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    Brickpicker blog articles on LEGO investing, news, reviews, evaluations, discounts and more...
    • thoroakenfelder
      As a countdown to the Force Awakens, I will be writing reviews on Star Wars LEGO sets this week.
      Today, we are going to be looking at a set that I have opened a fair number of previously. I have only built it once before, but at the time I felt like that was enough. Luckily I had a couple that I bought on discount to fill in on a day when I wanted to bang out a quick set and a quick review. I made an "artistic" decision with this set to portray the minifigures involved as building the set. Hopefully it's more amusing than annoying. 
      Set #: 75078
      Name: Imperial Troop Transport
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 141
      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 $.09 each. This seems to be on the low side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures all of which are Stormtroopers. The Stormtroopers have 2 different expressions, frowning, and very unhappy. The frowning ones are 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, a 2x12 Light Bluish Gray Plate, and an instruction book.

      So, here we go, No numbered bags, time to open them up and dump them in a pile. I dislike this method of building larger sets, but on smaller sets, I guess it's fine.

      It looks like I have a helper to put this together. Maybe he has some friends who can  help.

      Now I was just thinking of a conversation in Clerks where Randall says "You think the average stormtrooper knows how to install a toilet main? All they know is killing and White uniforms." Well, let's hope these guys are better at making their own crafts than installing plumbing.

      The basic size of the vehicle is very small. There's no driver's compartment, and the shape is moderately reminiscent of the Kenner toy that they show based their design on.

      The front and rear have some interesting shapes. Nothing is terribly complex with this build. Honestly if I weren't taking pictures of Stormtroopers building it, the review would be very short.

      The crew area is 4 slots on the outside. It has 2 flick missiles on top  in a rotating turret.

      There were 4 extra pieces. Actually, that's kind of a relief, I get a little tired of seeing all of the extra studs. Speaking of Extra studs, there are 4 in the box in the center of the vehicle. I did not include them in the extra parts because the instruction book indicates that's where they belong.

      Back before this set was released, I was excited. The version in Rebels and the original Kenner version indicate a nice midsized vehicle, probably in the $20-$30 range. I understand that LEGO makes a small, inconsequential thing for their battlepacks, but this was never the thing that I wanted. It's ugly, it's short, it's squat and cannot hold the proper number of characters. Plus, I hate the stud shooter guns.

      The minifigures are great, army builders to a man. Basic Stormtroopers without odd decorations that you never see on screen are awesome. That's probably why I have opened like a half dozen of these sets. I just need to give them real blasters.

      Troop Builder packs have limited growth potential. They're cheap to begin with. The figures are usually commonly available in other places, and at the price point, they are easy impulse buys, so are massively produced. All of that said, Basic OT Stormtroopers are always going to be needed and popular. I could see the Episode VII toys eclipsing these for a while in popularity, but when Rogue One comes out, people will want their classic troopers. I would never stock up on these for resale at MSRP, but if you can get them at a discount go for it. They don't take up a lot of room. I foresee moderate gains post EOL. Something we probably won't see with the PT/CW/EU battlepacks. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think a Stormtrooper should be black or have red on him.
      The customers that you will be looking for in future just want to build a scene, the bricks will be nice to try to MOC a better Troop Transport with, but the 4 Stormies will be what drives the sale of this set.
      Go buy it on Amazon

    • Jeff Mack
      Star Wars: The Force Awakens has finally arrived in cinemas, and to celebrate we’ve assembled the best builders in the galaxy to construct seven iconic saga scenes, from the classic trilogy to the new film. We also take a look at the Star Wars Battle Figures, and compare Darth Vaders new and old in a showdown of galactic proportions.
      Elsewhere, we find out how LEGO can be used with prosthetic limbs to improve the lives of child amputees, how Britain’s most outspoken toy retailer is preparing for the Christmas season, how to bring your minifigures to life and why not every LEGO set is a solid investment.
      There’s much more besides, as animation expert Steve Guinness wraps up his Italian Job project, while David Kresse shows us how to motorise our Technic MOCs. This build-filled issue is topped off with an exclusive interview with Michael Price, the mind behind LEGO Star Wars series Droid Tales.
      Issue 15 of Blocks Magazine is now with subscribers, and will be in shops on Thursday 17th December.
      Get your copy on Thursday in the UK, and why not subscribe to get future copies early and enter monthly free prize draws? See www.blocksmag.com for more details.

    • thoroakenfelder
      As a countdown to the Force Awakens, I will be writing reviews on Star Wars LEGO sets this week.
      Full disclosure, I missed writing at least one review to meet my own schedule. So I have decided to punish myself and try to make a new review each day until the opening of Star Wars Episode VII. Hopefully they will be enjoyable for you and for me. I would like to finish out The Force Awakens lineup, but I've already built Rey's Speeder twice and parted out another one, so I have no interest in buying another one to open and build. I have little interest in the Kylo Ren's Shuttle because it's ugly, and I may or may not open a Millennium Falcon. So, unless something changes, TFA might not get full representation. Besides, I am super excited to get to the Shuttle Tyderium.
      Set #: 75101
      Name: First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 517
      Price: $69.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $89.99 the price per piece works out to a bit over $.135 each. This seems to be on the high side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures most of which are currently unique to this set. This set is mainly a troop builder with 2 First Order TIE Pilots, 1 First Order Crew and 1 First Order Officer. The First Order Crew is also available in Kylo Ren's Shuttle.

      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 4 numbered baggies, and a bag containing a sticker sheet, and an instruction book. There are 6 small stickers, but for some reason I only used 4 and cannot figure out where the 2 remaining ones go. I read the instructions 4 times.

