Confessions of a Serial Polybag Collector - Part 2

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Well, it seems you didn’t hate it, and so as a result, I’m pleased to bring you part 2 of confessions of a serial polybag collector.

Last month I took a look at what classified as a polybag in my eyes and reviewed Ganrash. Since then I haven’t been resting on my laurels, I’ve had quite a busy month cataloguing, purchasing and concluding some trades. I’ve also devoted quite a chunk of time to getting my polybag wanted list on to BrickLink, which wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be, especially considering I want over 450 of the things! I achieved this using the fantastic Advanced Query Builder right here on Brickset and in a future article I’ll let you know how I did it.

In this edition, as it’s both Christmas and nearing the end of 2012, I thought I’d take a look at some of the best and worst polybags of the year and bring you a polybag Santa showdown review. I’ll also be starting what will be a regular feature where I’ll be sharing what I’ve picked up in the previous month, I may even share how much of my soul I had to sell to obtain it, this is a confession after all. Finally, there’s a competition to enter to win a rare polybag, so keep reading until the end.

Before I go any further, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone that took the time to comment on my first article, send me an email, or offer to get stuff for me, seriously, you Bricksetters are the best!

Is that it? It cost how much!?

If you’re in to serious polybag collecting, you’ll be well aware of the experience of proudly showing off your latest sought after acquisition to a largely disinterested partner, who musters just enough interest to ask the only question they can think of when a small plastic bag is thrust upon them, “How much was that!?”. Now, you’ve got a decision to make, you can:

a) tell a large fib and say it was free or only cost a couple of quid
b) tell a small fib and say it cost half of what you really paid
c) be honest and expose them to the full depths of your obsession

I can assure you, unless you answer a) or have a partner that is also in to polybag collecting, their apathy will last just long enough to hear you answer b), and I double dare you to answer c).

So without ado, I hereby confess to you good Bricksetters (and Mrs atkinsar if she’s reading), the full depths of my obsession laid bare this month:

Most expensive? That accolade goes to the Nesquick Rabbit which set me back a cool £25. Cheapest was the Friends Bracelets which were given to me by a lovely Bricksetter in Poland who also sent me some 30182: Santa which I’ll be reviewing later.

I’ve got lots of trades pending too, including one of my ‘holy grail’ polybags, any guesses which one? I will hopefully have these concluded by next month so stay tuned to find out what I had to give up to get this one :-)

 

Unofficial Polybag Awards 2012

As 2012 rapidly draws to a close, I thought it would be fun to hold a little awards ceremony for our crinkly bagged friends. According to Brickset, there were 89 polybags released in 2012 (assuming no more get released between now and the end of the year of course).

I enlisted the help of my good friend and fellow polybag nut, collect-that!, and between us we picked three of the best and three of the worst polybags of the year.

Best of 2012

First Place 30201: Ghost – at just 33 pieces, that grandfather clock is a truly excellent little model, and you get a glow in the dark ghost. A magnificent example of a polybag and a deserving winner of polybag of the year.

Second Place 5000022: Hulk – it may seem a little controversial having a minifig only polybag in the top three, but both collect-that! and myself had one. Whilst I went for TC-14 due to it being everything that the infinitely more valuable Chrome Gold C-3PO should have been, collect-that! persuaded me that The Hulk was the more interesting minifig and who am I to argue. Oh, and he was free!

Third Place 30212: Mirkwood Elf – a late contender but great pieces and a great minifig was enough to secure third place for this Elf.

Worst of 2012

First Place 40026: Statue of Liberty – this really is a deserving winner of the “What is it!?” award for 2012. If the real Statue of Liberty had turned up in New York Harbor looking like this, I have a feeling the Americans may have sent it straight back to the French!

Second Place 5000245: Stephanie – originally on sale for $5 in TRU but later given away, even free isn’t enough to save Stephanie from second spot in the worst polybag of the year. Unlike the unique Hulk minifig, there is nothing special about Stephanie, it’s just the regular minidoll that you get in the Friends line-up. Boring!

