A lot of the times when you buy things from the usual places i.e. Amazon, Ebay etc the goods are actually sourced in China. This will include both brand names as well as what some people might politely call “knock off” i.e. copy/faked items. Either way China has a huge manufacturing base and whether you knew it or not that package which just arrived via Amazon Prime may well contain something made in China. That being so there is another purchase option – AliExpress
Good question. I’d never heard of them either until about 2-3 months ago. Best way to look upon them is kinda like a Chinese Ebay/Amazon. Basically everything sourced from China and sold on Amazon, Ebay and actual product websites will almost certainly be available on AliExpress. It was also almost certainly be cheaper. The site is owned by the Alibaba Group who are one of the biggest companies on the planet i.e. it is absolutely 100% legitimate.
Recently I was looking for a lighting kit for the Lego Police Station Modular. The one I wanted is sold by Bricksmax and retails on their website for £55. However, I know that this is a product sourced in China so went over to AliExpress where it was only £40. Yes, there is then tax added on top so the final price was around £48 – still a £7 saving. While AliExpress will almost always be cheaper, the one downside is that in general it takes longer for the product to reach your door. Whereas the Bricksmax site may get the kit to me in a week, it will probably be 2-3 weeks from AliExpress.
Long story short. If something you’re buying is from China, check out AliExpress. As long as you’re willing to wait the extra time you’ll likely end up with a cheaper purchase.
When the June 2022 wave of Lego sets was leaked online (as all Lego set releases are), the one which immediately grabbed my eye was the Grocery Store. Yes, it’s small and overpriced for the brick count and build size, but there’s also no doubt it’s one of the best looking commercial buildings I’ve seen in Lego City. The Lego City theme is well known for a plethora of Emergency centres/vehicles i.e. Police Stations, Hospitals, Fire Stations, ambulances, fire engines and the likes. However, since my, admittedly recent, conversion to the Lego cause, this is the first City commercial property I’ve seen. The main café and shop sets over the last couple of years have tended to come under the Creator 3-1 banner while City produced new police stations and hospitals – that’s not to dismiss these sets which are good, but there is more to a city than police stations and hospitals, like somewhere to buy your groceries!
My main interest in Lego is building something with life. A place where people live and work. A bunch of bricks with no soul doesn’t do it for me. I’m not a collector or a hoarder. I get what works on my small tabletop layout – nothing else. It needs to add an extra layer of interest and life to what’s already there. This set does that. From the bright green bricks which dominate the building to the dayglo orange carrot above the doorway and the corn cobs in the veg boxes, the visual appeal is tremendous. For play there are a couple of vehicles, one of which is a fully functioning (within Lego reason) forklift. The store even has a small (static) conveyor belt from where the forklift can collect and drop supplies. The minifigures include the first figure, to my knowledge, with a blade in place of a leg. The pea lady is the other standout figure.
Buy as soon as it has any sort of reduction. It may be small but it’s a beautiful set with plenty of moc potential to make a bigger store – something I definitely plan on doing.