On the old site I used to do a semi regular feature, well the occassional article regarding Bricklinking retired LEGO sets you can look at the old articles here. When I use the terminology Bricklinking, it means using the originial parts list and then using Bricklink to source the parts. The first set I did using this method was UCS AT-ST back in 2013 and since January last year I have been very slowly obtaining parts for the first ever modular building Cafe Corner.
Now to buy a MISB one of these will currently set you back a minimum of £1,000, now I have a limited LEGO budget with other things taking priority as many AFOL’s can relate to, so spending that amount on one set just isn’t going to happen. I could go down the second hand route but you never know what quality the set is going to be in when it is arrived and even if you are willing to take that risk you are still looking at spending over £400. Still way too much. This then leaves the 3rd option and that is sourcing the elements and building it from PDF instructions found online.
The good thing for me as a LEGO fan I’m not bothered about the box or instructions, boxes are put in the bin and instructions are put in a box in the attic, so working from a PDF is not a problem for me, it also reduces the cost of the set. with instructions going for over £100! .
Now personally I set myself a very strict set of rules when I start a Bricklink project as follows;
- Parts must be new
- All parts must be the same colour per the inventory on Bricklink.
- To source as many parts from UK sellers as possible.
I know others are happy to subsitute parts for cheaper colours, different elements but my point of view it isn’t the same set then, so can of defeats the purpose. So last year I slowly started sourcing parts. I decided to do break down the build one floor at a time. The ground floor was completed by last July. The cost of building the ground floor was £69.53. For those wondering the expensive parts for this floor was as follows (current prices in brackets):
- 73312 Black Door 1 x 4 x 5 Right with 6 Panes (£8.47)
- 30179 Black Door Frame 1 x 4 x 6 Type 1 (£2.93)
- 3308 Dark Blue Brick, Arch 1 x 8 x 2 (£2.20)
- 73435c01 Light Bluish Gray Door 1 x 4 x 5 Right with Trans-Clear Glass (36.70)
- 3680 Light Bluish Gray Turntable 2 x 2 Plate, Base (£5.62)
It’s worth mentioning I was lucky to be given the black door from a friend who had a spare. Also don’t confuse Black Door Frame 1 x 4 x 6 Type 1 with Type 2, as I had two sellers send me wrong ones. Make sure if you want the proper version to message the seller first and check. The difference is as follows; Type 1 has a center ridge on the inside top and sides and four holes on top and bottom. Type 2 has two levels on the inside top and sides and two holes on top and bottom.
I then moved onto the first floor, this is when the project ground to a stand still for a few months. It wasn’t till Feb of this year that the 1st floor was completed. The cost of the project also shot up big style. I used my Xmas money and ordered the majority over the Xmas period, in all it took me over 30 orders to get the parts. It wasn’t helped by no responsive sellers and two sellers cocking up their orders. The most expensive element for this floow was;
- 2362b White Panel 1 x 2 x 3 – Hollow Studs (£4.10)
In total the 20 panels I required cost me a whopping £78.58 including posting and packaging! I also had obtained the 3 minifigures £12.27, it turned out to be cheapr to source the individual body parts then buying a complete minifigure so that brought cost down. Then it was on to the roof which was the final floor. I completed this last month, my main issue with this floor was the majority of parts had to be sourced from other countries meaning the costs went up. The most expensive element for the roof was:
- 4132 White Window 2 x 4 x 3 Frame (£6.53)
The roof cost me over £100 due to shipping from the States etc, in total the entire build cost me approx £370 to build over an 18 month period. All the parts are exact to the inventory list and all bought brand new, so while not cheap it was still cheaper then buying a 2nd hand set which was the originial aim.
I probably could have gotten it cheaper as a couple of times made a mistake when ordering, I had to re-order parts due to quality issues or wrong elements sent, plus for my next project I will look at trying to source as many parts from one seller in one bulk order to bring costs down.
I love my Cafe Corner and I will get it reviewed in the very near future but I am not finished with it yet. I want to add the interior to it and have already started designing the inside of the ground floor. I also want to add at least one more floor for more hotel rooms, you can see how far build techinques have come on since 2007. Would I recommend Bricklinking a set? Hell yes but only do it if you want it to be like it is out of the box, if not then it’s a pointless excerise.
So what’s next for me, well it will be 10190-1 Market Street, a Factory modular building. This is one that some people don’t include in the modular line as it’s a fan designed set but for me it was the next one, so going to start sourcing parts for this set as soon as I have done the ground floor interior of Cafe Corner.