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    Brickpicker blog articles on LEGO investing, news, reviews, evaluations, discounts and more...

    • Here is the list of current and upcoming polybags in the LEGO world.  If you've found a polybag that's not on this list, or have any update to give us, please note it in the comments below.  This information is put together from a number of different sources on the Internet, including real world reports. Availability in your area may vary.  This information is US-based.  These are from within the last 12 months.
      Polybags Currently Available

      Set # Theme Set Name Locations 30350 City Drilling Machine Walmart 30347 City Fire Car Target, Walmart 30354 City Hot Rod Target 30348 City Mini Dumper Legoland 30346 City Prison Island Helicopter Walmart 30474 Creator Reindeer TRU 30546 DC Super Hero Girls Kyrpto Saves the Day Legoland, TRU 71342 Dimensions Green Arrow GameStop 71340 Dimensions Supergirl PS4 Starter Pack 30397 Disney Olaf's Summertime Fun Walmart 30259 Elves Azari's Magic Fire Walmart 30398 Friends Adventure Camp Bridge Walmart 30399 Friends Bowling Alley Legoland, Target, Walmart 30400 Friends Fitness Center Legoland 30338 Juniors Fireman Target, Walmart 30522 Lego Batman Movie Batman in the Phantom Zone Target Unknown Lego Batman Movie Lego Batman Movie Accessory Pack Lego Store 30523 Lego Batman Movie The Joker Battle Training Legoland 30524 Lego Batman Movie Mini Batwing Lego.com 30376 Nexo Knights Knighton Rider Lego.com 30371 Nexo Knights Knight's Cycle Legoland 30374 Nexo Knights Lava Slinger Legoland, Target 30372 Nexo Knights Robin's Mini Fortrex Legoland 30423 Ninjago Anchor-Jet Legoland 30421 Ninjago Skybound Plane Legoland 30424 Ninjago Wu-Cru Training Dojo Walmart 30425 Ninjago Wu-Cru Training Dummy Legoland 30601 Scooby Doo Scooby Doo DVD/Blu Ray 5004406 Star Wars First Order General Legoland, TRU 30276 Star Wars First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter Target 30277 Star Wars First Order Star Destroyer Best Buy, Legoland, Target, Walmart 30279 Star Wars Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle Legoland, Meijer, Target, Walmart 30278 Star Wars Poe's X-Wing Fighter Target, Walmart 5004408 Star Wars Rebel A-wing Pilot Legoland, TRU 30496 Star Wars U-Wing Fighter Legoland 30446 Super-Heroes The Batmobile Walmart 30447 Super-Heroes Captain America's Motorcycle Legoland, Target, TRU, Walmart 30604 Super-Heroes Cosmic Boy DVD/Blu Ray 30448 Super-Heroes Spider-Man vs The Venom Symbiote TRU 30606 Super-Heroes Nightwing DVD/Blu Ray  
      Polybags Coming Soon

      Set # Theme Set Name 30351 City Police Helicopter 30352 City Police Car 30353 City Tractor 30477 Creator Chameleon 30476 Creator Happy Turtle 30475 Creator Off Roader 30551 Disney Cinderella's Kitchen 30323 Duplo My First Fish 30324 Duplo My Town 30401 Friends Pool Foam Slide 30208 Friends Smoothie Stand 30612 Lego Batman Movie Batgirl 5002949 Lego Batman Movie Batman Battle Pod 30607 Lego Batman Movie Disco Batman - Tears of Batman 5002948 Lego Batman Movie Kiss Kiss Tuxedo Batman Keychain 30521 Lego Batman Movie Mini Batmobile 30377 Nexo Knights Motor Horse 30378 Nexo Knights Shrunken Headquarters 30426 Ninjago Stealthy Swamp Airboat 30611 Star Wars R2-D2 Unknown Super-Heroes The Milano  
      Polybags That Appear to be Unavailable

      Set # Theme Set Name Locations Last Sighting 30349 City Sports Car Legoland, Target Jun 2016 30311 City Swamp Police Helicopter TRU Jun 2016 30471 Creator Helicopter Legoland Jun 2016 30472 Creator Parrot Lego Store Mar 2016 30285 Creator Tiger TRU Jun 2016 30321 Duplo Duck Lego.com Mar 2016 30322 Duplo Wildlife Legoland Jun 2016 2000447 Education Mini Milo CES 2016 Giveaway Feb 2016 30375 Elves Sira's Adventurous Airglider Lego.com Jun 2016 30396 Friends Cupcake Stall Legoland, Target Sep 2016 30204 Friends Wish Fountain TRU Jun 2016 30473 Juniors Racer Legoland Jun 2016 30320 Jurassic World Gallimimus Trap Gamestop Jun 2016 30373 Nexo Knights Knighton Hyper Cannon Legoland Jun 2016 30291 Ninjago Anacondrai Battle Mech Legoland, TRU Jun 2016 5002144 Ninjago Dareth vs. Nindroid TRU Jun 2016 30422 Ninjago Kai's Mini Dragon Lego.com, Target Mar 2016 30602 Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Lego.com Jun 2016 5002122 Star Wars TC-4 Legoland Jun 2016 30603 Super-Heroes Batman Classic TV Series - Mr. Freeze Lego.com Jun 2016 5002125 Super-Heroes Electro TRU Feb 2016 30168 Super-Heroes Gun mounting system (Iron Patriot) Gamestop Jun 2016 5003084 Super-Heroes Hulk TRU Feb 2016 5002946 Super-Heroes Silver Centurion Gamestop Jun 2016 5002947 Star Wars Admiral Yularen Legoland Sep 2016 30274 Star Wars AT-DP Legoland Mar 2016 5002948 Star Wars C-3P0 TRU Jun 2016 30605 Star Wars Finn (FN-2187) Gamestop Jun 2016 30272 Star Wars A-Wing Starfighter Legoland Mar 2016 30275 Star Wars TIE Advanced Prototype Legoland Jun 2016

