Ask a LEGO Fan

Vintage LEGO House Instructions

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Instructions by lfanquestions on March 30, 2010

Helen writes:

Hi. I have all the parts for a 1970s red brick, red tiled house set (bought in UK).  It has a green base, a TV arial and red lattice fencing.  I remember building it as a child, but the instructions and box are long since lost.  How can I replace the instructions, so I can build it with my son?
Thanks.

Dear Helen,

I believe that you own one of the following sets:

http://www.peeron.com/scans/346-2/

http://www.peeron.com/scans/349-1/

http://www.peeron.com/scans/350-1/

Peeron is an excellent resource to find instructions and part inventories of old sets.  Many fans build the sets from the instructions online or print out copies of the old instructions.  Original instructions can be purchased on the secondary market here: www.bricklink.com
Sincerely,

LFan

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Creating a new LUG

Posted in AFOL Events, LUGs (LEGO Users Groups) by lfanquestions on March 30, 2010

Stephen writes:

Myself and a couple of friends who are all Adult LEGO users/collectors are thinking of forming a local LUG.


Have you any idea where we might be able to get some general information about what is required to set up a LUG? What if any legal issues there are? Is there some central point of registration with The Lego Group?


I realize that locality will have an effect on legislative issues – but any help at this time would be good.

Dear Stephen,

LEGO Users Groups can be very structured with a large bureaucracy or an informal group of fans that meet regularly.  I would recommend the latter type since you live in a large country where many fans are separated by distance.
A few basic decisions must be made for a new lug:

  • Will we require an annual membership fee?
  • What types of club officers are needed (Treasurer, Webmaster, President, etc)?
  • How old does a person need to be to join our club?
  • Where will we meet?
  • How often will we meet?
  • How often will we have club shows for the public?
  • How will we raise money to support the club layout?
  • What type of club gear is needed (shirts, name badges, etc)?

Try to keep club rules to a minimum.  Massive club bylaws can be a huge distraction.  Just ask any Wamalug member about this.

Add your new lug to the lugmap: http://www.lugnet.com/map/ You can also request a lugnet newsgroup for your lug.  Publicize your shows online.  This is the best way for TLG to notice your lug.  Once your lug is active in the local community, you will be eligible for participation in TLG programs such as LUGBulk.

If your club grows by leaps and bounds and is raking in cash, you will probably want to become a LLC or non-for-profit organization.  My suggestion is to have fun meeting with other local AFOLs on a regular basis.

Sincerely,

LFan

BrickWorld Diversity

Posted in AFOL Events by lfanquestions on March 18, 2010

Bornscience writes:

I am 35 & just started building with LEGO.I am African american & was wondering what to expect at BrickWorld as far as other African Americans in the AFOL community.It does’nt seem to be many & i just wanted a straight up (honest) answer.

Dear Bornscience,

Quite a few African American parents and children visited the BrickWorld public exposition in the past few years.  However I do not think there were many African American AFOLs in attendance.  The community is very welcoming to all regardless of color, gender, and age.  Our common bond is the shared love of the brick.

Sincerely,

LFan

LEGO Club Points

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace by lfanquestions on March 17, 2010

Darin writes:

I was looking through my old instruction manuals and noticed on the back corner were point values.  I tried looking around to see what it was for but came up empty.  I assume is was some sort of reward program.  Do you know what those points were used for exactly?  Or where to find a list to see how many points got you something.

Dear Darin,

The triangle “points” on the back corners of instructions were used for LEGO Club offers.  A child could save up for free or discounted sets and gear such as T-Shirts.

I do not think there is an online list of the different offers.  Unfortunately scans of old LEGO Club magazines and Shop at Home catalogs are very incomplete on resource sites such as www.peeron.com It would be nice if more fans who own these documents would scan and submit them to the resource sites.

Sincerely,

LFan

The Future of LEGO Pirates

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace, Set Design by lfanquestions on March 17, 2010

Dave writes:

I have a couple questions concerning LEGO Pirates.

First, it seems that the new 2009 Pirates theme was very short-lived and its cancellation rather abrupt.  Why do you think this is?

