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Monday Musings #5: LEGO Leaks ruins the fan experience

Monday MuSINGS 5 LEGO Leaks

Welcome to another instalment of Monday Musings – a fortnightly(ish) series devoted to random musings on the LEGO hobby, community, my collection and beyond.

In case you missed it, Monday Musings can be long-form, or short bursts of whatever strikes my fancy, and be more traditional “blog-type” content. You may have noticed that I’m doing more news and launch posts, which I enjoy and still find ways to inject my opinions, instead of say, just drop a random gallery of images and call it a day, but I like writing, and want to give you guys a peek into how I’m perceiving things in the LEGO World – hence, Monday musings.

Here are the links to my previous 4 posts:

For Monday Musings #5, I’m going to put my neck out here and wade into some potentially prickly territory – LEGO Leaks are a net negative on the overall LEGO fan experience, and detract from the enjoyment and surprise of new LEGO sets. But first, let’s get into definitions.

What are LEGO leaks?

LEGO leaks, or #legoleaks is the term used within the hobby as a catch-all for rumours, and unannounced bits of information and photos of unreleased LEGO sets which usually make their way onto the internet ahead of any official reveal.

LEGO Leaks Instagram

The term is mostly used by the #legoleaks hashtag on Instagram, which is one of the most-followed and active LEGO-related hashtags on the social media platform, and amplified by prolific leakers like @falconfan1414, who I respect because of his journalistic chops.

They usually come in several main forms:

  • Text-based leaks which include set numbers, names, piece counts and prices
  • Minifigure leaks which usually originate from LEGO factories around the world (most commonly in Mexico, and China)
  • Shop leaks which usually are storeroom photos of unrevealed sets, or sets that somehow end up on eBay through dubious methods
  • Retailer catalogue leaks which usually feature confidential images from marketing material shared with LEGO toy retailers to make orders
  • LEGO-driven leaks which usually occur when LEGO themselves reveal sets ahead of schedule through their website, marketing material or other official channels. See the recent reveal of the Barcelona GWP as an example.
  • LEGO retail leaks which are when LEGO stores or retailers put out sets on shelves ahead of reveals

LEGO has an incredibly passionate fanbase, and one of the best things about the hobby (speaking for myself as a collector), is getting excited over new reveals and

What’s wrong with LEGO leaks?

Nothing, really. I follow LEGO Leaks like a hawk because I like to stay informed (running a LEGO blog and all), and I am genuinely excited and always looking forward to seeing what LEGO does next.

I follow the hashtag, checking in regularly to see if any secret LEGO reveals have been uncovered, or leaked as it can sometimes affect my editorial focus. It’s not something I specialise on on the blog (there are other publications and sites that cover leaks and rumours extensively), and I generally will write about them if I think I they have any truth, or if they directly tickle my fancy.

LEGO Leaks

That said – as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media (RLFM) and part of a long-running member of the LEGO Ambassador Network, I’m under some obligation to not publish unreleased photos, leaked retailer catalogue shots, and any images with the Confidential Stamp on the blog.

I’m also privileged to also be given advance information on upcoming sets, and am sometimes placed under strict NDAs. For example, I was given a peek of the Marvel Studios Minifigures Series way back in May at RLFM Days 2021 when I interviewed the LEGO Minifigures team.

I can bend the rules like some other RLFMs and just liberally used the word “rumoured” to cover leaks which yield a TON of internet traffic, but I choose not to because it mostly doesn’t fit my editorial and personal interests. This may change, but I’m happy with where I am now.

LEGOleaks

That said, LEGO is a leaky ship and a lot of these leaks occur because of poor information control, and not something that LEGO can ultimately stop because of just how large they are as a company. From concept to production, so many different people, teams and external parties can be involved, and information will try its hardest to get out.

Why leaks ruin the LEGO Fan Experience

While I am very guilty of consuming and seeking out leaks for my own personal curiosity, I ultimately believe that they ruin the LEGO fan experience, and detract from the enjoyment, and surprise of LEGO sets.

LEGO 10290 Pickup Truck Truck

Try and think of the last time a LEGO set got revealed properly through official channels – it might’ve been the 10290 Pickup Truck, which was a surprise drop on LEGO.com, and had previously been thought to be a LEGO Delorean, which was a fantastic surprise befitting of a fantastic model.

LEGO leaks mostly tend to be crudely shot photos, or grainy pixelated images that never paint the sets in the best light.

For most LEGO fans, leaks are usually the first time they hear, or see new upcoming sets, as it’s an in-joke amongst LEGO Ambassadors that sets will almost always leak before the official reveal.

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=245420890919695&set=pb.100063553561985.-2207520000..

So if you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen this photo I posted over the weekend. I received a delivery for an upcoming review set, and was genuinely blown away when I opened the box!

A bit of inside information on the review offer process – when LEGO invites ambassadors to review sets, we typically get a set number and maybe a theme, but that’s it. Most of the time, googling the set number will reveal what it is as it’s likely to have had the set name and number leaked, which can come in handy, but this was something completely new, and completely unknown when I accepted the offer.

It was such a thrill and a rush, as I opened the box because what greeted me was not what I had expected in my wildest dreams, and I spent a solid few minutes just admiring the set, the packaging design, and the photos of the back, marvelling at the top-secret LEGO set that was in my living room.

As a LEGO superfan, I’ve genuinely missed moments like this – where I get to see a LEGO set I never knew I wanted, in all its proper glory.

What do LEGO Designers think of leaks?

I was also reminded of this quote from Marcos Bessa, a LEGO Design Master that most recently worked on 76391 Hogwarts Icons, who commented the following when asked about leaks, on a Q&A on his Instagram in June.

Marcos Bessa Leak Response

He nailed it on the head, and I empathise with the first point. It takes multiple teams of people at LEGO who work in all sorts of disciplines, from marketing, to element design, to set designers, to graphic designers to sales, that are responsible for bring LEGO sets to life, and what is likely hundreds and hundreds of hours of effort, and work planning reveals and launches.

When LEGO sets get unceremoniously leaked online (for clout, fame, or $$$), it undermines a lot of the hard work that goes into the launching a set (which takes months of planning), and almost always portrays the sets in a bad light.

And this is precisely why I think LEGO leaks are not great for fans – it robs that “wow moment” that you get when seeing an impressive, highly anticipated LEGO set for the first time – either in crispy high resolution images, or through a video with gorgeous production quality.

I was granted that privilege not once, not twice, but thrice in one weekend (it was a very good weekend for deliveries), and I was thrilled with every single one, and I really can’t wait for you guys to be able to see the sets.

LEGO Leaks are likely never going to fully go away, but LEGO does seem to be a bit better at plugging the holes in their systems, but I do hope, for the sake of all LEGO fans that we end the year with some surprising reveals that will truly surprise and delight.


What do you think? Do you like LEGO Leaks, or think they ruin the surprise of all these awesome new sets?


Thanks for reading!

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