No, this blog entry is not about gaseous digestive tracts, but about two of the most hated LEGO pieces of all time: Big Ugly Rock Piece and Little Ugly Rock Piece, BURP and LURP respectively. Being introduced in 1992 for the LEGO Castle theme (6075 Wolfpack Tower), BURPs and LURPs came out during my dark ages, so I became acquainted with them only after my AFOL initation. This Christmas I finally crossed paths with them live.
4204 The Mine, my son’s Christmas present, included two of each. After having read extensively about these pieces, I expected to loathe or at least dislike them at first sight. Not so. I do get the point, these are cheat pieces that would be more elegantly replaced with brick-built constructs, but I also fear this set might have been a lot smaller without them. With some creative use of wall panels, arches and these rock pieces 4204 The Mine manages to reach quite formidable dimensions, without pushing the price or build-time to excessive heights. (Build-time being important especially with the younger audience.)
I also don’t think the pieces are necessarily ugly, when used dynamically as part of a landscape. I gather that some of the earlier LEGO Castle and Ninja sub-theme sets had them rather brutally “glued on” to the bases of buildings, which certainly looks less than appealing in pictures. But I do think The Mine has at least a better approach. Maybe the more dynamic new wall building in LEGO can breathe in new life into these old elements as well?
That said, I have no desire to try and alter an established naming scheme, so BURPs and LURPs will they remain for me as well. Even if they are not that ugly to me…