Tuesday 4 January 2011


So what a Christmas that was.... One day I was opening presents with my family and enjoying Christmas dinner and bad TV like the rest of the U.K., the next I was banished to my bed with a high fever and feeling like death warmed up. And in bed I stayed until yesterday, believe it or not, when I finally took my first faltering steps back into the real world. Seasonal flu, swine flu, man flu - call it what you want but it certainly wasn't to be trifled with. I lost a whole week, and I'm now trying to figure out how to make it up to my long-suffering family, while catching up on LEGO-related happenings during my absence...

First thing to mention is Christmas LEGO. Honestly, while I love rattling parcels under the tree as much as anyone, I have to admit to not making it very easy for my loved ones by buying up pretty much all the LEGO I can find over the course of the year, which really doesn't leave much for them. And yet despite that they still managed to surprise me with a couple of cool LEGO-related items.

Firstly, I was delighted to receive a LEGO Star Wars Black Hole Stormtrooper Maquette (pic above). I've previously blogged about one of these maquettes - Boba Fett - and it was great to add another to the collection. These guys are really hard to find - only 500 of the Black Hole Stormtroopers were ever made - so kudos to the wife for finding one. Number 88 out of 500, to be precise. Just please don't ever tell me how much it cost..... My folks also managed to find me something LEGO-related that I didn't already have. OK, so unfortunately my new LEGO radio didn't require construction, but cool nonetheless.

What to buy the LEGO fan who has everything.....?
Next I really need to make mention of the "Official LEGO Sale" which the LEGO company were kind enough to e-mail me about on Christmas day. On the face of it, an excellent sale - more than 250 items at 50% off, so it should have been a massive cause for celebration. The reality was anything but, however - a real let-down. By the time the e-mail arrived, most of the 250-ish 'sale items' were already 'out of stock' or 'call to check availability'. I had already discovered that the sale was live the day before as I tend to check the LEGO 'sales and deals' page very regularly, and even then there was little of interest available, most of the items having sold out. Most suspiciously, there were a number of items such as the Grand Carousel and Green Grocer listed as 'sold out' sale items which had already been sold out through LEGO direct for weeks. So hard to see how they could have ever been available as sale items then, hmm....?
10185 Green Grocer - a steal at £49.99 if any had actually been available at that price....
For premium priced products like LEGO there's really little more frustrating than seeing fantastic discounts which you can't get access to even if you get to the sales right when they start - you feel like you're being conned. So sorry, LEGO - massive PR own-goal there. Some of the online forums were similarly scathing about this sale non-event, so LEGO really didn't do themselves any favours this time. I'm sure a few people got a bargain, and well done if that was you, but the majority just wasted their time browsing the sold out stock.

Something which emerged during my period of horizontal inaction was widespread availability of the new 2011 LEGO sets via LEGO shop@home. As well as the beautiful and much anticipated Diagon Alley set which can now be obtained direct from LEGO or from LEGO brand stores, there are a couple of new themes ('Ninjago' and the Adventurers-styled 'Pharaoh's Quest') and the latest slew of Star Wars, City and Creator sets, amongst others. I quite like the look of sets 3661 Bank and Money Transfer, 7327 Scorpion Pyramid, 9349 Fairytale and Historic Minifigure Set and 5766 Log Cabin (pics below - click to enlarge).
7327 Scorpion Pyramid

3661 Bank and Money Transfer

9349 Fairytale and Historic Minifigure Set
5766 Log Cabin

I have to confess to being a bit more excited by some of the sets due to launch later this year, however. The upcoming 'Pirates of the Carribean' theme looks intriguing, some of the rumoured Summer 2011 Star Wars sets are much more my cup of tea than the January 2011 wave, and I can't wait for the promised City Space sets (I never could resist a LEGO Space Shuttle).

OK - time for a lie down. I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year !


  1. Spiderstu7/1/11

    Hope your recovery continues.

    The sale was a farce and I cannot understand what possesses a company to behave like this. Unfortunately LEGO are in a commanding position in the market and mistakes lIke this are unlikely to affect peoples buying habits in the end, and while this is true there is no reason to expect their behaviour to change. As a regular visitor to the S@H sales and deals page throughout the year, it has always been full of sets that are out of stock, something LEGO need to address properly.

  2. Thanks, Spiderstu, and I agree with your comments. It always makes me roll my eyes when I look at the "Sales and Deals" link on the shop@home website, under which is states "Big savings, regularly updated!". Yeah, right - sometimes it's not updated for months.