Third Place 30018: Police Microlight – speaking of boring, I can’t think of a single thing to say about this polybag, it’s just too dull for words.

So there you have it, that’s what myself and collect-that! think. Don’t agree? What would your choices be?

Review of 30182: Santa vs. 1555: Santa

So the festive month is upon us, and what better way to mark the occasion than with a Santa showdown review.
Santa has been pretty well represented in LEGO over the years, a quick Brickset search reveals over 40 matches for the word Santa.

For this showdown, I wanted to contrast the old with the new, so in the red corner we have the very latest Santa off the polybag production line, 30182, and in the erm, other red corner we have the very first polybag Santa, 1555.

 

Rarity

1555 was not only the first polybag Santa, but was also the third polybag ever produced by LEGO all the way back in 1986, so this little fella is 26 years old! He was only available in Holland, New Zealand and Norway from the UK LEGO Club, but despite this, he’s not hugely rare, owned by over 300 Bricksetters and available on ebay and BrickLink for a modest sum of around £6 or so.

30182 was released earlier this year but is much harder to get hold. So far it’s only been spotted in Poland and nobody has really been able to identify the source. It is however, quite widely available on a Polish auction site called allegro (I’m reliably informed by a Polish friend that ebay is less popular in Poland). At time of writing there are none available on ebay or BrickLink but it has been selling for around £8. According to Brickset, only 23 of us own this particular Santa.

Winner: 30182 is the clear winner here as you’ll struggle to get hold of it unless you have a Polish friend.

30182 1 : 0 1555

Pieces

1555 consists of just 19 pieces, and they’re pretty basic ones at that, nothing rare or of note to see here. 30182 has

57 pieces, all quite small and not particularly rare, but there are some quite useful elements here.

Winner: 30182 takes the point again, simply because it has more interesting pieces than its opponent.

30182 2 : 0 1555

Instructions

Well, this is a polybag first for me, with 1555, the instructions are the bag, although if ever a set didn’t need instructions then this would be it. Three steps and done, it doesn’t get more basic than this.

30182 has the more traditional multi-folded double-sided instructions containing 19 steps and a couple of adverts for other Creator models.

Winner: 1555 wins this time, no step numbers, proper old school, I love it!

30182 2 : 1 1555

Build

With only 19 pieces, 1555 takes seconds rather than minutes to build, no interesting techniques to speak off, just good old-fashioned traditional basic LEGO building.

30182 will keep you busier for another minute or two, and contains some cleverish piece choice and design to represent Santa’s beard, eyebrows and hat.

Winner: 30182 is definitely more interesting to build and so takes the point.

30182 3 : 1 1555

Finished Model

So here they, side by side, which one do you prefer? 1555 is basic, but pretty adorable, you’d instantly recognise who it was supposed to be. A few people have commented to me that 30182 looks a little, well, creepy, I think it must be the eyes that do it, he looks like he’s suffering from severe sleep deprivation and the after effects of one too many sherries. He reminds me somewhat of Angus MacLane’s cube dudes and I must admit I don’t find him creepy, in fact I rather like him.

Winner: Let’s call it a tie, 1555 wins out on the cuteness stakes, and I’ll accept that some of you may find 30182 creepy, but there’s no denying it’s the better model.

30182 4 : 2 1555

Overall, 30182 is the clear winner for me, creepiness aside I’d rather have Santa with two legs rather than one, and frankly you don’t mess with someone that looks like that, look at his eyes man!

Competition

As a small way of giving something back, I’d like to give Bricksetters the chance to win a rare polybag each month, whether I’m able to do this regularly will depend on what I’ve been able to source in the previous month but I’ll try my best.

First up for grabs is 30170: Ganrash that I reviewed last month, you’ll recall that it’s currently only available at TRU Canada and pretty difficult to get hold of. Thanks to a kind forum member, I’ve managed to get a few sent over and I’m offering one of you the chance to win one.

