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How Do You Collect?

KaitchKaitch N. IrelandMember Posts: 384
I'm planning my next purchases, but there's so much choice. Do I save up for something big? Buy as many little sets as possible, going for quantity over quality? Follow a few sub-groups I've already started? Get the other versions of the vehicles I already have? Get the rest of the kits containing the minifigs I already have? Get the newest stuff? Get the oldest stuff still in the stores? Go bargain hunting? Trawl the Marketplace? Or just write all the names on Post-it notes and pull something out of a hat?

What do you think? What's your buying strategy? Any buying anecdotes?


  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,101
    There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Buy what you like with the funds you have available.
  • gmonkey76gmonkey76 ChicagoMember Posts: 1,520
    I see LEGO, I buy LEGO.
  • Mr_CrossMr_Cross East Anglia (UK)Member Posts: 1,052
    Buy what you like when you see it for a price you're willing to pay, unless you're buying to sell it on for a quick profit or for investment.
    I'm always missing sets that I "wanted", I also end up getting sets it turns out I didn't really need.
    I'm never ever disappointed to have more LEGO though. I generally buy for parts I'm after or "characters" I'd like.
  • Baby_YodaBaby_Yoda The world's backsideMember Posts: 1,291
    That's in stark contrast to my own perspective. While is it always nice to have a good-looking figure or a rare part, they rarely contribute to my final decision. For me, the highest priority is the model. I'll only buy a Y-Wing if I want a Y-Wing; I'll only buy a modular if I want a modular.
    Assuming I follow the steps outlined above....
  • omniumomnium Brickenham, UKMember Posts: 795
    Budget dictates these decisions. I spend a huge amount on LEGO and still don't buy everything I want, it's just too much!
  • PolyphemusPolyphemus Sydney, AustraliaMember Posts: 93
    Once I've reached a point where I can justify a LEGO splurge I tend to go for the oldest stuff on my want list, so as to avoid having to track it down on the net once it's discontinued and possibly pay more than I want for it. My ultimate aim is to get my want list down to sets released in the last 12 months, buying me a bit of breathing space.

    I try to avoid [email protected] as much as possible, which can difficult for the hard to find stuff as we don't have much in the way of LEGO stores in Australia. What complicates things is that because we're so far away from the rest of the world we have to spend over $200 to get free shipping, which means always keeping one of the bigger sets (roller coaster, ninjago city docks) on the back-burner in case TLG release a [email protected] freebie or exclusive that I like. Of course this means paying full price for an expensive big set too, which sucks the bag. Takes forever as well, 2-3 weeks on average.

    I've become friendly with a couple of online resellers who are based near me who often get sealed hard to find sets and sell them on at a reasonable price, usually below retail if they're current, which is a great option to save time and money.

    Other than that, I just wait for the big department stores to have a sale in order to pick up any smaller City or Creator sets that take my fancy.
  • Brixfan02Brixfan02 USAMember Posts: 174
    I mostly just collect Marvel, sooo....
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,452
    Always keep your budget in mind. And by that I mean your financial budget and your space budget. Then buy the biggest sets your space will accommodate. Small sets will not appreciate in value for the most part, the largest sets are your best shot although not all large sets will appreciate quickly after retirement. 
  • Bludchylde1Bludchylde1 Member Posts: 49
    Budget first, then if it is part of or fits in with city, pirates or castle themes. Also some sets I will buy just for the parts.
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,661
    Recently, I've been starting to purchase sets for photography. If it has a minifigure I want to shoot, there's a chance I'll buy it.
  • The_RancorThe_Rancor Dorset, UKMember Posts: 874
    I have about four general sets of rules, budget the obvious fifth -

    If it's Star Wars...
    ... Buy it if it's a well designed ship or UCS
    ... Pass on bigger sets if the design isn't very interesting and Bricklink the minifigs I missed (Star Wars RRP in the UK has just got ridiculous nowadays)
    ... Generally ignore or buy on the secondary market odd subthemes like Yoda Chronicles

    If it's City...
    ... Wait for a subtheme to come along that is neither Police nor Firefighters (usually Summer waves)
    ... Buy sets that pique my retro era interest (examples in point - Arctic 2018 relating to Arctic circa 2001, Jungle 2017 relating to Adventurers circa 1999)
    ... If a civilian boat or harbour subtheme appears, buy it all immediately!

