Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lego Adventure: Basic Bricks & Technic Mini Telehandler

Memory Lane: Do You Remember Lego?

Lego bricks is the very definition of childhood nostalgia for me. ^^

I love toys that involve assembling and the ones that allow great room for imagination. Many many years before I started imagining about the Universe, the sci-fi world and giant robots, before I even knew the word 'Gundam', I was having great fun assembling building bricks - not Lego as you will find out later, ^^; but the point is, the very first toy that caught my interest in assembling things, which eventually turned into assembling model kits many years after that is these building brick sets.

The first of such building brick sets that I got was back when I was 6 years old, and that was in 1990. My family lived in the suburb at that time and my parents were busy running their grocery store. On top of that, they were very strict about buying toys for their kids. Those were the three dreadful factors that made it extremely difficult for me to get any toy back then. ^^; Such voidness is probably why I'm so much into model kits and action figure collection right now. Self therapy for the thing I lacked in childhood I suppose XD

Anyway, I remember my grandfather went to the city one day and got me a package of building brick set. It contains about 100 bricks of four or six studs each, in red, yellow, blue, white and maybe a few other colors I can't really remember now. It was definitely not Lego, but something that looked like it. My grandfather got it from a stationery store as he told me, and the price was about RM5. A few simple manuals showing how to build a yacht, a house (or hut) and a few other basic structures from it were included. I had a lot of fun playing with it, assembling and tearing it down all the times. Through mix and match, or trial and error, I managed to build it into a robot, spaceship, and other items nobody would recognize until I told them what they were. Much of my appreciation for creative designs, as well as my own imagination for creating them were cultivated since then I believe.

Very soon after that first experience, I was hit by one fundamental problem that I think most fans of all building bricks can relate to: "Not enough bricks!" XD I wanted to build bigger and more complicated structures, but 100 bricks is too few. So I nagged on my parents to get me another set. After days of nagging and nagging, I got the deal that if I could top my kindergarden class at that time, they would ask grandfather to get me another set. The challenge was accepted and I managed to get No. 1 in my class that year. The truth is, I can still recall to this day that I couldn't care less about what first place in a class meant back then. I just wanted that new brick set. ^^ I fulfilled my part of the bargain, and my parents fulfilled their promise (a good business deal XD). My grandfather went to the city to get me another one of the same brick set. I still remember sitting at the front yard waiting for the new brick set grandfather to return. I don't think I ate lunch or dinner that whole day. XD

I was quite poor at safekeeping my toys back then. Some of the bricks have had their own adventures of being chewed on by dog, fell behind desk, burnt, stuck in crack in some corner of a wall and others before I found them again now and then. Eventually, when my parents were rushing to move the shophouse in 1993, some of the workers thrashed the entire brick set, along with many of my other toys. It was very bad, but I didn't pressed on the matter at that time because our entire family were busy adjusting to the new place and resuming the grocery store as soon as possible. To be fair, at that moment in life, my interest in building bricks wasn't as great as when I first got them. I was more into reading at that point, so losing all the bricks didn't caused me too much distress. I did started protecting my collection of books with a passion because of losing so many things from that experience. When we moved again 6 years ago, this time to the city, everything in my collection since 1993 'survived'. ^^

As for Lego bricks - specific to the product name, they have been around forever on my books. ^^ It was somewhat simplistic back in my old days, where most item sets were for constructing vehicles, buildings, some scenes (dioramas), usually with human characters and so on. If not mistaken, there was a boom at one point when the company decided to expand beyond the "traditional" concept of Lego, when the franchise included themes from various movies, especially Star Wars, motor sport, original design and concepts by the company itself. When I was able to visit toy stores on my own when I was in my secondary school days, most bigger stores, including departmental outlets have Lego sets on the shelves. Although such building brick sets were such sweet memories to me, I never had any intention to get any of the Lego sets, mainly because of their really high prices. As a student who could only spend less than RM50 per month for his hobby, getting one or two Gunpla kits seemed a lot more attractive than having to save up money for a few months to get a bigger Lego set with more parts to assemble ^^; On top of that, I didn't see any Lego set that I liked back then, since most stores would go for the ridiculously expensive (to me) sets with themes and mini figures, or the really simplistic ones meant for kids in primary schools, which were amazingly expensive anyway. For years and years, Lego sets were just window-shopping items for me every time I take a trip to any toy store. ^^;

More than a month ago, in the heat of stressful work, when many things weren't really working too well for me, I stopped by the toy department in a local mall after lunch, and looking at the same Lego sets I passed by and ignored all this while made me think about the old days and reminded me about the two building brick sets I enjoyed so much and then lost completely. I thought hard on that for quite a while there, trying to remember what I did with those building brick sets. I was thinking about that for almost the whole day after that trip actually.