To have a chance of winning you need to write a review of a polybag that you own, preferably one that hasn’t already been reviewed, but really, it can be any polybag. Once you’ve written the review, let me know here and provide a link to it and I’ll judge the best one and announce the winner next month. This competition is open to anyone worldwide and has a closing date of 4th January 2013.

Finally, if you have any interesting polybag information you'd like to share, then please contact me.

Update 1: A quick update on the competition rules, you can enter as many reviews as you like between now and the 4th January, just make sure you contact me for each one that you wish to be considered for the competition.

Update 2: As an added incentive to enter, I've decided that the winner will now receive both Ganrash and 30182: Santa. There will also be a runner up prize who will receive their choice of Ganrash or Santa. So get writing those reviews and good luck!

40 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Another great article Atkinsar (and Collect That! for your contributions), I am very much looking forward to your continued polybag articles next year.

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By in United States,

Groan, seeing your new polybags hurts. I haven't seen most of them and now I want them too! :-) Thanks for the reviews and great article.

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By in United States,

I'm loving this segment more and more every month! Great job!

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By in United Kingdom,

Brilliant article again Andy! I love this feature, though I'm definitely more a sort-of, part-time, half-hearted polybag collector than a die hard :-)
I look forward to the next installment!

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By in United States,

I love how you are combining so many different elements into this sub-niche of LEGO. I find your articles very interesting and I am always looking forward to your next edition. You have now inspired me to start my own Poly-bag collection, for better or for worse, conscious says yes, wallet says no :). I only have two so far, but I have to start some where. :) This is really the perfect fit for LEGO, something that won't break my bank and is very interesting to collect. So thanks for all of your hard work on these articles and I can't wait for the next one.

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By in Canada,

I'm not really THAT big on polybags but I go to a TRU in Canada a lot so if they have it I might get it some day :)

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By in United States,

I got a 1555 at a KMart during the late 80's/early 90's. Granted, it was the only one there, it wasn't with the rest of the LEGO in the store, and when taken to the checkout, the UPC wasn't in the system (I think I got it for $1). Unless someone imported it into the US and then left it at a KMart, it must've seen some kind of release in the US.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great article Atkinsar! Although I would have put the 30160 Batman Jetski up there with this year's best: it featured everyone's favourite caped crusader with the new cowl piece (which I think was only found in the polybag?). In addition, the actual jetski model was decent, providing lots of speeding and shooting action :-)

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By in Sweden,

What a shame that new Creator Santa polybag hasn't been more widely available. I've never been particularly keen on the larger, blockier kind of Santa models but that one is a real treat. Would've definitely bought it from LEGO.com if it'd been available, but oh well.

At least the instructions are available online.

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By in United Kingdom,

Starting to get hooked on polys now. Next months article will probably tip me over the edge into the depths of polyurethane and empty pockets.

Great second confession @atkinsar.
I worked at Legoland Windsor when they shot the Nesquick advert on the Dragon coaster. I was the ride operator, never got the polybag for my efforts though :-(

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By in Canada,

The Nesquick rabbit is by far my most sought after poly-bag. Really don't know why.

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By in United States,

I also got a 1555 at KMart (some time between 1994 and 1997), so agree that this set must have been sold in the US at one time or another.

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By in United Kingdom,

Excellent article again, must admit I quite like the statue of liberty polybag, I know I am in the minority but each to their own.
Cant wait for the next one :)

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By in United States,

Excellent article! I have a much more modest interest in polybag collecting, but it was a great read nonetheless. Fun features, great reviews, and I may just have to enter that competition. Keep 'em coming.

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By in United States,

Can't believe the Nesquick rabbit is on ebay for $199. I love polybags but not that much!

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By in United States,

I love these articles. And I want the nesquik bunny so much! I used to have 1555, but it's just scattered bricks now, and I think I might have lost the bag. I've had it for a while.

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By in United States,

Another wonderful article @Atkinsar though you need to stop reviewing all the rare polys (I keep trying to resist the urge to go buy them, but I can't hold out much longer) :-). As for that "holy grail", I don't suppose it's something slightly tank-ish is it?

