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Question about Pick-A-Brick walls

I know there are lots of discussions about maximizing the number of bricks in a cup, large vs. small cups, etc. But I haven't found any answers to the following question, which I would appreciate:

Assuming no specific building needs (e.g. building a castle, building a race car, etc.) and no use of other online brick picking services, what parts are the most advantageous to get via the PAB walls? By advantageous, I mean: uncommon, useful for multiple building purposes, hard to get in normal sets and unique colours.



  • Zeldafanatic15Zeldafanatic15 Member Posts: 106
    I'm no expert in the slightest, but purple and any pastel colors, such as from the Friend's sets, are always uncommon for me to see. My wife and I had two PAB boxes from Christmas that we waited a while to use because we would always check out the wall when we were in the store to see if they had anything we usually don't see or any pieces we liked. Those were the first ones that popped to mind.
  • meyerc13meyerc13 Member Posts: 227
    I think that's really a matter of personal preferrence, depending on what you build. I've definitely gone through phases:

    -Plates - when I started building my collection I didn't have enough

    -Wheels, tires, windshields - I like City, so I can never have enough of these

    -Doors and windows - again, who can have enough of these?

    -Small 1x1 and 1x2 special pieces - think plates and bricks with clips, grill pates, etc. This stuff can be filler in a cup and is useful for detail work.

    -1x bricks in rare colors - First it was grays and browns, then 'AFOL' colors like light blue, dark green, maroon, pink (probably not the official color names).

    Also, whenever I see something I haven't seen before I grab a handful. Cabinets, treasure chests, 1x16 white bricks, 6x16 plates (grabbed a cup of these), fences (another cup of these), horses...

    Basically I ignore any 2x2, 2x3, or 2x4 bricks unless I have a specifc and immediate use in mind. I also ignore the 'staples' of the wall, the pieces that are always there - like 1x1 trans red tiles and 1x1 round orange plates. I have so many of those stocked up that they are overflowing the area in my storage system that I dedicate to those parts.

    Does this help? I suspect most of us go through phases like this, but over time you'll start to know what's new and unusual and what you're likely to see again and again on the wall. Plus, know what you have! Several times I saw trans orange cheese slopes and grabbed a bunch thinking what a cool piece it is, forgetting that I did the same last time I was at the store. Now I have more than enough to last me for years. So keep an inventory of the parts you don't want to buy so that you don't keep buying them when you see them.
  • sdetskysdetsky Member Posts: 35
    meyerc13 said:

    Does this help? I suspect most of us go through phases like this, but over time you'll start to know what's new and unusual and what you're likely to see again and again on the wall. Plus, know what you have! Several times I saw trans orange cheese slopes and grabbed a bunch thinking what a cool piece it is, forgetting that I did the same last time I was at the store. Now I have more than enough to last me for years. So keep an inventory of the parts you don't want to buy so that you don't keep buying them when you see them.

    Thanks for the help. Specifically with respect to the quote above, what do you find the best way to keep an inventory of your parts? Beyond just physically separating them, it would be ideal to have a list that is useful for rebrickable and other sites with building instructions.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    ^ What a great summary.

    My only differences are that I don't do vehicle parts unless my daughter asks, except for the medium wheel interiors that my husband uses for space ships.

    I find that I can't have too many plants, they're usually on the wall but I always need more.

    I would add SNOT bricks, patterned 1x2s and 1x1 and 1x2 translucent plates for stained glass or micro built windows. Those are things I'm excited to see anyhow.

    Do you know about iPAB on People will post the contents of PAB walls. In case you've got several to choose from.
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    ^ on that subject I uploaded Stratford to brickbuildr today.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    @leemcg good for you. It really wasn't possible to do Paris on Saturday but I kept Nashville updated monthly till I left. Until the Nashville store opened we'd use iPAB to decide between Cincinnati, Atlanta, Birmingham and Indianapolis.
  • meyerc13meyerc13 Member Posts: 227
    edited April 2013
    I'm afraid I don't have a complete inventory, just a small list of parts I try to remind myself not to buy.

