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masterchirox580

So what's gonna happen with constraction?

Is there a future for constraction?  

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2019 will soon be here and there appears to be no sign of a new line of constraction figures. Do any of you think they will see a return or is it simply over for the genre? This is the first time in 20 years that Lego have not released constraction figures. 

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It's time to move on.

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I would amend that to "no Technic-based constraction figures". While not what we typically think of as Constraction, there is a line of brick-built, articulated Minecraft figures releasing next year that arguably qualify as buildable action figures.

I wouldn't necessarily declare Technic-based constraction dead just yet (since there's always the chance of a renewal, even as soon as the summer of 2019) but it does certainly look more dire for the genre than it has in a long time. Innovations like Mixel joints that make System-based articulated figures more feasible at a wide range of price points may well have rendered systems like the CCBS (which, as a Technic-based system, is almost a subsystem of a subsystem) too niche to continue to devote full product lines to. And unlike in the late '90s/early '00s, there's no immediate need to try to force Technic-based Constraction to work for them—not when Lego's audience continues to expand in other areas with boys, girls, kids and adults alike.

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Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

Aanchir's and Meiko's brother

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My feeling tends to be pretty similar… presently, it feels like buildable System characters and creatures tend to both be more efficient/economical (in terms of not needing as many specialized, theme-specific parts) and have greater crossover appeal with the expanding audience of other System-based themes.

 

There are certainly some types of subjects/interests that System builds have not shown the same suitability for, like more organic-looking humanoid dolls and action figures, but a lot of people felt like more Technic/CCBS-based constraction sets were never able to achieve that adequately either.

 

If LEGO wanted to invest in more doll-like theme, for instance (and right now I'm not sure they would — the doll market isn't exactly booming), it's doubtful that the rugged, armor-plated, somewhat mechanical look of most Technic-based constraction themes and the emphasis on customizing their body and armor shapes rather than their clothing would be that well suited to those types of creations.

 

So for right now I don't think Technic-based constraction really is a priority for LEGO, nor do I think it necessarily should be.

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If LEGO wanted to invest in more doll-like theme, for instance (and right now I'm not sure they would — the doll market isn't exactly booming), it's doubtful that the rugged, armor-plated, somewhat mechanical look of most Technic-based constraction themes and the emphasis on customizing their body and armor shapes rather than their clothing would be that well suited to those types of creations.

 

 

This made me think of She-Ra and then I remembered that IP is owned by Mattel.

 

As for the topic at hand, I think Constraction will be continued as a spin off for other themes, like Star Wars, for a while until they create a theme that Lego makes specifically constraction. I wouldn't be surprised if the next time that we see constraction is with another Bionicle reboot.

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I certainly hope so, and I hope it is technic-based constraction if it ever does make a proper return. Bionicle got me into Lego, and I drifted away after it ended. When it got rebooted, my interest was rekindled, but now that G2 and constraction as a whole is out of the picture, once again I feel like I've lost interest in Lego beyond moccing and trying to complete my Bionicle collection. New parts would be fantastic. 

 

Those system based Minecraft monstrosities sets look awfully unappealing, but if the brand name helps them sell well hopefully it would bolster the chances of constraction returning in earnest. 

 

:kakama: 

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:kakama: Stone rocks :kakama:

I write stories, which you can read at A Beach, Somewhere. My MOCs can be found on Flickr and Instagram

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I think CCBS is outdated. Constraction needs a new system, better and more affordable than CCBS if it wants to survive.

 

I think something in the lines of GUNPLA would be nice. 

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Something I thought about when the CCBS system was first introduced with Hero Factory; it's a cool innovative system, but it got old quick. The first two waves of Heroes were essentially Bohrok clones; the same designs with slightly different armor pieces and different colors. They've managed to create a fair amount of interesting and different designs since; the incorporation of action features in Bionicle 2.0 was nice, and they even started adding some custom designs to the limbs so it wasn't just shells snapped on top of bone pieces. But there were honestly as many (or more) misses for every cool design. When it transitioned to Star Wars, General Grievous was an ingenious build and the first humans were different enough to make them interesting. But then they kept repeating the same formula for wave after wave. Basically, the sets got boring. Bionicle 2.0 flopped after the nostalgia craze died down (if that even accounted for anything in the first place) and Star Wars started to suffer from making too many cookie-cutter secondary characters. I think they oversaturated the market, saw that the sets weren't selling, and probably just killed the idea of a CCBS line. Maybe that's worse case scenario, but it does seem like Mixel joints have been filling in that niche, like the various Elves dragons and creatures and the Nexo Knight mechs.

