Why would you ever buy LEGO at full price from the LEGO store?

Double VIP points.

Free Gift with Purchase over $AU120

Free Shipping on purchases of $AU200.

This is what I was hearing from the shop.LEGO.com banner ads as October 2016 got underway. Should these statements affect whether or not I go to the online LEGO store? I sat down to work out a solution to this conundrum, and who knows, it might just influence my behaviour in the future…

[Editors note: the principles of calculating the best value time to purchase from shop.LEGO.com, or your local LEGO store are consistant, however individual thresholds for shipping and the value of special offers vary between markets. You should always make your own decisions regarding your own money.  The LEGO Group is sure to release something else that you wish to buy in the future, so don’t worry if you can’t spend all of your money at once. Now read on…]

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Conscious that I had not place a shop.LEGO.com order for some time, the LEGO Group offered this bonus gift with purchase over $120.  My will crumbled instantly.

The shop.LEGO.com promotion for October, if ordering from Australia, was the London bus set (40220).  Initially revealed around the same time of the ‘Big Ben’ Creator set, it instantly appealed to me.  Decidedly smaller than minifigure scale, it reminded me almost instantly of the sets available in my childhood.  In those days, many ‘LEGOLand’ vehicles were 4 studs wide, whether they were a go-cart, family car, a fire truck, and earthmover or a semi-trailer. This is a set that I was terribly keen to get my hands on.

And it got me thinking: What should encourage me to make a purchase from shop.LEGO.com, when many of my local major retailers regularly offer 20% purchase price? Continue reading

Halloween and the horror of overseas travel (40203: Vampire and Bat).

IMG_2110.jpgThe Rambling Brick Family recently travelled over to Europe during the recent school hollidays, and along the way we visited the LEGO Store in Paris, located at the Forum des Halles.  Now, I find it to be a difficult challenge shopping for LEGO when travelling to Europe:  It becomes a delicate balance between retail prices, Dollar to Euro conversion, easy availability of the set and on flight luggage allowances.

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Sculptures are another great part of the LEGO Store experience.

In France, there was not a lot to gain in purchasing sets at a saving by buying it locally compared to at Australian prices back home, or indeed purchasing sets online.  The prices and exchange rate just about cancelled each other out that week.  So I looked to exclusivity.  What was on the shelves at a reasonable price, that I might not be able to pick up back home?  Would I want to pick it up through shop.lego.com?

There is something to be said for the experience of visiting a LEGO brand store.  We were there in mid September 2016, and virtually every conceivable set was on display: The Disney Castle and New Death Star ( the one only slightly different to the old one) had just appeared in the stores, and were part of the instore display. The Christmas train was being unwrapped and built at the counter. As was Big Ben and just about every other set that would make an Australian AFOL cry out and bemoan the absence of such a retail experience here.  Even the Technic Porsche was on display. Continue reading

What I learned from the August Monthly build 40215: Apple

I was quite excited when a copy of 40215: Apple made its way into my hands as a special present.  It is one of the monthly mini builds that crops up at LEGO Stores as a special event: each month, a new small set, typically given away at a VIP Build event for kids.

So… I live in Australia.  Until a few years ago, we would routinely be given a link with our LEGOShop.com emails for the monthly build.  It came as a surprise to me recently to discover that rather than using pick a brick, investigating brick link, or raiding my own collection of pieces, these Monthly MiniBuilds are presented as as a polybag, containing all the instructions and pieces required. This is unknown to us Down Under: we hear of monthly mini builds, but never see them. It’s not all bad: we do get some promotional mini builds, but these are not always easy to come by.img_1742
This set is not much to look at from the outside: the polybag has the set number on the side, and on breaking it open we find around 58 parts, and an instruction sheet.  I love instruction sheets. It takes me img_1741back to my youth, when one of the exciting things with opening a new kit was in guessing how many folds will be undone to open them right out…on this occasion there are eight.

Opening the set reveals a marvellous variety of pieces: curves, bricks with studs on the side, plates with suds on the side and even some Mixel eyes. Red is the main color, but there is a little lime green, as when as white and tan/brick yellow.img_1743
It looks like we are in for some serious SNOT work. Regular readers know I am a fan of sets teaching us things, and this is one of the smallest sets I have seen to provide a great example of how to make SNOT work. SNOT, you may recall stands for ‘Studs Not On Top’: we use bricks with studs on the side to redirect studs from their primary direction, an
d then cover them up, in this case, with the 2x2x2/3 curved plates to make up the curves of the apple. Continue reading