Showing posts with label LEGO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LEGO. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pick A Brick Tips: The Bottom

Watch our latest YouTube video to find out the best way to fill the bottom gap in the small Pick A Brick cup from the LEGO Store.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Brick Buyer’s Guide Volume IV: Brand Retail

The Official LEGO Store is the place to go for the literal Holy Grail of LEGO, the Pick-A-Brick Wall. If you have not heard of this amazing offer, you just fell off the turnip truck. As many of you remember, there used to be a deal that was absolutely so unimaginable words just can’t describe it. It was simply known as ‘The Brick Grab Bag’. This was a bag filled with random pieces from busted sets, pick a brick clean ups, and LEGO table paraphernalia. Yeah, they were sometimes a little dirty, nothing a run through the dishwasher couldn’t fix, but that fact was easily over looked when you saw the price: $7.99. This was basically the same price as a small pick a brick cup, put you got on average two to three times as many bricks for the same price.

It was the only reason I would go to the LEGO store, except for the pick a brick wall. Sadly, in September 2012, the Grab Bag was pulled from the market. Rumor has it that there was a complaint, LEGO got scared, and the product ceased to exist. I won’t speculate on the exact cause of the action, but I will say I am extremely disappointed with LEGO’s decision and am saddened at their action. Obviously they have to protect themselves, but the grab bag was obviously a money maker, otherwise it wouldn’t have been sold. I can’t wait until there is a replacement of similar value for this product.
Now, about the Pick-A-Brick Cup: This is what really separates the official LEGO Brand Retail stores apart from other big box or toy stores. For those of you who are not familiar with this amazing deal, the store offers two different sizes of plastic cups that you can fill with any pieces available on their pick a brick wall. This is basically a large wall, usually at the back of the store, with large bins filled with all different kinds of pieces. Most of the pieces are pretty basic, but sometimes you can run across some gems, such as foliage. The stock is constantly rotating and no two pick a brick walls are alike. This makes going to the LEGO store a real adventure. The small size cup is about 16 ounces and retails for $7.99 and the large cup is about 32 ounces and retails for $14.99. You can usually get 25 cents off a small cup and 50 cents off a large if you reuse the cups, but getting new ones every time is a better deal since they are very sturdy and make great storage containers.

There have been many studies done on to which is a better deal. See our study here: The short answer is that the smaller one is a better deal, if only slightly. Unless you need those 1x16 beams for your Stark Tower, stick to the small cups. With time and patience, it is possible to get an astonishing number of bricks in the cups. I was able to get 432 pieces in a small cup, and no, it wasn’t all crack filler (1x1 rounds). The cup was so heavy; it felt like I was holding a brick of lead. Well, not that heavy, but it was still pretty heavy. It took me a half an hour to fill, but it was worth it. If I had more time, I would have filled four of them, but alas, I was not the only member of my shopping party. If you need one tip to follow, avoid 2x4 bricks. I have shopped at many LEGO stores, and some like to fill their walls with mainly 2x4’s. You can at most fit 164 of these in a small cup. Basically, they are only good for large sculptures and are basically a waste of space. The Mall of America store in Minnesota seems to be a frequent contributor of this action. As I said before, all stores have a different selection, so try and get as many bricks as possible in your cup. Stacking certainly helps, but the bricks are no longer considered new, so this may not be feasible if you are planning on flipping the bricks, a potential gold mine.

The LEGO store will occasionally have other deals at 20% or 50% off MSRP. Black Friday and the end of January are examples of these occasions. It also stocks some exclusive items such as key chains and polybags. The main reason for shopping at the LEGO store is the experience. No LEGO fan will ever forget their first experience in a Brand Store. I personally have no complaints about these retail stores. I have been to four different stores across the country and have never run into a disgruntled ‘brick specialist’, as its employees are called. True, they are not in every state, but their saturation is growing quite rapidly with about 4 stores opening across the country each year. So get to one whenever you can; you will rarely be disappointed.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Brick Buyer’s Guide Volume III: The Big 5

Amazon - As said before, I absolutely love Amazon. They seem to have the lowest prices among all online retailers, except on a few LEGO exclusives. I have also found that they match other retailer’s online prices, such as Target, within 24 hours. The fact that they throw in free shipping over $35 makes them my preferred online retailer. After all, I never spend less than $40 at a time on LEGO so I usually get free shipping from Amazon.

