Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bucket List

It seems that many AFOLs have taken a leave of absence from LEGO between childhood and adulthood - their so-called Dark Ages - and I'm no exception. On returning to the fray, my delight at rediscovering the joys of LEGO was perhaps slightly tempered by the realisation that a lot of wonderful sets had come and gone while I'd been away. While "wonderful" is clearly a subjective term, and my definition of a wonderful set isn't necessarily the same as yours, it's a sad fact of life that many of the retired sets that I look upon with wonderment and desire seem to be coveted by many other people as well. At least if the cost of getting hold of them now is anything to go by....

So below, in no particular order, are five of the sets on my LEGO bucket list - sets that came and went while I was away and which I made it my business to track down and add to my collection before I expire. Five this week, and another 5 next week, some of which I've now managed to get hold of, and others which still elude me.

1. Set 10019 Rebel Blockade Runner

There are certainly sleeker, more beautiful ships in the Star Wars universe than the Rebel Blockade Runner. And yet, from the first moment I saw pictures of this set I just loved it - a big, beefy, uncompromising brute of a model in the best "take no prisoners" UCS tradition. Unfortunately, it's been out of production for almost 10 years, and a decision to buy it nowadays really cannot be taken lightly. I managed to source a complete, boxed example from eBay in February 2009 for £260. It seemed very expensive at the time, but I suspect I'd have to pay even more now for a boxed one in similar condition. Sure, you can take the easy way out and content yourself with the newer version, Set 10198 Tantive IV, but per my comments in a previous blog post, the newer version is puny in comparison and just doesn't cut the mustard. IMHO, of course....

2. Set 10020 Santa Fe Super Chief

Having been a fan of LEGO trains in my youth, I was astonished to see how far they had evolved when I spied this one for the first time. Even now, when we have a variety of excellent trains currently available at retail, this locomotive still looks beautiful to me, and I can only guess at the wonderment that train fans must have felt when this one first appeared in 2002. You can read more about the set and see more pictures of it here in a previous blog post.

I'm pleased to report that unlike the expensive Rebel Blockade Runner above, this beautiful locomotive isn't (yet) out of reach of the average collector; while it's likely to cost more to secure one now than the £39.99 I paid in June 2009 for a complete, boxed example, you should be able to get one from eBay for between £50 and £100 depending on condition.

3. Set 3450 Statue of Liberty

For some the appeal of this set is the mountain of uber-rare sand green bricks you get with it; for me it's just a love of LEGO sculptures and the interesting subject matter. I've lost count of the number of eBay auctions for this set that I've lost on account of not bidding high enough, and I'm not optimistic of ever finding a boxed example for what I'd consider to be a 'reasonable' amount. Still, we live in hope.....

4. Set 918 One Man Space Ship

Anybody who regularly visits this blog must be sick and tired of reading about how much I love the classic space sets of the late 70's and early 80's - I'm always going on about them. Set 928 Galaxy Explorer was one of my most cherished sets when I was a child, and I still have it to this day. I never owned its baby brother, however - Set 918 One Man Space Ship - and few LEGO purchases on eBay have given me more pleasure than the immaculate boxed example I snagged in January 2009 for a little under £30.  They aren't too hard to find on eBay, although if you're looking for one in good condition with box and instructions you might have to be patient. Alternatively, head over to Bricklink where you can get one with a box for not much more than £50 right now.

5. Set 4558 Metroliner

Released in 1991, the Metroliner has become one of the most coveted of all the LEGO trains, so much so that it was re-released in 2001 under the 'Legends' banner. It's a classic - one of the earliest LEGO trains to actually look reasonably realistic, and with livery highly reminiscent of the Amtrak trains I've seen during trips to the US. In addition to the train itself, the set comes with a 9 volt motor and track to run it on as well as a station platform and 11 minifigures, although strangely no voltage regulator or transformer.

I'm delighted to report that thanks to eBay, my quest for Set 4558 Metroliner finally ended just last week with the arrival of a pristine, boxed example for a little over £100. Now to try and find a club car (below) to go with it......