Second, do you think there is any truth to the speculation that the Pirates theme was cancelled to make room for a licensed Pirates theme based on Pirates of the Caribbean, especially with the new movie On Stranger Tides scheduled for a 2011 release?  That would seem to be a lucrative option for TLG as it would attract fans of both the film franchise and the Pirates theme.  If this is the case, would TLG be able to release Pirates of the Caribbean sets based off of previous movies (like with Indiana Jones and Star Wars), even though Mega Bloks has already made POTC sets?

Dear Dave,

All core LEGO product themes (Space, Castle, Pirates) with the exception of Town/City have been cancelled by TLG at one point in time.  This happened in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when TLG drifted away from their strengths.

Fans know that LEGO Pirates is universal and classic building brick theme.  TLG may have been hesitant to release their products head to head with Mega Bloks’ theme.

Fortunately they did revive Pirates once the MB line was discontinued.  TLG played it safe by designing Pirates as a one year line.  Hopefully they were surprised by the strong sales of these sets during the past holiday season.  The new Imperial Flagship and blue 32×32 baseplates are currently strong sellers on Shop at Home.  These strong sales numbers should indicate to TLG that Pirates is a core “evergreen” theme.

Any reasonable license is possible in terms of future set design.  In this case, I would prefer TLG to not pay for a license they do not need and continue their own theme design in house.

Sincerely,

LFan

Train Windows and Power Functions

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace, Set Design by lfanquestions on March 17, 2010

Gary writes:

Do you know why it’s so hard to find train windows.  Wouldn’t it make sense for TLG to incorporate these into smaller sets knowing that if the kids don’t like them that the AFOL’s will buy them for the parts?

I’ve recently started looking at LEGO train stuff again (now that my kids are old enough to play with them) after not paying much attention for the last few years.  It’s pretty disappointing that there are currently no train sets (with motors, track, etc) available from TLG.  The old 9v track is well overpriced on eBay, and the more recent RC sets aren’t going to be supported going forward.  I saw there might be some PF based train sets coming out later this year, do you have any insight into what we might be able to expect?

Thanks!

Dear Gary,

Train windows are hard to find for two reasons.  First, they are not released in many sets with low price points.  Second, the AFOL community creates a high demand for the windows in the secondary market.

In the past train accessory part packs including doors and windows languished on Shop at Home.  Many of these packs were eventually discounted.  TLG is likely hesitant to offer train parts in packs or even individual rail cars because they sell poorly.  Incorporating train elements into other theme sets is an excellent solution to this problem.  TLG could sell more sets and AFOLs could find the parts they need.

Leaked images of future train products were posted online earlier this year.  You should be able to find them through online search engines.

The jury is still out on the new Power Functions sets.  Strong set design would help alleviate the change to less desirable train system.  My current recommendation would be to be patient on eBay and find a deal on a used 9 Volt train set.

Sincerely,

LFan

LEGO Wedding Cake Topper

Posted in Construction Techniques by lfanquestions on March 9, 2010

Mom of the Groom writes:

Hi,

I am looking for plans to make a Lego Bride and Groom for the top of the wedding cake. Any help? The wedding is not for a few months and we have millions of legos here. Thanks

Dear Mom of the Groom:
Please see the following images of a bride and groom wedding cake topper:

http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/5842

http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=247971

http://www.legotechnic8292.co.uk/145/lego-miniland-wedding-cake-toppers/
You contact the builder in the first link and purchase those figures.  It would be fairly easy to build similar figures by looking at the pictures found in the links.  Additional specialized elements for the figures can be purchased at www.bricklink.com

Sincerely,
LFan

Visiting a LEGOLAND

Posted in Theme Parks by lfanquestions on March 9, 2010

Aussiechef writes:

One of these days I am going to have the funds and the time to get to one of the Lego theme parks.

A simple question for you. Which one is best?

Given that a departure point from Australia means none are really more geographically convenient. Where should I take the kids?

Cheers

Dear Aussiechef,

My suggestion would be to visit LEGOLAND Carlsbad in California.  The park is open year round and weather usually will be nice.  In addition, you would be relatively close to Disneyland which the kids would enjoy.

The other advantage is the lower value of the dollar could allow you to purchase more.  Prices of LEGO sets are very reasonable in the USA.  You could pick up a few sets for yourself  on the trip.

The other option is to go all out and travel to Billund for the LEGO Inside Tour.  This tour is expensive but an extremely rewarding experience for fans and their families.  Check out the details here: http://www.lego.com/eng/info/?page=eventdetailed

Sincerely,

LFan