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  • Brickpicker Blog

    Brickpicker blog articles on LEGO investing, news, reviews, evaluations, discounts and more...
    • Fcbarcelona101
      Welcome to first monthly entry of the Top 10 Selling sets as listed by LEGO S@H. As you may remember, this blog started as a weekly posting, but we figured it would be better to compile the data throughout the month and publish it all in one time. This reduces the probability of having less than 10 sets every other week.
      How does this Blog work?
      While the LEGO Shop at Home best sellers list is updated daily, we will be updating it every month (Hopefully by the end of the 1st week of the next month). The list includes only sets. Minifigures, keychains, Pick a Brick and other products are excluded. I am keeping an Excel spreadsheet with each set that appears on the list, its daily placing and a tally to determine the positions at the end of the month.  For now, this is a US based best sellers list.  Pretty simple!
      Top 10 Best Selling Sets (LEGO S@H)
      #1: 40201 Valentines Cupid Dog - Buy Now! 

      This small "seasonal" set managed to crush the competition pretty easily during February, and it is really not hard to figure out why. The set itself was not expensive, and with Valentine's Day being one of the most important holidays of Q1 it is pretty understandable this managed to be in the top for most of the month.
      #2: 75102 Poe's X-Wing - Buy Now! 

      Poe's X-Wing has been creating waves in the forums for a while now, with a portion of members thinking it will have an early retirement due to the release of the blue X-Wing, and another group thinking that the shortage is due to flippers gobbling up the inventory. There is no way to know which one is right with 100% certainty, but I would really be surprised if LEGO decides to retire this set this early into its life. If they do, however, it has the potential to offer amazing returns.
      #3: 10251 Brick Bank - Buy Now!

      The newest modular in the street has shown up consistently in the Top 10. Obviously, the fact that it is a new release has helped, as AFOLs eager to expand their modular town rushed to acquire it. Personally, I think this set is an outstanding addition to the line, and expect it to continue to show up in the list for at least a few more weeks.
      #4: 75827 Firehouse Headquarters - Buy Now!

      Ah, the Ghostbuster's HQ. Much like the Brick Bank, being a new release has definitely propped up this set over the past few weeks, but even then it is pretty amazing to me that it has hovered in the Top 5 for as long as it has given its particularly high price tag. The model itself looks GREAT in person, and the minifigures are sure to be hits with GB fans and collectors. A sure winner in my book whenever it happens to retire (which I acknowledge is several years away).
      #5: The Big Bang Theory - Buy Now!

      The Big Bang Theory. Some people have a lot of confidence in the set, while an (at least) just as big group think it will not do as good. The fact that LEGO had to discount this set relatively early into its life makes me think that it really is not as popular as they originally expected, and also the reason it has been in the Top 10 list for the last several days of February.
      #6: Heavy Haul Train - Buy Now!
      Another beneficiary of the LEGO S@H round of discounts. Trains tend to do pretty well in the secondary market, but it seems that the last couple City themed trains have taken a little while to produce significant returns.
      #7: Sea Plane - Buy Now!

      This is one of those smaller sets that appear on this list from time to time that I honestly have no idea about. Unless people are ordering this in order to reach the free shipping threshold, I honestly have no clue about why these would be so popular.
      #8: New York City - Buy Now!

      The flagship set of the new Skylines sub-theme of the Architecture line. This is by far the most appealing of the ones that have been released so far, and the only one that I would honestly spend the amount of money LEGO is asking for them. The rest are Ok in my opinion, but they just seem to expensive for what you get. 
      #9: Birthday Table Decoration - Buy Now!

      This is a pretty nice and small release. Unlike the Sea Plane, I can understand why sets like this one and most of the seasonally themed sets tend to do well in sales. They are relatively cheap and make for unique everyday kind of gifts.
      #10: Architecture Studio - Buy Now!

      Finally we get to Architecture Studio. You all probably remember the craziness that this set generated when this set was originally released. Quick flipping this set was very common and decently profitable, so inventories ran dry relatively fast and as far as I can remember we spent at least several weeks without seeing one in the wild or online. Eventually though, the set's popularity made LEGO bring it back for what seems as a more "traditional" production run, and it has since become less appealing to short term investors. Still, you can bet it will be very popular once it disappears completely from the shelves.
      Thanks for reading!

    • Veegs
      The Proposal
      Looking at one and done themes, both in terms of one wave and an availability of one year (and change), can an investor learn anything? Short answer: maybe. Long answer: maaaaaaybe. I'd like to spend a little time talking about the Castle theme. Availability from brickset.com lists May 28th, 2013 to December 22nd, 2014. Yes, I know this might be stretching the aforementioned 'one and change' but actual production was likely much closer to one year with the later EOL date the result of stock being depleted after the final production run. Let's get started...
      The Forums
      The Castle 2013 thread was essentially a discussion of why the 2013 was inferior to Kingdoms and other earlier iterations. Little talk of investment potential or future projections, and not too much chatter even as EOL approached. Many liked the dragon in Dragon Mountain. Some didn't.
      The 70404 King's Castle thread was similar. It started with a bang – a divisive set from the get go with some forum 'bantering' about the overall 'kiddiness' or 'juniorization' of the set as well as 'discussion' in the form of wild speculation (even before the set was released!). I was pleased to see I posted in that thread! Go me! It wasn't my best post, but certainly not my worst. I give it a B- grade. (See it on page 1 of 3 in the 70404 thread). The best information that can be gleaned from the paltry three pages came courtesy of J-Mack, who (I'm paraphrasing) thought King's Castle would hit $200 tops. Amazon has it at $199 as of mid-February 2016 so it turns out the guy might have a pretty good understanding of the Lego secondary market. One factor that might prove him wrong – well, not wrong, per se, but perhaps too conservative, is the lack of a similar replacement on the horizon. Nexo Knights doesn't seem like much of a direct competitor, so perhaps Christmas 2016 will see prices somewhere between $220-240?
      The CAGR (US) Data taken Feb. 2016
      Set #
      Set Name
      CAGR% (BP Data Feb 2016)
      MSRP (US)
      Forest Ambush
      Gold Getaway
      Gatehouse Raid
      Dragon Mountain
      King's Castle
      I think the Gatehouse Raid got a little boost from the fact that it can be used to expand 70404, and was a little surprised that Dragon Mountain wasn't a bit stronger. King's Castle hit the sweet spot. While 70404 was probably harder for most folks to get on clearance, I think it is reasonable to assume that many got it with a solid discount and have had the opportunity to double their initial investment. As for the smaller sets, I think I take away from this that money could only be easily made with deep clearance sales. I recently passed on some of the smallest set from the Pirates theme at nearly 50% off, but did end up biting at 75% off. Of course, smart investors can always bundle some of the smaller sets with 70404 but my personal experience selling King's Castle over the holidays was 9 solo sets to 2 bundles.
      What Did We Learn?
      The forums didn't really provide a lot of useful information. In fact, the forums might have dissuaded folks from buying these to their own detriment. I think we also learned that the largest set in the theme provided the best total profit as well as the best CAGR%. It tells me I should probably get out there and get the last of the Brick Bounty sets still in the wild, for one, and that I can probably pass on the other sets in the Pirates line (no good comparison to Dragon Mountain or even Gatehouse Raid). It also helps me look at other themes more critically to try and maximize profit.

