Lepin Steals Design From Talented Local AFOL

henry-pinto-mech-build

Henry Pinto is an Australian LEGO fan and an incredibly talented builder. He has made something of a name for himself with huge builds such as the X-Men Sentinel that was over a metre tall.

His latest build was a very impressive LEGO Gundam – another huge build.

Unfortunately this Gundam build was so good that Lepin decided to steal his design and market it as a product they were producing.

I spoke to Henry earlier today about the revelation that his hard work had been appropriated by a dodgy company.

Bricking Around:  There have been reports in the past that Lepin have contacted people and offered to buy designs first, then rip them off  anyway when they say no. Were you ever approached by Lepin at all?

Henry: Not at all. I only released the photos on Monday.

How did you discover that Lepin had used your images?

I had people from all over the world message me. At first I thought it was a joke and someone was pulling a prank. I even thought it was funny, but then I started getting links to actual retail stores taking pre-orders. That’s when I realised that it was not a joke and they were serious.

How long had you been working on the design for?

4 months

You know how complex the model is, do you think that Lepin would realistically be able to replicate it in a way that works as a set?

They could recreate some of the principles that I used as a put them up on social media as I went, however the final design incorporates countless revisions that I did not post. The weight of all the limbs became evident only right at the very end. I doubt anyone could replicate what I built.

I was following your regular updates online about this build, has this situation made you reluctant to share progress pictures of future builds?

Not really, I’ve always loved sharing as I go, as it engages a lot of people and it also helps me stay motivated. I also think the journey with a build like this is interesting as it very unique. I also enjoy the fact that people learn techniques from my posts.

It’s great that you haven’t been discouraged, and I love your commitment to the LEGO community.

Thank you. I regret taking down the posts as they have probably already downloaded what they need – it was my knee jerk reaction.

I think that’s understandable. Do you have any plans to share this build, such as on the new BrickLink AFOL Design site? And has Lepin’s actions altered those plans at all?

I would like to make instructions for it at some point, but I think people are more fascinated by the joint mechanisms. I think that’s all they need to build a giant robot. Their imagination will be able to do the rest.

People will always try and justify their purchases when they buy from a company like Lepin but everybody should know that this company isn’t some harmless off-brand LEGO. They are thieves. They not only steal designs from LEGO directly they also take the work of talented and dedicated builders like Henry and profit from it.
Speaking to Henry it was obvious that he is an AFOL with a passion for sharing what he does so that he can inspire others. It was this openness and willingness to share his process that opened Henry up to being ripped off. That sucks. I don’t see how anybody buy Lepin products knowing that.

 

4 Responses to Lepin Steals Design From Talented Local AFOL

  1. Magmafrost13 says:

    ” I think that’s all they need to build a giant robot. Their imagination will be able to do the rest.”

    Well, that a boatload of money to buy the pieces.

    • Daniel says:

      Something special would be lost if people got defensive about sharing their work. I love the sharing nature of the LEGO Community, I have learnt so much from others through custom instructions that have been either shared freely or I have paid small amounts of money for.

      I used to think Lepin was an understandable option for some people with long retired sets that now costs many hundreds or thousands of dollars on the secondary market. I never would have paid what is still substantial money for a Lepin set, because you then have several thousand non-LEGO pieces with zero guarantee of build quality and no customer service if anything is missing or manufactured incorrectly.

      I now feel much more hardline. Even with official LEGO set copies Lepin is exploiting the designers, they pay no fees for intellectual property or the countless hours of development these big sets take to design. It is easy to say that LEGO is a rich company and they somehow “forced” you into this decision because of the prices they charge. But this sort of thing is a slow creep, and if LEGO loses control of its own product with imitators providing rapid copies of work they spent many months developing they will eventually go under. You are complicit in stealing if you buy a Lepin product, it is as simple as that.

  2. Justin Chia says:

    Do the instructions and let the community support you with their vote!

  3. Khoi Pham says:

    Lepin is lego’s knockoff, what do u expect of them? They clearly have no moral or integrity.

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