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  1. This month (November 2016) marks my first complete year as a LEGO reseller and active BrickPicker, as well as the second anniversary of coming out of my Dark Ages. Okay, I was reading catalogs and buying a few cool sets for my kids every year before 2014, but nothing like the full-on assault of having to catch up with all that LEGO has offered in the past. To celebrate these milestones I thought it would be a nice idea to contribute some of my key lessons from the past year back to this community. First of all, a little background. What really got me out of my Dark Ages was LEGO Trains, actually, it was a Fleischmann N-scale model train set that I used to have when I was a kid and which my dad brought over from Europe to the US 2 years ago. Enthusiasm over introducing my son and daughter to model railroading quickly turned into disillusion because I realized that none of the US manufacturers made tracks compatible with my N-scale track, and that just buying extra rolling stock was going to set me back hundreds of dollars for single-purpose items, which break irreparably when played with by (young) kids. Then a little light-bulb went off in my head: What if I bought LEGO trains instead – we could build our own trains, cars etc., and whenever we wanted something different, we just take it all apart. So with my wife’s blessing, Santa brought the Blue Cargo Train set (60057) and two Horizon Express sets for Christmas 2014. Unbeknownst to her, I had also managed to get an (already retired) Maersk Train, a few My Own Train carriages and some other random train-related bulk lots. I participated in a RailBricks contest (the last one they did before unfortunately shuttering the magazine) and started my decent into the delightful madness that is the world of AFOLs. Since I’m a train guy, you won’t hear stories from me about having to have this or that Star Wars ship, or those exclusive SuperHeroes minifigs. Sure, my son has a Millenium Falcon and Poe’s X-Wing, and the key SW characters as buildables, but our LEGO buying was first focused on Chima (my son loved it), then shifted to Bionicle, and now my kids’ playing revolves around Harry Potter – we don’t own any of the sets, but have a few minifigures and a lot of imagination. My daughter has a lot of Friends sets which she loves, but is slowly growing out of her interest for these (my kids are 10 year old twins at the time of this writing). Then November 2015 hit, and I started investigating the value of some sets, and joined the BrickPicker forums. My first purchases started rolling in ….. Pirate Chess Sets from LEGO Shop-at-Home, and a few handfuls of 10697 Brick Boxes from WalMart. As I really love the brick, I had determined I was going to start my own BrickLink store (having designed several train cars and placing tens of BL orders I had gotten familiar with how this worked). And I read and read and read on BrickPicker, and participated in the discussions, and grew wiser and smarter and, I must say, warier as time went by. Here are the key lessons I’ve learned from my first year: The buying part is easy. The buying part is fun. Great adrenaline rush. But for many of us, there’s too much to buy. Just because it’s 50% off doesn’t mean you NEED to buy it. Case in point: I picked up a 31033 Vehicle Transport at Target in January 2016 for $10 (RRP: $25, so 60% off). Not a particularly nice set, it had just been released, available everywhere, and who will buy from you as a beginning Ebay seller? Needless to say, this set still sits unsold on my shelf. It’s all about buy-in. Where previous strategies mainly revolved around getting your hands on as many of the expensive sets as possible before they quickly but inevitably retired without much fanfare, the LEGO reselling game is undergoing a massive change. Buy-in price seems to be the key factor now. As a beginning buyer I was excited when I saw 20% off. A year later, 40-50% is where my heartbeat starts increasing. Selling takes time. It’s not difficult, it just takes time. Time to establish yourself as a trustworthy seller. Time to wait for prices to rise to a level you’re comfortable with. Unless you stumbled upon something truly desirable and unavailable, or if you are able to price significantly below others, don’t count on things selling within the first 30-day listing period. Darth Revans, Iron Patriots and Silver Centurions are obvious exceptions, but those don’t come by often. For other items it is a slow, slow game – listing and relisting. The game changes continuously. What works one month might no longer work the next month. Every Bob and Sally has LEGO items in their Ebay store. More and more people join and try to eke out an ever smaller amount of profit. Amazon throws up a gate. Ebay and Target stop a lucrative giftcard cycle. You need to stay in touch or your investments become much harder to sell, or your profit evaporates. Making a decent profit is not easy. At least, not for big(ger) sets. Just look at Ebay: You bought a set for $100 and want to make good profit. If you sell for $150 (shipping included), you will pay ~$18 to Ebay/Paypal in fees, and ~$10-$20 in shipping (in the US, depending on where you live). That’s $30-$40 off of your selling price, so you end up making $10-$20. A small profit is also profit, but you’ve spent time on this set, buying it, storing it, packing it, listing it, checking comparables etc. Unless you’re shifting hundreds of these sets a month, this will not be worth your while. Your time is valuable. Even if you consider this “only a hobby”, before you know you’re in your car driving from one Target to another. I have 6 or 7 Targets in a 15 mile radius from my house, and a similar amount of Walmarts. Popping into one is a quick affair. But when those clearance rumors swirly, and stock checkers are unreliable, your “quick check what they have” becomes a 3hrs+ road-trip. Plus, with 800+ LEGO sets on the market, you’re quickly spending 20-30 mins per store checking resale values, BL part-out costs etc. Then you need to list. Take a picture or two. Research what others are listing for. Do your administration (which for a detailed oriented person like me means adding a row for each set in a 30+ column spreadsheet tracking all sorts of aspects of your purchases). And for those of us who do the part-out route, there’s time in sorting out the set contents, setting up an organizational system, updating BL inventories etc. Choose your game plan. There is too much going on (what with LEGO producing 800+ sets a year as mentioned before) to play all fields. Unless you’re sitting on vast amounts of spare capital, you cannot AND go deep on expensive sets, and cover all themes (Modulars, SW UCS, GBHQ, SHIELD Helicarrier, Advanced Technic models etc) and part out, and BrickLink …. Pick one strategy that best fits your lifestyle. Your options are: Good old-fashioned investing – buy expensive sets for true investment purposes, i.e. stash them away for 3-5 years post retirement and see if that magical 3xMSRP has appeared. Clearance hunting for quick flip – grab those 50-75% off sets, and list them within a year to see if you can get >MSRP to get 75-100% ROI. Diamonds in the rough – take a punt on a few sets that you believe are “iconic” and not soon remade. Remember: First rule of fight club is that nobody talks about fight club. Sit back and watch others scramble over the “common” sets, and rake in the profits when the sets are retired and people realize they “need” them. Or at least, that’s the theory. Buy for part-out. Split your sets into minifigs, buildings and vehicles, and sell them separately for more than the original sets’ cost. I’ve had some luck with this strategy, though it was never my game plan – especially with Dimensions (minifigure and video-game discs sold separately, with the minibuilds as parts for my BL store inventory). Buy for parts. Look at which sets have good BL value, but be careful: unique/niche parts can drive up the value but see very little sales. Be selective. Don’t be a sheep. Tied to the previous point. It is so easy to get carried away. “Great deal on this SW UCS – now 30% off!”. Sure, but if you have a budget (and I recommend you have one from the get-go), plonking down a few hundred bucks on a set that you’ll likely have on a shelf for the next 2-3 years might not be the wisest decision. Plus, there are many others who jump in on this, so you need to battle your competitors in a game that is not your strength. Net, stick to your own plan. Document. Document. Document. Keep track of what you spend and how much you earn. A spreadsheet is good enough. Don’t count on profit until you have it in your PayPal account. Account for all expenses – boxes, shelving, tape, you name it. Find the right marketplace. Depending on your location, you have multiple options. Each marketplace has its plusses and minusses. The key ones are: Ebay. First choice for many. Used by bargain hunters, savvy shoppers and has generally a good, sizeable audience. To really have a good experience, you need to be honest in listing (duh), take lots of pictures, price right, ship fast, and have a return policy (and ideally, a generous one). Also, you need to use PayPal, and unless you work yourself up to Top Rated Seller, count on 12% of your total sale price (including shipping!) to be taken as fees. Amazon. Until very recently the absolute best place to start selling. Everybody shops at Amazon. Unfortunately, unless you pay $1k and provide proof of purchase (and potentially a letter from TLG proving you are an authorized reseller), you cannot list LEGO anymore. I was lucky to get grandfathered in based on a few sales I had in the spring and summer. FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) is the best one of the lot – limited effort (buy, add to inventory, pack and ship to Amazon – they take care of the rest) and a lot of eyeballs. This comes at a price: up to 20% of the sale price goes to uncle Jeff, but the “Prime” label makes up for that by commanding a premium price from buyers, and people happily click away. Plus, you get a chance to be featured in the Buy Box. Just be aware of returns – you might have to swallow the occasional destroyed item. Craigslist. Flea-market audience. Has the hassle of having to meet with people (and finding a place where to do this can sometimes take a lot of back-and-forth with your buyer), but once the sale is made you have no risk and no obligations. Also: no fees. BrickLink (and BrickOwl, its key competitor). AFOLs only. Limited eyes, but limited fees (1-2%). Your buyers know what they want. Shipping is extra, so no need to accounting for shipping costs in calculating your price. The only downside is that setting up shop properly is not easy – adding shipment methods, figuring out how to price those methods correctly etc. all needs some research. Of course you can do without, but you get more sales if you do it right. Facebook selling groups. No real experience here on my end. I’m part of my local Buying/Selling group, but what I see is not instilling much confidence: used cars, pitbull pups and phones. I doubt anyone will want to buy a LEGO set at a reseller premium there. Others have reported more success. There are other apps and marketplaces: Offerup, Kijiji in Canada, Gumtree in the UK, Marktplaats in the Netherlands and Belgium …. I have no experience with these but from what I’ve heard, they fit in with Craigslist/Facebook above. Conventions, flea-markets, garage sales. Very interesting venues, each with their own dynamic. You could get away with charging a premium at conventions (and potentially at flea-markets), but often your participation comes with a fee, so you need to account for that. Again, not an area I have dabbled in so far. Read up on key threads. Check what happened to 41999 to understand how the horde can get carried away sometimes. Read the Amazon/Ebay/CL threads for tips on how to get started, and for answers to commonly experienced questions. Check out the Ethics forum to understand what is being frowned upon – if we don’t keep certain practices and standards, retailers will counteract and remove things like the ability to stack coupons, or the acceptance of printed coupons, or even the privilege of a hassle-free return. And before you make your first purchase, check the speculative bubble thread – if you are still convinced you want to do this after reading that thread, you’re probably strong enough to handle what’s coming (or rozy-eyed enough to not care). Master the art of stacking. There are published deals (50% off at Target!) and there are “make your own deals”. The latter have the benefit that they are YMMV (your mileage may vary) – others likely won’t be able to replicate them. Several retailers (Toys’r’us, Kmart/Sears, Meijer, BAM, Ebay, Galeria-kaufhof and mytoys in Germany to name a few) have coupon and discount policies that allow for the stacking of offers. Combine sale pricing with credit card discounts, with reduced-price Gift Cards, with 20% off coupons, with Buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) offers, with points/rewards program certificates, until your buy-in price approaches $0. Then rub it in other’s faces on the "What LEGO set did you buy today" thread. Get in on those loyalty programs. For the price of a small piece of your soul, join as many rewards programs as you can. Ebay Bucks, TRU Rewards, Shop-Your-Way, Meijer mPerks, BAM club membership, Barnes & Noble membership, you name it. Carry the card. And if you don’t mind carrying multiple credit cards, use store-specific CC’s for your purchases, and earn discounts and cashback. Just pay them off every month, please. Be truthful in accounting. This goes two ways: Don’t get into trouble with the IRS. If you sell for profit, you are generating income. Better report it (plus in the US you can deduct the expenses incurred in making the sale, such as car mileage, shipping materials, storage materials etc.). Officially you should also register yourself as a reseller in your state/county (unless you block people in your state from buying from you). For my state (Ohio) this was really not a big deal – a small fee, some paperwork, and a twice-a-year reporting duty (so far always $0). Also, configure your selling accounts (Ebay, BrickLink) to automatically charge sales tax on purchases made by local buyers. You can only do this on Amazon if you have a professional selling account – when you sell as an individual you’ll just have to pay the sales tax out of the sales price. As a benefit: I get to buy tax-free in the few places that haven’t banned resellers (Amazon, Walmart) as long as it is for store inventory. Think about how you account for points, freebies etc. There are many ways to skin the cat, but I prefer this approach: Points never count as a discount on the purchase made to earn them, only as a discount on the purchase where they are used. Freebies count as a $0 purchase, and everything I earn on them is (gross) profit. So, those sets I bought at LEGO [email protected] for $75 to get the free Gingerbread House really cost me $75, even though I sold the GBH for $50 and made $40 profit after fees and shipping, and got 150 points as part of double VIP. Get approval from your S.O. (Significant Other). Some of us are blessed with AFOL partners. Some of us have bargaining partners – if you want to do this, then let me do my thing. Some of us have eye-rolling partners. And even some of us have to pretend and work undercover. Oh, and some don’t have partners, but I’m giving them a break and will not tap into my arsenal of AFOL bachelor puns. At least come to some sort of an arrangement. LEGO should never be the reason a relationship ends, and should never be more important than your S.O. I had big plans (and still have big plans) regarding my BL shop as well as regarding my LEGO Train building hobby. They’ve been slowed down – my wife protested against the amount of time I was spending on this and she was right. <Insert doormat pun here> Practice self-constraint. No you don’t have to buy it all. Often I go all the way through the checkout process and then take a breather. A quick comparison with other sites. Read some reviews. Think "yes it is x% off, but you still pay $y". And after amassing a closet full of LEGO: “First sell enough until you have more funds and more space, then buy again”. What also helps me is that I have a (very short) list of sets I really want to have for my personal collection. If there ever is a good deal on those, I’ll jump on it (ideally using Ebay Bucks or Credit Card reward dollars). For the other deals: there will be more deals in the future. Be helpful and you’ll be better off for it. Just like you need to build up a reputation of trustworthyness on Ebay or Amazon, I advise everyone to do the same on BrickPicker. Look out for your fellow BP-ers. Help them score a deal when needed. Post those deals when you see them (even if they don’t interest you), or at least, post them after you had your fill. Because all the goodwill you’re building up will help you get better deals yourself – via member-to-member private messages, or just by being "in-tune" with what is happening on the marketplace. And unlike many other platforms on the vast World Wide Web, Brickpicker is a very civilized, high-intelligence online forum. Conversations are kind, well articulated and insightful. Moderators intervene at the right time, and with clear principles. And everyone likes a giggle. Unless you are a professional reseller (and I know there are several that frequent BP), remember that this is supposed to be a hobby. You’ll enjoy it more when you keep your love of LEGO alive. Scale back when you don’t have time. Sell if you need cash. Pop seals and build if there’s something you’ve now taken a fancy to, or if the market for the set has cratered. But please, please don’t get in over your head. To conclude my story: I have spent considerable time over the first half of 2016 on building inventory, writing software to manage my BL store’s sales and pricing analytics, and sorted through about half of my sets and parted them out. I listed ~20k parts on BL, and have seen some nice sales coming through. However, as this is my hobby, I’ve had to take a break from adding to my BL store and it has been in hibernation mode over the past months as other priorities took over. I have continued to list sets on Ebay and Amazon to keep some sales going. I bought well – some initial purchases were not as good as some later ones when I got clearer on what I needed to look for in sets, however, those were offset by some lucky finds (Ghosts for half price, anyone?). I resigned myself to contributing to reporting sales and delightful banter to BP, and with ~3.5k posts to my name in just a year, I think I’ve been quite successful at that strategy at least. To round it all up, some statistics from my first year: Total resale purchases including supplies, shipping costs and fees: $7.3k Average discount over MSRP: 44% Total sales revenue: $3.0k ROI on those sales: >175% (But I sold quite a lot of freebies which drive ROI up) Average fee paid (Ebay, Amazon, BrickLink/BrickOwl): 11.2% Parts amassed for my BL store: ~110k Here’s to a great second year!
    46 points
  2. With any business whether it be a large corporation or a small website like BrickPicker, business models change. At times, you need to ask yourselves what it is that you are looking to achieve with the product you are working on. Since the beginning, Ed and I have always set out to try and help the LEGO investor and reseller save and make money.Today we are announcing that Brick Classifieds will be changing to the FREE / NO FEES model. I don't think you can really complain about that now can you. We want to help you, the LEGO investor/reseller, to move your product. Hopefully with some of the new tools that we have added to the system and the new ones that are being worked on right now, you will help spread the word to check Brick Classifieds first to find the best prices on LEGO items. Since there are no commissions taken out of your sale, we hope that you will work to price your items accordingly. If you are not going to lose fees, you should be pricing it lower on Brick Classifieds than on the other marketplaces so that you can still make the most money. Lower prices will help bring new buyers. Once buyers learn to check Brick Classifieds for best pricing, they will check Brick Classifieds first which means more money in your pocket instead of someone elses. We have made some updates to the product detail page of Brick Classifieds. We have included listings from other Brick Classifieds sellers as well as listings from eBay and Amazon. We are trying to show the buyer where they can get the best deal. If you, the seller, do your job correctly, they should want to buy the product from you and not go to the big shops. If the prices are better on eBay or Amazon, hopefully the buyer will click through and Brick Classifieds can earn some revenue through affiliate programs. Over the next few days we will be adding feeds from BrickOwl and still looking to see what can be done with BrickLink. It's been a while since I made a post about updates, but here are somethings that have changed on Brick Classifieds: Seller fees have been changed to 0% Removed the Trade feature. That has now returned to the BrickPicker forum. Entire site is in https (SSL) mode Created an infinite scroll page to easily see all the latest items that have been posted on the site Built a Store Banner Generator for you to design a custom banner for your store profile page. This could be useful for posting specials and discounts One of the big things we want to do is help spread the word about Brick Classifieds. We created a tool that will allow you to select random products in your store or pick the actual items you want displayed. It will create a snippet of code that you can use to display your store products on forums, websites, eBay, where ever. Just paste the code we give you and your items can be shown anywhere. In the coming days, there will be an update to the price guide template on BrickPicker that will include listings of sets on Brick Classifieds Everything you need to sell LEGO items is here for you. The price is right, that is for sure. The thing is to get the word out, price aggressively and get the buyers out there to learn more about your shop here on Brick Classifieds that has great prices. Viral marketing from all of you is the best way to get people to see your listings. Price the items better than eBay, Amazon, etc. They will buy from you and you will save on the fees. It is a win for everyone. Put a snippet about Brick Classifieds in a eBay listing here or there to let them check out your store. I am sure they would be happy to pay a lower price and know that you are most likely padding the price to help pay the eBay fees.
    27 points
  3. Hello. My name is Elaine, and I am a Lego addict. I have often said this in jest, but I’ve started to realize that it is not a joke. I woke up this morning, and the first thing I did was check Brick Picker for the deals buzz. As soon as I had put the kids on the bus, I started planning my buy of the day. Since I went to see “The Force Awakens” (again) last night, I was feeling like I needed some more Star Wars sets. I took to the web, and made a plan to go to TRU (since it was Thursday) to buy a First Order Tie Fighter, using the Walmart price (20% off) plus another 10% through TRUTH and 8% back in rewards. It was only 9 am. I spent the next hour itching to buy as my local Toys R Us opens at 10 am. I even considered settling for price match plus 5% off using my Red Card at Target because they were already open. I didn't used to be like this… I am a collector. I still have 90% of the sets from my youth, and I started collecting again around 2010ish. For several years it was buying a modular for my birthday and lots of sets for the kids. It wasn't until a snafu with the Town Hall that things started to turn ugly. It was October 22nd, 2014. I had a lovely birthday dinner and decided that I would buy a Town Hall as my present. I already had a Fire Brigade, Grand Emporium, and a Pet Shop. I had briefly flirted with the idea of buying a Green Grocer long after it went EOL, but decided that $500 for NISB was too much to spend. (This was some time before the Town Hall incident, but it was what first enlightened me to the existence of the Lego reseller market.) Needless to say, when I went to my local Lego Store that day, I was dealt a crushing blow. I could not understand. I was buying each modular in order, I should have had plenty of time to buy the Town Hall, but it was gone. I was heartbroken. I was devastated. I was desperate. At first, I was ready to scrap the whole idea of my Lego city. It seemed pointless to not have all of them (or at least all of the ones released since I had started collecting modulars). I was still secretly pining for a Green Grocer, and to miss out on the Town Hall too was too much to bear. Within a couple of weeks of calling and searching stores and coming up empty, I bought one on eBay for 50% over RRP. I justified it saying that if I did find one in the wild for RRP, I could always resell that one to break even or better. For a little while, I was content, but it didn't last... Fast forward to March of 2015. It was my anniversary. There was an hour wait at the restaurant, so we went to the Lego Store. It was double VIP and I was determined not to let another modular pass me by, so I bought myself current, and had a lovely dinner. The next day, I was feeling guilty about spending so much, and I came up with the perfect plan. I would buy two of every Lego set I liked, build one, sell the other when it hit 2x RRP. Perfect! I immediately pulled $2k out of a never-touched savings account (because bank interest is a joke anyway) and had the most satisfying Lego spree I had ever experienced. I felt so powerful and successful with every package that arrived. It was incredible. I wish I could have stayed up there forever… Within a few months, (but just over 90 days), the reality of what I had done started to sink in. After that first $2k, I spent at least another $1k acquiring discontinued sets via eBay and craigslist, and probably $1k buying new releases because I was still flying high and I had 5,000+ VIP points to burn. For those of you who roll big, I will put this in perspective for you: $2000 is my entire monthly spending budget for utilities, food, etc. I spent 2 months of my household budget on toys. I panicked. I couldn't return anything. I couldn't break even through selling because everything was still readily available. I watched my stocks drop at sickening rates. I wanted to take it all back, but I had gone too far. All I could do was wait and see… It was the release of Lego Dimensions that brought me to the Brick Picker forums. My stocks were still junk (TB, ToO, EV, PS, PC, Simpson House…), but my buying had calmed down some. I started watching the Daily Deals. I started hiding purchases from my family. I started getting carried away again. I started bargaining with myself. If I didn't buy a coffee for a week or if I put off a haircut or if I returned some other nonessential item, how much could I spend on Lego instead? I started exchanging my “investment” sets for things I wanted to build. The lowest point was when I returned some sets that I had bought at discount, for full exchange value, to get my husband a Red Five for Christmas. I took a few weeks off after that... I used to have other interests. I used to have a modest savings account. I still have a roof over my head and my kids are well fed, but all I see are Lego. I want to know why I got this way. I can rationalize any purchase. “It helps me relax” “I had a coupon” “I had extra money this month” “But I need to have ALL of them!” (I tell my husband that I would have been a great Pokemon trainer). Sometimes I get mad at TLG. Sometimes I blame the QFLL. Sometimes I blame the AFOL trying to reclaim a happy childhood build. The truth is, I can only blame myself for getting so caught up in a hobby that I really can't afford… This morning, while I was planning my hunt, I came upon the “why did you start?” thread. The story is slightly different, but it's really all the same. “One time_____ and then I was hooked”. I can't decide if it's genius or predatory, either way, Lego is like a drug, and we are all pushers or addicts. I have 2 Tumblers in my trunk...
    18 points
  4. There have been a lot of changes since LEGO almost went bankrupt in the early 2000s: licensed sets became the norm, better designs started coming into production andLEGO became the world’s largest toy manufacturer. All this changes and subsequent success created a new breed of investing: buying sets and holding after their retirement date. For years, this alternative market went unnoticed, propping up the prices of popular sets such as the 10179 Millenium Falcon. As expected, however, higher returns attracted new investors, inherently changing the way the secondary market behaved. In this new era, with many more participants and higher price pressure, it is extremely easy for newer investors to get burnt out, make mistakes or even completely forget about their LEGO investing hobby (or business). For this reason, I decided to write this short article with some investment tips and strategies that can help the newer participants enjoy and make money from their favorite toy brand. Golden Rule: Set your long term goals LEGO investing is a lot like more traditional financial planning. If you don’t take the time to set some objectives, there will be no way to completely gauge success or even to properly develop an investment strategy. For that reason, the first step will be to figure out what exactly you are trying to achieve: Do you see LEGO investing as a key part of your investment portfolio or more as a side business/hobby for extra cash? To me, this is the most important question. Someone willing to seriously put some money into LEGO for the long term will need to consider a vastly larger number of factors than someone who is just willing to put in a small percentage of their funds. Insurance, proper storage and fund allocation take a more important role in the case of the former. In the case you see this more as an online business, a good inventory tracking system, shipping supplies and time will be the main considerations. Once you have determined you long-term strategy, it is important to figure out which types of sets you will be investing in. To me, focusing on large LEGO exclusives is the “safer” way to lock in a pretty decent return in the long term. While the capital investment and storage space required to invest in these sets is significantly higher/larger than the average, most of them have also produced some of the most consistent and positive returns in the investment market. It is easy to see why. We are talking about iconicand highly detailed sets, from both licensed and unlicensed themes, that the adult collector with a higher disposable income is very attracted to. That’s definitely the most attractive target market when investing in LEGO sets. Furthermore, the higher price point and space requirements limit the amount of sets that can be hoarded by the average investor, thus reducing supply in the long term. While some people may be able to spend several thousand dollars and dedicate a whole room to store those dozens of Death Stars, most people struggle with at least one of those two key considerations. This is not to say investing in smaller sets or even figures makes no sense. We all know that sometimes sets like the X-Wing 9493 produce outstanding percentage returns for one reason or another, so it is completely understandable for investor to consider these for investment. Also, non-exclusives get the advantage when it comes to acquiring them at significant discounts given LEGO’s policy of not allowing discounts on exclusives. The problem with these sets, in my opinion, is that it is so much harder to pick winners and avoid purchasing the duds. Does Home One ring a bell? Setting up an strategy After deciding which blend of sets you will be pursuing, it is time to set up a buying strategy. I think it is extremely helpful to figure out how many copies of a particular set you would like to have before retirement, and making periodic purchases to make sure you meet that goal. As an example, you could decide that you will purchase one Palace Cinema each month to make sure you get to your desired goal of 10 before retirement. Making sure you stick to your strategy will make it easier for you to achieve your minimum goal and avoid having to scramble to get multiple quantities when the set starts disappearing from the market. How many times have you read someone mentioning that they would like to have a couple more of a particular set when it is already too late? Don’t make that mistake yourself! If by the time a set starts showing signs of retirement you already have your minimum quantity, then whatever you are able to acquire after that will be just an extra source of happiness instead of stress. Of course, your strategy can be flexible enough to make sure that you are taking advantage of potential deals or discounts. For example, LEGO will be offering double VIP points in early October and it might make sense to hold this month’s purchases until then. Having said that, I recommend making this kind of behavior an exception rather than the norm; It just does not make sense to completely miss out of a set that ends up appreciating more than 50% because you waited a couple weeks to save 10%. Core-Satellite Approach Just like in the stock market, you can insert a little variety into your investing life by following the core-satellite approach. For example, let’s assume you have an investing budget of $1000 per month. You could divide this into a core fund of $800 that you will allocate to long term, safer investments (exclusives, Ideas sets or whatever you really want to add to your portfolio and keep for the long haul), while keeping the remaining $200 for riskier bets. You think Raptor Escape will be a Zombies 2.0? You can throw your money into some of those; want to try and flip some Wall-E sets before they are available? That works too! By dividing your investments in this manner you pretty much guarantee you’ll invest the $800 every month, while still having some money to test your set-picking prowess. This leads nicely into my last point. Personally, I believe that investing in LEGO should be not only profitable, but fun as well. It is easy to get inpatient or even bored when all you are doing is hoarding sets and not making any money out of it. While this is an essential part of any investment, I find that people should always try to keep things interesting and fun by trying to flip sets, sell minifigures or even re-selling used sets. Any of these activities will generate some extra income and make you feel a little more excited, therefore avoiding falling into a routine that can get boring over time. Obviously, these tips will not work for everyone. Find what works for you, think about your goals and stick to an strategy and you will be in the path of having a pretty healthy alternative income stream in the long run. Hope you enjoyed this article, thanks for reading!
    17 points
  5. There is one thing LEGO investors and resellers fear more than getting banned from Shop at Home: set re-releases. As you all know, LEGO production runs for a particular set is limited to a period between a few months to several years. Once the set hits the end of its life, investors expect never to see that set again at retail price and reap the benefits of secondary market demand and price increases. While in the vast majority of cases this is the norm, every once in a while LEGO decides it is time to bring a previously released set back into the primary market. Re-releases are usually improved versions of the previous set including new building techniques, pieces and exclusive minifigures. While the re-birth of previously retired sets can bring happiness to collectors that previously missed out, the opposite is usually true when it comes to investors. The possibility of buying a newer version for retail diminishes the need for collectors to pay higher secondary market prices, resulting in a decrease in demand and the expected price decrease. Investors dump the old set quickly in order to secure a small profit or to cut their losses; market reaches equilibrium. Up until fairly recently, re-releases had been limited to smaller or mid-range play sets like Jabba’s Sail Barge. The impact of the newer version is easily observed in the graph below: While this kind of issue annoyed re-sellers, it was what came after that really started worrying them: the re-release of an Ultimate Collector’s Series set; the 10240 X-Wing. Somewhat different from the original model, this was LEGO’s first attempt to re-releasing one of the largest and most expensive sets in the secondary market. This issue has hurt the original version, 7191, significantly over the last couple of years; a 2 year and 1 year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of -4.27 and -25.34 percent respectively according to the latest Brickpicker data. Despite the negative impact of the newer release, the original UCS X-Wing is still up over 500 percent of its original retail price. The serious collector is more than likely the source of demand for this set at the moment, which coupled with the relative scarcity has provided a price floor for 7191. After the re-release of a UCS set, LEGO had opened the door to similar actions in the future. A lot of investors commented that this would be the beginning of the end of LEGO investing the way we knew it, and decided to make adjustments to their long-term investment strategy. Enter the Winter Village holiday theme, one of the most admired and popular production lines in LEGO’s arsenal. So far, LEGO has consistently released one new set per year on this line, while keeping no more than 2 on the shelves in any particular holiday season. Consequently, LEGO retires one Winter Village themed set per year, making it one of the most easily predictable retirements out there. As investors, you can quickly understand why something like this would be appealing: shorter production runs limited to a few months of each year, somewhat concrete retirement dates and huge popularity with collectors are factors we all would like to see more when investing in LEGO. Not surprisingly, the performance of the Winter Village theme has been quite stellar, as you can easily tell from the charts below: Those are not only some really nice looking sets, but also pretty good investment returns. Now, the real issue: LEGO recently announced the new release for this year’s holiday season, the Winter Village Toy Shop (2.0). From the pictures, you can see that in this case the company took re-releases to a whole new level by only slightly changing the previous model. Basically, we ended up with the same exact set as 2009 with very minimal cosmetic alterations, in addition to suggesting to move the Christmas tree to the complete opposite side of the display. If you are a frequent visitor to the site’s forums, you will remember the uproar this release caused with investors and collectors alike. On one hand, it hurt investors that still held the previous version, while on the other it hugely disappointed collectors that expected to be able to add a new structure to their Winter Village town. What immediately followed the announcement was not really hard to predict: dozens of new listings for 10199 popped up on eBay and other selling venues from sellers trying to realize their gains. The priced dropped very quickly, as sellers undercut each other hoping to get rid of the inventory way before the newer Toy Shop hit the shelves in a couple weeks. Why would LEGO do this with so many different potential buildings that still can be added to the Winter Village town? I can think of a few potential reasons: The Winter Village Toy Shop is perhaps the most popular set of the entire WV line. The sales numbers on eBay seem to indicate that the Toy Shop sells the best in the entire line, with the Winter Village Bakery being a close second. LEGO determined that demand for a Toy Shop release increased with the release of last year’s Santa’s Workshop. Collectors that purchased the set last year may now be more likely to purchase a place for all of those freshly made toys to be sold. Being the older of the WV sets, the company determined it to be cost effective to bring it back with a few modifications and focus their efforts on other popular lines. Think Episode VII sets coming in the next few months. We probably will never know the actual reasons executives at TLG decided to go with a re-release instead of a completely new concept, but the reasons above make some sense to me. Now, does this mark the beginning of the end of the Winter Village line excellent secondary market performance? I honestly don’t believe so. Rarely we will find another theme that is so easily predictable as far as production runs and retirement dates, and even if LEGO re-released every single set every 4 years, by that time most of the post EOL price appreciation would have taken place anyway. The key with this line will be, in my opinion, to hold the sets for a shorter time period, say 2 years, and sell to realize the gains. Why run the risk of this happening again when we already have proof that LEGO is willing to bring the older sets back? Thanks for reading.
