Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mini Figure Lost & Found

The Lost Tribal Chief, Return of an AFoL and Long Distant Love by littlebrickman.

Flashback to year 2004.

June afternoon. As I was walking in Parkson, Ipoh Parade during lunch time of my 9-5 college life, I saw this shelf-worn little box of Lego. I wondered how could such a big shopping mall took a bold step to display this shabby set with the price tag of RM 18.00. No discount. Not a nice attraction either. There were 3 similar sets actually.

As I got closer to inspect, I took one of the boxes and found out that it was set 6709 Tribal Chief from Lego Western theme. I was attracted to the war-painted horse included in the set. It had been 10 years since I last hold of Lego. This might be an old set but new to me. Never had a Western theme before. Would this be a new beginning? A new adventure?

My heart desired to have the set. But my mind kept telling me " You're 24 now". I never knew or heard about AFoL (adult fan of Lego) back then. But this was my lucky day. Discontinued Lego sets right in front my eyes, in my hands indeed. I remembered one famous war general once said,

"Seize, not waiting for opportunity".

RM 18.00 would be my 3 days meal allowance, but I could survive eating cream buns and drinking sky juice. So, acting as I was buying a present to a kid, I bought the set and asked the store assistant to wrap it with gift wrapping. A disguised package so that I didn't have to explain why an adult like me own a Lego set (that suitable for kids age 5-10) to my curious "tell-us-what's-that-in your hands" classmates.

And that was how I became an AFoL.

Later I found out that the set was released in year 1997.

2 weeks later I was in a bus traveling to Kuala Lumpur. Mission : seek and seize vintage Lego sets. Secondary objective : to meet a long lost love. Cash in hands : RM 300.

But luck was not on my side. I scouted the TRU in MidValley but much to my disappointment, there were only new sets and themes, Star Wars, Kingdom Knights II etc. No Westerns, no Ninjas.

Then she came to see me. Ms Ackey (at that particular time).

She is my ex-classmate (class of 1997). And I was about to reveal my little secret to her.

"You came here to KL from Ipoh just to buy Lego?".

"Yup, and to meet you," I answered as we dined at the Chili's. I had my all time favourite lamb chop while she opted for grill salmon. She never like lambs, and I like what she likes.

I looked into her eyes, trying to find for minor twitch or flick in her iris. If I was a mind reader, I might heard some screaming inside her head.

"Oh NO, I'm dating with a Lego FANatic!"

But nothing happened. She was as calm as a summer sea (there is no summer here in Malaysia though).

Knowing her for years, I knew she had no problem with my little hobby. This kind of respect and understanding, made me falling deeper into her unconditional love.

I dedicate this song to you, Mrs. Little Brick Man.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

TIME - SM Sabir Miler

FORT LION, Midwife Island.

Sergeant Major Sabir Miler. Peleton Sergeant from Royal Red Jackets (RRJ) 21 Gunners Regiment.

This old brick is a trusted and experienced soldier who assist Leftenant Jon Kaisan in commanding 2nd Peleton at Fort Lion. He is the 2nd IC, in total command of the Peleton whenever Lt. Jon Kaisan is at sea. All subordinate Section Commanders reports to him. He is the bridge between the CO and his brickmen.

A veteran of Milk War and Eden Campaign, SM Sabir Miler is not only feared by foes, but also highly respected by his men as a fatherly figure. He is the man who responsible for the discipline and training of the peleton. He is a strict instructor, especially during the preparation of parades and ceremonies whenever the top brass come to visit Fort Lion. The cannons are heavy, but SM Sabir Miler carries a heavier burden on his shoulder - the Peleton's pride and reputation.

He always shouts to his brickmen,

"Lads, are you ready everyday. Ever Ready?!. Give me hundred."

"You might think twice before messing up with SM. If he finds you walking around with your hands in pockets, you might be ending up in fort's lock-up. Or worse, court martial." says an unnamed brickman.

