Welcome to another instalment of Monday Musings – a fortnightly(ish) series devoted to random musings on the LEGO hobby, community, my collection and beyond.
In case you missed it, Monday Musings can be long-form, or short bursts of whatever strikes my fancy, and be more traditional “blog-type” content. You may have noticed that I’m doing more news and launch posts, which I enjoy and still find ways to inject my opinions, instead of say, just drop a random gallery of images and call it a day, but I like writing, and want to give you guys a peek into how I’m perceiving things in the LEGO World – hence, Monday musings.
To check out my previous 3 posts, check out:
- #1 Having to limit the LEGO themes you collect
- #2 Is LEGO a good investment?
- #3 Does LEGO listen to their fans?
For Monday Musings #4, this will be a bit of a fun exercise exploring the different types of LEGO fans out there. LEGO as a hobby has grown so large and varied, so I thought it’d be cool to put together some of the most common types of LEGO fans.
One of the questions I often have to answer is the type of LEGO fan that I am, which has led me to think about all the different ways LEGO fans and AFOLs interact with the brick.
Here’s what I think are the most common types of LEGO fans:
- The Set Collector
- The MOC Builder
- The LEGO Investor
- The Minifigure Collector
- The Mechanical Maestro
- The Displayer
- The Content Creator
The Set Collector
The Set Collector is probably the most common LEGO fan out there. Set collectors just love everything that LEGO puts out, and diligently focuses on several themes, or types of models – such as Creator Expert Cars, Mechs or Trains.
They’re constantly on the lookout for the latest LEGO news, and set releases, and are content with just building from the instructions, or expanding the number of LEGO sets they have in their backlog.
Set Collectors appreciate novelty, good design and the thrill of what The LEGO Group and army of designers come up with, and love being surprised by sets big and small. They’re generally really chill people, and love striking up conversations with other like-minded fans about their latest builds, and getting excited about new releases.
Likes: Being the first to own and build new sets. Showing off their builds on social media. A good discount, double VIP or clearance sale. January and June.
Dislikes: Not having enough space for storage. When sets they’re after retire early. Re-releases. Deciding whether to keep or recycle LEGO boxes and instructions.
Sub-categories include: The Hoarder, The Backlog Builder, The Bargain Hunter, The Displayer, The Minifigure Collector
The MOC Builder
On the opposite end of the spectrum is The MOC Builder. Creativity and self-expression is their calling cards, and they’re constantly dreaming about their next big (or small) project as well as the next LEGO Convention or Show for them to display at.
Note: MOC is an acronym for My Own Creation, a LEGO term for when you build and create your own designs/models without instructions. Pronounced like “mock”.
MOC Builders congregate in colonies called LUGs (LEGO User Groups) where they mingle and collaborate with other like-minded individuals and constantly one-upping one another to win accolades.
The MOC Builder eschews instructions, but is on the lookout for new set releases, especially from the Creator Expert, Ideas, Technic or LEGO for Adults theme in particular, to learn new building techniques and most importantly to see what new LEGO elements they get to play with.
Nothing fills a MOC Builder’s heart more than a well-stocked Pick-a-Brick wall, or when they discover a Bricklink store that has all the parts they want in a single order.
MOC Builders are the heartbeat and lifeblood of the LEGO Community, and are at the forefront of challenging what can truly be possible with LEGO.
Dislikes: Following instructions, transporting displays around the world/country, when they can’t find that one part, when kids at conventions break off parts of their builds.
Sub-categories include: The Mosaic-Maker, The Town Planner, The Statue Sculptor, The Modifier, The Kraggler
The LEGO Investor
Why build LEGO Cities when you can build fortunes? The LEGO Investor is less about Pick-a-Brick, and more about picking the sets that will appreciate in value upon retirement.
Their chief goal is treating LEGO and the LEGO Hobby like the stock market, buying, trading and speculating on sets to make money, and growing the value of their LEGO portfolio.
The LEGO Investor primarily deals in Modular Buildings, Minifigures, Star Wars UCS sets, and/or LEGO Ideas, but savvy Investors are always sniffing out for good deals and love playing the guessing game of how sets will be valued upon retirement.
LEGO Investors are constantly trying to figure out when sets will retire, and are savvy about LEGO trends, and prey on hapless LEGO Collectors who miss out on sets. They know Bricklink Price Guides, and eBay average sold prices like the back of their hand, and may own a storage unit or two where they keep their inventory.
Not to be confused with the LEGO Scalper, or Reseller, whose chief goal is to flip popular LEGO sets for profit, the LEGO Investor takes a long-term view of their portfolio, and is more focused on ensuring that their mint in sealed box (MISB) LEGO sets are in pristine condition than making a quick buck.
Likes: When sets they speculate on retire, LEGO sales and discounts, exclusive limited run releases, good Facebook Marketplace or eBay finds, exclusive one-time only minifigures included in sets, bubble-wrapping LEGO sets, not paying capital gains tax on their investments.
