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Lego and modern weaponry
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onerois



Joined: 11 Aug 2005

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: Lego and modern weaponry Reply with quote

For the past few years Lego has stated that they would not depict present-day weapons. Several publications and fan-polls had asked Lego about the possibility of sets on franchises like G.I. Joe. Lego's answer has always been no due to military themes and the present-day weapons line. Also, G.I. Joe is viewed as an America vs. terrorist franchise. So basically nothing that would possibly glorify one country or villainize another.

Times have definitely changed and now we have modern day pistols and tommy guns (I know not modern-day) in Batman Lego sets. Also, leaked pics of sets (which shall not be named) online have shown other modern-day weaponry built with existing bricks. Many people have built Halo MOC's and many have debated the impossibility of official sets due to the content and military theme. I think a new line has been crossed with the Indiana Jones Lego sets. Now we have an American hero fighting armies from Germany and whatever army is depicted in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Honestly, the Indiana Jones franchise had some dark tones that I never thought would make it into Lego, but here we are.

For better or for worse there is definitely a spot in pop culture for all things military. My question is what do you all think about Lego basically getting rid of it's no modern weapons policy and would you be okay with military themed sets as long as it didn't focus on any specific countries?


Last edited by onerois on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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kotorfan2000



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have also wondered the change in policy with the new Indiana Jones theme, but it happens to be one of TLC's better thought out themes.

I think LEGO may have picked up the Indiana Jone license due to its popularity in Countries besides America. Somehow I don't think that same popularity exists with GI Joe. Don't get me wrong, its not that I don't like GI Joe, I just think its a lot less likely for LEGO to choose it, even with the new "non-America, non-specific Terrorist organization." Honestly I'd love to see a GI Joe line with new figures, weapons, vehicles, ect.

I just think the chances of LEGO picking up this franchise is below low.
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onerois



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, yeah. I agree too. I think G.I. Joe would have to have a tremondous surge in popularity to warrant being picked up by Lego. Indiana Jones fans and Star Wars fans are also surprisingly close. The fact that a new Indiana Jones film has been long-awaited doesn't hurt either.

Personally, I'm not sure if I'm totally against Lego sets with an overt military theme. I mean plastic army men are still made and I loved them when I was little. However, there was only so much you could do with army men than with Legos.
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ZombieGIR
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Indy and Star Wars are both Lucasfilm, so... Wink

Why would they do GI Joe? That's already a toy line. Might as well do a Barbie theme.

Indy does have war aspects to it, but I think that's downplayed in the actual Legos. Motorcycle Chase and Race of the Stolen Treasure both are based on a chase as opposed to combat. They have guns but it isn't necessarily a battle. They are treading the line of combat, but have only allowed it in a few places, like Batman and Indy. They wouldn't pick up something like GI Joe because it is too violent. Indy is more of an adventure theme than a combat theme.

BTW- the bad guys in Indy 4 are Russians.
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speaknspell
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not going to speak to all of this right now, but I will say this. I think the reason that LEGO wouldn't do a G.I.Joe License would be more because that would mean we'd be licensing something from Hasbro, and I just don't see that happening ever.

As far as the modern warfare thing goes, there is a definate line and some of the current sets are orbitting the line a bit. Honestly just wait and see I think because it will come up soon enough.

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strwrs429



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sad so much for the Transformer's lego line I was hoping for.
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onerois



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GIR3691 wrote:

Why would they do GI Joe? That's already a toy line. Might as well do a Barbie theme.


Why would they want to do Batman? That's already a toy line too. Wink

Thank you to those who have provided input, but if you read my first post carefully I'm not asking about a G.I. Joe Lego line. I can see where there may be confusion, but G.I. Joe was only mentioned to provide a basis on Lego's past stance on military-themed sets fictional or not. Really the question for discussion was would military-themed sets be okay with you as long as they weren't based on any countries and what are the pros and cons of this.
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ZombieSolo
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:15 am    Post subject: Re: Lego and modern weaponry Reply with quote

onerois wrote:
For the past few years Lego has stated that they would not depict present-day weapons.
Can you cite that at all?
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dWhisper
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never heard anything about weapons and LEGO policy. I know they won't do things like warplanes or country-themed troops, just because they sell all around the world, and it wouldn't have nearly the impact. When LEGO has tried to journey into region-specific fare, it typically hasn't fared very well (the NBA and Football/Soccer sets, for example) overall.
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CommanderJake



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

speaknspell wrote:
Honestly just wait and see I think because it will come up soon enough.


