Who is Johnny Argon & Why does he like Lego?

Pictured: Chewie and Darth Vader made of Lego. Courtesy of hollywoodprop.com

I live in Japan. I enjoy playing lego because
it is fun to make. I like to line them up.
I like collecting them too.

I buy my Lego from the internet, Toys `R Us Japan and Lego shops.

Why this magazine?

I like Lego so I made this magazine.


Johnny Argon

How To Buy Lego Cheap and at a Large Discount

Pictured: A Singapore Airliner, made of Lego, courtesy of Singapore Air

by: Malcolm Silberman

There is a huge market for Lego developing, and in large market there are price variations one can take advantage of. The marketplace for Lego has grown enormously since the introduction of Mindstorm the robotics orientated Lego. Now Lego is not only in the realm of children's toys, but it is of interest to many adult institutions. Engineering schools, executive eduction, hobbyists, and of course hackers, are re-inventing the way Lego is used. For economists the little Lego commodity is the ideal way to study micro-markets.

What better micro-market with near fluid efficiencies than found on eBay. In fact a huge amount of Lego pieces are traded everyday on eBay. Now like every other market, a little inside information can help you identify pricing opportunities. This article focuses on buying Lego on eBay, and specifically how to buy it cheap and at a discount. In short how identify buying opportunities.

This article should be read together with my longer piece and a web site which produces the information required to identify buying nuggets. Find the links and URL's to these two sites below.

Most information on eBay focuses on the selling element, how to sell your stuff. I have tended to specialize on the buying end and trying to identify market opportunities and price in-efficiencies to really capture excellent deals. Let's briefly understand the dynamics of the eBay market place. Like any other market it is supply demand driven, and like a large flee-market if a buyer has knowledge of how many items are for sale at what prices and how many other buyers are in the market, then that buyer can capture the upper hand.

Lets examine supply. The eBay supply dynamic is a little different in that supply of an item must be seen at a point in time. In other words, because auctions end at different times, one needs to grasp the number of auctions ending in close proximity for the same item. This gives you a feel for the supply of items or in our case Lego. What makes this interesting is that today there could be a large amount of auctions ending for your item, but next week there could be very few. This is one element driving the price. Generally this information is available approximately one week out on the eBay site.

The demand side is slightly more complex and hidden. It is some of this data that the web site I refer to at the bottom helps identify. Demand in eBay terms is measured (by sellers) as a number of factors - how many people view my auction, how many people ask questions, how many people place me on their watch page, and how many people actually bid. Obviously as we progress down this list the data become more valid as an indication of demand. Page views are not easy to obtain, although some sellers place a publicly viewable counter on their auction pages. Questions and watchers are available to sellers, and the special web site mentioned below will expose this information. Number of bids is available for all to see.

Now if we happened to produce a graph as one auction progresses of the changes in the number of questions, watchers and bids, once can easily see how the demand is changing as time progresses. Typically if questions are high and watchers are high, but bids are low, this may indicate some confusion and a possible buy opportunity. If watchers is very high and climbing, but bids are low, this can point to a last minute bidding war, and a stay out indicator.

Armed with this information and also a quick summary of other similar auctions ending soon, plus a quick feel for the skill set of the seller and the current highest bidder, once can make see a picture very different from the average eBay buyer. Soon the trained eye will see some nice buying opportunities. For the serious collector or Lego enthusiast this will soon bring in parcels of Lego pieces and sets that are quite a bit cheaper that retail. For example it is quite possible to find gems at 50-70% of retail prices. Lets face it, most Lego pieces don't degrade or damage easy, so the aftermarket such as eBay is the idea place to buy cheap Lego.




About The Author

Article by Malcolm Silberman and Education Specialist trained by eBay, for a more lengthily discussion of this topic visit http://foundby.us/how-to-buy-discount-lego-both-new-or-refurbished and to see Lego auctions with this value added data visit http://lego.foundby.us email him at lego ATmacsilber.com.

What You May Not Know About Lego

"This is a very interesting article on the processes used to make Lego."--Johnny Argon

Pictured: An amazing Lego aircraft carrier, created by Malle Hawking.
Photo courtesy of The Metro: http://www.metro.co.uk

by: Susan Green

The word Lego is taken from the Dutch for “play well”, which is leg godt. The word is now synonymous the whole world over for a toy which everyone loves to play with be they old, young, boy or girl. We are so used to making things from Lego that rarely do we stop to think about how each individual block of Lego itself is constructed.

