Skip

"We dont stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing."
September 29, 2011 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Got a lot of Lego sets laying around? Want to build something new with them? Enter your set numbers into Rebrickable, specify how closely you want the colors to match, and voila - look what else you can build.

The site currently contains data on 6000 sets and more than a million parts. Designers are also invited to submit their own plans, of which there are currently 31. Lego previously on the blue.
posted by jbickers (44 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
LEGO isn't as good as it was in the 1970s - all the vehicle kits now are more like model kits with weirdly-shaped parts that are useless for anything else.

IMO.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:27 AM on September 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


LEGO isn't as good as it was in the 1970s - all the vehicle kits now are more like model kits with weirdly-shaped parts that are useless for anything else.

Totally wrong, With all those new green pieces you can make an awesome lawn, and then you can tell your minifigs to get off it.

I used to think the same thing until I had a kid who started collecting the newer sets with all the specialized pieces. Those specialized pieces can be used all sorts of ways, just like the 2x4 bricks. It's all about the kid using his/her imagination, and that's what they do.

I know those of us who grew up in the 1970s and earlier like to pretend there was some magical time when you could build anything out of 2x4 bricks but I can tell you, those special pieces (which started showing up in the 1970s) make the typical Lego construction so much more awesome.

But that's a derail. The links in question aren't about how much better Lego used to be. The link in question is pretty damn amazing, actually. It would be really nice if they built a large database of models to build.
posted by bondcliff at 8:35 AM on September 29, 2011 [14 favorites]


I love lego. For what it stands for, for what people can do with it. But when it comes to me doing it, I'm always reminded how clumsy I am, and how bad my hands shake at times.

In short, I buy a lot of Lego, but give it to the nieces and nephews.
posted by DigDoug at 8:38 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I also used to think it was better in the 70s. But really, get some Technic Lego. The gears and rods and stuff are completely awesome. There's usually zero specialized "it only makes one thing" parts in a set, but sometimes you'll find a few. Depends on the set.
posted by DU at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2011


TBH I think the specialist peices thing peaked a while back and has receeded - all the sets I've gotten recently have been composed of perfectly fine multi-use bricks.
posted by Artw at 8:48 AM on September 29, 2011


LEGO isn't as good as it was in the 1970s - all the vehicle kits now are more like model kits with weirdly-shaped parts that are useless for anything else.

You are 100% wrong, as even a cursory look at the Lego group on Flickr will demonstrate.
posted by Legomancer at 8:48 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Legos.
posted by item at 8:49 AM on September 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


Let me just say, bulding horses was dumb. I'm all for imagination and creativity, but pre-formed horses are great. If you get pre-formed people, why not animals?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 AM on September 29, 2011


Of the various Lego types you probably want Creator for the most traditional bricks, with Atlantis having the most weird new bricks.
posted by Artw at 8:51 AM on September 29, 2011


Related?
posted by Kevtaro at 8:55 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


holy crap kevtaro that is incredible.
posted by jbickers at 8:58 AM on September 29, 2011


This assumes that I haven't lost pieces from all those sets...that is not a good assumption.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:02 AM on September 29, 2011


As a parent, I can report that the most brilliant thing LEGO developers ever did was to make sure that the regular blocks can be attached to the Duplo blocks, and the Duplos can be attached to the giant toddler Quatro blocks. As your kids get older, they can just keep building wicked cool stuff using every block they've had since birth. It's one of those tiny attention-to-detail things that's the hallmark of a company with a well-thought-out plan.

Every now and then I think of making a massive monolith with a Quatro base, Duplo middle, and LEGO top just so I can watch my son knock it down.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:15 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just referred another mom of an autistic son to this, and she is extremely excited. Part of that might be because unlike T.D. Strange he is exactly aware of every single piece he owns.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 9:16 AM on September 29, 2011


I think the inclusion of all the old sets is what makes this - I am seeing sets that are ancient, yet totally can be built with my daughters set of bricks. I;m tempted to sign up so I can add more than six sets.
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on September 29, 2011


Every now and then I think of making a massive monolith with a Quatro base, Duplo middle, and LEGO top just so I can watch my son knock it down.

