What led to LEGO thinning the plastic in the latter years of Bionicle and beginning of Hero Factory?

I’ve returned to Bionicle after a hot minute and decided to purge all common sense to buy some G1 stuff. I’ve never managed to keep any G1 sets ever since the 2000s, mostly from losing them like an idiot or throwing them away because pieces broke.

Something that just popped up in the back of skull is the recollection of fragile LEGO. This was particularly evident in Lesovikk’s set and everyone who had lime green pieces. Soon the gods above decided that lime green should not have all the fun and many ball joint connector pieces beginning with the Phantoka were thin compared to older sets. What was the reason behind this?

As someone who loves Bionicle, part of what makes me stay away from sets is the fear of breakage. Understandably, getting a used 2006 set would have weaker joints due to wear, but the era from 2008 and 2014 (the Hero Factory Breakout sets from I think 2014 had Av-Matoran heads) would break on me the first time I built them as a kid.

There was a really neat topic that I saw today (can’t find it because I’m dumb) that explained that the seam for post-2008 connector joints were in the socket parts for the ball joints themselves.

Did LEGO ever release a statement about this stuff? I always figured that LEGO had some financial hiccup in 2008, but I have yet to get a definitive answer.


I’m not 100% sure if it is true, but I read somewhere that the 2007 lime pieces breaking was because of a bad cooling process of the pieces after leaving the mold, probably they cooled too quick. After 2008 they changed the molds and the pieces became far more easy to break, I think that might be because of what you are saying, maybe this new mold used just a little bit less of plastic than the used before, but when you make millions of pieces maybe the saved a lot of money there at the expense of being less durable.


The idea was that the post-2008 joints had more friction than the previous ones, and in all truthfulness this was the case. However, in providing more friction, the moulds became thinner and more breakable.

Strangely though, I have more pre-2008 joints cracked than post-2008 ones.


@Archivist_of_Metru_Nui That sounds about right. I don’t think I owned many LEGO sets outside of Bionicle that had any lime green pieces (EXO-Force maybe?), so I don’t know if it was only the cooling process itself or the specific plastic used for lime green that caused breakages.

@Mr.Monopoly Oh, definitely. Even when the post-2008 joints cracked they still held up better friction-wise than a lot of pre-2008 pieces I had.

Edited for Double Post - BioKnight

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