Firstly, granules are loaded from large trucks into the granule silos. After this the granules are taken to molding machines. These subject the granules to high temperatures, melting them into a highly viscous substance. This substance is then poured into molds of various sizes to make the bricks that we all know and recognise. Once the molten granules have been poured into the molds they are transported to the decorating and printing stage. Although the color of the brick is determined by the color of the granules in the first stage of the process, the bricks can have patterns printed on to them, or designs. For example, bricks with words on such as taxi or police have them printed on at this stage in the manufacturing process. Once this is complete, the Lego bricks are taken to the packaging area where they are placed into boxes with other Lego pieces ready to be shipped to stores or to wherever they are required.

Lego also have additional branches which are aimed at different users. For example, Duplo is made by Lego but is widely known by the name Duplo and not always associated with Lego. Individual Duplo pieces are much larger than those of a traditional Lego set and they are aimed at a much younger clientele. Children aged 2-6 find Duplo much easier to get hold of because of its increased proportions and so encourage younger children to exercise their creative minds.

Technic Lego is more advanced than standard Lego and so appeals more to the 10-15 year old market. This often incorporates very small pieces as these kits have moving components. For example, you can make such items as a helicopter with propellers which actually move when you turn a handle.

For some time Lego was aimed primarily at boys with kits based on Star Wars or Batman. This balance has now been redressed somewhat and it is now possible to purchase kits to build Disney Princess Castles and such like. Lego is a great toy for children as it helps to improve their hand eye co-ordination as well as their imagination and so children of both sexes should be encouraged to play with it in preference to watching endless hours of TV.

About The Author

Susan Green is a regular contributor to SBG Toys http://www.sbgtoys.com where more information about children's toys is freely available.


A Parents Survival Guide to Legoland Windsor

Map of Legoland Windsor courtesy of the Alma House Bed and Breakfast where you can
enjoy your stay near Legoland: http://www.almahouse.co.uk *They offer Legoland
tickets at reduced prices too!

by Paul Fogg

I have visited Legoland many times over many years, as well as having made and heard suggestions from many, many families over the years. It has given me a set of “rules” that have become invaluable in attacking and surviving a day out at Legoland in Windsor.

There really can be nothing worse than planning a trip to Legoland and to turn up just after the park is open at 10am. This is the first fatal move. You will end up queuing almost as soon as you get off the M4 motorway (see Getting To Us for directions). This inevitably means you get to the Legoland park some time after 10am, more likely nearer 11am, then queue into the parking area, queue to get tickets, queue to get through the ticket barrier, queue to get on the train down the hill and then you continue your day with a bit more queuing on all the rides. Lovely!

I think you can all see the picture I'm painting here. I will just add that this is normally only this bad on peak days in summer, at weekends and during the school holidays, but it can happen at any day to a greater or lesser degree depending upon the weather – it suddenly turns hot and sunny, everyone decides to go to Legoland – or there’s a special offer on you didn't know about – all the locals with their Legoland annual passes turn out for the day.

So how do you start off on the right foot?

The most important thing to remember is that the Legoland park opens at 10am, and by park I don’t mean the parking, the pay points, the Lego shop or the hill top restaurant!

Yep you guessed it, this is all open earlier, at 9.30am. This is when you should be rolling up to the parking area. From the previous scenario you are already 1 hour ahead of those less fortunate who are about to get stuck in the traffic queues off the M4!

So you’ve arrived and parked up, its about 9.40am and you’ve unpacked the kids and are wandering off to the ticket booths, but of course if you’ve planned ahead – which you should have because you’re reading this for a start – and have bought your Legoland tickets online (normally a slight discount) or bought them from Langton House with your accommodation and got the 2 day passes …. You can pass straight into the Beginning, get your bearings, form The Plan of attack, and try and keep the children away from the shop! Try and get some stickers for the kids, these have your mobile phone number on them in case they (or you) get separated. Check out the Model Makers Workshop and Hall of Fame – some amazing Lego models, a near life size 747 cockpit, the Lego Crown Jewels amongst many other exhibits. Alternatively, just get a coffee at the Pitstop Café. There is plenty to do here for ½ an hour to chill out and relax before you hit Legoland proper. The Plan will help you get an idea of where to head first, which rides your children want as well as those with height restrictions and the times of the shows throughout the day.

It is getting towards 10am, head down to the Hill Train. Now it may not be worth getting on the train, particularly if there is already a queue, after all, the purpose of this guide is to cut down the queuing, so why would you want to start the day in one! Just wait until they let you past and walk on into the park.

It’s all downhill into the park, but it’s now time to follow The Plan you thought about earlier. The basic rule is to walk to the back of Legoland and work your way forward. Its important to get to the major rides as soon as you can, do them and then you can relax and make the most of the park for the rest of the day.