      Bag 1 creates the basic shape of the hull of the TIE Fighter. There's a back to back crew area for 2 minifigures, which just happen to be in this bag. You've got 2 pilots, which is one more than you usually get with a TIE Fighter. The Control stick is built from a Battle Droid torso. I like that, it makes it seem more thought out than the really old school 1x2 decorated tile like we used to see. You can just see the ports of the spring loaded missile launchers. 

      Bag 2 completes the body of the TIE Starfighter. It has 3 hatches and I'm not sure if that thing sticking up is a cannon or an antenna. It's probably a cannon because it's attached to a technic pin that would allow it to swing forward. The red bricks and pieces create the stripe that I am going to assume is for the Special forces. It's pretty striking on this all black vehicle. The white at the ends of the "arms" is kind of jarring, and I hoped that it would not be visible in the final build. I do like the looks of this, very properly TIE Fightery. The First Order Crew that pops up in this bag is sort of plain, except his ridiculous looking helmet.

      I have to do something different here, because the build instructions require it. Bags 3 and 4 are the same. The instructions show both bags in the requirements, and at the end just have the "X2" notation. You probably guessed it, each bag contains a wing. The only difference between the 2 bags is that one has a minifigure, and the other has the spring missile projectiles. I'm going to let you in on a little secret here. I haven't built many TIE Fighters. Most of them have very flimsy wings. To me that says everything about the TIE fighter, but does not endear them to me. These wings seem pretty stable. It's got some significant layering , which gives me confidence that it's not going to crumble while it's on display. I've read that the wing design is very similar to the UCS TIE Fighter.

      There's this part used in the build of the wings that I don't think I have ever seen before. Bricklink seems to indicate that it's a rare piece. It's only available in a handful of sets

      so, once you've built the wings, of course, you put them together with the body.

      The opening hatch on top is what allows you to put the pilots inside, the front and rear hatchesjust pretty much allow you to see them.

      There were a surprisingly mall number of extra pieces. It's an indication of the limited number of small pieces in this set. You do end up with 2 extra roller skates from the wing greeblies, so our First Order Crew or Officer could use them. I don't recommend them for the TIE Pilots, because there's no room to skate in the cockpit. I also include the brick separator, because I have so many of these now, and they are not a part of the build.

      I like the build. It definitely came across beautifully in the finished product. It was not complicated, but on the other hand, it's also not a box like the older TIE Fighters used to be. I liked the way that they decorated the wings. I have a horrible memory of how the 7146 was decorated, and am just as pleased not to go back to it. When all is said and done, this is a nice set, a little pricey on the 3P score. 13.5 cents per piece just makes it too expensive, probably by at least $10 for the set, maybe by as much as $20.
      The minifigures are great, army builders to a man. Not a single named character to make you feel weird about buying multiples for a scene. They each have new headgear, obviously the pilots have the same one. I think that the design for the Officer's hat and the Crew are dumb looking, but that's not LEGO's fault.

      TIE Fighters are the most common vehicle in the Empire. Strangely, this is the most common set from the Force Awakens line. Along with all of the product shipped to regular stores like Target, Walmart and Toys R Us, Costcos received large pallets of this set. When all of the other TFA sets sold out from LEGO Shop at Home on Black Friday/Cyber Monday this set still remained. I doubt there's less demand for this set. I think that the early discounts at Costco and Black Friday sales at Walmart and Target are going to be the price that drive this set.
      It's going to be hard to look at this set with MSRP so far above average and get excited about it. The regular buyers, mom and dad and Timmy are likely to pick up a copy when necessary. I foresee it having a discount on Amazon for most of its life.
      The 9492 performed pretty well after retirement, even though this set was coming along to replace it. The long term value of this set depends upon the reception of the new film. If people like the film, they'll probably want to accumulate these later on. It's actually about perfect for the size, so I doubt that they will make an updated version. Probably any future version of the First Order TIE Fighter will just be a repackage of this, which would seriously limit its growth potential. If I had to make a guess though, the next Sequel Trilogy movie will have a different TIE Fighter design featured to sell new toys, so we'll probably see a new TIE interceptor, Advanced or something like that. There's probably going to be a few years before the inevitable reissue.
      (in the week leading up to the new film's release, and 10 days before Christmas, it is sold out from Amazon and already over $90 including shipping. Don't underestimate the power of a new movie)
      Buy it on Amazon

    • Jeff Mack
      So the past few days have been exciting since LEGO finally slapped a "Retiring Soon" label on the list for the 10188 Death Star.  Everyone should jump for joy and start yelling for the money to come rolling in right?  Maybe, but it might be short lived or will it.  According to the new database entry at Brickset, there is a new Death Star coming and it is listing as an Ultimate Collector Series model.

      So is this a totally new model, or another version of the old?  Is it really "The Death Star" or "The Starkiller"? The new Starkiller base as it is referred to in Episode VII is described by the official Star Wars site as "An ice planet converted into a stronghold of the First Order and armed with a fiercely destructive new weapon capable of destroying entire star systems."  Obviously this will be much different than what we have known for the last 40 years.  Will this set be more of a model like the #10143 Death Star II, or a play set like the #10188 Death Star.  Is this set going to be about the new movie or yet another rehash of the old. There are no details on piece count, minifigures or release date.
      Before you get all upset and get the feeling to dump all your 10188 Death Stars, you will have to wait and see what this model actually is.  I would be surprised as anything to see them do another version of the original and honestly that would be pretty dumb if you ask me.  If it is the new Starkiller version, it will be vastly different than the prior two models which to me will not effect the value of them and possibly even drive the values upwards.
      I am really excited to see what it might be. Regardless if it is a new version or old, I am hoping for a 5,000+ piece set!!!