Target - Target’s online store isn’t quite as nice as Amazon’s and can sometime be frustrating to navigate at peak travel times. I just don’t like the ease of use. Unless they offer free shipping, I rarely shop here. Besides that, my items have always arrived in great condition. There ship to store works great except for their disclaimers. I once got 79109 Colby City Showdown for $31.99 online and chose in store pick up. The next day I get an email saying I have to pick it up by the end of the day. The order slip said I had until the end of the week, so I wasn’t happy about that. Anyway, I ended up getting to my local store in time and I got the set. It was in perfect condition except for TWO stickers, one being a security seal? Anyway, I got them off fine and the box is in perfect condition.

Wal-Mart – Wal-Mart online is hit or miss with many sets. I have heard so many bad things about their shipping service concerning damaged boxes, so I always choose site to store. The shipping ends up being free and I get the item undamaged. I haven’t used this service regularly, so I can’t say how often items get damaged in transit. They rarely have many deals online but do stock a few exclusives.

ToysRUs – ToysRUs is one of the largest toy retailers in the United States. This may seem like the ideal place to shop for LEGO, a toy store. However, everything is never as it seems. ToysRUs will usually mark up almost all LEGO sets about 20% above MSRP. Due to this fact, they are usually not the primer choice when brick shopping. They will, however, run interesting specials that actually make the LEGO a good deal. Examples include spend $75 get $20 off or BOGO 50% off all sets. The main strategy with this e-tailer is to make sure you can get your purchase for below MSRP at the very least.

Shop@Home - Finally, we have Shop@Home, the official LEGO online shop. For obvious reasons discussed above, I tend not to shop too much at Shop@Home. The only items I get are exclusives like CUUSOO items that are the same price everywhere else and power functions that aren’t sold officially anywhere else. I always make sure I order more than $75 worth to get free shipping and usually wait until a month with a free offer such as an exclusive polybag. I got a kick out of the September 2013 VW Camper Van polybag. In addition, VIP points are only redeemable here. LEGOLAND offers a flat 10% discount just for mentioning the program since they are owned 70% by Merlin Entertainments Group. This helps offset the cost of full priced sets. The only thing that drives me up the wall is when I order 16 Collectible Minifigures for $47.84 and only get 32 VIP points. $2.99 = 2 points: See my point?

Our next installment will discuss in store shopping at The LEGO Store.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Brick Buyer’s Guide Volume I: The Essentials


How to get the best deal possible on LEGO; it has long been the pinnacle of questions every LEGO fan asks his or her self. Do I buy for investment purposes, resale value, or personal preference? Do I buy before it’s out of stock or do I pull an all-nighter on eBay? Well, I personally try to do a little bit of everything to get the best deal possible. By varying my purchasing habits across themes and always looking for deals, I end up being a pretty happy LEGO fan.

What you need: 

* Credit Card – This basically is the only way to go if you plan on purchasing online, which you will be doing. The only problem is you have to be 18, at least in the states. If you’re under 18, ask your parents if you can use theirs with the promise you can pay them by cash or check.

* VIP Card – This is the official LEGO rewards program. Every $100 USD you spend, you get a $5 store credit. This basically works out to a 5% discount if you use it regularly. Occasionally there are even double and triple VIP points during special events. LEGO also offers many other perks to VIP members. So get one. It’s free and there’s no reason not to.

* A solid job – As you will quickly find, LEGO is expensive. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you don’t have a significant nest egg ear marked for LEGO, you can quickly find yourself in debt and therefore in trouble. If purchasing with a credit card, now your limit and set a budget. Taking these precautions will ensure a successful trip through the LEGO retail world.

