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  • Brick by Brick, Breaking Down Expensive Lego Sets: 10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle


    In this series of articles, I would like to take a look at the more expensive, most sought after sets of all time. Instead of reviewing the sets I thought I would address the parts of the sets that make them so rare and valuable.

    New collectors may wonder why they can't just build these popular and expensive sets out of the LEGO pieces scattered throughout their house. Inexperienced buyers may have concerns over what parts might be replaced in used sets that they are buying. People looking into bulk lots might want to know what clues in a lot would indicate that one of these popular sets are present.

    The first set on my list is 10212 the UCS Imperial Shuttle. I know that the Millennium Falcon 10179 is much more popular, but I want to do it justice, so need more time to work on it.

    The Imperial Shuttle, 10212, was released in 2010. The original retail price of this set was $259.99. Used complete sets sell from $400-$500 while New in box sets sell for $550-$650. The box shows a total of 2503 pieces including 5 minifigures.

    New collectors would probably balk at the price tag for this set. It's hard to fathom why a bunch of little plastic bricks that seem so ubiquitous could ever be worth that much. Sadly, that's not really close to top of the mark for sets, and these collectors shouldn't wait too long to have that band aid ripped away.

    The first reason that this set is not one that you could just assemble from all of your kid's loose bricks is because it is 2503 pieces. I guarantee that your kid would notice that many missing pieces. These pieces are not just random, they were selected, designed, and tested to go together to make the best representation of this iconic ship. Some of these LEGO pieces are very common, but you still may not have enough of them to fill in this set.

    Let's take a look at the pieces that are most common in this set. (apologies that the stock photos do not always reflect the color of the pieces in this set, they are for reference only)

    There are:

    133 White 1x1 Technic Brick with hole Element 6541

    6541.jpg.a5c46b8e9d8ffcfd13dcf804b9f5fa5

    133 Black Technic Pin with Friction ridges with center slot Element 2780

    2780.jpg.20b15f1008fc0d572801799889eecb7

    108 Blue Technic Pin 3L with Friction Ridges Element 6558

    6558.jpg.f76d799aea79a24afc842c3932950b9

    106 White Plate 1X1 Element 3024

    3024.jpg.76c7926ce6cf0ab81ee636731c216ce

    82 White Plate 1X2 Element 3023

    3023.jpg.5d06927acbeceea305372ea9e71941a

    58 Light Bluish Gray Technic Pin 1/2 Element 4274

    4274.jpg.e68605209fc25e7b2465267bbf3c1c9

    58 White Brick 1X3 Element 3622

    3622.jpg.24f02c619d6ef9af698fca96e7f7bf7

    52 White Brick 1x2x5 Element 2454

    2454.jpg.ba2e375bad4ffdab55c69a6193098f1

    etc.

    As you can see, the volume of some of these elements can be intimidating. Even though most of these elements are common and cheap, most vendors on Bricklink do not carry the inventory to cover your needs for these pieces. You'd have to make multiple purchases, pushing the average cost of these pieces up, due to all of the shipping and handling charges. Of course your savvy Briclinker will know to either have multiple wanted lists running, to spread out their costs, but still a lot of pieces means a lot of separate orders.

    Apart from the Large number of common pieces, you also have some specialty pieces that make up a set. The specialty pieces are ones that are either unique to the set or in so few sets as to make no difference. The unique and specialty pieces in the sets tend to have values that reflect a large proportion of the total value. This causes some collectors to forego the piece in favor of a cheaper alternative, whether it is the same piece in a different color or completely different pieces that serve a similar function. Unethical resellers will replace these pieces and not tell the end users who may not know to look. In some cases, people have made fakes. Spotting fakes is important, but not the focus of this article.

    For most UCS sets, one of the most expensive pieces is the sticker. The sticker is unique to the set, large and limited in number. Some people require unused sticker, while others are content to have them applied.

    For the 10212 Imperial Shuttle, there is one sticker sheet that has a large sticker that describes the vehicle and 5 smaller stickers that represent computer screens. Sticker sheet 

    10212stk01.jpg.7d4df602aad077936206f62ca

    The stickers for this set sell in the $40-$50 range. Bought separately attached to their elements The large sticker should run about $20-$30 and the individual computer screens $10-$15 each.

    The Large Sticker is attached to Element 90498 Black Tile 8X16 with Bottom Tubes which is only available in 12 sets. Most of those sets are UCS sets. It's a relatively cheap part at around $2, mostly because it is in the Rhino and Sandman Supervillain Teamup, a relatively inexpensive set that many are parting out.

    90498.jpg.f4864d3e24780f980f522fad3a346d

    One of the harder to find elements is 32 White Technic Lift Arm 1X7 Bent Element 32348. It's available in 8 other sets and averages $.50-$.60 each. It's currently available in the Ferris Wheel 10247.