"That son-of-a-flintlock, who does he thinks he is? King of the Fort? At one time I just went to the loo and left my musket at the door. The next thing I remembered, I was a rolling log from our barrack to the jetty. All that lunch inside my stomach - the spinach lasagna and chips and shrimps, well, the seagulls at the bay had their feast, " said another brickman.

But SM Sabir Miler has his reasons.

"These landsmen don't know that when they entered the Red Jackets, they are married to their muskets. You walk, eat, sleep, piss or what ever you do, the musket must always with you. Even if you sleep walking, musket should be carried on your shoulder. We never know when the enemy is attacking. The moments bullets flying everywhere, you should already return fire. No matter if a fork in your left hand and your mouth still chewing food, or you just came out from your bath, naked. But as long a musket is in your hands, you are ready for a fight. Ever ready!".

"It is true because a musketeer without a musket is not a musketeer at all. You may have a cutlass as secondary. But what are you going to do with it when the enemy is a 100 yards away? Throwing the sword at them? You are no Achilles."

Besides preparing men for battle, a peleton sergeant is also in charge of logistic and medical aid during exercises and operations. At Fort Lion, SM Sabir Miler is the Master of Cannons. He usually get helps from 'powder monkeys'.

Like first sergeants, Sergeant Major Sabir Miler wears blue epaulet, and he is wearing red plume on his tricorne hat. During peleton tactical movements and operations, he's in charge with the artillery battery. He wields a cutlass and has a flintlock as his side arms.

Sergeant Major Sabir Miler
  • Eden Campaign Medal
  • Milk War Service Medal
  • Royal Artillery Operational Medal
***Pic by Little Brick Man.

=TIME= a novel.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

TIME - Midwife Island

The Midwife Island

Welcome to the Fort Lion - home of the 2nd Peleton of 7th "Lobster" Company from 3rd North Blue State Battalion of His Majesty Kingdom Guards.

The North Blue State was surrounded by four main islands - in consecutive order from south to north; Sing Song Isle, Midwife Island, Egg's Island and Pregnant Maiden Isle. From these four islands, only two were actually inhabited. They were the Midwife Island and the Pregnant Maiden Isle.

With the population of 200 villagers, Midwife Island was a trading post for scattered islanders. It also had its own fresh water supply, making it one stop center for passing ships to resupply. Some small merchant ships try to avoid the main harbor at the mainland of North Blue State due to its high harbor taxes and fees. More over it was a very busy harbor. And lots of red tapes too.

Fort Lion was garrisoned by 22 brickmen of different files and ranks. Its Peleton Commander was Leftenant Jon Kaisan, a Royal Blue Coats.

===Some of the original 2nd Platoon brickmen during the early stage of Operation Midwife Fortification.
Lt. Jon Kaisan was the one in the middle front row (with yellow epaulet).
Some of these brickmen are still in active duty at Fort Lion.
Some had left due to promotions and transfers.=== Pic. from Little Brick Man.

Leftenant Jon Kaisan
  • His Majesty Kingdom Guards Expeditionary Medal
  • Prisoner of War Medal
  • Royal Blue Coats Flintlock Marksmanship
==TIME== a novel.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

O minifig, o mini figures.

It has been quite some time I'm not writing in my blog. Traveling a lot, driving from central to south-back to central again. Then north. Again, back to central. And south, south, south for quite a few times for most weekends. Phew ! Even I stopped cooking. Sigh.

My mindset for my minifigs collection has gone astray these days. Instead of having single and unique mini figure, I have this passion of building an army. A massive of identical and uniform-based mini figures. In my case, the Imperial Soldiers and Sailors from the Pirates theme.

If I'm about to have this brigade, or battalion, to what extend? These soldiers will eventually need a fort to defend, a ship to sail, enemies to mess with, war horses to ride and fight. And things will be getting bigger, more complicated and need more space, time and money.

