Confessions of a Serial Polybag Collector - Part 3
Forgive me Brickset readers for I have sinned, it has been over three months since my last confession. Did I say these articles were going to be monthly, what I meant to say was of course quarterly. Life sure does have a habit of getting in the way sometimes, I have been utterly consumed with family, Brickset commitments, work and my LEGO room project (notice how I actually put the most important thing last). I wish I could say the end was in sight, but it isn’t, so I’d better just stop complaining and get on with it.
Wow, what a crazy few months in the world of polybag collecting! With the ushering in of 2013 we got a sneak peak at some of the 2013 polybags that we could look forward to. This is always an exciting time for polybag collectors, since these are often just descriptions at this stage rather than pictures, we can use our imaginations to conjure up all sorts of great little sets we’ll be keeping them in their bags. It’s also an anxious time, where and when exactly will these polybags be available, how will I get hold of them and most importantly, exactly how much is this going to cost me??
In particular I think the Star Wars polys thus far revealed look excellent, with not a rehash in sight which is always welcome news.
A lot of these polybags have now been released somewhere or other in the world, and it’s been as challenging and fun as ever tracking them down (which is a great part of the appeal for me). This job is made so much easier by you guys sending us in news of sightings, so a big thank you for that and keep it coming.
I have made some great contacts and friends through this hobby, and in particular through my collecting of polybags which really seems to bring the best out of the community in my opinion. I’ve had countless offers of help from all over the world, with people going above and beyond what could reasonably be expected. I’d like to think that I try to repay this kindness and I’m a big believer in what goes around comes around, so if I haven’t repaid your kindness yet, I will I promise! What can I say to you people other than a massive thank you, and know that your help is always appreciated.
So what can you expect this month? As well as the regular features, I’ll be taking a look at what it means to be a completist and what this has to do with the Ninjago theme. I had planned to review 30243: Umbaran MHC but Huw somewhat stole my thunder on that one on that one, so instead I’ll be reviewing two little owned Creator polybags: 30184: Little Helicopter and 30185: Little Eagle. You can still read my review of 30243 though as I've published it on Brickset.
There’s also another competition, and this time around I’m not going to make you work very hard at all to enter, read on to find out how you can enter and what you can win.
So grab a hot drink, if past experience is anything to go by, this may be a long one.
These Things Are Breeding
Well since I last updated you, my collection has grown significantly, so much so, that I’m not sure anyone would be interested in me listing them all, but I’ll do it anyway:
- Star Wars: 20006:Clone Turbo Tank (yes, finally!), 20007:Republic Attack Cruiser, 30059:MTT, 30240:Z-95 Headhunter, 30241:Mandalorian Fighter, 30242:Republic Frigate, 30243:Umbaran MHC.
- Chima: 30250:Ewar’s Acro Fighter, 30251:Winzar’s Pack Patrol, 30252:Crug’s Swamp Jet, 30253:Leonidas’ Jungle Dragster, 30254:Razcal’s Double-Crosser, 30255:Crawley, 6031640:Chima Promotional Pack.
- Friends: 30106:Ice cream Stand, 30107:Birthday Party, 30108:Summer Picnic.
- Creator: 4911:Truck, 30183:Little Car, 30181:Helicopter, 30184:Little Helicopter, 30185:Little Eagle.
- Harry Potter: 4695:Mini Knight Bus.
- Seasonal: 10079:Snowman,10080:Angel, 1807:Santa Claus and Sleigh, 40052:Springtime Scene, 40053:Easter Bunny with Basket, 40033:Turkey.
- Ninjago: 5000441:Ninjago Surprise Bag, 4659612:Spinner Ring.
- Lord of the Rings: 30212:Mirkwood Elf Guard, 30213:Gandalf at Dol Guldur.
- Basic: 2163:Toucan, 2164:Whale, 2165:Rhinoceros, 2166:Elephant, 2167:Penguin, 1606:Red and Yellow Car, 1913:Boat, 2840:Girl, 1778:Boat, 2134:Bison, 1644:Wind Whirler, 2729:Quattro Leg, 2757:Bad Monkey.
- Monthly Mini Model Builds: 40039:Tulip, 40061:Igloo, 40041:Moose, 40042:Cat.
- City: 30221:Fire Car, 30220:Fire Speedboat, 30222:Police Helicopter.
- Other: 5966:White Good Guy, 5000644:Monster Fighters Promotional Pack, 3304:Dutch Footballer, 5994:Catapult, 30231:Space Insectoid, 4659607:Booster Pack, 30066:Circus.
Well that all seems a bit self-indulgent doesn’t it. If you want to check out my polybag collection in full you can do so here.
I think it’s worth mentioning a new polybag that has been unearthed by a contact in Sweden, apparently it will be given away as a freebie with a future edition of Kalle anka (Donald Duck) magazine.
