Going Independent

You’d be forgiven, if you had your ear to the ground in Melbourne lately, for thinking IMG_5799 (1)that the only thing happening in the world of LEGO® Retail was the opening of the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at the Chadstone shopping centre.

Get out of the malls

Do not think, however, if you don’t like shopping centres, or malls, or giant retailers that  you don’t have the option of finding some places around town where you can get your fix of LEGO® retail opportunity.  There are a number of independent stores, away from the larger centres, which offer a large range of current, and retired LEGO® sets, as well as providing the option of off brand, third party add ons for your LEGO creations.

Bring Bricks to Bayswater

One such store is Toybricks. The original store opened in the inner northern suburb of Fairfield, about five years ago.  A second shop has just been opened in the outer eastern suburb of Baywater.  With around 200 square meters of retail space, the shelves are filled with the majority of the current LEGO sets, as well as a few officially retired items. The new space has plenty of new stock, mini figures available for individual purchase as well as an area for MOCs to be displayed. There is a good range of Creator Expert sets in stock.

In addition to official LEGO products, Toybricks also stock Lifelites lighting systems, as well as the ME rails – both metal and plastic.  A selection of clothing and books are also available.  As well as LEGO, there is a small section of other modelling toys, as well as 3D jigsaw puzzles and robotics kits. Dean also has play tables, with (non-LEGO branded) baseplates on.  These plates certainly have impressive clutch power, holding oa small mock in place as the table top was lifted up and tipped on its side. To help you sort you parts, they also stock a variety of Australian made Fisher Storage Boxes.

Another service offered is a shopfront for the Ozbricks Bricklink store – preorders can be delivered to the shop for pickup, and a limited selection of parts can be purchased on site.

The shop has it’s grand opening this weekend (12th May), with some opening weekend specials including 25% off the RRP for the Creator Expert Big Ben 10253; 40% off selected sStar Wars sets, and Buy 2 get one free with 7499 Straight and Flexible Tracks.

This new store at 697 Mountain Highway Bayswater is close to the Bayswater railway station, and there is plenty of parking nearby.

Not only but also…

As well as their other store at 70 Station street Fairfield, there are a number of other independent retailers specialising in LEGO and related products around Melbourne including:

I’m Rick James Bricks at 49 John St, Pakenham.  As well as LEGO Sets, and a wall of bricks to select from and a build a minifigure station. Rick also sell’s Citizen Brick printed figures and tiles, as well as Brick Arms accessories and Brickmania military figures and kits.

Build and Play Australia can be found at 1387 Toorak Road, Camberwell. In addition to their range of LEGO sets and minifigures, they carry a range of Graphic Novels and Funko Pop Vinyl figures.

Shopforme have a retail location at 23 Dawson St, Coburg North, and in addition to LEGO sets stock a wide range of collectibles, and a strong online presence.

Bricks To The World, based in Gippsland offers online only service, with a wide range of current and retired sets, and prompt delivery.

I’m sure there must be some other independent resellers around Melbourne, and indeed Victoria: these are the ones I know, in the parts of town I tend to travel through.  Who’s your favourite? Who have I missed?

Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement.  People often ask where can they buy LEGO locally, and it’s often a bit easier to have a post to point them to rather than pull out the back of an envelope…the opening of a new store made it feel timely.

I would also like to acknowledge that there are  many great independent and franchised general  toy shops out there, for whom LEGO is not the primary business. They can also be a great source of LEGO sets, without the seasonal shortfall that you often see with the major retailers.

 

Play well.

 

Carousel 10257 Coming Soon: Reimagining an Investor’s Classic.

boxes.pngAround eight years ago, shortly after I emerged from my Dark Ages, I visited LEGOLAND 10257_Front_02_1California with my family. The Aussie Dollar was running at 90US¢ to A$1: the best exchange rate in years.  We got to the store.  What followed is a bit embarrassing, but suffice to say it included  Cafe Corner and the Grand Carousel 10196.  Despite currency fluctuations, the pricing model used meant we could afford these 2 sets, and some more, as well as some luggage to transport them home, and still come out in front.  Unfortunately, this involved unboxing these sets prior to returning home.  Once the box is broken, you might as well build them, don’t you think? If I knew then what I know now, I would have also picked up a Millennium falcon UCS, and transported them home in fur-lined gold plated shipping container instead.  Aah: hindsight. It gives me 20-20 vision.

