Archive for Lego tips

Lego PAB Haul for 5/06/11.

Posted in Design, Fun, Local, Miscellaneous, Random, Shopping with tags , , on May 26, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

First, an update on my life and this blog.

Time once again to share the info for my latest PAB haul that took place a few weeks ago. A FEW WEEKS AGO ?????????? Yep, ¬†shocking isn’t it? I can barely remember why I bought these bryxx in the first place. “So why the delay?” ,you may be asking. Well folks….after all the praying (…yes, I’m spiritual) and at least 20 different positions that I applied for in the past 5 months at the same company….I finally landed a job at the place where I wanted to work the most. Let’s just say “they” are another 4-letter word company based in Europe and the name rhymes with “Idea”. ūüėČ

It’s taken me all this time to get adjusted to the concept of working again after being unemployed for the past 9 years while still being a full-time Dad and still adjusting to my new residence. Since the last post, I’ve also teamed w/a friend from my past and we have begun to undertake the steps in planning a Lego website. The site’s name has already been decided and will be disclosed in a future post. Before I get to the PAB contents, I should also point out that I have shot a few concept videos that feature me and some MOC’s. These will NEVER see the light of day for a couple of reasons.

  1. They suck. LOL. Seriously though, during playback…it was like listening to a key-note speaker who had the fear of speaking to large crowds. Ironically, I don’t have a problem with speaking to a large crowd in front of a real-time audience, but on video….a different story. I can’t explain it, but the plan is to talk more into the camera so I’ll be desensitized to the whole idea. The lighting and video editing were real raw also, but those are issues that I am addressing or should I say – was addressing right before I became employed again.
  2. A Virus¬†took hold of my Mom’s MAC and lost all the data (which was hardly much) that was on it, which included the videos that I speak of. I wasn’t worried about losing them since they were not to be viewed by anyone anyway.

In addition with spending time with my son, I’m doing a lot of juggling as far as time is concerned, but the good news is that a new job equates to more $$$ to purchase more Legos, which I haven’t done since…

My latest PAB haul.

If any of you are still sticking around and anticipating some bitchin’ looking PAB bounties as these posts go by…..my¬†apologies¬†to y’all. As I’m staring at the pic to the right, I can now fully recall why I picked up these pieces in the first place. Actually, it was the 6×4 white plates that I was only after. The other pieces were to fill the voids of the PAB cup itself, but as usual…will prove themselves to be useful in future MOC’s. Here’s the breakdown of the “booty”

  • (363) 1×1 Translucent red tiles
  • (54) 4×6 white plates
  • (10) 1×1 Translucent red plates (mixed in with the tile pieces)

The purpose of purchasing the 4×6 plates is to help finish a fully functioning rotating table (rotable) to display featured MOC’s, minifigs or other Lego models of interest. The concept videos that I mentioned earlier in this post had some great footage of the “rotable” in action and the end result was rather close to what I was trying to execute in the first place, with the exception of some “lighting” issues, but all in all…I was somewhat happy on how it all turned out.

Here’s how I filled the PAB cup this time around. Take a look at the pic above to the right. I layed (2) 4×6’s adjacent to their longer sides, then I turned both plates to one side and laid¬†another (2) plates adjacent to their longer sides and repeated that¬†particular process, which gave it an overlapping effect. Next, I placed (2) 4×6 plates on top of each other and laid¬†them in a perimeter that surrounded the multi-stacked overlapping 6×8 plates (two 4×6 plates joined together by their longer sides become a 6×8 plate). After I could not place anymore white plates in the cup, I filled all the empty spaces with the red 1×1 pieces – both plates and tiles, which yielded me the 427 pieces in total.

Price per piece for this PAB haul.

Before Orange County, Ca state tax, the price per piece came to $0.0187119….or near $.02 a piece. And as usual, here’s the group shot of the PAB contents this time around:

From left to right: The 4×6 plates are stacked in groups of 5, the (10) 1×1 Tr. red plates are in “Space Invader” form and finally, the 363 Tr. red ¬†tiles are in rows of (10). I’m hoping it won’t be too long before my next entry, since I’m doing more test video shots and I have to start planning on creating the future sites logo out of Lego. Until next time…..BRICK ON!!!!!!! I know I will be.

Subtle Lego part variations.

Posted in Design, Fun, Miscellaneous, Random with tags , , on April 3, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

Part# 3747a (upper-left), part# 3747b (lower-right)

You can file this post under “Lego lessons” just like my previous entry, because this Lego “newbie” keeps discovering new things in the wonderful world of Lego.

