An interesting piece of info that has been in the news lately and talked about on social medial as well as the LEGO Ambassador Forum is that one of the upcoming LEGO Technic sets, the #42113 LEGO Technic Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey has been canceled. Below is a bit of history on what happened, and LEGO’s official statement on it. It’s rare to see a LEGO set canceled so close to the release date (August 1st), so it’s worth talking about the event from the perspective of LEGO’s history.
The #42113 LEGO Technic Bell Boeing V-22 was first displayed at the German Toy Fair earlier this year, with the announced release date of August 1st. The set has been pretty much flying under the radar since its original reveal, but LEGO Technic fans have been looking forward to it, especially because it includes a brand new LEGO Powered Up Hub with on-board controls. However, the German Peace Organization took note of the set and made the following statement.
The LEGO Technic 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey calls for trouble. The V-22 Osprey it is modeled on is a military freight aircraft. Four hundred planes are currently in use by the US armed forces, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mai, and Yemen. These heavily armed aircrafts are often used in attack missions. The tilt rotor vehicles with vertical start-and-landing capabilities are produced by Boeing and Bell. According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Boeing has been the second largest arms company in 2018 with global arms sales totaling 26.08 billion Euro (29.15 billion US Dollars). According to the same data, Bell achieved rank 27 with a total of 3.18 billion Euro (3.5 billion US Dollars) in arms sales.
“Arms companies are never an acceptable cooperation partner for any toy company”, says Michael Schulze von Glaßer, political director of DFG-VK. The organization has published a study on the new LEGO set and its original model. Schulze von Glaßer continued; “The Danish company has subjected itself to corporate values ruling out any production of any military vehicle currently in use by armed forces globally. This violation of the company‘s own values is concerning. We have contacted LEGO multiple times earlier this year, asking for comment and offering our readiness for conversation about the cooperation with these arms companies and the new set. Especially since license fees will most probably be paid to the arms companies from each sale. This would mean, that with every buy we as customers directly fund arms producers. We have started a petition asking LEGO for an immediate end to the cooperation with arms companies and a return to the peaceful company values. We all love bricks but LEGO has deviated to the wrong path. We hope to set them back on track with this campaign and remain open for communication.”
To start the campaign, the DFG-VK protested in front of the LEGO flagship store in Berlin, and they planned other protesting events as well. The DFG-VK remained hopeful that LEGO will eventually hear the criticism and cancel the set as well as reevaluate their internal rules. A summary of the petition as well as the study and other information can be found on the webpage: LoveBricks-HateWar.com. All this publicity started a backlash on social media, and LEGO could no longer ignore the concerns. They responded as follows.
The LEGO Technic Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey was designed to highlight the important role the aircraft plays in search and rescue efforts. While the set clearly depicts how a rescue version of the plane might look, the aircraft is only used by the military. We have a long-standing policy not to create sets which feature real military vehicles, so it has been decided not to proceed with the launch of this product. We appreciate that some fans who were looking forward to this set may be disappointed, but we believe it’s important to ensure that we uphold our brand values.
There are going to be some stores that have already received stock but official LEGO stores will not receive stock. Our sales teams have been in touch with their customers as well. I would expect a few mom and pop type shops to receive a shipment but larger retailers will be less likely.
Once the set was canceled, the German Peace Organization released a statement that they were surprised but delighted by LEGO’s swift response. Especially after being ignored for many months. Schulze von Glaßer stated that “Despite the previous bad communication on the part of LEGO, we are all the happier about the company’s admission and the consequence it has drawn from it – we understand that the decision was not easy. We hope that LEGO will hold on to its own good valued in the future.” With respect to the environment, the organization hopes that sets, which already have been produced, will not be destroyed so that the bricks can be used for future sets. “That is the good thing about LEGO, you can always create something new with them,” Schulze von Glaßer concluded. You can read the full response here.
While many people praise LEGO for canceling the #42113 LEGO Technic Bell Boeing V-22 for the reasons raised by the German organization, others are upset that it won’t be released, or because it took LEGO this long to realize that this set should have never made it into production, or because LEGO bowed to pressure. An additional issue is that LEGO only canceled the set and didn’t recall it from vendors who already received them. This means the set is ripe for exploitation by resellers. In fact, it’s already happening. The originally $150 set is now selling on eBay in the $1,500-$2,000 range by those who were lucky enough to get it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it will go even higher. Please note that the set is not available on BrickLink as it is now owned by LEGO, but you can find it on eBay and other marketplaces.
