ShaydDeGrai

Eurobricks Knights
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About ShaydDeGrai

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    Moldy Tax Expert

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    Architecture

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    New England

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    USA
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  1. ShaydDeGrai

    Unpopular Opinions about LEGO

    Did you _have_ to point that out. I remember watching the original at a Drive-In Theatre... Oh, and I'm pretty tired of building X-wings at this point, same for snow speeders and AT-ATs. Been there, built that, stepped on a brick barefoot... (Maybe I should put that on a T-Shirt)
  2. I'm not going to get too worked up about this at this point. I have baseplates that date back to the days when they were rectangular and had some of the studs painted white to show where the first tier of bricks was supposed to attach. Baseplates have been around for a long time and even if TLG stopped making them tomorrow, between existing stock and clone offerings, they're not going to become as rare as monorail track overnight. That said, I think it's entirely possible that TLG is just going to bring them in-house and continue to offer a "new" part with the existing form factor. They certainly have the resources to get into the thermoforming business if they chose to. This might also be their chance to do more with their soy plastics. If they are looking to "improve their numbers" from a ratio of ABS to "greener" plastics standpoint, baseplates would be a good way to up the amount of material used on the green side of the scale. Existing baseplates are already a bit flexible, so that's not an issue; there are no bottom connections so precision molding and design for clutch strength can focus entirely on the array of studs. The DOTS line has already flirted with alternate manufacturing techniques for stud arrays with their rubber wrist bands; it's not hard to imagine that someone at the TLG is at least considering a different way to make a baseplate out of a different material while keeping the same basic form-factor and functional tolerances (clutch strength, stiffness, durability, etc.) If they go with traditional plates (at full plate thickness), I could see a lot of Modular collectors getting very irate. (Imagine the shift to 8-wide for Speed Champions backlash on steroids...) Aside from the backwards incongruity (which, to be honest, wouldn't phase _ME_ much, I live in a neighborhood where the sidewalks are all different level and the roads are speckled with pothole patches so a slightly higher curb on my next modular would just be art imitating life), I concur with other here that they'd likely have to use four 16x16 plates and piece them together. The smaller plate solution could introduce weakness when moving models around (or constrain design to compensate for those seams. Given the occasional warping I've seen on some larger plates, I'm skeptical of TLG attempting to introduce a 32x32 ABS plate as a baseplate alternative. It feels like a large, but thin, form-factor compared to their typical injection molds and might even require different timing and/or post-processing to ensure that it cools flat without warping or cracking. And once it's in the field I'd worry about its brittleness and the risk of torquing or twisting the surface. Two plates thick with appropriate webbing and flanges on the underside, I could see; one plate thick with full anti-stud connectors across the entire bottom sounds problematic to me. Assembling a base out of smaller sections is probably the better idea. But as has been said before, this could be nothing more than a ploy to move production of an identical baseplate in-house. We just have to wait and see.
  3. ShaydDeGrai

    Lego Architecture - rumors and discussion

    A quick review of UNESCO heritage sites shows that there is no shortage of subject matter with cultural, historical and architectural significance that they _could_ explore (and plenty of "modern wonders" that haven't made the list yet). They do constrain themselves a bit in that many of the best/most interesting architectural subjects are also places of religious significant as well, so that knocks a lot of churches, cathedrals, temples, mosques and shrines off the list (pity, really, as some of these examples are stunning works of art in their own right whether you share the convictions of the original designers/builders or not), but with roughly six thousand of years of human civilization to draw from, I think there's still plenty of room for fresh models. I can understand why you would ask the question though. While I like many of the "revisits" they've done of late better than the originals, it does tend to make the theme seem a bit tired. Personally, I'm kinda over the whole skyline sub-theme. The first couple forays were interesting (if redundant, subject matter wise); increasing, it feels like just an excuse to overcharge for a bunch of 1x1 and 1x2 plates rather than a "real" Architecture kit. While I'd _prefer_ something fresh, I can't say I'd object to a Space Needle revisit on par with the scale of the Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty models. Say something 35-40 cm (14-16 inches) tall? That would have potential to be interesting without breaking the bank piece-wise and still fit on a shelf.
  4. ShaydDeGrai

