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LEGO quality team responds to brittle LEGO

A few weeks ago, the LEGO element quality team reached out to the LEGO Ambassador Network to gather feedback on LEGO elements and any issues, requests, limitations, or errors LEGO fans have found. There have been many submissions from the various LEGO fan communities, pointing out ways LEGO element designs could be improved. It’s a very interesting conversation with lots of great ideas. 🙂

For example, adding holes in the middle of studs for more elements (so rods could be inserted), redesigning elements that tend to have weak parts that break easily (i.e. clips, robot arms, etc.), redesigning pieces so they are more versatile and could be used in more directions, adding new elements that do not exist yet but could be very useful, and designing handicapped-friendly doors for the new minifig wheelchair to fit through (image by Barrie Crossan at AFOLs of Facebook group).

Besides discussing new and improved pieces, the LEGO element quality team also got a lot of feedback on color inconsistencies, and pieces in colors that tend to break easily. While color inconsistencies can add interesting variations to buildings, landscapes, etc. and could be useful, nobody likes cracked and broken pieces. Members posted a great number of heartbreaking images with shattered LEGO parts. To respond to these issues, the LEGO elements quality team made the following statement:

“The LEGO Group has been working hard to address reported issues with reddish-brown bricks becoming brittle and breaking under use. The issues have been identified and we are happy to announce that they have been fixed. The fixes were put in place earlier this year for the LEGO colors #154 (new-dark-red), #192 (reddish-brown) and #308 (dark-brown). We waited until now to make the announcement, as we wanted to be 100% certain all issues had been addressed and fixed. If you, at any time, have a LEGO element which doesn’t live up to the standard you’d expect from us – then please don’t hesitate to contact LEGO Customer Service and we will send you replacement parts. We are terribly sorry for the inconveniences this has caused our loyal LEGO Fans across the World.”

This is excellent news, as reddish-brown, in particular, has been notorious for its brittleness (see video demonstration below). I hope the issue has been fixed once and for all! If you do encounter LEGO elements that crack or break under normal usage, make sure you give customer service a call, and they will send you replacements. The earlier you call the better, as elements and/or colors sometimes go out of production, and LEGO may not be able to replace them.

What do you think? Have you run across any issues with LEGO pieces or colors? And do you have any ideas of wishes for new and improved elements? Feel free to share in the comment section below, and I can forward your thoughts and findings to the LEGO element quality team. 😉

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{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Hayato December 10, 2018, 11:45 AM

    This is really really good to hear. I have been hesitant to buy mostly brown sets because of the pieces being so fragile. I didn’t know dark red and dark brown also had the issue, but we don’t have that many of those colors.

    • TomTom December 10, 2018, 1:35 PM

      Dark red also has problems with color inconsistencies. But I also found reddish brown to be the most brittle. I’m glad they fixed it!

  • Jon Wilde December 10, 2018, 12:53 PM

    Wonder how much this devalues my Sandcrawler? :/

    • TomTom December 10, 2018, 1:37 PM

      Wow. I haven’t even thought of that! If the set is open, you can always ask for replacement parts, but if you sell it sealed, the next buyer will have to deal with getting replacements.

      • DavidH December 10, 2018, 1:40 PM

        Can we put suggestions for new parts? Or only suggestions for parts that already exist?

        • admin December 10, 2018, 8:53 PM

          It seemed from the discussion that they were mainly looking at feedback for existing parts. Although I did see some suggestions like some arch sizes missing that could be useful.

    • admin December 10, 2018, 8:52 PM

      Check the parts. Brittle parts break right out of the box. It’s not an age thing.

      • Brickteller May 11, 2020, 8:06 PM

        Reviving an old thread here, but in addition to the noted issue with brown, I’ve had 1×1 round tiles in Light Bluish Gray spontaneous break after staying assembled for a year or two. Some in the Creator 3 in 1 Changing Seasons house, and dozens in a single MOC. Brand new parts, assembled only once.

