The best Lego sets 2021: Technic, NASA, Star Wars and much more

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    The best Lego sets 2021: Technic, NASA, Star Wars and much more

    The best Lego sets can completely change your mood. That satisfying mix of creativity, tactile play, and mindfulness is all but unique to Lego, and you’ll come out of building a new set a happier, calmer person. Lego is perfect for passing the time when stuck indoors, for entertaining kids, or even for creating display pieces.

    We’ve put together an exhaustive list of twenty of the best Lego sets for any fan: there are Lego sets for kids, Lego sets for adults, and even Lego sets which take Lego in completely new directions, like the super-cool and ultra-relaxing Lego Art range, or the newly-resurrected Lego Mindstorms robotics system. So if you’re looking for a way to invest in calm, or you’re searching for the perfect present for children, teens or adults, Lego is it. It always has been, hasn’t it?

    From James Bond to NASA, Lego has managed to license some of the biggest names in the world and turn them into plastic brick form. We’ve even got dedicated a dedicated guide to the best Lego Star Wars sets, as well as to the best Lego Technic sets.

    But it’s not just movies, Lego loves everything from tech-fuelled robots, to theme park attractions, to architecture, so we’ve rounded up the ones that you’ll want to splash out on this year. Don’t worry, you can always say you got it for the kids.

    Don’t forget we’ve got our page for the best Lego deals, too! Be sure to also take a look at the best board games if you want something for people to do together, and we’ve got a guide to the best toys overall.

    Best Lego sets 2021: our picks

    Lego Friends Central Perk

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    1. Lego Friends Central Perk

    Could we BE any more excited?

    Specifications

    Pieces: 1,070

    Set number: 21319

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Perfect version of the set+Comes with all six friends

    This has been a smash hit for Lego since it came out, and will probably be one of the most popular sets this Christmas: it’s a full recreation of the famous coffee shop from Friends, complete with every little touch you could hope for: the menu, the wall hangings, the muffin display, the carpet… and, delightfully, Lego has designed it to look like a TV show set, including supporting pillars and studio lights. Most importantly, it comes with all six friends, in lookalike versions that range from the fun (Rachel’s and Monica’s season 1 hairdos) to the uncanny (everything about Ross).

    Lego James Bond Aston Martin

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    2. Lego James Bond Aston Martin DB5

    A design classic in stunning Lego form – and you can customise it

    Specifications

    Pieces: 1,295

    Set number: 10262

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Brilliant recreation of a classic+Working gadgets!+Detailed interior and engine

     As if a Lego Aston Martin DB5 isn’t cool enough on its own, this set lets you build Bond’s tricked-out model, complete with gadgets. Yes, once built, you can rotate the licence plate, raise the bullet-proof screen, pop out front machine guns and tyre-bursting blades from the wheels and eject unwelcome passengers, naturally. There’s even a detailed six-cylinder engine to view under the bonnet. At 24cm long when built, this is big enough to be a showpiece without taking up tons of room.

    Lego Lunar Lander

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    3. Lego NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander

    That’s one medium build for man, one excellent set for your shelves

    Specifications

    Pieces: 1,087

    Set number: 10266

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Detailed, accurate features+Built to minifigure scale

    Made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, this fantastic set was made with help from NASA to get the details (including the correct shade of gold) just right. It’s a great-looking display piece, especially with the clever lunar surface, complete with craters and square footsteps for your figures. The lunar module itself has an inside with instruments, and the escape portion comes away for a return to orbit (or just to show off, more accurately).

    Oh, and here’s a little NASA bonus suggestion, because it’s one of the best Lego sets of all time: The Lego Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V Rocket. It’s recently been retired, but there’s still stock around for not outrageous prices – it originally sold for £110, and we’ve seen it selling for £150-£180. If you can get it for that price, we still thoroughly recommend it – it’s an amazing recreation of the iconic rocket, and is over a metre long when fully built. Everything is to scale, too, so it comes with microfigure astronauts, a little moon landing diorama and a little successful splashdown diorama, while the rocket itself breaks down into its individual stages. It’s utterly spectacular, but if you want an example of just how much love went into it, how about the fact this set celebrating the moon landing is exactly 1,969 pieces…

    Lego Lamborghini

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    4. Lego Lamborghini Sián FKP 37

    The most impressive Lego Technic car ever made?