    • thoroakenfelder
      I have to admit that I am a fan of this ship. When I came back into LEGO collecting as an adult, I wanted Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter. I loved Star Wars, and I loved this ship. Sadly, it turned out that it was only available in the exclusive 7283 Ultimate Space Battle. I spent a lot of money bricklinking that set, only to be disappointed in how flimsy the build was. Eventually I got rid of the whole thing. I liked 9494 Anakin's Jedi Interceptor and 75038 Jedi Interceptor, but wondered if LEGO would ever revisit Obi-Wan's ship. As soon as this set was announced, my hands twitched to get one to build and review.
      Set #: 75135
      Name: Obi-Wan's Jedi Interceptor
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 215
      Price: $24.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 24.99 the price per piece works out to almost $.12 each. This is on the high/middle side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 2 minifigures. The minifigures are Episode 3 Pilot Obi-Wan Kenobi and R4-P17. Both figures are unique 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, a sticker sheet, and an instruction book.

      BAG 1: I've built 9494 and 75038. In fact I built and modified 75038 several times. I expected that I knew what to expect from this build. Right from the start it is  different.

      I was pretty happy with this build. I had expected one or two inverted slope pieces, but you build it out of a variety of pieces. It's more interesting than the previous versions.

      I like that you're not using the same wheel pieces as usual for the thrusters. Although it doesn't look as much like a thruster port.

      I think that in all previous builds, the cockpit canopy was almost dead last on the build. It makes so much more sense to finish it up now instead of coming back to it.

      Obi-Wan wants you to have a nice day.

      BAG 2: Here you build the first wing. I noticed right off that instead of leaving a hole in the wing right next to the attachment points for the wing tips, it's just recessed.
      Notice the large void where the Astromech docking slot is.

      Check out the stickers. If you look at the comparison pictures at the end, you can decide if you like the sticker half hexagon, or the brick built shape on 75038. I like the details on the stickers, I just worry about them coming up later on.

      The blaster kind of disappointed me. It seems squat, and I dislike the gap between the cone and the rest that shows off the red pin.

      Here. you are building the "seat" for the droid.

      I was dissatisfied with how high she (yes, the droid is canonically a she) sticks up out of the port, so I tried removing some pieces. She still sticks up too high, and was impossible to remove. Although, funnily enough, her head came off and left the rest behind when I tried. (Just like in the movie.)

      The round bottomed plate seems perfect as a foot for resting on a flat surface.

      Another sticker showing off all of Obi-Wan's kills. I kind of like the difference in the slope

      I love the new outer wing stickers. I wish it could have been printed, but whatever.

      BAG 3: THis bag is pretty much the same as the last one, in mirror, without an Astromech. I'm going to skim this one a bit.

      Interesting that there's a big Astromech sized hole in here, I was pretty sure they were going to fill it in pretty soon.

      Almost the last thing you build here is a pod to attach to the bottom and fill in that hole. This made no sense and felt a little lazy since they were just mirroring the previous wing. It should have had a different design here.

      Hard to tell here, but the vessel does not rest on the wing pods or the base of the cockpit. It's completely on the tips of the wings.

      I loved this set, it was almost entirely satisfying. Some things were done better previously. I was not a fan of the Astromech socket. Poor R4 sticks entirely too far out and looks like a whack-a-mole. The fact that  the ship rests on the wing tips instead of the cockpit base or even the pods on the underside of the wings is a design flaw, IMO. It places stress on the hinges that will more than likely cause them to slip and change the profile from the canted position to flat. I'm probably going to extend the lower part of the cockpit to relieve the weight on mine.
      I like the stickers. I can completely understand why people don't like them. Hell, in many cases I agree. I just like the added detailing that we wouldn't have gotten without them. I compared the 9494, 75038, and 75135. I liked the added detailing on the wings. I liked the kill marks and the hexagonal cutout. The brick built cut out on 75038 seemed awkward to me. I like the blasters better on the 75038. I think that the slopes are kind of a wash. I couldn't tell you which was more accurate, all I know is that I am glad to have them both.
      The Dark Red pieces of this set appeal to me. It goes with all of the other Republic vehicles. It's just more satisfying with the rest than Anakin's jarring yellow one. Too bad it is impossible to display with wings extended unless you build a stand for it.

      Both of these figures are unique. The printing on the R4-P17 is extensively, but subtly different. Obi-Wan has a serious and a worried expression. The head with headset is the only real difference between this one and the one packaged with 75040.

