Saturday, May 6, 2017

How I Fixed My Lepin Republic Dropship with AT-OT Bootleg Lego set 05053


Hi! Welcome back to Its-Not-Lego.blogspot.com.  Belated Happy Star Wars day!  I was going to post this article on May the Fourth (Star Wars day), but I've been so busy/lazy I put it off until today. 

Anyways, I'm sure you have already seen quite a few reviews on the internet about the Lepin Star Plan Republic Dropship with AT-OT set 05053.  It's a fake copy of the same named Lego Star Wars set 10195.  From what I've read from the other reviews, there were numerous problems with parts coming drooping and coming off everywhere on this set.


I just got my Dropship set from Aliexpress last month, so instead of doing my regular review of this bootleg set, I thought I would let you know what I did to fix the problems instead.  Of course, I'll still be showing you how the build progressed in pictures.

So my set Lepin Dropship/AT-OT set came in a large cardboard box that got left at my front door by DHL (yay!  no duties this time!).   Packed tightly inside were lots of un-numbered bags of parts and a thick instruction manual.  The large sticker sheet that came with the set was taped inside the instruction manual.  It's still there, as I chose not to use any of the stickers.  BTW, I heard from other reviews that they're not all that great, so just as well.


Remember, that as I'm set building, I'm always on the lookout to see where I can substitute a new brick piece with some old or off-coloured brick I have in my spare stash.  Well, I managed to hide a couple of pieces inside the frame of the AT-OT walker.  


The AT-OT frame is sturdy enough but the back ramp needs to be fixed.  Firstly it's too steep for the clone troopers to ascend.  I would attach a ladder piece to the ramp so that they can get a foothold.


Secondly, whenever you bend it, one of the pieces comes off where the triangular plate meets the black rectangular plate.  My solution would be to make the base of the folding ramp entirely out of technic pieces, so that the current technic brick is hinged to another technic brick that would be attached underneath the black plate piece .  I have a design in mind, but don't currently have the pieces I need at the moment.



The next gripe I have is about the AT-OT walker lower legs which won't stay attached.  They keep coming loose and the legs just fall off.  I think it's design issue, in that the technic pin that holds the lower leg in place are too short to make a good insertion into the printed round plate.


My simple fix to this problem was to turn the technic pin around and insert it from outside in.  Then to secure it, you use a yellow technic bolt.  The printed plate sits nicely onto top of the reversed technic pin and it doesn't come off.


Here's how the legs look now.  They don't fall off anymore.


Another leg issue I had was the cylinder brick on the upper legs would fall off.  To fix this problem, I attached a light gray 1x3 plate across the two sides of the upper leg.


Sometimes the round feet would come off as well.  To rectify this, I added 5 extra 2x2 plates to each of the feet and this seemed to resolved my problem.  Note: you'll need a total of 40 pieces (5x 8 feet) if you plan on doing this too.



The remainder of the build was problem free until .....



... we got to the AT-OT cockpit.  I'm guessing the Lego fit and finish of the cockpit canopy glass had better tolerances than the Lepin canopy.  Whenever I went to flip the canopy open, inevitable the glass would come off the two black pivot pieces, because they were basically being held by 2 connection points and they were just too loose.  I'm surprised that no other Lepin dropship reviews indicated this was a problem, because this really bothered me.


I used three brick parts to fix this issue. One 1x3 finish plate, one 1x3 straight plate, and one 1x2 single stud.


Attach them altogether and place into the canopy like so.


Now, re-attach the canopy to the black pivots.  I now have 4 connection points instead of two and it holds the canopy glass in place quite securely.


Oh, one more nit I had (geez, I'm so anal!).  I didn't like that the cockpit canopy roof wasn't really secured.  I slightly redesigned the canopy roof and added a 1x2 stud piece as pictured below.


When you place the clamp down, it basically locks the cockpit canopy in place.


So as I finish building the AT-OT, the final issue is of course the droopy turret guns in the rear.  You'll notice that mine don't droop at all.


This was the simplest fix of all.  I simply ripped up some of the bags that the parts came in and shoved them into the ball socket.  I didn't trim them yet so you could see what I did.  Basically it gives some friction so that the turret ball won't move inside the socket, then you can freely position the guns as you wish.  And they will stay in place.


Ok, that was a really long post.  I'll wrap this up for now and in my next blog post, we will look at the assembling the Lepin dropship and fix whatever issues we find there.


Oh btw, I recall I had one or two missing pieces but they were fairly common plates or something, so I just scrounged up the replacement parts and continued building.  Nothing significant to hinder the progress of the build to this point.   Thanks for looking!!   Part Two coming soon.

Friday, April 28, 2017

My Aliexpress Account got Suspended!



It all started with this message I got from Aliexpress.  I tried to raise a dispute on an item I had not received.  I ordered the item back in January or February but it still had not arrived.  Most times, items take a long time to ship or they are not shipped at all.  It seems to be happening more and more these days.    