As the title suggests, I’m talking about some of the subtle differences in the molds that The Lego Group creates at the factory and how in fact, they can make all the difference in the world when it comes to creating (your) MOC’s.

The pic above shows 2 relatively similar pieces, but if you look closely…you can see the differences in the mold where there are connections between the studs on the lower-right piece and no connections on the upper-left.¬† “Mold A” started to appear in sets as early as 1980, while “Mold B” appeared with the change in 2004. For the record, I had Mold B in my inventory for some unspecified time. It came from any of the various sets that are now taken apart and placed in their respective bins categorized by color. I¬† received Mold A from a bricklink order just days ago, which is to be used in my current project. My design calls for 16 of these pieces. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled that the shop only had 1 piece in their entire store’s inventory, but it was a blessing…I’ll explain later.

In regards to the piece itself, I honestly could not understand why an additional mold was created. If one was to place another piece over the entire surface, it would not make any difference in regards to the pieces locking together, nor would there be a difference in placing a round studded piece smack dab in the middle of the 4 “open” studs. So why on Earth did¬† TLG create another slope piece similar to the original but with the extra plastic???

I’m not 100% certain of this, but I suspect that the connections on Mold B have something to do with the thickness of the edge shown in the oval. Mold A is thicker so it did not need the connections between the studs like Mold B.

It was in fact, the difference in the edge’s thickness between Molds A & B, where I was happy to learn that the bricklink store only had the 1 brick, because Mold B would have suited my project better now that I realized the differences between the 2 molds. As I write this, I’m waiting for another bricklink.com merchant to invoice me for the remaining 15 pieces of part #374b, ship them and finally add them to my project where I can at that point,¬† call it done.

One thing is certain however; the next time that I see 2 different part #’s…I’ll be sure to examine both of them thoroughly so I don’t order the wrong piece(s) for future projects.

Taking the bite out of Lego construction discrepencies.

Posted in Design, Fun, Miscellaneous, Technology, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 31, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

Well, this has been an interesting week for me in learning about the dynamics of building with Lego and I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to blog about on the subject in the future. But for now, I’ll just share what I discovered recently.

I am near completion of¬† working on a project that will aid in showcasing some MOC’s to be shot on video so I can feature them here and on youtube. Yes….I know, I did mention a while back that I will be featuring video “how-to-build” of my MOC’s. Life just keeps getting in the way, but I’m just about near the point of making this whole video thing, a reality. I’m just waiting on parts for the complete assembly of my project which started to arrive yesterday as a matter of fact and I should be getting the rest in the next few days.

The gears are grinding…literally.

A grinding halt....almost.

I should point out that this is my first ever MOC that involves the use of gears and bushings and that I could not wait to develop a project where I would be able utilize these pieces. Since I was a child in the single digit age, I was always fascinated with gears, sprockets, cogs and pulleys, thanks to the board game – Mousetrap. I enjoyed watching things in motion and how they affect their neighboring parts.

The functionality of this project, relies solely on gears and how they mesh together. So one could imagine my disappointment when I was experiencing grinding and locking while the gears were in motion only after almost 1 revolution. I wasn’t sure why my project was being hampered with this problem, but then again….since I’m new to the whole Lego gears universe, I could not begin where to start troubleshooting.¬† After about an hour or so of getting nowhere, I decided to take a break and come to a stopping point before my own gears between my ears started to smoke, grind and come to a halt of its own.

The next morning after a good night’s sleep, I am blessed with a reassurance that I will not only solve my “gears” problem on that day,¬† but I will solve it in about an hour or at least an hour after my morning ritualistic cup of Sumatran Reserve. I kept telling myself that the problem was already solved and the project was just waiting for me to execute the correction.

After careful re-examining the problem area, specifically the gear that rests vertical, I begin to¬† remove some of the¬† bryxx that exposes the axle that it’s connected to. I notice a slight lift of the axle itself. It’s not very noticeable to the naked and untrained eye, but I happen to be very anal retentive and see it plain as day.

Somehow, I was remembering visions of¬† the bryxx that are “salt & peppered” in all my Lego bins that feature bite marks, thanks to my now 8 year old son. I started to rummage through any given bin and found a brick that would best describe what I’m about to show.

Tasty brick....needs salt.

