The telltale experience usually goes like this... you fit the balls in the sockets, and for that FIRST time, they usually fit together okay. Maybe on occasion, one could break, but pretty rarely. But, the second your imagination kicks in and you feel like making something different, they break as soon as you pry them apart.
...Why, Lego? Just why?
We've all been there, haven't we? This wasn't so much a problem with the older sets, but come 2006-onward, the thigh/upper arm beams have a dreadful tendency to break after being used but a few times.
In the case of figures like Hahli Mahri, some would say it was the color of the plastic used to mold some of these pieces that somehow made them weaker, but it's a problem with many such sets. In those last coupla' years, these pieces were given a new shape, and supposedly made more durable... yet, when I recently dug up my collection of figures from 2009 and began cannibalizing their parts to make some new figures (which I suppose I'll post photos of sometime), I was shocked and annoyed that just about EVERY SINGLE LIMB PIECE I REMOVED SUDDENLY HAD A CRACK IN IT. Now, with these new figures I've made.... every single limb has cracks in it. I'm definitely never going to take these guys apart again, and I almost feel afraid to even MOVE them now. I ended up sacrificing Matoro, Strakk and Gelu just to make a decent reimagining of Kopaka... dang.
This is really strange to me, because... I never, NEVER had this problem in those early years. Remember the Kaita? I must've disassembled and recombined the Toa Mata DOZENS of times, switching between their normal forms and the Kaita again and again because it was so cool.
Then there's the Toa Metru, my favorite canister set design of all. I was so wowed by how beautiful and well designed they were, I took them apart and rebuilt them again and again and again... and you know what? Not once, not EVER, did even a SINGLE socket piece break.
In those later years, we didn't see things like the Kaita as much. Oh sure, we'd sometimes see a combiner featured in a Lego magazine or something, but they never appeared in the instruction booklets of actual sets. We weren't ENCOURAGED to play around with those later sets this way. Some would say it's laziness on the designers part, some would say the pieces just don't quite mesh that way, but I think they were simply trying to prolong what they knew would happen sooner or later.
I mean, let's look back at the older socket pieces. All right, so, they have a more rounded shape, and they have all these gaps in them. Why is it that they seem SO MUCH STRONGER than the more solid, less gappy sockets of later years? Is it the quality of the plastic? It must be. I dunno. I guess the sockets were molded the way they were in later years because it was a simpler mold with less detail, so it was cheaper to produce. For us, though, the actual buyers, it wasn't a fair trade. Apparently, those older socket pieces are just a far more efficient design.
In any case, this is a nightmare for any moc makers. Just today, I joined Bricklink, which is where I'll be getting most of my moc making pieces from now on, and when looking through the Bionicle parts section... I noticed they had almost everything, with the exclusion of... limb pieces. While there's still plenty of armor to dress your existing figures up with, I find this lack of skeletal pieces quite disturbing, because the only conclusion I can draw from this bizarre absence of one of the most common Bionicle pieces out there is that most of them are broken and unfit to be sold.
....This is a pretty big problem... 'specially for someone like me who's already broken most of their spare limb pieces. What about you? Got any horror stories of your own to share?
Edited by NickonAquaMagna, Jan 25 2014 - 04:52 PM.