 

Hopefully I'm just being overly pessimistic and they still have ideas for CCBS. One of the better Hero Factory waves was Invasion from Below, where they bailed on the humanoid robots as the main focus and turned to creating weird bugs and cool mechs. Another line of fancy mechs like Exo Force could certainly benefit from CCBS. And I doubt the pieces will go away entirely; other system sets occasionally incorporate the bones and shells (like the evil Elves dragon, for example.) But I doubt we're going to see a something like the Star Wars buildable character line or Bionicle V3. So enjoy the pieces while you can, I guess.

 

:music:

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I think CCBS is outdated. Constraction needs a new system, better and more affordable than CCBS if it wants to survive.

 

I think something in the lines of GUNPLA would be nice. 

 

Isn't GUNPLA ridiculously expensive though?


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I would amend that to "no Technic-based constraction figures". While not what we typically think of as Constraction, there is a line of brick-built, articulated Minecraft figures releasing next year that arguably qualify as buildable action figures.

 

I wouldn't necessarily declare Technic-based constraction dead just yet (since there's always the chance of a renewal, even as soon as the summer of 2019) but it does certainly look more dire for the genre than it has in a long time. Innovations like Mixel joints that make System-based articulated figures more feasible at a wide range of price points may well have rendered systems like the CCBS (which, as a Technic-based system, is almost a subsystem of a subsystem) too niche to continue to devote full product lines to. And unlike in the late '90s/early '00s, there's no immediate need to try to force Technic-based Constraction to work for them—not when Lego's audience continues to expand in other areas with boys, girls, kids and adults alike.

Oh yeah I saw those. They kinda remind me of the old knights kingdom action figures. Considering that there is only three of them I think they're supposed to be an experimental product. Maybe it is the future of constraction. I guess it would make sense from an economic standpoint (I think those sets are pretty cheap) but it does feel like a downgrade what with the limited arm articulation. Maybe new moulds will be created to make them more flexible. Either way I won't be buying it. 


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I think CCBS is outdated. Constraction needs a new system, better and more affordable than CCBS if it wants to survive.

 

I think something in the lines of GUNPLA would be nice. 

 

Isn't GUNPLA ridiculously expensive though?

 

 

Depends, Master Grades, the most detailed ones, are really expensive, but High Grade would be the best option, they are easier to build, smaller, and less expensive, the most basic ones are around 15 bucks, which is the price of a 2015 Toa.

Edited by Zidonaro

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Something I thought about when the CCBS system was first introduced with Hero Factory; it's a cool innovative system, but it got old quick. The first two waves of Heroes were essentially Bohrok clones; the same designs with slightly different armor pieces and different colors.

 

Doesn't this describe most types of constraction set, though? Like, aside from the Toa Hordika, all of the main Toa builds we saw in G1 (Mata, Metru, and Inika) were used at least twice, just with varying armor shapes, armor colors, limb length, and equipment/weapons. Among the Toa at least, there were at most one or two per team that varied on more of a structural level, namely Pohatu and Onua in 2001 and 2002, Kongu and Matoro in 2007, and Pohatu in 2008. That's right, just five individual Toa out of 50+ Toa over eight years who varied in a meaningful way from their team's generalized skeletal structure… mostly by way of ridiculously wide shoulders and/or attaching the neck to the front of the torso instead of the top to create a "hunchback" look.