    • Hello LEGO fans...Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. It's that time of year again. Time to raise money for my son Max's school, St. Paul School, in Burlington, NJ. After a very...VERY...successful first BRICKPICKER LEGO RAFFLE in which we raised over $62,000.00 for the school, a year has passed, and it’s time to raffle off some dynamic LEGO gifts for charity. The money we raised last year literally kept the school open...which is a great thing. It's a special school that once again was voted BEST Private School in Burlington County, NJ, by The Burlington County Times, along with numerous other awards, such as:
      Best Private School Best PreK-Nursery School Best Teacher Best Fundraiser Best Music Instruction Best Tutor Service (Junior National Honor Society) As I stated last year, St.Paul School (SPS) and its community are wonderful. People from all races and religions attend St. Paul School. Besides excelling in educating the children, the school does a tremendous amount of charity for local people in need. From food drives to helping out at local retirement homes, the children of St.Paul School are required to perform “service hours” that are designed to teach generosity, altruism and instill a hard-working, disciplined attitude. Excellence is expected and permeates through St. Paul School and the faculty and student body, so does a sense of goodness and frugalness. We make a little money go a long way. For example:
      All grade levels (Pre – K through 4) are scheduled for “Specials” each week...such as art, music, library, computers, and physical education St.Paul School is nationally accredited by “AdvancED” (the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement – NCA – CASI. SPS middle-school students have three periods of Spanish and are testing into Spanish II for High School. SPS provides more periods of physical education each week than is required by the State. SPS provides multiple extracurricular activities such as: LEGO Robotics Club, Science Club, Vocal Choir, Rosary Group, Tonal Chimes, Hand Bell Choir, Crafty Kids Club, Basketball (Boys/Girls), Indoor Soccer, Cheerleading, Yearbook Club, National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), Student Council, MATHCounts, STREAM (Science Technology Religion Engineering Art Math, Activity Tutorial Period (ATP for 5th-8th grades) But all is not wonderful though. As many of you know, many Catholic schools have a hard time making ends meet. Enrollments are down due to weak economic conditions throughout the world. Even superb schools like St. Paul School have a hard time keeping the doors open. While we did pick up 25 new students this past year to ease the financial burden, we will still be way short of breaking even; thus the need for the 2017 BrickPicker LEGO Raffle 2.0. This year’s version of the LEGO raffle will start with TEN awesome prizes.These include:
      21301 Birds (Salimr) Comic Con Throne of Ultron (echin313) Comic Con Dagobah Mini-Build (echin313) A mint 7144 Slave I (echin313) A mint 8001 Battle Droid (echin313) 10218 Pet Shop (exciter1) Rio Olympic Mascots set (Emvisawthatswho) 70816 Benny's Spaceship (Brickcrazyhouse) A special custom LEGO snow globe (Flanagan Bros Inc) PRIZE #2 BRICKPICKER MYSTERY RAFFLE LOT (OVER 5000 PIECES):
      A bundle of quality LEGO sets from multiple themes that will far exceed 5000 pieces! PRIZE #3:
      10220 - VW Camper T1 Van 42056 - Porsche 911 GT3 RS PRIZE #4:
      10227 - UCS B-Wing 75060 - UCS Slave I PRIZE #5:
      10221 - UCS Super Star Destroyer PRIZE #6:
      $500 Amazon Gift Certificate PRIZE #7:
      75159 - UCS Death Star OR 10188 Death Star PRIZE #8 CHOICE OF:
      75827 - Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters OR 71040 - Disney Castle PRIZE #9 CHOICE OF:
      10225 - UCS R2-D2 OR 10197 - Fire Brigade OR 10228 - Haunted House OR 10211 - Grand Emporium PRIZE #10:
      10255 - Assembly Square 10251 - Brick Bank This year’s total prize value exceeds last year’s total by over $1000.00. Last year we had 11 raffle prizes and winners from around the world. From Vancouver, Canada to Reno, Nevada to Miami Beach, Florida to the Isle of Man, United Kingdom and everywhere in between, generous raffle participants were rewarded with awesome LEGO prizes. The 2017 BrickPicker LEGO Raffle 2.0 can be found here on the secure Rally.up.com site:
      Like last year, we will ship the prizes to anywhere across the globe. If there is an issue with shipping or prizes, a comparable prize and/or shipping method will be arranged with the winner. Last year, the LEGO BrickPicker Raffle worked very well. The Rallyup.com site is a first class, secure site that made this all possible. They also issued the school a big fat check. All raffle proceeds and donations benefit the school directly by bridging the gap between what tuition covers and actual educational costs. It also raises money to upgrade the school’s technology, keeping St. Paul School ahead of the academic curve with a dynamic curriculum. The prizes have been donated by Jeff and I, the St.Paul School PTA and by some very generous BrickPicker members. I am hoping, like last year, that more people will donate sets after the raffle begins. It was fun adding to the prizes last year. You never know what can pop up as a prize!
      On a personal note, I would like to thank every person who donated sets/money and/or bought tickets to last year’s LEGO BrickPicker Raffle. It saved a wonderful school and kept dozens of people employed and 175 kids with their friends and teachers. I don’t like asking, but will anyway...please help out again this year. Even buying one ticket can help and it gives you a chance to win some great prizes. Watching the raffle ticket total rise every day was an intense rush and extremely gratifying experience. It made me so proud to have started this site with my brother Jeff and made me realize there is still good in this world…
      The contest will end on February 7, 2017 at 11:59 PM. Winners will be notified by Rallyup.com. If you are a winner, please contact me on the site so we can confirm the prizes and shipping addresses. The Rallyup.com site works very well and is secure, so please feel confident in donating to the school and purchasing raffle tickets. All the money goes to St. Paul School, which is a 501(c)(3), and to Rallyup.com for running the raffle. I will make every effort to supply the winners with the appropriate prizes. If there are shipping issues, inventory issues or potential problems beyond my control, I will make sure the winners are awarded LEGO sets/gift cards comparable to the original prizes. Any questions, ideas or concerns, please reply below or PM Jeff or me...
      TICKETS AVAILABLE UNTIL: February 07, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST
      DRAWING DATE: February 08, 2017 at 12:00 PM EST
      Thanks again!
      Ed Mack

    • I never had a LEGO system scale AT-ST. I got a UCS one from a comic shop, but that's not really the same. Even when I was a kid in the 80's, this was never my favorite vehicle. Now I look at my AT-AT and feel like it's missing something. The AT-AT is missing its little brother AT-ST. I was so excited to find out that this vehicle was coming for Rogue One. I really needed to fill out my display. It doesn't matter what minifigures are with it, as long as it fits with my Original Trilogy stuff. I didn't want to backtrack and find the 2007 system scale version because a set that's a decade old usually looks like a set that's almost 10 years old. This set looks good on the box. Can it be as good as it looks?

      Set #: 75153
      Name: AT-ST Walker
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 449
      Price: $39.99
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 3 numbered baggies, a sticker sheet, and an instruction book.

      BAG 1: I'm interested from the beginning. There's a gearbox and a pair of axles right from the start. We're building the hips/pelvis/base of the walker. I was interested in the hinges as well.

      We're building out the base of the walker. We have to make it sturdy so that it can support that massive head on the spindly legs.

      Speaking of spindly legs, once we have finished the base, we start the legs. Honestly, I was hoping for more articulation here.

      The leg only has a single joint. I could see where the ankle could have a joint. In fact, optimally, there should be at least 4 joints. maybe that's just me griping. How much should we really expect from a $40 set?

      I'm not going to show multiple steps  making the second leg. It's just a mirror build of the first leg. You just finish some details, cover the corners.

      And, we've finished Bag 1. I was wondering why a $40 set had less bags than a $30 set. It seems to me that there was a lot of build for one bag. I'm guessing that it's more than 40% of the set.

      BAG 2: We're starting construction on the "head." Notice the little push levers on the back there. I've been noticing more and more that the triggers for the spring missiles and the missile launchers themselves are getting better incorporated than a year ago. A year ago I was unhappy with how poorly they hid the boxy shooters in the First Order Transporter. Now, I sort of look forward to seeing how well it is hidden.

      I'm still not seeing a cockpit coming together here. I can see the cutout where the missile launcher will go. I also appreciate the cutout for the push trigger. However, this base seems far too narrow.

      There's a thermal detonator piece on the orange 1x1 round plate. It's interesting to me that we're building up instead of out. I say that because in Return of the Jedi, we saw that the AT-ST is a 2 seater. I'm disappointed that this looks to be a single seater.

      I notice the posts and pegs and it says to me that we'll be slotting panels in place. We've also got pegs on the front and sides where decorative panels can be placed.

      Notice the spring launchers are now in place and we're shaping the head with wedges and slopes.

      Plug the head in place and add a couple of grey lightsaber handles for guns. I am not sure they're quite big enough. We also build out the AT-ST Pilot and Rebel Trooper in this bag. I'm wondering why they didn't just do 1 figure per bag.

      BAG3: The first side panel is coming together. Notice the peg holes.

      We put together a set of guns for the first side. Finish the panel and snap it on the posts.

      We're going to build another panel that is the mirror image of the previous one.

      There's a different weapon on this side of the vehicle which is actually accurate to the movie version.

      There's a roof panel that we're building now. It's going to hinge up so that you can place your figures.

      Finish the decorative bits and add a hatch to replicate the movie version. It's not really effective for playing inside, so it's purely decorative. I do like the panels on the front that represent the blast covers that would fold over the eyes.

      Peg it all together and we're done.

      I love the way this looks. It's well designed and looks fairly accurate. I'm a bit sad that it's not a 2 seater. I'm also disappointed that there is only a single joint in the legs. To me it isn't as good as the legs of the AT-AT. I do realize that it's a much smaller set and you can do more with bigger sets, but I would think there could be a bit more flexibility. Despite my problems with the legs, I really do love the way this one looks. The assembly was fun enough and appeared to take a lot of cues from the UCS version. It is much more simple than the UCS version, so don't expect that level of complexity.

      The minifigures are good. I think that the AT-ST Driver with the goggles painted onto the helmet is nice. We've seen plenty of these guys with goggles on the faces, so it's nice to have something a little different. He's also got a dual sided head as well. I think the paint job of the goggles is a little goofy, but still, nice to have a little variety. I can't tell you how nice it is to have new Rebel Troopers. The helmet seems new and his uniform is different enough from the Hoth, Endor and Scout Trooper uniforms. It does look like a uniform, moreso than the Resistance Troopers from last year. Baze Malbus is an interesting looking character. He's got a dual sided head and he's got a big backpack and gun linked by a short piece of chain.

      On the day of release, Wal-mart  started selling this set for $32.83. It's surprising to have a discount on a new Star Wars set on the day it comes out. I have a theory that $29.99 is the upper limit for a gift for kids from friends or relations. This set is an outlier, but it's close enough that people might get it instead of the cheaper hovertank. This set is going to be popular for army builders and OT Purists. Since the last version of the AT-ST is so old, there's going to be a wave of people buying them new for their Ewok Villages or Assault on Hoth sets. I think this will be the most popular Rogue One set post retirement. It may not be the set that gains the most in value, but it will be the easiest one to move.
      Get it on Amazon
      There's an extra roller skate and even an extra thermal detonator. The rest is a mixed bag of the smallest pieces in the set.