      As I recently blogged about, the future of Star Wars investing is (most likely) changing. We're looking at a future that may be lacking in Prequel era sets. This particular iteration of the Jedi Interceptor has been on the backburner for over a decade. I feel like this set is sure to be a steady gainer. If you can package this with a 75038 Jedi Interceptor or even better add a couple 75041 Vulture Droids, you'll have a winner.
      The low buy in of this set will keep away most of the prestige level buyers that eschew anything that's not an exclusive. The relatively low level of speculator interest in the cheap sets will keep away the riff raff. Look for a price drop online in a few months as Amazon and Wal-mart try to offset buyer fatigue. Initial values will likely be low as people anticipate PT stuff to continue to be dogs. A spate of post retirement clearances will have the horde fighting each other for the bottom on this set, but stick it out. This set will have legs. Stick it in a hole and bring it out again in a couple years.  
      I know that some of this probably sounds like the overly enthusiastic ravings of a fan, so let me sum up my thoughts. It's a hero ship that pairs nicely with existing retired items. It's unlikely to be remade anytime soon (after all it's been 11 years since the last time.)  Younger fans who came of age with the Prequels and Clone Wars will be getting better jobs with more disposable income and will be looking to get sets that remind them of their youth. It's likely to get passed over because A.) it's a cheap set and easily available and B.) it's a Prequel Trilogy design so the common thinking is that it's just not as good. That last point may continue to hold some water amongst older collectors, but someone has been buying all the PT sets that have been coming out for a decade and a half.
      I'd like to take a look at some of the rare or unique parts that are in this set. This should help to highlight the pieces that may become more valuable once this set is out of production.
      Trans-Black Windscreen 10X6X3 with Jedi Starfighter pattern with a square cutout was only available in 1 other set 75038 Jedi Interceptor

       Dark Red Flag 5x6 hexagonal was only available in 2 other sets 7283 Ultimate Space Battle and 75051 Jedi Scout Fighter

       Dark Red Wedge Plate 8X3 (Right and Left) were available in 2 other sets 7283 Ultimate Space Battle and 7259 ARC-170 Starfighter

       Dark Red Plate 1X10 was available in 3 other sets 60069 Swamp Police Station, 75019 AT-TE, and 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina

       Dark Red Wedge, Plate 6X3 Cut Corners was available in 2 other sets 70137 Bat Strike and 75003 A-Wing Starfighter

       Light Bluish Grey Tile 1x1 Round with SW Republic pattern was available in 2 other sets, 75038 Jedi Interceptor and 75076 Republic Gunship Microfighter


      The control areas are all different. 9494 had a joystick, 75038 had a tile with a big sticker and 75135 has nothing notable.

      See how much higher out of the socket R4 is than R2

      Here are the new R4-P17 (left) and the older one from the Kamino Planet set (Right)

    • thoroakenfelder
      I haven't reviewed a microfighter before. I like Star Wars. I like Star Wars vehicles. I think these are cute. I have avoided doing the reviews because they didn't fit with my collection. The Resistance X-Wing Fighter had something different about it. LEGO Microfighters are small, and don't take long to build. Hopefully my self indulgence with the pictures amuses you. If not, I apologize.
      Set #: 75125
      Name: Resistance X-Wing Fighter
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 87
      Price: $9.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 9.99 the price per piece works out to almost $.115 each. This is on the high/middle side of pricing for a licensed set. There is 1 minifigure. (This is standard for Microfighters.) The minifigure is unique. On the packaging he is listed as Resistance X-Wing Pilot. It's Pretty obvious that this figure represents Snap Wexley portrayed by Greg Grunberg. As such, I'm going to refer to him as Snap Wexley or maybe just Snap. (I wonder if he's got brothers named Crackle and Pop.)

      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. Speaking of the box, this is the only microfighter that I know of that has a tape sealed box instead of a punch tab. 

      There are no numbered bags, s let's just dump this and get started.

      I asked Snap to help me put his ship together. I think he's giving me a thumb's up.

      I don't know where he's going but we've barely gotten started.

      Snap said that he needs a rest. I have no idea where he even got that chair, none of those parts are included.

      Wait a moment, Snap. You said a rest, nothing in your contract about a mandatory lunch break.

      Ugh, I've gotten derailed. Just ignore Snap and his loafing. As you can see, I've built the back portion of the X-Wing.  

      Now, we've added a couple more attachment points for wings and some decoration on the back.

      As Snap finishes his snack, the front of the X-Wing goes in place. Notice the U-Clips on top and bottom to prevent the wings from opening too far.

      Snap's finally ready to help out after putting his stuff away, The ship is almost done. We just need to add the cockpit canopy and the wings.

      The instructions have you build the wings in pairs. Maybe Snap's ready to help out now.

      Oh, sure. He's posing like he did something.

      I can enjoy the chibi aesthetic. The cutesy look of the squat ship is fun. It just doesn't really fit in with my collection and display. Especially since my kids have destroyed all of the other ones that I built. If they hadn't lost some of the pieces, I'd likely be trying to get all of them. The minifigure looks good. We might not ever see him released in a larger set, so it's a good time to pick him up. The print on his helmet is great.

      The microfighters are an interesting conundrum. Most of the sets are just troop builder stuff. a few have been unique minifigures. The first question that we have to ask ourselves is, is this character going to be remade? With JJ Abrams stepping away from Star Wars, will Greg Grunberg return for future installments? In many ways, this character reminds me of Porkins. A minor X-Wing pilot with a few memorable scenes, but no lasting impact on the series. Plus, there's the beard. To be serious, there are a lot of X-Wing pilots. There are a lot of unique helmets and heads that they can make before they need to revisit a background character. Look how long it has taken LEGO to revisit Biggs and Wedge. The main draw that I see in this set is the minifigure, and he's not important enough to make this set escalate in value.
      The second thing that we need to think of is whether this ship is iconic enough to draw in the fans later. Yes, it is an X-Wing. X-Wings are iconic. But, it's not a hero ship. It will be a nice to have, not a need to have. Kids who have relatives that want to get them one of the important ships in LEGO form will scoop this up, because it will always be cheaper than every other X-Wing released. Even if the individual price on this kit goes up, it will always be hampered by the value of a real X-Wing set. Even polybags could torpedo the value.
      The third and final thing to look at for this set is where it fits in the series. The third series of microfighters will be stumbling block for this line. LEGO has heavily loaded this series with sinkers. I feel that serious collectors will take a pass on almost everything in this series. What does that mean for the future? Well, if collectors ignore this on the shelves, they won't get a lot of refreshes. If the Microfighters line continues, there may be those who circle back around later to sweep the entire series. I would pin any future movement on how limited the number of refreshes are this year. But, if they don't sell at all, regardless of rarity they won't be worth anything in future.
      I wouldn't expect this set to sell as well post EOL as the Series 1 X-Wing.
      There are 2 extra pieces.

