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Numbered Bags: Pros and Cons

LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
edited February 2012 in Building and Techniques
Up until recently, I was not a huge fan of numbered bags, they always seemed like a "cheat", a way to turn a big set into several small sets... Even building 10214 - Tower Bridge, which does not have numbered bags, I found to be a fun and interesting experience sorting it all out and building it...

Until today...

One of the 10193 - MMV sets from Amazon arrived crushed, and since the price was good, I just opened it up and figured now was a good time to finally build it. Sheesh, 1,600 bricks that are THAT different... what a sort job! Even with over 4K bricks, Tower Bridge was easier to sort because so many of them were the same.

Now I kinda wish MMV was a numbered bag set... I spent an hour just getting the mini-figs done finding all the parts was... interesting... Ok, so I was distracted because my son was next to me building the new Y-Wing, and he needed help here and there, and of course he and I were having fun with the process, but sheesh that is a lot of parts that are NOT all the same.

What do you think? Should Lego make all new sets with numbered bags, just the big ones, or none of them?

I'm now looking at 10179, which doesn't have numbered bags, with less delight than I did before. :) To those of you who have built it, is it the sort monster that my wife thinks it will be?
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Comments

  • starfire2starfire2 Phoenix AZMember Posts: 1,279
    I personally like them numbered. My kitchen table isn't that big, so building them one bag at a time is easier for me. Especially when building the modulars.
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    Numbered bags for sure. On a side note, I just started trying to separate all the pieces from 10179, Cafe Corner, and Market Street. I bricklinked all 3 sets at the same time to reduce the amount of orders I would have to make and save on shipping. Needless to say this pile of 8500+ bricks is gonna take a few days to go though :|
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    @parkerwilson - ouch... just... ouch... :)

    Sounds like you picked a smart option to save on shipping, but you gave yourself a headache at the same time...

    Remind me to NEVER do that! :)

    *winces in pain for you*
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    edited February 2012
    @parkerwilson - ouch... just... ouch... :)

    Sounds like you picked a smart option to save on shipping, but you gave yourself a headache at the same time...

    Remind me to NEVER do that! :)

    *winces in pain for you*
    I am starting to wonder what I have done myself, I mean $1100 for all the parts for all 3 sets seemed awesome, but is starting to look like a disaster
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,112
    ^$1100 and some sorting vs. $2200 or more (maybe a lot more - that was best case used pricing for all 3). I'd say the sorting is worth $1100
  • tdhbrtdhbr Member Posts: 188
    edited February 2012
    I'm now looking at 10179, which doesn't have numbered bags, with less delight than I did before. :) To those of you who have built it, is it the sort monster that my wife thinks it will be?
    When I built my Falcon, I opened all the bags carefully and laid them out, then tried to keep the pieces in each bag and search through them for every part. I did that for a couple hours each day for a week, then gave up and re-sorted them into some bins and trays. It was a much better experience that way ... it takes long enough to build as it is, no need to add extra time part-hunting.

    On the large sets, I much prefer the numbered bags. Just today I built 4182 PotC Cannibal Escape, though, and was surprised to see numbered bags in it - quite unnecessary.

    BTW, when I had to disassemble my Falcon awhile ago, I very carefully sorted everything to expedite the re-build, whenever that will be.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    edited February 2012
    @dougts - not really a fair comparison however... when you consider that those sets would have come with the manuals...

    As has been shown, the 10179 manual alone is worth almost $300, the other two sets probably $100 each for the manuals... So that is $500 in manuals, not to mention the boxes, 10179's box has gone for $250, the others probably less...

    So from a "value" point of view, if you can buy all three sets used for $2,200 including manual and boxes, he didn't save a dime.

    Now that being said, I don't think you can buy them used for that, it would have cost more, so I think he did just fine... So long as his time isn't worth all that much. ;) Or perhaps he thinks all the buying and sorting is the fun part!

    New, those three sets are closer to $4K, so from that point of view, he saved himself a ton of money, but he is also missing $800 worth of boxes and manuals...

    Yes, I know I have thought about it too much. :)
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    edited February 2012
    @dougts - not really a fair comparison however... when you consider that those sets would have come with the manuals...

    As has been shown, the 10179 manual alone is worth almost $300, the other two sets probably $100 each for the manuals... So that is $500 in manuals, not to mention the boxes, 10179's box has gone for $250, the others probably less...