    Specifications

    Pieces: 3,696

    Set number: 42115

    Suggested age: 18+

    Reasons to buy

    +Fun, involving build+So many brilliant mechanical details+End result looks amazing

    Reasons to avoid

    Very complex build

    This Technic car doesn’t look like an impressive recreation of a Lamborghini on the outside – it’s been built with classic Technic-style functions inside. That includes steering, suspension on all four wheels, a moving rear spoiler, a V12 engine with moving pistons, and an eight-speed gearbox you can control.

    That’s on top of opening scissor doors and detailed interior that looks just like the real thing, as well the meticulously made exterior. And it all comes in a really special presentation-style box that makes building it feel like an event.

    The big rival to this set is the Lego Bugatti Chiron, and is you want to know the differences between them, check out our Lego Lamborghini vs Lego Bugatti guide.

    Lego Ford Mustang

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    5. Lego Ford Mustang

    A stone-cold classic design with customisable features

    Specifications

    Pieces: 1,471

    Set number: 10256

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Beautiful recreation of a classic car+Detailed inside and out+Can swap out parts to make it your own

    The iconic 1960s car gets a Lego version that’s one of the company’s most enticing sets of all time. From the meaty front grille (complete with horse motif) to the barred rear lights, everything about it screams Steve McQueen levels of cool. The interior is detailed, plus there’s a boot that opens, and you can see the detailed engine under the bonnet. Best of all, you can keep it road-ready, or swap in a super-charger, a duck-tail spoiler, beefier exhausts, and more. 

    Lego Statue of Liberty

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    6. Lego Architecture Statue of Liberty

    Give me your bricks, your instructions, your huddled pieces yearning to be built

    Specifications

    Pieces: 1,685

    Set number: 21042

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Ingenious Lego design of a landmark+Fun, yet grown-up showpiece

    We love this recreation of the Statue of Liberty, because it looks undeniably Lego-y and made of bricks, yet somehow the unmistakeable flow of the Statue’s robe feels fully preserved, and the detail in the pedestal is astounding. It stands 44cm high when finished, with a subtle display plate underneath.

    Lego Creator Volkswagen Beetle

    7. Lego Creator Volkswagen Beetle

    An old classic gets the brick treatment

    Specifications

    Pieces: 1,167

    Set number: 10252

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Great recreation+Full of detail+Hard to find

    This Beetle, complete with beach gear, is a really impressive model. The authenticity stretches to being able to see the engine in the rear, having the spare tyre in the front, and you can fold the seats. It comes with a bunch of licence plates, so you pick the right one, and you can choose whether the stack up to surfboard and coolbox or not. 

    Lego Diagon Alley 75978

    (Image credit: Lego)

    8. Lego Harry Potter Diagon Alley

    It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this set

    Specifications

    Pieces: 5,544

    Set number: 75978

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Intricate, surprising details+Absolutely massive build+Loads of minifigs

    If you’re looking for an epic adult build which has a bunch of play potential for kids, look no further. Lego’s minifig-scale Diagon Alley is absolutely huge, featuring the majority of what made the boy wizard’s favourite street what it is: everything from Flourish & Blotts to Olivander’s to the office of the Daily Prophet is here, with incredibly detailed inners, outers, and a massive collection of minifigs to boot. The only thing missing is a full-scale Gringott’s, or perhaps a Knockturn Alley for Harry to stupidly flue powder himself to; maybe those are in the works?

    Don’t get this confused with the somewhat rudimentary Diagon Alley promo set (40289), a rather basic 374-piece build which (by virtue of its theme) nonetheless manages to command upwards of £140 today. Or, indeed the older Diagon Alley (10217) set which is now being sold for over £600.

    Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    9. Lego Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer

    The longest Lego set ever is also one of the most spectacular

    Specifications

    Pieces: 4,784

    Set number: 75252

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Incredibly detailed set+Comes with Leia’s ship to scale+Huge project to keep you occupied

    At 1.1m long, this giant model is nearly as menacing as the original Star Destroyer was on-screen. It looks incredible – using the Lego studs to add surface texture, but also packing in a mind-blowing amount of specific detail, from laser cannons to engines to even a bay underneath that houses a TIE Fighter, ready to launch. 

