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Is this the most hellish set to restore?


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#1 voltio

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 02:39 AM

I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to order parts for/clean/resurrect a very rare, very damaged 6399 Airport Shuttle, the rarest and most expensive monorail.  This 1991 set has given me all sorts of problems...the straight monorail track it is missing costs $10 a piece, about 40 percent of the set is gone or too badly damaged to use, and it lacks minifigures.  On the other hand, I know how amazing it will look when it's finally back in working condition.  

Here's what it will look like, $100 and several hours from now:
Posted Image

Here's how it looks now (it looks far worse in person, because you can't see how beat it is):
Posted Image

I've tackled tough projects before, but this really is the toughest.  So, is this an evil project, or am I just a wimp?   :wacko:

#2 mammymarf

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 03:12 AM

looks good so far but don't give up you've got a goal seems like a cool set Do you have the tracks  and the station or just the shuttle? good luck! :sweet:
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#3 Joebot

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 04:08 AM

That is a very noble, worthwhile goal. The Airport Monorail is easily my favorite Lego set ever. I traded for mine back in ye olden days of the rec.toys.lego newsgroup. I think I gave up a Guarded Inn, a Forestman's River Crossing, and a King's Mountain Fortress to get it. No regrets on that trade!

#4 voltio

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 04:45 AM

Thanks for the encouragement, I love the 6399 design and intend to finish this...eventually.  
Yes, I have many of the tracks for the model.
Posted Image
Unfortunately, I still need three more straight long rails.  

I spent some time with the set tonight and threw away some of the more criminally chewed and yellowed pieces (they were common plates, thankfully!).  Unfortunately, I also discovered that a 16x16 and 16x32 light gray baseplate are missing.  I will definitely need to sell some of my inferior sets to keep this project rolling.

I will buy some pricey pieces like this
Posted Image
soon, so watch for in-progress restoration pics!

#5 iamded

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 05:26 AM

Ooh, sounds interesting! At least you have somewhere to start, eh? I believe dragonator has this set, maybe I should convince him to restore his. :wink:
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#6 snefroe

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 09:49 AM

i'm surprised it's that much of a problem, honestly. Sure, the tracks and the engine may be a problem, but all the rest looks like normal stuff to me...

in any case good luck with it!

#7 Karto

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 09:58 AM

I think it will be quite expensive to buy every single missing part individually. Maybe you can try to find an incomplete 6399 set on ebay. I have seen them several times on eBay.de as I was looking for rails and extra shuttles for mine.

As a teen town fan it was also my favorite set. Although I never got it, it was one of the first sets I bought as an adult.

#8 lelee

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 04:05 PM

I got mine a couple of years ago on ebay for £90! bargin, all complete, The only issue is that the stickers have seen better days, only the ones on the side of the shuttle and the two steet maps. I'd love to replace them and then it would be perfect. Getting stickers for this is gonna be hard.

Keep on going with it tho, it will look amazing when finally done, i love mine!

#9 Wily Manc

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 04:16 PM

That is an amazing looking set. But why do they have to climb those steps to get the monorail? Why can't they just get it on the ground floor?

Seriously speaking, good luck completing that - you'll be the envy of many a collector when it's done. I've collected some of the rarer Star Wars sets piece by piece and it's a long and expensive process, but it feels damn good when it's done!

Good luck :thumbup:

#10 TheBrickster

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 04:27 PM

What a great set though.  I'm sure it's well worth restoring.

#11 Cardinal Brick

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 08:13 PM

Just keep reminding yourself how good it will look once it’s finished.
Posted Image    Posted Image

#12 voltio

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 12:59 AM

Thanks for all the encouragement!  :thumbup:  From what you told me, I realized that I selected a difficult but doable project and decided to continue full speed ahead.  Today, I cleaned more of the bricks and did an inventory of what could and could not be used.  Then, I ordered almost all the missing parts on BL for about $50 (!) from several sellers.

I'm still looking for cheap straight monorail rails (maybe some will appear on eBay?), but I've managed to find everything else.  
I also realized that several stickers are missing.  Since original stickers for this set are basically unobtainable, I was thinking of printing my own on decal paper using these scans from The Brickfactory.  I know the decals used in minifig customization often need to be printed on a thin medium at very high resolution, but has anyone used The Brickfactory scans to reproduce original Lego stickers?

#13 Scouty

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 02:55 AM

It's a great set, so you're doing an awesome thing here!

