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Country / Region Exclusives

BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,281
edited January 2014 in Collecting
I was reading a thread just now, where a Bricksetter was heading to Singapore and wondered if there was anything they should pick up. Unsurprisingly, there were more than a few requests to pick up some #21021 Marina Bay Sands sets as, I'm sure you're aware, that set was only released in parts of Asia.

It got me thinking. Why do LEGO restrict access to certain sets by region? There are plenty of examples, one of the most obvious being the Master Builder Academy - we in the UK hear about it, but can only get it on the 'grey market'.

It strikes me that if ever a toy was designed that crossed international borders, needed little or no translation, and could be understood by a builder from Toronto to Timbuktu and from Beijing to Bradford, then LEGO is it.

I guess the argument (certainly for 21021) would be 'Well there wouldn't be much demand for it worldwide - it was just produced in the region that the actual building stands.' But surely if that were the case, then what's the point of the Architecture line at all? Are LEGO saying that these sets are basically souvenirs for visitors?

With the advent of more and more downloadable instructions, even the argument of 'Having to print instructions in multiple languages' is starting to fade. Yes the translation still needs doing, but you don't have to physically print them all.

I know it's difficult and expensive to tool up for a new set, but when the set is created from existing parts and it's simply a case of picking the pieces, printing the box and sending them out, when something like the aforementioned lines are proven sellers, it baffles me that that LEGO would restrict sales in the way that they do.

If they're worried about retailers shelf space, then make them on-line only.

I'm currently reading 'Brick by Brick', which is a fascinating insight into the troubles of the early 2000's, and how the situation was turned around by listening to their customers - both the retailers and us the consumers.

It strikes me they could do with putting their ear to the ground again!
jasorCam_n_Stu
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Comments

  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    ^ another is the last wave of SW Planets sets not being released in US.
    Sure, they are fiddly little things, but people like me have gotten them all except the last three. It's frustrating to say the least.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,505
    I don't see it as them restricting sales to certain parts of the world, I see it as making something available only in certain parts of the world. And personally, I think it is great. I love the fact that you can only pick some things up in specific places. It means there is something special to look out for when you travel. If everything is available with the click of a mouse from home, it gets a little boring when you travel.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    ^ And for those who don't travel because it's even more a luxury than LEGO?
    LegoMom1
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,505
    ^ Buy something else from the lego line (there is plenty) or if you really must have that luxury item, pay for someone else to buy it and post it to you.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    The ones that are country/region exclusives I can think of so far are:

    MBA Academy Kits
    SW Planets Series 4
    SW Hoth Keychain
    Games (Hoth, Batman, Helm's Deep)
    BR Minifigure
    Marina Bay Sands
    Shell Ferrari Promos
    Year of the Snake
    Statue of Liberty Poly
    Taxi Cab Poly
    Pudsy Bear Poly
    Legoland Picture Frames (Park Specific)

    What else should be on this list?

  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,640
    edited January 2014
    ^ + #21050 Architecture Studio
    #21100 Shinkai 6500 Submarine
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,505
    edited January 2014
  • HardradaHardrada Member Posts: 439



    What else should be on this list?

    Quite a lot of the polybags. A good chunk of them is only available in the US (and maybe Canada) in stores, and maybe in the UK through the usual newspaper promotions.

    The last two polybags I saw in retail chains over here were #30042 Atlantis Mini Sub and #5627 Mini Bulldozer in Tesco. And that was several years ago. Some online Lego stores have some polybags every now and then but very far from a complete line-up.
  • haakonohaakono Member Posts: 62
    #7643 Air-Show Plane. There have been multiple small sets like this that are only available through European airliner shopping catalogs.
  • joel4motionjoel4motion United KingdomMember Posts: 959
    @BrickDancer

    What is this SW Hoth Keychain you speak of? Any info appreciated....
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,500
    Bayern Munich key chains (though I'm not even sure where they are available to buy in Germany, they weren't in the Munich Pasing Lego store or the Bayern club shop when I visited last year).
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,505
    ^^ 6012306 I think a reseller in Italy found a load of them.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    I'm guessing there are legal/copyright restrictions as well, like the Hoth game not being released in the US because of competition agreements.

    Not that I can see the wisdom in it, but perhaps the Marina Bay Sands hotel didn't want it to be worldwide, or maybe they commissioned Lego to indeed make them to be expensive souveniers and nothing more.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    @joel4motion http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?G=6012306

    A respected team of Bricksetters helped to import them into the US for distribution and I went for two of these.
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    "The Stig" key chain is another.

