Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So You Need Some Specific Bricks

So let's say you were going through an old Lego set and found out you had a few pieces missing or broken. Or maybe you're working on your own Lego work of art and your current brick inventory just isn't going to meet your artistic needs. What do you do? The first situation happened to me. I wanted to complete a couple of the old sets so my kids could build and play with them like I used to, but a few crucial pieces were missing. After a little research, here's my favorite three online methods for finding those bricks you need.
  • eBay - There are always tons of Legos on eBay. These lots can be anything from individual minifigs, out of print sets in mint condition, bulk lots of assorted Legos, small lots of specific brick pieces, old used sets with instructions, and occasionally some really rare pieces. I would not recommend eBay if you're only looking for one or two very specific pieces to complete a set. You may find those pieces, but it will take some digging and patience. eBay is more beneficial for finding those old sets or just increasing your brick inventory for cheap.
  • LEGO's Pick-a-Brick - Buying directly from the source is a good idea most of the time. When you get bricks from Lego, they will be pristine and they have a pretty good selection. However, they tend to only stock certain colors of their bricks, and older types of Lego pieces won't be available in their store. Also, you can generally get the same bricks for less cost if you don't mind going used. If you're missing a few pieces that are pretty common, and don't want the hassle of dealing with a third party website, Pick-a-Brick is a very nice resource. I bought a few missing pieces this way and was very pleased with how well that all worked out.
  • Bricklink - This is my favorite website for buying Lego pieces. Bricklink is essentially a single website that bundles a bunch of individual little Lego piece stores into one place (similar to eBay or Amazon Marketplace). There are hundreds of users selling thousands of bricks, old and new. This is the best place to go to find those rare or no longer produced Lego bricks for your old sets. I did most of my missing piece replacements via Bricklink. The only drawback is that if you need a bunch of old pieces, you may end up buying from several different sellers since no one store is likely to have ALL the old pieces you need. I ended up buying from 3 separate sellers. So this means you may end up paying more in shipping and increasing the likelyhood of an error either by one of the sellers or just having several packages in the mail at once, which can be a headache. Fortunately, I managed to find all of my pieces in stores that had reasonable shipping prices and all my parts arrived as expected. Bricklink also uses a feedback system very similar to eBay, so be sure to leave feedback for sellers once you receive your items.
My biggest tip for any of these methods is pay attention to your shipping costs, especially on eBay and Bricklink. You may think you scored a great deal, but excessive shipping and handling can cut into your money quickly. Other than that, enjoy shopping!

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