    I have to second Jenni on SNOT bricks - but I've never seen them on the walls at the stores I've visited. If I ever see SNOT bricks, I'll probably buy two cups full!

    Also, iPAB would be great if it was kept up-to-date. But it takes a dedicated local person (Thanks to the two above, even though I'll never visit their stores!) or store employee. The closest LEGO stores to me are 100 miles and 300 miles, so I don't visit often enough to take on the task.

    Oh! One more thing, if you don't see something you need, ask. I've seen several stores pull boxes of parts out of the back when asked, most will do it if they aren't too busy and have the time.
  • jasorjasor Member Posts: 839
    @Jenni and @meyerc13 --- well said! i never knew about iPAB or asking about specific parts. that's AWESOME advice.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    @meyerc13 I found SNOT on Saturday! It's traffic light bricks, 5 studs on a 1x1 so not that useful for buildings but I bought dozens anyhow, who knows when they'll be available again?

    I second the asking too, in Indianapolis they keep the extra boxes in the storage area hallway and happily invited me back after chatting for a while one day. That's the first time I got horses :). In Paris they had pulled out the boxes of 1x2 light bley brick print bricks, 1x2 dark bley log bricks and palm leaves because they knew all the FreeLUG people were coming.

    I don't inventory my parts but I have a rough mental list so that if I'm looking at rebrickable and know I have something on the needed list I can add it then. I don't know how many bricks I've bought loose but if rebrickable says I need 100 trans clear 1x1 plates I know I'm good and add them then. It does help to have a sorting methodology that allows you to fairly easily see what you have.
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    @Jenni - they had those in the UK stores a week or two ago (in black I presume - I think there is a single list to order from), but they all went very quickly, as did the brick bricks and 2x2 jumpers.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    ^ 2x2 jumpers?! I forgot to add I always buy 4x4 plates for my husband who wants to expand Heroica but you need those too and I don't ever find them.

    I hadn't been in a store since February, I wonder if the US list is different to the Europe list or if Nashville is now getting all the lovely bricks that I found in Paris. I should check iPAB :).
  • bmwlegobmwlego Member Posts: 819
    I've used ipab over at in the past and have updated several stores in New York, most recently the Elmhurst, Queens LEGO Store. However-like mentioned previously in this thread-updating this data base is done on a volunteer basis by fans so many times it is out of date.
    In terms of knowing what I have from PaB walls I kept a book with my cup contents each time I'd fill a cup. This has gotten out of hand over the last year or so and I have stopped doing this because of how often I acquire cups.

    Must haves for me include:
    trans bricks clear or smoke
    harder to find 1x brick and plate
    snot bricks
    1x1 plates non trans
    anything odd or unusual (containers come to mind)
  • paul_mertonpaul_merton Member Posts: 2,967
    The nice thing about 2x2 jumpers is that you know you can afford to stack them efficiently without them being a pain to separate later on!
  • jasorjasor Member Posts: 839
    last trip i made to a store (i've got 3 about 250 mi away that i frequent), I grabbed 6x16 bley plates, ladders, 1x2 assorted specialty plates/hinges, plants plants plants, and fence pieces.

    I try and stay away from the 2x N bricks unless they are longer or have a specific need
  • brickedinbrickedin Member Posts: 564
    ^likewise, 2x bricks are only useful for certain things and lets face it they are always available. It entirely depends on needs but if something catches the eye like 2x2 jumpers then in they go!!
  • sdetskysdetsky Member Posts: 35
    Based on all the comments above, as well as reading about asking store employees if there's anything else in the back, I went to my local store (Fairview Mall, Toronto, Canada) and there were tons of good items on the wall:

