Sunday, March 13, 2016

Custom Legos - If I had world enough and ... actually world enough would be enough

There are competing positive and negative developments in my financial situation.  I'm sure everyone really, really wants to hear about that so ... Legos.

I'm part of the Lego Club.  I was buying something for, as I recall, the elder weasel (as opposed to the muchkin weasel that I think I mention more often) and they asked if I wanted to do a free sign up deal and I thought, "What the fuck, why not?"  Now they send me catalogs composed of solid awesome and I realize that if I were rich I'd have more Legos than the dad from The Lego Movie because solid fucking awesome.

Two of these catalogs (one on top of the other) are on my floor.  Just as a phone call was ending, I happened to look down and saw the Joker running away from he '60s full camp TV series Batmobile.  I started to talk about something that I'd do if I had money, and then was reminded that the phone call was ending and if it was more than a couple of sentences it might be worth talking about.

So, here's the thing.  The batmobile from the '60s TV show looks awesome as do various other things.  The Joker does not.  Why?  Because he's a standard old fashioned patent-expired mini-figure.

You know what would look awesome?  If they did him Lego-Friends/Princess/Elves style.  Then he'd look like the motherfucking Joker.

It's the same with so many things.  You know the only things that don't look awesome in Lego Star Wars?  The damned characters.  Ditto for Lego Ghostbusters, Lego DC Heroes, Lego Marvel heroes (exception for the Hulk, semi-exception for Groot), Lego City (cops and robbers, general, vehicles, ocean exploration), Lego Doctor Who, Ninjago (only exists as lego), Lego creator, and everything that isn't in the unofficial "For Girls" segregated area.

As you flip through the catalog you eventually reach the stuff for girls at the end and you discover that Lego is fully capable of making characters that are awesome looking too.

Other sets look amazing except for the (humanoid) characters, Lego Friends, Disney Princess, and Elves look fucking awesome throughout.

There are, however, problems with the Friends mini-figures,  Since their legs don't end at the knees (with feet attached directly to the knees) like the other mini-figures, they can't fit into some of the places the traditional mini-figures can.  Note that it's completely absurd that the ordinary minifigures can fit into such spots, but that's another story.

Friends figures legs lack individual articulation.  Their wrists can't rotate the way traditional mini-figures wrists can.

None of these problems are insurmountable.  Customizers have already dealt with some of them.

So, if I had world enough . . .

* * *

Friends themselves, being a new invention, are still patent protected but everything that makes them Lego compatible (right down to the ability to decapitate them and put their heads on pikes) is based on things that are now public domain.

So, what I'd do is design Friends-esque figures from the ground up so that they didn't have the drawbacks, and I'd make them have more body shape diversity, probably more head shape diversity as well, obviously more skin color diversity, and, basically, I'd make Friends-but-better figures.

One thing that I'd definitely add in is the capability of having people with fewer than four complete limbs.

Consider that currently Lego Furiosa (why doesn't this exist? by the way) with prosthetic could be done by painting part of the arm metallic colors, but Lego Furiosa without her prosthetic limb would require taking a saw to a Lego figure.  [Added: oh, wait.  She does exist.  Customizers, I love you people.]  Why should one need a saw?  The arms are interchangeable parts, how hard would it be to produce some that end at the elbow?  Or ones that have the full arm, but don't have a hand at the end?

And what about runners?  I can believe that a Lego figure in pants might not have two full biological legs because the leg prosthetics I've encountered in my life are the kinds of things you only realize are prosthetics if the user is wearing shorts.  But for competitive running a different shape of prosthetic entirely is used.  No current Lego figure could be believed to have running legs on.

[Giant time gap here, I'd almost forgotten this post was in progress.]

It is surprising how strong tiny plastic parts can be.  Not are; can be.  Lego uses good plastic and thus has the surprisingly strong tiny plastic parts.  Whoever in China is making clones of the Friends mini-figures does not use plastic that good.  Their tiny parts are frail and easily broken.

So making better Friends-esque figures doesn't just mean having enough money to do injection molding (which is not fucking cheap) but also having enough money to do it with the good plastic.

Hence needing world enough.  The design element is no big deal, though I'm currently without any CAD software.  Manufacturing requires more world than I've got.

* * *

Once the better-than-Friends figures exist, though, that's when we really take a lesson from the customizers.  We can swap out that ugly doesn't-look-like-the-Joker Joker with one that does.  Lego has done the hair and accessories for us.  We just need to paint the figure in the right colors.

Ditto for Batman and Robin, Black Widow, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner if he ever actually shows up in Lego sets, Storm Troopers, Rey and Fin, and, basically, everyone everywhere in Lego sets.

If I had world enough.

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