Oh, a clue... Shocked
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ZombieGIR
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

onerois wrote:
GIR3691 wrote:

Why would they do GI Joe? That's already a toy line. Might as well do a Barbie theme.


Why would they want to do Batman? That's already a toy line too. Wink


Well, Batman has been a comic book character for a long time. Isn't GI Joe just a toy line? Batman has had merchandising, but in essence is a comic superhero.

In any case I was just making the comparison. I understand that the topic is about military Lego. I am excited that they have started doing somewhat WWI-style figs and would go nuts the day there were tanks and military jeeps and such, but at the same time, it seems still unlikely due to the violence behind military themes.
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theZombieAbides
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, G.I. Joe was a cartoon back in the late 70s to early 80s. I was too young to remember much of it (My brother remembers more), but I do remember that each episode ended with a "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle" lesson geared for children teaching them not to jump into freezers, play with matches, accept candy from strangers, etc... Not sure why I remember that, but I do.

However, I'm not sure which came first, the cartoon, or the toys. If you know anything about Transformers, you'd know that the toys came first, and the cartoon came later (And was viewed by some parents as blatant marketing ploy whose only purpose was to sell more toys). However, with Batman, Superman, and other super heroes, the comic books came first, followed by the inevitable merchandising products (including action figures).

And people think only the smoking industry uses sleazy tactics to market to children...
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KungZombie
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

theJudeAbides wrote:
And people think only the smoking industry uses sleazy tactics to market to children...

Stupidest comparison ever, unless you can link to a peer-reviewed article showing that Transformers, comic book superheroes, or G. I. Joe causes cancer. Rolling Eyes
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theZombieAbides
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

---------The-Point-------->
Kungfused: Confused

Did I say anything about cigarettes being comparable to plastic toys? No.

I was comparing the marketing strategies used by the companies. Cigarette companies would used cartoon characters like Joe Camel to appeal to kids. Often times, cartoon writers and toy producers would work hand in hand, introducing new, worthless characters just so the toy company could market more toys. For me, it was the Ninja Turtles (the originals), but they weren't any different from Transformers, G.I. Joe, He-Man, and others. The cartoons were "interrupted" by commercials for the toys. In reality, it was just one long half-hour advertisement. Sure, I enjoyed the show, but I was also convinced I needed every single Ninja Turtle toy ever produced.

The child's mind is easily manipulated, and these companies knew this and exploited it. I'll grant you that not much has changed since then, but that doesn't make it any better. The next time you're in a toy store and you hear a child throwing a temper-tantrum because their parent won't buy them a toy (or any other product), ask yourself this: why is this child so worked up about this product? Look at the difference between advertisements geared towards children and those geared towards adults, and think about how differently we view them. And be thankful, that there are laws preventing tobacco companies from using similar marketing strategies to sell their product.
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KungZombie
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that marketing targeted towards kids is typically lame, but your previous argument quite plainly suggested that tobacco companies advertising their products to kids is as horrible as a toy company advertising toys to kids. Are the strategies similar? Sure. But that doesn't make them equally evil.

The way you phrased your statement ("And people think" --

GEAR CHANGE!

I'm an idiot, and misread your original post (yes, even while quoting it Razz). I missed the word "only," so I was responding to "And people think the smoking industry uses sleazy tactics to market to children...."

Which I'm sure you can agree is in fact quite a dumb thing to say, despite the fact that you never actually said it. Razz

Sorry 'bout that.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also interested in seeing a source cited. All the talk of LEGO's aversion to violence has been more or less unofficial as far as I knew.

