BrickArms under attack in recent Sun edition [Editorial]

We weren’t going to dignify this attack on BrickArms by posting it here, but we have been getting a flood of emails concerning it. So, here it is.

In the December 4th edition of the UK-based SUN, this article appeared.

Article Scan by Andrew Summersgill

The full text is as follows:

A RANGE of Lego-style fighting figures — including an al-Qaeda terrorist — has been slammed by religious leaders.

The masked follower of 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden comes with a rocket launcher, assault rifle and grenades.

Mohammed Shaffiq, of Muslim organisation The Ramadhan Foundation, branded the toy “absolutely disgusting”.

He said: “It is glorifying terrorism — the makers should be ashamed.

“We should be coming together to unite against terrorism, but how is that possible when children are playing with toys like this?”

The £9.50 two-inch figures are customised from Lego toys by makers BrickArms, who hope for a Christmas hit.

They also include a Nazi major, bearing the chilling SS insignia, and a stormtrooper brandishing two grenade launchers.

Edie Friedman, director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, said: “These distasteful toys are something we could all well do without, especially when there is so much tension around.”

LEGO UK today issued a statement saying it is not associated with the toys being sold by BrickArms which have been customised without its knowledge or permission.

It continued: “BrickArms is not licensed by LEGO UK to customise LEGO figures and has no links to the LEGO brand.

“LEGO UK is committed to developing toys which enrich childhood by encouraging imaginative and creative play – and does not endorse products that do not fit with this philosophy.”

Fox News, among other news sites, picked up the story. The only significant difference was that Fox contacted Will Chapman, owner of BrickArms. He was quoted as saying:

“We do not sell an ‘Osama bin Laden’ miniature figure. We sell a generic bad guy minifigure with a Ninja scarf head wrap, the same minifigure that we have been selling for over a year now, with no associated ‘outrage.'”

“It does not represent anything; it is simply a bandit — a bad guy for the good guys to battle. Attempt to assign it a ‘personality’ only serves to create controversy that does not exist.”

The article has sparked much indignation throughout the Lego Fan community. The overwhelming majority supports Will and BrickArms.

I personally believe that this spurious attack, by a disreputable tabloid, was merely to stir up trouble. Their pathetic attack on one of our own is aggravating, to say the least.

The Brothers Brick has an extremely positive and long-standing relationship with Will. He and his family are wonderful people. We firmly stand with him, his family, and his associates. Go BrickArms!

105 comments on “BrickArms under attack in recent Sun edition [Editorial]

  1. LegoManiac88

    and Lego Pirates glorify piracy
    and Speed Racer glorifies reckless
    and well there is Star Wars which glorifies inter-galactic battles
    and then there’s Indiana Jones….
    and Sponge Bob

    oh how you have to love the Liberal Media

    \walks away laughing

  2. Carter

    On the other hand, this article has given Will so much new business that he’s closed shop temporarily in order to fill the orders. Hooray publicity!

  3. Eastwood

    Saw this in this rag last week. Needless to say, I found it hilarious.

    I found it doubly so that after I saw the story, I noticed both Brickarms and their British counterpart had closed down their stores because they had far too many orders to handle.

    By the by, the 12th is this Friday. ;p

  4. dinod8

    Haha. thanks for the free publicity for brickarms Sun!

    PS They got their weapons mixed :P it’s a RPG, not a grenade launcher XD

  5. nerdman

    I personally believe that such papers as the Sun are sensational media for less educated people who look for excitement in papers. The same thing was yelled over when a polish artist made an exhibition imitations of lego boxes containing nazi death camp scenes. The point, i believe is to spur conversation on the subject and how we look at these issues, while in this case the Brick arms aren’t even aimed at children to begin with so its no sensation if you think about it.

  6. Andrew

    I’d just like to add my voice to those supporting Will and BrickArms. As Will told Fox News, The Sun has created controversy where there was none.

    Even as a committed pacifist opposed to all forms of real-life violence, I know the difference between something that glorifies terrorism and a simple “bad guy” toy. I’m particularly disappointed in the implied criticism of BrickArms from LEGO UK.

    (And LegoManiac88, tabloids like The Sun are hardly in the same league as “liberal media” outlets like The New York Times that so many people like to attack.)

  7. Omicron

    Take away the guns, and what remains? The figure. Will didn’t make the pieces for the figure. Lego did. No offense to Lego, but they can be blamed just for that.

    And the figure doesn’t even look like Bin Laden. Bin Laden wears a Turban, not a Ninja wrap. Bin Laden wears regular arabian clothes, not some Tusken raider straps. And last I checked, when did he tote around a rocket launcher?

    Will I am with ya on this.

  8. Gambort

    LegoManiac88> I’m not sure where you got the impression that The Sun and Fox News were liberal media. I know The Sun isn’t and everything I’ve ever heard about Fox News suggests it isn’t. “Oh how you have to love the conservative Media” would be more accurate.