    If it's a Big Bang Theme...
    ... Wait for one to come along that isn't Ninjago and isn't Nexo Knights (as you can tell, I've waited a bit because I wasn't a fervent fan of Chima either)
    ... Look more for Exo Force or Ninjago levels of design rather than Time Cruisers
    ... Only collect the whole theme if fully committed to the concept and/or a diorama is in the offing

    If it's anything else...
    ... Buy the occasional big landmark set e.g. Rollercoaster, Bucket Wheel Excavator
    ... Avoid Modulars like the plague (not because there's anything wrong with them, quite the opposite, I'll then be frustrated I can't have them all without taking out a mortgage.)
  • OnebricktoomanyOnebricktoomany United StatesMember Posts: 286
    Very well, thank you.
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 382

    I mostly do train and City stuff, so the only reason I would pick something up from another theme is because I see a way to fit it into what I do or because it has parts that I can use to improve my focus.  I will go crazy when trains go on sale because sourcing parts on the aftermarket can eat funds quickly (I bought 7 copies of 60052, for example).

    There are a LOT of cool sets out there, and sometimes I'll pick one up to have as a display piece at work, but Lego is too expensive to get everything that looks "cool".

  • Dfchang813Dfchang813 United StatesMember Posts: 60
    I know this is going to sound crazy. But I own every Lego set over 2000 pieces ever produced for sale to public.  I use the brickset database to keep track.  When I first started doing this about 5 yrs ago I thought it would be easy because Lego didn’t make a lot of big sets.  But now they are re-releasing older sets and releasing sets with 2000 pieces more and more often. So I have some difficult decisions to make.  And yes over 2000 means over 2000. Crosses all lines. Technic, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel,etc.  If it’s over 2000 pieces I own it.  
  • blokey9blokey9 MelbourneMember Posts: 111
    lucky for you the moon landing happened last century.
  • ArpieArpie UKMember Posts: 28
    @Dfchang813 wow that must be quite some collection, do you keep them all built or rotate them out from display?
  • Dfchang813Dfchang813 United StatesMember Posts: 60
    Arpie said:
    @Dfchang813 wow that must be quite some collection, do you keep them all built or rotate them out from display?
    Sadly most of them are not built. I built a whole bunch but predictably ran out of space and had to break them down ...  I try to record and talk about the sets for my YouTube Channel before breaking them down so at least I have a record. 
    Here is my collection in my garage ...

  • Dfchang813Dfchang813 United StatesMember Posts: 60
    Now that I think of it so ridiculous.  When I started collecting I swear there weren’t 20 sets over 2000 pieces.  Now?  I’m not sure you can crack the top 10 unless you are at least 3000 pieces.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,394
    Thumbs up on the pink Disney Crocs and the Hello Kitty pencil cup.
  • Dfchang813Dfchang813 United StatesMember Posts: 60
    SumoLego said:
    Thumbs up on the pink Disney Crocs and the Hello Kitty pencil cup.
    Lol. Thanks. I know I have a problem. I have Ninjago city and reissued Taj in another part of garage. Still have to catch up with Joker Manor, Minecraft Mountain Home, and a Technic set I can’t even remember from 2017. It was purple.  Lol.  And this year still need Diner. Just got Voltron and waiting for 4000 piece new Technic Crane and Ninjago Dockyard.  
  • kbwkbw NCMember Posts: 402
    Along with this, I am curious to know how many of you buy discontinued sets.  If so, are they unopened or used? If you have come out of a dark age, is there a big tempatation to purchase things you missed? 
    Been struggling with some of this myself and just looking for thoughts.  There are a few older sets that I would love to get my hands on, but I am questioning whether or not it makes sense.
  • PolyphemusPolyphemus Sydney, AustraliaMember Posts: 93
    edited July 2018
    ^ I've bought about half a dozen large discontinued sets MISB. In fact, I just picked up #10228 Haunted House today. The others were a few years back, after coming out of my Dark Ages and not being able to resist temptation to pick up some older modulars. Paid about double original RRP on average which is pretty stupid but hey, it's only money right? Whether it makes sense to you depends on your own circumstances I guess. Personally, I can happily justify 2x RRP but anything more is out of the question. I don't regret any of my MISB purchases.

    I've only ever bought one second hand set and seriously regretted it. A seller's 'good condition' rarely matches a buyer's 'good condition'. Since then, second hand is out of the equation for me.
  • kbwkbw NCMember Posts: 402
    Thanks. That’s helpful. Been struggling with the used vs MISB decision as it’d be nice to save a bit
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 382

    I will buy retired sets if they fit into my collection and if they are affordable.  I don't care if they are NIB or not.  I'll also buy parts to build retired sets.

