Ask a LEGO Fan

Building a collection after the Dark Ages

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace by lfanquestions on October 15, 2009

David writes:

I’m a 40-something that has had my interest in LEGO re-sparked by the opening of the LEGO store in Frisco, TX.  I’ve been reading LEGO blogs and following LEGO news since then, but I haven’t got back into the actual building side of the hobby.

My question is what is the best way to get into the hobby while staying within a budget?  Is it best to start with a generic block set to start building a brick inventory or is it better to dive into a theme?  Is it best to start at the LEGO store, LEGO online, superstores like WalMart, toy stores like Toys R Us, online stores like bricklink, auction sites like eBay?

The product and purchase options are overwhelming.  I want it all.  But I’m afraid if I make a poor choice in emerging from the Dark Ages, it will tarnish my image of LEGO building and dampen my enthusiasm while I’m just starting.


Dear David,

My first piece of advice is not to go overboard with your LEGO purchases.  Fans coming out of their dark ages often purchase a bit of everything and then do not end up using much of it.

Did you have a favorite theme when growing up such as Space, Town, Castle, or Technic?  If so, this is a good place to start collecting.  There are often sales at retail stores (Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, etc) and online (LEGO Shop at Home, Amazon, Barnes and Noble) during the winter holiday season.  Building new sets is a fun way to get back into the hobby.

Once you have built a few sets, I would recommend increasing your collection of bricks for making creations.  Buying sets with large piece counts (Medieval Market Village, Green Grocer, Fire Brigade, etc) is a good way to add to your collection.  You should also check out the Creator line of sets for more elements.  Bricklink is an excellent resource for finding the exact pieces you are looking for to complete a creation.  Learning which elements to purchase and the quantity needed is a skill that will take time to master.

Garage sales, flea markets, and eBay are also great sources for used lots of vintage sets which are often incomplete.  If you prefer to build with the selection of elements from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, this will be worth exploring.

I hope you enjoy growing your new collection, building creations, and joining the larger fan community.




4 Responses

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  1. aussiechef67 said, on October 15, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Still loving this blog. Would like to add my own tip for David.

    I got over my dark ages by seeking out my favourite set from childhood and buying it on eBay. (set # 6075) I had loved this set as a pre-teen – but had give it all away to younger relatives as I “out grew” toys.

    There must be a significant set from David’s childhood.



  2. Bionicle Guy said, on October 19, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Whatever you do, don’t experiment by buying the really huge sets. From coming out of my “dim” ages (wasn’t even a full year), I bought UCS General Grievous, a Boeing 747, UCS AT-… the chickenwalker, and the Green Grocer. Now that I’m back into Bionicle, I won’t use those pieces, almost all of them would look terrible on a Bionicle set.

  3. David said, on October 25, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Just following up in case anyone was curious what I decided…

    I started small with set #6743 Creator Street Speeder. I think that was perfect. Even with a set of just 165 pieces, I realized how complex even a small creation can be. Plus I like the Creator concept as a new builder because I can build multiple items from instructions so I can learn multiple ways of using the same pieces.

    I also bought set 4936 City Doctor and Patient. My wife is graduating from nursing school in December and I thought it would make a cute decoration for her party.

  4. Howard said, on November 3, 2009 at 1:58 am

    My recommendation is to save up for after Christmas. Walmart clearances a lot of sets as it scales back its toy area. I found the SW Republic Attack gunshiip 7676 for $35 at the walmart in The Colony in mid January. Them and target usually have good after christmas clearance.

    Plus watch I got the big Millenium Falcon for $300 in a special online sale.

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