Please refrain from posting animated GIFs, memes, joke videos and so on in discussions other than those in the off topic area.

Dismiss this message to confirm your acceptance of this additional forum term of use.

LEGO Sets that are unbelievably complex....

IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
Anyone who has ever seen old LEGO catalogs has probably wondered... "gee how simple collecting early LEGO must be"... well nothing could be further from the truth... LEGO sets from the 1955-72 era (especially 1955-65) are extremely complex.... and I often call that era the "LEGO Mayhem" era, due to the extremely hard to understand the nature of old sets.

For example (I'll give several, but only 1 today)... the 236 Garage Set (numbered 1236 in Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 1955-58)... was produced from 1955-70. And during that time, it was made in a very large and confusing number of box styles, contents, as well as garage door and window styles.

For only 69 parts... this set is complex way beyond its' means.... ;-)

Here's one variation on the built model....

«1

Comments

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Easy enough so far... but when this set was first introduced in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 1955... here was the 1236 Garage set box.... in a common Scandinavian nomenclature....

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Well then in 1956... Germany started LEGO sales... then Switzerland and Netherlands started in early 1957.... Austria, Belgium and Portugal in late 1957.... local language boxes were produced (some bi-lingual on front/back) of a different style and design (and number) than in Scandinavia at that time....


  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Then in 1958... TLG decided to produce 2 different box styles... one a flat box style (with inserts and an extra part... a 1:87 VW Bus)... and the other a continuation of the rectangular loose parts box varieties that had been produced everywhere since 1955...

    This first flat box style was found with a confusing 1236 number for Denmark and Norway... and a 236 box number for the other countries in Europe that were selling this new boxed set...

    Also, in 1958... Italy started LEGO sales... and sold this flat box variety...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    edited August 2014
    While part of continental Europe was selling this flat box variety... the other European countries continued selling a rectangular loose box variety... in a new box design... and also using the 236 number... what's odd is that the back of the box prints "LEGO System of Play" in languages that this box type was never sold in, including English!!

    Also France started LEGO sales in 1959 using this 236 box type...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Then after 1 year of the flat box style a new flat box came out in 1959... as well as Finland starting LEGO sales using this box...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    edited August 2014
    Then in 1960 a new rectangular box came out again... and in 1966 all the flat box countries switched over to the rectangular box...
  • iancam33iancam33 Member Posts: 407
    As Mr Dos Equis would say "stay strong my friend."
    rocao
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,235
    ^I believe it's "thirsty", but after all those posts he probably grabbed a cold one :)
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    Wow! Thus is enough to make your head spin, and we have not even opened the box...yet!
    bobabricksDad
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,836
    I've heard the red version of the ramp/base in that set is extremely rare.
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 541
    legogal said:

    Wow! Thus is enough to make your head spin, and we have not even opened the box...yet!

    Which one?
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    edited August 2014
    Hehehe.... we had 3 inches of rain just south of me (I only had a sprinkle fortunately)... but we lost power just as I was in the middle of posting. So here's... "the rest of the story...." ;-)


    Germany, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and France continued to have the loose part rectangular box version of 236... but in 1960 all the other countries of Europe... with the addition of Britain, Ireland and (in 1962) Australia... started using this new style box version of the flat box 236.

    In 1966 all of (flat box 236) continental Europe switched over to the (my previous post) rectangular box 236... but Britain, Ireland and Australia discontinued sales of the 236.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    I'm repeating this image again... since I posted it out of order... but in 1966 all of continental Europe discontinued using the (labor intensive to pack) flat box version of 236... and started using the already used (in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and France)... rectangular box 236 set.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Then in 1968 TLG decided to change the baseplate and garage door frame of this model from white to gray... so the 236 underwent a short lived new version and new box... once again.... before being finally discontinued in 1970... thus making the 1955-70 run of 16 years possibly the longest run of any LEGO model set...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    OK... now the 236/1236 went thru 8 different box styles during the 16 year run of the set... but there were many other changes. Early 1955-56 1236 models (in Denmark, Norway and Sweden) sometimes had rare red garage baseplates... or even roof plates (two 6x8 and one 2x8 red waffle bottom plates).

