The Lego Store Journey
Last week we did our second major Lego Store pilgrimage. Since I’ve returned to loving Lego over the last few years my closest friends have gone from sceptical mockery and teasing to full-blooded Lego obsessives. It’s a very satisfying about-face. We went en-masse before Christmas and had a very lovely day. On this occasion my own lack of free days meant that only three of us could go up together. It was sad not to have the full frenzied mob, but by brick we made up for it. We made a day of it of course – taking a day’s leave for the purposes of Lego makes it a proper holiday. I began the day with a mini-lie in and pain au chocolat before hopping on a train and heading for Sheffield.
We’ve developed a routine (or ritual, whichever you prefer) once we get to the shop: first we traverse the whole shop, beginning with the windows. They still have the Ewok Village fully assembled, and next to it the incredible The Lego Movie’s Metalbeard’s The Seacow. I nearly lost all control at sight of its beauty – it’s huge and intricate with amazing parts usage. Check out the railings made whirly with Indy whip accessories! I got my shaking mitts under control managed to get into the shop.
We toured the shiny boxes within, from Lego Star Wars into Creator and architecture, accessory tat, the wall of bricks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lego Friends and Disney Princess, Ninjago, Chima, Lego Beginners and Duplo. It’s all just so delightful and I love looking at all of it. Just being surrounded by so much Lego gives me a positive glow. I’m rather fond of the new Disney Princesses Lego Friends last theme, although there are a lot of big pieces in the sets they do look very pretty. It was even nice to find that you got a free Rapunzel polybag set just for buying any Lego Friends set. We got two…
Mini Figures Are Awesome
Then it was time to hit the minifigures. By this point the three of us were already hysterical, scrabbling madly for the best heads, legs and accessories (“I need more ladies’ torsos”). I entirely emptied one of the accessory bins seeking perfection within. We made a lot of minifigs – twelve I think (I’ll post full pictures when I have the time) using the wildest assortment of parts available. They always have an intriguing range of body parts, presumably from breaking down polybag sets and whatever’s failed to sell. If anyone knows where they all come from I’d be interested. There were a lot of Star Wars medallion-hero bodies and vampire lady skirt-legs. I especially like the Lego Friends rubbery moulded hair pieces and briefcases. I’ve finally acquired one of the bizarre Atlantis manta-ray hat/hair pieces. I love it.
Pick A Brick Pocket Or Two-oo
Once we’d assembled more mini figures than we could easily carry (it became necessary to fill my hat) we were ready for the glory of pick-a-brick. During our visit before Christmas we were given three boxes to fill for free since we’d bought an absurd amount of Lego and spent all day in there. We also had a couple of the larger tubs to fill. We were relatively restrained, only filling one of the tubs and all three boxes.
Of special note was the presence of olive-green cheese 1×1 sloped tiles, and 1×1 round tiles. Egad, I got fistfuls of the things. I already regret not getting even more… I also grabbed a load of light sand Palisade bricks and assorted other delights. My other half demonstrated a master-class in packing bricks – neatly stacking rows of blue and 2×2 yellow and red tiles in the boxes.
Once we’d satisfied ourselves that few other bricks could be crammed into the containers we moved onto making decisions about big sets. We were badly torn. There’s still the gorgeous Haunted House which always draws my eye, but I’ve persuaded myself it’s just not as good value as the big modular Creator buildings. They didn’t have the Fire Brigade set (now retired apparently) which is a shame as I’d have snapped that up. Instead I had to claw my face to choose between The Parisian Restaurant, The Grand Emporium, The Pet Shop and the surprise excitement of The Seacow. I was seriously tempted, but at £169.99 it just felt too much.. y’know.
One of the greatest delights of the day was watching the deep thought in the faces of my companions as we juggled value-for-brick, technical creativity, finger-twitching instinctive appeal and space at home. It is agonising. To stop myself from grabbing The Seacow I plumped for the Parisian Restaurant and am in fact gazing at it across the room as I type this… It’s the set I’d intended to get ever since we saw the white croissants used as architectural mouldings last year.
I’ve rarely giggled as much in a shop as when we loaded up the counter and slammed home the VIP cards. I think we were in there for about three and a half hours! An excellent day, and we got freebies as well – the DC Superheroes Martian Manhunter (for spending more than £50) and the Rapunzels . Definitely last week’s day of the week.
All the haul pics (mainly brick porn) can be found on Flickr here.