Ask a LEGO Fan

Wanted Lists, Inventories, and Catalog Management

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Inventories, Sorting, & Storage by lfanquestions on February 18, 2010

Misha writes:

Hi! Some questions I came up with:

1. I recently started using Wanted Lists – they save so much time
finding parts and sets I need across all the vendors. I’ve since
created a few lists for the stuff I need, such as:

– part-out lists for sets I WTB part by part over time (rare stuff,
overpriced/underrepresented classics)
– sets to buy if the price is right (sets I want with price set to
reasonably low, with email notification)
– parts I need (MOC and missing parts list – most useful for searching
by shop, but needs constant cleanup/adjustment after each order)
– main list (etc., usually empty for some elbow room when organizing lists)

Are there any other good ways of using the wanted lists? Perhaps your
readers will be able to think of more?

2. Are you using any sites for the parts and set management – like
Peeron? Is it really worthwhile? I’d really love to hear about it!

3. Can you offer any advice on how best to take and submit part images
to Bricklink and/or other inventory sites? I also see many rendered
images (i.e. not actual photos) – how are those generated, and why
aren’t they used for everything?


Dear Misha,

You seem to be utilizing most of the benefits of wanted lists on Our readers are free to post other wanted list suggestions.

I am not using Peeron or Lugnet to inventory my parts and sets.  Several of my Lego friends do use these systems.  It is much easier to plan large mocs based on an accurate sorted inventory of bricks.  Taking the time to sort and inventory a giant collection is the main drawback.  Many fans would rather spend this time building.

Check out for information on creating rendered brick images.  Fans map out existing elements in 3D.  New elements, obscure elements, and complicated elements (ie: Elephant) may not be available in LDraw yet.  This is why photographs are used for these elements on Peeron and BrickLink.  Each site has unique requirements for inventory submission.  Please check out these sites:




Pick A Brick Store Selection

Posted in Inventories, Sorting, & Storage, Marketplace by lfanquestions on February 9, 2010

James writes:

We have no lego stores where I live, however we will be spending a week (part at Disneyland and part at Legoland) in California.  Where is the best place to buy things and what different options are available at those two locations?  For example, I’ve read that the PAB options are different at the two (legoland by weight vs downtown Disney by volume).

Do you have any tips or suggestions for shopping at either location?

Dear James,

The typical LEGO Brand Store offers Pick-A-Brick in two sizes of plastic cups.  Many of these stores have very similar inventory across the USA.  You can check out inventory information here:

Stores at theme parks could have a better selection of elements.  Your mileage may vary.



Introducing a child to LEGO building

Posted in Construction Techniques, Inventories, Sorting, & Storage by lfanquestions on January 6, 2010

Shawn writes:

I have a moderate sized collection at this point (by some standards, maybe not by die-hards who have collected for 20+ years) of 15,000+ pieces. Some elements are sorted, but more than two thirds are unsorted in multi-gallon bins. My daughter is almost at an age where she can play with LEGO System pieces without supervision. I’d like to partition out a subset of pieces so that she does not get overwhelmed by all the various choices, as well as giving me the opportunity to introduce new elements in over time. Outside of reassembling smaller sets for her to build, do you have any other recommendations on how to partition my collection?

Dear Shawn,

Young children seem less concerned about having an organized collection than AFOLs.  Rebuilding small sets is a good way to start.  LEGO Basic sets from the 1970’s and 1980’s, LEGO Creator sets, and bulk tub sets produced today are a great way to introduce children to the brick.  These sets focus on basic building bricks which allow children to use their imagination.



Bionicle Inventory

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Inventories, Sorting, & Storage by lfanquestions on December 9, 2009

Justin writes:

Alright, during the in-between time of Bionicle and its replacement line (I’m assuming you’ve heard the news), I’m planning on replacing all of my missing/broken pieces (some of them as old as Bionicle itself), but I seem to have no better option than building all 95 sets I own! I’m having to constantly take them apart and rebuild them as well, due to various contests and ideas for MOCs. Is there any easier way to make sure I have everything, or do I have to continue building all of those sets?

