Ask a LEGO Fan

Questions Thread August 30th – September 5th, 2009

Posted in General Questions by lfanquestions on August 31, 2009

Greetings LEGO Fans!

Please post your Lego questions for this week here.  You may also email questions to lfanquestions@gmail.com.

Due to the volume of questions and real life, it may take me several days to respond to your question.  Keep the questions coming!

Thanks,

LFan

Which LEGO related websites do you use?

Posted in General Questions by lfanquestions on August 31, 2009

Huw writes:

There are loads of fan created LEGO-related websites out there on the internet. Which ones do you use yourself and recommend to others, and why?

Dear Huw,

The first type of websites that I use is the ones I help operate:

http://www.classic-castle.com

http://www.forbiddencove.com

http://www.LEGOfan.org

I read the following sites for highlighted creations, set previews, and the occasional intelligent AFOL discussion:

http://www.brothers-brick.com

http://www.lugnet.com

http://www.eurobricks.com

http://www.fbtb.net

http://www.bricklink.com

http://www.classic-space.com

http://www.brickshelf.com

http://www.mocpages.com

http://www.flickr.com

Resources such as part inventories, price guides, and instructions are found on these sites:

http://www.LEGO.com

http://www.brickset.com

http://www.peeron.com

http://www.hccamsterdam.nl/brickfactory/

I recommend all of these websites to any AFOL because I find them helpful.  Fans should be selective as it would be very difficult follow all LEGO fan sites at the same time.  Try out the sites listed above and others that you find to see which pages you prefer.

Sincerely,

LFan

BrickArms Custom Figures

Posted in Marketplace by lfanquestions on August 31, 2009

Chris writes:

Where can I resell and buy used BrickArms minifigs? Bricklink does not accept them, I do not see any on Ebay. Is no one willing to part with them or buy mine?

Dear Chris,

BrickArms custom minifigs are rare collectors items.  Demand outweighs supply for these figures.  My suggestion is to contact other collectors that you know by email, at fan events, or on fan forums to trade or purchase BrickArms minifigures.

Another option would be to use LEGO elements to create military figures.  Brickmania custom sets mainly use actual torsos, legs, and heads found in LEGO Adventurers and LEGO Indiana Jones Sets.  This would be much more affordable.

In addition, next year we will see the release of LEGO Toy Story sets including the iconic Green Army Men.  Check out pictures of these figures here: http://www.brickjournal.com/news/2009/7/29/toy-story-minifig-photos

Sincerely,

LFan

Sales and Deals Website?

Posted in Marketplace by lfanquestions on August 31, 2009

Justin writes:

Is there any website dedicated to finding and reporting sales and deals on Lego sets? I’ve looked around the inter-webs, but I can’t find anything. How can someone keep up on all the sales going on?

Dear Justin,

Unfortunately there is not one central location listing all current LEGO set sales.  Most community sites have a Buy/Sell/Trade forum for deals.  I find the following pages most helpful in finding deals:

http://shop.lego.com/SalesAndDeals/

http://news.lugnet.com/market/shopping/

http://www.bricklink.com/messageList.asp

http://www.fbtb.net/forums/viewforum.php?f=17 (Forum access requires registration)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_i_0?rh=i%3Atoys-and-games%2Ck%3Alego&keywords=lego&ie=UTF8&qid=1251682935

Other sites often link to deals as well.

Sincerely,

LFan

LEGO Brickmaster and Idea Books

Posted in Product Quality & Safety by lfanquestions on August 31, 2009

Lou writes,

I recently got a copy of Brickmaster Magazine. Having grown up drooling over Lego Catalogs and especially the Idea Books, I was hoping the pages would have some Lego creations but its mostly cartoons and computer-drawn junk. What a wasted opportunity to show kids some things actually made of Lego bricks.

Does it cost too much to actually build stuff out of Lego bricks or does the Lego Group not know its own strengths?

Dear Lou,

The LEGO Club magazine and Brickmaster Magazine follow a basic formula that TLG has been using for over twenty years.  These magazines typically include pictures of creations by children, cartoons, and building tips or alternate model instructions.  Check out issues from previous years of the magazines here: http://club1.lego.com/en-US/legomagazine/flashback.aspx

Idea Books are different from club magazines.  They actually are quite expensive to produce because this requires large amounts of time from product designers and instruction designers.

