I didn't set out to do this, but I've found that assembling Lego sets and idly putting together my own creations has really helped with anxiety. Just being able to follow the instructions and sort through different bricks is an exercise in Zen and mindfulness that I hadn't realized would be so effective.
Similar with jigsaw puzzles my wife and I assemble together, Lego takes me away from work and life stresses for an hour or two. PC games are also a source of escape, and reading too. All of these seem more effective than watching TV or reading/commenting on Reddit.
I recently bought a Lego Avengers SHIELD Helicarrier second hand. It was already assembled but covered in dust. I've disassembled the whole thing and can't wait to spend a few hours putting together all 3,000 pieces :) https://rebrickable.com/sets/76042-1/the-shield-helicarrier/
I think my current favourite "set" was a "MOC" (my own creation) designed by someone else that I bought the pieces for. The pieces were bought from a Danish and a German seller, and were very easy to get via Brick Link. Behold, the Lego Rocinante from The Expanse: https://imgur.com/gallery/1sCBWNe
If you are looking for a hobby, getting into Lego is something I can recommend for those of us lucky enough to have disposable income. Once you start registering on www.rebrickable.com and www.bricklink.com you can catalogue your sets, see what your pieces can build, buy spare parts and discover thousands of amazing models designed by people all over the world.
Have fun building!
Few activities put me in a state of peaceful tranquility like soldering in quiet solitude. Summer nights soldering with the window open listening to crickets in the background. Heaven on Earth.
 Elenco FM Radio Kit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YHZE0G/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_Fq...
Thanks for the memory!
Fast forward to mid twenties and someone on a podcast mentions how fun gunpla is because it's model making but it is only as complicated as you want to make it. So I bought a basic RX-78 for about $10 on Amazon and found it to be an incredibly relaxing hobby. I've now got my roommate into it and we're looking at putting together a portable painting booth so we can try our hand at custom paint jobs.
If the idea of assembling mecha that do not require glue, paint, and minimal stickers (i actually don't bother unless it's a larger one) sounds appealing it's worth picking up an HG set on Amazon and some snips (there's some $10 starter sets of tools out there that are decent).
I also find both these activities kind of "calming" and satisfying. Sometimes I think I enjoy it more than the kids :)
What I'm really hoping is that Lego starts fulfilling demand for old sets (please start making classic space sets again), but I doubt it.
In some cases, they don't have the molds to make some of the parts anymore, but even if they had to substitute some parts, people would buy them.
It's been four or five years since I've bought anything new from Lego; the few original themes aren't that appealing, and the licensed stuff is pretty tired as well (how many times do you really want to buy slightly different Millenial Falcons or Hogwarts Castles?).
The host of chinese high-quality knockoffs show this is possible, economical, and probably not even difficult.
I've heard the monorail space sets are so expensive because of the "lost mold" problem. I'd understand if the parts only existed in old video footage, but there literally are thousands to tens of thousands of examples of this, available on the open market for a pittance to a large multinational multimedia company.
I've heard there are people that invest in Lego, but who cares about these people? And if you really care about them, just release sets with small variations from the original.
I think they should go the upscale route, just release massive all-in-one sets of all the sets from a year, like 1979 classic space or the explorien.
> As I showed before, LEGO has had $100+ sets for a while. However, only recently have they produced sets even more pricy than that. When we were kids, the $100 set was the pinnacle of LEGO. It was the set we all aspired to own. It was the set we all went straight to at the store. Of course we rarely ended up with that set, but that was our dream.
> Now, the dream set is closer to the $400 range. It doesn’t mean that LEGO doesn’t make sub-$100 sets. They do, and more than ever. It just means that in comparison the $25 set looks a lot smaller than it did when the largest set was only $100.
At another point in the article the author points out these new mega sets aren’t really for kids, they’re for the adults, and Legos targeted at adults didn’t really exist 20 years ago.
dunno I remember 90s technic to be quite expensive, I had the 8880 Super Car and the 8851 excavator set and I think both retailed above that.
yeah I know op talks about basic lego but the new lego set, with their intricate pieces and purpose built part that only exist for one set, are closer to the technic boxes than the original bricks sets
What changed since then is that the new Liebherr excavator has more than 4000 pieces.
But it was just like saving for a Ferrari or something. A nice dream that was never to be for a 12 year old...
Edit: this is the bucket we had: https://www.cutetoyus.com/product_detail.php?c=town%20toy%20...
But we had Tente which was amazing. I spent hours and hours building stuff (vehicles, space bases, robots, etc) and making up stories about these things.
See some images here: https://www.google.com/search?q=tente+toy&tbm=isch
The sets were fun for like 1 hour, but in the end all the pieces ended up in a huge bucket (actually a big wooden drawer hidden under my bed) and the real fun began.