  9. LegoManiac88

    @ Gambort

    Fox didn’t blow it out of proportion unlike the Sun, and it’s a tendency for liberals to be so quick making a connection. But then again they did quote
    Edie Friedman, director of the Jewish Council for Racial
    Equality, said: “These distasteful toys are something we could all
    well do without, especially when there is so much tension around.”

  10. Alan R

    What a surprise.

    A tabloid published a terrible, libelous article.

    The internet disintegrates into an argument of Liberal Media vs. Conservative Media.

    Tabloids are neither, and FOX actually presented a good summary, reserving judgment(even giving BrickArms more say than Sun).

    Honestly, LEGO shouldn’t be suing BrickArms, BrickArms should be suing Sun for libel.

    Honestly though, can Sun (and a Muslim organization) not distinguish between a turban and a headwrap? They’re significantly different.

    Sure, if they had used the lego turban you could claim racial stereotyping. But it’s just a headwrap.

    As for the SS, Wehrmacht, the lego Space Skulls minifigs are excellent SS torsos, yet nobody complained about that. Ah, hypocrisy…

  11. Fred

    ““We should be coming together to unite against terrorism, but how is that possible when children are playing with toys like this?”

    What’s next? The Risk board game? Little green army men?

  12. Andrew

    Alan R said: The internet disintegrates into an argument of Liberal Media vs. Conservative Media.

    A fair point. Perhaps we could table this aspect of the discussion, since it seems fairly irrelevant.

  13. Gambort

    I have a very hard time believing that Will intended these as anything other than an Islamic militant. It strikes me as rather disingenuous to claim it’s a ‘ninja wrap’ when it’s quite clear what was intended. The point is it doesn’t matter that he built a terrorist minifig.

  14. szww


    if that is “glorifying terrorism” than Sun is a real newspaper…which we all know is faaaaaaaar from true

  15. Doctor Sinister

    I would just like to add that although I took a photo of the piece and loaded it up onto my Flickr account as credited above, I do not support the text of the article in any way – indeed, as one of Brickarms top customers, I am saddened that The Sun, oily despicable rag that it is, should decide it has nothing better to do than to attempt to stir up needless controversy in this way.

    Dr. S.

  16. bidzybaby2007

    When will the worlds LEGO builders realise that Osama Bin Ladin did not orchestrate 11/9 (UK date) and think for themselves instead of what the NEWS says.

    Consequently if you take NORTH, EAST, WEST and SOUTH you get the word NEWS = meaning whatever happens in the world we call NEWS!

    …BUILD ME A LEGO NEWS STATION, complete with News TEAM and LEGO COMPASS logo, yeeeeeeeee HAAAA!!!!

  17. TooMuchCaffeine

    “Children playing with toys like this”? At £9.50 a pop I doubt many kids will be getting one of these for Christmas.

    I agree that it’s missing the point to argue that it’s not supposed to be a terrorist – it’s fairly obvious that it is and denials are just more “outrage fodder”. Much better to stand up tall and say it loud and proud – yes, it’s a Lego terrorist. He probably has a wider acting range than most of the rent-a-cliche terrorists we see in film and tv though…

  18. Xiazeran

    Actually, their claims seem to be correct… if however muddled. How the heck does a generic bad guy look like an accurate Osama Bin Laden!? And how do they think they can do this anyway?

    To keep themselves from being hipocrites, they might as well attack war video games and anything like that. Our entire bloody civilization is desensitized to this sort of garbage, so how are they so offended!?

    In my opinion, it’s just the same thing as G. I. Joe, really, the news (like LEGOmaniac88 said) makes me laugh my head off sometimes… it’s so hypocritical to a ridiculous degree.

    Thankfully, it was only Sun..

  19. Maron

    The amount of companys that sell childrens toys and have guns… Why would the pick BrickArms, of all of them? The one good thing this has done is given a lot of publicity to BrickArms!

  20. Chrispockster

    That article is the only distasteful thing in this post. I can’t believe them.

    Brickarms 4ever

  21. Vanugget

    Keep it up Will! Like you say on your site; its a toy. Keep making the most destructive, awesome, deadly, but most importantly fun weapons in the LEGO arsenal.

    Good Luck!

  22. Jai

    Will’s quote is very intelligent. Good job, I’m glad Fox included that (But pretty disappointed that they thought the SUN’s article was a good idea to run with).

    The SUN is just a ridiculous tabloid. Who cares what bosh they want to spend money printing out? It’s apparently entertaining enough for people to buy it (Although the entertainment is, I’m sure, lost on the gullible and foolish), and most importantly it worked out as some nice advertising space for Will.

  23. erik smit

    Dutch free newspaper Spits took it even further and published this picture with the caption ‘Lego’s new range of toys’ or something similar.

    Now that paper is generally too dumb to be partial, but they have mislead a lot of people over here anyway.

