About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

T is for Toys in the Tabloids

The 'Easy-reads' like a toy story, so do the toy companies, they sell papers and they sell toys! here are a couple of recent puff pieces from the 'i' (little brother of the Independent)...

What intrigues me about this 'news story' is the little blobs at the front of the image...I suspect they are 15mm (or thereabouts) figures. Just like the figures Megabloks designed for use with their submarines and warship models about 15 years ago! The Chutzpah of Lego is really quite staggering...let's recap with a dateless time-line;

Lego 'acknowledge' (without credit!) Airfix with a very similar-looking Ferguson tractor

Lego steal the design from Hestair Kiddicraft

Lego lose a court case on that matter, to Hestair Kiddicraft

Lego pay a large amount of money for the intellectual property of Hestair Kiddicraft

- hiatus -

Lego spend years suing Mega Bloks and others all over the world

Lego lose the majority of those suits, and where they win; often see the win overturned on appeal

Lego drop their 'no war toys' policy (they'd actually dropped it years earlier, with knights, Cowboys and US Cavalry v. Indians, Pirates v. Revenue soldiers, space ray-guns &etc)

Lego FOLLOW Mega Bloks with a wider range of more interesting and realistic colours, after purchasing the rights to make Star Wars toys (I think Lego followed Mega Bloks with licensing as well?)

Lego FOLLOW Mega Bloks with Dinosaurs

Lego FOLLOW Mega Bloks with Arctic Explorers AND a Yeti

Lego copy the micro figures of Mega Bloks

From Wikipedia: "The Lego Group has filed lawsuits against Mega Bloks Inc. in courts around the world on the grounds that Mega Bloks' use of the 'studs and tubes' interlocking brick system is a violation of trademarks held by Lego. Generally such lawsuits have been unsuccessful, chiefly because the functional design of the basic brick is considered a matter of patent rather than trademark law, and all relevant Lego patents have expired. In one of the most recent decisions, on November 17, 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld Mega Bloks' right to continue selling the product in Canada. A similar decision was reached by the European Union's Court of First Instance on November 12, 2008 when it upheld an EU trademark agency decision following an objection by Mega Bloks against a trademark awarded to Lego in 1999"

Conclusion: Buy your kids Mega Bloks, they are cheaper per ton, and lead the field in the innovation of a universal product...even Hornby-Airfix are using the Kiddicraft design now! (this is a drum I'm going to keep banging!)

I Thought this was good news - a non-warlike figure wiping the floor with his armed companions! Although I supose the millions of deaths in the wars of the reformation could be laid partly at his feet?

One day I will do a proper post on these toys as their history and the number of brands involved is even more interesting than the 8-stud building-block story!


Brian Carrick said...

Judging by the number of adults I see diving into the Lego tubs at car boot sales it seems to have become a big collectable in recent years. What is the world coming to?
Best wishes, Brian

Hugh Walter said...

Well...Lego (formally known as 'Timpo') Dave!

I have a mate who collects the Star Wars stuff and he's got the big Death Star, but it just sits there, enough grey Lego for several [dozen] medieval forts...just sitting there!