Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Lego Aquazone Aquanauts Store Display

I remember when Lego came out with the Aquazone line, it was the winter of 1994, my senior year of high school.  That winter I had my first job, seasonal cashier at the Toys R Us on Gold Road in Schaumburg.  My cousin Brandon convinced me to join him at the store.  It really wasn't convincing because Toys R Us was already my favorite store and my cousin was my best bud.  The above display was prominently featured in the Lego aisles at Toys R Us, K-Mart, Venture and other stores that have folded since the mid-1990's.

Upon starting the job, I realized what a tough job standing eight-hour shifts tending to grumpy parents was.  Brandon on the other hand had the plum job of looking for toys for callers on the phone.  He donned a headset and took his sweet, sweet time looking for Tickle Me Elmo, Power Rangers and Holiday Barbie.  I remember seeing him once sitting on boxes resting when he knew that they didn't have an item, pretending to look for it.  He gave me a smirk as I frantically was trying to take cash from and give correct change to the never-ending line of shopping parents.  How unfair.

For some reason we didn't have many shifts together, maybe Toys R Us had some type of Saving Private Ryan policy that prevented relatives from working together.  Or maybe they just knew we'd mess around on our joint shifts, which actually did occur the next two summers while Brandon and I worked together in the shipping department at Motorola.

Back to the Legos, the Aquazone line somewhat paid homage to Disney's Horizon's attraction whereby humanity had a colony of undersea explorers.  The undersea explorers called Aquanauts mined for little silver Lego crystals.  Unlike the Disney attraction, however, there were these bad guys called the Seasharks trying to steal the little silver pieces from the Aquanauts.  More about the line can be found here

I think I bought an Aquazone set after my shift every week I worked at Toys R Us, which was only a little over a month and which only paid $4.75 an hour.  Silly me.  For some reason, a few years later I ended up acquiring an Aquazone display, as shown in the pictures above and below, at a toy show.  Looking back, I'm not sure why I bought the display.  I think it was one of those things my Dad thought was cool and I was somewhat pressured into buying once I showed a little interest into it.  He loved bargaining with those dealers at the toy shows and I can imagine that once the game started, we couldn't back out until we had the entire glory of the 20-pound wooden Lego store display.

The display lights up when you press one of the buttons and you can see two Lego sets within the bubble.
Here's a better look of the goodies inside of the bubble.
And if you press the top button, it plays a recorded Aquazone message.  Like this:
If you are wondering why the display is in the box, it's because I just sold it earlier this week.  If we backtrack, I had forgotten about the Lego display for some 20 years or more until we moved back to the U.S. from Japan.  When we moved back, Mom gave us over 30 boxes of my stuff, mostly action figures and other toys.  This bad boy was in one of the boxes.

Of course the batteries were dead when I first unearthed it, but a little dusting off and eight shiny new D batteries got it running again like we were back in 1994.

Selling it was somewhat of a fiasco.  I didn't want to ship the display across the country due to the set possibly being damaged in transit and the incredible pain of packing a tube-T.V. sized 20-pound wooden box of Legos.  As a result, I listed it on eBay and marked "Local Pick-Up Only"  for the shipping.

Sure enough, within 10 hours of listing it, some dude from Los Angeles selects "Buy-It Now" and becomes the new owner of my Lego store display.
Oh well.  We worked out the shipping details and it ended up taking me over an hour to pack the display.  Mind you even though I unearthed it only a few months ago, Mom had packed it to be stored in the attic, which is completely different than being packed to be sent on truck/plane across the country.  Luckily wifey helped me by driving me to the Post Office and we jointly carried the giant box into the lobby and onto the counter.  The clerk couldn't find a ruler to measure the box, and we ended up paying 20 bucks less than he told us the shipping amount would be.  I bought insurance just to be sure it didn't get too damaged.  We'll see how and if it gets to Los Angeles in about a week.  I'll update this once it arrives there.  Thanks for the read and have a good one today.

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