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Help! Where do I start?

Fxguy1Fxguy1 Member Posts: 7
Our son and daughter (3yr and 1 yr) have recently gotten into playing with a couple of the lego kits we have bought. I used to build back when I was young but the landscape has changed drastically. Looking for help on getting a collection up and running. 

We currently own the following sets: 
10702 - Creative Building Set
31047 - Propeller Plane
31028 - Sea Plane
4496 -Fun with Building Tub

Interests include anything geek (Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr Who, Harry Potter, etc...) robots, dinosaurs and cars / planes. 

Looking for suggestions on what to do next? The Fun with Building tub gives us a lot of "standard" bricks but little in the way of unique parts / pieces. Suggestions on a couple of sets to augment the collection and provide some substance to build various things? 

We liked the lego ideas books but again a lot of those seem to require special parts / pieces. While it would be easy to spend a fortune on a collection we are looking for suggestions under $200 for the time being. So perhaps one big set and then a couple smaller / medium sized sets? 

Is it worth it to buy bulk pieces off eBay or craigslist or stick to  sets for now? 

Thanks for the advice! 


  • ImABrickManNowImABrickManNow Member Posts: 270
    I'd say start with something simple yet still fun. Personally I'd recommend Lego City as they have a wide array of sub-themes such as police and firefighters among other many fun vehicles.
  • nuttamastabuildanuttamastabuilda Member Posts: 56
    Some random thoughts...

    If you happen across Mixels sets, buy them.  Generally very poseable characters that come with lots of good connector parts.  Plus, if you find them, they may be discounted because that line is discontinued now. 

    Consider Duplo given their ages.  And keep in mind, Duplo is compatible with normal LEGO system bricks (2x2, 2x4, etc.) 

    A large set of assorted bricks should be a great starting place.  Dump it out in front and let them build whatever.  Small "special parts" will come as you buy sets and the kids build then break them as they move onto the next set you bought them.

    Otherwise, wait and let them wander down the LEGO aisles pointing to the sets they "want."  Some precious times to be had there, as your kids will claim to know all about a theme because some kid in their class has an older sibling who told the classmate all about the theme.  :)
  • bookmumbookmum Member Posts: 1,483
    At that age they will love the figures and animals and accessories. They tend to not be sold 'in bulk' like the bricks so I would try to get loads second hand if you can. If you shop at charity shops always rummage through the boxes of random bits that are there - I am always coming across random duplo figures. 
  • bookmumbookmum Member Posts: 1,483
    In fact fellow parents are often happy to 'pass on' outgrown toys (for free) - duplo is often just passed along unlike lego which is usually kept or sold. Any groups you take the children to - just ask! (parents are often desperate to get piles of outgrown toys - you may find a parent just handing you a massive pile going "just take it please I've forgotten what my living room floor looks like!) 
  • BumblepantsBumblepants Member Posts: 7,537
    I would avoid buying bulk off ebay or elsewhere starting out. You will probably need to do extensive cleaning and sorting to make sure it is suitable to your young audience. I highly recommend subscribing to the appropriate Amazon thread here and/or the main page of this site to see what deals appear in your area. As your listed Illinois as your location, local Walmarts or perhaps Targets have good deals still lingering in clearance.
  • catwranglercatwrangler Member Posts: 1,894
    edited January 2017
    Also, you'll be amazed at how much cheaper Lego gets at the right times of year - I don't know what the patterns are for US discounts, but last year September, and particularly November and December saw massive reductions. New Lego sets come out in January, in particular, so at the end of a year you'll see retailers trying to clear their stock of sets that are retiring. There's a lot to be said for the AFOL maxim of "don't buy unless it's (at least) 33% off", but obviously this'll depend on what's available where you are. I'd suggest watching the patterns of the discounts on the front page (for Amazon) and in the Shopping US section of the forums - you'll start to get an idea of how much can be saved to maximise your buying power. 
  • bookmumbookmum Member Posts: 1,483
    *get RID of piles of outgrown toys* I meant to say. Missed off the 'rid'. Oops. 
  • binaryeyebinaryeye Member Posts: 1,831
    If the $200 budget is for your kids, I suggest buying as many Classic and Creator sets as you can. For creative free-building, they're the best value. Relative to these, most other sets are going to seem expensive for what you get (in quantity of parts, at least). These sets are also likely to have the most parts that allow "substantial" builds. Many sets outside these themes are built from mostly smaller parts.

    #10697 seems to be a really good parts assortment for creative building. It's no longer current but you might be able to find it somewhere. #10705 seems to be its replacement but doesn't look as good. #10654 was a Black Friday doorbuster at Wal-Mart; you might be able to find some leftovers there, though they're likely at full price. There are a couple 2017 Creator sets that might interest you: #31058 has three dinosaur builds and #31062 is robot-themed.

    For the "geek" stuff, you're out of luck on Star Trek. LEGO has never had a license for it. Star Wars is, of course, ever-present. Depending on what era(s) you're a fan of, it can quickly become a rabbit hole with no end. I'm mostly a fan of the original trilogy and luckily got back into LEGO just as there were a lot of those sets available (2012-2015 or so). While there are still new sets based on the older material, the theme has largely shifted to the newer material. There is a Doctor Who set, #21304, in the Ideas theme but it was recently discontinued. It looks like it's available on Bricklink for at or near RRP. If you want this set, I strongly suggest getting it now before prices go up. Harry Potter is not a current theme outside of Dimensions and the discontinued sets are generally pretty expensive on the secondary market.