Extensive and intense discussion about the #42113 LEGO Technic Bell Boeing V-22 continues amongst LEGO fans on forums, blogs, social media, and the LEGO Ambassador forum. There are even petitions to release the set in spite of the possible backlash from vigilante organizations. It is not clear yet how LEGO will reuse the stock that’s already produced and still in their possession. They could release a similar rescue plane without the license, or reuse the parts for something else. It’s certainly a big blow to the company as making such a drastic turn at the last moment costs extra time, money, and manpower, in addition to lost effort that went into producing the set in the first place.
What do you think? Do you believe LEGO handled the situation properly, or would you have wished for a different outcome? How do you think they could repurpose the sets that are already produced? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below!
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So much drama over this set. They should have released it without the Boeing license.
Take off the stickers, remove any reference to Boein in the instructions, and it should be good to go. I want to try out that new hub!
I get what that peace society is saying. I wonder why Lego didn’t respond to them earlier. Now the whole thing is a mess and it gives them bad name. Not to speak of the financial losses.
I read something on reddit about this set having problems already and Lego took this as an opportunity to cancel it. Check this out: https://www.reddit.com/r/lego/comments/hygiqx/osprey_cancelled_due_to_design_flaw/
Here is a video on it too: https://youtu.be/hjNC9-5rAhU
Wow. That’s really interesting. I wonder if that’s what happened. Lego conspiracy theory! I wonder if there is more…… 😀
How does something like this even happen? I mean, wouldn’t they catch that something is wrong before the set goes into production? Didn’t they try it out?
I think it shouldn’t have been displayed at the Toy Fair earlier this year in the first place. Lego dropped the ball on that one. I mean doesn’t Lego go through the sets before they put out for sale? Never dangle raw meat in front of a hungry lion. We are so desperate for new sets to come out. That we hunger for new things to build or create from Lego. I wonder what else is going to be held back on August 1st?
That “peace” society is getting it all wrong: this nonsense attack creates hatred everywhere on the planet where that set was truly desired – there are bigger problems to address than what a toy company is producing. As far as the association with Boeing goes, anyone that pays taxes subsidize arm companies because governments usually buy armaments. Lego is hypocrite first (most of their IP sets involve significant amount of violence (good-bad factions and all sorts of different weaponry) and second they are spineless: this plane is dressed as a rescue plane. If you want to consider that this configuration does not exist in the real world, then this model enter the realm of “fantasy” and should be acceptable to the “rules” of Lego. They should not bow to cancel culture – again peace organisations should focus on real problems. This set was desirable because it is a technological marvel and appropriate for Lego Technic. Eventually we will be able to build it when Lego releases the missing parts and I just hope that most people will do just that and display it proudly – screw DFG-VK.
Exactly my thoughts! It’s crazy that companies, organizations and even governments are bowing to social media mobs of woke neckbeards. LEGO should have stood by its product. It could have inspired kids to think about how military vehicles could be converted to civilian use.
Also dont like normal model kits have multiple army vehicles available? How is that any different? Or do they just want to hate on LEGO, bc they’re big?
As far as i know, there was a debate about this set of Lego.
Is it something related to copyright ?
It seems that all the disputes are over now as they raised the curtain.
Let’s hope for the best.
What? Did you read the article? They had to cancel the set! All because a German peace organization protected. It has nothing to do with copyright.
Considering back in the day when my dad built model airplanes from World War II. Also it was a way for people to pretend they’re saving a life or flying over the country side or something like that. And yet Lego focus on Star Wars which is violent. Death scenes and lots of weaponry being used through out the franchise. Yet, people don’t have a problem with that. Right now my nephew is using his Lego dinosaurs to eat his Lego mini figures is there something wrong with that. No! It’s just Imagination Running Wild and it’s safe and it doesn’t hurt anybody. Just everybody relax and quit jumping on things and make a big deal out of every little thing to nitpick that comes out. Lego is a toy. it’s a buildable toy . A great imagination builder for all ages. Let It Go!
I’m disappointed this set will never see the light of day, but I understand and respect Lego’s choice. I’m pro-2A and I’d love to see a line of military history sets, but I certainly understand not wanting to glorify war (or benefit an arms-dealer). There is a difference between fantasy violence in Star Wars and the horror of things like Viet Nam, despite what some commenters here think.
Is there a chance it will be released without the boeing connection? Or would that take too many changes?
Did they just say they were trying to release a “search and rescue” version of an aircraft that is not actually used by anyone for search and rescue?