    17 points
  6. So, you've stumbled across brickpicker.com and are overwhelmed by the number of different threads, blogs and sets. First, welcome to this community. Lots of users will happily welcome you, others, maybe no so much. Especially if you populate different threads with a variation on 'what should I buy' or 'is this a good set to invest in'? I'd argue both of these questions (other than gifs and sarcastic rejoinders) form the basis of every single thread, so instead of asking about a particular set, check out the thread dedicated to that set and start at the beginning. I can almost guarantee that some posters like it (some will even give logical reasons why) as an investment and some posters don't (also, sometimes logical). It is your job to weigh these pros and cons and decide where your opinion rests. You, of course, are free to post questions like the two mentioned above, but the answer will probably just be rehash of things already mentioned in the thread earlier. That, and forum members may be slightly less inclined to be helpful if they feel you posted it because you are too lazy to go back and read the whole thread. They might even be sarcastic/mean about it. A tidbit of Advice If you've read the thread and still want advice, at least try to be specific. Perhaps state the price and quantity you are considering and your ideal hold time. I bet a post that asks a question in this manner will be much better received. I know I'd probably answer this question with a little more insight and help than I would otherwise offer. Now, that is for a single set which has a dedicated thread. What if you are a new investor/collector/browser or Lego aficionado and you want to ask about several sets at once? I offer you this, a shopping list of what you should be buying today (according to me). I am looking for these same sets for one reason: they are either sold out or retired from either the Europe or North America shop at home and I believe they aren't coming back. I also believe that they have some potential, and carry a very low risk because they are becoming harder to find at MSRP or on sale anywhere. That isn't to say they can't be found – some might be found quite online still, depending on your market. Others might be in store only, so this shopping list is a handy thing to check when out with the family browsing retailers and trying to kill time. Veegs' Awesome Quick Guide of the Best Hopefully Soon to be Officially Retired or Already Retired in Some Markets Lego Shopping List. (Items may come back into stock. Not an official guarantee. Veegs is not responsible for your investment choices. Success rate may vary wildly.) Architecture: A nice range for all budgets! This line is one of my favorites, and I think the new Cityscapes, while neat, aren't as desirable as the standalone sets, which will hopefully push demand for older sets. Availability in Canada isn't great, but I think Barnes and Noble in the US still have some of these (your area may vary). No clue about Europe or other markets, but I'd keep my eyes peeled for any of these. Imperial Hotel 21017 Villa Savoye 21014 United Nations Headquarters 21018 Bradenburg Gate 21011 Leaning Tower of Pisa 21015 Seattle Space Needle 21003 At this point, I'm a buyer of any/all of these at MSRP CITY: Quite a few City sets qualify for my list, but these are two I particularly like. The Ice Breaker was a Toys R Us exclusive (at least in Canada) and boats are, in short, awesome. The Snowplow is pretty cool, and there is no remake (yet) on the horizon. Could this be the next Logging Truck? (I bought a lot of them...still not enough) Unique City sets often do well, and despite the constant police/fire sets, the themes overall CAGR% is rock solid, so there is money to be made on this theme with the right sets. I'd include Coast Guard Patrol 60014, too, if you can still find it. Arctic Ice Breaker 60062 Snowplow Truck 60083 Disney Princess: I am a huge Princess fan. I think this theme is on the cusp of doing some great things for investors, and have a separate blog in progress. For now, though, I think this is the best pick of the four that meet the sold out/retired criteria. Only Rapunzel set so far (minus a 2014 polybag) and a massive fan base (including my daughter). Disney toy collectors are out there (my daughter watches so many Disney un-boxing videos and such...I experience it first hand) and I doubt we're getting another Rapunzel set anytime soon or a remake – rumors have Belle coming this summer. I love this set. Rapunzel's Creativity Tower 41054 Friends: Quite a few others on the sold out/retired list but I gravitate towards these two. The Mall is a good anchor set for any town, and the last large Friends set to retire (Riding Camp) did well. I think this will do just fine in 12-18 months. I opted for the Beach House over a couple other mid-sized sets because Heartlake seems to have a boatload of stores but not that many houses. The new Emma's House and Livi's Mansion (although the mansion seems smaller than Emma's house?) bring some balance, but I think this set is one folks will pay double MSRP for to add to their collection. Heartlake Shopping Mall 41058 Stephanie's Beach House 41037 Ideas: Gorgeous set, and the growth in the European market has me believing in this set more every day. From the dedicated thread for this set I know folks are still able to find this in North America and use coupons or other magic to get it on sale. Your skill level and experience may dictate that, but I still think it is a great set at MSRP. Birds 21301 Pirates: Short run for a theme, and this is the flagship of the line. Still floating around at MSRP in Canada, but plenty got in on sale recently. I suspect if it is available around you, you can probably wait and get it on sale. Unlike others on this list, I'd prefer this at least 20% off before going nuts. The Brick Bounty 70413 Marvel: I was going to include Guardians of the Galaxy but I've already discussed those sets here: Ant-Man is growing like Wolverine's Chopper Showdown did and should be sought out in your region and purchased. Easy to store and probably easy to ship, great set for a brand new investor to track down and buy. Check recent sold listings on eBay to see what I'm talking about! Ant-Man Final Battle 76039 Star Wars: These will be the hardest to find, even at full retail price. In case you didn't know, a new Star Wars movie came out in December 2015!!! There are a few others I'd throw on this list, too, but I think these four are the best of the recently sold out/retired lot. At least in the North American market. Imperial Star Destroyer 75055 AT-AT 75054 MTT 75058 Mos Eisley Cantina 75052 The Hobbit: Stragglers are still out there from the third wave. It had the shortest run that I can remember from any/all of the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit waves and scarcity drives demand. Impressive sold listings for Lonely Mountain and Mirkwood Elves so I'd snap up remaining stock of this final wave. Unlikely to ever be made again and a huge fan base, coupled with the fact that there are no decent Medieval sets on the horizon (I'm not counting Nexo Knights, people!) There are many other sets that fit my criteria (sold out or retired in at least one market) but I think these are your best bets, even at MSRP. That being said, I happily nabbed plenty of sets not on this list but at a discount. Obviously, if the set is sold out/retired and you can get it for clearance prices, you probably don't need me to tell you to consider it (unless it is Ninjago, The Lego Movie or Chima, then consider longer...still might not be a great buy in) and probably nab it. Remember items marked clearance probably won't be in that store when you come back, so don't hesitate too long. Do a quick check of Brickpicker values or a scan of recent sold items on eBay, and if you see it trading significantly above the clearance price I'd probably advise pulling out the plastic and buying. Also, as per my exclusives 2016 article, no need for a new investor to start throwing money at exclusives! I doubt we're getting a surprise winter/spring retirement of a bunch of huge sets (sarcasm – I expect zero, maybe one Star Wars set around May the 4th) so put your money into sets that are already primed for post-EOL growth. Probably the safest place to put cash, and you can get your feet wet selling some of the sets on this list tomorrow (Ant Man, for example) or in a few months. I daresay all of the sets on my list will be able to be sold for a decent profit in 9-10 months. Low risk, short hold time (if needed, most will benefit from longer holds before plateauing but nothing wrong with cashing out sometimes) and good to great upside. Winner, winner, buy BigBlueDogBricks a chicken dinner. All photos courtesy of brickpicker.com, opted for one per theme discussed otherwise I felt it would be a little too picture-happy. Happy Hunting, Veegs
    16 points
  7. So, you have found Brickpicker and probably have already bought a number of sets that you plan on selling at some point in the future. Or, maybe you are a somewhat seasoned investor that has accumulated a large number of sets and are just now starting to sell your first few items. Either way, I wanted to give you a by no means comprehensive list of best practices for listing your items for sale. Whether you list on BP’s Brick Classifieds, eBay or some other site, I think these basic first steps will help increase your sales and reduce the risk of potential issues. 1 - General Tips Before getting into more details, I wanted to provide some general tips when listing LEGO in any platform. Following them will help you avoid some of the most common problems sellers encounter when selling online, and might also help you get more exposure to potential buyers. DO avoid using “Good till’ Cancelled” listings. Using 30 day fixed price formats allows me to easily see which listings may need a price reduction; if I have had to relist more than once, then I usually do some quick research about current prices. Furthermore, I have read that eBay’s search engine tends to favor listings that are not “Good till’ Cancelled”. DO avoid Auctions. While this format has its uses (want to get rid of something quick or such), most of the time it can cause you to leave money on the table. Do some research, list fixed and get what you expect from your items! DO check before publishing your listings all the information is correct. DON’T list open box sets as New. While most of the time you should not have a problem when doing this, some buyers will receive a set with an open box, bags sealed, and still open Not as Described cases or a return request. DON’T list parted out sets as New. Pretty much the same reasoning as the point above. One last, but slightly controversial, suggestion for those using eBay: If you have reached the standards to become Top Rated, but are reluctant to because of the requirement to offer returns, understand that every single seller on eBay is already obligated to take returns. If you won’t take a set back, buyers have the option to simply open a SNAD case, which might count against you, and return the item just the same. The 20% benefit in Final Value Fees is very much worth it! 2 - Title As a seller, we need to make sure that the title of your listing has as much relevant information as possible. As you can imagine, having the key words in the title will make your item more visible when buyers start looking for sets using a particular site’s search engine. Obviously, the most important things to include in the title are the brand (LEGO), the theme and the set number and name. While you could argue that most end buyers don’t have the set numbers memorized, some re-sellers and investors do, and this provides a faster way for them to find your listings as well. Besides these key identifiers, let’s take a look at some other pieces of information that might save you time and help you avoid issues with your buyers. New Sets You might think that if you are selling a new set then things should be pretty straightforward when listing, and I would agree. Unfortunately, there is a portion of buyers that simply don’t research or review the items they are purchasing as much as someone like you and me would. For this reason, I suggest you follow the Dos and Don’ts below. DO NOT include condition qualifiers in your title that are subjective in nature. While it may be tempting to include the acronym MISB (Mint in Sealed Box) in your title, or description, this opens the door for buyer dissatisfaction and potential Not as Described cases. Box condition IS subjective. DO include NIB (New in Box) if you are set in having one of these nice acronyms in your title. While I don’t do it myself, this one is a lot more straightforward and less subjective than some of the others. DO include the phrase “Damaged Box” if your set shows more than average shelf-wear. This is a judgment call, but as a seasoned LEGO buyer you should have an idea of how much damage is too much. This will reduce the chances of a buyer buying without reading the description and then opening a SNAD case. Used Sets As you can imagine, listing used sets requires a little more detail. While you still want to include the basic information (brand, theme, name and number), you also want to make sure you indicate whether the set is complete or incomplete. To me, this is the most important piece of information to have in a used set listing title. Also, make sure to indicate if the set includes the box and the instruction manuals. Once again, this saves the buyer time, as well as potential headaches for you. DO mention if your listing is “Open box, sealed contents”. Some people care very little about the box or the fact that it is open. Indicating that the contents are sealed will lead most buyers to believe, as they should, that a set is new; just not what Paypal and eBay consider to be New. DO mention if a set is parted out. Make sure to be very clear about what component of the set you are selling. DO include if the set includes a new sticker sheet or set of instructions. Some buyers are really attracted to sets that have a “newer” feel; being able to apply stickers is a big one in my book. 3 - Description The description space is where you will make sure that you cover as many details as you need about your listing. DO make sure to repeat the information from the title once again. As redundant as this sounds, it is very important that you reduce the chance of buyers assuming or misinterpreting information. Dealing with returns or other buyer issues will waste your time and keep you from making as much money as you should be! DO include details about your return policy and Unpaid Item Case timeline. I usually just let buyers know that I will give them 4 days to pay, unless they contact me about it, and will require that the items be returned to me in the same condition as they were originally sent. DO include a shipping policy. Let buyers know how you will be shipping the items, so they know you won’t just be slapping a label on a set and sending it away (please, don’t do this). Also, make sure to indicate if you will be requiring signature upon delivery (and you should for items over $750, or its foreign equivalent). DO take the time to find or make your own template. While this is not a deal breaker, it makes your listings look a little more professional than most. DON’T mention that the set is MISB (I know this is the second time I mention this). I usually have a little note that reads, “Box shows shelf-wear” on my listings; helps reduce expectations and makes me look better if the box arrives MINT. 4 - Images Obviously, another extremely important portion of any listing is a proper picture. While uploading photos to any site is pretty simple, I still wanted to leave you with some basic advice you can follow. DO include your own picture. I for one had deviated from this a little as I found myself with less time to sell than I would have liked, but have started to do it again as I believe it does make a difference, especially for used sets and damaged boxes. DO print a sign with your username and place it in front of the item. This can help assure buyers you actually have the item and also, to a lesser extent, help create your brand. Buying LEGO sets is extremely fun, but I believe selling is just as much! Hopefully this article has provided some basic advice you can follow while you start your journey into the very unique world of LEGO investing. Thanks for reading!
    14 points
  8. Recently, several major news outlets have stated that there is a “looming” shortage of LEGO bricks on the horizon in some European countries. The continued strong growth of The LEGO Group...basically a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 20% for the last seven or eight years, has taxed the production capacity of the company and has forced them to admit that there could be problems acquiring LEGO sets this Holiday season. According to LEGO press officer, Roar Trangbeck, "The demand for Lego products during the first half of 2015 has been significantly higher than our and our customers' expectations and projections and this has put a strain on the Lego Group's manufacturing facilities globally." In simpler terms, LEGO products are too darn popular...and for good reason mind you. Recently, LEGO has made an effort to bring the LEGO brick to the Far Eastern markets, exacerbating the shortage situation even more in non-North American countries. The LEGO Group is building a new LEGO factory in Jiaxing, China, but unfortunately, the manufacturing plant will not be ready until 2017. It also didn’t help that The LEGO Movie was extremely popular and many of the company’s new non-brick products like TV shows and video games have become Über popular as well. This is a situation that most companies would love...factories running at full tilt and customers buying up existing inventories at record rates. But LEGO has always been mindful of upsetting customers and their customer service and satisfaction has always been exemplary. So what’s the world number one toy maker to do? How about ban some customers? Now, before anyone gets offended or questions my motives, I would like to state this is all pure speculation based on recent activities and happenings. Over the past several years, there have been a faction of North American LEGO customers banned from the LEGO Shop @ Home VIP program and online purchases. Granted, many of these banned customers bought in excess of The LEGO Group’s purchase limits and were obvious resellers, which in itself is not illegal, but some companies frown upon the process. LEGO wants to sell to the end user first and would rather not have non-sanctioned resellers sell to the end user, unless a person goes through their approval process of becoming a brick and mortar toy and LEGO seller. This makes sense and I completely understand (...but respectfully disagree with) their possible stance on the situation. That being said, LEGO reselling has largely been a North American phenomena over the past ten years or so and European and British LEGO customers were rarely, if ever, banned for excessive LEGO purchases...until now. Over the past several months, more and more non-North American customers have been getting banned from LEGO Shop @ Home for exceeding purchase limits or just buying excessive amounts of LEGO sets in a short time period. This is new...and news. LEGO fans, collectors and resellers from outside the United States have never been subject to any sort of bans for purchases to my knowledge. Many people far exceeded purchase limits and were not banned and this went on for years. So why the change in philosophy? How about a shortage of LEGO bricks? Now, it’s possible that LEGO reselling has become rampant in Great Britain and Europe, thus the reason for the bans. It is also possible that LEGO is feeling the pinch of the shortages and is making sure whatever LEGO sets they have for sale are going directly to the end user. If they ban a reseller...so what? The savvy reseller will find other ways to acquire LEGO sets. But at least this way, LEGO assures that at least a portion of LEGO sets will go to end users instead of resellers, who could buy 10, 20 or more of one kind of set to resell on LEGO secondary sites. Personally, I found this recent revelation about a LEGO shortage in Europe and increasing bans from LEGO retail outlets too coincidental for there not to be a connection. Just from speaking with many non-North American members over the course of the last several years, I don’t think reselling of LEGO sets in Great Britain and Europe to be anywhere near the levels of the United States and Canada, but it’s probably a growing concern for The LEGO Group, especially considering the fact that there is a possible shortage of bricks. So what does this shortage mean for the LEGO fan and/or reseller? Well, fans will have to wait for LEGO sets in many instances. “Temporarily Out of Stock” has become commonplace on LEGO Shop @ Home. Many “exclusives” are backordered frequently, so fans can get impatient, especially with the Holiday season right around the corner. Resellers can take advantage of these shortages by being the only source for some of these sets. But resellers also need to be careful and purchase within the limits issued by LEGO or fear a ban from LEGO retail outlets and VIP programs. All in all, it’s an interesting time to be a LEGO fan, collector and reseller. The legendary LEGO brick has never been more popular, yet “everything is not awesome.” Poor Little Timmy might not get that fancy new Ultimate Collector Series set in time for Christmas. Good thing there are LEGO resellers ready to step in and sell their sets to Little Timmy’s parents...
    14 points
  9. 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. REVIEW: SET DETAILSLego set: 75060Name: Slave ITheme: Star WarsParts: 1996Price: $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. BOX CONTENTS 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 STICKER SHEET 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. OPINION THE BUILD 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. THE MODEL 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. PARTS VALUE 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. DESIRABILITY 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. FINAL THOUGHTS 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.
    13 points
  10. With so many total sets available and #chaos in full effect as predicted by J-Mack, I thought it would be useful for new(er) members to the site and to Lego investing on the whole to take a look at how a short or shorter than expected run can greatly impact the value of a set. Without further adieu... The Mine 4204 June 1st, 2012 – Nov. 29th 2014 CAGR: 0.05% I loved 4204 The Mine. It had a lot going for it (at least in my eyes) – cool subtheme, unlikely to be remade, and lots of potential buyers seem to like construction vehicles and sets in non-technic sets. I'm sure they like them in Technic, too, but based on sets released, traditional sets seem more popular and sell more. I got a great deal on a whole bunch of them about one and a half years in, and hoped to see it retire around the two year mark. Sadly, either more sets were produced or not enough folks were buying at MSRP because it lingered for about two and a half years. Unfortunately, the brickset.com dates also only indicate the date at which it became unavailable from Shop at Home, but I can assure you that Toys R Us in Canada still had stock into early 2015. I like a varied portfolio, I'm a big believer in the right CITY sets, but the shelf life hurt 4204 in my opinion. Currently Brickpicker lists its US value at essentially MSRP. Granted, it was a CITY set, so if you didn't get it at a good discount you can only blame yourself, but profit potential seems to have been crimped by availability from 2012 into 2015. City Cargo Terminal 60022 Aug. 1st, 2013 – Dec. 12th, 2014 CAGR: 15.97% In comparison, another large CITY set, 60022 Cargo Terminal, was available from Shop at Home for under eighteen months, total. Massive difference for another subtheme I liked and thought was cool. With a current BP value of around $155 USD, plenty of extra room to visit profit land and frolic in piles of solid returns. With CITY sets, I'm not really looking for a set to hit the stratosphere, but I find they can be steady workhorses that reliably net returns – great for mixing it up. That being said, a couple of other sets I want to focus on had even shorter runs than 60022 and have exceeded likely every investors' expectations. (I call BS if investors claim they knew The Zombies was going to break through $200 USD on launch day or even as it started to become a little hard to find) Logging Truck 60059 Dec 2013 (Jan 1st 2014 wide release) to Dec 15th 2014 CAGR: 67.27% Cool vehicle from a sometimes overlooked theme. Add approximately one year of availability, stir, and watch the money come in. Enormous ROI%, even at MSRP, but pure gravy for those with the foresight to get some of these at 20% off or more. The size of the set really helps the CAGR percentage, which is great for new investors who are looking for solid short to medium term sets that can really help a small time investor scale up. Arctic Supply Plane 60064 Aug. 1st, 2014 to Dec 28th 2014 CAGR: 43.63% Crazy short run from a theme most probably though had at least another twelve if not eighteen months. Just now the last Arctic sets have moved to Sold Out at Shop at Home, so quite a big difference. Even though the plane looks a lot like other planes (at least to me) in other City subthemes – like the plane in the Deep Sea subtheme (another Toys R Us exclusive, at least in Canada), it certainly hasn't caused collectors to NOT want to buy this set, even while its brothers and sisters were widely available. With great scarcity seems to come nice gains, even if the set doesn't seem all that amazing. Ant-Man Final Battle Jun 1st, 2015 – Oct 15th, 2015 CAGR: 25.66% Seems to be in a nice initial growth phase. Even with some chatter about this set and investors jumping on the bandwagon, the lack of new supply will likely only keep prices in relative check for a short time. Great minifigs and a very short run, plus upcoming screen time in new movies means a lot of potential. Despite knock off Superhero minifigs being an issue – and many superhero set builds being underwhelming – there is still money to be made on the right sets. Also spoiler alert the 2016 summer Superhero sets look a lot more desirable overall, so perhaps this is a good time to try out this theme (or revisit it, if you've been avoiding it in the post 6866 world). Plus, this is a crazy short shelf life for a set, even if it had issues at launch. Snowplough & Excavator and Others... The whole Demolition line seemed available on sale over the holidays, at least around me, but the Excavator seems to be the exception. Brickset lists it being available from Dec. 2nd, 2014, but general release (I believe) was Jan. 1st, 2015. A retail life under a year and from a cool subtheme, I think this might surprise in the next six to twelve months. Toys R Us Canada has them on sale right now, 33% off (Jan 29, 2016) and I tend to think this could be an easy double at this reduction with pending official retirement. The Snowplough is even cooler (at least in my opinion) and I think will be a huge draw next winter in places that get snow. Just around a year of availability and well-reviewed on other Lego sites all point to a nice potential profit in the next twelve months and beyond until it hits a plateau There are plenty of other sets from other lines, but I have to leave some work for readers to do themselves. I tried to highlight a few I find interesting, but rest assured this isn't a complete list and there are other short-run gems out there to be found. Right now, Hydra Fortresses, Pirates sets and Raptor Escapes are being sought out at retailers. The beauty of the short run sets (or themes...think Castle before and Pirates now...Scooby Doo is my prediction for 2016) is that often online stock dries up quickly and getting more than one or two requires some leg work, stock checking and dragging the kids (or self) to physical stores to mop up the remnants. For me, it is one of the most enjoyable parts of this hobby/business, although I am a self diagnosed masochist who likes the awfulness that retail environments sometimes foster. Final Thoughts Older investors are probably familiar with a lot of these sets, and earlier ones; the lore of the Zombies and Wolverine's Chopper Showdown are the stuff of investing legend, whispered about whenever two or more investors gather. Keeping a watchful eye on the forums here on Brickpicker as well as Shop at Home should give you enough lead time to go on a buying spree when you see a short run hit sold out. Currently, there are so many lines/themes and waves out there that short run sets seem to be happening with more regularity – or I'm just noticing it more – but they present opportunities that a savvy investor can jump on. If you live in a regional area with a lot of competition (from “normals” buying sets from their kids or, worse, rival Pickers) the chances of short run sets surviving long after moving to 'sold out' are slim, so stay sharp out there! Veegs
    13 points
  11. Where Are They Now? is an ongoing blog series dedicated to analyzing specific high-profile Lego sets that have been targeted for investment and sold out / retired a year or more in the past. The idea is to review and summarize a wide range of investment factors surrounding the set a few months before, during, and after it stopped becoming available at retail prices... then look at the financial performance of the set thus far, and perhaps discover a clue about future growth and/or similar sets yet to retire. I absolutely have to begin with the Lego exclusive set that blew the doors off the investment world in Fall of 2014: Town Hall. Released: March 2012 Last Available (US): October 2014 Months Availabile: 31 Retail Price (US): $199.99 Pieces: 2766 Minifigures: 8 A Little History The modular building series, starting in 2007 with Cafe Corner, quickly became extremely popular with both AFOLs and investors, rivaling Star Wars UCS as the well known "Top of the Line" Lego sets. Those first two buildings, including Green Grocer, were only available for a little over 2 years each which helps explain their astronomical appreciation. However, by the time late 2014 arrived, a pattern had obviously been established in most investor's minds that the rest of the series was sticking around approximately 4 years per set. Fire Brigade had departed in late 2013 after 4 years, Grand Emporium was several months past its 4th anniversary (and expected to retire), and Pet Shop had been available for 3.5 already. Virtually no one had Town Hall on their radar as a candidate for retirement at the time. A few savvy individuals opened their eyes in Spring 2014 when it went temporarily out of stock, but the vast majority were non-believers and focused their attention and wallets elsewhere. Popular Opinion This modular series centerpiece was also a poor seller in comparison to its brethren as it sat "gathering dust" on store shelves. Partial evidence of this fact was observed by many (including yours truly) that seal codes on these boxes were commonly a year or more old, while others in the modular series had been produced only a few months or even weeks prior to being offered at retail. Apparently Town Hall just wasn't selling. Take a look at the date stamps on posts 6 and 7 in the official Brickpicker thread to see how ignored this set was. Several possible reasons for the lack of popularity, especially as an investment, include: The $200 (US) price point - significantly higher than the other modular options available at the time. A large box that takes up significantly more space than other modulars. An arguably "ugly orange" / "boring" design, with less aesthetic appeal than many would like. Clear expectation that it would be available for at least another year. Now, Pay Attention... On Oct 1, 2014 Town Hall went to backordered status at LEGO Shop at Home, then Toys'R'Us online went out of stock. The next day, Target sold out, and Lego status when to Sold Out as well, followed by Walmart (all according to reports made in our Town Hall thread). Eyebrows were officially raised, especially given the then-recent quick disappearance of Haunted House, when many expected that set to stay widely available through Halloween. But still a large number of investors thought it was unwarranted panic, citing the double VIP point promotion as well as the in-and-out of stock "dance" that Grand Emporium had been doing for much of the year without actually retiring. That's when our illustrious troll-guru leader Ed Mack dropped an atom bomb disguised as a feather, on page 7: "Very soon, this will be the busiest thread on the site." Part Nostradamus classic, perhaps part self-fulfilling prophecy, this statement became more than true and the thread exploded over the next few days as investors and end users everywhere slowly but surely realized the huge ugly orange wedding chapel was actually going away... and maybe... just maybe... they wanted one (or several) after all. Last available on Oct. 4 from Lego US / Canada, occasional small batches of stock popped up at various retailers, both online and physical, for over a month... but you had to be very lucky or a truly dedicated soul (wearing out your F5 key or weaving scripting magic) to catch one of these opportunities. There was a final production run in weeks 38-39, corresponding to late September, that trickled out (primarily to resellers) during October. It seemingly was not too extensive, however. Show Me the Money! Meanwhile, eBay prices shot up into the $300-$350 range within a day.The Brickpicker Price Guide reflected this huge surprise retirement factor as New 10224 values reached $400 before Christmas and climbed steadily to the $530 range in Spring of 2015, before leveling off for several months. Some investors were happy to buy in at over 2x MSRP, predicting continued growth in late 2015, which simply hasn't happened. Still, the set currently shows a 25% CAGR, outstanding by almost any measure. New prices have seemingly stabilized around $550 on Amazon, $500 on eBay, and $450 on Bricklink for the time being. Brick Classifieds currently follows suit. A substantial increase in Used values occurred on eBay (U.S.) from around $250 to $400 late last summer, continuing up to $450 now. It should be noted that the rest of the eBay world seems to have an approximate 20% premium on New over Used sets, a much wider gap than the U.S., and certainly closer to "normal". However, average Used sales over the last six months are $400 on Bricklink as well, proving strong demand for opened Town Halls. Perhaps end users hit their financial limit later this year, choosing to accept pre-owned copies at nearly half the price instead... so many doing so, in fact, that buying competition drove the Used price up to nearly New values. Another factor could be that this set is quite difficult to piece together, reportedly commanding about $500 for all pieces and instructions (no box), before adding multiple shipping and handling charges. Do we assume New prices will begin the inevitable climb upward again soon? Or will Used values dip back down a bit first as Americans realize the relatively small difference right now? One would think the gap should widen again, one way or another. From a longer-term perspective, will there be another huge increase in Town Hall values at some point in the next year or two? Or will it simply rise steadily, seeking four-digit sales (then returns) closer to 2020? No one can say for sure, but it IS going to gain value again. The only questions are how fast and how far. Several seasoned investors believe this is one of a very small number of "special" sets released in the past few years that have the potential to reach the $1000 mark. Some optimists were even hoping it would approach that threshold in late 2015. The one wild card in the game which could completely invalidate such bullish predictions is the possibility of a remake. I certainly don't see that happening, but I doubt anyone could have guessed over a year ago that Winter Toy Shop would be remade, either. If Lego ever decided to duplicate Town Hall, the value of 10224 would obviously drop like a rock. What to Do with Mine? If you are holding and can afford it, my personal advice is to keep holding. The relatively low supply of this set compared to so many other exclusives should make it an even bigger winner in the long run. Simply out-waiting sellers who are happy to take 3x their buy-in is a path to more profit for the rest of us. As more and more of these get bought and opened, a sealed Town Hall will become more of a collector's item, vaguely similar to Cafe Corner and Green Grocer before it. Of course it will never catch those sets in value, but it is a virtual lock for the "bronze medal" of modular building investments. On the other hand, if you are a buyer who missed out... seriously consider looking for a current "deal" (whether new or used), and get yours soon. It is only a matter of time before this set keeps rising in value, and if there is another big jump, you will avoid several hundred dollars of regret by acting now. I believe we are in a temporary "lull" with Town Hall's value (especially New), and if so, the more buyers that take advantage of it, the sooner the lull will be over, financially benefiting those who do. I definitely do not recommend picking up this set at current prices as a pure investment anymore, however, as fresher and more predictable opportunities are widely available. The Big Picture: Above all, realize - if you don't already - that Town Hall in many ways kicked off the maelstrom of CHAOS representing a marked change in Lego retirement (and production) schedules. Many investors "learned their lesson" when caught empty-handed with(out) this set, and adjusted their strategies to accumulate target stock numbers on subsequent exclusives earlier and more gradually. Of course, some were doing this already, and happen to have been proven smarter in this particular case. One only need glance at Pet Shop, Death Star, Tower Bridge, and T1 Camper Van to see that a strategy which works best for one set may not work for others, however. Whatever your budget and investment angle, use the retirement of Town Hall as a reminder that anything can happen, and that when the truly unexpected occurs, historical gains may be had. Additionally, avoiding the herd/horde mentality is proving to be more and more of a wise choice, starting most noticeably in the months prior to the day of infamy when 10224 became the busiest thread on the site! Special thanks to the following individuals for suggestions and editing help: jaisonline
    13 points
  12. Hello LEGO fans, collectors and resellers… Many of you may already know who I am, but for those of you that may have just learned about Brickpicker, my name is Ed Maciorowski and I would like to ask you for a few moments of your time. Over the past five years, my brother Jeff and I have operated the BrickPicker site at no cost to members and fans. All we ever asked from members was to click on affiliate links to help pay for the site expenses, which cost members little or no out of pocket money. Many of you have gained valuable information and insight from our data and forum community that enabled you to make money from LEGO collecting and reselling. Often, people would ask how can we help the BrickPicker site and its creators and we would say thanks for the offer, but no thanks, we felt uncomfortable taking donations. Well, we have a way for all of you to help out not only me, but over 150 children and their families. Let me introduce you to the St. Paul School of Burlington, NJ… My son, Max, is a member of the Kindergarten class in St. Paul School. He has attended the school since September and adores it. My wife, Jane, and I also adore the school. It is everything a school should be. It’s a school where everyone knows your name and there is a sense of pride and respect not found in many other larger schools. I cannot explain it, but there is an ambience of goodness in the building. Sounds corny I know, but as a person who has the word “evil” in his email address, I can tell you that I know when something deserves special recognition as a “good” thing. But it’s not only me who recognizes a great school. St. Paul School was voted the “Best Private School” in Burlington County, NJ and won numerous other awards. St. Paul School’s graduates constantly excel in high schools throughout Central NJ, with a large portion of graduates appearing on the National Honor Society and finishing top in their classes as Valedictorians and Salutatorians. To find out more about the St. Paul School, you can check out their website… So here is the situation. St. Paul School is a Catholic school and as many people know, Catholic schools always have a hard time paying the bills to remain open. While St. Paul School and other Catholic schools welcome all religions and people, they are not funded by state or federal tax dollars and must adhere to many policies of the Catholic church and their Dioceses. Unfortunately, due to the weak economy and other forces outside of their control, enrollment in Catholic schools is down, putting more and more pressure on the school’s and local church’s budgets to remain open. This is an ongoing battle and fundraising has become an annual ritual in every Catholic school in the nation and most likely, the world. Everyone has to do their part to help out and Jeff and I are doing ours. Here is our plan… Jeff and I are going to personally RAFFLE OFF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF RARE AND RETIRED LEGO SETS! These sets are from our personal collections and they include the: 10188 Death Star 10228 Haunted House Sealed Case of 64 Series 10 Collectible Minifigures (MR.GOLD might be in there!) 10224 Town Hall 10225 Ultimate Collector Series R2-D2 MORE SETS HAVE BEEN ADDED!!! That is well over $2000.00 in LEGO sets. All are retired and appreciating in value as we speak. I will personally ship them to anywhere in the world at my cost and in a proper shipping container. There will be one winner for each set and you must buy tickets for each raffle separately. One person can win all the sets if they enter all five raffles. There are discounted tickets available and the raffle will be run on the www.rallyup.com website, which is a very reputable and trustworthy fundraising site. They will automatically pick the winners at 11:59 PM on January 31, 2016 and will notify the winners. I will then ship out the winning LEGO sets to their new owners. The raffle and link to share can be found below: https://rallyup.com/stpaul-2016 Each ticket costs $10.00 and enables you to enter one LEGO set raffle of your choice. $50.00 will cover all five iconic LEGO sets. ALL OF THE PROCEEDS (besides the commission to www.rallyup.com) goes to St. Paul School and to its corresponding church, The Parish of Saint Katharine Drexel, which helps the school operate. Tickets can be paid with any major credit card and the site is secure. Unfortunately, PayPal does not get involved with “raffles,” so PayPal can only be used for direct donations. I know that is a minor inconvenience, but if their is an issue, contact Jeff or I and we can see what we can do about transferring money to our PayPal account and paying for your raffle tickets. If we get a great response from people, we might add a few major sets or collectible and rare items to the raffle contest. On a personal note, I just have to say that I feel awkward asking people to help and for money, but the St. Paul School kids, faculty and community are worth it. They need to raise $200,000 by the end of January in order to keep the doors open and I am pulling all of my strings to help get them to that goal. I need your help. Period. If you value quality education and teaching children morals and respect, then supporting a school like St. Paul is paramount to the future well being of this planet. To the BrickPicker community...Show the LEGO world that we are more than just a bunch of Quick Flipping Low Lifes….that we care and have a heart, even though we buy all of Little Timmy’s LEGO sets up to resell. LOL. Honestly, this is important to Jeff and I and I want to be proud of our community that we have built over the past 5+ years. If you want to repay us for all of the efforts we have made over the past five years, buy a ticket...or two...or five. My son and 150+ other kids and families, faculty and friends of the St. Paul School will thank you… CLICK HERE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FUNDRAISER PLEASE HELP AND SHARE THIS BLOG POST ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS!! If you are interested in just making a donation and want to use Paypal, you can. Just click the purchase link on the right side bar. On the next page you will see a checkbox that will allow you to just make a donation. Check that box and you will then see options for payment. Paypal is not available for buying raffle tickets, it is against their terms.
    12 points
  13. A happy belated New Year to all my readers, all nine of you. May this coming year bring you discounted exclusives, 80% clearance finds in out of the way stores on long retired merchandise and superb buyer feedback in 2016. I'd also like to quickly take a sentence to remind readers that the Mack's, a.k.a. The Founders, a.k.a. The Collectors, a.k.a. The Guys Who Made Me Take the Blue Pill, are still raising money for St. Paul's and it would be a darn shame not to support such a great cause. I could cite a boatload of research that supports the notion that giving money away makes the giver undeniably happier, or could chastise those that read content (including this rubbish) but don't want to give back in any way, but I'd rather give a polite reminder that time is running out to buy tickets and the sets up for grabs could easily be the centerpiece of a budding collection. At the minimum, there should be lots of great stockroom photo sharing when these sets find new homes, and hopefully some education for little Macks. Back to business. What is BigBlueDogBricks targeting for 2016 in terms of exclusives? I'm sure everyone is waiting with bated breath to see what Ol' Blue is favoring, but I'll give a little background in case you are new to my flow. This will be my fourth year dabbling in Brickvesting (yeah, I'm starting to feel a little bro-ish using that term...might have to coin something new) and I am now confident classifying myself as a solid middle tier investor. I see lots of new members posting in various forums and can only assume you might want to hear a little advice on what kind of buying someone who was once like you is preparing to do. Side anecdote: Just before Christmas I was contacted by a fellow in the Greater Toronto Area who wanted to buy a couple of large sets. We chatted back and forth and he correctly assumed that because I had so many listings I was doing this as more than a casual hobby (like someone 'accidentally' has hundreds of Lego sets for sale at the same time?) and he asked a few questions about Lego investing and such. Yeah, not much of an anecdote yet...Anyway, he tells me that along with his brother they are getting into Lego and think investing is cool. They opt not to buy any of my sets (although they were underpriced from ebay sales around 20-25%, and I sold a couple of the sets they were interested in within a week for more than what they thought was too steep) but he did end with an interesting question – so you're buying tons of Pet Shops and Tower Bridges now, right? I chuckled, because I think people often get drawn to Brickpicker and think the big shiny sets are the easiest way to get started. I am a prophet preaching Anything But Modulars now, though, as I believe there are quite a few better strategies to be successful that are faster and provide a greater overall return than simply picking the current oldest modular and throwing money at it. Worst. Strategy. Ever. So, if you are relatively new or just don't have a lot of capital to invest what should you buy from the exclusives? Well, I've ordered my 2016 picks chosen from all the sets under the 'Hard to Find' label on Shop at Home (Canada), along with a quick rundown of why it deserves that ranking. I'll be back soon to talk about large (but not exclusive) sets that are on my buy list, and finish up with a smaller sets hit list. Fun! BigBlueDogToys Anything But Modulars Buy List Order, Winter 2016, Exclusives Ewok Village 10236 Current Amazon.com sales rank: 149 in building sets I'm sure plenty of other investors have this at or near the top of their list. It is the oldest Star Wars large (not officially a UCS) set and, in case you don't know, Star Wars is totally a thing with people. They by and large seem to love it, if box office results indicate anything. It was listed as 'check back in February' for a few months (but was always available to buy at other retailers, at least in Canada) and is now listed as temporarily out of stock. Rumors have maybe three or four large Star Wars sets in the pipeline, so something seemingly has to give. I'm not advocating going crazy for a small to mid-sized investor (I have four from a flash sale from Walmart Canada) but it will probably be the first set I buy during the next double VIP + promo event. If you want to read a lot of Ewok love (or conversely a lot of Ewok hate) the dedicated thread is long and I can summarize: opinion seems divided, not much in the middle. I'm a lover, not a fighter, so these furballs are alright with me. Despite a good sales rank, it hasn't been around nearly as long as the modulars on my dishonorable mentions list so I'll let its current relative popularity slide. The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier 76042 Current Amazon.com sales rank: 344 in Building Sets A couple of whispers from far off places (Singapore, if you don't care to read the retiring soon thread religiously) have this retiring sooner rather than later. Limit is 1 from Shop at Home. It is massive. Ewoks are running circles around it according to sales rank. So why buy? Unlikely to ever be remade, I'd say, or at least not anytime soon. Difficult for small and medium-sized investors to hoard a set this large and expensive. Marvel fatigue might be setting in a bit (perhaps more of a Superheroes malaise, really) although I think the core fan base will still buy. Hasn't been around that long, but I'd still rather use double VIP to get a couple in the spring and then reevaluate. The Fairground Mixer 10244 Current Amazon.com sales rank: 840 in Building Sets Overall the worst sales rank of the sets I've chosen to focus on today, which makes me happy. Almost swapped this with the Helicarrier...consider it a toss up for me. A poor seller in a crowded Lego release schedule seems very likely to get the axe sooner rather than later. I have a couple now but would actually be quite happy to aim for double digits here. I think it is a unique kind of set and is priced well for Canada! I was happy to grab Maersk EEEs when they were sitting with the retiring soon label for months and others were buying (presumably) modulars. I've sold some of those EEEs while those that invested in other large sets are potentially still sitting on them, and I've got cash profits to put into another hidden gem. It will be interesting to see if a third carnival type set gets released this summer, or if the Friends rollercoaster (heavily rumored) and other fairground sets are released in its stead. This summer the set will turn two, it isn't a great seller at the moment and doesn't get a ton of chatter on Brickpicker. I am going to throw a little money down on this one. Or a lot. The Simpsons House 71006 Current Amazon.com sales rank: 229 in Building Sets I loved this set a couple months ago, and still love it now. Solid seller, not as flashy in sales numbers as a few other very large sets. Read more here: Sandcrawler 75059 Current Amazon.com sales rank: 285 Second oldest Star Wars UCS-type set after Ewok Village. Reasoning is largely the same as Ewok Village, as I think this won't make it to 2017, comes from a hugely popular line and looks ballin'. I nod to EV first as I am afraid the Ewoks might not make it until Q4 (a.k.a. Retirement season) but I'm willing to gamble the Sandcrawler will. Also use some Helicarrier reasoning here: massive set, big price tag and big box keeps a lot of smaller and even mid-sized investors from going too deep on it (at least most of them). There you have it – this is a shopping list of what I'd like to nab during the spring double VIP. I'm not going to panic and grab them earlier as I am reasonably confident the sets on this list will not suddenly become unavailable permanently in February, and every percent discount or promo makes me more competitive in a crowded marketplace. I'm not going to order more than one or two of each, and not in quick succession or anything crazy that would merit a ban hammer, but will spread them over a week or two as I've done every promo period in the last couple years. Honorable Mentions Volkswagen T1 – Sales rank 385. Sales number indicates perhaps (finally) a little buyer fatigue? It has been out for seemingly forever and the new box design in 2015 virtually guaranteed (at least to me) that there would still be more time in 2016 to get more (not that I need more). I'll reevaluate in a few months. Those hoping The Lego Group wouldn't want three large car models on the shelves at the same time must be gutted. Mini Cooper – Sales rank 495. Slower than the T1, so an argument could be made that it might be retired ahead of the T1, which will become the new Death Star a.k.a. Live Star. Sydney Opera House – Sales rank 412. Tower Bridge is 183. Significant difference? As far as I know, the Opera House doesn't have a new box design, while the Tower Bridge does. I'd wager this goes in 2016 and the Tower Bridge stays. Just a hunch. That being said, I personally don't like the Opera House as much as a few of the others on this list, and I don't have enough money to go 5-10 deep on every set. I can't see myself wanting/getting more than 4-5 of these. It has also been discounted in other markets which has generally been linked to sets that are on the way out. If my sales stay strong this might get some love in the next few months. Dishonorable Mentions Pet Shop – Sales rank 89. 89! That is gross. I think modulars look like easy money and lots of folks are drawn in by them, but if it keeps selling this well I'm not convinced it will even retire this fall. If you are starting out, no problem grabbing one or two, but I think it is insane to tie up too much capital here. Plenty of other sets out there that should/could retire sooner and give a cash return faster. Palace Cinema – Sales rank 145. Also gross! If the Pet Shop didn't retire, then the Cinema HAS TO, right? AMITRITE? Perhaps not. Given sales numbers, why shouldn't the Lego Group have five modulars available at the same time? As long as investors keep stocking them away, I suspect they'll retire slowly. The difficulty for me is that in a perfect world, I would have piles and piles of each set, especially exclusives but that isn't realistic. I require stock turnover and sales to drive new investment, and my success (or failure) to move stock dictates approximately what I can spend. The spring double VIP event will be a good time to add a few large sets that I hope/expect/pray will retire at some point in 2016. When each set starts doing the in and out of stock dance, I'll probably squeeze some funds together to buy some from another large retailer, but I like to get at least a couple of each targeted set from Shop at Home in the mid to late cycle of its life. If you think I should be buying more Pet Shops, sound off in the comments section! Veegs (BigBlueDogBricks)
    12 points
  14. 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.