    Trans-black windshields
    Doors and windows
    1 x 8 white bricks
    6 x 8 baseplates in black and green
    various bricks in uncommon colours like light pink, medium blue, bright green
    round 1 x 1 plates in trans red and trans light blue
    square 1 x 1 plates in trans orange, trans red and trans clear
    2 x 2 tiles in beige and yellow
    1 x 2 dark grey brick with pin
    lots of different plants and flowers
    2 x 4 black wedge plates
    2 x 2 brown chairs
    2 x 2 round brick in trans yellow

    And then the employees brought out the most unique pieces in the back, being:
    1 x 2 dark purple tiles
    2 x 3 dark purple plates
    1 x 2 trans clear plates
    1 x 4 bricks in dark pink
    6 x 16 dark grey baseplates

    Overall, I'm quite happy with the selection, although I'm not sure how quick the parts turn over on the wall. However, with a new Toronto store opening soon (Yorkdale Mall), hopefully they will have a different selection.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    @sdetsky That's a nice selection. You should update iPAB.

    I wouldn't pin your hopes on the new store, it generally takes some time for a store to manage to get the good stuff and they are all ordering from the same list.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    Has anyone been to Leeds recently? brickbuildr has Sheffield but no data, and doesn't have Leeds on there at all.
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    edited June 2013
    I think the guy at BrickBuildr has been very busy, or had some issues. Certainly he hasn't replied to any of my emails for some time.

    I often wonder if Brickset would be a better home for the Pick-a-Brick wall information (particularly as it now has the parts database and has the strongest LEGO community). I'm sure @Huw has plenty of spare time to implement something :-)

    I'm not sure if Michael Huffman would want to relinquish it (and it's probably bad community spirit to just create a copy) - it may drive quite a lot of traffic and Huw certainly has a lot of things on his to-do list, so it might not be possible, but just wanted to float the idea.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    edited June 2013
    ^ It would be great, especially as we (as a community) are likely to keep it up to date. I am sure enough members visit each store once a week to keep it up to date.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    It would be a great idea.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    I had the Cleveland Ohio PAB wall set up in January, he was very responsive then. I haven't had reason to email him since.

    While having it here could make sense the current system has been mentioned in a large number of threads and I know I've sent people there in answer to specific questions. I'd think most of the forum would be aware of its existence but it's still not getting much input. I'm really not sure that moving it here would make people more likely to take the time to enter updates.

    Maybe Huw could try a new "Brickset effect" experiment and post a news article asking people to make an effort with brickbuildr.
  • princedravenprincedraven Member Posts: 3,764
    I am in the Stratford store often and always scan the PAB wall, if there was an easy way to update stock on Brickset I would do it every time.
    I always forget the link to brickbuildr and have no idea how or if I could update it.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,260
    Why don't we start a thread in the respective UK/US shopping forum, that people can use to list bricks they found at whatever brand store they were at?

    For example (Please note these are just examples!), a post could be:

    Manchester, 6/6/13

    Reddish Brown Tile 1x8
    White Brick 1x2
    Trans Blue Plate 1x1 round
    Black Brick 2x4

    Etc. etc.

    Obviously not everyone would know the exact descriptions, but most would be able to get close enough for others to know what they're talking about.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    @princedraven It's completely open so you would be able to update it. You have to go through one of those type this word things to verify you're a real person but that's all.

    I've done it two ways, either taking in a piece of paper and writing down what's in each bin or doing it on my phone in the store. The latter is quicker as you only need to update the quantity if the bricks in a bin are the same. Either way can take a bit of in store time, I tend to do it during MMMB or LEGO Club meetings.

  • jasorjasor Member Posts: 839
    i second the idea that iPAB on brickbuildr is updateable, but just needs traffic there.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,260
    ^^ the only trouble is that you can't update either Manchester or Sheffield, as neither seem to be 'activated' yet. As for Leeds and Glasgow, well they aren't even on there yet...
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    I update the Stratford store a lot. My approach is to take a video moving from slot to slot on my phone (about 4 mins) and update later.