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By in United Kingdom,

Great fun read, thanks. The Nesquik bunny is very cool in a Fabuland way.

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By in United States,

I was just about to buy a Nesquick Rabbit from Bricklink, I've had my eye on him for years. But after this installment, I have a feeling someone might beat me to the one I want

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By in United States,

This was great. My wife and I both like the OLD Santa versus the new one. She said (he looks creepy) without even reading th article. I can't wait to write my review. I have a modest polybag collection, so I will have to choose wisely.

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By in Germany,

A very entertaining read :-)
Looking forward to Part III!

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By in Netherlands,

Most expensive ?? I think it's city set 20002, if you want to buy it now it will set you back a £ 45 or 55 euros.
Took me years to get one cheap, got one on ebay for 0.50 euro (used), it did cost 15.00 euro to ship. But that is still cheaper.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great article, really enjoying reading them. But definitely a +1 on new Santa being creepy!

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By in United Kingdom,

Fab article, looking forward to part 3!

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By in United States,

So when the Lego Discovery center opens in Westchester, New York, USA - you will need me to garner one of the Opening day polybags?

I hope that the grand opening will have them in the shop, as Discovery centers don't allow adults without a child except once a month.

So, If I get a polybag for myself, I will need to get one for you?

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By in France,

Fantastic article. I'm loving this look into a world I hadn't really bothered with before. I may have to get some now. The new Santa does look like he would come alive at night and kill you though.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great article, atkinsar. In fact, I'd say great articles. This feels like four separate blog-length articles that could have been spread out over a few days. I'd definitely prefer it that way, unless you are ready with part 3 tomorrow!

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By in United States,

I have a 1555. No idea where I got it, but definitely not in Poland. It was purchased retail somewhere in the US many years ago.

Anyway, nice article. As a Heroica fan I am considering entering the contest.

By the way, I've got a couple old McDonalds "Grimace" polybags if anyone wants to trade for something.

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By in Canada,

Yay! What a fun article to read. I'm loving this insight into the Polybag Collectors world, and I am a Polybag Collector, though perhaps not as hardcore as you. (For one thing unless it was an unbelievable can't pass up model/Mini-Fig there's no way I'd pay more than 6$ for a Polybag.)

As a note, none of the TRUs in my area even have Ganrash left for sale at the moment, don't know if they'll ever re-stock. I got one already mind you so I'm not complaining, I really think its atrocious though that one of the TRUs was trying to sell a Ganrash that had clearly been opened and taped back shut (over the bar code no less making it impossible to scan in-store) to fellow customers. It was very disturbing to see this.

As for why the Nesquick Rabbit is so expensive on the after market or in-demand... I'd have to wager a guess that currently he's the only Mascot Mini-Fig in existence to be officially made.

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By in United States,

With the others that had 1555 in the US. It was in my stocking one year and I know my parents would have picked it up locally, so it must have been available here too.

Keep up the great work on the articles. I'm not a polybag collector (except for LotR and Hobbit), but these are great reads.

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By in United States,

i love your "holy grail" teaser. no idea on that. chrome 3PO? that might be my holy grail. i don't even have the vader one. i also don't even know if it came in a poly.

have you covered the selling aspect yet? not sure if it's of interest to you, but if your idea well dries up, that might be something that's of interest to others. i looooove trying to be the first to spot a new poly and get a few of them up on my bricklink store. helps me pay for my addictio... i mean... collection.

and for what it's worth, when i first spied the top graphic in this article, i thought the P was and F. that's how you get my 39 year old / but really still stuck at age 12 / brain to tune in.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ So did the some of the admins before atkinsar posted it :-)

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By in Sweden,

I have two or three of 1555. I use to build one of them every Christmas. It stands in my living room right now. Don't have the bags anymore though, just the pieces.