    • thoroakenfelder
      When Star Wars Rebels premiered, we were introduced to a brand new smuggler's freighter that had an odd shape. LEGO released the Ghost in 2014. It retired on January 1. In order to keep the demand fulfilled, they've created a microfighter featuring the pilot/owner Hera Syndulla in Micro form. In my review, I'm going to take a look at set 75127 The Ghost.
      Set #: 75127
      Name: The Ghost Microfighter
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 104
      Price: $9.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 9.99 the price per piece works out to almost $.10 each. This is on the lower middle side of pricing for a licensed set. There is 1 minifigure. (This is standard for Microfighters.) The minifigure is Hera Syndulla. She is exactly the same as the one previously released with the larger The Ghost.
      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.

      Hera's a real Type A personality and couldn't wait for me to begin building, so she started without me.

      The build was interesting. I didn't really see it unfolding like it did. Hera's having fun putting it together.

      To be perfectly candid, the build of the mmicrofighter was more interesting than the actual System set.

      We're shaping the hull to the odd angles incorporated into the Ghost.

      The clips are probably for the "wings"

      I'm pretty sure that the small thrusters are for sublight speed. They'll snap onto the red bracket.

      According to the system version, these pods are escape pods. I don't know that they aren't airlocks.

      Time to build more angles into the Ghost.

      Another red bracket goes onto the front. (note: I missed adding 2 1x2 light bluish grey plates here. I wound up adding them later.)

      There's a clear dome for the front of the ghost.

      Time to add the rear "wings" and the larger engines. Hera is very good at all of this.

      The front wings are next.

      I'm not sure that the "windshield" is facing the correct way. I'm not super happy about the stud shooter here. I guess it's something to deal with until they come up with a new way to fling pieces across a room.

      Voila, Hera has finished her work and it's ready to fly.

      I actually really do like the look of this ship. The simplified design and cuter proportions make this look like a go-kart or one of those coin operated rides in front of the grocery stores. It was funner to build than the larger system version. I'll probably try to keep it out of the hands of my little girls so it doesn't get smashed. On the other hand, it might save my 75053 from their destructive hands.

      Hera is the same as the one in the 75053 The Ghost. She's got a 2 sided head.

      As long as Rebels is on the TV, the Ghost will be featured. The System version was expensive for younger kids. It's also retired now. I think that parents of kids who like Star Wars Rebels will be looking for the cheaper alternative. Even if this set triples in value, it still has an important character and will continue to be cheaper than the now retired 75053. I see this one increasing in value and being in demand, moreso than any of the rest of this wave.
      There are 7 pieces extra. 3 of them are the extra studs for the stud shooter.

    • thoroakenfelder
      The universe of LEGO Star Wars is changing. Some of the changes may be too subtle to notice at first, but it began more than a year ago. Before we look into the changes taking place now, and influencing the future, let us take a look at the way things have always been.
      Historically the LEGO licensing of the Star Wars brand has always been consistent. Star Wars had a three-year cycle between movies starting with The Phantom Menace in 1999, the year that LEGO acquired the rights. There were theatrical releases of Star Wars films in 2002, 2005, and 2008. Three years was sufficient for LEGO to create new sets and visit new ideas. Enough time passed to fully explore the themes presented in each film, and supplement them with Original Trilogy sets. In 2008, The Clone Wars presented an opportunity for an ongoing series to promote and stimulate sales of sets. The continued Media support gave the creators time to revisit and update older sets. The continued use of the same, or similar vehicles, allowed The LEGO Group to refine older designs, while simultaneously experimenting with a few new concepts.

      TLG created sets based on The Old Republic and The Yoda Chronicles. Those sets that performed poorly post retirement. Star Wars: Rebels received a limited number of sets. Presumably LEGO learned from the lower popularity of Intellectual Properties that were not live action Star Wars films. Each time that Lucasfilm expanded the brand, LEGO was there. (Look for the Freebuilder sets on clearance at stores near you within the next year)

      There was no pressing for LEGO to completely turn over all of the available products. They could phase out the previous film slowly to prepare for the next one. Original Trilogy sets could bridge the gap between the last of the previous film and the first of the new.
      That's most of LEGO Star Wars history.  Before we proceed, let's take one last detour to the not-too-distant past. December 2014, the Millennium Falcon 7965 and X-Wing 9493 retired after nice, long runs: the TIE Fighter 9492 had also retired only a few months prior. The resellers were prepared for steady gains, because collectors that missed out were scrambling to find something that would fill a collection. It should have been at least 2 years before the next version of these iconic, and frequently remade, ships hit stores again. June 2015 rolled around and a very similar Millennium Falcon was leaked. The steady growth stalled and then fell. A new X-Wing and TIE Fighter also accompanied the Falcon, and the values stalled (momentarily) for their recently departed relatives. In December 2015, a bunch of Star Wars sets that had only been out for a year unexpectedly retired instead of reaching the average 18 month life span.

      In my opinion, the one year life cycle will not be an anomaly, it will become the new normal. We live in a universe where Disney is going to be releasing one Star Wars movie a year for the foreseeable future. For the first time in LEGO history, a new film will demand new product every Christmas. Long time collectors will want the new ships and characters, and new collectors will want whatever is most current. Turnover will be accelerated. I foresee the last of the Rebels packaged sets retiring in June 2016.
      Going forward, I believe that we'll see predominately Sequel Trilogy and Anthology sets. Refreshes will come, but they will be aligned with the film releases. Rogue One should facilitate the return of classic Original Trilogy sets. So, people who went deep on AT-ATs should be prepared for a quick return of this popular vehicle, and plan accordingly. The new version will probably have Stormtroopers and/or Scouts instead of Snowtroopers.

      We are less likely to see the return of Clone Wars or Prequel Trilogy sets. Some PT will be released, but they will be fewer and further apart. The fans that were kids in the PT era will have aged and become AFOLs in this new universe. They may be on the lookout for neo-classic PT sets. I'd almost expect some movement on these in the coming years. People who snapped up discounted Jedi Interceptors, Grievous Wheelbikes and other "Hero" vehicles with main characters should see good returns. The 75019 AT-TE and the 75021 Republic Gunship which featured prominently in both the Clone Wars and two of the Prequel Trilogy, are likely to gain demand.