In past years, you could open a dispute knowing that your purchase was protected by the Aliexpress Seller Guarantee that said you would be refunded if the item you purchased wasn't received.  At first it was 30 days, now it is 60 days.



I think the problem I am encountering is that because the shipping is so slow, several months to be exact, I have had to open a number of disputes for non receipt of items.  Because after 60 days, you just don't know if you will ever get the stuff you ordered from Aliexpress.  

So now they have blocked me from making any further disputes, despite the seller guarantee that they offer.   I tried to contact Aliexpress support below but they were no help.  I contacted them twice to no avail.  Here's my recent chat log with them.



View Message History




Invo_18:35

Hello,I am a service consultant Invo_

Invo_18:35

Thank you for contacting AliExpress. My name is Invo. How may I help you?

me18:36

hello, i contacted aliexpress support last week about inability to raise dispute. i was told it would be resolved by tuesday. it is now thursday and i am still not able to raise a dispute. please help.

Invo_18:37

I see.

Invo_18:37

May I know your name and order number please?

me18:38

order number is xxxxxxxx.   name is me.

Invo_18:38

Thank you for the information you have provided me

Invo_18:38

May I know why do you want to open a dispute?

me18:39

because i ordered this on feb 27 and it is now 60 days, and i still have not received the item.

Invo_18:39

I am sorry to hear that you still have not receive your order. Rest assured that I will help you with this. 

Invo_18:39

May I know if have you tried to contact the seller about this issue?

me18:40

yes, initially he offered to refund, but i said i could wait but now i'm thinking it will be another two months will be too long, so i would like to get the refund.

me18:41

unfortunately the system will not let me raise dispute and i don't know why

Invo_18:41

Thank you for confirming this to me.

Invo_18:41

I am sorry to know that you were unable to leave a feedback or open a dispute. Rest assured that I will help you with this.

Invo_18:41

May I know what was the error when you tried to open a dispute?

me18:42

some message about my account is disabled

me18:42

but i don't know why

Invo_18:42

Can I have a screenshot of this error messages please?

me18:44



me18:44

what is the security concern regarding my account?

Invo_18:45

Thank you for the screenshot.

Invo_18:45

Please be informed that your account was still enable in our system, however our system disabled this action since many of our buyers do open a dispute and abusing the protection of Aliexpress.

Invo_18:46

However this concern is common since you are not the only affected many buyers in Aliexpress was affected to so don't worry.

me18:47

so i need to legitimately raise dispute for items that are not received and taking over 60 days, how can i do it?

Invo_18:48

To fix this may I know your email address please?

me18:48

 my email address is xxx@xxx.com

Invo_18:49

Thank you very much.

Invo_18:50

Sorry for the inconvenience, I just checked our system and there's no existing report in our system.

Invo_18:51

In this case  I will send a reactivation request for your account to be enabled again, would that be great for you?

me18:51

thats what the last person said but nothing happened.

Invo_18:52

Exactly since there's no report, don't worry rest assured that I will talk to that agent for you.

Invo_18:52

Do not worry, I have already submitted a request to our system to activate your account in the site.

Invo_18:52

Kindly wait for our Higher Department to follow up to you within 48 hours through email for the confirmation. 

me18:52

please reactivate my dispute function, i will take screen shot of this conversation in case this issue is not resolved in 48 hours.

Invo_18:53

Yes of course, you have the rights for this and don't worry I already sent it for you.

Invo_18:53

Our system says: 

me18:54

is there a way i can check the status of my account?   how can i check it?

Invo_18:55

Yes you can only check it by trying to open a dispute, however it will be done after 2 working days.

me18:56

but by then my orders will have already passed the dispute period, and i have not received those items.

me18:57

so what can you do to help me with this problem?

Invo_18:58

Oh don't worry about that because once the protection time is over, Aliexpress will be given you an extra 15 days of protection time, meaning you still have lots time to open a dispute.

me18:58

can you not raise the dispute on my behalf?

Invo_18:59

Oh I am sorry but it was impossible since we need to open a dispute using your account.

Invo_18:59

Don't worry because I already did what's best for you.

me19:00

if my account issue is not resolved in 48 hours, how can i escalate this issue?  do you have a supervisor for me to deal with?

Invo_19:01

Oh take note it was 48 business hours.

Invo_19:01

Meaning Saturdays and Sundays are not included.

Invo_19:01

Yes of course we have

me19:02

please advise what the procedure will be, should this issue not be resolved to my satisfaction?

me19:03

i need to know how to proceed if i don't get any results in the next few days.

Invo_19:03

Yes.

Invo_19:04

Please don't worry because I never had an issue that was not resolved, also I already provided your information to our higher department once it was done you will be able to open a dispute again.