 

If anything, I think the CCBS was a considerable step up in that most armor shapes were not nearly as specialized for use on one particular section of a standard formula build. For the most part, building a Metru or Inika style Toa meant picking between a handful of part options in mutually exclusive categories like upper limb armor design, upper limb length, lower limb armor design/length (single-piece lower limbs meant you didn't even get to make separate choices for those), chest armor design, and foot design.

 

A Mata/Nuva style Toa often had even fewer options to really change up the body shapes and proportions: for each limb, choose between five single-piece limb designs, only three of which are reversible. Then, choose if the Y-joints for the hips and shoulders are attached by the cross axle hole at the top and the cross axle hole at the sides (remember, only the latter allows shoulder armor). Then, choose whether the torso is right side up or upside down (about two ways to attach the neck for the former and one for the latter. And finally, decide whether to add additional torso armor. Congratulations! You have a Toa.

 

CCBS, on the other hand, let designers choose limb length, armor style, and armor orientation for each part of the body individually, and even add a second layer of armor on some parts of the build. For the most part, no armor part was limited to being used in specific places on a standard skeleton — frankly, the restrictions on variety in those first two waves of heroes probably had less to do with the building system than with them reverting to Mata/Nuva-level price points, with the Phantoka/Mistika/Glatorian-level price points in those waves reserved for the villains. As such, the Breakout wave's greater variety can largely be chalked up to the decision, largely unprecedented at that time, to break both the heroes and villains up between two or three different price points (as well as a $1 price hike on the smallest of those sizes).

 

That said, both CCBS and pre-CCBS parts were far more versatile in MOCs than they could ever be in sets, since there are bigger limits on how many parts can be in production at any one time than how many parts an individual can have in their collection after years of collecting. Not to mention bigger limits on what level of complexity the target age range can handle, or how much you can fit within a fixed price point.

 

Personally, I think the inherent limits on how many of the creative liberties of either CCBS or pre-CCBS builds would look natural on human or animal characters with skin and muscles rather than robot characters with just armor and bones, was arguably a bigger nail in the coffin of the Star Wars buildable figures than the unsurprising decision to depict actors with bodies of similar sizes and shapes using parts of similar sizes and shapes. The lack of alternate model instructions (online or otherwise) was one of the most striking differences to me with Star Wars buildable figures than the Chima or Super Heroes ones that came before, but it's not hard to understand why that was the case. Realistically, if a future action figure building system were engineered with human characters in mind, it would probably have to focus more on making outfits and proportions more customizable rather than Bionicle or Hero Factory style customization, which in any building system tends to be better suited to robot and alien characters.

 

As far as price goes: pretty much every constraction building system to date (including the more System-based Knights' Kingdom II buildable figures) has tended towards larger and more complex parts than typical System sets, and consequently has had a higher price per piece — usually, around 20 cents per piece, whereas System sets are often more around 8 to 12 cents per piece. As such, I'm not sure how effectively costs could be pulled down EXCEPT by either using fewer pieces, or by using more standard System parts shared with other themes, the way a lot of dragon, creature, and mecha sets from themes like Ninjago, Legends of Chima, and Elves have been constructed.

 

Zidonaro's GUNPLA-esque suggestion is interesting, but I'm not sure how well it would translate to LEGO, since from my understanding GUNPLA kits usually involve three or so sprues of parts (each coming off of a single mold) specific to one model. This is a very different production and packing process from LEGO, in which the usual tendency is for parts to be shared between models but come from separate molds depending on their shape, even when they are in the same color. The number of sets and parts in LEGO's portfolio in any given year might rule out devote so many molds to individual sets, and of course it goes without saying that AFOLs would hate that level of specialization, but that's not to say it couldn't be explored for a more limited range of products like we saw with the Star Wars buildable figures.

 

I am aware that a lot of older GUNPLA models were extremely technical to construct, often needing the use of glue and a hobby knife, but I hear newer ones are usually easier snap-together builds sort of like a typical construction toy. That said, I wonder what kind of quality control costs and concerns might be associated with molding so many pieces on one sprue and ensuring all meet the LEGO Group's usual precision tolerances and standards for clutch power. In any case, that's probably something only somebody involved with the production process at either LEGO or Bandai would really be able to answer, since usually companies aren't very open about how many customer service complaints they get about molding issues, let alone how many improperly molded parts are detected and removed from the production line before they get packaged and shipped to customers.