    So from a "value" point of view, if you can buy all three sets used for $2,200 including manual and boxes, he didn't save a dime.

    Now that being said, I don't think you can buy them used for that, it would have cost more, so I think he did just fine... So long as his time isn't worth all that much. ;) Or perhaps he thinks all the buying and sorting is the fun part!

    New, those three sets are closer to $4K, so from that point of view, he saved himself a ton of money, but he is also missing $800 worth of boxes and manuals...

    Yes, I know I have thought about it too much. :)
    Was able to order a manual for 10179 from TLG for $56.99, unfortunately they don't have any more manuals for Market Street or Cafe Corner

  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    edited February 2012
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    Maybe a month ago, just played dumb like I had lost mine while moving.
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    There will be abundant of manuals showing up on ebay in a few weeks now ;)
  • NeilJamNeilJam USAMember Posts: 262
    edited February 2012
    I'm surprised that they haven't had to go back to at least packaging minifig parts in multiple bags instead of all in one. Before LEGO started doing numbered bags I always assumed they packaged the minifig parts that way to make it harder to just steal minifigs from a set.
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    I know in 10188 the figure pieces are spread out over 4 or 5 bags
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    edited February 2012
    There will be abundant of manuals showing up on ebay in a few weeks now ;)
    I wasn't thinking that, I SWEAR!!! ;)

    All kidding aside, it may not be a bad idea to order one extra, just in case something happens to the one I have, given the eBay replacement cost.
  • DougoutDougout Member Posts: 888
    I don't like number bags. I like to build the way when I was a kid when there were no numbered bags. I was disappointed the Obi Wan Starfighter and battle of endor had numbered bags.
  • aplbomr79aplbomr79 Member Posts: 159
    I love the sorting process... and thus open all bags at once. DIVIDE AND CONQUER!
  • legirllegirl Member Posts: 105
    I like the format of the modular builds (well FB and GE anyway, I don't know whether they are all like that) where the bags are numbered so you can work on each floor individually but that there is still a good amount of sorting time. I find the completely numbered sets make the build go too fast and you miss out on the soothing 'kuchunklechink, kuchunklechink' of panning through bricks to find the part that alludes you.
  • canuhandle23canuhandle23 Member Posts: 104
    hate numbered bags. if im spending 150 plus on sets I want them to take awhile. i want to look thru the parts. Take my time learning why that put this piece here, why is this piece special. So in the future i can be a better builder, etc. Now when i buy my nephew or niece a cheap 50 dollar set or something then numbered bags are fine.
  • bmwlegobmwlego Long Island, New YorkMember Posts: 761
    Numbered bags all the way. I do expect modulars to take a while to build but searching for a part is not building, it is searching. If we felt it was better to have parts all over and unsorted we wouldn't sort our brick collections!
    I put off building the larger sets because I dont want to deal with the annoyance of finding parts in a sea of bags. I love the modulars and would never miss a single set in this line but the amount of time I feel I waste looking for parts is the only negative of this entire line.

    Good topic LFT!
  • Steve_J_OMSteve_J_OM Cork, IrelandMember Posts: 939
    I like them, for the simple reason that it offers me the choice of building something faster if time is an issue. For the most part I like to take my time - in which case I'll open all of the bags and mix the pieces together. But occasionally I might not have time to spend long on a set, and because I don't really have the room to leave something lying around half-built, I try to get everything done in one sitting where possible.
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 814
    For all the enjoyment I get from Lego, part searching certainly isn't one of them. I don't spend time at the start of a build organising everything, so there's a lot of shifting stuff around on trays - I don't mind a little hunt but it can certainly get frustrating!

    I really don't think that numbered bags take away any of the experience at all, be it the letting building take a good long time (this should be a choice, not compulsory!) or being able to appreciate the intricacies of said model...
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,112
    @dougts - not really a fair comparison however... when you consider that those sets would have come with the manuals...

    As has been shown, the 10179 manual alone is worth almost $300, the other two sets probably $100 each for the manuals... So that is $500 in manuals, not to mention the boxes, 10179's box has gone for $250, the others probably less...

    So from a "value" point of view, if you can buy all three sets used for $2,200 including manual and boxes, he didn't save a dime.

    Now that being said, I don't think you can buy them used for that, it would have cost more, so I think he did just fine... So long as his time isn't worth all that much. ;) Or perhaps he thinks all the buying and sorting is the fun part!