  24. obxcrew

    “Take away the guns, and what remains? The figure. Will didn’t make the pieces for the figure. Lego did. No offense to Lego, but they can be blamed just for that.”

    Why? Will put them together that way, not LEGO. Let’s not drag them into this, please, I don’t want LEGO to get any more ticked off than they doubtlessly already are. . . .

  25. BigJim

    “If they really wanted a scandal they should ask Lego about their prices.” That made me laugh.

    Attacking Brickarms does not. We’re on your side Will! Keep it up!

  26. enigma that is badger

    On behalf of Will and everyone associated with BrickArms, I would like to express our thanks to both Josh for the well-written response to this matter and the entire AFOL community for the support it has shown for BrickArms in the past week. As I’ve written elsewhere, the vast majority appreciate the Sun’s article for what it is: an cheap piece of exploitation that purposely mischaracterized BrickArms products in a crass attempt to draw readers. The sole intent of BrickArms is to provide high-quality accessories and custom figures that can be appreciated and enjoyed by all. Current events in our world today are troubling, and it is BrickArms’ hope that through play and building, we can learn to engage the world in peaceful, constructive ways.

    “I have a very hard time believing that Will intended these as anything other than an Islamic militant. It strikes me as rather disingenuous to claim it’s a ‘ninja wrap’ when it’s quite clear what was intended. The point is it doesn’t matter that he built a terrorist minifig.”

    You are certainly welcome to believe what you wish, but I can flatly state that the BrickArms custom Bandit figures are not meant to represent any specific individual, political organization, ethnicity, or religious movement. This figure is simply meant to function as a generic antagonist armed with BrickArms products that builders can incorporate into their work. As has been already pointed out by many others, no details of this figure are indicative of those of the Islamic faith or any political group. The head wrapping is used in this fig as a common mask that any criminal group might use the world over and was originally produced by TLG has an accessory that was part of their Ninja line. The torso is simply that of a TLG Tusken Raider, the bandoleers of pouches an common accessory for any individual living a desperate life on the fringes of civilization, as bandits from all parts of the world tend to do. The unshaven, surly head used is appropriate for a villainous figure and like all non-licensed minifig elements is stylized caricaturization of the human form that bares no direct resemblance to any specific human population. Lastly, the BrickArms accessories the fig comes equipped with, namely the BrickArms Ak Assault Rifle, M67 Grenades, RPG, and C96 pistol are all widely available, and given the fact all of these weapons were produced in vast numbers over the years, have found their way into the arsenals of many various criminal organizations in every corner of the globe via black market sales and support of governments friendly to their causes.

    I believe it’s telling that while this was not the manner in which Will would have preferred people to have been brought to BrickArms, the many that did find the BrickArms site thanks to this and other articles posted online liked what they saw and responded by making an order.

    Like I said, we at BrickArms thank everyone who has expressed their support of BrickArms and Will Chapman and promise fans of BrickArms they can look forward to new and exciting BrickArms products in the (near!) future.


  27. Alan R

    badger – that was the most concentrated batch of awesomeness and coolheadedness I have read in a long time.

    Thank you.

  28. Tyzed

    Fox really showed both sides, unlike the Sun. Fox gave LEGO’s disclaimer, while the Sun just kinda threw it at LEGO, or at least wasn’t clear on who Brickarms was…

  29. jgptee

    i don’t read sun’s crap anyway, but it can still hurt lego corps in terms of sales – something we don’t want to see with detrimental results., because at the end of the day, we all want to enjoy lego, like forever. i think this can still be sorted out without having to go to the courts. we must never let SUN have the last laugh.

  30. enigma that is badger

    “I don’t want LEGO to get any more ticked off than they doubtlessly already are. . . .”
    The aspect of this entire ordeal that has troubled Will and everyone at BrickArms the most is that it would somehow reflect ill on TLG, a brand we all deeply love and appreciate. Tracking responses online as well as reading the hundreds of emails sent to Will, the vast majority of people realize these are custom items that were developed and sold completely independent of LEGO and that TLG is in no way responsible for their creation, marketing, sale, or distribution. It is the sincere hope of BrickArms that TLG experiences no negative consequences as a result of this irresponsible piece of journalism.

    That said, I think that we now have a very good example as to the reason why TLG has historically avoided lines based on modern military combat!

    “that was the most concentrated batch of awesomeness and coolheadedness I have read in a long time.”

    Much appreciated! This has been a trying time for all the folks at BrickArms, particularly for Will and his family, but the support of fans worldwide has carried them through. Again, neither Will nor myself can thank you all enough for the kindness you’ve shown BrickArms, and Will plans to respond the best way he knows how: with more great custom accessories for you to enjoy!

  31. Wyatt

    This is such bull, let the little kids play with the products in stores, theri parents probably don’t even let their kids go to brickarms, let the more mature builders have their fun.