    There are plenty of problems with the site though, apart from the need to activate each store (which would be required whoever did it, it's just that he hasn't done it yet) - piece list is manual so there are plenty of elements you just can't enter, no linking to elements in other stores (to make entry quicker, or for fascinating stats), a link to other databases - this part in which sets, and a big enough community updating often enough.

  • jasorjasor Member Posts: 839
    Considering us unlucky souls that have to drive quite a bit to get to a Lego store....iPAB has been awesome of late to see what selection there is. I've been to the three surrounding stores enough to call them beforehand, just to see what selection they DO have. I will say the 2 of the three have able "Lego-speak" associates, and one has "Mall job" associates...but, I digress.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    ^ I used it most before we got our store in Nashville and so I've tried to keep it updated ever since for people in similar situations. I also try to talk LEGO employees into keeping them updated and explain to them why it's in the store's interests. There have been horror stories about calling beforehand, someone once got a false positive on 1x2 bricks. How do you work in a LEGO store and not know a 1x2 brick?

    @paperballpark You have to give him the dimensions of the wall for him to set it up, how many bins across is it? I noticed that he asks you to contact him through Flickr to get them set up though I think I just emailed him when I last did it. The fact that he hasn't put Leeds and Glasgow on there seems unusual and suggests that his attention might be elsewhere though.

    In happy news, it appears that someone else is updating the Nashville wall while I'm away, phew!
  • jasorjasor Member Posts: 839
    @jenni -- Thanks again for putting the info back out there. I found iPAB thread in the forum, and it's been great.

    I just dont think many folks know about it.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    ^ I try to only mention it if relevant :)
  • coachiecoachie Member Posts: 476
    I pestered for a while a few months ago and managed to get Cardiff activated. Unfortunately, I now don't have the time to enter the data, and it is now out of date (guess I'll have to go back soon...)

    BTW, I just took piccies of each bin and noted them down at home. Took about 5 minutes in the shop.
  • HarryPotterLoverHarryPotterLover Member Posts: 238
    I never thought to ask if they had anymore boxes of parts, but then again, my store (Arundal Mills, MD) has the MOST UNHELPFUL LEGO staff.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,260
    ^^ I'm pestering him now to add the Manchester & Sheffield walls (I've told him the number of bins), as well as the Leeds and Glasgow stores.

    I have the contents of the Sheffield one to upload once he does activate it. It was rubbish...
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,260
    I've uploaded the Sheffield PAB wall on BrickBuildr now he's activated it. He's also added the Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow ones too. :)
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    ^ yay! Success. I'm glad it's not been abandoned. Sheffield is still new, it really does take some time. Did you talk to an employee about it?
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,260
    I asked if there was anything else in the back, and the guy went and checked for me, and apparently there was nothing other than what was already on the wall.

    He did say though that they were waiting for an order for it.

    I'll see what Manchester is like next week; I'm expecting it to be better tbh.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    ^ There's a good chance isn't there? :) Though I've never seen the green 1x1 bricks before.

    According to the staff at Nashville you have to keep an eye on the available pieces, their selection got better as more people were tasked with checking it. I think Paris is newer than Sheffield and had a great selection in April, the store manager said that it's the responsibility of all of her employees. I think it's worth chatting to them about it.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,260
    ^ My normal store is Manchester, the staff are pretty on the ball there. I only popped into Sheffield because I was passing.

