Earlier this week I got word of a trial taking place at the London Shepherds Bush (Westfield) LEGO retail store. It’s being called PAB Extra, and it’s an attempt to make PAB walls more interesting.
As usual, it was left to me to provide more information than the hearsay. I got myself out of hibernation and paid a visit to the Shepherds Bush store earlier today.
PAB Extra bears a resemblance to the mixed PAB wall holes found at the Milton Keynes store. You’ll quickly notice that each of these designated holes contain an array of “themed” parts.
Some of the parts are those you’ve seen hundreds of times before in the wall. But there are a number of unusual and possibly uncommon parts to enjoy. There’s an overview in the above video (which you should have started watching by now).
From what I’ve been told, the parts are supplied as is (randomly assorted) by LEGO themselves. I guess the idea behind PAB Extra is to inspire people to make certain kinds of models from the parts provided. It’s a couple of steps up from the builds previously offered in the PAB section, as there’s some level of creativity being encouraged.
PAB Extra is on trial exclusively at the Shepherds Bush store (Westfield) for four weeks, having started on Tuesday. If the response is favourable, it might continue and be introduced to other stores. However, everything is very uncertain.
There were some very useful parts in the PAB Extra holes, and I could definitely see it being a draw for experienced and not-so-experienced FOLs alike. An immediate issue was actually the crowding around those holes: even though there were only three people (including myself) at the wall, it was frustrating having to wait to gain access to a specific hole. Of the 18×6 wall at Shepherds Bush, only 10 holes were designated for PAB Extra.
For me, this appears to be a bridge between the variety that used to be offered at PAB walls between stores, and the long defunct “grab bags”. I appreciate the assortment of parts provided by PAB Extra – but because of the lack of variety with the other parts on the wall, I was barely able to fill a small cup.
There’s a great opportunity for PAB Extra – if it goes ahead – to improve the PAB wall for each store.