Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
Please use our links: LEGO.comAmazon
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

How much has your criteria for buying changed since you first started collecting?

MaffyDMaffyD Member Posts: 3,579
edited April 2016 in Collecting

Okay, so when I got out of my DA, I thought I'd made some pretty clear-cut decisions on what I was going to buy, on a case-by-case basis anyway. You may all laugh at this, but it was: Star Wars only, one decent example of a set (not a polybag), only iconic spaceships. And for UCS they have to the most iconic of all! You can read the rest of this post when you stop laughing! :-)

As time went on, that has changed quite a bit (understatement of the decade, as far as I'm concerned) and now I find myself really annoyed that:

  1. When I started out I could've had the mind-set I have now about what I would be collecting (hindsight being 20/20 I can forgive myself this), or...
  2. That I didn't 'stick to my guns' and maintained my ambivalence to other sets that caught my eye.

What makes it worse is that I pride myself on being thorough when it comes to things that interest me, so I'm amazed that some of the sets I now want I hadn't even heard of when they were released. My only comfort is that I hanker after only 1 set that appeared from before my DA, and all the others are from 2000 or later (which doesn't help the cost issue, but does solve the availability issue).

My excuses are that a decade ago I was both earning a lot less than I am now, and at various points we were going through some pretty tough times as a family so plastic toys weren't high on the agenda.

Anyway, I just wondered what other people's thoughts were on this. It would be nice to know that I'm not alone!



  • ecmo47ecmo47 Member Posts: 2,101
    In 2000, I saw a USC X-wing at Target for $100.00 and said there was no way I'd EVER pay that much for a Lego set. Fast forward 16 years and I'll drop 1000's and not blink an eye.  Like you said, financial resources and circumstances change over time to allow you to change your priorities.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,556
    I've found as time goes on, available money goes up but stuff I want and will actually use goes down. I spend more on lego at BL than at S@H (or supermarkets, etc) these days.
  • bendybadgerbendybadger Member Posts: 1,139
    You are definitely not alone.  I started out with the mindset of I will only collect Minifigs from the CMF range and also iconic minifigs from Star Wars.  Oh haw naive was I?  I blame Brickset.  The more you know the more you want.  Knowledge is a dangerous thing.  I think the issue is there are so many sets that you look at and think to yourself " yes this isn't what I wanted to collect but that is a fantastic set".  So I expanded to modulars as they would provide homes for the Minifigs.  
    Then I started looking at sets as it is just the same price to buy a set sometime than pay for all the minifigures included in that set.  
    Another aspect then comes along which is the "its a bargain" buys.  You know you are just looking at Lego in the Supermarket aisles when you spy a set at 50% off.  You never really wanted that set but now you have to buy it as it is a bargain.  So you end up with more and more.  I intended trading a lot more for the bargain sets but end up building and keeping them.
    Then there is the sets that you never even considered but they look so nice you have to have them.  I never really liked any of the Ninjago stuff but when I read about the Temple of Airjitsu it just had to be purchased.

    So is anyone else stronger willed and has stuck to what they first intended?
  • FodderFodder Member Posts: 360
    I started collecting the CMFs after coming out of my dark ages, so I will always pick up at least a complete set of each series.

    I bought the #76029 because I wanted one Iron Man minifig... After picking up #76021 on sale, I started bricklinking the rest of the avengers, then ant man, then guardians, then baddies for them all to fight. I've just finished collecting the rest of the iron man variants, including the iron patriot.

