BrickLink AFOL Designer Program: Place your orders now

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BrickLink's AFOL Designer Program has entered its next phase: you can now find out how much the 16 models are going to cost and place pre-orders for them.

As I write, 5 of the 16 have already exceeded their funding targets so will be produced. I'm glad to see that Brickset member KovJonas's The LEGO Story, that I rather fancy, is among them.

To be honest I thought the prices would be much higher. The LEGO Story, for example, comprises 1442 pieces and is priced at just $99.

Find out more and place your orders here. You have until 15th April to do so.

49 comments on this article

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By in United States,

1442 pieces for just $99??? Just for the piece count alone is enough to buy this, let alone the intriguing build.

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By in United States,

I disagree about the pricing. It seems way overpriced for non-licensed product. And there don't seem to be any minifigures, which is a non-starter for me.

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By in United States,

I really like the saloon.

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By in Sweden,

If these ship from the US you have to add import taxes to the prices as well if buying from Europe witch makes them to expensive for my taste.

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By in United States,

@quark12000 there are clearly minifigures in the picture above. They don’t seem to be anything special, but add to the overall appeal.

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By in New Zealand,

What happens if you fund a project and it doesn’t reach its funding target? My kids are keen on couple of the less popular projects but want to know how (or if) they would be refunded their money (me too, for that matter) if it is unsuccessful. Does any one have the answer? Couldn’t find any info pertaining to this on the BL website.

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By in Serbia,

I'm so happy to see that 5 ideas already reached their goal! And also thank you for sharing The LEGO Story! :)

I see that many people don't really understand the shipping (and possible import TAX) thing. I found this on the Q&A page:

"Will these sets be available from BrickLink stores in my area? - Sets will only be sold from one BrickLink store and that is Studio Shop, a store owned and operated by BrickLink itself in Southern California. We may elect to distribute certain quantities of product to key places around the globe to help save on shipping costs for buyers, but all orders will originate in Studio Shop.

I live in Europe but the sets are only being sold in the United States. Will these sets be reasonably priced after I pay shipping and customs duties? - More information about distribution will follow when AFOL Designer sets are made available through the crowdfunding process."

And one other finalist told me that the Bricklink team is working on a new Q &A page where we'll be able to read more info on it. I ordered sets to Serbia, so.. we'll see. But to clarify, if you pre-order, you receive free shipping!

@marinadominic12: they'll only charge you if the design which you pre-ordered reaches its funding goal. :)

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By in Canada,

This is crowdfunding done right.

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By in United Kingdom,

Does anyone know what the one exclusive piece that comes with each set is?

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By in Serbia,

@d.m.t.arnold: An exclusive element was produced for the AFOL Designer Program, and 1 of these elements will be included in each set. The nature of the element is for now a secret. (Russell from the Bricklink team wrote this)

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By in Italy,

I have the same doubts. Why not explaining immediately if i might pay 40% more in duties

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Because it's largely outside their control and varies for every country. Assume that you will and you'll be pleasantly surprised if it slips past customs unnoticed...

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By in United Kingdom,

The tax thing doesn’t appear very clear at all @KovJonas. I was about to place an order for your The Lego Story thinking I would escape import duties with it being mailed to me within the Eu ie. Serbia, as suggested by the flag by your name. You have to delve very deeply into the small print to discover the sets are indeed being shipped from the States and of course then subject to import taxes with me being in the UK. This potentially adds a further 50% onto the price of the set after taxes and fees have been paid. I’m sorry, but no. :(

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By in United States,

I'm amazed at how reasonably well priced these sets will be, save for specific import duties/taxes for individual countries. I'm now considering putting off my purchase of Corner Garage in favor of either Wild West Saloon or Lowenstein Castle (I haven't had a good castle set since my Dark Ages!).

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By in United States,

@marinadominic12 your CC will be pre-authorized for $1.00 and then it will fall off. If the set doesn't achieve the amount of pre-orders needed, it will not be made and you will not be charged.

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By in Czech Republic,

@huw I can not imagine how sets approx over 22 GBP / 22 USD could "slip unnoticed" into EU given the proper paperwork.. either the sender is unclear about the original purchase price (thus gettting into below the EU import customs declaration level) and attaching no invoice.. or he/she is willingly falsifying the paperwork to get below that treshold..

saying that I got to add that I hate the over regulated EU laws.. these ppl in EU parliament have no idea how they should work and therefore EU (incl. UK that is luckily getting away of all of that) just deliberately shots itself in the foot.. being more eco, more gas and energy friendly while we are just a laughing stock to US and China etc.. reminds me of Titanic going down with a band playing aboard..

