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After a week of building the Millennium Falcon 7965, we were nearing the end. My son became excited and literally started jumping for joy. As a result, he accidentally landed on the model and thus caused major portions of the super-structure to pop out of place.

I attempted to reinsert the bricks but found myself having to gently stretch out a section of the hull in order to snap the brick into place correctly. Of course this action caused more bricks to pop out. Of particular difficulty is the 'girdle section' that encircles the outer hull.

Now it seems I have been left with a very expensive pile of gray, dark gray, and yellow Lego bricks and a very fragile super-structure into which they should go. We threw the bags away, and don't know at which construction stage the various pieces belong to. Of course we have the manuals.

I was minded to consign the whole project to the rubbish bin, but this would create a heart-broken child...

For those with experience in this sort of thing, what is a recommended strategy? Are we talking about a reboot from square 1 without the bags as a sequential guide?

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I hope 'consigning the whole project to a rubbish bin' was purely metaphorical? I would cringe at the thought of perfectly good LEGO going to waste. –  Ambo100 Jan 1 '12 at 18:16
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@Ambo100 - That option was originally considered, but met with virulent expostulations from my 7 year old. I am going to accept your answer and attempt to rebuild it from square 1. –  anon Jan 1 '12 at 18:33
    
Lego is not a "one time build"-model. It's more like "build and enjoy, and after a wile destroy and use the bricks to build something else of your own imagination and after a while find the instructions of the original set and build it again, this time with the enhanced complexity of finding all the original pieces"-model. I'm afraid you just have to make the best out of it. With a big model like this, I understand your frustration, though - after a long building process... –  awe Jan 3 '12 at 13:24

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Only ever throw out LEGO that has sustained actually irreversible damage, bricks that have been bent beyond repair or snapped. It so rarely happens that I can find a suitable picture. In this case, I would assume the longest plates and tiles would be more likely to be damaged.

I'd go through the painful process of dismantling the model and starting again, replacing any broken pieces (if any) or at least starting again from the last significant building stage. Many large models are build independently and combined at a later stage of building. These independent 'building stages' often match a numbered set of plastic bags.

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Yes, sorry for the confusion. The individual pieces are intact. By 'damaged' I mean that they have become unmoored from the places they were supposed to snap into. And when you try and snap them into place, other pieces become unmoored. And in some cases I was not watching where exactly they became unmoored from. But all of the pieces are still in very new condition. Does that help clarify? –  Garry Vass Jan 1 '12 at 18:04

In addition to the excellent answers given here, I will add this one, which was learned the painful way and now given in hindsight...

DON'T BUILD A COMPLEX MODEL ON THE FLOOR.

Use a table or other elevated space. Building it on the floor with an excited child around is just asking for trouble.

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If you have a large enough large tray this is even better for later portability, as well as containing the current bags pieces within the lip ;) –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 3 '12 at 16:06

I will suggest you carefully dismantle sections of the construction so that you can see all the bricks and can recognize the hidden parts against the instructions. Then build up different sections with the aid of the instructions.

If there are larger parts of the construction that are not damaged, you can keep these intact, and just take apart sections that need to be re-built to get the structure stable.

And lastly: NEVER THROW AWAY LEGO BRICKS THAT ARE NOT PHYSICALLY DAMAGED! These are building bricks that can be used to build anything - not just part of a model. The joy of LEGO is the ability to tear down and build something else when you get bored of the original model. Some LEGO sets come with instructions for 3 different models that you can build with the same bricks.

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+1 for "NEVER THROW AWAY LEGO BRICKS". If you really want to dispose of LEGO bricks, and you aren't bothered about selling it, at least consider giving them away. And if you're ever struggling to find someone... yes, I will pay the postage. ;-) –  Kramii Jan 3 '12 at 15:50

The most important is to sort out the technic beams and plates as these really restrict doing any search on smaller pieces.

I have been rebuilding this set with "unsorted" bricks a couple time. Something that works really well for me is to simply keep the brick sorted in a traditional way, using ziploc bags... (So, I'm suggesting that you first sort your unsorted bricks, then build)

See this post about a proper sort method.

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