The recent announcement of a Minecraft-inspired Lego set prompted a discussion of Lego collecting on Twitter, so I thought I would start a thread here for people who are interested in (or interested in being interest in) Lego. Whether you are interested in building or collecting or are too poor to do either but just like drooling over shiny new sets, this thread is for you! I hope this thread will be a helpful resource to people interested in getting involved with the hobby.
All hobbies have their own jargon, and Lego is no different, so to get things started I'll provide definitions for some common Lego lingo. To wit:
Adult Fan of Lego. Like me! Don't let anyone give you shit for playing with "kid's toys" — fully 20% of Lego's sales are to adults purchasing for themselves, and Lego is producing an increasing number of sets designed for the adult/collector market in mind. There's a large AFOL community online, and there's also conferences and local hobbyist groups.
Some years ago Lego changed the color of their grey bricks. Because we all know change is evil, this caused a major upset in the Lego community, as some people had hundreds of dollars' worth of the old bricks and the new bricks would not match. The colors are referred to as "new grey" and "old grey," but as the new grey bricks had a bit of a bluish tint, some have taken to affectionately referring to the new bricks as "bley." The more official term for the new colors is stone.
Big Ugly Rock Pieces. You know the kind.
Creator sets are old-school Lego: big buckets of brightly colored bricks, or else simpler builds such as a house or an airplane. The sets that do come with instructions always come with instructions for three different models, so these sets don't have many specialized pieces or minifigures; that said, you do tend to get more bricks for your money with these sets, so they're not a bad way to build up a stable of bricks if you're more interested in the building side of things, especially if you're just starting and need a lot of colors.
Pick a Brick, or PaB:
A feature of Lego.com that allows you to order the exact bricks you need individually.
Shop at Home, or S@H:
Lego.com's store, which contains sets that are exclusive to the website (or print catalog, if you hate trees).
A term for builds with the Studs Not On Top.
Creator sets are fine for nostalgia, but if you want minifigures or more specialized pieces you'll want to look at themed sets. Lego produces sets based on both their own "generic" themes (such as City, Kingdoms, and Space Police) and licensed themes (such as Star Wars, Harry Potter,
and, starting this summer, Lord of the Rings
). Many collectors focus on one theme or "genre" of themes (such as "Castle" or "Space"). The largest and longest-running theme by far is City, which actually comprises all of Lego's "modern day" sets; even farm sets and the wind turbine are considered part of the City theme.
The Lego equivalent of a haiku, vignettes are a Japanese style of model, that attempts to contain a story or "slice of life" in a very small footprint, often 8 * 8. Vignettes with a larger footprint, such as 12 * 12, are sometimes known as "bignettes." A nice blog focused on Lego vignettes is VignetteBricks.
For further reading...
The best resources for Lego on the web are Brickset,
which is a very
extensive Lego set database, Peeron,
which has a database of Lego parts,
which is the most popular marketplace for Lego pieces. Brickshelf
is a popular site for posting pictures of your builds, but these days a lot of people are just using Flickr.