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Controversy drives sales - will tabloids never learn? Answered

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There's a small family company, BrickArms, which plies its trade online, selling modified Lego minifigs.

They are genuine Lego pieces, but modified into (mainly) military garb.

Recently, their sales rose so dramatically that they have had to stop taking orders. Not bad, for a company selling individual Lego figures for ten times their originalpurchase price in the middle of a credit crunch.

What happened?

The media, that's what happened. In the UK, right-wing tabloid Daily Mail found out about the company, and immediately got all in a tizzy because the characters glorify terrorism - they all wear head-scarves or Nazi uniforms. They got a quote from a Muslim and a Jew to say how horrified they were. They got a quote from Lego to emphasise they were not official.

They completely ignored half the company's range - as well as Germans and desert-clad figures, they have US marines, a Bond-style secret agent, a Colonial Marine and a zombie-assault set. The figures are meant for diorama-style displays, not to be played with by small children.

Things aren't all bad, though - as soon as many readers saw the article, they went straight off to find out where they could be bought. Sales have soared. Even their UK distributor has had to close their ordering systems to catch up.

Maybe somebody from BrickArms ought to write a letter of thanks?

BrickArms website

18 Replies

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skunkbait (author)2008-12-07

That's a little hard for me. Lego's were the beloved toy of my childhood. But so were army-men, cowboys and indians, and cap guns. I dunno, this is a little too close to home. I grew up during the end of Vietnam, and probably would not have been real enthusiastic about Ho Chi Minh, or POW Lego figures. As a 'free-market' type guy, I don't think they should be banned. They are certainly not "evil" in and of themselves (They're plastic for goodness sake!). But as the terror business is an on-going situation, it just feels like the death of innocence. But yeah. They look neat, and certainly have the best possible advertising strategy!

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KentsOkay (author)skunkbait2008-12-08

They had legos back then? Wow...

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Tool Using Animal (author)2008-12-08

I've always been bemused by the artwork of Zbigniew Libera with his Lego Concentration camp.

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killerjackalope (author)2008-12-07

These are going to be on a lot of Christmas lists, they are offensive when picked out individually and cast in a bad light, as are most things... They look very well made though, where's the statement from Lego?

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Kiteman (author)killerjackalope2008-12-08

Check the Daily Mail article - they got a quote.

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killerjackalope (author)Kiteman2008-12-08

'Lego UK is committed to developing toys which enrich childhood by encouraging imaginative and creative play - and does not endorse products that do not fit with this philosophy.' - Surely a child changing history on a regular basis is considered creative, and I'm pretty sure space nazis would be imaginative... (they make some future style guns like ones in games aswell)

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Weissensteinburg (author)2008-12-07

That's great! But by the way, it says they make them from scratch with molds...they don't modify them.

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user

that makes more sense, I was like "what lego piece do you modify to make a bazooka?!?"

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kelseymh (author)guyfrom7up2008-12-07

Three round one-ers plus a heat-gun.

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skunkbait (author)kelseymh2008-12-07

Is three enough for a bazooka? Sounds more like a mortar to me.

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kelseymh (author)skunkbait2008-12-08

You may be right. The Legomen aren't really to scale (unless they have some serious glandular problems :-). Maybe 4 or 5 would be better for a classic bazooka.

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Kiteman (author)skunkbait2008-12-08

They make the accessories from scratch, but modify the figures (clean off official transfers, add new decals etc).

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skunkbait (author)Kiteman2008-12-08

I saw that. I was just refering to Kelsey's speculation on how to do it. BTW- Do they Darfur/Rwanda figures yet?

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Kiteman (author)skunkbait2008-12-08

Not that I know of - it really is a family concern (his kids trim the guns off the sprues and suchlike), and he seems to focus on historical models (hence the Germans and US Marines).

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KentsOkay (author)2008-12-08

Dang... Those are perfect for making Lego movies...

Take that organized society!

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munchman (author)2008-12-07

Nice. You know what they say... There is no such thing as bad publicity

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Doctor What (author)2008-12-07

I think it is quite nice. I don't understand why they shouldn't be able to sell them. People have sold army toys for a long, long, time. Army men glorified war. Not to mention the ravenous toy indians. This is just a little more updated. Call it giving kids a lesson on current events. "No honey, that's just catsup." I'd buy some if I didn't know I could just make them myself.

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chiok (author)2008-12-07

That's some detailed sculpting and paintwork there. Very nice work.

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