    Also the garage door mechanism underwent several changes...
    bobabricks
  • klatu003klatu003 Hobbiton, Shire, Middle EarthMember Posts: 717
    What a fun LEGO history post!
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Well it ain't over yet.... ;-)

    The earliest 1236 sets had slotted bricks, and windows and a garage door frame that fit into those slots....

    Even by 1956 when the slotted bricks were retired... TLG had a lot of the earlier garage door frames left over with "wings" to fit into the slotted bricks. So TLG decided to provide only enough of the slotted bricks to hold the door frame in place (see the blue background image).... and the rest of the bricks were regular hollow bottom LEGO bricks (1956-58).

    And in 1958 the flat box was introduced, where all parts were held in place by box inserts. This type of box was retired in 1965, and all later sets were of the loose rectangular box variety.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    edited August 2014
    Here are the 2 types of LEGO garage door mechanisms used with slotted bricks in the 1236 version of the Garage Set. The one on the left is the 1955 type, and required 4 slotted bricks on each side (stacked on top of each other)... while the one on the right is the 1956-57 type, which required only 2 slotted bricks on each side. The earlier 1955 version caused the bricks to be stacked on top of each other... not a very stable build. The newer 1956 version corrected this, by allowing a staggering of bricks. These were only found in early sets of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

    In 1956 the newer (1956-70) type garage mechanism was introduced... that had the 6 studs along the top of the garage door frame.
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,836
    Yay, I was correct about the red base plate. ;P
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,204
    Istokg said:

    ... 8 different box styles during the 16 year run of the set ...

    Will this 16 year run be beaten by the Death Star? :-)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Besides the 236/1236 Garage set... the 235/1235 Garage "Kit" is almost as challenging... ;-)

    My Unofficial Collectors Guide discusses both sets (ad nauseum), as well as many other sets that have a 10 year+ production run. So many countries... so many variations.

    I also break down the different parts and part variations over the years in a "Parts Chapter".

  • iancam33iancam33 Member Posts: 407
    @pitfall. Yes, you are correct. No sure why I thought "strong."
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    One last thing about the complex LEGO garage sets... .the instructions... From 1955-58 the 1236 garages of Denmark, Norway and Sweden did have this small LEGO brochure... showing how one garage could be built... and how 3 sets could allow you to build the garages together....
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Another series of LEGO sets that are unbelievably complex were the early LEGO basic sets. From 1949-65 the very first LEGO basic sets continued to use the same set numbers, even though the boxes and labeling changed. From 1949-53 the boxes had "Automatic Binding Bricks" on the box top... and starting in 1952 they also had "LEGO Mursten" (Scandinavian languages for "LEGO Bricks"). These basic sets that continued to reuse the same set numbers were numbered 700/1 (largest) to 700/6 (smallest). In 1953 a new set size between 700/3 and 700/4 was introduced as 700/3A. This was the only oddball set with that strange numbering system. But it's the set that i'm going to us as a single example of the complexity of these early sets. You won't find this complexity explained in any online databases... so here we go... ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    The 700/3A set was introduced in late 1953, in the new (introduced in 1953 "LEGO Mursten" box type. This 1953 Danish retailer announcement shows this set.... and early 4 color brick packing variation. Also in this image are 3 different 700/3A sets that acquaintances of mine own.

    One interesting difference is the fact that the model building artwork on the announcement sheet show the artwork on the right side... but all 3 boxes I have images of show different artwork on the left side instead.

    It may be that the brochure image was an early prototype mock-up box that for whatever reason, the artwork was changed before production began. If one of those early sets with the artwork on the right side ever shows up... it would be worth considerably more than the $1500 that one of these 700/3A LEGO Mursten sets recently sold for.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    As a reference point... here are the different 1953-55 box sizes of the LEGO Mursten basic sets (from a 1954 LEGO Retailer Catalog).
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    edited August 2014
    OK... now for some more background.... LEGO sales in each country started in this year....

    1949 Denmark
    1953 Norway (but the 700/3A wasn't introduced until 1958)
    1955 (March) Sweden
    1956 (March) Germany
    1957 (Early) Switzerland, Netherlands
    1957 (Late) Austria, Belgium, Portugal
    1958 Italy
    1959 France, Finland
    1960 Britain, Ireland
    1962 Australia

    And the LEGO box styles for all basic sets (the same until 1960)... were in a local language from 1955-57 (low Town Plan scene in local language), 1957-58 (tall Town Plan scene in local language), 1958-60 (tall Town Plan scene with international "LEGO System".

