• January My Ass!!! Series 3 Minifigures are in the House (My House)

    Here’s a quick recap of my day (from the perspective of Lego collectible minifigures).

    • 3:10pm: Posted the Toys N Bricks translation of the series 4 minifig list to BrickPOP
    • 7:26pm: Saw that our local oddball chain Fred Meyer had Series 3 minifigs courtesy of the SEALUG mailing list
    • 7:27pm: Think to myself, this can’t be possible. It must be Series 2. Series 3 isn’t coming out until January.
    • 7:28pm: Think again, nobody would make a mistake like this and post to the list excitedly about Series 2 minifigs. Start printing out coupon.
    • 7:32pm: Tear down the stairs, try to convince the 9 year old to come with me. He’s playing Kinect with his sister. She won’t come either.
    • 7:36pm: In the car calling Jeff. He says “can I call you back”. I say “no you cannot”. I explain the situation. He says, “pick me up in 5 minutes”.
    • 7:39pm: I realize I’ve forgotten the god damn coupon. I turn around.
    • 7:47pm: I’m waiting in Jeff’s driveway waiting for him to do whatever it is he’s doing. (Probably admiring his new Lego room.)
    • 8:18pm: We arrive at Fred Meyer Ballard. I leave the car as it’s still spinning to a halt in the parking lot a la Bruce Willis in RED (go to the 1:39 mark). I book it into the store. Jeff thinks I will be arrested.
    • 8:19pm: I can’t find any minifigs. I think they might all be gone.
    • 8:20pm: Jeff finds a couple of lonely half empty cases of series 3 figs. We’re not thrilled. But it’s something.
    • 8:21pm: I find the endcap with a dozen full cases of series 3 figs. JACK-F*ING*POT.
    • 8:22pm: We call Daniel and ask him how many cases he wants. Three. I want four. Jeff wants three.
    • 8:23pm: I convince Jeff he wants four cases. We have a 25% off coupon. He’s buying more minifigs for less money than he did with series 2. You can’t pass up a deal like this.
    • 8:29pm: We are almost across the finish line. We’re in line to checkout. Will the coupon work on multiple transactions? We’re turning away other customers telling them that every other line will take less time than ours.
    • 8:31pm: The cashier calls over the manager. I am freaking out. I am convinced the manager will tell us there’s a limit on these.
    • 8:32pm: The manager arrives. She’s a sweetheart. Can’t figure out why people have been buying so many of these today. Confirms that they just got them in this morning.
    • 8:41pm: We finish counting. 11 cases of minifigs. 25% off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hillel Jeff and Daniel score 11 cases of Series 3 minifigures on the first day they exist.

    We bought 660 minifigs!!!!!!!!!

    I think belatedly that we should have bought 6 more just to have bought 666. ;)

    I don’t know what this January business is about. But my stress is now gone. I tell myself I’ll sell the excess on BrickLink. But we all know, that’s just not gonna happen.

    Happy much? My what an enormous stack of series 3 minifigures you have.

    And btw… I don’t blame you for saying… “jeez… could you have saved us a few figs? I just wanted some for my kids, etc.”. Here are my thoughts on that… We didn’t buy them to speculate, we bought them for us (and in my case, a bunch will trickle down to my kids as well). If they’re hard to get, blame Lego, not me. I’m not the one limiting these things. And as for those who do speculate, again, their business would be gone if Lego didn’t constrain the supply of these things. (I covered all this in my collectible minifig talk at BrickCon.)

    UPDATE: Dan, per your request, here are pics of the packaging (and of the first one that I opened. The terminator robot space dude. No barcode.

    Lego Series 3 Collectible Minifigure Packaging - the front.

    Lego Series 3 Collectible Minifigure packaging - the back.

    UPDATE: We’re giving away a complete set of Series 3 Minifigures. Check out our Greed is Good contest to enter.

    Tags:

66 Comments


  1. CatJuggling says:

    Ha! Great story, just wish I had seen it earlier than 12 midnight since I’ve been HOME SICK! all day. Hopefully my remote location once again shields me from people like you and I can pick up a set.

    Oh wait I’m broke…..

  2. Dan says:

    So… barcode, or no barcode? Can you post a pic of the packaging?

  3. Wee Lean says:

    Oh….. when are they coming to Singapore? I want them….

  4. Ken says:

    Nice, Im sure the kids youll be giving them out to on x-mas will be happy.

  5. Rory says:

    Good for you guys. That is hilarious, especially after watching the BrickCon video. The cashier must have thought your were out of your minds… Have fun with your army of minifigs.

  6. r4-g9 says:

    could you post a picture of the elf, and of the elf’s peices and the elfs bow beside the series one indians bow?

  7. hillel says:

    Let me see what I can do tonight. I’ll try and do a post with pics of all the figs.

  8. minimate says:

    Hmm, funny how eBay now has listings for Series 3 cases and sets from Seattle, WA…

  9. Mrdennings says:

    Question, the text above the barcode “Item: 4611521″ is that the same on the back of all of the series 3 packs or does that by chance change? perhaps based on the figure?

  10. daniel says:

    “7:47pm: I’m waiting in Jeff’s driveway waiting for him to do whatever it is he’s doing.”
    He was most likely pooping. It’s his thing.
    BTW, where’re my cases?

  11. How much do they cost at that store?

  12. harry reed says:

    911 was an inside job

  13. Nic says:

    Just got back from the Redmond Fred Meyer. They had a case half-full and another 20 loose minifigs sitting on the shelf next to it. I grabbed the case and flagged down an employee to see if I could get an sealed one. She said it’s against store policy to do that — and she didn’t want to get another case out for me to open. She said they’ll “restock the shelf when they’re gone”, so she probably put more out after I left.

    You guys are lucky! I was hoping for two sealed cases. I think I got 50 loose ones in the end, which should be enough for a complete collection.

    Now the question is — do we find anything that can identify them? Hoping some identifying mark is on them so I can update my Android Minifig Collector app.

  14. Tom says:

    Hi,

    did you open them now? What’s the distribution of the 60 figs in the box?

    Thanks, Tom

  15. Slayerdread says:

    Not to be a pain but can you post a clear (preferably scanned) picture of the barcode, so the rest of us poor schmucks that rely on Target and/or TRU can use the scan stations to see if they’re instock?