      LEGO has also shown they are willing to release variations within a year; with the release of both 75102 Poe's X-Wing and 75149 Sacking of Jakku, we will have 2 concurrent X-Wings on shelves. (Although my force sense says that the Sacking of Jakku will be a store exclusive.) Some people are even speculating about a third X-Wing, a classic one, for the launch of Rogue One. Although I think that's less likely to happen in 2016.

      In summary, my intuition tells me that we will see faster turnover (to keep up with the new films), fewer sets from movies that do not feature events or vehicles in the new films, and potentially faster remakes of popular ships specifically because they will be featured in an upcoming films. We're also less likely to see Prequel Trilogy sets in heavy rotation as Disney moves forward with OT era and ST era sets.
      What does this mean for the future? "Difficult to see . . . Always in Motion is the future." We will need to look at new factors. Look for the one offs. If there is an important character that doesn't make it out of the movie alive, any set with that character will become a key later on. If there is a vehicle that is used prominently in a single film, it will become desireable later. Rey's Speeder will do nicely post retirement. It is well made, represents the vehicle nicely and is unlikely to be used in another film. It's also a cheap set that many will have ignored. It will be revisited eventually, because LEGO is never completely done with remakes, but it will be years, unlike the TIE Fighter, X-Wing, Millennium Falcon, AT-AT, etc. Will the old Han in 75105 be enough to lift that set up when another Millennium Falcon will (almost) definitely be out in 18 months? It's possible. . .

      Looking at recently retired, or in production Prequel Trilogy sets the Jedi Interceptors (75038, 75135) and Grievous Wheel Bike (75040) are likely to be steady gainers. The Naboo Fighter (75092) and Sith Infiltrator (75096) will probably fly under the radar for a little while before picking up steam when fans realize that they missed their last chance at retail. Did anyone notice that the AAT 75080 quietly retired? Scene builders will want some of these, and won't be able to get them from retail. The Republic Gunship and AT-TE (75019 and 75021) will probably be highly sought in the near future.

      Only time will tell if my predictions are right. I feel strongly that the old model has been destroyed by the (Disney) Empire. For better or worse, we should anticipate changes. In the past, OT sets were the safest bets, but with the anthology films coming, we'll see more and more of those. In addition, We'll likely see some movement on a few sleeping dogs. Imagine a Han Solo film or even one about Boba Fett without a hint of Jabba the Hutt. Unlikely I think. Now, imagine those disappointing Jabba's Palace and Sail Barge sets when TLG makes a smaller "Encounter with Jabba" set.

      Really, it is better to anticipate change than to be caught unaware and have to catch up. If nothing else, it's all food for thought.
      One addendum, premium sets like the UCS sets will always have their place and demand. That is unless The LEGO Group continues to dilute the brand with inferior playsets or future remakes.
      May the bricks be with you . . . always.

    • Deadfraggle
      Welcome to this week's Best of Brick Classifieds: Star Wars Edition. The twelve featured sets have the lowest pricing available among Amazon, eBay and Brick Classifieds vendors. I have included sets from a variety of price points and Star Wars sub-themes. Click on any of the hyperlinks to view the individual set listings or click here to search all Brick Classifieds Star Wars Sets listings.
      Thanks to all Brick Classifieds Vendors for taking the time to offer such outstanding prices on their sets, but especially to the Vendors with the sets listed below.
      1. CMStevens: LEGO Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon #10179 $4500.00

      2. Bricks N Figs: LEGO Star Wars Endor Rebel Trooper and Imperial Trooper Battle Pack #9489 $30.00

      3. Variety: LEGO Star Wars Darth Vader's Tie Fighter Anniversary Edition #8017 $105.00

      4. BricksInc: LEGO Star Wars Clone Walker Battle Pack (4) #8014 $109.25

      5. The Brick Ranch: LEGO Star Wars UCS R2-D2 #10225 (No Box, Sealed Bags) $324.95

      6. Mrs Moose LEGO Emporium: LEGO Star Wars #8085 Freeco Speeder $23.99

      7. thekayfabe88: LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon #7965 $188.00

      8. Bricks N Figs: LEGO Star Wars Bounty Hunter Pursuit #7144 $80.00

      9. Jonpo: LEGO Star Wars UCS Super Star Destroyer #10221 $890.00

      10. Brichnusa:LEGO Star Wars TIE Fighter #9492 $99.89

      11. KrazyBricks820: LEGO Star Wars Jedi Defender Class Cruiser Ship #75025 $85.00

      12. FlipBricks: LEGO Star Wars UCS Red 5 X-Wing Starfighter #10240 $289.99


    • jaisonline
      Looks like Lego has some GREAT events and offerings planned for April.  Both AFOLs and KFOLs will be happy.  If you are unable to visit a Lego retail store, be sure to checkout their website at shop.lego.com for select offerings.
      Some highlights...
      Various polybag and promo items based on money spent or themes: 1960s Mr. Freeze minifig and Elves Sira’s Adventurous Airglider.   Note: The Mr Freeze polybag is available with a purchase of $75 of more from April 1 to 15. New sets (e.g. Angry Birds) will be on-sale. Events for children include a minifigure swamp, Bumblebee build, Superhero builds and club meetings. Maybe best of all is the LEGO Maze Competition that runs from April 11 to 15 (5PM daily).  For many, this should be our first look at the "21305-1 Ideas Maze" set. Please review the calendar for more information especially exact dates.



    • Veegs
      The Pitch: I was listening to Sting's 'Demolition Man' and patting myself on the back for getting some Demolition Site sets about $60 CAD off retail when I thought others might be interested in my thoughts on Sting and Lego. Seeing how past construction-type sets fared seemed like a good point of comparison, and I had a suitable soundtrack. Unfortunately, the lyrics are a bit foreboding considering I am advocating for Demolition sets, but if nothing else they forced me to be a bit conservative in my future estimates.

      The Demolition Site (60076) looks a little 'kiddy' to me, but it isn't all that different from Construction Site (7633) and that has done pretty well on the aftermarket. The crane could be a little bigger and the demolition building could be fleshed out a little, but overall it is a great set to get cool yellow construction vehicles at not a bad price. With the last flasgship construction set 7633 hitting a high of $243 USD, it seems reasonable that 60076 should do well despite a smaller piece count and not being quite as eye-pleasing (at least to me) of its predecessor. Even a conservative projection of perhaps $170-180 USD makes buying Demolition Site on sale a fairly low risk, solid investment. While it will likely never be the best gainer in your portfolio, there is nothing wrong with solid, low risk options, too. Availability beyond the spring might be online only for a lot of Canadians, as Costco had them this holiday season (and likely won't next) as well as Canadian Tire. Now that Wal-Mart Canada has started clearancing these out (my last three were at $50 CAD, which tickled me pink) it seems unlikely they will get a massive restock of the Demolition line, leaving TRU. Availability in your market might be different, but this is a set I wouldn't pass over with a decent sale.