     I didn't think I was ever one to collect the minifigs without the sets that they came in, so I do own all of the nickelodeon TMNT sets. I wish that I had picked up figs only for some of them.
  • tallblocktootallblocktoo Member Posts: 497
    No its been difficult to stick to what ones original intent was in buying Lego as mentioned above as there are so many sets from various themes that are tempting even if you need just need one because its outstanding.  The other issue being that once one gets into a theme one seems to need all the sets which rather adds up after time!  Time will tell if I am strong willed enough but hope to end a few themes this year.  Although I have enjoyed Speed Champions last year I have only bought a few sets this year and think I am happy with that even though its definitely not complete.   Elves I have tried to complete mostly but again plan to end as I think it will continue on for the foreseeable future and don't want to feel obliged to buy every set they put out.  My hope is to stick to the modulars, CMF's an occasional Technic set, and a few of the Creator sets.   Of course then there are the super heroes sets that tempt you or a large landmark creator set is begging to be purchased and built!  
  • MaffyDMaffyD Member Posts: 3,579
    ecmo47 said:
    In 2000, I saw a USC X-wing at Target for $100.00 and said there was no way I'd EVER pay that much for a Lego set. Fast forward 16 years and I'll drop 1000's and not blink an eye.  Like you said, financial resources and circumstances change over time to allow you to change your priorities.

    Not sure about thousands but yeah, circumstances!
  • MaffyDMaffyD Member Posts: 3,579

    I'm currently worrying about how my priorities might change in the future as well now! I look at a set, think "No, not on my list." And I'm sure I've made the right decision, but I originally thought I didn't need all the Quinjets (and I thought long and hard about it too), but now I have the latest two I look at the first one and.... well, you get the picture.

    Am I making the same mistake about my current wanted list? I've decided to not buy any Episode VII Star Wars spaceships, but what if a UCS one is released? And if I decide to get that, do I suddenly have to reassess my decisions about other sets?

    Finally, has anyone hankered after a set for a long time, then to finally look at it and think "No. I've done enough here. This one will stay on eBay." and take it off their list and be happy about that? I've done it, and to my credit I can't remember the name of the set now - but only one set ever out of the list I've made.

  • JudgeChuckJudgeChuck Member Posts: 1,591
    Scope creep is a terrible thing... I started off re-discovering my Classic Space sets and wanted to add to them and also picked up the early Minecraft minifig sets, as well as buying Friends, Disney Princess & City sets for my daughters.
    I've completed my Classic Space collection to my satisfaction, I have all the Minecraft sets, including the micro-world ones and during that time I discovered Ninjago, mainly for the buildings and dragons, Winter Village, Modulars, LOTR, TH, Ideas, TLM and am now dipping my toes in Technic.
    I have managed to steer clear of Star Wars so far, apart from getting a Stormtrooper minifig in a book, and I fully intend to keep it that way!
  • FodderFodder Member Posts: 360
    I have managed to steer clear of Star Wars so far, apart from getting a Stormtrooper minifig in a book, and I fully intend to keep it that way!
    I have a red-armed c3po that I got as a free polybag, and I haven't been game enough to open it. I don't want risk sliding down that slippery slope
  • aldreddaldredd Member Posts: 203
    I started out with Technics, and wasn't really interested in much else - I didn't believe that 'system' Lego would give me the same level of satisfaction as Technics.
    But, the wife bought me the VW Camper for father's day or Birthday, which opened my eyes a little - apart from the flagships Technics set, I'm all about 'system', but tend to go for the larger, more complex sets, fairly irrespective of the theme.
  • OldfanOldfan Member Posts: 707
    ...I blame Brickset.  The more you know the more you want.  Knowledge is a dangerous thing...
    This is the true "Brickset effect"!

    After leaving my classic space and town Lego behind in my dark ages, I came back with a vengeance when Star Wars sets appeared.  As an incurable completist, there was no way that I would not collect all the sets.

    In the past, for anything other than Space or Star Wars, I might only get a single set from a given theme, just to have a representative sample.  More often than not, that single set grows into owning the entire collection...I'm really working hard not to backslide too much on this.  So far, Chima, Nexo Knights, and the newer Ninjago sets are only represented in my collection by a promo polybag or two.  I'm steering well clear of things like Elves and Angry Birds.

