Okay, so it’s an inevitable result of several years of amazing Lego releases: I simply do not have room for them anymore. So even though I’m still actively buying, I’m also trying to sell a lot and keep some kind of balance. This makes it harder for new sets to really grab me, and only the really unmissable ones make the cut. That’s why I didn’t make a list of the best Lego sets of 2018 and why I don’t really have enough for a good 2019 list either. But having caught up on some stuff, let’s see what sets and figures were the best of both years.
MINIFIGURES (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
Queasy Unikitty was the best release of the collectible Unikitty figures and allowed me to sell off my Seacow with the adorable Queasy Kitty included, since this was basically the same figure.
Nya Kabuki was caught up in TRU’s destruction and what should have been an easy set to find (since it was overshadowed by Marvel, Potter and Jurassic Park sets) became really rare. This was an awesome figure though and well worth tracking down.
Dragon Suit Guy was the greatest among many great costumed figures and I’ve built an entire squad of this guy.
Lobo is, in fact, the best minifigure of 2018. Or, he would be if Lego’s stupid printing quality issues hadn’t gotten in the way. Still a really cool figure and crazy that we got such an adult oriented character anywhere near Lego.
Hagrid rounds out the year with a custom body that really captures the character while staying within the system as much as possible. Although there’s several great Potterverse figures like Luna, Hermione, Remus and Mad-Eye, Hagrid takes the win here.
Monkey King is another nod to the Chinese community and a stunning figure on his own. I love the colours and all the detail, and I look forward to getting the plain but useful shoulderpads in other colours.
Sweet Mayhem is probably the coolest Lego figure in years, with her space outfit and pearlescent hair. The only major problem with her is having to decide to show that amazing helmet or the awesome hair.
Lenny was the standout of the already awesome nostalgia set that is Benny’s Space Squad. Getting a classic space guy in pink was a great treat and so was not having it be the token female one.
Hercules was the best of a big range of great Disney figures in this year’s collectible line. Jasmine, Hades, Elsa and Scrooge and the triplets also deserve mention, but Hercules took the crown with a great selection of colours and accessories.
Tracer led the line for Overwatch and the poster girl of the game got a great figure. Unlike Mercy she wasn’t ruined by poor printing, and she’s already a pop culture classic.
As for sets, 2018 was marred by a strange mix of themes. Elves was winding down with a subseries infected way too much by teal, Nexo Knights did the same but in black and green, and there was a specific Unikitty series as well as a short-lived Power Puff Girls line. The Brickheadz line focused on Justice League and The Last Jedi characters and is somehow still surviving. Friends went racing, City went arctic (again) and Ninjago went spinning in two separate directions (literally). 2019 saw the excellent The Lego Movie 2 release with a couple of amazing sets and many dull ones as the movie focused on three very distinct themes: post-apocalypse, gaudy blue-green space and colourful pink stuff. Hidden Side was the new action theme, replacing Nexo Knights and Elves. City went into space with a neat realistic exploration line and Ninjago went back to the classics.
5) Vestas Wind Turbine
I hesitated to get this at the original price but caught it at a sale, and it’s a pretty cool build. While the techniques are fairly plain, the sheer size of this makes it look great and it will be a fantastic backdrop for when I eventually build a full Lego city.
4) Lego 40 Years LEGO Minifigure
I grabbed this employee exclusive for a single reason: the Blacktron reissue hidden within one of the presents. But as it turned out, the build was a great oversized replica of Santa and his sled complete with reindeer and it will become a Christmas ornament from now on.
3) Downtown Diner
The yearly modular wasn’t the best this year, but the Diner still deserves a lot of praise for some ridiculously inventive building signed Mike Psiaki. The way the side windows are attached still blows my mind.
2) Ninjago City Docks
Docks was a strange addition to the great Ninjago City itself, with even more crazyness spread over a wider surface. Eventually I will have to take down both these marvellous sets since they simply don’t fit with anything else, but for now, it’s pretty magnificent.
1) Roller Coaster
I waited a bit for this set too, but couldn’t resist a good offer. While the build is remarkably repetitive, the finished set is as great as it is huge. When motorized, it works splendidly, even though I’ve noticed it slowly deteriorating. Eventually, this will be the centerpiece of my fairground area.
5) Ultrakatty & Warrior Lucy!
While the post-apocalyptic The Lego Movie 2 sets mostly failed to excite me, the concept of Unikitty becoming a Road Warrior was too great to ignore. A huge figure taking lessons from the Elves dragons, with a unique five-wide piece for her face, Ultrakatty is worth picking up before these sets disappear forever.
4) Corner Garage
The obligatory modular only placed on this list because I missed several others (see below). It was fine and I enjoyed having a big building in dark orange again, but there were only a few really great designs in this.
3) Slave I
While most of the Star Wars anniversary sets were fairly dull, this was an amazing update to the Slave I design and almost as great as the UCS version.
2) NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander
We continue the space theme with an excellent set made to celebrate the anniversary of the moon landing. This set looks fantastic on display and will stay that way for a long time.
1) Benny’s Space Squad
But really, put three brand new classic space figures in a cheap set and watch me buy a ton of them. I lost count somewhere around the eighth of these and I will continue to grab them on sale as I find them.
And so that I don’t forget them entirely, here’s the top five sets I would have gotten if space had permitted:
5) Gingerbread House – I already have a Christmas display with the toy shop and various others so it had to wait.
4) Central Perk – I wanted it mostly for the parts and for selling off the figures so it was not a huge priority.
3) Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner – it being region exclusive made it a little easier to skip it, but I really wanted this pretty little set. I did get a bunch of printed food parts to use later though.
2) Ford Mustang – Since I don’t really collect cars, I could skip this, but I may have to pick it up later since by all accounts it’s a great one.
1) Tree House – I didn’t look forward to this, but the finished set looks great. Once I find a deal, it will be mine.