In Sweden (available here too!) we have the tradition of festivites in the downtowns at the beginning of the Advent when the Christmas season officially starts. 1555 was given away for FREE to kids by a Santa in a sleigh in downtown Sundsvall. This happened at least two, if not more Advents, in the early 90s.

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for all the great feedback everyone, I'll try and respond to a few points if I may...

@George G. "Although I would have put the 30160 Batman Jetski up there with this year's best" - Yep, I agree, that was a good one too, it was tough to choose just the three, and the Batman Jetski was in my thoughts, certainly in my top 10.

@Graysmith "What a shame that new Creator Santa polybag hasn't been more widely available" - Good news then, I've received a small supply of them and have decided to add two of them as competition prizes. The winner will now get Ganrash and 30182: Santa and the runner up will receive their choice of either Ganrash or Santa :-)

@Margot "Can't believe the Nesquick rabbit is on ebay for $199" - My word, I wouldn't recommend anyone pays that much for it!

@I Win "As for that "holy grail", I don't suppose it's something slightly tank-ish is it?" - You're on the right track, who have you been talking to ;-)

@Irene "So when the Lego Discovery center opens in Westchester, New York, USA - you will need me to garner one of the Opening day polybags?" - Does a bear poop in the woods!? If it's an exclusive polybag, then yes please, that would be great!

@leemcg "This feels like four separate blog-length articles that could have been spread out over a few days. I'd definitely prefer it that way, unless you are ready with part 3 tomorrow!" - I was worried about the length of this edition, and perhaps with hindsight you're correct, I should have split it up and published it over multiple days. I'll bear that in mind for the future. No, sadly part 3 is not ready yet and won't be until mid-January.

@mkoesel "By the way, I've got a couple old McDonalds "Grimace" polybags if anyone wants to trade for something." - PM me and let's talk ;-)

@doodlebird "i love your "holy grail" teaser. no idea on that. chrome 3PO? that might be my holy grail. i don't even have the vader one. i also don't even know if it came in a poly." - not chrome 3PO no, I have one already and yes it does come in a polybag, see @I Win's comment above, they're on the right track.

"have you covered the selling aspect yet? not sure if it's of interest to you, but if your idea well dries up, that might be something that's of interest to others. i looooove trying to be the first to spot a new poly and get a few of them up on my bricklink store. helps me pay for my addictio... i mean... collection." I'll bear it in mind for the future, keep the ideas coming :-)

"and for what it's worth, when i first spied the top graphic in this article, i thought the P was and F. that's how you get my 39 year old / but really still stuck at age 12 / brain to tune in." - You're probably the fifth person to say that now, so I guess it must be so. It wasn't something I noticed when I put the shot together but hey, it could have been worse and spelt something really rude!

Thank you to everyone that has provided interesting information on 1555, it seems a lot of people have vivid memories of this polybag which is great.

I've updated the competition rules at the end of the article so check them out again if you plan on entering, there is no limit on the number of reviews you can write and submit as an entry, just be sure to provide a link to each one you want to be considered. As mentioned earlier, the first prize is now two polybags and there will also be a runner up prize.

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By in United States,

^ To be fair, I had some inside information. And I go by a different name in the forum ;-)

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By in United States,

Wish I had lotsa polybags. They're never around in the US it seems. :(

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ just looked you up in the members list, you weren't allowed to 'guess' ;-)

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By in United States,

chrismajor2124 they're around, just a bit tricky to find. TRU, Target & Walmart all stock polybags all year round, however, whether they make it anywhere near the Lego or Toy sections is another story. Seasonal sections and "impulse buy" racks at the cash registers are the most common spots for them to go if they aren't with the Lego. Lego Stores also infrequently stock them, usually only seasonal ones, or ones that they're giving away with promotions. If you could go on S@H and order one of each in one shot I doubt people would want to collect them =-)

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By in Australia,

I'm desperate to get my hands on Ganrash... I better get to reviewing!

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By in Indonesia,

I only have 5 polybag sets, not very rare ones at that, but it's probably still worth a shot trying to win.

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