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The Mysterious Case of The Old Cat Lady
Hi everyone! I've had something which has been bugging and interesting me in equal measure for a while, and I've really wanted to get off my chest:
I regularly try to find and bid for intriguing Lego lots at local auction houses throughout the year. I don't tend to go too far afield due to postage costs and I don't tend to resell as a general rule - I buy what I love. Sometimes this results in some really good finds: an almost complete but disassembled Airtech Claw Rig, a complete 1987 Black Knights Castle with a Forestmen set, or a mixed lot with around ten complete 1970s 'Legoland' vehicles are just some examples.
Around a year or two ago I won what I believe the auction catalogue labelled as a 'Shop Display Figure'. Most of the other bidders were likely put off it due to its size and weight. The reason it caught my eye was that it looked like it was built in a similar style to the large scale minifigure models from Legoland Parks, and I thought it could be a good display piece at home. Here's a picture of it not quite in pride of place next to Star Wars and Islanders:
Upon closer study I found various things. There was general UV bleaching and minor dirt particles across the model so it must have been kept outside. Some areas displayed a little 'peeling' of what I assume is part of a UV lacquer to reinforce this. The hands and head could move and turn, though stiff as if not fully intended. The biggest telltale were the screw/rivet holes at the base of the model, suggesting this model had been fastened in place - very unlikely for a 'Shop Display' where set marketing changes all year round. Scouring Google to find what the model was wasn't overly productive though.
When I went to Legoland Billund last year I had a shock to discover an almost identical
model near the Falck Fire Brigade ride under a tree. The idea being that the firefighters are rescuing a cat from a tree for an old lady - suddenly the subject matter of the model made a lot more sense! However the below model isn't exactly the same - the base of the dress is a continuous red rather than the patch of white above.
I haven't been to Legoland Windsor since this revelation but I have seen that there is a similar looking old lady next to the British Fire Brigade ride in fan images from days out. But I don't know whether that model is 1.) the same as mine and 2.) is still there in position to this day. My best assumption from the outcome so far is that my model was almost certainly a previous model in place at a Legoland Park! (which perhaps was replaced by a newer version when slightly bleached)
I'd be interested to find out if anyone could shed some light on the origins of the model, or the processes by which it might have been discarded or replaced in a Legoland Park? I also wonder whether anyone has had any other similar experiences, acquiring what appear to be 'Master Builder' models like this?