  32. Mike

    I’m sorry, but this is kind of funny. I can it now criminals using the “LEGO Defense” in court. It looks like one of those slow news days, and some reporter had nothing better to do that day then play with his blocks.

    I’m surprised the SUN and Fox didn’t go after Mega-Blocks as a “Toy of Religious Fanatics” with their EVA line they put out a while ago.

    It’s sad that people can see evil in something as innocent as a LEGO Mini-Figure. How far we’ve fallen.

  33. jan

    I wish everybody buys Brick Arms stuff… I’ve never seen one of their products kill anybody…

    History is something to understand, to play with, to enact. Otherwise, we will make the same stupid mistakes all over again. Never listen to zealots is one of those things we could learn from history… Humorless hypocrits…

  34. Gambort

    Peter Norman> “A newspaper that doesn’t understand the AFOL community? Weird.”

    I darn near wet myself when I read that. Nicely played.

  35. oleth

    The general public doesn’t care if the head accessory is ninja or the torso is tusken or whatever.

    The fact is that there is little resemblance between the photo of the figure and the real man (they are both on the newspaper) plus BrickArms doesn’t promote the product as Bin Laden. So where did they find the connection? That’s why this is crap is libel.

  36. Toby

    Will there be the same level of outrage when the Sun discovers that the official LEGO product line also includes Nazi stormtroopers? There goes the Indiana Jones license…

  37. Lego Monster

    I agree with Gambort and others regarding LegoManiac88’s comment. The Sun is anything but liberal, they write sensationalist, reactionary crap. The idea that they should have rigteous indignation about this at the same time as promoting violence, mysogyny and any amount of other hate pedalling filth is laughable. I support their right to publish (freedom of press and all that), the biggest problem is that they are just plain lazy, bone-idle, can’t be bothered to research a decent story, cheap and useless. Any degree of quality is what is lacking. If this rag were any cheaper it might be worth using as toilet paper!

  38. Rob

    The Sun is one of the worst kind of newspapers around: trashy, tabloid, print anything to sell it kind of papers. I’m embarrassed to hail from the same country as that rag.

    Frankly it’s a non-story – they’ve made controversy where there isn’t any.

  39. Claus Schioldann von Eyben

    In Denmark it stirred up the media for a day or two and then it died out.

    Part of the news angel were that the minifig itself were copied. Which we all know it is not.

    Research, research, research …

    The parts are, as I can figure it out:

    ‘Minifig Torso with SW Tusken Raider Pattern’ (973pst)

    ‘Minifig Head with Black Hair, Stubble, and Angry Eyebrows Pattern’ (3626bpx133)

    ‘Minifig Ninja Wrap’ (x54)

    ‘Minifig Hips and Legs (Complete)’ (970c00)

    Correct me if i am wrong!

  40. Brickhead

    This is just more conservative rubbish dealt out by Rupert Murdoch and his News Limited/ News Corporation empire. To give you some background Rupert was born in Melbourne, Australia back in 1931 he is to the media world as to Darth Sidious is to the Empire he is an evil manipulative scum sucking prostitute that would sell his own mother and then ask you for royalties, when you see his photo you will notice the similarity.
    In 1985 he relinquished his Austalian citizenship to become a US citizen so he could buy TV stations, as the law at the time only American citizens could own TV stations in the US, apparently he has now acquired Turkish citizenship so he could buy a Turkish TV station. Murdoch and his media network have long supported conservative right wing politicians Thatcher, Bush and Howard to name a few, in 2003 his networks were all pro Iraq War for which he was rewarded with more power in the US due to changes in cross media ownership legislation. This despicable character will use any means to “garner” public opinion and try and formulate public policy that serve’s his purpose, he tends to use a lot of Tabloids such as the Sun and the Daily Telegraph to poison the vaguely literate masse’s and whip them into a frenzy over minor issues so he can work on his big agenda whilst most people a looking at the diversionary sideshows he creates. Look at what is really happening at the moment, not the smokescreen that this pathetic despot has put up to hide the real story.

    ps: sorry about the previous spelling mistakes could you please delete the previous entry as sleep deprivation and anti Murdoch fervour both kicked in at the same time, wish you guys had an edit function for overexcited posters such as myself.

  41. Tetsubo

    This article is absurd. They are toys. Toy companies have made toy weapons for decades. That they are being made for Lego figures might be new though.

    And there is no Liberal Media. The mainstream media is firmly controlled by conservative businesses.

  42. Paul Lee

    Liberal media = freedom. What everyone criticizes as liberal media is in fact a sign of a free press. Think in terms of countries with state controlled media versus countries with a free press. Totalitarian regimes like China (communist so actually leftists) have state run media that are forbidden to criticize or report anything negative about those in power. Countries with freedom, the media is allowed to, has a duty to criticize those in power. This is often interpreted as liberalism, as those who hold power tend to be conservative institutions, politically or economically. This liberalism that people complain about is in fact proof of their own freedom. Appreciate it.