    • thoroakenfelder
      I have been excited for this set for a long time. Most of the time, LEGO keeps a tight lid on their upcoming products. You only officially get to know about what is coming out a month or so before it is released. This, however, is an Ideas set.
      LEGO implemented a program wherein they allow people to submit their ideas for consideration. The ideas need to be a fully completed MOC (My Own Creation). Public users of the site can browse all of the submissions and decide if they would support this project. If the project reaches 10,000 supporters within a year, it moves on to the LEGO Group to review. They look at the project and evaluate it a number of ways. This part of the process is somewhat opaque. One assumes that they build the set and see if it is sturdy, if it violates certain building principles, and whether it seems easy or exceptionally hard for the end user. They probably also evaluate the questionnaires that the supporter filled out to see if it matches their analysis. Then they would look at the pricing of the set and what the supporters said that they would be willing to pay.
      Doctor Who is the 11th set to be released after going through this process. It was submitted to the Ideas program on February 26, 2014. It was released on December 1, 2015. Anyone who voted for this set has been waiting at least 18 months. You can review the original submission entry here: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/59181
      Set #: 21304
      Name: Doctor Who
      Theme: Ideas (Doctor Who)
      Parts: 623
      Price: $59.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $59.99 the price per piece works out to just under $.10 each. This is slightly better than the Star Wars licensed sets that I have done recently. There are 4 minifigures and 2 brick built Daleks. all figures are unique to this set.
      THE BOX
      Before we get started, I am going to take a moment to talk about something that I never mention, the box. LEGO Ideas sets come in a sturdier, nicer looking box. They really do celebrate the people and ideas that get selected and produced. The cardboard is heavier stock and has a nice opening and re-closing aspect. It's more like opening a treasure chest than a package.

      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 unnumbered bags and a thick instruction book with heavy paper denoting the collectible nature of the Ideas sets.

      The instructions have some information about Doctor Who and the characters in the set. There's also a section with information on the developers of this particular set, including the interesting factoid that one of the people from the LEGO Group is the nephew of the 8th Doctor actor Paul Mcgann.

      Since none of the bags had numbers, I had to do the last thing I wanted to. I had to open them all up, sort through them and separate them. I dislike this immensely. I hate it when I buy a used set, and it just makes me mad that on a set of over 600 pieces, they couldn't organize it a little better. pieces of each minifigure scattered in 3 different bags shows that they had no intention of making it easier.

      For those with a great dislike of stickers, there are no stickers in this set. Every decorative piece is fully painted.

      There's a large number of Dark Blue pieces, some of which I think might be new in this color. Dark and Light Bluish Gray dominate the rest of the build

      Enough about my sorting. That's not what anyone really wants to read about. First, the instructions have you build the 4 minifigures. You get 2 different versions of the Doctor, his companion Clara Oswald and a Weeping Angel. The set comes with 2 Sonic Screwdrivers, although technically one of them is a spare. The box and instructions indicate that only the younger Doctor is allowed to have a Sonic. I decided to spread the wealth. I guess if they had put any more sonics in there, Clara and maybe the Angel would be pictured with one.

      I am not going to go bag by bag with this set, because it's impossible. Because of that, there's probably going to be a lot more pictures than I usually take. Also, the pictures will have more stuff in the background because most of my work space is taken up with all of the pieces I sorted. (this teaches me a valuable lesson to have a work area and a photo area.) I had assumed that they would start you off building the blue box, so I was really excited to get started on that, but they jumped right to the interior.
      The first thing that we build is the base of the TARDIS console platform. The designers created a pedestal base to lift the platform up and give the illusion that there is more stuff underneath, maybe more places to go. As a side note, the original submission had a tilt function in this area, but it appears to have been nixed in the final build, as this is very stable.

      Now that we've got the base built, it's time to begin working on the console's central column. I like hw they created some little details and hid most of the studs. I don't understand the 8 white 1x1 round plates that are hidden in the upper section of the column. There has to be an aesthetic reason for them, but to me it's just pointless. I did enjoy the way that they built the stairs out of a ladder. it was oddly satisfying to build stairs instead of using a stair piece.

      I was curious how they would create a 6 sided TARDIS console. From my own MOC attempts, I know that it is not a shape that comes easily to LEGO. I sort of figured that they would use the same build technique that I finally settled on, but I was wrong. Their way is probably more "legal" as it is fixed into the build and won't move too much. The panels are created separately and snapped onto a series of bars that are pinned into a wheel.

      I am honestly somewhat disappointed in the low number of switches, knobs and decorative bits on the console panels. When I think og the console, I think of a mess of stuff sticking up and off, not trans blue plates.

      Once you have the console built, then you finish up the working area with a small handful of additional computer consoles, 2 on the outer railing and 2 above the console panels.

      Now that the console room is complete, surely we build the outside of the TARDIS, right? Nope, now it's time to EXTERMINATE! We're going to build the Daleks. I'd like to just take a quick detour to talk about Daleks. They are generally rounded, curved and sloped. Rounded is typically difficult to accomplish with generally rectangular bricks. Most MOC Daleks are generally very angular with a dome on top. The designers of this set put some curved pieces on to give the impression of a rounded body shape, but it's more of an illusion than a practical distinction. The design of the arms prevents them from moving at all, but the head design allows the whole top to rotate. I am not a fan of the giant gap created by the way that they designed the eye, but there's not really a better way to portray that without designing a new piece. Putting a piece on top of a dome is no more satisfying.

