Topic: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

Hi all!

New to the forum. New to brickfilming in general (other than a few tests, although I'm not entirely new to animation in general).

I'm just trying to gauge what the concencus is towards using knockoff Lego brands in brickfilms?

I have a fair bit of Lego (mainly Marvel and TLBM, and some loose parts that I've picked up off Bricklink, specifically for brickfilming), but I have a few ideas that would require specific figures and vehicles, that I don't really have the disposable income to just be going out and picking up right now. I've tried Ebay and Bricklink and they're still too expensive for my liking, especially as I'd only be using them for the film, not to add to the 'real' Lego collection.

So my question is this - is the use of knockoff brands for brickfilming frowned upon by the community as a whole?

Many thanks!

Re: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

Frowned upon? No, not by most. Though further comments may disprove that. mini/wink

Most of us simply prefer Lego and the vast majority of our collections are Lego. It has a high level of quality and a clean, consistent look to it.

I've seen a handful of Mega Bloks only films, but they seem to be rare around here. More often, I've seen knock-off bricks and accessories used on the side, or when Lego doesn't make that one piece or weapon. Brickarms in particular seem popular and accepted.

Myself, I am more concerned with quality than brand. I don't mind using knock off parts when they match or nearly match Lego quality. However, a good 95% of my collection is Lego.

My current project is using knock-off torsos, mostly Lego bricks, a few Mega Bloks parts, and probably some Tyco blocks in some later sets. It may even use some Brick Forge weapons.

I'm not against using non-Lego, but the look and feel doesn't always match, and I simply don't have much of anything else.

I find many knock-off minifigures to be down right ugly, even though the extra joints of some to kinda interest me.

As for your film, feel free to use whatever brand you like. Sometimes films do need torso prints or designs that can only be found on knock off minifigures. If it looks the same, many may not notice. But if it's a Mega Bloks figure, it may look uncanny if mixed onscreen with a genuine Lego minifigure.

Before buying much more, I suggest you make something with what you have now. It's amazing what even a little Lego can do. (I recently released a film made entirely with one $15 Lego set.) If you're just getting into the hobby, it may be better to first learn how to make do with what you have now, then down the road make more significant investments for your films.

Also, could you cairify what you mean by "for the film" and "real collection?" The joy of Lego is the reusability, so everything I buy, even for a specific film, goes into my collection after the film is done. 

Hope this helps!

Re: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

Just to clarify, I'm not talking about Mega Blocks, etc. I'm talking about the Chinese knockoffs, such as Lepin.

A couple of examples for you - I want to make a film using dinosaurs. However, I'm not really into the Jurassic World line (it's certainly not something I'm looking to collect), so I'd only want them for the film. Also, I don't fancy paying the ridiculous amount that the dinosaurs go for on Ebay.

Another example, I've got a nice idea for a film that would require Mr. Gold as a character. You can understand the problem I have there!

The Lego collecting community seems divided as to whether Chinese knockoffs should ever be bought at all. But in regards to a brickfilm, it wouldn't really make a difference. But then there's no way to get the knockoffs without supporting these manufacturers (which is something I'm not to keen on doing...).

I'm conflicted! mini/sad

Re: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

If you're going the Made in China route, I'd definitely get one figure first before buying a bunch in bulk. I accidentally bought some figures a couple years ago that were branded LBGQ or something like that, the picture was kinda small so it looked like the real Lego brand. Kinda funny, in retrospect, but I was pretty angry when I got them. They were poorly painted over with thick paint, probably lead based. Also I've heard tales of third party baseboards splitting open the feet of minifigs, so definitely test that sort of thing out on lesser figures of your collection.

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Re: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

I'm not worried about getting ripped off myself - if I'm buying a knockoff, I'll be expecting a knockoff.

I'm just more concerned that if I do go down this route, are there people who will look at a film and if they dont see 'LEGO' on each and every stud, will they then see that as a negative? Or is the brickfilming community as a whole more accepting of this?

Re: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

Lepin bricks are certainly in a legal gray area (if not outright illegal) because they are producing sets/figures/bricks based on other people's intellectual property, or IP, without a license to do so.

This site is definitely not a LEGO purist one, though. Any films made with interlocking block toys are perfectly acceptable. (Even CG films made to emulate the Lego-like look are fine) Feel free to use off-brand products and even non-Lego elements in your films! - All perfectly fine - and even encouraged!

But, be careful about buying from sources such as Lepin and other Chinese knock-offs. Personally, I'd rather wait and save up my money for the real deal than risk it on figures that would more easily break & perhaps be against the law to own in the first place.

Re: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

Dyland wrote:

Lepin bricks are certainly in a legal gray area (if not outright illegal) because they are producing sets/figures/bricks based on other people's intellectual property, or IP, without a license to do so.

This site is definitely not a LEGO purist one, though. Any films made with interlocking block toys are perfectly acceptable. (Even CG films made to emulate the Lego-like look are fine) Feel free to use off-brand products and even non-Lego elements in your films! - All perfectly fine - and even encouraged!

But, be careful about buying from sources such as Lepin and other Chinese knock-offs. Personally, I'd rather wait and save up my money for the real deal than risk it on figures that would more easily break & perhaps be against the law to own in the first place.

As the leader errr follower of the CGI...

Nope. Wrong. Starting over...

As a humble AFOL, I believe that lego's are the purest form of interconnecting blocks.
However, any film that showcases the limitations of chinese knockoffs is fine by me.

But really! as another famous forum user whose name I cannot recall once said (paraphrasing)

“whatever you do, do what you want. It’s your brickfilm, not ours.”
                                                                                                              -   lechnology
                                                                                                                - Batman

Re: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

There's definitely a pull toward the official LEGO bricks than knockoffs. It's more obvious when we get into minifigure territory though. Cheap bricks often look out of place or different, but not always. If you have mega bloks or other types of bricks, use them! It's a brickfilm, not a LEGO movie. Use what you've got and use them well. A lot of people here use knockoff bricks in their set building because they have more of them readily available, so it just makes sense.

We're definitely accepting of knockoffs in a brickflm. People are judging you on your collection, generally. It's more about the filmmaking. Some people choose to use knockoffs purposefully as a statement. Others use them, again, because it's what they have. Easy as that. And to clarify, with knock-off minifigs, if you can use them well, go for it. They do stand out as lower quality and knock-off aesthetic more, however, which often can negatively influence viewers.

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"Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31b

Re: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

Ok, great. Thanks for the input all. I feel a bit more relaxed about what I might want to do in the future! I already have lots of loose Lego parts (plenty of plates and bricks), so hopefully I'll be able to use them for the most part, it's just for specific characters or vehicles that I want for a story, but not for the collection.

Anyway, the film I'm working on at the moment uses my TLBM stuff, so that's not a problem!

Re: Using Lego Knockoffs/Fakes for Brickfilming

I personally am a LEGO promoter/enthusiast. I don't judge other films by what bricks are in them, especially if the animation quality impresses me. We can always forgive off-brand bricks. My personal preference is to use Lego bricks unless I'm going to physically damage a brick, then I use an off brand so I can shred the crap out of it.
If my film has any bricks damaged, it will say in the credits (No LEGO brand pieces were damaged in the making of this film mini/wink )

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