Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bucket List Reloaded

OK, as promised, here's the second dip into my bucket list - 5 more sets that came and went while I was in my LEGO Dark Ages and which I made it my mission to track the pictures that follow to enlarge them.

1. Set 7785 Arkham Asylum

What is it about the Batman sets ? These have, almost without exception, literally exploded in price over the past few years, putting them out of reach of all but the most dedicated collectors. A pity, then, that I have an interest in the subject matter and would rather like the full set....

Truth be told, I'm keeping a look out for all but four of the Batman sets, but I think Arkham Asylum is probably the most interesting of those that I don't already own, and hence its inclusion here. As well as an interesting selection of structures which do a pretty good job capturing the quirky and, frankly, spooky feel of the subject material, the set contains 7 minifigs of which 4 are exclusive to the set. And those exclusives include the Poison Ivy minifigure, who I'm almost ashamed to admit I find quite alluring....
And yes - before you say anything, I'm well aware that I need to get out more.

Poison Ivy (thanks to Huw for the pic)
So what's the catch ? Well, if I tell you that the only boxed example of this 860-piece set on at the moment is priced at £599.99 plus postage you'll get a pretty good idea.... This set is rare and ridiculously expensive, so I fear it's going to be languishing on my "to buy" list for a while longer yet....

2. Set 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer

Quite possibly the most predictable inclusion on my list, this absolute monster is surely the pinnacle of bonkers - a one metre long collossus which is virtually impossible to display in anything smaller than an aircraft hangar, costs a fortune and falls apart if you even breathe on it. But just look at it - it's amazing ! Of all the official sets I've ever laid my eyes upon, this one definitely had the most jaw-dropping impact, and as a big Star Wars fan it was clear that I had to get one.

I'm delighted I that took the plunge and bought the bad boy in the picture above when I did as the price of this set has continued to increase. Unless you strike it particularly lucky on eBay, you're looking at paying at least £400 on Bricklink for a complete, boxed example, and even that's assuming you're willing to pay whatever it takes to have it shipped from the US plus import duty on top of that. Otherwise you're stuck with paying £500 plus shipping from mainland Europe. All of which makes the £280 I paid for a MISB example back in 2009 look like an absolute bona fide bargain, although it felt like a small fortune at the time.....

3. Set 6399 Airport Shuttle

This set seems to be on a lot of people's Bucket Lists.... Released in 1990 and containing 767 pieces and 9 minifigures, this set is one of only 3 monorails that LEGO have ever released, and if recent noises coming out of the LEGO company are to be believed, there won't be any more for the foreseeable future.

So why is it so desirable ? Well, aside from the fact that the motorised shuttle itself works just as it should and looks great, there's so much else to the set - you're getting 2 loops of track which form a 2-tiered arrangement, you're getting not one but two stations, one of which is complete with a neat station plaza with stairs leading up to the station platform and shuttle, and you're getting loads of minifigures to bring the models to life. There are also a host of neat little design touches; as an example, one of the stations is designed to imitate the 'T'-shaped Airport Shuttle logo.

Set 6399 Airport Shuttle (pic ©Bricklink)
Beautifully designed, then, but not cheap; at the time of writing, the cheapest boxed example on Bricklink is on sale for well over £200, and if you want a new, sealed set then you're looking at almost £900. So expensive, certainly, but I'm on the lookout for one all the same - I'd just love to add a monorail to my city layout, and this beauty fits the bill perfectly.

4. Set 7194 Yoda

Released in 2002 at a price of £79.99 / $100, this is one of those quirky sets that people seem to either love or hate. I have to confess that Yoda wasn't at the top of my "must buy" list when I started to amass a Star Wars collection on emerging from my Dark Ages, but he gradually got under my skin, and I ended up buying an unopened example for £101 + postage from eBay in mid-2009.

I absolutely loved the 'old style' building experience; the vast majority of the 1075 pieces are 'proper' bricks and plates rather than the profusion of specialised parts you tend to get these days, and many of them are in relatively unusual and interesting colours such as sand green and dark orange. If you're after more information and pics, feel free to check out my photo review of this set hosted on Eurobricks.

I'd be the first to admit that the final result is a little on the blocky side, but LEGO Yoda has a charm all of his own, and tellingly he was a fixture in communal areas of my house for absolutely ages before I finally returned him to his box to free up display space for another set.

Yoda can still be obtained relatively inexpensively given the piece count and rarity, with eBay auctions and buy-it-now listings often going for £100 or less, and the cheapest boxed example on Bricklink currently listed for around £130.

5. Set 8480 Technic Space Shuttle

Given my well-documented ambivalence towards LEGO Technic, this might seem like a surprising choice of set to include in my list, but it's testament to what a great set it is that you're reading this now.

Admittedly the initial hook was my love of all things Space Shuttle and my quest to collect all the LEGO Space Shuttle sets, but once I took the time to research the set it shot to within striking distance of the very top of my "must have" list. In short, it's an amazing set, featuring motors to power the cargo bay doors, Canadarm and satellite, a fibre-optic system to emulate the engine thrusters, and other moving parts such as retractable landing gear and flaps. And it actually looks like the shuttle to boot, with my only gripe being the lack of body and wing panels to 'fill in the gaps'.

Inside of box lid, showing some of the many features of the set
I have to confess that I struggled to get everything working as it should, so complex was the build compared with the average LEGO set, but the finished model is just stunning.

Consisting of 1368 pieces, Set 8480 Space Shuttle was released in 1996. I picked up mine,  used but boxed and complete, for £70 in January 2010. You'll pay between £100 and £150 plus shipping on Bricklink for a boxed example now, and it'll be worth every penny.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this brief snapshot of some of the highlights of my Bucket List over the past couple of weeks; I have to say that it was really hard cutting the list down to just ten sets, and loads of interesting stuff missed the cut, so maybe I'll return to this topic at some point in the future and dust off a few more entries.....

<-- Bucket List sets 1 - 5

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