    I did break down and get a Jurassic World set recently.  Just one little set, it can't hurt anything, right?  (Of course, that's what I said about Harry Potter once, and I seem to have all of those sets now...)
  • MaffyDMaffyD Member Posts: 3,579
    Do you think Brickset tends to attract the kind of people who are completists? Is the tail wagging the dog here? Having a 'Has' and 'Want' list is very... tempting.
  • MaffyDMaffyD Member Posts: 3,579
    Scope creep is a terrible thing... I started off re-discovering my Classic Space sets and wanted to add to them and also picked up the early Minecraft minifig sets, as well as buying Friends, Disney Princess & City sets for my daughters.
    I've completed my Classic Space collection to my satisfaction, I have all the Minecraft sets, including the micro-world ones and during that time I discovered Ninjago, mainly for the buildings and dragons, Winter Village, Modulars, LOTR, TH, Ideas, TLM and am now dipping my toes in Technic.
    I have managed to steer clear of Star Wars so far, apart from getting a Stormtrooper minifig in a book, and I fully intend to keep it that way!

    You just need a Tower of Orthanc now. Sorry, sorry. I'll stop now.

    Or will I? :-) Well, yes, I will if you ask me to.

  • JudgeChuckJudgeChuck Member Posts: 1,591
    edited April 2016
    MaffyD said:

    You just need a Tower of Orthanc now. Sorry, sorry. I'll stop now.

    Or will I? :-) Well, yes, I will if you ask me to.

    It's okay, I can handle it... ;-)

    I'll either get it, or I won't and that will depend on available funds for LEGO and other planned purchases this year...

    At the moment, I only have a few planned purchases, two of which are fairly large:
    #21127 The Fortress
    #21128 The Village
    #60134 Fun in the Park
    Summer Ultimate Nexo Knights figures
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie Member Posts: 1,831
    Still hanging on to my post-dark-age rule of buying at a large discount, aside from CMFs. I started out only buying used lots, and that is still the vast majority of what I buy. I have stumbled across several new sets at up to 90% off retail. I now have a ridiculous backlog of unsorted parts, so I spend most evenings sorting. There are at least two dozen bags of partially assembled sets, ranging from Build-a-Bob to an X-Wing. 46 different themes that I know of, and I keep finding unique parts from sets I had no idea were in the pile. Someday this may lead to excessive bricklinking to try and complete the sets, but as long as the local thrifts continue to supply LEGO at below market value I'm happy to keep buying incomplete sets and sorting through the pieces.

    It remains to be seen whether my grandson will share this view. So far he's most interested in sets like #6742 and #8561 because they have nifty little cases to put the parts back into, and parts like 42284/42291 that make a boulder he can hide stuff in (too many DCTC toy reviews with Kinder eggs). He was a big fan of Minions, so the only sets he has chosen himself are not even LEGO - but he said "please" and I suddenly was overwhelmed with "these are the toys you are looking for" as we made our way to the checkout counter. 
  • MaffyDMaffyD Member Posts: 3,579
    ^ I wish I could restrict myself like that. Also, when the boss wants to get me a set on the day it's released, how can I say no? :-)
  • weevlesweevles Member Posts: 2
    In the beginning, I limited myself to City and Star Wars, but now I just go for whatever strikes my fancy. If it looks cool or has fun play features, I'm in.  :p 
  • DangermouseDangermouse Member Posts: 17
    I started 15 years ago and bought an A-Wing pilot from eBay and said to myself I'd stick to just Star Wars Ep. IV-VI minifigures.

    Then Harry Potter came along.

    i then had to have the superheroes, then the next licence and next...... so my tiny collection snowballed into an obsession.

    Apart from a few angry birds and the new hoth set I should have all the licenced figures made apart from SW Ep 1-3.

    in the past I'd have liked to rewatch Ep 1-3 but am scared that it might make me want the figures from them as well.!!!!!

    i need help!!!!!
  • CircleKCircleK Member Posts: 1,055
    edited April 2016
    My decent into madness started with the Haunted House. I wanted it as soon as I saw it and I didn't even bat an eye at $180 price tag. I came out of my dark ages for that set alone. My primary motivation was that it would be something cool to setup with my kids during Halloween and we would make a tradition of it.

