Friday, February 20, 2009

My WHOLE Collection!!

This is the first time that I have finally got around to photographing my ENTIRE collection. I have it stored in so many different places (being I'm in a small San Francisco Apt), but I think I gathered everything up. Just a refresher: 76 unique sets and over 30,000 pieces. 5 sets are not pictured because they are currently on my desk at work. Here it is...

This is a 3" binder that I keep all my instructions in. I need to get another one though, this one is bursting.

This is the container I keep my NXT in. I had to cut out a section to make the control brick fit in. I'm really happy how it turned out.

Some readily assembled sets that I keep on display around the apartment.

I was amazed on how much there actually is. Here is my set list:

Set #NamePartsFigsPriceYearQty

6624Delivery Van341?19831
6623Police Car401?19831
6882Walking Astro Grappler861?19851
392Fire Engine231?19861
5580Highway Rig6370?19861
6521Emergency Repair Truck?1?19871
6380Emergency Treatment Center284529.7519871
6522Highway Patrol?2?19871
6054Forestmen's Hideout198217.519881
6675Road & Trail 4 X 4791?19881
6235Buried Treasure2013.2519891
6274Caribbean Clipper37245419891
6257Castaway's Raft5038.519891
6276Eldorado Fortress49686619891
6270Forbidden Island176437.519891
6481Light & Sound Construction Crew16822719891
6661Mobile TV Studio711?19891
8854Power Crane5080?19891
6245Harbor Sentry2414.2519901
6396International Jetport485869.7519901
6811Pulsar Charger251319901
6260Shipwreck Island6921219901
6956Stellar Recon Voyager22123619901
6593Blaze Battler1161?19911
6259Broadside's Brig6438.7519911
6679Dark Shark782?19911
6669Diesel Daredevil8418.7519911
6531Flame Chaser511?19911
6440Jetport Fire Squad84227.519911
6542Launch & Load Seaport10227?19911
4021Police Patrol18533419911
6273Rock Island Refuge37276619911
6933Spectral Starguider20422519911
8815Speedway Bandit770?19911
1477Unnamed - Part of 1476 5-Item Bonus Pack341?19911
6286Skull's Eye Schooner8929126.519931
6595Surf Shack883?19931
8042Universal Pneumatic Set226038.519931
6246Crocodile Cage5627.2519941
6278Enchanted Island41276619941
6264Forbidden Cove207429.7519941
5591Mach II Red Bird Rig / Mach II Red Bird1166011019941
6339Shuttle Launch Pad53646619951
6625Speed Trackers5626.7519961
8445Indy Storm / Formula 1 Racer44004019991
5925Pontoon Plane711619991
8448Super Street Sensation / Super Car Mk II1408013019991
10020Santa Fe Super Chief43624020021
4511High Speed Train33339020031
10027Train Engine Shed63327020031
10128Train Level Crossing32525020031
8802Dark Fortress Landing1422?20051
8652Enzo Ferrari 1:1747704020051
8801Knights' Attack Barge1632?20051
7246Mini Digger361320051
7242Street Sweeper631520051
4891Highway Haulers20901020061
8527Mindstorms NXT577025020061
4894Mythical Creatures58803020061
7903Rescue Helicopter24532020061
6206TIE Interceptor™21212020061
6205V-Wing Fighter11811020061
10175Vader's TIE Advanced1212010020061
4939Cool Cars20601020071
4953Fast Flyers31202020071
4915Mini Construction680520071
4918Mini Flyers760520071
8146Nitro Muscle59805020071
5621Coast Guard Kayak2113.520081
4993Cool Convertible64804520081
7667Imperial Dropship8141020081
4837Mini Trains730520081

There's a 3 year gap from when I lost touch with Lego and fell more into computer hobbies. It's funny because that coincides with my sophomore through senior year in high school.

The ones at my work are: 8652, 10175, 6273, 6205, 8699. There are some instructions shown in the pictures that are not on my list. Reason for this is I plan on keeping them apart of my bulk pieces and not as sets.

Here are some key points to my collection. I keep my bulk in plastic drawer containers. Each drawer holds a different piece and in some cases different colors. I need more containers though as all the plastic bags on the left of the first picture are overflow. The white boxes on the right are from Ikea (though they no longer carry that size :( ). Each one holds a different set unless stated otherwise on the tag. The small boxes in front center are homemade. They each hold a small set. The plastic bags on the right are all sets that don't have a box yet. The red Lego tub is all Bionicle parts. I try to keep every box for my sets if I have room to store them. When I can't I just cut out the box top. That's about it, I plan on goin on a little further on those plastic drawer contianers in another post.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


This post will mostly be a rant about the different color names that sites use and Lego discontinued colors. I have mentioned some sites all ready that are great Lego resources. The biggest downfall to all these sites is that they name the colors of elements different names. Naming is not the only thing that gets thrown out the window, but the value of these colors change amongst the sites and programs such as LDraw.

