I buy a lot of Lego, and as such, I frequent the Lego website quite a lot, scouting out my next purchase. I'm also quite keen on keeping an eye on what new sets are landing, as the 1st of each month often brings in some new releases.
The 1st September saw quite a few new releases. Along with some new Technic sets and this year's wave of Lego advent calendars, there was a new BrickHeadz: a seasonal Halloween Ghost. It was listed on the Lego UK website on Sunday 1st September, the day the set launched. But as of Friday, 6th September, any mention of the set has disappeared altogether. It is still available on the Lego US website, it's worth noting.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, BrickHeadz were prolific. Each month saw several new releases, covering all manner of Lego's partner IPs from Disney to Harry Potter, and even the lesser-used themes like The Simpsons and Ghostbusters. Some stuck around for a while; others were discontinued after less than a month – leading to certain models now having a massively inflated resell value due to their rarity. (The Nightmare Before Christmas' Jack and Sally set had an RRP of £18.99 last year but due to its limited run now sells for £50+ on eBay.)
2019 has been quite a different outlook for BrickHeadz. We've seen some new releases, but – aside from the Lego Movie 2 series that was exclusive to the USA – they've all been license-free seasonal builds. There's been a Birthday Clown, a Chinese New Year Dragon Guy, and an Easter Chick, among a couple others. Some of those are still available, but some have already been quickly discontinued and removed from the website. The most recent (and non-seasonal) release was Lady Liberty, released in July and still showing as in stock on the Lego website.
But this brings us back to the case of the missing Halloween Ghost. Sure, we've seen BrickHeadz be discontinued in a matter of a month or two, but we've never seen them discontinued as quickly as five days. What is going on?
It was a question I had to contact Lego about to try to get to the bottom of. Here in the UK, Lego's PR is dealt with through a third-party, so I contacted them with my query, asking why the BrickHeadz Halloween Ghost was nowhere to be seen on the website.
A Google cache of Lego's 'coming soon' page from 16 August shows the Halloween Ghost as 'coming soon', but clicking on its product page brings up a 404 not found error. (Blame Google's caching for the blurry images.)
The response I got was rather surprising:
BrickHeadz have been discontinued in the UK which is why you are not seeing them as available for purchase on the website.
Huh. Strange, considering that several other BrickHeadz are still available on the website. Just not the Ghost, which, I reiterate, only released a few days ago.
The entirety of the available BrickHeadz, as of today
I decided to press a bit further, and attempted to contact Lego directly to see if they could confirm this. Annoyingly, my email ended up circling back to the original PR agency, but this time I got a slightly more detailed response:
The reason the item is no longer on the site is due to LEGO being temporarily sold out of this item. They anticipate they will have more stock available by the first of October, or otherwise available for backorder sooner than that. If they are able to accept backorders, the item will return to live on the site and you will be able to purchase one.
However, we can confirm that Brickheadz is indeed discontinued on the UK site and no new products will be available for purchase outside of the remaining stock available.
So it seems that BrickHeadz will not be available in the UK for much longer. And despite conflicting information that the Halloween Ghost will be coming back in stock (why completely delist from the website if it's simply out of stock?), they'll be unavailable once the current stock has sold.
This contradicts reports that many Lego websites shared earlier this year, when an interview with a Lego designer confirmed that BrickHeadz would be making a return in 2020.
It also contradicts the situation seen inside my local Lego store. The search for a Halloween Ghost got the better of me and I decided to pay a visit in store just in case. Lo and behold, there was a full shelf of the BrickHeadz Ghost waiting to be purchased.
When I was paying for mine, the Lego store employee who was serving me volunteered some information about upcoming BrickHeadz, too. He pointed out the upcoming festive sets on the back of the Ghost's box and also said a scarecrow will be coming out on 1st October. He was also adamant the range would be kicking off back in full swing in 2020.
The Reindeer and Elf/Elfie (which will be a two-pack) are still to come this year, according to the Lego store employee
So, who to believe? Lego PR, who confirmed to me twice that BrickHeadz have indeed been discontinued in the UK, or a Lego store employee who, presumably, gets to see store stock lists and new arrivals ahead of time?
Whichever is the case, it still remains very suspicious that the BrickHeadz Ghost would be completely removed from the Lego website regardless of stock levels. I've seen items marked "out of stock" or "back order" numerous times; there seems no logical reason to completely delist an item when it's simply out of stock.
I'm very fond of those bricky little statues - and this uncertainty does nothing but highlight how poorly managed the entire BrickHeadz line has been over the course of its short life. Sets have been available for only a matter of weeks, leading to a scramble to purchase sets second-hand at massively inflated prices. The stock in Lego stores and Lego retail partners has always been up and down; with shelf space eventually dwindling down to zero. My local Smyths Toys originally had a full end-of-aisle display for BrickHeadz, and now stocks precisely zero.
I suppose we'll just have to wait to see what happens in the next few months to see who is right. I've no reason to doubt Lego's PR team – but I also have no real reason to doubt a store employee seemingly in the know, either. Either way, I wouldn't hold your breath on being able to order a BrickHeadz Ghost off the website any time soon. Get yourself to a Lego store if you want one – otherwise you'll be at the mercy of the eBay scalpers, who are already selling them at more than double their RRP.