    11 points
  15. For as long as I can remember, people have been puzzled by my interest in many things that were “for boys”, and I have been equally puzzled by why toys have a gender at all. As much as I am genetically and physically female, I have never been one to adhere to the likes and behaviors deemed appropriate to my gender. I am a builder and a creator. Both of my parents worked as computer engineers (although I used to think they worked on a train), so my brain and its nurturing were focused heavily on math and science. As a child, I liked toys that were fun to me, and I am thankful that my parents never tried to limit my curiosity and affinity based upon some societal norm. I loved jigsaw puzzles and my father’s vintage erector set, and I built elaborate homes for all of my Barbie dolls using blocks and bricks. I had a little bit of everything (partially because I grew up affluent and spoiled), but if I had to pick a favorite toy, it would be Lego. Sometimes, I did wonder why their were so few girls in my favorite Lego sets, but it never swayed my feelings I never expected to be a minority. I grew up white as can be in white suburbia, in a nice town, in a great school system getting average grades. I loved blocks, and ponies, and riding my bike. Nothing about my childhood seemed anything other than typical. It wasn't until college that my being female made me feel any different. I majored in Accounting and minored in Comp Sci at a liberal arts college with a 75% female student body. My business classes were 75% male and I was the only female in a class of 30 in my minor. Growing up, I never heard anyone say “you can’t do that because you're a girl”, so I never felt that way, but it was still a bit odd to be surrounded by men while exploring MY interests. My Lego collection (mostly Pirates, Castle and City) had a similar affliction. Though I did delight at the nuance of the rare female pirate, I never let a silly thing such as whether or not my toys were intended for girls or boys determine what I really liked. I viewed my education and intended career with the same carefree attitude, although I still remember my one female accounting professor enlightening me to the fact that only 10% of CPAs are women. Years passed. I finished school. I got a job. I got married. I started a family. I quit working 3 days before the birth of my 4th and final female child (my poor husband is plagued with daughters). At that point, I started to notice all the ways in which I am a minority. As an SAHM, I am part of only 24% of US mothers. The majority work at least part-time. I have more kids than the national average, and as a result, a minuscule net worth. The most important way that I am a minority, is because of my intelligence. According to SAT and GRE scores, I am ranked in the highest 5% of the population (among those who have taken these tests). Needless to say, after the first year at home, I got bored. Hence, I came out of my dark ages, just as my oldest decided she NEEDED the full line of Harry Potter Lego. I never much cared that Lego was "for boys". I just really liked the product. My girls and I are Lego maniacs, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Close to a year ago, I registered on BrickPicker. I read the forums, but didn't start posting until a few months ago. I had no idea I had so much to say. It was refreshing to chat with “adults”. As an AFOL, I really liked finding a place to share my thoughts instead of monopolizing the time of my local Lego Store employees. As an AFFOL (the first F stands for female), I started to notice just how very male the Lego reseller market is. As with most things, it doesn't really matter to me, but I do find it a point to ponder. I look forward to sharing with you as I explore the impact of gender on Lego sales and marketing.
    11 points
  16. Welcome to a (maybe?) regular update on what I'm currently investing in. While some would prefer to read through threads to listen to various members' opinions about what they are buying – or not buying, as the case may be, I think some folks would rather save some time and get the real scoop on what Big Blue Dog Bricks (BBDBricks) is up to. In this case, putting my money where my mouth is and telling readers what I bought this week, and why. Big Blue Dog Bricks: What I'm Investing In Now: Guardians of the Galaxy Edition! I'm a small to medium-sized investor, height wise, weight wise and probably also in terms of total investment. I've sold around 30k or so (before fees, shipping, taxes, etc) in the last three years, so not big time but not exactly green around the investment ears. I started small, with about 1k in the first several months and built from there, so I imagine this post might appeal to those either at a similar level of investment or who want to move from having a closet full of Lego to a basement full of Lego without being a hoarder. (For clarification, the Macks are hoarders, in that they don't sell their sets, while I regularly shift inventory to make room for more inventory) What I bought this week: Guardians of the Galaxy Sets! It is time, sheeple, to follow my advice and grab a few complete sets of this line before the ship sails off into the EOL night. As an investment vehicle this small theme within the larger Marvel line has quite a few things going for it right now and not too many negatives. Pros: Pretty solid movie: I double checked the box office haul just now and, if Wikipedia is to be trusted, made $774 million dollars worldwide, which is perhaps a little more than 'solid'. As a casual superheroes fan Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) wasn't well known to me and I imagine others were also not as familiar with GotG storylines, villains and heroes as well. Despite not being as ubiquitous as Batman, Superman, Spiderman et al, the movie managed to do pretty darn well. If people will spend money to go the cinema, it stands to reason they might want licensed toys as well. Of course, that alone isn't enough of a pro on its own, so let's also consider some other positives. 18 month mark: The Milano Spaceship Rescue and Starblaster Showdown have already moved to Sold Out on Shop at Home. They may or may not come back, but as of this writing that is where these two sets stand. The Knowhere Escape Mission is still available, but it seems unlikely it will not succumb to its fate sooner rather than later. This week I grabbed six Milano sets from Wal-mart.ca, 50% off. I laughed when I saw the sticker on the outside of the original Lego shipping boxes – Do Not Put on Shelf Before June 1, 2014. Clearly, initial demand didn't require Wal-mart to open these bad boys up, or they perhaps got stuck behind other boxes and patiently sat in a warehouse somewhere for the last year and a half. At any rate, they are mine, now, and I love them (especially at 50% off) . Even though these might not be available at the official Lego website, it should be possible to get creative and add these sets to your stash over the next couple months from other retailers. 18 months is a standard (well, I don't know if this word applies to any Lego sets anymore) cycle and I'm glad they seemingly aren't extending production for a full two years (or more) which would make the opportunity window potentially much smaller before new sets hit with the sequel. Now is a great time to buy, as your hold time will be significantly less than many who hit up clearance sales last fall or this winter/spring/summer. Definite sequel coming: Always good news – wait, almost always? My worries with slightly less well known licensed lines is that they will drift more towards Lone Ranger or Prince of Persia type returns. It is easy to forget that LR still had a large box office return even though critics didn't especially love it (or even like it). Box office alone doesn't an investment make. A sequel slated for 2017 means GotG will certainly be back in front of the consumer in perhaps another 18 months. This could be a double-edged sword if the new (probable) Lego sets are too similar to those out now, or worse, a straight up remake of, say, the Milano. That being said, if the current sets get the retired tag there should be a window to sell, and a savvy Brickpicker should have leaks about the upcoming sets long before the general public does, and can act accordingly. Although I am buying these sets, I'm certainly not going 20-30 complete sets deep. I think it might be hard to move that many at a decent return and the window is too short to go all in, at least for BigBlue. Easily collectible: Unlike a lot of other lines, there are only three sets. I think this is advantageous for a few reasons. Number one, easy to invest in. I've spent the last couple of weeks searching out deals to get complete sets for future selling. Number two, easy for buyers to get all three at once without breaking the bank. It appeals to a lot more collectors. I personally hate starting to collect (for myself or my family) in a theme with a crazy amount of sets as I am a bit neurotic and like to have ALL OF THEM. Having an uncompleted theme of all the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings sets makes my brain uneasy. I think the phenomena is common, or at least I tell myself that to make myself feel better. This is a neat and tidy package of three, relatively easy to list and ship together. Having one offs, even if you got them at a great discount, might be harder to move even if priced well. As a collector, I hate paying for shipping more than once, so if I want sets I seek out lots. I can't imagine the majority of future buyers wanting to shell out over MSRP + shipping for one of the three sets, when listings for the whole line are also available. Obviously, those buying gifts or completing partially collected sets would be interested in single set sales, but my gut says most serious buyers post-EOL are going to be collectors looking for all three. Prove me right, Marvel collectors! Cons: There are cons, and not the convicts terrorizing the Lego City sets. Although I'm pretty confident the sequel will do well at the box office, even if it isn't as good or nearly as good as the original, the threat of a remade Milano scares me. Chinese counterfeiters scare me too, but I still think the target market I'm selling to is interested in the sets and genuine Lego products. Another major con is I think these have a definite ceiling in terms of growth. I've been able to source my complete sets at around 40% off MSRP or better (for all three) with some careful planning and buying, so I think my risk level is quite low. That being said, I don't expect double MSRP by next Christmas and would be quite content with perhaps 20% over MSRP sales. Anything more would be a bonus, and I'm only looking to move around 5-10 lots, definitely not more. These are a nice tangential investment for me, and might be a good call for a small to medium-sized investor who is looking for a short(ish) hold with a decent return, provided they are carefully sourced with maximal discounts. I'm certainly not advocating lining your stockroom with these sets, especially at or near MSRP, but I think there will be a window to make a decent return.
    10 points
  17. When I first got into LEGO as an AFOL I was looking at all of the Star Wars sets that I had missed and how much they cost. It became necessary to figure out a way to get the sets cheaper or make more money. I knew that some people must be making money buying bulk lots and taking out the stuff they wanted and selling the rest. That seemed like 2 birds with one stone. I looked at the bulk lots on Ebay, realizing that most of what I would get from these guys were common pieces. So I started looking at bigger lots, somewhat intimidated by their cost. I figured, however, if an Ebayer was getting $10 for a pound maybe I could make some money just throwing stuff in a box, easy money. I made a purchase of about 50 lbs for about $350 because I saw some Star Wars sets and minifigures in there. Oh boy, easy money and some treasures of my own. Boy, was I wrong. The money is anything but easy. I quickly discovered that out of my 50 lbs of mixed LEGO, at least 5 lbs were easily recognizable as not building bricks at all. Tinker toys, K'Nex, Hot Wheels, plastic army men, broken action figures, Lincoln logs, playing cards, thumb tacks, thorny burrs and even broken glass was mixed into the ABS blocks. On top of all that junk, the real problems started. All of the Mega Blocks, BTR, and assorted knock off blocks knocked another 5+ lbs out of the lot. That's at least 20% of my precious blocks that was basically trash. As you filter through, you discover broken bricks, severely teeth marked ones and yellowed pieces. profits are getting slimmer by the minute. Ok, so I regrouped and focused on the sets that were obviously present. I pulled out the stuff I immediately recognized most of a TIE Interceptor, a little car, Jedi Interceptor with Hyperdrive ring, half an ARC Fighter, etc. All of these I scattered around me like ancient peoples paying homage to their creator. How do I go from lots of partial sets to lots of complete sets that I can flip to make back the money that I sunk into this thing? Well first I needed to figure out what was missing. So, I looked at instruction books to see what steps I needed to take to complete them and what pieces were missing from there. Utter bust. That's an awful way to do it. So I took apart the sets I had figured out and checked the inventory against Bricklink. I discovered what was missing, and that sometimes kids substitute pieces in the middle of a build. Now that I knew what was missing, time to turn back to 20 lbs of assorted bulk. digging through mixed bricks looking for the piece or pieces I need was time consuming and futile. Time to sort them out to make it easier. My wife and I sorted that 20 lbs of pieces by color. We had 10+ bags of pieces separated loosely by color (old and new colors mixing futilely.) That made it easier to look for pieces, but still sometimes wasting a lot of time trying to pick out a small piece in a big bag. After exhausting my patience, I turned to Bricklink to acquire the pieces I needed, dumping more money into this hole. Eventually I sold a bunch of sets I made from this and a few other bulk lots. Between the Bricklink orders I placed to complete them and the fees and shipping, I think I made some money. My book keeping was pretty terrible. But it all taught me some things. Some of these things I learned could help some people just starting out trying to find treasure in Bulk lots. STEP 1: Valuation So, you're looking at a bulk lot that you found on Craigslist, Ebay, a garage sale, another auction or whatever. How should you evaluate it? Weight: The volume of pieces will tell you roughly how much is there. 2 lbs = not a lot. 25 lb = a lot. Since you're not buying the sets one by one, you have to immediately realize that you are going to be getting dead weight in addition to the treasures that you seek. Visible sets: Any visible set that you can place is good. That will give you an immediate idea of what you can make out of the lot. No visible sets or parts of sets means that there may or may not be gold in there. Minifigures: If minifigures are present that's good. If licensed minifigures are present, that's even better. a loose rule I use is to look for flesh colored minifigure heads and hands. Sure there's some dummies in that group, and some good figures that have yellow heads and hands, but it's a good starting point. Instructions and boxes: Both of these are a good gauge to show you what sets may be present, but could be red herrings. Sometimes the instructions stick around long after the main components of a set are lost. Non LEGO stuff: There's always some detritus. The flotsam and jetsam of stuff that parents scoop up into the boxes. The most common stuff is non LEGO bricks. They're not always easy to pick out at first glance, but they're usually there. What you are looking for is how much of the lot is obviously not LEGO. Do you see doll parts, nerf darts, Pokémon cards, buttons, etc.? usually this is a good sign to me. It means no one has searched it. but it is a pain to filter through. Filth: Sometimes you can see how dirty and played with the bricks are. Most bulk will be dusty or dirty. Some will even have paint or marker on them. So with these factors, let's talk about how they factor into the valuation. an average lot is usually in the $4-$6 per lb range. Average lots show some partial sets, some minifigures, maybe a few instructions, relatively clean, with not a lot of obvious non LEGO stuff. Depending on the quality and quantity of the better stuff, you might increase your valuation, but remember you're not paying top dollar for what you see, because there's still a lot of work to come. Plus, you're going to get some amount of stuff you don't want. I have been known to go as low as $2-$3 a pound for stuff that had no obvious sets, mediocre looking or no obvious minifigures and excess junk. Then again, I have gone as high as $10 a lb for lots of minifigures and several mostly complete sets of some value. Some people stick to a hard $5 lb. Some lots of only minifigures I have seen sold for close to $100 lb. Figure out your comfort level and stick to it. Be prepared to have wasted your money on a big group of Mega Blocks. STEP 2: Sorting and figuring out what you have Once you get the lot, now you have to do something with it. Boxes full of bulk sitting in the garage is just hoarding. You're doing this to make your money work for you. So, I start by trying to pull out all the non LEGO, but also anything that gives me a good idea of what is there. Pull out minifigures, instructions, partial sets and set them aside. I bag the partial sets, with the minifigures and instructions wherever possible. I would never again sort by color. Finding a red 1x1 modified tile with clip in a big bag of red parts is much harder than looking through a bag of 1x1 modified tile with clips of assorted colors. Instead I start by throwing all the flats in one box. Slopes go in a second box. Bricks are a third box, etc. It's the most general sorting at first. As I go, I look for unique identifiers of sets like printed pieces or unusual shapes. Once the initial sorting is accomplished, I sort again by element. STEP 3: Completing sets The best way to make back the bulk of your purchase price is to complete the sets that you received. Some people will complete everything that they can, others disdain anything below a certain dollar amount. It's up to you how far down the rabbit hole that you are going to head. Once you get your sets, you need to figure out what is missing. Even if the set looks complete, it is best to verify. Some people will make substitutions in the middle of a set. Your customers may not appreciate substitutions, especially if there are megablocks in the middle of a build. So, it's time to take them apart to verify the inventory. If the sets are partial, you definitely should take them apart to figure out how much is missing. Look through your new bulk to see if you can find the rest. Focus on the expensive sets first. Check through your minifigures, instructions, and interesting pieces to see what sets may have been broken down entirely and see if they are worth reconstituting. You could do another survey of your bulk to see if the seemingly random bulk is hiding some treasure. I look for the part numbers on the interesting pieces. Finding the part number can be difficult, since it's usually inside of the LEGO piece and hard to spot, except with the right light. If the piece appears in multiple sets, I check for context with other pieces in the lot. Again, the interesting pieces generally have a unique shape, sticker or printing. If you can't complete them this way, or even with other bulk you might have, then you have to decide if sinking some more money into them is worthwhile. Does spending $10, $20, or $50 more make sense? Only you know for sure, but you've already dug a hole into your resources and time. It's either keep digging, or see if you can punt it off somewhere. I tend to try to get as many sets working at a time as I can. Hopefully this will help me to get the most missing pieces for the least orders. STEP 4: Dealing with the true bulk You're going to have leftovers after you pull out the stuff that is easiest to sell. You have several options. You could write it off. Put it back in a box and donate it or stick it in the garage, hoping to forget about it. This is generally the least appealing option to me. I've put time and money into this, so I want to recover something more than the tax write off or another box in the garage. Sell it as bulk. You could try to recover something from it by selling it all as a big lot, or even breaking it up into more manageable 1, 2, 5 or 10 lb lots. There's a lot of competition that way, but it's not super hard to do. Save the pieces to help you complete other sets in your next bulk lot. This is appealing because you already have it on hand. There's no guarantee that it will do the job, but at least you have a chance to cut down on further expenses. Sell the pieces individually through Bricklink or Ebay or some other venue. This is the most time consuming way to do it. It's also the way to get the most total value from the pieces, eventually. A lot of pieces may not sell quickly if at all, but you have a higher return on every piece that does sell. So, after all of that. You have to figure out whether it was worth it. If you made some money, or got some stuff that you wanted for less than the going rate, it will give you that rosy glow. It's fun to initially dig through all of that stuff searching for buried treasures. When you find something, it really does feel like it's all worthwhile. In the long hours of sorting, searching for pieces, and waiting for Bricklink orders it may be less fun. Waiting for the stuff to sell to recoup your costs is even less fun than that. I like to do it, but at the end of the day, the monetary returns vs. my time may not be the best. It may be the worst paying job that I have ever had. You really do need to have a plan for evaluating what you are buying and for dealing with it once you do. If you've never done it before, it may be overwhelming. It will take a little while to get more proficient. It's definitely not a quick buck, but money is there to be had. If you are disorganized, if you lose patience, if you don't have the time,you're just throwing money into a hole. May the bricks be ever in your favor. pictures are used to demonstrate example bulk lots from real auctions.
    9 points
  18. After the recent Telegraph article going viral all over the world stating that LEGO bricks and sets were better investments than Gold over the past few years, one has to wonder what other investment vehicles do LEGO bricks outperform. With the recent roller coaster on Wall Street and foreign markets, a question presents itself...Are the LEGO secondary markets and LEGO collecting and investment in general, more stable and profitable over the long haul than other more high profile investments? Let’s analyze some data… With 2015 coming to a close, the final financial year-end data on stock markets, crude oil and gold prices is available. Take a look at the major stock market and commodity returns for 2015 stated in an article from the USA TODAY: A quick analysis indicates an overall poor year for most major indexes and benchmark commodities. Only the tech heavy NASDAQ escaped the carnage and posted positive gains for the year. Now, compare the above chart to the “average” LEGO set returns over the past five years and this is what you find: Now, when I say, ”Average LEGO Set,” I am referring to the “mean” appreciation of all LEGO sets in our database. The Return On Investment is calculated from the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). There are thousands of LEGO sets in our database that get aggregated into these figures, some new and available at retail, but most retired and no longer available at primary retailers. The data shows a very consistent pattern for LEGO sets over the past five years. Even when other major investment vehicles were having a hard time getting into the black in 2015, LEGO sets held their ground. In an overall bad year for investing, LEGO bricks and sets still appreciated close to historical levels. Themes like Jurassic Park, Mixels, Speed Champions, Ideas and Lord of the Rings all had banner years, while Friends, Monster Fighters, Minecraft, DC Comics and Marvel Super Heroes themes all took a huge hit. There are many sets that appreciated very well, while others stagnated or fell in value. Just like stocks, the trick is picking the right sets. Now, before everyone goes out there and dumps their stocks, bonds and gold for LEGO sets, a potential LEGO investor needs to realize the pitfalls of investing in little ABS plastic bricks. First off, they are difficult to store and take up a lot of space. LEGO boxes play a large role in their values. The better the condition, the higher the value in most cases. They are susceptible to moisture and sunlight. Boxes are large and delicate, and a person can easily fill up a small room with a moderate LEGO collection. Another issue with LEGO investing is their expense. Their impeccable quality comes at a high price. They are very expensive toys. Period. Unlike stocks, bonds and gold, they are not liquid. A person has to sell and ship them to realize profits. This takes time and effort. Buying LEGO sets is easy. Selling and shipping them is not. Speaking of selling them, many LEGO secondary market sites such as eBay and Amazon charge high commission fees...ranging anywhere from 10-15% (Unless of course you sell on Brick Classifieds with ZERO commission and fees). This takes a huge bite from your appreciation. Granted, if you choose wisely and pick the right LEGO sets to invest in, these negative factors can be overcome, but many people do not choose wisely and end up failing at this endeavor. So are LEGO sets a better overall investment and more stable than stocks, bonds, gold and crude oil? At this point in time, probably, if you choose the right LEGO sets to invest in and buy and sell them with some creativity and frugality. What they seem to be is more consistent. Take a look at the chart below: A quick glance indicates a rather steady growth pattern for LEGO sets, while the various stock market indexes are quite turbulent. Even when stocks were down, LEGO sets yielded in the 10% range. Pretty solid. While the LEGO secondary markets will probably never take off into stratospheric levels like stocks did in 2013, there are multiple individual LEGO themes and sets that could explode in growth at any given time. To find those sets, one needs to research the markets and study the products. It also takes effort to find deals on LEGO sets when purchasing and work to properly list, package and ship LEGO boxes. Experience also matters. While a novice can make profits from investing in LEGO sets, it often takes experience in buying, selling, packaging and shipping to maximize profits. LEGO investing is no longer “easy” money as it once was, but if you educate yourself, make prudent choices, adapt to changing trends and get a little lucky, you can still see solid profits...
    9 points
  19. We all love lists, right? Welcome to what I expect to be a new weekly blog entry for Brickpicker: Top 10 Best Sellers at LEGO Shop at Home. As most of you know, LEGO’s online site includes a feature showcasing the Top 25 selling sets, updated on a daily basis. While this list is definitely a small sample, I believe it can help us gauge what’s popular with end consumers at any given time, so that when retirement time approaches we have at least an idea of how well a set sold through it’s lifetime. I will also be excluding (basically skipping) those entries on S&H that are not sets. For example, if a baseplate is currently sitting in place number 5, I will replace it with the set currently in place number 6. As far as the schedule and format is concerned, this entry will be posted weekly, as daily seems as overkill to me. Also, unlike most of my other articles, I will try to keep it short and keep my comments about each set to a couple sentences (Maybe none if a set has been on the list every week). Other than that, I will shoot for Wednesday night releases of the updated entry. Hope you enjoy them! Top 10 Best Selling Sets (LEGO [email protected]) #1: 10251 Brick Bank - Buy Now! No surprise at the top. The Brick Bank is the newest modular and was introduced at the beginning of the year, so we can expect a rush of buyers as collectors and AFOLs look to expand their modular streets. #2: 75827 Ghostbusters HQ - Buy Now! Another of the long awaited new releases, the Ghostbusters HQ has involved in some controversy since it was announced. It will be interesting to see the reaction of buyers once reviews start coming in. #3: 40201 Valentine’s Cupid Dog - Buy Now! Much like the Bat and Snowman released by the end of 2015, this little set is one of the seasonal sets LEGO releases to match specific holidays. With Valentine’s Day a little more than a month away, it will be good to pay attention and see if there is any potential for this set in the short term. #4: 75105 Millenium Falcon - Buy Now! With Star Wars fever still in the air, this set was bound to be somewhere in the Top 5. As always, the most iconic Star War ship proves to be extremely popular, though this very same factor will probably mean a longer than average shelf life. #5: 75117 Kylo Ren - Buy Now! The new buildable figures introduced by LEGO seem to be popular with LEGO fans. I am not particularly into them, but it is no surprise that the star villain of the new trilogy occupies one of the higher spots. Even though his character may have disappointed some people… #6: 21028 New York City - Buy Now! The highlight of the new “Skylines” line in the Architecture theme. I actually really like these little sets, and with the proven performance of the theme in general, you can be sure this one will be sought after once it retires (Yes, I know it’s way too early to even think about that!) #7: 75102 Poe’s X-Wing - Buy Now! Extremely popular and great looking ship from The Force Awakens that has proven to be a somewhat successful flip for some. #8: 75139 Battle on Takodana - Buy Now! Another new release based off one of the best scenes in TFA, in my opinion. Part of its popularity may also be due to the fact that it is a cheaper alternative to acquire the Kylo Ren minifigure. #9: 21304 Doctor Who - Buy Now! Doctor Who fans can finally get their hands on the latest IDEAS set released, and by the looks of it that is precisely what they have been doing. The set is very well done, and its core fan base large and passionate enough that I think has the potential to be a top performer once retired. #10: 75114 First Order Stormtrooper - Buy Now! Finally, we close the list with another buildable figure, the FO Stormtrooper. I am somewhat surprised that this one managed to edge out the cool looking Captain Phasma, but I guess it just has more mainstream appeal. So that’s it for this week! Feel free to leave your comments below, I am also pushing to make these articles more interactive and engaging for all! Note: Be on the lookout for a new thread in the forum with an announcement about my future plans for the Brickpicker blog. I have some interesting ideas and will be including the community more and more in future entries. I will also update you on what types of articles I will be focusing on, and when you can expect them! Thanks for reading.
    9 points
  20. While I am getting closer to releasing a long overdue update to BrickPicker, now is a good time to release some content that I was hoping to release with the updated site. @belljohn has been talking with Ed and I for a very long time and has spent a lot of time in creating a series of Brickvesting videos that he is happy to share on the BrickPicker YouTube Channel. I am hoping to see this expand this into a bunch of different topic series and welcome any of you that are interested in working on some videos to reach out to me and we can work on it. Set reviews, investing tips, set builds, etc. It's not easy to speak for ~15 minutes, but Brook does an amazing job covering this topic. We will be publishing more videos soon from belljohn. We hope you enjoy it. Who knows, maybe soon you will see Ed showcase his amazing words of wisdom in video. That will be a real treat.