      Finally we begin working on the TARDIS itself. The notorious blue box is the last thing that you build. It took me a while to understand why the ting I most wanted to build was the last thing. It's because builders are likely to stop as soon as they get the TARDIS built and play with that for a while. If it's the last thing you build, then you're more likely to play with everything.
      Full disclosure here, I made a building error that I did not catch until the very last picture that I took. This error was very early in the build, but thankfully, in the end very easy to fix. I placed the upper panel all the way in the corner, but it I supposed to be slightly offset leaving a gap all the way around. I apologize to all if this bugs you throughout the rest of the pictures.

      Once you have your base, then you need to start creating the box. The exterior is a series of windows with solid panels. This is a pretty nice way to replicate the design of the Police Box. The corners are built separately with Plates used to raise the edges as well as ad detailing to bring the design up from just a simple box.

      Just a warning at this stage, you begin putting interior details on the box, but it's very easy to pop out the bottom panel as you are trying to seat the pieces. The reverse image of the TARDIS doorway is a nice detail that I never would have expected.

      To finish up, you add the panels that read "Police Public Call Box" these pieces come in 2 sections and are mounted on hinges. This is important to allow you to open up the build. The LEGO designers added a place where the Doctor could fit within the box.

      Finally, you can attach the opened TARDIS to the console room platform to allow for the play aspect that it is bigger on the inside. The two separate pieces come together pretty well, allowing you to pick it all up together, but not so firmly that you can't take the 2 elements apart again quickly.

      The characters look pretty good. The younger Doctor, Clara and the Weeping Angel all have 2 faces. The younger Doctor also comes with a Fez which looks terrible on him, and exposes the second face. Clara's got the 2 color legs that LEGO has been doing recently. I am not a fan of her hair piece, because her hair is generally straight and darker. The older Doctor is wearing a light purple jacket that I don't recall ever seeing on the show. 

      There were a lot of small extra parts, Nothing too exciting, except for the extra Sonic Screwdriver, but that's not pictured here.

      I like this set. I wanted to like the set before I started, and I wound up not being disappointed. I was slightly disappointed that the TARDIS did not open on the door panels, but it makes sense the way that they designed it. Now the front door is on the front of the build. The reversed image fits in the right place and all is right aesthetically. It's just too bad that in order to have the Doctor peaking out, I'd have to dismantle several panels and remove the roof. The biggest change between the Ideas submission and the released product is in the choice of minifigures. The Cyberman is going to make an appearance soon in the Dimensions fun pack, but the suggested Doctors were set aside for the most recent iterations. The most popular Doctors of them all are #4 Tom Baker and #10 David Tennant. Their exclusion from this set, but inclusion in the Dimensions game play make me really believe that they will be making a later appearance in toy form.
      Below, I have added some comparison pictures between the Dimensions set and the Ideas set. I'll probably do the same later on when the Fun pack with the Cyberman and Dalek is released. Sure I have a few quibbles, and some of the stuff that I worked so hard on for my own MOC are more appealing to me, but overall I find this set to be satisfying.

      Doctor Who is enduringly popular and tends to draw a rabid fandom. Those outside of fandom either dimly recall bad special effects, or have no knowledge of this series at all. People who don't collect LEGO will and have gone out of their way to purchase this set. Within 12 hours of release online this set sold out and became back ordered on the LEGO Shop At Home site.
      There have been comparisons between this set and The Big Bang Theory, I guess because they are both popular TV series that have recently been made into LEGO form. That's somewhat disingenuous. Big Bang Theory doesn't lend itself to fantastic situations or much play possibility. Doctor Who should be compared to the older sets like the Back to the Future Delorean or Ghost Busters Ecto-1. All 3 of these properties have already been slotted into the LEGO Dimensions game with new or modified minifigures either already released or soon to be. With the Ghostbusters firehouse coming to expand that line, we can hope that Doctor Who follows suit. 
      Short term, this set has some limited flipping potential for Christmas 2015. If it remains sold out, or quickly sells out again before the holiday, people will potentially make 50-100% profit in that shortened time frame. In the long term, this set has some legs. I don't see it languishing like birds or Exo-Suit or even BBT. It will probably be as easy to get as Ecto-1 for its lifetime, but I expect the price to jump as soon as it EOL.
      I have expectations that like Minecraft, this Ideas set will become a theme. There are a dozen different Doctors, dozens of companions and bad guys galore. They could create settings out of almost every theme that they have released to show his travel in both time and space. The European and International appeal of this property is pretty stunning. So, I could see this set being the pilot, the taste to get people in the door, and then they would retire it to make their own sets. If this becomes a full blown theme, the initial offering will be the most sought after.
      I also think that the part out value for this set will be good. People will want multiple TARDIS(s) to display one with the control room and one free standing. Collectors will want multiple Weeping Angels, and some people will just want the Doctors and Clara. I think that this set has legs. Whether you know and like the show or not, the international fanbase will continue to grow as parents introduce their kids to the show and to LEGO. 