On the other nice things in childhood front, I was always jealous of a country with Chupa Chups.
You didn't have Chupa Chups?
I also remember eating lots of square shaped Sugus although these are not from Spain.
Executing instructions and building discipline develop fairly easily, as long as kid has some mental joy to imagine playing with finished toy.
But taking the next step in combining blocks into 'own' design takes a leap. Once the kid can design, the special sets are just as well can be substituted with the buckets or mixes or blicks from the old sets.
I see Lego (or similar blocks) primarily as imagination fulfilment toys, not much of finished product toys. Meant to be torn and morphed. Instructions are just an invitation!
No you can build anything you can imagine! You don't have to build it like the front picture or the instruction book. If you even turn the box around you'll often see alternative ideas on the back.
They were super expensive and I knew it.
Some images: https://www.google.com/search?q=hering+rasti&tbm=isch
We got a lot of mileage out of them.
Also, Lego is great. The reuse value is tremendous. The blocks can be reused so many times to build something new.
I grew up with Lego. Didn't have a huge amount of them, but what I had, I passed on. The old blocks still work fine and it was an amazingly nostalgic feeling to see e.g. my Lego Fireboat (#4025) rebuilt. The first question after building it was the same as I had: "does this really float in water"...
If you have your old blocks, the instructions are around the net. It's nice to build something from ones past.
In particular Lego has a “Technic” and “Boost” series that in particular allows remote control, with motors, actuators and these recent years bluetooth hubs.
The first saliant point: Lego doesn’t sell the “Control +” bluetooth hub alone, and it’s been a while now that the piece has been in sets.
You’re SOL if you break/lose the one from the set, there is no legit way to get one if you want to use it on other creations in parallel, even if it’s arguably the central piece of a lot of constructions. It’s not listed with the other bricks in the order site, and it’s not handled by sites like bricklink.
Then Bricklink: taken over by Lego, they got rid of most custom parts and anything that was extending what you could do with lego bricks ahead of what Lego publishes.
Last, their whole latest Control + app has customizations for their specific sets. For the Top Gear one for instance there’s specific mini games and efen the motor control is slightly tweaked to have a “racing” effect. This goes pretty far astray from having generic playing tools.
In general their efforts in the Power Functions/Boost/Mindstorm/NXT/Control + area seem overly proprietary, limited and way too expensive for what we get. So much that at this point third party hubs are better than Lego’s in almost every respect especially ability to use vanilla Scratch), but get limited by Lego stalling the whole ecosystem. Why is there even 4 different systems doing the same thing, it’s insane.
I guess the people staying on more classic sets feel it less heavily, but for me Lego is really lost in how they want to move forward, now that kids playing with gears and programmed parts has become realistic and commercially viable.
I remember LEGOs being a big bucket of like 4 colors when I was a kid (80s) and never got too into them. Now there not just the designed sets but a whole community around the creative process, like Lego Ideas (fan made designs that get turned into sets for sale based on fan votes) and "3 in 1" sets where you can make 3 different things from the same set. My 3 year old loved the Queen Waterva "Build Whatever" set where there are instructions for about 20 different designs and he builds them with his brother over and over.
There is something to be set for giving kids an entry point for creativity. First they figure out how blocks go together, then they build things from instructions, then they play with them and break them and rebuild them and learn to be more careful. Then they notice how the sets always design walls or ships or legs and start to modify designs for their own needs.
A gentle introduction is best. If I dump 1000 legos in front of my kid he won't do anything, but if he has only 20 pieces I am amazed by the things he comes up with. I know some school actually use legos in the classroom for into robotics. It seems to me LEGO is doing very well engaging on multiple fronts and hitting different age ranges.
Every kids are different, we went head first with the big bucket approach with ours, so any further set we bought were more to have a group of coherent pieces at a bundle price.
One side effect was that the stickers on the bricks made them weirder to reuse. Also sets with a lot of specific shape bricks (like slightly curved long flat and smooth triangular cover pieces for instance) can be reassembled in one or two configurations, but those weird pieces are also harder to reuse.
We had Star Wars set which were long and pretty boring (following instructions) to build for our kid, but he loved to try to make his own spaceships with the monochrome pannels.
I see the value of Lego’s current approach, and am glad it’s working well for you. I’d be even more happy if they were more commited to both approaches. Forcing themselves to have any single piece they produce to be available in their pick-a-brick section would go a long way.