Hopefully, by this photo, you can see the bite mark that rests towards the left of the pic on top portion of the bottom Lego plate. (Click on photo for a slightly larger pic).¬† As you can see, the bite mark left an imperfection on the plate itself which created a “lip” of some sort and it prevents the top plate to properly snap to the bottom plate, creatiing a rift or a raise to the top plate. Notice that the gap between the 2 plates is larger toward the left vs. the right side??? Properly locked bryxx illustrate a clean and even hairline gap from one side to the other which is clearly missing in the above photo. It wasn’t these 2 plates that were featured in my project but you can start to get the idea that any bryxx that were resting on the slightly askewed top plate, would indeed affect any and all adjoining pieces that were supported by this plate to begin with.

That’s what essentially caused the lift of the axle that was connected to the gear that laid vertical. Great! Woo-freaking-Hoo! But now the question is……..which piece has the imperfection?

The search for block.

Yep, time to get up and walk around to wake my legs up because I’ve been sitting “indian-style” for nearly 30 minutes while playing Sherlock Holmes in figuring out the culprit to my grinding gear problem. Since I’m up, another cup of joe wouldn’t be bad either. Ok….back to work. It’s at this time that I start meticulously eyeballing literally every piece of brick on the main section of my project and start looking for imperfections which only took about a minute or so. The faulty piece was resting toward the bottom of the main section, so with my trusty brick separator, I begin to deconstruct the main body and making my way to affected brick to swap it out with a newer conditioned piece.

Problem solved and a lesson learned.

After reconnecting the last piece of the main body, I test the gears by giving the crank arm that the axle is connected to, a few turns and what-d’ya-know…the sound of gears meshing and spinning continuously with no grinding is achieved. One step forward the completion of this project and a lesson gained of checking each proposed piece to be used in upcoming projects for bite marks and other imperfections, before going into any MOC from here on out. This Lego “newbie” is forever grateful of this and the upcoming lessons that I will learn in working with these wonderful bryxx.

Lego PAB Haul for 3-12-11

Posted in Design, Fun, Local, Miscellaneous, Random, Shopping with tags , , , , on March 16, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

Hey guys! It’s been a while since my last post. A lot going on in my personal life and things are starting to slow down around here. One of the issues was including a move from my old residence to a new one. I don’t want to get into all the details in the risk of dis interesting y’all….so let’s get to the subject at hand.

I was able to make it to the grand opening of the Costa Mesa, Ca. location of the new Lego Store at the South Coast Plaza, which I will fully disclose all the details of that trip in the next blog after this very one.

After waiting in line for about 45 mins….yep-you read right, A LINE, I was able to mosey on through the melee of the crowd to make my way to the rear of the store where the newly stocked bins with vibrant colored Lego awaited me.

Fill'er up.

The “wanted” list.

Had no idea of what was to be found in the bins since this was to be my 1st grand opening of any Lego Store, but my “wanted” list was rather simple-meaning that I only wanted white bryxx and some clear ones as well, which is usually found in the bins of any given Lego Store. One of my pet peeves of the PAB section is that there are different bins with duplicate bryxx found; and not just one type of brick, several.

I was thinking with this being a brand new store, the PAB section would have had a different brick in a different bin. This wasn’t the case, but I must say that the bin display was rather unique in terms of presentation. All the bins were cleverly filled with almost every spectrum of the Lego rainbow,not to mention that most of the bryxx were 2×4, 2×6 in size and they were individually lit. One could see them if they were even passing by the entrance to the store from the wing of the shopping mall.

Soon after being entranced by the brightly lit bins, I began to scan for white bryxx. Just a few days ago, I happen to start yet on another project. A Lego sorting bin. If you guys recall on my last PAB for 8-31-10, I picked up quite a few of the white round-corner 2×2 bryxx. Well, I finally found the best use for those pieces and it was a mere accident how I discovered to utilize them. All I needed was some key white bryxx to “fill the gaps”…literally.

The Four Horsemen.

Here’s the booty in detail.

Ok, so this is my what….3rd post on the whole PAB thing? I like sharing with you guys what I pick up and just how much I pick up to fully illustrate that with a some time and patience, you can score big savings at the PAB section at any Lego Store you visit.

The pic to the right shows what I chose to fill the larger sized PAB cups with. ($14.99 before Orange County, Ca tax) From top to bottom w/their quantities in parenthesis:

  • 1x2x5 white brick (52)
  • 1×10 white brick (36)
  • 2×6 white brick (4)
  • 1×1 trans-clear plate (554)

I started locking the 1×10 bryxx in groups of 8 which took up the middle portion of the cup. Next was the 1x2x5’s and I stacked those about 3 high and those went around the perimeter inside the cup. Next were the 2×6’s and I could only fit 4 of those in the center due to the first 3 sets of bryxx occupying the space below.

