Please don’t get me wrong with the title here: I can find stickers to be as irritating as the next person. However, after looking at Stephanie’s House last week, I came to realise that some LEGO elements are used in a recurring fashion, but that the final appearance and effect is dependent on the labels used.
On this occasion, I am specifically thinking of the humble laptop computer. Design number 18659. This piece is currently available in two colours: black and medium lilac. It appeared in black in 2010, and medium lilac in 2016.
It appears simple enough: Slightly less than 3×4 studs in area when open, there are no clear system connections. No studs, no tubes, no clear handle. However, when closed, there is an indentation in the upper and lower parts of the laptop that accepts a clip type attacment such as a minifigure hand. Actually, when open, a lip along the bottom section allows a clip connection there as well.
Now, these laptops appear simple enough. But they are a little plain. I can see the benefit of only having one part, without printing it. From the manufacturing point of view: every new element – a part in a new colour – needs a new bin in the warehouse for storage. Once you go the next step, and print on that part, each printed design has a new element ID, and therefore requires a new place to store it too. For the MOC Builder, the role of this element is not locked in: It’s a little hard to pretend that a part printed with decorative bows is, in fact, a vital tool in the war against crime!The medium lilac laptop (Element ID 6141902) appears in three distinct sets, all in the Friends theme: 41314 Stephanie’s House, as discussed already; 41115 Emma’s Creative Workshop and 41116 Olivia’s Exploration Car. Each set has a new sticker added to the sheet, which can (if you wish) be attached to the laptop present in the set, and allow you to give it an appearance of functionality.