Ask a LEGO Fan

Alternate Set Colors and Glue

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets by lfanquestions on April 12, 2010

Joao writes:

I recently found the Lego Dragon set (3724) and its instructions. I
would like to build it but with a different color pattern. Is there
software that I can use to load a set and then visualize it with
different colors?

This set seems to be made mostly of “standard” bricks and plates. What
would be the most cost-efficient way of obtaining these pieces?
Digital designer? Pick a brick? BrickLink? Ebay? Other?

Also, is there a LEGO-compatible temporary glue that can be used to
assemble this in a semi-permanent fashion? It would be sturdy for
display but if we end up wanting to get the pieces back, we could
maybe dissolve the glue with another compound and recover the bricks.

Thanks for all the work you put into this site. It is really useful!

Dear Joao,

You can find the set inventory here:

The set contains 30 types of green elements which you will replace with another color.  Create a want list of these elements on BrickLink.  Then search for larger stores that will have many of the pieces you need.

Most fans are not in favor of using glue.  However, you may want to check out a craft glue such as Sobo.  This type of glue will set up quickly but should be removable with water in the future.




Extra Elements

Posted in Uncategorized by lfanquestions on April 12, 2010

Joao writes:

Sets typically come with a few extra small parts. I always thought
these were random freebies that came along because it was easier for
LEGO to package them with a bit of error. I’ve now seen websites with
part lists where they list the exact quantities of these extra parts,
so the freebies everyone gets seems to be consistent.

These parts are not advertised in the pcs count on the box. Why are
these extra parts included with the sets then?

Thank you.

Dear Joao,

LEGO weighs each bag in a set during the packaging process.  The bags must fall within a weight range or they will be removed from the line.  Additional small light weight elements are often included in sets.  It must be more efficient and cost effective for TLG to include these additional pieces than manually check the contents of each bag.



LEGO Exclusives at Brick and Mortar Stores?

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace by lfanquestions on April 12, 2010

Dan writes:

Any idea if or when retail stores will pick up current exclusive items like the Imperial Flagship or Grand Emporium?  Thanks for your time.

Dear Dan,

Certain exclusive sets may be sold by brick and mortar retail stores such as Toys R Us approaching holiday seasons.  My recommendation would be to order the sets online from Shop at Home or Amazon during the holiday discount season later this year.


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?

Dear Helen,

I believe that you own one of the following sets:

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:


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: 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.



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.



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 It would be nice if more fans who own these documents would scan and submit them to the resource sites.



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.