As 2017 comes to a close and the clock ticks down to another year, we take a look back over that past 12 months and pick some of our favourite LEGO-related things to occur in the year gone by. It’s certainly been a busy year, with the release of two new LEGO® movies, the opening of the LEGO House in Billund and a refocused take on how the LEGO Group operates across the world. But for our look back over the past 12 months we’ll be focusing on the many LEGO sets and additional products released since January 2017. So let’s jump into our brick-built time machine and see what has delighted us the most in 2017.
Theme of the Year – LEGO Ideas
There have been many great themes this year from old favourites to movie spin-offs. Although our theme of the year has only released four sets this across 2017, they have mostly all been amazing takes on fan built projects. In 2017 the LEGO Ideas theme really came into its own with the release of the huge Saturn V. The set marked a change in the way LEGO Ideas were released. Previously LEGO Ideas sets followed a similar size and price point, meaning many projects could instantly be ruled out ahead of review period revealed. The Saturn V was not only the biggest set to be released, it was also one of the most popular, instantly selling out. It was followed the Old Fishing Store, another big set packed with detail. More recently the Woman of NASA has proved a hit beyond the LEGO Community. With all these sets it proved you don’t need to be tied to an existing license to sell sets.
Runner-up: The LEGO NINJAGO Movie
The theme based on the movie has given us plenty of great sets, in particular the new Destiny’s Bounty, Garmadon’s Shark mech and the incredible NINJAGO City. It also gave use some fun minifigures and polybag sets.
Minifigure of the Year – Hamleys Royal Guard
It may have only been on sale for a couple of weeks, but the winner of our Minifigure of the year has to go to Hamleys Royal Guard. This exclusive little fellow really captured the imagination of LEGO fans far and wide. Since its reveal it became Hamleys most popular item in their entire Regents Street store. The actual minifigure is a redesigned version of the Royal Guard, who appeared in the 5th series of the LEGO Classic Minifigures range. It may not have any funky new elements like some of other minifigures introduced this year but the way it sent ripples of excitement among LEGO fans is what LEGO is all about.
Runner-up: The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Zane
The LEGO NINJAGO Movie minifigures had plenty of fun characters and new elements, but a worthy runner-up to the Royal Guard is Zane. Appearing in his non-ninja outfit, Zane is sporting a funky winter jumper and a delightful grin on his face.
Game of the Year – The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Videogame
This year saw the end of LEGO Dimensions and the final nail in the coffin of the Toys-to-life games in general. Our pick for LEGO Game of the Year goes to The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Videogame. Although the film may not have had the impact that The LEGO Movie had, the game mixed up the familiar format of the LEGO Games, with levels blended into a fun open world and the game also made great use of featured introduced in past games. With TT Fusion cutting their teeth on handheld titles, they have had to think outside the box, something they continue to do with console games and it will be interesting to see what both TT Games and TT Fusion have planned for 2018 and beyond.
Runner-up: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Level Pack
Although LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 missed out on GOTY, it’s first DLC pack based on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is great fun. Recreating the opening the movie complete with a little ELO. It’s a delight to play and a worthy addition to the main game.
Book of the Year – Ultimate LEGO Star Wars
This year has seen some great new books released from a number different publishers but one book has stood out from the rest for its shear wealth of information and detail. Star Wars has been an extremely popular theme since it was launched in 1999. With 1000s of sets and minifigures now available gathering them together in one place is no mean feat. But DK Book’s Ultimate LEGO Star Wars managed to create an extremely informative book and touched upon all aspects of the LEGO Star Wars theme. Providing a unique reference for collectors and fans alike.
Runner-up: The LEGO Batman Movie: The Making of the Movie
The LEGO Batman Movie was released with a blaze of companion products including a number of new books, but one of the most interesting titles would be The LEGO Batman Movie: The Making of the Movie book from DK. Not only did it offer a unique look behind the scenes of the movie, it would also give us a pretty advanced look at some upcoming new sets and minifigures. Some of which will be released as part of the new 2018 sets.