  43. Ramone

    Oh how I wish that Brickarms sales go through the roof! And Legomaniac88, don’t be lumping ‘liberal media’ in with the nanny state.

  44. Josh Post author

    @Brickhead & Paul Lee – Funny, I could have sworn that Andrew said to keep this on the article and Brickarms. Didn’t he say something about tabling the “Liberal vs Conservative” debate? Especially as it has absolutely no relevance in this situation? Hmmm…..

  45. Kugutsu

    *sigh* Thanks, SUN! Thanks to you, we’ll think about terrorism during lego-time! Lego is fun; not terrorist nazi propoganda!

    I mean come on! Are we all sitting at home building al-quida bases out of lego while saying: “gee… Terrorism is fun…!”

  46. Alan R.

    I guess my previous statement was too subtle. Both the argument of a liberal media and a conservative media are stupid, narrowminded, and laced with weasel words to the bursting point. Both are stupid. Neither are proper or good for this forum of discussion, nor relevant

  47. gergőáron

    it is good that lego does not produce guns, because if my son wants to play nazi and terrorist with armed lego men, he has to create the guns out of paper and card and toothpicks which improves his creativity and tinker skills :)

  48. Bladi

    Yes, the Sun is rubbish, etc. but whether intended or not, the white ‘ninja mask’ has a clear association with the white, head-wrapped Islamic extremist being produced by the Middle East. Not acknowledging this simply visual relationship is instantly discrediting to any statement of honesty. Next time, I’d suggest agreeing with this obvious observation and then turning your defense to the core issue.

  49. Sabre

    This is ridiculous. I’m not going to say anything that hasn’t already been said, but I’d like to voice my support of Brickarms as well. GO BRICKARMS!

  50. Todd Holaday

    Toy soldiers are as old as, well, toy soldiers. Nothing new here. Boys want to be heros, what’s wrong with that? Answer, nothing, everything is right about that. Brickarms should be commended for making what LEGO can’t pursue too far (because of fears of political incorrectness). Hey Sun, go write an article about lyrics promoting violence against women/police or do some investigative reporting on games like Grand Theft Auto. Or stick to what you do best and go write the 1,000,000th story about Lady Di.

  51. Lego Slayer

    This article is complete trash. Osama Bin Lego I wonder how long it took them to come up with that. If the Sun only took the time to read the description of of Mr. White they would have seen that it’s nothing than a harmless mini-fig. As for the Nazis I own some of them and I’m Jewish, I think there great. I think Brickarms makes the best custom lego mini-figs and accesories period. I support Brickarms 1,000,000%!

  52. Magnus

    Dear Badger, Will, and fellow AFOLs,

    The Sun article is so out of line on so many levels that others have already addressed.

    I will however stand with the minority here and state that the “bandit” fig in question most definitely represents a modern terrorist (in much the same way that the soldiers in the Indy sets represent German Nazi troops). You can name your ninjahooded villain whatever you like, but let’s call a spade a spade. BrickArms makes some of its money selling LEGO terrorist minifigs in the post-9/11 world; alongside LEGO WWII era German SS soldiers within living memory of the Holocaust.

    Now, of course that is going to be controversial. It was surely only a matter of time before something like this was going to happen? I mean, didn’t you guys see this coming?

    Now as a military builder and a military history buff, I can totally appreciate why lots of people think that this is all fun and harmless. But as a world citizen I can also fully understand why some people are going to feel this is inappropriate, tasteless, or even worse.

    You can never make everyone happy, but the least you can do is acknowledge what you’re doing. BrickArms saying that the fig in question “isn’t a terrorist” is a lot like LEGO saying they “don’t make violent toys.” It’s what you guys do, it’s the business you’re in. Why don’t you just accept it and then go ahead and fill that big stack of orders.

    I’m a fan of BrickArms, I like you guys. You have been great to hang out with, most generous with freebies everywhere you go, and very generous in sponsoring the military building competition we had this year. Do yourselves a favor and don’t cheapen your position here by not accepting who you are, and what you do.

    Best regards


  53. Brickhead

    December 9th, 2008 at 8:29 am
    @Brickhead & Paul Lee – Funny, I could have sworn that Andrew said to keep this on the article and Brickarms. Didn’t he say something about tabling the “Liberal vs Conservative” debate? Especially as it has absolutely no relevance in this situation? Hmmm…..

    My point is both Fox and the Sun are part of Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire, this so called story has gone world wide due to his media empire, in all honesty it should not have happened, it’s people like Murdoch with their media outlets that spread hate on a daily basis. The power and reach of these media moguls surpasses national boundaries and state control, terrorist action on the other hand tends to be more localised, with acts commited by local groups it was not until Al Qaeda that attacks became global, the IRA, ETA and the PLO very rarely conducted out of country operations. The upside is that this has put Brickarms in the world spotlight and sales have shot through the roof, this will probably cement Brickarms future and their products.

