Showing posts with label Modulars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Modulars. Show all posts

LEGO Techniques - Building a Green Grocer 10185

My rebuilding posts seem to be growing in popularity. It's one of the few series where I am actively getting requests. At Bricks Cascade this last weekend, Ben asked me if I could analyze the Green Grocer. It's one of the sets he missed out on but the aftermarket prices are a little steep. Not nearly as bad as, say, the Millenium Falcon, but still around $1000.

If you still aren't familiar with using BrickStock, hit up the Falcon post (link above) to see a brief tutorial at the beginning of that article. For the rest of you, let's dive in!


Open up BrickStock and load in the Green Grocer. Get the value of the parts (Ctrl-A, Ctrl-G), then get the most expensive to the top (click, click). Notice that the parts value is already at $758, roughly a quarter less than purchasing one. Maybe we could have something here.

The panel can be changed to the new variant with side supports. However, this will slightly change the look of the Palladian window on the third floor. Two of the original panels cost over $17. Two of the new variants will be $0.13.

The next spendy item is the 1x2x3 train window. I don't even know the point of using the train style. The features of it are turned to the inside and no glass is used. My assumption is that the flat front 1x2x3 window was not produced until after this set was designed. In that case, change the train window to a 60593 and save about $32 on all four pieces.

Per my previous posts, you might know that I strike the figs from these sets. If you are recreating for resale, then you'll want them in. If this is a display piece, you'll either not care what the figs look like or you may not use them. $26 saved if you choose not to use them. If you're cutting the figs, you could cut the cat too at $2.75.

As with the Cafe Corner, two 16x32 baseplates are unnecessary. The model is not built to split open. Replace them with a single $8 32x32 baseplate. Change the number to 3811, quantity to 1 and physically change the price to $8.


Next click the black door then sort by description. You'll notice that there are both variants of doors for all three colors. The Type 1 door is the older style and is more expensive. Obviously. Highlight all three of those variants and note that the price is around $32. Now highlight the Type 2 variants. A grand total of $4. Strike the Type 1 doors.

Note that this only catches 3 variants. Click the "Status" column to find the others. Scroll all the way down. Whenever you see doubles, strike the most expensive one. In most cases it will make little difference but it will clean up your end result. Note that all the extras are just above this. The original set came with 54 extras totaling under $4. Might as well remove them all.

Now go back to the top and sort by the "Total" column. You'll notice right away that Sand Green bricks top the list. It's hard to replace a basic brick, but what if we could replace a color? Crazy? Select the 1x8 brick and click the "Color" column. We only have 6 unique pieces to try to replace. Highlight them all and let's have fun.

Total value of all 243 parts is $316. My first thought is to try the newer Olive Green. It's a bit yellower, and I don't think we'll have good luck with the hinge base or slotted bricks, but let's try. Sure enough, those two parts don't exist in Olive. The hinge base is easy though. Two of them are hidden by the outdoor vegetable display. Five others are hidden within the roof. Change the color to anything else. Black would work and takes $1.20 off the price EACH. That's $8 of savings.


The slotted brick is going to be a little challenge. It's used for architectural appeal in several places. You could possibly change it to Light Bley/Medium Stone. The total price drops from $111 to $13. Or change them to plain 1x2 Olive Green bricks and drop the price to $10. If you want to see some architectural variety, you can replace them all with triple the number of 1x2 plates. That would be $18 for the lot. If it was me I'd be inclined to go the plain brick route, then hope that TLG made some Olive Green slotted bricks in the future.

Or, change the style up a bit and replace every single Sand Green brick with a bunch of brick bricks. It doesn't change the price much per stud, but it would have a WAY different look with pieces that would be much easier to source.

For the remainder of the bricks, Olive Green drops the price from $180 to $48.

Click the "Total" column again to get the spendy items up top.The Dark Red inverted slopes are $3 each. As much as I love the color, it is obscured slightly by the window glass in front of them. Maybe we could change them to Reddish Brown? That also requires changing 8 of the 12 1x1 bricks as well. Highlight the inverted slopes, sort by color, then select the 1x1 Dark Red bricks. Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V to create a second lot. Answer "No" to both pop-ups. Your new lot will be at the bottom. Change the color to Reddish Brown and the quantity to 8. Go back up to the Dark Red colors and change that 1x1 brick lot to quantity 4. Then change the color of the inverted slope to Reddish Brown. Ctrl-G that item. A change to Dark Purple would net the same savings.


The Light Bley/Medium Stone 1x8 bricks are expensive. It would not be completely unreasonable to replace them with twice the quantity of 1x4 bricks. Change the part# to 3010 and the quantity to 58. This drops the price from $11 to $7.

The Tan 1x6 arch is rather expensive and can be replaced with a newer and subtle variant. Change the part# to 92950 and watch $8 melt away. Changing the lamp post to part# 11062 drops $1.


Select all and Ctrl-G to get the price at this point. I see $358. That's amazing! We've cut the price by well over half! Don't forget that this is the Olive Green version, at least mine is. If you've kept the Sand Green, You'll be a little over $600. There's not much more to consider at this point that would make a big difference. Maybe changing from new to used pieces. Maybe some minor details of replacing longer bricks or plates with shorter ones. Or replacing the 2x16 plates with any other available color. Bear in mind that you have some complicated ceiling assemblies to build. Don't cut the plates down too small or you'll have structural failure. Double check the instructions to be sure.

You can now export to your Wanted List on either Bricklink or BrickOwl.

Happy Building!

