Over the past few weeks, there's been a lot of discussion on two topics, discussion that many would not have seen unless they read the comments. I thought it might be interesting to bring some of the findings to a forefront, specifically relating to a new 2011 Space theme and a possible reason 'why' the magnet sets are now glued.
It seems that the Sci-Fi community on Eurobricks has been debating this for a little over a month now when someone shared this description of a set seen in a pdf given to dealers for 2011 sets:
'Also, there was some strange battlepack for what seems to be a new theme replacing Space Police III, something along the lines of Alien Invasion or something, I can't recall the name exactly. Saw 2 aliens, different heads but a rather disgusting colour of green with 2 what seems like Power Miners suited soldiers and a Civilian-like figure.'
At the time, the forum members didn't have the recent pics, but speculation started that this could be an 'Alien Invasion' theme. The pictures seem to corroborate with the description above. Also, note the female spacer has a logo on the torso that looks like the letters 'ADF' - Alien Defense Force, perhaps?
The second rumor deals with 'why' LEGO decided to glue the magnet minifigures to their bases. A lot of the initial response was along the lines of, 'the license partners are unhappy', 'they were hurting set sales', and 'LEGO/Lucas/Disney/WB is just greedy'. Although along some of these lines, there may be more detail on why one license partner was unhappy, specifically Lucas. Even to point the finger at Lucasarts is not quite fair, it seems that Lucas has an agreement with Hasbro relating to the sale of 'action figures'.
I have to believe that the magnets were having a negative impact on set sales. I used to track the prices of minifigures on BrickLink. I noticed that minifig prices would drop on BrickLink by 30% to 40% once a magnet set featuring that fig debuted. Good old supply and demand. LEGO may have jumped the gun and not managed the rollout of the magnet sets sufficiently, however. Magnet sets should not debut in the first wave with the sets that feature them. If anything, they should come out in the late second wave or third wave of play themes. Why would you buy any of the pricer sets when on the same day they launch, you can buy all the minifigures in a $14.99 USD magnet set?! Prince of Persia was the first set to do this, and the same thing has happened with Harry Potter. I'm certain if timed right, the economics of the magent sets would have worked! There is a silver lining to all of this...we will likely see more 'battle pack' offerings in the future across all lines.
That's all for now. Looking forward to continuing the conversation...