  54. Dark Angel

    I think that it’s absolutely disgusting how the media has nothing better to report on than than Brickarms making a “chilling” plastic toy! Needless to say we all have your back Will. At least on the bright side you now have tons of publicity and orders.:P

  55. Bill Ward

    I posted about this on my blog a couple days ago:
    I saw it first on the Flickr lego group, thanks to Dr Miniman.

    This could go really bad or really well: the worst would be that it might prompt LEGO to throw a cease & desist order at BrickArms over the bad publicity… the good would be that it calls attention to the adult LEGO hobby and the existence of companies like BrickArms.

  56. Bill Ward

    Of course BrickArms denies that they’re building an Islamic terrorist fig, but it’s obvious to everyone that in the present day world if you show this figure to anyone they will immediately think “Islamic terrorist.” I think Will et al. know that full well, but can’t admit it in public for perfectly understandable reasons.

    This is different from the LEGO concentration camp art exhibit because BrickArms is a business, not an art exhibit. If someone were to offer that concentration camp artwork as a set for sale, then it would be a very different matter. I’m not sure how this will settle out, but I hope the positive reprocussions outweigh the negative ones.

  57. Mad Physicist

    I’ve been laughing about Fox and the Sun being seen as examples of liberal media all day, but that’s besides the point.

    Magnus is right. This figure does look like an Afghan insurgent or a terrorist and even if it isn’t labelled as such, the bottom line is that bringing out a figure like this (or of SS soldiers) you run the risk of offending some people. I don’t see this figure as glorifying terrorism in any way, but can understand that some people would rather not see their children playing with this sort of thing.

    That said, I doubt this would have been much of an issue if it hadn’t been stirred up by the Sun, because I suspect that the people quoted in the article had never even heard of Osama Bin Lego before the ‘journalist’ contacted them asking them for comments. It is after all a niche product, mainly aimed at adult LEGO builders. I also think that there are many far worse things to be offended by. I for one am offended by stupidity and sensationalism, which is why I’ll state: “These distasteful newspapers are something we could all well do without, especially when there is so much tension around.” and you can quote me on that ;)


  58. Chrispockster

    please stop blaming the liberal media, Fox and the Sun are hardly liberal media.

    This article shows how the media senselessly attacks insignificant stories, Brickarms doesn’t deserve such harsh criticism, really, who have they harmed?

    Go Brickarms!

  59. Luke Chapman

    The Sun is liberal… liberal in it’s publishing of absolute tosh! (But as far as left and right are concerned, ‘liberal’ is one word that wouldn’t be applicable to the Sun). Although we’re not supposed to be talking about that!
    I think this isn’t the best place to stand on a soap box about this issue, considering the inherent bias that is going to arise from the fact that this is a site mostly frequented by adult/teenage lego fans – all comments have been, ultimatley, in favour of Brickarms.
    I, too, support Brickarms in this instance (but that may only be because of my hobby and strong dislike of newspapers such as the Sun), even if it is distasteful and/or inappropriate (which I’m undicided on, but don’t actually care, either way).
    The Script suck!

  60. enigma that is badger

    “You can name your ninjahooded villain whatever you like, but let’s call a spade a spade.”

    Both Will and myself feel this issue has already sufficiently
    addressed. Everything that have I posted above was made in good faith; the custom BrickArms Bandit figure is meant just to be that, a generic bandit armed with weaponry commonly associated criminal activity. A direct quote from Will Chapman:

    “Magnus, the White Bandit is a bandit. I named him as such, and that is what he means to me. By all means, you may call him something different, and assign a meaning to him that fits your own social perspective. As for the sales of the Bandit, this is the same bandit I sold alongside your creations at BrickFair this year, the same minifig I have sold for over a year, and the same minifig that has raised no objections until now.”

    Both Will and myself have been completely open regarding this issue and find the accusations the we have somehow attempted to mislead the community in regards to the origin of this custom fig to be as slanderous against BrickArms as the original Sun article and deeply insulting to Will and I personally.

    There is only one person who can speak as the exact motivations and creative process behind the developing, constructing, and marketing of the Bandit figure, and that is Will Chapman, who has already directly addressed the issue. As Will has repeatedly demonstrated his friendly, trusting nature to many in the community, it would be a common courtesy to return this open, accepting sentiment and trust that neither Will nor myself would ever make any statement to the community that was not completely and utterly genuine.

    Will and everyone at BrickArms continues to thank those who have
    supported BrickArms. At this point, we do consider the matter closed and will return to designing the high-quality minifig accessories and custom minifigs for which BrickArms is renowned.

  61. apple pie

    guys you might not wanna say bad things about 0sama cuz he might hack on to the site, get your info(ip, where you come from) and bomb the place… shh!!! btw dont bomb me osama i said nothing about you ps you’re cool.

