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-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.
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 brickbuildr.com? People will post the contents of PAB walls. In case you've got several to choose from.
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.
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.
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 :).
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
1x1 plates non trans
anything odd or unusual (containers come to mind)
I try and stay away from the 2x N bricks unless they are longer or have a specific need
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.
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.
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.
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.
I always forget the link to brickbuildr and have no idea how or if I could update it.
For example (Please note these are just examples!), a post could be:
Reddish Brown Tile 1x8
White Brick 1x2
Trans Blue Plate 1x1 round
Black Brick 2x4
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.
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.
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.
I don't like going anywhere other than Brickset for Lego-related stuff!
@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!
I just dont think many folks know about it.
BTW, I just took piccies of each bin and noted them down at home. Took about 5 minutes in the shop.
I have the contents of the Sheffield one to upload once he does activate it. It was rubbish...
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.
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.
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...
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!
Think they have the jewels in red at Stratford, and round plates in orange and pink, will check when I am next in there.
BTW, I'm just about to PM you.
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.
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.
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.