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Advice for the New Collector

WyleenzWyleenz Member Posts: 9
edited March 2012 in Collecting
Well, I am new to this forum and new to Lego collecting, well new in the sense of re-discovering Lego. I had quite a little collection when I was a kid and now at thirty having sold all my Lego many years ago suddenly stopped in at walmart toy section and bought a couple of city sets. That was last week and now I have forty city sets and now I need to realize I am now a collector and with that I need to ask some questions.
1.) I wanted to build a city up but I am going to need a massive room to lay it all out - I have big plans but simply don't have the room. How do you guys do it?
2.) I can't seem to locate road plates which were the key to my old Lego cities, where can you find them?
4.) How well do the road plates work with sets such as the newer police station, fire station, space launch pad etc?
3.) I am planning on sticking to one particular theme, did anyone else plan to do this but ended up collecting multiple themes?
4.) What's the best way to get old sets for resonable prices, I'm not talking vintage but sets like three to four years old.
5.) Where can you find release dates for new sets coming out?

I can't believe how much I enjoyed putting the sets together but am desperate to set up a city. Like I have read in a number of posts my city due to the sets available is police heavy, its like a police state!!! I have got my first ever Lego train which I have always wanted - I don't care for the electronics, I'd actually prefer just a push train.
Anyway thanks for reading, and advanced thank you for any questions that can be answered

Comments

  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    welcome on board.
    to start with, try going to brickset and searching for 'road plate'!
    http://www.brickset.com/search/?sourceid=Mozilla-search&query=road+plate
  • hoyatableshoyatables Northern Virginia, USAMember Posts: 873
    They sell road plates at the LEGO store and I assume at other places as well. I've picked up a few over time.

    The road plates generally work well with the city sets. But beware, if you start to get into the Modular buildings (the three- to four-story realistic looking buildings that run between $150-200 each), they come with a more detailed sidewalk and you'll want to make some modifications to tie in your road network.

    I generally stick with the city/modular theme, but can't help myself with some "classic" Star Wars stuff.

    It's hard to find older sets at reasonable prices, but you can try eBay and Amazon (especially if you are willing to get a "used" set -- just be very careful and make sure the set is 100% complete. I believe Brickset and Bricklink among other sites also bring collectors and sellers together.

    Stick around here and you'll find out all the info you need on release dates!!
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    Welcome " I am planing on sticking to one particular theme." Good luck with that! :-) Thats what I thought I was going to do. 2 years and 1000+ sets later let's just say that didn't work. Hang on to your wallet. It's a fun ride.
  • BoiseStateBoiseState Member Posts: 804
    Something about Lego.. I've bought probably 100 sets in just a few months of getting back into it.
  • effalconeffalcon Member Posts: 71
    lol... seems like its a hobby that hits hard.
    a few weeks out of my dark ages, and a few $k lighter.

    jesirose
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,270
    ^ same. Don't even want to admit how much I've spent since the new years.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    I came out of my dark ages around the beginning of the year. I've since dabbled in about ten different themes. I think you should try a few different themes to just see what you like best. Like you said, the City theme is unfortunately heavily police based. I guess that's what appeals to young boys. I know my three year old son likes the police sets the best. I bored of them pretty quick. After a few months I've gotten more into the Castle theme. I'm trying to stay from the modulars because they're so darned expensive. I really like the classic Space theme which was my favorite from childhood. Those classic Space sets are expensive now. Anyway, welcome to the club. It's definitely an expensive hobby so remember to keep your priorities straight. It actually kind of good that I have kids. I don't feel quite as guilty buying Legos as I would I think if I didn't have kids. I kind of see it as an investment.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    edited March 2012
    1.) I wanted to build a city up but I am going to need a massive room to lay it all out - I have big plans but simply don't have the room. How do you guys do it?
    Typically, available space is second only to cost as a limiting factor governing the size of one's collection. Here's a discussion showing various layouts: http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/1929/show-us-your-layouts
    Here's a discussion showing home modifications:
    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/2399/what-have-you-done-to-your-house-to-accommodate-your-lego-hobbyaddiction
    There are also a number of discussions in the 'Building and Techniques' category that discuss approaches to storing sets and part inventories.
    2.) I can't seem to locate road plates which were the key to my old Lego cities, where can you find them?
    Here is a link to road plates available for purchase from LEGO.com: http://shop.lego.com/en-US/T-Junction-Curved-Road-Plates-7281
    You'll have varying levels of success finding them at Toys R Us.
    Bricklink (third party marketplace for LEGO) will probably be your best bet: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?catType=P&catString=130
    4.) How well do the road plates work with sets such as the newer police station, fire station, space launch pad etc?
    This is actually a pretty good question. Of course the road plates are meant to be compatible, but gone are the days when they are integrated into sets. I suspect that TLG concluded that road/base plates didn't add enough appeal to a model to warrant the cost of their inclusion, or that it was easily overlooked, whereas keeping the set price down a few dollars would not be as easily missed.