      Please take a look at the other Star Wars Reviews:
      #75060 Slave I (click here) #75078 Imperial Troop Transport (click here) #75085 Hailfire Droid (click here) #75087 Anakin's Starfighter (click here) #75092 Naboo Starfighter (click here) #75094 Shuttle Tydirium (click here) #75100 Snowspeeder (click here) #75101 Tie Fighter (click here) #75102 Poe's X-Wing Fighter (click here) #75103 First Order Transporter (click here) #75109 Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure (click here) #75125 Resistance X-Wing Fighter Microfighter (click here) #75127 The Ghost Microfighter (Click here) #75131 Resistance Trooper Battle Pack (click here) #75132 First Order Battle Back (click here) #75133 Rebel Alliance Battle Pack (click here) #75134 Galactic Empire Battle Pack (click here) #75135 Obi-Wan's Jedi Interceptor (click here) #75136 Droid Escape Pod (click here) #75137 Carbon-Freezing Chamber (click here) #75139 Battle on Takodana (click here) #75141 Resistance Troop Transporter (click here) #75148 Encounter on Jakku (click here) #75150 Vader's TIE Advanced vs. A-Wing Starfighter (click here) #75152 Imperial Assault Hovertank (click here)

    • As much as I enjoy LEGO's super hero offerings, sometimes they put out characters that I just don't really care about. It's not that I don't like Doctor Strange, I just really never cared about him at all. When I first saw this set, I was struck with how interesting it looked. It's kind of like the Big Bang Theory set, but more interesting. You know, because of a giant Cthulu monster popping out of the wall. This set is exclusive to Target and to LEGO Shop at home, or LEGOLAND shops. This is the only set made for the forthcoming Doctor Strange film. It's much like last year's Ant-Man set in that regard.

      Set #: 76060
      Name: Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum
      Theme: Marvel Super Heroes
      Parts: 358
      Price: $29.99
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 3 numbered baggies, a sticker sheet, a comic book, a large plate and 2 instruction books.

      BAG 1: Well, as with all sets that contain minifigures, the first piece that you make in any bag is the minifigure. Check out the exclusively decorated disks. He's got 2 of those nifty handles that they designed to allow characters to hold items directly in front of them.
      Strange: Hello, I am Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic arts and Sorcerer Supreme. Welcome to my Sanctum Sanctorum. What's that? you can't see my home, well I shall have to unravel the spells hiding it to allow the uninitiated access.

      You begin building the façade for the sanctuary. Lots of arch pieces in this set, and here we see the first 2.
      Strange: You may wonder what makes me a Master of the Mystic arts, well I received a double major from Cornell University in surgical medicine and tarot reading. I had a minor in hand waving and table thumping, then I banged my head when I slipped coming out of the shower and BANG . .  magic.

      You add tiles and a large slope. Your first sticker appears fairly early on, and it's a big one. we need mystic symbols for a magical doorway.
      Strange: In my time as the Sorcerer Supreme, I have helped many of my fellow heroes when they run into problems. Why hello Captain.
      Cappy: Hey Doc, the Red Skull did something with his cosmic cube thingy, and now I feel a little strange. Can you un-strange me?
      Strange: I am Strange, instead I will SUPER-STRANGE you!
      Cappy: Yeah ok.

      You expand the dimensions of the play area to about 3X the previous size. Plus, you start stacking mail.
      Strange: Your form has been restored.
      Captain America: Thanks man. I gotta get back to kicking Red Skull's tail up to his shoulders.
      Strange: You know, if you need help fighting the evils of the world, I am always here.
      Captain America: Yeah, sure, I'll do that.

      You continue to build up the wall. Here, we have created pivot points for play features. You can use the clear pieces to make your minifigures appear to fly or jump or whatever. Also, we see that Doctor Strange is a bit of a slob. First it was piles of mail, now it's piles of ancient documents.
      Strange: Now that my house is becoming visible, I see that Wong is really falling down on the job. This place is nowhere near as clean as he keeps telling me. I wonder where he is. I hope he doesn't make me find him again. I'll have to feed him a bowl of spider webs if he's hiding.

      BAG 2: You create a new circular portal, I'm actually not sure why I took a picture at this point in the build, except to introduce Wong.
      Wong: Oof!
      Strange: Oh there you are, laying down on the job again. This place is a mess.
      Wong: Master, quickly, there's something evil that I am fighting.
      Strange: I hope it's the dust bunnies in the corners.

      I really kind of dig the use of the big blades to create the interesting pattern in the "window." Using large wall pieces to build up the walls is kind of a cheat I think. Although, just stacking 1x6 bricks would have been boring.
      Strange: Poor Wong doesn't understand that using a broom would be so much more effective at getting rid of dust than his fans.
      Wong: Master, the peril is nigh!
      Strange: The only peril I know of is how much you will suffer if you don't find the rest of my mail.

      You begin building the horrific creature here. using several gears and a bunch of tentacle pieces, you start to have a pretty sweet play feature. I am not a fan of play features, but this one really made me happy. The disk with the eyes is interesting because it is freewheeling. You can spin it independently and it will rotate somewhat as you spin the cog in back to make the center and the dark red cylinders on bottom spin.
      Wong: Master, it appears!
      Strange: See, Wong, I told you that if you just put a little elbow grease into it, the old shine will return to everything. Good man.

      You have to finish off the wall that holds the portal to another universe. It doesn't look like much right now.
      Strange: Past Due, final notice? Perhaps keeping my home and all the objects within invisible is a bad idea.
      Wong: Begone foul thing!
      Strange: That's right Wong, begone foul debt collectors, I banish you to the trash can of perdition.

      You finish building the creature here. I really like it a lot. Sure, it's kind of simple, but it's got some real personality. The longer tentacles twist in their mounts while the mouth rotates. It's just fun, and I hate play features usually.
      Wong: Master! Help me!
      Strange: If I wanted to clean this place myself, I never would have hired you! Now quit making such a big deal out of doing your job.

      I'm not entirely sure why this particular play feature was added. Is it some kind of a lever for a secret door that's not included. Otherwise, it's just a hovering ball.
      Mordo: Worry not Wing, I shall save you.
      Wong: Actually its Wong sir.
      Strange: Actually, it's "going to be out of a job" if he doesn't find my important letters soon.

      It's time to fill space and make it look less plain. To that end we build a nice little bookcase,
      Strange: Oh, my bookcase, Is it possible you put that letter from Tony Stark here?
      Mordo: grab onto my staff Wang and I shall pull you free.
      Wong: It's pronounce Wong sir, but If you can save me from this horrible thing, I'll let you call me whatever you like.

      So, Doctor Strange has another bookcase. It's basically the same as the first one.
      Strange: I completely forgot that I had another bookcase here. Hey Wong, remember when I was pulling rabbits out of hats?
      Mordo: Back foul beast! Back to the depths from which you arose!
      Wong: Oh thank you sir. I thought for sure that I would be eaten.

      You build a few more details like a table and candles along with another pile of mail. Place a bottle and cup and other stuff, and we're all done.
      Strange: Finally, there's my table with my important letters. . . By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth! What is that foul beast?
      Wong: I was trying to clean out the old Tupperware from your mini fridge and this was inside one.
      Strange: My guacamole!!!!!
      Mordo: Seriously man, you need to clean that stuff out more often.

      I actually really liked the playset and facade. As I built it, I kept thinking of how boring the Big Bang Theory Facade is in comparison to this set. I enjoyed the messiness of his lair and even the play features. Usually I am not a fan of play features, but these were just fun. I'm not a fan of the character or even the minifigures, but that's just a personal thing. The figures look good enough.
      All 3 figures have dual sided torsos and deco on the front of the legs. Doctor Strange and Mordo have dual sided faces and Wong has some kind of decoration on the back of his head. I definitely don't understand the lines on his head. Mordo's using that hairpiece that they designed for Finn last year. Strange has painted details on the temples of his hair.

      For the most part, Super Hero sets are stinkers. People generally purchase them for the minifigures and the knock-off market has ruined the aftermarket for most of them. This set does have a few things going for it. It's an exclusive. Not all exclusives are winners, but it doesn't hurt. It's also unlikely that we'll see these 3 figures in another set anytime soon. If the Doctor Strange movie is popular, there will be more demand. We've seen what happens with a one off set from a marvel movie that gets limited distribution. It's too soon to compare this set to Ant-Man, but there are similarities. Keep a weather eye out for shortages.
      (NOTE: I realized after I finished that it is not Wong, but the Ancient One. However, all of my jokes that I set up were dependent upon it being Wong. So, sorry folks.)
      Lots of little pieces including a flame and a key and a red tooth piece. There is also another one of those new gripper pieces.