    Adorably, it also comes with a tiny Tantive IV ship that it can overshadow, remaking the opening of the first film. There’s a stand underneath that is part of the internal skeleton structure that holds the ship together – make no mistake about what a beast this is, and how good (and satisfying) it looks in person. We’ve built it, and it’s genuinely awe-inspiring.

    This is one of the biggest Lego sets ever made – we’ve actually got a guide comparing the biggest Lego sets, if you want to see whether bigger really is better.

    Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor 51515

    (Image credit: Lego)

    10. Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor

    You are the only one responsible for your own wants

    Specifications

    Pieces: 949

    Set number: 51515

    Suggested age: 10+

    Reasons to buy

    +Back at last!+Great for kids or adults+Made for creativity

    It’s been a while since Lego released a Mindstorms kit. Actually, it’s been a full seven years. But just as we were losing hope, along comes the Robot Inventor set, including a whole bunch of sensors and motors, instructions to build five unique robots, and compatibility with Lego’s Robot Inventor programming app. Inspired by the language powering Boost sets which landed in the interim (and more than a little reminiscent of learning language Scratch) it vastly increases the scope of what you can do with Mindstorms, and gives kid coders the perfect jumping off point for creating the deathbots we will so sorely need in the near future.

    Lego Architecture London Skyline - 21034

    11. Lego Architecture London Skyline

    Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you could probably manage this bit of London

    Specifications

    Pieces: 468

    Set number: 21034

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Nice little ornamental piece+Fun to build mini landmarks

    Reasons to avoid

    Empty List

    We love these little Skyline sets, that let you build iconic buildings in adorable miniaturised form. This London set includes Nelson’s Column, the London Eye, the National Gallery, Big Ben and Tower Bridge. We’re also very partial to the New York, Tokyo and San Francisco skyline sets, if you want to start a city collection…

    Lego Art Iron Man 31199

    (Image credit: Lego)

    12. Lego Art Marvel Studios Iron Man

    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up

    Specifications

    Pieces: 3,167

    Set number: 31199

    Suggested age: 18+

    Reasons to buy

    +Soundtrack is a neat idea+Proper zen Lego

    For the Lego fan with an artistic bent, here’s the company’s take on pixel art in probably the most relaxing and therapeutic form Lego has ever taken. This is Lego with a custom soundtrack, which is less bananas than it sounds. There are over 3,000 pieces, although the vast majority of them are round 1×1 plates so the tip of your right thumb may well be in agony by the time your three portraits of Iron Man are done. You won’t be unhappy, though: the finished thing looks superb. 

    If you’re not a Marvel nut, the Lego Art range also includes portraits of some Star Wars Sith favourites, pixel pics of the Beatles, and an Andy Warhol set which replicates his famous Marilyn Monroe pop-art pics.

    Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall - 75954

    13. Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall

    It’s a kind of magic

    Specifications

    Pieces: 878

    Set number: 75954

    Suggested age: 9+

    Reasons to buy

    +Looks like the movies+Great collection minifigs

    One the one hand, this is a fun playset for kids to mess around with minifigs (including, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Draco Malfoy, Dumbledore, Professor Quarrel and, for the first time ever, Hagrid) in recreations of Hogwarts’ iconic dining hall, as well as a potion room and moving staircase. On the other hand, the meticulous detail that makes it look just like the movie vision of Hogwarts’ grand exterior makes it an excellent collectible for fans of the series of any age. There are also other great Hogwarts sets that it connects with to form a bigger castle.

    If you’re a serious Harry Potter fan, though, the above won’t be quite true enough to the books/movies. What you need is the epic Hogwarts Castle set, which is a recreation of the entire castle as it appears in the films to microfigure scale (and it comes with loads of microfigures), complete with some rooms around the back and Hagrid’s Hut plus Whomping Willow. It’s absolutely spectacular (and huge), and there’s no better buy for hardcore fans.