    Here is a good general discussion about roads: http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/comment/18279

    From that great mashup that DaveE made, you can see that though they are essentially compatible, there are idiosyncrasies that don't make them perfect. Thus, I would strongly suggest brick built roads as a solution. This is going to offer the most flexibility with your layout. An example can be seen at the end of this link: http://gimmelego.blogspot.com/2011/08/change-of-plan.html
    3.) I am planning on sticking to one particular theme, did anyone else plan to do this but ended up collecting multiple themes?
    Slippery slope indeed. It's a noble intention, anyhow :P
    4.) What's the best way to get old sets for resonable prices, I'm not talking vintage but sets like three to four years old.
    This probably goes without saying, but the best approach is one that leaves no stone unturned: eBay, Bricklink, craigslist, garage sales, trading with members here and elsewhere.
    5.) Where can you find release dates for new sets coming out?
    Although TLG's annual line of sets is available for preview to retailers and trickles down to the general public, the corresponding release dates are not made readily available, and I don't think there is that much value in doing the legwork to track all this down. Instead, I would just familiarize yourself with the sets planned for the year, and keep an eye out as people start posting when anticipated sets start showing up on shelves: http://www.brickset.com/search/?year=2012
    Galactus
  • WyleenzWyleenz Member Posts: 9
    Thank you all for the feedback!
    The brick roads look amazing and it Offers so many possibilities and alot of challenges.
    I suspect any layout is going to take a fair while, I also imagine I will keep buying sets which would make any possible layout need expansion. I pretty much can guess I will be building sets, putting them anywhere around the house there is space and have some vague grand plan for a layout.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,105
    Vintage sets (80's/90's) can sometimes be found for decent prices on eBay and BL.
    It depends on how rare the sets are. Garage sales all depend on if someone looked at eBay or not (I have heard of garage sales charging outrageous amounts of money for a bin of LEGO). If you buy sets or lots on eBay then Bricklink.com will be your friend

    As for road plates, the prices are just absurd for a road plate (vintage ones are going anywhere from 5 bucks per to about 10 dollars per). But if you can find a TRU selling new ones in the in store and can catch them in a BOGO sale then it is not bad.

    Also check out LEGO.com now for road plates, as they are doing double VIP points (if you are signed up) AND free shipping online- The Double points offer is good until March 15th. And if you have now LEGO store in your state then you may not have to pay sales tax either. So getting road plates may be a good deal now if you want brand new ones

    Also keep in mind that the road plates are differently configured than others (all are 32x32 but some have wider road sections than others, some have 'bike lanes' some do not, etc), with the newest ones out by LEGO currently being the widest road sections if I am not mistaken.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,917
    Sorry to go off topic but, how come some people don't have to pay sales tax if there is a LEGO store in the state/province?
  • jadeirenejadeirene US, CaliforniaMember Posts: 475
    ^ I think madforlegos meant to say "if you have NO LEGO store..."
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    edited March 2012
    My suggestion is to buy any City set you like that features a building. I started collecting City for my son last year and quickly realised we had tons of vehicles and hardly any buildings or roads.

    The road plate packs increase the size of the layout nicely, and also different sub-themes of City help define areas in the layout - like setting a corner aside as a harbour or marina, maybe another side with the new Forest line of emergency sets etc.

    Also your question about how well the road plates fit with the current sets - I only have the Fire Station, and setting that up with road plates into the driveways is a bit difficult - you need a separate road for each driveway, and the driveway is only half as wide as the road. Check this out and pause at 4 seconds:



    I use 2 'T' intersection or 'X' intersections on my sons layout.

    Good luck also with sticking to one theme! I stuck it out for a couple of years just on Castle - now its anything and everything I like the look of (or is at the right price)!
  • stagusstagus Member Posts: 256
    This sounds familiar....I wanted to build a city - that was all - and now I have SW, SH, POTC, Technic, etc so good luck with that.