PS: schools using Lego’s robotics introduction often use a 400$ set, released and never updated since 3 years. The compatible consumer variant is 300$ and the programming has to be done in the lego app. It is something, and it was super fun for kids to discover programming, we were interesting in getting it, but for instance their latest system (Control +) who technically could do the same things has no interface compatibility with the EV3 ecosystem. Nor does their “Boost” system for smaller kids, for that matter. At this point it looks like a dead end.
The best system right now seems to be using their deprecated “Power functions” motors and elements and plug them to third party central units like SBrick. It’s a situation that feels really weird to be honest, and I am left wondering why we ended up here.
More about X-Pods here: https://lego.fandom.com/wiki/X-Pod
I also like the idea of making "mini-scenes" with LEGO that depict a small slice of something with a small number of pieces. Here are a few examples:
https://flickr.com/photos/127745496@N03/27230802250/ (Harry Potter Waiting for the Knight Bus)
https://flickr.com/photos/iridescentnohow/8187261324/ (Back Alley in micro-scale)
https://flickr.com/photos/pbpancho/3081120968/ (Factory in micro-scale)
This article debunks the idea that the per-piece price has changed but one of the things I noticed when my kids were little was that so many of the kits came with special-purpose parts. I don't remember any kits like that when I was young - you either got more pieces or less pieces in a kit. Even my gears were simply "available" to build into whatever my imagination came up with.
I noticed that and I hate that change. Before a plane set was a plane, made of a lot of small parts . Now, there is one or two giant hull piece that makes of the plane, with few traditional parts here and there . This totally breaks the modularity of a set.
Making cheap custom parts like that is a feat of engineering. But has a negative effect on the imagination of the users of Lego...
Years later, I searched everywhere for a "Lego set" similar to these bins but couldn't find anything. Modern Lego feels a lot less like a brick building toy and more like a fancier version of what you'd find inside a Kinder Egg.
Thank you very much for the link, this is exactly what I've been looking for. Seeing the kits actually brought a smile to my face :)
I bought a set of classic bricks too just to have around for the odd idle day.
 oh and smooth, nubless pieces, too. Also often small. They love to cover everything in those now. You look at a modern set and a similar one from 20+ years ago and the newer one looks much nicer, in large part because it’s clad in tiny little smooth bricks, while the old one had exposed nubs everywhere. One looks nicer on a shelf, one’s nicer for modding and play.
Even if you going to buy RC car for kid - better buy Lego, it will be slightly more expensive but much better in quality.
Like programming - buy Lego Boost. 120$ for programming robot. Seems cheap for me.
Maybe for girls it's different, but my son do not want any other toys expect Lego.
I was checking out some of the Lego factories in China around this time and they were definitely making more than the “signature series” (what one thinks of as variations on the classic 2x8 bricks with no movie tie-ins).
Lego absolutely is world class but they are not “best in the world”. For plastic things made an Scale one can get better quality with Swatch and more quantity with McDonalds (the largest toy producer in the world.) At this same factory I saw a line where they were making kinder egg toys with not one, not two, but six different overmold shots of different plastic colors. Injection molding tools typically cost about $5,000 - that one cost about $2,000,000. It saved Kinder about $5,000,000 in labor that would have gone to paint and stickers.
What I did like about the Lego line was they were all using Arburg injection molding machines and DuPont ABS. Most factories won’t pay the premium for foreign plastics within China.
I recently bought some knockoff sets that are no longer made by lego. Not only they were cheaper than the second hand market which we can agree is crazy, but also they were cheaper than the retail price when lego sold them. I certainly don't notice anything wrong with the set quality, so I would expect the difference in price to be by not paying IP.
They do a lot of license agreements for IP so they can have unique offerings. I bet that is a big part of the price.
I’m curious if this is reflected on bricklink prices. You’d probably have to be clever in how you do the analysis though.
Strange. Our 6 y/o daughter has really massive amounts of Lego. She started collecting them after she switched from Duplo when she was ~3. She uses them intensively and we never had a single brick or piece break or split.
I wonder if there are counterfeit sets on Amazon et al?
Sounds strange to me, even if the plastic was of poor quality, the sheer smallness of a LEGO brick means it is mechanically very strong (square-cube-law).
I still have every LEGO I’ve ever received, going back to 1979 or so. As it happens, my parents moved across country the summer after my freshman year of college (which was fairly local to where I grew up) and they offloaded the trunks and totes to me, originally intending to save them until I was “grown up”, and I’ve hauled them around since, adding to the collection. Never even considered selling them off.
I’m not crazy about all the cross-branding these days and still have a soft spot for a bit of creativity in building real-life parts out of more standard pieces. Last week I picked up an early 70s set (#730) at a vintage store for $20. It’s amazing how basic the pieces are.
