Ask a LEGO Fan

Green LEGO Balls

Posted in Marketplace by lfanquestions on August 28, 2009

Theo writes:

Where do you get the green lego balls?

Dear Theo,
Are you looking for Bionicle Zamor Spheres?  If so, they can be purchased on Bricklink.com  Take a look at the selection here: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=bb194

Sincerely,

LFan

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Recording a LEGO parts inventory

Posted in Inventories, Sorting, & Storage by lfanquestions on August 28, 2009

Joel writes:

Hello,

First of all, this site is a great idea! Do you know of any website where you can upload all of your LEGO parts and keep a inventory of all your parts and then have it show you all the LEGO sets that you could build? Maybe even show you how many parts you are short or if you could build it in alternative colors?

Thanks,

Joel

Dear Joel,

Brickstore is a useful software program used by fans and Bricklink sellers to keep track of their parts inventory.  Check it out here: http://www.brickforge.de/software/brickstore/

I am glad that you find “Ask a LEGO fan” helpful.

Edit:  Several readers noticed that I forgot to mention www.peeron.com Peeron has the set inventories and parts tracking which you are looking for.  In addition, if a set is not yet listed on Peeron, you may be able to find that inventory information on www.bricklink.com

Sincerely,

LFan

LEGO Set Numbers

Posted in General Questions by lfanquestions on August 27, 2009

Dave writes:

Is there any rhyme or reason to how TLG assigns numbers to sets?  For instance, 1989’s Forestmen’s River Fortress is numbered 6077 while 1993’s Dark Dragon’s Den is numbered 6076.  What gives?  Also, it seems like set numbers can vary between 3, 4, or more digits — is this related to country of release, age, exclusives, etc?

Thanks,

Dave

Dear Dave,

There are patterns of LEGO set numbering but they are not always followed by TLG.  Sets from the 1960’s have two or three digits.  In the 1970’s most sets had three digits.  Around 1980 sets with four digits began to appear.  Current retail sets have four digits while LEGO exclusives usually contain five or six digits.

Each theme had a range of numbers that most of its sets belonged to.  Castle was 6000, Space was 6800, and so on.   Every year a theme usually had five or six new sets.  The last two digits of the set number were based on the size of the set.  Check out the 1984 Castle sets: http://www.classic-castle.com/sets/oop1984.html

A small set like 6010 Supply Wagon received a low number while a large set such as 6080 Kings Castle had a high number.  Lego gradually filled in the missing numbers with new sets in a theme over the 1980’s and 1990’s.  Eventually they had to move themes to new number ranges.

Some sets do have different numbers depending on the country where the set was released.  This is most common with small boxed or polybag sets such as the Wizards Cart ( http://www.classic-castle.com/sets/archives/1736.html ).

A few sets even share the same number.  6077 Forestmen’s River Fortress shares a number with the North American version of 6077 Knight’s Procession ( http://www.classic-castle.com/sets/archives/0677.html ).

The numbering system has changed in recent years.  Now new sets in a theme tend to be in numerical order.  The five Lego Pirates sets found in all retail stores are numbered 6239-6243 while Pirate exclusive sets and impulse sets have higher numbers.

Sincerely,

LFan

LEGO Deals, Contests, and Pick A Brick

Posted in General Questions, Marketplace by lfanquestions on August 27, 2009

Alex writes:

I would have some questions regarding LEGO and the Lego community:

1. What tips do you have to get LEGO at low prices?

I know about bricklink, eBay has some nice deals (especially when buying lots; this is especially worthwhile when buying together with some friends/lug), deals at lego.com, putting things on your christmas wish-list, deducting them as business expenses ;). Anything else?

2. Is there a website listing LEGO contests?

TBB occasionally has some, browsing flickr groups helps too, but is there a website ‘specializing’ in such. If not, do you think it would be worth making one? The programming part is kinda easy, but it would need proper exposure, so people would submit their contests.

3. Why doesn’t TLG allow buying old sets via The Lego Factory (i.e. having old sets amongst fan creations)?

I’m not referring to re-releases. I know they’re not producing all the parts anymore, but certain sets are still doable. Of course there is bricklink… I suppose this has something to do with boosting sales on new sets (since their availability will be limited), not upsetting collectors etc.