    New VIP system

    An old friend from college was working for a media company that was going to do a promotion at San Diago Comic Con one year and when they were debating how many freebies to produce, he naively suggested that since they know how many tickets had been sold that they should make enough for everyone and give one to everybody that stopped by their booth or attended their talk. The marketing guys openly mocked him and told him in no uncertain terms that no one gets free press on social media by making everyone happy, if you want "buzz" you need conflict - make people fight over you and both the winners and the losers will value you because they are so caught up in being either a winner or a loser that they won't notice you're the reason they are fighting in the first place. I can't say one way or the other if anyone at TLG subscribes to this mentality, but the Ulysses "reward" rollout certainly felt like the on-line equivalent of a major corporation (that could have made enough for everyone) throwing a handful of Comic Con Exclusives out into the mosh pit of Hall H to let the masses fight it out in the name of stirring up social media.
  5. ShaydDeGrai

    10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery Discussion

    For those who care (or just want to continue ranting about the Ulysses Space Probe Debacle ) I resurrected the "New VIP System" thread over in the GENERAL DISCUSSION section. Perhaps we could redirect complaints/ commiserations/ suggestions regarding the poor handling of this reward kit rollout to over there and let this thread get back to the more specific focus of the space shuttle kit itself. Personally, I'm very interested in both discussions, I just think we've gotten a bit off topic here and (in the unlikely event that someone from TLG is browsing the forums) I think we should make our opinions about the Ulysses "reward" and the VIP system itself easier to find. Speaking of getting back on topic, I liked the Discovery Space Shuttle so much I've decided to pick up another one. It's an enjoyable (and occasionally clever) build; nice display model, slid enough to be swooshable; articulated enough to hold my 5 year olds' interest; and a good parts pack to boot. Definitely a winner in my book.
  6. ShaydDeGrai

    New VIP system

    Not to go waking the dead (thread-wise) but after this week's "VIP Rewards" Ulysses space probe fiasco I thought I'd bump this guy to give all the people complaining about the VIP system over in the Discovery Space shuttle thread a specific place to rant that was more on topic. I'll throw the first stones: Treating your customers like a pond-ful of ducks encouraging them to fight over a crust of bread does not make people feel like VIPs and TLG ruffled more than a few tail feathers with both the over-hyped time-specific rollout of a high demand set (apparently produced in very small quantities) and a website that crashed/locked out immediately as the promotion went live. They then added insult to injury when customer service released a statement whitewashing the whole stunt by saying that the handling of the promotion "wasn't quite right." There are OH SO MANY ways a total idiot could have done better just based on past VIP Reward debacles. They could have done a pre-promotion over the course of a couple weeks to gauge interest in the kit. Then, produced enough kits to cover the orders (and then some) and simply mailed them out this summer (no redemption code or accompanying purchase required). It may not be as "exclusive" or make those few people who actually got a code feel like "winners," but tat least it doesn't make the rest of your customer base feel like losers and good things are worth waiting for. They could have made this kit a VIP-only, set-specific GWP (like the batmobile pairing or the chariot and Coliseum sets). Yes, this makes things more "elitist" in that only VIPs in a position to spend $200 on a new kit stands a chance of getting the "free gift" but at least it sets an honest expectation, unlike hyping the kit as (virtually) free to all only to have the promotion in the browser go from disabled to sold out in the same refresh cycle and show up on eBay asking hundreds of dollars within hours of the offer "going live" They could have raffled them off. Give people a week or two to buy (with VIP points) as many tickets as they want (but any account VIP can only win once) Then close the entry period and draw the lucky 5,000 (or whatever) winners. Personally I'm not in favor of this scheme, I think customer loyalty points are an _earned_ currency and TLG should "reward" customers outright for their business not be in the business of giving customer a random chance at being rewarded for their loyalty, but whatever, a lottery, even if I don't personally like the concept, would still have been a more fair scheme for doling out such an exclusinve and high demand "reward." And for the record, I'm not posting this as "sour-grapes" over not getting the kit. I've seen this scenario play out too many times since the whole "New VIP" system went live to even expect that I stood a chance of landing one of those Ulysses probes. This fiasco played out in a thoroughly predictable fashion and has only served to reinforce my profoundly low opinion of what has become of the VIP system. The old system wasn't perfect, but it worked a lot better than the current one.
  7. ShaydDeGrai

