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Of the ~3400 pieces, there are only 106 unique parts, and they seem to all be fairly common. Mine sits on my desk so I'm actually looking at it as I type, and though it's my not my favorite among the sets you mention, it's very impressive, nevertheless.
1) find the stores that offer the lowest price
2) find stores that satisfy the highest number of pieces to minimize shipping fees
3) mitigate the difference between points 1 and 2 since they are often not the same
I usually find the easiest way to do this is to create a spreadsheet document.
Another thing to note is that you should buy new pieces whenever possible because used pieces will vary in quality and discolored, scratched bricks will stand out like sore spots.
1) wanted lists. Create a wanted list for the pieces you need. http://www.bricklink.com/wantedAdd.asp You can then use the wanted list to search stores that have all the items in your wanted list. Create a separate list for each set you are trying to reconstruct and make sure to change the default setting in Bricklink to NOT notify you, or else you will be getting bombarded with emails. (Made that mistake only once :-)
2) Use the Part out function to create the wanted list:
It allows you to put in a set number and specify if you want the instructions, box, figs, etc, and you can review the part list and remove any items you already have. Then you can view the wanted list by shop (http://www.bricklink.com/wantedShop.asp) and it will show you which shop has the most pieces on your wanted list, which is very helpful, especially if you are doing multiple buildings. Like I said, you can create multiple wanted lists, and create one for each building, and then you can show multiple lists at a time. The one thing it doesn't do is price compare, so you will have to spend a little time researching the pieces.
3) Shipping costs add up quickly. When you are ordering from several bricklink sellers, the shipping costs can get high really quickly, it is not uncommon to pay $10-$12 shipping on large orders. Place orders with 10 different sellers and you could be paying a lot more shipping than you intend. I always look at the price of their item compared to other sellers, if it is only off by a small amount, I will usually pay higher to get it at the same store because it will not be cheaper to buy it at the lower price, and then pay the shipping charge.
I have gotten almost all the parts for the Green Grocer and it has come out to cost me about $95-$100 and I was able to do most of it in a couple evenings. The Cafe Corner, I don't know, there are a couple pieces that just do not show up for sale ever, and when they do there is only 1 or 2, but the set requires 56 of them. I may just make an executive decision and change the color on that one, but one building at a time for me.
I hope this is enough info for you. It may be a little confusing about the wanted lists in Bricklink, but play around with it and i think you will do fine. :)
Definitely use the Part Out feature on Bricklink, and keep a track of all the parts already ordered so you don't double up! I usually delete the part from the wanted list after I have ordered it. Another thing I started to do later was to set the number of items required for each part to 1 and make a note of the actual amount I need in the 'My Remarks' column. This is because some of the parts were required in such large quantities that only a few sellers had them (in that number). By using this method you can get half of the number from one seller and half from another (along with as many other parts they have, of course).
Also, try and see what the rarest parts are and try and get those first and add as many other items from that seller to that order.
Shipping costs were huge for me (I'm in New Zealand, and most of my orders were from US and Europe), not sure where you are from, but it makes sense to get as much as possible from one seller, even if they aren't the cheapest price, as you will save more in shipping usually. But definitely get a feel for a good price for a certain piece, as prices can range hugely. (I needed 48 dark bluish grey 1x16 technic bricks, and they ranged in price from around $0.50 - $4.00NZ!)
Good Luck!!! I might be doing the same if I start collecting the Modular Buildings range!
I've bought the pieces from bricklink for the Cafe corner (new) and some from legoshop.
I've spend a bit less than 200$ (shipping included)
Can you recommend any sellers on there? I find bricklink impossible to use when you're doing complicated builds like that and trying to work out all the postage costs.
Also, if you need, for Cafe Corner, the dark red slope bricks are very rare. I have about 10-12 extra. If you are interested in them, just shoot me a message and we can work something out.
As for sellers on BrickLink, I like:
1. DadsAFOL http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=DadsAFOL
Gives great discounts if you are a multiple time buyer, and has large selection
2. House of Logos: http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=HouseOfLogos
Has a very large selection
it was 6- 8 month ago. But now the bricklink' seller doesn't have this pieces anymore (
US seller pinball surplus). I've bought from 4-5 sellers and legoshop.
For me, the must difficult to buy/find was the reddish brown female hair...
and yes, the most difficult was to keep an accurate list of the pieces!!!!
Ask lego for the pieces hard to find !!
Thanks for the blue arch info - gave up trying to get one at a reasonable price and got one from italy for €10. Mad! Will worry about the 4 for market st later (Im doing cafe corner and market street together to reduce postage overhead). Still have about 10 parts I havent sourced, will sit tight for those. I have a feeling that people reading this thread have cleared out bricklink in the EU for now :)
I'll be doing an XLS soon, once I have all the invoices (as I do for alll my lego), but I reckon the end cost for both will be in the region of £400ish.
I am thinking of making my buildings taller and wondered if anyone else had done a second-story inventory that I could borrow before assembling a needed parts list from scratch.
Thanks in advance!
When Fire Brigades become retired (which could be any day now), I am sure they will rise in price similar to match the overpriced sets you are missing. Then you can sell or straight trade them for the equally retired Cafe Corner or Green Grocer.
Also, in my opinoin, the Cafe and the Green Grocer are much superior sets to the Fire Brigade. If you could trade a FB one for one, I would do it in a heartbeat!!
It was quite the challenge and my first parting out a large set. I am sure I overpaid quite a bit but gained much experience. My total will be ~~$350 shipped. My best advice is to part out the set and then go for the seller with the most lots in your home country. I was able to get ~1800 pieces from one seller. With the roughly 200 remaining pieces I then recommend calling Lego customer service and then see what they have. I mistakenly went through 6 sellers to get the remaining parts and no doubt overpaid. At the end I got smart and contacted Lego and they had almost everything I needed for quite cheap and their service is excellent. The most expensive part was 1 blue arch that Lego no longer carries. Brand new it set me back $17. Thanks for the tip in the above posts regarding the new dark red roof tile pieces and the dark blue 1x4 pieces directly from Lego....that really saved me.
I estimate I have overpaid around $50-$60 so hope my tips can help someone else. All in all I learned alot and if I ever get the bug to collect Market Street I will know the best way to go. If Lego introduces the blue arch in a future set I will surely make an attempt!
Just wanted to add going through this process really makes you appreciate the price point of these modulars at retail, so if you are on the fence do yourself a favor and get the sets in retail stores while they are still available.
I've also built another floor to my Grand Emporium and another 2 floors to my Cafe Corner by piece mail.
Does anyone know if it is considered "poor form" to call Lego customer service with a very long list of parts. I called on 8 parts and that by itself was quite involved. I imagine calling on a couple hundred the rep might get upset.
Only 1 hr 45 minutes left when i'm posting this at Noon CST
P.S. I already asked the seller and the items pictured are the items you will receive