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    Brickpicker blog articles on LEGO investing, news, reviews, evaluations, discounts and more...
    • Jeff Mack
      I have had the privilege of meeting Dr Dave Watford along with Huw Millington of Brickset fame during several of my work excursions to London. They were always gracious enough to come to take a ride into the city to meet with me when time was available. Not only are these two extremely nice gentleman, it is very evident that they know their LEGO.  In all honesty, I would be shocked if you can find something to stump them on. Dr Dave works Huw on Brickset, is a Features Writer with the magazine Bricks and he has his own LEGO blog called Gimme LEGO.   Dr Dave's blog articles are always detailed with strong solid points and educational, I highly recommend it.
      For the past five years Dr Dave has been posting awards for Best Theme, Best Non-Licensed Set, Most Disappointing Theme, Best Licensed Set,  Most Disappointing Set, Best Minifigure, The "Better than Expected" Award, Most Welcome LEGO-Related Announcement and the Gimme LEGO Readers Choice Award.  This is where we need your help and giving your opinion for the list of entries.
      What's the best LEGO set of 2015?
      10246 Detective's Office 10247 Ferris Wheel 10248 Ferrari F40 21303 WALL-E 21304 Doctor Who 31039 Blue Power Jet 60095 Deep Sea Exploration Vessel 70751 Temple of Airjitzu 71016 Kwik-E-Mart 75060 Slave I 75902 Mystery Machine Please take a 10 seconds of your time to head over to Gimme LEGO and cast your vote.
      Previous Gimme LEGO Awards: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

    • thoroakenfelder
      I happened upon some of the new 2016 battle packs almost an entire week before their street date. I was excited to get a jump on them and to increase my personal armies.
      Set #: 75131
      Name: Resistance Trooper Battle Pack
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 112
      Price: $12.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $12.99 the price per piece works out to a bit over $.115 each. This is on the high/medium side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures, all of which are, surprise surprise, Resistance Troopers. Okay, I stretched a point. The guy without the helmet is a Resistance officer. I cannot tell for sure at this time, but I think most of these figures are unique. (I will edit once I have clearer pictures of the Resistance Troop Transporter or one in hand.)
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 unnumbered baggies, a 4x10 light bluish gray plate, and an instruction book.

      Now before I continue, I want to take a moment to talk about the box, which I almost never do. They have redesigned these smaller set boxes to be taped closed instead of glued. There's no punch out area on the back for you to messily tear apart your box, instead, you can cleanly cut open the seals and collapse it for storage, if that is what you do.

      So, the first thing that you build are the minifigures and the guns. I'll go more in depth about the minifigures in my reaction. I do want to talk about these helmets. It's a 2 piece helmet with a transparent yellow piece inside that creates a visor. I don't know why there's a hinged jaw piece. I don't think it's purely aesthetic, there has to be a reason for it, besides adding piece count. I do think that this helmet on its own looks good.

      So, for now, I'll talk about the guns. The standard stud shooters are back. This time, to make them different, we've added an additional handle to the backs of 3 of them. Don't they look so rifle-y? Rifle-ish? Whatever, they're still ugly.There is one interesting thing to note. Building the 2 Force Awakens Battle Packs back to back allowed me to recognize that LEGO gave the bad guys red studs to shoot, and the good guys blue. Either way, I still hate these things. As a parent I really hate for my kids to play with these things too.

      Now, on to the secondary reason that anyone would buy this set, the construction. We're going to be building a kind of landspeeder with a cannon. "What, like the amazing Flash Speeder?" you must be asking. Well, yes, only much smaller. So, as with anything, we make the base that everything else rests upon. On the underside, we attach those little 2x2 domed rounds so that it "glides"

      Layering, layering is the key to a good lasagna. You have to put the right stuff on in the right order or it's just a mess.

      Once you've stuck enough pieces on the back, you can attach your engine pods. I don't know why landspeeders have engine pods, it seems like military vehicles with their propulsion stuck way out to the side like that are just asking to be crippled and stranded on a battlefield.

      Don't forget an open cockpit and a weak looking stand for the cannon.

      I guess those blue things on the front are lasers?

      It appears that I have forgotten to take a picture of the cannon. It's just another 1x2 modified plate with a stud shooter that has more stuff attached to make it look cannonish. The control stick of the landspeeder is cartoonishly short, so the poor driver will never reach it.

