General LEGO discussion (inc. collectible minifigs)

Chat about stuff other than Transformers.
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Warcry
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Post by Warcry » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:46 pm

Cliffjumper wrote:Mmm... bearing in mind that I only really remember the Castle stuff me and my bother had a) there didn't seem to be many small Castle sets (and the ones there were were unchanged for years... though then a lot of toys were like that at the time, or at least seemed to be) and b) were pretty uninspiring - odd little siege weapons or carts, and I seem to remember a highly unconvincing boat made of aricraft parts with flags for sails...
I think another big problem is that they try to make sure that each set nowadays is a 'battle'. Take a look at this set as an example. There's really no reason why the tower and the catapult need to be bundled together...both of them would be serviceable standalone sets in their own right. The same goes for this one (One of my favourite modern sets, actually. The fort is really nice and the siege tower is both unique and very well-designed).

In the 80s and 90s, you could get small castles like this on their own, but nowadays you're far more likely to see the things bundled together in a single box with an 'enemy' set. And while I can see the attraction (kids can buy a single set and have a battle) I think it prices Castle out of the market a bit. Lego is expensive enough as it is, and when I was a kid buying the stuff with my allowance I rarely had more than $20 or $25 to spend at any given time. If Lego made an effort to have one or two small castles in the sub-$20 range, I think it would do a lot for the line. Because like you say, Castle is about castles. Troop builder sets, civilians sets, chariots and catapults are cool, but if they're the only thing kids can afford then they're not going to get into the theme to start with.

Pirates and Space have it a bit harder, I think, because making a small Castle is a lot easier than making a small boat or starship (at least, ones that don't suck).
Cliffjumper wrote:I guess with the women it's history at work... the three main career paths were noblewoman, wench and servant, and I guess Lego have to tread the line between realism and making something suitable for kids.
Historical accuracy is cool and all, but when your kingdom is filled with dragons, orcs, wizards and the undead I think it's safe to say that it's taking a backseat to fun. Unfortunately, most little boys don't have fun playing with female characters, and between those two stumbling blocks it means that females aren't a huge priority.
Cliffjumper wrote:Mind, one of the big problems with the older stuff is the unisex Minifig heads - you want a female Men-At-Arms, you take the helmet off and slap on a hairpiece. But then you've got one silly cow who's set out to battle without a helmet for no other reason that you can tell she's a girl. The Space stuff is the same - I'm fairly sure there's no-one who's obviously female in at least the first decade of that, because everyone's got a helmet on. Town was pretty poor really for years in this respect too for years - on percentage if not the full number.
Actually I think the unisex heads are nice in that respect because at the very least, they're a lot easier to repurpose as females than modern minifig heads. They're generic, sure, but at least they don't have beards and stuff...
Cliffjumper wrote:Whereas Town especially would give one sub-theme a big 'push' a year (airport, harbour, Grand Prix, Octan) before switching to something else, which probably kept things fresher - and the same stuff seems to be working for City.
Castle's always done that to some degree. In the last four or five years we've gone from knights vs. skeletons and a necromancer to knights vs. goblins, back to the bog-standard "two teams of knights fighting", and now to a focus on civilian stuff. I think Castle has as much potential variety as Town, but because it has fewer sets per year and because some of those sets need to be the standard Castle fair, most of it stays potential.

What the difference boils down to, I think, is that where Town might have five or six 'airport' sets in their 'airport' year, Castle really only has room for one or two sets that break out of the standard mold every year. So we'll get a blacksmith and a mill one year, a siege tower another year and harbour/ship combo in a different year, but the line never seems to focus on a theme as much as I'd like it to.

On the other hand, a lot of the things that they could do with Castle end up getting explored in licensed themes like Harry Potter or Prince of Persia, and that both limits what they can do and probably contributes to Castle having so few sets per year.
Cliffjumper wrote:However, I think the hope for Castle is that it's the big collectors' theme, and judging by what you say is coming it might be that Lego are taking some note of that - quantity might not be huge, but it looks like variety is making a few strides.
Is it? I always thought Town and Star Wars were a lot bigger with collectors, although Castle does have a lot of adult fans.
Skyquake87 wrote:They've obviously taken note of how well the premium collector set 'Medieval Village' did from 2008.
That was glorious, wasn't it? Just a shame about the price...
Skyquake87 wrote:reading through amazon's reviews, its quite suprising how many adults buy and enjoy Lego. The massive technic sets contain reviews from fellas well into their 60s! Brilliant!
I think think the adult Lego fandom is a bigger than the adult Transformers fandom. If 10% of Transformers' sales comes from adult collectors (I think that's the number that gets thrown around?) then Lego is probably closer to 20%. That's just a guess, mind, and probably skewed by the sheer amount of army-building and multiple-buying that goes on. But there's no way Lego would produce so many sets that cost >$100 if they didn't have a huge adult fanbase to support it.