    Soon after I started trying to find classic monster figures to go with my new purchase and that led me to CMF. What started with a few monster figs soon became the entire CMF line. There were a couple of frivolous years there where I just seemed to buy anything that came along. I also bricklinked several projects, including a Green Grocer, as well. It was getting out of control. 

    I'm much more focused with my purchases now.  At some point I remembered that I got into this hobby so that I could share something with my kids. That was all it was ever supposed to be.  My intent was never to turn into a collector. I still buy much more than I should, but I mostly stick to Creator 3in1 these days bc I feel that theme better represents what I wanted this hobby to be: a creative outlet that I can share with my kids. I can't do that with a "collection". I won't let my four year old deconstruct or play with a $300 UCS set, but I can do it with a creator house or the like. 
  • davee123davee123 Member Posts: 864
    edited April 2016
    I started collecting a little bit in 1994.  There was definitely no BrickSet back then-- not even LUGNET or even the Pause Magazine LEGO Guide.  But I didn't buy all that much.  I was just out of high school, and about to go into college, after all.  So I didn't have a lot of cash or space.

    In 1999, I got a job, and started posting online at LUGNET.  And I started buying everything.  My assumption at the time was: "I'm going to buy ALL the Star Wars sets, ALL the castle sets, ALL the space sets, and a good chunk of town, pirates, trains, etc, that came out.  Maybe not quite everything from those other lines, but most things.

    But, go figure, LEGO was independently deciding to also release a LOT MORE every year.

    So in my mind, LEGO was still churning out 1995-levels of sets, when in reality, they had about doubled their offerings.  And they weren't going to stop there.

    But it didn't take long to realize that no, I definitely was NOT going to collect EVERYTHING.  I was on my way to collecting every Star Wars set, when LEGO came out with this:

    $150 for ... a bunch of basic bricks in basic colors and a statue that I hate and won't ever display?  ... Aaaaannnnnnd... I'm done.

    I still bought pretty much everything from the lineups that I really liked, though.  I bought ALL the Orient Expedition sets in one go, and similarly all the Rock Raiders sets, and Knight's Kingdom I sets.  And bunches more.

    THEN in 2004, the color change hit, and it was all over.  I was sort of looking for an excuse at that point anyway, because my collection was becoming unwieldy.  But with the color change, I had an excuse to stop buying stuff (up until then I would buy pretty much anything with gray, dark gray, tan, and brown-- 3/4 of which changed in 2004).

    So, now I just buy most of the really-really-cool stuff.  The adult targeted sets like UCS, Expert, Modular Town, etc.  And the occasional other set here and there.  I've still got a big collection, but I've long since given up trying to collect anything completely, apart from a few scant bits here and there.  It's better that way.

  • natro220natro220 Member Posts: 545

    When I came out of my dark ages around 2008, I decided I was only going to buy select sets I wanted when I was younger.  I began with the mentality that new Lego was too specialized and had lost it's charm it once had.  For about a year or so I strictly bought old Space, Town, Pirate and Castle from ebay, mainly sets from about 1987-1993.  I also bought a couple bulk lots off Craigslist which filled in most of my classic Lego collection.

    I then made my first visit to a Lego least my first since I had rediscovered my love for Lego.  My first purchase of new Lego as an adult was the Boeing Dreamliner model.  It was on clearance, had a TON of pieces (more than any set I had previously purchased), and looked like it would be a fun build and also serve as a nice display piece.

    Building that set and opening the new bags, and following the crisp new instructions brought back a flood of wonderful memories.  The next month I purchased Café Corner and Green Grocer, and the following month with May the 4th, I purchased the 10179 UCS Falcon when it was 25% off (crazy to believe for a while that set was $375).  My collection has exploded in the years since, and I tend to only buy the advanced models or the occasional original trilogy SW set now.  Funny how perception changes over time.