    • Ed Mack
      Hello LEGO fans..  It’s been a little over a year since Jeff and I started working on our first book, The Ultimate Guide to Collectible LEGO Sets: Identification and Price Guide.  Well, after a year and a half, the book is now available at retail and is selling briskly.  We would like to thank everyone who has bought a copy and hope you have enjoyed the book.  Krause Publishing did a very nice job with our book in my opinion and is seeing strong sales, strong enough to ask us to do a second book.
      The new book will concentrate on the classic LEGO minifigure (...and maxifigure) and their values and unique features that make them valuable on LEGO secondary marketplaces.  The book will be done in a similar fashion as our first book...basically including most major LEGO themes and the important minifigures from each theme.  We are looking to discuss hundreds of special minifigures and will have a price guide that covers many of the major minifigures.  
      But unlike our first book which gravitated towards more text and analysis than pictures, this book will make the photos of the minifigures the focal point of the book.  This book will be a hardcover book, with higher quality images and page finish.  While there will be plenty of data and analysis, the publisher wanted to put LEGO minifigures in “creative LEGO” and “real world” scenes or dioramas, besides having the traditional body shot of a minifigure found on Brickset or Bricklink.  
      The creations of French photographer, Samsofy Pardugato, is an excellent example of mixing real world situations with LEGO minifigures and coming up with a dynamic photograph.  Here are a few of his works and you can check out more example here…

      A person can also create a wonderful photograph with just LEGO sets, pieces and minifigures.  Here are examples illustrating such techniques…

      As I stated above, there will be dozens and dozens of important, unique and valuable minifigures discussed in the book and not all will receive special treatment, but quite a few will and this is where Jeff and I need YOUR help.  We need the help of those LEGO fans and collectors out there that have a creative flair for photography and we are willing to offer fame and fortune for it...LOL.
      Jeff and I are going to run LEGO photography “contest” for any person who wants to give it a shot.  We are looking for people to come up with “creative LEGO” and “real world” scenes or dioramas for each one of the below themes:
      Besides the major creative layouts in each chapter, we will discuss dozens and dozens of other important minifigures that require high quality photos.  Examples of these can be seen here:
      These can also be creative in nature, but they don’t have to be.  Sometimes, a quality high resolution photo of a cool minifigure speaks volumes. Specific minifigures that will be discussed in the book will be released to those who are interested by contacting Jeff or I.  I have a list for each theme and will be looking for quite a few to be honest.  Feel free to share any ideas that you have.  
      As for the contest itself, there will be various prizes.  First off, each person who sends in a photograph that gets accepted by the publishers to use in the chapter introductions, which focus on real life images & LEGO dioramas, will get a “Limited Edition” book and a special call out in the book.  Basically, there will be a small bio for each person who submits winning photos in the book.  Each one of these “special” photos will  have a title and breakdown of minifigures in the image, so we can make a proper “blurb or call out” on the page.  The photographer’s name will also accompany these images.  
      The TOP TEN images (in any form) that we receive will win a $100.00 LEGO or Amazon Gift Certificate each.  Judging will be done by the publishers and one person can win multiple prizes for multiple submissions.  There will be a BRICKPICKER GRAND PRIZE WINNER of a $500.00 LEGO or Amazon Gift Card.  This award will be chosen by Jeff and I and will go to the person who go above and beyond everyone else.  Maybe it’s a few exceptional photos.  Maybe it’s about dozens of solid images that can be used in the minifigure write ups and analysis or any combination thereof.  We will take a look at all submissions and all will be taken into consideration, tracked and figured into the final judging.
      Lastly, I just want to say that Jeff and I want to make this a special LEGO “community” book.  We fought hard to make it a hardcover and upscale, visual book.  Here is an opportunity to make some money and gain some recognition as well.  Many of you are way more talented than Jeff and I and can create custom MOCs and images that we can only dream of making.  Now is the time to show off your creativity and let the world see your creations.
      This contest will start immediately and run through the end of January at this point.  Changes in the schedule will be dependent on response from LEGO fans, but we will need time to sort through the images and put them together for the book publishers.  Winners will be announced in late Spring, after the publishers put out a rough draft of the book.  The book will be available for purchase next Fall.  Please, any questions or ideas, please ask and Jeff and I (and Krause Publishing) will try to answer them.   Good luck and happy photographing...
      Camera used MUST be MINIMUM of 5-8 megapixels.  Camera should be set at the highest resolution.  All files must be in TIF or JPG format.  DO NOT Compress Image Files. If you are trying to shrink the file size, please Zip the file Download the photo release form. All submissions require a filled out and signed photo release form to be considered for the photo contest.  You can email the filled out and signed release to [email protected].  If you need a fax number, I will post one as well. I will be posting a link to a form here for you to submit your photos.  All the submissions will not be publicly viewable.  We will be submitting them to the publisher.  Please do not post your creative works here on the site or anywhere else.
      What if I have a lot of images or a lot of very large files to send?
      If you have images that you want to send and they are large, we do have a WeTransfer Account that you can utilize.  Feel free to go there and send us the photos and signed photo release forms here.  Send as many as you need!!  It is very simple to use!

    • thoroakenfelder
      It's the holiday season, so pour a glass of eggnog and get your ginger snaps close at hand. Actually, are ginger snaps a holiday thing? I have no idea. Maybe I should just talk about the set.
      Set #: 10245
      Name: Santa's Workshop
      Theme: Creator (Winter Village)
      Parts: 883
      Price: $69.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $69.99 the price per piece works out to just under $.08 each. This is much better than the licensed sets that I am used to dealing with. There are 6 minifigures. Without a lot of experience with creator or city sets, I feel like most of the body parts are reused. In addition to all of the minifigures there are 5 brick built reindeer. I was a little sad that none of them were Rudolph, but I guess I could swap the extra trans red stud for the brown one that is on one of the reindeer in the 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 9 numbered baggies (3 bags each numbered 1-2,) and a bag containing a sticker sheet, and 2 instruction books.

