Friday, December 4, 2009

The Story of Chrome

This story is incomplete and put together with limited information. Corrections are welcomed.

It all began with the Lego Model Team line. Lego wanted to include awesome, shiny chrome parts into the line.

The problem
Chrome has to be applied to a part which increases the part's dimensions so that the part is no longer compatible with the rest of the system.

The fix
Lego made new, unique molds that were somewhat smaller to the rest of the system parts. The chrome application would be specific enough to only add enough thickness so that a chromed part is the same dimensions as the other system parts, thereby compatible.

The other problem
Now Lego had unique molds that were completely useless without the chrome application.

The "fix"
Lego begins to make slightly smaller molds of existing parts to be applied with chrome. Somewhat cheaper to digitally shrink an existing part rather than design a new, unique part from scratch.

The continuing problem
Lego is still creating molds that must have chrome applied to make them useful. Also, the company almost went bankrupt (chrome only being one of the many expensive issues that Lego needed to fix).

The new fix
No more chrome. Simple!

From time to time Lego still inserts a chrome grill tile or chrome round plate (maybe a light saber or two?) But for the most part, Lego has separated themselves from the chrome process except for rare promotional purposes. If Lego's current profit zen continues, we could see a return of chrome parts, but it is unlikely.

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