    New, those three sets are closer to $4K, so from that point of view, he saved himself a ton of money, but he is also missing $800 worth of boxes and manuals...

    Yes, I know I have thought about it too much. :)
    Well, I was going off last month's used BL prices. Some may come with manuals, who knows. But even if not, they could be downloaded and printed. If someone is building the sets for themselves, comparing parting out to open/used seems to be a better judge of price difference than comparing to sealed/new.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,908
    Anyone else like smelling the bags after you open it? I do, I love that fresh LEGO brick aroma that flows into my nose.
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    I don't like number bags. I like to build the way when I was a kid when there were no numbered bags. I was disappointed the Obi Wan Starfighter and battle of endor had numbered bags.
    If you don't like the numbered bags you are free to open them all, mix them together, and then paw through them.

    If you want to go full gonzo then open all the bags, dump them into your existing LEGO collection, mix it all up, and then build from the giant pile.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I love the modulars and would never miss a single set in this line but the amount of time I feel I waste looking for parts is the only negative of this entire line.

    Good topic LFT!
    Thanks! I figured we needed something else to talk about besides money for a change... I was getting bored with that and wanted to remember the actual fun in this hobby for a change. :)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    If you want to go full gonzo then open all the bags, dump them into your existing LEGO collection, mix it all up, and then build from the giant pile.
    *Full Gonzo* is right!!!!
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    Thanks! I figured we needed something else to talk about besides money for a change... I was getting bored with that and wanted to remember the actual fun in this hobby for a change. :)
    well said that man!

    I have done a full 180 on my opinion of numbered bags in the past 6 months. I used to think it was too dumbed down but now I'm actually disappointed when I open a set and it doesn't have numbered bags! Maybe this stems from too much building in front of the TV and being told to shut up by my wife as I frantically search for a piece during moments of non-dialogue or adverts.

  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    I don't know... the numbered bags save a lot of time... but I think they ruined the SSD for me (that, and it's just a pretty disappointing set at the end of the day). You've got this $400 model and you're done with it in less than three hours? No thanks.

    For me, sifting through the bricks is half the fun, and I feel more like I've accomplished something at the end.
  • mrpolemrpole Member Posts: 15
    y2josh, then why not just open all the numbered bags and pour them into one big pile and go from there?

    I had thought of posting a similar thread the other day. I was thinking, "man, am I not a "real" builder since I love these numbered bags so much?" To me, I love the build, and dare I say, I love to "play" with the finished model. But man, I hate endless searching for parts. Its not even necessarily the sorting, but the time spent searching that gets to me.

    It took me months, yes months, to finish the Death Star because I spent twice as much time searching for parts (and wrestling with that huge fricking manual) than I did actually building.

    It seems like the best solution would be to have all sets come with numbered bags (except the small ones) that way people who like them numbered are happy and the ones who dont like them numbered can just open up all the bags at once.

    On several occasions I've opened up large sets recently, saw that bags were not numbered and then put them on the back burner because I just dont have that kind of time.

    Im glad to see so many others on here that agree, I was thinking I was a freak or somthing. (not that Im not a freak for other reasons)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    A thought about this...

    You can't just mix all the parts together for numbered bag sets, because then you have an absurd mess to deal with.

    With a set like Tower Bridge where the bags are NOT numbered, instead all the parts are packed together like kind... That means you learn pretty quickly what plastic bin has what part, it really isn't that hard.

    With numbered bags, it is a different build, with Death Star for example, you end up with small numbers of parts across dozens of bags, such as the floor plates. If it was not numbered bags, then Lego would have put all the large floor plate tiles in a single bag, making it super easy to find.