    8 points
  21. Probably I'm not the only one surprised by the early retirement of several quite recent Star Wars sets. I decided to make an overview of all non-polybag Star Wars sets in Europe and in the United States. The list below is the result. It is divided in subs '2013', '2014', 'January 2015', 'during 2015'. At least in the Netherlands you can find toy stores that still have some of these retired and Shop-at-home-sold-out sets, some even from 2013. Hopefully you will find this list useful in your shopping efforts. Collecting and investing conclusions: below list. This list was last updated 25 March 2016. Updates can be seen under the list. 2013 Number Name Price in USD Europe United States Miscellaneous 75000 Clone Troopers $12.99 Retired product Retired product US: 705 days 75001 Republic Troopers $12.99 Retired product Retired product US: 743 days 75002 AR-RT $19.99 Retired product Retired product US: 707 days 75003 A-Wing $24.99 Retired product Retired product US: 701 days 75004 Z-95 Headhunter $49.99 Retired product Retired product US: 707 days 75005 Rancor Pit $59.99 Retired product Retired product US: 717 days 75006 Jedi Starfighter & Kamino $9.99 Not on the site Retired product US: 350 days 75007 Republic Assault Ship & Coruscant $9.99 Not on the site Retired product US: 431 days 75008 Tie Bomber & Asteroid Field $9.99 Not on the site Retired product US: 340 days 75009 Snow Speeder & Hoth $9.99 Not on the site Not on the site UK: 119 days 75010 B-Wing Starfighter & Endor $9.99 Not on the site Not on the site UK: 152 days 75011 Tantive IV & Alderaan $9.99 Not on the site Not on the site UK: 179 days 75012 BARC Speeder with side car $24.99 Retired product Retired product US: 732 days 75013 Umbaran MHC Mobile Heavy Cannon $49.99 Retired product Retired product US: 743 days 75014 Battle of Hoth $49.99 Not on the site Retired product US: 352 days 75015 Corporate Alliance Tank Droid $19.99 Retired product Retired product US: 487 days 75016 Homing Spider Droid $29.99 Retired product Retired product US: 486 days 75017 Duel on Geonosis $39.99 Retired product Retired product US: 487 days 75018 Jek-14's Stealth Starfighter $69.99 Retired product Retired product US: 489 days 75019 AT-TE $89.99 Retired product Retired product US: 494 days 75020 Jabba's Sail Barge $119.99 Retired product Retired product US: 519 days 75021 Republic Gunship $119.99 Retired product Retired product US: 516 days 75022 Mandalorian Speeder $24.99 Retired product Retired product US: 485 days 75023 Star Wars Advent Calendar $39.99 Not on the site Retired product US: 83 days 75024 HH-87 Starhopper $39.99 Retired product Retired product US: 533 days 75025 Jedi Defender-Class Cruiser $89.99 Retired product Retired product US: 501 days 10236 Ewok Village $249.99 Available Out of stock US: exp. 30 days 10240 UCS X-Wing Red 5 $199.99 Retired product Sold out (US: 893 days) 2014 Number Name Price in USD Europe United States Miscellaneous 75028 Clone Turbo Tank $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 441 days 75029 AAT $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 337 days 75030 Millennium Falcon $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 440 days 75031 Tie Interceptor $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 439 days 75032 X-Wing Fighter $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 438 days 75033 Star Destroyer $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 340 days 75034 Death Star Troopers $12.99 Retired product Retired product US: 618 days 75035 Kashyyyk Troopers $12.99 Retired product Retired product US: 617 days 75036 Utapau Troopers $12.99 Retired product Retired product US: 615 days 75037 Battle on Saleucami $14.99 Retired product Retired product US: 632 days 75038 Jedi Interceptor $24.99 Retired product Retired product US: 607 days 75039 V-Wing Starfighter $24.99 Retired product Retired product US: 283 days 75040 General Grievous' Wheel Bike $24.99 Retired product Retired product US: 650 days 75041 Vulture Droid $24.99 Retired product Retired product US: 364 days 75042 Droid Gunship $49.99 Retired product Retired product US: 642 days 75043 AT-AP $59.99 Retired product Retired product US: 617 days 75044 Droid Tri-Fighter $29.99 Retired product Retired product US: 676 days 75045 Republic AV-7 Anti-Vehicle Cannon $39.99 Retired product Retired product US: 658 days 75046 Coruscant Police Gunship $49.99 Retired product Retired product US: 664 days 75048 The Phantom $24.99 Retired product Retired product US: 452 days 75049 Snow Speeder $29.99 Retired product Retired product US: 490 days 75050 B-Wing $49.99 Retired product Retired product US: 476 days 75051 Jedi Scout Fighter $59.99 Retired product Retired product US: 482 days 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina $69.99 Retired product Retired product US: 471 days 75053 The Ghost $89.99 Retired product Retired product US: 483 days 75054 AT-AT $99.99 Retired product Retired product US: 472 days 75055 Imperial Star Destroyer $129.99 Retired product Retired product US: 452 days 75056 Star Wars Advent Calendar $39.99 Not on the site Retired product US: 37 days 75058 MTT $89.99 Not on the site Retired product US: 511 days 75059 UCS Sand Crawler $299.99 Available Available JANUARY 2015 Number Name Price in USD Europe United States Miscellaneous 75060 UCS Slave I $199.99 Available Out of stock US: exp. 7 Apr. 75072 ARC-170 Starfighter $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 325 days 75073 Vulture Droid $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 331 days 75074 Snowspeeder $9.99 Available Available 75075 AT-AT $9.99 Available Available 75076 Republic Gunship $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 305 days 75077 Homing Spider Droid $9.99 Retired product Retired product US: 330 days 75078 Imperial Troop Transport $12.99 Available Available 75079 Shadow Troopers $12.99 Available Available 75080 AAT $24.99 Retired product Sold out (US: 346 days) 75081 T-16 Skyhopper $24.99 Retired product Retired product US: 330 days 75082 Tie Advanced Prototype $39.99 Available Available 75083 AT-DP $49.99 Retired product Retired product US: 323 days 75084 Wookiee Gunship $69.99 Retired product Retired product US: 332 days 75085 Hailfire Droid $19.99 Available Available 75086 Battle Droid Troop Carrier $39.99 Available Available 75087 Anakin's Custom Jedi Starfighter $39.99 Available Out of stock US: exp. 21 Apr. 75088 Senate Commando Troopers $12.99 Available Available 75089 Geonosis Troopers $12.99 Available Available 75090 Ezra's Speeder Bike $19.99 Retired product Retired product US: 347 days DURING 2015 Number Name Price in USD Europe United States Miscellaneous 75091 Flash Speeder $29.99 Available Available Av. from 1 June 75092 Naboo Starfighter $49.99 Available Available Av. from 1 June 75093 Death Star Final Duel $79.99 Available Available Av. from 1 June 75094 Imperial Shuttle Tyderium $99.99 Available Available Av. from 1 June 75095 UCS Tie Fighter $199.99 Available Out of stock Av. from 3 May US: exp. 3 Apr. 75096 Sith Infiltrator $89.99 Available Available Av. from 2 Aug. 75097 Star Wars Advent Calendar $39.99 Retired product Not on the site US: 58 days 75099 Rey's Speeder $19.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75100 First Order Snowspeeder $39.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75101 First Order Special Forces Tie Fighter $69.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75102 Poe's X-Wing Fighter $79.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75103 First Order Transporter $89.00 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75104 Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle $119.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75105 Millennium Falcon $149.99 Available Out of stock Av. from 5 Sept. Exp. 3 Apr. US 75106 Imperial Assault Carrier $129.99 Available Available Av. from 1 June 75107 Jango Fett $19.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75108 Clone Commander Cody $19.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75109 Obi-Wan Kenobi $24.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75110 Luke Skywalker $19.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75111 Darth Vader $29.99 Available Available Av. from 5 Sept. 75112 General Grievous $34.99 Available Available Av. from 9 Sept. All data were first gathered on the 25th of January 2016, except the Ewok Village and Red 5, which data were gathered on the 27th of January 2016. Data thereafter amended corresponding to the updates listed below. References: Brickset, Brickpicker and Lego Shop at Home. Exp.: "expected shipping in case item is out of stock". Av.: "first date of availability of a set". With retired sets, the number of available days is given. Green: more than two years availability. Orange: one to two years availability. Red: Less than one year availability. Updates 27 January 2016 10236 Ewok Village and 10240 X-Wing Red 5 were added. Thanks @fossilrock for the tip. 75058 MTT: changed from 'retired' in Europe to 'temporarily out of stock, retiring soon' in Europe. 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'available' in the US to 'out of stock, expected shipping Feb. 10 2016". 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'out of stock' to 'available' in Europe. 75060 Slave I: changed from 'out of stock, exp. 29 Jan.' to 'exp. 9 Feb.' in Europe. 75079 Shadow Troopers: changed from 'out of stock, exp. 30 days' to 'exp. 7 Feb.' in US. 75094 Tyderium Shuttle: changed from 'exp. 26 Jan.' to 'available' in Europe. 75095 UCS Tie Fighter: changed from 'exp. 26 Jan.' to 'available' in Europe. 75099 Rey's Speeder: changed from 'exp. 26 Jan.' to 'available' in Europe. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 29 Jan. to 'available' in Europe. 28 January 2016 10240 X-Wing Red 5: changed from 'temporary out of stock' to 'retired' in Europe. Note: was only 'temporary out of stock' for a few days; previous status: 'retired'. 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'out of stock, expected shipping Feb. 10' to 'exp. Feb. 12' in US. 75075 AT-AT: changed from 'out of stock, expected shipping 29 Jan.' to 'available' in Europe. 75101 First Order Special Forces Tie Fighter: changed from 'out of stock, exp. shipping 29 Jan.' to 'available' in Europe. 75105 Millennium Falcon: changed from 'temporary out of stock' to 'available' in Europe. 29 January 2016 10236 Ewok Village: changed from 'temporary unavailable' to 'available' in US. 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'exp. 12 Feb.' to '13 Feb.' in US. 75060 UCS Slave I: changed from 'exp. 7 Feb.' to 'available' in US. 75078 Imperial Troop Transport: changed from 'exp. 26 Jan.' to 'available' in EU. 75079 Shadow Troopers: changed from 'exp. 7 Feb. US' to 'available' in US. 75087 Anakin's Custom Jedi Starfighter: changed from 'exp. 18 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Mar.' in US. 75096 Sith Infiltrator: changed from 'exp. 18 Feb.' to '17 Mar.' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: changed from 'available' to 'exp. 13 Feb.' in US. 30 January 2016 75078 Imperial Troop Transport: changed from 'available' to 'exp. 11 Feb.' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: changed from 'available' to 'temporary OOS' in EU. 31 January 2016 75078 Imperial Troop Transport: changed from 'exp. 11 Feb.' to 'exp. in 30 days' in US. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 6 Feb.' to 'exp. in 30 days' in US. 1 February 2016 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'available' to 'exp. 1 Mar.' in EU. 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'exp. 13 Feb.' to '14 Feb.' in US. 75078 Imperial Troop Transport: changed from 'exp. in 30 days' to '14 Feb.' in US. 75087 Anakin's Custom Jedi Starfighter: changed from 'exp. 17 Mar. to '15 Feb.' in US. 75096 Sith Infiltrator: changed from 'exp. 17 Mar." to '15 Feb.' in US. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. in 30 days' to 'exp. 6 Feb.' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: changed from 'exp. 13 Feb.' to '14 Feb.' in US. 2 February 2016 75060 UCS Slave I: changed from 'exp. 9 Feb.' to '8 Feb.' in EU. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 6 Feb.' to 'exp. in 30 days' in US. 75108 Clone Commander Cody: changed from 'temporary unavailable' to 'available' in EU. 3 February 2016 75087 Anakin's Custom Jedi Starfighter: changed from 'exp. 15 Feb. to '14 Feb.' in US. 75096 Sith Infiltrator: changed from 'exp. 15 Feb. to '14 Feb.' in US. 75095 UCS Tie Fighter: changed from 'available' to 'exp. 8 Feb.' in EU. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. in 30 days' to 'exp. 18 Feb.' in US. 75108 Clone Commander Cody: changed from 'available' to 'temporary unavailable' in EU. 75110 Luke Skywalker: changed from 'available' to 'temporary unavailable' in EU. 4 February 2016 10236 Ewok Village: changed from 'exp. 9 Feb.' to 'available' in EU. 75058 MTT: says 'temporarily unavailable, retiring soon' but when clicking on entry it says 'sold out' in EU. 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'exp. 14 Feb.' to 'available' in US. 75060 UCS Slave I: changed from 'exp. 8 Feb.' to 'available' in EU. 75078 Imperial Troop Transport: changed from 'exp. 14 Feb.' to 'available' in US. 75087 Anakin's Custom Jedi Starfighter: changed from 'exp. 14 Feb. to 'available' in US. 75095 UCS Tie Fighter: changed from 'exp. 8 Feb.' to 'available' in EU. 76096 Sith Infiltrator: changed rom 'exp. 14 Feb.' to 'available' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: says 'temporarily unavailable' but when clicking on entry it says 'exp. 10 Feb.' in EU. 75107 Jango Fett: says 'temporarily unavailable' but when clicking on entry it says 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 75108 Clone Commander Cody: says 'temporarily unavailable' but when clicking on entry it says 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 75110 Luke Skywalker: says 'temporarily unavailable' but when clicking on entry it says 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 75111 Darth Vader: says 'temporarily unavailable' but when clicking on entry it says 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 75111 General Grievous: says 'temporarily unavailable' but when clicking on entry it says 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 5 February 2016 75058 MTT: changed from 'temporarily OOS retiring soon OR Sold out' to 'Sold out' in EU. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 18 Feb.' to 'exp. 19 Feb.' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: changed from 'exp. 14 Feb.' to 'available' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: changed from 'temporarily unavailable' OR exp. 10 Feb.' to 'exp. 10 Feb.' in EU. 75107 Jango Fett: changed from 'temporarily unavailable' OR exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 75108 Clone Commander Cody: changed from 'temporarily unavailable' OR exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 75110 Luke Skywalker: changed from 'temporarily unavailable' OR exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 75111 Darth Vader: changed from 'temporarily unavailable' OR exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 75112 General Grievous: changed from 'temporarily unavailable' OR exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' in EU. 6 February 2016 75058 MTT: changed from 'sold out' to 'not on the website' in EU. 7 February 2016 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 19 Feb.' to 'exp. 18 Feb. OR 19 Feb.' in US. 8 February 2016 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 18 Feb.' OR 1'9 Feb.' to 'exp. in 30 days' OR '18 Feb.' in US. 75060 Slave I: changed from 'available' to 'exp. 18 Feb.' in EU. 9 February 2016 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. in 30 days' OR '18 Feb.' to 'exp. 18 Feb.' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: changed from 'exp. 10 Feb.' to 'exp. 25 Feb.' in EU. 75107 Jango Fett: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 75108 Clone Commander Cody: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 75110 Luke Skywalker: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 75111 Darth Vader: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 75112 General Grievous: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' to 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 10 February 2016 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'available' to 'exp. 18 Feb.' in US. 75060 UCS Slave 1: changed from 'available' to 'exp. 18 Feb.' in US. 75082 Tie Advanced Prototype: changed from 'available' to 'exp. in 30 days' in US. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 18 Feb.' to 'exp. 18 Feb.' OR 'exp. in 30 days' in US. 75107 Jango Fett: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 75108 Clone Commander Cody: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 75110 Luke Skywalker: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 75111 Darth Vader: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 75112 General Grievous: changed from 'exp. 17 Feb.' OR exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' in EU. 11 February 2016 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'exp. 18 Feb.' to 'exp. 18 Feb.' OR 'exp. 26 Feb.' in US. 75060 UCS Slave I: changed from 'exp. 18 Feb.' to 'exp. 18 Feb.' OR 'exp. 26 Feb.' in US. 75085 Hailfire Droid: changed from 'available' to 'exp. 17 Mar.' in US. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 18 Feb.' OR 'exp. in 30 days' to 'exp. in 30 days' OR 'exp. 18 Feb.' in US. 75107 Jango Fett: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' in EU. 75108 Clone Commander Cody: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' in EU. 75110 Luke Skywalker: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' in EU. 75111 Darth Vader: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' in EU. 75112 General Grievous: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' to 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' in EU. 12 February 2016 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'exp. 26 Feb.' to 'available' in US. 75060 Slave I: changed from 'exp. 26 Feb.' to 'available' in US. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 18 Feb.' to 'exp. 30 days' in US. 75107 Jango Fett: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' to 'available' in EU. 75108 Clone Commander Cody: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' to 'available' in EU. 75110 Luke Skywalker: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' to 'available' in EU. 75111 Darth Vader: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' to 'available' in EU. 75112 General Grievous: changed from 'exp. 16 Feb.' OR 'available' to 'available' in EU. 14 February 2016: no changes vs. 12 February. 13 February not checked. 15 February not checked. 16 February 2016 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'available' to 'exp. 29 Feb.' in US. 75059 Sand Crawler: changed from 'exp. 1 Mar.' to 'exp. 24 Feb.' in EU. 75060 Slave I: changed from 'exp. 19 Feb.' to 'available' in EU. 75082 Tie Advanced Prototype: changed from 'exp. 30 days' to 'exp. 29 Feb.' in US. 75085 Hailfire Droid: changed from 'exp. 17 Mar.' to 'available' in US. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: changed from 'exp. 30 days' to 'exp. 29 Feb.' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: changed from 'exp. 25 Feb.' to 'exp. 24 Feb.' in EU. 17 February 2016: no changes. 18 February 2016 75059 Sand Crawler: from 'exp. 24 Feb.' to 'available' in EU. 22 February (19-21: not checked) 75059 Sand Crawler: from 'exp. 29 Feb.' to 'exp. 5 Mar.' in US. 75082 Tie Advanced Prototype: from 'exp. 29 Feb.' to 'exp. 5 Mar.' in US. 75093 Death Star Final Dual: from 'available' to 'exp. 6 Mar.' in US. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: from 'exp. 29 Feb.' to 'exp. 10 Mar.' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: from 'exp. 24 Feb.' to 'available' in EU. 1 March (22-29: not checked) 75059 Sand Crawler: from 'exp. 5 Mar.' to 'available' in US. 75082 Tie Advanced prototype: from 'exp. 5 Mar.' to 'available' in US. 75093 Death Star Final Dual: from 'exp. 6 Mar.' to 'available' in US. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: from 'exp. 10 Mar.' to 'exp. 14 Mar.' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: from 'available' to 'exp. 13 Mar.' in US. 25 March (2-24: not checked) 10240 Ewok Village: from 'available' to 'exp. 30 days' in US. 75034 Death Star Troopers: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75035 Kashyyyk Troopers: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75036 Utapau Troopers: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75037 Battle on Seleucami: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75040 General Grievous' Wheel Bike: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75043 AT-AP: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75044 Droid Tri-fighter: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75045 Republic AV-7 Anti-Vehicle Cannon: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75045 Coruscant Police Gunship: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75049 Snowspeeder: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75050 B-Wing: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75051 Jedi Scout Fighter: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75053 The Ghost: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75054 AT-AT: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75058 MTT: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75060 Slave I: from 'available' to 'exp. 7 Apr. in US. 75072 ARC-170 Starfighter: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75076 Republic Gunship: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75077 Homing Spider Droid: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75081 T-16 Skyhopper: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75083 AT-DP: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75084 Wookie Gunship: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75087 Anakin's Custom Jedi Starfighter: from 'available' to 'exp. 21 Apr. in US. 75090 Ezra's Speeder Bike: from 'sold out' to RETIRED in US. 75095 UCS Tie Fighter: from 'available' to 'exp. 3 Apr. in US. 75102 Poe's X-Wing: from 'exp. 14 Mar.' to 'available' in US. 75105 Millennium Falcon: from 'exp. 13 Mar.' to 'exp. 3 Apr.' in US. Conclusions and perceptions (attention, SPOILER ALERT as regards which vehicles aren't featured in the new Star Wars movie!) In 2013 there were 26 new Star Wars sets. All have been retired or at least can't be found on LEGO Shop at Home anymore. In 2014 there were 30 new Star Wars sets. In Europe all of these but the UCS Sand Crawler have already been retired. The Sand Crawler is out of stock until tomorrow (expectedly). The Sand Crawler is also the only available set in the United States. The 'sold out' sets will probably retire soon. Whether the Sand Crawler (the last surviving Star Wars set of 2014) will be retired soon, isn't clear. On the one hand, it's a special set (UCS). On the other hand, it isn't featured in The Force Awakens. I recommend you don't wait too long to buy this set, just to be sure. If you happen to find any 2013 or 2014 sets on the shelves of your local toy store, now is probably your last chance to get them. Beginning 2015 there were 20 new Star Wars sets. Remarkably, 9 of them have already retired, 1 sold out (in Europe). Several of the other sets being out of stock and none of them having specific reference to the new movie, it seems likely the remaining half of these sets will be retired soon. If you can find a retired 2015 set in your shop, now is the time. These will probably become collector items, having only been available during 1 year. Out of those sets I personally have highest expectations of 75083 AT-DP. During 2015, 21 sets were issued. 7 of them deal with subjects found in the new movie. For easy reference, these are marked blue in the above schedule. Half of these sets are out of stock in Europe. I personally see this as an early retirement warning (especially for the non-Force-Awakens-sets), but opinions on this may differ. For the sake of completeness: no sets exist for numbers 75026, 75027, 75047 and 75061 to 75071. According to Brickset, 75057 is going to be a 2016 Marvel set (?) and 75098 is going to be a 2016 Star Wars set. View full blog article
    8 points
  22. 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. http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-6100272-City-Demolition-Site/dp/B00NHQFECI/?tag=brickpicker-20 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. http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-City-Demolition-Excavator-Truck/dp/B00NHQFELY/?tag=brickpicker-20 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. http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-6100248-City-Demolition-Bulldozer/dp/B00NHQFEN2/?tag=brickpicker-20 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. http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-City-Demolition-Service-Truck/dp/B00NHQFIHY/?tag=brickpicker-20 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. Overall 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. Veegs
    8 points
  23. There have been many recent articles, all over the web, in local papers and on the radio. They're saying that LEGO investing is better than gold. It's sensationalist. It excites the imagination. It sounds easy. These articles point up the sets that have increased in value many times above their initial costs. Dreamers sweep store shelves expecting instant returns and easy money. Conventional wisdom says that you'll never lose money on LEGO, it will always be worth at least what you bought it for. What if it's not? I'd like to take a journey through the dusty backrooms of stores and the dark corners of investor's storage areas to look at some themes that proved to be so unpopular that if their demand and value hasn't remained flat, it actually got worse. These are themes that got the same market push as every other theme, but failed to capture the target audience. Let's take a look at some licensed themes from recent history: The first theme that we'll take a look at is Prince of Persia. Disney's attempt to turn a video game franchise into a profitable film franchise. LEGO released 6 Sets consisting of 7569 Desert Attack, 7570 The Ostrich Race, 7571 The Fight for the Dagger, 7572 Quest Against Time, 7573 Battle of Alamut, and 20017 Dagger Trap Polybag. All combined, this theme sold at retail for a total of $190.95 (Pre Tax of course,) the current value of these sets averages to $178.75. That's a return of 94% of the initial investment. It would be worse if not for the Polybag, which I calculated at retail of free because I couldn't find any data about cost. (So, I assumed it was free.) The second licensed theme that we'll discuss is The Lone Ranger. (Personally, I loved these sets and wanted more. {if I could get them on steep discount.}) Disney released the Lone Ranger to poor reception and poor reviews. The days of the Western might be dead, and this theme sure did seem like a nail in the coffin. This theme consisted of 6 sets and 2 Polybags. They are 79106 Cavalry Builder set (How they can be cavalry without horses I don't know. I guess Artillery is confusing,) 79107 Comanche Camp, 79108 Stagecoach Escape, 79109 Colby City Showdown, 79110 Silver Mine Shootout, 79111 Constitution Train Chase, 30260 Lone Ranger's Pump Car, and 30261 Tonto's Campfire. The combined retail total before tax is $291.92 but when I get the average sold price for the last 6 months on Bricklink they sold for a grand total of $283. Slightly better than Prince of Persia with 97% remaining value. It's probably not LEGO's fault that these themes died on the vine. Some might argue that if the source material had been better received, there would be greater demand on the aftermarket. It's a fair argument, but you could also point out that if LEGO had done a better job on the sets, they might have succeeded despite the failures of the original properties. If you think it's the fault of the source material, let's take a look at a LEGO owned theme that they got very wrong. For our non licensed theme we'll look at the horror of Galaxy Squad. It is a continuation/expansion of the classic Space theme. Science Fiction has been popular for a long time, and little boys have always wanted to be an astronaut and kill space bugs. This theme had a whopping 10 sets and 2 polybags. The sets are 70700 Space Swarmer, 70701 Swarm Interceptor, 70702 Warp Stinger, 70703 Star Slicer, 70704 Vermin Vaporizer, 70705 Bug Obliterator, 70706 Crater Creeper, 70707 CLS-89 Eradicator Mech, 70708 Hive Crawler, 70709 Galactic Titan, with polybags 30230 Mini Mech, and 30231 Space Insectoid. That's about 4000 pieces of fun right there. All of those sets together would cost $479.38 at retail before tax. How much is Bricklink's average sold price for the entire series? $320. You're losing a full third of your initial investment if you bought these at retail and sold them for the average price. Are these the only themes that have lost money? By no means. Early predictions are putting the future of Chima in the toilet. I'll let those of you inclined to do so research other past themes to see which ones should cause speculators to run for the hills. For those people who jumped in head first, thinking that investing in LEGO would be like printing money, this should serve as a sobering wake-up call. If you had bought any of these themes at retail, you'd have saved yourself time by handing $5 bills to random people on the street, or better yet, save the money by burying it in a coffee can in your backyard. With every success story and humble brag about the times when someone guessed right, there's someone cursing the hundreds or thousands of dollars tied up in inventory, eating storage space. What can you do with all those Ostrich Races or Crater Creepers? I hear Toys for Tots accepts any toy that is unopened and unwrapped. You could break them down for parts, but that's a whole different headache. The average values that I list are not a complete indication of the value of these sets. Looking at Bricklink, many have sold or are currently available for notably less than the average. On the other hand, some bought these sets at significantly below average pricing. Prince of Persia has 2 unique animals (ostrich and camel) that have some demand on the parts market. Some people are making money on these sets. Smart money avoided these themes from the beginning, most even avoided them on clearance. Some, however, are wondering if it's possible to use these sets to make storage for their moneymaking investment. If you haven't thought about it, even if you sold at the listed average price, the amount of your return is at least 7% lower due to fees. If you're buying LEGO for investment and you don't know or don't care about the themes that you are buying, chances are that you're throwing money away.
    8 points
  24. "Follow the White Rabbit" I compare my experience emerging from the LEGO dark ages two years ago to Neo's experience after taking the Red Pill in 1999's The Matrix. I vividly remember the night in early 2014, when I accidentally stumbled across an Amazon listing for a 10185 Green Grocer selling for something like $800. At the same time, I was amazed, shocked, amused, confused and most importantly, hooked. It was literally life-changing. Simply put, I had a whole new perspective on my favorite childhood pastime. Previous to that night, I knew nothing about LEGO brand stores, Lego [email protected], Exclusives, Star Wars UCS, sets with RRPs over $150, AFOLs, Brick Pickers, or the LEGO secondary market. The next day I started a new adventure in my life as a LEGO collector. Hoarders, Buried Alive - The Brick Picker Episode I like to sell spare LEGO sets here and there for extra cash - who doesn't - but for now, I consider myself more of a collector-investor than a re-seller. This is largely limited by my available free time. I am also what you would consider a hoarder completionist. I've gone from zero to 450+ sets in the past 24 months. Yes, I have to have all the Ninjago sets with the Dragons. The entire Architecture line? Afraid so. All the Creator modular buildings, absolutely. Can't forget about the LEGO Ideas sets. How about the Creator 3-in-1 buildings, those are kinda cool. Mixels, CMF series, and Winter Village sets are awesome. And then there's the Star Wars UCS collection, the Gold Standard of cool-kid LEGO sets. Besides the sizable storage and display space requirements, the financial commitment required to acquire and maintain a first-class LEGO collection is not insignificant. I'm still waiting for the BOGO sale on 10179 UCS Millenium Falcons at Amazon Unless you had the foresight to start stashing away LEGO sets in 1999, like a doomsday prepper waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse, you've probably missed out on a set or two or twenty. In fact there is a whole thread dedicated to this very topic on Brickpicker. If you've picked up a copy of the Ultimate Guide to Collectible LEGO Sets over on Amazon, you've probably read that some highly desirable LEGO sets are going for big money these days. If you're a serious AFOL, owning a mint copy of the 10179 UCS Millenium Falcon is like showing up to work one day driving a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California - it brings instant street cred. The whale collectors are going to spend whatever it takes to obtain the sets on their wish list. But what about the rest of us, the ones with budget limitations, a sense of fiscal conservatism, or a desire to get the best deal possible on our purchases, can we make our LEGO dreams come true? Absolutely. If you do your research, set a realistic price goal, and constantly monitor the market for deals, many sets are within reach. In the near future, I plan to present a series of articles highlighting topics of particular interest to the budding collector looking for the best ways to expand their collection. I'm also planning a recurring feature showcasing those Brickpickers offering great deals in their Brick Classifieds stores. What is this Brick Classifieds you speak of? "Tired of paying high commissions on your LEGO set sales? Tired of inexperienced sellers shipping your valued LEGO sets in brown paper and no outer protective box? Tired of clueless Mom and Pop LEGO auction sellers describing expensive LEGO sets incorrectly to make a quick sale? Fearful of unscrupulous “drop shippers” and their illegal activities? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you might want to take a look at sellers that are BrickPicker members. BrickPicker will now give members the chance to post their personal LEGO set and part listings for sale on the new Brick Classifieds website." — Ed Mack, founder Brick Classifieds Basically, Brick Classifieds is a newish market place, developed by AFOLs, looking to provide great prices on great LEGO sets, outstanding customer service, and a safe, simple shopping experience. Can't I just get that set cheaper on Ebay or Amazon? Possibly, but in many cases, probably not. Particularly when it comes to retired, highly collectible sets, Brick Classifieds is emerging as the leading online marketplace in providing outstanding value to it's customers. This is something I've increasingly noticed over the past year, but I wanted to provide up-to-date information to support my observations. This weekend, I conducted a small market research survey to determine which online marketplace is providing the best deals. As you can see below, vendors on Brick Classifieds offered the best pricing on 19 of 30, or 67% of the sets sampled. 1 All set values were obtained using market data available at brickpicker.com. Click here to research the value of your favorite LEGO set. 2 All CAGR data obtained on 1/16/2016 from brickpicker.com. Click here for a more in-depth discussion of CAGR. 3 Ebay comparison data obtained on 1/16/2016 and calculated using U.S. based sellers only and include shipping to zip code 36870. Pricing data comes from the least expensive Buy-it-now option listing for complete, sealed, new in box listings. Prices listed in U.S. dollars. 4 RRP listed in US dollars. Best of Brick Classifieds - Highlighting this week's outstanding deals A special shout out to vendors FlipBricks and BrickTop for having multiple listings in this weeks' deals. Minifigure Mania - $300 Complete set of 16 Collectible Minifigure Series 1 (sealed) BrickTop - $165 LEGO Castle Medieval Market Village #10193 (retired exclusive) FlipBricks - $340 LEGO Creator Fire Brigade #10197 (retired exclusive) Flip Bricks - $139.99 LEGO Creator Pet Shop #10218 (exclusive) FlipBricks - $499 LEGO Creator Town Hall #10224 (retired exclusive) FlipBricks - $224.99 LEGO DC Super Heroes Batman: Arkham Asylum Breakout #10937 (retired exclusive) FlipBricks - $339.95 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes The SHIELD Helicarrier (exclusive) Collector Bricks - $105 Mixels Complete Series 1 (new, sealed) pnwcollectibles - $373.45 LEGO Monster Fighters Haunted Housed #10228 (retired exclusive) Brickocephalus House - $69 LEGO Ninjago Ice Dragon Attack #2260 Couple Few Lego - $625 LEGO Star Wars UCS TIE Interceptor #7181 (retired exclusive) Toy Box Building Bricks - $655 LEGO Star Wars UCS Naboo Starfighter #10026 (retired exclusive) FlipBricks - $1830 LEGO Star Wars UCS Death Star II #10143 (retired exclusive) BrickTop - $535 LEGO Star Wars Death Star #10188 (retired exclusive) FlipBricks - $350 LEGO Star Wars UCS R2-D2 #10225 (retired exclusive) Lego Dominion - $163 LEGO Star Wars Republic Gunship #75021 (retired) FlipBricks - $279.99 LEGO Star Wars UCS Red 5 X-Wing Starfighter #10240 (retiring soon exclusive) Bricks and Blocks Galaxy - $249 LEGO Technic Unimog #8110 (retired)
    8 points
  25. I thought it would be a great idea to check in on some sets that don't get a lot of press around here to see exactly how they are doing now. I love 'where are they now' editions of TV shows so if nothing else posting this will please me, and perhaps others like me. Also, I think learning from history is better than not learning history, so for new(er) members, these type of posts might be instructive at best or eye-rolling at worst. I was casually checking through my stockroom a few days ago, organizing, moving boxes around, admiring pretty sets, etc., when my eyes fell upon my admittedly small stash of #60026 Town Squares (in all fairness, I admit to only having four). I hadn't checked in on this old fellow for a bit so pulled up some eBay sold listings. I was pleasantly surprised to see the eBay trend price is $218 CAD with a few selling above that number (as of Nov. 12, 2015). This piqued my curiosity because I know I purchased these last year 20% off (plus VIP) from S&H in December 2014. For an eleven month hold I have to admit to being downright jolly about this set's performance. Perhaps it is because I was very conservative in my expectations (say, $200+ CAD 18 months after retirement or so) or maybe I am just happy anytime I 'know' I can sell a set for at least some profit after taxes and fees and such (it definitely placates my significant other as well to show her sale prices over $200 CAD so she knows this set is almost certainly going to make at least some profit). Not every set can be the Zombies or the Town Hall. I believe a solid portfolio should be balanced, and this large City set seems like it would have been a good one to add to any investor's portfolio at a reasonable discount. I know, I know, buy in is always a combative point in the forums, but I think we can mostly almost always 100% of the time agree that City sets can be found at discount at some point in their product cycle. So why has this quiet little (big) set done pretty well in the last eleven months? The Good: A short production lifespan. Brickset.com lists its availability from Aug 1, 2013 to December 2014. I can't remember the exact day, but it was post Boxing Day 2014. It lasted a bit at 20% off on Shop at Home, but not crazy long (like Kingdom's Joust at 20% off...which considering the derision some heaped on it whilst on sale, it will still eke out profits if sold today). I regret not grabbing a couple more, actually. I think I was entirely too concerned with festive celebrations and not doing due diligence to realize this run was actually well under what I will simply call 'average' (debate what average is to you in your own posts...to me it is around two years, give or take a couple months, so this was a significant difference from MY concept of average). I also was probably so full of holiday cheer that I forgot I had done quite well on 8404 Public Transport. Again, not fireworks, but bought at discount near EOL, held for less than a year and solidly collected cash. Virtual money in your portfolio isn't nearly as sweet as the real cash I got from selling my 8404's and pushing that money right back into other sets. Little buzz. I just reread some of the six (yes! all six pages!) of the 60026 discussion. It was a real barn-burner in some sections...scintillating reading, really! I posted in that thread a few times! And if you are reading this, you've already at least partially allowed your brain to think my jibber-jabber is relevant and useful to you! Also, I think if you took out the posts about the initial launch and the flurry of posts when it went on sale on S&H near the end there were possibly only a handful of other posts in the intervening 15 months. Boooo-ring! I think part of this is that (at least in Canada) it was a TRU exclusive and difficult to get with any significant discount. I seem to remember about 20% with some air miles bonuses about the best I could muster. South of the border I'm sure some of you used 'American coupon magic' (that is banned in Canada) to get your buy in crazy low, but I don't recall any massive sales on this set in my parts (which probably accounts for the rather paltry amount of chatter about this set). More expensive successor. I think having 60097 City Square come out at a higher MSRP helped 60026. I think one could make a counter-argument or argue that any successor ultimately will limit the growth of 60026 but I tend not to agree with any hypothetical naysayers. I imagine the kind of people buying 60026 over MSRP do so not in lieu of purchasing its 'replacement' (a large City 'scene', if you will) but buy it because they want it in addition to 60097. Higher values of one (at least to me) seem to go hand in hand with higher values for the other. City sets are winners! Ha! I know a multitude of BPers will disagree, but no matter! I have made solid, steady and often unremarkable gains on City sets and like it that way. If you look at City's 15.79% CAGR and then throw out the humdrum police and fire sets, you *might* begin to see that some of the more unique sets in this theme seem to do rather well, even though it is an unlicensed theme and whole subthemes are under threat of a refresh at any given time. That does mean a savvy investor has to be always on the lookout for rumors and leaks of future themes/sets so product can be moved when necessary, but that is a risk I'm willing to take. I don't wish I had fifty of these, partly because I don't have that kind of capital to tie up in a single set and partly because even if this set is $250-275 CAD next Christmas I don't know if I could quickly find a home for so many at once (and I rely on regular sales to keep the investing side of the machine running), but I do wish I had about 10-15. So, what can we learn by looking at a slow, steady gainer eleven months post-EOL? Hopefully something to help us make better choices going forward. I know I buy much more selectively now than a few years ago, and I try to find a comfortable little niche where I can buy-sell-rinse-repeat enough to keep money coming in and a smile on my face. Perhaps you'd like to join me? BigBlueDogBricks (Veegs) &lt;/p&gt;
    8 points
  26. Today, we are going back in time to almost three years ago (time flies!) and taking a look at one set that had the forums and the entire LEGO community talking almost non-stop: the LEGO Technic 4x4 Crawler Exclusive Edition. Unlike the majority of LEGO sets released throughout the years, the Limited Edition Crawler was designed through a fan base contest, with one of the conditions being that the creators utilized the chassis of the 9398 Crawler. The winner model was to be selected and produced as a limited edition of only 20,000 copies. Even since the winner was announced, investors and collectors were excited about the possibility of getting their hands in what many saw as a highly collectible set. Whether it was for resale, long term holding or just for personal collection reasons, the expectation was that such a unique set was bound to be extremely hard to acquire at retail price ($199.99). Months after the announcement, on August 1st 2013, the set was finally released to the public on LEGO Shop at Home and brick and mortar locations. As many expected, and worried about, 41999 sold out online the very same day, forcing customers to either hunt the set at retail location or source it from the secondary market. As one would expect, the hype surrounding the set meant that most brick and mortar locations sold out as soon as they put the set on the shelves. In turn, prices on eBay and other online platforms rose to close to $450, with sets selling within minutes of being listed as collectors worried about it becoming even more expensive, investors hoped for the next $1,000 set and, as some of you might remember, some even attempted to corner the market by acquiring dozens of copies a day. While I will not get into it, it is also worth mentioning that the circumstances surrounding the set generated a lot of controversy, and ethical/moral discussions popped up almost daily on some of the forum threads. In theory, it all made sense; LEGO released a set that was not designed by your traditional LEGO design team, limited it to 20,000 copies worldwide and, to top it off, included a number of rare and unique elements that increased collectability (first Technic set to use dark blue, chrome elements and a uniquely numbered license plate). Furthermore, the box and instruction manuals were both higher quality than average and added a little bit of value to the set. It had all the potential in the world to become an extremely sought after and expensive set in the long term, but as you can see from the chart below, in the end that was not the case. The set has almost completely stagnated at around $360, the price it finally settled at a couple months after the hype died down at the end of 2013. That’s a close to 0% gain for anyone who has been holding the set for the last 2 or so years! Clearly, the weeks after release were the most profitable times to sell the Limited Edition 41999. I sold some of these within this timeframe and took advantage of the hype surrounding it, but at the same time thought that the set had a lot of long term potential (as many others did!). Looking back though, the performance of the set has not been anything but a disappointment. While it is always hard to pinpoint the exact reasons a set is not as popular as expected, I think that there are some generally accepted factors that contributed to the Crawler not doing as well as expected. Technic has always been a niche market. While there is definitely a following to the theme, its popularity is nowhere near as close to some of the licensed themes, reducing the customer base. The set on which 41999 was based on, 9398 Crawler, was readily available until 2015. Given the similarities between the two sets, having a much cheaper version in the market could have definitely impacted the performance of the Limited Edition. The set simply grew too fast, reaching maturity shortly after its release. All the circumstances surrounding the set allowed it to reach its ceiling way faster than the average LEGO set, explaining the lack of growth since. So, knowing its past, what should we look forward to? Honestly, I don’t see how the trend can be reversed. I would not expect to see any significant growth out of this set, as I believe that if its unique characteristics have not generated any more interest in the past couple of years, there is no reason to believe they will in the future. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a cool model and a very interesting piece of LEGO history, so there is definitely a value in owning it. But if you are still holding it with the expectation of above average result, I would definitely take a few moments to reconsider and compare it with some of the better options currently available. Thanks for reading!
