to pay a high premium for an earlier, worse version simply because it's discontinued? Inquiring minds want to know.

Probably none. Artic Batman sets are not more valuable than Arctic Batman, SHEILD Deloreans are not more valuable than SHIELD ones, so I doubt this will have much effect.

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By in United States,

Called LEGO to get the parts, they have no idea about this. Although the rep said he saw this article here, I pointed out that the revised instructions are on the LEGO website.

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By in United Kingdom,

@DanRSL
I know it's a well versed discussion, but I'm pretty sure the Exo Suit barrels were a design decision. Maybe not a *good* decision, but one made on purpose.
It's very easy to build an Exo Suit without using barrels. To me, my own hack at it is stronger and looks better:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/54756314@N07/14465516010

If someone like me can knock that up, I'm sure Mark Stafford would have no trouble doing better - if he'd wanted to.

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By in United States,

Ordered mine after it became Out of Stock, expected ship date Feb. 2016 on the U.S. Site. Now shop.lego.com says it will ship early Dec. Wonder if this wave of kits will have the fix or at least the patch parts.

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By in United States,

Eesh, they couldn't even make a fix that looks the same as the broken model?! Come on LEGO, you are better than this.

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By in United States,

@DanRSL: I think the Ferris Wheel and Exo-Suit sets both look great, so there's no reason to think the designers of those sets were aware of some glaring flaws and chose to ignore them. There are times when different aspects of a design matter to different people.

Sometimes something that AFOLs see as an obvious place for improvement never even occur to a designer. For instance, the designer of the Ferris Wheel might have chosen the color scheme specifically NOT to match the Fairground Mixer, the same way they wouldn't release two modular buildings in a row that had the same color scheme. They're two entirely different rides, and there's no inherent reason they SHOULD match. I don't think I've ever been to a fair where every single ride was color-coordinated.

Other times designers go to great lengths and make great sacrifices to maintain a certain aspect of a design that a lot of AFOLs end up not even caring about in the grand scheme of things, like the arm structure of the Exo-Suit. It would have been much simpler (and probably cheaper) to make the arms shorter and more cylindrical, but Mark wanted to maintain the pill shape of the lower arms from the proposal, and came up with an extremely unconventional solution to do so and still keep things stable. That barrel element had been used as a cannon, jet engine, or other mechanical detail on at least eight previous sets, so how was he to know some people wouldn't have enough imagination to see them as anything but barrels?

You're right, LEGO designers are not infallible. They are also not omniscient. Sometimes they have to just take a guess at what aspects of a design will really matter to people buying the set, and sometimes they inevitably guess wrong. In the end, though, it's impossible to please EVERYBODY, so the designers just have to make their best guess as to what aspects of a design will matter to the MOST people.

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By in United States,

@omnium
Yeah, that may not be the best example because it's kind of a gray area, but the point that technicals and financials play a bigger role in design than we like to admit is still important.

@Aanchir
Yes, unfortunately without being in the mind of the designer or in the board room where the decisions are made we'll never really know. However, a part being "retired" in one color or another really proves the point that they work with "whadda we got?" first and staying true to artistic design second. If not, "retired" parts would never be an issue at all. But Lego is a business, and cost is a big issue.

You may like the Ferris Wheel just fine, but the mob spoke pretty loudly when everyone scrambled to get red Ferris Wheel carriage tops, so one person's "I like it fine" is just a drop in the bucket. Apparently this was a design decision that mattered to MOST people.

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By in United Kingdom,

As Lang enquired above, is there going to be a way to tell new boxes from old as there are still a lot of faulty versions available to buy? Guess may not know until improved version hits the shelves.

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By in India,

@TheDesuComplex, the re-release of the shuttle was mainly due to stability issues with the orange fuel tank and the satellite :)
Take a look at the forum. I posted instructions on how to convert 10213 to 10231. I bricklinked the pieces and the stickers, and I can now build either one.

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By in Netherlands,

The last few weeks I've send 2 mails to costumer support service to get a repair kit. Still no respons at all from lego...

I think Chris' fix is better than the lego fix

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By in United States,

Hopefully Lego will offer these parts to the folks who bought the initial run. I thought I heard that that's what they were going to do, but I can't recall for sure.
Still, looks like it'll do the job.

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By in Canada,

I contacted Lego support today and they still don't recognize the loose swivel issue:

"We’ve found that two pieces in the neck don’t have the right amount of clutch power. The combination of these pieces is causing WALL·E’s head to fall down instead of staying where it should. Please do be aware that WALL·E set's head is intended to swivel all the way around and the issue being solved is the stability of the head."

I hope they get the new instructions and fix to their support personal.