      You should still be able to find the Excavator set (60075) at retail even though it is listed as 'Sold Out' with a discount on Shop at Home, which is generally a solid precursor to the cherished 'retired product' tag. It compares well with the 4203 Excavator & Truck (part of the Mining subtheme from 2012) which is trending up at the moment but has still had a rather disappointing post-EOL performance. This is likely due to the Mine subtheme having a bit of a longer shelf life relative to some other City subthemes as well as the fact that the Demolition subtheme has a very, very similar excavator set that essentially replaced the earlier version. So far I'm not selling you much on this, but there are a couple of factors that might indicate this set will do a little better than its predecessor. First, unlike the rest of the Demolition subtheme, this set appears to be going/gone at least several months earlier (possibly around a year, if it follows the Arctic pattern) than the other sets in the theme. If end users went gaga over the Arctic Supply Plane, which isn't all that enticing, I have reason to believe the shorter lifespan will lead to an overall better/faster performance that 4203. Secondly, 4203 is starting to grow (up nearly 15% in the latest Brickfolio update), so I believe a lot of inventory that might be sold at or close to MSRP has been absorbed by end users (i.e. Timmy or Tanya – want to give both genders a chance to buy sets at secondary market prices). I jumped at 35% off, which seemed like a big enough discount for a short-run set that comes from a reliable theme.

      I'm sure there are kids (who grow into adults) out there who don't like bulldozers, but I don't know any – and I'm not sure I want to. Bulldozers populate kids books, sandboxes and grubby hands; obviously The Lego Group has done enough market research to realize kids would also like them in Lego form (BP has 18 entries under 'dozer' so it has some history). The 2007 Technic Bulldozer is particularly awe inspiring, but for sake of comparison, the current set most closely matches the 7685 Dozer from 2009. It peaked at just under $90 ($89.60) which is fantastic for a $39.99 set that (like all City sets) can be pretty easy to get on sale during its shelf life. Given that Lego investing is quite a bit different than '09, a doubling of MSRP still seems possible. Of course, given the popularity of the subject matter, it seems almost certain more will be made that will be very similar, but there should be a window of a year or two to move the current bulldozer with limited risk. Even with the 2015 dozer hurting the sale prices of 7685, it is still trading at around double MSRP, which tells me there will probably always be some demand for older dozers even if a remake comes a little earlier than investors would like. Given the state of the Canadian dollar, I think I would start buying at a 30% discount or better.

      The Service Truck 60073 is my pick for being an EOL surprise. It screams 'I am the second coming of the Logging Truck!' to me. I frankly don't know how anyone can create a realistic construction/demolition site without a porta-potty. I can't find a previous set that seems to capture the play value and display value as well as this little guy in previous construction subthemes, and when I look it it I just get a great vibe. I won't be surprised if this has the overall best ROI% two years from now. I stocked up on a few at 33% off and will continue to add them when on sale.
      Yellow construction vehicles at minifigure scale have been popular enough to make appearances regularly, so one must always be ready for a rehash of the theme, but they have been spaced out roughly 3-6 years. If the remainder of the Demolition sets listen to the wants of investors and retire themselves in Q4 this fall, there should hypothetically be at least a couple years to absorb demand. Of course, investors must take precautions – buying more than you think you can sell in the next couple of years might backfire. When I invest in City sets I do so knowing I have a responsibility to scout rumors of upcoming sets and to act accordingly. If you are a long term holder and/or don't have the time to take 'hits' of Brickpicker weekly/daily/hourly/minute-ly, City might be more trouble than its worth. That, and the best discounts I tend to get on City sets are in brick & mortar locations, so 'prospecting' is also generally needed and might not be possible for you in your location or life situation. For those that are still interested, I think these four sets are a worthy add to your portfolio and will diversify it nicely.

    • Roy vd M.
      Is it really that good? is the question I intend to answer from my point of view in this blog. Lego set 75060 depicting Slave I in UCS style has been jubilated on every Lego related forum, in every review. So, conscious of these reviews and opinions, is the build still going to be great? Can we believe the hype? If you're like me, you already know my answer because the first thing you did when clicking on this blog is scroll down to read my conclusion. For those who are not like me and want to read the whole article, I tried to write down my thoughts and feelings (immediately) after each step of the build. I won't tell all surprises and advanced building methods I encountered, as that would ruin the fun for you. This way I had to actively think about the build along the way. Some aspects of this blog will transcend the nature of a review, such as using an alternative to the set's stickers and my thoughts on future demand of this Lego set and its parts.

      Lego set: 75060
      Name: Slave I
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 1996
      Price: $199.99
      Looking at the value of this set, at first glance it feels better priced than the 75095 Tie Fighter, a comparable Ultimate Collector Series model. But let's have a closer look, first at the pricing in the Netherlands. Here the Tie Fighter is priced €229.99 while the Slave I's MSRP is €199.99. While the Tie Fighter is 30 euros more expensive, it has 311 parts less than the Slave I. So unless you're a great Tie Fighter fan, if you live in the Netherlands and had to choose between these two UCS's, from a cost per piece-perspective the choice is easy: Slave I. But you shouldn't just look at piece count, other factors are also important (e.g. the Tie Fighter has lots of large plates). 
      In the US, both UCS sets cost $199.99. The cost per piece for the Slave I is $0.10. With quite a few large and special pieces (which will be discussed later), this price is in principle good for a licensed set. And don't forget that there are 4 minifigures in this set. 
      There are 13 build sections, some consisting of more than one bag. Within the larger bags you'll find smaller bags containing small parts. The beautiful canopy and black info plate do not come bagged. 

      Instruction manual plus sticker sheet:

      The instruction book contains some nice info on the 'real' ship, its design, its history and the Lego design. In that it resembles the booklets the Lego Architecture fans have gotten used to. There's even an interview with designer Hans Burkhard Schlömer about developing the model. Due to copyright reasons (and to give you a taste for more) I'll only show you a glimpse. 