* Vigilance and Time – Finding LEGO for 50% off or more is not an easy task. It takes time and patience to find these deals hidden in the bowels of the internet. This might mean staying up all night to place the final bid in EBAY. The bottom line is that if you are committed to this job, you will succeed. If you fail to remain committed throughout the entire process, you will be unsuccessful in your endeavors.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Brick Buyer's Guide

This new series will help you become the best LEGO shopper possible. Learn the tips and tricks all LEGO buyers should know to make the most of your shopping excursions. Find out some of our favorite retailers and e-tailers to shop with. You will hear a few of the mistakes we have made and how to avoid them. We will focus on both in store and online shopping so you will have plenty of choices. Check back for a new edition on every other Friday starting on March 21, 2014. Reading this series will keep you enlightened and informed about all aspects of LEGO buying. Stay tuned for more awesome series in the future!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pick-A-Brick Vol. 1


It has long been a debate over which LEGO® Store Pick-A-Brick cup gets you more bang for your buck. I decided to take things to a relatively scientific level and really find out which is a better deal. In the United States, a small pick a brick cup runs at $7.99 and a large pick a brick cup goes for $14.99. Just by glancing, it may be hard to see an actual difference. To conduct my experiment, I will use the most useful substance, water. Studies have been done with 1x1 flat, round bricks, but water is much more reliable. Since the cups are made of plastic, water will not damage the interior. To start, I filled the small cup with water. Then, I dumped the water into a measuring cup and recorded the volume. I repeated the process for the large cup. I rounded the volume to the nearest readable ounce mark. After that, I divided by the price of each cup. Therefore, my formula becomes: opd = V/I

opd = the number of ounces per USD.
V = the volume of the cup in ounces.
I = the initial price.

To find the price per ounce, I divided 1 by the ounces per dollar.  $ = 1/opd

My findings are shown below:

Volume (ounces)
Ounces Per Dollar
Dollars Per Ounce

And the winner is…

The large cup! You save about three cents per ounce.
But Wait! We did not include the size of the lids. Most LEGO stores allow a Pick-A-Brick cup to be bought if at least one side of the lid is touching the cup. Therefore, we can basically just set the lid on the cup and our volumes will change. The lids are the same for each cup, an important attribute, and the each have a volume of 5 1/3 ounces. When this is factored in, our results change:

Volume (ounces)
Ounces Per Dollar
Dollars Per Ounce
22 1/3
39 1/3

The odds are now in the small cups favor! There is another way to maximize your savings. Most stores offer a 25 cent discount with a reused small cup and a 50 cent discount with a reused large cup. It is, however, a better deal to get new cups every time you visit. They make great storage containers and look great in your collection. So, the verdict is... The Small Cup! Unless you need 1x16 beams, the small cup is the way to go. So take this advice, always buy the small cup and you will end up saving mucho dinero!

LEGO Octan Semi Tractor Trailer

I have finally completed my rendition of 3180 Tanker Truck. The Tractor was completely remodel to include a desk behind the cab. The design was also improved to reflect the look of semi's outside the United States. I am very fond of the design of a flat 'nose', so I knew I had to incorporate it into my current design. The vehicle is of course an Octan fuel carrier, LEGO's imaginary fuel brand. The trailer has gone through a few minor changes. I added a hitch at the back to allow multiple trailers to be towed at one time. I also removed the mess of parts that served as the hose carrier and storage space. This made the trailer look more realistic, an attribute I am always looking for in LEGO models. I would like to made the trailer about 25% longer, but I need two more of the round compartments to accomplish this goal. Right now, the tractor is almost as long as the trailer.

I realize there are a few color discrepancies, but my collection is not perfect. Over all, I am very pleased with the look and function of the new rig. The model is quite simple to make as long as you have 3180 Tanker Truck and a few more parts from your collection of loose bricks. I am happy with this model and it will not be changing any time soon.

