2016 has been a roller coaster ride of licensed intellectual property for Lego. But with Disney flexing it's Star Wars muscles every year and stand alone names like Angry Birds getting their own line, it's beginning to look like the exponential growth we see in the Lego isle has no end in sight. These new and sometimes curious ideas set new challenges to the Design team at Lego headquarters. Constantly creating new molds and methods to gain new fans and keep the casual Lego buyer coming back year after year. Here I'm picking my top 10 sets released in 2016 counting anything that was slated for purchase Jan 1. I've taken into account the reception of the set by fans, as well as the popularity noticed throughout the year.
10. 76044 - clash of the heroes (Batman Vs Superman)
Starting out the list is a sweet little set that came along with a Blockbuster hit movie! 76044 - Clash Of Heroes gives you absolutely everything you would need to literally pit The Man of Steel against the Dark Knight! It includes both characters, Kryptonite to even the playing field, and a BatSignal to setup an iconic scene from the film itself. This set gets it's spot on the list for getting the bare basics to builders everywhere, but not shying away from details at an affordable price!
9. 41119 - Friends Heartlake cupcake café
Part of Lego's revival in recent years is partly in thanks to the newly added 'Friends' series offering a series of metropolitan inspired sets for builders looking for something other than fire engines and police stations. Aside from being the most balanced of piece-per-cost ratio, the friends series offers a softer pallet of colors you will only find in these sets. The 41119 - Heartlake Cupcake Cafe gets it's place on the list for being so damn cute! The design on this is outstanding, and the curb appeal alone makes it worth for collection or play and deserving of it's stake as a Top Set of The Year.
8. 75137 - Carbon-Freezing Chamber
It's no question that Star Wars is now one of the main legs that Lego currently walks on as it continues as the number one selling toy in the world. So trying to pick just one of the many sets coming off the cusp of the recently released Episode 7: The Force Awakens was not looking like an easy task. Enter Boba Fett! The 75137 - Carbon Freezing Chamber spent the first few weeks of release Sold Out in nearly every store, with fans buying multiple sets to recreate the iconic scene from Empire Strikes Back. Reasonably Priced, chock full of great pieces and Technic Functions, and most importantly, packed with some great Minifigs, this set is a must have for any Star Wars Fan! And be thankful you didn't have to dive in to the Sarlacc to get the Fett yourself.
7. Disney collectable Minifigures
Remember that Licensing roller coaster we talked about earlier? Well it started out early in the year when hints of Disney themed sets where in the air. Star Wars fans had already seen the Disney logo's presence on last years boxes. And with Toy Story sets in Lego's rocky past, the uncertainty was causing optimism. Finally a full set of figures was released with the Magic Kingdom in the background. Long time Disney/Lego fans rejoiced to see an expansion in their favor. Only to be reminded that Disney fans are nearly as dedicated as they were, and the Minifigs were cleaned out rather quickly. If you are lucky you can still find some boxes on back order and hopefully add a new dynamic to your Collection and Creations!
6. 21306 - The beatles yellow submarine
The second climb on our coaster brings us a Lego Ideas that no doubt brought new fans to the brick kingdom. 21306 - The Beatles Yellow Submarine beautifully captures the artistic icon that is the Yellow Submarine, and the band is exactly what fans on both sides of the fandom can appreciate. And for those few builders out there, their Abby Road creations will have a more accurate representation going forward. Lego released several Ideas sets this year, but the Sub gets its place for coming completely out of left field and bringing new fans with a visually stimulating masterpiece that is as robust as it's musical background.
5. 42056 - Porsche 911 g113 rs
Lego is no stranger to partnering up with car manufacturers in the past, but what turned heads this time around was the attention to detail on every aspect of this Design, especially it's packaging! The high quality print and snug box inserts create an un-boxing experience similar to promotional sets only released exclusively to Lego employees as a yearly event. The 42056 - Porsche 911 G113 RS was one of the highly anticipated sets of the year, selling out stores for at least a month until non-VIP'ers could start finding the handful of sets delivered to local stores. It gets its place on the list for being one of the best-looking products of the year, and impressing builders from all sides of the Lego spectrum.
4. 10251 - Brick bank
Lego is quickly approaching it's 10th year of releasing modular buildings that interconnect to make a highly detailed skyline. What makes these sets so appealing, is the attention to detail mixed with high volumes of bricks that builders look for to get the most bang for their buck. Combine that with the unmistakable street appeal that comes along with these sets an you have fans coming back year after year to add to their boardwalk. While some may have mentioned it was a more basic design than what they were used to in the modular series, they still agree the 10251 - Brick Bank is a standard addition to the collection.
3. 71040 - disney castle
Making its home at Number 3 due to it's overwhelming size and initial sales demand is the 71049 - Disney Castle. It's big, it's beautiful, and for the first time incorporates MOC style techniques, specifically the tile detail on the first floor which involved setting bricks outside of the normal orthographic method. The box itself huge and comes packed with some basic but very necessary Disney Minifigures. The Nature of Disney fans and their proclivity to collect means this set will no doubt become an instant classic collectors piece.
2. 42055 - bucket wheel excavator
Lego is always trying to push the envelope with new design techniques, methods, and inspiration. The 42055 - Bucket Wheel Excavator grabs the Number 2 spot on our list for being able to deliver on all fronts while bringing something new to the table altogether by modeling one of man kinds biggest industrial machine! It's big, it moves, and can deliver a one of a kind building experience that casual and Technic fans can appreciate equally.
1. 75827 - firehouse headquarters
If you're looking for the best set of 2016.. Who you gonna call?? The 75827 Firehouse Headquarters hits every phantom nail on the head! A finely polished exterior, an intensely detailed interior that opens up with a section door, and the entire Ghostbusters team and then some if you haven't already purchased your 21108 - Ghostbusters Ecto 1. There are plenty of detailed references to the movies inside, and the box is doing it's work making the set all the more appealing. It's also not outrageously priced like many of the sets that came out later that year, but is almost always described as the perfect crossing of Licensing usage and design quality. The design team really outdid themselves on this one. Fantastic work on making it as our Number 1 Pick of 2016!
We hope you enjoyed our list, let us know if you agree or disagree or feel we left an important set to you! We can't wait for 2017! Make sure to keep up with us on Another Brick Studo's facebook to see original Lego builds and Lego Related Convention coverage.
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