      THE BUILD 
      The first thing you'll have to decide is what to do with the stickers (no less than 23! Didn't expect they were so many just by looking at the sheet). You have at least four options:
      Don't use the stickers. Apply them. Your set will look great but it will depreciate. If you want to sell it in the future, it's better to sell it with an intact sticker sheet. Furthermore, because of the lack of quality of these modern paper-stickers Lego produces, before too long the stickers will peel and/or crumble. This process cannot be undone, the stickers cannot be restored.    Buy an original sticker sheet, e.g. on Bricklink. I usually do this when building larger / rarer sets, but 75060 sticker sheets are too expensive (for my taste) already. In Europe I can find a few for 12 euros a piece + shipping. In the US there's a Bricklinker who offers them for 10 bucks + shipping.  Buy a reproduction sheet, keep the original. There are specialized companies who make these sheets in rather good quality. Make sure you have the reproduction sheet at home when starting the build. Reproduce the stickers yourself. I chose 5. Just copy the sticker sheet on a A4 or letter format white sticker sheet. You can buy those in office stores. After printing, you can 'laminate' the newly made sheet by applying a transparent glossy plastic sticky sheet. Forgot that step myself, unfortunately, so on the pics you'll see matte stickers. 'Laminating' serves to give the same glossy shine as the original stickers, as well as to protect the pigments. Anyway, after (optional) 'laminating' you can simply cut out the stickers using a ruler, sharp knife and hard cutting base (cutting mat or board). For curved cuts, try to use a cup as template. The result: Not perfect, but to me it's a good alternative to using the valuable sticker sheet.

      Here is the result (left: Original sticker sheet, right: The plate with reproduction sticker attached):

      Bag 1: Opening bag 1 I thought to myself "will it be really that good?" Everyone seems to be full of praise as to building this set. Is everyone simply repeating what others say? Let's find out if the build is as good as the end result looks. The start (Slave I's base) doesn’t contain too many surprises. I take note that several 2-wide-plates only rest on 1-wide plates or bricks. The result isn’t flimsy though. On the following pictures you'll see the build status after each step, plus the bags used, plus spare parts, plus a minifig completely unnecessarily posing in a completely random manner. I included that for those who are to any extent sensitive to this obscure playfulness used in all Lego reviews. 

       Bag 2: Building the contents of (small) bag #2 brings a smile to my face. Diagonally extended… extended still… verticality brought horizontal, horizontality connected sideways... this is what advanced Lego building is all about! The second half of this sub-build is symmetrical to the first half, so I let my girlfriend have a go… she was equally amused.

      Bag 3: This nicely shows the techniques to get the smooth sloped red base in its designated form. The build stays enjoyable.

      Bag 4: This deals with the ‘top’ or ‘back’ side of the base. Great ‘ah!’-moment here. Some stickers have to be applied in this step. 

      Bags 5: Starting these, the nature of the build changes dramatically. All you’ll see is technic bricks, pins, connectors, linkages, plates etc.: Building the connection section between aft and for bases.  

      As with a good film script, the build process never loses pace, never gets boring. Some interesting building techniques are demonstrated while the underside is polished and finalized.

      Bag 6: Continuing the Lego Technic exercise, bag 6 introduces us to (two-faced) Han Solo (including a beautifully moulded carbonite block). Work is started on the interior construction, ending with another ‘aha’-moment. Lovely. And.. this thing is getting heavy.

      Bags 7: This is really 4 plastic bags and 1 small thick paper box. I recommend using a sharp knife to cut the tapes of the box if you're super-tidy and want to keep it in good shape. This step #7 brings us a very detailed Boba Fett-figure as well as both wings. If Lego wanted to make a set like this even better than it is now, one thing to mind would be the build order. Building two symmetrical wings in a row makes for a slightly repetitive experience. Why not begin the build (bag 1) with one wing and build the other (bag 7) now? Less logical but more fun. Anyway, the wings add to the surface of this vehicle. It's starting to look massive. To continue the fanboy-speech, the gravitation-driven automatic wing repositioning is very nicely done. Not sure what all the spare parts are for though (4x part 17-01, not used in the build). 

      Boba Fett:

      Bag 13: For me now was the time to build the stand. Probably the least exciting part of set 75060, I like to save the best part till the end. Building the stand wasn't all too bad I guess... plus you get a storm trooper in this bag (probably as a surprise for those builders who thought they only had the stand to put together). 

      Bag 8: To summarize this part of the build: stacking up. The 'inner walls' are constructed here. Meanwhile the nicely detailed cockpit is added. Ok I'll admit, to me this build can't go wrong anymore; I'm just loving every minute of it. Even this simple 'stacking up' has its charm, as I'm constantly thinking what all the side studs are going to be used for.  

      Bag 9: Simply great... what can I say... you just have to build this thing yourself. My favorite part of the build so far. And what a great way to use part 4278756 (gear shifter)... at one point the designer is just showing off:

      But the result is lovely:

      Bags 10: The 'tail' structure and the top (including canopy) of Slave I are built together. The full size is now shown, quite impressive. 

      Bag 11: Port side plating is made. These are three larger subassemblies which come together at the very end.

      Again, a very interesting and enjoyable build. Suddenly I realize I'm in the middle of having the best Lego build experience ever. Or not exactly in the middle... only one bag to go... unfortunately! The model is becoming very heavy by the way (1,68 kg now).   

      Bag 12: Starboard side plating. As both sides are not symmetrical, the fractions of repetitiveness aren't at all annoying. The build is rounded off by the weaponry in Slave 1's tail.


