Wednesday, 28 August 2013

As Doris Rowland said in 1975…

“The difference between men and boys… the price of their toys.”

I do wonder, sometimes, just who the top end Lego sets are aimed at.  I’ve got a Technic flagship shaped itch that needs scratching in the shape of the 42009 Mobile Crane Mk II, but rather than rushing out and buying it, as I am wont to do, I’m actually pausing for thought. (1)  

Because it’s £150!

One. Hundred. And. Fifty. Pounds.

Technic 42009 Mobile Crane MkII.  £150 worth of 'I want!'

(Image courtesy of

Now I know the world’s changed since I were a lad etc etc, and before we go all sepia-toned Hovis advert, I know that £150 isn’t the life changing amount that it once was (2), but even so, it’s a lot of money for a toy.

And in this age of instant gratification, I don’t know many children with the willpower to save up that amount of cash.  I mean, what’s the going rate for pocket money these days?  I have no children, so I have no idea.  Hang on...

To the search engine!

Well, according to a recent article in the Telegraph, the average pocket money for a 12 year old (which is a reasonable demographic for this particular set) is £7.88 per week. 

Now if we assume some of that will go on sweets and crisps and whatever it is that 12 year olds can’t get through the week without, then let’s say our young friend will be doing well to save £2.50 a week.  Thus we can deduce that it would take 60 weeks without falling off the wagon to raise the appropriate moolah. (3)

And no child has that kind of iron will.  And quite frankly, with a 60 week timeframe they’d better have started saving straight away, otherwise the set will have gone EOL by the time they’ve raised the funds.

So if it’s not practical to buy the set themselves, then it’s either Bank of Mum & Dad, or Bank of Gran and Grandad that’s footing the bill.  Many savvy youngsters will strike up a ‘for every pound I put in, will you match it?’ type arrangement with their parents.  They’re not stupid.  These are the kids that will have a nice fat pension fund when they retire with that kind of financial acumen. (4)

I was about to make the point that it’s Technic, and so there’s a strong chance that many of these sets will, in fact, be bought by adults like myself, who can afford the occasional splurge on a luxury item such as this.  But then again, there are as many non-Technic sets that go for this sort of money, and indeed more!

The Ewok Village set, from The Return Of The Jedi, for example, will be released fairly soon, and that’s an eye-watering £199.99.  And while there will be any number of 40-something Star Wars buffs who will be in the queue on release day, it looks like a whole bundle of fun to play with, and so there will be just as many young Lego fans who are after it too.

The 10236 Ewok Village.  I've had holidays that cost less.

(Image courtesy of

I would not wish to be the parent of a junior Lego builder.  To those of you that are, I feel sorry for your purses and wallets!

Meanwhile, as the voiceover guy use to say at least three times in any given episode of Batman (5), at the other end of the price range...

Some time ago I wrote of the embarrasment that I endured while buying a copy of The Sun every day for a week, in order to get some free (ish) Lego polybags.  It was one of these ‘buy the paper, cut out the tokens, send them off and then wait for a random selections of sets to drop through your letterbox’ type arrangement.

Well last week there was a similar sort of thing, only this time instead of The Sun, it was everybody’s favourite crazy paper, The Daily Mail.  And the advantage this time was that the polybags were there in store.  You just had to go to WH Smith, buy the paper for 60p and (in the case of the shop that I went to) rip the token out of the paper there and then, and hey presto!  One polybag.

Well.  Six actually.

I actually read the paper once or twice, for old times’ sake.  My late parents used to get it every day, and quite frankly it hasn’t changed a bit.  Not long ago, someone released this t-shirt…

That just about sums it up!

But back to my polybag haul, and it was, by anyone’s standards, a good mix.  We had :

The 30260 Lone Ranger Pump Car

The 30240 Star Wars Z-95 Headhunter

The 30105 Friends Mailbox

The 30222 City Police Helicopter

The 30108 Friends Summer Picnic

The 30251 Chima Winzar's Pack Patrol

(All images courtesy of

Not actually sure what I’m going to do with them at the moment, but I’m sure they’ll come in handy for something.
It did make me realise that I’ve been collecting for a while now, however, when I picked up the Helicopter and realised that I already had one from a promotion earlier in the year.
My first double!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(1) I suspect I won’t pause too long, but I am nevertheless, pausing a bit.  

(2) No kidding.  I remember when petrol was 70p a gallon.  Now it costs £100 to fill our car up. 

(3) Think of the temptation!  After 30 weeks, you’d have £75!  There is no way, that as a 12 year old, I could have had £75 without wanting to run out and blow it on something unsuitable.

(4)  Children.  If you are reading this, take note.  It is never too early to start a pension!

(5) And when I say Batman, I’m talking about Adam West.  While both Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan might have rebooted the franchise in their own way, for many people of my vintage, the campfest that was the 60’s TV series, starring West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo will still be the benchmark.
Plus they had the best Batmobile. 

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