In technology, bricking something is usually a bad sign. Except of course when you’re talking about LEGO, where bricking it is the entire point. Here’s 10 of the best LEGO sets for easy construction fun.
LEGO – and I’m going to start this article right by reminding you pedantically that LEGO is its own plural – is amazing stuff. The LEGO company is well known as the world’s largest producer of tires*, and also for its phenomenally popular construction building system.
Yes, the patents have expired and other companies can and do make LEGO-compatible sets, but the existence of “LEGO-compatible sets” tells you everything you need to know about what the gold standard in this kind of play is.
Play isn’t automatically the right word either, because while LEGO is resolutely family friendly, it’s not just for kids, with millions of AFOLs (Adult Fans Of LEGO) around the world spending their free time building sets and creating all-new amazing things with studded plastic bricks.
With that in mind, and if you’ve got a mind to mash some bricks together, which sets should you get?
Any list of the “best” LEGO sets is going to be subjective by its very nature, because the tastes of the LEGO builder are such a key guide to what makes one set better than any other.
So to continue with my pedantry, these are some of the best LEGO sets as-chosen-by-a-middle-aged-white-dude-with-slightly-odd-taste-in-LEGO-concepts. Your own tastes may vary, but naturally I’m right.
The other big catch for buying LEGO sets, especially right now in the middle of a pandemic is that shipping can be tricky, and with more folks stuck at home a lot of sets can be very hard to come by, especially if they’re popular or out of print.
I’ve avoided adding prices to the sets below because they can vary by market pressure by quite a lot, even if LEGO itself has an idea as to what prices should be.
LEGO Creator James Bond Aston Martin DB5
It’s an Aston Martin. But it’s not just any Aston Martin, because it’s James Bond’s Aston Martin. While we wait for No Time To Die to inevitably get delayed again (mark my words) a Bond-themed LEGO set will do nicely.
LEGO Ideas Disney Steamboat Willie Building Kit
Unbelievably, there’s only 4 years until Mickey Mouse goes public domain – or at least, the expression of him as portrayed in Steamboat Willie does. In the meantime, because Disney likes money, there’s a fully licensed Steamboat Willie kit that’s just so darned adorable I could burst.
Lego Super Heroes: 1989 Batmobile
You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? If so, hopefully it wasn’t over the studs in this recreation of Michael Keaton’s Batmobile. The only thing that could make it better would be the inclusion of a copy of Prince’s woefully underrated soundtrack. Yeah, I said it, because it’s true, no matter what Shaun of The Dead said or did.
LEGO Ideas International Space Station
The International Space Station is unbelievably cool. Well, apart from the bits that are awash with bacteria and fungus, but you can’t have everything, I suppose. It’s going to be much easier to keep your own International Space Station clean here on Earth in LEGO form.
LEGO Star Wars AT-AT
LEGO has made a lot of Star Wars sets over the years – and indeed, the Star Wars licensing deal in the late 1990s is widely accepted as the reason the company survived at all – but there’s such a visceral appeal to the LEGO AT-AT. It’s from The Empire Strikes Back, easily the best Star Wars movie (don’t write in, I’m right and you know it) and you can use it to keep all your LEGO minifigures in line. Nobody wants to go out being squashed by an AT-AT, after all.
LEGO Ideas Central Perk
If I’m honest, I’m including the Friends LEGO set because it’s physical proof that LEGO will licence ANYTHING. But sure, if you’ve been hanging out to make that stop motion Friends reunion for a fraction of what it would cost to get the actual cast in the same room right now and before HBO Max makes its own, this is the way to go.
LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System
Gah. Also, bah and humbug. I wanted one of these, because I’m an incurable retro gaming fiend and can they be found anywhere for a price that doesn’t equate each pixelated brick with the cost of printer ink? No, they cannot. Good luck finding one, even though those creepy interactive Super Mario sets themselves seem to be widely available everywhere. If anyone at LEGO can hook me up… get in touch.
LEGO Architecture Empire State Building
Billy Joel was in a mind for it, Taylor Swift welcomed us there, The Pogues had a Fairytale there and Sinatra reminded us about making it there as a prerequisite to worldwide success. I’m talking about New York, and the famous Empire State Building… that you really can’t visit right now.
Gee, thanks Coronavirus.
In the meantime if I want to get my virtual Jay-Z on, the best I can do is to build one of LEGO’s superbly fine Architectural sets.
LEGO Mindstorms EV3
There’s still part of my mind that can’t wrap itself around the concept of fully programmable LEGO, even though Mindstorms has been part of the LEGO family since 1998. Maybe my mind can’t process it because I’m getting old enough to remember things like that.
LEGO Classic Large Creative Brick Box
You know what the best single thing about LEGO is? It’s not the wide variety of licenses. It’s not the way you can use them to keep burglars at bay by sprinkling them over your entryway floor like caltrops – although that would totally work.
It’s the amazing creativity that can flow just from combining LEGO bricks, because you can make anything. Just going through the standard 915,103,765 ways that you can combine 6 of its 8-stud bricks would keep you busy for a very long time indeed.
Sometimes, the very best LEGO set is just a big old box of LEGO and your own imagination.
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