      I was not a fan of this set. For me, the highlight was the Resistance officer. His design looks like a uniform. he looks good, even if he only wears browns. The other troopers are not too exciting. I think if you remember back, I referred to their predecessors in the 75103 First Order Transporter as space farmers. Looking at these guys in their helmets, I can see that was unfair. With their tan helmets on and their tan and gray uniforms, these are the most bland army in the galaxy. The only interesting thing about them is that one guy has a huge moustache.
      The vehicle is just small and lame and, to the best of my recollection, never appears onscreen. The resistance troops do nothing onscreen except mill about and dash from place to place. I guess the tan and gray infected them and left them largely ineffective, which is probably why they show up after all the Stormtroopers are dead.
      There's not a lot to recommend this set. The Resistance troopers will be good for displays and troop builders. Minimal screen time or action involving these guys will put a damper on the casual collector buying them. The only thing going for this battle pack is that it's kind of the cheapest thing out there for the Force Awakens in LEGO that will be easily found. If the film producers don't redesign the Resistance uniform, then these guys will probably (hopefully) play a bigger role in future Star Wars films. If they do, then a battle pack of 4 of them will pick up. If they are redesigned (like the rebel uniforms were in every original trilogy film.) This will be a bigger dog of a set than a clone wars battle pack.
      Of course, this set will sell at retail. mom, dad, grampa, grandma, and little Timmy with a small allowance will pick it up. I anticipate slow growth and low returns post EOL. (At this time, Amazon does not have a listing for this set. when they load it, I will happily add the link.)

      Check out the companion 75132 First Order Battle Pack review

    • thoroakenfelder
      I happened upon some of the new 2016 battle packs almost an entire week before their street date. I was excited to get a jump on them and to increase my personal armies.
      Set #: 75132
      Name: First Order Battle Pack
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 88
      Price: $12.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $12.99 the price per piece works out to a bit under $.15 each. This is on the high side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures a First Order Stormtrooper, a First Order Heavy Gunner Stormtrooper, and 2 different First Order Crew. The Heavy Gunner and the open face Crew are currently exclusive to this set.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 unnumbered baggies and an instruction book.

      Now before I continue, I want to take a moment to talk about the box, which I almost never do. They have redesigned these smaller set boxes to be taped closed instead of glued. There's no punch out area on the back for you to messily tear apart your box, instead, you can cleanly cut open the seals and collapse it for storage, if that is what you do.

      So, let's begin, just open both baggies and dump it all together.

      So, the first thing that you build are the minifigures and the guns. I'll go more in depth about the minifigures in my reaction. So, for now, I'll talk about the guns. The standard stud shooters are back. There's not one exciting thing about them, but there is one interesting thing to note. Building the 2 Force Awakens Battle Packs back to back allowed me to recognize that LEGO gave the bad guys red studs to shoot, and the good guys blue. Either way, I still hate these things. As a parent I really hate for my kids to play with these things too.

      Now, on to the secondary reason that anyone would buy this set, the construction. We're going to be building a kind of turbolaser turret tower. (I didn't intend to alliterate, it just happened.) So, what's a good tower without a base?

      Those flaps fold up into the tower for storage. The placement of that control console is a little awkward, I almost felt like it should be turned around. When you actually create the lower part of the tower with those 2x2 double slopes there's not a lot of room for a minifigure to stand awkwardly between them. Also, look, ammunition storage.

      The turbolaser is one of those 1x2 modified plates with a stud shooter and some other stuff tacked on.

      then you build a mounting station for it which will all snap onto the turntable on top of the tower.

      I actually like the look of this set. the tubolaser adds some play value, and doesn't look terribly funky. It was a very fast build. Of course it is, once you take away the 12 pieces for the handheld stud shooters and the 16 pieces for the minifigures and the handful of pieces for the reloads for the stud shooters, you've got a small polybag of parts, under 60. A few of the pieces are nice for building MOCs, but again, not a lot of pieces to go with. So, apart from the way too small build, there's the minifigures, the real reason anyone would buy this set. The standard stormtrooper and the crew with the full helmet have been seen before in sets like 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter and 75103 First Order Transporter. The Stormtrooper still looks amazing and the Crew still looks vaguely silly and plain at the same time. The Heavy Gunner sports a new deco on his torso piece. It looks good, any first order army needs a few of these guys around for a little bit of variation. Front and back decorations are unique on him. The second crew has a unique hat and a different head. I honestly don't know if I think this hat is sillier than the other one or not. I don't know how many crew your First Order army needs. If anyone buys a bunch of this battle pack, hey will have an army of Crew. I personally don't want an army of guys in undistinguished black jump suits and silly hats. Even though, you can relieve the uniformity slightly by swapping heads so that the open faced helmet guy utilizes one of the other heads. I will say that it is nice to see a little variation in the color pallet used for human Star Wars minifigures.