Cheers and thanks for your time and effort,

Alex

Dear Alex,

Part 1

Deals can be found at the websites you listed.  In the USA, we periodically have twenty five to thirty percent off sales at retail stores such as Walmart, Target, and ToysRUs.  This is an excellent way to stock up on bricks for your collection.  Other countries have sales also, but usually not to the extent as in the United States.  Retail websites such as Amazon.com are great for sales during the holidays.

Even if you do not live in the USA, it is often still a better deal to have a friend buy sets here and ship them to you.  Many fans ship overseas and help each other get sets that are not currently available in their country.

Fans also frequently trade with each other.  The pieces that you do not regularly use may be what another fan needs to complete their latest moc.

Part 2

There is a blog dedicated to listing Lego fan contests but it has not been updated in two years.  The Brothers Brick often blogs about contests (http://www.brothers-brick.com/ ).  Community sites dedicated to a Lego theme host large contests each year.  One example is Classic-Castle and their annual Colossal Castle Contest which is held each fall (http://www.classic-castle.com/events/events.html ).  A website listing contests would be a great resource. Perhaps a fan like yourself could start one.

Part 3

LEGO Pick A Brick has a limited parts palette, which is not capable of selling old sets at this time.  Selling all of the elements currently found in sets would be a logistics nightmare for LEGO.

Even if these elements were in PAB, the old minifigs still would not be in production to complete the sets.  Bricklink is and always will be a more affordable option to assemble old sets from the parts inventory.

TLG is more concerned about selling new products to collectors than influencing the secondary resale market for vintage sets.  They are trying to create products that many fans want such as the Legends sets and the Vintage Minifig Collections.

Sincerely,

LFan

Underwater Lego

Posted in Product Quality & Safety by lfanquestions on August 26, 2009

Bryan writes:

Hi Lfan,

Thanks for your blog.  Now I have the perfect place to ask this question!

Lately I’ve had a desire to build an underwater model for a freshwater fish tank.  My major concern with doing this is whether or not submerging the Lego plastic in the tank would harm the fish somehow.  I’m not worried about the Lego as it can be cleaned, but I don’t know whether or not the plastic being submerged for a long period of time would be toxic to the fish.  Thanks in advance!

Dear Bryan,

I found this statement from the Vancouver Lego Club:

“After consultation with The Lego Company, it is indeed safe for all concerned. LEGO® is comprised of a very stable inert hard plastic and will therefore not breakdown in an aquarium environment.”

http://www.vlc.ca/faq.php#7

Since LEGO bricks are designed to be safe for children, your fish should also be fine.

Sincerely,

LFan

ToysRUs Prices

Posted in Marketplace by lfanquestions on August 26, 2009

Donney writes:

I was wondering about TRU (Toys R Us) prices. They are usually quite a bit more, and I was wondering why that is? A Star Wars Battlepack is $14.99, and Lego sells it for $9.99, so why do they jack the prices?

Dear Donney,

Toys R Us has higher prices on certain sized Lego sets in order to make a profit and stay in business.  Their business model is to offer a wide selection of toys that you may not be able to find at other stores.  The big box retail stores (Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc) sell a variety of items that people need for everyday use.  They can afford to sell luxury items like toys are the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Operating a store that only sells toys is very risky.  One type of toy may be extremely popular today and then not sell at all next week.  This will leave the toy store with a large inventory of items that no one will buy.  The risk factor is why small and medium size sets, which usually have less profit built in for the retailer, cost more at Toys R Us.  Most large sets have the same MSRP as sets sold on LEGO.com.

Sincerely,

LFan

Advanced Construction Techniques

Posted in Construction Techniques by lfanquestions on August 26, 2009

Shawn writes:

Thanks LegoFan! I was going to ask a similar question but this will keep me plenty busy. If you’d like to follow up with a post on other advanced building techniques, that would also be appreciated. I’ve been building off and on with LEGO for about 25 years now, but have only recently gotten “serious” about building new and exciting models. Any new techniques to try out would be awesome.

Dear Shawn,

Please check out the following links for additional techniques to test:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/1187071@N22/

http://www.classic-castle.com/howto/articles/walloffsets.html

http://www.classic-castle.com/howto/articles/AdvTudorHTML.html

http://www.classic-castle.com/howto/articles/landscapehowto.html

Online fan sites are a good place to look for articles featuring advanced building techniques.

Sincerely,

LFan

Questions Thread: August 23rd-29th, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized by lfanquestions on August 25, 2009

Greetings LEGO Fans!

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

Thanks,

LFan