      If you like Super Hero sets, please check out these other reviews:
      76049 Avenjet Space Mission
      76065 Mighty Micros Captain America Vs. Red Skull
      76022 X-Men Vs. Sentinel
      76044 Clash of Heroes
      76037 Rhino and Sandman Supervillain Team-up
      76047 Black Panther Pursuit
      76050 Crossbones Hazard Heist
      DC Mighty Micros
      76053 Batman: Gotham City Cycle Chase
      76052 Classic Series Batcave
      76051 Super Hero Airport Battle
      76058 Spider-Man: Ghost Rider Team-Up

    • Many Bothans died to bring us this set breakdown. Well, not really, but something like that had to be said. Actually, many people tend to confuse which Death Star the Bothans died to bring information about, and this is canonically the right one. The Ultimate Collector Series Death Star II is a pretty good representation of the object from the movie. I mean, as far as unfinished balls are concerned it really hits on all cylinders. OK, I kid, I kid. I really do like how they designed the final look,
      Released in 2005, the UCS Death Star II sold for $298.99. The set contained 3441 pieces. As of July 2016, used copies were selling for about $893 and unopened sets for $1720. When I take an average used price for all of the parts that make up the set, I get a value of about $980 making it more worthwhile to just purchase a complete used set. However, you may have a lot of the parts that make up this set already. For such a large set, I find it interesting that the parts distribution is so low. There are only 148 unique elements. (For comparison, the most recent Millennium Falcon 75105 has 294 unique elements.) That means that on average the individual elements appear a great many more times.
      I know that historically I have initially focused upon the pieces that are most prevalent in a set, but for this particular analysis, I will start with the parts that are rare or expensive. The criteria for falling under that definition are parts that appear in 10 or fewer sets and/or cost more than $1 per piece. I start from most expensive and go to least. There are 9 parts that match this criteria. (10 if you count the sticker.)
      Before I discuss the LEGO parts themselves, I think that it's important to talk about the sticker. The sticker itself is not integral to the build of the set. It I however vastly important to the completion of a set, especially when selling. There are a number of fakes out there. I am not qualified to tell you what to look out for with fakes, I just don't have the experience with spotting them. Stickers can be found already affixed (used) or still attached to the original sheet (new.) It's important to take into account if they are damaged or wrinkled or off center. Frankly, there's a lot of reasons why people hate stickers. In the past six months, used sticker assemblies have sold on Bricklink for $22.98-$100. In the same time frame, no one has sold a legitimate new sticker sheet, but 2 sellers are hopeful in the $240-$250 range.

      Now that we've got the sticker out of the way, let's look at the expensive pieces. (Honestly, if I were building one of these on a budget for myself, I'd skip the sticker and figure out which parts make up the plaque for the sticker and excise them first.)
      The first element of note is Element 50990a. The single Light Bluish Grey Dish 10 x 10 Inverted (Radar) - Hollow Studs averages about $12.50 used, but you'd easily be able to find one for closer to $7. It is found in 4 sets including 8971 Aerial Defense Unit and 10188 Death Star.

      You need 4 Technic, Brick 5 x 5 Right Angle (1 x 4 - 1 x 4) in red. Element 32555 is found in one other set, 8652 Enzo Ferrari 1:17. In order to get all 4 from a single seller, it's going to cost $10-$11 each. You want to watch that if you buy this set, someone hasn't substituted the black ones that sell for about $1 each.

      This next part falls into both of my categories. You need 32 element 30364 in tan. The Hinge Brick 1 x 2 Locking with 1 Finger Vertical End appears in 2 other sets, 4482 AT-TE and 7665 Republic Cruiser. Right now, no single seller on Bricklink has the quantity that you need used. You can find them in the $8 range, but you're going to need to make multiple purchases and that's going to push up your average price per part. Be careful that someone does not substitute light bluish grey which sells for less than $0.10.

      There are 16 light bluish grey Lever Small Base with Light Bluish Gray Lever in this set. Element 4592c05 appears in 7 sets. You can find what you need for about $4 each from a couple sellers. If someone switches for the black levers on light bluish grey base, they'd be spending just a few cents for each one.

      Coming in at an average of $4.39 each, element 3937 is next. One seller has a large quantity New for $3.34 each. You need 16 tan Hinge Brick 1 x 2 Base which appears in 3 other sets. If you wanted to cheap out, light bluish grey, dark bluish grey or black are easily found for about $.03 each.

      The Light Bluish Gray Wedge, Plate 4 x 9 without Stud Notches sells in the $3-$4 range. Element 2413 appears in 11 sets including one that we talked about before, 10175 Vader's TIE Advanced UCS. Significantly cheaper Light Bluish Gray Wedge, Plate 4 x 9 with Stud Notches can be found for $.48 so look out for that substitution.

      It seems like a weird choice to have a Pearl Dark Gray Technic, Liftarm 1 x 15 Thick. I mean it's the only part of that color in the set. You need 16 element 32278, which appears in 5 (or 4 if you don't count the Turbo Tank variation) set. One seller has the quantity that you need for $2.66 each, but the average is $3.67. Honestly, I don't know why they didn't use the much more common black one that sells for $.30.

      Element 42445 appears in 10 sets. Trans-Clear Bar 12L with 1 x 2 Plate End Solid Studs and 1 x 1 Round Plate End is not terribly expensive, averaging $0.90 for the 1 that you need. You could get one for as little as $0.25. Element 99784 is a similar piece, so make sure that if you want a completely authentic set that you get the right one.

      Averaging about $0.06 element 32015 appears in 5 sets. You only need one Tan Technic, Axle and Pin Connector Angled #5 - 112.5 degrees

      For just the 9 elements listed (excluding the sticker) we are looking at an average price of about $535. That's more than half the price of the set for 103 pieces.
      I want to be very clear here. When I am speaking about alternative parts, I am not in any way saying that they are official substitutions. These would be parts and pieces that might allow you to build this set on a budget, but should be disclosed if you ever decide to sell the set. It might be good enough for you, but someone purchasing one for their personal collection may assume that they received all the rare pieces and get mad if you do not disclose the differences. They would also be key pieces to look out for if you are concerned that someone is not selling you an official as manufactured set.
      Some of the pieces that make up this set appear a great many times. If I limit the search only to parts that appear 35 or more times, I come up with 19 different elements. (NOTE: I am not going to duplicate anything that appears in the previous list.) These 19 elements encapsulate 2219 pieces which is almost 65% of the set. I cannot stress enough that this is by no means a complete inventory of this set. I am ignoring a large number of different elements. This is just a survey of the more notable parts and pieces that make up this set.
      The most common piece in this set is 458 Dark Bluish Grey 1x2 Bricks. Element 3004 appears in 292 sets and averages $0.06 each. (to me, this part alone is prohibitive. I have a lot of Star Wars and Super Hero sets and I doubt I have 458 of this piece if I took them all apart. Apparently the next highest occurrence of this part is 200 in set 2000409 Lego Serious Play Window Exploration Bag. Whatever that is.)

      The next most common piece occurs about half as much. At 271, element 3794 is still a large quantity. Dark Bluish Gray Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with 1 Stud (Jumper) averages $0.09 each and appears in 239 sets. (The next highest usage of this piece is the 10179 UCS Millennium Falcon at 92)

      The light bluish grey plate, 2x8 comes on strong with 259 being the count. Element 3034 averages $0.18 each. It appears in 258 sets, with 10188 Death Star being the runner up  for most numerous with a distant 39.

      You also need 238 black technic brick 1x2 with axle hole. Appearing in 181 sets, element 32064 averages $0.04 each. The next closest set has 26.

      You need 169 light bluish grey 1x4 plates. Occurring in 479 sets, element 3710 is the most common piece so far. It averages $0.08 each. The UCS Millennium Falcon requires almost as many at 142.

      Appearing in 429 sets, we need 121 Light Bluish Gray Plate 2 x 3. Element 3021 has an average value of $0.08. (The UCS Falcon eclipses this one by doubling the required quantity to 243.)

      Light Bluish Grey 2x4 plates are incredibly common, appearing in 535 sets. You need 82 element 3020 with an average cost of $0.06. (The Maersk Line Triple E boasts a staggering 124 of these.)