  16. hillel says:

    I’ll try do to a new post with new pix tonight that answers all your questions! :)

  17. Nic says:

    The UPC is 673419144988

  18. Daz Hoo says:

    I (and other members of QuéLUG) would also be very interested to know the distribution of the 60 figs in one box and if that distribution is the same for all boxes.

    Thanks!

  19. LEVI says:

    I can even find 1 or 2

  20. Bill says:

    I’m sorry, fellas, but you guys are…well, there’s no way around saying it.

    You’re assholes.

    11 boxes? Not only is it greedy and selfish, but you’re delusional enough to think your justification for it actually justifies such ugly behavior.

    I’m very disgusted to consider you fellow AFOLs.

  21. mythicstudios says:

    Everyone,
    Series 3 will be extremely common!
    Kroger grocery stores throughout North America will also carry series 3 (in addition to Target, TRU, and Walmart in every checkout line for the holiday season:). The reason these were available on the Pacific Northwest coast so early is due to the shipments incoming from China. The Pacific Northwest of the USA/Canada is where all of the mass produced (made in China)Lego imports land first.
    Its just a matter of days before they appear everywhere else. I advise patience.
    Series 3 will have upwards of 220,000 cases being produced as we speak in China. Thats over 10 million minifig packs! Of course this is a projection and the final number may differ based on saturation and holiday impulse sales.
    Expect your local TRU/Target to have cases in the dozens per store… within a few days or weeks.
    To compare, Series 1 was limited to only 1-4 cases of stock at TRU within North America, and a few cases per Lego Store.
    Series 2 was limited to 4-6 cases per TRU, roughly 8-16 cases per Lego Store (released over a period of 1 month) and 2-4 cases per Target and Walmart (within Canada).
    The numbers we are looking at now for series 3 is HUGE. meaning, they won’t sell out.
    In conclusion, don’t worry, be happy! there will soon be plenty for everyone!
    Series 2 just recently sold out at LBRI warehouses..
    If anything series 3 will inflate Series 1 and series 2 prices due to more exposure.

  22. jimmythefly says:

    @ Bill

    Give me a break. They wanted a bunch of minifigs, they went and got a bunch of minifigs. What number is acceptable to you? 5 of each? One of each? Can I come to your house and determine what bricks you have too many of and aren’t using in what I deem a proper manner?

    What if you’re building an army? What about mummy hordes? Baseball team?

    Especially with series 3, with no barcodes, it is understandable (and predictable) that somebody trying to build, say, a baseball team would buy 11 cases, therefore being sure he has enough figs. At least with barcodes one could pick and choose what figs to buy in quantity.

    If you’ve got a gripe, take it up with TLG for their methods.

  23. TheMaskedBuilder says:

    I am curious as to the source of the 25% off coupon. All I have seen are the 10% off Home (toys) coupon and 25% off LEGO games coupon.

  24. Jakfuki says:

    That kinda sucks for everyone else who wants these figures. It’s stuff like this that prevents the rest of us from finding them. I have 2 LEGO stores here, and they claim that one guy went to both stores, and bought all they had of the series 2 figs. Sorry, know this is a free country, but that’s bs. One case would have been more than acceptable.

  25. Bill says:

    @jimmythefly

    If their intentions are truly to build mummy hordes or baseball teams, why buy entire cases (eliminating the possibility of anyone else – including kids!) when they could simply wait for a month or two and buy individual ones on Bricklink or trade with all the extras even a case or two brings.

    It’s greed, pure and simple. And I wish it wasn’t part of the AFOL community. I expect this of other kind of collectors and collectibles, but I thought our little community had more maturity and generosity of spirit. Guess that’s only true for some.

    PS – I bet you’d do the exact same thing as them, that’s why you take issue.

    • Jakfuki says:

      Thanks for voicing my same issue with this. I mean, everyone has the right to buy what they want, but let’s have some courtesy here for the people who are going to have an issue finding these things at a local store. I am being totally honest when I say that I have never done this. Actually, I’ve stopped collecting 8 of the ten things I used to collect, because of this same issue. Saying these figures are going to be available for a while, or that the production numbers will be high has no bearing on the fact that people horde all the initial waves of this stuff. These figures are already going for 10 bucks on Ebay. I’m watching several of them just to see how much they will go for. When there’s only about 16 figures in the series, is it really necessary to buy ALL of the cases? No. And the thing about saying how many is too many? Well, when there’s 660 figures, and only 16 in a complete set, that’s bogus. Having 6,000 2X2 red flat bricks is alright based on the fatc that there’s zillions of those things out there. This entire issue is based on figures that sell out within no time compared to common bricks that are just collected/accumulated over time! I mean, I have a lot of Harry Potter minifigs (of HP himself), but they accumulated after buying sets that just so happened to have come with him. I didn’t buy cases of figures to get 250 of them, or something like that.

  26. Rb says:

    Cool that they’re in, but I see Bill’s point. If I were greedy enough to grab them all before anyone else had a chance, I wouldn’t brag about it.

  27. hillel says:

    I wasn’t going to respond because I don’t think I need to defend myself.

    That said, I do love a debate, so I’ll dive in. :)

    I think you guys are being naive. This wasn’t a plate of cupcakes at a PTA meeting with a sign saying “take one please”.

    Some history.

    * When I saw the series 1 figs, I bought a few dozen. Some for me and some for a friend. I left plenty there for others. Two days later, I realized how cool they were and what a limited supply there was and I went back. Gone. Then i checked stores for weeks, but every time the stores would get them, they would end up gone. Once I called the store and they had them. By the time I got there 30 minutes later they were gone already. Yet, there were always plenty on BrickLink and eBay. I ended up buying some there at a premium to get the figs I wanted.

    * When series 2 came along, I knew I wanted a lot of figs. (From what I can tell, I wanted more than some commenters think is reasonable.) Especially certain figs which turned out to be rare. Through an annoying mishap with my credit card I ended up not getting my initial order for 150 figs at the regular price. Over the lifespan of series 2 I ended up buying well over 200 of them. But because I wasn’t fast enough at the beginning, I had to get them at a premium. Either by getting them from TRU at 50% markup, or by paying shipping to shop.lego.com, or even worse, buying them at an even higher premium on BrickLink and eBay *and* paying shipping.

    * For series 3, I knew I wanted the same number that I’d gotten in series 2, but I was sick of paying a premium. So when I saw word that they were at Fred Meyer, I moved fast. I bought 4 cases for myself, and 7 cases for two other friends.

