LEGO doesn’t make life easy for AFOL collectors. The constant redesigns, re-releases, additions and price hikes put many fans in difficult situations. How many X-wings is too many X-wings? Do I really need to upgrade my AT-AT? Is it worth spending another £50 just for that one minifigure? If any of these scenarios sound scarily familiar don’t worry. You are not alone. In this article I delve into five conundrums LEGO collectors face and offer some possible solutions.
The Carbon Copy
Every Star Wars collector knows the dilemma. You check Instagram to find LEGO has released new set photos. They are producing another Luke’s Land Speeder set. You already have a Luke’s Land Speeder. You don’t need another Luke’s Land Speeder. You want the new Luke’s Land Speeder!
You scan the box, scouring the cover for any discernible difference. Anything to justify spending another £20. Although you spot the odd part change there’s nothing substantial. Nothing that could justify the purchase to a spouse who’s already irritated by a LEGO collection that has begun seeping into the living room. You know you don’t need it but you’ve been collecting every New Hope set since 2016. Is it really worth breaking tradition over £20? Worth having an incomplete collection?
If you are in this predicament, I sympathise. It’s hard to stop purchasing when you are a collector. Here are some suggestions that could resolve the dilemma:
- Put the money towards a bigger purchase – every time you want to buy the carbon copy set think of a bigger purchase that you need to save for.
- Give the old set away – if you really must have the new set, give the old one away because there are plenty of children in need who would love to play with it.
- Sell the old set – earn some money to finance the new purchase.
- Punish yourself – tell a family member they can drop your largest LEGO set if you buy the new set.
- Divorce – at least it would stop your spouse complaining about your ever-growing collection.
I never said they were good solutions.
The Colour Swap
The Colour Swap is another huge problem. LEGO has released four different colour variations of X-wings since 2015. Four!!!
Justifying two is hard. Justifying three is very challenging. Justifying four is nearly impossible! The situation is made even worse by the fact LEGO increases the price by £10 with each new set they release. Still there are some solutions that could make things a little easier:
- Wait for a heavy discount – this could make it slightly easier to justify.
- Buy the parts of the set you want – if you only want the set for the minifigures then buy them separately. If you only want the set for the build the buy the build separately. FireStar Toys sells many sets and minifigures separately if this solution is something that interests you.
- Make an awesome display – line up all the different coloured sets on display stands. The cool display may be enough to justify the purchase.
- Put the money towards a bigger purchase.
- Mortgage the house to finance your uncontrollable LEGO hobby – only kidding, please please don’t do that. No LEGO set is worth it.
The Upgrade is another huge issue. For example, LEGO just released photos of a new AT-AT set. At first glance there are some noticeable differences to the one you already have. It has more interior space. The head can seat two pilots and General Veers. The legs are taller. Luke Skywalker can winch his way up the AT-AT to plant the thermal detonators. There is no denying the set is a dramatic improvement on its predecessor. Are the improvements enough to warrant buying a new one though?
If you are in this predicament, I recommend you consider the following ideas:
- Make a comparison table – Only consider purchasing the set if you can identify several clear differences.
- Buy the parts to upgrade your old model – websites such as Rebrickable make it easy to see the parts you would need to convert an old set to the new set. FireStar Toys sells lots of parts if this is an option that interests you.
- Wait for a significant discount – hopefully a lower price can help justify the purchase
- Amass an army – it makes senses to have two of some sets. LEGO armies can never be too big.
- Sell or give away the old model – you save space for the new one and give someone else the joy of a LEGO set.
The “Poncho Problem”
The so called “Poncho Problem” is a term I created. It describes when LEGO makes the smallest change to a minifigure to make the character variant exclusive to a specific set. This infamously happened in 2020 when LEGO released another Luke’s Land Speeder but included an exclusive poncho piece. It isn’t worth spending £20 just to get a new poncho for Luke, but collectors feel they need to have it.
Of all the problems to have, this is probably the easiest to solve. FireStar Toys sells tons of minifigures and pieces meaning fans can acquire the exclusive figures that they desire without having to shell out on a whole LEGO set.
The Battle Pack Pickle
The Battle Pack Pickle is a problem that army builders frequently encounter. The issue is twofold. First, modern battle packs often include named characters or less desirable figures. For example, the Jedi and Clone Troopers Battle Pack included a Ki-Adi-Mundi minifigure. This is great for kids because it’s a cheap way to get a named Star Wars character. However, it’s a big problem for army builders. Fans want an army of Clone Troopers. No one wants an army of Ki-Adi- Mundi minifigures. Ki-Adi-Mundi is one person, it wouldn’t make sense to have multiples of him.
Secondly, amassing battle packs can lead to overwhelming quantities of undesirable builds. For example, the 2018 Tatooine Battle Pack. The little transport is quite cute. The problem is nobody really needs more than one. Fans who like to build minifigure armies will have purchased hundreds of these. What should they do with all the undesirable builds?
Here are some of the solutions I’ve come up with:
- Give away any duplicate named figures – make a child’s day by giving them a new figure to play with.
- Use the parts to create something new – this is what LEGO was made for!
- Buy the figures separately – this means you don’t end up with unnecessary builds.
- Put the parts in your loose LEGO pieces collection – they may come in useful one day.
- Use the minifigure parts to create new characters.
I hope some of you may have found this article helpful. I wish I was strong enough to take my own advice. Unfortunately, I think a fourth X-wing is destined to enter my collection.
Did I miss any major LEGO collectors conundrums? Do you have any advice for fellow LEGO fans? Please share your wisdom and thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you have to say on the matter.
Images from Brickset