I'm not sure what the big deal is though. LEGO introduced the flint lock pistol and musket pieces in 1989 and the world didn't end then. They followed up in 1996 with the relatively contemporary revolver and rifle without much fanfare. Battleaxes and swords were around in the late 70s. Blasters and automatics are just more of the same if you ask me. The door for "armed conflict" was opened by LEGO long ago. I don't imagine any kids growing up on LEGO castle and pirate sets grew up to be cold-hearted killers...and actual piracy was (and still is in parts of the world) pretty brutal.
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ZombieSolo
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, even considering what Jude really said... what so wrong about marketing toys to kids? Isn't that kind of the point? There's nothing sleazy about that. Ripping on toy and cigarette for marketing to kids implies they're in the same ballpark, when they aren't even the same sport. Skipping away from the cigarette tangent, there are two franchise categories here... toys made into stories (Transformers, G.I. Joes, Hot Wheels, Barbies...) and stories that are made into toys (TMNT, Batman and most other comics, Star Wars...). In either case, kids aren't going to want the toy if the cartoon sucked. Simple. My take at least.

Draykov wrote:
I'm also interested in seeing a source cited. All the talk of LEGO's aversion to violence has been more or less unofficial as far as I knew.
Exactly... so far as I recall, there wasn't any officially stated stance about weapons specifically. I remember a bit about "conflict play" but not the details if gave.
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onerois



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Draykov wrote:
I'm also interested in seeing a source cited. All the talk of LEGO's aversion to violence has been more or less unofficial as far as I knew.

I'm not sure what the big deal is though. LEGO introduced the flint lock pistol and musket pieces in 1989 and the world didn't end then. They followed up in 1996 with the relatively contemporary revolver and rifle without much fanfare. Battleaxes and swords were around in the late 70s. Blasters and automatics are just more of the same if you ask me.


I'll try my best to find and post the sources on Lego's preference on weapons of the past rather than weapons you'd see in use today. It may take a while since a magazine I had talking about it is in one of thirty boxes I have lying around. Really, I think you are right that while Lego may have never officially stated their stance on modern day weapons it has been touched on by a designer or representative of Lego in some fashion. If I am wrong or cannot find the sources I read then I'll edit my first post.

Yeah, I don't really see a difference in modern day weapons and weapons of the past. A weapon is a weapon in my book. In my opinion if you're willing to portray one weapon you might as well portray any other. I do know that it is easier and more acceptable to portray antique weapons or futuristic weapons than ones you'd see in military use or on the streets.
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ZombieDraykov
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

onerois wrote:
I do know that it is easier and more acceptable to portray antique weapons or futuristic weapons than ones you'd see in military use or on the streets.


Well, I think you've touched on something there. It might have more to do with the context in which a weapon is portrayed more than the weapon itself. A generic character with a rifle is pretty benign...a "Liquor Store Hold-Up" set would be another story.
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ZombieSolo
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

heh... I would buy that, but it ain't exactly kid friendly. Wink
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ZombieDraykov
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DonSolo wrote:
heh... I would buy that, but it ain't exactly kid friendly. Wink


Exactly. I think LEGO, even with an increased amount of conflict based themes and weapon elements, has always kept the violence to a minimum. The conflict presented in LEGO sets has always been about clearly defined, black/white good guys and bad guys...a concept that doesn't seem to carry much social stigma, even when presented to children. Notice that LEGO bad guys tend to be fantastical in some way that makes them more or less inhuman (the Baron from the Adventurers line and the Genazis in the new Indy sets are the exception, not the rule). It's the gray areas that people seem to be the most fearful of. But in any case, when it all comes down to it, LEGO is about the build and there are still plenty of completely innocent themes like City, Creator, Racing, Technic, SpongeBob, etc. that round out the palette.
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Inzane



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

theJudeAbides wrote:
Actually, G.I. Joe was a cartoon back in the late 70s to early 80s. I was too young to remember much of it (My brother remembers more), but I do remember that each episode ended with a "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle" lesson geared for children teaching them not to jump into freezers, play with matches, accept candy from strangers, etc... Not sure why I remember that, but I do.

However, I'm not sure which came first, the cartoon, or the toys. If you know anything about Transformers, you'd know that the toys came first, and the cartoon came later (And was viewed by some parents as blatant marketing ploy whose only purpose was to sell more toys).