    If I’d only bought 1 case, I suppose it’s possible that only thoughtful community-minded AFOLs and parents of Lego-loving children would have bought the other 10 cases in considerately small batches. But I suspect given how many of these things end up being available on BrickLink and eBay that the vast bulk of them are bought by dealers and speculators. (And note, these folks don’t blog about how many cases they bought and how much they paid.)

    From my perspective, why would I leave the minifig cases to be bought by dealers and speculators only to have to buy the *exact same minifigs* later from the *very same dealers and speculators* at a premium?

    Do you guys call them greedy assholes for cornering the market on certain items and then selling them to you for a premium? When you go to BrickLink and find that someone has cleaned out every store of some specialty piece to build their SHIP do you call them a greedy asshole? When a BrickLink store has dozens and dozens of a particular minifig, how do you think they got them?

    From my perspective, your judgments of how many cases are appropriate for me to buy for my own use seem arbitrary at best.

    And I think I’ve been clear that the whole situation is ridiculous and suggested, *very publicly*, ways for TLG to make sure everyone gets enough. And perhaps, (as one of the commenters says) with series 3, they’ve made enough that it won’t be an issue.

    See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejPxWTCA1Ug

    For series 2, I bought the same number of figs that I bought for series 3 but spent way more time and way more money. I didn’t feel like doing either of those things again. I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to waste lots of time and money.

    I guess what I’m saying is, I think:

    * how many figs a person wants is a personal decision
    * your frustration at the limited supply is understandable but misdirected, and
    * you’re being naive about who would have gotten the rest if I’d only purchased what you consider an “appropriate” amount.

    • KSmith says:

      Hillel, my name is Kenny and I am also a hoarder. Love the youtube video. These things are definitely like crack. If there is any kind of Lego-anonymous group that you know of please let me know. I need help. Thanks

  28. daniel says:

    So this guy bought one case and that is ok?
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/doctormobius/5184878135/
    But four cases is too many? Yes, Hillel only got four cases, three were for Jeff, and three were for me. How many is too many?
    I bought the last two Harry Potter Burrows on the day they came out. I only needed one, but I wanted two. Now someone had to wait until they were restocked. Now they are everywhere. The same is going to happen with these as there are tons more in this series than either of the last two.

  29. KSmith says:

    come on everyone, they had the money, so they bought them. So what? The early bird gets the worm. It is not like they stole them or bought them just so you can’t have any. They bought them because they wanted them, because they are awesome.

  30. Awesome Daniel! Scooooorrrrrrrreeeee!

  31. Bill says:

    I don’t think anyone on here would disagree that the first series of minifigures, and largely even the second series too, were poorly distributed and a great deal of blame lies with TLG for not anticipating or meeting the demands of its consumers properly.

    Evidence suggests that this will not be the case with Series 3. Factor in the absence of identifying bar codes, which now prohibit collectors coming in and buying up all the popular figures of a series, and I think TLG is now in a position that they wanted to be all along – that this would be a fun way to collect figures due to the mystery of it.

    What I see here are people that engage in the behaviors that I find very “asshole-ish,” i.e. buying entire cases in excessive amounts to own incredibly high numbers of minifigures (incidentally, the kind of hoarding, irrational behavior that certainly helps TLG’s bottom line). Making purchases of multiple CASES is asshole-ish and you can whine about how arbitrary my subjective determination that anything more than one case is just that – arbitrary and subjective. But it still doesn’t change the fact that your behaviors are ugly and rude and inconsiderate to those around you. Justifying it by saying that there are other assholes on Bricklink who do the same doesn’t really defend your position. It just assumes that those sellers live in your area and if you don’t beat them to it, they’ll do it. There’s nothing noble in it. It’s just a matter of who gets to be the asshole first.

    I see no reason why a case (OF 60 FIGURES!) shouldn’t be enough, especially when you know Series 3 will be available in the future should you want more after opening your first case. It allows others to partake in it from the beginning together. Especially people like me, my family, and the other kind and generous AFOLs I’ve come to know that don’t want to hoard it, but want to see lots of people get to participate in it.

    A few comments on here really hit the mark – there is a difference between these and buying a multiple of a set. Because rarely would you ever buy hundreds of the same set. Essentially, each minifigure is a set, by LEGO standards. By buying up cases and cases and cases of them, you make sure that no one has an opportunity to find them. And for what reason? So you can have 23 pilots? 35 gorillas? Why?

    I’ll never understand the bizarre hoarding behavior, though I understand how the first wave’s scarcity might have induced it in some people. Just wish you’d get over it so we can have a nice AFOL community devoid of hoarders.

    PS

    Sadly, there is one of those assholes in my area, who was so thorough that I never saw a single minifigure for sale in a store until a couple weeks ago (Series 2). It’s frustrating. It’s irritating. It’s not fair to the rest of us. And while yes, life isn’t fair and it’s not your problem, you gloating about your greed online does present a forum for us to discuss whether this kind of behavior is acceptable or should we share in some kind of code of conduct.

    I’m just glad that my local TRU finally imposed limitations on how many can be purchased.

  32. blitz says:

    So no barcodes, ok, but are the packages totally the same? Maybe some small marks/dots? Any visible difference? ‘cuz you have “some” to compare)

  33. Bill says:

    PPS-

    I would like to make one retraction.

    It isn’t fair to say you ARE an asshole. I don’t know you personally and for all I know, you could be a very nice person that I would get along with quite well.

    I’ll just say that your actions were monumentally asshole-ish.

    You see, the action does not necessarily define the person.

    Also, thanks for the pics of the new figures. It was appreciated.

    • jimmythefly says:

      Bill, I think I see where you’re coming from, but I’m still a bit confused.

      You say your judgement is arbitrary and subjective re: how many minifigs one person gets to own. Then you say you see no reason why one case shouldn’t be enough. There are 4 baseball players per case for series 3. Even if a buyer didn’t know that beforehand, based on series 1 and 2 it’s safe to assume that you’d need at least 3 cases for a team (not even counting an opposing team).

      Sure, a person could wait and buy them on BL or ebay. You seem to be saying that that’s what others should do, but you yourself don’t seem willing to wait.

      It IS frustrating to not find some on shelves. Without the internet to tell me what I’m missing I’d have no idea how frustrated I should be!