    10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery Discussion

    If it didn't take so long to package and distribute the sets, they could really throw a wrench into scalpers' plans by doing a VIP pre-order scheme where the offer goes live for a week or so EVERYONE who tries (and has the points) gets a coupon code for the set and then TLG produces enough sets to satisfy all the issued coupons (and then some) and ships them out at a later date. Sure, it ruins the whole immediate gratification thing (for those lucky few who actually get a set under the current system) and makes the kits less "exclusive" but it takes the whole "overloaded server" and connection roulette tech issues off the table and feels more like a company making a true "offer" to a customer rather than pitting customers against one another battling for a prize. Besides, if you _know_ 250,000 loyal customers want a set given set (because they spent their points to get it) you'd earn a lot more good will if you actually produced enough to keep everyone happy rather that a paltry 5000 (or whatever) to make 2% of your customers really happy while disappointing/angering everyone else.
  8. ShaydDeGrai

    10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery Discussion

    Well I got exactly what I expected. Site goes down just as offer is about to go live, by the time it comes back up, kit is sold out. Such a failure on so many levels. As a bonus tie-in to the space shuttle rollout they should have just bundled this to actual space shuttle purchases (and produced more kits). As a VIP bonus, this is worse than a SDCC exclusive. It doesn't make customers feel "very important" at all it makes one feel like a hungry duck in a pond fighting with dozens of other ducks over a few crumbs of stale bread while some kid with an entire loaf laughs at us plucking each other tail feathers out from the shore. It's a bad business model that offends and disappoints far more loyal customers than it "rewards." I can't really say I'm disappointed though, I've long since passed the point where I'd even hope this scenario would play out any differently than their past fiascos. Seriously, the only thing the revamped VIP system has done as far as I'm concerned is to increase the amount of money I spend at Amazon and Target.
  9. ShaydDeGrai

    Unpopular Opinions about LEGO

    It's probably because so many of these subjects have been visited and revisited it's hard to come up with a short name without confusing a new set with an old one. Just be thankful we haven't gotten to the point of: Star Wars - Darth Vader's TIE FIghter: From Episode IV right after Han and Chewy show up over the trench Snowspeeder: The pretty good but smaller than UCS edition Imperial Star Destroyer: The one for people who already have a coffee table and want something a little smaller AT-AT: The one that started off as a Mindstorm's elephant but ended up as a Star Wars kit instead X-Wing Fighter: This is how we haze new designers on the SW team, everyone has to make an X-Wing before they get to work on new stuff. Meet Bjorn... Architecture - The Empire State Building : Freud told us to build it in a dream The Eiffel Tower : France told us we haven't done it justice yet The Burj Khalifa : Dubai heard about the new Empire State Building kit and called to remind us that their tower is bigger... City - High Speed Passenger Train : We had a load of helicopter noses left over from last year that management wanted us to use up... Police Chase: There's been at least one Lego police car on store shelves for 50 years, why stop now?
  10. ShaydDeGrai

    10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery Discussion

    On a slight tangent, years ago I was working for a government think tank and we'd spec'ed out a subsystem that needed to fit in a very tight spot in an existing airframe. I can't go into details but basically we needed a company to build a device to do X and it had to fit in a well defined space, only consume so much power and only give off so much heat. Several of our preferred vendors looked at our RFP (request for proposals) and told us it couldn't be done - or doing it would be so expensive it wouldn't be profitable - one vendor, however, said "Sure, no problem" and won the contract. Eighteen months of sloppy oversight go by and it comes time for the vendor to test the prototype in the field, so we show up with the airframe (and it's empty slot for the module), and the contractor shows up with a moving van on the tarmac asking us where our forklift is so they can offload the device. After a few minutes of confused stares and occasional blinks of disbelief we ask why he needs a forklift. The vendor reminded us that there was no weight requirement in the spec, only size limits. To this we countered that even if the device were a solid block of plutonium it could only weigh in at a few kilos. At which point the vender told us we were crazy and opened the truck to reveal a pallet full of equipment that wouldn't fit in the cockpit if you dumped it in the pilot's seat let alone the open slot in the nosecone. With a multi-million dollar contract on the line, naturally this resulted in an unprofessional shouting match where everyone whipped out copies of the spec and the contract to "prove" their point of view. In a matter of moments everyone was on the same page which clearly stated the available space was "8mm x 21mm x 57mm". The head of the contractor's team, a vice-president with the firm, poked at the book and proudly announced "See, 8 metric meters by 21 metric meters by 57 metric meters! We're fully compliant with room to spare!" At which point we had to explain to him that "mm" stood for "millimeter" not "metric meter" and that the plane itself wasn't even 57 meters long (and how could an entire division of Fortune 500 defense contractor not notice that over the course of a year and half's effort?) . So much for the US education system... In any case, I'm nearly done with my Discovery shuttle and am quite happy with it. My only complaint has been dealing with the foil stickers on the underside of the bay doors (tedious, awkward to align/correct if crooked) I considered omitting them (as I often do with stickers) but everything else was turning out so nicely that my completion-ist tendencies took over. I can definitely see myself picking up additional copies of this set both to expand my "fleet" and as parts packs.
  11. ShaydDeGrai

