A Big Step

Update 14 Oct 2017: my Lego Ideas project submission, Planetary Outpost, has been accepted. Please visit my page there, support, and help spread the word. If you want to see this as a set, we need 10,000 votes for Lego to consider the idea!

We this has been a pretty big step for this little mutant captain: I’ve closed my eyes and placed a combined order for over 2,000 bricks over at the LEGO store and Bricklink.

Then I opened my eyes because for a while, it all went really badly wrong!

By god! You’d think ordering spare parts would be easy, but it certainly isn’t.

Let’s start with LEGO. The ordering process is convoluted because although you can order any available parts in any available colour from LEGO’s Bricks & Pieces section, you can only add them one at a time, then scroll down an ever increasingly long list of parts to add the correct quantity, scroll back up to the top to click on ‘Add bricks from another set’ and repeat the process until all the parts you need are in your list. If you don’t do this in one sitting, the whole thing resets itself to NOTHING. Same if you pause for too long. What kind of ordering system doesn’t remember what you’ve already earmarked?

To make matters worse, having gone through the laborious process of ordering over 380 different types of pieces, when I clicked on ‘Confirm Order’, a glitch sent me to the wrong country (even though I was in the right country when I started), which had the lovely consequence of deleting my entire order. Twice.

Sometimes you wonder if the universe is trying to tell you something.,,

After speaking to some helpful LEGO representative, I deleted a couple of LEGO cookies from my browser, chose all the pieces again, and this time, it bloody well worked!

But that was only the first stage of my ordering adventures: I then had to endure BrickLink.

To be fair, the process of finding the pieces I needed (because LEGO doesn’t currently produce some parts in the colour I’m after), was straightforward, once I got my wishlist on the site… but why oh why doesn’t BrickLink accept a list in a .xls format?

The stupid thing is, Lego Digital Designer exports the list of all the parts you’ve used in your model as a .xls file. It should really be a no-brainer for Bricklink to access such files, in the format LDD creates. Instead, I had to manually add the bricks myself. Thankfully, I only needed 25 different ones.

I tried importing my LDD model into BrickLink’s Stud.io, but I discovered that no printed piece transfers as a printed piece but as a blank part. They get the size and colour right, but if you need a printed piece, you’d better make sure you add them in manually. Oh and some colours were registered wrong, so you end up spending a lot of time double-checking your order. So that option was not ideal. To put it mildly.

Anyway, back to my order. I had a choice of selecting the cheapest parts or the fewest stores. I chose the former and … that was a mistake: I didn’t factor in postage and packing. I’ll chalk it down to inexperience as this was my first order, and isn’t something I’ll do again. Postage makes these parts ridiculously expensive.

Someone once told me ordering pieces through BrickLink is cheaper than through LEGO. I would have to disagree. For one thing, if your order is a large one, you’ll get free shipping with LEGO, and although some parts are indeed cheaper via BrickLink, if you need a vast array of different pieces, I think it’s better value directly from LEGO, even though their ordering site is, for lack of a better word, crap and extremely user unfriendly, which goes against all the other parts of LEGO’s customer service. Come on LEGO, get your act together and improve the user experience of your Bricks and Pieces section. It’s letting the team down. Badly.

But despite all of this, this is it: my order has been placed, the parts are, or will be on their way soon, and I’ll get to see if my project works as expected when using real bricks instead of digital ones.

Exciting times… if you’re into LEGO, that is 🙂

That’s it for now.

Until the next time, Captain out.

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