    7 points
  27. For The Distinguished Lego Batman Collector: 76052 Classic TV Series Batcave Review Welcome to my new feature, For The Distinguished Lego Batman Collector! Like most AFOLs, I've been a Lego fan for nearly my entire life. When I rediscovered Lego when my son turned four, I was really surprised to see the development of detail in the minifigures, and in particular the licensed figures. And staring at a shelf of Lego sets in the store, my favorites were the Lego Batman sets. I was hooked. Naturally, I've begun collecting Lego Batman sets, minifigures, DVDs, and Character Encyclopedias, and I'm even on the hunt for that Lego Batman Board Game! The collection is small right now, but growing every day. So it was with great excitement that I recently saw the newest addition to the Lego Batman family: The Classic TV Series Batcave. Because I am primarily a collector that likes to display sets from the collection, I wanted to review the set through the eyes of someone that would be building this set to display. Without further ado...to the review! First, the basics: at 2,526 pieces, this is easily the biggest Lego Batman model. MSRP is £229.99 / $269.99 / 249.99€. It includes nine minifigures, and all of them are awesomely exclusive to this set (for now). It also includes three "modules" of Wayne Manor/Batcave, one killer Batmobile, one nice Batcopter, one slick Batcycle complete with sidecar, and a host of Batcave accessories. As is typical with licensed minifigures, they are spread out throughout the bags. As expected, the box is big - it's the same frame size as the Grand Emporium box with roughly 1" more depth to the box. As you can see in the picture, the box art is phenomenal. Both the front and back graphics are set in a Classic Batman motif with a cartoonish skyline and an old school Bat signal to boot. The box is so nice, it can easily pair with the set for those with unlimited shelf space. Inside the box, there are the following: 2 - Number 1 bags 5 - Number 2 bags 3 - Number 3 bags 4 - Number 4 bags 2 - Number 5 bags 2 - Number 6 bags 1 - Number 7 bag 3 - Number 8 bags In addition to the numbered bags, there are five unnumbered bags. Three of these contain the same tan column bricks and dark tan plates, while the other two have unique contents. There's also a bag with the instruction book and sticker sheet, and three loose-in-the-box pearl gold poles. Right off the bat, the Number 1 bags start you off with arguably the best parts of the set: the Classic Batmobile and the Batman and Joker minifigs. The first two minifigures don't disappoint, and they provide a wonderful departure from the typical Batman minifigure. Both have exquisite detailing like the penciled eyebrows on Batman's cowl and the "whited out" mustache of the Joker. Both have two minifigure faces, although the Joker's is obviously more pronounced since his head print isn't hiding behind a cowl. These are easily my favorite Batman and Joker minifigure of the entire Lego Batman theme. The Batmobile construction rounds out bags 1, and it also doesn't disappoint. This build is magnifiicent and truly captures the lines, angles, and detailing of the original Batmobile. From the red phone between the seats to the angled wings, this build is incredibly accurate and allows both Batman and Robin minifigures to sit comfortably while on display. The spongy capes included with both Batman and Robin allow each to "flutter" in the breeze of the open convertible while still returning to its original shape after a quick ride. Also a small hatch in the back solves an age old issue for Lego Batman collectors - it's a great place to store the extra batarangs! I even like the stud shooters that were incorporated into the hood, although purists may feel these details are unnecessary and, at worst, a Lego-forced encroachment on a legendary vehicle. In my opinion, this Batmobile is a no-doubt home run. The design team deserves a raise for this effort! On to bag group 2...when sorting the set, I was surprised and there were five bags that were numbered 2. Building Lego Batman sets over the last four years has conditioned me to expecting one or two of the same numbered bags, so five was a surprise. Bags 2 contain the Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and Alfred Pennyworth and the "cat" made famous by the Lego Shop at Home bullet point descriptor "Also includes a cat" - a non-sequitur at it's delightfully finest. I like the three minifigures the design team gave us here as they are all nice depictions of the show characters. That said, I feel a little empty when displaying them as they stand in stark contrast to the phenomenal minifigures that adorn the rest of the set. And the aforementioned "cat" is really just a retread of "Jeff", the cat from the Lego Movie that comes with Mrs. Scratchen-Post from the Lego Movie CMFs. A little Bricklink research revealed this tabby has been in five Lego sets that were all from the last two years. All that said, Jeff still provides a nice compliment to Catwoman when displaying an burglar attempt to break in from the roof. As you can see, the build progresses from structure to cladding, back to structure, with a cladding finish. The star of this build is easily the Wayne Manor facade. The windows are well designed with an attractive, "high-end" siding aesthetic, and contain wonderful, although slightly obscured, window treatments to hide the backside of the interior's dark tan plates. The structure is solid, if not unattractive, although my only main complaint is that all of the holes on the column supports weren't covered. This apparent nakedness gives a little bit of an unfinished look to an otherwise snappy build. Bags 3 include Catwoman and the Wayne Manor interior build out. Another slam dunk winner - the Julie Newmar-inspired Catwoman is awesomely awesome with the hair mold from the Series 14 Tiger Lady CMF used to great effect, and the head and torso printing augmenting an already near perfect minifig rendition of this classic villain. The whip accessory seems to make sense as an appropriate accessory for this minifigure, especially when mocking up break-in scenes for Catwoman. The interior of Wayne Manor is very well done and displays really well. The wallpaper print bricks are super, and aesthetically create an umatched ethos of wealth and stature for the room, a perfect reflection of Bruce Wayne's position and status in Gotham society. The room itself includes the famous red Batphone to Commissioner Gordon's office, the impeccably designed Shakespeare bust, complete with the hidden button, and the sliding bookshelf that reveals the Batpoles for Dick and Bruce, complete with label plaques to match the TV show. The only complaint here is that the Batpoles behind the sliding bookshelf don't actually connect to the Batpoles you see housed below the structure. On its surface, that doesn't seem to make sense as you would expect Bruce and Dick to ride the same Batpoles down to the Batcave. However, this build allows Bruce and Dick to magically transform to Batman and Robin with a close of the sliding bookshelf and a conveniently hidden platforms under the floor to hide the Batman and Robin minifigures until it's go-time. The finished Wayne Manor module of this model is really nicely done on both sides. This creates a slight problem for display though - which side do you display? I have chosen to show the Wayne Manor facade side as I have my current display with Batman and Robin rapelling up the side of the house, but you can just as easily display the Wayne Manor and Batcave interior. I suppose it's a positive that both sides are so well done, but it does create a bit of a question. There are four bags labeled with the number four, and these contain the Riddler minifigure and the Bat Lab bricks. The Riddler minifigure is pretty accurate to the Frank Gorshin version of the show's character, down to his memorable lavender gloves and iconic question mark shirt. It comes with three TNT dynamite stick bricks as accessories, but I wish there had been something a little more that came with the minifigure. That small complaint aside, this is one great minifigure, and I would guess this is the only minifigure ever to have lavender hands. The start of the Bat Lab looks good with the use of some slick, albeit repetitious, "SNOT" techniques to create the octagonal core. Bags 5 include the trim around sides of the Bat Lab, and the steps utilize some of the unmarked bag pieces shown earlier in the review. Bags numbered 6 complete the Bat Lab by providing the top stone archway that frames the reactor, with a couple of hanging bats thrown in for detail. All in all, it's a very accurate depiction of the 60s Bat Lab. The removable computer mainframes can be removed and placed in front of the Bat Lab to expand the footprint of the display. The designers have also included a smart little dresser where Batman and Robin can keep their day outfits. Bags 7 includes bricks for the Batcave entrance for the Batmobile, along with a helipad for the Bat Wing. A nice, matching start to the Batcave entrance, along with all those bats that now keep popping up everywhere! Nearing completion of the set, we open bags numbered 8. These bags include both The Penguin and Robin, the final stonework on the Batcave entrance, and Batwing and Batcycle. Nearly as good as Batman, the Robin minifigure is really well detailed and accurate to the show. The awkward "speedo-with-tights" look aside, this Robin is a really slick looking minifigure, and perfect compliment to Batman. To my surprise, the short cape is also show-accurate. The Penguin minifigure is also suprisingly good. While similar to other Penguin minifigures, this one includes a lavendar hat (an exclusive color for this piece) that really sets off the minifigure. With Riddler's exclusive hands and Penguin's, this is a great set for fans of lavendar minifigure parts. The Batcave entrance displays well and works with the other two modules, but there are two flaws I see: the Batcave entrance desperately needs some foliage if this is truly intended to be the entrance, and the Batcave doesn't fit very well in this area. From a display perspective, the first is much worse than the second as most will probably want to highlight the Batmobile in front of the display rather than hiding it in the entrance cave. The missing foliage is a head scratcher - with a few more bricks, the designers could have made the entry incredibly accurate and added some play feature as well. That said, it's still a nice addition to the Batcave, and it's a great place to display the Batcopter prominently. Speaking of the Batcopter, I think it turned out nicely. While it's a little chunkier than its small screen brother and the wings could have used a little bit of red trim, it's a nice piece. It's just not as iconic as the Batmobile. The Batcycle is nicely done too, although it's missing the windscreen the TV version has. I also appreciate the design team's effort to infuse some of the red trim on the Batcycle with the round 2x4 plate behind the black dome, and their attempt at "batifying" the cycle with the vertical wing too. While this wing isn't a detail on the original cycle, it's still nice to see the designers trying to separate the Batcycle from any other Lego motorcycle with sidecar. The complete set is really an incredible build, with all of the campy components from the original TV series rolled into one great model. As mentioned, the Batmobile and Batman minifigures are the stars of this model, along with Wayne Manor's exterior and interior. The Batcave modules are accurate and look great, with the only major head scratcher being the lack of two continuous Batpoles that span between Bruce's office and the Batcave. Please let me know your thoughts on the model, minifigures, components and their display features in the comment section below! For the Distinguished Lego Batman Collector
    7 points
  28. I don't know about anyone else, but I like looking at bulk lots and playing a guessing game about what might be there. Sometimes I can figure it out and come out well, other times I am left scratching my head wondering what other people are seeing that I am not. I usually assume that it's a modular building and shrug it off as my lack of experience with them. However I don't have to shrug it off, I could educate myself. I begin my analysis by picking out a desirable set. In this case, I have chosen 10190 Market Street. Market Street was made in 2007 and retailed for $89.99. This set was significantly cheaper than any of the other modular sets when it was released. The lower retail cost is probably due to its smaller size. It is 1248 pieces, including 3 minifigures. Market Place was the only modular building set that was not released under the Creator imprint. It was instead released under the Factory imprint. LEGO Factory is the imprint used for a series of sets that were created in LEGO Digital Designer by fans and submitted to LEGO for approval and eventual release. The original LEGO.com description: Add Market Street to your LEGO town! Designed by a LEGO fan, this realistic LEGO Factory exclusive features interesting colors and details like spiral staircases, awnings, removable balconies and a terrace roof. The modular construction allows you to put it together in different ways and to enlarge your LEGO town or city as your collection grows! Combine with set 10182 Café Corner to expand your LEGO neighborhood! Designed to minifigure scale! Includes 3 townspeople! Build each floor separately and put them together to complete the building! Top three stories lift off to reveal inner rooms and staircases! Street base measures 10" x 10" (25.4 cm x 25.4 cm) and the building stands 13"" (33 cm) high! Realistic features include opening doors and windows, gate, street light, striped awning, fruit to sell at the market and more! The set comes with printed building instructions which are also available online at www.LEGOFactory.com/buildinginstructions. In the most recent update of the Brickpicker price guide we see that this set has risen in value to $1461 for a new copy and $631 for a used copy. For an unopened copy that's more than 16X the original cost of the set and even the used copy is more than 7X. I don't know if that used price includes instructions or a box. As we all know, the sets cannot be rebuilt out of just random parts that you find in your kid's LEGO bin. It takes a certain selection of parts, and that's what you or I would look for in a bulk lot to see if this set is present. If you were to buy this set broken down, you'd probably want to check out specific expensive pieces to make sure they were present. If you were thinking of building this set from scratch, what pieces would be the key pieces? I'm going to separate the parts into 3 groups. The first group is the most common pieces in this set. That doesn't necessarily mean that these pieces are common, just that they are the most numerous in this set. To that end, I will list the parts that occur 19 or more times in this set. The second group are the rare or expensive pieces. Any piece or minifigure that sells regularly for more than $1 and/or appears in less than 10 sets will make up this group. The third group, are the rest of the pieces, I'm not going to talk about them. There are lots of places including Bricklink and rebrickable.com that you can get a complete inventory, this article is focusing upon the highlights. If you decide to try to gather the pieces to build this set, you'd be looking at 1239 individual pieces (If the minifigures are treated as a single piece.) Those pieces can be broken down by unique color/part combinations, or elements. This set is made up of 184 elements. When I take an average used price of all elements, I get a total of $366.62. That's not actually that bad considering the cheapest used set I can find is $499. However, one should take into account that most sellers are only going to have a portion of the pieces that you need and each additional order is going to increase your expenditure. Also, as I mentioned, I used the average price, savvy shoppers could find many of the pieces cheaper, but you'd have to make a determination of whether it makes most fiscal sense to purchase a part for more if the seller has more parts that you need or for less from a seller that might not have anything else that you need.. I always have a hard time labeling this section, most numerous, most occurring, most common? I'm going with most common. Anyway, Let's take a look at the pieces in Market Street that you need 20 or more of. We have 13 different elements that occur 20 or more times. I will list them from most occurring to least. I apologize for the times when the image is not the exact part/color combination. Sometimes the image was not available in the right combination. The part will always be correct if not the correct color. The most commonly occurring piece in this set is 82 Medium Blue 1x4 Brick. Element 3010 averages $.11 and the cheapest seller at the quantity you need is also at the same rate. This piece appears in 54 sets. The next most occurring piece is Dark Blue 1x4 Brick, element 3010. You need 79 and they're going to cost you about $.27 each. Actually one seller has the quantity that you need for $.21. The price difference is probably due to this part being available in fewer sets at 46. Medium blue is a dominant color in this set. You need 65 1x2 bricks in that color. Appearing in 89 sets, element 3004 is going to set you back about $.05 each, or somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.25 for all of them. Averaging close to $.06 (which to me is weird because I have a ton more of these than the previous piece.) Element 2877 shows up in 164 sets. You need 44 light bluish grey 1x2 brick modified with grill. Dark blue 1x2 bricks cost a little more, averaging $.18. Element 3004 appears in 48 sets. this set require 38 of them. You need 37 medium blue 1x1 bricks. It appears in 66 sets. Element 3005 averages $.05. Tan 1x1 tiles appear in this set 29 times. Element 3070b appears in this color in 89 sets. It averages about $.08 each. You need 28 1x1 round plates in light bluish grey. It appears in 428 sets and element 4073 could cost you as little as $.01 each. Light bluish grey 1x1 tiles appear in this set 26 times. Element 3070b appears in this color in 161 sets. You're most likely going to spend about $.05 each Appearing in 153 sets and averaging $.10 is element 3069b. For this set, you need 26 tan 1x2 tiles. Anyone who loves tiles has to be really excited for this section. Our next part is Dark Bluish grey 2x2 tiles. you need 24 element 3068b. THis part averages $.15 and appears in 217 sets. It's deja vu all over again. Dark bluish grey 1x1 tiles appear in this set 22 times. Element 3070b appears in this color in 148 sets. You're most likely going to spend about $.07 each Our final part for this section appears 20 times in this set. The white Window 1 x 2 x 3 Pane appears in 64 sets. Someone has plenty of new element 3854 for $.05 each. Between these 13 different elements, (~7% of the set) we have 520 pieces (~41% of the set.) If you take the average value of these pieces you're at about $58.64. Thankfully, there are no stickers. No one really likes stickers it seems, and they tend to cost more than anyone really wants to spend in these expensive sets. I'm going to split the minifigures from the individual parts that make up the rare/expensive pieces. For the purposes of this article, the rare/expensive label will be any part that is a part of 10 or fewer sets and/or costs more than $1.50 on average. The parts in this section will be listed from most expensive to least. We have 11 parts that meat these criteria. Our first part averages $24. Element 73435c01 appears in 6 sets. You need 1 light bluish grey Door 1 x 4 x 5 Right with Trans-Clear Glass. We explored this piece in the Cafe Corner. You might be able to find this part in a partial Krusty Krab set for less than $20 though. You need 4 white Hose, Flexible 8.5L with Tabbed Ends (Ends same color as Tube.) The average for element 73590c02a is about $12. You may want to try looking for Alien Fossilizer 6854 which sometimes sells in the $7 range. This part is found in 4 sets. When I wrote about the Cafe Corner, I also talked about element 3308. Dark Blue Brick, Arch 1 x 8 x 2 appears in 5 sets, and you need 5 of them for this set. Each one of these is going to run about $6 each. I feel like I need to issue a warning about element 4095. Light bluish grey Bar 6.6L with Stop Ring (Patio Umbrella Stand) might be replaced by element 63965. A $6 part could be substituted by a shorter $.12 piece. Thankfully, you only need 1. This part appears in 21 sets including 10179 Millennium Falcon which is why such an undistinguished part is so pricy. The counterpart to our earlier door is light bluish grey Element 73436c01. The Door 1 x 4 x 5 Left with Trans-Clear Glass appears in 5 sets (including the aforementioned Krusty Krab.) It averages $6 each, probably cheaper because it is not in the Cafe Corner. You need 1. Dark bluish grey Baseplate 16 x 32 is part of 23 sets. Most of those sets are fairly large. You need 2 element 3857. It averages a bit more than $5 but several sellers have a large quantity for less than $4. You need 10 Window 1 x 4 x 3 Train with Shutter Holes and Solid Studs on Ends. It appears in 14 sets including 10173 Holiday Train. Each element 6556 averages $5. Element 2039, White Lamp Post, 2 x 2 x 7 with 6 Base Flutes is almost a staple of the Modular theme. It appears in 21 sets and runs about $3.60, you only need 1. I'm sort of confused why there's an Exo-Force hairpiece in this set. I guess, it would look interesting as a houseplant, or maybe Mr. Greenjeans wears it on the weekend. Anyway, you need 1 Bright Green Minifig, Hair Angular Swept Back. This part appears in 8 sets and is part of 3 minifigures named Takeshi. Element 53982 averages $3.50, despite the fact that Takeshi can be found for less. You only need 1 element x39c02. The black Door 1 x 4 x 6 with 3 Panes with Trans-Black Glass appears in 9 sets and you can get it for $2 or less used. (New, this thing is over $11.) So, I guess this set might double as a Harry Potter set? The black Owl Large, Rounded Features is found in 10 sets. Element 40232 is actually in mostly Harry Potter sets (8). On average it sells for about $1.50. So the minifigures are unique to this set. How unique are they? As we saw with the Green Grocer, all of the minifigures shared parts with other pre-existing figures. We'll look and see if the same holds true here. Before I get into the breakdown, let me share with you a bit of trivia that I read. This is the only modular set that uses faces that are not the basic smiley face. Each of these minifigures has an individual personality. Our first minifigure is twn045. Dark Blue Jacket, Light Blue Shirt, Dark Bluish Gray Legs, Square Glasses, Dark Tan Female Hair. I'm going to call him Roger. Now Bricklink says that his shirt is light blue, but I think it's white paint on top of dark blue plastic. I think it's supposed to be a white shirt. You're going to be able to get him in the $6 range. When I price out the parts though, I'm looking at about $2 in parts. I'm going to call the next one Wendy. I have no reason for it, but I hate referring to the figure as Medium Blue Jacket, Dark Blue Legs, Reddish Brown Ponytail Hair. Wendy is not a number, she is a human being, so don't call her twn044 either. Wendy's not a cheap date, She's going to cost you about $17 on average. What makes this figure so pricey? I made a mistake when I wrote about Cafe Corner when I said that twn040 had a unique torso print. It's definitely not unique since it is shared by 8 minifigures. That's actually a lot of minifigures to share a part with. However, those minifigures all seem to be part of somewhat expensive sets. You won't find the torso piece for less than $12. (Keep your eyes peeled for twn024 which seems to sell for less than $10 frequently if you want to grab the torso for cheaper.) The rest of Wendy's pieces are less than $1 total. I want to call this guy Mr. Greenjeans. I know, he's got on overalls instead of jeans, but I don't have something for green overalls. Wilbur? Anyway, ovr032, Overalls Green with Pocket, Green Legs, Light Bluish Gray Male Hair is the cheapest of the three. I thought Roger was boring, but Mr. GJ is super dull. He's in the $4 range. His parts are about $2.75 with the torso being responsible for $1.75 of that. If you feel like your set's not complete without instructions, you can find a set, but it's going to run you about $200. I was unable to find data for the box having been available anytime within the past 6 months. I can't make an accurate estimation of the value. If you would like to discuss this set, please join the conversation. All images are the property of Rebrickable.com, Bricklink.com, and the LEGO Group. If you liked this article, please check out the others in the series: 10123 Cloud City 7181 UCS TIE Interceptor 10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle 10182 Cafe Corner 10019 UCS Rebel Blockade Runner 10185 Green Grocer
    6 points
  29. 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: ADVENTURERS AGENTS/ULTRA AGENTS ATLANTIS/AQUA RAIDERS AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER BATMAN BIONICLE CASTLE CITY COLLECTIBLE MINIFIGURES(CMFs) COMIC CON, TOY FAIR & CONVENTION CREATOR DIMENSIONS DINO/JURASSIC WORLD DISNEY PRINCESSES ELVES EXO-FORCE FRIENDS HARRY POTTER HERO FACTORY IDEAS/CUUSOO INDIANA JONES LEGENDS OF CHIMA LORD OF THE RINGS/THE HOBBIT MONSTER FIGHTERS NINJAGO PIRATES/PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN POWER MINERS RACERS SCOOBY-DOO SEASONAL SPACE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS STAR WARS SUPERHEROES TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES THE LEGO MOVIE THE LONE RANGER THE SIMPSONS TOY STORY MAXIFIGURES VINTAGE PRE 2000 MINIFIGURES MISCELLANEOUS MINIFIGURES and THEME COUNTERFEITS Each new chapter will have one of these creative LEGO minifigure action scenes or dioramas attached to it in some manner, whether it’s in the introduction or later in the chapter. Some major themes might have multiple “special” images. These creations should include one or more minifigures from that theme. That is really the only rule for these images. They have to have theme based minifigures in the photos. 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... ----------------------------------------------- PHOTOGRAPHY SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 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! https://brickpicker.wetransfer.com/
    6 points
  30. Remember the first time that you saw Star Wars? Remember the feeling as the small rebel ship blazed overhead pursued by the massive Star Destroyer? It was so unlike anything we had seen before. When people talk about iconic Star Wars vehicles, they talk about the ones that appeared in all of the original trilogy; the Millennium Falcon, the X-Wing, Star Destroyer and TIE FIghter. The very first image though was of a ship that only had minutes of screen time. Despite that, the Rebel Blockade Runner was burned indelibly into the consciousness of fans. You may not know, the Blockade Runner was modified from the original design of the Millennium Falcon. Just a little trivial trivia for you there. Though never specifically stated on film, it was called the Tantive IV and belonged to the royal family of Alderaan. In 2005's Revenge of the Sith, a second Blockade Runner was shown, and since then several more have appeared in Star Wars Rebels. Released in 2001, with a retail price of $199.99, this was an expensive early addition to the LEGO Star Wars theme. It was more expensive than any other Star Wars set to that date. It cost twice as much as the UCS TIE Interceptor or the first Millennium Falcon and 1/3 more than the UCS X-Wing and Darth Maul. According to the Brickpicker Price Guide the current market supports sales of this set for around $1300 new in box or more than $750 used. This set is almost 4x the original cost in used condition. When I looked at the parts from this set, I realized that it contained a large number of old grey pieces. Because of the switchover to newer bluish greys, you should be aware that someone might try to pass off the more prevalent "bley" pieces as opposed to the correct and rarer old grey. A lot of pieces in this set are unique to this set or rare (appearing in 10 or fewer sets) mostly because of the grey switchover. When I do a summary of parts, getting them at average market value, you'd spend close to $1000 for all the parts that you need before factoring in the shipping of multiple orders. I'd like to first discuss the pieces in this set where you need a larger quantity of each one. We're going to look at all the pieces that you need 20 or more of. I would like to stress at this point that this article is in no way a complete inventory. This article is a survey of the notable parts, whether they are expensive, rare or you need an unusually large number of. For a complete inventory, please consult the bricklink set inventory. The most prevalent piece in the set is 59 black 2x2 round plate with Axle hole, Element 4032. This is a part that appears in 464 sets. The number needed for this set is almost 2.5x the amount required for the set with the next highest count. You can get these for $.01 each but most of the volume is in the $.02 range. Next, you need 52 light gray round 4x4 corner plates. Element 30565 is only found in that color in 5 sets. It averages $.30 on bricklink. Most people on Bricklink don't have the quantity you need though. We've also got 52 element 30562 white cylinder quarter 4x4x6 for all of the engines on the back of this thing. They'll run an average of $1 each. This part appears in 12 sets. Element 4286 White Slope 3x1 is next. You need 41 of them. You can get all that you need for $.02 and it appears in 219 sets. Appearing in 33 sets, and easily obtainable in the quantity you need for $.05 or less, you will need 34 element 2412b dark grey tile modified 1x2 w/ grille The 1x2 plate modified with jumper stud element 3794 appears in 177 sets in light grey. You can easily get the 32 that you need for $.03 each. I would classify this next piece as rare. Appearing in only 4 sets, element 2476b red Plate Special 2 x 2 with Pin on Bottom, Small Holes in Plate and Locking Fingers on Underside appears in this set 31 times. Thankfully, despite its rarity, they only average about $.09 each. Only 3 bricklink sellers have them in the quantity that you need as of this writing, so you will likely need to include them in a lot of orders. 30 light gray 1x4 bricks with 4 studs on 1 side, element 30414, are next. It appears in 21 sets and averages $.40. There are no sellers on bricklink currently who have the quantity that you need for less than $.80 though. White inverted slope 2x2 is a super common piece, appearing in 346 sets. You need 28 of element 3660 that you can probably get for $.02 each. 28 light grey 1x2 plate element 3023 are pretty common. They appear in 501 sets and even though they average $.05, you can easily find all that you need for $.02-$.03. You also need 28 light grey 1x1 tile modified with clip. Element 2555 appears in 91 sets. You can get all that you need for $.03 I really thought that element 3001 was more common than it is. Don't get me wrong, it's still common, appearing in 669 sets, but I expected it to be over 1000. Anyway, you need 24 red 2x4 bricks. You're doing something wrong if these cost you more than $.04 each. 22 round 2x2 light gray bricks are next. Element 3941 appears in 99 sets. You should be able to get all that you need for $.08 or less. Element 3666 in light gray appears in 218 sets. You need 22 of these 1x6 plates. I see a lot of them on Bricklink for $.05-$.06 I assume that people call the 2x2 round corner brick a macaroni piece because of its shape and not because they like to eat it with cheese. You need 22 white ones and Bricklink says that element 3063 appears in 68 sets and averages $.12 each. The dark gray bar 4L or lightsaber blade/wand appears in 25 sets. You need 22 of them and bricklink says that you can get them for about $.63 each. element 30374 is a $.04 piece. 22 is a prevalent number for this set. You need 22 1x2 plates modified with grill in light gray. It appears in a modest 131 sets. element 2412b Breaking the pattern, you need 21 element 3937 light gray hinge brick 1x2 base. This is a part that appears in 135 sets and can be found for $.05 or less. White modified 1x2 Bricks with Grill(e) occur in this set 21 times. Averaging about $.05 element 2877 appears in 99 sets. The final piece to make this list, squeaking in at 20 occurrences, is Dark Gray tile 1x4. Element 2431 appears in 36 sets. (The Dark Bluish Gray alternative appears in 267, so watch out for the more common cousin.) While it can be had for less than $.10 the cheapest seller currently with the full quantity that you need is $.11 each. Before discussing the rare parts, I would like to take a moment to talk about the stickers. There are certain pieces that require stickers, those pieces may be had for a fraction of the cost without stickers, but most would consider a set incomplete without them. The sheet of stickers itself is rare. If you can find an unused sheet, it will probably run you $100 or more. To buy the pieces with stickers, you'll possibly spend more than that extra. I do not advocate for either tracking down an expensive sticker sheet and using it, or finding the pieces with stickers applied. That seems like a personal choice to me. I am, however, going to caution you about the reproduction stickers that are available. You must educate yourself on what to look for in regards to those fakes. The Bricklink inventory doesn't show all of the stickered parts as counterparts, I can only assume that it is because some of them go across multiple pieces. That makes it a lot more difficult to acquire all of the stickered pieces. Now, as far as rare and/or expensive pieces I was surprised at how many somewhat inexpensive rare pieces are in this set. We've already seen a few in our overview of the more numerous pieces. I'm going to skip over all of the stickered alternate pieces and just concentrate on the ones without. This list will concentrate on pieces that appear in 8 (or fewer) sets, or that cost more than $2 (or in many cases, both.) This leaves us with 23 elements. (One part got bumped because it appears in 2 brand new sets.) The single most expensive piece in the set is element 2440 Light Grey Hinge Panel 6x3. It seems like they are so rare that people can kind of make their own price. Only 3 have been available on Bricklink in the past 6 months and one sold for more than $200. The others sold for $50-$60. The stickered version sells for about $110 but is equally as rare. Thankfully,you only need 1. There is not a light bluish gray alternative for this part, but beware of someone trying to swap the Dark Bluish Gray piece instead. RInging in at about $20 each, there are 2 Dark Red round 8x8 tiles element 6177, This part is also unique to this set. I am going to take a moment to acknowledge a cheap piece that is also fairly rare, that is 2 white round 8x8 tiles element 6177 which only appears in 3 other sets. It's entirely possible to get what you need for less than $.50 each. Sort of surprising the difference in price for basically the same piece. Element 2418b has a long, cumbersome name. You need 4 white Windscreen 6 x 6 Octagonal Canopy with Axle Hole. Each of these will set you back more than $20. Currently available stock on Bricklink places them in the mid $30's. This part is unique to this set and fairly rare in any color. Appearing in only this set, element 2903 in dark red Wheel 61.6mm D. x 13.6mm Motorcycle appears 11 times. It seems like you'd be lucky to find them for much less than $16 each. Also requiring 11 quantity is element 2515 Wheel Hard Plastic Large (54mm D. x 30mm) in light grey. This wheel is not exactly common in any color but it is most expensive in this color. It has dipped as low as $10 each, but averages closer to $14. White Slope, Inverted 45 6 x 4 Double with 4 x 4 Cutout appears 6 times in this set. Element 30283 appears in this color in this set only. It averages about $6 each. Slightly less rare, in that it also appears in Set 6478 Fire Fighter's HQ white Hinge Brick 1 x 2 Locking with 1 Finger Vertical End and 2 Fingers Vertical End element 30386 occurs in this set 16 times. It averages about $6 but, only one seller on Bricklink seems to have the quantity that you would require. It's kind of sad that a piece that only appears in 4 sets starts to seem common. Tan Hinge Tile 1 x 4 element 4625 should only cost you about $5 each, but will probably take you multiple purchases to find all that you need. There's an overlap with the Cafe Corner here with element 2362b. (This piece is not exactly rare appearing in 25 sets, but breaches the threshold of expensive pieces.) White Panel 1 x 2 x 3 - Hollow Studs appears 4 times. It's probably going to cost you $3-$4 each. Appearing in 15 sets, element 3961 is also not exactly rare. However, averaging about $3 each, you need 11 light grey Dish 8 x 8 Inverted (Radar). So, that's not exactly cheap, especially considering that at this time, no single merchant on bricklink has all that you need. For about $2 each, you could get 2 white Plate 6 x 16 aren't terribly hard to get. Element 3027 appears in 10 sets. It doesn't seem like you'd have a hard time finding a seller with the required number. Back to rare pieces, element 2356 appears in 4 sets. White Brick 4 x 6 is only about $1.50 and you only need 1. I am sure that the only reason element 4150px18 is easily found for $1 or less is because it is found in the fairly inexpensive Imperial AT-ST set 7127. You only need 2 light grey Tile, Round 2 x 2 with Hatch Round Pattern. You need 6 dark grey Dish 4 x 4 Inverted (Radar) with Star Wars TIE Hatch Pattern that is only available in 3 sets including the UCS TIE Interceptor. Be very careful not to purchase the dark bluish grey element 3960px4 which is much more common. You'll probably spend about $1 each on these. Who likes a telephone? I know I like a dark grey Bar 1 x 3 (Radio Handle, Phone Handset) as much as the next guy. element 6190 appears in 4 sets in dark grey. Be sure not to get the much more common dark bluish grey. The 2 that you need can be found for less than $1 each. (It's also used in the UCS Snowspeeder and TIE Interceptor.) The Rock Raiders HQ sometimes has 8 black Support 4 x 4 x 5 Stanchion, Plain Studs element 2680b. For this set, you need 2 and they show up for about $.50 each. I think what keeps the price down is that most people probably think that it's the same as the more common element 2680. Blue Brick, Modified 2 x 4 x 2 with Studs on Sides appears in 3 sets and averages less than $.50 each. Element 2434 appears 4 times. This set and the 4709 Hogwarts castle both require 2 element 2577. The dark grey Brick, Round Corner 4 x 4 Full Brick appears in 3 sets and is easily found for less than $.20. You need 11 dark grey Wheel Wagon Huge (43mm D.) (It's yuuuuge.) element 33211 appears in 3 sets and is also under $.20 each. You need 8 white Brick, Round 2 x 2 Dome Top - Blocked Open Stud without Bottom Axle Holder (boy that's a mouthful.) Element 553a appears in 6 sets and might easily be confused for 3 other versions of the 2x2 dome. It's less than $.10 each. 4 sets contain white Slope, Inverted 45 6 x 4 Double with Recessed Center. You need 1 element 30183 and it will only cost you about $.09. The last item in my list is a fairly inexpensive piece at $.04 each. element 30526 appears in 7 sets and you need 5 dark grey Brick, Modified 1 x 2 with 2 Pins. As one might expect, most of the hard to find pieces are the old grays. Newer pieces in the new grays are usually available, and someone might substitute them in to your set if you buy one from a shady seller. Also, a lot of the white pieces (and grays) may yellow with exposure to light. There are methods to try to remove that yellowing, and if you are concerned about those methods, you might have difficulty securing a truly white/gray version of this ship. You may wind up paying a premium for that. If you're a stickler for instructions and boxes, they're going to cost you. Instructions are availableon Bricklink. They start at $75. The box is even harder to find. It also has a variant. If you want a box you may have to decide between a full color box or a black and white one. If you see a black and white box, it is not necessarily a fake. Some of the boxes were released that way. Look, Darth Vader just got one for himself. If someone is offering you a deal that may be too good to be true, talk about it here. If you want to talk about this great set join the discussion here. If you want to discuss the differences between the UCS set and the later System version, do it in this thread. All images are the property of Rebrickable.com, Bricklink.com, and the LEGO Group. If you liked this article, please check out the others in the series: 10123 Cloud City 7181 UCS TIE Interceptor 10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle 10182 Cafe Corner
    6 points
  31. Some people probably wonder if I'm averse to going outside the comfortable zone of Star Wars sets. There's a whole universe out there of LEGO themes and sets that have nothing to do with Star Wars or Super Heroes. Well, I wanted to start with the daddy of the modular sets, the one that began one of the most expensive (on average) series of sets out there. LEGO Modulars are an offshoot of the standard Creator line. Introduced in 2007, this sub-theme consists of large, detailed buildings targeted at adult collectors. The retail price tag of the sets and the 16+ age range tends to discourage the younger collectors. The very first set in the line was the Cafe Corner. This set was designed by Lego's Jamie Berard. It retailed for $139.99 and contained 2,056 pieces. Current Brickpicker Price Guide Value shows a value of about $795 used or $1700 new in box. The used price of this set is more than 5.5x its original retail. The original retail price per brick was a fairly reasonable $.07, while now the value of the used bricks averages much closer to $.39 each. So, why not just make one out of the parts that your kid keeps leaving on the floor of the living room? I'm sure you'd love to save almost $800 plus shipping on this beautiful beast. The biggest problem are the parts involved. Not just any part will do. In a lot of cases, you're going to need far more of certain pieces than you are likely to have on hand. In other cases the parts involved are either unique to this set or in so few sets that the odds of you happening to have one are rare. If you were to buy a set used, you probably know what to look for there, but we'll take a look at some of those things so that people can be aware of what might have been substituted if the dealer is shady. So, 2056 parts listed on the box. Of those 2056 parts, the number of different element/color combinations is 259 including the 3 minifigures. The color palette is 17 colors dominated by dark and light bluish gray with tan, white, reddish Brown and Black filling in most of the remainder. I don't know about you, but to me that sounds about like what I would expect from a big building. Parts with Highest Occurrence: I'd like to take a look at what parts are most common in the set. These would be the fundamental building blocks what might say. Each of these pieces occurs 25 or more times. I had to pick a lower limit and 25 was it. This article is in no way a comprehensive parts list for the set, it is an analysis of what makes this set unique. For a complete inventory, I suggest the Bricklink reference catalogue. (Apologies for when the images do not match the color in inventory. We are using the basic element picture to represent the item from the set. Please pay attention to the color listed in your inventory.) The most common element in the set is Element 4070 Brick, Modified 1x1 with Headlight (Sometimes called an Erling Brick) in Reddish Brown. You need a massive 60 of these bricks. Bricklink shows an average of about $.12 each. Fortunately it's a fairly common part appearing in 109 sets. The next highest number of pieces in the set is Element 3069b Dark Bluish Gray Tile 1X2 With Groove. For 51 of these at almost $.08 each, You'll spend almost $4.00 but you could definitely average lower since this piece is even more common, appearing in 268 sets in all It's not deja vu, you need 45 reddish brown element 3069b Tile 1x2 with groove. This part appears in only 148 sets (I know, that's still a lot, but almost half as many as the previous entry.) so has a slightly higher average of just over $.10 If you liked the 1x2 tiles, you'll go nuts over element 3068b Tile 2x2 with groove. This piece appears 45 times in this set in dark bluish gray. It has an average cost of $.14 and is fairly easy to find, appearing in 209 sets. Continuing the theme, you need 44 dark bluish gray 1x1 tiles with groove, element 3070b. This element appears in 141 sets and sells for about $.07 on average. A brick (break) from the pattern is 39 dark blue 1x2 brick element 3004. This part appears in 47 sets and has an average bricklink cost of about $.19 each. Element 4460b Slope 2x1x3 (Does anyone actually measure the degrees of slant?) in Dark Red appears 39 times. This piece appears in only 5 sets total and will cost you about $1 each. None of the other sets that contain this part have anywhere near the quantity that this set does. (This part should appear in the rare/unique section below, but I will be excluding the duplicate listing to avoid confusion. Just note that this part is both rare and the quantity required is high) You will also need 36 each (that's 72 in total) of white and light bluish gray tiles with groove, element 3070b. White appears in 293 sets and light bluish gray in 151 and they average $.06 and $.08 respectively. 34 Dark Red Plate 1x1, element 3024, are next. It appears in 69 sets and has an average cost of $.08. After that, we're looking at 30 dark red element 3004 Brick 1x2. These run about $.07 on average and appear in 75 set I was thinking about how such a large set seems to have a high proportion of small pieces. How could you ever make something of any size with those. Well, here's something substantial, 29 light bluish gray 1x8 brick element 3008. This part appears in 104 sets and averages about $.27 each. You're looking at almost $8 there. White Plate 1x2 element 3023 is next with a count of 28. This piece is super common, appearing in 1126 sets. You could probably find all of these that you need for $.01-$.02. I'm glad that this next part is on the list. The standard bricks get sort of boring. 28 dark bluish gray brick 1x2 modified (log) element 3036 fills the need for variety. It appears in 93 sets and averages about $.05 each, 27 is a magic number for 1x1 plate element 3024 because you need that many each of trans red and light bluish gray. For trans red, it appears in 485 sets and is easily found for $.01, while light bluish gray shows up in 218 sets and sells for about $.06. You will also need 25 reddish brown round brick 1x1, open stud element 3062b. It appears in 211 sets and averages $.04 each. Up next I'm going to again combine two into one. You need 25 each medium blue and dark bluish gray brick 1x2 element 3004. Medium Blue appears in 87 sets while Dark Bluish Gray shows up in 277. Both average about $.06 each In all, we have accounted for 625 pieces. That's about 30% of the set. Rare and expensive parts: Now that we have looked at the most numerous pieces in the set, let's take a look at the pieces that are hardest/most expensive to find. I am going to list these from most expensive to least expensive. (Note: Not every rare or unique part is expensive and not every expensive part is rare or unique. Just usually it is both.) The most expensive piece in the set is element 73435c01 light bluish gray Door 1 x 4 x 5 Right with Trans-Clear Glass. Bricklink says that it appears in 6 sets, but I dispute that since it shows the same set with an altered box. So, 5 sets. It averages close to $25, but if you're patient, you might get it for less. Just, be careful of scratches to the glass. Doors seem pretty pricey. The next most expensive part is a black Door 1 x 4 x 5 Right with 6 Panes, element 73312. It appears in one other set 4886 Building Bonanza. It's going to cost you close to $20 This next piece surprised me. Mostly I think of element 3680 turntable 2x2 plate base as a common, cheap piece. When it comes to light bluish gray though, it appears in 11 sets (10 if we ignore that same duplicate city airport.) You can't find one for less than $9 right now, and you need 4 of them. Averaging more than $6.75 each, you need 4 Dark Blue pillar 1x1x6 solid pillar support, element 43888. This piece appears in 2 other sets 8894 Piraka Stronghold and 4981 The Chum Bucket. There are 5 white 2x4x3 window frames in this set. At an average cost of almost $6.50 element 4132 makes the list of rare parts by appearing in 10 sets. I remember that in the announcement video for 10235 Winter village market that they specifically pointed out element 3308 dark blue arch 1x8x2 as a rare piece that was in demand. You need one for this set and there's not a lot available for less than $5.50. It appears in a total of 5 sets. I never thought that the light bluish gray trash can with 2 cover holders was a hard to find piece. It seems like element 2439 usually appears in dark gray or dark bluish gray. In this color it appears in 5 sets and will probably cost you $5. You need 2 green 16x32 baseplate element 3857. It's not actually rare, appearing in 76 sets, but it is going to cost you about $4 each. (it is the only green piece in the set, maybe that's a definition of unique or rare?) Again, not super rare, because it appears in 25 sets, Element 2362b panel 1x2x3 with hollow studs in white is here more because of the average cost. It averages more than $4 and since you need 20 of them, it looks like you are going to need to make a bunch of orders because the only people carrying that quantity on bricklink are charging significantly over average. The white lamp post elment 2039 (2x2x7 with 6 base flutes) has appeared in every modular set. It was a trend started by 10182's Lego designer. So, I can't really leave it out of my list. It appears once in this set. It's part of 21 sets and averages $3.50. Appearing in only 2 other sets 8893 Lava Chamber Gate and 10187 Volkswagen Beetle, element 2339 is fairly rare. Dark Blue brick arch 1x5x4 continuous bow averages close to $3.25 and you need 2 of them. Be careful with element 2546 dark bluish gray bird. It appears in 8 sets, whereas the older dark gray version appears in 29 sets. You can get the 4 that you need for about $1 each, but it'll be frustrating if someone sends you the older color by mistake. Bricklink shows element 3747a tan slope inverted 3x2 without connections between studs as part of this set which appears in a total of 4 sets. It lists the more common 3747b as an alternate while rebrickable only lists 3747b. The more common piece appears in 16 sets. The rarer piece averages about $1 each and the more common one about $.30. I wonder if only early issued sets had the a variant. either way, you need 2. You need 4 Dark Blue brick 2x2 corner element 2357. It appears in 9 sets. and averages about $.70 each. I always notice that Dark Blue pieces tend to be harder to find. Minifigures and other stuff: There are 3 minifigures included in this set. All of them are fairly plain, ordinary, nondescript figures using fairly common parts for the most part. The older gentleman is the lowest valued of the set. He runs less than $5 on average. Female #1 has a unique jacket patterned torso piece that makes her the queen of this particular set ringing in at more than $16 on average. Female #2, who is the most boring looking of the 3, actually tops the old man by more than $1 on average. I think it's the hairpiece. The average cost for all parts used through Bricklink is about $564. That's not terrible, considering the whole has sold for more than $200 more than that. Building one for yourself out of parts that you acquire may be more satisfying eventually, but may require far more orders and therefor more shipping than you want to deal with. All parts costs that I calculated are based upon bricklink's average and reflect only the average that these parts sell for, you may be able to acquire what you need for less in a lot of cases. If you want to add instructions or a box, your costs jump significantly, and your options are significantly fewer. The instructions are in 2 books, and there are only 2 listings on bricklink currently that include both books. You're never going to cut down on the quantity of certain parts that are needed. It is possible that at some point one of the rare parts will be released in a new set, knocking the price down for a time. Hopefully having this list will help you to keep an eye out for the key pieces if they ever do show up in a new set. The value of this particular set is unlikely to trend significantly downwards, unless there is a remake. Modular collectors who are just getting into the game will be behind the eight ball if they want to catch up. Demand's going to be there. So,if you can restore one of these sets from various sources for cheap enough, you may come out ahead if you tire of it for your own collection. All images are the property of Rebrickable.com, Bricklink.com, and the LEGO Group. If you liked this article, please check out the others in the series: 10123 Cloud City 7181 UCS TIE Interceptor 10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle Here are some Brickpricker forum topics that discuss this set.
