Whew! Not only did Lego release more huge sets than ever in 2017, they also went ahead and remade or rereleased the previous three biggest ones, which means that there are ten sets on the market at around 4000 pieces and up. However, there are limits even to my madness and, more importantly, my shelf space, so I didn’t get great sets like the Millennium Falcon, the Taj Mahal or the Joker Mansion.
This year also brought two brand new movies, The Lego Batman Movie and The Ninjago Movie, each with an assortment of sets. Both were very creative, not to mention pretty damn expensive. Coupled with the usual range of interesting sets from the Creator Expert and other lines, there was plenty to get. So much that I feel a need to split my lists further, with both collector and regular sets. It does feel strange comparing something like Ninjago City to a polybag.
MINIFIGURES (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER):
Rocket Boy may not be a very interesting figure by himself. But Lego went ahead and gave him a brand new grey Classic Space torso hidden under that rocket, so that we could put together a new CS colour. Completely unnecessary and a completely lovely gesture to collectors.
Poison Ivy actually had two amazing figures this year, but the winner has to be her DC Superhero Girls incarnation. I just love that facial expression.
Robin is another DC standout from a strong lineup. It was the quintessential camp Robin design taken another step further with the goofy glasses.
Ms Marvel is a cool character and a great addition to the collection either way, but the extended arms make her perfect.
Admiral Thrawn is actually just one of three blue characters added this year, and even though his face turned out too dark to use for my own character, Thrawn is a badass. It’s just a shame that the set he came in, The Phantom, was ridiculously overpriced here at almost twice the normal ratio.
REGULAR SETS AVAILABLE AT RETAIL:
5) 2016 Ford GT & 1966 Ford GT40
I was eyeing this for the longest time and finally caught it at a sale. The Speed Champions line may be plagued by stickers, but that fact also makes the cars look so damn good. The 1966 car has an interesting build but I’m not a big fan of the look, but the 2016 Ford looks amazing and will stand out even in my crowded city streets.
4) Y-Wing Starfighter
This Y-Wing is nominally a Rogue One set but it’s obviously the same as in the original trilogy, and this is a great build. The ship is also surprisingly big and comes with a minimum of useless side builds. The figure lineup is weak though, but this is probably the best Y-Wing you can get for money (for the UCS, money is not enough).
3) Destiny’s Bounty
This would literally be a flagship set in earlier years, but the ridiculous 2017 lineup makes it slightly less impressive. It’s still a very nice ship, second only to the classic Imperial Flagship. It has a great interior, many crazy build techniques and unlike most Lego ships, it’s built completely from scratch without huge hull parts.
2) Scout Trooper & Speeder Bike
Wow. I didn’t think a buildable action figure would be one of the best sets of 2017. The Scout Trooper would be a great figure on his own, but the bike elevates this so much. Despite being mostly a Technic build, it looks very much like the original and at a glance it could pass for a model. It’s also gigantic, and has a pleasing action feature integrated in the stand.
This is pretty much cheating since BB-8 is a UCS set in all but name and cost. He is made to scale with the UCS R2-D2 and includes two amazing action features despite being a display piece. The lighter is a neat thing, but the head swaying around as you turn it is a flawlessly executed design which makes him come to life.
COLLECTOR ORIENTED SETS:
5) Old Fishing Store
I almost didn’t get this, but eventually made room on my shelves by removing my similarly sand green lighthouse. The house is a straightforward build with quite a lot of repetition, but tons of detail, especially inside, add some excitement. The finished result looks very, very detailed and fits well in any maritime environment. I would suggest building it straight onto a blue baseplate though. I also added some walkways to make it connect better to my city.
The Grand Carousel is still lost to the ages, but this is a very good replacement. Slightly smaller, the Carousel is still gigantic and looks amazing once completed. It’s obviously made to be motorized and the construction holds up well. This set is fairly realistically scaled and doesn’t really fit in a normal display, but I think I will eventually have to make room for this, the Ferris Wheel and the inevitable rollercoaster.
3) Ninjago City
I didn’t have to watch the Ninjago Movie to appreciate this set, which is a crazy and wondrous mix of Japanese traditional architecture, cyberpunk and the anarchic design philosophies of The Lego Movie. Packed with neat scenes and filled with cool builds and cool new parts, this set sits fairly well in a modular street. If the neighbours accept a big dose of crazy, of course.
2) NASA Apollo Saturn V
I wouldn’t have thought that a white and black cylinder could be the most amazing Lego build of 2017 and, after the VW Beetle, probably the second best ever. The construction is beyond anything you’ve ever seen and only the necessary repetition makes this build less than perfect – it’s great to build along with a friend though. The finished result is a great model and an inspiring reminder of human ingenuity, both in terms of actually getting the rocket to the moon and making it possible to build this model from a pile of standardized Lego parts.
1) Assembly Square
While Jamie Berard is surprisingly beaten once again in terms of build by Mike Psiaki’s Saturn V and Carousel, the Assembly Square takes the lead in terms of pure charm. The recent modular sets have been smaller than before in terms of footprint, but the added 50% to this anniversary set means that there’s room for an entire little block of buildings. There’s more detail than can be mentioned. I love the little cafeteria, the flower shop, the bakery and most of all the Lego collector’s apartment. This set also includes a ton of useful new parts and as always it showcases new ways to use new and old pieces. This amazing build is worth the extra cost.