      You also need 81 light bluish grey 1x3 plates. Appearing in 287 sets, element 3623 averages $0.07. (There are 31 in the UCS Millennium Falcon)

      Probably the single most common part in this set is the black Technic, Pin with Friction Ridges Lengthwise WITH Center Slots. Element 2780 appears in 1790 sets. They average $0.01 each and you need 72 of them. There are a bunch of technic sets that require hundreds of these in each set.

      You need 66 black Technic, Pin 3L with Friction Ridges Lengthwise. Each element 6558 averages about $0.08. It appears in 405 sets.

      Next, we need 61 light bluish grey element 3023. 614 sets have the 1x2 plate in this color. The average cost is $0.05 each.

      You also need 56 Trans-Neon Green Brick, Round 1 x 1 Open Stud. Averaging $0.05 each, element 3062b appears in 55 sets.

      46 element 44570 come next. The light bluish grey Hinge Plate 3 x 4 Locking Dual 2 Finger appears in 43 sets. These average $0.37each.

      Not surprisingly, you need 46 element 44568 to go with the previous piece. 94 sets include the light bluish grey Hinge Plate 1 x 4 Locking Dual 1 Fingers on Side. These pieces aren't too bad at $0.05 each.

      You need 45 black Technic, Axle and Pin Connector Angled #3 - 157.5 degrees. For $0.10 each, you can find element 32016 in 146 sets.

      The light bluish grey Technic Bush 1/2 smooth shows up 43 times in this set. Element 4265c appears in 491 sets and averages $0.02 each.

      You will need 42 light bluish grey plate 2x16. This part appears in 106 sets. Each one is going to average $0.39 each.

      You need 35 each of Elements 47397 and 47398.
      Both the left and right version of the light bluish grey Wedge, Plate 12 x 3 are going to average close to $0.40 each and appear in 40 sets each.

      To accumulate all of these most numerous pieces, you'd spend an average of close to $218. That's before all of the shipping on what is bound to be many orders.
      Thankfully, there are no minifigures with this set. They'd just be expensive and completely out of scale for this set.
      If you feel like your Death Star is not complete without instructions, it's going to be a bit of a chore and a bit expensive to find them. There's none available on Bricklink or Ebay right now. It seems like they have sold in the past for as much as $240. Fear not, the Death Star plans are in the main computer. That's right, LEGO has it available for download on their website. You don't have to get into a running gun battle or send your droids to a crazy dude who lives in the desert just to get them.

      The box is yet another expensive "nice to have" for this set. It appears to be equally as rare as the instructions. I couldn't recommend spending several hundred dollars for a cardboard box, but if you're missing it and the set doesn't feel complete without it, good luck. There are none currently available. That makes it a seller's market.

      If you want to talk about this epic set, try the official thread.
      All images are the property of Rebrickable.com, Bricklink.com, Disney, Lucasfilm Ltd. and the LEGO Group.
      If you liked this article, please check out the others in the series:
      10123 Cloud City
      7181 UCS TIE Interceptor
      10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle
      10182 Cafe Corner
      10019 UCS Rebel Blockade Runner
      10185 Green Grocer
      10190 Market Street
      10175 UCS Vader's TIE Advanced

    • Thanks to forum member @ravenb99, we have a list of the possible discounts being offered on items at Lego Retail Shops and Online.  I only say possible because this year, Lego chose not to send the list out to their affiliates. The list appears to be as one would expect. Take a look.  I may have missed an item or two copying items over from the original list found here.  Chances are, it's 20% off
      As we head into the Holiday Season LEGO is excited to be able to promote a few great offers! On November 25th LEGO will be offering Free Shipping on all orders through 11/28! Plus you can shop the Brick Friday Sale featuring select products while supplies last and qualifying purchases receive a FREE Snowglobe through 11/28! Finally on Cyber Monday receive a FREE Coloring Wall Calendar with qualifying purchase!
      FREE Shipping on all online orders 11/25 - 11/28! Brick Friday Sale on select items while supplies last! (see below, thanks @ravenb99) FREE Exclusive Snowglobe with qualifying purchases! FREE Exclusive 2017 Coloring Wall Calendar with qualifying purchases! Exclusives
      10218: Pet Shop [20% off]

      10244: Fairground Mixer [20% off]

      10667: LEGO Juniors Construction [20% off]
      10673: Race Car Rally [20% off]
      10674: Pony Farm [20% off]
      10683: Road Work Truck [20% off]
      10684: Supermarket Suitcase [20% off]
      10685: Fire Suitcase [20% off]
      10686: Family House [20% off]

      10806: Horses [20% off]
      10814: Tow Truck [20% off]
      10819: My First Garden [20% off]
      10824: Miles Space Adventures [20% off]
      10825: Miles ExoFlex Suit [20% off]
      10826: Miles Stellosphere Hangar [20% off]
      10829: Mickeys Workshop [20% off]
      10558: Number Train [20% off]

      21006: The White House [20% off]
      21013: Big Ben [20% off]
      21023: Flatiron Building [20% off]

      21303: WALLE [20% off]
      21304: Doctor Who [Door Buster 50% then 20%]
      21305: Maze [20% off]

      31027: Blue Racer [20% off]
      31029: Cargo Heli [20% off]
      31036: Toy Grocery Shop [20% off]
      31037: Adventure Vehicles [20% off]
      31038: Changing Seasons [20% off]
      31040: Desert Racers [20% off]
      31041: Construction Vehicles [20% off]
      31043: Chopper Transporter [20% off]
      31044: Park Animals [20% off]

      40154: Pencil Pot [Door Buster 50% then 20%]
      40155: Piggy Coin Bank [Door Buster 50% then 20%]
      40156: Butterfly Organizer [Door Buster 50% then 20%]

      Lego Pirates
      40158: LEGO Pirates Chess Set [Door Buster 50% then 20%]

      40161: What Am I [Door Buster 50% then 20%]

      Disney Princess
      41055: Cinderellas Romantic Castle [20% off]
      41061: Jasmines Exotic Palace [20% off]
      41062: Elsa s Sparkling Ice Castle [20% off]
      41063: Ariel s Undersea Palace [20% off]
      41069: Treasure s Day at the Pool [20% off]
      41140: Daisy s Beauty Salon [20% off]

      41103: Pop Star Recording Studio [20% off]
      41106: Pop Star Tour Bus [20% off]
      41107: Pop Star Limo [20% off]
      41110: Birthday Party [20% off]
      41111: Party Train [20% off]
      41112: Party Cakes [20% off]
      41113: Party Gift Shop [20% off]
      41114: Party Styling [20% off]
      41115: Emmas Creative Workshop [20% off]
      41116: Olivias Exploration Car [20% off]
      41117: Pop Star TV Studio [20% off]
      41120: Adventure Camp Archery [20% off]
      41121: Adventure Camp Rafting [20% off]
      41122: Adventure Camp Tree House [Door Buster 50% then 20%]
      41135: Livis Pop Star House [20% off]
      40114: LEGO Friends Buildable Jewelry Box [Door Buster 50% then 20%]
      5004900: LEGO Friends Olivia Watch with MiniDoll [20% off]
      853552: LEGO Friends HandFootFun [50% off]
      853556: LEGO Friends Minidoll Campsite Set [20% off]

      41171: Emily Jones the Baby Wind Dragon [20% off]
      41176: The Secret Market Place [Doorbuster 50% Then 20%]
      41177: The Precious Crystal Mine [20% off]
      41178: The Dragon Sanctuary [20% off]
      41075: The Elves Treetop Hideaway [20% off]

      41572: Gobbol [20% off]
      41573: Sweepz [20% off]
      41574: Compax [20% off]
      41575: Cobrax [20% off]
      41576: Spinza [20% off]
      41577: Mysto [20% off]
      41578: Screeno [20% off]
      41579: Camsta [20% off]
      41580: Myke [20% off]

      42034: Quad Bike [20% off]

      60047: Police Station [20% off]
      60077: Space Starter Set [20% off]
      60080: Spaceport [20% off]
      60081: Pickup Tow Truck [20% off]
      60084: Racing Bike Transporter [20% off]
      60090: Deep Sea Scuba Scooter [20% off]
      60091: Deep Sea Starter Set [20% off]
      60092: Deep Sea Submarine [20% off]
      60095: Deep Sea Exploration Vessel [20% off]
      60097: City Square [20% off]
      60105: Fire ATV [20% off]
      60109: Fire Boat [20% off]
      60114: Race Boat [20% off]
      60115: 4 x 4 Off Roader [20% off]
      60116: Ambulance Plane [20% off]
      60118: Garbage Truck [20% off]
      60126: Tire Escape [20% off]
      60127: Prison Island Starter Set [20% off]
      60128: Police Pursuit [20% off]

