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#2375 TIPS: Methods to Building Your MOC Parts Collection

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Today’s post explores the various methods to acquire that one SPECIFIC part you need to finish your MOC! The methods presented here today are organized by ascending price. From bulk purchases of random LEGO bricks, to buying an entire set for one piece - to everything in between - we cover it all! Let us know in the comments below if you agree with our ordering, or have had similar experiences! We’d love to know!



#2374 TIPS: Methods to Building Your MOC Parts Collection Today we explore ways to acquire parts for MOCs, in order from least to most expensive! Image of bricks of all colors and types in a big pile. Photo courtesy Getty Images SWIPE TO CHECK OUT OUR RANKINGS!

LEGO MOCs are the core of what we focus on at Tips&Bricks, and in addition to featuring fantastic works from builders in the community – the Bricks part – we also love sharing methods and strategies to level up your builds – the Tips part.  Today’s post is all about the various methods to acquire SPECIFIC parts for MOCs. The order they are presented will be from least to most expensive, with insight from our own experiences as MOC builders. So, check out our ordering, and let us know if by the end, you agree or disagree! There are eight images, all the cover slides to past Tips & Bricks posts. They are the following post numbers: 2299, 2339, 2128, 2255, 839, 2267, 1516, and 1921.

Bulk Lots: Our first, and lowest cost option is bulk lots. These can be found on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay or even in person at thrift stores.  Pros: Cheap, easy way to amass large number of bricks.  Sometimes hidden gems can be found! Negotiate price when purchasing entire collections Cons: Can take longer to find specific pieces for MOCs Used, unsorted, possibly dirty condition Potential for broken pieces or even non-LEGO parts Pro Tip: Try asking family, friends or neighbors if they have any old LEGO sets in storage! Image in top middle is a pile of LEGO bricks in all colors, courtesy of LEGO Group. Image in bottom right is of multiple bins of unsorted LEGO Bricks, courtesy of Meta.

Bulk Bins: With the recent growth of LEGO Hobby shops around the world, many offer bins full of unsorted LEGO bricks. They provide a container – usually in a variety of sizes – you can fill with handpicked pieces! Pros: Supporting local businesses Often deals around Holidays All pieces cost the same – no upcharge for rare parts or colors  Cons: Time consuming to sort through bin Used bricks Might not have EVERY piece you want Top image is of tables full of unsorted bricks courtesy of Bricks and Minifigs. Lower left photo is of similar tables, courtesy of Providence Brick Exchange.

LEGO Pick-&-Build Wall: This is our first appearance of organized bricks on this list! The LEGO Pick & Build wall is available at select LEGO retail locations and offers dozens of different bricks for your MOCs! Pros: New condition, pre-sorted bricks Large quantity of the same piece Cons: LEGO Store might be far away Selection can be stagnant or stale Price-per-piece can diminish depending on choices Pro Tip: Check out Post #2101 for a full breakdown on the new cardboard boxes! There are two photos of Pick and Build walls from LEGO stores. The first one on the left is courtesy of Pierter from pabfinder.com and the second on the right is via Henri from pabfinder.com

BrickLink and BrickOwl: These two global marketplaces are THE place to find MOC parts! While Bricklink was recently purchased by The LEGO Group, each store is independently owned and operated, and allows buyers to purchase specific parts, in specific quantities, in specific conditions!  Pros: Supports small businesses New or Used Condition Bricks Best spot for rare and hard to find parts Cons: Rare to find free shipping Costly for rare or retired pieces Can be complex for new users Depending on the part in need, these could be the ONLY places to find it! Pro Tip: Create Want Lists (Bricklink) or Wish Lists (BrickOwl), and the sites will automatically search store inventories for best matches! Image of the statistics from Bricklink’s parts availability, including over five million minifigures, and one billion bricks.

LEGO Pick A Brick - Online: LEGO’s own Pick a Brick website offers two shipping speeds for various parts: Bestseller and Standard. You can search by individual part numbers, or by set for its parts inventory. If, for example, you needed more accessories for a Viking-themed MOC, querying for Set 21343 Viking Village would filter for those awesome printed shields and minifig parts! Pros: New condition bricks Large quantity of the same piece Free shipping - if threshold reached Cons: Added fees and shipping costs if under threshold 30+ day shipping with Standard Image shows how you can filter for specific parts from certain sets. The example shows the Viking Village. Pro Tip: See Post #2141 for our review of Viking Village!

LEGO Pick-A-Brick Continued: Pro Tip: When searching for parts through LEGO’s PAB website, the Item Number from Bricklink might not produce results. In the example shown here, the part – 62462 on Bricklink – was only found by searching for the second Alternate Item Number! Several images show the differing parts numbers between BrickLink and LEGO’s Pick A Brick’s website. BrickLink’s average price for 62462 was $0.07 per piece, compared to LEGO’s $0.06.

Current and Retired Sets: This is the most expensive of all the methods. Purchasing an entire set just for a handful of specific pieces might not be the most economical method of building your parts collection, especially if you have no use for the remainder! Parts from retired sets can drive the price even higher. However, there are occasions, where time is of the essence – you have an upcoming convention – and you need the part now! Pros: Save time – in stock set means in stock part! New condition bricks Cons: Most expensive method Extra, unwanted pieces Pro Tip: Clearance sales can offer drastic discounts! There are three images, showing three parts from three sets. First, part 61853 – a grey seal – from set 60376. Second, part 4176 – a trans-grey windscreen – from 60327. Lastly, part 36841 – a 1 by 1 bracket in yellow, from set 76992.

Wrap-Up: The major takeaway: the faster you want SPECIFIC parts, the MORE it will generally cost! Image of a graph, cost on the x axis, speed on the y axis. The line is pointed up to the right to show that as speed of acquisition increases, so does the price! Pro Tip: The price for the same piece might vary across the different options presented today – so check with a few different sources before ordering! Now that we’ve covered the different methods, do you agree with our ordering? Let us know if you have used these, or other methods to acquiring that one obscure piece you needed to build your MOCs!

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