Ask a LEGO Fan

Buildings vs Vehicles

Posted in Marketplace, Set Design by lfanquestions on September 29, 2009

Bobby writes:

I have heard a lot of people say that LEGO vehicle sets sell better than buildings or structures. I believe this is mainly due to the fact that most structures do not resemble their real life counterpart (the police station, fire station, etc) and have walls missing and other odd things about them. I am curious if there is a place to analyze the sales data of specific LEGO sets. I believe that if LEGO released more building sets similar to set # 4996 (the Beach House) that they would find a significant spike in the sales of sets based on buildings.

I would like to see what the hard sales numbers are on sets like #4996 and #4956 compared to the other sets that do not resemble actual buildings, as well as compare those sets sales numbers to some vehicle sets. Is there a place to analyze the sales data numbers of LEGO sets?

Dear Bobby,

Vehicles have always been a strong area for LEGO since the beginning when they were making wooden cars.  In the past decade it seems that TLG has been focusing more on play with vehicles than construction of buildings.

Most “classic” 1980’s buildings had open rear walls so children could play inside with minifigures.  Examples include 6390 Main Street and 6067 Guarded Inn.

Fire stations and police stations have always been good selling sets for TLG.  They combine vehicles and buildings for maximum playability.  North American fans may not fully appreciate recent Fire and Police stations as much because the designs are based on European buildings.  Fortunately, the new 10197 Fire Brigade set follows an American model.  So there is something for everyone.

The Lego Group wisely guards their product sales information so that the competition does not gain an advantage from this information.  There is not a place to review company sales data.  However, you can track recent sales of sets on the secondary market at www.bricklink.com Please see the following link for information on the Beach House set: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?S=4996-1

Sincerely,

LFan

Questions Thread: September 27th – October 3rd, 2009

Posted in General Questions by lfanquestions on September 27, 2009

Hello LEGO fans!

Please send in your Lego related questions to receive answers.  You may reply to this post or send us an email at lfanquestions@gmail.com  Thanks!

Sincerely,
LFan

Neck Printing

Posted in Product Quality & Safety by lfanquestions on September 27, 2009

Jake writes:

Hello LFan,


What is the story behind the paint on the necks on a minifigure torso? Once the head is on, you can’t see this so it seems superfluous, but there must be a reason for this (otherwise, why would LEGO take this extra step?)
Thanks for your blog!

Jake

Dear Jake,

The printed mark is added to a minifigure torso neck so the machines know which side of the torso to print and add arms to.  Until a few years ago it also helped a machine place the heads on the torsos correctly.  This last feature was removed to reduce production costs.

Sincerely,

LFan

LEGO Bags

Posted in Product Quality & Safety, Set Design by lfanquestions on September 25, 2009

Maurits writes:

Hello,

Do you have an idea of the logic behind the sorting of lego parts over the small bags in a large box-set?
The parts seem to be sorted, but the same bricks are in several bags so it’s not completely sorted. Is there a reason for this?

Regards,
Maurits

and

Stephen writes:

I have just completed sorting out the parts for 10193 (Medieval Village) and a question occurs.

Is there any rhyme or reason as to how TLC fill out the poly bags within a set?

Just when I think I have it worked out (dissimilar pieces together with colours separate too) they seem to change the rules and give me whole bags of one colour / one piece.

Perhaps it is just random?

Dear Maurits and Stephen,

Poly bags are filled so they each fall within a weight range.  This is how TLG can tell if all of the pieces you need are in a set.  So one bag may need four additional gray 1×1 round plates to bring it to a correct weight even though another bag has the other 36 1×1 round plates.

Recently LEGO Direct sets have many identical elements such as 30 2×2 corner bricks in color x.  In the case of sets with thousands of elements, it may be easier for TLG have some bags with only one or two types of elements.

Sincerely,

LFan

Cafe Corner Buildings

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace by lfanquestions on September 24, 2009

Francois writes:

Hi LFan,

I only very recently came back to Lego but I was very happy to take advantage of the 30$ the Green Grocer set that was in effect when the Fire Brigade went on sale. What I was wondering is if that was the way they usually do it. Was there a discount on Café Corner when the Green Grocer went on sale and one on the Market Street when Café Corner first arrived?

Also, does TLG usually give notice when a set is about to go out of production? I’m very dissapointed to have missed the Market Street and don’t want to miss my chance on the Café Corner.

Thanks in advance!
Francois

Dear Francois,

This is the first time that Shop at Home offered a discount on an older “Café Corner” style building when a new building was first released.

I expect all buildings of this series to have high prices after they are discontinued.  Since the Market Street set was part of the “LEGO Factory” fan designed sets, it was produced in smaller quantities.  This set will likely cost more because of a low supply.  It makes sense to purchase the Café Corner soon if you can because the set has been out for several years already.

During the holiday season, www.amazon.com usually has large Lego sets discounted.  Check out their sales later this year for sets similar in size to the Café Corner.

Sincerely,

LFan

McDonald’s Racer Sets

Posted in Marketplace, Set Design by lfanquestions on September 24, 2009

Alex writes:

Hello again,

Thanks again for answering my past questions. Here’s round two:

I recently bought the McDonald’s Happy Meal containing a (much simplified, juniorized)Lego racer. I am wondering now, who designed those “sets”? They’re not as nice as I would’ve expected from Lego, nevertheless, still very much fun. Also, has it gotten too expensive to include creator/basic sets? (I hope it’s not because of the brick sizes!)

Cheerio,
Alex

Dear Alex,

TLG has a Co-promotions group that worked with food and beverage companies such as McDonalds to produce promotional toys.  They are no longer working with food and beverage companies.

The Racers sets were likely designed with three large pieces so that young children would not choke on small regular elements.  I hope this information is helpful.

Sincerely,

LFan

Custom Printed Minifigure Torso

Posted in Marketplace by lfanquestions on September 22, 2009

Chip writes:

Thanks again for the GREAT service with this blog!

I’m working to recreate the oversized LEGO minifig (set #3723), and would like to have an actual minifig that looks like it to display next to the piece for scale. However, the look of the oversized piece – blue pants, the middle section with blue overalls with yellow buckles and a red shirt, and a green baseball cap – evidently aren’t all made. I can find the blue pants and the green cap but not the middle section. Is there something I’m missing, or is there a means by which to have this created? I appreciate your insights!

Dear Chip,

You are correct that LEGO has not produced a minifigure torso with blue overalls and a red undershirt.  My suggestion is to contact the Brick Printer and see if a custom overall design could be printed on a torso for you.  Please see his website here: http://brickprinter.com/default.aspx

Sincerely,

LFan

Questions Thread: September 20th – 26th, 2009

Posted in General Questions by lfanquestions on September 21, 2009

Hello LEGO fans!

Please send in your Lego related questions to receive answers.  You may reply to this post or send us an email at lfanquestions@gmail.com  Thanks!

Sincerely,
LFan