2016 LEGO Christmas Gift Guide
So, you’ve been challenged with buying a LEGO set for an adult fan and don’t know what set to get them. Well this article will suggest some sets to look for and whether or not children will like them as well. Read on and hopefully I can make Christmas shopping for that adult fan in your life a little easier. Links to the LEGO site where you can buy these products will be shown like this but let’s dive straight in with our first theme.
Angry Birds is alphabetically the first theme that we will come to however I really do not have much admiration for this line. If you have someone in your life that likes Angry Birds or is an ornithologist then I would suggest getting the Piggy Car Escape as it is the least expensive. This set comes with one bird and one piggy which can be easily assimilated into any child's collection. Adult fans will be happy to receive the new egg mould in two different colours, but that is as much as I can say in favour of this line of sets. Personally, I would suggest you look at other themes.
Despite the large array of landmarks and skylines presented by LEGO this year the Buckingham Palace set has been the most recommended set to me from the entire range. Featuring the palace, Ceremonial Gate and some of the famous landscaping outside this set uses difficult LEGO maths to recreate such a royal environment. I would however suggest that the builder remove the taxi from the display because the scale is too small for a taxi to make sense whereas the bus looks at home next to the fountain.
Adult fans who grew up with the original series of Bionicle sets will most likely have obtained the last of the Bionicle characters released this year but there are still one or two that the children of today would love to have. With the final wave of sets being cancelled and the theme brought to a close earlier than expected, I would expect to see Bionicle on store shelves for a while. I would recommend Umarak the Hunter as a perfect gift for children because of his large weaponry and extensive use of Technic pieces. The theme is filled with menacing characters that I’m sure will still be available in the new year.
My enjoyment of the City theme has decreased over recent years with the prices rising and the designs staying the same. That said the 2016 Rally Car has been a sublime pack of parts with new recolours which has spurred me to buy three so far. The car has rare white wheels and valuable 1x1 white round tiles with a sharp-eyed design. For children this is a perfect set to charge about the living room and jump from table to table. Adults may enjoy the pieces but children will get the most excitement in rip-roaring adventures across the living room floor.
These sets are always the most standard affair so I would suggest the bigger the better for any child in your life. Adults will not find anything amusing from this theme however children will get plenty of bricks and unique prints with any of the boxes to choose from. Therefore the best set in this range has to be the Creative Building Basket with 1000 individual pieces and the legendary brick separator included. This would also make a great set for an adult making their way into the hobby or as a pack of parts to give to an avid collector like myself.
Given the large scale of Creator sets made available each year it is difficult for me to pick just one however Vacation Getaways has been widely popular since it was introduced in the summer. I am yet to add this set to my collection but the wide, detailed interior has been a joy for several of my friends to put together. I will take this opportunity to suggest a second, smaller set Construction Vehicles which is a perfect stocking filler for a child of any age as an cheaper alternative but Vacation Getaways is perfect for any age.
LEGO and VW have developed a very strong relationship since they introduced the first beetle set back in 2008 and they knocked it out of the park again this year with the new version. As a display model the colours really do stand out from the crowd. Whether it is the yellow & green surfboard on the roof rack or the vivid blue wheel arches, this Beetle is sure to be a great addition for anyone. This set is riddled with inspired building techniques yet it is an easy build from start to finish so children and teen builders will not find it too challenging.
There were plenty of box office hit films throughout 2016 for the DC Comics Cinematic Universe, even if Suicide Squad was not rated as highly as expected. My pick focuses on one of the stars of 2016: Batman - specifically the Mighty Micros Batman Vs Catwoman. For minifigure collectors this Batman has an exclusive face print and torso print with Catwoman also being unique to the set reminiscent of Funko Pop figures. The main draw however is the cartoonish vehicles included. Neither vehicle features a pull back motor but there are a number of new moulds that adult fans will like. Children will chase these around the floor and adults will enjoy having them for the exclusive prints.
The Dimensions line has been a runaway freight train of success for LEGO in 2016 introducing physical LEGO toys to the digital realm and ensuring their legacy in the gaming market. Any of the Dimensions sets will be welcomed by both adults and children who already have the starter pack for their console. One of the better characters to consider is Superman who has a wealth of abilities that not all characters have in the game. But for those who do not have a starter pack I would suggest the Bad Cop Fun Pack for the parts and the minifigure included.
The standout LEGO Disney set of Christmas 2016 is still likely to be Elsa’s Castle released in 2015 however I will recommend any of the sets in the Palace Pets series. The Palace Pets come with a small diorama based around the Princess that owns them and my favorite is Pumpkin’s Royal Carriage. Pumpkin comes with her own custom carriage that can transport her from a magical dog house to her water fountain and beyond. Pumpkin herself will be a treasured addition to any child’s Princessy dreams.
For smaller children DUPLO is perfect to share a building experience with the youngest of builders or just to practice their motor skills. DUPLO has a wide range of characters that children can play with which is why I would suggest the Around the World set as the perfect place to start. You can teach children about family structure, world animals, transport and so much more without worrying whether they are likely to inhale one of the pieces. If you are just looking for building bricks they are normally hard to find if you buy through LEGO. Instead I would check ebay to find the listing you are after.
In 2016 the Elves theme introduced baby dragons and transparent eggs which are just too cute to miss out on. One of the smaller and inexpensive sets is Emily Jones & The Baby Wind Dragon. Despite the long name the set is a small section of landscape with a baby dragon waiting to be hatched and Emily to take care of it. This is perhaps not the best set in the range for adults but children will love to hatch the egg and watch the baby dragon traverse along the play feature hidden in the waterfall. Plus it’s one of the cheapest in the range.
