Thursday, Oct. 01, 2009

Terrorist Lego?

BrickArms military fighters may not officially be a LEGO product, but most users wouldn't know the difference. The small figurines use pieces that are almost identical to the LEGO company's and are made out of the same ABS plastic.

But the minifigures — which cost about $15 each — were actually created by Will Chapman, a LEGO fan whose company, BrickArmsLLC, produces four different LEGO-size figurines: Bandit, the tuxedo-clad Spy Bond, Colonial Marine and WWII Germany Army Colonel. The characters wear serious, soldier-of-fortune facial expressions and carry assault rifles, grenades and pistols. The figurines — particularly Bandit, who wears a dark gray headscarf — have drawn accusations that BrickArms is glorifying Islamic terrorists.

According to Chapman's website, his wife and three sons help design the toys. The line even began as a "request in 2006 by my youngest son (then 9 years old) for World War II weapons." LEGO, meanwhile, issued a statement in December 2008 dissociating itself from the company. "The LEGO Group 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."