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I've recently gotten back into LEGO and I'm trying to restore old space sets (late 80's era) by buying parts on Bricklink. I've noticed that some of the hinge pieces are extremely expensive (e.g. parts 4275 and 4276), often making a single hinge assembly cost over 5$ if using "new" parts.

It seems that Lego has discontinued these parts some time ago, so I was wondering the following:

  • Why were the parts discontinued? Were they prone to breaking?
  • Which newer parts can be used to substitute these and are they really better? I don't mind if they don't look exactly the same as long as there is functional equivalence.
  • I'm assuming that there is no substitutions possible for the old canopy hinges (e.g. part 4315)?
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What I remembered of those parts was that force was needed to snap them together, and I believe I also have some that are broken over the years.

The part was introduced in 1983, updated in 1985 and the last sets were released in 2002 with one set in 2004.

In 2003 the parts are replaced by Hinge Plate 1 x 2 Locking with Dual Finger on End Vertical' (44302) and Hinge Plate 1 x 2 Locking with Single Finger on End Vertical' (44301). These parts have a number of fix angles in which the hinge can be placed. This finger shape is also added to al kind of other parts, like the canopy

There is also a version for non fixed angles Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Clip Horizontal on End and Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Handle on End - Closed Ends and these can also be combined with other parts

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Joost answered eloquently, but I'd like to add that while 44302 and 44301 were made to replace the finger hinge they wont work in all situations. The geometry of 4275 and 4276 allowed useful techniques - you could use it to reverse studs by 180 degrees in a small amount of space, 90 degrees, and more. The new pieces can't do the same, which is a shame.

(Side note: the finger hinge are my favourite pieces ever. I even got them tattooed on my arm :)

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