    Unpopular Opinions about LEGO

    I think this is very true, and I very much appreciate that the revenues generated by CMF sales and other mini-fig collectables has subsidized my brick habit over the decades. Then again, I remember when they first started printing smily faces on the yellow heads; I took to putting their heads on backwards so hair and headgear would cover up the printing because my imagination preferred starting from a blank slate rather than everyone smiling all the time - as if Legoland had become a manic Village of the Damned. Maybe I was just a weird kid...
  12. ShaydDeGrai

    Unpopular Opinions about LEGO

    I won't even pretend to have a clue as to what it must have been like (or still is for that matter) to walk in your shoes. I've had friends over the years share stories regarding the lack of representation and role models, but obviously, it's one thing to hear about it, it's quite another to live it. I'm about as SWASP-y as they come so I can offer sympathy and cringe at the lack of enlightenment so often exhibited by my fellow SWASPs but I fear I'll always have an outsider's perspective. Growing up, my world was divided along lines of class, creed and ethnicity moreso than race or gender identity (probably because where I lived wasn't particularly diverse in those latter demographics so people had to find other arbitrary distinctions to draw lines in the sand between "us" and "them"). But being one of "them" more often than not, I'm not unfamiliar with knowing that there's an "in crowd" and what it feels like to not be part of it. That said, I'm really of two minds when it comes to the issue of "representation" in Lego. On the one hand, I can see kids finding it easier to relate to a figure that looks like, acts like or represents something in themselves. My daughter, who has curly hair, latches onto dolls and minifigures, Duplo figures, etc. relating best to the ones with curly hair (regardless of skin tone or hair color). There's simply a natural gravitation to finding that "something" which she relates to and takes personally that draws her into a world where _she_ controls the narrative. On the other hand, we, as a species, are diverse enough such that the simple act of including one demographic calls attention to the fact that we've yet to include another. And, so long as _we_ try to dictate the narrative, we'll always be at risk of omission/exclusion, perhaps consciously, more likely through shear ignorance. My first "mini-figures" were "slabbies" (no arms, rigid legs, yellow heads with no face printing). In their own way, i thought there was something utopian about them, maybe it was just the fact that I'd recently read Ursula K. Leguin's The Lathe of Heaven where, in an effort to end racism, the dreamers' power turned the entire human race gray. Nobody in real life had bright yellow skin, and to little kid me, maybe that was the point. It was an abstraction telling me not to make assumptions based on surface details. My yellow slabbies couldn't literally represent me, or my friend Paresh from India, or Yung from China; they represented what my friends and I had _in common_ with each other. Maybe under the skin we were all faceless yellow slabs and it was our actions and our values that defined us. It's not the worst interpretation one could embrace, Lego wasn't really representing US, but we were presenting ourselves in Lego form. I didn't like it when they added the arms and posable legs. When they came out with fleshies, I preferred my yellows and thought they were over-constraining the narrative. Mini-dolls (complete with backstories) took it to a whole new level (and that level did not allow for a lesbian, a homeless vet and a priest to walk into a bar together - Heartlake City isn't ready to entertain any of the above). Maybe I'm just old and cranky, but it seems to me that the more they try to make mini-fig/mini-dolls reflect a realistic society, the more apparent and polly-anna-ish their sins of omission become. I know it's a kids' toy and should embrace a safe, G-rated world where kids can learn and grow, but sometimes it feels like they are trying a little too hard to have their cake and eat it too. Or maybe I just miss my generic yellow slabbies...
  13. ShaydDeGrai

    Where is LEGO Going?