    32348.jpg.e1afce6b0058a96bda8855b31cc0cb

    You also need 8 Light Bluish Gray 40 Tooth Technic Gear Element 3649 which average about $1 each. There's a light Gray version which lazy builders might include, even though it is incorrect, because they don't want to take the time to verify it is correct.

    3649.jpg.3ef10717d4c2d538951b4671ac5f94b

    The windscreen 6267 is only available in Translucent Black in 3 sets. One of those sets is currently available and less than retail LEGO City Train Station 60050. Before that set was released, this element was more than likely fairly expensive, since the other set it was available in was the Grand Emporium.

    6267.jpg.09fc97ee50d9ee920432c6de0cac599

    There are 4 Trans Clear Technic Gearbox 2x4x3 1/3 that usually costs about $1-$2 each 6588 It's not a terribly uncommon piece (available in 20+ sets) but only the Imperial Shuttle has this many.

    6588.jpg.abc8772289d197668b6b1b9badcc660

    A cheap piece that is only available in 4 sets is the White Windscreen 7x4x2 Round Extended Front Edge 89762. The only reason that I can conceive that this piece is inexpensive is that it was available in a very cheap, common set, Freeco Speeder 8085.

    89762.jpg.78674ef0b97662f5dcb8d9fb613a6b

    Element 3046a is also a cheap rare element. It is available in 3 sets. It's a light bluish gray 2x2 double concave slope. It's available in the SpongeBob Squarepants Flying Dutchman 3817 and Sith Fury Class Interceptor 9500. Both of which were clearance in the past couple years.

    3046a.jpg.c895778072418bc08be63afe5d49c1

    My final rare element is the White slope 2x2x3 Double Convex Element 3685 It sells for about $3-$4 and you need 10 of them. It's available in 4 sets including the Imperial Shuttle Tydirium 75094.

    3685.jpg.33354db73aaaf8e24dc31cf6c31e5ec

    Of the 5 included minifigures, Darth Vader and the Stormtrooper are found in other sets but the following figures are available only in this set:

    Imperial Shuttle Commander

    sw293.jpg.eca5da791888d61d2a8427e3597cd6

    Imperial Pilot

    sw294.jpg.a812364657002ceb154f08b031c992

    Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight with Pupils (although this figure is found with a watch)

    sw292.jpg.b4a4e141df176e409e4848206bef65

    The last thing that many collectors consider when purchasing this set and the most obvious thing that you could see in a bulk lot are the 4 instruction books. These books, as a set, sell for between $40-$75 and are available in the $100 range. If you've got a box, that gets you closer to the upper range of $500 than if it is missing.

    10212-4.jpg

    The hard parts of putting this set together are the rare elements and the sheer number of pieces. The average LEGO collector could probably get 25-33% of the way to completing this set. The rest would take a lot of time and money to buy in multiple lots. People who have used Bricklink to build sets like this typically look back and determine that they have spent more than the average sale price to accumulate the pieces of this set.

    Value is a tricky thing. It's hard to explain to someone who is not involved in the hobby, because they just see a lot of plastic bricks. Collectors see the rarity of an old piece that is well constructed and was not common while it was in production and has become less so since then. New collectors come into the hobby every single day, and some that have been collecting for a while have begun stretching out to the more expensive sets. The UCS Imperial Shuttle is in the middle of the pack as far as cost goes in the world of UCS sets.

    Quick quiz: I lifted some pictures from an auction that closed a couple months ago. Could you pick out this set from the photos? Would you know that this was a UCS Imperial Shuttle?

    5318675279503tt.jpg.1f05913964156b3b43cb9970905279503tt.jpg.4b4f8cdea21b67ef7a178519555279504tt.jpg.96c747564a0b00a72906

    What if I gave you this picture?

    1785089279503tt.jpg.449ab988479ef0c319c9

    In the weeks to come, I will be exploring the pieces that make up each of the Top 25 Most Valuable sets, Ultimate Collector Series, and Modulars.

    Images in this article are the property of http://rebrickable.com/, Bricklink and LEGO.

     

    ******************

    Quick note from jaisonline.  As mentioned in the article, the 10212 Imperial Shuttle has been selling for $400-$500 (used) and $550-$650 (new in box).  So how much would the bricks, manuals and sticker cost if we "bricklinked" our own 10212?  Using current used prices on bricklink.com, it would cost $539 (before postage) to purchase everything except the box in used condition.  "2,488 Items in 226 Unique Lots totaling US $538.90 ready to be uploaded into your inventory."  Postage can easily add an addition $100.  Thus, 10212 is an example where it makes sense to buy the set (new or complete) in one transaction.

