Wednesday 11 April 2012


Here we go again.

I shouldn't be surprised, of course - it happens a couple of times a year at least. I'm referring to the appearance of another exclusive, limited edition LEGO Star Wars item which can't be bought through retail channels but which nevertheless needs to be gotten somehow in order to keep my collection complete, and which has the eBay scalpers rubbing their hands with glee as they extort small fortunes from completist suckers like me....

This time it's a Star Wars promo minifig of Darth Maul (below) which was initially only available to visitors to the LEGO stand at the 2012 New York Toy Fair and which has also recently popped up at LEGOLAND Windsor in the UK where its being given away with purchases of Star Wars LEGO.

In times gone by I'd react to the news of a Star Wars exclusive or giveaway with (at worst) mild envy if it was likely that I wouldn't be able to get hold of it, or with excitement if I thought I was in with a good shout of snagging it. All that changed, however, when I managed to complete my LEGO Star Wars collection; since then news of the latest Star Wars exclusive has instead generally provoked dismay and resignation, driven by the knowledge that in order to stay up to date I'd have to somehow get hold of the item without bankrupting myself.

I already had a good moan about this a while back (click here to read) but LEGO unfortunately if predictably ignored my pleas for mercy and continue to regularly torment collectors with these Star Wars exclusives. OK, so credit where credit's due - LEGO did at least kill Brickmaster, for which I'm eternally grateful - but with the recent appearance of Darth Maul my periodic headache has returned....

Brickmaster : good riddance...

Except something's changed over the past year or two, and it's something which has significantly eased my pain. That 'something' is the relationships I've built and continue to build with fellow AFOLs, mainly via the Brickset forum and the Brickish Association. Now, rather than having to resort to blind luck, or cough up increasingly extortionate prices on eBay, we work together to help each other out. Not for personal profit, but for mutual benefit, and increasingly for friendship.

This time it's Si that I and a bunch of other AFOLs need to thank for jumping through hoops on a recent trip to LEGOLAND Windsor in order to get each one of us a Darth Maul minifig. These promos are at time of writing commanding eye-watering prices on eBay and Bricklink, and he could easily have made good money selling them on, but he didn't - he's promised them to us. Previously it's been Roland, Patrick and Russell in the U.S. who have sought out and provided items at cost which simply couldn't be found in the U.K.. And on this side of the pond the likes of Andy, Huw, Ian, James, Lucy, Caroline, Wes, Geoff, Mark, Kev and many others have freely shared their bargain buys and tips. Apologies if this is starting to read like an Oscars acceptance speech, but in a world where we seem to live in constant fear of being ripped off, it's been a breath of fresh air dealing with decent, honest people like these, and I can't overstate how much the friendships I've made within the AFOL community have enriched the LEGO hobby for me.

TC-14 - the next Star Wars exclusive... (pic from Wookieepedia)

There's always room for more like-minded people to join the party, so if that's you and you're over 16 then get along to the Brickset forum and dive in....

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12/4/12

    New AFOL here, and not a collector myself. But it's nice to know one can still forge such good friendships online :)