Archive for Lego Minifigures Series 2

The Lego Store Grand Opening: Costa Mesa, Ca

Posted in Current Events, Family, Fun, Random, Science Fiction, Shopping, Toys with tags , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

The Lego Store - South Coast Plaza

I can’t even recall the last time I ever stepped foot into this particular shopping mall; and on top of that…I can’t remember what store I even visited when I did step foot at the South Coast Plaza, maybe…the Swatch store, LOL….not kidding. I’m not the shopping mall type of guy, which is a major contrast to my youth when I would frequent shopping malls all over SoCal with my Mom and that was to hit the coin-operated video arcades. Yes, before Xbox and Playstations, we Gen-X’ers had to leave our dwellings and visit stores that housed video games that gave you 3 men for a quarter.

Well, I may be visiting this mall more frequently due to the opening of The Lego Store that quietly took place last Wednesday, but they advertised their official grand opening this past Friday, Sat. and Sunday with a lot of fanfare.

"Sorry bro, kids only".

“Let’s build a Yoda”!!!!!

The mall and The Lego Store worked together to have a building event that took place at the closest center court that was adjacent to the grand opening itself. Lego brought in an expert builder to orchestrate the event in which kids were able to sign up and assist in building the support structure underneath where a 3′ Yoda stood.

Afterwards, the kids were given a certificate of achievement for participating in the event. I didn’t have my 8-year-old with me when I was at the grand opening but I asked the gal who was issuing the certificates  if I could have one for collectible purposes and she asked if I wanted it blank. I then asked her if she could put my son’s name on it even though he was not there to take part in the event. She was nice and obliged me,  plus… I thought he would appreciate the  sentiment.

Onto the store.

Well, not quite. As my Mom, brother and I turned the corner and walked  about 30 yards heading towards the anchor store (which was Sears), we saw the yellow glow of the store entrance with the red cube adorned with the Lego logo. We were getting ready to make our way into the entrance when we saw a couple of Lego employee’s at the doorway stating that there is a line to get into the store and they directed us towards yet another employee who served as a placeholder for the unsuspecting store attendees.

So here we are, standing at the end of what seemed to be a very slow-moving line. This just about took the wind out of my sails…so to speak. I mean, I was surprised to see such a large crowd to get into a store dedicated to Lego’s. This was after all on a Saturday when we went. In disbelief, I asked the employee if it was like this the day before, he stated that the reason they had a line like the one we were in was due to the fact that they had all the attendees IN the store AT THE SAME TIME. He said that people were packed like sardines, rubbing elbows and all the descriptions you can name in describing a crowded situation.

"No cut-sies!"

So that explains the velvet rope. It also demonstrates just how much Lego is becoming more popular as the years go by. I got re-acquainted with the world of Lego almost a couple of years ago, so I missed all the hoopla of the grand opening for the Lego Store at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, back in January of 2001,  which was not far from the Costa Mesa location. Never in my childhood would I have dreamed that I could build my favorite Disney movies out of Lego or Star Wars for that matter, thanks to the licensing power that The Lego Group has amassed over the years. Not to mention the DVD movies or how could I forget….a theme park.

And what about all the photo albums on Flickr and other photo sharing websites that showcase all the various types of  Lego genres from the young and the young-at-heart Lego builders. After hours and ogling Flickr accounts, my son and I were hooked. Ok, I now fully understand why we had to wait 45 minutes to gain entry for The Lego Store. Besides, it was a whole decade before Orange County, Ca received its 2nd Lego Store.

How many pieces am I?

 

 

 

It’s raffle time.

Yesssss!!!!!!!!!! We made it in. It was crowded so you could not run yourself ragged and sucking up the newness of the store, but we were finally inside. Another way of celebrating the grand opening, was a raffle by guessing how many bryxx made up the most famous Mandalorian ever in the Star Wars universe. The prize is a $50 gift card to be used at any Lego Store location. I had made my guess based on the amount of Lego that it took to create this guy, but Boba Fett looked a little bit smaller in girth compared to the Firefighter at the Toys R Us store in Cerritos, Ca.

I chose a smaller amount, filled out the form, made my guesstimate and dropped the slip in the box. Truth be known, it was another reason for my attending the event. $50 in store credit will be very welcomed since my son has more than shared his interest in the up-coming brand new genre of  the “Alien Conquest” building sets that are due to hit retail in July.