Hmm... wouldn't it have to be the other way around? Quatro at the top, Duplo in the middle, regular Legos on the bottom. Or can you actually put, say, a 2x4 Lego on top of a 1x2 Duplo?
posted by kmz at 9:41 AM on September 29, 2011


Heh. If you input Bioncles you only really get to build othe Bionicles.
posted by Artw at 9:45 AM on September 29, 2011


I tell a lie! By page 3 it actually throws up all kinds of Technics stuff. Fair number of missing parts though...
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on September 29, 2011


Hmm... wouldn't it have to be the other way around? Quatro at the top, Duplo in the middle, regular Legos on the bottom. Or can you actually put, say, a 2x4 Lego on top of a 1x2 Duplo?

I haven't played with it too much, but yes, you can successfully stack smaller bricks on top of larger. The circular thingy on the underside of the smaller brick will fit inside of the bumps on top of the larger brick. On Duplos and Quatros, the bumps are open circles, not solid
posted by middleclasstool at 9:52 AM on September 29, 2011


Cool, a good resource. When my family moved houses about three years ago, we unearthed several plastic tubs of LEGO shrapnel. We put the tubs on craigslist for "free," because how do you market a bucket of spare parts? Got a call within 10 minutes, and the dude pulled up within the hour. I can only imagine how wide his child(ren)'s eyes opened at the sight of it, and the resultant plastic churning noise made by hands furiously searching for a red 2x3 flat piece, or 1x1 translucent brake light piece.

Michael Chabon writes fantastically about the harsh Scandanavian mandates laid out by LEGO sets, and the mental inflexibility it breeds in children. Can't find a link to the essay (WORTH THE READ), but this i09 mini-interview paints the picture.

Also, the car photos in the FPL reminded me instantly of this rollicking send-up of Formula One, possibly before the rise of the Sith such part-specific kits.
posted by obscurator at 9:54 AM on September 29, 2011


Example building my son and I did. Top tower is Duplo, everything else Quatro.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:01 AM on September 29, 2011


I have been wining and dining the right executives. I have been making strategic equipment recommendation with capital values in the billions. Through my determined efforts, by the end of October, I will be the owner of one of the most sought-after sets: the mighty 4999.

(note to wind concerned readers: you should know from your own experience that not everything on the internet is true.)

Regarding Technic, what's the best general set to get? I like gears and linkages and motors, not building things that look like things.
posted by scruss at 10:17 AM on September 29, 2011


I wish I had my lego stuff with me, people have been making LegoHammer 40k recently and I've been extremely jealous. Perhaps we'll have to convince one of these guys to upload their stuff to the database.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:18 AM on September 29, 2011


I've bought our son a variety of the new Star Wars sets; he builds them (with some help from me) but once the ships get broken the Lego ends up in a big bucket, making it impossible to rebuild.

So this website is a real help
posted by KokuRyu at 10:20 AM on September 29, 2011


Also, I wish I had this website 15 years ago when I set up all my knights and medieval sets on a table and then BOOM, little siblings knock it all down. Never could figure out how to put it all back together again.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:23 AM on September 29, 2011


Michael Chabon can be a bit of a grump, TBH. Manhood for Amateurs is full of cane-shaking lawnisms.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on September 29, 2011


"We dont stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing."

And when you get old, the Duplo pieces become useful again! Just like large print books.

Lego, cradle to grave.
posted by chavenet at 10:26 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


.I've bought our son a variety of the new Star Wars sets; he builds them (with some help from me) but once the ships get broken the Lego ends up in a big bucket, making it impossible to rebuild.

I've discovered that with only a tiny bit of sorting, and assuming you keep the instruction manuals (and that no bricks have been vacuumed) old sets CAN be reconstituted from the combined mass of bricks, something I considered impossible as a child.

Talking of Star Wars, look at this fucker.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see a box on that interface where I can key in that I have a six year old boy, so that results reflect the fact that all blocks are in a state of disorganization, distribution and chaos such that their is only a theoretical relationship between sets we've bought and blocks we have access to. It wouldn't be hard to program in, you just click that box and it automatically takes you to a page that says "what you can build with your blocks:" followed by a giant question mark.
posted by nanojath at 10:30 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]




Sets lol. What I need is a giant hopper I can dump three dozen 1/2 and 3/4 sets of unknown origin into, and have it spit out completed sets with instructions.
posted by peep at 10:38 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Talking of Star Wars, look at this fucker.