    This thread really convolves two separate themes: Where is TLG going? and, Where do we wish it were going (or wouldn't mind if it went)? On the former question I think the answer is obvious, it will follow the market, wherever it leads or it will cease to be. Now, what "following the market" means will have to be put in the context of how they want to manage their brand, how much they can innovate/sub-contract/partner to open new markets, and, their ability to learn from mistakes and successes in their past. I honestly don't know where market trends will take them. Sometimes hopping on a bandwagon is the best way to survive (you don't want to be the guy selling carbon paper when everyone else has traded their typewriters for laptops and printers); sometimes being different is the secret to standing out from the crowd ( in my area, every other restaurant is either a pizza joint or Tex-Mex and they open, fail and get replaced by another pizza or Tex-Mex joint every six months or so - too much competition, not enough differentiation. Finally one of these storefronts opened up as a high end Indian restaurant instead and lasted for years (until Covid took it out)). So long as one can avoid saturating the market, ruling a niche is not a bad recipe for success. On the latter point, what _I_ like and dislike about TLG various ventures, I freely admit a very strong physical brick bias. Those of you who've suffered through my various theses on the matter know where I stand on keeping my Lego time screen-free for both myself and my daughter. I easily spend upwards of 80 hours a week in front of screens for various professional and personal obligations so the last thing I want is anything that corrupts the screen-free nature of my precious Lego time. I will not use digital instructions or buy kits that require them (my wife loves her Kindle, I tried it, couldn't suffer it through an entire novel and resolved to keep buying/borrowing physical books for as long as publishers keep printing them.) I have an archive of instruction books going back 50 years. For those worried about the environmental impact of physical instructions, I advise looking at the big picture. Mass producing a book (particularly in color) has a smaller carbon impact than printing a PDF on home office equipment due to economy of scale, typical paper stock, wasted/recycled printing supplies, etc. For the paperless crowd, working from a PDF on screen is not carbon free - both the server farm that sources the documents and the reader device require power and climate control (which may ultimately be coming from fossil fuels); recharging the reader device ages the battery; replacing the battery and/or device produces a toxic waste product that, from a carbon footprint standpoint, may not be cost effective to actually recycle (it's labor, energy and chemically intensive process). So instead of a one-time expense of producing paper instructions that can last for decades, be produced in an efficient and environmentally neutral (if not friendly) way, and easily recycled, "going paperless" (and maintaining a server farm, potentially for decades, on the off chance that an old kits finds it way out of a warehouse and the new owner needs instructions) might actually be contributing to both solid waste and pollution depending on how extensively PDFs downloaded, how long the archive is maintained and actively they are being viewed. As for LEGO apps, I appreciate the idea from a business standpoint but have zero interest in them myself, will not let my daughter play with them, and, in general, I am hesitant to buy a set with an app tie-in. I have picked up a couple Hidden Side kits, because they were good kits all on their own and the price was right so I didn't feel like I was paying for an App I'd never download, but I've completely shunned the Powered-up Technic because the tag line "Smart device required, not included" on the box was a complete turn off. To me, Lego needs to be a complete experience in a box or have a damned good reason for being incomplete. Mindstorms has a reason; Spike barely has a reason (as we saw years ago with the barcode-based programmable brick, there are viable alternatives at the low end); a simple Technic 4x4, that could have been built ten years ago using a Power-functions train controller, does not. While I thought the Hidden Side kits were clever, the whole experiment with Augmented Reality (AR) was actually a bit of a turn off for me in much the same way that just having media tie-ins and backstories for minifigures/minidolls struct me as slippery slope. Traditionally, Lego has always fostered imaginative play and even in the early days of Lego Star Wars and Bionicle, things were open ended enough to allow for the seven year olds' answer to fan-fiction. Yes the character and the world was defined by the media tie-ins but there was wiggle room to imagine something new and a child's imagination was never "wrong." These days the AR apps and the tv show and video games risk constraining that imaginative play rather than encouraging it. I've heard kids correct each other and even start fights over characters and backstories ("no her name is...", "that's not how it goes...", "you're ruing the story, it supposed to be..." etc.) These tie-ins may be good marketing gimmicks, but give me good old fashioned open ended story-telling from a kids imagination any day. I don't want my daughter pointing a cell phone at a haunted house build and have a ghost appear on the screen, I want her to build the damned ghost, wave it around and say "oooh" all on her own if that's the story she wants to embrace. If she'd prefer a giraffe wearing a top-hat, so be it - but the app doesn't allow for that narrative. Lastly, I think the one issue people have overlooked up to this point in debating the evolution of the brand is timelessness. Give or take a bit of fading and mold variations, physical Lego bricks have over have over half a century of backwards compatibility and remain the backbone of why Lego has survived (and often prospered) for so long; their other ventures, not so much, particularly when it comes to hardware and (especially) software. I have train motors that are useless without metal track and a transformer/controller. I have Technic motors, battery boxes, cables, RCX controllers, bar code readers, EV3 controllers, sensors, IR remotes, bluetooth remotes; generation after generation of Lego Electronics that has each been rendered obsolete by its successor. The closest thing TLG has ever fielded to a future proofed electronic toy is the 2x3 self contained light brick and that's only because you can replace the battery with a standard hearing aid one. On the software side their historic offerings have proven to be even more short-lived. I have the Spielberg movie maker set. It came with a USB camera with a driver (that hasn't been maintained since Mac OS X came out) and software that even twenty year old VMs won't run. Remember Lego Universe, the MMOG that lasted all of a year and half? How about LDD, which had rough rollout in 2004 and by 2011 TLG announced plans to end-of-life it? Or Lego Click, a social media foray that makes MySpace look like Facebook by comparison? I'm not (really) mocking TLG for these failures. Software is just a very different business model for them. In manufacturing, most of your expense arise while trying to get a product onto a shelf (design, production, packaging, shipping, etc). Once it's on store shelves, it's all about revenues, not expenses. In software, 85 cents out of every dollar a publisher spends on code goes to maintaining a fielded product, and the more product lines you maintain, the more maintenance costs dilute your profit margins. It's a totally different calculus than what TLG usually works with and time and time again, failure to follow through on the maintenance is what has torpedoed TLG software offerings. That said, I'm not opposed to TLG having apps, so long as they are orthogonal to "brick-play," not on the critical path (unlike Powered-UP control+ software where the death of the app cripples the product). I used to be a Mac App developer and I can tell you, you've got to stay on top of the updates (on Apple's schedule, not your own) or Apple will delist you. Apps fall by the wayside with every IOS update and a lot of them end up as abandonware. TLG's track record when it comes to maintaining software does not inspire confidence in this environment. When I buy a Lego kit for myself, I know that I can pass it on to my daughter and she might even pass it on to here kids some day. If I buy software, well, sometimes it feels like its got a shorter shelf life than a jug of milk left out on the counter. The "Timelessness" of the Lego brand is not something TLG should risk compromising. Alright, I've wasted enough of everyone's time (including my own) thanks for reading if you've actually made it this far.
  14. ShaydDeGrai

