Modular madness – starting my collection

Getting back into LEGO has not been an easy ride on the wallet. Up to 2012, I used to spend a large amount on diecast which is still a big part of me and a hobby.

I resisted for some period of time not to buy any of the Modular buildings. They looked wonderful and more to the point they are minifigure scaled, so this really struck a chord with me as a person that grew up on LEGOLAND Town. Just a bit more detailed than usual, which to a diecast collector like myself ticks all the boxes – granularity in miniature.

The Café Corner, Market Place and Green Grocer sets (2005 – 2007) have now all become modular legends for the fact that these are very sought after models and now must have’s as part of any modular collection. Due to this, prices for these sets on the aftermarket have just gone through the roof. What was originally sold for £119, is now north of £500. And that is not even a MIB! Recent media reports suggest that investing in LEGO is a far better bet than putting your money in the bank – a MIB Café Corner is being touted for best part of £1500 upwards. Utter madness.

It was about a year ago when I finally cracked and got the Fire Brigade modular from the local department store even though it was a retired set – and then it just sprung on from there, with a dangerous obsession to get the lot. So inch by inch, I looked to acquire all the modulars that I could get hold off that were currently available via the interweb. It was fairly easy to do and I am glad that I did as some of these sets have been quickly retired.

Richard here on BF has documented his journey into modulars through the purchase of the newer sets as well as Bricklinking the older ones.  This can be a very laborious process, one that requires patience. I just don’t have the time nor patience to do this – it would drive me insane. Now some people say you have rocks in your head or more money than sense to pay such prices as I have mentioned. I simply cannot afford to do so – it is a ridiculous sum of money to pay for LEGO. But there is one thing I learned being a collector of diecast – and that is not to let an opportunity pass by. There have been so many times where I have missed out on a casting as did not strike whilst the iron was hot. Likewise I have also grabbed some fantastic bargains (An example: 1/18 scale car by AutoArt was bought for £35 inc P&P back in 2006. Now the minimum price for the same model going on sale would be around £120 not including P&P – see what I mean?)

Therefore I had to trawl the pages of ebay to see if I could one at a reasonable price. MIB was not really an option, so a loose set would suffice. I will be clear – my credit card is not having a good time at the moment. And neither is my allowance for personal spend. But this had to be done. And £1500 later (yes, that is right, £1500) I managed to get hold of three of the most sought after sets – Café Corner, Green Grocer and Market Place. Now whilst some may just baulk at the price, consider that each of these sets could go for £1500 each when MIB – I don’t think I have done too badly. It would have been far cheaper to Bricklink it, no question. But as I have mentioned, the effort for me to do so was too great – so thus I decided to pay the premium via ebay. Some may think it is a poor choice, when I could have easily saved a few quid, but I do believe I have saved on time. Which is one of the most precious commodities to have at the moment.

Following a certain theme can be a very expensive hobby to say the least. I look at disbelief at the volume of Friends sets out at the moment – there are tons of the stuff. And if I had a daughter, I am sure that I would go hell for leather and look to acquire the whole lot just in case. In the case of the Creator modular sets, those coming into the hobby will have to also part with a huge wedge if they are after completeness. This applies to me as it would have grated me not to have all the sets only piecemeal. Hence the huge outlay. But soft ! That is it – the task has been done and I now longer need to have that thought in the back of my mind on when I will be able to acquire them at some stage.

However, having built a few of these Modular’s I have to say that it is ultimately satisfying – the level of detail each year gets more and more intricate and the building techniques mind blowing. Stuff you would not even think of doing until you see how the build unfolds.

I intend to document my musings here on BF as I am sure that Richard will do so as well. It is an addiction once you get started.



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.

2 thoughts on “Modular madness – starting my collection

  • 29/11/2015 at 23:13

    I have gone down the bricklink route for the older sets, (CC& GG) just need to start on Market Street in the new year. After picking up the Brick Bank of course!

  • 28/11/2015 at 20:11

    Nice article! This last month has seen me pick up my first modular. I doubt I’ll be chasing down the old ones but with another still available in the shops and the bank on the way, I think it’s safe to say I’m hooked!


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