    For space I have floored a fair percentage of the loft. To sort out my layout I did a 'plan view' in excel to show what was going where and then adjusted it as I was going. It does give you a good idea of overall size and where you want things to go, e.g. Main Street, Airpport area, Farm, Harbour and work the minor details around that.

    To get older sets it's as the rest have said, ebay, etc but keep an eye on here for the bargains!!

    Something you will want to look at is the modulars. TH, GE, PS and FS are still available. They look awesome in a city. getting your hands on GG, CC and MS won't be so easy (unless you have a very full wallet).

    Most of all have fun......there is not a wrong way to do it!
  • TheCoryJihadTheCoryJihad Member Posts: 26
    I'm relatively new to collecting too. I had an entire room dedicated to Legos when I was a kid and thankfully my parents managed to hang on to 80% of my collection(I'd love to know what it's worth) but since I now have kids who are into Legos, I started collecting again this past Christmas. Owning 7 or 8 new sets quickly turned into well over 200 in a matter of 3 months. I tried sticking to a theme, but discovered that my favorite theme is anything that says Lego on it.

    I am attempting to keep from collecting some themes like Ninjago because they are so immense and the completionist in me would probably go crazy trying to get them all(Star Wars is driving me nuts....).

    The collection resides in an area of my basement that's set aside for it and we're now in the process of constructing a few two tier tables to house the quickly growing amount of sets. If I keep buying at the rate I'm buying now, my basement will most likely be full by the end of the year. Thankfully, my wife is totally on board with this as it gives us something to do with our kids and we both love building the bigger sets when they're sleeping.

    One thing we are doing with the Star Wars starfighters is that we're hanging them from the ceiling of our boys' bedroom to simulate a gigantic battle. They boys just love it and we've hung a rotating solar system to add to the look.

    Overall, it's becoming a major collection quickly and I'm just glad that I've got the space to let it grow and a wife that's just as nuts about it as me!
  • WyleenzWyleenz Member Posts: 9
    Well it lasted a week but today I got a kingdom set, at the store I rationalized this by saying my city could always use a mill. So now it's castle and city sets for me, I loved the castle set alot, all the moving parts like gears and trap doors are a real bonus.
    I like the idea of using excel to plan the city out, is there a list of footprint sizes like 10x6 etc for each set, just curious before I count them all out myself I'm hoping someone has done this already. I'm in Florida and wanted to know if anyone has been to the legoland store? I am thinking off going there to shop for some of the hard to get sets - I know online is easier and cheaper and you'll find alot more sets available but there's something about choosing at the store.
  • jadedancjadedanc USAMember Posts: 1,303
    Same here! I started maybe 2 mths ago and I am now the proud owner of 55+ sets and a couple $k lighter as well lol
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    Well it lasted a week but today I got a kingdom set, at the store I rationalized this by saying my city could always use a mill. So now it's castle and city sets for me, I loved the castle set alot, all the moving parts like gears and trap doors are a real bonus.
    Sounds like you bought Mill Village Raid. Just curious where you found it. I looked far and wide locally (St. Louis, MO) but wound up ordering from BN.com. Nobody else has it new, in stock.

    One advantage in collecting Castle sets is that you don't have to worry about base plates. I picked up a sheet of "ReadyGrass" from a local hobby shop:
    http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/category/ReadyGrassVinylMat
    Looks better to me than a studded base plate and allows more flexibility to layout. It does have a strong odor that subsides after a few days.

  • BeardedCastleGuyBeardedCastleGuy Member Posts: 127
    If you are looking for recently out of production sets try some of the smaller retail chains in your area or even Toys R US. They'd be around retail usually but unlike the bigger chains (Target or Walmart for example) they do not tend to always do markdowns on stuff just to make space or coincide with a date on a calendar. Also searching online stores can sometimes turn up some useful finds.
  • WyleenzWyleenz Member Posts: 9
    I got the mill raid at toys r us in saint Petersburg fl, they actually have a buy one set and get 50% off another set in store and online. You can also get it shipped to a store close to you for free - except a few items like the cargo train etc. Toys r us is pricey though !
    I realized the advantage of no road plates with castle, I am already looking at the castle .......
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    ***sssssiiiiiiiiiggghhh***