  • Dfchang813Dfchang813 United StatesMember Posts: 60
    Some sets Misb were ridiculous. I bought used versions of Falcon and Eiffel and Taj and older modulates.  But they came with original instruction booklets and most had boxes too. I wanted them to build and enjoy so wasn’t too worried about new in box aspect. Many had a few pieces missing here or there which I filled off bricklink. But now I no longer have any old sets to get. Every one over 2000 I’ve already sourced.  
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,697
    I bought a few retired SW sets off Amazon shortly after coming out of my dark age, but I’ve since wised-up and no longer feel the need to get retired sets when LEGO has so many new ones, and is rereleasing old ones. I also wait for the sales, but then I buy too much stuff just because it’s discounted a lot, especially since I have almost no room to build anything :-/
  • KaitchKaitch N. IrelandMember Posts: 384
    Even before my Dark Age, I didn't usually buy the themes I like these days. So I do want to get quite a lot of discontinued sets, as well as new stuff. I haven't bought very many retired sets yet, though. But last autumn I did buy two old Star Wars advent calenders - used, but with all pieces. Now, the boxes are a major component of those, so I made sure to check the pictures before buying. Then, pieces. One of the two was all complete. The other was missing a few pieces, so of which I could replace from the pre-DA junk box, one which I had to buy specially. On the one hand, it was rather frustrating. On the other, it was actually a bit fun hunting down the odd replacement piece. So, if you don't mind taking a gamble on condition, second-hand is an option. Just be very sure to check the details of the listing.
  • stevecook132stevecook132 Member Posts: 112
    I've bought a few Star Wars UCS sets in used condition and the savings over the MISB versions were worth it, I doubt I would have otherwise bought the models. The odd piece has been missing in my experience and the state of the boxes often left something to be desired - however I wanted to build and display the sets and if you get one from an adult collector I think the chances are you will do alright.

    If you don't mind using Bricklink / Brick Owl (turns out I really enjoy using both) then the missing part thing isn't that big a deal. You can minimise the risk if the photos show the model to be complete and in good condition, the ad states 'smoke free / pet free household', the manuals look OK and somebody has kept all the original bags -  I'd say it would worth a go. Expect to wash the bricks on arrival (transparent bricks and stickers excepted) and it can be more of a challenge if the set is no longer in numbered bags - just makes the building take longer!
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,697
    How much can you really rely on someone selling a used set to put the pieces back in the original correct numbered bags? Is this common?
  • stevecook132stevecook132 Member Posts: 112
    I don't think you can - I've had one set where the previous owner did but the majority just have the empty bags in the box. It's more about somebody being aware that keeping everything from a set is likely to give the best return when selling, and using this fact as an indicator of whether to buy from them or not.

  • Jern92Jern92 MalaysiaMember Posts: 805
    I divide them into categories:

    1. The stuff I really want (Harry Potter) - I would have set aside money for them ages ago and picked them up immediately.

    2. The stuff I like/collect (Modulars) - I wait for a bit, but I will get them sooner or later.

    3. The stuff like slightly less (Carousel, Rollercoaster) - I wait for sales before getting them, but will very likely get them before they retire.

    4. The stuff that would be nice to have (Minifigures/City etc.) - If I ever stumble upon them cheap I'll get them, or perhaps on an impulsive purchase. Otherwise nope.

    5. The stuff that looks cool (Disney Castle, Millenium Falcon) - Maybe one day when I get rich.
  • kbwkbw NCMember Posts: 402
    This is helpful. There are some pirate ships that I’d love to get my hands on. Been trying to decide how I want to approach this, if at all. 
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,823
    My strategy has changed over time. First I used to grab sets at what "felt" like bargain prices. Then I got onto Brickset and learned to hold out for at least a third off. For a while I pretty much bought what I liked, acknowledging that I was still rarely or never going to get to complete a theme. As I started accepting myself spending more on large sets, I slowed down, both because I often lacked the time and space to build/display them, and because I realised I couldn't keep doing it forever, storage-wise. That was also the period when I started ignoring small stuff like CMFs - I decided I valued a great building experience over the immediate fun of getting a figure I liked. (Of course, now I've begun collecting Marvel action figures again, strategy re: Lego has gone out the window, and I'm trying to boil it down to "What will I be absolutely gutted to have missed, in five years' time, if I don't buy it now?")
  • Baby_YodaBaby_Yoda The world's backsideMember Posts: 1,291
    "What will I be absolutely gutted to have missed, in five years' time, if I don't buy it now?"
    That's an excellent way of looking at it - learn from your mistakes.
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