Having shown off a range of Lego at the London and Nuremberg Toy Fairs in the last few weeks, the brick brand let us take pics and video of the last entries in the 2016 line-up at the New York Toy Fair.
The biggest question mark still left for Lego this year was its Star Wars sets. Although some had been shown previously, Lego had remained tight lipped about two mysterious sets and the character mini-figures that accompanied them.
Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures
In New York, Disney announced its new animated TV series, Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. This will debut in the summer on Disney XD in the US (no date currently for UK).
Unsurprisingly then, the Star Wars Lego sets accompanying the series complete Lego Star Wars line-up for the year. Set 75145 offers an Eclipse Fighter, a smaller craft and two mini-figures while the 75147 set includes the larger Star Scavenger ship and four mini-figures.
Interestingly, this means we have two Lego Star Wars projects that extend the main fiction. The Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens video game will include content between The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, while the Freemaker Adventures joins things up between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Beyond Star Wars, other sets were more fully shown (and filmable) in New York, including additions to the Lego Ninjago line.
Ninjago will have a strong line-up throughout the year. And while Chima takes a back seat, it goes from strength to strength with more than half an eye on the 2017 Ninjago feature film.
Lego Minecraft returns in 2016 and still struggles to make sense in this context. The iterative nature of a brick toy inspired by a brick-inspired video game means the play value and fun gets a little lost along the way.
This lack of coherence hasn’t stopped it selling well though, and last year it was Lego’s fifth best-selling line. In 2016, we will be getting four more Minecraft sets in March and then The Fortress in September — which includes a headlining Lego Minecraft horse of all things.
Lego Nexo Knights
Nexo Knights offer a more original (and coherent) combination of bricks and screens. In addition to the sets seen previously we got a proper look at the new Ultimate characters in New York - Axl, Lance, General Magmar and Flama. These, together with the large Jestro’s Volcano Base, provide plenty of physical play value backed up by a video game payload when the included shields are scanned into the related tablet app.
Finally, the Lego City sets were rounded off with a full 2016 line. This ranges from spring’s Fire and Vehicle sets to summer's Volcano Explorers and Autumn Airport and Town products. Of particular interest in the Town category is the Fun in the Park set that includes a wheelchair mini-figure for the first time in Lego’s history.
Having the whole of 2016’s Lego line-up in view is a little overwhelming — there’s just so much of it. Beyond this however, it seems that this is a year of consolidation rather than innovation for Lego. Quality remains as high as ever but the lion share of shelf space is given to extending existing ideas rather than creating new ones.
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