Quite a big mail day today: Imperial Flagship, Emerald Night, 2 of the Red Cargo Trains, Holiday Sets #1 and #2, plus two pick-a-brick boxes:
As my last post indicated, I’ve been on something of a buying spree recently, with so many great LEGO sales. Last night, I was unable to even make a purchase with a 40% off coupon from YoYo.com because I was so used to the 50% off sale at Barnes & Noble! In the end, I didn’t make a purchase, deciding to wait for sets I really wanted, instead of just buying SOMETHING because it was on sale.
But I wanted to remind myself: BUILD, don’t just buy. That the enjoyment of this hobby is to not just find great deals and talk about them in LEGO forums, but to experience the building process. Yesterday, I finished Medieval Market Village. Incredible set! Today, I am starting the Millenium Falcon:
I have a backlog of sets to build, too many to even list. But one by one, I will get through them. Happy building!
Well, it’s been a long day of buying LEGO, so I thought I would recap the best sales I found, and what I ended up with. Surprisingly, Barnes & Noble had the best sale for LEGO: 50% off any LEGO set. They limited it to one item per transaction, but the stores I went to were very nice about letting you get back in line. They also had a pretty good selection, as you will see below. Second was the LEGO Store sale: 25% off select items, plus a 10% discount on top of that, the free Christmas set, free shipping and of course, VIP points. After all was said and done, this is what I ended up with from today:
- Star Wars Republic Dropship with AT-OT Walker ($180.75 from LEGO Store)
- Imperial Flagship ($130 from LEGO Store)
- Public Transport ($72.23 from LEGO Store)
- 2 Republic Frigates ($57.78 each from B&N)
- Queen Anne’s Revenge ($57.78 from B&N)
- Alien Conquest Earth Defense HQ ($43.33 from B&N)
- City of Atlantis ($33.70 from B&N)
- Harry Potter Hogwarts ($24.07 from B&N)
- Harry Potter The Knight Bus ($16.85 from B&N)
It should be mentioned, I had picked up two sets from B&N earlier in the week at 47% off: Republic Frigate and Ninjago Fire Temple. Oh, and two Red Cargo Trains from Toys R Us for $91 each. And… the Toys R Us Truck for a crazy price of $12 and change.
Hopefully, the next few weeks will be quiet, culminating in the LEGO Store day after Christmas sale with lots of stuff at 50% off. I assume that most of their sale items from Black Friday will be the same sale items that day.
What tends to happen is that there is just sale after amazing sale this time of year, and then months of inactivity as stores put nothing on sale, or very very small sales. That is how I justify this spending anyhow! 🙂
Onto the photos, which include two Barnes & Nobles and the LEGO Store. There is an interesting story to the very last photo:
The first Barnes & Noble store I went to. Around 9am, there was a full stock of LEGO and no line:
Two Queen Anne’s Revenges still on the shelf:
Other LEGO swag:
LEGO City and Creator:
Ninjago. Later in the day, the City of Atlatis sets appeared here, I think from another display elsewhere in the store.
Technic and Hero Factory. At the end of the day, this display was untouched. If it doesn’t move at 50% off, when will it move?
Half of the Star Wars display. They had 4 Republic Frigates in the morning:
More Star Wars:
This display of Alien Conquest was almost completely untouched by the end of the day. Bad location, away from other LEGO.
Moving on to photos from the second Barnes & Noble. This store had Apple Tree House and the Light House. I considered each, but ended up passing:
The Star Wars and Ninjago displays. They had two Republic Frigates in stock that aren’t in the photos:
Pharaoh’s Quest, Kingdoms, and even a Battle of Almut:
Technic and Hero Factory:
I had to hunt around the store to find their Alien Conquest display:
Some LEGO Cars merchandise that was hidden on the floor:
And their LEGO Harry Potter stuff was REALLY hidden, it took awhile to find this:
Okay, moving onto our final stop: the LEGO Store. I got there in the middle of the day, around 2:30. A clerk mentioned that they ran out of scratch off cards at 9:30am, that they had received a third of the amount as they did last year:
They were sold out of Emerald Night and Imperial Flagship, but had most of the other sale items in stock. They said they had a ton of Republic Dropships in the back:
The new City Police sets:
Then there were these two guys building a huge pile of LEGO by the counter. They had a big pile of train tracks, and then a bunch of Tantive IV’s and grabbed some other Star Wars sets by the handful. They were chummy with the manager, who was talking to them about what other items they wanted in bulk. I asked if they had a 50% off coupon, and they said no, that they simply like to buy in bulk. They said they weren’t dealers either, they don’t resell. That’s a lot of VIP points!