  • DonDon Member Posts: 63
    When my dark age ended a year or so ago, it was due to seeing the Minecraft First Night set in our local Lego store. (Which I had been wandering through for a while, but never "bitten".)

    So my initial goal was "collect all Minecraft sets", naively assuming that would be a small collection.

    As time went on, I added Architecture, Modulars, 3-in-1, and various other sets that looked good. Oh, and Mindstorms.

    As my Lego horizons expanded, and as the Minecraft theme added sets I wasn't wild about, I've now pulled back on Minecraft even to the point of mildly wishing I hadn't bought a couple sets that are still sealed.

    I am already realizing that I need to become more selective, mainly due to finite space.

    So my plans has gone from "all Minecraft" to fairly broad, to now trying (and sometimes succeeding) to be selective and just buy sets I really like. And sets for MOCing. And...  sigh.

  • messymessy Member Posts: 253
    When I first started I was not consciously collecting just buying some cool sets that reminded me of the toys I played with most in my childhood, star wars and lego. Over a few years I gradually acquired a few more here and there, visited a Lego shop and saw the many different ranges but had other things in life that meant it was a casual bit of fun.

     It wasn't until I had regular access to the internet, found ebay and brickset, coupled with a greater disposable income that  I really started collecting, buying older star wars sets I hadn't seen and didn't know I wanted until then. Although I did buy a lot I stuck to just star wars but then we had children and I started to buy city sets and duplo and then pretty much everything and anything!

    Over the last couple of years I have tried really hard to only buy sets I really want, or feel my children will enjoy, and am happy to accept that if a set goes eol and I haven't got it then it's not a big deal as I don't have the space or funds for everything.

    I am also better now if I see a 50% set I can leave it on the shelf, most of the time, well some of the time anyway!  My criteria is now much like when I started in that I only go out of my way for sets I really want it just encompasses more themes.
  • chuckpchuckp Member Posts: 684
    I started with a Star Wars-only policy in '99 and that actually lasted until about '06, with a few exceptions for trains and dinos. Once Batman I and Indiana Jones sets were released, that policy went right out the window and now I just have my paychecks deposited directly into LEGO's bank account. 
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,241
    ^ Is that pre-tax direct deposit?
  • chuckpchuckp Member Posts: 684
    edited April 2016
    ^ Ha, unfortunately not. I need to find an account that can make that happen.
  • xwingpilotxwingpilot Member Posts: 799
    Initially I just bought the Microfighters Seies 1 X-wing as a souvenir from a family trip to LEGOLAND. Having seen the UCS X-wing while I was there I then decided I had to have it.

    That was it - the end of my dark ages...

    After that I needed the retired X-wing poly so I had both the largest and smallest X-wings that LEGO had ever made. Then I needed to complete my Microfighters collection with the remaining OT sets from Series 1 and 2.

    Since then I've added some OT minifigures and keychains to my collection and most recently the Imperial Shuttle Tydirium.

    My criteria for buying has become (and remains) to only buy OT sets and minifigures that I truly love and have room to display.
  • YodaliciousYodalicious Member Posts: 1,366
    Came out of my dark ages like a bat out of you know what in 2012. That first 18-24 months was chaos and left me with a number of sets I now know I should've passed on (every time I stare into the eyes of a Clone Wars minifig, I cringe). 

    Then in 2014, I refocused and decided to stick with what I truly want and not what I only sorta, kinda, maybe, might want or what's on sale (sales killed me early on). That allowed me to pass on entire themes, which was a very good thing. The problem is the themes I do like are the ones that release the most sets...Town, Star Wars, Superheroes, CMFs, and in the last few months - Ninjago.