      Nexo Knights
      70310: Knighton Battle Blaster [20% off]
      70311: Chaos Catapult [20% off]
      70315: Clay s Rumble Blade [20% off]
      70316: Jestro s Evil Mobile [20% off]
      70333: ULTIMATE Robin [20% off]
      70334: Ultimate Beast Master [20% off]
      70335: ULTIMATE Lavaria [20% off]

      70605: Misfortune s Keep [20% off]
      70733: Blaster Bike [20% off]
      70735: Ronin R.E.X. [20% off]
      70736: Attack of the Morro Dragon [20% off]
      70737: Titan Mech Battle [20% off]
      70738: Final Flight of Destinys Bounty [20% off]
      70739: Airjitzu Kai Flyer [20% off]
      70740: Airjitzu Jay Flyer [20% off]
      70742: Airjitzu Zane Flyer [20% off]
      70743: Airjitzu Morro Flyer [20% off]
      70744: Airjitzu Wrayth Flyer [20% off]
      70751: Temple of Airjitzu [Door Buster 30% then 20%]
      851342: LEGO NINJAGO Ninja Army Building Set. [Door Buster 50% then 20%]

      Star Wars
      75059: Sandcrawler [20% off]
      75074: Snowspeeder [20% off]
      75082: TIE Advanced Prototype [20% off]
      75092: Naboo Starfighter [20% off]
      75100: First Order Snowspeeder [20% off]
      75106: Imperial Assault Carrier [20% off]
      75113: Rey [20% off]
      75115: Poe Dameron [20% off]
      75127: The Ghost [20% off]
      75130: ATDP [20% off]
      75133: Rebel Alliance Battle Pack [20% off]
      75135: ObiWan s Jedi Interceptor [20% off]
      75136: Droid Escape Pod [20% off]
      75138: Hoth Attack [20% off]
      75140: Resistance Troop Transporter [20% off]
      75150: Vaders TIE Advanced vs. AWing Starfighter [20% off]
      10236: Ewok Village [20% off]

      Angry Birds
      75826: King Pigs Castle [20% off]

      Marvel Super Heroes
      76030: Avengers Hydra Showdown [20% off]
      76036: Carnage s SHIELD Sky Attack [20% off]
      76048: Iron Skull Sub Attack [20% off]
      76049: Avenjet Space Mission [20% off]
      76050: Crossbones Hazard Heist [20% off]
      76064: Mighty Micros SpiderMan vs. Green Goblin [20% off]
      76065: Mighty Micros Captain America vs. Red Skull [20% off]
      76066: Mighty Micros Hulk vs. Ultron [20% off]

      DC Comics Super Heroes
      76061: Mighty Micros Batman vs. Catwoman [20% off]
      76062: Mighty Micros Robin vs. Bane [20% off]
      76063: Mighty Micros The Flash vs. Captain Cold [20% off]
      76046: Heroes of Justice Sky High Battle [Door Buster 50% then 20%]
      76034: The Batboat Harbor Pursuit [20% off]
      76025: Green Lantern vs. Sinestro [20% off]

      850850: LEGO Santa Holiday Bauble [20% off]
      850949: Christmas Snow Hut Ornament [20% off]
      851407: LEGO Holiday Wrapping Paper [20% off]
      853344: LEGO Holiday Ornament with Red Bricks [20% off]
      853345: LEGO Holiday Ornament with Gold Bricks [20% off]
      853574: Christmas Ornament Reindeer [20% off]

    • One of Lego's 2016 Holiday promotions is now available now, the much anticipated 40223 Snowglobe set.  This available is considered "Early Access" for VIP members in the U.S. and Canada.  It also appears the general public (non-US and CA Lego residents) will be able to get the Snowglobe set from Nov 25th to the 28th.
      The Snowglobe is only available from November 19, 2016 through November 20, 2016 or while supplies last.  1 set will be included with each online and in-store orders costing more than $99.   Note: Offers not valid at LEGOLAND® Parks or LEGOLAND Discovery Centers
      The Snowglobe promotion should quickly disappear if prior seasonal promotions are an indicator (e.g. 2015's 40139 Gingerbread House promotion).  
      Please click on the picture below to visit shop.lego,com.

      Personally, I like the investment potential of this set as well as the design.  AFOLs and KFOLs are sure to enjoy the build experience and display value is exceptional.  
      If you are interested in this set, please click the Lego US and Canada links below...
      US Shop at Home = http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=jfOcdvfTNg4&offerid=115554.10000006&type=3&subid=0
      CA Shop at Home = http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=jfOcdvfTNg4&offerid=208931.10000001&type=3&subid=0


      Here is Lego's description of The Snowglobe set.
      "Add a wintry touch of LEGO® style to your holiday celebrations. Build the Santa minifigure and Christmas tree, place them inside the translucent globe and then shake to make the white LEGO® snowflakes fly around. You can also hide small gifts in the secret drawer until the special day arrives!
      Features a buildable Santa minifigure and Christmas tree, white LEGO® snowflakes, secret drawer, and door and flame elements. This item offers an age-appropriate play experience for ages 7 and over. Makes a great festive gift for LEGO® fans. Measures over 4” (12cm) high, 2” (6cm) wide and 2” (7cm) deep.

      *VIP Offer Details: Valid November 19, 2016 through 11:59pm EST (8:59pm PST) November 20, 2016 or while supplies last; quantities are limited. Merchandise totals calculated after VIP Point redemption; any applicable taxes, shipping charges, or value of gift cards purchased do not apply to merchandise totals. Offers exclude backorder items. Cannot be applied to previous purchases or combined with any other discount, offer or free gift. Offer valid only in the United States and Canada. Offers not valid at LEGOLAND® Parks or LEGOLAND Discovery Centers. Sale items not valid toward previous purchases and subject to availability. The LEGO Group reserves the right to cancel or modify this promotion at any time without advance notice. Double Points Offer: Points are attributed to the account once payment is received. VIP Membership required. See VIP.LEGO.com or inquire in a LEGO Store for details on free membership. Offer cannot be combined with any other VIP Program offer, discount or coupon. Points will not be credited for purchases made prior to, or after this promotion. Points will not be earned on the purchase of Gift Cards or any applicable taxes or shipping charges. Free gift with purchase offer: Valid only on item 40223 LEGO® Snowglobe. One free gift per household. Gift set not available for purchase. Qualifying purchase must be equal to or greater than $99 in merchandise only. Set is valued at approximately a $9.99 (US) / $11.99 (CA) retail value and cannot be exchanged or substituted for any other item or cash value. Free shipping offer: Applies to standard shipping only; upgrades do not apply. Standard order processing and delivery time is 3-8 days from the date of order. Free shipping orders may be subject to additional delivery time. For delivery rates and schedules, visit shop.LEGO.com.

