Confessions of a Serial Polybag Collector – Part 1

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Confessions1.1Welcome to the inaugural post of what I hope will become a monthly feature here on Brickset.

My name is atkinsar and I collect polybags, well not just the bags (because that’d be crazy, right?!) but also the LEGO goodness contained within. There I said it, and I know I’m not alone, there are loads of you out there just like me that have embraced polybag collecting and I thought it was high time to turn the spotlight towards this niche within the LEGO hobby.

Some of you will know me from the yearly polybag Bricklists I used to create and maintain from 2008 onwards. Ever since Huw introduced the fantastic Advanced Query Builder, I have stopped doing so since it’s so easy for you to create your own lists tailored to exactly how you want them, that the time effort to maintain the Bricklists just wasn’t worthwhile any longer.

Each month I hope to explore a different aspect of polybag collecting, and alongside this I will provide mini (or maybe even micro) reviews of any interesting polybags I’ve picked up during the previous month, discuss interesting polys announced and showcase any hard to find/super rare polybags.

Whether this monthly feature takes off or not will be down to your feedback and comments, so please let me know what you think.

In this first article, I’m going right back to basics and discuss what exactly is a polybag? I’ll state right up front, this is my definition, not the definition and just like LEGO, I tend to break these rules as and when it pleases me!

What exactly is a polybag?

First of all, it must come in a bag right, pretty obvious huh? No boxes, blister packs, canisters, metal tins, tubs, buckets or foil packs. Yep, that’s right, no foil packs so Collectible Minifigures are out. Whilst technically you could argue a foil pack is a bag of sorts, it doesn’t pass the poly test for me, I don’t see it as a bag, because, well, it’s a pack (faultless logic I’m sure you’ll agree).

Confessions1.2 Polybags come in all shapes and sizes and with any number of pieces, but all of this is irrelevant to me, from the very smallest (and frankly rubbish) 1-piece 1061 - Technic Slizer, to the very biggest (and fabulous) 232-piece 20204 - MBA Creature Designer, they all make the collection.

I don’t consider it necessary for the polybag to even contain any traditional LEGO elements, the aforementioned Slizer is an example of that - although you could argue that piece is a LEGO element. Perhaps a better example would be these Friends Bracelets which I do consider to be a polybag - so they’re in, as is the new orange Brick Separator which I picked up in a polybag from the Cardiff LEGO store.

Confessions1.3 That’s not to say that I would include any polybag in my collection, for example, I specifically exclude any service packs like these, as for me, they are just not collectible, probably because they don’t belong to any specific theme which makes them a little boring.

Until recently, I didn’t consider Duplo part of my polybag collecting plans, but having now ‘accidentally’ acquired a few, I fear they are now on the list!

 

Review of 30170 - Ganrash

Confessions1.4 One of the harder to find polybags of 2012 has been 30170 - Ganrash.

To date this has only seen limited availability in branches of Toys R Us in Canada for $4.99. I have no idea if it is still available, although I suspect not. As I write, there are a few on eBay and Bricklink available, all from Canada and seem to command around £15 plus shipping so it’s not cheap.

41 people have indicated they own it on Brickset, although those figures are not always to be trusted due to the different ways people use the inventory manager, so I suspect the real figure to be lower than that.

I have a real soft spot for Heroica sets as it harks back to my childhood when I played board games like Talisman for hours on end, so I really had to pick this one up. I didn’t actually get mine from Canada, I picked it up from a fellow Brickish member who shall remain nameless for fear of being flooded with requests (they assure me they have no more anyway!).

Ganrash consists of 55-pieces and appears to be a small add-on set, which, from the looks of the colour scheme and the water, I’d guess is supposed to be used with Draida Bay, but that’s just an educated guess. According to brickapedia, it contains the Blades of Bounty, a luck potion, and two microfigs: a Goblin Guardian and a Goblin Warrior.

Confessions1.5There are a couple of pieces in certain colours in this set which have not appeared too often in other sets. The reddish brown antenna has only appeared in three other sets and the green slope piece in two other sets, although you only get one of each. The instructions are your typical polybag fare, seven steps and nothing too interesting about the build itself.

 

Confessions1.9The finished set contains a sandy beach, surround by a body of water, a large tent in the corner with the Goblin Warrior and Goblin Guardian keeping a close eye on the Blades of Bounty and luck potion, well that’s my interpretation anyway.

As a display piece, it’s obviously pretty naff given that it’s meant to be used as an add-on for a game. However if you’re a Heroica fan or a polybag completest, then you’ll need to get hold of this one. I suspect (but don’t know for sure) that you won’t be seeing this crop up in too many other places, so if you have an opportunity to grab one, do so, in fact grab two, one to build and one to keep sealed…ah the golden motto of the hardened polybag collector. Just don’t go shouting around that you’ve got Ganrash, you may find that people start avoiding you ;-)

47 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Fantastic article. Although polys for me are just something to be thrown onto an ever increasing pile I'm looking forward to further reading. Maybe I'll be converted ;-) The brick separator did make me chuckle.