    An interesting one is the #31004 Fierce Flyer, it has not shown up in store in Australia (at least none of the many normal stores that carry Lego). That said you can get it from [email protected] and some local online only stores have it.

    I assume there are many reasons, but as Lego are, or at least were, running at full production capacity maybe they just can't make some sets in enough volume to distribute to all markets.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    There are also the #850496 keychain and the minifig magnet from Anaheim and similar ones from other stores.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    binaryeye said:

    ^ And for those who don't travel because it's even more a luxury than LEGO?

    Is it? For the price of an Ewok village you can get a week long holiday including flights and accommodation in the Mediterranean. I think travel is relatively cheap compared to Lego!
    BTHodgeman
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,505

    There are also the #850496 keychain and the minifig magnet from Anaheim and similar ones from other stores.

    The keychain reminds me of something I have said before .... why don't they do a named keychain for each lego store, only available in that store. It gives something unique at every lego store. As well as a souvenir for non-FOLs just visiting or on holiday, it would drive collectors to collect them all.
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    Were do I sign up for that holiday? I assume I can catch that flight from Australia :p
  • SuperTrampSuperTramp City 17Member Posts: 1,021
    edited January 2014
    I thought the same, it costs me around £400 just for flights to see my dad in the states
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    Xefan said:

    For the price of an Ewok village you can get a week long holiday including flights and accommodation in the Mediterranean. I think travel is relatively cheap compared to Lego!

    Ah, but I live in the US, where LEGO is so unfairly cheap.

    A weekend stay in a nearby large city might cost $250. A week-long trip to the Mediterranean would likely cost ten times that (and triple that if I want to take my family).
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652
    CCC said:

    ^ Buy something else from the lego line (there is plenty) or if you really must have that luxury item, pay for someone else to buy it and post it to you.

    Buy something else from the Lego line?

    Maybe that one set from a distant land is the set that someone wants because they aren't able to travel for any number of reasons, money being only one of them.

    Pay for someone else to buy it and post it to you?

    That is only possible if we know someone who lives or is visiting there. Not always an option.

    I found your comments to be rude, just plain rude.

    You also say, If everything is available with the click of a mouse from home, it gets a little boring when you travel.

    I hope I never get so jaded that I can't find pleasure in traveling just for the sake of seeing new places and experiencing different cultures. Just my opinion of course.
  • margotmargot Member Posts: 2,310
    Xefan said:

    For the price of an Ewok village you can get a week long holiday including flights and accommodation in the Mediterranean. I think travel is relatively cheap compared to Lego!

    What?! I need to see the evidence.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,505
    LegoMom1 said:


    Pay for someone else to buy it and post it to you?

    That is only possible if we know someone who lives or is visiting there. Not always an option.

    I don't know most of the people I've traded with here, or bought from on ebay.
    LegoMom1 said:



    I found your comments to be rude, just plain rude.

    You also say, If everything is available with the click of a mouse from home, it gets a little boring when you travel.

    I hope I never get so jaded that I can't find pleasure in traveling just for the sake of seeing new places and experiencing different cultures. Just my opinion of course.

    By which I mean there is no reason to look out for any special lego when you travel, if you can just purchase it from home. If 99 point whatever percent of current lego sets can be bought direct from lego in your home country, then taking away the last of the location based exclusives removes the thrill of the chase for those that enjoy it. If I am travelling and there is a lego store within a couple of hours, I'll probably make a detour. If I know it will be exactly the same as the one back home, there is no point going.

    As I've said elsewhere, I'd love them to do something exclusive for each lego store. It would be pointless if all stores sold every one though. If I could just go to the nearest store and buy a Lawrenceville or Anaheim keychain, they would be pointless.
    Yellowcastle
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    margot said:


    What?! I need to see the evidence.

    Then use Google? You'll find plenty of examples in places like Tunisia and Turkey or even Greece and some of the Spanish islands.

    I'm talking about from the UK, so if you're not from there then I guess prices may vary a bit though.