    6 points
  32. I've been wanting to build this set since it was released in June. I never really realized how much I enjoyed stuff from Return of the Jedi until I really looked at my LEGO collecting habits. This particular ship is a beautiful and elegant design in the films, but how does it look when translated in the most recent LEGO iteration? Well the box was pretty, so let's delve into the set. REVIEW: SET DETAILS Set #: 75094 Name: Imperial Shuttle Tydirium Theme: Star Wars Parts: 937 Price: $99.99 Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At $99.99 the price per piece works out to a bit under $.11 each. This seems to be about average for pricing for a licensed set. There are 5 minifigures 4 of which are currently exclusive to this set. Chewbacca is available in this form in 2 other sets. Han, Leia and the 2 Rebel Troopers are exclusive. BOX CONTENTS Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 6 numbered baggies, and a bag containing the instruction book and a sticker sheet. THE BUILD AND EXECUTION Bag 1: Here you build the basic foundation of the shuttle and the 2 Rebel Troopers. There's a box with 2 Thermal Detonators (although if you want 3, the extra pieces are there), a weapons rack, and a hatch in the floor. Bag 2: you're continuing to expand the structure of the shuttle's body. You also create the attachment points for the moveable wings. They ratchet up and down individually and you fairly successfully disguise the spring missile shooters. If you look in the second image below, you can see the Technic Pin Connector (62462) that is used as the trigger to fire the missile. Bag 3: The first thing I want to make note of is how cool and SNOT the engines of this ship are and how it's a whole panel that's attached to the back. I don't know why they went with the 2 2x4 tiles that will soon be hidden. The landing struts are linked and will move up and down in tandem. The hatch I mentioned before has a piece on a hinge that will prevent it from lowering on its own. You must flip this down in order the lower the ramp. The bag finishes adding some details to the body, including guns. Bag 4: The fin. The fin is awesome. Bow down to the fin. It is solid, it is large and in charge, and take it from me, make sure you attach everything in the right direction so that the pin holes line up, because getting it back apart to fix a minor mistake is a giant pain. The fin just slots right into the top before you pin it in place. Plus, you get Princess Leia and her cookie. Bag 5: This bag is the biggest one in the set because you are making the wings and finishing the body of the shuttle. You make some panels for the body that pivot up and down to reveal the interior of the shuttle. The wings weren't terribly complex, but they were time consuming due to size. Bag 6: Probably the smallest and most disappointing of the bags. I don't know if I was tired by this point, or if the cockpit design just wasn't that inspired, but compared to the rest, it wasn't a terribly exciting finish. The Han is nice, but Chewbacca's a little bit off. Maybe it's the dark brown, or the weird paint details. Maybe I was disenchanted with this portion, because the cockpit canopy cannot stay open. It's too heavy and closes on its own. There were some extra pieces, including a cookie and a Thermal Detonator. I did not take a picture of the brick separator, but rest assured there is one. REACTION I really like this set, a lot. With the wings down, it is a beautiful thing. With the wings up, the bloom sort of comes off the rose. You see the underside of the wings when it is in the parked or resting position. The underside of the wings are ugly, kind of like an inside out sausage. Ok, maybe not that bad, but the most attractive way to display it will take a lof of clear bricks that are not included to make it display prettily. I really do like this set a lot. Despite the wing undersides and the closing canopy, it's a really nice set. The figures, for the most part, are nice. I really wish there was an extra helmet for Leia. I also wish there was a Luke with poncho to go with it too. I'm going to proudly display this set on its own until I build my Ewok village, then it will go with that. This set goes well with Endor scenes, but it would also look great with a bunch of Imperials for an arrival scene. If I could swing the space, and got a good enough discount, I'd have 2 on display. FINAL THOUGHTS This set has the misfortune/fortune of being released 3 months before Force Friday. With the advent of all the Force Awakens sets, this one got relegated to a secondhand status. Fans and parents were more likely to go for TFA sets for the months leading into Christmas. LEGO most likely curtailed production in favor of the newer sets. This is all good news for the future of this set. Original Trilogy sets are always popular. Well designed ones moreso. If the newer movie sets take precedence in production, this set will have greater scarcity that collectors might not notice until after EOL. I think this set will be strong later on. A week before Christmas, Amazon has sold out. If you need something to convince you, check out these beauty shots. Go buy it on Amazon
    6 points
  33. 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 REVIEW: SET DETAILS 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. BOX CONTENTS 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. THE BUILD AND EXECUTION 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. REACTION 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. FINAL THOUGHTS 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.
    6 points
  34. The holiday season is officially on! This year, we have one of the best seasonal GWPs we have ever offered, free shipping on all orders, and plenty of discounts on some fantastic sets! (Please note that some of the product sales start Friday and others begin on Monday). Gingerbread House GWP on orders of $99 or more. Valid: 11.27.15 – 11.30.15 while supplies last No Code Required Free Shipping on all Orders Valid: 11.27.15 – 11.30.15 No Code Required Brick Friday Sale Items! Valid 11.27.15 - 11.30.15 while supplies last table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; width: 100%; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } ID NAME US SALE PRICE DISCOUNT USA CA SALE PRICE DISCOUNT CAN 5004116 LEGO FRIENDS STEPHANIE WATCH W DOLL $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5004130 LEGO FRIENDS OLIVIA WATCH W/MINI DOLL $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5002207 LEGO CLASSIC MF LINK WATCH $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5003023 LEGO MOVIE BAD COP MF LINK WATCH $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5003024 LEGO MOVIE LUCY/WYLDSTYLE MF WATCH $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5003025 LEGO MOVIE EMMET MF LINK WATCH $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5004127 LEGO NINJAGO KAI MF WATCH $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5004131 LEGO NINJAGO ZANE MF WATCH $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5000143 SW Boba Fett Watch w/minifigure $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 2856130 Yoda Watch Kids w/Mini Figure $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 2855057 Storm Trooper Kids Watch 2010 $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 2851193 Darth Maul Watch $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 2850828 Darth Vader Watch $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 2850829 Luke Skywalker Watch $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5004064 LEGO SH BATMAN W/MF WATCH $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 5004065 LEGO SH SUPERMAN W/MF WATCH $12.49 50% $12.49 50% 10568 Knight Tournament $5.99 40% $7.79 40% 60070 Water Plane Chase $17.99 40% $23.99 40% 70819 Bad Cop Car Chase $17.99 40% $23.99 40% 79016 Attack on Lake-town $17.99 40% $20.99 40% 70225 Bladvic’s Rumble Bear $23.99 40% $29.99 40% 76018 Hulk Lab Smash $29.99 40% $35.99 40% 76041 The Hydra Fortress Smash $29.99 40% $35.99 40% 70226 Mammoth’s Frozen Stronghold $35.99 40% $44.99 40% 851339 Ninja Bandana $3.49 30% $4.89 30% 851336 Ninja Fork Weapon $5.59 30% $6.99 30% 70779 Protector of Stone $6.99 30% $9.09 30% 70780 Protector of Water $6.99 30% $9.09 30% 850798 Classic Name Sign $9.09 30% $11.19 30% 70784 Lewa – Master of Jungle $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 70785 Pohatu – Master of Stone $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 70786 Gali – Master of Water $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 70790 Lord of Skull Spiders $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 70792 Skull Slicer $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 70793 Skull Basher $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 70794 Skull Scorpio $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 40080 LEGO Friends Pencil Holder $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 40110 LEGO® City Coin Bank $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 850617 Accessory Set Police $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 850618 Accessory Set Fire $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 40114 LEGO® Friends Buildable Jewelry Box $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 40154 Pencil Pot $10.49 30% $12.59 30% 853447 Ninja Sword & Sheath $11.89 30% $15.39 30% 70788 Kopaka – Master of Ice $13.99 30% $17.49 30% 70789 Onua – Master of Earth $13.99 30% $17.49 30% 70730 Chain Cycle Ambush $20.99 30% $27.99 30% 79017 The Battle of Five Armies™ $41.99 30% $52.49 30% 40158 Chess Set $41.99 30% $52.49 30% 70750 Ninja DB X $55.99 30% $69.99 30% 70227 King Crominus’ Rescue $62.99 30% $76.99 30% 71170 Starter Pack PS3 $69.99 30% $76.99 30% 71171 Starter Pack PS4 $69.99 30% $76.99 30% 71172 Starter Pack Xbox One $69.99 30% $76.99 30% 71173 Starter Pack Xbox 360 $69.99 30% $76.99 30% 71174 Starter Pack Wii U $69.99 30% $76.99 30% 79018 The Lonely Mountain $90.99 30% $104.99 30% 71211 Bart Simpson $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71227 Krusty $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71231 UniKitty $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71209 Wonder Woman $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71210 Cyborg $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71212 Emmet $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71213 Bad Cop $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71214 Benny $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71215 Jay $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71216 Nya $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71217 Zane $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71218 Gollum $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71219 Legolas $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71220 Gimli $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71221 Wicked Witch $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71222 Laval $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71223 Cragger $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71232 Eris $11.24 25% $11.24 25% 71207 Ninjago $18.74 25% $18.74 25% 71205 Jurassic World $18.74 25% $18.74 25% 71206 Scooby Doo $18.74 25% $18.74 25% 71204 Doctor Who $22.49 25% $22.49 25% 71201 Back to the Future $22.49 25% $22.49 25% 71202 Simpsons $22.49 25% $22.49 25% 71203 Portal $22.49 25% $22.49 25% 850602 Keychain Cragger $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 850933 LEGO® City Policeman Key Chain $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 850952 LEGO® Classic Firetruck Bag Charm $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 851353 Keychain Anacondrai Kapau $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 853463 Keychain Swamp Police $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 853474 Keychain Commander Gree $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 853450 KC Emperor's Royal Guard 2015 $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 851576 Dolphin Bag Charm $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 853461 LEGO Elves Bag Charm $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 853456 Keychain Martian Manhunter $3.99 20% $4.39 20% 60066 Swamp Police Starter set $7.99 20% $10.39 20% 41032 First Aid Jungle Bike $11.99 20% $14.39 20% 41103 Pop Star Recording Studio $11.99 20% $14.39 20% 10543 Superman™ rescue $15.99 20% $15.99 20% 41033 Jungle falls Rescue $15.99 20% $19.99 20% 10510 Ripslinger's Air Race $19.99 20% $19.99 20% 31022 Turbo Quad $19.99 20% $23.99 20% 76040 Brainiac Attack $19.99 20% $23.99 20% 60073 Service Truck $19.99 20% $23.99 20% 10539 Beach Racing $19.99 20% $19.99 20% 70746 Condrai Copter Attack $23.99 20% $31.99 20% 41036 Jungle Bridge Rescue $23.99 20% $31.99 20% 41104 Pop Star Dressing Room $23.99 20% $31.99 20% 10672 Batman™: Defend the Batcave $23.99 20% $23.99 20% 41035 Heartlake Juice Bar $23.99 20% $31.99 20% 70228 Vultrix’s Sky Scavenger $31.99 20% $39.99 20% 41105 Pop Star Show Stage $31.99 20% $39.99 20% 60074 Bulldozer $31.99 20% $39.99 20% 60049 Helicopter Transporter $35.99 20% $43.99 20% 60075 Excavator and Truck $39.99 20% $47.99 20% 75050 B-Wing™ $39.99 20% $47.99 20% 41038 Jungle Rescue Base $47.99 20% $55.99 20% 41106 Pop Star Tour Bus $47.99 20% $55.99 20% 10577 Big Royal Castle $47.99 20% $55.99 20% 42024 Container Truck $63.99 20% $79.99 20% 60076 Demolition Site $71.99 20% $87.99 20% 75053 The Ghost $71.99 20% $87.99 20% 60004 Fire Station $79.99 20% $95.99 20% 41058 Heartlake Shopping Mall $87.99 20% $103.99 20% 75054 AT-AT™ $87.99 20% $103.99 20% 70146 Flying Phoenix Fire Temple $95.99 20% $111.99 20% Cyber Monday Sale Items! Valid 11.30.15 while supplies last Product Description US SALE PRICE DISCOUNT USA CA SALE PRICE DISCOUNT CAN 79015 Witch-king Battle $8.99 40% $10.79 40% 79121 Turtle Sub Undersea Chase $35.99 40% $44.99 40% 76028 Darkseid Invasion $41.99 40% $53.99 40% 70409 Shipwreck Defense $10.39 20% $12.79 20% 76015 Doc Ock Truck Heist $15.99 20% $19.99 20% 41072 Naida’s Spa Secret $15.99 20% $19.99 20% 70411 Treasure Island $15.99 20% $19.99 20% 70412 Soldiers Fort $23.99 20% $31.99 20% 21011 Brandenburg Gate $27.99 20% $35.99 20% 76016 Spider-Helicopter Rescue $35.99 20% $43.99 20% 60035 Arctic Outpost $39.99 20% $47.99 20% 60068 Crooks’ Hideout $55.99 20% $71.99 20% 70413 The Brick Bounty $79.99 20% $95.99 20% 21017 Imperial Hotel $103.99 20% $127.99 20% 42025 Cargo Plane $111.99 20% $127.99 20%
    6 points
  35. At 7:28 AM EST, member 8lackmagic from the United Kingdom registered on our site and became our 50,000th activated member!!!! Brickpicker is also celebrating it's 4th year in existence which is exciting in itself. To know that we have been able to register 50,000 members in those four years is an accomplishment that I didn't think would honestly ever happened if you asked me a few years back. It's been amazing to see all the things that have happened over these past four years... 50k members, a book that has been published and just released with a second one in the works and we finally released our marketplace Brick Classifieds that offers ZERO selling fees and continues to gain traction more and more on a daily basis. Ed and I may not get everything right, but we do keep trying to bring new features to the LEGO community. We try to be a little different than the rest of the LEGO communities. This year, the #1 task will be to bring you major enhancements to the Brickfolio feature, something that has been long overdue. We also have a few other features that you will hear about in the not so distant future that can be a major impact for the members of this site and their shopping habits. In the end Ed and I would just like to say thank you for all your support of the site. We really love the community that Brickpicker has become and look forward to seeing where it will go!!
    6 points
  36. The Ultimate Collector Series, or UCS for short, of LEGO sets tends to focus on the Star Wars brand. These UCS sets are the gold standard by which Star Wars sets are judged. They tend to have a much higher piece count and are much more detailed than the standard run of the mill sets. In 2000 the earliest Ultimate Collector Series began with the 7181 TIE Interceptor and the 7191 X-Wing. Like my previous article Brick by Brick, Breaking Down Expensive Lego Sets: 10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle we're going to be taking a look at what makes up one of these sets, in this case, 7181 TIE Interceptor. When looking at an old and expensive set that you want to buy, how do you decide if what you are getting is what you really need to complete the set? Did you spot a killer set in a box that you aren't sure that it is what you think it is? I enjoy looking at those bulk lot auctions and seeing what I can figure out is in there. In this second article of my Brick by brick series, I'd first like to show you something that caught my eye recently. This particular set is actually what led me to the idea for this series of articles. I found a bulk lot auction that looked like this: I initially thought/hoped Vader's TIE Advanced, but looking further at the pictures I realized that it was the TIE Interceptor instead. The blue was what told me that it was not Vader's TIE. The TIE Interceptor, 7181, was released in 2000. The original retail price of this set was $99.99. Used complete sets sell from $250-$350 while New in box sets sell for $625-$700. The box shows a total of 703 pieces. The first reason that this set is not one that you could just assemble from all of your kid's loose bricks is because it is pre-2004 pieces. This means that all of the grays are the old gray. These are not the bluish gray found in modern sets. Some of the pieces may be significantly easier to find in the newer colors, but they will not match the pieces that are unique to this set. When purchasing a used set, beware of someone replacing the old grays with the new bluish grays. Let's take a look at the pieces that are most common in this set. (apologies that the stock photos do not always reflect the color of the pieces in this set, they are for reference only) Since this set is not significantly large, the numbers involved aren't huge, but will most likely still outpace most sellers. For the higher part counts, there are: 36 black plate 1x8 Element 3460 20 Blue plate 1x8 Element 3460 20 black 1x1 tile modified with clip Element 2555 16 Dark Gray 1x1 plate modified with horizontal clip Element 6019 (only available in 10 sets) 16 Blue Tile 1x8 Element 4162 16 Dark Gray Hinge Brick 1x2 with 2 fingers vertical Element 30365 16 Dark Gray Hinge Brick 1x2 with 1 finger vertical Element 30364 14 Black Wedge Plate 8x4 Wing Right Element 3934 14 Black Wedge Plate 8x4 Wing Left Element 3933 14 Dark Gray Tile 1x2 Modified grill with bottom groove Element 2412b 13 Dark Gray Plate 1x4 Element 3710 13 Black Plate 2x3 Element 3021 12 Dark Gray Panel 1x2x1 Element 4865 12 Black Tile 1x8 Element 4162 12 Dark Gray Inverted Slope 2x3 without connection between studs Element 3747a 12 Blue Tile 1x4 Element 2431 Out of 143 unique elements (meaning different part and color) 41 are the old Dark Gray consisting of 242 pieces. 15 are the old Light Gray consisting of 30 pieces. This includes elements from the above list as well as the unique and specialty pieces in the second section below. Even though most of these elements are common and cheap, most vendors on Bricklink do not carry the inventory to cover your needs for these pieces. You'd have to make multiple purchases, pushing the average cost of these pieces up, due to all of the shipping and handling charges. Of course your savvy Bricklinker will know to either have multiple wanted lists running, to spread out their costs, but still a lot of pieces means a lot of separate orders. Apart from the common pieces, you also have some specialty pieces that make up a set. The specialty pieces are ones that are either unique to the set or in so few sets as to make no difference. The unique and specialty pieces in the sets tend to have values that reflect a large proportion of the total value. This causes some collectors to forego the piece in favor of a cheaper alternative, whether it is the same piece in a different color or completely different pieces that serve a similar function. Unethical resellers will replace these pieces and not tell the end users who may not know to look. In some cases, people have made fakes. Spotting fakes is important, but not the focus of this article. You can read more on that topic here Helping to identify reproduction stickers and printed elements For most UCS sets, one of the most expensive pieces is the sticker. The sticker is unique to the set, large and limited in number. Some people require unused sticker, while others are content to have them applied. For the TIE/Int there is a single sticker with information about the ship Sticker Sheet Unlike later sets, the stickers are not applied to a single large Plate, instead they are applied to 8 of the 1x8 black tile and attached to several 4x8 black tiles. This collection of parts consisting of a used sticker usually runs up to about $50 but may be found in the $20's. A New sticker sheet can be had in the $70-$85 range. I will not discuss the moral ramifications of buying or creating a reproduction sticker for a set that may eventually make it back into the marketplace. I will say that any set with a reproduction sticker should be considered incomplete or even altered if it makes it up for sale. For rare elements I want to start with the big daddy. This piece is the major piece that if it's missing, you've just got a big pile of LEGO. This was the first piece that caught my eye in the above auction. Element 2598px is the Cockpit Windscreen 10 x 10 x 4 Canopy Octagonal with TIE Interceptor Pattern. This piece is unique to this set. They created a different piece for the later Vader's TIE Advanced. This piece sells in the $100 range. There are 6 Dark Gray Bar 4L Element 30374, the same piece used for lightsabers and wands when molded in different colors. There's 25 different sets with this piece in Dark Gray, but it's used in a lot of early UCS sets, so competition for this piece is high. Element 4095 is also exclusive to this set. You need 4 Blue 6.6L Bar with Stop. Each one is going to run you more than $12.50 on average. As of the time of this writing, only a single Vendor on Brickpicker has any, and they only have 2. The next piece is 2 Dark Gray Plate, Round 2 x 2 with Rounded Bottom Element 2654 is available in a massive 4 sets including the UCS Rebel Snowspeeder. They can be had for a low cost because they were available in a very inexpensive set 4097 Mini Robots. The total number of sellers on Bricklink is less than 100. There is a single Dark Gray Cockpit 10 x 10 x 4 Octagonal with Axle Hole Element 2618 which is also unique to this set. There are currently none available for sale on Bricklink and the last 6 month sales average is just above $21.50, with the highest being $28. Next, there are 2 Dark Gray Minifig Utensil Sextant Element 30154that is only available in this and 5976 River Expedition. It's available for less than $1 but the average sale price is closer to $1.50 for a used piece. You also need 10 of a fairly common Element 4151 Black Plate Modified 8 x 8 with Grill. This is notable because of the 32 sets with this piece, only this set, Vader's TIE Advance (16) and the Eifel Tower (13) require more than 4. It averages about $.55 each. Between 1987 and 2000 Element 3040p01 Black Slope 2 x 1 with 3 Red Lamps, 3 Yellow Buttons, Yellow Border Pattern was released in 8 sets. You only need 1 and it's cheap at about $.25 Another rare piece that you need is 2 Blue Dish 6 x 6 Inverted (Radar) Webbed - Type 2 Element 4285b. It is included in the more recent 10131 TIE Fighter Collection and as an alternate piece in Central Precinct HQ. They average about $.40 each, probably because the very similar 4285a also runs $.40 The Light Gray Technic Brick 4x4 Open center 32324 is available in 10 sets including 2 additional UCS sets and the Cloud City. For a used one, the price averages close to $.50 4 Blue Rigid Hose 3mm D. 20L / 16.0cm Element 75c20 are also required. This piece appears in 4 sets, the most recent of which was 2012's Gungan Sub 9499. The relatively recent availability of this set probably drove the price down. Element 3960px4 Dark Gray Dish 4 x 4 Inverted (Radar) with Star Wars TIE Hatch Pattern was available with the TIE Fighter 7146 and the UCS Rebel Blockade Runner 10019. The more common Dark Bluish Gray version is available with 8 sets (Surprise, surprise, all TIE Fighter variants.) The Dark Gray variant is about $.80 on average. Another rare piece, the 4 Dark Gray Bar 1x3 (Radio Handle/Phone handset) Element 6190 is available with a total of 4 sets. UCS Rebel Blockade Runner, UCS Snowspeeder, and 6738 Skateboard Challenge. You're probably going to spend close to $.75 each on these. Only 8 sets have Element 3039pb014 Light Gray Slope 2 x 2 with Horizon Indicator Screen Pattern. It's only about $.20, but unlikely to be in most people's spare parts. Element 3040px2 Dark Gray Slope 2x1 Black Crosshair pattern Green insectoid Pattern is available in 7 sets and averages about $.20. The last thing that many collectors consider when purchasing this set and the most obvious thing that you could see in a bulk lot is the instruction book. Instruction book Bricklink shows 3 of these sold in the last 3 months and 3 currently available. The price guide shows that the sold books range from $25-$35. As I said earlier, all of the Gray Pieces are the older Grays. 1/3 of the set has not been produced in this color for over a decade. Most people don't have that many older Gray pieces laying around. The rare pieces are truly rare and really expensive for a set that is significantly smaller than most UCS sets. All of the specialty pieces and pieces pulled from a small number of older sets are going to increase the number of bricklink orders that you would need to place. Honestly, if you don't already have a handful of key pieces, you should probably just buy a complete one, unless you really do like a long term project. I also feel obliged to mention that this set looks old. Comparing it to UCS TIE Fighter 75095 it looks blocky and primitive. There's a certain charm to the older sets, and since this is the only official TIE Interceptor, UCS Completists will always have a place for it. It's doubtful that the LEGO Group will be remaking it soon, but I wonder if they ever will. The used price of this set isn't terrible, probably due to the size of the set. Just for fun I'll throw up the rest of the auction pictures and you can see if you can pick out the key pieces, and can you make out the other large set that's in there? In the weeks to come, I will be exploring the pieces that make up each of the Top 25 Most Valuable sets, Ultimate Collector Series, and Modulars. Images in this article are the property of http://rebrickable.com/, Bricklink and LEGO.
    5 points
  37. I don't collect modulars. I don't build modulars. I hear about them a lot though. When I do hear about them, one set seems to be spoken about more than any others. The Green Grocer pops into conversations about modulars seemingly more often than any other. Whether it's the difficulty in getting the Sand Green pieces or how good it looks, or how expensive it is, it's a popular topic of conversation. Wait, you might say. If I have no experience with this set, why should anyone want my opinions about it? Well, that's a fair question. I'm not really going to be presenting my opinions about the set, about its looks or the difficulty level of building it. Instead, I am providing analysis of the parts. I get curious when I read about an expensive set and want to know what makes it something unique. Many people have totes and bins of parts laying around. Most of them wonder why they couldn't just build the expensive sets with what they have on hand. When the Green Grocer was released in 2008, it carried a retail price of $149.99. This is actually a fairly reasonable price considering the high piece count and size of the set. I would expect closer to $249.99 based upon my experience with Star Wars and Super Hero licensed sets. However, Modulars seem to fall into this price range though, so not really a surprise. What may be a surprise to some is the current cost to acquire this set. A used copy can be found in the $600-$700 range. Depending upon your patience or your need for the box or instructions, you may pay more. Looking at completed auctions on Ebay, some people have paid as much as $850 for a used set. If you insist on new, you're going to be spending more than $1000. Usually the prices are closer to $1200-$1300 for a new copy on Ebay. The Brickpicker price guide shows a similar range as does Bricklink. The Green Grocer is a large set, the piece count, as listed on the box is 2352 (2335 if you go by the piece count on Bricklink which incorporates the minifigures.) Many LEGO buyers have more extra pieces than that laying around, but it is not an insignificant number. I would think that your kids would notice if you took that many pieces from their collection. Random pieces are not going to build this set, however. There are around 300 different elements (depending on whether you include the minifigures in your count or not.) An element in this situation refers to the unique part/color combination of the parts. I am not going to analyze every single part for this article. Instead I will focus upon 2 types of parts. The first type of part that I will analyze are the parts that are most numerous in the set. I've found that while I may have some of the parts for a large set, I rarely have the quantity needed of certain pieces. The first segment will include every element that you need 25 or more of. The second segment are the more specialized pieces. There are pieces that are expensive and there are pieces that are rare. Usually there is a correlation between the two. I will be listing all of the parts that cost more than $1.50 each and/or appear in 10 or less sets. Some pieces may qualify as both most numerous and rare, I will only list them once, making sure to note that they are to prevent bloating. If I take an average sold price for all of the pieces including minifigures, but excluding box and instructions, I get $713. This is our base cost and only goes up when we think about the multiple orders needed to complete the set and the shipping charges that will be added on. Unless you already have a half completed set or know where to find most of the parts cheap, you're better off just buying a complete set. If you like the challenge though, don't let me dissuade you. So, of our parts that appear 25 or more times, we have 25. Many of them are common pieces that won't cost much individually, but may be a significant cost when you factor in how many you need. Some parts though are expensive and numerous. Most images below will represent the part/color combination that is being talked about. In some cases I couldn't find a good image that matches the exact combination, so the image will represent the part but not the color. The first part in the list actually belongs in both categories. Kind of a bad start if you are thinking of building this on your own. You need 56 sand green Brick, Modified 1 x 2 with Groove. Element 4216 appears in 2 sets, this one and 10217 Diagon Alley. This set requires more than twice as many of this piece. It averages $3 each, but to get the quantity you need, you'll be about $3.50 each. You're looking at $170-$200 just for this before shipping. Significantly cheaper and easier to find, element 3069b occurs 55 times in this set. Light bluish gray Tile 1 x 2 with Groove appears in 305 sets and averages $.10 each,although several sellers on Bricklink have the quantity required for $.08 The sand green 1x3 brick appears 54 times in this set. Element 3622 appears in 9 sets. Be thankful that you are not making Statue of Liberty because you would need 220 of these. They average about $.30 each,but to get the quantity you need, you're probably closer to $.38 Back to common pieces, you need 51 element 3023. Light bluish grey 1x2 plates occur in 600 sets and may be found in the quantity you need for $.03 each. Did I hear someone say that they wanted more rare parts that you need a lot of? Well I thought I did. Coming in at an average of $3.50, you need 50 element 3008. Sand green 1x8 bricks appear in 5 sets. The Statue of Liberty only needs 25 of them and UCS Yoda only needs 2. It's quite a roller coaster here. Element 3062b occurs in 232 sets and averages $.05. Although, you can get the 46 Light Bluish Gray Brick, Round 1 x 1 Open Stud for$.02 or $.03 each. Sand Green 1x4 bricks appear in 16 sets including some fairly recent Ninjago ones. You need 41 element 3010 and they're going to cost you about $.34 each. I've been hearing so much talk lately about how much value the magical cheese slope adds to a set. This set must have a lot of value since it has 40 Light Bluish Gray Slope 30 1 x 1 x 2/3. Element 54200 appears in 260 sets and can be easily found for $.03 in volume. I wonder what kind of a grocery store stocks black skeleton legs. This set has 37 element 6266. It appears in 53 sets and costs about $.12 each. Next, we need 37 light bluish grey element 3070b. Tile 1 x 1 with Groove in this color appears in 160 sets. The average Bricklink price is $.09, but there are plenty available for less. Light bluish grey 1x6 tiles are next most prevalent. You need 36 element 6636 which appears in 234 sets. You can find all that you need for $.09. Element 3024 appears 36 times. Light bluish grey Plate 1 x 1 is in 226 sets. There are sellers that have the quantity that you need for $.02 each. Just in case you were missing the sand green bricks, we're back with element 3005. The 1x1 brick appears in 24 sets and I think it appeared fairly recently in the pick a brick walls. This caused the price to drop significantly to around $.07-$.08 each. You need 35 of them. You need 33 tan 1x2 plates. Element 3023 shows up in 331 sets. Several sellers have the quantity that you need for as low as $.01 each. Appearing in 403 sets, you need 32 element 3004. The light bluish grey 1x2 brick costs an average of $.07, but can also be found in volume for as low as $.03. Tan 1x1 plate element 3024 occurs in this set 29 times. This piece is in 126 sets. It averages $.08 but you can find all you need for about $.04. Much cheaper than the earlier sand green version, the light bluish grey 1x8 brick can be had for $.27. Element 3008 appears in 107 sets. You need 29 of them. 29 light bluish grey 2x2 corner plates follow. Element 2420 is going to cost you about $.07 each. It appears in 186 sets. 464 sets have the light bluish grey 1x4 plate. You need 28 element 3710 for this set. They average $.08 each. The next most numerous piece in the set is the white 1x2 tile with groove of which you need 28. I see a lot of these available in the $.04 range. 649 sets have element 3069b. I expected element 3009 to appear in more than 191 sets. You need 28 light bluish grey 1x6 bricks for this set. You can get what you need for $.12 each, while the average is $.16. Medium blue seems like a rare color. You need 27 1x2 tiles in that color. Element 3069b averages about $.08 and can be found in 56 sets Element 3070b is called for 26 times in this set. 246 sets have 1x1 black tile with groove. You'll be able to find them fairly easily for $.04. 26 light bluish grey 1x1 bricks are next. You should be able to get them all for $.03-$.04 each. 288 sets have element 3005. The last part to make the cut of most numerous is element 4216. The white 1x2 brick modified with groove shows up in 31 sets. It's only going to average about $.08. You need 25. We've already seen the largest proportion of the parts cost of this set. Sand green pieces are not common and this set has a lot of them. For the rare/expensive section, I run into only 11 pieces that fall within the criteria that I set. As I mentioned earlier, I am not going to repeat the parts listed earlier, so this is what else is noteworthy. Of the remaining parts, only 11 fall within the bounds of costing more than $1.50 and/or appearing in 10 or fewer sets. The most expensive piece that I found was element 4035. This part appears in 6 sets including 6990 Monorail Transport System. You need 4 White Window 1 x 2 x 3 Train that average $4.60 each. This next part is really fairly common. It is part of 76 sets. At $4.50 each the Green Baseplate 16 x 32 is not cheap, but won't break the bank like the earlier sand green pieces. You need 2 element 3857. The next piece, I like and you only need 1. Element 2039, White Lamp Post, 2 x 2 x 7 with 6 Base Flutes is almost a staple of the Modular theme. It appears in 21 sets and runs about $3.60, although some can probably had for cheaper. For about $2.40 each, you need 4 dark red Slope, Inverted 75 2 x 1 x 3. Element 2449 appears in 11 sets including 10196 Grand Carousel. Also requiring 4 is element 6005. The Brick, Arch 1 x 3 x 2 Curved Top in blue is part of 5 sets and averages $2 each. The Dark bluish grey Door Frame 1 x 4 x 6 Type 1 Element 30179 is posted as being a part of this set,but an alternate is give of element 60596. I honestly don't know which one is more proper, but the primary one costs almost 6x as much as the alternate. $2 vs.$.30. You need 5. The set is called the green grocer, so here's another sand green piece. 7 Hinge Brick 1 x 2 Base are going to cost you about $1.95 each. Element 3937 appears in 6 sets. Appearing in 4 sets, the reddish brown Tile 1 x 4 with Viking Snakes Pattern seems like an odd choice to me. Just because the other 3 sets it appears in are Hogwarts or Viking ships, it would seem out of place in a grocery store. You're going to spend about $1.75 each for the 3 element 2431pb043 that you need. No fears of crazy cat ladies in this set,you only need 1 white Cat Crouching with Black Eyes, Eyelashes, and Nose Pattern. Element 6251px1 appears in 14 sets and will cost you about $1.60. Just like the other door frame, the white Door Frame 1 x 4 x 6 Type 1 Element 30179 is posted as being a part of this set,but an alternate is give of element 60596. The difference in rarity is 10 sets vs. 76 and $1 vs. $.22. Whichever way you go, you need 2. (Note: While you also need black doors and the same parts are listed as primary and alternate, the cheaper, easier to find version is listed as primary. That is why I am not listing it here.) The last piece on my list is element 3003. You need 3 Dark Green 2x2 bricks which can be found for $.05 each. It appears in only 8 sets. As a subset of the Rare/expensive parts, I'd like to take a look at the minifigures. Each of the minifigures is unique to this set. How unique are they? I mean, sure these figures only appear in this set, but are the parts that make them up also unique? Our first minifigure is twn073 descriptively known as Plain White Torso with White Arms, Sand Green Legs, Reddish Brown Female Hair Mid-Length, but I'm going to call her Jane. She's plain Jane, no torso printing or unique head and the only part of her that is vaguely rare are her legs. Bricklink says that she sells in the $6 range which I think is crazy because her parts are half that cost. Next up is twn072 Overalls with Tools in Pocket Blue, Reddish Brown Hair Female Short Curled Ends. It seems like the only way you can tell these townies gender is by their hair. We're looking at a figure which sells in the $7-$8 range. What makes this minifigure expensive is the hair. It only appears in one other set 5378 Hogwart's Castle and is part of a $60 minifigure Professor Dolores Umbridge. The hairpiece sells for about $5-$6 by itself and the rest of the pieces wouldn't cost $1. I'm going to call this kid Boy Scout. twn074 is described as Shirt with 2 Pockets No Collar, Reddish Brown Short Legs, Red Cap, Red Bandana (10185), hence why I call him Boy Scout, the other one is a mouthful. Coming in at $4-$5, this figure is not terribly expensive. The most expensive portion of this figure is the torso. Coming in at $2 it's not a very expensive piece and relatively common since it is shared by 8 minifigures, the only thing that bumps the price is that one of those minifigures is sw103 Luke Skywalker (Cloud City). (most of the other figures that share the torso part can be had for less than the cost of the torso.) Otherwise, his parts all tally for less than $1. The last guy, I'll call Jim. I have no good reason to, but he looks like a Jim to me. Jim has Suit Black, Top Hat, Sand Blue Legs (10185). The mayor of townie town twn071 sells in the $4 range. You're looking at maybe $2 in parts if you decide it's easier to buy his pieces separately. His Torso is the most expensive part, coming in at about $1. Jim's a good guy, just not terribly exciting. It's interesting to me that there's not a single unique piece in this entire set. Every piece can be found in at least one other set. There are no unique prints or even a sticker that would make the pieces stand out. If you feel like your set is not complete without instructions, you can find them, but they're going to cost you about $75-$100. Be sure that what you are buying is a complete set of all 3. If you feel that you need the box it's going to cost you another $100 or more. This article is by no means a complete inventory of the set. It is only meant as an a analysis of the parts of the set that will make it the most difficult and/or expensive to complete on your own. In some cases, it is useful to have an idea of which parts make up a set if you are purchasing a bulk lot or evaluating a used set. If you want to see a complete inventory check out Bricklink or Rebrickable.com. There are some people who make changes, substituting parts to make this set cheaper for themselves. We are not going to discuss those substitutions here, this article is only to understand what makes up a set as originally released by the LEGO Group. Check out this article written by @Ed Mack in 2012 and see if it has performed to his expectations. If you want to talk with others about the Green Grocer discuss it here. All images are the property of Rebrickable.com, Bricklink.com, and the LEGO Group. If you liked this article, please check out the others in the series: 10123 Cloud City 7181 UCS TIE Interceptor 10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle 10182 Cafe Corner 10019 UCS Rebel Blockade Runner
    5 points
  38. As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I know that I am either supposed to be super excited by every new thing or super critical of them. Isn't that the way that fandom works? Love the innovation or hate the fact that it's not just like the stuff that I loved when I was 7. I'm cautiously optimistic about Rogue One. The Hovertank however struck me as a bad design. It's dull and boxy. It makes me think of nothing so much as a much more boring version of the Republic Fighter Tank. I got to thinking about it, and maybe I was judging it too harshly. So, I got one to build for myself and see if it turns out to be better than I expect. REVIEW: SET DETAILS Set #: 75152 Name: Imperial Assault Hovertank Theme: Star Wars Parts: 385 Price: $29.99 BOX CONTENTS 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 an instruction book. BUILD AND EXECUTION: BAG 1: The first step is always to create the base of the vehicle. I assumed that the 4 axle holes here were for wheels of some kind. Invisible wheels to make it hover. I like that they are placing the spring missile launchers so deeply into the build. The more recent sets have done a good job with hiding the boxy launchers and the tails of the rockets. This tank is a 2 seater. With all the studs on front, I would expect some kind of decorative panel to be forthcoming. We're creating more of the boxy shape. Sure, there's some slopes,but for the most part it is a box to store a couple drivers so far. So, we add an upper hatch and a couple cannons. I feel like these cannons are underwhelming. In bag 1, you also create Chirrut Imwe (Sorry, I don't know how to make the fancy letters.) You also make his staff and his crossbow rifle thing that's not a bowcaster. BAG 2: First, you create the hood, I guess you could call it the hood. It hinges upwards, completely obscuring everything. There's a slightly different technique for the grey round piece here. There's not a single control surface inside of this tank. This appears to be the beginning of the drive system for the tank. In an effort to make it less boxy,they're just adding some square stuff to the sides. I don't know if you can call this decorative or not. I guess it has assorted different shapes and colors, but it doesn't look terribly interesting. I guess it looks better with the big side cannon. You put together some kind of vented decoration for the front. You also add clear wheels so that it can "hover." Snap the 2 assemblies together, and you are half done. BAG 3: You start by creating a mirror image of the last portion of the build. Everything is the same, but mirrored. Just trying to show a slightly different set of images than previously. Note the gear, it's the trigger for the spring missile. When you snap the assembly on, you realize how small the crew compartment of the tank is. You also put together both Tank drivers. BAG 4: Well, it turns out, this isn't so much a tank as a flat bed truck. So, we're going to build out the bed. There's a lot of attachment points for stuff here. Instead of just leaving regular studs all over, they designed it to have the easier to remove jumpers. Add some fins and the body of the hover tank/truck is done. We build a storage container. It's fairly simple construction, but the space inside is incredibly small. You can fit a pistol and a pair of binoculars inside and that's about it really. Just attach the storage to a pair of jumpers, and you are ready to go. REACTION: I like that you can attach the rifle to the top like a .30 caliber on a modern tank. I feel like this set doesn't really remind me of a tank. The cannons on the side remind me of the Tank Droid, but that's just superficial. The design of the hovertank isn't terribly interesting. I had hoped that it would be more than a block of grey bricks, but no such luck. I don't really blame LEGO for that though. The production designers should have tried to get a little more style in. Chirrut Imwe looks good. He's got a skirt and dual sided head and torso. He's got a stick and a fancy gun. He's got one hand that's a different color. The character has a sort of gauntlet on, so I guess that's why he has a white hand. Donnie Yen's character is supposed to play a crucial role in Rogue One. People who want all of the mains from this movie will definitely want him. He's not selling the set for me though. Maybe when I see Rogue One, my opinion of the wannabe Force user will change. The Hovertank Pilots are just sort of there. To my eyes, the helmet is fine but not really necessary. The body decoration is well done, but not really a stand out. I'm again not blaming LEGO. The people working at Disney licensing need to have a longer talk with their production people to get them to make things look more interesting and playable. Sort of a riff on a Stormtrooper has been done and done and done. Make the tankers more unique. FINAL THOUGHTS: As the cheapest Rogue One set, I expect it to be heavily purchased at Christmas time by all the relatives who remember Johhny likes LEGO and Star Wars toys. I would expect it to be ~$25 on Amazon in a year. It's going to be the most readily available set because of its price point. I don't expect Rogue One toys to bean ongoing staple of the theme. Army builders will like this set for its relatively low price point and cheap utility vehicle as well as the pair of tankers. It will fit into many scenes, so I don't expect it to be a stinker that lingers like the First Order Snowspeeder. If this is the only way to get Chirrut, that should help the aftermarket. Unless his screen time is basically everything that's been shown in the trailer. I don't expect this set to be a longtime fan favorite though. Unless someone really wants Chirrut or has all the AT-ST walkers they can store, this set won't make it to the top of many later buyer's choice list. EXTRA PIECES: nothing too spectacular here in the extra parts. Please take a look at the other Star Wars Reviews: #75060 Slave I (click here) #75078 Imperial Troop Transport (click here) #75085 Hailfire Droid (click here) #75087 Anakin's Starfighter (click here) #75092 Naboo Starfighter (click here) #75094 Shuttle Tydirium (click here) #75100 Snowspeeder (click here) #75101 Tie Fighter (click here) #75102 Poe's X-Wing Fighter (click here) #75103 First Order Transporter (click here) #75109 Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure (click here) #75125 Resistance X-Wing Fighter Microfighter (click here) #75127 The Ghost Microfighter (Click here) #75131 Resistance Trooper Battle Pack (click here) #75132 First Order Battle Back (click here) #75133 Rebel Alliance Battle Pack (click here) #75134 Galactic Empire Battle Pack (click here) #75135 Obi-Wan's Jedi Interceptor (click here) #75136 Droid Escape Pod (click here) #75137 Carbon-Freezing Chamber (click here) #75139 Battle on Takodana (click here) #75141 Resistance Troop Transporter (click here) #75148 Encounter on Jakku (click here) #75150 Vader's TIE Advanced vs. A-Wing Starfighter (click here)
    5 points
  39. More often than not, the main question LEGO investors are trying to answer is “When is this set retiring?”. As we all know, once a set is retired is when it really has the potential to start growing in value, so it is not surprising that the EOL question is as common as it is in the forums. However, focusing entirely on currently available sets may be causing investors to miss on a potentially lucrative market: sets that have already been retired for quite some time. It is not the first time I write about this, and I know some of other members like fellow Mod Grolim used to bring up quite often in the earlier years of Brickpicker, but taking a look at my last article pushed me to write about a set that I see as a potential money maker even at its current market value. Before getting into that though, let’s take a look at some of the arguments in favor of investing in retired sets. Removes the uncertainty of retirement date and, in some cases, performance. Investing in retired sets allows you to reap the benefits of growth as soon as you acquire a set, removing the need to park your money waiting for a set to go EOL. Most of the already retired exclusives that are performing great are way more scarce than any of the newer exclusives will be once retired. It is pretty clear that the LEGO investing market has seen an influx of buyer over the past couple years, prompting LEGO to produce more and more of the popular sets and keeping them around longer; the older sets were not as massively produced or hoarded. Of course, there are also a couple of arguments against this practice, and it would not be responsible of me to simply omit them. The ones that come to mind are: Risk of remakes. We have seen the two sides of the coin related to this point, as the remake of the UCS X-Wing failed to completely depress the prices of the older version but the new Winter Village Toy shop completely destroyed 10199. Acquiring an already retired set increases the likelihood that investors will be holding a set at the time a remake is announced. High amounts of capital are usually required. While practically anyone can invest on sets that are currently available, it becomes harder when you are targeting sets that are worth upwards of $500. Also, it is important to mention that this article assumes readers are Buy and Hold type of investors. Flipping and selling other sets in the short term can more than likely generate the same or more returns by moving sets quicker. The case for investing in the UCS Super Star Destroyer Some of you may remember the good old times when we saw the Super Star Destroyer selling for $319 on Amazon. Clearly, those days are over, but that does not mean that it is too late to put some money into this impressive set with the idea of making some good money in a couple of years. Why do I even bring this up? Well, just take a look at the following chart showcasing the performance of some of the UCS sets in the past two years1: 1Actual values for December 2013 and 2015. 2014 Data is just an interpolation. Clearly, the performance of these sets has been outstanding over the past couple of years, and some of them were already extremely expensive back in December, 2013. We are talking about an average return of close to 93% in just 2 years over an average price of $750! (90% if we do a weighted average). Even more impressive, most of the sets shown in the graph above have been retired for more than 5 years at this point. Seeing these levels of growth over just two years indicates how solid most of the UCS models are in the long term. The UCS Super Star Destroyer is already selling for almost $1,000 based on the latest Brickpicker data. As mentioned before, investing in these expensive sets requires a certain amount of capital and a moderately high risk tolerance, but looking at how similarly valued sets have performed in the 2 years we have data for, it is a strategy with high reward potential. Back when the SSD was available for retail it already sold for $400 most of the time, making it one of those sets that are somewhat more difficult to hoard for most investors, reducing supply in the secondary market. Besides this, the set is probably one of the most impressive in both size and detail LEGO has ever released, and one that we are more than likely won’t be re-released for quite some time. LEGO has so many other sets to re-release before we ever see another SSD in stores (Imperial Star Destroyer, Millennium Falcon, Snowspeeder, etc.). Honestly, I see this set with the potential to reach $2,000 in a few years, much like its older sibling the Imperial Star Destroyer. This is only an opinion, but I figured I would bring the topic up for discussion and let each investors make up their own mind about it. Thanks for reading!