      This set is overpriced. There's no way around that. The build is small and LEGO is surely saying that kids and collectors are going to buy it regardless, because they always buy battle packs. The price point is designed to get the impulse buyer, the casual buyer and the army builder. The figure selection is what will drive the aftermarket price of this set. Whereas the 75078 Imperial Troop Transport held 4 Stormtroopers, this one only has 2. Initial sales of this set will be brisk as collectors attempt to build their armies, but I think it will sour after a while. Those 2 crewmen are going to be the anchor that drags this down. The only hope that anyone who is hoping for big returns on this set has is that the Heavy Weapons trooper stays unique. I highly doubt that will happen.
      This set seems like a cynical cash grab by LEGO. By including half the number of Stormtroopers, and a very small build, they seem to be angling for troop builders to buy twice as many of these sets to equal their Imperial armies. Of course, this set will sell at retail. mom, dad, grampa, grandma, and little Timmy with a small allowance will pick it up. I anticipate this design of troops to be around for years, so we'll be seeing them again. I anticipate slow growth and moderate returns post EOL. (At this time, Amazon does not have a listing for this set. when they load it, I will happily add the link.)

      Check out the companion 75131 Resistance Trooper Battle Pack Review.


    • Jeff Mack
      This really isn't going to be a fluff article about how awesome Brick Classifieds is, but more of a small message that people are starting to take notice of it.  Launching any new site is not easy at all.  Google and other search engines don't even know you exist, so obtaining new customers via organic traffic is tough. Vendors that do list products don't have a lot of feedback so it's hard to show history and trust.  So you might say, ok, what is so good about this?  Those that have stuck it out and continued to post new quality listings with solid descriptions, real photos and priced their listings right have done well, real well.
      Brick Classifieds has been live for just about a year now and a little over 500 vendors have registered, listing a little more than 1,200 items for sale (there are more than 5,000 items in the system that are waiting to become active). Sales actually are strong for a new site, exceeding greater than $200,000 with an average sale price of ~$350.  This shows strong interest in vendors listing high valued sets and taking advantage of the zero commission fee structure.  Overall, Brick Classifieds has saved vendors over $20,000 in commission fees if comparing to a few structure like that on eBay.
      There have been a lot of enhancements on the site over the year and we continue to work on new features and tools.  This week we will be updating and releasing price lookups to all the other marketplaces. This feature will show you what your item is going for on those sites and allow you to price your listing accordingly to take full advantage of the zero commissions fees but yet make more money.
      We are working on a few things for 2016 that could lead to a breakthrough moment for the site.  I am in talks with a few developers to help build a native mobile app for the site that will allow for easy posting of new sets, minifigures and other LEGO related items.  I have also had a few talks with Huw from Brickset.com to get Brick Classified's listings in front of that large community.  I gave him access to an API to search for sets via keywords to appear within their LEGO database.
      We believe 2016 can be a breakout year for Brick Classifieds.  Even though this new site may virtually disappear when put up against monsters like eBay, Amazon and BrickLink, but all sites need to start somewhere. There are some fantastic deals there to be found.  Use the feature at the bottom of each listing to compare Brick Classified's price to those that might be found on eBay or Amazon.  We will continue to plug away and making the site better, hopefully with the support of some of our fellow LEGO communities and our great vendors, everyone will learn that Brick Classifieds should be the first place to look when going to buy LEGO online!

    • Ed Mack
      Hello LEGO fans, collectors and resellers…
      Many of you may already know who I am, but for those of you that may have just learned about Brickpicker, my name is Ed Maciorowski and I would like to ask you for a few moments of your time. Over the past five years, my brother Jeff and I have operated the BrickPicker site at no cost to members and fans. All we ever asked from members was to click on affiliate links to help pay for the site expenses, which cost members little or no out of pocket money. Many of you have gained valuable information and insight from our data and forum community that enabled you to make money from LEGO collecting and reselling. Often, people would ask how can we help the BrickPicker site and its creators and we would say thanks for the offer, but no thanks, we felt uncomfortable taking donations. Well, we have a way for all of you to help out not only me, but over 150 children and their families.
      Let me introduce you to the St. Paul School of Burlington, NJ…
      My son, Max, is a member of the Kindergarten class in St. Paul School. He has attended the school since September and adores it. My wife, Jane, and I also adore the school. It is everything a school should be. It’s a school where everyone knows your name and there is a sense of pride and respect not found in many other larger schools. I cannot explain it, but there is an ambience of goodness in the building. Sounds corny I know, but as a person who has the word “evil” in his email address, I can tell you that I know when something deserves special recognition as a “good” thing. But it’s not only me who recognizes a great school. St. Paul School was voted the “Best Private School” in Burlington County, NJ and won numerous other awards. St. Paul School’s graduates constantly excel in high schools throughout Central NJ, with a large portion of graduates appearing on the National Honor Society and finishing top in their classes as Valedictorians and Salutatorians. To find out more about the St. Paul School, you can check out their website…