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By in United States,

Just pre-ordered the Antique Fire Engine. This will be going on my desk at work and the envy of the fire station. : )

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By in United States,

Just ordered my history of LEGO set!

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By in Australia,

Does anyone know if this will be an annual project or just a one off? It seems a great way for fans of classic themes that don’t get a lot of love with official sets to get a little of what they want (Western, Castle, pseudo-Monorail this wave, perhaps even L-Gauge Trains in the future?).

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By in Netherlands,

Will these sets contain boxes and paper instructions?

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By in Serbia,

@legoboyUK: yeah, I can understand you. Anyway, let's hope we'll get a proper Q&A page explaining all those things.

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By in Serbia,

Some of the sets are worth it at their current price level. They wouldn't be worth it with 31% Serbian customs and VAT tacked on, so I am most likely going to pass on everything. A pity, since if they had EU origin I could ship them to any number of EU countries I regularly travel to and not have to think about importing.

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By in United States,

Nice, but very expensive.

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By in United Kingdom,

It does say right at the top of each project “free shipping on pre-orders” so Brinklink would have to absorb any shipping costs themselves. Still don’t think there’s anything I like enough to buy so I’ll stick with Ideas.

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By in France,

i think it is a great idea. The only one that really appeals is the saloon, but for roughly the same money I'm gonna get the latest modular garage....

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By in United Kingdom,

Just preordered: Lowerstein Castle, Wild West Saloon and The Lego Story. April is going to be very expensive! And I'm still thinking about Skyline Express. I hadn't spotted that they were all being shipped from the US. However, even with tax, the prices won't be totally excessive. Is there any way of seeing a list of parts associated with each set?

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By in United States,

Could these be added to the database? I want to know how they are built.

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By in United States,

Don't fault Bricklink because the country you live in has massive taxes. This is a small business located in the United States. Don't expect them to have worldwide "free" distribution on day one. Or perhaps one of you can open up an EU distribution center (it must be easy, right?) and partner with them. Be a part of the solution instead of a whiner.

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By in United States,

I'm a bit conflicted on this. On one hand, the models are awesome and the AFOL designers are brilliant. However, I don't want it to take revenues away from TLG. I also don't want it to create massive price spikes on specific pieces that could make certain official sets impossible to complete.

Companies started making third-party Transformers figures in the 2010s that were better than the official Hasbro offerings and the quality of the overall line kind of suffered as a result.

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By in Denmark,

^^"We’re working with one of the best packaging companies in Los Angeles to produce beautiful and unique boxes to hold all these goodies!"

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By in Germany,

Contrary to Huw, I'm flabbergasted by how expensive these sets are. Add international shipping and custom duties, and it's the easiest pass in a long while.
Shame really, because I really liked the Saloon, Bikes!, Eight Studs, and Science Tower. Until I saw their respective prices, that is ...

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By in United States,

@coppertablet - the people that would buy these sets are already pouring money into TLG. I doubt it impacts them one bit. As for 3P TF’s, I think many figures surpass regular retail TF’s, but how they compare to MP is a debatable. There is also the big price difference to account for similar to my comment about Lego. The buyers of 3P are probably not the main determinant of Hasbro retail profits. Now, MP may be a different story, but still.

As for these sets, I’ll probably get 1-2. I’m surprised they required so few to hit their production target.

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By in Serbia,

3P transforming figures are not even on Hasbro's monitor. They sell in volumes of a couple of thousand, maybe 15k for the most successful ones across multiple runs. Hasbro's volume is in the millions.

Takara may be affected but even Takara's exclusives (sold through TTMall) are produced in 2000 copies just for Japan, plus the additional runs done by Hasbro Asia.

3P MPs in general are better than they used to be and may even exceed Takara in some aspects, but their engineering is laughable and they have just as many QC issues as official product (see Fans Toys paint flaking on several figures). Ironically, the one thing 3P MPs do have over official ones now is the price - they are considerably cheaper.

@lippidp - if I were in the EU, I would certainly contact the "small business" of Bricklink (which makes piles of cash off the commission fees) and ask them about distribution options. MOST crowdfunding projects (KS) try to have better distribution options for each continent because the number of lost backers from countries which would be hit with import fees is significant. But, if BL can get their very modest goals fulfilled by US backers and those from other countries that don't have a problem paying import fees, more power to them. None of the models are "must have" for me, and they are on the verge of being too expensive as is.

