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Cheapskate A-Wing and Snow Speeder


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#1 fred67

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 03:04 AM

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It started when I got the Home-One, a set I wasn't really interested in but picked up because it was on sale; I figured I'd at least get ship and some cool figures, but ultimately I was really happy with the build.  I don't normally like "play" sets, but usually just build things for display.  But when I built the A-Wing, I was certain that I had enough pieces to build extras.

I was wrong.

But a small bricklink order later, and I was able to build two ships.  The next BL order I made I threw in a couple of A-Wing pilots to make it more complete.  So the colors aren't exactly right, but I think they turned out OK... I may reclaim the gray pieces on the tail fins for white, but this is what they currently look like:

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I used some green on the engines, as per the instructions, but in retrospect it didn't make much sense since I didn't have green engines.  I may reclaim them for white, also.

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I never had the Snow Speeder, so I'm waiting for the Wompa Cave set, but while I'm waiting I thought that maybe I had enough pieces to build the Snow Speeder, too.  I did (except for the canopy), but not in exactly the right colors.  Still, the BL order where I got the A-Wing pilots and the canopy also got me a few more of the correct colors, so I'm pretty happy with how it came out.  The pilot is Zev Sensca from the Rebel Trooper Battle Pack.  Instructions from the 4500 set.

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So... I know it's not particularly exciting, but I thought I'd share anyway.  In typical cheap bastard fashion, I'd like to thank LEGO for putting downloadable instructions online.

But what this brings me to, ultimately, is a simple observation... for some time a lot of people have been hassling TLG for making these really specific parts and making a bunch of non "LEGO-like" sets, where instead of building things up from bricks you had a lot of bigger "special" pieces.... but I substantially built both of these from just regular parts I've collected over the years (typically they were extras thrown into bricklink orders to make shipping and handling more worthwhile).  It's not perfect, they still have a lot of specifics and special pieces, but I think they're doing a lot better in that respect.

One thing I'll never get is how they can take a guy in an orange jump suit and give him a specific name instead of just "Rebel Pilot."  Luke, Dack, Wedge,Y-Wing Pilot... they're all different prices, but I could take any one of them, give it a light saber, and call it "Luke," and nobody but the most anal retentive geek would notice or care.

#2 Big Cam

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 01:47 PM

Entertaining post, I agree with teh orange jump suite theory.

#3 Mr. Elijah Timms

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 02:00 PM

Poses a very curious question-- in your rough estimation, how much would it cost to build, say, an A-Wing by ordering the separate parts directly from BrickLink?  (I must admit, I've never gone through them before.)

Begins to pose the obvious question-- when we buy a set, how much of our money is going into the printing and production of the instruction books and even the box.  Take all of the bags, and the price of processing, etc... Do you think you'd actually save money buying the parts as you did, or does it even out to about the same?

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#4 Prime Brick

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 02:28 PM

Those A-Wings are awsome :thumbup:
The snowspeeder is great too :classic:
"War, War never changes"

#5 lightningtiger

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 03:05 PM

Excellent building 'fred67' - both types of craft look SWEET ! :grin:
Keep on bricking ! :sweet:

#6 fred67

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 06:02 PM

View PostMr. Elijah Timms, on May 4 2010, 10:00 AM, said:

Poses a very curious question-- in your rough estimation, how much would it cost to build, say, an A-Wing by ordering the separate parts directly from BrickLink?  (I must admit, I've never gone through them before.)

Begins to pose the obvious question-- when we buy a set, how much of our money is going into the printing and production of the instruction books and even the box.  Take all of the bags, and the price of processing, etc... Do you think you'd actually save money buying the parts as you did, or does it even out to about the same?

That's an incredibly difficult question to answer!  It really goes by a case by case basis.  BTW, Bricklink has a great feature where you can part out a set directly into a "Wanted" list.  Then you can go into that wanted list and delete the parts you already have.

The first time I tried doing that was for discontinued Santa Fe train cars.  Ultimately, to get an EXACT duplicate of what you would get in the set, it would have cost just as much as it would have been to buy the set on bricklink.  But there was one part in particular that made it difficult... gray curved sloped bricks used for the roof.  In order to buy the quantity you needed, the prices on BL were around $1/each, and you needed 32 for each car (and I was building three at the time).  But LEGO was still selling the same part in black for much less... so that's eventually what I did.  I don't mind that it's not exactly like the set (just like these ships I built).

BTW... sometime prices are actually cheaper on PAB S@H!!!  I always check, especially since my habit lately is to buy only new pieces, if possible.