In my opinion the best rides at Legoland in 2006 were the Dragon Ride, Pirate Falls, Jungle Coaster and the Driving School. The one thing you can guarantee is that by midday there will be at least a 45 minute queue for all these rides, so its best to try and tick them all off you list as soon as possible. Of course if your little lovelies are too small or just into something else, then make sure you have it in The Plan.

On the walk down the hill, do not get distracted by the show at the Harbour area or the model village, these will be your saving grace later in the day. When you’ve done the rides that are important to you, or the queues have built up, this is the time to start doing all the many other things that are on offer in Legoland.

There are so many things that you can do that will not involve much, if any, queuing at all, for instance:-

1. The Harbour show is always fun for adults and children.
2. The Rat Trap – an adventure playground.
3. The Amazing Mazes -yep, its a maze, but done in a Legoland theme.
4. Enchanted Forest – good for a slow quiet wander, full of Lego animals.
5. Mini Land – do not underestimate this, it's brilliant. I thought it was going to be the most boring bit of Legoland, but for adults and children, its often the most interesting. Loads of moving boats, cars and trains moving all around a superb model village made of lego bricks. Constantly being updated every year with more and more buildings.
6. Water Works – get the swimming costumes on and let them run in and out of the water jets, great fun and us adults get to sit and watch the mayhem! Take sun tan lotion in summer and swimming costumes.
7. Model Makers Workshop - If you didn't do it earlier then here's your chance. Probably more interesting than you think, I shall say no more!
8. Imagination Theatre - Usually a show of some sort, again good entertainment and a chance to sit down!
9. Discovery Zone - A chance to play, build and learn with Lego.
10. Duplo Play Area - A fun area with slides and climbing frames, and seats for us adults! Aimed more towards the younger children.

The following is a list of some of the important things to remember to do and things to bring to help make your day at Legoland as fun and painless as possible.


1. Legoland map – check your children’s height before you set off, and make sure of the rides they are able to get on.
2. Tickets – pre-book if possible. We at Langton House are selling tickets as part of our accommodation - see conditions.
3. Food – Sandwiches, drinks and snacks. It is expensive in the park, but there is plenty of room to sit out on the grass and have a picnic, although I have found the food sold in Legoland to be generally very good quality.
4. Show times – Find out the times of the various shows and plan your afternoon around these.
5. Swimming suits – The Water Works is fantastic fun in the hot weather but expect the children to get absolutely drenched!
6. Sun screen - don't get burnt in the sun, even England gets hot in the summer.
7. Double check that the park is open! It has varied opening times and dates. Don't make the mistake of turning up to find its closed.

I really think Legoland is a brilliant park for the younger children. After about 11 or so it becomes progressively less interesting and for young teenagers I think other parks like Thorpe Park are better suited. Children under 3 can also find it a bit restrictive, but then again they are free to get in! But don’t let this put you off in any way. Legoland was built as a safe and fun place for the kids to explore. Enjoy your day, don’t expect to get it all done, it now really takes a good day and a half to cover it all. Think about staying in Windsor (at Langton House of course!) and looking around Windsor and using a two day Legoland pass. This way you really will be able to get to the park early with allot less stress and less stress = more fun! The main problem and perhaps the only real criticism with Legoland is that if you are a lone parent and you want to take 2 children, it becomes very difficult unless one or both are old enough to be left on their own, as so many of the rides are based on a parent and child combination.

Above all, remember this guide is only here to aid you.

If nothing else, get there early!

If anyone has any comments, suggestions or updates, please let me know, so that I can pass on good and accurate advice to others.

Lego Facts:- There are 52 Lego bricks for each person on Earth Children spend five billion hours a year playing with Lego bricks If all Lego sets sold in the last 10 years were placed end to end they could reach from London to Perth in Australia A Lego brick is measured to the 2/1000th of a millimetre Source: Lego

If I’ve got anything wrong, let me know and don’t sue me!

Paul Fogg Proprietor at Langton House and survivor of over 35 trips to Legoland!

Legoland was sold in late 2005 to a major entertainments group - this can only be good as we can look forward to much more investment over the coming years. There is expected to be an investment of over £7 million in late 2006 in preparation for the 2007 season. This should be mainly on a brand new ride even larger than the Jungle Coaster. 2006 sees 4 major changes in the park:- Digger Challenge Spellbreaker 4D movie New Johnny Thunder adventure show Miniland London skyline

Please note that the park is really aiming at children from 3 to 12 years old, and even then the extremes in this age range will not get the most out of the park.

Paul Fogg is the Proprietor of Langton House bed and breakast in Windsor England. www.langtonhouse.co.uk

About The Author

Paul Fogg has been running the Langton House bed and breakfast since 1996. http://www.langtonhouse.co.uk