Lego Down Under: A visit to MUGS

james's picture
Lego Grand Emporium

(a retrospective entry)

I arrive in Melbourne on an early morning flight, and Trevor very kindly meets me at the airport. I'd got a very early flight, which proved a little unnecessary, as the MUGS meeting isn't due to get underway for a couple of hours.

MUGS is the Melbourne Lego Users Group, a loose gathering of fans of the brick from Melbourne and the surrounding areas (like Ireland). They meet in a community hall once a month, and hald an event called Brickvention every January.

Sue Ann hasn't been feeling well, but she persaveres and heads to the meeting anyway. Unfortunately, she couldn't stay long, so she leaves me in the care of the MUGS members. I feel bad for Sue Ann, as I know she'd been really looking forward to the event.

Meanwhile MUGS members are arriving. Many have brought models to display and are setting them up on the tables around the room. There's an impressive building, which I presume to be a railway station, though now I think about it, there's no reason for it not to be a town hall or some other government building. Next to this is an impressibe collection of Star Wars Cube Dudes. Also someone had built a neat little railway wagon, though he didn't seem quite happy with it, so he rebuilt it during the event.

Around the other side was a mod of the Grand Emporium. Well, actually two Grand Emporiums, combined to make a much larger store, with one of the sets converted from a corner module to a full width one for extra interior space. The interior had also been suitably enlarged, including the addition of a toy department.

Another model with Brickish relevance was a collection of K-9's based on Louise's collection from Tranquility Base, with a giant mother K-9. I was chatting with the builder, clearly a fan of Louise's work.

There were also various sets that people had brought, including a couple of games that I hand't had a chance to look at properly, such as the new Harry Potter one.

After a bit more chat we take a break for some lunch and a bit of shopping. We head off in various cars, meeting in the food court of a shopping centre. As it's Sunday lunchtime, the chances of all sitting together are nil, so we split up to find food and sit in small groups where we can find seating.

Our bellies filled, we regroup and head to the shops. First we go to Target, where there's some excitement about a 20% off all Lego offer. I decide it's still expensive compared to the UK and manage to resist buying (though I have already picked up a Space Police set in my travels). We then head to Toys'R'Us, where the main item of interest is the Transport Hub (which Target doesn't have), and the exclusive Toys'R'Us truck. Both of these have to be retrieved from very high shelves, but people consider it more fun to use other boxes to pull them down than to ask a member of staff.

Shopping mission complete, we head back to the community centre. We then embark on a ritual I haven't encountered elsewhere, known as "Partsies". This involves people parting out sets, and allowing people to pick parts they want from the set. They then work our a fair value for each person's parts, and each person pays their fair share. We did this for a number of sets, and I ended up with a small bag of parts, including a few quite useful ones.

After a little more general chat, it was time to tidy up and head back to Sue'n'Trev's.

It was an enjoyable day, and good to meet Lego fans from another part of the world, though a shame Sue Ann didn't get to enjoy it.