Lego building blocks are a fantastic toy for growing kids and adults alike. These snap-together bricks allow you build pretty much anything, regardless of whether you follow the instructions included in the box or throw caution to the wind and build whatever pops into your head. With the success of The Lego Movie and a sequel and spin-off movies in the works, the outlook for this 65-year-old toy has never been better.
But there is an alleged little-known secret hidden in the core of Lego’s sensibility. If you take a random sampling of Lego bricks, you will notice that there are far fewer green ones than any other color. The reason why may surprise you.
If you walk down the Lego aisle at your local toy store, you will see a huge variety of sets staring back at you. Most are pretty innocuous, but when you see some of the more popular franchise tie-ins like Marvel, DC Comics, Ninja Turtles, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, you come to realize that a lot of these Lego sets are based upon conflict of some sort. Which makes the supposed reason for the lack of green Lego blocks kind of strange.
It seems that Lego used to limit the number of green blocks in circulation because they wanted to discourage kids from building things like tanks and fighter aircraft with them. This may seem odd to those who are more familiar with modern warfare as most tanks these days are some shade of brown and planes tend to be gray, but this policy supposedly originated back in Lego’s early days when global conflicts occurred in areas with more trees, rather than the deserts, making the “army green” more necessary.
▼ So little green!
Just by looking at Lego’s most popular line of toys, you can see the sets based on the Star Wars universe are deeply entrenched in a good vs. evil fight to the bitter end. So how does this mesh with Lego’s “secret” policy? Besides the fact that this policy is most likely no longer strictly enforced, all of those toys represent a fantasy setting, rather than any real-world analogs. Droids and super heroes, it seems, are A-OK to go to battle with, just as long as they aren’t doing it with F-5s and M551 Sheridans.
▼ “Stop! In the name of the Galactic Empire!”
This business practice certainly hasn’t hurt any of Lego’s worldwide sales numbers and its popularity in Japan is only growing larger. At the Legoland Discovery Center in Odaiba, an extremely popular adult Lego workshop is always filled to its 40-person capacity. This special class, which is led by someone who actually holds the title “Master Builder”, is aimed at those who want to build more difficult Lego works. There are also adult Lego nights on the 5th of every month which allow adults to enter the Discovery Center without being accompanied by children. These special nights let older Lego fans experience all the fun the center has to offer, without the burden of those meddlesome kids.
Since there are many hobbyists in Japan who harbor a deep love of military paraphernalia, you would think that a company that distances itself from war machines would be shunned. But that is the brilliance of Lego, if you can dream it, you can build it, even if it has to be made from a smorgasbord of colors.
Source: Hachima Kiko
Top Image: Flickr ( Justin Dolske )