Yesterday I posted a summary of five lessons I have learned about managing a LEGO collection during this project. The sixth lesson came to me last weekend, when I was once again looking for some parts from the unsorted part of my childhood LEGO collection. The lesson is this: Remember to search from the unexpected places as well. It turns out, I have been a little “part blind”…

I am building a LEGO Castle set, so naturally my focus has been on, first, the partial castle sets I have and, second, the heaps of separate bricks. I have gone through these with quite a fine comb. But what about other completed or partial sets? You may recall my childhood attempts at the 6080 King’s Castle portcullis – and how I ran out of thin black bars and castle grey pieces. I wonder if it ever occurred to me, that my 8680 Arctic Rescue Base helicopter’s rotor blades were made of them – and the base itself contained many castle grey plates. Only this weekend did I finally strip the set of these.

This revelation did not stop there. The 6370 Weekend Home has a black chimney with a number of black parts, and even more underneath the furniture. The 6392 Airport had already lent its green baseplate to the project, but a fresh look at it revealed many black plates, bricks and even some inverted black slopes, always useful in 1980s LEGO castle building. I also went back to the ruins of my 375 Castle and found some more inverse black slopes and grey plates waiting for me there.

The part where all this went from funny to hilarious was when I took a look at the partial 6382 Fire Station I had kept around. Earlier I dismissed it as only having some too large black plates and lots of red. When I was last building the 6080 King’s Castle, I remarked that I ran out of 2×3 black plates after only two used. Turns out, the 6382 Fire Station had eleven of them. Eleven. As in ten plus one. It also had a large number of one by something black plates and had one of the plates I was missing from the 6080 King’s Castle drawbridge. All of these were always right there in front of my eyes, there for me to pick.

In fact, there were so many black plates in the station, that I wonder if I could almost have built the portcullis without the Pick a Brick order. When I was trying to create the portcullis as a child, was I reluctant to strip my LEGO Town for parts, or did I just not remember to look for them there? At least now as an adult, until last weekend, I had kind of dismissed all of my colorful – mostly red, yellow, white and blue – Town and Technic sets as useless part sources for this project. How mistaken I was.

So, note to self: Always remember to search the unlikeliest of sets and places. Using Peeron or a wanted list also helps.

P.S. Not only did I replenish my bricks this way, a BrickLink order is coming too. Stay tuned for progress – somewhere down the winding road.