Let me start off my apologizing that I can’t embed this excellent LEGO Blocumentary into the page. For whatever reason, LEGO decided to make it difficult.
Anyway, follow the link, and enjoy part one of this LEGO video about what it means to be an AFOL (Adult Fan Of LEGO). Directed by Jess Gibson, it takes you behind the curtains of some of the most influential LEGO builders out there. Fascinating, and very well done.
There were several topics discussed in this LEGO Blocumentary that I find extremely interesting:
- One AFOL pointed out how people react when you tell them you like to build LEGO. They look at you funny, and almost immediately dismiss the hobby. But once they see the things AFOLs build, they want to play, too. I find this to be very true. All my friends know about my LEGO hobby. While they don’t understand it per se, they don’t put it down, either. They accept it. And they do find a lot of what I do pretty cool.
- Some AFOLs spend a staggering amount of money on LEGO. One gentleman in the video estimated his cost at several hundred THOUSAND dollars over 35 years. I’ve bought more than my fair share of LEGO in my day, but it’s not a fraction of that. I like to call my LEGO hobby “self funding”. I almost never spend any “family” money on LEGO. If I want to buy something new, I sell something old. (If you want to learn more about funding LEGO purchases this, check out my Brickenomics posts.) I personally know an AFOL who has spent $36,000+ on Bricklink over the years, but has also sold $21,000+. It can be done!
How much do you spend on LEGO? How do you fund your hobby?
- I feel the same way about LEGO as one of the featured AFOLs; I will never throw it away. Even when I grew out of childhood, I knew to hold on to my LEGO collection. And my Star Wars collection, but that’s another story fo another time. I see this playing out every year with my children, too. Every birthday and every Christmas they get new toys. Some new plastic thing. Some things give them joy for only a short time before they’re tossed out, broken, or forgotten about. Others become cherished sources of comfort that stay with us. And then there’s the LEGO. It is my hope that their LEGO collections grow with them as they grow. They will never be thrown away. If they decide they don’t want them any more, they’ll either be packed up in case they change their minds, or assimilated into my collection.
- Being known as the LEGO Guy to friends, family, and neighbors has paid off for me twice. A good friend, and a neighbor down the street, both gave their modest collections to me. They loved them as children, and saw more value in giving them to someone who would appreciate them, than in trying to sell them. And their LEGO has been well cared for ever since.
- Like the AFOL who grew up playing Battletech and grew into Mech building, I grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends, and grew to be a huge fan of anything to do with swords & sorcerers. We used to create our characters out of LEGO, as well as the dungeons we explored. While I haven’t played any D&D in many, many years, I’ve bought most of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings LEGO sets, and just about any other castle related set released since the 90s.
I don’t see LEGO as a waste of money. Ever. I see it as an investment. As long as LEGO maintains their quality control, I don’t think it will ever lose its value.
What has been your experience when people find out you’re an AFOL?
I am an Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL) and an active member of the Michigan LEGO User Group (MichLUG). I have loved LEGO for as long as I can remember. I am currently working on the following models:
– UCS Millenium Falcon
– Emmett’s Apartment Building
– Gringott’s Bank