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    Great article and for me expertly timed.  Over the last 2 weeks I've been looking at this set even more seriously (one i dont have & near the top of my list) and the option to bricklink one.  In Europe, which can sometimes can be a different market to US; but 100% agree with your conclusions here.
    Looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Just on the stickers.  I've seen a number of replica ones available on eBay.  Have no idea how the quality compares but is this one avenue that you'd consider going down?  Or is the quality of these cheap just not worth it?

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    Great write up, thanks! I've actually been slowly trying to bricklink this set for the past few months, and I'd certainly agree with you that it's not an easy one to get all the parts for. The sheer number of some of the parts required means lots of shipping costs from multiple sellers, or paying OTT prices from some of the big BL sellers. I've just been slowly collecting parts when making other order for other things, but already I can see that buying a used one might have been a smarter option.

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    1 hour ago, Lego_Yoda said:

    Great article and for me expertly timed.  Over the last 2 weeks I've been looking at this set even more seriously (one i dont have & near the top of my list) and the option to bricklink one.  In Europe, which can sometimes can be a different market to US; but 100% agree with your conclusions here.
    Looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Just on the stickers.  I've seen a number of replica ones available on eBay.  Have no idea how the quality compares but is this one avenue that you'd consider going down?  Or is the quality of these cheap just not worth it?

    I would imagine that there's a difference in print quality. The paper may not be terribly far off, probably a little more matte. I would imagine that the major difference is the sharpness. The big problem that you run into is, if you ever sell it, using fake stickers, it's not to be considered complete. Fake stickers should be considered an alteration.

    If it were just for me, never to escape from the black hole that is my personal space, sure I might consider it. Spending $10-15 on a 2x2 tile that had a sticker on it for the AT-ST that I had to finish up last year hurt me, but was necessary to make it ready to resell.

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    2 hours ago, Lego_Yoda said:

    Great article and for me expertly timed.  Over the last 2 weeks I've been looking at this set even more seriously (one i dont have & near the top of my list) and the option to bricklink one.  In Europe, which can sometimes can be a different market to US; but 100% agree with your conclusions here.

    Looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Just on the stickers.  I've seen a number of replica ones available on eBay.  Have no idea how the quality compares but is this one avenue that you'd consider going down?  Or is the quality of these cheap just not worth it?

    Print and paper quality. Please the following thread for more details using 10179's sticker sheet as an example. 

    http://community.brickpicker.com/topic/11945-helping-to-identify-reproduction-stickers-and-printed-elements-no-minifig-discussions

     

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    1 hour ago, tractorboy said:

    Great write up, thanks! I've actually been slowly trying to bricklink this set for the past few months, and I'd certainly agree with you that it's not an easy one to get all the parts for. The sheer number of some of the parts required means lots of shipping costs from multiple sellers, or paying OTT prices from some of the big BL sellers. I've just been slowly collecting parts when making other order for other things, but already I can see that buying a used one might have been a smarter option.

    Maybe that's a different type of article, when and how it makes sense to bricklink a set from scratch. (sorry, tangent, just gave me something to think about.) I would consider the method of tacking pieces onto other purchases one of the ways that it starts to make sense. You're not directly affecting your total expenditures by absorbing the whole S&H into the cost of your set. Plus, maybe it makes more sense to your personal budget to spend 10-25 a week on the parts than $500 at a whack.

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this informative and fun article.

    Definitely worth more than 3 likes I'd say. Looking forward to the next.

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    1 hour ago, Roy vd M. said:

    Thanks for taking the time to write this informative and fun article.

    Definitely worth more than 3 likes I'd say. Looking forward to the next.

    Thank you for the kind words.

    35 minutes ago, josh_676 said:

    the other option of course is to tell Lego you got the set with 2500 pieces missing. 

    LOL, I would love to hear that conversation.

    OK, here's a clue to the next article in the series Can you tell which Iconic ship is here?

     

    24974567101651pS.jpg

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    hi.  question for you all about the 10212.  did this set ever come shrink-wrapped from Lego?  i bought one a while ago ago (off eBay) and it came shrink-wrapped in a pretty professional way.  the tape seals under the shrink-wrap are still sealed and i can hear the contents inside.  can anyone confirm?  perhaps a canadian version?  i just did not know if lego ever shrink-wrapped this or any other set in the past.  thanks!

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    13 minutes ago, stephen_rockefeller said:

    It was surely skrink wrapped by someone other than Lego. 

    ok, thanks.  my thought too, but wanted to ask.  

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    nice write up, glad i still have a few and bought them prior to LEGO's clamp down on exclusives pricing :)

    Edited by jerryherb

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    15 minutes ago, boliramirez said:

    Found at a local FB Lego Sales Group, 5 minifisgs,  box and instructions included..... $180 !! 

    IMG_2509.JPG

    IMG_2483.JPG

    You lucky B.!!!

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