Dislikes: When sets take forever to retire, when sets retire prematurely, eBay fees, damaged corners, when sets are damage in transit, LEGO set re-releases
Sub-categories include: The Scalper, The Reseller, The Bricklink Store Owner
The Minifigure Collector
Not everyone has the space, or budget to indugle in every single new LEGO release – which brings us to The Minifigure Collector. A subset of the Set Collector, as their name suggests, they specialist purely in minifigures.
New set releases only matter if new, and exclusive minifigures are released, and the value of the set is completely dependant on the calibre of minifigures included.
Minifigure collectors are often found on Bricklink, as they’ve worked out that it’s often much cheaper to buy loose minifigures than complete sets, and are thus an integral part of the Bricklink ecosystem, and are in a symbiotic relationship with MOC Builders who are just concerned with bricks.
They proudly display their collections or armies of minifigures, and take great joy in owning especially rare or expensive minifigures, and are constantly hunting for their grails like Mr Gold.
Likes: Sets with lots of minifigures, Ikea Ribba frames, arm and leg printing, feeling for Collectible Minifigures at toy store
Dislikes: Scuffs on minifigures, not getting 3x full sets in Collectible Minifigure boxes, not knowing what to do with their hundreds of 2 x 3 minifigure display tiles, missing out on the Gungan Sub set
Sub-categories include: The Set Collector, The Toy Photographer, The Investor
The Mechanical Maestro
Technic is the name of the game for The Mechanical Maestro – he or she doesn’t quite care for bricks, or studs, and gravitates towards gears, pins and axels and is most comfortable in the Technic aisle.
They may or may not have studied engineering, math or computing in university, The Mechanical Maestro has a keen eye for intricate Technic builds and models.
They’re often trying to solve complex engineering problems and are always looking to mechanise, and power up their creations, or programming their builds to do their bidding.
The Mechanical Maestros love nothing more than to flock together, collaborating on modules for Great Ball Contraptions at LEGO conventions and shows.
Likes: Power Functions, when they’re able to solve complex problems, motors, gears and axels, servo motors, 3rd party brands that fill in the gap that LEGO are not interested in filling, over-designed Technic models
Dislikes: Powered Up, when LEGO makes their parts/software/systems obsolete, that sickening crunching sound when motors fail.
Sub-categories include: The GBC Module Maker, The Robotics Teacher, The Technic Tragic
The Displayer is single-minded in their purpose – seek out and build the biggest, and most impressive-looking LEGO models that take up way too much space for the average fan.
Piece-count, size and height are what motivate The Displayer, who will not get out of bed for anything less than 4,000 pieces. The Colosseum is one of his or her favourite models, and is just waiting for LEGO to smash the record of biggest LEGO set ever.
The Displayer does not recognise The World Map as the biggest LEGO set, and is eagerly awaiting the next set to rightfully dethrone it.
The Displayer finds great pride in admiring their LEGO sets, and finds accomplishment when he or she has guests over and their marvel at their LEGO creations and displays.
Displayers dream of becoming a MOC Builder and would do so, if they had any extra room to store and build! Is probably an Architect, and earns enough money to afford a massive home AND massive LEGO sets
Likes: Massive LEGO sets, sets with more than 4,000 pieces, UCS sets, the recent trend of LEGO smashing the piece-count record every year
Dislikes: dusting their sets, not having enough surface or display areas
Sub-categories include: The Set Collector, The Architect, MOC Builder
The Content Creator
Last but not least, we have the Content Creator. LEGO is their ultimate medium of expression, and creating art and content is what drives them, whether that be LEGO Photography, or making Stop-Motion videos.
Always seen with a camera (or phone!), out and about looking for their next shoot location, the Content Creator almost always carries LEGO minifigures with them, just in case inspiration strikes.
They are fuelled by creativity, and enjoy the limitless possibility that LEGO and Minifigures afford them, spending more time on Instagram, and Youtube instead of Flickr.
LEGO Content Creators play an important part in elevating LEGO sets and minifigures, injecting a sense of wonder, humour and artistic vision into the hobby, and are at the forefront of inspiring others to take happy snaps of their toys.
Likes: good lighting, moss, the outdoors, macro lenses, when the algorithm makes their content go viral
Dislikes: blurry photos, not having minifigures on hand to take a great shot, copycats, when you don’t credit their content
Sub-categories include: The Minifigure Collector, The MOC Builder, The Stop Motion Artist, The Toy Photographer, The Instagram Addict
Do you identify as any one of these types of LEGO Fans? I’d love to know which category you fall into, and if I missed out on anyone!
Thanks for reading! This was a bit more of a fun, light-hearted take on the LEGO Hobby, and just how expansive it is. No matter what type of LEGO fan you are, or if you fall into multiple categories, I sure hope you’re able to find your tribe!
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