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LEGO Answers and Questions and Answers

Interesting LEGO Facts

A 2 X 4 LEGO brick measures 16mm by 32mm by 9.6mm high.

The distance from stud center to stud center is 8mm.

The diameter of a LEGO stud is 5mm

The height of a stud is 1.7mm.

The walls of LEGO bricks are 1.5mm thick, while the walls of the tubes are only .657mm thick.

The tolerance of LEGO molds is only 5 thousands of a millimeter!

Six 2 X 4 LEGO bricks of the same color can be combined in 102,981,500 different ways.

Ninety-five percent of all households in Belgium with kids up to age 14 own LEGO products. Denmark's LEGO penetration percentage is about 92% and Austria's is about 90%.

As of 1997, there are 1,964 different molded LEGO elements. This does not include color variations. In 1994, there were 1,574 different elements.

Ninety-eight percent of all LEGO products are sold outside of Denmark.

The models at LEGOLAND Park in Billund are made up of roughly 42 million bricks! Some of the more famous models and the number of bricks used to build them are...

Hans Christian Andersen 210,000
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany 236,000
U.S. Captiol Building, Washington D.C. 253,000
St. Stephan's Cathedral, Vienna 275,000
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin 780,000
Amalienborg Royal Palace, Copenhagen 900,000
Big Chief Sitting Bull 1,400,000
Statue of Liberty, New York 1,400,000
Mount Rushmore Monument, U.S. 1,500,000
LEGO Canoe 1,500,000
Amsterdam, Netherlands 2,100,000
Great Bison Hunt Relief 2,400,000
Port of Copenhagen 3,500,000
Pirateland 3,500,000

The oldest doll in the Dolls Museum at LEGOLAND Park is 413 years old. The museum is home to about 400 antique dolls and 50 doll houses.

Approximately 41% of all LEGO employees in Denmark live within a 10km radius of Billund.

Great Debates - Issues Relating to LEGO Toys

Q: What do I call these things anyway?
A: The LEGO company refers to their products in several ways, such as LEGO, LEGO bricks, LEGO elements, LEGO pieces and LEGO toys. They never refer to them as "legos", although most other people do.

Q: What's the best way to store my legos...I mean, my LEGO bricks?
A: While there's no universally "best" way to store LEGO, there are several methods that seem to work for a lot of people.

LEGO Boxes...
Many people store them in the boxes they came in. In fact, the old LEGO boxes used to have the words "Use this box for storage" printed on them. Many LEGO boxes have a side flap that lifts up, with a cardboard tray inside the box. These are the best types of LEGO boxes in which to store pieces. Smaller sets have a perforated semicircle at the right side of the back of the box. Once you punch open the semicircle, the box doesn't stay closed very well, so these boxes are less adequate as storage devices. Starting in 1996, LEGO began using a new style of large box that is 50% useless as a storage device. The large boxes no longer have a flap with an inner cardboard tray, but simply have a cardboard and thin plastic sheet taped to the top of the inside of the box. Once you undo the tape and remove the sheet, there is nothing to hold the pieces in the box. This is especially a problem if you usually store boxes vertically.

Hardware Storage Chests...
Most stores that sell tools and hardware will sell small storage chests with many small, clear plastic drawers. These units are great for storing LEGO because they separate elements from each other, but can hold a lot in a relatively small area.

Ziplock Bags...
Zippered plastic freezer bags are good for storing larger pieces, as they're tough and flexible. Bunches of these bags can then be thrown into a big tub, such as a Rubbermaid tool chest.

Q: Ok, I've got my small specialty pieces in those hardware storage chests. Now what about all the regular bricks I've got?
A: While the majority of people probably sort regular bricks by color, another way to do it is to sort them by size. For instance, keep all of your 2 X 4 bricks together...it will be much easier to pick out a blue brick from a mass of 2 X 4 bricks than to pick out a blue 2 X 4 from a mass of blue bricks.

Q: My favorite model has been sitting on a shelf for 17 years and now it's kinda grimey...how should I clean my LEGO?
A: According to LEGO themselves, LEGO toys can be washed by hand using warm water no hotter than 104 degrees farenheit. Mild liquid dish detergent can be used. Of course, electric parts are not washable.

Q: Can't...get...these...pieces...apart! Help!?
A: Ah...the old "how do I get those 1 X 2 plates apart?" problem. Well, there are several methods for removing extra clutchy pieces from one another. Thumbnails work wonders, but often leave little dents at the corners where you wedged in your thumbnail. Some people use their teeth, which is just plain WRONG! You might swallow the pieces, and then you wouldn't be able to build the model! The official way to get pieces apart is to use the brick separator, which is usually about $2.00 at a Toys 'R' Us store or from LEGO service. Sometimes attaching long pieces above and below the two stuck pieces helps leverage them apart.

