If there's one thing I love more than LEGO, it's space. And for the last several years, any fan of space is well aware of SpaceX and what they have achieved with their revolutionary Falcon line of rockets.
There are many Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rocket MOCs to be found, but when I came across this SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket by Eiffleman complete with building instructons on LEGO Ideas I had to build it. I figured this was a good chance to write about the process and demonstrate some of Rebrickable's features that make it so much easier.
Buying LEGO Parts
The Falcon Heavy by Eiffleman includes a parts list, which I have translated into a Rebrickable Custom List which you can find here: https://rebrickable.com/users/Nathan/lists/33702/. The list contains several parts in [No Color/Any Color] as they are hidden inside the rocket and can be bought in any color that's available. Thanks to this new feature, Rebrickable can use this information to find the cheapest parts for you.
I wanted to build this as a display model, so even though I had many of the parts already I wanted to buy separate ones just for this model. Well, except for some of the pins and axles of which I have about a billion, but I have added them all back to the list for public use.
Once you have the parts you want to buy in a Custom List, just click the Buy Parts tab.
The stores with the most matching parts are displayed along with their total prices. It's rare for a single store to have every part in stock, and those that do tend to come at a higher price. Click the symbol for a store to see what parts they do and don't have in stock. Any stores highlighted in green have been marked as one of your Favourites (Pro Plan feature only).
If you find a store you are happy with simply hit the Add to Cart button. But in most cases, you need to place several orders across multiple stores. To do this click the Multi-Buy button.
In the last few months, I have made several small improvements to the Multi-Buy searches including:
- Improved Minimise Delivery algorithm to find better combinations
- Include store Favourite/Blacklist buttons (Pro Plan only)
- Now supports multiple lots for a part - e.g. a store may have both new and used parts at different prices
- Fixed some cell highlighting issues
Step 1 - change the default filters if you like, then click the Search Stores button.
This will search for the best matching stores and list them along with all the requested parts in a huge table. Clicking a cell in the table will allocate that part to that store, you can modify the quantity allocated. So, there might be multiple stores required to provide you the quantity you need for a particular part.
Step 2 - By default, the Cheapest Stores algorithm is used to pre-select stores. However, this does not take into account delivery costs and so is only used as a quick first guide to show you an estimated cost and if the parts can actually be purchased at all. Modify the delivery cost field to something appropriate to your location (it's only a rough estimate).
If you don't really care about costs, clicking the Largest Stores button will pick parts from the stores that have most of them in stock. This will give you fewer orders but usually a higher overall cost.
Otherwise, click the Minimise Delivery button which will attempt to find the cheapest prices in as fewer stores as possible. If the cost of allocating parts from one store to another is lower than the extra delivery cost, it will drop a store. It basically repeats this until it finds an optimal solution.
Step 3 - Now it's time to play with the data manually, move parts around and customise things to suit your preferences. There are several buttons available to help reduce the size of the table to only those parts/stores you are interested in changing.
Step 4 - When ready, click the Add to Cart buttons for each selected store. Sometimes you will find the store does not like your items because there are too few, or the delivery costs might be too high. In these cases, I usually Blacklist the store and start again.
I followed the advice on the LEGO Ideas page and ordered the 2x 92591 payload fairing parts first as they are rare, along with some other parts on my BrickLink Wanted Lists. I waited a couple of weeks before ordering the remaining parts, which meant my Custom List now had a mixture of parts I have already ordered and parts I still needed to buy.
A new feature I recently introduced came to the rescue here - you can now Subtract parts when importing from files or BrickLink. Choose the Order and click the Subtract button and it will remove those ordered parts from your Custom List.
All up, it took 5 separate orders (I could have done it in 4 as I forgot about the Tesla payload until later) - 2 from BrickLink, 2 from BrickOwl and 1 from ToyPro, and cost me AUD $120 including about $40 in delivery fees. The fastest delivery was 5 days from an Australian store (physically located about 3 hrs away from me), and the slowest was 4 weeks from Europe. I understand that Australia is remote, but even internal Australian delivery sucks.
Once all packages arrived, I opened and counted all the parts to make sure they were all there. Four of the packages were perfect, but one of them was terrible. There were about 10 separate errors. I ended up with several extra parts I had no use for, but the main problem was that I was short a couple of critical parts. Luckily I had those two parts already in my existing collection (sorry Benny's Spaceship!), but I was trying to avoid using them. Needless to say, I have now added that store to my Rebrickable Blacklist (Pro Plan only) so it won't show up in search results again.
I'd like to hear what kind of success record you have when ordering parts?
Overall, I was pretty happy with the result and like to think Rebrickable makes the process as painless as possible.
In Part 2 I will review the building process and actual model of the LEGO Falcon Heavy rocket.