Pretty cooI isn’t it? I wonder how many other tribes will be uncovered in the future, that’s seven now! I'll get it added to the database later today.
This polybag doesn't have it's own set number but it came bundled with 1349: Steven Speilberg Moviemaker Set.
Has this happened before, a polybag bundled inside a set featuring a bag design? I'll be compelled to track this down I fear.
Thanks to Brickset member polarbomber for pointing this one out to me.
This is My Curse
There is something very wrong with me, an affliction, my curse if you will. I am a completist. This overwhelming voice inside my head is a cruel and devious fellow, befuddling my mind and clouding my judgement, forcing me against my will to buy sets that I don’t even like (World Racers I’m looking at you!) just to keep it quiet for a few blessed hours.
Those of you who are free from this affliction, I envy you, how nice it must be to pick and choose only the very best sets that you love to welcome in to your collection. You probably can’t imagine spending hundreds of your hard-earned cash on sets that hold no appeal for you. To those fellow sufferers, you have my sympathies, and just know that you are not alone.
I’m sure many people have conducted studies on the mind-set of the collector, it’s not something I intend to explore in this article but if you ask me, being a completist is probably something that goes hand-in-hand with collecting and it’s also probably closely tied to obsessive compulsive disorder, the main traits of which are a continual cycle of Obsession, Anxiety, Compulsion, Temporary relief.
I am able to reason with my inner voice to a certain extent, for example I’m able to persuade it that it is entirely unreasonable to expect me to be have the time and money to own every LEGO set ever made, “OK” it says, “so how about polybag set ever released? There’s less than a thousand of those”. Well that sure is a lot, but I suppose that’s achievable…and wham, it’s got you hooked, and so it begins.
So what does this have to with Ninjago? Well Ninjago is a theme that I had very little interest in to begin with, the first wave was decidedly uninspiring for me, save perhaps the dragons themselves which were pretty cool and whilst the second wave was much improved it was still a theme I could have easily skipped. The mistake I made was in watching the cartoon, or rather letting my son watch it, and before I know it, I’ve bought a set.
Big mistake, ever the opportunist, the voice seizes upon my moment of weakness, “so, you’re gonna buy them all now right? I try to reason with it, there are far too many Ninjago sets being released, and I only actually ike a handful of them. “Well, what about the just the polybags then, only thirteen of them, surely any collector worth his salt could get hold of a measly fourteen sets?”. Well yes, that seems doable, but how many are actually worth picking up, let’s take a quick run through:
- 20020: BrickMaster Ninjago - This one ticks a couple of boxes, it’s both a decent mini representation of the Turbo Shredder model and it’s a dreaded BrickMaster exclusive which makes it that much rarer. For the latter reason alone this makes it a must for the discerning polybag collector. Luckily it can be picked up relatively cheaper (for a BrickMaster poly anyway) from Bricklink.
- 30080: Ninja Gilder - One of the easier to get hold of polys thanks to it’s inclusion The Sun newspaper promo back in October 2011. Quite a nice little set too, but don’t pay any more than £3 for it.
- 30081: Skeleton Chopper - Common as muck this one, you’d be hard pushed not to own one since it was available as a freebie both sides of the Atlantic. A bit pants to be honest.
- 30082: Ninja Training- Yet another Sun promo poly, again from October2011. Really not difficult to get hold of but definitely worth picking up.
- 30083: Dragon Fight - A really nice little set this one, by far the best of those including a Ninja minifig. The baby dragon is ridiculously cute and contains some interesting pieces to boot. Would definitely have picked this one up voice or no voice.
- 30084: Jay - This poly should come with a warning: “Hardcore polybag collectors only”. A non-unique minifig is the only content in this quite frankly ridiculously overpriced polybag (currently going for £18-£20 on Bircklink). It’s also a bit mysterious because apparently it was released in the UK but I don’t really know where, I’m suspecting some TRU giveaway, do you know for sure? Avoid like the plague unless you’re a fellow sufferer like me.
- 30085: Jumping Snakes - Having been widely available in the UK and the US, as well as making an appearance in Holland, you didn’t have to work very hard to get hold of this one. Given that the minifig only appears in one other set, it is worth picking up but don’t pay over the odds for it.
- 30086: Hidden Sword and 30087: Car - Two more that have been widely available in Europe and the US. Both curiously claim to contain unique minifigs, which I find hard to believe but that’s what Brickset and Bricklink say. That alone makes them worth picking up, and they should be cheap too due to the numbers in circulation.
