Lepin 05151 Betrayal at Cloud City

Well, pretty damn fast, isn’t it? The recently announced LEGO 75222 Star Wars Betrayal at Cloud City is not due to hit the shelves until September 13, 2018 but already, the most prolific LEGO counterfeiter Lepin has already put a copycat version up on sale on AliExpress. If you haven’t heard, a South Korean man was recently charged in court for possession and selling of fake LEGO sets made by Lepin. LEGO had the help of South Korean police who raided the home of this fake LEGO dealer. I am not surprised that this raid happen in South Korea, given the country’s obsession with stamping out fake goods, including fake designer goods.

Anyways, that happened just a couple of weeks ago and clearly, it does not deter this brave Chinese company from pushing ahead. We picked up this news from our source, The Brick Show, and I would very much like to agree with TBS writer Albert Balanza in not supporting these counterfeiters. However, instead of going around like a deranged person cutting the heads of the mythical hydra which only grows back up, LEGO should look at why there is demand for fake LEGO. LEGO is freaking expensive and it does not help that the company did try to work out the exchange rate differences when selling in different countries.

Lepin 05151 Betrayal at Cloud City

Apple, on the other hand, did. In case of Apple, the pricing are more or less the same across different countries, taking into considerations the exchange rates (save for duty free shops). LEGO is not doing the same. LEGO in stateside is not quite as expensive, TBH. A LEGO Millennium Falcon from Solo: A Star Wars Story costs $169.99 in the U.S., but in Singapore, it costs 279.99 SGD. That works to be around $233 and nearly 40 dollars premium. And it does not help that LEGO retires highly sought after set far too quickly than fans would have loved and you know the after markets is a place reserved for those who has shit load of money.

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My most expensive LEGO set was the blue box AT-AT and it cost me a rather hefty 700+ USD. See what I mean? And that was from many years ago. What LEGO can’t offer, namely pricing and stocks, Lepin fills in. After all, it is all about supply and demand. Where there is a demand for cheap, LEGO-like toys, there will be entities like Lepin. Keeping in mind that not everyone is a true blue enthusiast and even more certainly is, not everyone has the disposal income. If LEGO wants to follow the path of collectible toy makers like Hot Toys, then it can expect hydra to continue to strive. At the end of the day, it is just going to make a dent in their wallet with all the legal proceedings.

In any case, Hot Toys won’t face the same fate as LEGO, as alternatives across a wide range of price points are readily available. Seriously, the Danish toy maker can’t be feeding a huge team of fee-chasers, can they? I am sure this is not going to end in foreseeable future. Also, seriously, someone within the organization must be feeding someone with the blueprints of these copycat sets. If LEGO wants to address this, they too have to look into who’s siphoning off the designs – especially since this particular set has yet to hit the market.

Images: AliExpress.

Source: The Brick Show.