I'll share 5 more sets from my bucket list next time.  In the meanwhile, I'd be interested to know which sets you missed when you were off doing something else and now just have to find at all costs - feel free to post a comment below.

And if anyone's got a boxed Statue of Liberty going cheap, you know where to come.....


                                                                                          Bucket List sets 6 - 10 -->


  1. Great post. Sets I am still seeking are the biiiiig Millennium Falcon (though I have really written this one off), and the Agents Mobile Command Center #8635. It just looks like a cool set. Still pretty easy to find MIB on eBay for $150. Will have to pick one up sometime in the next 6 months. Too many other great sets out there!

  2. Interesting post, look forward to your next 5.

    My dark ages stretched from 1993 till late 2007. My 5 would be the following;

    10019 - UCS RBR (100% agree with you. I love this ship!)
    6990 - Futuron Monorail (While technically available, was just never available in South Africa)
    10030 - UCS Star Destroyer (Always impresses non-lego fans when they see it in my room)
    10182 - Cafe Corner (Horrified at the price of this now! Still hoping to get a reasonably priced one.)
    6399 - Airport Shuttle (Also not available out here, must still get!)

  3. great post!

    my dark ages spanned from the mid 80s to 2009... so there are plenty of sets to fill that gaping hole. i'm with you on the metroliner love, not sure when i'll belly up to bar and pay for that one.

    i have a copy of the super chief that i bought for my dad. he was a lionel O-gauge train collector who loved that engine... so i bought him a lego version of it back when it was released. he passed away in 2004, but my mom kept his train room somewhat intact. just last summer, i brought the set back home with me. :) some very fond memories in that train.

    jabba's sail barge and the sandcrawler were on my list, but i've since picked up copies of those. just over $120 for each. seemed like a lot at the time, seems like a steal now. (no boxes... saved me some $)

    as for what's still on my bucket list...
    10123 cloud city. probably never happen at the prices i've seen lately. $600-$700. that's about $1 per piece!

    creator 4954 model town house. cool. but again, probably not going to happen at the crazy mark up it's got now, but ONLY $100 over MSRP seems almost reasonable in comparison to the others on this list. :)

    10184 town plan. this was actually available when i first got back into the brick... i just didn't know how much i wanted it. :) now, a used complete set is $350 on BL. yikes.

  4. Thanks for the great comments !

    I was incredibly lucky to emerge from my Dark Ages while Cafe Corner and Green Grocer were still available at retail and I thankfully picked them up before they were retired, but they'd be right at the top of my "must buy" list right now if I hadn't... Same goes for the latest Town Plan set.

    Regarding Cloud City, you're not missing anything - I have it, and IMHO it's massively overrated, with the only redeeming feature being the exclusive minifigs including Boba Fett with the printed legs. If I wasn't such an obsessional completist I'd definitely have passed on that one - not worth the cost.

    Without wanting to give too much away, at least one of the sets I'll be blogging about next week is mentioned in the comments above, although to preserve at least a modicum of suspense I'll refrain from saying which one(s)....

  5. You convinced me and I've ordered a Santa Fe in excellent condition with a 'like new' box. The words cheap, reasonable or value don't spring to mind when describing the transaction. I couldn't find 1 example between your stated 50 and 100GBP but such is life. Now I need to get a 10027. :-/

  6. Metroliner is also at the top of my bucket list. Cafe Corner, Airport Monorail, and the big "Park & Gas" Octane gasoline station are the next 3.

  7. Anonymous19/11/11

    Heh, I actually owned "Set 918 One Man Space Ship" when I was a kid. ;-)

    There's so much I missed in my Dark Ages: the Western sets (Fort Legoredo!), Viking sets, the Ninja/Samurai lineup from a decade ago that was way cooler than the current Ninjago nonsense, the older Castle sets, monorail sets, Indiana Jones, SW sets like "Sandcrawler" and "Jabba's Sail Barge"...

    And I returned too late to buy "Town Plan", "Cafe Corner", "The Tumbler: Joker's Ice Cream Surprise", "Custom Car Garage", "Model Town House", "Market Street",...

    I wish I had the room to set up a train track -- but then I would pine for "Holiday Train"...