    Oh and to whoever said it costs £400 to fly to the states well yes, the states isn't the Mediterranean. I was talking about travel in general, I think it's very cheap compared to Lego in this day and age.
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652
    @CCC- It was early in the AM when I read and replied to your comments. I hadn't yet had my morning coffee, so I may have taken them a bit more offensively than I should have. Thank you for clarifying. You have my apologies. And while I do agree that it is fun to have something special in different parts of the world, I feel it should be more of a small, souvenir type thing like the mentioned key chain or a polybag like the Statue of Liberty or even the grand opening Duplo bricks. Team GB falls into this category as well. It is a specialty item for a special and temporary event. It shouldn't be something like the much desired Marina Bay Sands. This belongs to the Architecture series and therefore should be readily available. For those of us who are fond of the architecture sets it is like dangling a carrot in front of a horse. Imagine if Malibu Mansion was only available in California. Or if you had to book a space flight to obtain a DS or SSD. How would you feel then?
  • BulkheadXBulkheadX Member Posts: 74
    yeah... MBS is a neat looking arch set too. I would like one but don't see myself getting over there anytime soon hehee.

    the idea about the stores having something specific to the store has occurred to me before. I do travel a lot for work and have been in different Lego stores and wished there were something to pick up that said I had been there... of particular irksomeness was when I was in the Copenhagen store and they didn't have a thing (At the time) to pick up showing I had been there in the home country of Lego lol. nothing big of course... minifig, magnet, or some other small thing to build. even if it were specific to that country or region instead of a specific store. I think that would be neat... and you may confirm that by the 40ish some-odd different Hard Rock Café pint glasses I have on a shelf at home lol
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    I totally agree about each LEGO store needing to offer a couple of inexpensive products to show you were there. Under 10US polybags of local places would be wonderful rather than the rare polybags offered for 100US plus on BL for Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Munich, Nuremburg, and several of my other favorite European cities. No way will I blow 100US on a 66 piece tiny, micro scale polybag set. Forget it.

    A keychain or mini fig with the city name would be lovely and easy to cary home as a treat for special friends. A polybag of a famous site would be exquisite. We are not asking for a Tower Bridge or Sydney Opera House large scale set….just something small that can travel easily and is not just a tee shirt.

    If Marina Bay Sands faces too many legal challenges, offer a polybag of the merman or the lions in Singapore. Or something from the famous Orchid Garden, which would be a stunner for sure. Many of these sets already exist as opening day polybags, and could easily be sold for 10US or less. That way we could bring home a suitcase full and give, trade, or sell them to our friends. After visiting LL Germany, Malaysia and California during the past 7 months, I am quite disappointed that no such sets are sold at each Park.
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    The other sets I would like to see offered in each LEGO store or Park would be Duplo or mini fig packs of a local family designed to show what folks look like there. Do a Duplo 2771 version for each country or a 5091 with just the figures so we can take real looking Chinese or Malaysian figs home. A six pack of a Danish or Malaysian family would a bestseller at Billund or Johor Bahri. Make the FL or California family Hispanic, Cuban, Black or Chinese to show some of the ethnic changes in those parts of the US. And please add more figures of color. I have just spent three days looking for Duplo and minifigs of color, and believe me they are beyond rare compared to the caucasian ones.
    margot
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    @legogal, perhaps that is why the original lego minifigs are yellow - they don't represent any ethnicity, or better yet they represent all humans.
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    Thanks!
    Yup, I have heard and understand the reason for the yellow flesh.
    But it seems that most of the world does not have yellow flesh. And I don't care for that color either. Replace every bit I can with more skin like colors. Thanks for so many licensed figures with non-yellow flesh.
    It is great that most AFOLS seem to buy the yellow color; otherwise the price of non-yellow skin would be stratospheric.
    And I can't help but wonder how much LEGO sales would increase if they offered more skin color options. Hummm...
    And I do feel the pain of the zillions of children who don't feel that LEGO people look at all like they themselves do. (As a huge fan of American Girl Dolls, a look at their color palette and choice of facial and hair features is just magical. They will make a doll that resembles YOU! Very, very cool.)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,505
    legogal said:


    But it seems that most of the world does not have yellow flesh.

    None of the world does. And that is the point. Generic minifigures are not meant to be any particular race. In that way, everyone can relate to the minifigures' expressions.

    khmellymelbinaryeye
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    I understand the point that none of the world has yellow flesh.
    I am merely stating that I prefer figures that look more human with skin tone reflecting more realistic colors. I am not convinced that "everyone can relate to yellow minifigures' expressions."

    However, I also understand and accept that yellow flesh is perfectly acceptable to many if not most LEGO collectors.