      On the other hand, I did get to say hi to another AFOL in the toy aisle this morning!

      -Jimmy (still searching)

      • Bill says:

        Jimmy,

        Your argument works if indeed the entire objective of buying so many cases was to form a team of baseball figures or horde of mummies, etc. But if that wasn’t the goal, then it doesn’t really jive.

        I suggested that if creating teams/hordes/etc. was the goal, why buy out the entire supply to fit your particular whim, when a case would get you a good start on it and then you could probably save a great deal of money by purchasing the individual items you really wanted on Brinklink. So, I’m not saying that everyone else should go to Bricklink so that I can find some on the shelves. I’m saying that if we weren’t so selfish, we’d have many more on the shelves for everyone and then the Brinklink option to fill our individual needs after the fact.

        Just wanted to clarify that.

        And you’re right! Without the internet, I wouldn’t be near as frustrated. I keep getting reminded about every thing I’m missing out on.

        If anything, I can be accused of maintaining too lofty of an ideal of our AFOL community. I’ve only come out of my Dark Ages a couple years ago and the vast majority of AFOLs I’ve met have been wonderful, friendly, and generous people. It’s part of the draw to this hobby. But ever since the Collectible Minifigures came along, it’s been every man for himself and greedy hoarding. Kind of ruins it a bit for me – especially when people flaunt with such pride how they wiped a store clean before anyone else could get any figures. Just not cool.

        Thanks for continuing the discussion, and moreover, for being civil during it despite my initial name-calling angry reaction.

  34. sumwon says:

    I’ve got to side with Bill on this one. You can try to justify or explain your actions in a variety of ways, but they all end up flawed or empty to me in some way.

    Id weigh in on specifics but dont have the time nor feel like it is much worth engaging further debate. There are two sides to this as with anything, and those who think this behavior was entirely acceptable must see the world differently than me.

  35. hillel says:

    @blitz. the packaging is identical. Sorry man. you’ll have to get an x-ray machine. Or maybe a lab scale. :)

  36. Dave_S says:

    Congratulations on the score boys! Looking to get two cases myself like I did for Series 1 and 2. I imagine they will start showing up in the Midwest next week sometime…just in time for Black Friday.

  37. Moebius says:

    Hey, I’m gonna post this anyway even though I know you’re going to censor it anyway. My hope is that you, Hillel, at least reads it, I don’t care about your followers or you having to save face on your own blog.

    Over the time since this posting went global over the internet. I have seen numerous lego sites erupt with emotion against your act. My home being from Brickset. Over the course of the many heated debates over some of these sites. I have come to the conclusion that initially my perspective was flawed, fueled by past miserable experiences. In the end, no man should heavily judge another man’s buying pattern in this land of free markets even if they do seem a bit unacceptable.

    My only question to you is, although you may justify your hoarding activity as legit for one reason or another with whatever flawed logic you consume, it is no longer an issue of mine. I would like to know how you justify your inappropriate post in which you overtly claim your 660 minifigs in large font with caps and with such arrogant language, I don’t see how you didn’t think you’d offend some of us. Do keep in mind shopping horrors do exist for the rest of us this season, and with legitimate fears that we may not be able to obtain our own Series 3 goals whilst avoiding premium resell sharks.

    I could go on about why I am so passionate about my angle as a AFOL, but I will continue on this note.

    You have my e-mail address, if you’re looking to save face on your blog, censor this comment and email me your response. I hope you’ll entertain this debate.

    I apologize if my earlier comments were deemed inappropriate by you, like I said you offended a large group of us. From the looks of many of these sites fighting back a barrage of emotion, I’d say I wasn’t the only one offended by your spree.

    I hope this can continue in a civilized manner over private e-mail if you wish.

    Justify your blog post. I look forward to hearing from you. I expect someone of your ego to supply more than just a freedom of speech argument.

  38. Matt says:

    You can buy as many as you want and/or have money for. The thing is, you’re telling people to blame LEGO for your actions. Sure, LEGO gets half the blame but hoarders get the other half. Especially when they openly admit to buying the entire stock as other customers are coming in with the printed barcode cheat sheet. Do unto others…

  39. Duo says:

    I wonder if you could take a high powered spot light and shine trough it? Someone should give it a try if they haven’t already.

  40. blitz says:

    @hillel
    Well, some say they are not.
    These guys say there are some different bumps on the bottom of the packages.

    http://toysnbricks.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/LEGO-8803-Collectable-Minifigures-Series-3-Barcode-Sheet-1-Toys-N-Bricks1.jpg

    http://toysnbricks.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/LEGO-8803-Collectable-Minifigures-Series-3-Barcode-Sheet-Toys-N-Bricks.jpg

    (sorry for external links)

    Man, check your bags, please, are there really something? (they are not visible, but you can feel them)

  41. hillel says:

    @Moebius. I didn’t post your previous comments because they were uncivil. Your last post is civil despite it being critical so I posted it.

    I tried to address all this above. But I’ll add a couple of thoughts.

    1. I don’t consider what I did hoarding. Hoarding is getting more than you need. While I don’t think anyone *needs* minifigs per se, I got as many as I wanted. It was 4 cases for me. And 3 and 4 for two other friends respectively. I didn’t buy a bunch to stash away and sell at a premium later. That feels more like hoarding to me. And while I didn’t do that, I’m not critical of people who do.

    2. I didn’t consider posting my experience being “boastful” or “arrogant”. I know countless AFOLs who’ve had similar pain to my own finding the collectible figs. It’s a stressful and annoying process – primarily because Lego arbitrarily limits their availability. I knew that many of my AFOL friends would love to share in my luck at finding these cases on the first day, so I thought sharing the experience would give them a laugh. If I saw someone getting all these cases, and I didn’t… would I be jealous? Of course. But would I be mad at them? No. I’d feel they were lucky and be happy for them.

    Mainly, as you point out, if you’re no longer judging how many I want. Then why would you think I should be embarrassed about telling people how many I bought? I obviously don’t think there’s anything wrong or shameful in buying 4 cases for myself (and my kids, and for whoever wins our giveaway contest – make sure to enter: http://brickpop.com/2010/11/18/greed-is-good-win-your-own-complete-set-of-series-3-collectible-minifigures-from-brickpop/). In fact, the proof that I don’t consider anything wrong with it, is that I posted about it and shared it with the world. And I even let people who disagree with me criticize me on my own blog.