    Lego Land Rover Defender

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    14. Lego Technic Land Rover Defender

    An engineering classic, and the Defender wasn’t a bad bit of design either

    Specifications

    Pieces: 2,573

    Set number: 42110

    Suggested age: 11+

    Reasons to buy

    +A big, involved building projects+Full of engineering details+Accurate features

    This is not just a great-looking recreation of the Defender – it’s also an hugely impressive Lego Technic engineering build. There’s the moving in-line six-cylinder engine, there’s the independent suspension for both axles, there’s the most complex gearbox Lego has made so far with functional gearstick, there’s the working winch, there’s the folding seats… and it all fits into a model so accurate, it has specially made rims and emblems, plus the bodywork finished in the exact right colour.

    Lego Dinosaurs

    15. Lego Creators Mighty Dinosaurs

    Three dino kits in one

    Specifications

    Pieces: 174

    Set number: 31058

    Suggested age: 7+

    Reasons to buy

    +Affordable+Three kits in one

    This is one of the best-selling sets, and it’s easy to see why: it’s an attractive price, it’s dinosaurs, and is actually three sets in one. You have the option of creating a menacing T. rex, powerful Triceratops or a terrifying Pterodactyl. That’s great value for money, which is why this set is such a meteoric success!

    Lego Lego Super Mario

    (Image credit: Lego)

    16. Lego Super Mario Starter Course

    An interactive new way to enjoy Lego

    Specifications

    Pieces: 231

    Set number: 71360

    Suggested age: 6+

    Reasons to buy

    +Lots of creative potential+Mario is pretty adorable+Fun to have objective-based play for kids

    Reasons to avoid

    Not as interesting for adults (though still a fun collectible)

    The Lego Mario sets are a collaboration between Lego and Nintendo, where you can use Lego to build levels for the special smart Mario character to traverse – he’s got a bunch of sensors in, so can you can take on special skill-based obstacles with him, and he detects what kind of terrain he’s on (and reacts to them on his little LCD screen face). You collect coins as you play through a ‘level’ of Lego – the idea is that it can be competitive as to who traversed a level the best. Kids can build levels for each other (or parents to take on), and you can expand from the Starter Course with loads of add-on packs that all add cool new ideas. This pack has the all-important Mario figure, and gives a great flavour of what the system does. Read our full Lego Super Mario review here.

    Lego pirates

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    17. Lego Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay

    A very cool set with a big dose of nostalgia

    Specifications

    Pieces: 2,545

    Set number: 21322

    Suggested age: 16+

    Reasons to buy

    +Brilliant pirate den set+Also turns into classic pirate ship+So many memories

    If you, like so many people, have fond memories of the Lego Pirate sets from the late ’80s/early ’90s, this set inspired by them will be hard to resist. Its main build is of a ship that’s been turned into an island outpost, packed full of ingenious details. It looks fantastic, and actually splits in two so you can see all the little touches (or just play with it). But it can also be built into a classic-style ship inspired by the 1989 Black Seas Barracuda ship set. It’s an absolute blast to build, and is worth it for the return of the classic Lego shark alone.

    Lego Townhouse Toy Shop

    (Image credit: Lego Group)

    18. Lego Creator Townhouse Toy Store

    Three great little shops to build and play with

    Specifications

    Pieces: 554

    Set number: 31105

    Suggested age: 8+

    Reasons to buy

    +Great-looking models+Three different build options

    The Lego Creator 3-in-1 series is, obviously, excellent value for money when it comes to giving kids (or adults) plenty of stuff to do. The main build from this set is a sweet little toy store, complete with rocket ride outside and tiny goods inside, plus a whole living area above the shop. Or you can build it into a cake shop plus workshop… or you can build it into a flower store!

    Lego Microscale Lego Brand Store - 40305

    19. Lego Microscale Lego Brand Store

    The meta option

    Specifications

    Pieces: 362

    Set number: 40305

    Suggested age: 8+

    Reasons to buy

    +It’s got tiny Lego made of Lego!+Will probably be a collector’s item one day

    Reasons to avoid

    Empty List

    Yes, it’s a Lego Store made of Lego! Turn around the detailed storefront to find an open back with detail inside, including tiny Lego constructions and Lego blocks with stickers on to make them look like Lego product boxes. This is Lego-ception, and it’s an amazing gift for a big Lego fan.

    Pieces: 362

    • Buy from the Lego Store UK for £21.99
    • Buy from the Lego Store US for $24.99

    Published at Tue, 25 May 2021 16:03:02 +0000

    https://www.t3.com/features/best-lego-sets