Some cool vacation sell off images:
myhood in Fontana, CA
Image by abstrakone
more zoom'd in version of my childhood home.
Lego Space - Set 497 Galaxy Explorer
Image by InSapphoWeTrust
Set 497, Galaxy Explorer, released in 1979, was the flagship of the original Lego Space universe, portraying a large passenger/cargo spaceship with its landing pad on the lunar surface. At 338 pieces and four astronaut minifigures (two red, two white), sprawling over two 25cmx25cm baseplates, this is a spectacular set, with a list price ( in 1979 dollars) to match.
Set 497 was the US-market designation; in Europe, the same set was sold as Set 928, Space Cruiser and Moonbase, and the European set number 928 is imprinted on the sides of the spaceship. It is interesting to note that in the US market, the "Space Cruiser" designation was instead used on Set 487, which was a smaller, simpler, cheaper version of Galaxy Explorer.
Finding a complete Galaxy Explorer is considered the holy grail of vintage Lego Space collecting, and I was able to score one on eBay in March 2013. While the set is complete and the price fair, many pieces do have signs of yellowing from excessive sun exposure, one 6x6 light gray tile has an edge that has cracked off, and one 1x3 black tile was replaced by three 1x1 black tiles. The incorrect and damaged parts can easily be replaced, however, since they are common standard Lego parts.
The completed set. Despite the signs of age, still an awesome sight to behold. The ship has enough space for two (or even three) astronauts plus the moon buggy, making it a perfect vehicle for an exploration trip to the asteroids or a distant planet, or for a vacation run back to Earth.
"Buy me! Buy me!"
Image by Peter Garnhum
A constant, unintentionally horrible sales pitch from these young Hmong girls. We winced every time we heard it. :)
I should add that as bad as this looks, all the kids were apparently on summer vacation during our visit, so they could sell little bits of embroidery to help their families. Is it really ethical or good to see? No, but the kids didn't seem to take it all too seriously -- if you said "No", they'd happily bugger off and play.