    Perhaps you should criticize the people who go and buy tons of minifigs with an intent to sell them to you at a premium and DON’T tell anyone what they’re doing.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with speculation. I think it’s a normal part of capitalism when there’s a limited supply. That said: I have never ever bought a piece of Lego and sold it to another AFOL at anything above what I paid for it. (I did some minifig trading though… not sure if that counts.)

    3. I’m sorry that it’s so hard for everyone to get these. In fact, that’s part of why we’re doing our contest. But if I’d purchased fewer cases than I wanted, I believe no AFOL would have gotten the remainder. Not me, not you, not anyone. They would have been bought by dealers. And to be clear, we did leave almost 3 full cases at the store. Maybe they were gotten by AFOLs. But in general, I believe it’s dealers cleaning out these stores.

    AND TO BE CLEAR… I’M NOT SAYING I BOUGHT THEM TO KEEP THEM OUT OF DEALERS’ HANDS. I BOUGHT THEM CAUSE I WANTED THEM.

    Bottom line… you lament having to pay dealers for the minifigs you want. I agree with you. I’m a fellow AFOL, I got the figs I wanted, and I didn’t have to pay a dealer a premium. I guess I thought you might be happy that a fellow AFOL got the figs they wanted without paying a premium.

    As I said to Bill above (who does think it’s ok to tell me how many I get to want and use): I think your anger is misdirected. And as for posting about my luck, I don’t see anything wrong with what I did, so I don’t know why I would be ashamed to tell everyone about it. And I have plenty of AFOL friends who were thrilled for me and were happy that I scored this round.

    Next time it might be me paying the premium, and me patting you on the back for getting lucky and finding an early score.

  42. Moebius says:

    Your arguments are sound. I do not think you would have to be ashamed of your purchase. That was not my argument behind your potentially offensive post. You made a big “score”, it is a victory by all means against the odds. If I needed 30 Spartans and suddenly I found them somehow. I might have probably gotten them.

    BUT
    I also realize there are those out there who do not look kindly upon the situation because while you may have one major victory, there are many others who are only encountering failure after failure to obtain even a meager share of the same product. This was not a matter of being ashamed of your purchase. You have no reason to be ashamed if it was split amongst many of you with genuine need for them all. the manner in which the news was delivered to the rest of us was most unsettling.

    My point is that the presentation of the post was irresponsible. Because of your lack in care in delivery it infuriated many people (me included) and gave off the impression that you were some kind of “smug prick”, the caps and font size don’t really help either. Secondly upon seizing such a wide cache for yourself, you’re telling the lesser fortunate how we should feel about it. That is an extremely arrogant move.

    Next time you showcase your victories all I am saying is we could use a little more subtlety, maturity and humility in its depiction. Then maybe the community wouldn’t have gone up in flames.

    If you look back at my other posts they weren’t really that uncivil, I didn’t even resort to calling you a “asshole” until after you started censoring my posts. Yes, I did question your eligibility to be a outstanding representative of the AFOL community, but with all that has happened within the last 24 hours, you should seriously give yourself a second review before being so quick to judge.

    Your act of charity is a good measure to redeem what reputation you may have lost from this fiasco. If you want to represent the entire AFOL community please exercise more maturity and you should never have such encounters like this again.

    Thank you for responding to my inquiry and possibly “unjustified” frustration. I retract all my previous positions on hoarding on any act that may resemble it. The store imposed no limitation, I also forgot I was a libertarian.

  43. Moebius says:

    If you are curious, This is what it may have looked like to the rest of us.

    SERIES 3 MINIFIGURES RELEASED EARLY IN US, MAN CLEANS OUT STORE OF FIRST KNOWN SIGHTING OF ALL 11 BOXES.

    Hmmmm. Doesn’t sound very alluring does it?
    Alot of us have left over rage from series 1 and 2 experiences, I will tell you I myself along with many close peers of mine had far worse stories to tell about them than your account. I assume many others share these tales of horror. Upon these kind of headlines where do you think all that pent up rage is going to be directed at?

    Think about these things. Not really wise for a man who ate all the cake to be telling us how to be hungry or to blame the baker or the size of the cake. A better approach would be to not instigate such emotion in the first place.

  44. Moebius says:

    In all my anger, I forgot that a fellow AFOL’s victory is a victory for all of us. I apologize that the spirit of this hobby was lost in translation. Sincere congrats on your luck. May you continue to evolve into a more exemplary member of this community.

  45. Sci Guy John says:

    I was lucky enough to find some at a Fred Meyer in Beaverton, Oregon.

    Does anyone know why it is Fred Meyer that got them? Realizing what I stumbled upon I went back again a few hour later, but the two full boxes were gone. I am guessing someone bought them, and not that they were pulled from shelves. Any ideas.

    We will be discussing this on our podcast late tonight. Please check it out if you have a chance, and I am glad this event led us to find you guys. Happy hunting!

    http://www.sci-guys.com/content/

    http://www.sci-guys.com/content/2010/11/18/mystery-minifigs-iii-sneak-preview-thanks-to-shelving-error/

  46. Nora says:

    If you replace the word minifigure with gallons of milk, shoes, books, dvds or any other consumer good/collectible, I think it is easy to see how ridiculous the complaints about this have become.

    I too have experienced the extreme irritations of minifigure hunting. However, the emotional overreactions of many commenters on this posting are bizarre. Remember that we are ADULT Fans of Lego and not the kids that Lego was originally intended for! Beyond that, arbitrating who is and who is not a good representative of the AFOL community based on their purchases is just plain silly.

    We can agree to disagree on how many minifigs are enough but I don’t fault these guys for their purchase one bit. Freedom of choice is what makes life awesome. Their purchase 3 states away from me did not literally take minifigs out of my hands.

    I am most definitely jealous of their good luck and purchasing power! Thanks for sharing your good news with us all.
    Now how about opening that contest up to those of us who shun twitter, facebook and the rest of social media?

    • Bill says:

      Yet another comment that misses the point many of us have been trying to make.

      This is not about capitalism or the freedom to purchase as much of anything we want. We’re all aware of this right and the very consumer-based nature of our country. But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. Kind of the basis of a civil society.