    Do you buy old sets

    As in the old brickplate? 10x20, height of a brick but no tubes on the underside, just a couple ribs to keep the surface from deflecting in the middle? I've got a bunch of those around here somewhere, mostly green, white and blue (though I think mine were the Samsonite versions)... Haven't seen them in years but I know I wouldn't have gotten rid of them. Boy this takes me back to the days when all set numbers only had three digits and it was considered "legal" to wedge a plate on edge between studs to make SNOT builds (or headlights and pony ears). Now _I_ feel old.
  15. ShaydDeGrai

    Do you buy old sets

    I've got sets from 25 years ago I haven't gotten around to opening yet so I don't really go out of my way to buy "old" sets. And even when I do pick up something that is out of production, I don't pay extra for it (i.e. set speculators/scalpers don't make any money off of me, for all my Lego spending, I'm a cheapskate at heart). Quite the opposite really, when I do buy out of production sets, it's usually because I've stumbled upon them in some out of the way store where the price has been lowered because they've been taking up shelf-space for so long / used to be in the front window and box has faded / etc. Back when there was a KB Toys chain, they used to be a great resource for picking up (reasonably long, 2-3 years) discontinued sets at dirt cheap prices. Sometimes I could even get "make me an offer" discounts from the store manager by asking if they had anything gathering dust in the back room. I remember finding a cache of old 7194 Yoda statue kits (many with ripped, punctured and/or water damaged boxes but intact with unopened bags inside) for a small fraction of the original $100 price tag. At the time, tan and sand green bricks were still something of a rarity (at least in quantity and variety) so I bought them all just for the parts. Just before COVID shut everything down, I happened to be slightly of the beaten track in upstate Maine and came across a store with half dozen copies of 31070 Turbo Track Racer, discounted to $35 (about 40% below MSRP) . I bought the lot. You might be thinking "what's the big deal, it's just a Creator 3-in-1 set?" but the windscreen from that car only ever appeared in one other set ( 10248 Ferrari F40, though that version has red printing on it) and, currently, Bricklink only has has 16 vendors selling that particular _part_, and they are all asking over $50 for it - not the SET, just the windscreen part. I don't know if either example really qualifies as buying "old sets" in the way you were thinking as I don't think of these kits as rare collector's items. They are just discount parts to me that started off as kits (and often kits I already own because I bought them up when they were new) I _do_ have a few items I've picked up on my discontinued, discount Lego shopping sprees that I just don't have the heart to part out (like 10194 Emerald Night ) and have left MISB because I liked the original model so much.