    Who do you think has the bug worst, new (or RE-newed) collectors, or long time mavens? Right now, I have no patience. Starting from scratch I have tried to cover my son's room in Mars sets, for him I say, for me my wife corrects. I really have work to do right now but I just want to talk about Legos... We need a lawnmower, I just ransacked the paypal account... Bad, bad, compulsive brick-hoarding dad am I...
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^I would say its the new or re-newed collectors. The experienced vets seem to be more judicious in what they buy. The newbies, such as myself, tend to go on a spree at the beginning as the brick habit sets in. Add in the buying frenzy & deep discounts from November until January and watch wallets cry in agony. Near-EOL sets, Favorite Themes, Discontinued sets, Mini-figs, Cheap Part sets, Loose Bricks for MOC... Pick your poison.
  • The_Brick_BuilderThe_Brick_Builder Member Posts: 658
    edited March 2012
    @Wyleenz
    1. Make most of the space.
    2. LEGO Shop at Home has the newer ones. Check eBay for both the newer and older baseplates. BrickLink also has the newer and older ones.
    3. The newer dark gray roadplates look great with them.
    4. Impossible to stick to one theme. ;)
    5. eBay, BrickLink, Craigslist
    6. Mainly from TLG, but there are/were some rumors that were true like Town Hall.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    As a renewed Lego fan I would strongly recommend setting a budget and sticking to it no matter what sale, offer or auction pops up. As others have said it can be very easy to get carried away. Make sure you have taken into account the amount of space you will need for storage. As a personal note I would also stagger my purchases. The majority of my collection is bought online so I end up getting a lot of deliveries. Early on I got carried away and had won a bunch of auctions. Over a two week period I must have had an average of 2 boxes arriving daily. I kind of got a little freaked out when I received a couple calls out of nowhere inquiring if I ran a business. That told that either people in my neighborhood or at the post office are keeping an eye on my doorstep.
    jesirose
  • VenunderVenunder Nottingham, UK.Member Posts: 2,565
    ^LoL.
    I usually explain multipurchases by saying I have a family who love Lego.

    I went through a second phase of lego collecting about eight years ago and filled half my attic quite quickly with any bargains I could find. I did stop collecting. So it is possible. :) If only for a while :)

    Renewing my interest in November last year I have more than doubled that collection.....
    I am building a mixed old city/ new city in my mind, until I have the space to set up my diorama for real. So I find myself collecting HP, Castle, City, Winter Village and CMF.
    I have found the only way to make this economical is to buy any sets that are reduced below 75% of retail price, following those themes. Luckily I have found a few real bargains below 40% retail. Grab them when you can or you will probably regret it, unless you have a long term buying strategy.

    Unfortunately for my wallet I also have an interest in Star Wars / Space .... So I am also building two alternate worlds in my mind. Will I ever have enough space to set them out? I hope so.
  • weinnerweinner Banned Posts: 148
    I too have recently rediscovered lego and in the hole a couple grand. I'm so glad I made my mother keep all my toys from when I was a kid because I have some great, old minifigures.
  • BeardedCastleGuyBeardedCastleGuy Member Posts: 127
    Now a couple of comments that are more long term thoughts versus the where to go look bit I posted earlier.

    One, it's usually easier and cheaper to collect a whole theme while it's an actively sold one versus having to search the aftermarket later. Even if this means paying RRP (aka MSRP aka Regular Retail Price), if you have to Bricklink or ebay a set later it's very, very rarely going to be cheaper.

    Two, Decide if you want to collect theme at all or do MOC's. If you are going to primarily do MOC's then who cares if you got a whole theme....

    Three, Decide how you plan on sorting everything, at least in general terms. Keep stuff sorted by sets? by piece type? by color? Also related, what are you going to store stuff in? there's a thread here about storage and a BIG thread over on Eurobricks that has a LOT of thoughts, advice and even pictures on how folks store their collection. It will be MUCH, *MUCH* easier to start your sorting while the collection is smaller and easier to manage than to wait until you have 50,000+ pieces (or more) to start taking a serious jab at it. Try and pick a design that will stick around a while so you can match it later, or 'overbuy' a current style so you will have room to continue to sort/store as your collection expands over time.

    Four, boxes, do you want to save them or not? perhaps certain core theme(s) might be worthy to be saved (or not).

    Five, remember, Parts are Parts, just because a certain piece or color or set doesn't come as part of theme X, doesn't mean that if you get a good deal on it you shouldn't buy it if you can make a use for it. Personally I see Friends as a way get some interesting parts in different colors that could easily make for nice accents somewhere.... Or to put it differently, don't let some marketing guy decide where YOU can or cannot use a part just by a label they put on a box.