In the case of the Home One A-Wing, it's certainly cheaper to buy the pieces on BL than to buy a whole Home One set... but then you miss out on everything else in the set, and it's not a good example or easy to figure out if you saved anything.  With the Home Ones currently on sale (which is how I bought mine) it seems a no brainer to buy one if you can... but I wasn't going to buy 3 of them just for extra ships.  You can buy the older A-Wing on BL (7134) for less than $20!  They are not identical, but who needs a removable engine except if you're using it with the Home One?

The decision to build it stemmed from the fact that I have a WALL of LEGO parts, including tons of slopes and wedge plates and hinges and so forth... while I was building the A-Wing from the set, it occurred to me that I might have the pieces to do it from my parts.  I did end up ordering some parts... maybe $15 worth (including the minifigs) to be able to build TWO,, but then I can't tell you what I paid for the pieces I already had.  I'd roughly estimate it cost me $25 total to be able to build both... but that's not the end of the story, and a lot of my purchases get intertwined between two or more things I'm trying to build.

So, for example, when I figured "hey, maybe I can do the Snow Speeder, too," and discovered I needed the canopy... I added the two A-Wing pilots to the order.  I wouldn't have gotten them otherwise... the place I bought the canopy from conveniently had two A-Wing pilots.  I also bought a bunch of pieces for my mini-castle MOC.  So how much shipping and handling to I apply to the minifigs?  They were an extra purchase to help bulk up the order to make shipping and handling more worth it.

Lastly, you will not likely be able to find all the parts you want to make any particular set in one bricklink store.  You will get slaughtered on shipping costs if you try to just build a ship from buying pieces on bl unless you can limit the purchases to very few stores.

The cheap bastard approach to building this way takes a lot of time and patience.  I spent months collecting the pieces for the Santa Fe cars while I was ordering other things; I would order something specifically that I wanted right away, and say "Oh, this store has these Santa Fe pieces I need, so I'll get them, too."  MONTHS.  Sometimes I bulk up my inventory of parts (no, I'm not a seller) when I see a good deal on things... this is why I have so many spare parts to begin with.  It's impossible for me to tell you exactly how much I paid or how much time I spent.

But that's the trade-off... time versus money.  I'm a pretty patient guy, especially if it saves me some scratch.  I'm also not a "collector," I don't need New MISB sets.  I enjoy building things from my parts and often come up with alternatives.  Both my version of the A-Wing and Snow Speeder are not exactly like the set instructions... neither in colors nor in bricks.  It's difficult to tell, but I adapt where I have to...

And just to add to this novel length post... I've also discovered  that the LEGO designers don't always do things the "best" way.  Have you ever built something where they, for example, told you to put two 2x2 bricks next to each other and you asked yourself "why didn't they just use a 2x4?"  Stuff like that happens all the time... it seems sometimes they try to bulk up piece counts, or they are told they have more of a certain piece and are encouraged to use it where possible.   The opposite is also true.  I had one time where I bought 2x3 bricks of a color that I had 1x2 and 2x2 bricks of; but when I actually built the set, the part was not needed at all for structural stability... I could have just used the 1x2 and 2x2... so read through the instructions beforehand.

#7 Mr. Elijah Timms

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 07:59 PM

Great perspective... quite an interesting way of gathering up your stuff without breaking the bank.  Where'd you get all those white sleek slopey sides of the A-Wings??  The only sets I remember getting them in were the A-Wings and the Y-Wing?  I'm assuming they were among the pieces you had to get at BL?

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#8 fred67

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 08:26 PM

View PostMr. Elijah Timms, on May 4 2010, 03:59 PM, said:

Great perspective... quite an interesting way of gathering up your stuff without breaking the bank.  Where'd you get all those white sleek slopey sides of the A-Wings??  The only sets I remember getting them in were the A-Wings and the Y-Wing?  I'm assuming they were among the pieces you had to get at BL?

Yes... the canopy, and the large slope/wedge pieces were what I had to order to build the ship.  Everything else I had, but not in the right colors, so I did add a few other wedge plates in white.  Then, on a later order, I threw in a couple of pilots.

EDIT: To be fair, though, when I was using the black wedge plates (which I already had in my inventory) it actually looked pretty cool.

Edited by fred67, 04 May 2010 - 08:32 PM.


#9 prateek

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 10:11 PM

Nice! This is what I (try to) do. I'm too cheap to buy the sets, so I just make "clones" :thumbup: :tongue:



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