Surviving lost LEGO building instructions

My 4 year old son is beginning to play with and appreciate the LEGO sets that I had as a child. These sets span the years 1978 – 1985 and are still mostly in perfect condition except for one thing: building instructions.

Daddy can you fix this ?

My son was holding a single piece of LEGO but I knew exactly what set it came from and what it had looked like before being dismantled.

Picture from http://www.brickset.com

I searched through the collection of building instructions which had survived numerous moves, fishmoths and the march of time. Then I got that sinking feeling – the building instructions were missing.

Trying to find the relevant pieces in a storage box containing pieces from multiple sets is difficult enough even with the help of building instructions. Without instructions it is almost impossible.

 Storage box full of LEGO

I have the internet …

After calming down to a mild panic in the face of a 4 year old’s tantrum I thought – “LEGO must keep an archive of all their building instructions”. Visiting the Building Instructions section of LEGO’s Customer Service page revealed the following:

We currently have over 3300 building instructions available online which date back to sets packed in 2002.

2002 ? That wasn’t going to help me !

Life savers

Google saved my life and provided me with links to the following sites:

Brickset Allows searching and graphical browsing of sets by set number, year or theme. Has set information from 1961 – 2010. Contains links to Peeron and BrickLink for building instructions and set inventory.
Peeron Has scanned building instructions and set inventory information. Allows simple searching and browsing of sets.
Worldbricks Allows searching and graphical browsing of sets by set number, year or theme. Has set information and scanned building instructions from 1955 – 2009.
BrickLink Has set inventory information. Allows simple searching and browsing of sets.

Happiness restored

Using the Brickset site I visually browsed through their catalogs and found the set information I was after. I used the Peeron site to find the building instructions and the set inventory. Happiness was restored.

Happiness restored

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