    Lastly, I'm also in Champaign, so I'll give you some advice on stores:

    Barnes and Noble: Sells sets for RRP. Occasionally has clearance that starts at 50% off.

    Meijer: Sells sets at RRP, occasionally has decent sales (20% off). Clearance is hit and miss. Used to be the best place to find sets on clearance, but now they start clearance at 25% to 30% off and most of it sells at that price.

    Target: Sells sets at RRP most of the time, occasionally has good sales (20% to 30% off). Clearance is generally the best in the area that I've found. They start it at 30% off and a lot sells at that price, but some remains when they mark it down to 50% off. It's the only place in town I've found clearance at 70% off.

    Toys-R-Us: Sells sets about above RRP. Really the only thing TRU is good for is getting new sets, which they often have before anyone else.

    Wal-Mart: I don't go there often, and when I do it's the one on Prospect. They sell sets at RRP as best I can tell. They sometimes have sales but I've never seen anything better than Target or Meijer. The one reason I go there is because they often start clearance at 50% off and they'll sometimes put newly-released sets on clearance (by accident, I guess?) when switching over to new inventory. You have to be careful of their clearance pricing, though. Sometimes there is no discount at all or it is very slight (i.e. 5% off).

    In short, Target is the most consistent for clearance finds and decent sales, B&N and Meijer are worth visiting during clearance seasons, Wal-Mart is very hit and miss, and there's really no need to visit TRU unless you're looking for something specific.

    Lastly (really, I didn't intend to write this much), a note on clearance: Clearances usually happen when stores are switching over stock. This is usually early January and early August but can depend on the store. Be careful, though, a lot of sets look really tempting at 50% off and you can easily spend a lot on things you later regret.
  • piratemania7piratemania7 Member Posts: 2,146
    Don't forget, once you are hooked, you tend to be hooked here with LEGO.  If you are just starting off buying in bulk (even new creator/classic) is fantastic and may provide a baseline for you to see if anything interesting in terms of ideas pops into your head or your kids.  By buying theme specific sets you might be "boxing" yourselves in early in the game.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie Member Posts: 1,813
    Thrift stores are where I found the sets that got me back into LEGO in late 2014. Craigslist can be a good way to score used LEGO, but, as when buying ANYTHING used, be sure to get a good look at what you are buying before you pay. The LEGO purchases I have made through Craigslist were almost entirely LEGO, but I have seen MANY ads purporting to be LEGO that were actually some other brand. 
  • nuttamastabuildanuttamastabuilda Member Posts: 56
    binaryeye said:
    Toys-R-Us: Sells sets about above RRP. Really the only thing TRU is good for is getting new sets, which they often have before anyone else.
    Toys-R-Us is also good about hosting build-and-take events.  Kids (and sometimes adults) can build something and take it home.  Free bricks and sometimes cool builds. 
  • Fxguy1Fxguy1 Member Posts: 7
    I want to thank everyone for the advice and suggestions! I agree that we may be best buying additional Classic and Creator sets for the time being. Also the City themes would probably go over just as well. The geek stuff is more for their dad... :-) I just didn't want to be locked into 90 angles and perfectly square builds too much. 

    The kids both really don't care for the Duplo's (have a couple but they don't really play with them like they are with the regular Lego bricks now). 

    Binaryeye, thanks for the local store suggestions! Surprised you didn't mention All Things Kids. While they don't always have legos, when they do they are really good at ensuring the set is complete. 

    BTW did Lego ever sell a set with a large red plastic storage case? Or was the case something they sold separately? 
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,760
    If you are in Champaign I would check Walmarts and Targets right now as there are some good discounts, though you mileage may vary (ymmv) as to which stores, if any, have something on clearance.
    Otherwise watch the forum for Amazon deals, sometimes goes nuts and has coupons on top of good prices.
    I would steer clear of TRU and its 'sales' as many times they hike their 'retail' prices to well above LEGO's actual RRP. It may be good for things like LEGO polybags and some of thier events for kids, but their prices typically are over retail.

    Also watch (which is partnered with Amazon) for their 'buy three LEGO sets and get 20% off on the order' type deals, BUT they sometime also raise their 'rrp' to over what LEGO's actual RRP is. So databases like Bricksets are nice to check on the actual RRP for a set before buying it at a store.

    Unfortunately you missed BF this past season as there were some insanely good deals on all sorts of sets.

    LEGO Creator sets  (specifically the sets with minifigures) are good for parts, but watch for them to go on sale as stores typically have those on sale for 20-30% off (if not higher) through the year.

    Unfortunately you missed out on the Doctor Who Ideas set recently, but if you look you may find the LEGO dimensions Doctor Who packs still.
    No Star Trek for LEGO at this time, Star Wars has its line, and Potter is retired at this time.

    For any City/creator sets, keep an eye on Amazon as many times the city theme sets are typically on sale for around 20%.
  • FauchFauch Member Posts: 2,662
    for under 200 you can get a modular too. even if you are just looking for parts packs, they have a great selection of pieces at an under average price and are good for making your own creations.
    the new chess board also looks outstanding for mocing purpose, great price and tons of bricks in useful colors.
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