    So simply saying "just mix up all the parts", isn't really a solution, because the parts in non-numbered bag sets are not random, there is a pattern to it, just a different kind of pattern to numbered bag sets.
  • kufkuf Member Posts: 66
    edited February 2012
    You can put bags together from the different numbers that have all similar sized bricks, or types. For instance put the bags with the gray 1x3 bricks all together. All the gray 1x4s bags together, etc. I would suggest picking either the dominant color from the set or from the bag.
    Not perfect, but better.
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    You can always store the bricks on a build by build method. Like for Modulars, one Ziploc for one floor and so on. But I can understand the dilemma of going through 3000 mixed bricks to find a tiny little brick plate or some mini figure accessory :P
  • tdhbrtdhbr Member Posts: 188
    Another benefit to numbered bags ... when building with the kids, there are logical "cutoff points," where I can say it's time to stop. Then send them to bed and I can build on my own. :)
  • mrpolemrpole Member Posts: 15
    Okay I guess I missed somthing her LTF, I didnt realize that there are people who build sets without pouring out the bags. It has never occured to me to keep parts in the bags and search for parts with them in there. That seems sooo tedious. I couldnt do that. But I guess for people who build that way, numbered bags would be a drag. Personally, I love em.
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    With numbered bags, it is a different build, with Death Star for example, you end up with small numbers of parts across dozens of bags, such as the floor plates.
    Is the Death Star in numbered bags now? That's a legitimate question, as it definitely wasn't when it was originally released.
  • OdinduskOdindusk Member Posts: 763
    I want to say that I hate them, if for no other reason than that it differs from the unnumbered bags of the 80s when I grew up with LEGO. For smaller sets (up to 300 pieces or so) I still dump everything out at once, but for the larger sets it's definitely nice to have them presorted in a sense.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Is the Death Star in numbered bags now? That's a legitimate question, as it definitely wasn't when it was originally released.
    10188 is numbered, or at the least the one I built was...

    10143 is not numbered, I haven't built it yet, but I have an unsealed new set, so I know that much for this copy I have...
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    ^I was referencing 10188. That's curious that they'd switch over to numbered bags in the middle of a set's production run. They'd have had to re-'write' the manual, too. Or at least I'd think they would.
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,631
    I picked up my 10188 about 2 - 2.5 years ago. That didn't have numbered bags but it I recall hearing about them being number at least a year ago.

    My current building area isn't a particularly big one. To sort my UCS ISD and MF was a real pig. Ran out of time one evening and had to put it all away only to get it all out again the following evening. Had the bags been numbered, I could well have built the things on the coffeee table!
  • devilheaddevilhead Member Posts: 275
    I frequently just dump all the parts from a set into a large bowl or container and mix them up just for the fun of it.
  • The_Brick_BuilderThe_Brick_Builder Member Posts: 658
    ^^ How is that fun? It just means more hair-pulling looking for the pieces.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096

    As has been shown, the 10179 manual alone is worth almost $300, the other two sets probably $100 each for the manuals...
    $300 for a fricken manual??!! Why? You can download the instructions from lego.com and either print them out or better yet view them as a PDF on something like an iPad. I actually like using the iPad for instructions as I can have it propped up. My experience with the lego instruction manuals is that they are often folded up and I have to use a paper weight to keep the pages from flipping on me.

  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    $300 for a fricken manual??!! Why?
    10179's manual won't be folded up, have you seen it? It is a coffee table book, probably 7 or 8 lbs all by itself...

    And yes, they go for between $250 to $300 last time I checked on eBay.

    The empty boxes for 10179 go for over $200.
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    @mathew - Just like with real books versus eBooks, some people simply prefer to have a physical copy of the item rather than 'nothing.' I assume this transfers over to LEGO manuals, even the rarer ones that ARE folded.
  • DougoutDougout Member Posts: 888
    edited February 2012
    ^^I'm sure the people that dump out their bags and mix them don't pull their hair out when they are building. I don't. It may get a little tedious at times if you have them jumbled together too much, but as long as you spread the pile out it is really not that bad searching for pieces.
  • JenniJenni USAMember Posts: 1,352
    I like numbered bags for my 7-year-old, if she doesn't have them she needs an assistant. While we're generally happy to do that she doesn't always pick a good time. So she had no problem with the MVR but needs someone to find her pieces with Creator houses.

    I haven't put together anything with numbered bags but I didn't find myself wishing for them on Tower Bridge or Robie House. You tend to figure out what bag everything is in but you do need a lot of room.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    I haven't built enough recent sets to have a strong opinion. I will say that numbered bags speed up the building process quite a bit. That and having a three year old constantly hanging over your shoulder while you're building can make searching for parts tedious.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096

    10179's manual won't be folded up, have you seen it? It is a coffee table book, probably 7 or 8 lbs all by itself...
    Looks nice but still seems exorbitant for a manual. Of course I think spending $2K+ on a lego set that will only be put on display is exorbitant.
  • sidersddsidersdd USAMember Posts: 2,432
    Who needs a manual? Just follow these steps:

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