DO NOT ADJUST YOUR MONITORS!

The Pick-A-Brick section.

When we were back in line waiting to be the next ones to walk through the entrance, we could barely see the contents of the store itself, however, what was prominent to me was the PAB display that was way in back of the store; and what appears to be a well-lit PAB display which is how my eyes caught it…all the way from the front of the store. Not sure if this is exclusive to the Costa Mesa location, but I’ve never seen lit bins at both the Downtown Disney or Ontario Mills locations. I just thought it made a great pic.

And of course, what would a trip to the Lego Store be without leaving with a cup full of Legos. I got my money’s worth and then some. For full details of my score, read here.

Something for Jr.

My son wasn’t able to join us for the festivities and frankly, he would not have done well with all the waiting in line and the crowds in the store but I didn’t want to leave there empty-handed since I had a great score at the PAB section. Plus, I had $5 in VIP points to use up….so why not?  He also had $20 coming to him from his Aunt from up North. What to get him was a no-brainer. The boy wants collectible minifigures. The problem is, I don’t know which ones and for those that are not “in the know”, they are all sealed in the same packaging with no hint to what lies inside.

In order to find out which minifigs are in the package, one needs to feel around the packaging for specific accessories that pertain to the figure that you’re looking for. I wasn’t about to deal with that noise like I did when I found Series 2, if you guys remember that, not on that day.

His Uncle picked him up a Lego coin bank and I got him a Ninjago Spinjitsu Minifigure. There were about 3 different types of  Spinjitsu’s and because of my collective nature, I grabbed the figure that was the least available hanging on the pegs. It was a black Ninja and its name  happened to share my son’s middle name: Cole, which I didn’t notice until I got home to take it out of the bag. Awesome! All in all, it was a great day had by all. I for one am glad that there are now 2 different locations in somewhat a close proximity to each other.

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The 2nd Sixteen: A minifigure hunt.

Posted in Building Toys, Collectibles, Family, Miscellaneous, Saving Money, Toys with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

15 of 16 represented. Do you know who's missing?

As I mentioned before in a previous post, I was not going to be the one with my cheese left out in the wind….for those not familiar w/the “Ferris Bueller” term, it means left behind.

I am talking about my son and I being able to find and purchase the Lego collectible minifigures : Series 2.

In my “zombie” post, I mentioned how difficult it was to locate that particular minifig and what great lengths that I had to do to locate it. Driving here and there in Orange County,Ca and making special trips to a toy/sports collectible “swap meet” and to be continually let down when I wasn’t able to find this 1.5 inch tall (or short) piece o’ Lego plastic. Not to mention the same look of disappointment on my son’s face on a repeated basis. All he wanted was a zombie and after paying 5x the original price, I was able to locate one.

Which brings me to…

….yesterday (8/31), when I called my local Lego store and asked when exactly they were to receive the second series of the Minifig collectibles and the gal mentioned to me that they started selling them earlier when they opened. My heart was racing and my head was spinning w/visions of hope and then disappointment. I asked w/a timid tone if they still have anymore, she said yes and that they’ll be selling them tomorrow as well, which made it sound like that I better get my butt in there and purchase before I “miss the boat” AGAIN.

It’s crucial that I mentioned the date that I called because I was told in a phone call that I made 2 weeks prior that The Lego Store was expecting them sometime in September. I just wanted to have the most current and exact info when these things hit to improve my chances of scoring these 16 since I totally blew the opportunity to search and buy the 1st sixteen.

I break the news to my boy.

Sebastian (age 8 ) was in the room on my PC viewing Lego stop-motion UFO films on youtube when I told him about the news. His little face lit up like Christmas, Easter and his birthday all fell on the same day.

I should mention this time around that the “flavor of the month” was the Dracula minifig. That’s all he’s been talking about, I guess to keep his lonely zombie minifig company. He also mentioned some interest in the witch too. I’m beginning to see a theme here.

Just so y’all know and just like the Series 1 release, these minifigs are packed in a shiny foil showcasing the minifigs in front w/them in some “action” poses as if they were gonna bust out of the packages themselves. Series 1 packaging was yellow while series 2 was in blue.