Monday, March 11, 2013

9469 Gandalf Arrives

9469 Gandalf arrives is the smallest of The Lord of the Rings boxed sets and is based on the opening scene from The Fellowship of the Ring. It contains 83 pieces and is priced at $12.99 USD. I got mine at an after Christmas sale for $10.31. This 20% savings was what hooked me into purchasing this set. The box contains two bags and a new LEGO horse with moveable back hips.
The set contains two minifigures, Gandalf the Grey and Frodo. The build itself is surprisingly interesting for such a small set. The sides of the wagon in particular look incredible. It functions quite well and stays true to the movie. Within the wagon is a letter addressed to Merry, a carrot, and three fireworks, one of which looks suspiciously like a snake.
When seated in the front of the wagon, Gandalf does not fit comfortably with his cape on. I would suggest removing the cape before seating him to minimize creasing on the cape. Another thing I would have like to see is the point where the wagon and horse connect should turn. It isn’t very realistic when playing to have no points of motion besides the wheels. There also aren’t any reigns for Gandalf to control his wagon with. He must have a trusting horse! Besides these few flaws, the set is truly a great buy and packs a lot of detail into such a small space. All of my future reviews will rate the set based on studs. Zero is the worst while five is the best. This set rates as follows:
Building Experience

Thursday, March 7, 2013

An Analysis of LEGO® Themes

Browsing through the LEGO® Shop at Home website on a regular basis will reveal many different play themes. Some stay around for years while some are online for only one year. At BRICKCREATOR, we have devised several categories in which themes fit.

Original Themes: These are themes that are based on The LEGO® Group's own trademarks and properties. There is no licensing involved with any of these themes. They are some of The LEGO Group's best selling themes.

Licensed Themes: Themes in this category require licenses from third party providers and are generally based around movies. They are some of The LEGO Group's best sellers and receive a fair amount of press coverage.

Themes can further be divided into these categories:

One Wave Themes: These are themes that only have one wave of sets and generally receive little marketing. While they usually contain some interesting sets, they are not the most popular of LEGO® themes.

Major Muli-Wave Themes: These are original themes that receive a moderate amount of press coverage and marketing. They generally go on for several years before they are discontinued. Themes can become Core themes after spending time in this section for a while.

Core Themes: These themes have been around for years and we know they will be around for years to come. These are some of the top selling themes and are loved by fans around the world.

Back Again Themes: These themes are usually licensed themes that are either released periodically with gaps in between releases or are absent for several years before reappearing.

If around long enough, themes may end up being in several categories.

Original Themes
·         One Wave
Monster Fighters
Pharaoh’s Quest
·         Major Muli-Wave
Galaxy Squad
·         Core
Collectable Minifigures
Hero Factory


Licensed Themes
·         One Wave
Prince of Persia
·         Major Muli-Wave
Indiana Jones
Lord of the Rings
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Toy Story
·         Core
Star Wars
·         Back Again
Harry Potter
DC Super Heroes
Marvel Super Heroes
SpongeBob Squarepants

Friday, March 9, 2012

LEGO® Modular Apple Store

Idea Image

Throught the LEGO® project site, CUUSOO, gotoandbuild created this awesome representation of an official Apple store. It includes awesome details like a trash can, (my favorite), an iPhone, an iMac, and an iPad. There is even a Steve Jobs minifigure. The set includes about 800 pieces and is in a modular building style. The project must reach 10,000 supporters before it becomes an official set. The count currently stands at 4,856. If you want this set to become a reality, all you have to do is vote! Click here to support. Lets help this idea become the 5th LEGO® CUUSOO set. Come over and show your support!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

LEGO® Flat Bed Truck

As you may notice, this flatbed truck looks a lot like a CITY set from a few years ago. The chasis and cab are no different from 7991 Recycle Truck, shown below. Althought somewhat of a crude model, this is one of my favorite LEGO CITY sets ever released. Orange is my favorite color, so this model really stood out. I cam in possession of two Recycle trucks and arrived at the conclusion that I should redesign one of them into something different. No sooner had I arrived with my design for my new Flat Bed Truck, then The LEGO Group comes out with their own version, 60017, which is not currently in my possession. 7991 Recycle Truck is older, so some of the stickers are starting to peel. Other than that, my new Flat Bed Truck turned out very well when compared to the new 60017.



I stared my simply removing the entire  recycling compartment from the original model.

Next, I added my own flat bed made out of pieces from the original recycling compartment.

As seen below, the new model works great for carrying small CITY cars and other equiptment. It can smoothly slide down to allow the cargo to be loaded. The axels allow for a seamless integration of new and old models.