Friends has been the standout theme this year for me and it is difficult to limit myself to just one set, but my favourite this year has to be the Amusement Park Hot Dog Van without question. I did not like the set initially but the comical nature of the vehicle and new moulds introduced make this set a worthwhile purchase. A popular set with adult fans and children of all genders, this set comes with too many useful recolours and new moulds to ignore. From the hotdog costume, the hotdog bun or the inverted tiles everyone will enjoy this set for play or parts.
There have been three LEGO Ideas sets released this year and the most of the praise I have seen has been around the iconic Beatles Submarine. Perfect for the Adult builder or a Beatles fanatic, this set is comprised of 550 brightly coloured pieces and prints which are exclusive to this set. Despite the fact that I do not own this set, I would advise getting this £50 set for anyone who would like the Fab Four Figures introduced into their lives. Alternatively the Caterham Seven is a fantastic display piece for any motor mad people in your life.
For younger builders who are ready to transition from DUPLO to other LEGO themes then Juniors is the ideal place to start them off. This theme focuses on a split between the genders rather than having a set that spans the gap between them. This is something that I would like them to improve on in 2016 but also why I would recommend two sets; the Police Helicopter Chase for boys and Emma’s Ice Cream Truck for girls. Both sets feature a vehicle and an introduction to regular scale figures. The added bonus is that every piece you see with a pattern or detail is printed onto the bricks and there are no stickers involved.
MARVEL SUPER HEROES
Just like DC Comics the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a triumph this year culminating in the trippy experience that is Doctor Strange. My pick for the best set to get this year has to be the Spider-Man Web Warriors Ultimate Battle Bridge. This set features a bridge span almost as long as it’s name and contains a slew of play features that will keep any child busy for hours. Most of the play features are very well hidden so do not underestimate the value this will have. Most of my AFOL friends who have purchased this set have bought a second copy of this set just to complete a full bridge. This is a perfect gift for all ages.
The Minecraft theme has alluded me over the years and I am yet to purchase a set from this theme, however The Village has been flying off the shelves every time I go to a toy store and has to be my recommendation. The Minecraft line appears to be doing better than ever in 2016 and The Village is a great place for characters to settle down after some exploration. The layout of the village is made to develop so that builders can choose exactly how they want the buildings to suit their player environment. Whether they play the game or not, the recipient will welcome having this set for their diorama or as a simple parts pack.
If you are planning to purchase some Mixels I would do so now as they are not expected to be around for much longer given that the themes ends this year. I would suggest getting as many Mixels as you want because each one is a cartoonish design by themselves, but a complete tribe is always better than a single Mixel. Plus they are very inexpensive compared to most LEGO products and worth getting duplicates just for parts. My favourite tribe this year is the Pyrratz simply because their interesting colour scheme and rare prints will look great sailing around the bath on a boat from the City theme.
My favourite set in this range is surprisingly not one of the larger, castle-like sets but instead one of the free gifts attached to the LEGO Nexo Knights magazines. Here in the UK the Nexo Knights magazines are regularly available and my favourite gift is the Jet Horse included with the 2nd issue. The Jet Horse is regularly available online and an inexpensive stocking filler. The horse is a smaller, foal version of the larger Hover Horses included in the boxed Nexo Knights sets 2016 has offered. A perfect addition to any royal hover cavalry for children and adults alike this will look resplendent amongst its peers.
Personally, I do not own much of this range so please take my recommendation with some discretion. The best set in the range has to be The Lighthouse Siege given the new pieces it introduced, the play features and even the electronics involved. Whether you are collapsing the stairs to stop intruders, pouring rubble onto invaders or illuminating the lighthouse with the included light brick; children will have hours of fun defending the lighthouse and adults will enjoy the new moulds included.
I have rather fallen out of love with Speed Champions in 2016 but the Ford F-150 Raptor & Ford Model A Hot Rod has a range of elements interesting enough to those who admire the series. The Model A in particular is a rad looking beast that many adult fans have used as a base model to create their own unique designs and the ‘Christmas Tree’ lights are also an attractive addition. Any car enthusiast would love to have that hot rod to play with and each vehicle is strong enough to endure whatever children have to throw at them.
Despite the wide array of Star Wars sets brought out this year including The Force Awakens sets I am again turning to the free gifts attached to magazines released here in the UK. The Star Wars magazines are widely popular and my favourite gift is the AT-AT that came free around October. This tiny, wobbly looking thing is only about an inch and a half tall but it’s comically long legs and surprisingly wide range of movement makes this a tiny, beautiful addition to any Star Wars collector. This is a perfect small set that collectors will admire and children will love.
The hands down winner of the Technic theme this year has to be the Porsche 911 GT3 RS without question. The evolution in box design and heavy involvement with the Porsche company has lead to a new method of producing large Technic sets and I hope that the Porsche can be a shining example to all other LEGO licences. Inside the box the build is compartmentalised into illustrative boxes showing sleek designs of what each section will make. The finished result is a sleek and vivid design that will make the recipient of this gift an envy to their peers. This Porsche may be the closest that some get to owning the real thing but teenagers and adults alike will adore you for this set as a gift.
And that’s it. That is every commonly available LEGO theme selected and I have suggested at least one gift idea for each line. If you have any thoughts about this article or have suggestions about other gifts that could be included please comment, use the social links below or the CONTACT page to let us know. Happy shopping!