LEGO has canceled the planned release of one of its upcoming Technic sets, the 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, due to its association with militaries. The summer 2020 LEGO Technic lineup includes the usual construction vehicles such as a Volvo Articulated Hauler, but it also includes the licensed V-22 Osprey, which is a far more unusual subject for LEGO set. LEGO has long publicly held that it does not produce modern military vehicles, and fans were quick to point out that the V-22 Osprey is traditionally a military aircraft. The German Peace Society organized a petition to halt LEGO’s production, and combined with broader questions from the LEGO fan community over LEGO’s licensing of this military aircraft, LEGO has today made the decision to halt rollout of the set. The set was slated to be released Aug. 1.
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft for VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) missions and is operated by the U.S. Air Force, Marines, and Navy, as well as the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Although some examples are equipped to play search and rescue operations, the V-22 is not operated by any civilian sources.
Here’s LEGO’s official statement on the set:
The LEGO Technic Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey was designed to highlight the important role the aircraft plays in search and rescue efforts. While the set clearly depicts how a rescue version of the plane might look, the aircraft is only used by the military. We have a long-standing policy not to create sets which feature real military vehicles, so it has been decided not to proceed with the launch of this product.
We appreciate that some fans who were looking forward to this set may be disappointed, but we believe it’s important to ensure that we uphold our brand values.
The LEGO company’s position on modern military depictions hasn’t always been clear. In 2014, the LEGO Creator line included vehicles in bright colors that mimic the U.S. Army’s Apache helicopter and the V-22 Osprey. Neither set is licensed, which appears to be the key distinction here.
And the Indiana Jones theme famously includes numerous depictions of World War II and Cold War-era military equipment, including both a Pilatus P-2 with markings for the Luftwaffe, and a fictional Nazi flying wing bomber.
A small number of the V-22 Osprey sets have already been distributed to retail stores and a few have even been sold. LEGO has said that they will not recall those items, making the V-22 sure to become a collector’s item with a limited number released. It is not clear yet what will happen to the existing stock of sets still in The LEGO Company’s possession. A spokesperson for the company has stated that “We are currently working through our plans for the sets and will explore ways to reduce waste and reuse elements.”
See more pictures and information on the LEGO Technic 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey here.