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By in United States,

Perhaps the Luck Potion is a cure for Ganrash. Good article, gives me new perspective on ploybags.

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By in United Kingdom,

I am looking forward to these articles developing, thanks for your hard work on this atkinsar, a very interesting read. I am only a Star Wars polybag collector but have found myself being dragged into other themes occasionally. Do you know how many polybags you actually own exactly?

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By in United States,

Not a polybag collector myself, but I find it interesting and enjoyed this. Please do continue with these posts!

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By in United Kingdom,

@Huw... I suspect you know already but the forum is down for me. I get:

Error 503 Service Unavailable

Service Unavailable
Guru Meditation:

XID: 820165890

Varnish cache server

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By in United States,

I collect star wars sets but haven't bought that many star wars poky bags as they have always seemed not as good but keep posting. You might just change my mind :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Superb article, and keep that polybag humour coming!

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By in United States,

I like this as a new recurring column. It's good to read about everyone's favorite bite-size Lego sets, especially the more obscure ones.

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By in {Unknown country},

Great article! Since a couple of months I can buy polybags as a promotion for a Belgian News Paper and I'll realy love it.
Before I've only bought polybags in the LL Parks or in the Lego Shops.
I wonder how TLC decides that a set can be a polybag or it will be in a regular box?
Cfr the seasonal sets such as Easter bunny 40000 (in a regular box) or the 2012 Christmas train (polybag)

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By in United Kingdom,

Great start to what I hope will become a regular feature that will grow along with our ploybag collections.
Thanks @atkinsar for investing your time and knowledge into this feature and I look forward to the next instalment.

BTW atkinsar do you aim to collect at least two polys one to build and one sealed?

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By in United Kingdom,

@atkinsar Excellent article mate!!! Who knew polybags could be so interesting? ;-)

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for the kind comments, I've certainly got plenty more topics lined up so hopefully I'll be back!

^^ yep, one to build and one to keep sealed, that's the way to do it :-) of course, with the price of some polybags it's not always possible, in which case I'd recommend buying one and bricklinking one.

^ collect_that, you collect them to? We should have a chat mate ;-)

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By in Sweden,

@atkinsar my man!
We had a few successfull deal/trades together and i am looking forward for more articles, and of course trades.
Thank mate!

those "polys" are getting more and more of a collectible item for sure!

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By in United Kingdom,

Excellent article and look forward to the future ones. As I am a little bit of a collector of polybags but my wife loves to collect them even more.

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By in United Kingdom,

@supersympa, we have indeed, you're a top man. I've met so many great people trading polybags, it's one of the aspects of the hobby that draws me in. Plus you live in a rare polybag hotspot so we'll definitely keep those trades going ;-)

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By in {Unknown country},

Atkinsar & Huw... just one comment... ONLY ONCE A MONTH? =-D Love it, love polys.

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By in United States,

I am excited. I collect the random polybags here and there but always thought on trying to get them all since it could potentially be cheaper and easier grabbing one or two at a time. But even if I decide against it, I am excited to see what you post for reviews...

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By in United States,

I just started collecting polybag minifigures, does that count? Such as shirtless Darth Maul and the exclusive Hulk minifigure?

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By in Canada,

A big fan of this feature as well as the polys that you talk about. I've always enjoyed the little bags as a nice hit of bricks when I'm not out to get a full set.

Saw a bunch of Ganrash's at my local TRU today. Might have to go back tomorrow and pick a handful up!

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By in United States,

Some of my favorite poly bags are the mini replicas from star wars IMO. The 20019 Slave I polybag is a great example. When i got it in the mail i was shocked they made polybags that big. Would love to hear your thoughts on replicas. One of my favorite things is to have the full size and the mini next to each other.

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By in United States,

Great article Andy. Can't wait to see more of them.

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By in Canada,

Keep up the good work on shining light on items that don't usually get any recognization at all.

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By in Hong Kong,

Good and informative article. Keep it up. Thanks!

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By in United Kingdom,

Very interesting, thanks Andy. Personally I try and limit my collecting to promotional sets with proper 4 or 5 digit set numbers, so I wouldn't bother with Bricktober magnets, brick separators etc.

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By in United Kingdom,

Good article Andy, although I sort of have to agree with Kevbags, in that what was once a select focused small collection of polybags, has just become a rather large mountain of polys, in large part due to the Sun.

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By in Denmark,

I like the idea of guest columnists contributing an article on aspects of the hobby, rather than just regular news articles.

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By in United States,

Very cool. I really want that Ganrash set! If anyone can get their hands on one I would be happy to cover all costs and a little profit for you too!

Love the article. I always go to collecting polybags when I am low on funds. Allows me to get some more lego for my collection without breaking the bank. Although all bets are off when trying to get a vintage set like the Quik Bunny.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ I'm happy to publish anything you fancy contributing, Rich!