Q: I lost the instructions for my favorite set...where can I get new ones?
A: Well, if your favorite set happened to be made within the last four years, you may be in luck. Call the LEGO service department nearest you (such as the LEGO Shop at Home service in the U.S.) and tell them your tragic story. Often, they have instructions going back three or four years, but usually not longer than that.

Q: I lost a very important and unique piece to my favorite set...where can I get a replacement?
A: Same as above, except without the four year restriction...

Q: Aaargh! I just stepped on a bunch of LEGO bricks with my bare feet! What do I do?!
A: Well, you've already taken care of the first step, which is to scream 'aaargh!' If it's late at night and people around you are sleeping, you probably shouldn't have yelled. But if it's the middle of the day, you live alone and you're old enough, go ahead and swear profusely at the top of your lungs. It really hurts, doesn't it?!

Q: I really want that cool, expensive set, but I don't have the money for it right now. How long will it be in stores?
A: The answer to this question used to be simple, but is changing lately. Up until
1996, LEGO traditionally ran a three-year product cycle. Each year, about a third of the sets (the oldest) were discontinued, and a bunch of new sets would be introduced and they would remain on the market for three years. Lately, however, LEGO has shown a more dynamic approach to product production and availability. For instance, when the 1793 Space Station Zenon didn't sell well, it was pulled from the lineup after just one year. And, for 1997, many sets introduced in 1995 were discontinued (according to the 3-year plan, they should have been part of the lineup for another year) and even some '96 sets were discontinued. So, if there's a certain set you want and it's in the in-box LEGO catalogs for this year, you should be safe, and for the most part, you can assume a two-year product cycle.

Q: I forgot to buy [insert really old set number and name here]. Where can I buy one now, unopened in mint condition?
A: In your dreams. But seriously, folks...there's a newsgroup called
rec.toys.lego that is filled with a bunch of really great legomaniacs. Often, people hold auctions of old sets. Prices for classic sets such as the old yellow castle, the Galaxy Explorer, Main Street and the U.S.S. Constellation can reach hundreds of dollars...the Constellation sold for over $1,000 in an auction in 1996.

Q: I got a copy of LEGO's Mania Magazine, but it's all kids stuff. Isn't there an official magazine for adult LEGO collectors?
A: No. LEGO is dedicated to making great toys for kids. They realize there are many adults who build with and collect LEGO, and they really appreciate us, but concentrating their efforts on adults does not fit into their plans now or any time in the near future.

Q: All of the LEGO catalogs are signed by Susan Williams. Is she a real person?
A: No...Susan Williams is the personifcation of all those helpful Consumer Affairs people who work at LEGO. As for whether or not there ever was a Susan Williams at LEGO, we're not sure.

Q: I had a dream about LEGO last night. Am I weird?
A: You may be weird, but it may not have anything to do with you dreaming about LEGO. In fact, many people report dreaming about LEGO, especially around the holidays.

Q: I read messages about new LEGO sets that aren't available where I live. What's the deal?
A: While the majority of LEGO sets are sold worldwide, some sets are sold only in North American, Europe or other countries and are not generally available elsewhere. Sometimes, the LEGO Service divisions (such as Shop at Home in the U.S.) will get in a limited quantity of sets from other parts of the world and sell them, but otherwise, your best bet is to find a nice person on
rec.toys.lego and ask them to buy and ship the sets to you. It is standard practice for the buying party to send money before the LEGO is shipped out, although everybody does things differently.

Q: How much is [insert set number and name here] worth? I want to sell or auction mine off...
A: As far as sales and auctions on the Net go, LEGO is a rare item indeed. There is no set price list for LEGO sets like there might be for
action figures, trading cards, Barbie dolls or Matchbox cars. A set is only worth however much somebody is willing to pay for it at the time. Another unique thing about selling LEGO is that the difference in selling price between a set that has been openend and one that has not (but is still 100% complete) is usually very small. With a LEGO set, the completeness of the pieces and instructions are the most important things. Having a box for the set will always increase it's value to a good population of the legomaniacs on the Net, but some people don't even care about boxes.

Q: What's the German word for the sound that LEGO elements make as you swish your hands through them looking for the right piece?
A: GRUSCHTELING, which is pronounced groo-shte-ling. Sorry, as much as I would like to have, I did not make that up. That was submitted by Ralph Hempel...thanks Ralph!

Sources

The information on this page was compiled from a few sources in addition to our own database of info:

The official LEGO web site: http://www.lego.com
Tom Pfeifer's rec.toys.lego FAQ:
http://www.multicon.de/fun/legofaq.html
'LEGO Facts & Figures', January 1994, as relayed by Jeff Crites:
http://www.mdn.com/crites/LEGO/denmark.html

If you have any information to add to this page, please let us know by sending us some e-mail. Thanks!


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