- 30088: Rattla - Now this is more like it, at least in terms of exclusivity anyway. Like Jay, this is just a single minifig (and not an exclusive one at that) but he is the second least owned Ninjago polybag yet doesn’t command too high a price. However, I think he’s great, and I’m not just saying that because I’m giving some away either ;-)
- 2856134: Ninjago Card Shrine - Hmm, even I’m not convinced this one is actually a polybag, it’s more a foil pack but since I’m undecided, it stays in for now. Available from S@H for the bargain price of £3.99 (for 98 pieces), it’s a lovely little set that is well worth picking up. It’s high piece count makes its aftermarket price of between £6 and £8 still seem fairly reasonable, I’m sure LEGO mispriced this one.
- 4636204: Ninjago promotional item - This is the only Ninjago polybag that I only one of (everyone gets two of each right, one to build one to keep, or in my case, one to think about building and one to keep). This imaginatively titled rarity was only available at a LEGO build event at TRUs throughout the UK and therefore was not widely picked up. Still, it won’t break the bank to get hold of one, £7-8 although numbers are limited so hurry, which reminds me, I really should pick up my second.
- 4659612: Spinner Ring - One of those controversial Friend’s Bracelets is it/isn’t a poly. Well it isn’t in a traditional polybag but I still count it, which makes sense in some universe I’m sure. Frankly, it’s rubbish, one for the voice I think.
There you have it, with the Ninjago theme in it’s twilight, with little hope of new sets being released and even littler hope of new polybags when TLG have moved on to promoting other themes, this is actually not a bad set of polybags to be a completist on as it goes. Whilst there’s more than a few bad eggs in the bunch, the fact is, at least it won’t cost you very much to get them all, I reckon you could bag the lot for between £50 and £75 depending on your bargaining skills.
Review of 30184: Little Helicopter
It seems to be something of a trend in 2013 for TLG to release mini versions of their sets in polybag form. 30184: Little Helicopter is the baby brother of 31003: Red Rotors, which isn’t exactly large in size itself.
It contains 56 parts and 3 spares, most of which are bright red, nothing remotely rare to see here as all of the parts distinctly standard fare.
The build is actually pretty nice and enjoyable, not too many studs on show and the design of the rotors on slightly different levels so they don’t clash is a nice touch.
This cute set bears a remarkable similarity to 31003 which is to the designer’s credit. It’s a solid little helicopter that is quite swooshable and I can see it appealing to small children who don’t overly concern themselves with the concept of scale.
Definitely worth picking up if you can find it, and may even be worth tracking down and paying a little extra for, Creator polybags have a habit of not being widely released.
Review of 30185: Little Eagle
Next up is another set that has also been released in both large and mini scale in 2013, the Little Eagle, a smaller version of 31004: Fierce Flyer.
In fact, it’s the third eagle to be released this year if you count 70003: Eris’ Eagle Interceptor, and with the possibility of more Eagles being released in Hobbit sets later this year (speculation - they will surely appear in the second movie released in December and although TLG haven’t announced any further Hobbit sets, surely there will be some), somewhere in the world it must be year of the eagle.
This set also contains 48 parts and 4 spares. Reddish browns and whites are the order of the day here, all common pieces in common colours (with the possible exception being the reddish brown bracelets). You should be able to build this set relatively easily from your parts collection, which is good given that this set has not been officially released or seen in the wild yet.
This is a really neat little model that looks like an eagle and has multiple points of articulation so you can pose it nicely. The head can be moved up and down, the wings can be ‘flapped’ as well as being realistically jointed to switch between flight and glide modes. The tail feathers are a really nice touch and can also be moved for lift. As can be seen from the pictures, the eagle can also stand on its feet and is really well balanced.
I love this little set, it’s a bit different from most of the polys we’ve had in recent years and that alone makes it stand out.
At time of writing, this polybag is pretty hard to track down and isn’t even listed on Bricklink yet. If I was a betting man, I would say this polybag will not see a wide release and it may therefore be worth spending a bit of extra time and money tracking this one down. I could be wrong though, it’s always a guessing game with these polybags isn’t it?
Both of these Creator polybags were supplied to me by a Hungarian friend who shall remain anonymous, but my thanks and appreciation goes out to them. They were spotted for sale on an obscure Hungarian website, and so far that’s the only place they’ve been on sale that I know of.
Brickset regular and all round good guy Supersympa has generously donated seven sets of 30088: Rattla and I’ll be giving them away. In addition I’ve had a dig around in my spares box and come up with the following prizes:
Runners up Prize: six readers will each receive a copy of 30088: Rattla.
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this article, that’s it, nothing else is required. Only one entry per person and the winner and runners up will be drawn at random on 20thst April.
That’s it, you may well come away from this article thinking I’m a little crazy, you’d probably be right, but I’m willing to bet that you’re just a little crazy too ;-). Hopefully it won’t take me another three months to write part four, but I won’t make any promises I can’t keep, so until the next time, keep collecting those polybags.
Update: In case anyone still hasn't realised, the Rabbiz polybag was of course an April Fool's joke :-)