      So here is the situation. St. Paul School is a Catholic school and as many people know, Catholic schools always have a hard time paying the bills to remain open. While St. Paul School and other Catholic schools welcome all religions and people, they are not funded by state or federal tax dollars and must adhere to many policies of the Catholic church and their Dioceses. Unfortunately, due to the weak economy and other forces outside of their control, enrollment in Catholic schools is down, putting more and more pressure on the school’s and local church’s budgets to remain open. This is an ongoing battle and fundraising has become an annual ritual in every Catholic school in the nation and most likely, the world. Everyone has to do their part to help out and Jeff and I are doing ours. Here is our plan…
      Jeff and I are going to personally RAFFLE OFF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF RARE AND RETIRED LEGO SETS! These sets are from our personal collections and they include the:
      10188 Death Star 10228 Haunted House Sealed Case of 64 Series 10 Collectible Minifigures (MR.GOLD might be in there!) 10224 Town Hall 10225 Ultimate Collector Series R2-D2 MORE SETS HAVE BEEN ADDED!!! That is well over $2000.00 in LEGO sets. All are retired and appreciating in value as we speak. I will personally ship them to anywhere in the world at my cost and in a proper shipping container. There will be one winner for each set and you must buy tickets for each raffle separately. One person can win all the sets if they enter all five raffles. There are discounted tickets available and the raffle will be run on the www.rallyup.com website, which is a very reputable and trustworthy fundraising site. They will automatically pick the winners at 11:59 PM on January 31, 2016 and will notify the winners. I will then ship out the winning LEGO sets to their new owners. The raffle and link to share can be found below:
      Each ticket costs $10.00 and enables you to enter one LEGO set raffle of your choice. $50.00 will cover all five iconic LEGO sets. ALL OF THE PROCEEDS (besides the commission to www.rallyup.com) goes to St. Paul School and to its corresponding church, The Parish of Saint Katharine Drexel, which helps the school operate. Tickets can be paid with any major credit card and the site is secure. Unfortunately, PayPal does not get involved with “raffles,” so PayPal can only be used for direct donations. I know that is a minor inconvenience, but if their is an issue, contact Jeff or I and we can see what we can do about transferring money to our PayPal account and paying for your raffle tickets. If we get a great response from people, we might add a few major sets or collectible and rare items to the raffle contest.
      On a personal note, I just have to say that I feel awkward asking people to help and for money, but the St. Paul School kids, faculty and community are worth it. They need to raise $200,000 by the end of January in order to keep the doors open and I am pulling all of my strings to help get them to that goal. I need your help. Period. If you value quality education and teaching children morals and respect, then supporting a school like St. Paul is paramount to the future well being of this planet. To the BrickPicker community...Show the LEGO world that we are more than just a bunch of Quick Flipping Low Lifes….that we care and have a heart, even though we buy all of Little Timmy’s LEGO sets up to resell. LOL. Honestly, this is important to Jeff and I and I want to be proud of our community that we have built over the past 5+ years. If you want to repay us for all of the efforts we have made over the past five years, buy a ticket...or two...or five. My son and 150+ other kids and families, faculty and friends of the St. Paul School will thank you…
      If you are interested in just making a donation and want to use Paypal, you can.  Just click the purchase link on the right side bar.  On the next page you will see a checkbox that will allow you to just make a donation.  Check that box and you will then see options for payment.  Paypal is not available for buying raffle tickets, it is against their terms.