I do have good news for you.  LEGO will soon be offering two Idea Books/Sets including bricks.  One book will be for Castle and the other for Pirates.  Please see the following links on Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Brickmaster-Castle-DK-Publishing/dp/0756655188/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b

http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Brickmaster-Pirates-DK-Publishing/dp/0756655196/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b

If you are interested in a magazine with creations from adult fans of Lego, please take a look at BrickJournal: http://www.brickjournal.com/news

Sincerely,

LFan

Favorite Set

Posted in General Questions by lfanquestions on August 30, 2009

Matt writes:

What is your favorite set, least favorite set, most sentimental set, and of course why on each?

Dear Matt,

My favorite and most sentimental sets are the same.  On Christmas day of 1984, I woke up to a single rectangular box placed by my bed.  My parents had this ingenious idea of keeping me busy so they could sleep a few more hours.  Little did they know that this one present would create a LEGO fan for life.

This bright yellow box was 6080 King’s Castle (http://www.classic-castle.com/sets/archives/6080.html )  The set had it all.  It was gray as a castle should be.  Real castle play features including the rear stairs, jail with wooden door, plate portcullis, columns with attached weaponry, flags, archer towers, main gate, and drawbridge made my day.  The set contained a small army of Lion knights that every kid would love to have.  To this day, few LEGO Castle sets have matched the four archers, two spear men, two axe men, and four mounted knights.  Soon, I built the alternate models on the back of the box and also began to create my own castles with the bricks.  This set has the best selection of gray bricks and plates of any castle set.

The design may not be colorful or incorporate timber frame wall sections like 6074 Black Falcon’s Fortress or 6086 Black Knight’s Castle, but it represents a great medieval military stronghold to me.

My least favorite set growing up was 6016 Knight’s Arsenal (http://www.classic-castle.com/sets/archives/6016.html ).  This set had an odd selection of bricks that I did not build with often.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to make a good alternate model from the bricks in this set, much like some sets today.  Even the minifigure is bland.  It looks like a preliminary model study, which was produced as a set.

I have noticed that fans really appreciate sets from their early childhood regardless of the level of set design.  These are the sets which built our appreciation for the brick. Nothing can take that away from us.

Sincerely,

LFan

Clutch Power

Posted in Product Quality & Safety by lfanquestions on August 30, 2009

Desigrlee writes:

Hi LEGO Fan-

I am 35 and just started collecting LEGO again on behalf of my two young children. I also still have all of my original bricks from when I was a kid.  Some of my original LEGO was even stored, for the passed 15 years, as complete sets (ModelTeam).  I have since taken these sets apart and soaked them in warm water with SimpleGreen to remove the dust and crud.  I am now in the process of building all my original sets (as spec’d) using the instructions found through Brickset.com (awesome resource) as I hand them down my kids.  I have noticed while working with my original bricks, that they are much more difficult to snap together and take apart.

So here is my question:  Sometime during the last 10 years did LEGO tune the stud snap fit of contemporary bricks to be easier to assemble/disassemble?  Or do older brick become ‘sticky’ overtime.  Honestly, the contemporary sets that I have purchased do seem to fall apart rather easily and unintentionally.  I also recall struggling to get bricks apart have having to use my teeth to pry them apart.  I have yet to experience this with out newer sets.

Thanks-

desigrlee

Dear desigrlee,

I do think that bricks had more clutch power in the past.  Compare the underside of a 2×4 brick from 1980 with one from today.  You will find much more plastic in the old brick. More surface area of the walls of one brick was in contact with the studs of the other brick.

The LEGO Group is constantly modifying their bricks in order to create an enjoyable building experience for children.  Supposedly too much “clutch power” frustrates children of today.  That could lead them to not pursue building with LEGO bricks.  But this did not stop fans from our generation from prying two 2×2 plates stacked on top of each other apart with our teeth.  Fortunately, LEGO invented these: http://shop.lego.com/ByCategory/Product.aspx?p=630&cn=266&d=203

The plastic of the brick does age over time, which can change the clutch power.  In addition, clutch power is reduced in bricks each time they are used.

Sincerely,

LFan

Largest LEGO Collection

Posted in General Questions by lfanquestions on August 29, 2009

Chad writes:

Which AFOL currently has the largest known collection, and how many bricks are now in that collection?

Dear Chad,

The adult fan of LEGO who likely has the largest collection of bricks and sets is likely Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the owner of the LEGO Company.

In the United Kingdom, an AFOL has a collection of over two million bricks.  Read the article about Darren Smith.

A number of Bricklink sellers have store inventories of between 1 and 2.8 million bricks in addition to their own personal collections.

Dan Brown operates the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum in Ohio.  In the past, websites have claimed that he has the largest private collection of LEGO bricks.

I do not have a definitive answer to your question but the links above show a select number of fans with enormous collections.

Sincerely,

LFan