Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lego Collectibles

People can make any Lego product collectible, but Lego has a few items that are intentionally geared toward collectors.

They first experimented with the collector's market with the Bionicle masks in the first line or two. Then they offered an exclusive train engine with a limited number of uniquely printed tiles (this might be more of a limited edition item, but collectors devoured the unique tile sets as fast as they could).

The next big collector's item was the gold chrome C3P0.

Now we have a black Mind Storms NTX and a black chrome Darth Vader.

In the case of the NTX, at least collectors can order the item for a limited time. However, the C3P0 and the Darth Vader are a different beast all together. These are not only very rare, but very difficult to get a hold of. I don't remember how the C3P0 was parcled out, but I remember the community did not like it. The black chrome Darth Vader is randomly packaged in a $40 dollar set. Multiple purchases, of course, increase your chances of "winning".

What is the point of these chrome Star Wars minifigs? If anything, the vast majority of Lego Star Wars collectors are only going to be mad at not having a fair shot at getting one. I'm all for limited editions and some hard-to-find collectibles but these items are insanely difficult to find. Just a few weeks ago I saw the C3P0 on Bricklink going for $300 at the low end. I've heard that the Darth Vader is already going for upwards of $75. Once the supplies are gone, that price will only go up.

Collectors are more than willing to pay reasonable amount of money for limited editions such as these. If Lego would produce more of them and offer them for $25-$30 on thier own website, I'm confident that they would make a profit. And, since they are willing to randomly put into production rare chrome colors, we could see an entire line of chrome minifigs. How about silver R2D2? White chrome storm troopers? Red chrome guards? Maybe some more ships with chrome highlights. And since were on the topic of collectibles, how about some trans blue ghost figures?

Maybe Lego can't sell the individual minifigures at all because of the Hasbro agreement with Lucas Arts, no problem! Just add a few bricks to each figure for a diorama pack. Lego is already doing that anyway to get around the agreement.

It just doesn't make any sense to go from the extremely common shelf items to the extremely rare chrome minifigs with nothing in between. The common collector is left to either drown in product or starve for it. Give them a fighting chance for crying out loud!

Afterall, since Lego has to make a new mold for any current part they intend to chrome over because of the added thickness that the chrome adds to the part, they might as well make a profit from the effort. Otherwise, it is just wasted time and resources squandered.

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