Finally, I filled every gap of the white bryxx with the trans-clear pieces by pouring a small amount into the gaps, shake the cup around to make the trans-clear pieces settled to the bottom and repeated that process until the cup was filled to the brim. That’s how I wound up with 554 pieces of the clear, bringing a grand total of¬† 646 bryxx in all. $14.99 / 646 = $.023 cents (or more than 2 but less than 3 cents per piece of Lego).

Price Comparison: Lego PAB vs. Bricklink.com

Ok, on my last PAB post, I did mention that I was going to demonstrate the price difference in picking up the same bricks at the 2 different venues. I’m sorry to report that it was too involved in including the price breakdown for finding a single merchant on bricklink that had all 4 of the types of bryxx that I found collectively at the PAB, but I assure you that I got a way better deal in buying these particular bryxx at just a little over $.02/piece vs bricklink.com, plus….I acquired a larger size PAB cup in the process.

What I will show you in the following links are the prices on the average of the bryxx and what they are selling for at bricklink.com. If you’re not familiar with bricklink.com’s site, I ask you to focus on the 2nd column from your right and to address the “new” brick column, since that’s the condition that I purchased the bryxx in Costa Mesa.

Total of the Avg. prices on bricklink.com: $45.66. Please note that this price does NOT include the shipping and handling charges that would have been added by the prospective seller and given by the weight of this potential order, they could have tacked on another six bucks or so for prep and shipment of said order, which brings the potential grand total to roughly $52.00.

It looks like I did give you some type of breakdown of the bricklink.com prices after all, but again… those were prices based on the averages of¬† bricklink.com as a collective vs. the¬† same pieces that I purchased at The Lego Store, but it does not show the exact amount that I could have spent if I was to find all 4 different types of bryxx from the same seller on bricklink.com¬† due to them selling any of the 4 bryxx above or below the avg. price for each item listed above.

Group Shot.

The intent of this visit to the PAB bins was to pick up the white bryxx to see how they would work with my Lego sorting bin project. The clear ones are going to be utilized (if you can believe) another project that would include ways of creating letters of the alphabet.

I’m seeing a trend here where I do find what I’m looking for at the PAB, but when I need to finish topping off the cup, I start brainstorming then and there and end up filling the cup w/pieces that I had no intention of getting upon my arrival. That was the case with the clear pieces on this last visit.

PAB for 8.31.10

Posted in Building Toys, Family, Hobbies, How-to, Lego, Miscellaneous, Organizing, Saving Money, Toys with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

A 50/50 bar in Lego

Here’s my PAB haul while my son and I visited The Lego Store @ Downtown Disney-Anaheim, Ca -while lookin’ for those collectible minifigs from Series 2.

I found another blog in regards to PAB and followed the trick of utilizing the empty space of the PAB lid…

...even the lid got it's fill.

Now from the previous pics, it does appear that you only see 2 different types of pieces that I filled the cup with.

A yellow stow-away at the very bottom.

I was truly surprised to see that lil’ yellow piece mixed in my cup. He must’ve been scooped up along w/the orange pcs. Welcome aboard buddy.

The Three Amigos.

Here’s the PAB breakdown this time around:

  • 230 white round corner 2×2 bryxx
  • 1 Tr.Yellow plate
  • 102 Tr. Orange cheese slices

Grand total of 333 pcs.

Method to my madness.

Now you may be thinking…”What a lousy haul”, true….but, I’ve never seen the round corner bryxx of ANY color of ANY size at The Lego Store EVER. I was needing to purchase a rather large amount of the very ones that I just found but I thought I would have to go through bricklink to find a seller w/a rather large amount. I plan on using them for creating letters. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

The above example was created by a flickr member that goes by the name of¬† “Scruffy Mynxbane”

Now clearly, it didn’t take 230 round corner pcs to “create” the sign but I wanted to take the idea and use it in bigger projects in the future. I figure 230 bryxx is a good start or it may be a fraction of what I really need. It all depends on the projects; and as y’all saw in the group shot above, they make great columns.

Price Comparison:PAB vs.bricklink.com

I’m gonna try to make it a point to always provide a price comparison in regards to cost effectiveness for this and future PAB posts. My last PAB harvest was a tad over 1¬Ę but less than 2¬Ę per piece which is excellent depending on the pieces that I happen to pick up. Let’s see how I did this time:

  • The Lego Store: PAB

$7.99 (small PAB cup)/333 total pcs = 0.02399 or 2¬Ę per piece.

