Thursday, 27 June 2013

How I came out of "My LEGO Dark Age"

Back in late 2009, after almost two days of labor, my lovely wife Tash gave birth to our second child and our first son Jaspa. Our almost 3 year old daughter Chloe was waiting out side with her Grandparents and my best mate Ty. I could hear Chloe out in the corridor and she was eager for her first glance of her little baby brother. She came in bright eyed and with the biggest smile I have ever seen on her chubby little face. I knew at that moment our family was now complete! The pigeon pair as they say.

As a massive Star Wars geek I was eager to share that world with Jaspa as I had done with Chloe.
Back in 1999 and 2000 I started to buy the new LEGO Star Wars sets, but I wasn't buying them because it was LEGO, I was buying them because they had Star Wars on and in them.
Fast forward to 2010 and my passion for all things Star Wars was on shaky ground. A few things at that time had got my "chest up" with the franchise. The retcon of the Mandalorians for the back then new "Clone Wars" cartoon really pissed me off and took me over the edge! I had vested time in the Karen Traviss Republic Commando book series as well as the Legacy of the Force books, where I really enjoyed the whole Mandalorian history that Karen was creating; then came the Clone Wars and stuffed all that up!

The set that started it all!!
But I digress... I think it was mid 2009 when we found out that Tash was pregnant with our second child and that it was going to be a boy! By this stage my mate Ty was gearing up to join the Police Force and he had mentioned that he had seen a 7744: Police Headquarters and how cool it looked. I agreed! So a couple of days later my wife comes home with the very set we were talking about. She said it was only $89 at Big W and she thought it would be cool to have a little Uncle Ty LEGO Police Minifigure... I must admit I did have a little chuckle. (In hind sight, I bet my wife wished she never did it) :-)

So a few days later Ty comes over and we show him that we had got the set. He too laughed but was pumped to build the thing.
Later that night after Chloe went to bed we sat down at the table and opened the box. We separated the numbered bags and we each built a section: Tash built the vehicle; Ty built the main police station and I built the jail cells. I remember being amazed at the little details of the toilet and even the toilet roll, lol. I loved the little beds and the pop out back wall so the criminals could escape. I also remember how excited Ty was about the boom gate and Tash getting frustrated because of her long finger nails getting in the way.

Once it was all done I knew I was hooked! I got the bug! I must have more!
By the end of the first week we had all the Police theme. By the second week I was on-line looking at what else there was out there... that was a mistake!! I found that there was a whole community out there dedicated to the addictive little plastic brick. The more I found the more I wanted. being into Star Wars and collecting Hasbro toys I knew all about how out of control it will get, but it didn't stop me. I even started using the kids as an excuse to buy more lol. Within months I found a store located in Maffra, called Bricks to the World that had a lot of older sets that were not in local stores anymore! I discovered that there was a recently new style of building, called "Modular" and I was instantly drawn to them. So one day I sat down with the wife and made a list of what we would like to purchase and boy what a list it was! After the list was completed we contacted them with our order, we planned our 4 hour drive and headed on over to their home store...
Oh was I in heaven! I had never seen so much LEGO in one spot in my life. After spending over an hour looking at different sets we ended up with even more than what was on our wanted list.
The real problem was getting it all home... the boot was full, the back seat was full, it was on Tash's lap, you couldn't see Chloe for all the LEGO in the back seat, it was everywhere! After a few rearrangements we managed to fit it all in and make our 4 hour trek back home. Once home I started to build them and even now I have yet to finish building all those we had brought that day.

I got to thinking about all my sets that I used to have as a kid. My old 80's space and Town sets as well as some pirates sets. So I rang up my folks to see if they could go find it and sure enough they had it all stored up in their attic. They brought it over the next time they came to visit and I immediately started going through it. I found a lot of broken pieces, no complete sets, heaps of minifigs missing and a ton of yellowed pieces :-(
I was kinda bummed about it at first but soon understood that they were 20+ years old and up in the roof exposed to all the extreme temperatures up there. I still had all the older Star Wars sets and they are all in perfect condition, but since coming back to LEGO I think I have only ever bought about 10 Star wars sets. For some reason I'm not all that keen on them as I already have them all displayed in the Hasbro action figure vehicle versions; so I kept away from that line.

With all the sets that LEGO continue to make, my list never gets shorter, it only gets longer and now my wife blames herself as well as Ty (for mentioning it) and for starting this mad obsession that I have. The line that I hear with every purchase now is: "where are you going to put that set?" and I'll say: "I'll make room... I always do" :-)

Now that the kids are older and understand what they want and like, the collection has grown even more. Chloe loves her Friends sets. Jaspa is into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and just like his Father, all of the Super Heroes line. Tash has really gotten into the Collectable Minifigures, Harry Potter and also the Monsters themes. Me? Well... pretty much everything that has a Stud on and in it.
Now whenever we go to the toy section and I have the kids in tow, if they see any LEGO set they like I have no problem saying yes... :-) because at the end of the day I get to help build it with them or they get to help build it when I get something new... because after all its for the kids ;-)

If you have read this far... Thank you! I hope my story of how I came out of my dark age was as entertaining as it was for me in sharing it with you.

Thank you again for your time... till next time...

Tan Tile signing off...

1 comment:

  1. I’ve always been besotted with little buildings.
    First there was Builda-Brix- which is essentially Lego, except there are farless pieces, and they don’t stick together: you have to engineer the structures, even if you’re a little boy.
    There are are several achievements I remember with “Bilda Brix”. First, I built an arch:when the bricks don’t stick together, this is something of an accomplishment.
    Next, I built what one might describe as a “Turing Machine”: you’ll have to look that one up on Wikipedia, it must be there. This was a machine that built objects- clusters of bricks in a specific pattern- as you pushed and pullled a set of blocks in and out. Could you do this with Lego? In theory, yes, but in practice, no: “Bilda Brix” fell together with the forceof gravity; Lego locks together so well ... that even with the kitchen knife, some blocks will never, ever, be separated.
    There was also “Bayko” ... you can Google or otherwise check this out on the Internet as well.
    “Bayko” is a child’s building system with a challenge: either you need to know what you’re building, from ground-level up: or you need to know how to follow ... plans. You plant the rods in, and slide the bricks down between them. It’s actually more realistic than Lego: but much more challenging.
    ‘Bayko” only provided 8-block rods: bicycle spokes shot that up to 15; and, leaving the technical details aside, three levels of these produced a tower 42 “bricks” high ...we also used ths stuff to make mazes .. for what we called “ Chtistmas Beetles”.
    Beyond that, were both Lego, and the rather wonderful Miniature buildings ... produced all over Northern Europe.