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By in United States,

I got home and took a look at what Lego sent me to fix the neck issue, and now I'm very confused... They sent me four parts - 2x 4211695 and 2x 4265484 - none of which are the ball joints of course and don't even seem to be related to the joint changed in the manual and mentioned in this article. Here's the original email reply I received when I sent support an email back in late October:

START EMAIL
I’m sorry you’re having problems with the neck of your LEGO® Ideas set 21303 WALL·E.
We’ve found that two pieces in the neck don’t have the right amount of clutch power. The combination of these pieces is causing WALL·E’s head to fall down instead of staying where it should.

I’ll be sending you new pieces that will work better. They’re being sent on order number xxxxxxxxxxx and ship out on the 28th and arrive by mail in 7-10 business days after it ships.

When you receive the new pieces, you'll use them to replace the 2x 4211695 used on page 34 and the 2x 4265484 used on page 29.

We try really hard to make sure all LEGO toys are perfect, but we know we can always do better. Controlling the quality of the toys that leave our factory is a big job 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'd like to get even better at catching any faulty LEGO sets though, so I'm passing your comments onto our testing team. It'll help them make sure this doesn't happen again.
END EMAIL

So what they sent me last week does match what was mentioned in the email above and the order number is the same in both the email and the parts pack I got, but I'm looking at those pages of the online manuals and I'm not even sure where they are talking about. Very confused...

If they start sending out those ball joint pieces to people I might have to send them another message to get the right parts to do the fix properly. Not sure what to do with these 4 parts as they look like the same thing already used, if I'm looking at the steps I assume they meant to use these with (Step 34 and 42).

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By in United Kingdom,

Those pieces fix a 'droopy neck' issue prevalent in north America only.

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By in United States,

Thanks for the news. I implemented the fix with spare parts today and it works quite well https://youtu.be/8pGMsBI2y-w The rebuild changes two small assemblies in the least invasive ways possible and the ball joint adds an axis of articulation that didn't exist at all in the first release. A very quick & straightforward retrofit.

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By in United States,

Just FYI, I just emailed Lego for replacement parts and was told, as other people mentioned, "give me your contact info and we'll contact you in a few weeks when the parts were ready to ship."

However, I also asked for updated instructions and was told they won't be printing any because there are no new ones. I replied saying (paraphrasing, I was nice) "really? so you're sending parts with no instructions? or when you re-release the set, it will be with the original instructions?" and then mentioned the PDF FROM Lego (mentioned above). If I get an update from them I will post it there, but it almost sounds like they're skimping on sending replacement instruction booklets...

(not that I can't use the online versions or print those, but don't want to miss out on properly printed instructions, for collector purposes)

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By in United States,

Thanks Huw, I didn't realize there was an /another/ different neck issue that was specific to NA only. Do you know if the pieces they sent me were meant to replace the same pieces in the steps I mentioned (bad batch for NA that don't clutch well?) or be used somewhere else? As I said I got no instructions in my parts bag and what was sent in the email doesn't really make sense. Not even sure what that fix is or what those parts address as I was only aware of the swiveling head issue and I thought that is what I would be getting parts to fix!

Doing some googling I found this article right here on Brickset talking about the exact confusion I'm now having! http://brickset.com/article/16465/what-s-wrong-with-21303-wall%E2%80%A2e

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By in Australia,

So ... the next time WALL*E appears on toy shop shelves, is it going to be this fixed, revised edition (with new pieces to fix the neck problem).

It's not clear. They've got new instructions, are they going to re-release the set?

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By in Singapore,

@deusxanime, what you've gotten are the parts to tighten the neck area from dropping down, it does not address the head spinning issue.

On the subject of colour scheme, I'm pretty sure one of the major deciding factors would be the existing stock of parts, designers will try to use parts/colours that are in abundance, so as to reduce the quantity in their warehouse (inventory control).

That is why you see funny colours/parts in the internals of a model, e.g. a City car or a Star Wars ship. Maybe to a lesser extent for parts that are exposed after the model is completed, but I'm sure the practice is still there. Those parts were there just to clear their existing part inventories. Nothing wrong with that, though, as companies always do that to reduce costs.

On the subject of service parts for this set, I don't think they will send out the full revised booklet, at most a rework instructions sheet given only a handful of steps are needed for the rework.

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By in Singapore,

On the subject of customer support, many of the reps aren't aware of this because official instructions have not been passed down to them yet, probably will take them a few weeks to do that.

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By in United Kingdom,

Is it just me, or is Lego giving us UK customers the brush-off when it comes to the design faults with WALL-E's head? I contacted them today to see if they'll be sending the fix kit to UK customers, but with a lot of flowery wording, they basically said no, and that the kit would only be for US customers as it's designed to fix the 'drooping neck' issue, and not the 'head rotates freely on even the slightest angle'.

