Wednesday, 13 November 2013

So. That 'Technic only' rule...

As I’ve mentioned before, the only way I can keep this Lego habit of mine down to reasonable proportions is to restrict it to just Technic.  Ok, I’ve drifted once or twice, usually with Star Wars stuff, but that’s allowed.

Because it’s Star Wars.

Rewind to last Christmas.  I think Lego had hit my radar about November time, which is why Mrs Boo ended up buying me the Supercar that started all this off.  Anyway - a friend at work mentioned that she and her husband had bought the Lego Star Wars Advent calendar.  The reason she mentioned this was because she’d opened that day’s window, had built whatever it was she had to build that day, and was still none the wiser as to what it was supposed to be.  A bit of googling and I was able to tell her that it was an MTT, or Multi-Troop Transport, from Episode 1 : The Phantom Menace.

Although it looked like a small, brown dog to me.

After a couple of days of this, I began to get the itch for an Advent calendar of my own.  Of course, searching high and low revealed that absolutely everywhere had sold out, and unless I wanted to pay scalper prices on ebay, then I wasn’t having one.

I didn’t, and I wasn’t.

Fast forward 12 months, and I wouldn’t be making the same mistake again.  A visit to John Lewis at Brent Cross to look for fabric for new sofa covers (1), and I ended up in the toy department.  There’s a valid reason for this.  We have a new office policy at work, which means that we have to clear our desks every night and put all our stuff in a locker.  Now this was proving to be hassle, due to the large number of ‘bits’ that live on my desk (2).  So I’d spotted that a few people had these large Lego brick containers that happened to be a perfect fit for the lockers.  

And I ended up purchasing one.

It's a big Lego brick.  For putting stuff in.

And while I was there, I spotted the Star Wars Advent calendar.  Not, as previously mentioned, wanting to miss out again, that went on the pile.  And I also picked up a second 42010 Off-Road Racer and 42011 Race Car (3).

But the important thing was the Advent calendar.  And it’s sitting in a cupboard upstairs, just waiting for December the 1st.

Christmas is coming!

(Image courtesy of

Meanwhile, some other bits and bobs have crept into the house.  I swear I have no idea how they get here.

Well.  Maybe a bit of an idea…

We were over in Watford a few weeks back, for some reason that now escapes me, but while my beloved was off investigating nail polish, or hand cream or something, I had time for a quick mooch round the Lego in John Lewis.  It’s interesting (4) how quickly you get to know the RRP for things, and also what the going rate is on Amazon.  So when you find, say, an 8293 Power Functions set on offer, and discount means 47% off the original price, well - you know you’d be a fool to miss it.

So I didn’t.

And when, a while later, you see that JL are matching a competitor’s price on the 42006 Technic Excavator, and that with discount, it’s another set that’s virtually half price, well it would be silly not to buy one for the parts box.

The next couple, courtesy of an event at the Watford Lego Store, were not quite so serendipitous. (5)  To cut a long story short, I recently built the Architecture set, Fallingwater, and have since become really quite keen on some (not all!) of the Architecture line.  So it was I walked out with the Villa Savoye.

21014 : Architecture Series, Villa Savoye

(Image courtesy of

And as it’s nearly Christmas, a ‘Decorating the Tree’.

Decorating the Tree, Lego style

(Image courtesy of

Which brings us up to date.


Some months ago, Lego released the set 21050, Architecture Studio.  This is (to be blunt) a rather overpriced box of white bricks and trans-clear parts.  The big selling point (for me anyway), is that included in the box is a rather nice book, created in collaboration with some major Architect's studios around the world, which gives you ideas and suggestions.  Different architectural styles.  Use of space.  Repeating elements.

It is not a set to build any particular model, but to let the inner architect in you play about.
Yes, you could do this with any old bunch of Lego bricks, but there’s something about this set that called to me.

Unfortunately, Lego saw fit that I shouldn’t have it.

It was not available in the UK, and there didn’t seem to be any plans to make it available here.  I mailed the ever helpful customer services team at Lego UK, who thanked me for my interest and told me that no, I couldn’t order it from the US Lego site.

Oh well.  Your loss is Amazon’s gain.  I’ve ordered Lego from them before (the Imperial Shuttle, for example).  Off to the website.

And there it is for (gulp) $149.99.  Place in basket, checkout and…

"There appears to be a problem with your order."

Er, no there doesn’t.

"Yes, yes there is.  We don’t ship to that address."

Presumably because it’s a UK address.

I’ve tried about half a dozen times over the past few months to order this set, in case they’ve relented, and decided to start selling things to people who want to buy them, but to no avail.

Eventually, last week, I got fed up, and mailed Amazon’s Customer Service desk in the USA.  I explained the situation, and wondered why, exactly, they wouldn’t sell it to me.

“Sometimes,” they said “we don’t ship stuff overseas.”

They put it rather more eloquently (and indeed long-windedly) than that, but they were very polite all the same.

The very next day, presumably because they thought it was funny, they sent me one of those emails that suggests things you might like to buy, based on your browsing history.

“Have you considered,” they asked, “the 21050 Lego Architecture Studio?  We reckon that would be right up your street.”


Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I added the set to my basket and tried to check out, just to prove to myself that they were heartless bastards with an evil sense of humour.

But wait!  What’s this?

Confirm order...

Confirm order?

Confirm order!!!

Hell yes, I’ll confirm that!

I spent the next 24 hours waiting for an email to drop into my inbox saying either:

a) "We’re very sorry, we appear to have made a mistake, and we’re having to cancel this order."  Or,

b)  "Sucker!  You didn’t really think we’d let you have it, did you?"

But no!  48 hours later I did get an email.

“Your order has shipped.”

/does a little dance

And when I got home yesterday, the courier company had dropped a parcel off with my neighbours.  And now I’m sitting here looking at a rather swish box.

Lego 21050 Architecture Studio.  At last!

(Image courtesy of

I haven’t even opened it yet.  It took me long enough to get hold of it.

I’m going to savour this one...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(1) See!  I do buy grown up things on occasion.  Well.  I accompany my wife and make approving noises at her choice of fabric, but it amounts to much the same thing.

(2) Photo of my lovely wife.  Mug with pencils and pens in.  Scissors.  Stapler.  Paper hankies.  Ink for my fountain pen, you know the sort of stuff.

(3) I may have already mentioned this.  You can combine the two sets to make a dragster.  But that would involve messing the parts of the two sets up, which makes me twitchy.  So I picked up the second sets specifically to build the larger model, while keeping the originals neatly separate.  It keeps me happy.

(4) Sad.

(5) Not serendipitious at all.  Planned.  Well, sort of planned.  I knew I was going, just didn’t know what I was going to buy.

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