But those clever marketing peeps at TLG (The Lego Group) came up w/the idea of making the whole packaging, a complete guessing game. There were no distinguishable marks on the packaging w/the exception of the barcode that rests to the right of the package which is not to be confused w/the barcode on the left of the package which is the item’s SKU.

So in our case, if we were looking for “Dracula”, we would have no way of knowing unless we either bought all the packages w/the 16 different codes or had access to a “cheat sheet” that provided the codes for the corresponding minifig. To quote Ted Stryker from Airplane…”What a pisser”.

This is when I opted to purchase all 16 different packages (@ $1.99 ea.) Sebastian was more than thrilled and to be honest, I had my eye on a couple of these minifigs.

And away we go.

We hop in my Honda Fit and take to the afternoon streets of Anaheim, Ca…Lego Store bound w/me at the wheel and obeying the speed limits w/an additional 5 mph of whatever’s posted on the sign, which is how I drive anyway…but I really wanted to just get there so I would not miss the opportunity of finding these things.

Traffic wasn’t that bad considering the time of day that it was. We made it to the Downtown Disney lot in about 10 mins. w/Queen’s “Another one Bites the Dust” blarin’ on the radio. Man….I hope that was not some kind of omen.

Not-so slim pickin’s.

Sure enough, we walk into The Lego Store and we head straight for the cashier counter and asked the gal if we can look through a carton of minifigs. That was the easy part.

My casessss !!!!!!!

Y’all remember in Lord of the Rings when Gollum had possession of the one ring? That was me or so it felt like that, since I had a carton all to myself. I start glaring at the packages and immediately find all the different barcodes and place them in one pile while I have the “duplicates” in another making sure that I don’t place the dupes back in the same box. It got somewhat nerve-racking however when I have other peeps w/their proverbial hands in the cookie jar, the noise of the shopping traffic echoing throughout the store and keeping tabs on my son with his whereabouts at all times.

Well, about 30-40 mins….yep, you read right, 30 or 40 minutes of scrutinizing dozens of barcodes which consisted about 2 dozen thick lines, thin lines and all line sizes in between, I somehow managed to yield 15 different packages. Yep…..I was missing one. Because of the mystery packing, I wouldn’t know which one ’till I got home to open them all.

Barcode help.

If you noticed the first pic above, I was missing the “Spartan” which he was called based on a youtube video showcasing the entire Series 2 line-up. Suddenly, the 2 or so minifigs that I wanted, were not as important than the Spartan that I was lacking…how sad-eh?

But I’m not worried for the simple fact that I have my resources in finding out the barcode for the missing Spartan in my new collection. I went to bricklink.com and hit up the folks on the message board. Such a knowledgeable group….I got my answer within the hour of posting in a form of a link that provided the “cheat sheet” which listed the codes for all 16 minifigs found here.

Lego store???? 10AM???? We are so there.

This is my son’s last full week of summer so I allow him to sleep in….BUT NOT TODAY. “Get up dude, let’s get some Lucky Charms in ya and get in the shower.” I follow suit and we head out once again to the streets of Anahiem….this time in the AM with my little barcode that I printed out earlier in the morning thanks to the info on brickset.com. Ain’t no way I can lose out on gettin’ my hands on that Spartan now.

We pull up to the somewhat unoccupied lot and we both walk to the Lego store in a fast pace, which is funny considering that I’m in soo much pain from my workout on the Wii Fit from the previous day, especially my legs. AAAArrrrrghhhhh.

We walk in the store just minutes after opening and the only soul I see, is the store greeter in her yellow smock welcoming us as we head straight back to the rear counter. “This looks good Bubba” (my son’s nick-name that I gave him), I have my little cut-out of the barcode at the ready…now, all I need is a case to go through but not just any case.

I need a fresh case.

I was just here in the afternoon prior and I didn’t wanna look through the same cases that I went through again since I know they were full of all the duplicates of the original 15 that I already purchased.

As we approached the counter, we saw two clerks that were pre-occupied w/other stuff and one girl at the register assisting a woman that was with 2 small kids lookin’ through….yep, a case of minifigs, but I wasn’t sure if she was goin’ through the same case from yesterday or even worse…a fresh case.