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ganon578
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Post by ganon578 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:28 pm

Seeing all this talk of castle sets that should be less expensive and not so much in the siege weapons/engines category (which I wholeheartedly agree with all of you), have you guys seen the Mill Village Raid which is set to release this year? I hope it's a mass-market release and not a Lego store only purchase. Either way, I'd drive the 1+ hour to the Lego outlet nearby to get it...

Now these are the types of castle/medieval sets that would be great to start getting!!!

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Warcry
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Post by Warcry » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:22 pm

It's supposed to be mass-market from what I understand. That and the blacksmith's shop they're doing are both high on my 'want' list.

I just noticed that the huge Medieval Market Village has been reduced from $150 Canadian to $135...but only in Canada and nowhere else. Still a hugely inflated pricetag compared to the $99 US cost, but less painfully so, at least. I'm tempted to pick one up now...

Between that and this year's sets, one would have the beginnings of a very nice Castle town.

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ganon578
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Post by ganon578 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:44 pm

Warcry wrote:It's supposed to be mass-market from what I understand. That and the blacksmith's shop they're doing are both high on my 'want' list.

I just noticed that the huge Medieval Market Village has been reduced from $150 Canadian to $135...but only in Canada and nowhere else. Still a hugely inflated pricetag compared to the $99 US cost, but less painfully so, at least. I'm tempted to pick one up now...

Between that and this year's sets, one would have the beginnings of a very nice Castle town.
Excellent. I'm getting all of those then. I better start saving.

On a random (or not so random) trip to TRU yesterday I picked up some blind packs and got another elf so now I don't have one lonely elf but two lonely elves, as well as a fisherman (complete with fishing pole and a green nondescript fish) which is really stinkin' cool!

And then I skipped to Target next door and scored an impulse polybag pack that contained a crossbow archer with an archery target, a small cooking fire with a chicken leg, and an apple tree. All in a little pack for $4. Score! All in all a <$10 day and 3 awesome minifigs!!!

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Cliffjumper
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Post by Cliffjumper » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:33 am

Series 4 seems to be out in the UK :) Got the surfer chick and the footballer; liking most of them so much I might keep just taking my chances on retail. Cue me ending up with half a dozen Frankenstein monsters, three garden gnomes and no Frank Sinatra musical sailors at all :(

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Denyer
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Post by Denyer » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:55 pm

Cliffjumper wrote:Well, I've just hit ebay for most of the figs I'm after... they seem to fetch about £3-5 a fig, which isn't toooo bad
Bricklink sellers (particularly overseas) don't seem to be too bad, if you look once they've had a bit of time to get into circulation but not long enough to become rare. Generally I've been going for the ones I was after by buying a few randoms from the Cradley Tesco Extra, then going online.

Not surprised the Spartan got so expensive... even without the barcodes, the ones with bulky accessories are easy to feel and pick out of a box worth.

What surprises me is that there seems to be a market for supposedly blind-choice sealed bags on eBay. It's very unlikely the sellers have left any of the more sought-after figures in the picks.
Warcry wrote:I'd love to scoop up a dozen or so random female minifigures and snag the hair for female peasants and nobles.
Bricklink, seriously.

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Cliffjumper
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Post by Cliffjumper » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:27 pm

Unless the City minifigs have really started to circulate on the parts market, Bricklink was a pain for female hair - the long-serving centre-parting and the 1990s pony tail were fairly common (but results in a town of clones), the old-style bunches were surprisingly pricey and there wasn't much else actually out there (as an aside, if anyone wants to see something terrifying for pricing of old minifig parts, have a look at how much the stickered torso parts for the very first batch of Town minifigs fetch...) and until the franchise stuff there weren't many more avaliable. On the plus side, subtle female heads seem to be a lot more common, which stops the old problem of anyone in a hat being a bloke (though they do usually end up looking like a stereotypical lesbian).

The problem I have is still finding somewhere nearby that stocks the things (having got into considerable trouble trying to order them in at work), so I probably will hit ebay a bit at some point, but as I say I'm potentially less worried due to this series being very Town-centric (and even involving a fair few figures I wouldn't be gutted at doubling up with). Definitely need half a dozen sailors, even if they are more New York, New York than Royal Navy.

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Warcry
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Post by Warcry » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:29 pm

Denyer wrote:Bricklink, seriously.
Like Cliffy I've never had much luck finding anything other than the two basic female hair sculpts -- which ironically look fairly androgynous in a medieval setting, actually. Then again, I haven't looked in ages and there's been a lot more intricate and/or 'girly' hairpieces coming out lately, a lot of them from the licensed themes. Of course, if I buy those I have to deal with the women having flesh-toned skin instead of the healthy yellow glow the rest of the village sports, forcing me to search out new heads and continuing the vicious cycle...