Invo_19:04

Because I never encountered a issue that was not solved by requesting to our higher department.

me19:05

what is the higher department?  you must understand i dont want to keep doing this.

me19:05

can you tell me what the higher department is and what it does?

ca105334501319:06

and how they can resolve my problem?

Invo_19:06

Higher department is the one who approves the request from lower department.

Invo_19:06

We are only from lower department.

Invo_19:07

Yes because they have the power to enable or disabled, also we are requesting to higher department for the refund as well.

Invo_19:09

So it means they are the one who handle this issue and our job is to forward the issue, also take note that I sent it urgently for you, because I know how important this for you.

I am sorry to know that, but I hope you understand that I already did my part and my best for you, I hope you can appreciate it as well since, I am only from lower department.

Invo_19:11

Also please don't worry because this chat has been documented already.

Invo_19:12

The reference number is the order number you provided which is : xxxxxxxxx

The following morning, I received the following email from Aliexpress ...



Dear custom:

AliExpress is committed to the principle of good faith and the protection of the interests of both buyers and suppliers. To maintain a safe and fair trading environment, our duties and responsibilities require the investigation into areas of clear dishonest trading activities, such as consumer fraud and counterfeiting operating to the detriment of consumers and reputable traders.

After we review your account activity in the Aliexpress Buyer Protection program, we regret to inform you that your account has been suspended considered to be at high risk of Abusing the Buyer Protection Programs. This is because your associated accounts were found continue to violate the Buyer Protection Program rules.

We do not allow:
·         Claiming that an item is ‘not as described’ when the item condition is consistent with the description in the listing.
·         Claiming an item hasn't been received when it has arrived. 
·         Opening a case when you have already received a refund from the seller or reimbursement from your payment provider.

·         Opening a case against a seller to retaliate following previous disputes.
·         Threatening to open a case against a seller in order to get a discount or additional goods and services, when the item arrived in the described condition.
·         A pattern of excessively opening Buyer Protection cases.



If you have any concerns or questions, you may go to the Customer Service and Connect to our agent.


Best Regards,

AliExpress.com Online Trade Security Department


Once you have received this notification, you are in a no win situation with Aliexpress as there is no apparent re-instatement of your account.  Customer Service will not be able to help you either.

In fact, it seems to be happening to a lot of people who open a dispute and then have their account disabled.  You can see more evidence of this here:

https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.aliexpress.com

For now, it seems I can still buy items off Aliexpress but just can't dispute anything anymore.  So be very careful when opening disputes on Aliexpress, or you will have your account suspended like mine was.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bela 10372 Bootleg Lego Star Wars T-16 Skyhopper Building Set Review




It's time for another bootleg brick set review here at Its-Not-Lego.  This one is the Bela brand Star Wars T-16 Skyhopper which is a knock-off of the Lego set 75081.  Recently, another bootleg brand called Lele has also cloned the T-16 Skyhopper with it's own set 79216.  Instead of the Bela Space Fights series, Lele calls it's series Star Wart, hahaha.

The set consists of 246 brick pieces and two minifigures, a Skyhopper pilot (not sure if it's supposed to be Luke Skywalker) and a Tusken Raider.  You also get a rat accessory which is supposed to be a womprat.

The Bela set came with six bags of parts, one instruction booklet and a sticker sheet.

Here's a look at the two minifigs.  The Skyhopper pilot has a two sided head, the other face doesn't have a visor on it.  I don't know why, but the Tusken raider looks more goofy then threatening.

Here's the base of the Skyhopper.


Building the giant wing.


Test fitting the wing onto the base of the skyhopper.

I was disappointed that there's not much of an engine on the back.  I wonder if I should make up some kind of engine in the near future?

Adding the flaps over the cockpit.


Front gun attached.


Wings added with spring loaded shooters.

The skyhopper pilot inside the cockpit.


When you lift up the flap you can access the cockpit and the storage box in the rear of the vehicle.

Front view of the T-16 Skyhopper.

Rear view of the Skyhopper.


Last thoughts:  The Bela bootleg of the T-16 Skyhopper is an exact copy of the Lego version.  Brick clutch was excellent but the glass panels were scratched.  Normally this is more of an issue with Lepin sets than Bela.  The minifigs had good printing but I don't know if I like the Tusken raider figure that much.   Of the 246 pieces, I didn't encounter any missing or deformed bricks, but I didn't get any extra pieces either.  The spring loaded shooters were good and didn't fire off by themselves.

As far as the design of the ship, I wish it had a bigger engine and it's hard to hold onto making it less swooshable.  Now that the Lego T-16 Skyhopper set is retired,  it sells for about $45-50 USD on Amazon.  The Bela bootleg sells for about $17 USD on Aliexpress, but I got mine on sale for about $10 USD.   Thanks for looking!

Brand:  Bela
Model: 10372 Star Wars T-16 Skyhopper
Number of pieces: 246
Minifigs: 2