LEGO Techniques - Building a Cafe Corner 10182

My last post on building a UCS Millenium Falcon on the cheap was such a blast that I decided another penny pinching post would be in order.  Previously, I showed how to build a Falcon for $900 or less, down from a new ticket price of $3000.  Let's see if the Cafe Corner can be so lucky.  This is the number one most wanted set on Bricklink.

Of note should be the current price for sale.  Bricklink is the best source for this.  We can single out the incomplete ones (which really mess up the price guide).  Complete Cafe Corners appear to be holding steady around the $1500 price range for a new in the box with instructions set.  Used ones are about $800.  The part out value (new) for one is only $765 though.  At first blush, this doesn't look like there will be as much impact as the Millenium Falcon.  Less licensed parts, likely.  It also seems like a no-brainer to buy the parts.  Let's continue this exercise and see how much we might save anyway.

That $765 will need an extra 12% for shipping, so consider adding $90.  Total is $855.  Per the Millenium Falcon instructions, fire up Brickstock and let's load it up.  After loading the inventory and aligning to the price guide, I get a value of $852.  This includes both extras and variants though.  Click the left most column (Status) and scroll down to the bottom.  Remove all the extra pieces (labeled with a big blue +).  These were included in the original set in case you happened to lose one of the tiny pieces.  For the variants, delete the most expensive one of each.  In all three cases it will be the 'a' variant.  Also delete the counterpart.  Price is now down to about $760.

Sort by price and scroll back to the part.  Let's find some substitutes for the most expensive pieces!  First, dat door!  At $40 this one piece accounts for over 5% of the cost of the set.  There are a few options.  One is to change the part number to 73436c01.  This gives you the left hand door instead of the right hand door.  Now only $16.  Or you could change the color of the door to old light grey and trans-black glass.  Part number 73435c03 is under $10 new.


Another option (as of this writing) is to part out another set to obtain the door.  The original Krusty Krab #3825 has both a left AND a right hand door in the proper color.  The part out value for this set is $110, mostly due to the doors.  You can purchase the set on the aftermarket for $40-50, keep the door, and part out the rest.  You could actually make about $30 to build your Cafe Corner!  Not only that, but you could harvest about 80 other parts out of the Krusty Krab to build the Cafe.  Rumor has it that there are a bunch of leftover sets somewhere in a vault.  TLG still had sets on hand when the license expired so they are currently unsellable.

Next is that $14 window frame and you need FIVE of them.  There's $70 right there.  Most of the time, variants are listed as and 'a' and a 'b'.  But then TLG does something goofy and releases a variant with a completely different part number.  If you don't care whether your studs are solid or hollow, then change the part number to 60598.  Suddenly it's 21c!  There's $69 in savings right there.

BUT, beware that the shutter piece 4133 does not fit this window frame.  Before we forget, let's fix this.  Go to part 4133 and change the number to 60608.  Also double the quantity to 10.  The older window has a single shutter that is the full width of the window whereas the new window requires two smaller shutters.  It's up to you on how precise you want to be.  If this is for yourself, you can save $70 doing it this way.  If you plan to resell someday, you'll need to replace the windows with the correct ones.

The door 73312 is $10 but there really aren't any good substitutes.  There is not a left version in black.  The only other colors it comes in are red, blue, and white.  The white one might work but it's $32 new so this is no improvement.  The $10 turntable base can be changed to black to drop the price on four of them from $40 to 17c.

Twenty of the white 1x2x3 panels will run you $160.  There is a newer version of the panel with reinforced sides.  Once it's built in place, you can't see the difference.  Change the part number to 87544 and you'll see the bill for bulk drop to $4.  The black door frame 1x4x6 is our last expensive bulk part.  Much like the previous window frame, change the number to 60596.  This is the same size door, but with a little different inside frame.  It's functionally the same.  The price drops from $8 to 25c each.  Across five of these doors, that's a saving of $38.

At this point let's take a look at our cost.  Hit Ctrl-A to select all pieces.  In the upper left hand corner You can see that we've gotten down to $425.  That's $340 off and we're still not done!


There are several more minor parts to explore.  One is the reddish brown 2x10 brick.  These are $7 each but also replaceable.  You could go with old brown for $3.  Or you could replace each of the two bricks with three stacked plates dropping the price of the function to 35c each.  The tan 1x6 arch brick can be changed to variant 92950, dropping the price from $3 to 10c.

Per TLG's replacement services, the dark blue 1x8 arch can be replaced with dark bluish grey.  The arch is not seen very well when displayed.  This piece is in less need of replacement than a year ago.  It used to be $15 and up.  Ever since it was re-released in the Winter Village set, the price has been dropping to the point that you can get one for as low as $1.25 (as of this writing).  Similarly, the 1x1x6 pillar support can go dark bluish grey to save over $2 from the sticker price.  But, these pillars are highly visible when displayed.

The last extra to explore is the baseplate, or, baseplates.  This set originally came with two 16x32 baseplates.  But since the model doesn't swing open in halves, there's not much need for both baseplates.  Save yourself $11 and pick up an $8 32x32 at your LEGO store or with your next Shop@Home order.

Beyond that, there is really no more low hanging fruit other than the minifigs.  Much like in the prior guide, I'm going to strike them.  Between the three of them it's a $20 savings.  They're pretty basic and could be replicated with some pieces from your own collection.  Beyond that, any little cost savings might come from changing the colors of hidden parts.

Total cost is now down to $370.  Add 12% for the shipping and we're at about $415.  So we've cut the price in half.  Not quite a 67% savings as in the Star Wars ship but reasonable.  If you want to add original printed instructions, set aside about $200 extra.  For the box, it's $200-$300.

What other large sets would you like me to penny pinch?  Sound off in the comments.