    5 points
  40. LEGO Elves was launched in March 2015. This set was released in a small second wave late that summer. I purchased this set at RRP a few days after release, but it has taken me until now to actually put it together. Below is my finished product: SET DETAILS: Set #: 41078 Name: Skyra's Mysterious Sky Castle Theme: LEGO Elves Parts: 808 Regular Retail Price: $79.99 BOX CONTENTS For this set, there are 7 numbered bags, one loose 6 X 12 dark sand beige plate, one sticker sheet, one pegasus-style horse and one thick 132 page instruction book. I liked that the book was a single binding as compared to the multiple inconsistently-sized variety I have seen in other sets. SET AND BUILD OVERVIEW: I will start with the figures, as they are assembled in bags 1 and 3. Mini Dolls (Queen Skyra, Naida the water elf, and Emily Jones) and Pegasus: And their capes: The smaller capes are the standard coarse material while the full-length cape is of a softer, silkier variety. I would like to point out that I had some difficulty stacking both of Queen Skyra’s capes on her very slender neck and then attaching her head. Once assembled, I enjoy the look of the white embellished “collar” against the dark violet cape. Basic assembly of the other figures was fairly simple. It is always a bit tricky to snap the round tile onto the curved elf hand. The pegasus design is nice, but I found myself trying to figure out how to position the wings while the creature is standing. Fully upright wings look too heavy, but when they are placed in a downward posture, I think the animal looks vaguely wounded. BUILDING THE STRUCTURE: Bags 1 through 4 assemble as independent structures. At the end of 4, three of them are connected to provide the base of the finished build while the structure from bag 1 remains separate. (I had a picture of this, but used the box as the background. When putting my review together this image was scrapped because it was hard to see what was box art vs. built pieces in front). Bags 5 and 6 are also assembled independently of the structure, but the resulting piece is attached at the end of the instructions for bag 6. It was a bit tricky to determine the point of attachment for this upper deck. Further scrutiny led me to decide the bottom plate should be flush with the frontmost part of its supporting structure (completed in bag 2). I’m not sure if one could build 5 directly attached to structure 2 because of the portal mechanism. Bag 7 contained all of the finishing touches including the lilac turrets, elemental keys, leaves and jewels. The elemental keys are pretty great looking: But they have no mechanical function (with regard to opening the portal) when they are positioned as pictured in the instructions. I cannot explain this, so I guess I need to watch the show... THE GOOD AND THE BAD: I love the colors! Despite my distaste for mini dolls, Elves is one of my must buy themes because of the colors, shapes, and unique pieces. I like the design of the Element elements. The lilac fences, use of transparent and jewel accents, and the fact that it’s a castle drew me to this one in particular. Build was fairly straightforward and simple without becoming boring or tedious. There was a bit of trouble trying to line up the mech and axle beneath the portal, but I was able to work it out with some determination. NOTE: Younger builders may need assistance with this. The biggest flaw, in my opinion, was the mechanism that opens and closes the portal. It was slightly confusing trying to get it all lined up, and in the end, the portal is activated by turning a large knob. (Again, maybe I need to watch the show). Perhaps Skyra’s sceptre was supposed to turn it, but it doesn’t fit. I think you could use one of the keys, but I believe the idea is that each key needs to be in place to activate the portal. My best guess is that the portal is opened and closed by magic forces, so the actual opening mechanism is not intended to be part of the play function, but I found it disappointing. In my opinion, magic levers should be behind the active play area to maintain the illusion. Queen Skyra: "If you wish to return home, Emily Jones, I must summon the power of the mysterious sky hand to open the portal." Awkward maneuvering as Sky Hand presents itself and completes a quarter-turn of the center pedestal Emily Jones: "Thank you Queen. Your mysterious sky castle is mysterious no more." My only other gripe is regarding the stickers. Although I don’t particularly enjoy ANY stickers, these were the worst kind. I have yet to figure out how to keep my fingerprints from becoming a permanent addition to the application of transparent stickers. I have trouble with small decals as it is, so tweezers or gloves seem to me that they would only add to the clumsiness. Thankfully, all decorated pieces after bag 5 are all pre-printed. All said and done, I enjoyed building it. I understand that the build-by-section method is accepted as a good way to break up the build, but I did find myself asking when is this going to turn into one integrated piece. (I’m still not sure where to position the earth doorway or the dining table). Spare parts: I found it odd that there were so many duplicate spares. The additional fuchsia (official color name?) flowers give the builder an option to balance the bouquets into three of each color (which I prefer). Each round 1 x 1 element tile also has a backup. I can always use extra cherries and cookies, but it would appear that I may have already misplaced one of those spare cookies. INVESTMENT POTENTIAL? My best guess is that this will have little demand as a set. There are some new and unique elements from a parts perspective, but there’s no real way to tell if they will stay rare as more sets are produced. If you can pick one up for yourself or as a gift, great. If plan to buy this as an investment, I think you will be hard-pressed to find a buyer desperate enough for this one to pay above RRP. (As of now, this set is already being reduced at major retail outlets). That's my two cents. Thanks for listening. Disclaimer: This being my first published review, I recognize that my photography leaves a lot to be desired. I appreciate your patience through my learning stage.
    5 points
  41. The Brickpicker Brick Index was updated recently. This index gives an indication of the movement in value of each set based upon the previous 6 months of sales data from Ebay. You can review the sets by theme if you like, but @Jeff Mack has accumulated the top 20 performers for the last 6 months on the landing page. I'd like to take a look at the data and see what it tells us. First, let's take a look at the data that is presented. Each set is ranked by what percentage of value it has increased in the past 6 months. There's a handy graph of that period of time showing a whole dollar value on the Y Axis and months expressed numerically on the X. A cursory overview of the data shows us that this table is very heavily weighted towards Star Wars. 75% (15) of the top 20 are Star Wars sets. 10% (2) are Super Heroes and LEGO Movie, Ninjago, and Creator each make a single entry to close out the remaining 15%. Does this mean that Star Wars is the only way to go to ensure maximum profits? Let's take a look. Data without analysis can lead to bad decisions. The biggest earner in the list is 75048 The Phantom. With a monstrous 128+% increase in the past 6 months, it came out swinging. Original retail on this set was $24.99. For many months, it was available at Amazon/Target/Wal-Mart for $19.99. Current price guide value is $46.73. This set is a prominent part of the Star Wars Rebels IP and has one popular character who is only found in this set. Rank #1 75048-1 The Phantom 128.84% Next on our list is a set that was looked down upon for most of its retail shelf life. It lived with an almost permanent discount of $19.99 from a $24.99 retail. Now it lives in the $41+ zone. I think a lot of people put off buying this set always assuming that there would be another time and time ran out. You get an interesting vehicle from a pivotal scene in Revenge of the Sith with 2 hero minifigures. Both of the figures are unique to this set and the Grievous alone is selling for almost the MSRP of this set. Rank #2 75040-1 General Grievous' Wheel Bike 115.83% In a race to the finish between 75054 and 75055, the AT-AT 75054 sold out first. For a time, you could get a slight discount. Within days of selling out at retail it was already selling at 50%-60% above the retail of $99.99. It's now struggling to reach $200, which most expect to happen by summer. Rank #3 75054-1 AT-AT 98.18% Number 4 on our list is the 75038 Jedi Interceptor. This one has 2 hero minifigures in the form of Anakin Skywalker and the updated R2-D2 minifigure. It originally retailed for $24.99 and seems to have been selling for that amount up through retirement. It's now selling in the $48 range. The only reason that it doesn't outrank the similarly priced 75040 and 75048 is because it sold better at retail and was not as discounted. (75135 is bound to drive the price of this set up as people try to complete their hero pairs.) Rank #4 75038-1 Jedi Interceptor 96.05% The Ant-Man Final battle is the first non Star Wars set on our list. This set went under a lot of radars, Within 6 months of release, it was done. It started life with production problems and disappeared without a whisper. The growth of this set is probably not done. Limited production, continued media support for the character, and no forthcoming reissues will keep driving buyers to this set. Rank #5 76039-1 Ant-Man Final Battle 95.72% There's a saying that a rising tide raises all boats. The interesting thing about this set is that since it was already rare and had retired almost 2 years ago. It's value was already much higher than the $9.99 retail price of the set. The movie hype in December appears to have nearly doubled the price again. That tide raised the high as well as the low. Rank #6 75011-1 Tantive IV & Alderaan 95.13% As mentioned previously, the Imperial Star Destroyer 75055 barely lost the race for sold out to the AT-AT 75054. It had a higher price to begin with and also lived with a semi-permanent discount. It is competing neck and neck with the AT-AT on the race to $200. The only reason that the AT-AT is higher on the list is because it started at a lower MSRP. Both of these large vehicles are on the same trajectory, and the Star Destroyer is less likely to be remade as soon. Rank #7 75055-1 Imperial Star Destroyer 85.75% Number 8 is yet another recently retired Star Wars set. The Snowspeeder 75049 was a $29.99 set that could frequently be found with a $5 discount. When it and the AT-AT retired at the same time, demand for one increased demand for the other. Demand has lifted this set up to the $50 range, even with another Snowspeeder soon to be available in the Assault on Hoth set. If another AT-AT returns to shelves without this corresponding vehicle, look for it to return to this list. Rank #8 75049-1 Snowspeeder 85.17% The Microfighters Millennium Falcon was existing somewhat above retail. A lot of people had been dismissive of the entire Microfighters line, but the first series gained some traction. The Millennium Falcon had the distinction of having a hero minifigure and it is the most iconic vehicle in the series. When the Force Awakens was released, people on a budget looked for an alternative to a $150 set. Demand pushed the value up, and will probably maintain the price for a while to come. Kids and fans have come to accept and enjoy the aesthetic. Rank #9 75030-1 Millennium Falcon 79.09% Halfway through the list, we come to a set that surprised many. It's a large exclusive that only really fits in with an unprofitable theme. Not a lot of people were buying this set. Anyone who wanted it put it off because there would always be time later. Large exclusives tend to have a certain cache. The question that remains is, is this increase sustainable? By all accounts it is a fun build. People who want something unique will migrate to this set. Rank #10 70810-1 MetalBeard's Sea Cow 73.37% Wait, a Ninjago set made the list? Did the poles reverse themselves? Are we in the end of days? is Ronin's R.E.X. a sign that everything we know is wrong? Well, probably not. This set is still widely available at retail, so there's no reason for it to sell above retail, and it doesn't. This set made the list because sales were bad.It sold for roughly 40% of retail price and has increased to about 80% of retail in the ebay marketplace. Anyone contemplating buying this set at retail might as well hand $10 to a stranger and walk away. Rank #11 70735-1 Ronin R.E.X. 72.48% The ARC-170 fighter had a short life. It lived on shelves for less than a year. It sold many times for below retail. It was part of the second series and came from the less popular prequel trilogy. It had a lot of things against it, which probably led to less production and less hoarding. It seems like Microfighters are the little engine that could on this list. Frequently overlooked and underestimated. Could this be a sign that the Star Wars Constraction figures will surprise many? Rank #12 75072-1 ARC-170 Starfighter 68.80% Next up, we have a Star Wars playset. The smart money says that playsets don't do as well as ships. Well, that's partially true. Look at all of the other recently retired ships that outpaced this one in % increase. The Mos Eisley Cantina was also selling below retail before retirement (Noticing a distinct trend here.) When it retired, it jumped up above retail and continued to increase. This set has a large number of minifigures (8) with a bigfig creature and a small vehicle. It truly is a nice set, and will likely capture buyers for years unless they make another cantina set. Rank #13 75052-1 Mos Eisley Cantina 67.39% Number 14 on our list is the second Super Heroes set, DC's Batboat Harbor Pursuit. A 66% gain sounds like a good thing. There's some problems with the appearance of this set on our list. This set was released at the same time as Ant-Man's final battle, so is this another early EOL that jumped up big? Nope. This set is currently available at retail. For a long time, sellers on Ebay were selling it for significantly below retail. The jump in value can be attributed to it now selling for almost retail. Is this an indication of post EOL performance? It's unlikely, unless you assume that it will sell for close to retail after it retires. Rank #14 76034-1 Batboat Harbor Pursuit 66.25% 3/4 of the way through our list we have the Ghost. This is the single most used vehicle in Star Wars Rebels. This set was easily found on Ebay for a significant discount from retail. It was unpopular with resellers and suffered from not being a set from a live action Star Wars movie. Despite the fact that it had an average length shelf life, its retirement seemed to catch people off guard. With continued support in media, this set should continue to show growth, but it's unlikely to have the significant gain that it received just returning to MSRP. Rank #15 75053-1 The Ghost 63.85% The droid gunship honestly surprised me when I saw it on this list. Sure, it's recently retired, sure it's Star Wars, but it's a non-hero vehicle from a minor scene in the prequel trilogy. Looking at the data, it seems that this set took a significant dip from retail, and all of its gains were just to put it back on an even footing with its original MSRP. Rank #16 75042-1 Droid Gunship 62.88% Number 17 is an anomaly. Not because of how poorly it was doing before, but because it was a set that had already increased since it retired a year ago. When this Target exclusive set retired in Dec. 2014 it had a retail price tag of $39.99. A year later it was hovering in the $60 range before receiving another boost above $90. In this case instead of the rising tide saw, let's consider the words of Walt Disney "Quality will out." As collectors scoop up 75135 and 75038, they'll remember this one and realize that it's probably not getting a refresh anytime soon. Is it on track to match 7661? Hard to tell, but if the clones taught us anything, fans seem to like a rainbow of the same thing. Rank #17 9494-1 Anakin's Jedi Interceptor 60.11% Approaching the end, 90% of the way through, we find a battle pack. Battle packs are cheap, small, easy to store and frequently found on clearance. This battle pack has the virtue of being composed of screen accurate Original Trilogy troopers. It was the strongest contender of the recently retired battle packs for future growth and it found it. It's the same story though. The starting position of this set was ~20% below retail. Many will have gotten this set from the Wal-Mart clearances, so will realize even better returns than shown here. Rank #18 75034-1 Death Star Troopers 58.82% Number 19 on our list is a true representative of the rising tide theory. This set retired 2 years ago. It languished below retail since it retired until the Force Awakens came along and propped it up. Instead of being somewhere around $5 below retail, it gained $15 above retail. Honestly, not the performance vector that anyone should be looking for. It's a 2 year hold time to gain an actual ~35%. Rank #19 75017-1 Duel on Geonosis 58.17% Our final entry on the list is also not Star Wars. The Creator 3 in 1 Mountain Hut quietly retired without fanfare. The data indicates that its value dipped 25% below retail in the late summer and stayed there all fall long. Post EOL it has recovered the loss and added 20% to its value. I looked at some of the other recently retired Creator 3 in 1 sets and saw a similar trajectory. A low increase in value, but it was there. Rank #20 31025-1 Mountain Hut 57.60% Looking at this list, we see a lot of Star Wars sets that retired a short time ago. Their initial post EOL bump was probably accelerated by the release of The Force Awakens. Many of these sets were living below retail before they retired. It's easy to make significant gains when the first gain that a set makes is to get back to its original MSRP. 10-25% value jump when it disappears from Amazon or Wal-Mart would be standard. We're not even taking into account the significant clearance reductions on most of these sets. I am not discounting the money that was and is to be made on these sets. People buying at discount cleared and are poised to receive greater profits. Before I end here, I'd like to give a special nod of the head and tip of the cap to the set that's 91% more influential than Kanye West. For folks who are wondering where their favorite Tumbler falls, I found it in the DC Super Heroes theme in second place behind Batboat Harbor Pursuit. Since this set never really got discounted, that's where the starting value falls and it has since increased by over 50%. I guess it's time to start telling everyone how right you were to buy these at the last minute. 76023-1 The Tumbler 52.32% In the final analysis, what does all of this tell us? The status is actually quo. Good sets from a popular series that retire will increase. Rare sets and exclusives will increase, and things that routinely sell for significantly below retail will sometimes sell for retail. Most of the sets on the list were not exclusives, and the biggest exclusive retirements were not the largest % gainers. The trajectory of the Sea Cow and the Tumbler are good, but not worrisome as far as the rise of the proverbial bubble. (Does anyone remember pogs or those worthless Billy Ripken f*ck face cards doubling and redoubling in value so quickly?) It will be interesting to see in a couple months what the largest increases are. I'd also love to see what the biggest losers for the same timeframe is. I bet it would be the newest things released.
    5 points
  42. I like Super Hero sets. I think there's a lot of people who do. Well, ok not so much the sets. A lot of people like the minifigures. DC and Marvel Super Heroes sets by LEGO tend to be heavy on lame playsets or jets or bank trucks. There's also a lot of motorcycles. If it's a Batman set, there's almost never anything new. In76053 we get not one, but 2 Motorcycles. I kind of shake my head and try to figure out if it's worth doing a review. Well, let's just see, shall we? REVIEW: SET DETAILS Set #: 76053 Name: Batman: Gotham City Cycle Chase Theme: DC Super Heroes Parts: 224 Price: $19.99 Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 19.99 the price per piece works out to almost $.09 each. This is on the low side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 3 minifigures. The minifigures are New 52 Harley Quinn, New 52 Batman, and Deadshot. I am not 100% sure, but I think this version of Batman has been seen before. Harley and Deadshot are both new. BOX CONTENTS 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 numbered baggies, a sticker sheet, a comic book, and an instruction book. (I got 2 sticker sheets. I don't know if this is standard or just my good luck.) THE BUILD AND EXECUTION BAG 1: I've not reviewed and Super Hero sets before. I have built them though. I'm not going to let my preconceptions color my writing. I will approach this set with eyes unclouded. So,with that said, I have a weird question. Why on Earth did the designers put a pink brick inside of this build? It disappears completely in very short order, but there it is. It's a color that no one associates with Batman or Harley Quinn. Obviously with the red and blue color scheme, this bike belongs to Harley, I like the alternating Red and blue. It reminds you of her motley. Apparently, Super Hero motorcycles need massively oversized tires. I like the exhaust pipes that you build in here too. Nice use of those pearl gold pieces. It's good to see that Harley's custom bike has headlights. Something I noticed here, The front wheel and the rear wheel are different colors. The tires are different sizes, so the wheels themselves are different sizes. Is this why they are different, or is it a design choice because Harley utilizes multiple colors? I choose to believe that it's due to Harley's color choices. Ok, so the motorcycle is a little boring. It really needs something to make it say Harley Quinn How about a giant Mallet? Harley Quinn is frequently seen with a comically oversized mallet. This mallet can be mounted on the motorcycle either the way I picture it below, so that it can hang out to the side to swat people as she drives by, or on the pin right behind that so that it can swing forward to bonk people that she drives up to. Actually, that's terrible. She just sideswipes people with her mallet. Plus, she can take it off her bike and carry it with her. BAG 2: We just made Harley's bike, so it must be time to build Batman's Batcycle. First though, we have to build up Deadshot's stuff. Hey, look, a jetpack! Does Batman have a jetpack? Now, we make Deadshot's Rocket Launcher. Uhm, at least the stud shooter is almost disguised. According to the LEGO Movie, Batman only builds stuff in black and really really dark grey. Apparently with a nice pink base. I've made Batcycles before. this one is a little weird. Apparently Batman doesn't like to sit? I guess he wants to feel like he is flying just like Superman. I like the hint of a monster engine hiding under the black. No idea what that's supposed to be. Portable spot light? Rocket booster? Bat crock pot? Batman's got massive tires. You know what they say about big tires, right? Yup, you need big wheels. Both of Batman's wheels are black. I'm really curious how Batman in a prone position can see over that gigantic tire. Rear wheel matches front wheel. You hear that Harley Quinn? Batman's got tail lights. Some of the tail lights are also stud shooters mounted on a swivel. There are also clips on the stud shooter piece that allow you to put Batman's accessories away as he drives. REACTION I liked this set. I didn't love it. The 2 motorcycles make more sense than a drag racer or a submarine or a mech suit. Both of these vehicles come off nicely and don't look totally goofy. The minifigures are spectacular, and they had better be. No one buys these sets for the sets. Harley Quinn is a perfectly deranged looking clown in a bodice. She's got printed legs. I wish that her hair and legs had been molded in 2 colors. She also has a 2 sided head. Deadshot has printed arms. He's got a ton of parts to make up his accessories. Batman is Batman. Nothing new,kind of bored of getting Batmen. FINAL THOUGHTS: Collectors are probably as tired of getting the same Batman constantly as I am. The motorcycles are nothing spectacular. They're highly unlikely to draw attention to this set. With SUper Heroes sets, you're drawn to the minifigures. Here, we have 2 unique minifigures. Harley and Deadshot are important characters to the Suicide Squad. Later this year LEGO is releasing a set with Killer Croc and Boomerang and another one with Katana. That's a pretty significant way to having the movie characters. If that movie gets a significant amount of attention and spawns a sequel, these sets will be must haves. The biggest problem that I have with the future value of this set is that it is Minifigure driven. If knockoffs flood the market with these unique figures, it will be an anchor that drags this set down. If LEGO reissues Harley or Deadshot in this version, it's pretty much dead. Best case scenario is if this set goes the route of Ant-Man. We'd see people scrambling to catch up. Don't bank on unexpected 6 month retirements though. Go get it on Amazon! EXTRA PARTS:
    5 points
  43. Here is a quick guide for smooshing (feeling) the new 71011 CMF Series 15 packs. Smooshing is a term used by Lego fans for feeling the CMF packs' hidden contents to determine which minifigure is inside it. You should be able to identify each minifigure by feeling for the 1st accessory on the list below. The other accessories can be used for back-up identification purposes. Farmer: round hat, pitchfork, pig Astronaut: visor (like a big fingernail), oxygen tank Frightening Knight: ball with soft spikes, shield, bucket helmet Clumsy Guy: crutches Tribal Woman: feather head piece (like a V), baby basket (like a loaf of bread) Flying Warrior: spear (stick with sharp point), wing pieces Faun: curved leg piece, head piece with horns and long ears Animal Control: net (kind of like thimble), skunk Janitor: long stick with a bump toward 1 end, mop head (hard wavy mushroom shape), cap Ballerina: wavy flat circular piece, hair piece with bun Laser Mech: jagged sword piece, armor Kendo Fighter: two swords, helmet with weird curves Shark Suit Guy: shark shaped head piece, flipper arms Wrestling Champion: trophy, hair piece with mullet Jewel Thief: grappling hook, gun piece Queen: puffy skirt (about the size of 2 stacked 2x4 bricks, cannot miss )
    5 points
  44. I'm going to take a detour here and review something that is not a set. It's the only item that I got this week for myself that's LEGO related. I want to talk with you about the book LEGO Star Wars: Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy by Vesa Lehtimaki. First, the technical information: TITLE: LEGO Star Wars: Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy AUTHOR: Vesa Lehtimaki FORMAT: Hardcover Pages: 176 LIST PRICE: $24.99 PUBLISHER: DK First, let me say that if you're looking for a reference book of any kind, this is definitely not the book for you. There is no set information, random minifigures are thrown into situations and sets that were not released together by LEGO. The intention of this book is to show you minifigures and LEGO sets as art. As we all know, art is highly subjective, so some people won't perceive the value in this type of book. A lot of reviews of this book hit on how dark many of the pictures are and how you're not shown the large number of dark and largely obscured images contained in this book. Initially I agreed that this was a problem. On my second look at this book, I started to see something new. Each of the shots in this book was taken and chosen specifically by the artist. He highlighted exactly what he wanted the viewers to see and obscured the rest. Each was a conscious artistic choice. For example, take a look at the Chrome C-3PO portrait that the publishers put on the net. The direct lighting on the upper right of the head creates a look at this figure that many of us have never attempted. This is probably the most well lighted of the portraits. The artist chose to put the spotlight on textures and details that might go unnoticed in better lighting He creates his own settings and lighting to provide ambiance. Throughout the book, he provides commentary on the pictures, giving some information on how he achieved the shots or his thought processes behind them. The action shots are spectacular, and the way that he uses common household stuff to lend atmosphere is truly inspired Apart from bits of commentary throughout the book, he has a large behind the scenes section where he shows off sketches, alternate shots, unedited shots, etc. For a fan of Star Wars, you see someone else's take on the sets that you love. I loved shots of 9493, 75049, and 9492 in action. REACTION: The more I think about this book, the more I appreciate it. I might not agree with how obscured some of the shots are, but then again I am not an artist. I desperately wished that I could create pictures that lived, the way that his do. Each time through, I feel inspired to try taking similar pictures. It also really makes me want to play with my own LEGO sets. The action shots in this book are dynamic. He creates real motion in a static image. The atmosphere shots are at times hit and miss. Sometimes I felt that as he tried for atmosphere, he just wet a little too far. There's a shot of Boba Fett coming out of the sand, and it looks more like a blurry sand sculpture in the middle of a blurry sandstorm. Sometimes less is more. I am more than happy that I got this book. It's definitely going to be one of those books that I pull out from time to time just to immerse myself in this world. FINAL THOUGHTS: This is the place where I talk about the investment potential of whatever I am reviewing. So let me say off the bat, I don't think it's a wise idea to buy a bunch of these and hope to make money later on. DK is well able to keep this in print until demand wanes, and might be more than willing to do a new print run or publish a new edition if aftermarket demand escalates. I have seen reference books increase in price. When word of mouth gets around and the original printing disappears, the price can escalate quickly. Though investing in new books is probably a slightly worse plan for making money than writing books. The true value of this book for investors is what it does to collectors. A collector might look through a book like this and get nostalgic for a set that they missed out on. Most of the sets highlighted in this book are retired now. If enough new collectors pick up this book and see how amazing some of these sets and minifigures look, they'll be more tempted to go ahead and buy those retired sets. If they have those sets, they may want to purchase additional copies to do some of the setups that the artist created. I do recommend this book for any fan of LEGO Star Wars sets or minifigures. My kids both loved looking through it, forcing me to lock the door to the room where all of my Star Wars LEGO sets reside. Amazon has this book for a very reasonable $13.84 right now. Go buy it on Amazon
    5 points
  45. Editor's Note: Here is another great article written by one of our members, Mos_Eisley. This article covers an issue that many collectors face and answers questions for those that are just starting their LEGO collections. Mos_Eisley received 500 BrickPoints for having this article published on the site. -Jeff So you’ve decided to enter the dark and alluring world of LEGO investing. Soon you’ll be scouring the internet every day for all the best deals, stopping at every Target and Walmart (maybe a Toys ‘R Us here and there if you’re feeling lucky) you pass in the hopes of finding some great clearance discounts, and explaining to your significant other that this is not weird. But once you pick up all these great finds, what do you do with them? It doesn’t take long before a collection of MISB LEGO sets can become overwhelming: I’ll get into specific storage ideas later, but first a little background on my experiences so far. When I first started dabbling in LEGO investing, I was able to hide my prizes away in a spare closet. It didn’t take long though before the sets became too much for the closet and started to spill out into the spare bedroom. While I thought it was awesome to have a room littered with sets, not everyone else in the house agreed. I soon realized that if I was going to continue doing this, I was going to need a better solution. After filling the closet and the rafters above the garage, I knew my only option was to get a storage unit. Obviously, renting a storage unit can really start to add up, so for most, making room somewhere in your house is a better option. Since I didn’t have any other choice, I found a nice, clean storage facility near my house and got myself an inside, 5’x10’ unit. This was really nice. Now, every time I made a purchase, I just stopped by the unit and unloaded the sets. No more mess at home. For about two years I was able to contain everything very tightly packed in the 5’x10’ space. During this time I wasn’t selling any of my sets and it was time to expand again. I moved everything into another storage facility, using a 10’x10’ space this time. Once again, this was able to contain my collection for another two years. After this one was filled, I got an additional 5’x10’ unit to hold the overflow. At this point, I felt that I had too many sets, too much money tied up and that it was time to start selling some of the collection. I had done a really poor job of keeping my sets organized. In an effort to maximize storage space, I had just packed everything into the unit from wall to wall and floor to ceiling so there was no way of getting to the sets in the back rows. I rented a 10’x20’ space and methodically moved everything from the smaller units into the larger unit. Although slightly more organized, I still had never invested in any type of shelving for storing my sets. I simply stacked the sets as tightly and as high as I could again: After selling about half of my collection, I decided it was time to store everything properly. I invested in eleven metal racks from The Home Depot and I have been very happy with the results. My 10’x 20’ is now filling up, even with my inventory stacked all the way to the ceiling, but at least most sets are relatively easy to access. The point of all this is to understand that storing MISB LEGO sets takes a lot of space. Putting away a few sets here and there isn’t an issue, but if you really want to buy a lot of sets, you will need a lot of space to store them all. Not to mention quite a bit of time, patience and money. That’s a cute story, but how should I store my sets? Let’s take a look at some options: 1) JUST THE SET Whether you’re storing your sets in a closet, cabinet, basement, attic or storage unit, simply take your sets and stack them on shelves, floors, or anywhere else you can find room for them. This is the least expensive method and it requires the least amount of space. Standing your sets like books is the safest method for protecting the boxes, and it also looks cool to see all those sets lined up like a LEGO set library: LEGO boxes aren’t very sturdy, so when you start piling them on top of each other, the bottom box(es) will eventually collapse, which can lead to also damaging the boxes at the top of the stack if they go tumbling to the floor. A Chrome C-3PO vanishes every time someone stacks their investment sets in this manner: If you have no choice and need to stack your sets unprotected, be sure to create an overlapping stack as if you were building with bricks: Stacking like this will better protect the boxes and allow you to stack higher with less chance of your stack eventually crushing the lower boxes and tipping over. Regardless of how you store unprotected sets, try to avoid stacking them against walls and consider putting acid-free kraft paper between sets and/or any walls. Over time, the boxes can begin to stick to the walls and each other. You’ll want the sets close together though because bricks will settle at the bottom of the box when standing on edge. This pressure can cause the boxes to bow and the seals to sometimes break loose if there is space around the box. The main problem with this method is that your sets are unprotected from dust and damage. The more you have to move the sets, the more shelf wear and other damage you are bound to cause to the boxes, potentially lowering your eventual return. Sure, a damaged, retired set will still fetch a fine price, but collectors will appreciate and pay for the chance of getting a pristine box. PROS: inexpensive, easy, space-saving, you can actually see all your sets CONS: no protection for your investment, stacking limitations 2) STORE MULTIPLE SETS IN LARGER BOXES When I first started collecting for investment, this is how I stored my sets. When LEGO ships sets to stores, they come in cartons that usually have multiples of the same set. How many sets these shipping cartons contain depends on the set’s box size. Battle packs arrive in cartons of eight. Huge sets like 10188 Death Star and 10179 Millennium Falcon come one per carton. Sets like 7965 Millennium Falcon and 4184 Black Pearl come in shipping cartons that contain two sets. 7785 Arkham Asylum and 6210 Jabba’s Sail Barge came in cartons that had three sets inside: There are many more sizes. These boxes are great because they are the exact size of the various sets you will want to store in them. Two 2507 Fire Temples can be safely stored in a carton that takes up nearly an identical amount of space as the two sets would take if they sat unprotected on a shelf. Not only are the sets more protected in general, but now you can safely stack more sets on top of these sets without having to worry about crushing them. Still use caution when stacking though because although LEGO ships sets in these containers, they aren’t necessarily the strongest boxes around. An overlapping stack of sets in their original shipping cartons is far more stable than the same stack of unprotected sets. Not everyone has access to these shipping cartons, and not all sizes are ideally stored in their original cartons. I don’t want to deal with five or six small cartons of battle packs. Instead, I’ve found that the medium moving boxes from The Home Depot are perfect for storing 54 battles packs: Using these moving boxes, you can easily and safely store and move a lot of sets at a time. The Home Depot has several sizes, but I find the medium ($1.12 each) and large ($1.36 each) to be the most useful. You can fill them up with quite a few of the medium and smaller sized sets, throw them in a closet and not have to worry about your sets being damaged the next time you need to move them. For extra protection, you can wrap each set in acid-free craft paper or bubble wrap when you place them in the moving box to reduce any possible damage from the sets sticking or rubbing against each other. Depending on the weather in your area, you may want to enclose each set in plastic to protect against humidity, regardless of which storage method you choose. Using moving boxes is a great way to go. For less than $2.00, you can easily protect many of your investments. Since LEGO sets vary in size, you won’t always perfectly fill the moving box, which means you are taking up a little more space than you might if you just had your sets stacked in the same space. However, using moving boxes will allow you to utilize vertical space that you can’t safely do with just the sets alone. Be sure to label the contents of your boxes so that you don’t have to dig through all of them to find the set you want! PROS: better protection of sets, less expensive, easy, allows for vertical stacking CONS: can take up a little more space, can’t see your sets 3) STORE SETS INDIVIDUALLY IN SHIPPING BOXES I feel this is the absolute safest method for storing sets for investment. Although it is by far the most expensive and space consuming, I feel it is worth it to not only properly protect the sets, but also have them ready to ship: As I said earlier, I used the second method when I first started storing sets. The first year I did a lot of selling, I found myself spending way too much time each night packaging orders. Since most sets were expensive and sold individually, I figured I may as well have the sets stored so that they were ready to ship. After switching to this method, the next time I sold it was a much better experience. I was getting the same amount of orders processed in less than half the time. There are many sources for shipping boxes. My first shipping boxes came from boxes that were going to be thrown away at various stores. These were free. That’s about the only good thing I can say about them. They were often a little (or very) dirty, smelly, damaged, and you never knew exactly what sizes you might get. Shipping in boxes that aren’t the right size can cost you extra in postage and packing supplies, and possibly damage the sets if you don’t properly package them. If you plan on shipping using the U.S. Postal Service, they provide free Priority Mail shipping boxes. Since most sets weigh more than 13 ounces, you will have to ship via Priority Mail, so you may as well use their free boxes. They come in various sizes that will work well with smaller sets like 9471 Uruk-hai Army, 4866 The Knight Bus and 7869 Battle For Geonosis: Once you start getting into the larger sets, you’ll need to find another source for boxes. Uline.com is one of the best. They have just about every size you could ever need. I usually get three different sizes from them and these hold most of the sets I save. 19”x 12”x 3” ($1.06) – perfect for the $50-$60 sets that come in boxes like 6212 X-wing Fighter and 7628 Peril in Peru 20”x 16”x 4” ($1.46) – great for $75-$120 sets like 10219 Maersk Train and 6210 Jabba’s Sail Barge 24”x 16”x 4” ($1.29) – ideal for $100-$150 sets with boxes the size of 8038 The Battle of Endor and 10217 Diagon Alley There are a couple other sizes I use as well, but this article is probably too long already! All the above boxes are sold in quantity minimums of 25. The more you buy of each size, the lower the prices, but you must buy in bundles of 25. You’ll notice that the smaller 20”x 16”x 4” box above is more expensive than the 24”x 16”x 4”. You can buy the cheaper 24” box and keep/ship those smaller sets in them, but for me I don’t want to waste the extra 4” of shipping box when I don’t have to. The individually boxed method is great, but probably not for everyone. Buying lots of shipping boxes gets expensive. You’ll eventually get the money back when you sell the sets, but in the meantime you have money tied up in shipping boxes that you could have invested in more sets. The shipping boxes are also not the exact size of the sets, so there is usually a fair amount of wasted space around the sets. Generally, two sets individually boxed take up about as much space as three of the same set without any protection. However, my ultimate goal is to provide future buyers with sets that are in near perfect condition so it is worth it to me to lose some space and investment money. Like the above method, consider using acid-free craft paper, bubble wrap or plastic to protect the sets inside the boxes. Make sure to label the contents! PROS: best protection of sets, can stack higher, sets are ready to ship CONS: expensive, takes up a lot of space, can’t see your sets 4) A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING I currently use a mix of methods two and three. Eventually I will use all three, having one of each set out for display, but right now I just don’t have the space for it. I like method three for the protection it gives sets and the fact that I can easily and quickly ship sets when the time comes for it. I like method two because it allows for a better use of space. I also individually box sets, then put them in the moving boxes so that I am able to safely stack sets higher than I could otherwise: THE WRAP-UP Regardless of which method you use, you will probably need some sort of shelving system eventually. Most stores like Walmart, Kmart, Lowes, The Home Depot and IKEA have many shelving options. I like these two that are available at The Home Depot: The plastic one on the left is only $26.87 and the metal one on the right is $83.97. I chose the metal one since it’s a little sturdier and has easily adjusted shelves to maximize space. There are plenty of options between these price ranges, and more expensive ones. For long term storage of sets, make sure to consider the weather where you will be storing them. LEGO bricks shouldn’t be stored in extreme temperatures. If your garage or attic will get below freezing or extremely hot, keep your sets in the climate controlled areas of your home. ABS plastic can handle temperatures from -4 to 176 ºF but that doesn’t mean that stickers in the sets and seals on the boxes will like those temperatures. Humidity can also cause damage to boxes and instructions, cause stickers to peel, seals to come loose, and various other problems if the sets contain metal or wiring. If humidity is an issue where you live, you should try to store your sets in air tight plastic bags if possible. If you keep your sets out, direct sunlight will cause fading to the box art. One final recommendation is to keep your sets away from exterior brick walls and off the ground or floor! You probably won’t be experiencing really high flood waters, so just a few inches should do. If you keep your sets on the floor, boxed or not, and any kind of moisture comes in contact with them, you are going to lose a lot of value. You’ll likely have to open the set to find out what condition your instructions, stickers and parts are in. LEGO investing is a fun, but expensive endeavor. Be sure to protect your investments!