      @Nora
      Your first paragraph makes no sense to me. You claim that by substituting minifigs with any other commodity, our arguments become ridiculous. If anything, it perfectly demonstrates what a classless act it is. If I were to go into my grocery store and buy all the milk because I can and it’s my right to if I have the money, it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do or that I haven’t greatly inconvenienced everyone around me through my completely selfish act.

      It boils down to respect. Respect for your fellow AFOLs and younger LEGO fans. And sadly, I’ve seen it dissipate since the introduction of these damned minifigs. We’ve suddenly become pirates, in a cinematic sense: Take what we can and who gives a damn about the rest (I’m paraphrasing the great Capt. Sparrow).

      I particularly appreciate how you’re okay with it since it was three states away and doesn’t affect you. I am also 3 states away and they aren’t taking any items I would have had access to, but it is a matter of principle and behavior. As such, it does affect me.

      So yeah, I have no problem claiming that those who demonstrate greedy, selfish behavior (that they flaunt and feel no regret, shame or remorse for) are poor representative of the AFOL community. They make it so no one else – kids or adults – have access to what should be a fun collectible toy available to all.

      As much as I loved some of the minifigs from the first two series, I honestly hope they stop producing them because they bring out the worst in all of us – those who have no issue or problem being selfish and those who get worked up about it like me.

  47. loonil says:

    Has anyone thought about the fact that maybe LEGO didn’t intend those little people to be used in making armies and stuff? As someone pointed out, TLC probably expected kids to want those, and solely in a collecting perspective (i.e. have a little shelf with one of each and duplicates so they could trade with others’ duplicates) instead of a desire to create baseball teams and the such. The problem isn’t really in LEGO not making enough or in certain people buying too many, but lies in the fact that costumers did not see the product in the same way the company producing it expected it to be viewed.

  48. Nora says:

    @Bill
    So according to you they have the freedom to make a purchase of this size but not the right to do so if they want to be considered good AFOLs? Not if they want your approval?

    I would have been ok with it if this had been my very own megamart. Would I have been frustrated? Yes. Maybe even seriously mad for a minute or 2. But I don’t fault them one bit. We have all been given the run around by TLG and resellers. We could all have as many of these things as we want/need if TLG used a different process to distribute, package and sell the minifigs. Beyond that, these guys aren’t resellers, just intense AFOLs with deep pockets. I don’t have the desire, need or finances to buy that many minifigs. Just because I don’t get it(or have the money), doesn’t mean it is some sort of crime against me, the community or fellow AFOLs.

    If you want to direct your frustrations somewhere, I strongly suggest TLG. They could easily sell complete sets to people like me who only want 2 complete sets(1 for me, 1 for a 10 year old nephew). They could sell battle packs for army building or put these things in clear packages and do many of the other things that have been suggested to make this easier and less troublesome for the consumer. It is TLGs distribution process(and people needing/looking to make a buck!) that motivates the resellers to buy low and sell high. It is also TLGs crappy handling of the whole thing that pushes all of us to buy the amount that we think we need/want as fast as we can.

    If my initial argument wasn’t to your liking, let me try again. My basic point is that I don’t think I(or anyone else) should tell you(or anyone else) how many minifigs(or other consumer goods) you should buy/own. I don’t think you would like it very much and quite frankly you would be within your rights to tell me to take a flying leap. I don’t know you, your needs and wants or your life as well as you do. That’s the point. I’m sorry if the initial execution was somewhat lame, hopefully I did a better job the second time around.

    You and some others think this was wrong. I don’t. I don’t feel that these guys(or the dude who wants to own 300 Spartans or any others who want/need more than you or me) have done anything “classless” or requiring as you said “regret, shame or remorse”.

    I do agree with you on one thing. I don’t like the acrimony that these things stir up in our normally laid back community either. I hope they continue to come but with better distribution and marketing practices on the part of TLG.

    Good luck to you in your search!

  49. Moebius says:

    On the most part, I agree with Bill, we all have these liberties, but at the same time we must all utilize them with civility and fairness.

    Upon further consideration over this minifigure controversy I’d like to conclude that these individuals at Brickpop had every right to purchase what they did. If the store imposed no cap on quantities purchasable, then it is their choice to take as many as they feel warranted.

    However the argument works both ways, just as much as they had the right to buy as many figures as they wanted to, We all have the right to judge them and express our disapproval of what may be the makings of a bad role model. Especially in such a wholesome community as this one. Many of us are parents, I believe the people involved here specifically are parents. We share these hobbies with our children. Is this the kind of hypocrisy we wish to pose on Lego’s younger target audiences? Take all things good in moderation, but somehow this case is exempt? Share and be considerate to your fellow peers, but again not in this situation? And when you do get something others want, flagrantly boast about it? Yes, this is an adult community but so far I have only seen actions that state otherwise.

    They have the right to buy large quantities, hoard, speculate, or whatever short of breaking the law. And they have the right to do so again if the opportunity arises, again. And we have the right to continue to convey our disapproval. This is how society works. It sucks, yes, we could blame TLG for all of this, but then again, they have the right to run their business however they see fit. I mean even with all scandalous exchange, I’m sure the community would be devastated if TLG just said “you know what, fine you all don’t appreciate what TLG is offering here and everyones trying to game the system for their own interests, let’s just call the whole thing off and end the minifigures”. That would be a tragedy. So in the end we can’t just blame it all on TLG for everything, yes their production procedure and estimate fall short. But solely blaming them for this incident? Now that would be naive.

    Now in the spirit of fairness I bring this up,
    You wonder, Why Hillel? Is he being called out just because he was actually upfront about his purchase while other hoarders remain silent and dodge the communities criticism? But I think in practice taking the more silent route might have been wiser.
    We may be adults but we still evoke emotion.

    Imagine a surburban neighborhood, one of the neighbors just bought a new Ferrari and nosily pulls it into the lot horns a blazin, everything to attract attention. Hey! look at me everyone! first one in the neighborhood to get a Ferrari! Do you think everyone is going to come out of their homes and congratulate him? Pat him on the back and say good for you sir? Well perhaps to his face most of them would just smile, maybe wave back. But really most, if not all, of them would be thinking wow what a total douchebag. So you got a Ferrari, announce it to the world why don’t you?

    This blog post was the equivalent of that to the Lego neighborhood. This is where I think the primary problem lies in this specific situation. People like Nora are saying if people can afford a Ferrari then they have every right to buy and own one.

    YES! THEY DO!