    • This month (November 2016) marks my first complete year as a LEGO reseller and active BrickPicker, as well as the second anniversary of coming out of my Dark Ages. Okay, I was reading catalogs and buying a few cool sets for my kids every year before 2014, but nothing like the full-on assault of having to catch up with all that LEGO has offered in the past. To celebrate these milestones I thought it would be a nice idea to contribute some of my key lessons from the past year back to this community.
      First of all, a little background. What really got me out of my Dark Ages was LEGO Trains, actually, it was a Fleischmann N-scale model train set that I used to have when I was a kid and which my dad brought over from Europe to the US 2 years ago. Enthusiasm over introducing my son and daughter to model railroading quickly turned into disillusion because I realized that none of the US manufacturers made tracks compatible with my N-scale track, and that just buying extra rolling stock was going to set me back hundreds of dollars for single-purpose items, which break irreparably when played with by (young) kids. Then a little light-bulb went off in my head: What if I bought LEGO trains instead – we could build our own trains, cars etc., and whenever we wanted something different, we just take it all apart. So with my wife’s blessing, Santa brought the Blue Cargo Train set (60057) and two Horizon Express sets for Christmas 2014. Unbeknownst to her, I had also managed to get an (already retired) Maersk Train, a few My Own Train carriages and some other random train-related bulk lots. I participated in a RailBricks contest (the last one they did before unfortunately shuttering the magazine) and started my decent into the delightful madness that is the world of AFOLs.
      Since I’m a train guy, you won’t hear stories from me about having to have this or that Star Wars ship, or those exclusive SuperHeroes minifigs. Sure, my son has a Millenium Falcon and Poe’s X-Wing, and the key SW characters as buildables, but our LEGO buying was first focused on Chima (my son loved it), then shifted to Bionicle, and now my kids’ playing revolves around Harry Potter – we don’t own any of the sets, but have a few minifigures and a lot of imagination. My daughter has a lot of Friends sets which she loves, but is slowly growing out of her interest for these (my kids are 10 year old twins at the time of this writing).
      Then November 2015 hit, and I started investigating the value of some sets, and joined the BrickPicker forums. My first purchases started rolling in ….. Pirate Chess Sets from LEGO Shop-at-Home, and a few handfuls of 10697 Brick Boxes from WalMart. As I really love the brick, I had determined I was going to start my own BrickLink store (having designed several train cars and placing tens of BL orders I had gotten familiar with how this worked). And I read and read and read on BrickPicker, and participated in the discussions, and grew wiser and smarter and, I must say, warier as time went by.
      Here are the key lessons I’ve learned from my first year:
      The buying part is easy. The buying part is fun. Great adrenaline rush. But for many of us, there’s too much to buy. Just because it’s 50% off doesn’t mean you NEED to buy it. Case in point: I picked up a 31033 Vehicle Transport at Target in January 2016 for $10 (RRP: $25, so 60% off). Not a particularly nice set, it had just been released, available everywhere, and who will buy from you as a beginning Ebay seller? Needless to say, this set still sits unsold on my shelf. It’s all about buy-in. Where previous strategies mainly revolved around getting your hands on as many of the expensive sets as possible before they quickly but inevitably retired without much fanfare, the LEGO reselling game is undergoing a massive change. Buy-in price seems to be the key factor now. As a beginning buyer I was excited when I saw 20% off. A year later, 40-50% is where my heartbeat starts increasing. Selling takes time. It’s not difficult, it just takes time. Time to establish yourself as a trustworthy seller. Time to wait for prices to rise to a level you’re comfortable with. Unless you stumbled upon something truly desirable and unavailable, or if you are able to price significantly below others, don’t count on things selling within the first 30-day listing period. Darth Revans, Iron Patriots and Silver Centurions are obvious exceptions, but those don’t come by often. For other items it is a slow, slow game – listing and relisting. The game changes continuously. What works one month might no longer work the next month. Every Bob and Sally has LEGO items in their Ebay store. More and more people join and try to eke out an ever smaller amount of profit. Amazon throws up a gate. Ebay and Target stop a lucrative giftcard cycle. You need to stay in touch or your investments become much harder to sell, or your profit evaporates. Making a decent profit is not easy. At least, not for big(ger) sets. Just look at Ebay: You bought a set for $100 and want to make good profit. If you sell for $150 (shipping included), you will pay ~$18 to Ebay/Paypal in fees, and ~$10-$20 in shipping (in the US, depending on where you live). That’s $30-$40 off of your selling price, so you end up making $10-$20. A small profit is also profit, but you’ve spent time on this set, buying it, storing it, packing it, listing it, checking comparables etc. Unless you’re shifting hundreds of these sets a month, this will not be worth your while. Your time is valuable. Even if you consider this “only a hobby”, before you know you’re in your car driving from one Target to another. I have 6 or 7 Targets in a 15 mile radius from my house, and a similar amount of Walmarts. Popping into one is a quick affair. But when those clearance rumors swirly, and stock checkers are unreliable, your “quick check what they have” becomes a 3hrs+ road-trip. Plus, with 800+ LEGO sets on the market, you’re quickly spending 20-30 mins per store checking resale values, BL part-out costs etc. Then you need to list. Take a picture or two. Research what others are listing for. Do your administration (which for a detailed oriented person like me means adding a row for each set in a 30+ column spreadsheet tracking all sorts of aspects of your purchases). And for those of us who do the part-out route, there’s time in sorting out the set contents, setting up an organizational system, updating BL inventories etc. Choose your game plan. There is too much going on (what with LEGO producing 800+ sets a year as mentioned before) to play all fields. Unless you’re sitting on vast amounts of spare capital, you cannot AND go deep on expensive sets, and cover all themes (Modulars, SW UCS, GBHQ, SHIELD Helicarrier, Advanced Technic models etc) and part out, and BrickLink …. Pick one strategy that best fits your lifestyle. Your options are: Good old-fashioned investing – buy expensive sets for true investment purposes, i.e. stash them away for 3-5 years post retirement and see if that magical 3xMSRP has appeared. Clearance hunting for quick flip – grab those 50-75% off sets, and list them within a year to see if you can get >MSRP to get 75-100% ROI. Diamonds in the rough – take a punt on a few sets that you believe are “iconic” and not soon remade. Remember: First rule of fight club is that nobody talks about fight club. Sit back and watch others scramble over the “common” sets, and rake in the profits when the sets are retired and people realize they “need” them. Or at least, that’s the theory. Buy for part-out. Split your sets into minifigs, buildings and vehicles, and sell them separately for more than the original sets’ cost. I’ve had some luck with this strategy, though it was never my game plan – especially with Dimensions (minifigure and video-game discs sold separately, with the minibuilds as parts for my BL store inventory). Buy for parts. Look at which sets have good BL value, but be careful: unique/niche parts can drive up the value but see very little sales. Be selective. Don’t be a sheep. Tied to the previous point. It is so easy to get carried away. “Great deal on this SW UCS – now 30% off!”. Sure, but if you have a budget (and I recommend you have one from the get-go), plonking down a few hundred bucks on a set that you’ll likely have on a shelf for the next 2-3 years might not be the wisest decision. Plus, there are many others who jump in on this, so you need to battle your competitors in a game that is not your strength. Net, stick to your own plan. Document. Document. Document. Keep track of what you spend and how much you earn. A spreadsheet is good enough. Don’t count on profit until you have it in your PayPal account. Account for all expenses – boxes, shelving, tape, you name it. Find the right marketplace. Depending on your location, you have multiple options. Each marketplace has its plusses and minusses. The key ones are: Ebay. First choice for many. Used by bargain hunters, savvy shoppers and has generally a good, sizeable audience. To really have a good experience, you need to be honest in listing (duh), take lots of pictures, price right, ship fast, and have a return policy (and ideally, a generous one). Also, you need to use PayPal, and unless you work yourself up to Top Rated Seller, count on 12% of your total sale price (including shipping!) to be taken as fees. Amazon. Until very recently the absolute best place to start selling. Everybody shops at Amazon. Unfortunately, unless you pay $1k and provide proof of purchase (and potentially a letter from TLG proving you are an authorized reseller), you cannot list LEGO anymore. I was lucky to get grandfathered in based on a few sales I had in the spring and summer. FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) is the best one of the lot – limited effort (buy, add to inventory, pack and ship to Amazon – they take care of the rest) and a lot of eyeballs. This comes at a price: up to 20% of the sale price goes to uncle Jeff, but the “Prime” label makes up for that by commanding a premium price from buyers, and people happily click away. Plus, you get a chance to be featured in the Buy Box. Just be aware of returns – you might have to swallow the occasional destroyed item. Craigslist. Flea-market audience. Has the hassle of having to meet with people (and finding a place where to do this can sometimes take a lot of back-and-forth with your buyer), but once the sale is made you have no risk and no obligations. Also: no fees. BrickLink (and BrickOwl, its key competitor). AFOLs only. Limited eyes, but limited fees (1-2%). Your buyers know what they want. Shipping is extra, so no need to accounting for shipping costs in calculating your price. The only downside is that setting up shop properly is not easy – adding shipment methods, figuring out how to price those methods correctly etc. all needs some research. Of course you can do without, but you get more sales if you do it right. Facebook selling groups. No real experience here on my end. I’m part of my local Buying/Selling group, but what I see is not instilling much confidence: used cars, pitbull pups and phones. I doubt anyone will want to buy a LEGO set at a reseller premium there. Others have reported more success. There are other apps and marketplaces: Offerup, Kijiji in Canada, Gumtree in the UK, Marktplaats in the Netherlands and Belgium …. I have no experience with these but from what I’ve heard, they fit in with Craigslist/Facebook above. Conventions, flea-markets, garage sales. Very interesting venues, each with their own dynamic. You could get away with charging a premium at conventions (and potentially at flea-markets), but often your participation comes with a fee, so you need to account for that. Again, not an area I have dabbled in so far. Read up on key threads. Check what happened to 41999 to understand how the horde can get carried away sometimes. Read the Amazon/Ebay/CL threads for tips on how to get started, and for answers to commonly experienced questions. Check out the Ethics forum to understand what is being frowned upon – if we don’t keep certain practices and standards, retailers will counteract and remove things like the ability to stack coupons, or the acceptance of printed coupons, or even the privilege of a hassle-free return. And before you make your first purchase, check the speculative bubble thread – if you are still convinced you want to do this after reading that thread, you’re probably strong enough to handle what’s coming (or rozy-eyed enough to not care). Master the art of stacking. There are published deals (50% off at Target!) and there are “make your own deals”. The latter have the benefit that they are YMMV (your mileage may vary) – others likely won’t be able to replicate them. Several retailers (Toys’r’us, Kmart/Sears, Meijer, BAM, Ebay, Galeria-kaufhof and mytoys in Germany to name a few) have coupon and discount policies that allow for the stacking of offers. Combine sale pricing with credit card discounts, with reduced-price Gift Cards, with 20% off coupons, with Buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) offers, with points/rewards program certificates, until your buy-in price approaches $0. Then rub it in other’s faces on the "What LEGO set did you buy today" thread. Get in on those loyalty programs. For the price of a small piece of your soul, join as many rewards programs as you can. Ebay Bucks, TRU Rewards, Shop-Your-Way, Meijer mPerks, BAM club membership, Barnes & Noble membership, you name it. Carry the card. And if you don’t mind carrying multiple credit cards, use store-specific CC’s for your purchases, and earn discounts and cashback. Just pay them off every month, please. Be truthful in accounting. This goes two ways: Don’t get into trouble with the IRS. If you sell for profit, you are generating income. Better report it (plus in the US you can deduct the expenses incurred in making the sale, such as car mileage, shipping materials, storage materials etc.). Officially you should also register yourself as a reseller in your state/county (unless you block people in your state from buying from you). For my state (Ohio) this was really not a big deal – a small fee, some paperwork, and a twice-a-year reporting duty (so far always $0). Also, configure your selling accounts (Ebay, BrickLink) to automatically charge sales tax on purchases made by local buyers. You can only do this on Amazon if you have a professional selling account – when you sell as an individual you’ll just have to pay the sales tax out of the sales price. As a benefit: I get to buy tax-free in the few places that haven’t banned resellers (Amazon, Walmart) as long as it is for store inventory. Think about how you account for points, freebies etc. There are many ways to skin the cat, but I prefer this approach: Points never count as a discount on the purchase made to earn them, only as a discount on the purchase where they are used. Freebies count as a $0 purchase, and everything I earn on them is (gross) profit. So, those sets I bought at LEGO S@H for $75 to get the free Gingerbread House really cost me $75, even though I sold the GBH for $50 and made $40 profit after fees and shipping, and got 150 points as part of double VIP. Get approval from your S.O. (Significant Other). Some of us are blessed with AFOL partners. Some of us have bargaining partners – if you want to do this, then let me do my thing. Some of us have eye-rolling partners. And even some of us have to pretend and work undercover. Oh, and some don’t have partners, but I’m giving them a break and will not tap into my arsenal of AFOL bachelor puns. At least come to some sort of an arrangement. LEGO should never be the reason a relationship ends, and should never be more important than your S.O. I had big plans (and still have big plans) regarding my BL shop as well as regarding my LEGO Train building hobby. They’ve been slowed down – my wife protested against the amount of time I was spending on this and she was right. <Insert doormat pun here> Practice self-constraint. No you don’t have to buy it all. Often I go all the way through the checkout process and then take a breather. A quick comparison with other sites. Read some reviews. Think "yes it is x% off, but you still pay $y". And after amassing a closet full of LEGO: “First sell enough until you have more funds and more space, then buy again”. What also helps me is that I have a (very short) list of sets I really want to have for my personal collection. If there ever is a good deal on those, I’ll jump on it (ideally using Ebay Bucks or Credit Card reward dollars). For the other deals: there will be more deals in the future. Be helpful and you’ll be better off for it. Just like you need to build up a reputation of trustworthyness on Ebay or Amazon, I advise everyone to do the same on BrickPicker. Look out for your fellow BP-ers. Help them score a deal when needed. Post those deals when you see them (even if they don’t interest you), or at least, post them after you had your fill. Because all the goodwill you’re building up will help you get better deals yourself – via member-to-member private messages, or just by being "in-tune" with what is happening on the marketplace. And unlike many other platforms on the vast World Wide Web, Brickpicker is a very civilized, high-intelligence online forum. Conversations are kind, well articulated and insightful. Moderators intervene at the right time, and with clear principles. And everyone likes a giggle. Unless you are a professional reseller (and I know there are several that frequent BP), remember that this is supposed to be a hobby. You’ll enjoy it more when you keep your love of LEGO alive. Scale back when you don’t have time. Sell if you need cash. Pop seals and build if there’s something you’ve now taken a fancy to, or if the market for the set has cratered. But please, please don’t get in over your head.
      To conclude my story: I have spent considerable time over the first half of 2016 on building inventory, writing software to manage my BL store’s sales and pricing analytics, and sorted through about half of my sets and parted them out. I listed ~20k parts on BL, and have seen some nice sales coming through. However, as this is my hobby, I’ve had to take a break from adding to my BL store and it has been in hibernation mode over the past months as other priorities took over. I have continued to list sets on Ebay and Amazon to keep some sales going. I bought well – some initial purchases were not as good as some later ones when I got clearer on what I needed to look for in sets, however, those were offset by some lucky finds (Ghosts for half price, anyone?). I resigned myself to contributing to reporting sales and delightful banter to BP, and with ~3.5k posts to my name in just a year, I think I’ve been quite successful at that strategy at least.
      To round it all up, some statistics from my first year:
      Total resale purchases including supplies, shipping costs and fees: $7.3k
      Average discount over MSRP: 44%
      Total sales revenue: $3.0k
      ROI on those sales: >175% (But I sold quite a lot of freebies which drive ROI up)
      Average fee paid (Ebay, Amazon, BrickLink/BrickOwl): 11.2%
      Parts amassed for my BL store: ~110k
      Here’s to a great second year!