    One of the beauties of LEGO is that it's use is limited by creativity more than any other factor (part availability in certain color/shapes is sadly sometimes limiting as well).
    jesirose
  • legomyLEGGOlegomyLEGGO Member Posts: 63

    Five, remember, Parts are Parts, just because a certain piece or color or set doesn't come as part of theme X, doesn't mean that if you get a good deal on it you shouldn't buy it if you can make a use for it. Personally I see Friends as a way get some interesting parts in different colors that could easily make for nice accents somewhere.... Or to put it differently, don't let some marketing guy decide where YOU can or cannot use a part just by a label they put on a box.

    One of the beauties of LEGO is that it's use is limited by creativity more than any other factor (part availability in certain color/shapes is sadly sometimes limiting as well).
    Personally, I've been thinking about picking up certain Friends set at some point, for the very reason you explained above. I know it was probably the demographic related, but I would've preferred that the theme used the same type of minifigs - oh well.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^Same here, the Cafe for the curved clear piece needed as a window front especially. Plus a couple of the accents like golden faucet and laptops. Can't discriminate against parts just because they're from a different part of town theme.
  • WyleenzWyleenz Member Posts: 9
    I believe I am the stereo typical re-newed collector, first three weeks I spent alot of money and now have a small collection but large enough to understand the mass amount of space it will take up.
    I know in my heart I should be chucking the boxes out - instead of a couple of bins my collection in boxes takes up alot of room. I just can't bring myself do actually do it!
    I think I will start going online to get old sets but not in the number that I was getting at the store. I did love going to the differenet stores and discovering what sets were available, the day before yesterday I got the public transport set from toys r us on sale. I had given up on the set and was looking at online prices, it was a nice surprise.
    I guess being a newbie I am going through issues I am sure any re-newed or new collector has struggled with.
    1.) Get rid of the boxes (but I don't think I would be wanting to buy a used set without the box, then again if I get rid of all my boxes I could start buying unboxed sets which are cheaper)
    2.) How to store it and organize it
    3.) Mix the sets so I can start on MOCs - I never had my sets built when I was young lego was all about MOCs which is why I loved Lego in the first place. But again its like the boxes I just cant do it!
    One of these days these three things will just happen ..... hopefully
  • WyleenzWyleenz Member Posts: 9
    edited March 2012
    .
  • WyleenzWyleenz Member Posts: 9
    Warning to new lego collectors out there - since this post in March 2012 I have an entire room full, no hope of ever laying out a city with so many sets, its like an addiction this lego! I ended up buying big display cases from IKEA filled 6 of them straight away, I have this "one day hope" that I will have an entire empty warehouse to finally lay out everything but this will never happen, however I still cant stop buying!!!
    Salamalexkiki180703
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ welcome to the club.  ;)
    kiki180703
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 14,072
    ^ Mayor of "Can't Display all my Lego-ville".

    I made a 'strategic' decision to put my Architecture and Creator landmarks at my office.

    I don't keep the Superhero playsets, just the figs.  (Except for the Milano and the Quinjet.)

    It pained me to also jettison all of the sets of LotR and display the minifigures.

    All of the UCS Star Wars are entombed in their boxes.  Probably never to be built...
    kiki180703
  • DrmnezDrmnez USA, Planet earth Member Posts: 859
    ^ oh no in entombed in box? I only have one of mine in box still (10179) just waiting for right time to build
    SumoLegokiki180703
  • GoldchainsGoldchains Member Posts: 795
    If you like, you gentlemen can certainly send your UCS SW sets to me and I will build and display them proudly.  :smiley: 
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,144
    Get out while you still can...
    jesiroseSumoLegokiki180703Galactus
  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 651
    I find that I bought a lot more Lego within my first year post Dark ages, but it's finally starting to level off to a more reasonable point. I've just sold a bunch of stuff I've wanted to get rid of for awhile, and now I'm going to be more focused and organized with my collecting than ever before. I used to want to have a huge city display, but I've gotten more realistic lately, and I just have a row of modulars on a shelf. It's currently in a state of chaos though, with Smaug, super heroes and villains, dinosaurs and spaceships waging all out war on the rooftops. 
    jesirose
  • HushedHushed Member Posts: 12
    I check craigslist daily for lego deals, or older sets I want. I have occasionally posted sets I am looking to trade to someone at a reasonable rate, but I have only had luck finding people who are obviously investors or resellers, who only care about doubling their value on the deal.

    Maybe I will see you on there? If anyone in ATX is looking to make reasonable trades on extra sets, I would be happy to talk.
    jesirose
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