If it was already company policy to not release any sets of real-world military vehicles, that makes it sound like the set designers were trying to pull a fast one and almost got away with it.
I can see why, though, it’s the kind of thing that makes for a great Technic set.
Hey magic chicken, violence is violence no matter its fantasy or reality. I’m just saying that Lego has to find one thing as representation as violence in one way but another way they say it’s okay. Fantasy violence: Ninjago, Star Wars and nexo knights. Historical violence : Vikings, Castle and Pirates. They all come with weapons that can harm an individual. But like I was saying this is Imagination there’s not someone actually going out there and doing it. If Lego came up with an actual sword or an axe made of Lego that’s able to be used in real life then yes I would say something. It’s not and they didn’t.
A military aircraft is a machine, neither good nor evil. The same company that makes it also manufactures planes that have transported doctors and medical supplies around the world to fight the current pandemic. An Osprey, a Land Rover Defender, the White House, or even a Fiat 500, can do a lot of harm in the wrong hands. Does that mean they shouldn’t be Lego sets? Aircraft can be used to kill people or to rescue people, to start a war or to end a war. Depicted as toys, they create an opportunity to teach children to tell the difference, and that is more valuable than pretending we live in a world where peace can exist without military deterrents.
I agree. Keep in mind it’s a toy not an actual vehicle that can harm somebody. There’s a fine line between blowing things out of proportion and trying to do the right thing. Sometimes things get a little bit fuzzy and confusing. Also intended to be pointed in the right direction but misses the point or the concept weather it’s really something to make an argument about and Lego is in the crossfires. All Lego is trying to do is to encourage imagination. If somebody wants to act out a battle scene with there Lego sets fine. It doesn’t hurt anyone as I said before. Lego encourages creativity. If Lego makes a set that there’s swords and shields for the mini figures they are not planning a tea party.
First, this is an aircraft used in actual warfare, not fictional or fantasy wars. Second, the license would mean an economic support for the production of the aircraft, notwithstanding the symbolical value. The comparisons aren’t really valid.
Then, it’s surprising that the sets would have come so far into production without anyone considering the points beforehand, though…
I agree( the second part because i said something similar in my first comment). Anyways it’s not being mass-produced it’s not being put out for sale so we have nothing to worry about. What’s done is done.
I don’t really have a final opinion on the decision; I think the discussion over it raises valid points on both sides, along with some less valid ones.
What bothers me more is the argument over the cancellation between LEGO fans. When the set was initially revealed, practically nobody complained about the set’s source; most people either praised it for looking cool and having interesting mechanisms, or disliked it for being an ugly grey heliplane. But then someone on social media noticed the remarks by the German Peace Society, an insubstantial group with little online or physical presence, and spread the story on LEGO sites. Then, half of the LEGO fanbase went from saying, “this set looks great, I will be getting it,” to saying, “this is a terrible set, LEGO is a hypocrite, they should never have made this.” This complete reversal of opinion seems to me more like virtue signalling by the fans than anything else: someone built a bandwagon, and people jumped on, as usual.
Now, I’m not saying fans’ point about LEGO’s policy is invalid or wrong, I’m merely noting that if most fans truly believe the Osprey breaks LEGO’s policy, they should have been complaining from the beginning, when the set was announced at the German Toy Fair. LEGO could then have listened and cancelled the set before packaging or distribution even began. So, I think my point is that the furor created by the fans is what pushed LEGO to cancel the set. Otherwise, the set would have been released and probably sold well, and that would be that.
Unless, of course, the design flaw (that brickmaster noted above) was the real driving force behind the cancellation, which seems plausible. Then, the uproar about military sets merely enabled (instead of caused) LEGO to cancel the set. Although, why LEGO didn’t just say they cancelled the set because of a design flaw, and why they didn’t do it sooner, is beyond me, and we’ll probably never know.
Anyways, those are just my thoughts. I should note I used the community on Brickset as my sample LEGO fan population for the above, and it seems fairly representative. I realize I’m looking at this situation from a different and possibly irrelevant angle, but several of the other comments above (by Martin, Hobbes, MagickChicken, Ray, and Mark in particular) roughly frame my thoughts on the supposed policy breach, and I see little reason to repeat them.
And we all know that if this set ever does come on the sales floor that some of the people that said negative things about the set are probably going to purchase it. In which case, this was all just smoking and wind.
Well, Lego won’t make any more money even though the customers would have to pay a lot more, anyway…