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    So here are the LEGO sets sold in Denmark from 1953-60.... unlike all other continental European countries... Denmark did not switch over to the international "LEGO System" in late 1958... they kept their Danish "LEGO System i leg".
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    edited August 2014
    Ordinarily Norway would be next... but Norway didn't have a 700/3A set until 1958... so Sweden is next (1955)... with 4 box versions.... unlike Denmark... Sweden DID change to the international "LEGO System" in late 1958...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    And then Germany was next starting LEGO sales in March 1956. The box design had changed in 1955, so the earlier Scandinavian box type was not sold in Germany....
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Then in early 1957 Netherlands started LEGO sales... also starting with the same box design as Germany...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Switzerland also started LEGO sales in early 1957. But Switzerland was the oddball among continental LEGO countries, and they opted to use canisters with a zinc top as the basic sets of Switzerland... with box tops in German and French. This design was used until 1960, when an international design was introduced from 1961-65...

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    In late 1957 3 additional countries introduced LEGO... among them was Austria, which introduced the same (later) box designs as Germany...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Also in late 1957 Belgium and Portugal started LEGO sales. TLG decided that things were starting to get out of hand with the different language boxes (not just the 700/3A... but the 700/1 thru 700/6 as well). And also in 1957 a larger set... the 700/0 was introduced.

    So this was the reason for the introduction of the international "LEGO Systems" set box tops... for Belgium and Portugal... and starting in 1958 for Italy, and starting in 1959 for France and Finland... and also for the rest of continental Europe (except Denmark and Switzerland) starting gradually in late 1958...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Also starting in 1958 was Norway... which finally introduced the 700/3A set there in that year, first in the Swedish/Norwegian "System i lek"... and then later that year with "LEGO System"...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    OK.... so by 1959 all of continental Europe (except Denmark and Switzerland) had the international "LEGO System" boxes for all the sets, including the 700/3A.

    In 1959 TLG opened an in-house Photography Department... and started producing much more varied and nicer redesigned set boxes.

    So in 1960 new box designs came out... for the larger sets there were 2 box designs (700/0, 700/1, 700/3), and for the smaller sets there was only 1 new box design (700/4, 700/5, 700/6). But for some odd reason there were 3 box designs introduced for the 700/3A... one of which was found in continental Europe, Britain, Ireland and Australia... the 2nd design was found only in continental Europe (many countries), and the 3rd design was only found in Sweden. There was no rhyme or reason for the 2 designs selling interchangeably in continental Europe, and the inclusion of the 3rd design also selling in Sweden just adds to the mystery.

    By 1965 all the 700/x basic sets were finally retired, for new sets in new box types.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Thanks to so many of my LEGO collector friends from around the world, I've amassed quite a stunning collection of LEGO box images, so many that the next version of my collectors guide (free to current owners)... will have at least 500 additional awesome images!
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Some of the new images.... even for me... so many different sets in so many different variations... it becomes almost mind numbing.... ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Well... in order to keep up the thread title... the complexity of these sets (and I haven't even got into the box content changes and packing variations over the years :-O )...

    "It ain't just the box tops that are complex... " ;-)

    Although the sides of the boxes were blank until 1957... after 1957 the sides of the boxes were different, depending on country and box type... from 1957-60 the boxes had different writing on the sides. If the box top was in a local language... then the sides had the same language writing all around it. If the box top was in the international "LEGO System"... then the sides of the boxes were in about 10 different languages on the sides... even though many languages (English, French, Italian) were never found in that language on the box top.

    Here are a group of 1957-60 sides of basic set boxes...

    And the 2nd image shows all 4 sides of the 1958-60 international "LEGO System" boxes...

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    edited August 2014
    OK... and now the 1960-65 continental European basic set box sides... (blue writing dates the box to 1960-61, yellow writing dates it to 1961-65).
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    OK... these same 1960-65 basic sets were sold by British LEGO Ltd. (LEGO plant in Wrexham Wales)... and of course they had to be different (ignore the green box... that's a whole other can 'o worms)... they had a white circle for a price sticker on the sides...

