Star Wars! Ninja! Pirates! Aliens! Race cars! Mummies! Castles! Dragons! All made of delicious bricks. Hot off the magical Lego Factory in Billund, Denmark, here are all the Lego sets for the year 2011 in one epic roundup.
There are a couple more secret models, but we will show those to you at a later date.
First, following the success of the previous series, there are more new minifigs sold in separate packaging. I'm not a fan of the minifigs with facial expressions - I still prefer the iconic old school ones, with smiley faces - but some of these are neat.
There are some new collections that look a bit retro too - like the Aliens Conquest, which has shades of the old grey-and-blue Lego Space from the '70s.
Their Indiana Jones sets have been replaced by a generic Egyptian adventure theme - which sucks, because there are no Nazis to destroy - but there are a lot of models from Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and, of course, Star Wars. Their reduced Millennium Falcon would be a good option for those who couldn't buy the huge 8000-piece Millennium Falcon. Talking huge sets, there are no announcements about these yet, but something tells me that we will see them soon.
Here you have all the models announced at Toy Fair 2011.
The Lego Star Wars 2011 catalogue is too heavy on the bloody prequels. Except the Falcon - which includes all the heroes and Darth Vader for $US140 - there's only an effing Ewoks set called The Endor Battle Pack ($US30), with a tree, an Imperial Scout and two damn furry dwarfs.
The rest is all Sith Infilwhatevers, a Republic Frigate with some clowns, and even a set full of Jars Jars, obviously designed to give to really stinking kids as a punishment.
The assfog is strong in this one but at least there's material to create anything you want.
Lego Kingdoms - formerly Lego Castle - is a little bit scarce this year. The best set is probably the Mill Village Raid - at $US70, the most expensive of the series - and the King's Carriage Ambush ($US50). But no spectacular castle of any kind, which is sad.
These sets seem to replace the old Indy models, without Dr Jones kicking Nazi's ass - which sucks. Their are more Egypt meet Stargate meet Zombieland than Indy, but the $US100 Scorpion Pyramid - including a giant badass scorpion - seems like a lot of fun.
The Technic sets keep shrinking - I miss the giant models, even while they were so expensive. The Rescue Helicopter ($US40) looks great, as does the Backhoe Loader ($US60) and the Bucket Truck ($US50), but my favourite is the $US20 Off-Roader.
I would have loved Lego if they scrapped their Atlantis line and instead announced the Lego Cousteau line. With the Calypso, and underwater scenery and bases and helicopters and bathyspheres. That or Lego Zissou.
Do I really need to say more?
NINJAS! NINJAS! NINJAS! STEVE JOBS! NINJAS! NINJAS WITH DRAGONS! NINJA DEMONS RIDING HARLEY DAVIDSONS! NINJA BULLDOZERS! DEMONIACAL FORTRESSES!
OK, I shall calm down now. Lego seems to be obsessed with ninjas this year, and they will be selling a barrage of sets under the Ninjago flag, which includes a series of three games called Spinners, in which you battle different characters using cards over the (optional) $US50 Spinjitzu Dojo.
The sets are pretty nice themselves, like the $US120 Fire Temple - which includes a dragon - and the $US60 Skeleton Monster Truck. Because, as you know, infernal demons used to drive monster trucks in 15th Century Japan.
Bricks and More
These are my favourite Lego sets this year. Bricks and more. They feel like classic Lego, with pure bricks and basic colours. It's a nice break from the complexity or elaborated pieces of the rest of their lines at lower prices.
If you are not familiar with the Creator line, it's great to explore your own imagination. This year there are a few mini models - like the cute $US6 Mini Digger and Mini Plans - and other bigger sets, like my favorites: the $US40 Cool Cruiser and, the best of them all, the $US40 Lighthouse Island - which can be easily integrated in Lego City.
The number one seller in the history of Lego comes loaded with models. That includes a renewed version of one of the perennial classics: The Police Station, which comes with 783 pieces for $US100. In fact, this year is heavy on police sets, including the $US40 Police Boat, the $US50 Mobile Police Unit and even a $US13 Police Dog Unit. My other favourites are their new sea pieces, like the $US90 Harbor, the $US40 PowerBoat Transporter, or the humble $US5 Speed Boat.
For some reason, they included some space stuff this year, although it's not as spectacular as their previous NASA-related efforts. Still, their $US70 Space Center looks like a good one to get.
While the Lego Alien Conquest 2011 have a 50s UFO flavour and some bits of the old Lego Space line, I can't help but to look down at them. The reason may be that the '70s Lego Space is embedded in my DNA, but the biggest cause is the design. Things like their $US20 Tripod Invader, $US60 Alien Mothership and $US90 Earth Defense are charming, but they can't compete with the incredible fresh design of the classic Space line, which is current still today.
Pirates of the Caribbean
The same happens with Pirates of the Caribbean. They are not as good as the classic Pirates. They are not bad at all, mind you. The Queen Anne's Revenge - 1097 pieces for $US120 - is quite good, as is the $US80 Whitecap Bay and the $US100 Black Pearl , but they are a a franchise. It's like a Taco Bell burrito: The "beefy" substance is just not really beef.
Racers I wish the Racers could actually be radio-controlled around the house because I like the idea of RC cars destroying each other just to build them again. The new models are all good, at $US6 each. There would be bigger, licensed ones when Cars 2 comes out.
Let me tell you one thing: This ain't no ninjas! What the hell is this plastic crap? It's not even Lego. I mean, it is Lego and you can combine the pieces with "normal" Lego pieces (to great results, in hands of expert builders) but these are just horrible. I guess the kids today like it and they are only $US8 a piece, but these should be banned from this dimension.
This year I bought my two nieces Lego for the first time - they better get used to it. They were three huge Duplo sets - the biggest available - and a couple other little ones. Just getting them made me happy, because they brought the memories of me and my siblings being little crawlers building absurd stuff with these huge colorful blocks. If you have little kids or have drooling relatives of any age, these new models will be good for them. I like My First Supermarket ($US20), My First Zoo ($US25) and My First Fire Station ($US30), but you can also initiate them in the zen of Pooh with Winnie's House ($US30), which looks quite nice.