Anybody else think that this is total BS? The ball joint doesn't change the support strength of the neck section in any way, IT STOPS THE HEAD FROM SPINNING FREELY! As that's the case, why are the refusing to support us UK customers?

This is the first time that I actually regret buying a set. Not happy.

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By in United States,

@SWAT_Strachan they are talking about the loose bracket issue that was a piece fault and not the redesign. None of the customer support know about the new design or how LEGO is handling that yet.

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By in United Kingdom,

I e-mailed Lego UK last night to ask what information they would need from me to validate a claim, and had a response within the hour giving me an order number for the replacement parts to fix my head. Great service

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By in Spain,

In case anyone is interested on requesting the exact list of new parts for the fix from LEGO customer support, I've been comparing the list of parts in the original building instructions booklet with the one in the new booklet, and have found that these are the new parts:

3 x 4654582
2 x 4211350
1 x 6015356
1 x 6136458
1 x 4619760

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By in Australia,

I think this article seems to have confused a few people :) (US issue v's general head swivel)
Looking forward to my Wall-E arriving in Dec !

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By in United States,

@goldenguy880: I believe you are wrong only because if you look at the newer technic sets, there are still some LBG 3L axles such as on the tail wing of the new jet. I believe this is only an improvement as the yellow 5L axles blend nicely with the rest of the set. I think the yellow ones in this set were meant to blend with Wall-E himself, or just to see how well it would work.

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By in United States,

@kknaut: Thanks for pointing that out. Perhaps there's also some new rule that if there is a 5L axle in a set, the 3L axle has to be a different color, so that kids can tell at one glance if they're using the right piece. However, you are likely right that the set designers do consider aesthetics as much as their budget allows them when making their choice -- much like how the "half pin with stud" is sometimes light bluish gray and sometimes bright blue.
Anyway, I'm glad I was wrong about the "new color-lock"; definitely a relief.

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By in United Kingdom,

Contacted LEGO about this and have managed to get these parts ordered. However, they didn't like the fact that I had found out about this fix via Brickset. What's that about?

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By in Canada,

so.. I Assume I have the US version having ordered in Canada. Should I just return and reorder?

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By in Canada,

I contacted support, and got the "weak clutch neck" form letter reply. I responded with "thanks, will it also fix this?" and a link to the new instructions. And then got the "swivel joint is loose" form letter reply. Hopefully both fixes come together and Wall-E can be happy and at peace.

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By in United Kingdom,

I contacted Lego about this and they responded within 6 hours to say that yes, they will be sending parts out to people who already own the set.

"We are absolutely in the process of getting the new stability parts out to fans who already purchased WALL-E!"

They then asked for a shipping address which I sent them, and I'm now awaiting confirmation of the order. Quite incredible customer service from Lego! I have to hand it to them; that's the best service I've ever received following a query.

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By in United Kingdom,

"Thanks for getting in touch with us.

I am very pleased to confirm that our designers indeed have found a solution for the little problem with Wall-E's neck, and in the next couple of days we will start contacting with the customers who send us an email previously regarding this issue.

I am afraid I cannot confirm the exact date yet, but because the fix is here, it should not take long time anymore.

I would kindly ask you to please, bear with us only a tiny bit longer!"

Their response to my follow-up yesterday when I contacted them about news of the new 'fix'.

Awaiting the postman...

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By in Netherlands,

Just got an answer from Lego, also in the Netherlands they send the new parts to the people who buyed the old set of wall-e

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By in United Kingdom,

Well after several emails back and forth, Lego have capitulated and will be sending out fix kits for the UK set. Apparently they were working from "outdated information".

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By in United States,

Do we have to contact them or if we bought from lego.com are we ok?

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By in Italy,

I wrote to Lego about the neck problem, they wrote me back that they just sent me those pieces to solve the problem...

2x4211695 STEN 1X4 FRIK/STUB/GAFFEL LOD.
2x4265484 STEN 1X2 M/STUB LODRET ENDE

Is that normal?

---EDIT---

Ok, I have just read the comments.
Sorry

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By in United States,

I just asked about this and the LEGO customer service person didn't even read my claim which stated I already had the replacement neck pieces. They just sent me two more of the not enough clutch pieces. Sigh. What a nightmare. "We’ve found that two pieces in the neck don’t have the right amount of clutch power."

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

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By in United Kingdom,

I bought a set yesterday from Smyths in the UK and it appears I have the updated version with Step 108 showing the ball and socket and not old ratchet adapter! Happy days!

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By in United States,

After the official fix was announced, I placed an order via (US) shop.lego.com (it was backordered for a few weeks), and it arrived today. At the top of the box is a new instruction leaflet and a small bag containing twelve parts clearly related to the neck fix.

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