They used to have similarly detailed 16+ kits for X-Wings and TIE Fighters too that were awesome. They appear to have discontinued them, or else my search skills suck.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:47 AM on September 29, 2011


And if you think you can build, now your iPhone can tell you whether you're right or not.
posted by The Bellman at 10:52 AM on September 29, 2011


Here is what they have Star Wars-wise right now. I get the impression they cycle stuff in and out - so that Millenium Falcon wasn't there a couple of months ago, but I'm pretty sure they've stocked it previously to that.
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on September 29, 2011


Also, what can I build if I have this kit? (Shut up and watch. You will never be the same.)
posted by The Bellman at 10:54 AM on September 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


Artw, that brick-related pic is a thing of beauty. I makes me want to go home and sort out the bins and bins of parts my kids have. I'll probably let my husband sort out his own damn bins. Maybe, just maybe, it would help my older child find the parts wanted and more would get used.
posted by onhazier at 11:34 AM on September 29, 2011


I want to combine all the Lego we have and sort of dog-paddle through it, but my kids are SUPER terrorial about it.

For example, they won't mingle their own separate years' pick-a-brick tubs we bought at the Mall of America Lego Store in various years, much less combine them with sets. It drives me crazy: "Just think of the cool stuff we could build if we combined them all!" but they just shake their heads, thin-lipped, and hug tighter their various bags and tubs.

Maybe showing them this might help break down their resistance.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:50 AM on September 29, 2011


We have more containers now. Still takes about 5 minutes to completly undo if other kids visit.
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The comments about specialized parts reminded me of a tale from my childhood. At some point in the early nineties, Lego came out with instructions for combining several sets to build one large model. I managed to get one of these which combined three M-Tron sets to create a large wheeled vehicle. Despite the fact that I had nearly every M-Tron set there was, I lacked one of the three I needed. Well, I decided to go ahead with building it anyway. I figured I had enough Legos to make up for that one set. Maybe I'd have to use a different kind of wheel or windshield or something.

So I started on it. But I only got a few steps in before I needed a piece that I just could not find. At the time, I considered myself a master of locating Lego pieces. My pieces were sorted by color and stored in clear plastic bins to let more light get to the pieces on the bottom. I had spent hours scraping through those bins, pushing pieces aside to get the small ones from the corners, sometimes pulling one out to count the studs or examine the details before discarding it as an incomplete match. And I never failed to find the piece I needed.

But still this piece eluded me. I eventually determined to go through every black lego I owned, one by one, until I found the piece I needed. This wound up taking a couple days. My mom, for some reason, didn't think it was healthy for me to spend all my time in the basement squinting at legos, and she made me go outside, eat meals at the table, clean my room. But in the end, I discovered that I just didn't own the piece I needed.

All of this would be at least reasonable if the piece had been some specialized, single-use strangeness. But I needed a 2x3 black brick.
posted by eruonna at 12:03 PM on September 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


It is clear to me now I was born 25 years too soon.
posted by chemoboy at 2:25 PM on September 29, 2011


I spent a lot of time playing lego in the late 70s/early 80s. Think Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours to become an expert, then probably double or treble that.
As a result, my kids have a seriously large tub of bricks (a box that slides under the bed, about 8 inches deep). Sometimes they print new instruction sets off the internet and make things we don't explicitly have the sets for, but close enough.
At some point, however, they will need eruonna's 2x3 black brick, or a 2-dot grill or something and will struggle to find it, so they call me.
I use my Jedi like powers of brick discovery to pull it up in 15 seconds. My wife is always amazed, but it is just some intense pattern matching, like a hunter looking for a hare in a field or a prospector scanning for a gem.
Unfortunately, my outlier specialisation wasn't as lucrative as Bill Gates or some pro sportsman.
posted by bystander at 2:33 PM on September 29, 2011


This is only tangentially related, but I feel like the current generations of brick-loving parents who pass down their Lego to their kids (and play with them with their kids) will be able to create a bond that has never quite existed on the same level before. Now to go cross reference this site with brickset!
posted by sleeping bear at 4:43 PM on September 29, 2011


Thanks for this. I spent part of this past summer building Star Wars Lego kits with a 5 year old boy, and it reminded me how much I loved Lego.
posted by pemberkins at 4:49 PM on September 29, 2011


This is the cruelest website I can imagine. It touches on all of my jealously buttons from when I was 10 years old. I hated that fucking pirate ship, for all the potential it represented. And Technics! Don't get me started on Technics!
posted by tmt at 8:26 PM on September 29, 2011


« Older Ol' Clue Eyes   |   "Frog eyes are kind of white... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post