    • Alpinemaps
      Here is the list of current, former, and upcoming polybags in the LEGO world.  If you've found a polybag that's not on this list, or have any update to give us, please note it in the comments below.  This information is put together from a number of different sources on the Internet, including real world reports.  Availability in your area may vary.  This information is US-based.
      Polybags Currently Available

      Set # Theme Set Name Locations Status Date 30312 City Demolition Driller TRU Current   30315 City Space Utility Vehicle Legoland Current   30285 Creator Tiger TRU Current   30259 Elves Azari's Magic Fire TRU Current   30112 Friends Emma's Flower Stand TRU Current   30203 Friends Mini Golf TRU Current   30205 Friends Pop Star Legoland Current   30202 Friends Smoothie Stand TRU Current   30204 Friends Wish Fountain TRU Current   30291 Ninjago Anacondrai Battle Mech TRU Current   5002144 Ninjago Dareth vs. Nindroid TRU Current   30294 Ninjago The Cowler Dragon Target Current   30286 Seasonal Christmas Tree TRU Current   30272 Star Wars A-Wing Starfighter Legoland Current   30274 Star Wars AT-DP Legoland Current   5002948 Star Wars C-3P0 TRU Current   30276 Star Wars First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter Target Current   30278 Star Wars Poe's X-Wing Fighter Target Current   5002938 Star Wars Stormtrooper Sergeant TRU Current   30275 Star Wars TIE Advanced Prototype TRU Current   5003084 Super-Heroes Hulk TRU Current   30303 Super-Heroes Joker Bumper Car Legoland, Walmart Current   30305 Super-Heroes Spider-Man Super Jumper Walmart Current   30604 Super-Heroes Cosmic Boy DVD/Blu Ray Preorder Mar 2016 Polybags Coming Soon

      Set # Theme Set Name Locations Status Date 5004409 Bionicle Accessory pack   Unknown 2016 5004404 City Police Chase   Unknown 2016 30471 Creator Helicopter   Unknown 2016 30472 Creator Parrot   Unknown 2016 30474 Creator Reindeer   Unknown 2016 30397 Disney Princess Olaf's Summertime Fun   Unknown 2016 30398 Friends Adventure Camp Bridge   Unknown 2016 30371 Nexo Knights Knight's Cycle   Unknown 2016 30373 Nexo Knights Knighton Hyper Cannon   Unknown 2016 30374 Nexo Knights Lava Slinger   Unknown 2016 5004388 Nexo Knights Nexo Knights Intro Pack   Unknown 2016 30372 Nexo Knights Robin's Mini Fortrex   Unknown 2016 30421 Ninjago ?   Unknown 2016 30422 Ninjago ?   Unknown 2016 5004391 Ninjago Sky Pirates Battle   Unknown 2016 30605 Star Wars Finn (FN-2187)   Unknown 2016 5004406 Star Wars First Order General   Unknown 2016 30279 Star Wars Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle   Unknown 2016 30446 Super-Heroes The Batmobile   Unknown 2016 5002946 Super-Heroes Silver Centurion   Unknown 2016 Polybags That Have Not Been Sighted

      Set # Theme Set Name Locations Status Date 5002942 Bionicle Bionicle Villain Pack   Unknown 2015 30217 Duplo Duplo Forest Random Bag   Unknown 2015 30218 Duplo Duplo Snail   Unknown 2015 5002931 Friends Disco Dance Floor   Unknown 2015 5002928 Friends Party Polybag   Unknown 2015 30292 Ninjago Jay Nano Mech   Unknown 2015 5002920 Ninjago Ninjago Accessory Pack   Unknown 2015 5002922 Ninjago Ninjago Role Play   Unknown 2015 5002919 Ninjago Scenery and Dagger Trap   Unknown 2015 5002939 Star Wars Phantom   Unknown 2015 30304 Super-Heroes Avengers Quinjet   Unknown 2015 Polybags No Longer Available

      Set # Theme Set Name Locations Status Date 30311 City Swamp Police Helicopter Target No Recent Sightings Jan 2015 40140 Creator Flower Cart Lego.com No Recent Sightings Jan 2015 5002941 Bionicle Bionicle Hero Pack Lego.com No Recent Sightings Mar 2015 30283 Creator Off-Road Legoland No Recent Sightings Mar 2015 DRWU Jurassic World Dr. Wu TRU No Recent Sightings Mar 2015 30313 City Garbage Truck Target No Recent Sightings Apr 2015 30293 Ninjago Kai Drifter Lego.com No Recent Sightings Apr 2015 30256 Chima Ice Bear Mech TRU No Recent Sightings Aug 2015 30320 Jurassic World Gallimimus Trap GameStop, TRU No Recent Sightings Aug 2015 30246 Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Target No Recent Sightings Aug 2015 30314 City Go-Kart Racer Target No Recent Sightings Oct 2015 30228 City Police ATV Kmart No Recent Sightings Oct 2015 30188 Creator Cute Kitten TRU No Recent Sightings Oct 2015 40146 Creator Lufthansa Plane Lufthansa No Recent Sightings Oct 2015 30284 Creator Tractor Lego.com No Recent Sightings Oct 2015 40055 Seasonal Halloween Pumpkin TRU No Recent Sightings Oct 2015 5002947 Star Wars Admiral Yularen Lego.com No Recent Sightings Oct 2015 5002125 Super-Heroes Electro TRU No Recent Sightings Oct 2015 5002943 Super-Heroes Winter Soldier Lego.com No Recent Sightings Oct 2015  

