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I want to add to my collection by buying an assortment of 2x4,2x2,1x2, and 1x1 bricks in a variety of colors. I want these to be general purpose bricks, primarily for sculptures and buildings.

What is a good ratio for parts? For example, should I buy mostly 2x4s or 2x2s? What colors are used the most?

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I'd get mostly grey and black 1x4s and 2x4s, then 1x2s, 1x3s, 1x6s, and 2x2s. I would buy some 1x1s also, but those aren't great for making sound structures. (Ever tried to build a sturdy wall from 1x1s?) Anyhow, as I'm not real experienced when it comes to building large structures, I'll let this remain as a comment - unless ya'll think this should be an answer. –  Peter Cassetta Oct 27 '11 at 16:54
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This question is incredibly subjective. I use mostly 1x1 and 2x2 in yellow. Any answer is valid until you dream up a project for which it's not! –  Erik Olson Oct 27 '11 at 17:44
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@ErikOlson I think it can be answered in a constructive way. There is a subjective part, but also an objective part relating to piece averages across sets. Experts know that there are a myriad of ways to build something, but they know that it is better to use piece A instead of B when building which is how ratios come about. –  Pubby Oct 27 '11 at 18:13
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Subjective questions are often parts of bad questions, but not all subjective questions are bad: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective. In particular, this question is fair and impartial, invites factual experiences, and is not mindless social fun (it solves a real problem). In turn, we need to make sure the answers are long, explain why, and are backed by real experiences of expert Lego builders. (I'm also not sure this is subjective - I bet if you did some number-crunching on the composition of sets, some interesting patterns could emerge.) –  user23 Oct 27 '11 at 21:06
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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Colours

It's difficult to tell which colours are used the most. I have six different colours of bricks that are I'd consider essential for every day city building:

  • (Monochrome) Black & White
  • (Primary) Red, Green & Blue
  • (Secondary) Yellow

I chose these six colours because they are commonly sold in buckets and tubs and are widely available. They tend to have the best brick to price ratio around and they are also very versatile, you can build most models out of these six colours. They also happen to be the only six colours that can be recognised by a NXT colour sensor.

Box of Lego bricks

As your collection builds, you get a better idea about what kind of things you like to build. A builder specialising in medieval models would probably find colours like grey and brown essential.

Bricks

A good ratio of parts is variable depending on your needs.

Say for example I wanted to build a the wall in the image below, I'd require 40 1x2s and 8 1x1s. That would be a ratio of five 1x2's for every 1x1.

Brick wall

Of course, this isn't going to apply to everything you build, you'll need to make an educated guess based on what creation you're trying to make.

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As I said in a comment on the question, for subjective issues like this we really need long, explanatory, answers from experience. Why are those six colors essential? Why do you only use 2x4s? What kinds of things do you build? etc. –  user23 Oct 31 '11 at 22:24
    
Thank you Joe. I've done as much as I can to improve the answer to what is clearly a subjective question. –  Ambo100 Nov 1 '11 at 14:45
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If you want to get a stock for building internal structure and the color isn't important, pick one which is cheaper. Blue is a good candidate, red isn't. Black should be OK too.

As for the sizes, there's no real way to answer that, but if building 2 studs wide, 2x4 is the one you'll need most, with a dash of 2x2 for ends. They are usually easiest to find and cheaper than longer ones.

For 1 stud wide building, you'll of course need some 1x1 for ends, but using only 2x2 can be cumbersome unless you want the effect (try a well in 1x2 dark red plates, it's superb), so then you'll want to stock on 1x4, 1x6 and 1x8. Again, check the prices per stud.

But if you're willing to buy big quantities and are after good prices, the simplest is to by full tubs - and then you don't need to worry about which ones you'll get as the assortment is fixed. You may also want to check specific creator sets for clearance (houses are a good source of 1x bricks).

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Are tubs really a good deal? Some quick math puts the price per brick at $0.15 while bricklink is under $0.05 –  Pubby Oct 27 '11 at 19:56
    
6177: 650 bricks for 29.99$. 3598 was around 50$ for 2000 bricks. But these are official prices, sometimes you can get some for lower than that. But yeah, always check the prices is the way to go. –  Joubarc Oct 28 '11 at 4:05
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