The Grand Carousel had a huge footprint with a 48 square, green baseplate. It had an interesting 16 sided construction and rotation was afforded by a spring-loaded wheel turning the outside – just like the real carousel’s that would tour country Victoria going to annual town fairs.  Not only did it rotate, but the horses bounced up and down as well.  And then there was the sound brick ,providing the joyous sounds of a Calliope, and invoking a nightmare flashback in any kid scared by carnival clowns.  This set has appreciated significantly over theirs, with new sticker sheets selling for more than $70 on Brick link, and the sound brick for more than $200!

fairground past.pngIn more recent years, the Lego Creator Expert team have been producing exceptional sets based on Fairground rides, providing a challenging building experience and great play and display features. In 2014, we saw the release of the Fairground Mixer 10244, followed up by the Ferris wheel 10247 in 2015. Last year it was the Friends turn, with a whole sub theme.  The Amusement park Roller Coaster41130 was a highlight for many here! Builders have not been content with with merely adding motion to this to these rides. Lighting has also become popular, with some spectacular third party lighting kits now available especially for them. But I didn’t stop writing this post for the purpose of becoming over whelmed with nostalgia, continuing to chart my descent from a regular human being into an Adult Fan of LEGO, but rather to present the announcement of the latest fairground set, at Play-Time in New York today.

The press release: more pictures and discussion follow . Continue reading

Light up your LEGO #1

There is no doubt that adding lighting to a LEGO model will enhance it’s appearance – it adds a degree of life to it, enhancing lines, lightening shadows and highlighting features which may otherwise be a little obscure.  LEGO have offered lighting for at least 50 years, originally in the form of a light brick, with the options of a filter, and more recently with power functions, providing a pair of LED lights.  We now also see self-contained light bricks in recent sets.IMG_0691-2.jpg

While earlier  LEGO® sets used standard filament bulbs,  more recently builders have been able to look to Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to provide versatile lighting solutions. Recently,  LEGO builders have been incorporating lighting into their builds than ever before.

The systems used vary from simple ‘bulb and battery’ solutions, through to custom solutions for individual LEGO Sets.  There are also sophisticated, microprocessor controlled solutions available, providing preprogrammed sequential lighting patterns.  Miniaturisation of  LEDs means that they are now able to be incorporated in LEGO builds, with minimal rebuilding required for wiring.

Today, I would like to present a couple of simple options for cheap and easy lighting solutions, that can enhance your models.  In the future, I will present some examples of other, more sophisticated lighting solutions. Continue reading

#LEGOEaster Raffle

FullSizeRender 52The LEGO® Community team have invited those in the Recognised LEGO User Group and Recognised LEGO Fan Media communities to join in the #LEGOEaster Campaign.

To join in, simply take your LEGO related easter photos, label them with the hashtag #LEGOEaster and share them on social media – Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, flickr etc.

To make it a little more interesting, the Community Managers have launched a raffle to go with it.

To enter the raffle: Continue reading

BMW Bring Brilliant Hover Bike B-Model To Life at LEGO World.

If you happened to pick up the 42063 BMW R 1200 GS  Adventure Motorcycle in the last month or two (Europe, UK, $AUD 89.99- not yet in the US or Canada), you may have thought the B-model hover bike was a little bit of a fanciful creation.

This design however was created through cooperation between both the BMW Motorrad and LEGO Technic design teams.  Previously limited to the concept in LEGO form, BMW took the wraps off a life size concept model at LEGO world in  Copenhagen today.

 

framegrab_09-copy
The A and B models from 42063

More pictures after the break.
Continue reading