    Overall, my purchasing may actually be the same, or possibly even up, but it is definitely sticking to what I want as a part of my collection. There isn't a Lone Ranger, Minecraft, Galaxy Squad, Nexo Knights, Bionicle, latest Castle line, Friends, Elves, Princesses, etc. set that wasn't a free polybag promo to be seen in my collection and that, to me, means I've at least stuck to my guns somewhat.
  • ryjayryjay Member Posts: 1,004
    It has changed drastically.  I used to buy any set the kids wanted, they enjoyed building and I  enjoyed sharing that with them.  As they've grown out of lego, I miss the sharing part, but I dont build, never did...I never liked lego as a kid, and as an adult it was just something to do with the kids.  But I still enjoy looking and seeing what is designed and in stores.

    I was a Little League baseball coach for 10 years and I used to buy lots of poly bags to hand out to the kids as game incentives....going from 1st to home took on a whole new understaning 

    The disney CMF are really the only items I've been interested in lately.  I want to like other things, but the crossover from my interest into lego doesn't really seem to 60's Batcave

  • PeteMPeteM Member Posts: 447
    Mine hasn't changed significantly - apart from chasing down a few of the sets I had always wanted from my childhood, I've always just bought whatever has appealed to me at the time. Luckily I'm not a massive fan of any particular licensed theme and I'm not a completist so, though I have all the Modulars available since coming out of my dark ages (Fire Brigade onwards), I don't feel the need to get the others at current after-market prices (at the moment anyway :))

    Two slight changes:
    - I was fairly sure I'd never buy any Ninjago, but have recently succumbed to the mildly steampunk aesthetic of Final Flight of Destiny's Bounty, and have my eye on Temple of Airjitzu... 
    - As others have said, I'm getting better at not buying any old set just because it's on clearance. It took me a while to learn this though! 
  • LordmoralLordmoral Member Posts: 938
    I jumped at the chance to buy any set first available, but since the cost of SW sets has gone up (among other life expanses) I have started to either look at other themes (City and Marvel/DC Superheroes) and cutting budget until I get even with some things. LEGO will always be in my pockets but the sets have to be: good-excellent model, excellent price per piece, good minifigures, can complement my Star Wars line, etc.
  • OrmskirkBricksOrmskirkBricks Member Posts: 265
    Like many I started out focuses only on Star Wars Minifigs, only the original trilogy. But then I saw the x-wing, some both sets, then the UCS X-wing, then the imperial shuttle, then then scooby do sets, then the CMF figures...and so on. Basically now if I like it, I buy it. But display space is now becoming an issue.
  • bandit778bandit778 Member Posts: 2,398
    Like many others, when I got back into buying Lego, it was somewhat disorganized, items on sale, themed sets, and older sets that had been discontinued were brought with wild abandon. I have now scaled it right back to SW, interesting builds and sets that look really good. Any purchase has to have at least two of the criteria before I pull the trigger without a lot of deliberating the pros and cons.
    It has meant that some sets I would have purchased without thinking before don't get a look in but others that I would not normally consider are finding there way into my collection.
  • tallblocktootallblocktoo Member Posts: 497
    edited May 2016
    @PeteM  You won't regret buying the Temple I don't believe.  I for one only have that one set from Ninjago and enjoyed it and still do.  I even like the collection of figures although I bought it for the build and aesthetics.  
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 Member Posts: 1,431
    Don't start. That's the only way to not spend a ton of money on all sorts of sets. Reminds me of War Games:

    << The only winning move is not to play. >>

  • brumeybrumey Member Posts: 1,002
    around  -50% msrp used and -25% to -30%   misb !
  • catwranglercatwrangler Member Posts: 1,895
    Well... as of finding a whole lot of them for 60p each today, apparently I now collect Simpsons CMFs. I just assumed I would never go there! I hope this mission creep isn't going to get me into Disney minifigs...

    When I collected as a kid I was all about acquiring sets that were both intrinsically cool and had cool pieces for MOCing. In practice this involved buying a lot of cheap Space sets. Now I'm a bit more strategic (and have more disposable income) so I'm more likely to plan my set-buying ahead and focus on a few bigger sets. And I think a lot about which sets that appeal to me anyway will have lots of good pieces for castle-building. 
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at or Amazon?

Please use our links: Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the, Inc. Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, which are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.