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What's the best method to break a set down?

bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 294
edited July 2012 in Everything else LEGO
Hey all.

My wife and I have just been offered the opportunity to move to the US. Since we've been in Malaysia the last 2.5 years I've collect a few Star Wars sets, most notably USC Star Destroyer and Diorama Death Star. I want to dismantle them for shipping (and to rebuild them again on the other side in due course).

What system/method would you use to disassemble and sort the pieces so they'll be reasonably easy to build again later? I'm thinking in terms of grouping parts in a similar manner to which they arrived new; big flat sections together, small 1x1 parts together, minifigs together etc. In the case of the ISD there are obviously a lot of grey parts, so 1x1 rounds might be better off with other-coloured small parts and away from 1x1 squares. (I intend to keep the greebly sections in tact 'cos they were no fun to put together).

I expect I should pick up one of those Lego separator tools too; I have about three weeks to pack them all (and the rest of our stuff)

Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    Wow, what a big job! I think what you plan on doing will work best, and the brick separator is really handy! I think grouping them by type would be the easiest way to find the parts again later (and not mixing up the sets).
  • jadedancjadedanc USAMember Posts: 1,303
    I collected quite a few sets when I was in Louisiana for my dad, including R2-D2. I found that on the larger sets, break them down into smaller sets to bag up. Like with R2, I had one bag for each of the three legs, one for the head and 2 for the body (1 for upper and 1 for lower part). It will definitely be easier on you when you go to remake them. Kinda like how LEGO sells the sets with the numbered bags (except pieces and no numbered bags, seriously LEGO what were you thinking....:)
  • kezkez United KingdomMember Posts: 727
    To break down the set I would dismantle the set from top to bottom and then I would put small bricks in one bag, and big bricks in another, then minifigures in another and so on, just like you said then I might put some bricks in the same colour in the same bag, I hope this helps :)
  • bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 294
    Thanks for the info; good to know I was on the right track.

    The idea to break it down into 'parts' is logical, but unless the instructions are structured that way (numbered bags) I'll be digging around a lot later on to find certain parts. With newer sets like the diorama I think I could work backwards because you do certain areas at each stage. The ISD might not work this way.

    It might be more fun/challenging to simply separate into like-sized/-coloured pieces and hunt later on.

    Hopefully the tiny Lego shop in KL will have one of those tools.
  • canon03canon03 USAMember Posts: 301
    Any tile pieces that are included in your sets should probably be grouped into a separate bag just like your minifigs. They can get scratched quite easily during shipment.
  • bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 294
    Heh, good to know. Cheers.
  • hoyatableshoyatables Northern Virginia, USAMember Posts: 811
    When I break down modular buildings I tend to try to do so by section rather than by color or type. This way when I try to rebuild the parts for each section are together and I don't have to go rooting through the entire set of parts.

    I suspect that the UCS Star Destroyer and Death Star were also assembled in phases, so I would stick to those phases rather than break it all the way down to individual pieces.

    The other advantage of this method is that it is relatively quick. My guess is that your wife has plenty of other things she wants you to pack over the next three weeks and LEGO is pretty far down on the priority scale :).
  • FollowsCloselyFollowsClosely Member Posts: 894
    I break a set down into small baggies. I try to do no more than 10 pages per bag. It goes together real quick when you have a pile of say 100 bricks at a time.
  • bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 294
    ^^ Yes, there is a lot to do in the coming weeks, but Lego must be packed along with everything else, no? :)

    ^ When you say 10 pages per baggie, you mean going backwards through the instructions, you break down 10 pages worth into a single bag?

    I've been thinking about something like that, but I anticipate the sets will come apart a little differently to how they were built. And the more I think about it, it might be best to break it down roughly now, and finish it properly on the other end where I'll have more time. See how the smaller sets go (Tie fighter, X-wing, walking At-At)

    Thanks for your responses so far.
  • FollowsCloselyFollowsClosely Member Posts: 894
    Yes. Start at the end of the book and work you way back page by page. Verifying and cleaning the pieces as you go. I found this to be the best way for my family. The falcon for example was in 65 bags no more than 100 per bag. Each bag labeled of course. Building is a snap as you spend very little time searching for pieces.
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