I remember When I got mine. I was able to get it pretty cheap, but used. Greatest. Set. Ever.
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#14 Sir Dano

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 03:06 AM

View PostImperialScouts, on Jun 7 2008, 10:55 PM, said:

It's a great set, so you're doing an awesome thing here!

I remember When I got mine. I was able to get it pretty cheap, but used. Greatest. Set. Ever.
Greatest set so far. :look: :wink: :tongue:

#15 takuto20

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 04:53 PM

When I was a child I wanted this set so badly, it is the best City set ever indeed.

I recall somebody saying in these forums we should not ask TLC "again" about reissuing the monorail implying this had been asked a zillion times, but after I few searches I gave up, I can't find neither the question nor the answer why it is impossible for them to do it. Can anybody direct me to the information?

#16 Freddie

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 05:24 PM

I recall that somebody said the molds for the monorail-spesific parts had been destroyed. That's destroyed as in "mixed-with-the-foundation-of-a-major-building"-destroyed. No way to extract those out without ruining the molds. Haven't got any source for it, though. Sorry.

Voltio: The more hellish a set is to restore, the more proud you can be when it finally is restored. And then you'll treasure it above other sets as well. I say keep it up. :thumbup:

#17 Joebot

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 05:59 PM

View PostFreddie, on Jun 9 2008, 11:24 AM, said:

I recall that somebody said the molds for the monorail-spesific parts had been destroyed. That's destroyed as in "mixed-with-the-foundation-of-a-major-building"-destroyed. No way to extract those out without ruining the molds. Haven't got any source for it, though. Sorry.

I remember hearing that too. Another reason I heard was that the motors were manufactured by a third-party vendor that has since then gone out of business. I have no idea if either reason is accurate or not, but they seem plausible.

It's a shame. The monorail system could have been expanded into all sorts of cool sets, but they only ever made three (two space, one city).

#18 Fluyt

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 06:37 PM

Respect for this undertaking, so you're allmost complete now? (except some straight tracks)
That was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I guess BL really does make it easy (even thought it might not always be the cheapest solution).
I really wish they'd remake the molds to manufacture monorails again if it's possible or otherwise create a new monorail. I mean they do have the funds to create bionicle  :sick: (and tons of molds to go with that), so why not spend it on something that is actually good, like monorails?

Edited by Fluyt, 09 June 2008 - 06:38 PM.


#19 snefroe

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 07:45 AM

View PostFluyt, on Jun 9 2008, 07:37 PM, said:

Respect for this undertaking, so you're allmost complete now? (except some straight tracks)
That was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I guess BL really does make it easy (even thought it might not always be the cheapest solution).
I really wish they'd remake the molds to manufacture monorails again if it's possible or otherwise create a new monorail. I mean they do have the funds to create bionicle  :sick: (and tons of molds to go with that), so why not spend it on something that is actually good, like monorails?
do you know how much a set like that would cost today? a set this size with these type of bricks and monorails could easily reach a 200 euro price tag. no way a set like that would sell well, not even as exclusive. Sorry people, but monorails are something of the past...

#20 simonwillems

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 08:43 AM

View Postvoltio, on Jun 8 2008, 12:59 AM, said:

....I also realized that several stickers are missing.  Since original stickers for this set are basically unobtainable, I was thinking of printing my own on decal paper using these scans from The Brickfactory.  I know the decals used in minifig customization often need to be printed on a thin medium at very high resolution, but has anyone used The Brickfactory scans to reproduce original Lego stickers?

I undertook the same project about two years ago, bought a (by the seller marked as complete  :cry_sad: ) monorail with lots of parts missing...
About those stickers: Bricklink lists the parts with stickers on them separately in the inventory of this set, meaning you can just buy a new part with sticker instead of reproducing the sticker. Only downside: quite expensive....
It was a real pain for me finding these rounded parts completely stickered, but without them the set just looks unfinished.
I happened to had parts of a stickersheet left from either the 250 or 260 Idea book from the eighties, containing one big airportsticker, two monorail sign stickers (to go on top op the rounded yellow parts on the raised stationplatform) and the hamburgersticker. I don't know from which of the two books they were since I have the books and stickers separated.

Good luck, out of experience I can say that it pays off to do this once you have the shuttle zooming through your layout!  :classic:

#21 Zzz

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 11:21 AM

Hey Voltio! YOU were the one buying it  :classic: ! I was watching it on my ebay account but 1. it did look like A LOT of work and 2. in the past (early 90s) I made the decision for the Metroliner and against this - never regretted it (well, til the ML came out again  :cry_sad: ) - but that is life. I made the decision, I will stick with it.