      Bag 1: I'm going to still call it bag 1 even though it is the combination of 3 bags, because bags 1 is just awkward. You build Santa, his sleigh, 5 Reindeer, a Christmas tree and a North Pole sign. The sleigh has some nice little details, the runners in pearl gold, the Dark Green accents and the lanterns. The candy cane North Pole sign and the Christmas tree are nice little simple touches. The smaller reindeer has a similar, but simpler build than the 4 larger ones. They all have eyes printed on a 1x1 brick, and the larger ones have printing on their backs. Speaking of their backs, you build a pair of stacked 1x2 plates to fill in the gaps when you separate them from the sleigh. I don't know about you, but to me this is just so much extra pieces as I am unlikely to display them detached from the sleigh. I was half tempted to throw some extra 1x1 round plates on the ground under these guys, but maybe magic flying reindeer don't defecate.

      Bag 2:Here we find Mrs. Claus with a plate of cookies, and the residential portion of the workshop. Santa's got an easy chair. There's a photo of the Claus's on vacation in Fiji, and a roaring fire in the fireplace. Plus Santa's got a big stack of mail. You use up most of the stickers in this section. I loved the little details in this portion of the build. The study is by far my favorite. the snow on the eaves is nice and I think the clock is great. I couldn't help but think of the Hill Valley clock tower when I saw it. I also really liked the ladder. Instead of using a premade ladder, we use bannisters and hang them sideways. The pearl gold pops out I think. The giant candy canes were annoying. I think they should have been added at the end, because I kept popping them off every time I moved the build to add more pieces.

      Bag 3: This is where you find the workforce and their working area. This is the actual workshop. I don't know if the toy machine was supposed to go into the workshop, so my elves are building the toys outside, just like the box shows. Santa's kind of mean making his elves work outside in the snow instead of inside where there's a fire. I liked the toy machine. It wasn't a hard build, but some of the stuff on it struck me as clever. Plus look at those smoke stacks. No wonder the ice caps are melting, these guys are running industrial machines outside on top of the glaciers.

      There were a lot of small extra parts, including a cookie, a wand, a candy, 2 flames, a hose, a bow, Santa's beard and a gold lightsaber handle. That seems like a lot of specialty pieces which makes me happy. I also include the brick separator, because I have so many of these now, and they are not a part of the build.

      I like this set. I wanted to start my winter village last year when this set was new, but I couldn't think of a place for it, and frankly my kids are too young to leave sets like this out where they can access it. Well, I figured out a nice, safe way to display a few sets in the living room, so I got this set. The kids love it, the wife likes it. It's all around fun and nice to look at. I don't know that it belongs in a winter village setting, but with my display, it makes an excellent stand alone piece. My 6 year old tried to help me build this, but she kept getting distracted and wanting to play, and my 3 year old had a great time playing with Santa and his reindeer as I was trying to keep track of all the small pieces that they were knocking around.

      I don't know why one of the elves has a crying second face or why Mrs. Claus has an angry one. I guess it's just the reused pieces.
      This set is on its second year of life, heading into the home stretch towards the holiday. Typically, these holiday sets have had a 2 year lifespan. I wonder though if LEGO might want to refresh this one again next year. It seems like it was a big seller this year. Since it is related to, but not of the Winter Village, I could see it being a bit of a spoiler. People who want only one holiday set would probably choose this one. It looks good on its own, it can work with existing city/town or Creator scenes. The building is barely a façade, so would look terrible with Modulars.
      This set has a short life cycle. Sure, this is the second year, but each year it is only available for a few months. This should generate a scarcity, but it is also a highly perishable set. December 26, people will be looking for something else to fill that niche. Very few people will be looking for this set in March. In September, however, people will start seeing Christmas decorations everywhere and might start thinking of Christmas sets.
      If this set retires this year, as we should expect, it should make gains. It won't be as rare as initial offerings in the Winter VIllage line, but it should have a broader appeal beyond those who collect to make a winter scene. The popularity of the subject matter will drive the price in the aftermarket. Unfortunately, it is also a very popular reseller target, so initial gains will be low until the quick flippers sell through.Go buy it on Amazon

    • Fcbarcelona101
      Welcome to the first entry of what I would like to think of as a revamped Evaluation Corner article. The idea behind this new format is to offer a little more historical and analytical data when evaluating sets for potential investment, in a more visual way. Hopefully you will like it; be sure to add your feedback or comments!
      Historical & Theme Analysis
      The topic of this first article will be the recently released The Brick Bounty – 70413. The “Pirates” LEGO theme has become one of those recurring ones we expect to pop up in stores every few years. It really needs no explanation; kids love pirates and AFOLs really appreciate a well- designed LEGO ship. So, how has the Pirates theme performed over the course of the years when compared to some of the other “evergreen” lines?

      As you can see, the theme sits slightly below the average LEGO theme CAGR of 11.55%, seemingly indicating the performance of its sets has not been quite as stellar. However, it is important to mention that all of the themes showcased above have been around for a long, long time. The aggregate CAGR number is somewhat skewed negatively as time goes by and the return gets spread out over a larger period of time and more sets are added to the sample.
      Of course, these only highlights the performance of the theme as a whole, and while that is good information to have, we should focus our attention in the performance of pirate ships. The graph below includes all the pirate ships in the theme with over 500 pieces, excluding the Imperial Flagship.

