Since its debut on Danish shelves in 1949, the Little Brick That Could has become the Vast Armada of Little Bricks That Has Dominated the Toy Market. While its newer, unofficial title doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, Lego is undoubtedly one of the most successful toys of all time, its name alone one of the most recognizable in the toy industry and synonymous with most if not all construction kits (except perhaps K’Nex, but no one could confuse Lego with that). The Lego Group has the largest market share of any construction toy series and the third largest of any toy company after Mattel and Hasbro, and its popularity has only grown since it has acquired the licenses to popular franchises such as Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and a host of comic book hero properties. On top of all that, the recently released The Lego Movie has grossed close to $200 million worldwide. In short, it’s a decent earner.
So, in light of Lego’s success, let’s take a look at the 10 most popular kits in the Armada of Little Bricks’ history, most of which have been determined through their sales rankings on Amazon.
9 The Lego Movie MetalBeard's Duel - $15.99
One of the coolest characters in The Lego Movie, the Nick Offerman-voiced MetalBeard was also a setpiece unto himself. A former Lego pirate who lost most of his minifigure pieces, MetalBeard constructed a new body from a myraid of pieces, resulting in an intricate look that's half Blackbeard, half RoboCop. This set, taken from the movie's climax, depicts the mecha-pirate in combat with one of Lord Business' "Micro Manager" robots and comes out to less than $20.
8 Superman: Battle of Smallvile - $59.99
Featuring Superman, three Kryptonian soldiers, a spaceship and a military Jeep, this set was made to tie in with last summer’s Man of Steel film, though thankfully lacking the intimidating amount of collateral damage found within that universe. As of right now, this tiny battle ranks 16th on Amazon’s bestselling Lego toy list.
7 Disney Princess: Ariel's Magical Kiss - $39.99
Lego has gotten into the Disney game as well—though, now that both Star Wars and Marvel are under the Disney banner this synergy has been going on for a while. Focusing on Disney princesses, this new line features sets from Cinderella, Tangled, Pixar’s Brave and The Little Mermaid. By far the series’ most popular set, coming in at #9 for Lego sets on Amazon, the Ariel’s Magic Kiss kit replicates the memorable “Kiss the Girl” scene from Mermaid, and includes specially designed figures of Ariel and Prince Eric that eschew the common Lego minifigure format for miniatures that more resemble the characters’ cartoon forms. Sebastian and Flounder are not included, unfortunately.
6 Police Prisoner Transport - $29.99
This action packed kit from the Lego City line—which focuses on municipal institutions like the police, fire and postal services and all of the cool vehicles that come with them—depicts a daring breakout attempt from a police paddy wagon mid-transfer. The set includes the prisoner transport van and an ATV that the prisoner’s rescuer drives. It also includes a ball and chain for the prisoner’s foot, which feels somewhat out of time compared to the high tech nature of the set, but that seems an odd complaint. This dynamic set is currently Amazon’s 5th most popular Lego collection.
5 Ninjago NinjaCopter - $74.99
Here we go: a big Lego set with a lot of moving parts, rubber-tipped projectiles and an aesthetic right out of a Saturday morning cartoon. Right off the bat the Ninjago NinjaCopter is a set likely to sell well with kids. Though its size and number of pieces warrant a $75 price, the NinjaCopter is currently selling for $48.74 on Amazon. The price reduction, plus its inherent coolness factor, is likely why the set is currently the 7th most popular Lego kit on the site. Just, you know, make sure the toy missiles aren’t aimed at any eyes. Lego cannons can pack a surprising amount of power.
4 Bricks & More: Builders of Tomorrow -$34.99
When all is said and done, with all of the custom minifigures and decals and specifically-moulded pieces made just for one set, you just can’t beat the old fashioned Lego bricks. Though chunky and oblong, they enable some of the most freeform creativity capable with Lego and, admittedly, have a bit of a retro charm to them. As Michael Chabon points out in his memoir, Manhood for Amateurs, the original bricks allow one to dictate their own sense of scale, so models can be as small as one’s fist or as large as a car. The Bricks & More set is designed exactly for that kind of freeform thinking, packing 650 multi-coloured Lego bricks. Sadly, the kit doesn’t include one of the bases that normally comes with larger Lego assortments, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming the 11th highest selling toy or game on Amazon (and the 4th highest selling Lego kit there overall).
3 Bricks & More Green Building Plate - $7.95
There’s nothing special or fancy about the Green Building Plate, listed for less than $10 on Amazon, but it’s essential for freeform building, allowing Lego creators to more easily arrange their structures and hold them in place. It should be noted that Amazon pairs the plate in a bundle with the previously described Builders of Tomorrow set that comes sans-base, which is probably why this stubbed piece of plastic is the 14th most popular Lego item on the site. Smart movie, Lego. Smart move.
Part of Lego’s general Creator series—which encompasses vehicles, buildings, etc.—the Twinblade Adventures is, in spite of its success (highest selling Lego set on Amazon, third highest selling toy overall) a fairly small aircraft set that includes pieces capable of constructing a twin-rotor airplane, a biplane and a helicopter. Other smaller Creator sets, like the Sunset Speeder Car (the second highest-selling Lego set) and the Highway Cruiser motorcycle (third) similarly have 3-in-1 construction capabilities, which allows kids to get even more mileage out of your typical Lego kit and might even encourage a more freestyle approach to building. With this in mind it’s not surprising that the Twinblade Adventures and its kin are selling so well: they’re more bang for one’s buck, pairing prolonged amusement with relatively inexpensiveness.
2 The Millennium Falcon - $179.99
With Star Wars as famous as it is, it’s no surprise that one of its many Lego sets should be one of the most popular in the company’s history. The kit in question is Han Solo’s iconic Millennium Falcon. Shipping with minifigures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader, the Falcon set is close to 60 centimetres in length and weighs over two kilograms. An earlier, deluxe edition version of the set, released for a limited time in 2007, was nearly 90 centimetres long, had the second highest number of pieces of any official Lego set (the highest came with the 2008 Jaj Mahal kit) and sold for $500 US. Its smaller companion is still on shelves and at $179.99 is somewhat more affordable.
1 Lego Mindstorms RIS 2.0 - $199.99
Debuting in 1998, Lego’s Mindstorms line introduced robotics to the construction toy series. At the heart of Mindstorms is the programmable Robotics Invention System kit, or RIS, a large “brick” with a built-in computer that can receive custom data through an infrared sensor and relay motion and commands through attached servos. With the inclusion of the nubs and holes common to all Lego pieces, the RIS can be built into the structure of whatever model it’s controlling. Mindstorms has been marketed for both recreational and educational purposes, teaching kids the fundamentals of robotics and engineering. Its success has been undeniable: the RIS 2.0 was Lego’s bestselling single product as of 2008, with over a million units sold. Its current model, the EV3 Intelligent Brick, retails for $199.99.