Now before I reveal the price comparison for bricklink.com, I have to explain the following so you’ll fully understand where my mind was at the time I purchased these 230 round corner bricks in a rather large amount. Take a deep breath…..we’re goin’ in.

For those not familiar w/the bricklink.com “Items for sale” screen, it’s broken-down by the piece you’re interested in. So in my case….

  1. I’m interested in the White Brick, Round Corner 2 x 2 Macaroni.
  2. I’m interested in a seller who is ONLY located in the USA. (I prefer a seller w/no minimum purchase or the lowest minimum purchase price possible)
  3. I’m interested in a seller w/no less than 230 pieces (to match w/what I was able to cram in the cup)

"Let's take a look"

Here’s a link to the bricklink screen. Let’s see if y’all can figure out which seller would’ve met my criteria. (Queue Jeopardy bonus round music.)

Did your answer match mine????

The seller that would’ve met my criteria is….
is…..
is…..

(drumroll)

…”Dad’s AFOL Supplies” who lists 3 options to buy and all options are sold in quantities of 2. Now, I would have to choose the middle option since I’m after more than 100 but less than 250.

  • bricklink.com

So let’s recap. 230 pieces (to match my PAB purchase), divided by the quantity of 2 in each bag =115 bags or let’s just say 115.

115 x $.0809 (middle option price) =$9.3035 or $9.30

The Bottom Line.

I am the Lego Master!!!!!

It appears that I made the right choice. Even w/Ca. state tax of 8.75% (Orange County, Ca) it was STILL less than the bricklink.com site ($8.69-to be exact). Not to mention the cost of shipping just the 230 round corner bryxx from the seller to me.

So basically, I got a some of those rounded corner pieces, the 102 Tr. Orange “cheese slices” and the Tr.Yellow “stow-away” as a bonus….oh yeah; and the nifty little PAB cup that I like to use as extra storage for my other bryxx.

Now mind you, I was at The Lego Store about 45 mins. prior to hittin’ the PAB section,by playing Sherlock Holmes w/the barcodes where I was trying to obtain all 16 different series 2 minifigs and my eyes were worn out from straining to read all those lines w/different thickness. Truth be known, I was worn out and did not give it my 100% in cramming more bryxx into the cup, but that’s the purpose of my bringing this info to y’all, with every PAB post. The more ya cram in those cups and utilize the gaps, the more cost-effective it is.The more money ya save, the more ya have to spend on bryxx.

I wanna end this post w/a big thanks to y’all that take the time to read my posts. The last few have ended up to be rather lengthy and hopefully, the topic that I try to write about…comes across somewhat clear.For those that soldier through the entire post….a huge THANX. ūüôā

As I mentioned in earlier posts, videos will be accompanying this blog relatively soon. I just purchased a firewire cable and now I gotta shoot some video of some non-related Lego stuff just to get acquainted w/the idea of shootin’ myself on vid and posting them on youtube. (Gasp!)

Until my next post,

Brick On!

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. ūüėČ

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.

Lego PAB: Cramming’em in the cup.

Posted in Economics, Environment, Miscellaneous, Random with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

Less vs. more

I need bryxx aplenty!

Sometime last week, I found myself needing to go to the Lego Store in Downtown Disney (my local store – 10 min. drive) to purchase a bulk of black bricks if they were available. I was hoping to find some 1×8’s or at the least, some 1×6’s….but all they had at the time was 1×4’s; and not very many at that either. So I decided to grab them all lest for not being able to complete my project that I featured a couple of blogs back, my Lego MOC disclaimer.
For those that are not familiar with the term PAB, it stands for Pick-A-Brick, where you are able to fill either a small cup (pictured) for $7.99 (before tax) or a larger cup-about twice the size for $14.99 (which is a better deal depending how you stack the pieces) and load it to the fullest w/all the bins varying in color, shape, style and etc.,that are at your fingertips.

I could maybe use some of these…and these…oh, and these too.

After looking over the few dozen bins that were at the Anaheim, Ca location, I really didn’t see anything that I needed for any Lego projects that I currently have going, but this is my 5th or 6th time visiting the PAB section and far be it from me to just grab the entire available amount¬† of the black 1×4’s and call it full, was not an option. I gazed again and my mind was looking into the future of what I could use the pieces for. Once I knew what to do with them….it was GAME TIME!; and the name of the game was…..TETRIS!

