One of the downsides of being an AFOL, is that you never can have enough bricks. There is always that one piece you miss (I had it with a MOC just this morning), and then you go out and order a multitude of them just in case...
But where does one gets his plastic shot. There are several ways, and in this opinion piece, I`ll be taking a look at where, how and why I use certain `channels`.
1. Main street retail
In this category, you have of course the official Lego store if your lucky to have one nearby (like I do), main stream toy stores like Bart Smit, and independant toy stores like `t bazarke to name a few in my vicinity.
Now, I do buy (often) in retail at RRP. Mainly when it are either sets (like certain Lord of the Rings sets) I tend to build just for display, or when it is a new set like this Chima that has at least 95% of the bricks usuable for my builds, and has suitable minifigs. resellers usually rate sets on a brick by brick ratio and minifigs are the `heavy` cost in a set, so if you can`t do anything with those, it is at times better to just order the pieces loose or from the Prick a Brick wall in a Lego store.
2. Outlet stores
Now, not especcially failure stores, but some retail chains like Wibra and Kruidvat often carry overstock from `end of line` or less popular sets, being overhere especcially older Ninjago or Chima sets. For example, in the discount store I scored these two Ninjago sets for 20 euros each.
The benefit of `non licensed` lines is that they are generally cheaper, and unlike series like Pirates of the Carribean and Harry Potter, they don`t explode in price once the line is withdrawn, often popping up in such stores at about 50% of their old RRP.
Another example is this `brain bug`. I grabbed 29 of them, and the flame and sword alone are worth the 1 euro the set was priced at (as if you grab em lose, postage comes into account as well). Though I have no idea what to do with 29 of the beasties (well, I do, but not from a building perspective), I definitly have use for 29 of those large flames.
3. eBay and others
While it is a hard day to find a good bargain on eBay anymore, sites like 2dehands.be do offer a good selection at often fair prices. I scored for example once the submarine and the giant shark from the old Atlantis line for 10 euros total, that is a lot of good bricks for a cheap price. And last week, I managed to pluck off two sets of Harry Potter still sealed to put aside for the Smurf (Hagrid`s Hut and the Quidditch Cup sets).
THE place to go for loose parts, but mind you it is more intresting if your like me in Belgium to buy within the EU to avoid tax costs and drop the sometimes sick US based shipping costs.
But in general, for loose elements it even comes cheaper then said Pick
a Brick wall, and various traders even give out 5% or 10% coupons for
returning customers, dropping the price even further.
It`s also a good place to look for still sealed sets of long retired lines, and this is the place I`m going to with the money I`m trading together to get my Pearl, even though he has risen over the years to twice her retail price do to the rarity.
5. Fleamarkets and second hand shops
Unfortunatly, this is a culture Belgium doesn`t really have, garage sales and such being usually merchants with a stand. And those blokes now what they are selling and charge premium. Never the less, I often stroll around on those, and at very small times, I did get lucky, usually older bricks at a price for the lot (the picture here is one of my OWN boxes from my youth, but you get the idea what you can find at times over here). But tales I often read from the transatlantic of finding sealed Star wars sets for a few dollars, are things I can only dream off.
6. Forums and Facebook
The final piece, the use of internet connections. Sites like miniaturetrading.com for collectible minifigs exchange, Facebook groups, forum sections for buy and sell... it`s the same story as with trading cards: build a reputation, and you can grab some very good deals on those.
So that`s about it, my 6 ways of feeding my addiction, all comments are as always welcome on this opionated piece ;-) and now I got to order that single brick I`m lacking (and then some, just to be sure in the future) to finish my newest MoC...
Theta IV incident part 2
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