Just like the brick sets in 1993, my memory about them and the really happy days I had is pretty gone, which is quite a distressful realization to me. Life has move on for me, so much so that the career part of it has occupied so much of my time and I have unknowingly forgotten some of the most simplistic happiness I had when I was young. I can recall how I got the brick sets and it was extremely fun, but I can't remember why it made me happy during that time. I have no idea why I was so happy playing with the bricks at that time.

Strangely enough, till this day, I could still pinpoint that excitement with the first Gunpla I have in my collection - 1/144 Gundam Epyon in 1997. "This (assembling a robot) is exactly what I want and like!" was that feeling - the realization of my imagination about robots and building one step-by-step. That simple feeling is great, and it's all I'm looking for in Gunpla-ing, and because it's so simple, it 'evolves' with my life, from secondary school days to university studies and now work. There was never any moment before this that I said to myself that I have to give up Gunpla-ing for another commitment. I enjoy every kits I built, even the old ones that many people loathe at. It's not the finished models I'm looking for, but the build process itself. Each build experience is unique and fun because new and old kits are developed and produced differently.

For building bricks, I don't think I remember that feeling of happiness when I was playing with them as a kid anymore, unfortunately. So, as of now, they are really the reminiscent of my kiddie days. I remembered I liked them very much at one point in my life, but I don't know why I liked them so much now.

Anyway, in searching for the lost memory as mentioned earlier on, I researched quite a bit on Lego sets, and actually bought two from a local online stores. ^^ Initially, I was hoping to get my answer through fresh hands-on experiences with these two sets. That's didn't work, but it was definitely fun assembling bricks again. ^^

No. 5529 Basic Brick Sets

Very nostalgic images these are. Similar ones were on the packaging of the brick sets my grandfather gave me I think. ^^

3 packages of large, medium and small bricks.

Don't ask me what this is, because I don't know either.
I don't think I know what I was doing when I was building this 'thing' ^^;

A giant triangular structure featuring all 325 pieces of the set.
Most of the larger bricks are on top since they are easy to see and pick up. The tiny single-stud pieces fills up the bottom section, which isn't complete.

'Grouping' all the bricks. XD

Technic No. 8045 Mini Telehandler, which can be assembled into a motorcycle with sidecar.

A much smaller entry in the Technic series, with just one package of parts (all 117 parts in total). Good for someone who is not too young but is new to Lego (or those who just rekindled the interest in building bricks, like me ^^)

Two modes, two manuals, which are extra thick for the number of parts you are getting as compared to Gunplas.

The proper way of organizing the parts and pieces as according to the manual.

Just one or two parts shown on each page of the manual.
And very much like some Gunpla manuals, no textual instruction at all.

Legend in actual scale of the part to help you identify on the exact pipe to be used for a certain step.

Mid way through the assembly.

Mini Telehandler completed.

Turning the button on the back of the vehicle will raise or lower the boom.
Two arms moving at the same time is very fun to watch. ^^

Dissemble the entire model to build into the motorbike.

The alternate mode of a motorbike with sidecar completed. ^^

Incorporated with a much simpler function: the front fork of the bike can be turned.

Quite a number of parts from the Telehandler are not used for the motorbike. How to build any addons for the bike is up to your imagination then ^^

"Not enough bricks!" XD

Although I didn't managed to get a hold of the childhood memory I tried real hard to remember, I've developed a great interest in Lego sets because of these two sets. ^^ Shortly after getting these two sets, I got another set from the Creator series, quite a big one as well. ^^ Will mention about that one in another posting. ^^


AeZsky said...

LEGOs were among my very first toys!!I still have most of it kept safely in a huge pail-like thing with a cover!!Like you,I too didnt really care much about safekeeping my toys when I was a child.My mom were the one who keep my toys nicely.Aaah...LEGO.Everytime I achieve something in class,my parents will bring me to Jusco and get a few LEGOs.I have no idea they were freaking expensive until I'm able to hold my own money.XD My parents were so proud everytime I managed to built a LEGO kit that was meant for older kids.Spending time creating "dioramas" and all.NK,u made me miss my childhood!!

One more thing I remembered during my childhood was Mini 4WD from Tamiya!!The anime "Dash Yonkuro" was such a HIT!!

I'm 18 now,so my childhood might be different from yours.

Anyway,keep up the good work with this blog!!!

ErazEr said...

LEGO was the start of my interest on assembling things.. like you this where all it started.. only difference my mom pushed me to this toy line as she is the one who buys it for me. never touched the technique series cause it was the more expensive stuff. there I would spend hours and hours building whatnot and through the years the last set is still here,, pity that the people set I have many years ago was lost.

Chow said...

It's been very very long time since i last touch legos... by the way, Merry christmas!!!

Anonymous said...

AHHHH legos legos remember in frist grade seen them in school played with them the first day and fell in love, I went home and my mom to buy me a lego set next week we went to the store and I bought a the pirate set then the creator series, built every thing to a house on wheels :D nice to know you've grew up on legos too -MH-