I’ve been wanting to put together a large Lego set, but I don’t really want to display or keep the finished product, so I gave netbrix.biz a try. It is a Lego rental service – kind of like Netflix for Legos.
I rented a Technic Excavator set and the large London Bridge set.
Netbrix.biz offers a couple different ways to rent Legos. The plans are a little confusing, but they have one plan where they will ship you a new set as soon as you return one and another where you keep sets for a two month period.
I rented the sets for two months. According to Netbrix, the total cost of my sets is $100+$400. At Amazon, the price is $50 less. It cost $100 for the rental (including 2-way shipping), so I am effectively saving $350 over the cost of buying the sets.
If I’d used the one-at-a-time plan it would cost $50/month plus shipping. If I were planning to do more sets, this is probably the better plan, but it might also make me feel rushed to build a set.
The sets came from Netbrix in good shape. The pieces were clean and the manuals were still in good condition. I was missing three pieces from the Tower Bridge set. Netbrix would send me the missing pieces, but I was able to mostly hide them, so I didn’t bother.
You do have to take the sets apart before returning them (or pay $20 extra for them to do it for you).
I enjoyed putting the sets together, but I doubt I’ll get any other sets. It was fun, but it isn’t something I’ll continue to be interested in.
The sets were pretty easy to construct. The instructions are quite good and there was never any question about whether I was doing something right. The biggest challenge was finding the pieces I needed in the big piles of other pieces.
The excavator set was very satisfying to build because of the gears and how well the pieces connect and work with each other. The connections are very strong and the solid feel of the final product is very satisfying.
I really enjoyed building the gear box and seeing how it all linked up. I also really liked the steps where one sub-part would connect to the main body with pre-prepared pins that you would push in to lock the parts together. It was also very easy to take apart.
If I were going to do more sets I’d definitely do more Technics.
Building the Tower Bridge was also fun, but in a different way. It was slightly easier to construct – less 3D visualization, easier connections. And it doesn’t have many moving parts. But it was fun to see the bridge slowly take shape, and the end result is very pretty.
It was also a longer project with more pieces. I didn’t time the excavator, but it took a little less than 10 hours to build the bridge (one piece every 8 seconds). Unfortunately, I’d guess that 75% of that time is hunting for pieces and 25% putting them together.
I haven’t taken the bridge apart yet, but I am expecting it to be quite a bit harder than the excavator. There are quite a few 1×2 and 1×4 stacked pieces that are going to be a pain to separate.
Here is a gallery of the construction steps. I took a picture every 30 minutes. You can kind of see how it took longer to make progress at the beginning because it took longer to find the pieces.