I get most of my Lego information from and is where I buy all my missing parts. Lets say that I have set 7628 and I need to replace the blueish 1 x 2 brick. Peeron names the color as "NavyBlue". I go to Bricklink to add the part to my wanted list and find that the color "NavyBlue" is not an option. Bricklink's "NavyBlue" is actually named "DkBlue". To make it even worse, Lego now offers "Pick a Brick" on their online shop. You can go there to buy bulk pieces of most of the parts that are currently in production. But, Lego doesn't have a "DkBlue" or a "NavyBlue", their color name is "EarthBlue". Three different color names for the same color. WTF, are you serious? I can see why Peeron and Bricklink might not have the same name as Lego due to copyright or something, but why can't they have the same name between them?

How does one keep track of all this? Peeron has a great color chart that lists each color and the name given by all three sites. There is also a program that sorts it out, but it's outdated and crashes if you try to do any updating.

MdStone = LtBlueGray = MdStone

In 2003 Lego decided that it's time to change some colors that it has been using. Biggest of these changes was that the grays changed from a warm gray to a cool gray. There are numerous interviews and articles with Lego spokesman on this change and they say that esthetically a cool gray makes every other color "pop" more. The new gray got a rather unflattering name by the Lego user community, "Bley". The community has since embraced then new gray. I, for one, don't mind the new color but find it more of an annoyance then anything. The grays are named "MdStone" and "DkStone" by Lego and Peeron, but Bricklink decided to go with "LtBlueGray" and "DkBlueGray". The only place now to buy parts in the older gray is Bicklink, named "LtGray". One last thing, Peeron and Bricklink spell gray with an "a" while Lego spells it with an "e" (grey).

As fun as Lego can be, finding the right color name is not.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Catch Up.

I've been sorting and organizing my new bulk Lego purchase and slowly putting everything away. Through my sorting I came across a few undiscovered sets. I had mentioned the ones that used the 9v battery box, but I found a hidden gem amongst the rubble.

5580 - Highway Rig, released in 1986, is one of the more popular Model Team sets. It comes with a full 10 wheel base and plenty of detail to look at. The hood flips forward to reveal the engine. It's a rather large and interesting build. It is the predecessor to the famous 5571 - Giant Truck which when released in 1996 was the largest themed Lego set ever made. It held that title until TLC (The Lego Company) released the Star Wars UCS and Sculptures series in 2000/ 2001. 5571 didn't come with a full 10 wheel base and is considered its biggest flaw by many.

My 5580 set is missing a few pieces and 6 of the tires, but it is still able to be built and is fun to look at.

I think that all the sets that I want to build from this lot have been found; the rest have been sorted and stored in my 39 bin units. I will be posting more of my final sorting/ storing this weekend. Maybe I will finally get a picture of my whole collection.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sorting 101, part 2

I finally got around to do some more sorting. Last article I talked about breaking down a large pile of Lego into the smallest number of groups as possible. The best way to do that is to sort them by color. Now that each color is sorted out, I break down each color into types of elements. The number of groups depends on how many different types of elements are in each color group. The most common groups are: bricks, plates, tiles, slopes, wedges, hinges, doors and windows, technic, and modified plates.

To start out, I dump one color out on a blanket. Then just pick through the pile one by one putting the element in the respective pile. Here's a picture of what I ended up with. The 2 largest piles were bricks and plates.

The piles above are (left to right): wedges, panels, bricks, modified plates, hinges, train, modified tile, fence, windows/ doors, brackets, tiles, canopies, supports, plates, technic, and slope. I also found one car jack and one old minifigure legs.

Also, when I go through and sort any Lego I am keeping an eye out for any Mega Block or other non - Lego parts. I bagged up all the separate piles and stored them in their box, until it's time to sort them out even more.

The next step after sorting by type is sorting each type into size. That will be next time.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

NXT 2.0 annouced!!

The Lego Mindstorms NXT made a huge buzz in the robot community when it was first released nearly 3 years ago. There have been rumors flying about that Lego was going to be releasing a new version. Well, we have definite proof of a new version. Lego has been showing off the new 2.0 at Toy Fairs around the globe.



Set to release this August, the 2.0 version comes with a few new features. The light sensor has been replaced with a color sensor. The NXT-G program features a remote to control the robot via computer/ laptop. A mechanism to launch small colored balls is included. Instructions to build a robot alligator, colored ball sorter, a ball launcher, and the new Rex 2.0 are included. Bluetooth is still present for wireless control, and the set contains roughly 620 pieces up from 400 in the current version.

Nothing new about control brick, whether or not it will have more memory or faster processing. With the release date out 6 months, I'm sure we will see some improvements.

Now the price..... £200 which is roughly $300.

Other then the few features I listed I don't see too much difference between the two versions. Hopefully they allow firmware/ software updates for us with the current model. Until more news comes out, I'm happy with my robot.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My New Sets!

As I have been going through my recent purchase of bulk Lego, I came across quite a few unique pieces. As I mentioned in this post I like to take out any peice that looks like it "belongs" somewhere. It's hard to describe, but you know when you found a piece that just looks like it should be in a set.