Do I have to stick to one or two theme(s) so I can concentrate at the army? Or do I have to collect different mini figures from many themes so that I can explore the colorful world of Lego?

Make peace and love, brothers. Not war. (Beep beep - R2D2).

Don't show us the evil side of this world. Even in this small world of little brick men.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ahoy matey !

The Pirates are in Town

Yes, with the conjunction of 20th Anniversary, Lego has generously reproduced Lego Pirates theme in Year 2009. It is a good news for Pirates fans out there. A good news that only last for 2 years time. A limited time to grab those ships and treasure island before they disappear again from the shelves.
I never quite fancy with Pirates theme during those year 1989. I was a loyal Black Falcons then. However I did bought a small box of Pirates Mini Figures (cost me about $3.00). Something different from my other collection - the Pirates had new-style faces, from beard to patched-eye to grinning and even female pirates had lipstick. Somehow it showed that mini figures could also had emotions rather than normal smiling face.Check Spelling

One thing that stopped me from collecting Pirates theme was it huge ships. Bigger sets means more expansive price tag and for a 3rd grader like me I wasn't had much money in my pocket.

By the time I reach 20s, Lego had stopped the Pirates production.
But now, since I watched movies like Master and Commander, Cut Throat Island and Pirates of the Carribeans, I realized how much I appreciate the beauty of a ship. Either the ships with Jolly Roger flag or Imperial Battleship. They are just like a floating castle if I to compare them with the Black Falcons.

As for the Imperial Armada - they are the Red Coats (some fans thought it as the British), the Blue Coats as French and the Greens which reflect the Spanish Armada ( it can be recognized with helmets and armor). Although in Master and Commander movie, the Blue coats were the navy or sailors, and the Red Coats were the Marines and they suppose to sail in the same boat, but it is fun to play British-French naval war beside the endless battle with Captain Brickbeard and his pirates. After all, Lego is full with imagination and adventures in a person view.

It seems this year of 2010 I'm spending my leisure time buying Lego Pirates theme before they became 'extinct' and vintage collection. Perhaps I should have my first ship this time.

Don't forget to visit my Lego Store at Lots of new Lego sets with great discounts.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Clone Troopers

I'm not a die hard fan of Star Wars but I can't deny that the film is a worldwide phenomenon. And Lego is taking advantage of it by producing Lego Star Wars sets since year 1999.

At first, I didn't pay much attention to the themes because it just like another Star Wars merchandise but as the film continues with its prequel trilogies, more and more characters emerged. This means a lot of new mini figures were produced based on the film's characters.

Recently I made a new start by purchasing Lego mini figures from Star Wars theme. As shown in picture above, I received my first batch of Clone Troopers. From left is Clone Trooper from Episode II, the blue one is a Senate Commando taken from set 8039 and far right is a Clone Jet pack Trooper. Again their helmets mark their identity.

I've seen one of a collectors who have a whole regiment of identical clone or storm troopers, maybe a thousand or more. I wish I could had them - if only I have extra money and not to forget, extra space in our home.

Goodbye my little friends

In year 2009 I decided to restart my Lego collecting hobby. It was hard to find vintage minifigs and sets here in Malaysia so like many collectors out there I used eBay as medium. I just got involved with eBay 2 year before, mainly as a seller.

It's not I'm saying that
there are no Legos selling at supermarkets and toy shops here but most of the current themes didn't get my attention as much as classic themes; maybe I used to cling to the past.

Then I found a good bargain on eBay and spent USD 6 for 3 minifigs of Black Falcons as shown in the picture. Only one of the three had the Black Falcon crest on its torso with sword and shield, obviously became my favorite. The other two just an added bonus.

They were in good condition, no scratches and no discoloration thanks to the previous owner who took a good care of them.

When the minifigs arrived at my place, I found they were so small in my palm compared to how I found them 22 years ago although their actual size are still the same. My old passion has been ignited - - - I bought another 2 sets of 3 minifigs; The Lion Crusaders and The Forestmen.