    If we are indeed looking for a product that reflects the location of a specific Lego Park or Store, the use of more realistic skin tone color is one way to customize such a product.

    Another way is to develop a mini build such as the ones used in store openings in Copenhagen, Nuremburg, Frankfurt and Munich to represent something special about that location. And these polybags do not require figures as they are designed in miniscale.

    There are other options for customized polybags or small boxed sets that could be offered at one particular location. This is a wonderful thread for digging out some of these ideas because TLG needs help in this area. Cheers!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,505
    edited January 2014
    legogal said:


    If we are indeed looking for a product that reflects the location of a specific Lego Park or Store, the use of more realistic skin tone color is one way to customize such a product.

    I don't think it is that good an idea though. What skin colour would you use for Miami or London or New York? There is no average skin colour. You could go for the majority, which leaves the minority feeling hard done by. It's better to use a neutral colour such as bright yellow, and customise some other way (national dress, local team, local landmark on torso, etc).
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    CCC: Your other ideas for customization are fine or they could use just microbuilds of a local landmark with no figs. It probably would be easier without figs.

    Check out the store opening polybag sets that show local landmarks:
    #3300005 (Copenhagen)
    #Nuremberg-1
    #Miami-1
    #Frankfurt-1

    The Miami one provides a more modern outlook while the other three are classics IMHO. (The prices for all three are humongous for polybags with 100 pieces or less. I own none of these. )

    These are not Architecture sets and can thus be sold for very low prices hopefully about 10US max.

    What if every LEGO Store and Park offered an exclusive like this? Sign me up!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,505
    ^ I agree. Such little sets would be wonderful as both tourist souvenirs and as collectables for FOLs.
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    After a three week wait, my Marina Bay Sands finally arrived from Hong Kong! Halleluiah! The outer shipping box was from the Czech Republic and sent to Lego Distribution in Hong Kong, from where it was mailed to the US.

    Would it have made a good exclusive for LL Malaysia? I think not. The Park is not in the country of Singapore where MBS is located.

    I would have started by looking for a well known Malaysian place/product, and after a week in Kuala Lumpur last September, that would have been the Royal Selangor Pewter company. I spent some time with one of the owners, Ms. Datin Chen Mun Kuen, and my guess is that she could help LEGO come up with a special polybag set, something like their anniversary pewter miniature tea pot, water vase and beer stein that RS is so famous for all over the world. I brought several of these home as gifts, and everyone adores them. They have many other fine designs that could translate into LEGO miniscale sets and are famous for their local tin made into pewter.

    And we have not even mentioned the mother of all mothers, Petronas Towers, which was just a few blocks from my hotel. Talk about a perfect set for a smaller Architecture kit. It could also be a tiny polybag kit sold just at LLM.

    So both the Royal Selangor miniature based polybag and Petronas Towers polybag would be fantastic choices for LLM exclusives. They also should be sold at the real Petronas Towers and the RS factory and stores in KL.

    What ideas do you have for small polybags representing the other LL Parks? Or your LEGO store?
  • BulkheadXBulkheadX Member Posts: 74
    Would love a Petronas set. I find it kind of neat how the scale for burj Khalifa and sears tower show the approximate height difference between then. Petronas would be right in the middle hehee
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    You are right on! My son has visited all three and would love a small Petronas because he has already built a two meter model after seeing the real place while an exchange student in Singapore. And it is time with LLM online.
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    I was thinking about LLFlorida (LLF) and keep coming up with the palm tree collection at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, one of my favorite haunts just south of Miami. Unfortunately Miami is a long ways from inland Orlando and quite different with its tasty Cuban food and over the edge South Beach culture. And Orlando differs so much from Daytona and it drag car beach race history.

    I think of the Orlando area as a place of massive sinkholes, massive traffic jams, way too many Disney freaks, air conditioner hell, alligators galloping out of waterholes and eating small animals, etc. And that is just based on my personal experiences there over five trips in 30 years. Small polybags of huge construction sets capable of destroying the natural environment in less than an hour would be most appropriate IMHO…..Humm! SO count me out on that one!

    Can somebody who spends a lot of time around there and actually likes the place give us something positive to work with? At least LLF is located quite a ways south of Orlando and not that far from the most outstanding Tiffany Glass Museum on the planet in Winter Park. NEXT?
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    LLCalifornia (LLC) is located in the more desert-like part of the state between LA and San Diego just a mile or so from the Pacific. Most of us like beach culture, so this polybag should be much easier than LLF although the level and speed of development of the surrounding land is almost a replica of what has happened around Orlando.