    5 points
  46. This really isn't going to be a fluff article about how awesome Brick Classifieds is, but more of a small message that people are starting to take notice of it. Launching any new site is not easy at all. Google and other search engines don't even know you exist, so obtaining new customers via organic traffic is tough. Vendors that do list products don't have a lot of feedback so it's hard to show history and trust. So you might say, ok, what is so good about this? Those that have stuck it out and continued to post new quality listings with solid descriptions, real photos and priced their listings right have done well, real well. Brick Classifieds has been live for just about a year now and a little over 500 vendors have registered, listing a little more than 1,200 items for sale (there are more than 5,000 items in the system that are waiting to become active). Sales actually are strong for a new site, exceeding greater than $200,000 with an average sale price of ~$350. This shows strong interest in vendors listing high valued sets and taking advantage of the zero commission fee structure. Overall, Brick Classifieds has saved vendors over $20,000 in commission fees if comparing to a few structure like that on eBay. There have been a lot of enhancements on the site over the year and we continue to work on new features and tools. This week we will be updating and releasing price lookups to all the other marketplaces. This feature will show you what your item is going for on those sites and allow you to price your listing accordingly to take full advantage of the zero commissions fees but yet make more money. We are working on a few things for 2016 that could lead to a breakthrough moment for the site. I am in talks with a few developers to help build a native mobile app for the site that will allow for easy posting of new sets, minifigures and other LEGO related items. I have also had a few talks with Huw from Brickset.com to get Brick Classified's listings in front of that large community. I gave him access to an API to search for sets via keywords to appear within their LEGO database. We believe 2016 can be a breakout year for Brick Classifieds. Even though this new site may virtually disappear when put up against monsters like eBay, Amazon and BrickLink, but all sites need to start somewhere. There are some fantastic deals there to be found. Use the feature at the bottom of each listing to compare Brick Classified's price to those that might be found on eBay or Amazon. We will continue to plug away and making the site better, hopefully with the support of some of our fellow LEGO communities and our great vendors, everyone will learn that Brick Classifieds should be the first place to look when going to buy LEGO online!
    5 points
  47. For me, one of the LEGO sets that I most want in my collection, but am least likely to get is the 10123 Cloud City. In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, a lot of the action takes place in Bespin's Cloud City. Strangely LEGO has been reticent to release sets that correspond to this location. (Maybe we'll talk about the similar lack of Dagobah sets sometime later.) When LEGO announced the Carbon Freezing Chamber 75137, many thought that it would replace this set. In the minds and hearts of many, 75137 is just a pale comparison to a small part of 10123 Cloud City. LEGO Star Wars fans groaned, and owners of the original rejoiced. Cloud City is 698 pieces and originally retailed for $99.99, which at the time was pretty pricy for that number of pieces. A complete used set sells in the $600-$700 range. If you want an unused, unopened set, you're looking at $1000 or more. Brickpicker price guide Why would a used set be worth 7X the original cost of the set as it was when new? What makes this a set that I can't build on my own? 698 pieces is a lot, but it doesn't sound insurmountable. There are 189 different elements in this set, meaning unique types of part/color combinations. Of those elements 39 are dark gray, consisting of 203 total pieces, and 50 are light gray consisting of 133 pieces. I specify those colors, because these are the pre-2004 Grays, not the newer blue grays that you find in all modern sets. These colors have not been produced for over a decade now. Almost half of the set is made from out of print colors. The first thing that I want to take a look at here is the pieces that you need the most of. Thankfully, in a set with less than 700 pieces (even less when you take out the piece count of the 7 minifigures) none of the required elements is incredibly unwieldy. For this list, I am going to take a look at the parts that you need 10 or more of. (Apologies for the images not matching the color. We are using the basic element picture to represent the item from the set. Please pay attention to the color listed in your inventory) You need 36 Dark Gray 2x2 Plates Element 3022 that averages about $.04 each 22 Trans Neon Green 1x1 round Plate with straight side Element 4073 average out to about $.02 each Element 30136 Tan 1x2 Brick modified (Log) is next with a piece count of 21 for close to $.05 each Dark Gray Brick 1x2x5 Element 2454 occurs 17 times in this set and the average cost is close to $.15 each There are 14 Black 2x8 Bricks Element 3007 12 Tan 1x6 Tile Element 6636 average almost $.20 each You also need 12 Trans Neon Orange 1x1 round Plate with straight side Element 4073 average out to about $.02 each Dark Gray element 3005 Brick 1x1 appears 12 times as well, you can get them for $.03 or $.04 in the quantity that you need, but the average is closer to $.10 11 Light Gray 1x1 round Plate with straight side Element 4073 can be easily found for about $.02 each You also will need 11 Round 1x1 Brick with Open Stud in Tan element 3062b for $.03 each Dark Gray element 3700 Technic brick 1x2 with hole only needs 10 For an Average of $.04 each 10 Dark Gray 2x2 Tiles with Groove (Element 3068b) are next. They run about $.25 each for a total of $2.50 You will also need 10 very common black 1x2 bricks for about $.03 each (Element 3004) Element 2412b Modified Tile with Grill and Bottom Lip in Trans Neon Orange is only available in 12 sets but, will only run you an average of .05 each for 10. Thankfully there are no stickers in this set. So, an old sticker sheet or peeling stickers are not going to impact your overall price. We've already looked at the more common elements that you need the most of for this set, now let's take a look at the unique, rare, and specialty pieces that make up this set. Some of these pieces are not terribly expensive when compared to others, but I would think that anything over a certain average is notable. First and foremost, let's look at the most expensive (non-minifigure) pieces in the set. Element 33230 16X16 round corner brick in Light Gray is unique to this set. Each one averages about $24 and you need 4 of them. Even in other colors, this is not a common part, appearing in 8 sets over 9 years. Element 75c20 is a 16.0 mm (20 long) rigid 3 mm hole in light gray. You need 1 and it's going to average almost $12 each. This hose is unique to the set. Although, right now on Bricklink, there is only one available for $19.99 There is a single Dark Gray plate modified 3x2 with hole that is over $4. It is unique to this set. Element 3176. You may be in luck, 2 Bricklink sellers have this piece for significantly below average prices. For another $4 You'll get a Light Gray Support 2x2x8 with side grooves and peg on top, also unique Element 30646b (Be careful of the light bluish gray one which is more common and cheaper.) Although at this time, there are none available on Bricklink, so if you want one, you wind up forking over more. There are 4 1x4 Trans Neon Orange Element 3066 Brick 1x4 without bottom tubes for more than $2.50 each. None of the cheaper sellers on Bricklink have the 4 required, so you will need to make multiple orders. You're going to need 2 Light Gray Element 75c09 Hose, Rigid 3mm 7.2 mm (9 long) which are more common, appearing in 2 other sets. It averages more than $2 each. If you can find other stuff though, several shops have this element for less than half of the average. 7 Light Gray 4x6 bricks Element 2356 run about $2 each. This part appears in 5 other sets including 10030 UCS Star Destroyer. While not a minifigure, the next part represents a character. Element 2454ps5 is brick 1x2x5 black with Han Solo in Carbonite Pattern. It appears in 3 other sets and is a bit less than $2. Unique to this set is Element 3741 Plant Flower Stem in brown. Usually this piece is found in green or bright green with a couple of other outliers. You need 2 and Bricklink doesn't show any currently for less than $5. The average looks like it's usually a bit closer to $2 Dark Gray Brick 8x16 (element 4204) looks like a staple in older Harry Potter sets (appearing in 8), but none of them use as many as the 5 required for this set. It can be found pretty readily for less than $1 each. Tan Plate 6x12 is only found in 3 other sets including the Landspeeder. It's available pretty handily for less than $1 (element 3028) There are some pieces where I look at the naming conventions and I understand why it's called that, but it's a lot of words,and I wish there was a better shorthand. Element 30516c01 White Turntable 4 x 4 Locking Grooved Base with (Same Color) Top, Complete Assembly is one such. It is available in one other set. Despite the rarity, you can get it for less than $1. I am going to group these together, elements 41767 and 41768 4x2 Wedge (Right and Left) in Dark Gray are each available in only 2 other sets. They average less than $.50 each. Appearing in only one other set, White Technic, Gear Worm Screw (element 4716) can be easily obtained for less than $.50. You need 4. You need 2 2x2 black round tile with gray machinery pattern also known as element 4150px17 for this set. It was also available in set 7190 Millennium Falcon. It's also less than $.50 4 other sets contain element 2577 4x4 Brick round corner, full brick in light gray. It's very easily found for less than $.50 and you need 2. You need a single black brick 1x6x5 element 3754 available in only 2 other sets. It can also be easily obtained for less than $.50 If you have a fleet of crashed TIE FIghters, you may have element 30366pb02 Trans-Black Windscreen 3 x 6 x 5 Bubble with SW 8 Spoke Radial Light Gray Thin Lines Pattern that was available in 4 (5 if you count the reissue) other sets. You only need 1 and I doubt that you will need to spend over $.25 to get it. The final piece on my list, (but by no means the last piece in the inventory) is element 3307 Dark Gray Brick, Arch 1 x 6 x 2 - Thick Top with Reinforced Underside that was also available in a single other set. Prices on this piece average less than $.25 When I look at the minifigure selection, I cannot understand why the LEGO Group has never updated the major players in this set. To me these look so outdated, almost primitive, and the yellow heads and hands just do not fit with the modern aesthetics. This particular collection of minifigures consists of some of the most expensive minifigures produced. First we have the somewhat common Darth Vader SW004 who has appeared in 5 sets. Be sure that your has the original gray head and not the newer gray. The Stormtrooper with plain yellow has appeared in 4 sets, and is the least expensive mini in this set. SW036 This version of Han Solo was also released in a Minifigure Multipack with a Boba Fett and Jedi Luke. SW045 This version of Luke Skywalker in Bespin gear has never been released in another set. His Torso, head and hair are exceptionally common. Be sure that the hips and legs have the proper decoration. Make sure that someone doesn't swap in these legs or these legs for your $70+ SW103 Bespin Princess Leia is unique to this set and has also never been made again in a modern version. She can be found for around $40 SW104 Lando Calrissian, that sly scoundrel is going to cost you close to $100. Be very careful of his double sided cape. (Why has he never been made again? #Where'sLando?) SW105 Here's the one that I don't fully understand. This Boba Fett is one of the earliest figures with arm printing, and the arms probably get broken or worn more than most, but he'll run you $200 or more. Frankly, you can get the UCS Slave 1 for that and get a much nicer looking Boba Fett that also has arm printing. SW107 The Instruction book for this set can be found online, but if you wanted to have one, or felt like the set was incomplete without it, Bricklink shows sales data from $37.50 to $53.27 while Ebay has an auction that closed for $21.75 (including shipping) and several Best offer accepted Buy it Now listings. Of note is that most of the listings on ebay have sold, and Bricklink only shows 5 available. Many hope (and pray) that the LEGO Group releases a large playset of Cloud City, much like Ewok Village, Death Star, and the rumored Forthcoming Hoth set. Any large Cloud City set would have a detrimental effect upon the overall value of this set. However, this set has a certain cache about it. Anyone who collects LEGO Star Wars has probably wondered why there's not been a Bespin Luke, Leia or Lando in over a decade. The perceived rarity probably matches the actual rarity. Based on Bricklink sales data for the past 6 months, If you wanted to put this set together yourself, you'd be looking at an average price of just over $728 for the bricks and pieces (which is actually $40 more than the average in January when I started this particular article.) A huge chunk of that cost is in the minifigure selection. If you wanted to add the box or the Instruction book, your total continues to climb. This is all before considering the multiple orders needed to accumulate all the pieces. The shipping costs of those orders could push your costs up by an extra $100 or so. Please check out Jaisonline's build and review *NOTE: not every element of the set is listed. This article is meant to highlight the most common elements and the most unique elements from the set. It is not an inventory of the entire set. All images are the property of Rebrickable.com, Bricklink.com, and the LEGO Group.
    4 points
  48. 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. REVIEW: SET DETAILS 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. BOX CONTENTS 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. THE BUILD AND EXECUTION 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. REACTION 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. FINAL THOUGHTS 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. RARE PARTS 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 EXTRA PIECES COMPARISON PICTURES 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)
    4 points
  49. 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) 70400 Forest Ambush -0.06 $11.99 70401 Gold Getaway 2.98 $19.99 70402 Gatehouse Raid 8.95 $29.99 70403 Dragon Mountain 10.7 $49.99 70404 King's Castle 25.57 $99.99 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. Veegs
    4 points
  50. It is pretty amazing that we are less than 3 months from the release of the first film of the new Star Wars trilogy: The Force Awakens. After George Lucas completed the much criticized, nonetheless enjoyable, prequels, I had come to the sad realization that we might never have another original Star Wars film. Sure, we would have the occasional mini series and other smaller productions, but nothing that would really catch my attention in the same way the feature films had done up to that point. All of this changed when Disney acquired Lucas’ intellectual property and Star Wars rights for a record financial amount. Surely, the company would not be spending that much capital without any plans to take advantage of the brand and continue expanding its universe. Sure enough, Disney announced the release of a new trilogy just as they announced the acquisition of Lucasfilms. But enough of that, we are a LEGO focused website after all. Star Wars has been one of the keys in TLG outstanding rebirth and rise as the largest toy manufacturer in the world. Along with some important managerial and strategic changes, the introduction of licensed themes gave a much-needed push to the company as younger customers growing up with Harry Potter, the SW prequels and the re-release of the Original Trilogy were able to build their favorite vehicles and scenes in their own living room. Furthermore, the release of the Ultimate Collectors’ Series gave LEGO access to the Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL), the most attractive demographic in the market. It is no surprise then that with the announcement of a new Star Wars trilogy the company has already released the first wave of sets based on the Force Awakens. While I will attempt to go over the investment attractiveness of these sets, I would like to quickly go over the historical performance of the theme and the potential impact the new movies will have on already retired and to be released sets based on the first six movies. The following graph shows the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of some of the LEGO themes that have been released so far. The table is longer than this, but you can see the complete version here: http://www.brickpicker.com/bpms/cagrbytheme.cfm You might be surprised to see that the Star Wars theme sits well below the average at 8.78 percent, with themes such as Toy Story and other unpopular ones well above it. However, you have to remember that the number of sets released under the Star Wars license is close, if not above, 500, and it is one of the few themes that have been produced for over a decade. My point is, the theme CAGR is probably skewed negatively by these factors. It is also important to note that while the most iconic sets like the Ultimate Collector’s Series and other very unique sets have done extremely well, the Star Wars theme also comes with a large number of duds, in part because several remakes have been released; but also because a majority of the sets have been on a smaller scale and price point. Of course, we also have sets such as the 9493 X-Wing, 6210 Sail Barge (before the remake) and others that have succeeded in the secondary market without being part of the UCS. As with any other theme, it is a matter of forecasting which sets will be attractive or scarce in the future. Not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. So, what will be the impact of the new movies on these previously released sets? That’s somewhat hard to tell, but I will throw my theory out there. Whether the new movies are great, ok or just mediocre, I believe that they will serve as a push for newer generations to get more acquainted with the Star Wars universe. Pretty much like when the prequels were released, the newer movies will create new Star Wars fans that will in turn go back and watch every single one of the previous movies. Basically, I believe that the very existence of these newer movies will create an increase in demand for both Original Trilogy and, to a lesser extent, the Prequels. I wanted to finish this article with a short analysis of the first wave of The Force Awakens sets. While it is extremely hard to predict the popularity of these sets without gauging the impact and popularity of the movie itself, I think we can make an educated guess based on previous patterns. Rey’s Speeder "Hover into action on Rey's Speeder™! This cool landspeeder has everything Rey needs for scouting the surface of a desert planet, including dual stud shooters, opening storage hatch and side-mounted bag, blaster, buzzsaw and electrobinoculars. There’s also a detachable sled with space for a minifigure when Rey must make a quick escape down the desert dunes! Recreate your own fantastic scenes from Star Wars™: The Force Awakens. Includes 2 minifigures: Rey and Unkar’s Thug with a crowbar. Includes 2 minifigures: Rey and Unkar’s Thug with a crowbar Rotate the engine to open the storage hatch Grab the side-mounted accessories Unhitch the sled and get ready for an adrenaline-filled sandsurf! Recreate fantastic scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens The perfect addition to any LEGO® Star Wars collection Measures over 3” (9cm) high, 5” (14cm) long and 1” (5cm) wide” My analysis The smallest set in the first wave really reminds me of, wait for it, Luke’s Landspeeder. It features one of the main characters of the film (Rey), similar piece count and similar price point. As in the OT version, I think that the potential gains for this set are severely limited, especially since Rey’s minifigure is not even exclusive to this set in the 1st wave AND we are sure to see it again on future sets. On a more personal note, I don’t really like the speeder design at all either. First Order Snowspeeder "Call in weaponized support with the First Order Snowspeeder™! With a crew of three, this rapid response vehicle features a forward storage compartment, fixed stud shooter in the cockpit, two rapid-fire stud shooters built into the engines and transparent wheels hidden out of site for a true ‘hover’ look. Now you can recreate your own great scenes from Star Wars™: The Force Awakens. Includes 3 minifigures with assorted weapons: 2 First Order Snowtroopers and a First Order Snowtrooper Officer. Includes 3 minifigures with assorted weapons: 2 First Order Snowtroopers and a First Order Snowtrooper Officer Features storage compartment, cockpit-mounted stud shooter, rapid-fire shooters and hidden wheels Weapons include 2 blasters and a modified blaster Man the stud shooter and get ready to fire! Looks like it really hovers! Rotate the engines and fire the rapid-fire stud shooters Recreate fantastic scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens The perfect addition to anyLEGO® Star Wars collection Collect 75102 Poe's X-Wing Fighter for even more intense ice-planet battle action! Measures over 3” (10cm) high, 8” (22cm) long and 6” (16cm) wide" My Analysis This is probably my least favorite set of the whole line. It seems a little overpriced for what it includes, a not so attractive vehicle and 3 pretty generic minifigures you would rather see in a battle pack type set. I do not have high hopes for this particular set. First Order Transporter "Lower the ramp, load the troopers and get ready to transport them into battle! This heavily armored First Order Transporter™ is packed with cool features, like dual spring-loaded shooters, top-mounted dual-stud shooter and hatch with space for a minifigure, pilot cabin with opening hatch and space for 4 minifigures in the hold, big engines at the rear, and hidden, transparent wheels for a cool ‘hover’ look. You can also remove the top section for easy access. Get ready to recreate incredible battle scenes from Star Wars™: The Force Awakens! Includes 7 minifigures with assorted weapons and accessories: 2 Resistance Soldiers, 2 First Order Flametroopers, 2 First Order Stormtroopers and Captain Phasma. Includes 7 minifigures with assorted weapons and accessories: 2 Resistance Soldiers, 2 First Order Flametroopers, 2 First Order Stormtroopers and Captain Phasma Features dual spring-loaded shooters, top-mounted stud shooter, pilot cabin with opening hatch and space for a minifigure, hold with space for 4 minifigures, big engines at the rear, removable top section, and hidden, transparent wheels for a ‘hovering’ look Weapons include 2 blasters, silver-look blaster, titanium-look blaster and 2 flamethrowers Accessories include 6 helmets Turn the gear to lower the ramp Remove the top for easy access Looks like it really hovers! Recreate fantastic scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens The perfect addition to any LEGO® Star Wars collection Measures over 5” (15cm) high, 12” (31cm) long and 5” (13cm) wide" My Analysis The First Order Transporter’s main appeal is the minifigure selection, including Captain Phasma. The other 6 minifigures make it a great set for army building and possible parting out candidate; having said that, I do not see it appreciating too much unless the Captain Phasma minifigure remains exclusive to the set. Too early to tell, but the vehicle itself is just not appealing to me. Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle "Enter the battle with Kylo Ren’s personal Command Shuttle™! This fantastic, highly detailed starship has loads of features, including opening front, rear and bottom storage bays; wing-mounted, spring-loaded shooters and detachable weapon racks. And when you’re ready for even more action, activate the amazing extending wing function! It’s time to hunt down the enemy and play out your own great scenes from Star Wars™: The Force Awakens! Includes 6 minifigures with assorted weapons and accessories: Kylo Ren, General Hux, First Order Officer, 2 First Order Crew and a First Order Stormtrooper Officer. Includes 6 minifigures with assorted weapons and accessories: a Kylo Ren, General Hux, First Order Officer, 2 First Order Crew and a First Order Stormtrooper Officer Features opening front, rear and bottom storage bays; wing-mounted, spring-loaded shooters and detachable weapon racks, and amazing extending wing function Weapons include 2 blaster pistols, blaster and Kylo Ren’s Lightsaber Accessories include 4 helmets and an electrobinoculars element Activate the amazing extending wingfunction! Launch the spring-loaded shooters! Access the storage bays Rearm with the detachable weapon racks Recreate fantastic scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens The perfect addition to any LEGO® Star Wars collection Measures over 11” (28cm) high, 8” (22cm) long and 7” (20cm) wide with wings retracted, and over 15” (40cm) high with wings extended" My Analysis Somewhat similar is shape to the OT Imperial Shuttle, Kylo Ren’s transport currently gets the honor of being the only set in this first release to include one of the most popular characters of TFA. Who?, well, Kylo Ren obviously. The figure currently sells for more than $30, including is cool looking lightsaber. Besides that, the set also includes General Hux and a pretty decent number of First Order troopers. First Order Special Forces Tie Fighter "Intercept the enemy with the impressive First Order Special Forces TIE fighter™. The unmistakable shape of this iconic starfighter signifies the military might of the First Order, and features a 2-minifigure cockpit that opens from the top and bottom, 2 spring-loaded shooters and a rotating antenna for homing in on enemy starships. With this great model, you can recreate the epic excitement of Star Wars™: The Force Awakens. Includes 4 minifigures with assorted weapons and accessories: 2 First Order TIE Fighter Pilots, First Order Officer and a First Order Crew. Includes 4 minifigures with assorted weapons and accessories: 2 First Order TIE Fighter Pilots, First Order Officer and a First Order Crew Features iconic design, 2-minifigure opening cockpit, 2 spring-loaded shooters and a rotating antenna Weapons include 3 blaster pistols Accessories include 2 helmets Open the cockpit and load up the crew Rotate the antenna and track the enemy Load the shooters and prepare to fire! Iconic design Recreate fantastic scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens The perfect addition to any LEGO® Star Wars collection Measures over 9” (23cm) high, 7” (20cm) long and 7” (18cm) wide" My Analysis Not really sure what to think about this set. It is basically a traditional TIE Fighter with a different color scheme, around 100 more pieces and 4 decent minifigures for close to $15 more than the previous TIE (9492). That set is doing relatively well in the secondary market, even after several refreshes, so I guess this one could have a similar performance once retired. However, the minifigure selection is not one that I would consider outstanding. Poe’s X-Wing Fighter "Battle the forces of the First Order with Poe's X-Wing Fighter™. This customized starfighter is packed with features, like the 4 spring-loaded shooters, 2 stud shooters, retractable landing gear, opening wings, opening cockpit with space for a minifigure and space behind for the BB-8 Astromech Droid. There’s even a loader with weapon rack, extra missiles and ammunition, and a seat for a minifigure. So climb the access ladder, strap in and get ready to recreate your own great scenes from Star Wars™: The Force Awakens! Includes 3 minifigures with assorted weapons and accessories: Poe Dameron, Resistance ground crew and a Resistance X-Wing Pilot, plus a BB-8 Astromech Droid. Includes 3 minifigures with assorted weapons and accessories: Poe Dameron, Resistance ground crew and a Resistance X-Wing Pilot, plus a BB-8 Astromech Droid Features Poe's X-Wing Fighter, loader and an access ladder X-Wing Fighter features 4 spring-loaded shooters, 2 stud shooters, retractable landing gear, opening wings, opening cockpit with space for a minifigure and space behind for the BB-8 Astromech Droid Loader features a weapon rack, missiles, ammunition and a seat for a minifigure Weapons include 2 blaster pistols and a wrench Accessories include 3 helmets Open the wings and get ready for combat! Resupply with the loader Fire up the engines, retract the landing gear and launch! Iconic design Recreate fantastic scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens The perfect addition to any LEGO® Star Wars collection Play out exciting snow-planet battles against the 75100 First Order Snowspeeder Measures over 4” (11cm) high, 14” (37cm) long and 12” (32cm) wide with wings open and over 3” (8cm) high with wings closed" My Analysis Definitely my second favorite set of the whole release. This newer version of the X-Wing is much more different from the previous than the TIE Fighter, and it also includes Poe Dameron, and BB-8. While I believe that BB-8 will be as easy to find in sets as R2 was in OT sets, the inclusion of Poe and the unique look of the ship will in my opinion boos demand for this set once the movie is released. Millenium Falcon "One of the most iconic starships of the Star Wars™ saga is back, and it’s leaner and meaner than ever before! As featured in exciting scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this latest LEGO® version of the Millennium Falcon™ is crammed with new and updated external features, including an even more streamlined and detailed design, detachable cockpit with space for 2 minifigures, rotating top and bottom laser turrets with hatch and space for a minifigure, dual spring-loaded shooters, sensor dish,ramp and an entrance hatch. Open up the hull plates to reveal even more great new and updated details inside, including the main hold with seating area and holochess board, more detailed hyperdrive, secret compartment, extra boxes and cables, and storage for spring-loaded shooter ammo. And of course no LEGO Millennium Falcon model would be complete without Han Solo and Chewbacca, as well as other great characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Activate the hyperdrive and set course for LEGO Star Wars fun! Includes 6 minifigures with assorted weapons: Rey, Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Tasu Leech and a Kanjiklub Gang Member, plus a BB-8 Astromech Droid. Includes 6 minifigures with assorted weapons: Rey, Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Tasu Leech and a Kanjiklub Gang Member, plus a BB-8 Astromech Droid Exterior features streamlined and detailed design, detachable cockpit with space for 2 minifigures, rotating top and bottom laser turrets with hatch and space for a minifigure, dual spring-loaded shooters, sensor dish, ramp, entrance hatch and opening hull plates Detailed interior includes a more detailed hyperdrive, holochess board, secret compartment, extra boxes and cables, and storage for spring-loaded shooter ammo Weapons include a blaster pistol, silver-colored blaster pistol, blaster, gang pistol, gang rifle and a bowcaster Lift the hull plates and check out the detailed interior Become a make-believe holochess master! Detach the cockpit Fire the dual spring-loaded shooters Hide weapons and other cargo in the secret compartment Pretend to activate the hyperdrive and make a fast getaway! Recreate fantastic scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens" My analysis Not at all unexpected, LEGO remade this set for TFA wave with some slight modifications. The Millenium Falcon is the most iconic set of the entire SW universe, and the performance of the previous version, even though it has been retired for only a relatively short period of time, indicates that this should share a similar fate. Of course, you can also plan for it to last a long, long time on the shelves. Excellent minifigure selection, including Old Han Solo. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I went a little longer than I would have liked, but I hope this pretty rough look of the first wave of Force Awakens sets was interesting and helpful to you. Once the movie is released and interest can be gauged more accurately, it might be good to come back and revise some of my comments. Thanks for reading!
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