As the new year approaches fans start looking forward to all of the new goodness that is coming for the first half of the year. As always, popular themes return with new offerings but there's also entirely new LEGO worlds to enjoy. Which will be hits and which will be misses? Read on for a look at the new ranges in 2015.
The most original new theme will be Elves. The theme taps in to an area that LEGO hasn’t really touched, offering something new to girls. Friends gives girls the opportunity to imagine the characters are in the ‘real’ world, albeit a world that revolves around animals and shopping. Elves looks like it will give girls the opportunity to create fantastical worlds for their characters to go on adventures in. Its unique colour palette will distinguish the sets from Friends and Disney Princess, as well as give AFOLs a reason to pay attention.
Elves brings the count for themes directly aimed at girls up to three, and by utilising the mini-doll again suggests that it has some staying power. But as more themes use the mini-doll, does this prevent girls from jumping into other themes? Mini-dolls and mini-figures do look odd together, being completely different in shape and skin tone. With the weird torso-leg connection mini-dolls don’t have the level of compatibility with the rest of the building system, either. Many have now embraced the mini-doll in the same way that the fleshie face for licensed themes became accepted, and it seems like LEGO are unlikely to release a girl orientated theme using tradition mini-figures.
It’s actually a quiet year for new themes, which demonstrates that LEGO are being a little less strict with the ‘one year’ rule for themes. City, Star Wars, Super Heroes and Friends have gone on for multiple years. Other licensed themes are only allowed sets when there’s a movie out, and LEGO original themes are only usually allotted one wave of sets. The main exception is the ‘big push’ action-adventure theme, recently Legends of Chima. This year - presumably because it has proven much more popular than Chima and has a movie on the way - Ninjago is back big time, taking a slot away from a new theme. Ultra Agents is also back, again breaking with the pattern of recent years.
Pirates will be a new theme to most children, but of course is really a returning theme. The main difference to previous releases is that the sets seem to be smaller and lack substance. The return of the bluecoats is nice, but on the whole this is not a great way to recruit a new generation of children to LEGO Pirates. They will see themes like Ultra Agents and Ninjago, see better builds and head to those sets accordingly. At least these sets can inspire the LEGO Pirates community to continue to build awesome stuff.
Speed Champions is a new theme targeting boys who love cars, and features a selection of licensed vehicles. It is filling the gap left by the various incarnations of Racers, so in that sense doesn’t feel like as fresh a theme as Elves. But it has changed things up, with each car including a driver mini-figure who can fit inside. Assuming the price points are right, this theme has good collectability for children and ‘keeps it simple’ in just the right way. There are no sets that seem like deviations from the core idea, and with the similar scale and real world setting this could nicely complement City.
There will of course be new themes coming in the Summer range, but for the start of 2015 LEGO has its smallest offering of new themes in some time. This is no bad thing, as all great ideas don’t have to be burned through as quickly as possible. Elves looks set to be a good range and Speed Champions is well executed. Not long to wait now until new LEGO starts hitting stores!