Sunday, June 22, 2008

Groovy Toy Tale #2

When my friend Kyle came back from Christmas, he had a big cardboard box filled with Legos for me. Some friend of his up in Sacramento had them lying around and was only too glad to hand them over to someone whose obsession was still fresh. It was quite a haul.

In the picture above is the hoard divided up into basic categories, with my Starspeeder 3000 toy nearby for scale. From upper to left to lower right, the big bins contain bricks, plates, stuff I put in my small boxes, and stuff I put in my large boxes. The smaller bins have broken pieces, round pieces, sloped pieces, and decorated pieces. There were also a large amount of non-Lego toys to weed out, including a bunch of that horrid Lego clone Mega Bloks. Yuck.

But so what! The bounty was supreme. I'd guestimate it would take me about two years at my regular acquisition rate to gather that many bricks. All of them predated the Great Color Change of 2003, so I got a lot of old style grey, dark grey and brown pieces. Above are some of the minifigs that I was particulary excited about. (By the time I took these pix I'd already mixed in some modern pieces; that black ninja in the middle is sporting a new Undead skeleton head, and Spaceman Ron Weasley there is wearing the helmet from that SpongeBob in Space set.)

Here are the rest of the minifigs I got; altogether I probably gained about 60 or 70 new citizens. It took me several months to finally assimilate all the new stuff, much of that time "getting around to it" time. Still, doing the actual work was time consuming, and it didn't happen until the unexpected month off I got right before Zack was born. It was sort of like "hyper nesting."

And here are all the new decorated tiles I got, including a tasty number of that round, red-lined vent tile I love so much. So good!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Groovy Toy Tale #1

This story has been due for quite some time. A year or two ago I became interested in the set pictured above, or more accurately the big blimp part. This Adventurers set was released in 1999 and a model builder I knew purchased it so he could use the blimp parts as the basis for a rocket prop, which I think was used in a painkiller commercial. He gave me the rest of the pieces, but I always kind of wanted that darn blimp.

The gimmick of the blimp was that you could take apart the set and store all the pieces inside. Since I started nosing around there's always been at least one seller on Bricklink with the complete blimp for sale, but the minimum price I ever saw it for was 25 bucks (right now there are two for sale, for 35 and 40). The unopened set is usually available, but prices on that start at 50 smackers. Needless to say this is too high.

For more than a year there was this one guy who had the front section you see above without the back section. Naturally it was priced much cheaper -- I think under 3 dollars. So for quite some time one of my regular Bricklink haunts was to check for the corresponding piece...

which I call the Blimp Ass. Finally, some dude put one up for sale at a dreamy $1.35, and I went to both sellers' shops and snapped them up. But then... the Letdown. The first guy, the one who'd had that Blimp Nose posted in his shop forever, contacted me and told me he couldn't find it and had probably discarded it. Rat farts!

He was cool about it and I cancelled the order and we gave each other nice feedback and everything, but there I was stuck with a lonesome Blimp Ass. This would've been around mid-September 2007, because that's right when Julie found out she was pregnant. I remember this detail because I mentioned my acquisition of a Blimp Ass and she predicted that that would be her ass in the months to come. I have to give her props because that never really came true.

The "groovy" part of this story is that while nosing around on Ebay only a few weeks later, I found a dude selling an incomplete version of that set. "Unfortunately," he stated "one of the missing pieces is the back section of the blimp." Not unfortunate for me! I slapped down my bid and a few days later watched the clock go down with my counterbid ready to go, but in the end bought it uncontested for a measley $1.50.

Now I have this wonderful blimp, which is pretty impressively big (note the SpongeBob minifig placed for scale). Not having the front piece for that time, I had no idea how much big fun I was getting.

Since it's a container, it's made of different plastic than most Lego pieces, but this bottom part has contours that form a fine interface. Someday I'll make a cool steampunk contraption to sling beneath it.

And I've considered painting it black or creating some custom stickers on it to make it eeevil. I generally find painting Lego stuff to be too much of a bitch, and putting stickers across the ribbed texture of the blimp is kind of iffy (the piece did come with a few stickers on it, which I removed). But imagine long black stickers placed in between those ribs, tapering to a point as they get to the front. Could look awesome.