My First LEGO Set – Getting Started
I did something last fall that I have never done before—I bought my first LEGO set. Of course, I have bought a multitude of LEGO sets over my adult life, but they were always for someone else. But this most recent kit that I bought was just for me.
In case you were wondering, the LEGO company was founded in 1932 in Denmark and got its start building wooden toys. The name LEGO is an abbreviation from the two Danish words leg godt meaning “play well.” In 1949, the company first developed little bricks that were the forerunner to the iconic LEGO bricks that we all know today. But it wasn’t until 1963 that the first building instructions were introduced that come in almost every set you buy today.
My earliest memories of LEGOs are from when we lived in Louisiana. I don’t know how old I was, but the occasion was we were visiting some of my parent’s friends and someone pulled out a box of LEGOs for us to play with while the adults visited. As far as I can remember, it was my first exposure to them. Being little bricks, naturally I wanted to build a house with them, and I recall there were windows and doors to include.
Our oldest son was the first to receive LEGOs as either a Christmas present or a birthday present. He went on to build some rather interesting things with them, our earliest indication that he had an interest in becoming an architect.
When his little brother came along and was old enough, the three of us would get down on the floor and build all kinds of things together and over the years we have accumulated enough LEGOs to fill this large bin.
Now that our grandchildren have gotten old enough to enjoy them, I am buying sets for them now.
In fact, every time we visit our four grandkids on the west coast, we take them each a set and while sometimes our visit is a surprise to them, I somehow suspect when they see us, they hope to see us walking in with one of these yellow bags.
Over the years, the little kid in me has thoroughly enjoyed picking out different sets for our kids and grandkids and helping them build them, but I never thought of buying one for myself—at least not until two things happened.
First in 2019, I traveled with my two sisters and brother to Disneyworld for one of our annual SibSabs. At the nearby Disney shopping center, I discovered they had a LEGO store.
When I went inside and looked around, I found this set of a 1967 Mustang.
My immediate thought was now here is a LEGO set that I would definitely want for myself.
Second, in May of 2022, when my sister and I delivered the doll house that we had been building for her grandchildren, I discovered that they had four bins the size of our own filled with LEGOs. One morning, we got some out and played for hours.
Seeing my interest in LEGOs, the kids decided to get out and show me these special edition buildings that they had been collecting over the years. I immediately decided that I should get that Mustang set that I had seen several years ago. And this past fall, I took that step and ordered it for myself.
When the package arrived in the mail, I was surprised by how large the box was. For comparison, here it is next to my Chris Craft boat that I built several years ago. To give you the perspective, the boat is 24 inches long.
The other surprising thing was that the kit included almost 1,500 individual pieces. Most of the kits we had been getting for our grandkids have had around 100 to 200 pieces. No wonder this box was so big.
With so many things going in the fall and already with a balsa wood airplane and fourth doll house in progress, it was not until December that I actually got a chance to open the box and begin the fun assembly process.
When I emptied the contents of the box, I could see why it was so big. There were 12 individual bags, six large and six small each numbered 1 through 6. The instructions were a veritable book with over 200 pages.
I opened the big bag numbered “1” and began building. My grandsons have a method of sorting all of the pieces from the bag into similarly colored piles to make them easier to find. I feared with so many pieces in my kit, I might lose some before needing them and so chose not to employ their technique. But no sooner could I not find some of the needed pieces, that I realized that both the large and the small bags numbered “1” should be opened.
As I continued to work through the instructions, I discovered what a handy device this little orange handle was for disassembling LEGOs. Without it, I don’t know if I ever could have gotten apart the pieces that I incorrectly assembled. By the time I had finished with the two “1” bags, I had a semi-functional chassis with just a few extra pieces left over (It is common to get extras of the smallest pieces that can so easily be lost).
After emptying the bags labeled “2”, I realized very quickly that my grandsons’ technique of organizing the pieces into piles of the same color pieces would simplify finding the right pieces I needed.
Separating the pieces into the ten different colors made finishing off the two “2” bags much easier, leaving a fully functional chassis.
To be continued…
David, this is very intriguing. Like you, I have never bought a LEGO set for myself – but I have bought many sets as gifts. My kids loved playing with LEGOs, but most of the time they created their own designs. A part of me prefers a child using their imagination to do this, but I can see the learning benefits in following the directions. I did not realize there were LEGO houses like the ones in your photo. Show me a miniature house – in any form, and I love it. I have seen the LEGO sets to create a camper – and I have been tempted to buy one of those. My thought was to purchase it for our great nephew, but he is too young for it. Now I have the thought that maybe someday I’ll get it for myself. I say that only after checking Amazon to see how many pieces are involved. I admire you for taking on a 1500 piece project! Good luck, and I look forward to your next post.
Thanks, Betty. Interestingly in the LEGO story, the addition of instructions in the kits caused a fissure in the family owned business for the very reason you mentioned.
I think you should get the LEGO camper for yourself now. You can build it and when your great nephew is old enough, you can take it all apart and rebuild it with him (just be sure and save the instructions). I had never thought about taking a LEGO set apart but I recently learned from my niece that her family has a LEGO ginger bread house they build each year and then take back apart to assemble again the next Christmas.
You will get to see the finished car next week. And I look forward to your next travel post.
Awesome! I’m so glad you got it for yourself, and my goodness, that box is big! I also love Legos—I don’t know if it’s because they are like little puzzles, with every tiny piece clicking into just the right place, or if it’s just fun to watch something take shape, but I always find it so relaxing. And so glad the boys could offer a helpful tip!
Thanks! Yes, I must admit this is my first of several. And I had that very thought while working on it that it is like a 3-D puzzle with how the pieces snap together so tightly with a satisfying click. Tell you know who thank you from me!