    And if that weren't enough... the inside box on all the 1960-65 showed an image of the LEGO parts available during the early 1960s, as well as the image from the top of the 810 Town Plan Set. Oh but wait... the 810 set sold in Britain, Ireland and Australia had a different box top than the 810 sold in continental Europe! Yes... and the box confirms this! ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    OK... since I like to go off on tangents... lets go from Chapter 5 (1953-65 LEGO Basic Sets), to Chapter 3 (1955-67 Town Plan Sets & Boards).

    The 1961-67 810 Town Plan sets came out in 2 box designs... the one on the right (below) was sod in Britain, Ireland and Australia. The one on the left (below) was sold in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy France, Portugal and Japan.

    Sp that meant that the contiental 810 was sold in 3 times the number of countries as the UK style 810... (see sample catalog page from France and Britain...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    edited August 2014
    So the continental European 810 was sold in 9 countries, and the UK 810 was sold in 3 countries... So then why is the UK 810 version of this set 20 times as plentiful on the secondary market as the cintinental European/Japan version?? Don't really know the answer to this... except perhaps very few of the continental versions were produced and sold. I only know of 2 examples of the continental 810. They don't even have one in the Billund Vault!! I know of the existence of about 40 of the UK versions (one Dutch collector has 6 of the UK versions). A very odd mystery!!
  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,391
    Is that you dear? My wife can get really talkative sometimes!

    Just kidding @Istokg. You should be the next curator of the Lego museum. Love the posts and images!
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    OK... now for another strange twist to the 2 versions of the 810 Town Plan sets... the boxes both show completely different Town Plan buildings and even a different board layout (they did come with 2 different boards... the UK/Ireland/Australia board was left driving, the continental was right driving)...

    But the really strange thing is that both versions came with the EXACT same building instructions... meaning that they had the exact same contents... :-O

    So the box top of the continental version shows a streetscape where you could NOT build what is shown on the box top (except for the service station)... since the set never came with the 1x1x2 and 1x2x1 windows shown in 2 of the buildings!!
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082

    Is that you dear? My wife can get really talkative sometimes!

    Just kidding @Istokg. You should be the next curator of the Lego museum. Love the posts and images!

    Hehehe... my philosophy is "why use 100 words when 1000 words will do!" ;-)

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    OK... let's take this tangent a bit farther.... the UK 810 came in 2 box top versions... the 1962-64 box top (right, with "LEGO System"), and the 1965-67 box top version (left, with only "LEGO"). Apparently the word "System" disappeared from all UK/Ireland/Australia boxes in 1964, sets and parts packs.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    There were about 1/2 dozen different packing variations between the UK and EU version of the 810 Town Plan set.

    Here is an early (1962-64) EU version with Bedford 1:87 trucks, continental Town accessories, and trees/bushes with flat feet.

    Then there is a later (1965-67) version with Mercedes 1:87 trucks, British Town accessories, and trees bushes with hollow feet.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    edited August 2014
    Most of continental Europe discontinued the EU 810 Town Plan in 1966. But British LEGO Ltd. must have still had a lot of boxes left over... they continued production into 1967. However... by 1967 British LEGO Ltd. was running out of Esso Station accessories. So what were they to do with all those leftover Town Plan boxes and boards??

    Easy enough solution.... they produced a British Kellogg's promotional set (only 2,250 sets)... which were put together with leftover Town Plan parts... but with the new (1966) Shell Service Station parts... incorporated into an Esso Station building!

    Here we see a 1967 British Kellogg's promotional LEGO brochure, the 1965-66 Esso accessories and Esso tanker truck... and 1967 Shell accessories (in a parts pack box) and Shell tanker truck.

    These images are from Chapter 3 (Town Plan Sets and Boards) and Chapter 16 (Promotional LEGO Sets - 1955-2000) of my LEGO Collectors Guide.

    Whew... talk about going off on a tangent! ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,082
    Oh... one last thing about the UK version of the 810 Town Plan sets. British LEGO Ltd. (a Courtauld's subsidiary) had a LEGO plant in Wrexham Wales... for production of LEGO for the British, Irish and Australian market. But British LEGO Ltd. did not make the 200 Town Plan Boards that were sold separately, and also were part of the UK 810 Sets.

    These boards were made by Waddington's... a UK game board maker... and produced for British LEGO Ltd.
«1
Sign In or Register to comment.
Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy