Tuesday, 31 December 2013

All About Bricks Awards 2013

Despite an irregular schedule over the past couple of months, a third batch of completely meaningless awards is here to finish off 2013 at All About Bricks. Find out which are the best themes and sets of 2013 as a way to reminisce about the last year in LEGO. Of course these are completely subjective, so please use the comments to argue how wrong the choices are.

Award for the Best New Theme: The Lone Ranger
Fans of the LEGO Western theme had long been waiting for it to make a comeback, and although it didn’t get to in its purest form, the next best thing came along in the form of this theme based on the Disney movie. The movie was a critical and commercial disappointment, but this theme was great fun. The smaller sets perhaps were too focused on mini-figures, but the larger sets had great detailing and wonderful modern takes on classic Western elements (as well as nice new ones). The Constitution Train Chase (79111) makes a great centrepiece for the range, with a nice detailed engine and plenty of track to go with it. Sales of the theme may not have been great thanks to the movie not being terribly well received, but the sets themselves are well designed with a nice aesthetic. 

Award for the Best City set: Town Square (60026)
Usually this slot goes to a non-emergency services set, and why make an exception? LEGO marketing love to remind everyone about how young boys like to imagine themselves as the fire fighter or police officer, but surely even they have enough Police sets after liking LEGO for a couple of years? Anyway Town Square was a nice surprise this year, with the bus (always good for a town), two story building and pizza place. There are some nice coloured elements, with a special shout-out for the grey knight standing tall in the centre of the square – a really cool interlinking of two themes. One niggle with the set is that it contains the same buildings and transport as City Corner (7641)… surely the set designers have more imagination than bike shops and pizza restaurants!?

Award for the Best Decision to Drop a Line: Star Wars Planets
Thank the maker that LEGO realised these were a waste of time. Mini vehicle, cool in a polybag as a value product. Mini-figure, well who doesn’t like a Star Wars one? Hollow planet from Star Wars, great idea. But all together for £9.99? Unappealing. Series 4 only made it out as a limited release, and that’s the end of the line. If these had been £5-£7 they would have been a winner, but the price point did not make them good value for money.

Award for the Best Star Wars set : Ewok Village (10236) 
Hasbro have been asleep at the controls since the 1980s when it comes to fans wanting an Ewok tree village. Just like with the UCS Millennium Falcon (10179), LEGO have shown them want the fans want. Well, no fan wants to part with £200 in one fell swoop, but if they’re going to spend that money then they want a set like this. It looks great, there is loads of great detail and a suitably impressive mini-figure roster. Rather than simply feel like a cool model for ault collectors, it feels like the cool toy every adult collector wished had been out when they were a child. It makes an even more impressive piece when combined with the Battle of Endor (8038).

Award for the Most Frustrating Lack of Communication: LEGO Games
It would have been nice for LEGO to announce which of the last few LEGO Games were to be released and how, rather than fans in the USA and elsewhere have to realise too late that these were not to be available at all in their territories. All it would have taken was a quick press release and fan sites could have spread the word. 

Special Award for 2013: The LEGO Movie Pre-Release Hype
At this point in time, having seen two great trailers and lots of cool product images, there is great promise and hope for The LEGO Movie. In a couple of months’ time, it will be a great triumph or crushing disappointment. The licensed product range will be fun and suitable, or over-saturated junk. But at this moment in time, it is pre possibility and has the potential to be a great extension  of our favourite brand.

Thanks for reading All About Bricks for another year, apologies for the poor schedule over the past couple of months – things should be more regular again shortly. I hope that everyone had some great LEGO sets under the Christmas tree, and that 2014 brings lots of new memories of happy building. Happy New Year!

Click here for the All About Bricks Awards 2012.

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