Monday 10 January 2011

Back to the Future

Looking through the recent LEGO releases, one item particularly caught my eye - set number 10155 Maersk Container Ship. As some of you will know, this set is a re-release of Set 10152 Maersk Sealand Container Ship from 2004. Set 10152 was itself re-released under the same set number in 2005 and 2006, and was originally produced as a promotional item for the Maersk shipping company before subsequently being available for a limited period through LEGO shop@home.

I have to admit that I went through a period of being a bit obsessed with Set 10152. When I was a boy I often used to build huge LEGO ships over 100 studs long, and the design of the bow (the front of the ship) on the Maersk Sealand reminds me a lot of the way that I used to build the front of my old ships, albeit updated to use inverted slope pieces which weren't available to me in the dim and distant past. I also love the colour scheme. The blue used in this set is unique to Maersk promotional sets and called, appropriately enough, Maersk Blue, and I really like it, which is a bit of a shame as it's rare as hen's teeth..... I'm also very partial to the Dark Red colour which forms the lower part of the hull.

A whole crate full of Maersk Blue - hmmmm !
To cut a long story short, my obsession with this set meant that I ended up buying not one but two of the original sets at inflated prices on eBay. You can find pictures of this superb set and a brief review at Eurobricks.

LEGO is no stranger to re-issuing sets, having even re-released a number of classic old sets such as Set 4558 Metroliner (below) with different set numbers under the 'Legends' banner between 2001 and 2004. I'm aware that some people are unhappy about this, presumably because they bought up a number of the older sets with the aim of holding on to them and selling at a huge profit at a later date. While I can see their point of view, I don't subscribe to it. For me, it's better to spread the love and let more people experience these great sets for themselves.

The LEGO company has a rich and glorious back catalogue of classic sets. I think it'd be great if they'd offer us the chance to vote on an annual basis for a set we'd like them to resurrect and re-issue. I realise that there are some obvious logistical challenges, not least the fact that some pieces and colours may now be out of production and might therefore not be currently available, but the company got round this in the past for the Legends re-releases (presumably via substitution of pieces or colours) so they should be able to figure it out. I don't see it happening, to be honest, but we can dream.... I'd be interested to know what sets people would vote for - leave a comment if you have any suggestions - but surely classic sets like 928 Space Cruiser and Moonbase (1979) and 7191 Ultimate Collectors Series X-Wing Fighter (2000) would get a fair few votes. I'd probably vote for Set 3274 LEGO Dragon myself, but I suspect I might be the only one....

Take care out there.

PS. If any folks over in the U.S. would be willing to send me one or two of the recently released Brickmaster Slave 1 mini sets then please get in touch.


  1. I'd vote for the 3724 dragon as well.

  2. I to would like to see Lego resurrect the legends line. It was a great way of getting hold of iconic sets that I had previously missed out on. I'd always wanted a 6285 Black Seas Barracuda but never had the finances to get one as a young child when it was originally released. The re-release of the Barracuda coincided with me getting my first part time job. I was finally able to own the set and this single handedly brought me out of my dark ages. I later bought other legends sets such as the Guarded Inn and Black Falcon's Fortress.

    If Lego were to bring back the Legends line I would very much like to see that other great pirate ship 6286 Skulls Eye Schooner or perhaps a classic space ship such as 6286 Galaxy Commander.

  3. NFreak00710/1/11

    I'd love to see the 7191 Ultimate Collectors Series X-Wing Fighter make a return. I recently got my first UCS set, the 10215 Jedi Starfighter, and I'm craving another, but the Imperial Shuttle is a little out of my price range! The UCS Y-Wing and Snowspeeder would be good too!

  4. Branko Dijkstra10/1/11

    Hey I vote for that dragon! I've never seen it before but it's cute!

  5. Randy11/1/11

    I think voting is a great idea! Personally I would love a re-release of the Holiday Train. I was in the dark ages at the time and would love a shot at getting it now (without having to pay ebay prices). They re-released the Winter Toy shop, so a man can dream, right? :)

  6. I'll second your suggestion of the Holiday Train - I tried to pick one up from eBay at the end of last year but hardly any were listed and they went for silly money so I was outbid.

    Further thoughts : Set 3450 Statue of Liberty, and Set 3723 LEGO Mini-Figure Sculpture (I mean, who could resist a brick-built version of a LEGO minifig containing 1849 pieces ?!).

  7. Jabba the Taff11/1/11

    According to Brickset it came up in the last Lego Survey that a lot of AFOLs wanted the Legends/re-releases line to come back. I'd second the UCS X-Wing, as well as the UCS Tantive. And some of the 60s and 70s sets like the London Bus and the Rolls Royce.

  8. Good choices, Jabba - I love (and even blogged about) the UCS Tantive IV and hobby sets (Rolls Royce, Renault, Cadillac). Another popular choice would be the second system scale Millenium Falcon (Set 4504), but I have a feeling we might get a system scale MF this Summer, so let's hope it's as good....

    I'm glad that the last AFOL survey came out strongly for re-releases. It's also interesting that LEGO themselves highlighted this in the publicity around the current survey, along with the importance of quality. On the surface the "Legends" series is a bit of a no-brainer as all the design work has already been done, but let's see....

  9. Many of the sets listed would be difficult picks because of the parts involved. LEGO has been clear in the past that certain elements and colors will never be re-released since their current view of quality doesn't allow them to do certain things anymore. Maybe we could convince them that we'd still buy 9V-free, magnet-free versions of old train sets, but it'd still a tough sell to them. The old wheels on many classic space sets are a "never coming back" part because of the metal axle (susceptible to rust) and the hinge elements used regularly in the 80's and 90's are now considered to be too easily broken to use again. The Statue of Liberty could possibly come back, but since it's now more difficult to get parts made for just on set, it probably won't happen unless we see sand green come back in a very big way (and the Green Grocer wasn't big enough - it actually only had a few different types of parts in the color).

    The Star Wars stuff (or any other licensed brand) would require getting a second brand on board for a re-release, which is pretty unlikely. Where LucasFilm is involved, they probably want to maintain collectibility. There's also an issue of special parts there - if LucasFilm wants a special part (say, the UCS X-Wing cockpit), they actually have enough sway to make it happen and insist that LEGO can't use it elsewhere.

    I think the dragon has a good chance of coming back - none of the parts are rare and it wouldn't require a sign-off from some third-party. We might have some luck trying to talk them into it, but from what I understand it was a huge seller in the first place (not that I have any clue how they determine if something was a big enough seller to re-release - there are quite a few "rare" sets that are very recent that would have been trivial for them to make more of).

    I seem to have misplaced my BrickMaster Slave I, but if it turns up again I'll let you know.