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By in Canada,

Especially with the exchange I think these get quite pricey for me at least. I really wanted a few of them and may still get a set but certainly not as excited about this as I was until I saw the prices.

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By in United States,

Given the direct collaboration with LEGO, will these get official set numbers?

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By in United States,

Pre-ordered the Science Tower. Looks excellent. Love all the rooms and features.
Wonder if there is a video showing the various functions.
Can't wait to build it. Great job.

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By in United States,

The Lego Story modern plastic machine looks like the minifig factory promotional

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By in Netherlands,

The sets are very nice. And funny part, only 4 sets (of the 16) are from the USA. Most buyers (I think) are in the EU. Why don't setup a distribution centre in the EU? But BL don't have to do this because ever set will be sold anyway within the time limit of the pre-order.

I see not one comment about the money the designers get from there set? I know TLG Idea sets is 1% of the sale for the designer. I think BL don't lose any money about this.... ;-) I also don't know if the designer has the right to share the instructions of his/here set? Or that BL is the owner of the sets?

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By in Serbia,

@crazytaxi: the designers will get 10% this Time! ;) And I believe we can't share instructions. :)

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By in Germany,

I preordered "The LEGO Story" as this actually seems like awesome value to me.

100 USD means about 87 Euro. I then have to add 19% VAT (but no extra customs duty, as this only applies to merchandise over 150 Euro in value including shipping).

All in, I will get a beautifully designed and very special set (of which only a few hundred will ever exist worldwide) delivered for free to my doorstep from the US for around 104 Euro or just a little over seven cents per piece. What's not to like?

@Brick Dangerous: you do realize shipping is free?
See my calculations above for Germany. At least The LEGO Story is a more than fair proposition.

And @KovJonas: you deserve every cent you get from this set. Imho it is totally awesome! (something that can't be said for most official sets any longer sadly).

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By in Denmark,

Many people focus on price and consider the sets to be "expensive" at the actual US price.

Considering that the 100% target for most sets is around 100 copies and each set comes with a "beautiful and unique box" I think supporters will get something VERY exclusive for a VERY modest mark-up compared to official sets which are manufactured in huge numbers - hundreds of thousands when not millions.

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By in Italy,

I'm really interested in, but I'm not sure which set should I pick - every one seems really cool. Especially "Skyline Express" and "Eight Studs"

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By in Denmark,

"100 USD means about 87 Euro. I then have to add 19% VAT (but no extra customs duty, as this only applies to merchandise over 150 Euro in value including shipping)."

On top of the VAT payment I assume that in most European countries a handling fee will have to be paid as well.

For example, in Denmark the handling fee is 20 Euro irrespective of the actual VAT+customs amount paid, e.g. 15 Euro VAT becomes 35 Euro to be paid.

I assume BL will follow the rules and declare the actual value on the parcel customs declaration. I would consider the chances of this to be "overlooked" when entering a European country to be rather small.

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By in Germany,

@iriz: what do you mean by "handling fee"? Who collects this fee? Customs? Postal delivery service?
Over here there is no such thing that I know of. And I have had quite a few orders from overseas over the years, and never did I have to pay a "handling fee" on top of the VAT or customs duty.

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By in Serbia,

@AustinPowers: thank you so much, and also thank you for the price calculation!

And @iriz is also right, these will be some very special sets, so I'll order some of them too!

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By in Denmark,

^"@iriz: what do you mean by "handling fee"? Who collects this fee? Customs? Postal delivery service?"

This 20 Euro fee is collected by the Danish postal service in combination with VAT and customs. You will pay the total amount before you can receive the parcel, the VAT and customs amount are then sent to the tax authorities and the handling fee is kept by the postal service. This is not assumed but a fact - at least in Denmark. And in Sweden I think.

If the German postal service works for free, well, nice for you!

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By in Sweden,

Sadly I can confirm that this handling fee is charged in Sweden too, also about 20 euros.

Still very tempted to order a few of these sets though. Love the science tower and saloon (too bad there's no minifigs though, I don't really own any cowboy minifigs). The castle is great too. It's unfortunate that my taste favors the expensive sets.

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By in United States,

I really like the “Hot Shot”, what an awesome addition to any amusement park/arcade. I think i’ll get that one.

I thought “Bikes” was really cool too, good addition to a city.

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