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By in United Kingdom,

Great article, nice work Andy. Featuring a rare polybag set adds a new dimension and Ganrash is a lovely start. I'm looking forward to reading this series!

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By in Denmark,

@atkinsar How do I use the advanced query maker to find out which polybags I got?

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By in United States,

@icey, Hi this seems to work for me:
SELECT * FROM Sets
WHERE (PackagingType = 'Polybag') AND (isnull(Own,0) = 1)
ORDER BY SortKey ASC
Just choose in the builder
Select "Packaging Type" "equals" "Polybag" AND "Owned by me" "equals" "yes"
You can find it in the tab "More" section "Advanced queries" "Advanced query builder"

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By in Europe,

Andy,

Great article, interesting you consider a brick seperator as a poly bag set. So do you include the monthly model builds as well? They now have set numbers, so how do you document the monthly model builds pre this year, if they are included.

I suppose everyone is going to be slightly different on what is a polybag set and what isn't. That differentiation aside, can't wait for part II.

For me the Mirror and Sun promos has certainly got me into collecting polys.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ Spot on marcus196604, thank you.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ I'll admit the brick separator is stretching things a little :-) MMMB's provided a nice little headache in 2012, they definitely qualify now they have polybags and set numbers, anything prior to this I don't collect, although I do have a few, I definitely don't consider them a polybag.

I would just like to say to everyone who has commented, I'm pretty blown away by the positive feedback so thankyou all very much, I shall get cracking on part 2 next month with great enthusiasm.

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By in United Kingdom,

Where's the like button? I'd like to click it.
I'm not a polybag collector at all. In fact this article is at another end of the Lego fan spectrum for me. But I still found it an interesting insight into another angle on the Lego hobby.

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By in Denmark,

@marcus thanks alot.

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By in United States,

Andy, thank you for the article and please keep them coming. I stumbled into collecting polys do to time to build restrictions (work keeps getting in my way). Now I try to snag every poly I find and if possible I grab 5. Why 5? I wish I knew.

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By in United Kingdom,

An interesting article. I don't see the obsession with JUST polybags, so almost skipped it, but the Ganrash 'reveal' got me hooked. Still hoping this crops up somewhere in the UK (but seems as if Heroica has died a death, so unlikely).

On a similar note, I'd love to hear any views on why a certain poly appears somewhere (eg Canada) and not elsewhere in larger Lego markets.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ oh trust me, my obsession is not just with polybags, I wish! Let's call it a sub-obsession in an obsessive hobby.

It would be very interesting to know the decision process behind which polys get released where, perhaps I'll do some digging around see if I can turn anything up.

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By in United Kingdom,

Really enjoyed reading this, so when are you publishing the POLYBAG collectors guide , I'd buy one !

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By in United Kingdom,

^ not a bad idea actually!

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By in Canada,

Well atkinsar as a long time LEGO fan I must say it's interesting to see this feature of the site. I've also been one to enjoy Polybagged sets, they're cheap, useful for collectors on a budget like me who want to get as many MFs as possible, and some times you find some really impressive models built out of them.

I just got back from picking up Ganrash simply because of how rare it is, now my problem is figuring out if I should open it up or leave it sealed. Personally I don't ordinary leave anything sealed or buy stuff for investments like that, I usually open everything and, would that I had the space, display everything.

Ah well, I'm certain I'll figure out what to do with my new Ganrash Polybag eventually. I too would love to know TLG's reasons for releasing only certain ones in certain areas, it tends to make troop building difficult and I really would have enjoyed getting some of the Castle themed sets released in recent years... There were some I believe. I'd have to double check. I look forward to your next post to see what other gems might be unveiled. Wasn't there a Nesquick Rabbit PB released somewhere in Europe?

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By in United Kingdom,

^ If you live in Canada, why not buy two Ganrash and keep one sealed? Regarding the Nesquick Rabbit, indeed there was, I've made some interesting acquisitions very recently, who knows, maybe a rabbit was amongst them, watch this space...

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By in Canada,

I picked a few of the Ganrash polybags at TRU the other day if anyone wants one.

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By in Malaysia,

Here in Malaysia, Shell oil company are now selling various Ferrari vehicles in polybags when you buy fuel/gas, not sure which other countries these are available in. I currently have 2 out of 8. Will get more as I need fuel. Probably get 4-5 before the offer is over :(. I'm opening the packs tho and unable to get duplicates yet.

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By in Canada,

Great article Andy! Ive been a little obsessed with polys every since I traded some Clownfish with you always wondering if the polybags i find are rare. I have seen the Ganrash poly here as well but passed on it because I'm not interested in Heroica games. Second thoughts on that now! Keep up the good work!

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By in Canada,

Man, and there was a bin just overflowing with Ganrash for almost two months at my closest TRU... if only I'd bought a bunch. Especially on one of the regular games sales. Could help pay for Bag End. ^^

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