      It is pretty clear that while the overall theme CAGR is not that impressive, the return on investment for these ships is the complete opposite. All of them have increased AT LEAST 100% in value, with the most recent example of 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty.
      Set Analysis
      Realistically, I believe that 6243 is the one set that will provide more insights into the potential performance of 70413 The Brick Bounty, as the sets themselves are extremely similar. The rest of the sets in the list are either Pre-2000, or re-releases of previous versions.
      It is encouraging to see that LEGO decided to go with a significantly higher piece count for this newest pirate ship release. While not on the same level as the retired Pirates of the Caribbean sets, I do think that the design of the set is very appealing and the set reviews on LEGO Shop at Home seem to suggest buyers think the same. I do want to note that some people feel the “interior” of the set could have used a little more detail.
      Besides that, the set includes 7 standard Pirates minifigures, none of which strike me as special enough to increase the value of the set once retired. It would be nice if LEGO found a way to innovate/change the minifigures in this line; they are just too similar to previous versions.
      Since this set has practically just been released, it is pretty normal not to read too many comments about it in the forums. I think there will be plenty of time to acquire this set at decent discounts, and the initial price point of $99.99 already makes it appealing for the less “serious” LEGO investor.
      Future Performance
      I figured I would include some sort of forecast of where I think sets will go in the future in my articles, based on basic regression analysis and just plain trending. If nothing else, it can give some people a very high level idea of potential future performance. 
      In this particular case, the sample is way too small to run any kind of significant regression as, in reality, there is only one set that I see as comparable to The Brick Bounty (Brickbeard’s Bounty). Still, I do believe the path of 70413 can sort of follow that of 6243, so we can still make a high level prediction of long term value.
      6243 – Performance

      One thing to note about this graph: the points in blue are estimated, as we have no actual data points that far in the past. I estimated them based on the usual assumption that retired sets grow a lot faster over the first 2 years of retirement, and then plateau at around 4 or 5 years. All prices are assumed to be end of year. 2014 and 2015 are actual historical values from the Brickpicker Price Guide.
      As you can imagine, 6243 has been impacted by the release of 70413 as buyers have the option to pay retail for a set that is significantly larger than the $200 counterpart.
      70413 – Projected Performance

      Given this information, we can come up with an estimate of what 70413 will be worth 5 years after retirement, assuming a new ship is released at some point in the fourth year. The growth of this set has been adjusted downward to try and capture the change in the market environment. Even then, we could see a CAGR of over 15% by 2022 and an increase over retail of around 120%.
      Final Thoughts
      Pirate ships hold a special place in the heart of LEGO investors and collectors alike; Not only great performers over the course of the years, but great toys and display pieces. I really think that despite the changes in the LEGO investing landscape, these well done ships will continue to produce decent results in the long run.
      *This is NOT investment advice. It is just my personal opinion about the set’s potential based on historical information and a set of assumptions. As with anything, past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Please do your own research before making a decision.

    • thoroakenfelder
      As a countdown to the Force Awakens, I will be writing at least one Star Wars review each week.
      Full disclosure, I have already built one of these previously, and I was not a fan. I found one at a significant discount, wanted a few more troops, and felt like writing a review because I had a joke in mind. I didn't think it was fair to write a review on a set that I built over 2 months ago, so I refreshed my familiarity with this set, and took plenty of pictures. I think my understanding of what works in these pictures is starting to get better, so hopefully you agree.
      Set #: 75103
      Name: First Order Transporter
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 792
      Price: $89.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $89.99 the price per piece works out to a bit over $.11 each. This seems to be on the low/average side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 7 minifigures all of which are currently unique to this set. This set is mainly a troop builder with 2 unnamed Resistance fighters, 2 First Order Stormtroopers, 2 First Order Flametroopers, and Captain Phasma.
      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 a sticker sheet, and an instruction book. There are 4 medium to small stickers, so not too bad

      Bag 1 introduces us to the First Order Stormtrooper, the helmet is a new mold, and the deco is nice and fairly accurate, with front of leg printing. The build itself is pretty basic, a platform with an action feature and a couple of long axles linked underneath. In addition, you get some brackets to attach stuff to the sides later.

      Turn the knob, the chair goes up

      Bag 2 is the part where I started to get irritated. you build a box. that's basically it, a box with a few decorative touches. Ask a 7 year old to build a space ship, you might get this same exact shape. I know, there's not a lot you can do with a ship designed to look like a WW2 troop transport, but surely they could have come up with something a little more complex, especially considering the next bag.

      Bag 3 you build some decorative panels and slap them on the side of the nondescript box. Ta-dah, you now have a space box. Oh yeah, you also attach the landing ramp and finish off the second play feature, the rod underneath that keeps the ramp closed. I guess it could dramatically open if you push it, but for me, its more important to keep the thing closed in flight. You are also introduced to the Resistance "soldiers." To me they look pretty bland. There's nothing really uniform about their clothes. They could be farmers for lack of anything truly distinguishing a martial aspect. Interestingly, their guns are the same Star Wars guns, but molded in the pewter color.

      Bag 4 is all about making your space box into a flying space box. Here, you add the engine and a decorative pair of struts to the ramp, as well as smoothing out the lines at the front of the ship. don't forget about the headlights too. flying space boxes need headlights.

      Bag 5 brings us the figure that will drive sales of this ship in the short term. Here we get Captain Phasma. I could not get her cape to drape over one shoulder properly, so I guess she's walking into a heavy wind. She comes with a unique silver blaster, a uniquely shaped and colored cape, and the same helmet as the Stormtroopers in silver. In this bag, you build the rear panel, which includes a trap door over the pop up chair. You also build a conning tower with a slide out platform, where your minifigure has to stand to use it. You also put on some clear wheels on the bottom so that it "hovers."