    Maybe some unusual migrating birds or fish would do the polybag trick. Whales do spend lots of time zooming up and down that Coast and are fun to watch if you know how. And something similar to the too early departed little eagle polybag could be a hit if those birds are seen in the area.

    One could produce a gardening/farming themed set for either FL or CA using as many small fruits and veggies as possible in little crates at a roadside stand because both of those States and Mexico produce most of our produce in the US. Might work with a tie-in to the Friends' Juice Bar. Last fall was one of the worst in US produce history; I did manage to find the last pint of fresh strawberries picked just outside the gate of LLC on a quick drive to the beach. That was my best purchase of the day after my first visit to LLC! Next?
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    Carlsbad, CA, the home of LLC is also known for their flower fields, so a small set including flowers would be appropriate as well.
    margot
  • PaperbackwriterPaperbackwriter Member Posts: 105
    Ordered two 21021 from Japan. Both ordered on a friday afternoon and both delivered in Atlanta on the next Tuesday morning. $216 each shipped via Japan post. Finally, the handling of 21021 by Lego shows that not only do they not dislike resellers, they actually create an environment where resellers can prosper.
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    @paperbackwriter,
    Wow! Glad yours came so quickly! Hesitated opening mine last night after so much difficulty finally getting it. And the box is so darned purty!
    But heh, it was my Christmas present with PR, the Juice Bars and Cuckoo sets. The others are built, and this one is waiting its turn already sorted and smiling at me on the kitchen table. Should be a reseller or traders dream! Enjoy yours!
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    Shellz, the flower idea is perfect for LLC! Maybe a little stand like the WV market, filled with flowers like the newer ones from Friends. And the new greenery showing up in recent sets as well as more vines and leaf designs while they are art it.
    My personal favs are the huge greenhouse/gardening extravaganzas sold by the kind Germans at P-bil....I have enough to open a floral business and adore that line. (It came in quite handy when my son got married at our home with the church theme built and enveloped with their fantastic range of floral decorations and their bride and groom as cake toppers with guests each adding a real flower to the side of the tiered wedding cake. But that is another story!)
    TLG should take a hint and open some large greenhouses for Friends because they need lots of fresh blooms for their festive lifestyle, and gals love flowers. Did I mention that girls worship flowers? (Hubby is well trained!!!)
    AFFOL_Shellz_Bellz
  • LegogeekLegogeek Orange County, CaliforniaMember Posts: 711

    Carlsbad, CA, the home of LLC is also known for their flower fields, so a small set including flowers would be appropriate as well.

    That's what I was going to say.... ;-P

    There's a lot that regional LL's could do in regards to polys or small sets. For the U.S., how about a state animal or bird? Whatever the item, it doesn't need to be specific to the exact location, as there may not be significant landmarks or points of interest, so broadening the selection palette to include the whole state or country would be... so California could also be a giant redwood, or the Golden Gate Bridge - i.e., someTHING that says LL "CALIFORINIA" ... same goes for LL Florida: how about an alligator or panther (I'm not familiar with Florida landmarks, other than the Everglades, but I'm sure there are many - manmade & natural).

    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is there are a lot of options when you really think about it.
  • PaperbackwriterPaperbackwriter Member Posts: 105
    For Florida, maybe an assisted living facility would be most representative.
  • beabea Member Posts: 227
    Hmm. I'm from one of those places but I'm not any of those ethnicities.
    legogal said:

    ... Make the FL or California family Hispanic, Cuban, Black or Chinese to show some of the ethnic changes in those parts of the US. ...

    As a child playing with Lego, I never noticed they were yellow. I knew they were yellow, but it never occurred to me to compare that to the color of my own skin or to any one else. The figures could easily represent me, my friends, or imaginary characters without a thought to their color.

    I hope Lego sticks with the yellow figures.


    binaryeyeLegogeekYellowcastlekhmellymel
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    @bea, There have been many discussions in other threads over the color of the LEGO head, and you seem to reside with the majority point of view. So the color of LEGO skin is not really the issue here.

    (I mention it only as an alternative for highlighting some of the ethnic differences in different parts of the world, not saying that a particular ethnic group has to be representative of the majority of people at a certain location.)

    It seems the idea of finding a suitable landmark or symbol for each geographic area where there is a store or Park is easier than trying to solve the "people issue."
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