    I got loads of the 1x1 Dark Green Bricks last time I was at Manchester, so I didn't pick any more up today. I'm actually debating with myself whether to go in tomorrow, rather than next week...
  • TheOneVeyronianTheOneVeyronian Member Posts: 1,372
    Okay, some parts that are probably only of bulk buy interest to me: What happened to all the 1x1 round plates (studs) in the PaB walls? Last time I saw them was the Legoland Windsor PaB wall three years ago!
    Same goes for the 1x1 24 facet jewels. Because Windsor did the PaB wall by weight, not cup, I used to be able to get about a thousand of these for about £10-15!
    Then one day, they mysteriously vanished. No sign of them at my local store Westfield Shepherd's Bush either. Anyone spotted these recently?
    They might not be useful to many in MOC's, but I'm aiming to get a whole shoebox full of these pieces in my collection and it's only half full at the moment (BrickLink prices aren't bad though, but for the quantity I want they go a little too high for me).
    I'd like to know of any sightings of these surprisingly elusive bricks in local PaB wall, thanks!
  • princedravenprincedraven Member Posts: 3,764
    @TheOneVeyronian Are you after any particular colours?
    Think they have the jewels in red at Stratford, and round plates in orange and pink, will check when I am next in there.
  • TheOneVeyronianTheOneVeyronian Member Posts: 1,372
    @princedraven I'm not looking for a particular jewel colour, any will do. The round plates have to be a translucent colour. But one problem is that Stratford is too difficult for me to get to (actually, I'd go there on a whim to check it out, it's persuading the only person I know who can drive, he's very reluctant to say the least!)
    BTW, I'm just about to PM you.
  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    There's always been a lot of transparent colours of 1x1 round plates (and cheese slopes). I've always assumed that transparent ones must be cheaper to make.
  • TheOneVeyronianTheOneVeyronian Member Posts: 1,372
    ^ Funny that, every time I go to a PaB wall, I never see them. Always thought they removed them from the wall because of young children? 1x1 square plates, I always see them though.
    And the PaB wall at Windsor used to be so vast, an Aladdin's cave of Lego. Until clothing took over there and pushed it into the main shop. And continued to shrink.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,260
    ^ every time I've been to a PaB wall (whether in Manchester, Sheffield or Leeds) they've always had transparent 1x1 round plates. Thousands of them. Usually in blue and red, but I've also seen clear and light blue.
  • indigoboxindigobox Member Posts: 470
    Liverpool has the same as Manchester by the looks. I have seen red, orange and clear 1x1 plates along with the light clear blue, yellow and clear 1x1 studs. They have also had recently the red jewel type bricks you mention @TheOneVeyronian
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,759
    I remember when PaB walls had interesting and unique parts...
    1 x 4 x 3 trans clear panels, 1 x 3 x 6 sand green skylight slopes 2x2 earth tone tiles (dark tan, light tan and drk gray and light gray) old brown dogs... Now it is usually a bunch of brick (which I really do not mind if it is earthy tones and 1x's) but when I see about 4-6 bins filled with 2x bricks it is a bit disheartening.. same if there are wheels and tires in two bins... I just long for the day with some more interesting parts at a consistent basis. Heck id be happy with more dark red 1x2 brick, or doors AND their frames, or even the 2 x 2 x 2 crates again, but all I see are these parts that really do not have much use.
    Want 1x1 round plates? How about the silvery or gold ones? Instead of another shipment of gray or trans red that I already have a ton of?
    I can tell that the LEGO stores are frustrated too, as they want a lot of cool parts, but only gets what LEGO sends. I do not need 2x whatever brick. I have plenty of 2x4 brick.. honest.
    Bring in 1x4x3 window frames and window glass, or at least lattices (and not always pearl gold either) it is like all LEGO sees PaB walls for is now to dump the extra parts they have too many off at the warehouses into boxes and send to the stores.
  • TheOneVeyronianTheOneVeyronian Member Posts: 1,372
    ^ and ^^ Nice to hear that they aren't gone from PaB, but I live in the south east. Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Liverpool are all a four or five hour drive (just to get there - trust me, I've done Manchester to London)
    Anyway, I've heard they're also in Stratford.
    But anyone seen these jewel pieces recently in Westfield Shepherd's Bush or Watford (or, at an absolute push, Brighton)? I'd like to go check it out sometime.
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