      Bag 6 you build 2 First Order Flametroopers. Their helmets are an entirely different new mold. You build them a massively oversized backpack using the new clear neck bracket and add a white round brick to a standard rifle to make their flamethrowers. You also make a panel to cover the troop compartment. This panel is designed to be removed and replaced easily with a modular type design. the stud shooters and spring shooters are poorly disguised. If stuck right on top and not modified at all could be called a disguise.

      There were a lot of small extra parts, including a lot of transparent neon green for the stud shooters. I also include the brick separator, because I have so many of these now, and they are not a part of the build.

      I dislike this build. I disliked it when I first built it 2 months ago, and my opinion has not changed. There will be those who say, "You think you could do better?" Well, of course I can't. I am not a master builder. I am not clever enough to figure out a better mouse trap, but I can see that this one is sad. Others will point out that LEGO didn't create the boring looking ship design, that it was the people working on Star Wars. To that I agree, I just wish that the designers had tried to make this build more fun.
      The minifigures are great, army builders are always welcome, unless they're space farmers. I love the fact that you get 3 different colors of the same old gun. It really added some variation to a bit of the sameness. I am also ecstatic that there wasn't a single stud shooter pistol. I hate those stupid things. The 2 different helmet molds was a pleasant surprise. Phasma's black, non-decorated head was not so much.
      The main draw of this set is the minifigures, and that is where it is going to suffer long term. Captain Phasma is bound to be released in another set, and perhaps then she will have a decorated head piece. The $20 Captain Phasma figures from this set will tank when those future sets are released. I cannot imagine that they would ever consider leaving this character alone here. The First Order troops will definitely see release sooner than later. That leaves the Resistance Soldiers. I think we're going to see better looking Resistance troops in the upcoming battle pack.
      The vehicle, apart from my disdain, will more than likely see another release. If it is as prevalent as TIE Fighters in the new age of Star Wars, we'll see a better version for the next numbered Star Wars movie. By then, they will be working off finalized designs and figure out a way to make the build more complex, and probably figure out what they are doing with the back third.
      Short term, this vehicle will fly off the shelves in late December. It might even sell out before Christmas leaving a very short time frame to make some modest profits. There's still a ton of them out there in the wild, and the price point is high enough that they will move slower than sets with more ties to the original series.
      I am basing most of my valuation on my belief that this ship will make appearances in later films. If Phasma stays unique to this set, if it doesn't get a remake in a couple years, it could be a grower. Some fans love the utilitarian look of the finished product. With the accelerated movie release, LEGO will be inundated with new designs and a need to pump out products for each subsequent film. That rush to stay current could push back the reissue date, if I am wrong and this vessel is not as common as TIE Fighters. 

      I almost forgot my joke. It's all about the build of this set. Just imagine Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg with ugly goatees singing it.
      "Step 1: Build a box. Step 2: put some stuff on the box. Step 3: Put your minifigure in the box. It's a fig in a box."

      Next time we'll be adding some holiday cheer by looking at Christmas sets. Go buy it on Amazon

    • Jeff Mack
      I want to make a blog post that summarizes the Black Friday deals.  A lot of the talk is going on in the Daily Deals thread, and we will try to bring deals over into the content here so that it is easy to see what might be out there.  The reason I turned the summary into a blog is because for any comments, the deals are on each page and there will not need to be searching back 10 pages to see what was missed.  This list will be available all the time.  I am hunting through the Daily Deal thread to find the deals, so you will continue to see this update.

      BLACK FRIDAY LEGO SHOP @ HOME DEALS  - A list of everything on sale @ LEGO starting tonight at 12am EST

      LEGO: DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League $6.00
      LEGO City Police 60044 Mobile Police Unit 31% Off $30.99
      LEGO Movie 70815 Super Secret Police Dropship Building Set 31% Off $55.00
      Imperial Assault Carrier 75106-1 26% Off $55.00
      Star Wars Order Special Forces TIE Fighter 75101 http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Special-Forces-Fighter-Building/dp/B00WHYTQXE/tag=brickpicker-20

      Bike Shop live at Target
      Arctic Base Camp
      Police Dropship
      The Lego Movie (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack) - Target Exclusive
      LEGO Dimensions Start Packs

      LEGO Classic LEGO Large Creative Box, 10697
      LEGO DUPLO My First LEGO DUPLO Large Creative Box, 10622
      LEGO Jurassic World Video Game (XBox One, PS4, Wii U) $25
      LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (PS3, XBox 360) $8.00
      LEGO: Marvel Pirates of the Caribbean (Xbox 360) $8.00 Yes, they labeled it as “Marvel Pirates of the Caribbean”
      LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes (PS3, Wii U) $8.00
      The LEGO Movie: The Videogame (PS4, XBox 360) $25.00
      LEGO Batman (Wii) $8.00
      LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack (XBox 360) $79.99

      Code: BFLEGO
      Max discount: $50
      The coupon can be used on MULTIPLE orders

      Don't forget about the 30% Ultra Agents at TRU...Some really nice sets there.  The 70173 Ultra Agents Ocean HQ for $69.99 and the 70171 Agents Ultrasonic Showdown for $13.99 with the Professor Brainstein minifigure that sells for $14-15+ on Bricklink and eBay!
      Discounts on LEGO Dimensions
      Lego City: Coast Guard Patrol $50.99
      LEGO DUPLO LEGO Ville My First Police (10532) $14.99
      LEGO DUPLO LEGO Ville My First Shop (10546) $14.99
      LEGO Legends of Chima Sir Fangar’s Saber-Tooth Walker (70143) $23.99

      Ebay GC

      Toys R Us Gift Card $50

      View Black Friday Deals
      BOGO 50% on low priced items under $40

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