  62. Starwars4J

    “ps you’re cool.”

    I lol’d. Honestly guys I think everyone is blowing the situation way out of proportion. One insignificant tabloid that starts a ****storm and what comes of it? BrickArms sales go through the roof. Perhaps we should all thank the Sun for their poor researching, sensationalist attitude, and inability to take even itself seriously, let alone everyone who knows of it.

    Will Chapman is one of the most generous and friendliest men I have ever had the pleasure of conversing with, and I wish nothing but the best for him, his family, and his awesome products. I’m glad sales have gone through the roof (making BrickArms figs even more of a valuable commodity!), as with how giving Will is with all of his customers. It’s nice to see something good happen to HIM for once.

    For those of you who refuse to listen to the staff here at TBB about not straying off topic into propaganda and scare tactics, could you please don your tinfoil hats and shut up? For my sake?

    Anyway this really doesn’t impact me at all (except delay an order, which I would pray is anyone’s biggest worry in life), as I’ll continue buying the great products at BrickArms, and looking forward to new products.

  63. Ean

    @Wyatt: Careful of how you screw over-sensitive people. They are quite sensitive, after all.

    Hail to the Capitalist Republic of America!

  64. Bryce

    BrickArms has been the official sponsor of the MechaHub for almost 2 years now. Will has always been a gentleman. The MechaHub fully supports BrickArms in making whatever and whomever it wants.

    But isn’t there some saying about there’s no bad publicity?

  65. Marc Forrester

    Guys.. How exactly would you make a generic present-day bad-guy figure featuring several brickarms weapons that *doesn’t* look like an Islamic terrorist to anyone predisposed to that perception? Seriously. I’m calling you out, here. Make one.

  66. Logan

    Is this really any worse than Civil War re-enactments or kids who used to play Cowboys and Indians?

    Considering all the real things going on that don’t get headlines on a daily basis (working people losing their life savings due to corporate negligence, insufficient school funding, diseases with no cure, wars with no reason… the list goes on), this is nothing but a semi-noteworthy laugh.

    It’s actually satisfying that business for Brickarms went up after this.

    No better way to slap stupidity in the face than with a nice full wallet. Cheers for freedom of expression, and for half-assed reporting.

  67. Gambort

    enigma that is badger> “find the accusations the we have somehow attempted to mislead the community in regards to the origin of this custom fig to be as slanderous against BrickArms”

    Oh come on. No one has accused you of anything other than being deliberately and sensibly coy (and if my comment came out otherwise then I apologise as that was the intent). If you wish to continue this discussion feel free to go to email but this will be my last post here about it.

  68. Ricardo Marques

    Xish… and i thought the media suked on my Country (Portugal) i hope the best for those poor guys who got caught up in this sensationalist article

  69. :Bob:

    IMHO, everyone has the right to make any Lego® figurine that they wish to. But to be totally fair, others have the right to be offended by something they find offensive. That’s probably a matter of things going both ways I suppose.

    If you go back in time, there was the Lego Concentration Camp sets made to look like official TLG releases:

    Only time will tell when this little controversy will die down (of course, endless posting by AFOLs both for and against BrickArms probably will prolong its life).

  70. Hawk

    I’d just like to take the time to point out that even if the White Bandit does represent an Islamic militant, it could just as well be taken as a member of the Mujhadeen who were supported by the US against the Soviets during the Cold War.

    Just a thought.

  71. Matt

    They couldn’t be bothered to represent Brickarms correctly? How many children are really going to be playing with it? really?

    Brickarms doesn’t make “toys” They make miniatures for hobbiest. It is a significant distinction which needs to be stated for accurate representation of all sides.

  72. Magnus

    I like BrickArms. I plan to buy their products if I ever venture into modeling real life military stuff. I hope they thrive as a business; and I am quite amused that this Sun article has brought them so much profit in the short term. To be clear, I’m not saying BrickArms shouldn’t sell terrorist/insurgent minifigs. I’m saying that they shouldn’t pretend that this isn’t what they’re doing. And they shouldn’t be indignant or surprised that their products evoke negative opinion among a small, but not inconsiderable minority of the public.

    BrickArms have set up their perimeter, and dug themselves a foxhole. I hate to see them chose a position that puts themselves under fire from several sides. But as Bill Ward notes, at this stage, acknowledging that the White Bandit was envisioned to represent any sort of freedom fighter/terrorist/insurgent type of character isn’t really an option for them; and I don’t expect them to change their position.

    In truth, the military geek in me will observe that the White Bandit resembles a British Scud-hunting SAS trooper behind the lines in Iraq in the Persian Gulf War as much as anything else. But the key point here is that this isn’t how most BrickArms customers or members of the general public are going to view him. And BrickArms should/must have realized that when they put him on the market. I’ve met Will, he’s an intelligent, bright guy. I simply cannot imagine that it never crossed his mind that lots of people would regard the White Bandit as a “terrorist,” and that some people might take offense. I’m guessing (and only Will knows for sure) that it probably did occur to him on some level. Maybe he just shrugged, and told himself that was their problem.