    • Fcbarcelona101
      * As I was preparing to publish this article, Ed Mack announced the Brickpicker sponsored fundraiser in benefit of the St. Paul School of Burlington, NJ. I truly encourage you all to visit the following link and make a donation; besides supporting a great cause you will be entered for a chance to win some really cool, retired sets worth thousands of dollars (and appreciating as we speak!).
      I truly wish the St. Paul School the best,
      Read Ed’s Announcement
      Raffle Entry and Donation Page
      As of this writing, the LEGO Imperial Hotel (Architecture) stock continues to decline. All signs seem to point out the set is up for retirement very soon, with LEGO Shop at Home discounting it since Black Friday and a new line of larger Architecture sets in the horizon. I felt that analyzing the Imperial Hotel would be a good idea for an article; maybe we can help bring the stock levels down to 0!
      The Architecture theme as we know it today was introduced in 2008, even though LEGO had already released some sets under the same name back in 1962. That first line, however, had absolutely nothing to do with what we currently see in stores. Let’s begin with a high level analysis of the theme as a whole.
      Theme Analysis
      The Architecture theme consistently receives praise in the forums as a result of its perceived positive performance, but how does its average CAGR compare to the average LEGO set and some of the other popular themes?

      As you can see, the Architecture theme underperforms both the Star Wars and Advanced Models theme, as well as the entire LEGO set average of 11.54%. While this does not seem to support the theory that Architecture is a great performer, we have to remember that CAGR is somewhat skewed by the length of time sets have been retired, as well as the fact that currently available sets have really low CAGRs (as they are still available at retail).
      If we were to only take into consideration the CAGR of retired sets, the picture would be significantly different.

      Of course, we would have through the whole process of removing currently available set from the rest of the data series in order to have an apples to apples comparison. However, that is extremely time consuming for the larger themes like Star Wars, and I believe that for the purpose of this article focusing on the Architecture line alone clarifies the point. With an average CAGR of over 24% for retired sets, we can conclude that the line is actually quite successful.
      One other argument for the Imperial Hotel is that it belongs to the Frank Lloyd Wright “collection”; an unofficial sub-theme that has been attributed with superior performance by some forum members. But, are FLW buildings really that different from the average Architecture set? Let’s take a look.

      Above we have a graph of the growth over retail for each of the currently retired sets in the Architecture theme, with the FLW buildings grouped for the ease of comparison. It is pretty clear that when taking into consideration all of the retired sets, the average growth over retail is significantly higher for the rest of the theme (222% vs. 112%); That takes into account 2 data points that could be considered outliers, however. The JHC was the first set to be introduced, so we can expect that collectors will want to have it as part of their collection more than some of the rest, while Sungnyemun  was available for purchase at LEGO Shop at Home for less than a year according to Brickset data (around 237 days).
      If we were to take those 2 sets out of the average calculation, the rest of the theme would show an average of 113% growth over retail, pretty much in line with the 112% of the Frank Lloyd Wright collection. In light of this, I am not sure I can buy the argument that these FLW designs perform significantly better than the rest.
      Set Analysis
      The Imperial Hotel is one of the largest Architecture sets released to date, and has been available for close to 3 years at the time of this writing. With over 1,000 pieces, the detail LEGO designers were able to capture in the model is nothing short of impressive; they really were able to capture the essence of the real structure and at the same time create a model that can be easily displayed on an office desk.
      Another factor that I believe will help the performance of the set is the appeal to Asian buyers, especially in Japan. The performance of Sungnyemun makes me think that buyers from countries where this structures are located and the relatively higher LEGO prices in those markets push demand toward US sellers that are able to ship internationally.
      Finally, and this is just my perception of this, the Imperial Hotel set seems to have been somewhat overlooked by some Brickpickers. I just have not seen as much discussion about this set before LEGO discounted it for Black Friday. In these times of increased competition and hoarding, it is sets like this that could continue to provide returns more in line with what LEGO investing produced in the past.
      Future Performance
      With the set seemingly going into retirement within the next few months, I wanted to try and forecast its future price appreciation over the next couple of years. While the data we have is very limited and the market is changing dramatically, it is always fun to speculate and share opinions about future set value!
      First of all, let’s take a look at the performance of the “closest” set of the theme, the Robie House. As on previous articles, remember that the values that are outside of Brickpicker’s data set are estimated AND the 2015 value is as of November.