        • Thita (admin) May 11, 2020, 10:34 PM

          Yes, I have had that experience as well with light-bluish-gray. I do hope that this is an old issue though, and we won’t be seeing it any more in new sets.

  • Håkan December 10, 2018, 2:30 PM

    Mmm, chocolate!…

    (And that wheelchair image is brilliant!)

    • admin December 10, 2018, 8:56 PM

      The wheelchair issue was the most surprising to me. I would have thought they think about fitting the wheelchair through doors, or at least release a door the wheelchair can fit through. Just to show that there are a lot of things to consider when releasing a new part, and sometimes things get overlooked.

  • LEGOJeff December 10, 2018, 2:31 PM

    I read somewhere that the problem with brittle pieces is mostly in the US. I also remember seeing some other colors that crack easily. Like the teal in the Scooby-Doo sets. As far as suggestions for pieces, please redesign the cheese slopes so they don’t constantly crack!

    • Håkan December 10, 2018, 2:39 PM

      Yeah, I recall something about that, too. The main markets are the US and the European markets, and the US market had more Chinese produced bricks, that broke easier than the Danish and Polish (or something) bricks produced for the European market. Something like that…

      • admin December 10, 2018, 9:02 PM

        Our bricks in North America mostly come from the factory in Mexico. As far as I know, only gear and gift items, the collectible minifigures, and some special moulds are made in China.

        • Håkan December 11, 2018, 9:22 AM

          I might have had some details wrong…

          • admin December 11, 2018, 10:49 PM

            No problem at all. That LEGO has a factory in Mexico is often forgotten. It is sort of out of the place. Even more so than the factory in China. 😀

    • admin December 10, 2018, 8:58 PM

      Yes, other people already mentioned the issue with the cheese-slopes. If you do find cracking pieces, call customer service. It’s important that they know.

  • Oldtimer December 10, 2018, 3:21 PM

    I’m so glad to hear that reddish brown was fixed! I’m one of those people who stayed away from buying mainly brown sets because of this. The pieces were crumbling.

  • Will December 11, 2018, 12:20 AM

    That actually explains a lot. I have a fairly large quantity of reddish brown 1×4 tiles that I typically use for wood flooring. And on at least four cases the tiles broke as I pulled them up. I have so many that it didn’t really bother me, but it is interesting to hear there was an issue with that color.

  • Humberto Sandoval February 14, 2019, 8:36 PM

    I have a small sandwich plastic tub with broken legos.

    • admin February 14, 2019, 9:50 PM

      Those would work well for post-apocalyptic settings! 😈

      • Håkan June 9, 2020, 8:28 AM

        If the broken parts are still functionally buildable, I tend to drop them in the “playroom box” at my mother’s, a small box full of stuff I don’t need myself for when my nieces would be coming over… (I mean, they don’t get ‘only’ broken stuff, there’s also a lot of 2×2:s and 2×4:s, off-brands, big weird parts, stuff I just don’t need any more of etc…)

        They also do get whole, shiny bricks for their birthdays and christmases…

  • Christian October 28, 2022, 3:39 AM

    The problem with LEGO’s customer service parts replacement is that they once lost a race to a tectonic plate and a glacier. I have frequently contacted them for replacements of various brown (reddish, dark, new-dark) pieces. They are always kind, and they always sent a new brick (or more), but it takes several weeks.

  • Tim May 14, 2023, 4:21 PM

    AFOL I’ve only recently developed an addiction to LEGO and I’m 51 years old. The brown lego plates, bricks and slopes are still breaking from new sets I’ve bought just this year. (2023)
    Might have better luck cutting out pieces of Peanut Brittle for substitutes.

    • Thita (admin) May 14, 2023, 4:57 PM

      Tim, are they actually newly released sets, or sets that are new to you but were actually released during the troubled years? If you find brittle pieces in recently released sets, I can help you report them to LEGO. If the sets are older, you can request replacement parts via LEGO’s customer service.

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