      This experience has been a treat. A great looking Star Wars ship model has been converted into a highly realistic, fun to build, awe-inspiring Lego sculpture. If this wasn't the best build I ever experienced (including several modulars and the astounding Technic Mercedes-Benz Arocs) it is certainly in my top 3. While in my opinion this set does not have any real flaws (except perhaps the weakly manufactured sticker sheet), if the build order was amended and if there were less stickers to attend to, that would make it even better.  To optimize your build experience I recommend starting with bags 11 and 13, then moving to bag 1 and from there keep to the designated build order.
      As everyone and their droid have already made clear, this model is a stunner. Have a look:


      Although this is not really a playset (try playing with it for 5 minutes without breaking off something), the Slave I has some nice play-like features. The side guns are retractable, the 'cargo door' can be opened and Han Solo can be attached on its inside. If you accidentally lose grip and Han is dropped inside, you don't have to take the ship apart or shake it. There's a hidden hatch on the bottom; if you open it Han is released. Furthermore, the wings are gravitationally actuated. If built with care, the wing movements are very smooth. The tail guns are positionable, as are the wing flaps. The cockpit canopy can be detached rather easily and Boba Fett's cockpit seat can be turned to either horizontal (land mode) or vertical (flight mode) position. 
      Many people have already pointed out that this set is huge. It's always a bit difficult to assess a model's size from pictures alone. To give you an impression I photographed Slave I together with a train, a classic Lego city truck and Architecture's Lincoln Memorial. The latter can easily be shoved underneath the ship if put on the stand. Both train and truck are tiny in comparison to Slave I. 

      The minifigures are nicely done. Han (the only minifigure with two face prints) comes with his sleeping bag; as said Boba Fett is well detailed and there's a Bespin Guard as well as a Stormtrooper. Boba and the guard are unique to this set. Boba's two guns can be stored on clips inside the cockpit. 

      The stand is made in such way that the ship can be showcased either seen from the front or from the side (this is done by simply repositioning two 2x1 plates). I prefer the side view because that way the UCS information tile is better visible. Perhaps the front view is more impressive though. 

      As discussed in the introduction I think this set has a good parts / price ratio. The current Bricklink part out value (incl. box and instructions) is $498.54 and there is little hope this number will ever go down. There are several special / rare parts in the set, such as:
      UNIQUE PARTS 4 dark green round corner bricks #95118. 6 dark red round corner bricks #95188. 2 dark red other round corner bricks #87559. 2 dark red yet other round corner bricks #58846. 1 sand green wedge 3x4x3/4 triple curved #93604. 2 sand green wedge plates 4x6 cut corners #32059. 1 transparent canopy #16477. The sticker set #75060stk01.
        RARE PARTS 4 dark green other round corner bricks #87559 (1 other set). 2 dark red wedge corner slopes #43708 (1 other set). 4 dark red 3x3x1 slopes #4161 (2 other sets). 2 dark red 10x1x1 slopes #85970 (2 other sets). 1 light bluish grey 10x10 inverted dish #50990b (2 other sets). 2 dark red 4x2x1 slopes #30363 (3 other sets). 1 carbonite box #87561pb01 (3 other sets). 15 sand green curved slopes without studs #15068 (3 other sets). 1 dark red 8x3x2 wedge open left #43708 (4 other sets). 1 dark red 8x3x2 wedge open right #41749 (4 other sets). 6 light bluish grey round corner plates #30565 (4 other sets). 4 yellow liftarm pieces #60484 (4 other sets).  2 dark red round corner plates #30565 (5 other sets). 2 dark bluish grey round corner bricks #88293 (5 other sets). 18 dark red 4x1x1 slopes #60477 (5 other sets). 2 light bluish grey mudguards #62361 (5 other sets). Probably I forgot a few. Also don't forget about what I mentioned about the minifigures. So if you are a collector and if you wanted to gather this set roaming the vaults of Bricklink in a few years from now I'd have to wish you luck. There are many unique and rare pieces around this set. Unless Lego will reuse these pieces in other sets (I don't see an extensive market for the enormous and very specific canopy part, to name an example) I think the parts value of this set will only go up. If you want this ship, buy it while it hasn't been retired. 
      To me it is beyond any doubt that this set will be cherished by Lego collectors who own it, longed for by those who don't. Chances of a remake are thin I think. Would any designer dare to tackle remaking / improving a set this good? And even if it was to be remade, why not first do an updated Tie Interceptor (7181), Rebel Blockade Runner (10019), Naboo Starfighter (10026), Snowspeeder (10129), Imperial Star Destroyer (10030), Y-Wing (10134), Death Star II (10143), AT-ST (10174), Advanced Tie Fighter (10175), AT-AT (10178), Millennium Falcon (10179), Dropship / AT-OT (10195), Imperial Shuttle (10212), Obi-Wan's Starfighter (10215), Super Star Destroyer (10221) or B-Wing (10227)? My point is, so many UCS vehicles have been made during the last 15 years and Slave I was ignored until now; I don't see a swift remake coming. The only UCS-remake thus far is the X-Wing and it took Lego 13 years before it was executed. What are the chances of Lego wanting to remake an already almost perfectly modeled Slave I in 2028? 
      When it will retire I have no idea. Could be swiftly (on Lego Shop at Home I saw quite a few 'out of stock' / 'available' changes the last couple of weeks) or it could take some time. Rumors about Slave I featuring in the upcoming Star Wars Rogue One movie (first anthology, 2016) and even a full Star Wars movie dedicated to Boba Fett (second anthology, presumably coming out 2018) may be reason for The Lego Group to keep this set around longer. Let's just say that If I were in charge of Lego I'd find it hard to retire a set this great and relevant to a feature film even if that film will be coming out in two years from now. I see two things possibly standing in the way of late (e.g. 2018) retirement: 1) license agreement ending; and/or 2) Boba Fett movie not being effectuated. According to some sources Disney has experienced difficulties in assigning a heroic role for the villain-like character Boba Fett actually is. 
      In case set 75060 is retired before the Boba Fett movie comes out and if that movie will actually come out, these sets are bound to become even more desirable than they already will be otherwise.
      Welcome, fast-scrolling reader, to this review! To give you the swift answer: yes the build is definitely that good. And the model looks great. Asymmetry makes it look more interesting. The finished Slave I is huge. And the box art is beautiful as well. The instructions contain interesting info and history sections. After its retirement this set will most probably become highly sought-after and its price will rise. In all, designer Hans Burkhard Schlömer did such a wonderful job that the creation of his disappointing newest model (UCS Hoth Base) is easily forgiven. Clearly as a designer you'll have to do what you can within the company's instructions and fortunately it seems that  for the Slave I project Mr Burkhard Schlömer had carte blanche. I'll keep my conclusion simple. This set is a must-have for any Lego fan and any Star Wars fan. Get it while you can!
      Find it here on Amazon.

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