LEGO can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. Sometimes you want to just build a basic house but other times you want to be a LEGO Master Builder. Below are my 10 most favorite sets to challenge any LEGO lover. If you are ready to push your creativity to the max and build amazing structures look no further. The list below is not in any particular order. At our house, LEGO is a very personal choice and we each have our own favorites. Which one is yours?
Architecture Challenge in white.
For me, the best part of LEGO is the opportunity for free-play. I built the most amazing houses just from standard bricks, some roof tiles, windows, and doors. I spent hours creating multi-level architectural impossibilities. It wasn’t until I was much older that I got interested in the sets and I have always been fascinated by the architecture sets.
When the first two, the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building were released in 2008 I was living in Chicago and had just left my first job working on the 19th floor of the John Hancock building. The first 2 were interesting but fairly easy with only 69 bricks. Aside from a few the following year Architecture sets have increased their brick numbers dramatically since. To date, the largest is the Robie House with an impressive 2276 bricks. But, nothing is as revolutionary as the Architecture Studio set released in 2013. This set brings you back to the basics of LEGO with a twist. You receive 1,210 pieces all in white with a booklet full of inspiration. This is a must-have for your budding architect and wannabe LEGO Master Builder. You can get it now on Amazon. and add on a copy of the LEGO Architect book and you will have hours and hours of entertainment.
You are never too old for Star Wars
You do not have to be a Star Wars fan to appreciate the impressive LEGO Sets inspired by the franchise. The most fantastic of them all has to be the newly released Millennium Falcon with a whopping 7541 bricks and an $800 price tag. As of right now, it is sold out and LEGO is working on making more sets available. That said, there are plenty of other sets to keep you busy. I am a fan of the smaller and more affordable Millennium Falcon with 1329 bricks and available on Amazon.
Join the dark side with your own Death Star
If the Falcon is not your thing you could of course also set your sight on your own personal Death Star. I have always been intrigued by round LEGO structures. They appear so much more complicated than even the most detailed house, ship or castle. This one comes with 4016 bricks so definitely plenty of small pieces while not quite as large as the before mentioned Falcon. It is becoming harder to find but still available on Amazon or directly through LEGO for $499.99
You will want to get your hands on this Groovy van before it is gone. The WV Bus is the stereotypical 1960s hippy vehicle and while buying a real vintage van can easily cost you $20k for one in good condition you can own a LEGO version from Amazon
It has 1334 bricks and comes with some interesting details like the pop-up top. The doors open to reveal the perfectly curated interior plus the LEGO take on “Make Love Not War”- Make LEGO Models, Not War’ printed on a T-shirt. There are so many features to explore. All you need to do it sit down with some time to play and hang loose. The fun will definitely follow.
Battle evil in Ninjago City
The Ninjago movie is the newest LEGO Movie installment following the Ninjas as they try to save Ninjago. It is a high energy fun movie and if you haven’t seen it you should. It is available for rent or for sale on Amazon. I just picked up a blue ray copy for a great price. I know we will watch it over and over. The newly released NINJAGO® City set is just as impressive as the movie. It is the tallest of the Ninjago sets measuring in at 24 inches tall when completed which is quite impressive. Even better is the fact that the three floors can be taken apart so once it is built it can become a toy to play with, you can have your own Ninja battles protecting Ninjago from the evil Garmadon.
You can get this exclusive set directly from LEGO for $299.99. The only drawback for me is that it does not come with all the Ninja’s which for the size of the set it should. To get all you will need to buy a set like LEGO Ninjago Movie Temple Ultimate Ultimate Weapon 70617.
Join the Circus
Round and Round it goes. The LEGO Carousel is an impressive creation filled with details such as ornate detailing and reflective center panels. It comes with 2670 colorful bricks which once built rotates as you turn the crank. You get to see the elephant, tiger, flamingo, and frog move up and down just like a real live Carousel. What sold me on this set is the movement option where it actually moves like a real Carousel and the ability to add a motor so that the carousel goes around automatically. It has been re-released in 2017 and currently available on Amazon.
Architecture in color
Building the LEGO House in Billund Denmark out of LEGO is probably the most meta LEGO experience you can have. The actual house opened its doors to the public in September of this year (2017) and is definitely worth a visit if you are taking a pilgrimage to the land of LEGO. It is on our list for the next time as it was not quite ready last time we went to Denmark. It is not the largest of the sets with only 250 bricks but I am including for its limited edition and the modern style. Definitely, one we will be adding to our collection. Unfortunately, the color version is becoming harder to find but still possible to get for under $200 on eBay.
You can purchase the all-white brick version on Amazon.
It’s a Magical Place
Creating the iconic Disney Castle in LEGO is like marrying 2 fandoms into one amazing creation. It is a replica of the much photographed and loved Walt Disney World® Resort Cinderella Castle. It just wouldn’t be Disney without the castle. You get 4080 bricks to recreate the most recognizable castle in Disney history. Once completed the four-floor castle stands The Disney Castle measures over 29” (74cm) high. There are many details which reference the many Disney stories like the spinning wheel, a rose, the golden mirror, and a red apple. You can recreate your favorite fairytale playing in the castle. Right now the best bet for scoring your own set is directly from LEGO where it can be yours for 349.99. It has been in very high demand since the release in 2016 so availability is not a guarantee.
Technology and LEGO in one
I have a bit of a soft spot for large ships. When I was little we would sit and watch as the new container ships sailed off from the Maersk shipbuilding yard where my dad worked. He would tell stories of the build and design phase. I also think a list of challenging LEGO builds would be incomplete without at least one Technics set. When LEGO started creating Technic in 1977 it was a significant shift in production. They now started making more unique parts in order to create these lifelike models. As the story of Technic goes you could easily build large houses but it was a challenge to build other items as the weight would make them break under the pressure. The most recent Technic release is an Ocean explorer with 1327 pieces. Not the largest on the list but the complexity come in with the added Helicopter and Submarine. It is also a 2-in-1 set: which rebuilds into a Push Boat and Barge. You can get this set now directly from LEGO for $119.99. or on Amazon
Own your own block in LEGO city
The Assembly Square is a must have if you are looking to create your own LEGO city. Assembly Square was developed to celebrate ten years of LEGO® Modular Buildings. It is a 3 building set with 4002 bricks. It is the largest of the Modular buildings. You can feel like Emmett playing in this city and of course, it can be combined with many other sets from this series to create your own city. Just beware of the Kragle, this set is meant to play with and build out. You will find hidden gems throughout the set and too many details to cover. I am particularly fond of the bakery which is oh so Danish. You can find this on Amazon or directly from Lego.
If you are looking for sets that are a bit less expensive but still challenging check out the Top 5 Sets under $75