As a collector, I'm a bit of a sucker for signing events and with London only an hour away by train I thought I'd pop in to Leicester Square today to see how this latest one played out.
70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg! was released yesterday and a whirlwind tour of 3 Brand Stores, Paris, London and Orlando, has given LEGO fans a chance to meet Designer Justin Ramsden and Graphic Designer Paul Constantin Turcanu, shake their hands and have their sets signed.
Given how busy other events have been I decided to get there for 10am opening and do a bit of shopping while I sized up the queue. It was a really cold start to the day and I didn't fancy waiting outside – but I needn't have worried. Click through to find out why.
I didn't actually intend buying the set today as I had other places to go and I knew it would mean lugging it around all day with me. I fully expected to grab a few snaps for Brickset, get into the vibe, and have a couple of much smaller items that I'd brought from home signed by Justin. However for a few reasons, that wouldn't happen and I ended up buying it anyway. One of the reasons was that there was hardly anyone in the shop and nobody waiting for the signing at all.
Queuing inside the shop was also possible which was a big bonus given the cold morning outside. All I had to do was pay for the set and wait in line with my receipt – then a new box would be put on the table for signing when my turn came. This meant that you couldn't pick your own box from the (albeit) small pile, but a polite word with the manager left me reassured my copy would be a good one.
I had a quick nose around and decided to wait in line. At 10:40 there were only 6 people waiting so I sensed this wasn't going to be the madness that has accompanied some previous events. In fact it was all rather civil – pleasant in fact. I wish they were all like this! When 12:00 came, there was no queue outside and only about 20 people inside. I was all done, dusted and back home in Kent by 1:30.
I'd read a few disappointed posts on Facebook that children would be at school and therefore couldn't attend the signing, but I wonder how many kids would actually know who Justin and Paul are anyway?
Staging on a Saturday is usually an invitation for chaos no matter what, and as the set hit the shelves yesterday the signing tour dates make sense. To gauge against the two previous signings probably wouldn't be fair either as Tron/Brick Bros and James Bond both have pretty big followings. Those sets were a lot cheaper (and easier to carry) too, but it was still a little surprising that today was going to be an easy outing for me. At 12 on the dot the signings commenced.
Justin is well known for his fabulous shirts and today was no exception sporting a colourful Skull Island design. Justin and Paul were both really enthusiastic and I sensed very enjoyable for them to be doing the tour, full of smiles, chat and posing for the camera.
Just before I was about to leave, I took my box out of its bag to check it over and noticed a scuff mark on one side. I felt really bad about approaching the manager, but I pointed it out and asked if I could wait until the end and get a different one. Full marks for instant customer service – he found me another from the stock room, let me look it over, and then he slipped in and had it signed for me – brilliant. Only problem is my signing picture now doesn't match my box – does that indicate I have a problem? Very probably....
I can't say how the queues faired into the afternoon as I was long gone, but with lunch hour being around 12-2 for most I suspect there was a flow of people in an out. If you were there later in the afternoon I'd love to know in the comments how busy it was.
I'm glad I went. No silly queues, people were in the warm, there was plenty of room to move – but yet again I have bought something home which I now cannot open. Damn and blast.