I was standing in line for at least 5 minutes but it seemed like an eternity when I was witnessing the Mom going through all the bags gettin’ touchy/feely w/the packages. apparently, she knew she was looking for but she was using her hands to caress and grope the package (husband is a lucky man-LOL) much like the blind trying to read someone’s face to get a “look” at’em. I apologize if I offended any blind peeps reading this. 😉

This mom was taking her time….and honestly, I could not blame her. She’d buy a couple of packages here so her kids could open’em up to find out what they had, then she’d buy a few more to open more up, then she’d repeat this process over and over, all the while….I hear her mention that she’s looking for “The Sombrero guy”. I’m not sure if her “technique” payed off or not because she said that she was gonna purchase a few more but go through the  entire box and make her final decision after she was done molesting all the packages (good grief).

The moment of truth.

Finally, the gal behind the counter that was assisting “Mrs.McFeely” asked what she could do for me. I asked her if the case (pointing at the Mom) was yesterday’s case. The gal said no, it’s a fresh case and without further communication, she brandishes a whole new unopened case w/her trusty utility knife, cuts the opening and slides the bountiful harvest towards me.

The anxiety is starting to kick in much like yesterday’s visit. I mentioned to the gal that I was gonna slide these towards the opposite side of “McFeely” so I don’t block the sales counter and let commerce take its place, also I didn’t want to run the risk of “McFeely” gettin’ her hands all over “my” packages and screwing up my sorting process. Sounds pathetic…don’t it. LOL

What do I find?

So here I am, on my side of the counter w/Sebastian within eye and ear range and I quickly pick up packages and compare’em to the cut-out of my printed barcode which ended up being the exact same size as the barcodes on the packages themselves which makes comparing both codes a snap.

There was a cute girl (which I’ll dub as “cutie”) who was another Lego employee that was witnessing what I was doing. Picking up packages every 3 seconds and making quick judgements of the barcodes based on my cut-out. She knew I was looking for something and I happen to share w/her why I was goin’ through all of malarkey.

There are 60 packages in one carton and I was about 5 away from goin’ through the enitre box and I was telling Sebastian that I am not having any luck w/finding the Spartan code. Cutie then takes out another box and cuts it open and swings it to me and says to leave her the other packages that I took out and that she’ll put’em away while I look through the fresh box. She’s a good egg I tell ya. If ya didn’t notice, not one Spartan code was in the first box that I looked through. This was getting tense.

The pressure is building, pardon the pun.

As I’m just beginning to go through the 2nd box, I hear another customer askin’ for the minifigures. Cutie responds by telling the guy that as soon as I’m done w/the case, he can look through it. Oh man, Cutie was such a big help but I was thinking that if a manager would’ve heard that, he would’ve made it so I would have to share the carton w/the other customer, which I would totally understand but I’m thankful it didn’t because about 8 more packages that I have not gone through in the second carton, behold…

I FOUND THE CODE.

Eyes, don't fail me now.

Yep, I was in shock and disbelief and had to compare the cut-out to the package a few times just to make sure. Sebastian was all excited and Cutie was happy for me too. I went ahead and told Sebastian to hold the package while I attempted to place all the packages back into the carton. Cutie said that she’ll take care of it and began to ring me up. I thanked Cutie repeatedly and she wished Sebastian and I a very good remainder of the day.

I’m not outta the woods yet y’all. The cynical side started to creep in my head. What if the code was wrong. Then the mystical side….What if “McFeely” used some magic and stuck me w/a duplicate Ringmaster minfig instead (my least favorite). The suspense was building w/every mile closer to home.

THIS IS SPARTA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh what a feeling it is to be on inside looking out than the outside looking in which is where I found myself w/series 1. I beat the aftermarket system by only doing my research and having luck and some help from a certain “cutie”. We were discussing about the series 3 minifigs and how the Lego online community already has a  list out of what’s to be included.

I also mentioned to her  that one of the minifigs is a Ferrari F1 driver, but the  source that spilled the list is the same source that mentioned that there will be NO distinguishable barcodes on the packaging and no cheat sheets made available. Even though Europe get’s the minfigs a few months ahead of time, the barcodes won’t do any good since they differ from the U.S. market.

Sebastian already mentioned upon learning of the series 3 list, that he wants the Alien minifig. Guess that means I’ll be molesting a few packages myself at the Lego store come next January.