Later I found out there are other channel that I can get hard-to-find minifigs and Lego sets besides eBay, where I can choose specific item based on my preference.

It's time to let go these minifigs at the same place I bought them --- eBay. I made some profits selling them, but that's not the main reason because I know somebody out there who share the same hobby with me are looking for these little guys. And I'm on another new Lego hunting, only this time more personal and more accurate.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lego Star Wars - Rebel Commandos

These two green camouflage geared mini figures appeared in set 8038 The Battle of Endor, produced in year 2009. Although identical, the only different is the head - one with a frown (angry?) face and another one with brown beard.

Taken from the scene of Star Wars Classic, Rebel Commandos are trained Rebel Troopers for special forces operations, usually for recon missions. They also fought in the Battle of Endor.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Black Falcons

Lego Castle theme attracts me with its castles, knights and horses. After all, it's about medieval times full of adventures and mystery although it did not represent actual history.

"The Black Falcons" is the name given by Lego fans for Lego Castle sets that featured a crest with a black and white bird against a black and white background, split down the middle, with a blue or gold border. Mini-figures that have the bird emblem on their chest often come with black helmets, blue torsos with black sleeves and black legs; sometimes with red hips. Several sets have mini-figures with gray helmets and gray legs though.

Compared to other Castle Classic themes like Crusaders ( with Lion crest ) and Black Knights ( with Dragon Crest ), I favoured Black Falcons the most for its black and blue colour combination; which for me, it represents law enforcer; something more like police force during medieval era. Perhaps you had seen the movie about King Arthur starring Sean Connery and Richard Gere? I think the title is 'First Knight' but that movie was several years ahead since The Black Falcons sets were produced within year 1984 - 1992.

I used to divide my Black Falcons mini-figures into 3 groups based on type of helmet they're wearing ; neck-protector as Guard (infantry) - usually armed with spear or halberd, chin-guard as Archer or Crossbowman - equipped with bow and quiver or crossbow, and lastly grill helmet as Knight which wield lance, shield and short sword as secondary weapon.

Left: Guards (foot soldier) , mid : Archer with red hips, right :Knight with breastplate torso and yellow feather on its grill helmet.

As far as I remember, the one and only castle I ever had was set 6074 Black Falcon's Fortress (1986) but I only had it in 1989 - the most expensive Lego set my dad ever bought for me. The construction of the castle was quite complicated for a 9-year boy like me so my brother helped me to build it. The unique characteristic of the castle were its octagonal corner pieces and the yellow Tudor wall. The set included with 2 Guards, 2 Archers, 2 knights and 2 horses ( 1 white, 1 black).

Today's price for this 24-year old set ? Up to USD 1,380.00 for mint in sealed box (MISB) set.

My First Lego

I was first introduced to Lego products when I was 5. It was my elder brother who gave me a box of plastic men. He got it for free when he was travelling to Terengganu with my parent by MAS flight. I wasn't in the company because I stayed with my grandparent in Ipoh.

For a kiddo like me, it just another toy to play with. But there was something new about it. The figures had movable arms and legs, and they can be disassembled and re-assembled to whatever variations that I want. They were small and I could put them in my pockets. Where ever I went, I brought them with me. I even put them under my pillow when I slept at nights. I started to liking them.

I didn't know how to read at that time but I remembered my brother told me it was Lego.

The year was 1985. It was set 6701 Space Mini-Figures which consisted 2 yellow suit Space-men, 2 reds and 2 whites. They had air tanks on their backs but quite funny though; the helmets they were wearing didn't have visors.

The Simpsons didn't exist during that era but these little brick men got yellow faces and one more thing that I most noticed - they always smile !

So, what was your first Lego?

***Set 6701 was released in 1983. Each of these minifigs nowdays is valued at
USD 35. That's mean a complete set for 6 mini figures will cost up to USD 210 !