I already blogged about some essential LEGO links. Yesterday I stumbled onto a new one, which may have relevance to my project: Classic-Castle.com. The site features a lot of LEGO Castle content, including a FAQ that has information on the different shades of grey LEGO uses. Apparently in 2003 TLG (the LEGO Group) decided, under competitive pressure, that their warm colors made LEGO look old. In particular, their grey, dark grey and brown. So, to the dismay of their fanbase, TLG changed these colors to cooler variants by adding a shade of blue (red for brown) to them – earning, from the irritated fans, the nickname “bley” (blue and grey). Officially the old grey was replaced by medium stone grey, dark grey by dark stone grey and brown by reddish brown.
Above, on the left there are some bley bricks (medium stone grey) from the new 7946 King’s Castle (2010), on the right grey from the old 6073 Knight’s Castle (1984). In the bottom middle there are four connected bricks (from left to right): old grey, new medium stone grey, old grey, new medium stone grey. (Note: You can click the images for larger versions.) The new grey is definitely a tad bit coolor and perhaps more sinister looking. Not a huge difference though, had I not read about this I might have assumed only aging as the differentiator. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any old dark grey or brown bricks to compare to. TLG did replace some other colors around the same time as well, so luckily Classic-Castle.com links to a great color chart on Peeron.
Now, to make things even more confusing, these old and new colors have many common names. Old grey: also known as grey, light grey, castle grey. Old dark grey: also dark grey. Old brown: also brown, officially Earth orange. New grey: also light bluish grey, medium stone, medium stone grey. New dark grey: also dark bluish grey, dark stone, dark stone grey. New brown: also reddish brown, red brown. The new colors may also be referred to as the “bley” colors. There are also language variations and abbreviations, such as grey being spelled gray, dark abbreviated as dk, medium abbreviated as md. Oh, and while old grey is sometimes called light grey (in BrickLink for example, important distinction for castle part purchases), officially – but rarely – light grey is actually a different color used in some Scala and DUPLO sets. Tread carefully.
Speaking of grey: Recently I posted my circa 1989 attempt at building a part of the 6080 King’s Castle. Digging in, I found the bottom parts of the gatehouse/tower I had made as a child. I attached the pieces and below is what it looks like, the entrance to a MOC (my own creation) mini castle. I couldn’t find my poor attempt at a portcullis (at least not yet) if it still exists in one of the boxes, but you can see the string that lifted it, dangling in the gateway. Seeing this in full again, I definitely remember that I had completed the mini castle, and the portcullis was operated by the winch (its top fit through the hole in the roof). I guess there must have been a second winch for the drawbridge.
Looking at the individual pieces, we can see that while some are just dirty, few of the bricks have been discolored significantly more than the others. I wonder why. BTW: The Classic-Castle.com FAQ offers links to discussions on discoloration and restoration.
18 Responses to Grey matter
[…] As you may have gathered from my previous postings, I am currently acquiring more bricks to start building the castle. A couple of orders were sent out last week, one via BrickLink and one to TLG (the LEGO Group), and the first to arrive was this package from the TLG’s Pick a Brick online store. I decided that since the portcullis was so central to my past efforts to build this castle, I would invest in new bricks for it. Unlike other pieces so far, I did calculate what I would need for the portcullis. It will be the pièce de résistance of my castle. Luckily TLG still makes all the pieces in the portcullis and black has not gone bleck. […]
[…] have written about the one exception on this blog before (here and here), my old attempts at a 6080 King’s Castle look-alike gatehouse, with drawbridge and […]
[…] and combined these with the newly acquired pieces. I decided to sort the relevant bricks by color: castle grey and black. Sorting by color is often recommended in LEGO building tips, so I thought I’d give […]
[…] is a balance to be struck there somewhere. One area where I have decided against cheating is the grey question. While I could probably get some spare medium stone grey (modern, cooler version of the classic […]
[…] and used parts), but that is less useful for classic projects that require old parts and especially old colors. At BrickLink, you can search for particular parts or for example browse by color, which I have […]
[…] quite comfortable with the new LEGO colors, including bley aka medium stone grey, but the new dark bley is hideous. The color is ugly to my […]
[…] first thing that struck me about the pieces were the new(ish) colors. Having built mostly new City and Kingdoms models with my son, the color schemes have not been that […]
[…] The official color names that make up the castle wall are: dark stone grey and Earth green on the darker foundation, medium […]
[…] to the Peeron part list for consultancy. One sword stand part, which I was not missing, was an old castle grey Plate 1 x 1 with Clip Vertical – Type 1 or as BrickLink calls it: Light Gray Plate, Modified […]
[…] on the harder stuff. It turns out, I was able to source some 45% of the set brand new this way. Color changes were again a problem, had old grey still been available, that number would have been much higher. […]
[…] referring to the Knights’ Kingdom II of 2004. This was when they introduced the new and hated bley color scheme (to make LEGO look more modern), but also weird, pastel colored, cartoony Castle meets […]
[…] like the new colors. Looking at the press pictures, I originally assumed the grey on blue – bley on blue – color theme would look boring, but actually in reality it looks pretty fresh. There […]
[…] biggest issue after special train parts are the changed grey colors. Some of these new purchases may end up having very direct little help anyway, I […]
[…] and there to fill in the gaps. Of course most of this notion was quickly smashed by the reality of changed LEGO colors (effectively shutting the door on any new purchases of grey and brown parts for classic sets) and […]
[…] even allows you to easily select how picky you are about getting the colors just right. You can try the service without registering and enter up to six existing sets – and more if […]
[…] – and suddenly, after decades in storage, the Black Falcons were standing guard again. On bley walls, no less. Now, say whatever of the LEGO itself, after all one could argue it is just decades old […]
[…] of used bricks (a reality, considering LEGO has discontinued not just many of the parts, but the very color the castle uses), I took a different tact on the Quest for Inter-City train. From the beginning, I […]
[…] background on this blog post, may I recommend reading the post Grey matter […]