    • Today we are announcing the winners of the Brickpicker Minifigure Book Photo Contest.  Now that we have two books out there in the wild I can say that it is not easy.  Ed has a few months of sleepless nights and or nightmares and I become a stalker looking to get permission to use photos in books or I pretend I am a photographer and take a few thousand photos hoping one is good enough.  With that being said, I have to say that the first book was super exciting mostly because it was our first book but the second book was a lot more fun.  For one thing, we knew what to expect overall, but it was a lot more fun because we got to deal with and see what type of photos the public came up with. 
      The first time I saw the photo below, I was in tears and laughed for a long time.  I loved it.  I knew we were in for a fun ride.

      So many people were helpful, giving and just fun to deal with.  That we appreciate more than anything.  Some really invested an immense amount of time and that we are humbled by and grateful for.  At this time I would like to announce the Grand Prize winner chosen by Ed and myself. The winner is Markos Chouris from Australia. The amount of time he spent taking thousands of photos for us was truly amazing.  He contacted me very early on and offered to help take a ton of photos of many of minifigures you see in the price guide part of the books.  The sad part is that we unfortunately could not fit all the figures from our original list into the book. A few of Markos' fun shot were also able to make their way into the book as well.  Thank you Markos for your help and dedication to helping to make the book great.  You are the Grand Prize winner of a $500 gift card to Amazon or LEGO.
      Below is a list of the other winners that were chosen by the publisher and will split up the remaining $1000 of gift cards. 
      Durand Family (Anna, Geneva, Isaiah, and Josiah Durand):  (note: $200 gift card will be given to the four of you, thank you all for your submissions)
      Heriberto Perez Acebo
      Fabio Broggi
      Charles Chang
      Tony De Marzio
      Daniel Flanagan
      Brandon Isensee
      Stephen O’Mahony
      Anthony Varos
      As a special note all participants whether you are in this list or not will receive a copy of the book from the publisher. I know I have a lot of the information from all of your for your photo releases, but if you are reading this, please contact me via PM or email (jeff@brickpicker.com) and type of your address so that I can give to the publisher (some are very hard to read).  For the winners above, please let us know whether you want an Amazon or LEGO gift card when you write me.  I will also try to reach out to all of you as well to make sure you are aware. All gift cards will be in USD($).
      Thank you again to all of you and hope that you had a great time taking the photos.
      Jeff & Ed

    • Today, we are happy to report that our second book "The Collectible LEGO Minifigure: Values, Investments, Profits, Fun Facts, Collector Tips" is now available for purchase.  This was a fun book to put together since we were able to work with the Lego community to obtain fun photos of Lego minifigures in action. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing winners of the contest that we had when we first introduced that this book will be published.
      The first review of the book has been published by Huw over at Brickset and he states that "Nevertheless, it is a fascinating book that will appeal particularly to minifigure collectors."
      Here are a few screen grabs from the inner pages of the book.

      Order your copy today!!!!

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