A few of those pieces were:

Turns out that first piece is a siren. I found two, one black and one white. They are part of the electric series from the early 90's and late 80's. Along with the sirens I found 3 9v battery boxes, and many electric lights. These are the sets that are in that bulk purchase; missing instructions and may not be 100% complete:

6481 - Light & Sound Construction Crew
6440 - Jetport Fire Squad
6780 - Light & Sound XT - Starship

The next piece is a shock absorber. I found 4 in that lot and thought that they went to a car or something. Turns out this is the set they go to:

6933 - Spectral Starguider

The last piece is a large 6 x 6 x 9 panel. I found 2 and they go to this set:

6396 - International Jetport

The only set out of these 5 that I tried to build was the Jetport. Turns out that I'm only missing 2 pieces for it. I can't wait to try and build the other sets. Again, none of these sets had instructions in the lot; the only way I found them was by tracking down pieces on My sorting has been put on hold for a bit while I play. No harm in that, right?

BTW, I tried out all the electric elements I found with a 9v battery; they all work! The sirens are great. One makes town sounds and one makes space sounds. When I get them all put together I will post some pictures.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Know the Lingo

Before I continue to talk about sorting Lego, I want to share the lingo. Knowing what an element is helps so much when sorting. Also if you have someone helping you find an element, having both people know what something is helps in communication. So, what are some of the elements called? There are bricks, plates, tiles, slopes, windscreens, bars, wedges, wings, and many more. I will be covering the terminology that was been made by sites like and Lego has their own terminology that can be a little confusing.

Bricks are the basic thick element. In fact the 2 x 4 red brick is the most common Lego out there. Bricks start at a size of 1 x 1 and can be as large as 8 x 16. When I say dimensions like 1 x 1, I am referring to the space the brick takes up, counted in studs. Dimensions are always read low to high. The brick pictured is a 2 x 4 not a 4 x 2.

Plates are the thinner element. 3 plates stacked on top of each other equal the thickness of one brick. Plates run the size of 1 x 1 to be as long as 16 and as wide as 10. Large 24 x 24 plates are called Base plates.

Slopes are the angled version of a brick. Slopes are measure a little bit differently on peeron and bricklink. The element pictured is called an 18 4 x 2 Slope Brick. The 18 refers to the degree of the slope. Also note that slopes are called by the direction of the slope. The one pictured is 4 x 2 because the slope is travelling up the longer (4) side. A 2 x 4 slope would look like this:

That is a 33 2 x 4 slope. When I look for slopes I don't think of the angle degree. But you should know the difference between a 4 x 2 and a 2 x 4.

Tiles are completly flat in most cases and are the ones that can be a pain to find. Tiles will mostly be 1 stud wide. The only sizes of a tile are 1 x 1 - 1 x 8 and 2 x 2. Tiles are usually have a pattern printed on them, so finding a tile with the right print makes it even harder.

Those are the basic groups of elements everyone should know. Now if you want to get more advanced you will know rounds, corners, turntables, wedges, inverted, clips, and canopies.

all pictures courtesy of peeron

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sorting 101, part 1

If you don't know about, you should go check it out. It has become the place to post your wanted/ for sale ads. It is a great place to find deals on anything, but since this is a Lego blog, we'll talk about the Lego part of it.

Every now and then you come across great finds. Lego popularity will not die down anytime soon and the majority of people posting ads know this. However, a small portion don't know the value of their Lego. Example, I just bought 40 pounds of Lego, 15 baseplates, 15-ish manuals, 100 + minifigs and more for just $120 from a seller on craigslist. Average value for that lot on eBay is around $350 - 400. I will go more into craigslist and eBay in a later post, for now I want show how I go about sorting a large lot of Lego.

Basic methods of sorting Lego usually include, color, type, size, and quality. Anyone can sort the way they want to and as much as they want to. The way I sort works for me and is not necessarily the only way to go.

When dealing with a large quantity of elements, I like to break down the lot into the smallest number of groups possible. I don't want to get overwhelmed right away be sorting the pile into types, (plates, bricks, tiles ...) and have 50 different piles going on. Color is the first sort that I do. You can easily sort a large pile down into 6-8 piles. Here's a picture of the lot that I just got.

This is all ready sorted out a little bit. I have the bulk of the pile poured out on a blanket, (for easy cleanup) manuals off to the side and have picked out the large pieces ( from a plane). As I said before, I don't want to be overwhelmed by sorting out all the different types of pieces in there. I want to start smaller. Sorting color is probably the fastest way to break up a lot this size. Red, yellow, blue, white, black, gray, clear and wheels are the main groups I sort to first. Through the years Lego has introduced new colors. So my color groups have grown to include "like" colors. For instance, yellow also includes green and lime colors. Here's what my pile looks like now.

As I sort through, I also keep a look out for any piece that seems "special". Pieces like 9v battery boxes, large canopies, or any element that doesn't look like Lego but is. These usually lead to build an interesting set that I may want to keep together. Also during this first sort, I try and find any non-Lego parts. The world would be a better place if the "Mega Blocks" were gone. Any non-Lego elements find themselves in the trash. So once the first sort is done, I go on to sort by type. That will be next, stay tuned.