I'll never, ever understand why they did that.
Cliffjumper wrote:The problem I have is still finding somewhere nearby that stocks the things (having got into considerable trouble trying to order them in at work)
Just out of curiosity...do you actually sell LEGO there or were you just going to buy the whole case yourself?

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Denyer
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Post by Denyer » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:51 am

Warcry wrote:Of course, if I buy those I have to deal with the women having flesh-toned skin instead of the healthy yellow glow the rest of the village sports,
You generally don't have to buy figures, just the hair; eg,

Mid-length, braided
http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=59363

Mid-length, draped
http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=85974

Long, ponytail
http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=62696

Bob
http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=62711

They've all been used in about ten or twenty sets, so they're quite common.

(Some of the details may not show up until you're signed in so it can place you in relation to sellers who ship to you.)

If you are after whole figures, there's a small gotcha in the way categories are laid out. The collectible minifigs started off being organised as minifigs, but since about series 3 they've been classed as sets. Stock of the first few series can thus show up in either category.

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Post by tahukanuva » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:05 am

If I weren't already convinced, this thread has definitely proven that Denyer knows everything better than everyone else.

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Denyer
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Post by Denyer » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:21 pm

As a follow-up to my still-not-quite-finished-to-satisfaction Space Marines dreadnought riffing on Jerac's* I've been half-arsedly planning some TOS-era Trek pieces, and only gotten as far as the crew; thirty or so figs, mostly classic space torsos with various heads/accs to give them some variety and not make the crew all humans.

eg, This torso from Toy Story + suitably coloured hands/legs + face with smirk + bob hair makes for a passable Romulan guard IMO.

Good site once you get used to it.

*Ooo, synchronicity... the guy's just posted a rather lovely Enterprise-A as well.

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Warcry
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Post by Warcry » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:48 pm

Denyer wrote:You generally don't have to buy figures, just the hair; eg,

...
They've all been used in about ten or twenty sets, so they're quite common.
Sweet. They're actually a lot more common than when I looked a couple years ago. It also looks like the pick-a-brick on Lego's website has better prices on a lot of the hairpieces as well, although they don't have the greatest selection. I'm going to get the chance to check out a Lego Store when I'm in Minneapolis this summer though...I'll have to see what they've got in stock there.

Also, while I was clicking through the sets that have those hairpieces I found this. I'm very tempted to try to track this down as well, since it's got so many unique old-timey female minifigs. A touch pricey, but tracking down the individual figs is even pricier by the looks of it.
Denyer wrote:I've been half-arsedly planning some TOS-era Trek pieces, and only gotten as far as the crew; thirty or so figs, mostly classic space torsos with various heads/accs to give them some variety and not make the crew all humans.
Any pics, by chance? I did that once when I was a kid -- ended up building minifig-scale bridge and engineering sets too -- but that was ages ago and everything's been long-since disassembled.

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Post by Denyer » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:06 pm

Excuse the bloody awful photography...

Command, a couple of random Series 1 astronauts, and Medical
Image

Engineers
Image

Security... the 'Borg' head shouldn't be in there, at least not yet
Image

Random villain, and Romulans
Image

Science
Image

All quite keep-it-simple, and trying not to just recreate existing characters.

edit:

Anyone looking for actual TOS characters might like;

http://www.saber-scorpion.com/lego/star ... schars.php
http://www.customminifig.co.uk/captain- ... o-minifig/
http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/45682

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Cliffjumper
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Post by Cliffjumper » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:34 pm

Yellow spacemen always look like mad nudists :(

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Post by ganon578 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:14 pm

Series 4 is out around here at TRU. I was feeling around in packs to find something interesting, but my daughter decided she was done with stores for the day. Plus there isn't anything really interesting in series 4. I liked the Mad Scientist but couldn't find him. The other options were a garden gnome (also which I couldn't find) or a viking (though I have about a dozen of these guys). I think I'll just wait for Series 5 so I can stock up on dwarves!!!

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Post by Cliffjumper » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:22 pm

Got the sailor, the ice-skater, the chemical containment guy and the hockey player. Great stuff, especially the sailor's little telescope, the raw anger on the face of the hockey player and the chemical guy's look of sheer terror.

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Warcry
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Post by Warcry » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:29 pm

Cliffjumper wrote:the raw anger on the face of the hockey player
He's pissed off that they gave him a football helmet!

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Post by Cliffjumper » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:57 pm

Footballers don't wear helmets.

Except Petr Cech.

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Post by Warcry » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:37 pm

No, no, not the dreadfully boring sport your kind watch. I meant the dreadfully boring sport that rednecks watch.

...

No, not NASCAR. The other one.

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Post by Rack 'n Ruin » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:39 pm

Warcry wrote:No, no, not the dreadfully boring sport your kind watch. I meant the dreadfully boring sport that rednecks watch.

...

No, not NASCAR. The other one.
Raccoon baiting?
Wreck and Rule!

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