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I wouldn't be surprised if parents who resorted to ebay for the micro world sets started buying early and possibly bought extras thinking they might make back the excess they paid for the micro worlds by doing exactly the same thing.
I have presumed from the start this is part of why they only did a limited fall release instead of trying to go with a full store release. By not having the boxes in the stores, and not having advertisement, they do lessen the number of people that see the sets, and have to have the sets for Christmas.
I don't think there was any chance these sets would not sell out, but overall they took an approach to create the least amount of dissatisfied customers.
Now, what I don't understand is why they did not do a similar soft release with the Frozen/Princess sets.
Last year we had 3 more micro builds and the availability over the last 6 months has been fantastic.
They then release 6 more sets which are larger, more expensive and totally different to the originals.
Combine 6 sets released at the same time, with the christmas rush, the fact that Lego is more popular than ever and with a load of new sets being released in January. It is no surprise that they have struggled with availability on these and also most of their entire range.
Of course I don't have the sales figures or anything so it's pure speculation but it seems like a lot of people have come round to the idea of Lego being more expensive for a reason.
Interestingly when I was at the Sheffield store the other day The End is the only set they had on the shelves still. It feels like they only create The End because of the ender dragon but it's an incredibly boring landscape after that. I suspect even a mushroom island with a bunch of mooshrooms would go down better and be more interesting than that. They may well have been better off just sticking the ender dragon in a set by itself with a token few ender men and little else for much less money.
Unrelated, on their built Slave 1, the trans windscreen was really dirty, covered with little splodges. Even though its in a case. Also, they had out a Kingdoms Joust in a display case. Weird.
I'd guess that with Lego a hot toy this Christmas, they had to make a few awkward supply decisions and Minecraft felt the crunch!
Didn't think they would sell out so fast.
I was actually surprised the mine was quite so badly designed, I thought Lego had minimum standards on stability of sets or is that just a guideline that they flaunt every now and then? I like what they tried to do with the set but they just cheaped out by not putting in a baseplate or similar to stabilise it properly. It wouldn't have taken too many more parts to make it solid enough.
http://www.toysrus.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=lego minecraft new&keywords=lego minecraft new&origkw=lego+minecraft+new&sr=1