    So then whats the problem? Well they were just an ass about it. And people anywhere don’t appreciate the candor of that kind of presentation. Which is why sites that have hosted the Lego community far longer than this one, went up in flames that day in debate and fury. Simply irresponsible for someone who claims to speak on behalf of AFOLs at TED and conventions and etc.

    We don’t want our kids to be douchebags, why are we committing such acts ourselves as adults? I believe this to the core issue behind the arguments right now.

  50. Bill says:

    @Nora

    I see your point much better this time, though I still don’t agree with it. I do appreciate your civility in it and your willingness to clarify your statements. I appreciate it, sincerely.

    Sadly, it results in one of those horrible platitudes about agreeing to disagree as we (and many people on here) are ending up on different sides of the issue. I see and understand your point about the ability to buy as many as a person wants and not to have limitations or restrictions imposed. I, however, feel that being confronted (as we are as adults) with the ability to make large purchases if our finances allow, we should still practice moderation so that we aren’t excluding others with our hoarding and excessive behaviors. A common courtesy, if you will. I did not see that exemplified here. And sadly, I see how some people could read this post and then feel like they need to buy up as many cases as possible because others (which we now start to regard as competitors) are doing the same and you better get it while you can.

    It’s just an ugly behavior and one I wish wasn’t fueling so much of the AFOL community right now.

    Moebius makes a very good point too about what message we are sending to our children. I am a parent and I try to provide a good example of fair behavior to my child. Maybe some of you feel the perfectly legal but (to some people) excessive purchasing is fair, but if you think this kind of free market mentality is a good way to operate within a healthy social community, then we’ve got bigger problems as a society.

    The flaunting of hillel’s find bothered me, but it wasn’t the main source of frustration as I get the feeling it was for Moebius. Not very classy as it came off as bragging to a great deal of people, but I’m willing to bet it was more based in excitement at having found this score and I can’t fault him for being excited.

    I don’t know what the solution is. I think blaming TLG is kind of an easy way out. Sure, they had huge problems with the first series, which got better with the second, and I hope get even better with this series. I would love to have the options that Nora suggests, but then we would be asking TLG to cater to our whims and desires and that’s a bit too unrealistic. Among companies, TLG is one of the best I feel at hearing its adult audience and operating on their suggestions. So, again, I can’t just blame TLG as a default for our mad, hoarding frenzy behaviors that only AFOLs are engaging in.

    Fortunately, TLG has been putting more out hopefully to quell the frenzied purchasing. We’ll see if it works as the figs are released in wider markets.

    TLG puts a product out there. What we do with it and how we respond to it is our issue.

  51. Nora says:

    @Bill
    I too appreciate that we have been civil in our discussion. I recently came out of my dark ages a few months back and I have enjoyed the mostly drama-free and laid back nature of the AFOL community. I think that is what motivated me to comment in the first place. Some of the rule imposing and name calling going on here didn’t match up with what I have come to like about the AFOL community.

    Thank you for your response. I appreciate your points but unfortunately I still do not agree. I’m not advocating pushing children and aging grandmothers over to get one more minifig. I too want a decent society(both in the Lego community and in the world at large) where parents teach their children about fairness, manners etc. Heck, a society where all of us are decent folks would be wonderful.

    But as long as minifig distribution is scarce, random, and generally somewhat unfair to begin with, people will buy as many as they can get their hands on. If people knew that minifigs were readily available, like a bucket of bricks at TRU or an impulse set, things would calm down today. Guess why that won’t happen, TLG is thrilled with the sales of these things!

    TLG may seem like an easy target to you. The reason for that is because they are the correct target! People can point to resellers and speculators, or complain about those who buy more than you think they should but in the end, TLG created this market. I won’t harp on the points I made above about how they sell and package minifigs but it comes down to one thing. TLG makes and markets minifigs to make money! TLG may have had a particular idea of how the minifigs would work(i.e. like trading cards etc.) but consumers had a different idea. AFOLs and others are hungry for new and exciting designs and this series provided them. It’s not shocking(or wrong!) that people would want to army build for MOCs or for their own reasons, whatever they may be.

    I would add one other thing for those coming at this from the “think of the children” angle. Life isn’t always fair and that’s a lesson that I imagine all of us have learned more than once over the years. Someone will always have more than you. We all know someone with more money, more friends, better job/education, and on and on and on(and I might add, more minifigs!). That doesn’t necessarily make them arrogant or greedy or any of the other criticisms that I have heard tossed around.

    The Brickpop guys are 100% right, if they hadn’t made their purchase, someone else would have done so. By purchasing those minifigs, they did not take them out of my hands or yours or some child. Someone else, be it a reseller, an AFOL, a kid etc. would have bought them and they would be long gone. It isn’t honorable and the “right thing to do” to only buy 100 when you want 200(and could buy that many) and then buy the remaining 100 on ebay or bricklink at inflated prices and at great personal inconvenience. That’s what I call dumb! Most of us have learned over the years to get the best deal with whatever we are buying if and when it’s possible. If I(or the brickpop guys) pushed an old lady over or ripped them out of the hands of a child, then I would understand the name calling and anger much better. You can’t stand guard at TRU or wherever and make sure distribution is “fair” and that who we think “deserves” the minifigs gets them.

    Thanks to these guys we got the first heads up on their appearance in the US. I know their announcement seemed like arrogance and greed to some but to me it was excitement and joy. Many know that Hillel(and countless others) went through a lot getting minifigs in the first 2 go rounds. I wasn’t yet out of my dark ages for series 1 so I ended up paying premiums on ebay( I also didn’t know what bricklink was yet. D’oh!). I was ready for series 2 and lucked out at my local Target and Walmart(after about 6-7 visits to each!). I’m crossing my fingers on series 3 but I have since accepted that collecting these means that I might get screwed.

    I definitely don’t think they are worthy of the title “douchebag” or other barbs that have been made by some on this posting and elsewhere. Some of this has been awfully personal and is just plain mean!

    I wish everyone good luck hunting for minifigs. If the distribution is as large as initial reports, all of this discussion might be for not. My best to all!

    To Bill, it’s been a pleasure. To use the platitude we both dislike,
    looks like we might have to agree to disagree. Hey I just found something we agree on! Have a good one, Bill.