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Use of CCBS for minifgure-scaled mechs, as xccj suggests above, sounds appealing to me. I did dearly like the Invasion From Below sets, even if it was HF's sendoff with a whimper. The sense of scale was well-done, IMHO, and played off my love for Pacific Rim quite handily.  B-)

 

In the end, Lego only need fill the constraction gap if they feel that it would benefit them. It doesn't really look like they need that right now, however. Until the day when we see Bionicle return (lol, Hero factory reboot? anyone?  :P  please don't leave me  ;)  )

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Use of CCBS for minifgure-scaled mechs, as xccj suggests above, sounds appealing to me. I did dearly like the Invasion From Below sets, even if it was HF's sendoff with a whimper. The sense of scale was well-done, IMHO, and played off my love for Pacific Rim quite handily.  B-)

 

The main reason I have doubts about LEGO returning to builds like that is that presently, LEGO has had a lot of success in themes like Ninjago, Nexo Knights, and Super Heroes with similar sized but much more detailed minifigure-scale mechs using more standard System parts.

 

Even though System-based mechs and creatures at any scale usually don't have as much articulation as constraction sets (to the frustration of many AFOLs), they seem to be pretty popular with the same six to fourteen target age group that constraction themes generally target. So I can't see LEGO bringing CCBS back on a wider scale specifically for a theme that would have such similar subject matter to many of their existing themes, but with less crossover appeal for people whose main prior experience and existing collections consist of other System-based themes.

Edited by Aanchir

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Interesting that you mentioned it, masterchirox580 . Well, I got a lot of saying in this.

At the beginning of constraction, there are the two action figure themes with big thick limbs, Slizers/Throwbots in 1999-2000 and its successor called RoboRiders in 2000-2001. They lasted short and don’t have stories (they looked a little weird), though. However, they inspired Lego to create Bionicle in 2001. Bionicle also saved Lego from bankruptcy when it was born. Since then, Bionicle was successful and popular because of the toys in there, the story the various media used to promote both the toys and the story. It was a thing. It was so beautiful. It was in a golden age of constraction. However, in 2009, I think Lego suffered a problem, so it cancelled Bionicle in 2010. That was horrible, and it broke our hearts. Plus, the story left unfinished.

However, Lego created Hero Factory to make for it to keep the constraction category going. However, this lasted in 2014, the story in there is unfinished, and a planned theatrical movie was never made (Hollywood Reports mentioned that Universal Studios wants to do it in 2012, but that never happened), but it got replaced by Bionicle again since people loved it and did petitions. Bionicle was running for the second time until 2016 when Lego cancelled it again. That broke our hearts again.

Throughout the time, when Lego introduced the CCBS system in 2011, Lego started making figures for other non-constraction themes, including Super Heroes and Star Wars, until 2018. There is no constraction in this year, 2019, this time. Very observant of you, masterchirox580 .

 

Aside from constraction, there are some similar themes, like Galidor (weird-looking guys), Exo-Force (they’re mechs, though), and Mixels (they’re figures with brick-sized ball and socket joints), but they too are cancelled.

 

So, in this decade, constraction was having a lot of problems before it stopped in 2019. I see no sign of constraction this year. This is the Dark age or Great Depression of constraction, y’all. I think Lego wasn’t proitizing the themes and didn’t have been budget for them. Here are a list of problems that I could say:

1. In 2009, I think Lego was suffering money problems with Bionicle, so Bionicle 2001-2010 got cancelled. Bionicle was doing fine until that horrible moment. The fifth and sixth Bionicle direct-to-video movies were cancelled as a result. You can say that to a Bionicle-2004-storyline-based sequel to Bionicle: The Game in 2003 and Bionicle: The Album.