The current ceiling is $800 https://www.lego.com/en-us/product/millennium-falcon-75192
Nevertheless, it's interesting to watch people who kept working with Lego into adulthood; e.g., I spent quite a few hours watching Sariel's YT videos. Friction-operated automatic transmissions and whatnot...
And you can get more sets so the overspecialization of pieces and color suites isn't as bad. The chinese knockoff of UCS Millenium Falcon is like $250.
That said, LEGO is higher quality and worth it once the kid, or adult kid, is ready for it. Legos can kind of hold their worth if you keep track of the sets for completeness, but the lego knockoff is completely worthless on the resale market, and for good reason.
This is similar (obv. not identical) to the digital authoring tools available to everyone today were only available to sophisticated content creators in the past. Of course the digital tools I have seen a massive deflation in unit costs.
What would confirm this hypothesis is a graph showing the distribution of sets sold by # blocks per set, over a long period of time.
The UCS sets are not "play" sets and are definitely aimed at people who want to build them for display. They also mae up the bulk of sets over $150 which puts the price for play sets about the same when accounting for inflation.
This is similar (obv. not identical) to the digital authoring tools available to everyone today were only available to sophisticated content creators in the past. Of course the digital tools I have seen a massive deflation in costs.
That's why they were forced to start selling themed series and to explore other audiences.
Edit: Netflix: LEGO house - home of the brick.
A few years back The S*n would occasionally run promotions where they would give away free mini-figs. There was nothing particularly rare about them, and the packs were specially branded for the promotion.
A colleague of mine hoarded as many as he could and a year later was selling them for €10.00 each.
I proceeded to have this exact rant at my wife when looking up what today's equivalent of Ice Planet or Space Police would be. It's all just IP sets with a ton of custom pieces.
For example, my kid got #76113 (Spiderman Bike Rescue) for a birthday present recently, and although there are little plastic webbing pieces there are obviously specific to Spidey, on the whole, the bike is built honestly; it uses standard pieces in clever ways to create the unexpected shapes and angles that make it look good.
And it's not like they didn't used to do this at least a little bit even in the good old days. Remember the LEGO castles with pre-fab wall and rock formation pieces, like #6090 released in 1995? Or the numerous pirate ship sets with big special hull and mast pieces, like #6268 and #6289, both also released in the mid-nineties?
When I bought a set some years ago it felt like they just made as many unique pieces as they needed to get the look and feel of the design. I wonder if that's because with original IPs you can modify the design a little to fit the limitations of Lego.
I'm glad to hear it's improving.
It came in a rather large box and seemed to be large almost bulk quantities of generic pieces.
I actually smiled since the assembly plans come from the kids' heads, not the comic franchise or space franchise.
- People who grew up with Lego over time are now adults and still a market.
- Lego can serve this new market as well as the original market which still exists.
I started lego in the mid 70s with my brother's Apollo lunar lander kits (pre-minifig), and enjoyed the heyday of the early 80's space ship kits.
the lego city line is very enjoyable to me as an adult, and has very few "special" parts.
One of the Master Builder lines was space themed. The Lego Movie lines are admittedly halfway "branded", but also have a lot of space designs.
Everyone who i know with a 3d printer pretty much doesnt use it. It hasnt caught on at all.
I bought one of the Xiaomi sets when it was discounted, almost just to get spare pieces.
It’s a fascinating analysis all the same, and it would be just as interesting to see if the patterns have held in the years since.
I can see parents like myself lining up with buckets of Legos, walking out with baggies of perfectly sorted Legos.
Better yet, dump in all your Legos, and choose the sets that they came from, and have the machine resort them into their original numbered baggies.
This would legit kill the company, I hope it never happens.
but i didnt i took the lego and spraypainted it to look like stone
Do you understand how Lego works?
Or, to put it another way: I’ve got some great news for you: what you’re asking for exists and it’s even the largest toy manufacturer in the world!
Today, Lego is high-priced branded 3D puzzles. Here are the pieces. They go together in a certain way. There's only one right answer. Thank you for overpaying.
Sure the shareholder are happy. But as a barometer of broader trends is a sonewhat freightening trend.
I have no idea what you’re talking about.
That's not creativity. That's a puzzle.
But actually the sets cost more, not less.
The article also seems to assume that the price increase is due to intrinsic manufacturing costs of adding more pieces, and is not simply a marginal increase in the wholesale price. In other words, there is no reason to assume the piece count is causal in the price from a materials perspective. There could just as well be a correlation that they know they can charge more when the piece count is higher.
It's all quite sad. But then again, at the same time, the company was in dire financial situation under the previous management. There is some chance that without this pivot towards franchises LEGO would not even exist anymore (though I doubt it honestly).