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Set Review - Bricktober Theater 40180

Move over Star Wars, Bricktober is here.  Time to fire up the shield generators and mosey into my local Toys'R'Confused.  Rarely do I make it out of there without an incident.  This time was no different.  All the buzz was that this year Bricktober would be different.  It used to was, you'd spend $60 on overpriced items and get the week's set for free.  This year would be different!  This year you could just buy the set for $20 which is still inflated.  I saw three. period. on the shelf and grabbed one plus an ARC-170 poly.

I saw another guy with a few in his cart and made conversation.  He mentioned also that if you were a Rewards'R'Mediocre member, you could spend $20 and get the Pumpkin poly for free.  Great, I had $23.98 in my hand so I grabbed the Jack o' Lantern as an orange parts pack.

Cue the cash register.  Stacy was very helpful and I can't fault her for her part.  First, the Bricktober set came up as unsaleable (had to buy $75 worth starting Oct 5; well why is it on the shelf then?; I don't know, Margo!) but she got a manager to override that.  Second, the Pumpkin deal was only valid with a coupon that you had to print out online.  She let me use a store computer to log in to my rewards account but, alas, nothing would come of it.  So I left the pumpkin behind.  Stacy also tried to get me to buy some S12 minifigs that were up at the counter but I passed.  She mentioned that she really wanted the pizza guy.  So while I was waiting for the Computer'R'Us to think about letting me log in, I committed mass packomancy and found her dream guy for her.

For the set itself, I'm pleasantly impressed.  The build techniques were similar to, though more basic than, the Mini Modulars.  The model is built on a 6x8 plate (not 8x8) and is about 2/3 the size of its cousins.  This should be obvious by the piece count.  Not to mention that a couple dozen pieces were used in the construction of two micro vehicles.  The theater is a nice subtle art deco appearance with detail on all four sides.  Nice touch.  The vehicles are what I would consider to be boilerplate.  One looks like an SUV or a limousine or something.  The other looks like a pickup truck.  Confusing is the use of a trans clear 1x2 plate on the bottom of the vehicles.  Unless you are Lennie Small, it's not that hard to set the vehicles down and scoot them around without stressing the chassis.  But mostly the trans-clear plate just makes the vehicles look like they are floating or perhaps a game piece.  Completely unnecessary.  Which is good because I hoard those trans-clear plates by the hundreds.

At first blush, 12c per piece for a less than Micro Modular quality set seems high.  Especially since almost all of the pieces have less volume than a 1x2 brick.  There are 164 pieces and 15 extras.  For a total of 164 advertised pieces I would like to pay $15.99.  Include the extras and I might be willing to push a little higher.  But remember set 10230, Mini Modulars?  This was a set with 1355 pieces for only $79.99 or 6c apiece.  Based on this scenario, and adding in a slight price increase, $9.99 should have been a more reasonable price for this set, maybe $12.99 tops.

But add the Bricktober factor, the exclusive merchant factor, and the fact that it's TRU factor and TLG has a solid case for a sturdy markup.  Even though they are supposed to be free with a $75 purchase and you can price match to Target et. al., that just means you need to buy $90 worth of TRU sets just to get your price match at $75.  Every week.  Or just go early, grab the set, and have them override for a straight purchase.

For a collector and micro builder such as myself, I'll purchase them all with a little sigh, knowing I'm bending over every time.  For the random person who doesn't care as much, you can easily build these with pieces from your own collection or a small BrickOwl/Bricklink order.   But the part out value of the Theater is oddly enough, near $19.  Still better than the grey market prices for the set.

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