I can assure you that right now it looks terrible, but you will proceed and get more and more pieces together. In the end you have time, it is not like you have to finish it in 3 weeks or so. I just read the "6399" from your post and I opened it. It is THE magic number when it comes to town sets. You can be sure while restoring it that you are not on the top level of lego but this is ONE of the best sets ever. Good luck, don't give up!  :thumbup:

PS 10$ per piece is a lot, but just compare what a mint/ complete set costs. It is alright.
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#22 Fluyt

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 04:59 PM

View Postsnefroe, on Jun 10 2008, 09:45 AM, said:

do you know how much a set like that would cost today? a set this size with these type of bricks and monorails could easily reach a 200 euro price tag. no way a set like that would sell well, not even as exclusive. Sorry people, but monorails are something of the past...

Well, they are making 100+ euro town sets, ucs sets and a 200€ chess sets etc., so a monorail wouldn't be that unlikely, especially since the expensive sets seem to be selling quite well.
As far as I know there are only 2 or 3 "complicated" parts with the monorail: the motor and maybe the switch and reverse track pieces. It doesn't seem to me that it is that much different from trains as far as complicated parts go.
Sorry for going a bit off-topic

#23 voltio

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 07:20 PM

Thanks for all the interest, guys!  I'm glad you're as enthusiastic about the 6399 Airport Shuttle as I am.  I'm considering building a city layout around it; I already have a 6597 Century Skyway (complete, thankfully) to go with the Shuttle once it's finished.  Maybe the Town Plan and a 7994 City Harbor would fit in as well?

About future monorails...what with the new Power Functions elements and the trains redesign, it is clear that TLG is willing to invest in creating new electric parts.  Given that the designs for monorail track have already been done, it does not seem like much to ask for TLG to re-make the monorail molds and find a new contractor for the motor.  Sure, a monorail set would retail for serious money, but AFOLs, TFOLs, and parents have made Star Wars' UCS line a success, even the $500 Millennium Falcon.  Heck, the Town Plan costs $150, and the current RC trains aren't cheap either.  Plus, a re-made monorail system could provide a halo set for Mars Mission or another space theme (imagine that beautiful monorail track in new colors, like trans orange or black  :cry_happy: ).  

@simonwillems: I respect your determination to repair your 6399 by buying a new sticker sheet from BL.  One sheet sold for $45 this month, so I'm sure you paid some serious cash for yours.  But since many of the stickers from mine are still present, buying a new one wouldn't make sense for me.  Besides, once I learn to use The Brickfactory scans to print my own stickers, I can use that skill to fix some of my other old sets (I'm looking at you, 5956!)

@Fluyt: Unfortunately, I discovered that the gray baseplate in my pictures is not the correct baseplate.  I should have this, which costs $20.  I don't think I'll buy this part, however, since it took me this long to notice that mine was incorrect.

#24 Fluyt

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 07:54 PM

View Postvoltio, on Jun 11 2008, 09:20 PM, said:

About future monorails...what with the new Power Functions elements and the trains redesign, it is clear that TLG is willing to invest in creating new electric parts. Given that the designs for monorail track have already been done, it does not seem like much to ask for TLG to re-make the monorail molds and find a new contractor for the motor. Sure, a monorail set would retail for serious money, but AFOLs, TFOLs, and parents have made Star Wars' UCS line a success, even the $500 Millennium Falcon. Heck, the Town Plan costs $150, and the current RC trains aren't cheap either. Plus, a re-made monorail system could provide a halo set for Mars Mission or another space theme (imagine that beautiful monorail track in new colors, like trans orange or black  ).

Exactly my thoughts  :thumbup:

View Postvoltio, on Jun 11 2008, 09:20 PM, said:

@Fluyt: Unfortunately, I discovered that the gray baseplate in my pictures is not the correct baseplate.  I should have this, which costs $20.  I don't think I'll buy this part, however, since it took me this long to notice that mine was incorrect.

I didn't even notice either, until you mentioned it  :tongue: . The only difference seems to be the pedestrian crossing. Maybe you'll get the right one one day, but it isn't that different and it's not really a priority with this set. Maybe you'll also stumble upon some spare rails to make the set even greater.

It would be great to see your city layout around it (I don't think I've seen that much city-layouts with a monorail), nice choice for an airport also, even though I prefer 6396 somehow.



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