    PS to Hillel et al I am hoping to see some amazing Lord of the Rings and Baseball team MOCs from you guys! ;-)

  52. Moebius says:

    I never thought I’d see the day where asking for a little consideration in a online posting would be too much to ask, let alone in a AFOL environment. There is a million ways they could have made the news without turning the community into a warzone again. I reiterate: Irresponsible, Shortsighted.

    Initially, I had the same view Bill observes. I took it out on the act of hoarding. After my debates progressed on other fansites. I came to the realization to be realistic about this situation. If I was literally in the store with them when they made the purchase and I tried to stop them for taking 11 boxes or whatever amount of cases they saw fit for themselves, then it would be I who was the douchebag or asshole. Thats when I decided that was not the proper stance. Convincing them otherwise would probably be some equivalent of that same act.

    I am now only upset, as I portrayed earlier, with this specific news post. I’ve said what I am going to say on that.

    Finally to take comfort in blaming this all on TLG sounds very ingrateful to me. To take every little opportunity to slander the company that gives us the source of all our joys sounds very Un-AFOL-like. I know of the community site Brickarms that provides homemade Lego minifig weapons for this community. They run a very strict boat on their business and it is very difficult to comment let alone criticize their practices. Yet most people who partake in brickarms happily go along with their services. The final argument being we would rather have Brickarms with their mannerisms than not at all. So since when was it ok to attack TLG for every little thing that goes wrong in the community. You guys act like TLG is run by greedy executives that care nothing for the hobby and are more willing to ride to the defense of hoarders. I think I’ll choose to stand with TLG over any despicable “fans” that choose to desecrate this hobby for themselves.

    I am not saying we can’t comment on TLG’s poor business ideas. Making them your sole target however is just plain ignorant.

  53. Bill says:

    @Nora

    Damnit, Nora! How can I debate with you if you agree to agree to disagree with me? Can’t you just agree to be more disagreeable so that, after much debate, we might come to a point of agreement?

    Yes. I’m tired and wanted to inject a bit of levity.

    I doubt I’ll ever agree that the Brickpop guys were right on this issue, but I think this has been a great discussion so long as it makes people stop and consider the other viewpoint.

  54. Nora says:

    @Bill
    It’s just not in my nature to be disagreeable! In fact, I find myself agreeing with you again, it is always useful to consider other points of view. Thanks again. :-)

    @Moebius
    If you were specifically referring to my recent comments, TLG has not been slandered by anything I have said. They are a business that makes toys for children(and anyone else who chooses to buy them) for the sole purpose of making money. They do not create these products for the sheer joy of helping children learn or watching adults fight over minifigs…they do it for what motivates all of us to get up and go to work each and every day! Many of us are fortunate enough to enjoy other aspects of our jobs besides our incomes but the bottom line is that none of us would go to work if we weren’t being paid.

    Similarly, TLG would not produce and distribute products without the belief that consumers will part with their hard earned cash in exchange for some plastic bricks. That’s not an attack or slander, it is the honest truth. I’m sure many TLG execs and employees take pride in their work, enjoy Lego products, have many interesting work experiences and I believe that many of them do care deeply about kids. But it doesn’t erase the fact that business is what brings them together and keeps them together. None of that is slanderous, cold or harsh. It is just true.

    I should also add that I have never said(nor do I think it) that TLG execs are greedy. They are motivated by what pushes each of us out the door each day. It’s their right to produce and sell a product however they please. They have consistently made amazing products for years and I truly appreciate their work. However, I don’t regard honest criticism as blame, attacks or slander. You can point fingers at people in the AFOL community and elsewhere but all of the resultant behavior that has offended you and others is a function of minifig scarcity(caused by TLGs practices!!).

    I don’t think a different post would have lead to different reactions. People seem to be upset about everything from the tone of the post to the quantity bought to whether or not the brickpop guys are good AFOLs. It’s hard to please everyone, I guess.

    These minifigs have needlessly been a big hassle for everyone. Short of all of us getting together and signing some sort of magical Lego buying contract, TLG is the only entity with any real power to change how this works. Again, that is just the honest truth. I can’t control what you do at your local Walmart anymore that you can control what I do at my TRU or what anyone else does at Fred Meyer.

    I am sorry if you feel that I am “blaming” TLG. That is not and was not my intent. I am merely stating the fact that their absolute control(which is their right, of course!) of every aspect of the minifigs(design, marketing, distribution, quantity produced etc.) leads to certain unanticipated consequences(ie inflated prices, scarcity & massive frustration!!!). I do not hold them responsible for what happens in the AFOL community but I do believe that different marketing and production of the minifigs would have led to equally different results in the stores, the AFOL community and elsewhere.

    I wish you good luck in your minifg hunt. As I told Bill earlier, looks like we agree to disagree. Cheers!

  55. Bill says:

    @Nora

    Agreed. No, wait, disagreed.

    To employ yet another delightfully woeful platitude, excuse me while I beat a dead horse but I couldn’t resist mentioning the flip side of the coin…

    You make some very good and valid points about TLG and the scarcity problems, but I fear it removes most, if not all, of the agency of the buyer. It borders on saying that because TLG has distributing problems, I as a consumer must engage in this particular kind of behavior. That, for me, is the problem. Just because something is scarce (and you have to admit, they’ve gotten better), does that preclude that an individual is entitled or even compelled to buy as much as possible at the first opportunity?

    I know I wouldn’t. There’s blame on both sides. Maybe a 60-40 relationship, but I think it’s closer to 50-50.

    Dead horse beaten.

  56. Nora says:

    @Bill

    I agree. Together we have found a dead horse. Moving on to find a living horse. :-)

    I certainly didn’t mean for my comments to imply that because of scarcity we must engage in certain behaviors. I agree with you(again!), we all get to control how we act in every arena. We just don’t get to control others. That’s another couple of things that makes life awesome.

    I don’t think we’ll ever agree about how many figs to buy and when and where and how to buy them. And that’s ok with me! C’est la vie!

    • Bill says:

      And just how am I supposed to achieve world domination if I’m not allowed to control others, as you claim that I don’t get to?

      Life truly is unfair. Be it minifigs or world domination.

      Happy hunting, Nora. May your speed and determination lead you past the hoarders and into great stocks of available minifigures.

      Tis been a pleasure.

      • Nora says:

        Bill I wish you all the same. Now, I go on to newer and even more dead horses!

        Best wishes to you in your quest for both world domination and minifigs! ;-)

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