      I think we can all agree that the fast appreciation this set has experienced should start to slow down in the coming months; eventually, we can expect marginal growth as the set plateaus.
      As mentioned before, I expect the Imperial Hotel to perform slightly better (percentage wise). The graph below shows the projected performance of the Imperial Hotel. The graph assumes retirement in January of 2016.

      The result is a growth over retail of around 145% by the end of 2020, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of close to 12% over the period 2013 to 2020.
      Final Thoughts
      I am a believer in the Architecture line, and having had the time to go over the performance of previously retired sets has only strengthen this belief. I truly think that, for whatever reason, they are somewhat under the radar and have the potential to produce some of the most consistent returns in the LEGO investment universe.

    • thoroakenfelder
      I've been wanting to build this set since it was released in June. I never really realized how much I enjoyed stuff from Return of the Jedi until I really looked at my LEGO collecting habits. This particular ship is a beautiful and elegant design in the films, but how does it look when translated in the most recent LEGO iteration? Well the box was pretty, so let's delve into the set.
      Set #: 75094
      Name: Imperial Shuttle Tydirium
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 937
      Price: $99.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $99.99 the price per piece works out to a bit under $.11 each. This seems to be about average for pricing for a licensed set. There are 5 minifigures 4 of which are currently exclusive to this set. Chewbacca is available in this form in 2 other sets. Han, Leia and the 2 Rebel Troopers are exclusive.

      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 6 numbered baggies, and a bag containing the instruction book and a sticker sheet.

      Bag 1: Here you build the basic foundation of the shuttle and the 2 Rebel Troopers. There's a box with 2 Thermal Detonators (although if you want 3, the extra pieces are there), a weapons rack, and a hatch in the floor.

      Bag 2: you're continuing to expand the structure of the shuttle's body. You also create the attachment points for the moveable wings. They ratchet up and down individually and you fairly successfully disguise the spring missile shooters. If you look in the second image below, you can see the Technic Pin Connector (62462) that is used as the trigger to fire the missile.

      Bag 3: The first thing I want to make note of is how cool and SNOT the engines of this ship are and how it's a whole panel that's attached to the back. I don't know why they went with the 2 2x4 tiles that will soon be hidden.

      The landing struts are linked and will move up and down in tandem.

      The hatch I mentioned before has a piece on a hinge that will prevent it from lowering on its own. You must flip this down in order the lower the ramp.

      The bag finishes adding some details to the body, including guns.

      Bag 4: The fin. The fin is awesome. Bow down to the fin. It is solid, it is large and in charge, and take it from me, make sure you attach everything in the right direction so that the pin holes line up, because getting it back apart to fix a minor mistake is a giant pain.

      The fin just slots right into the top before you pin it in place.

      Plus, you get Princess Leia and her cookie.

      Bag 5: This bag is the biggest one in the set because you are making the wings and finishing the body of the shuttle. You make some panels for the body that pivot up and down to reveal the interior of the shuttle. The wings weren't terribly complex, but they were time consuming due to size.

      Bag 6: Probably the smallest and most disappointing of the bags. I don't know if I was tired by this point, or if the cockpit design just wasn't that inspired, but compared to the rest, it wasn't a terribly exciting finish. The Han is nice, but Chewbacca's a little bit off. Maybe it's the dark brown, or the weird paint details. Maybe I was disenchanted with this portion, because the cockpit canopy cannot stay open. It's too heavy and closes on its own.

      There were some extra pieces, including a cookie and a Thermal Detonator. I did not take a picture of the brick separator, but rest assured there is one.

      I really like this set, a lot. With the wings down, it is a beautiful thing. With the wings up, the bloom sort of comes off the rose. You see the underside of the wings when it is in the parked or resting position. The underside of the wings are ugly, kind of like an inside out sausage. Ok, maybe not that bad, but the most attractive way to display it will take a lof of clear bricks that are not included to make it display prettily. I really do like this set a lot. Despite the wing undersides and the closing canopy, it's a really nice set. The figures, for the most part, are nice. I really wish there was an extra helmet for Leia. I also wish there was a Luke with poncho to go with it too. I'm going to proudly display this set on its own until I build my Ewok village, then it will go with that.