One full cup.

Y’all remember TETRIS, don’t ya????¬† To fill up a horizontal layer w/the bricks that the game arbitrarily throws at ya???? Well, that’s kinda what we got going on over here. Of course, I’m not trying to have a complete horizontal layer of bricks from side to side, I’m trying to fill every gap, nook and cranny with whatever bricks the Lego store surrenders. Making stacks of 7 or 8 for the bigger pieces and 20 of the smaller orange ones. Not to mention, affixing the translucent red plates on top of the black bricks, all for the sake of space. It took just a little over an hour until I was content with what I could have crammed the cup with.

Then end result.

The lucky bunch

As you can see, not a very diverse group of my Lego bounty, but they will be utilized on up and¬†coming projects. I know for sure… I’ll be using the orange round plates for some type of font work soon; and it just so happens that the orange ones were indeed the majority of this particular cup. The black and white brick were utilized on the MOC disclaimer billboard. Ended up w/way too many extras of those black bryxx, but it’s always better to have too much, than not enough. I’ve learned that lesson very early on in the PAB aspect of Lego .

The BIG haul

And now….the group shot. Be sure to click on the thumbnail to get the count of each brick and then… the grand total of all the bryxx that I was able to cram in the smaller-sized cup.

As you saw, I was able to turn a pitiful amount of Lego (103 black bryxx) into a hefty surplus of extras (663 bryxx total). About 6 times the amount I gathered due to some time and patience which thankfully, I had both on that day.

Price Comparisons.

So let’s get down to the low-down:

  • In purchasing just the 103 black bryxx @ $7.99 (small cup), each piece would have costed me $0.077….or $.08
  • The cost of 663 bryxx in the same cup, we are looking at $0.012…..just a tad over 1¬Ę per piece.

And if you’re familiar w/Brinklink.com then you also know that you won’t find the bigger bryxx in new condition for 1¬Ę/piece; and let’s not forget about adding in¬† the cost of shipping those 663 bryxx to my domicile¬† either. However, in all fairness to bricklink, I was limited to what only The Lego store had at the time, but…I did walk away w/more than enough bryxx to finish my MOC disclaimer and have a surplus of extras that I will use in upcoming projects. I feel I just got lucky that particular day at the Anaheim, Ca location because the majority of the time I check the PAB bins, there’s nothing that I want/need and I just end up going home empty-handed, but not that day.

Ready for transport.

The cups themselves.

For those that aren’t familiar w/the whole PAB thing and to further elaborate what is said on the stickers, whenever you purchase any of the 2 sizes of cups w/the bryxx enclosed (they won’t sell the cups separately due to store policy), they keep the contents in place by affixing a couple of stickers on the lid,allowing you a discount when you re-use the cups (w/the stickers) for both sizes on your next visit but remember to BRING THE LIDS or you’ll have to purchase a new cup w/lid and that voids the whole discount altogether¬† You receive a 25¬Ę discount (before tax) on the smaller cups and a 50¬Ę discount (before tax) on the larger ones. A great way of Lego doing their part in keeping green w/the environment.

Personally, I rather buy the cups to fill’em w/the bryxx than to save on the discount for re-using them, because:

  • they are great for storage for your Lego, or anything else you want to store
  • they are stackable
  • they will be a collectible item in the future, just like almost anything w/the Lego name in the aftermarket arena

Finding a Lego store nearest you.

For those that would like to visit the Lego store to check out the PAB section for the kids or yourselves:

  1. Log onto lego.com (or use the link on my blogroll to the right)
  2. Pan towards the bottom and click on the “Lego Stores” link (3rd link of the four columns of the left)
  3. Click on your country’s link or the country that you’re interested in, they are just underneath the “Lego Stores” in red towards the top of the page
  4. Then click on the location closest to you that features the general information of the store itself.

All stores change the bricks in the PAB bins often, so what you see now may not be there next time. Plus, there is NO way of telling what bricks are in the bins beforehand, it is a crapshoot of what you’ll find at any given store, that’s why I mentioned about my luck of finding the pieces that I needed on that day. Like I mentioned before, there have been a few times where I go w/the intention of picking up some bryxx and I go home empty-handed. It’s all completely random and it’s all up to each individual store of what they put out, so the best of luck to you when you decide to visit the PAB section.

This was fun for me in bringing you this blog in regards to the Lego PAB. I will most definitely be posting more of my “PAB hauls” in the future w/the inventory and the amounts of what I picked up. Until then….

Brick On!