Vic_Rattlehead, on 11 October 2010 - 01:13 PM, said:
I finally found 8684 at local book store yay
I bought 6 and got 5 different minifigs (witch, 2x ringmaster, lifeguard, mexican, mime)
I really need the vampire for my batlord castle... the witch can be easily detected from the package
The vampire's a bit harder to identify, since his hair is the same piece as the Karate Master's, and the bat he carries is about the same size and shape. Still, I've managed to get a vampire and many of the other figs by feeling the bags-- in fact, the only ones I used the barcodes for were my brother's and my first four (surfer, lifeguard, explorer, and karate master). And we only used them then because we were in a hurry.
It's a lot easier to feel the bags for the figs at Wal-Marts, I find, because they are in vertical end-racks with separate compartments that each hold a few bags of minifigs. I feel for the figs starting at the top, and as I encounter figs that I already have I separate them out. After I've gotten through the first row I can just place the bags I don't need back in compartments I've already checked, so that I know not to feel those ones again.
Using this method I've gotten close to completing a collection: the only figs I lack are the ringmaster, traffic cop, and mime (none of which I'm interested in) and the weightlifter and skier. I've gotten both of those last two, but have kept them unopened and plan to mail them to my little brother-- he wanted those two, and I think he'll appreciate them a lot more if they're ones that my twin brother and I don't already own for ourselves. So we're going to let him have exclusive rights to those two figs for the time being.
The Spartan is one of the easiest to identify by feeling the bags, since he has both the long spear and the distinctively-shaped helmet. The only fig he can be confused for is the Pharaoh. Of course, being easy to identify can be a good or bad thing. If you live in an area with a strong AFOL presence and are looking for the figs in a high-traffic store, the more easily-identifiable figs might be the first to go!
The typical boxes, like the one reviewed here by WhiteFang, can be found in the US at Target stores, and I find them a lot harder to search through. But that's OK since the Target prices for individual figs are higher than the Wal-Mart prices, and being at college I'm operating on a tighter budget than I would be under different circumstances.
There are of course ethical worries about shopping at Wal-Mart-- for instance, their ability to reduce prices thereby strongarming smaller, more local businesses out of the competition-- but the same applies to all of the stores (generally national or international chains) where I've found the collectible minifigs. And at least we can have confidence that unlike many products associated with big chains like Wal-Mart and Target, these figs don't get their low price from disreputable manufacturing facilities-- while we don't know what workers in LEGO's Chinese plant get paid, we do know LEGO's strong emphasis on maintaining a safe and ethical work environment for their employees.