2. How the stories are told and how the media are used. The stories in Hero Factory and Bionicle 2015-2016 are plain weird in various ways. Plus, they are kind of cheap with the media that promoted the toy lines. They also made some things, like the characters and their advertising videos, unequal. I mean, look at all of this mess. Hero Factory had four 22-minute TV episodes in 2010, and then it decreased by one episode every year until 2014 before HF got cancelled. Not every character and their forms shown in sets appeared in the show, and not all characters are equal in various ways. The characters in the show look a little different from the sets. Some character models are lazily reused. The scripts are kind of weird, and 2013 and 2014 made things worse, as it got unresolved things and cliffhangers. The 2014 storyline had mechs instead of characters, which I don’t think worked at all. The episodes used to have Tinseltown Toons and Threshold Studios making them, but the companies are replaced by Ghost Animation for one episode in 2014, and that is dang cheap. Lego didn’t have enough money for this. When Bionicle 2015-2016, it got a series of cheap 2D-animated 90-minute online animations in 2015 and four cheap TV episodes in Netflix that look like something from Iron Man: Armored Adventures, which also suffered having weird scripts and unequal characters. It’s kind of similar to Hero Factory’s problems, but less bad, but still cheaper. Bionicle 2001-2010 was fine, but it had some weird moments, like those inter-dimensional stuff in the serials and how people could follow the story. The story is told through various media rather than clearly having one primary medium. It’s confusing for those who follow at least one of the media. The video games are terribly panned because they are cheap as well. There haven’t been a constraction-based video game since Bionicle Heroes in 2006. Why not do like what Ninjago does, which is a real TV show with 22-minute episodes with each season based on a storyline, with famous voice actors that we know, have Transformers-Prime-equse animation, and make everything well-written and equal to properly promote the sets? I wish the themes could have lasted longer with this kind of stuff. Plus, Lego should have handled the media, both primary and secondary, well. Bionicle and Hero Factory had so much potential, but why waste them like this? Plus, the comics in Bionicle 2001-2010 are okay, but the ones in HF and Bionicle 2015-2016 are inferior and weird.

3. Now the sets. At first, the S/T and RR characters look weird, but Bionicle’s character look much neater and more humanoid. The early years’ characters have stiff limbs and weird designs, but they provided fun functions, like those gear functions, and awesome designs. They later had bend-able limbs and necks. However, in 2010, the small-or-medium-sized characters with canisters in Bionicle and HF went back to having stiff limbs for some reason. Along the way, during this decade, there have some weirdly-designed sets and there were more of them than in the ‘00s. Examples of these are the Skull Scorpio and Ogrum. Plus, the sets in the late half of this decade are made of a lot of pieces and are kind of chunky. The heads in the Ultra Builds are kind of weird. The Legends of Chima figures in 2014 are weirdly sold when they have something with countries.

4. The sets were fairly cheap, but when the time passes, they got more expensive. They are ridiculous overprised.

 

So, yeah, this decade is the worst for constraction. Plus, the quality in constraction was decreasing and then disappeared, as in Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 had made the whole thing disappear out of existence. Man, this is extremely sad, and so sad that I cry in tears of sadness. I mean, we need constraction, including mostly Bionicle (HF being second place), in our lives. We feel so empty inside now.:( I sure hope that it will come back. If that would be Bionicle G3, I hope there would be a Bionicle cameo in The Lego Movie 2 (The Lego Movie 1 had that same thing and then Bionicle 2015-2016 happened a year later) and it can come back as either Bionicle G3 (or a re-continuation of Bionicle G1, G2, or Hero Factory, or HF G2, or a shared universe theme that has Bionicle, HF, and probably other constraction themes) in a much more proper way in either 2020 (again, judging from the cameo and to celebrate HF’s 10th anniversary) or 2021 (to celebrate Bionicle’s 20th anniversary). If any of these does, I’m hoping for either for theatrical movies, a cinematic universe, or a shared TV universe that are from the themes for the sake of their successes and improvements. Plus, Bionicle saved Lego from bankruptcy for Pete’s sake, so Lego should respect them, like how DC Comics respected Batman movies and Marvel respected Spider-Man movies.

 

Let’s pray, y’all.


I like Lego, Bionicle, and Hero Factory!:)

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