With the iconic Danish brick turning 60 this past weekend, here are the best Lego sets for dads.
Let’s stop pretending. Lego is for dads. It’s the perfect combination of our two favourite activities – taking on a project, and wallowing in nostalgia. Indeed, it was a sad day when I realised my five-year-old could follow the instructions on his own, which is pretty much why I bothered having a second child, so I could become lord and master of the instruction manual once again (but that’s a separate article for another day). In the meantime, here are eight of the best Lego sets for dads.
Lego Batman Movie – Joker’s Manor
This one will set you back a few quid, but you can’t put a price on happiness (well, you can, I suppose – 250 notes in this case). The entire Lego Batman Movie range has been really good, from the reimagined Batcave to the Ultimate Batmobile – which was actually four Bat-vehicles in one. But this the best of the lot so far – a whacking great Joker funhouse with interactive features, a working roller coaster, and 10 mini-figures (including Batman in his, erm, disco suit).
Mining Heavy Driller
That innate, built-in pleasure that many dads get from construction vehicles and heavy machinery is realised is miniature brick form. With this one you can drill the shit out of whatever rubbish your kids have made (usually half completed cities that bear no resemblance to actual cities in my kids’ case) and do all the drill noises yourself.
This is – as any self-respecting man-child knows – the absolute pinnacle of geeky Lego sets. I got to have a little play with one – I mean a look, of course – at a fellow dad-friend’s house. I did consider stealing it, one piece at a time, then reconstructing at home, but that would mean visiting him 4,016 times. And I’m just not sure I like him enough for that.
Jungle Exploration Site
A few months back I saw this one made up in a display cabinet at Toys ‘R’ Us. I pushed my son aside to get a closer look, especially excited by the plane wreck, the “jungle is massive” aesthetic, and Little Shop of Horrors-style plants. These big sets from the City range better each year. In 2015 it was Deep Sea Exploration Vessel, then in 2016 the Volcano Exploration – both of which I got for Christmas. Sorry, I got my son for Christmas. Upon seeing this new set in November, I immediately ensured he put it on his Crimbo list by employing some laughably basic reverse psychology (I mean, he’s cute, but there’s not happening between his ears).
There’s no messing about with this. It’s proper old school Lego – cops, robbers, and a little helicopter that goes on the roof (not that many actual police stations have helicopters on the roof, but still, it looks good). These retro-style Lego sets have a powerful sense of nostalgia for me, along with fire stations, trains, planes, and all the other stuff I wished I had when I was kid. Except, I’m a grown up now, so I can buy the lot if I want to.
As a geeky kid there’s little more exciting than a proper playset to go with your action figures – you know, the sort of thing you’d covet in the back the Littlewoods catalogue all year then finally get your hands at Christmas, only to lose all the accessories and break the moving pieces by Boxing Day. As a man of 34, very little has changed for me in that respect. This is the ultimate ninja-flavoured playset, with 16 mini-figures and three interactive levels. Plus, Ninjago’s crazy popular after the movie, so this will keep both dad AND kids happy. Though probably dad more – particularly if he hides it away to stop the little buggers from losing all the accessories and breaking the moving pieces.
Ghostbusters Firehouse HQ
There isn’t a single square centimetre from this 4,634-brick set that doesn’t make me almost ectoplasm myself. Like all movie-based Lego sets, the nooks and crannies are packed with geek-baiting easter eggs (including details from the criminally under-appreciated Ghostbusters 2). Indeed, I’ve spent many an afternoon salivating over this set outside the window of the Lego shop. Which is why they won’t let me in there anymore. The only problem is that, like most other sets in this list, it’s got a whopping price tag. The question is, could I really justify spending nearly £300 on Lego? The answer is, yes, as long as no one else found out about it.
The holy grail of modern Lego sets for serious fanboys. The Millenium Falcon, the Han Solo and Chewbacca piloted space vehicle that we first saw in A New Hope, and the one that was resurrected in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, will be the best, erm, £650 you’ll ever spend on a “toy”. It’s 7,541 pieces of awesome, with six mini-figures, including Rey, Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8 Astromech Droid – plus a couple of Porgs and a Mynock. But it’s the incredible, nerd-tastic detail that will have Star Wars nuts creaming their Jedo robes, as only Lego is able to do.