By the way, I have the pieces divided up by color (except for various axles and technic beams), so something that’s easy to use with that would be great.


Dear Justin,

Many fans sort by piece type instead of color.  This will likely save you time when you are rebuilding your sets.  You could inventory your entire collection piece by piece.  It may be just as easy to build each set.



Building sets from a mixed lot

Posted in Inventories, Sorting, & Storage by lfanquestions on November 24, 2009

Joao writes:

I have a bag full of bricks from my childhood and for which I don’t
have the assembly instructions anymore. Is there a way to find old
assembly instructions for LEGOs? I don’t seem to be able to find them
in the official website.

Also, it has been so long that I can’t remember all the sets that are
in the bag, apart from the big ones (airport, police station, some
technics for example). Is there a database that I can plug in what
bricks I have and it will tell me what sets I can build with them?

Thank you,



Dear Joao,

Archives of old Lego instructions are hosted in two locations online:

The second site current is inoperable and looking for a new home on the web.

Search these sites by set number or year to find the instructions.  If you remember the set is in a certain theme (ie: Town) you can see all of those sets on an archive site:

You can create an inventory of all of your elements on Creating the inventory will allow you to see which Lego sets can be built out of your elements.  This process can be time consuming so you may want to take my alternate advice below:

The first step is to build the sets that you know.  This will lower the amount of bricks in your bag.

Next, look for unique elements or minifigures.  Look up the element on BrickLink or Peeron:

For example the 1x4x2 Fence element can be seen here:

This page lists the colors and numbers of sets the element appeared in.  By clicking on a color it will show you the sets that element appeared in:

I hope this information is helpful to you.


Unopened Set Bags

Posted in Inventories, Sorting, & Storage, Marketplace, Product Quality & Safety by lfanquestions on October 27, 2009

Mdbp writes:

Not sure if this is where  I ask lego questions of askalfan, but here goes! I came across a ziplock bag full of legos, still in the poly manufacture bags. the outer bag said “4501 complete” how can i find out how many bags were in the original box? I went to the bricklink site and noticed that this set had a weight in grams, does that include the box and instructions?  Why didnt lego label the bags?? sure would have helped.  thank you very much.

Dear Mdbp,

We are guessing that you would like to sell your copy of 4501 Mos Eisley Cantina.  Interestingly enough, a complete used set sells for almost the same amount as a new copy on BrickLink.  So it may be just as easy to build the set and then sell it.

I believe the BrickLink weights include the boxes and instructions.  Set weights do vary and it is better to weigh the actual product on hand.

The bags are not labeled with the set number because they originally came in a box.  Adding set numbers to each bag in each box would increase costs for TLG.

Unfortunately there is not a website with pictures of each set still in sealed polybags.  Even if there was, some sets have been known to be bagged in different ways if they were packaged in another country or in a second production run.



Lego Parts & Color Lists

Posted in Inventories, Sorting, & Storage by lfanquestions on September 16, 2009

Frankie writes:


The recent New York Times article ( says that there are now around 7,000 parts (down from 13,000). Is there a list anywhere of what these parts are?

Also, the colour change message ( that you linked to mentions a revised colour palette – is this available anywhere?



Dear Frankie,

The problem with creating and posting a list of current elements in production is that it is constantly changing.  If the product designers want to add a new element or bring back an old one, they have to take another element out of the system.  It would be nice if and added an option to look at elements released in sets for the past year. has two color charts:

Peeron colors:

Official LEGO Colors:

Their official chart contains colors that are out of production.  Perhaps one of our readers has a link to the current palette.



Recording a LEGO parts inventory

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

Joel writes:


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?



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:

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

Edit:  Several readers noticed that I forgot to mention 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