    I really hope it doesn’t become BrickArms’ problem. Perhaps the best way for BA to continue its somewhat risky business at the edge of all sorts of trademark laws, would be to focus on producing weapons, and not on developing new figs using LEGO elements? I’m not an IP lawyer so I don’t know what options or incentives there would be for TLG to interfere. But needless to say, I really hope LEGO does not decide to try to shut BA down or anything like that.
    I also hope TLG does not allow this Sun controversy to derail the planned upcoming LEGO Indy sets, and any future military or action-based lines. Of course, TLG will never release a “War In Iraq” minifig playtheme. There are lots of good reasons for that – I think most of us can agree on that.

    I think the lesson for everyone here is that sometimes your MOCs may not get interpreted in quite the way you intended. (Another recent example would be Nick D’s RAMM theme, which some AFOLs interpreted as a sort of futuristic take on the Nazis).

    Builder Beware. Keep this stuff in mind when you build and present your creations.


  73. StephenG

    Thank you Magnus. It is nice to know your looking our for my friends and me. When you talk about legal stuff, I’m glad your a lawyer, and know about these thing. Your a lawyer right?

  74. Brickule

    Wow, I thought I would never reach the end.
    Any way, sry I am late.

    1: No matter what you do, people are going to be offended by “something”. Weather it be guns, sci-fi, Fantasy, war movies, ect… You just can’t please everyone.
    2: I see nothing wrong with Brickarms producing the bandit figure; I personally viewed him as an insurgent, so what? We need “badguys” for our Heroes to clobber, and these are the “badguys” Children see in these days, Tomorrow’s History.
    3: As for the SS troopers and German figs. I personally like to build WW2 creations, and in WW2 there were Germans, a piece of history, a FACT OF LIFE! I don’t see many parents giving crap about Star Wars, I see Parents having a lot to say about REAL EVENTS though, children need to learn history and a way to get to a child’s mind is thru their toys, LEGO is one of the most popular toy Groups out there, so when LEGO doesn’t make history, it’s fans do. And no one has made bad comments about the US soldiers on Will’s site, in the eyes of many people, the Allies were the “goodguys”, and what use are “goodguy” figs without “badguys” to liberate innocent peoples from? Also, when you think about it LEGO is a form of a plastic model, go to your locale model shop, you will see lots of real life military and historical products, does this mean these are evil also?
    I think not.

    Anyway, I am with Brickarms 110% the news paper did not do enough research and should not have used the image with out asking. I love Brickarms, and my LEGO hobbies would not be where they are today with out them. So, I think will did nothing wrong, I would lay in-front of a bulldozer, to support Will.


  75. Dean H.

    While I find it very hard to believe that stereotypical Islamic militants weren’t a major inspiration for the Bandit minifigs, I’d like to say that I never saw them as fitting a specific group. So here’s one person
    that saw them as what Will’s saying they are: generic badguys.

    And as Marc Forrester said, it’s impossible in this day and age to make a realistic modern badguy that doesn’t take major cues from islamic terrorist stereotypes.

  76. Dean H.

    Additionally, even if it was intended to be an Islamic terrorist, we have to realize that there’s a difference between depiction and glorification. Whether it’s a terrorist or not, it’s clearly a “bad guy.”

  77. Thanel Dunechaser

    Where are the Devil’s advocates when you need them? Will nobody speak up for the tabloid presses of the world?!? I personally don’t feel compelled, but I see a niche that needs filling.

    Looked like wermacht w/ panzerfaust, but that’s okay.

  78. Conservative

    There these liberals go and no one argue because you all know that they want to be P.C. first they try and take away our real guns now we can’t even have lego guns. Geez I’ve ordered from BrickArms three times and Will has been great emailing us, he even shares my name. I’m suprised president elect-no name-hasn’t gotten into this just to stir something up. A conservative British news tabloid would be crazy. Now for all you people saying liberal=free no no no you’ve got it all wrong liberal=socialism and dang free healthcare and spreading the wealth and oh nevermind, these are legos. We should all support Will and his family. As for FOX if anyone claims they aren’t conservative well they must not see Bill Oreily and Shaun Hannity. As for whatever the crazy P.C. liberal that said Obama er I mean Osoma didn’t orchestrate the 9/11 attacks is crazy. I mean nobody attacks Bill Ayers in the news and they don’t question why a lot of Muslims hate us! Now people of the Islamic faith don’t take this offensive because I have a Muslim friend. SUPPORT WILL, GO BRICKARMS AND GOD BLESS THESE NEW SOCIALIST STATES OF AMERICA BECAUSE WE’LL NEED GOD AFTER JANUARY!

Comments are closed.