I was the right age for the Gen1 Hasbro GI-Joe and Transformers in the 80s. So I will correct your history for you. Smile

There were a lot of parallels with GI-Joe and Transformers. GI-Joe was originally a line of dolls (larger action figures), from the 50s-60s (not sure which decade). Those were before even my time.

Then the Hasbro toy line came out around ~81 or 82. Followed closely by the Marvel Comic series. THEN the cartoons came out, last. The first GI-Joe cartoon was the first mini-series (the one with the "mass device") in '83 I think. Then a second mini-series followed a year later (called Revenge of Cobra, I think, the one with the "weather dominator"). THEN the regular half-hour episode series came out, probably in about '85 or so. These are the ones you mentioned with the typical safety message attached. (note: I could be off by +/- a year).


A Lego GI-Joe line would totally ROCK!! (especially if it was based on the Gen1 original characters and vehicles from the early 80s). But alas, I know that will probably never happen...
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ZombieDraykov
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Inzane wrote:
But alas, I know that will probably never happen...


Well...there is a G.I. Joe movie coming out...and they did pick up the Speed Racer license which is following a similar trend (old property makes a come-back as a film). Who knows...
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Inzane



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Draykov wrote:
Well...there is a G.I. Joe movie coming out...


Thanks for the link.

But hmmm.... I'm already a bit worried:

Quote:
Plot Outline: A European-based military unit known as Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity (G.I.J.O.E.), a hi-tech, international force of special operatives takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer.


European-based? Come ON. I may not be American, but I know as well as anyone that "GI Joe" is as American as baseball and apple pie. How could they possibly change that premise?

And implying that Cobra is run by a (Scottish) arms dealer... I guess that could be Destro they're talking about, but doesn't stay consistent with the original story. Destro was originally just a hired mercenary, hired by Cobra Commander.

Oh well...
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ZombieDraykov
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think Destro's origins were left unknown, but the short answer is "welcome to Hollywood!". I think the European angle is kinda stupid too, but I think it's an attempt to play up the "globalness/internationicity" of the organization...plus the intent might be to try and market the movie more overseas. On top of that, I think the screenplay writer is Australian.

But I digress...

LEGO + weapons ≠ Armageddon.
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Inzane



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Draykov wrote:
Well, I think Destro's origins were left unknown,


That filecard confirms what I was saying about his mercenary aspect, supplying Cobra with weapons, as opposed to being their actual leader.

As to his origins, that is the original card that came with the action figure (I still have mine) and it is true that originally his origins were unknown, but it was later revealed in the cartoon series that Destro has, or was believed to have, Scottish ancestry. The reason I brought it up was it happened to read as "Scottish Arms Dealer" in imdb's "Plot Synopsis" link for the movie, as well.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll have to see a trailer. until then, I reserve comments.
but it does sound dumb.

and I doubt lego will make sets based on an actual war. the good guy/ bad guy thing is going to stay.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had a similar controversy like this with the new SW blasters when they came out early last year. And, although that seems much like a "Good vs. Bad" situation in Star Wars, there is also a lot of "Army vs. Army" stuff there too, expecially in the Prequel Trilogy. But, I think TLC let it slide a bit, since they weren't depicting real-world factions or ethnicities.
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Inzane



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

General Veers wrote:
I'll have to see a trailer. until then, I reserve comments.
but it does sound dumb.


What troubles me is how they would do GI-Joe's traditional non-violent violence... know what I mean? It was easier in animation. Machine guns and heavy artillery fire was always depicted like laser beams (blue for Joes, red for Cobra - or vice versa). Things blew up or crashed, but no one ever died. Even the anonymous Cobra grunts were typically shown running or parachuting away.

I just don't see how that concept will work in a live action film format. This project has the potential to be really dumb. I'd hate to see another old nostalgic franchise ruined. (Transformers was a rare surprise, where it actually exceeded expectation.)
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well if this has already been mentioned I apologize.

What if there was a WW2 military pack but came with a military jeep and a few ally soldiers.See no violence involved in it(but we could have some soldiers Very Happy )
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