FredDef

Newbie request for advice

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Hello everybody, I'm new here. At nearly 36 years of age I've become an AFOL, I guess, when I rediscovered the delightful Lego-sets my parents gave me in my younger days.

Please excuse me if this (kind of) thread already exists or if I needed to post this elsewhere on the forum.

In an attempt to prep a nice little Lego-assortment for my sons (the eldest is only 3 and a half and too young still) I bought three little M-Tron-sets to go with the 6812 (Blacktron) Grid Trekkor and the 6831 Message Decoder I already had (I should have SP II Rebel Hunter too, but I can't find it at the moment). The initial idea was to form a large enough 'space' vehicle pool of both sides + some Space Police for them to be able to make up some play scenes. But I've now begun to wonder wheter the Blacktron-M-Tron-Space Police would actually (still) appeal to youngsters nowadays.  I still think the colour scheme of respectively black-white and red(black)white) and the neon green parts are just perfect and make for great looking sets. In comparison to the modern Ninjago-sets or Nexo Knights-sets, for example, the 'classic' space sets might not be 'interesting' enough anymore in this day and age.

I guess I'm asking the parent-members if they have any recent experience with their children still appreciating the 'old' Space-sets (Blacktron, M-Tron, Space Police).

A second part of my question is about the playability of (these older) Space-sets: by that I mean that I can't provide convincingly built 'bases' for the kids; building Blacktron, M-Tron bases would require loads of speciality pieces. In comparison to the City-theme, it's not as easy to build scenery for them to play in. I have a limited amount of bricks (in comparison to many avid AFOLs) and certainly in terms of speciality space pieces (neon green stuff, special baseplates etc.).

I'd very much appreciate any of your views on this.

Thanks

Edited by FredDef

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I am not parent myself but I would not share those M-Tron lego sets with children. I would get modern lego sets for them, and keep M-Tron lego sets until the children is older and more appreciative.  I meant, M-Tron is expensive and the last thing you want is the children to lose some parts of it somewhere else that may be difficult or expensive to replace. Modern Lego sets have got plenty of parts that can easily be replaced and are cheap (ish).

But I can see where you are coming from about sharing old lego sets with your children as it's good way to share hobbies/interests but seems a bit risk for me. 

I would go apes if my young children (if I have any) spoil or ruin my classic Transformer comic collection from 1980s. I would not share those comics with them until they are older children (16+) or adult.  After all, where can you find replacement for those classic sets without paying super huge sum of money for those?

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9 hours ago, Diablo667 said:

I am not parent myself but I would not share those M-Tron lego sets with children. I would get modern lego sets for them, and keep M-Tron lego sets until the children is older and more appreciative.  I meant, M-Tron is expensive and the last thing you want is the children to lose some parts of it somewhere else that may be difficult or expensive to replace. Modern Lego sets have got plenty of parts that can easily be replaced and are cheap (ish).

But I can see where you are coming from about sharing old lego sets with your children as it's good way to share hobbies/interests but seems a bit risk for me. 

I would go apes if my young children (if I have any) spoil or ruin my classic Transformer comic collection from 1980s. I would not share those comics with them until they are older children (16+) or adult.  After all, where can you find replacement for those classic sets without paying super huge sum of money for those?

You're probably right about having to be careful with these 'vintage' sets. Thanks for the feedback, Diablo667 !

Regards, Frederick

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Issues of when/whether/if a "toy" becomes a "collector's item" and is no longer suitable for young hands aside, I'd say never underestimate the power of a child's imagination, and by all means encourage him/her to use it.  

I have a two and half year old daughter, we've been playing together with Duplo for 18 months now.  I also have a Lego collection of my own that spans half a century of collecting.  My daughter "knows" that her Duplo are hers and she can play with them any time and that "daddy's Lego" is something she only gets to touch when I'm there.  A by-product of that is that I'm there when she's oohing and aah-ing over my models (even though they are just sitting on the shelf and she hasn't had the opportunity to explore "play features").  I _have_ noticed that she is drawn to the more "modern" kits over similar themed offerings from the 70's or 80's.  Just looking at them side by side, I can understand why.  The new offerings are more visually interesting, even new kits done in an old style (such as Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP from The Lego Movie or kits from the Ultra Agents theme) have that visual "something" that makes them more interesting to young eyes.

But the story doesn't end with "the new kits are better."  The other day she decided she wanted us to play with the Emerald Night train set.  I didn't want her to take it apart, but we were both fine with the notion that it needed a train station to stop at, so we built one in (classic any-color-block-will-do-in-a-storm style) Duplo.  Then we "discovered" that her Duplo penguins didn't fit in the Emerald Night's passenger car, so we needed to build a bigger, better train the penguins could ride in.  Well, it had wheels and the cars coupled together and we called it a train, but I doubt it will be nominated for Ultimate Collectors' Set of the year,  but by the time we were done, the spiffy model that was the Emerald Night was gathering dust in the corner and my daughter was going on about how this penguin was the conductor and this penguin needed to get to work and those two penguins were taking the train to playgroup.  Her train was the best train ever built (at least in her mind for the course of the afternoon).  A cool set (well beyond her age and building ability) may have set the tone for the play session, but it was her imagination and level of engagement with the raw building blocks (no pun intended) that really made things click (again, no pun intended).

So I guess my advice would be to give your kids enough raw materials and _just_ enough narrative/backstory to inspire them to run in their own direction.  A kid today isn't going to know M-Tron from Black-Tron from Classic Space from Exo-Force.  They are going to see ships and robots and launchers and moon buggies and it's fantastic if they decide to invent a narrative that glues it all together. What matters is that they are engaging in imaginative play and using that vision to create something real.  A few cool model kits can be a good starting point (but try to see these with the eyes of a child - is it visually interesting? is it swooshable? Does it have things that open/spin/shoot/light-up? - not because _you_ remember the backstory or always wanted that kit as a child or because it was your favorite vehicle in that  Star Wars film your kid hasn't even seen yet) but there's a lot to be said for imaginative play value in a generic tub of bricks.  For the price of a couple vintage sets on eBay you could get enough raw brick on bricklink or lego store pick-a-prick walls to build a decent moonbase.  Does it really matter if their grand creation matches M-tron's color scheme? It might, but only your children say so.

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My feedback is similar to ShaydDeGrai's. I have three boys, from 10, 7, and 2. Having my first was what brought me back into Lego, and we played with my classic stuff because that was all we had at the time. As he got older we bought him his own (new) stuff. It seems like we got him more licensed stuff like Marvel and Spongebob, but regardless he, and later on his brother, would make up their own stories.

If I had kept my old Space or Castle sets together I am sure it would have had the same effect, since sometimes they play in that "world" (Blacktron, Avengers, etc) with its rules, characters, and stories, and other times they throw the rules out and make whatever they want. Can they connect and appreciate the old stuff? For sure.

I recently handed my 10-yr old some old Technic instructions and my box of Technic parts. You'd think he'd died and gone to heaven. He loved poring over the old set construction, the knobby bricks, and seeing how the sets were made, but then he turned right around and built something cool from his own new-bricks collection.

Now my kids often ask me if they can play with my bricks, and when I let them its a big treat--they have their own (well, not the toddler, yet--although he is surprisingly adept) but mine is special because its usually off-limits. The themes aren't as important to them as the 'really awesome windshield' or 'super cool weapons' or whatever--what they can do with them on their own.

TD; DR: Old and new don't matter to them. They love looking over my old catalogs as much as they like the new ones (although they often are sad when I tell them the catalog they're flipping through is from 25 years ago and that stuff isn't made any more).

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