Memory Lane: Rise from the Ashes

In various states, I have a lot of old LEGO maps and building books. When you are 5 or 6, you are not really concerned about keeping them in pristine condition at all – more for the fact that they are there to be used, so if something gets a tear, then of course Mum or Dad will fix it.

Fast forward 35+ years (no, I am not going tell you how old I am – how very dare you……….), and this brings a tear to my eye a tad.


As an example, I used to have loads of Matchbox SuperKings cars which I used to re-enact the A-Team, The Professionals, CHiPs, Dukes of Hazzard, anything you could think of, with a car chase/crash. And they were given a right good beating. Submerging in water, re-painted with Tamiya modelling paint, dropped from height, parts snapped off, windscreens broken – they were subjected to horrific abuse.


When I got back from my world travels and finally got an office job and bit of cash, I had to get karma and I started to trawl through ebay looking at the exact models that I owned – and stated to buy them mint and boxed. I was paying a silly amount of money for some of them – 3-4 times the original selling price, but once received in the post, I felt really good. It was like I had to buy them to say sorry for smashing them up in the first place.


OK, now once again you might be thinking what on earth has this got to do with LEGO as he has gone off on one again with toy cars. Well, then same can apply to old LEGO maps. And thankfully they were somehow kept all these years when they could have easily been binned.


But the maps I have got are not in a good condition at all. I attempted to keep them together with Cellotape, but 30 odd years later, they are just peeling off and any damage is re-appearing and splits and cracks once again surfacing. But rather than go and search for mint condition copies on ebay and such, I have decided to do a modern repair job – using clear Scotch Tape.


Now this came into full effect when I recently bought a job lot via a Farcebook seller, Nicola Heston who kindly threw in a whole load of historic maps to boot. Manna from Heaven as a bit of a LEGO historian in me got all excited at the prospect of looking at sets from yesteryear. But some of them were in a right mangled state. Torn on half, rips, all over the shop – as from the photos below. Some of the pieces were totally missing, nothing really that can be done about that.


Cellotape just does not work anymore as a patching method, BUT using 3M’s clear Scotch Tape, this helped get all the rips and tears fixed to a reasonable state and restore the maps to a useable standard. Workable and clear to use, models can be once again be built as intended.

Call it LEGO karma, I do quite enjoy doing this. It can take a very long time and to some can seem a little pointless when one can download the PDF off the interweb at any stage. But there is something really cool and warm about holding an instruction map for a given set rather than look at a copy on a computer screen.

I have a few to “repair”, but I will aim to show the efforts once the maps are patched up.


My name is Keith and I am a AFOL. Currently an expat living out in Basel, CH, but have a firm footing back in the UK when time permits. I have had had Lego ever since I can remember - and only until my wee one came along have I re-kindled the flame for building again. I also run, a resource site for the 1-75 series of miniatures by Matchbox. There are only three themes that I am get/collect (finances permitting) - City, Creator (Advanced and Expert) as well as the classic Star Wars sets from Eps IV to VI (anything else does not exist). I also keep an eye in Europe with ample chance to see how France, Germany and Switzerland market and offer LEGO.

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