I've been going through my stash and found this Spacecraft, one of many Shell station exclusives which, frankly, I never once saw at a Shell station nor did I know it was a thing you could buy until it showed up at Kay-Bee Toys for the low-low price of 3 for $5. Most people don't remember this, but near the end of the 1990s LEGO toys were super-cheap. Buckets of bricks were sometimes just over a penny per brick, boxed sets could be purchased for as little as $2.99 at most retailers, and the very first LEGO Star Wars Landspeeder was $5.99. Oh, and a McDonald's Happy Meal with a LEGO set cost $2, and came with about 20 bricks. I really wish I spent more money on this stuff when the prices were insanely good, but I digress.
As part of a collection of 12 small sets, the closest price point and product type available today are the Minifigures, which are about $3.50 each. So let's review: in 1998, you could buy a figure with a small vehicle for $2 or even less. Today, one figure is $3.50. Of course, one disadvantage of the good ol' days is sets were usually closely tied to the existing big "themes" out there, which meant you could expect some variation on pirates or space or city or castle without anything too wacky. This little Space UFO Spaceship is pretty by-the-numbers stuff, reusing parts you probably also saw in the 1980s to make a little flying craft that has no visible controls. It's a chair with some engines and a satellite dish on the bottom, so it's not really a practical toy or a particularly involved build, but it does make for a value-priced figure delivery system.
The minifigures have long been a selling point of larger LEGO sets, so any chance to get a figure for a dollar or two is usually met with some form of glee. The nameless UFO Alien (or robot) has a swell removable black helmet with some hose detailing on the sides and a flat, undecorated surface on the top. If you pop off the helmet, you'll find a clear red head and a fairly ornate torso with buckles, belts, and what might be the internal structure of the creature. Despite being a freaky being from another planet, he somehow still retains the jovial smile and arguably friendly expression found on most LEGO figures from before they started giving them other emotions. It even has printing on the figure legs, which was still somewhat new and exciting during this era.
I see this set selling for about $20 on eBay and I can tell you it isn't really worth it unless you simply must have the figure, and even then it's a stretch. I really do miss the days of Dollar Tree getting LEGO Mars Mission polybags and Kay-Bee getting overstock promotional sets for a couple of bucks, but that's life! Not every era can last forever, and as we lose out on some of the great toy clearance centers (and LEGO gets a better supply chain) the very notion of unwanted, overproduced LEGO sets starts to become absurd. The brand was on its way out in the 1990s, but today it's a rising star and a premium toy with a high perceived value. Which is, of course, one good reason why people are willing to overpay for sets on eBay. It might be twice the retail price, but unlike action figures you're going to get some more play time out of these sets.
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