Well, all in all, a lot of great deals.
There is a pretty amazing 40% off coupon that Barnes & Noble shared, so it got me to check out their LEGO section. Unlike Borders, who had a very limited selection, and a considerable 20-30% markup, the LEGO section at Barnes & Noble was pretty extensive, and everything was regular MSRP. I ended up purchasing Queen Anne’s Revenge, coming to a total of about $70, about 43% off.
Below are photos of just SOME of their LEGO sets. They also had a Harry Potter display elsewhere, a Pharaoh’s Quest Display, as well as others that I didn’t capture in photos.
I bumped into a nice sale at Toys R Us, and also found some of the 2012 sets on the shelves. Here we see the Dino series:
A closer look:
I believe these are new Ninjago sets:
Even though this was the last day of the sale, I was surprised to see the Red Cargo Train on sale for 25% off. Usually, you don’t get a discount this good on a set like this unless you go for the Buy One Get One 50% Off sales. I picked up one of these!
Some of the 2012 City sets were also in stock:
A look down the LEGO aisle:
Another really good deal on the Toys R Us exclusive truck. Now, they keep jacking up the price (I think it was once $35), but $25 for this set is still a really good deal. I picked up one of these as well.
Another 2012 City set:
Not a bad price for Battle of Endor.
Yet another 2012 City set. They seem to be adding that new dog into lots of new sets:
I don’t remember seeing this in the past: a free LEGO catalog:
It was a surprise to walk into my local Target yesterday and find a whole bin of the elusive Kingdoms Target Practice set #30062. They were in the Christmas section. For months, it was hard for most people to find these, but Target recently clearanced out most of their polybags, and I suppose these cam in as stocking stuffers:
They also had two bins of the Harry Potter polybag 301111:
I’ve been quiet on the blog recently because I have been cheating on LEGO. I recently took an interesting in Gundam models, something I had always been curious about, and rediscovered via reviews on YouTube. I watch a lot of toy reviews on that site, but was really engaged by the Gundam reviews by rrobbert184.
Curiosity got the better of me, so I purchased a Gundam model to see what it was like, and how this building experience differed from the LEGO building experience. Let’s take a look:
The only tools you need are a Gundam model kit, a pair of nippers, and maybe a craft knife. The nippers are specially made for plastic, and cost quite a bit: $34. The model kit is the recently released Gundam AGE-1 Normal.
Inside the box you find that the pieces are all modeled plastic still attached to the “trees.” So the nippers are to detach them with care.
Here are all the parts laid out. Gundam models come in several different grades.
- Advanced Grade: despite it’s name, these are very basic models that are easy to put together by young kids.
- High Grade: the kit I bought is a High Grade model. They create a fully articulated action figure about 5 inches tall. These generally cost between $17-25 dollars.
- Master Grade: these are slighly larger figured, consisting of a lot more pieces and detail. These generally run $45-75, with most falling in the $50 range.
- Perfect Grade: these are much larger figures consisting of thousands of pieces.
For the bigger kits, you actually construct the inner frame of the figure, and then add the exterior panels on afterwards.
The instructions are all in Japanese, but easy to follow visually.
I thought this was funny: “For use in Japan only.”
Here is an example of how the pieces come together as you follow the instructions:
The torso begins to take shape:
Much like LEGO, there are stickers included in the kits. Some people spend endless hours custom painting their Gundam. But for casual builders, the stickers offer key pieces of detail to the model:
Here you can see the eye decals applied:
The completed model. It is extremely posable:
And here he is hanging out on a LEGO street.
Overall, it was a quick and enjoyable build. I didn’t obsess too much about cleaning up the pieces with the craft knife too much, I will spend more time on the next build.
Bandai produces these kits, and releases several new kits a month, in varying grades. I’ve mapped out one kit per month from now to April that are being released that I may pick up. I’m going to move up to “Master Grade” next, more on that in a future post.
The end result is very different from LEGO in it’s detail. The posability makes the figure a lot of fun to fiddle with on my desk as I work. Clearly though, it doesn’t have the re-playability that LEGO has. You can’t take him apart and make some brand new creation as you can with regular LEGO bricks.
As far as the Gundam hobby goes, I was surprised to find that there doesn’t seem to be a huge aftermarket for “retired” kits.” Bandai seems to make a particular model for years and years. The newer models are more advanced than those from 5-10 years ago, so there is a benefit in just picking up more recent releases.
Not sure if this will be a long-term hobby for me, or just a passing fad. It’s fun to explore the culture around these models, and I have even been checking out the cartoon series that these characters are based upon.
Stay tuned for more!