Lego has cancelled its Lego Technic 42113 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Helicopter just ten days before release, after protesters pointed out that the helicopter is used in war.
The 1642-piece motorised kit had already been dispatched to some retailers ahead of its launch on the 1st of August. Now, they'll be recalled and destroyed.
The German Peace Society – United War Resisters said in a petition addressed to Lego (errors as per original):
"In August 2020, LEGO will release the LEGO Technic set “42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey”. This is a model of a military vehicle that is deployed in ongoing armed conflicts. For this set, your company cooperates with Boeing and Bell. In 2018, Boeing sold military equipment worth of US-Dollar 29.15 billion; it is the second largest arms manufacturer in the world. Bell is number 27th of the world.
Due to the deployment of this military aircraft all around the world, innumerable civilians were killed. That is why parents, LEGO customers and brick fans disapprove of the vehicle’s replication.
Companies that produce weapons, which in many countries of the world cause human suffering and death, should not be cooperating with LEGO. Because of this, you stopped LEGO’s cooperation with the controversial oil company Shell in 2014. With the new set, you violate your own company’s basic principles.
We urge you to stop the cooperation with Boeing und Bell and not to produce any further modern military vehicles."
The group's website Love Bricks, Hate War goes into more detail, including the fact that some of the money from purchasing the sets would go to the licensing companies – Boeing and Bell – and thus "who[ever] buys this set, funds arms companies."
As BrickFanatics points out, Lego spending time and money creating the set in the first place and cancelling it so close to launch does rather suggest it had no issue with the war connotation until called out.
The company said in an official statement:
"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."
That's all well and good, but how did the set get so far in development before anyone pointed out that it breached Lego's own values and guidelines? We're entirely speculating here, but based on our experience with big companies, we reckon it was pointed out many times but brushed over because COOL ATTACK HELICOPTER!
Anyway, we're glad to see it's been cancelled, and props to Love Bricks, Hate War for getting it pulled. [BrickFanatics]