Colour of the Year – Sand Green
Yes it’s a slightly random award but one particular colour from the LEGO colour palette has found its way into a number of sets towards the end of 2017 and that little colour Sand Green. The colour has been around for a while but this year it really exploded, appearing across a diverse range of sets including Ideas, The LEGO NINJAGO Movie and even this year’s Seasonal set. Noticing little splashes of Sand Green in sets became more a delight with many old elements getting recoloured in this fun little shade.
Runner-up: Medium Lilac
Just like Sand Green our runner-up colour has been around for a while but has become more apparent in sets this year. Medium Lilac has been the base colour of this years bad guys in the NEXO KNIGHTS theme, and used heavily in some of The LEGO Batman Movie sets as well as cropping up in LEGO Friends and Technic sets.
Collectable Theme of the Year – LEGO Pods
LEGO collectables have become more prolific in recent years with LEGO Minifigures, BrickHeadz, Mighty Micros and MicroFighters all continuing to provide new collections in 2017. However this year has introduced an all new collectable known as LEGO Pods. Although these pods have been a little tricky to track down, with some being given away in LEGO promotions or from various retailers, this year has seen four made available with a Star Wars themed one cancelled due to quality issues. Best of all LEGO Pods are set to continue into 2018 with two new NINJAGO themed Pods recently added to shop.LEGO.com.
Runner-up: LEGO BrickHeadz
BrickHeadz have a unique ability to become a part of any other LEGO theme, while still being their own range and this year has seen a number a great pop culture characters transformed into styled BrickHeadz sets. They will continue into 2018 and expand to include original characters themed against a number of seasonal occasions.
Surprise of the Year – Create The World Trading Cards
Earlier this year Sainsbury’s joined forces with LEGO for a seemingly run of the mill in-store promotion. Create the World consisted of a Sainsbury’s exclusive set and a collection of trading cards which were available to purchase or given away free with purchases in various Sainsbury’s stores. The cards soon became a phenomenon taking playgrounds by storm, which is always a sure sign of something becoming popular. Kids and adults alike were going crazy for these LEGO themed cards and soon it was almost impossible to pick up an album to keep them all in. As people raced to complete their collection before the promotion ended, swap groups popped up on Facebook and swap shops were held in Sainsbury’s cafes across the UK.
Runner-up: LEGO Opens The Vault
Re-releasing sets is nothing new, but this year saw two of the biggest LEGO sets ever brought back and improved upon. The UCS Falcon is considered the holy grail for many LEGO fans and rumours of its return were rife and when it did, it sold out within hours. But the return of the Taj Mahal came out of the blue and also teased the re-release of more long gone sets from years gone by.
Set of the Year – NINJAGO City
2017 has been an amazing year LEGO sets with a number of great direct 2 customer sets, along with the release of the biggest LEGO set ever and the re-release of the original biggest set ever. But there can only be one set worthy of being named as our Set of the Year. Packed with incredible details, impressive play features and one of the most enjoyable builds ever, NINJAGO City is amazing on so many levels. Inspired by The LEGO NINJAGO Movie, NINJAGO City manages to blend so many different styles with impressive build techniques and more than a sprinkling of LEGO Easter eggs, from the NINJAGO TV show and even other LEGO themes. The design team have gone above and beyond to create this set and without a doubt NINJAGO City is the best LEGO release not only this year but in the last few years and well worth the high price tag.
Runner-up: The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Destiny’s Bounty
Before NINJAGO City was released 2017’s best set was another NINJAGO Movie release. Destiny’s Bounty has appeared in LEGO form before now, but this new version had some incredible details and included every one of the main ninja characters. But its best point was the build experience, as we noted in our review, it started out disappointingly small before becoming an absolutely beast of a set, which also makes an amazing display piece.