      This set goes well with Endor scenes, but it would also look great with a bunch of Imperials for an arrival scene. If I could swing the space, and got a good enough discount, I'd have 2 on display.
      This set has the misfortune/fortune of being released 3 months before Force Friday. With the advent of all the Force Awakens sets, this one got relegated to a secondhand status. Fans and parents were more likely to go for TFA sets for the months leading into Christmas. LEGO most likely curtailed production in favor of the newer sets. This is all good news for the future of this set.
      Original Trilogy sets are always popular. Well designed ones moreso. If the newer movie sets take precedence in production, this set will have greater scarcity that collectors might not notice until after EOL. I think this set will be strong later on. A week before Christmas, Amazon has sold out.
      If you need something to convince you, check out these beauty shots. Go buy it on Amazon

    • Jeff Mack
      Set your reminders and get ready for an explosive live interview with Ed Mack tomorrow between 8:00AM and 10:00AM on the Harry Rinker Radio Show WHATCHA GOT. Ed is scheduled for a telephone guest appearance for Sunday, December 20 at approximately 9:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time.
      WHATCHA GOT?, is a syndicated antiques and collectibles call-in radio show that airs on Sunday mornings from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM EDT (7:00 AM to 9:00 AM CDT).   It also streams live and is archived on the Internet at www.gcnlive.com.
      WHATCHA GOT? has over 35 affiliates in 18 states.  A list of affiliates, not always up to date, and more information about WHATCHA GOT? is available on my website www.harryrinker.com.
      Here is the live broadcast of the interview

    • thoroakenfelder
      As a countdown to the Force Awakens, I will be writing reviews on Star Wars LEGO sets this week.
      I haven't really done an exclusive set before. I kind of wonder if the exclusives are the sets that people would be most excited about getting, or the ones that people wouldn't mind missing. Let's dive into the Hailfire Droid set and see if it's a can't miss, or a swing and a miss. 
      Set #: 75085
      Name: Hailfire Droid
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 163
      Price: $19.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $19.99 the price per piece works out to a bit over $.12 each. This is to be on the high side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 3 minifigures Clone Trooper Lieutenant, and 2 Super Battle Droids. The Clone Lieutenant is exclusive to this set.

      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 3 numbered baggies, 2 decorated 10x10 trans clear radar dishes and an instruction book.

      Bag 1: You build your clone trooper and the central body of the Hailfire Droid. There's not really any interesting techniques in this portion of the build. You're basically setting up a solid chunk in the middle that you are later going to pin everything to.

      Bag 2: This bag combines with the 2 radar dishes to create the fenders and attach the dishes as the wheels. Shown below are the fenders and the new attachment points for them.
      You also build both of your Super Battle Droids. I have no clue why there's a trailer hitch on this thing.

      Bag 3: You finish out the build by creating external fenders and the missile racks. I'm usually not a fan of these spring missiles, but for this particular set, I feel like it works. A few greeblies to give a bit more dimension to this thing, and a tilt of the wheels, and off you go.

      I like the look of this set. It's a fairly quick build. It needed a small gun emplacement or something for the Clone Trooper. He's massively outclassed in the firepower department, and a small build for him, would have made this seem more like a $19.99 set instead of a $14.99 set. I'd say it fits in well with all of the Geonosis stuff from 2013. Too bad that means it has been out far too long without anything to pair it with.

      The Super battle Droids are standard. Nothing terribly exciting about them. They're nice to fill out a scene. I like the Clone Lieutenant though. The blue pops, and looks good when mixed in with all of the standard clones. He's got a standard trooper face, not a Clone Wars one, so that's a real plus.

      This set is overpriced. It's a Prequel Trilogy set in a Sequel Trilogy world. There's nothing big to lift it up, and there are no main characters to draw in Timmy's mom. Scene builders, completionists, and impulse buyers are probably the target market for this particular set. It looks cool, but it's not instantly recognizable in the way that an A-Wing, Luke's Landspeeder, or the Droid Escape Pod is. If they had thrown in a main character or a unique Jedi, there would probably be more demand for this set.
      What I haven't mentioned yet is that this an exclusive set shared by Target and the LEGO Store. In the long run, it will be harder for completionists to get if they want to fill in holes later. I don't know if the demand will ever be huge, but I anticipate the value to climb modestly just due to the fact that it is an exclusive. I would recommend pairing it with the AT-TE or Republic Gunship.
      Shop for it on Amazon


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