If Comic-Con, E3 and dozens of other events prove anything, it’s that people love a convention. That explains why the LEGO Group has decided to get in on the action. LEGO CON is a recent initiative, dedicated to celebrating the plastic brick with a range of exciting events.
Join us as we round up the latest developments, look back at the original event, and check out what LEGO CON 2022 has to offer.
LEGO CON 2022
The 2022 edition of LEGO CON landed on June 18 (which fell on a Saturday). Festivities started at 5pm in London, 12pm in New York and 9am in Los Angeles, with the show lasting approximately two hours overall. The entire thing was also streamed live on YouTube for free.
New set reveals are of particular interest to many LEGO fans – and on that front, the show certainly delivered. In honour of the LEGO Group’s 90th anniversary, two ambitious sets made their first appearance. 10305 Lion Knights’ Castle honoured the Castle theme with a massive model, while 10497 Galaxy Explorer sought to recreate an existing one with modern design techniques.
lly popular Star Wars theme got two major new sets. 75337 AT-TE Walker takes its cues from the prequel era, recreating one of the Clone Wars’ six-legged tanks. 75323 The Justifier, meanwhile, is inspired by spinoff show The Bad Batch. In addition to a large spaceship it features the clone child Omega, and an impressive new version of bounty hunter Cad Bane.
The Marvel theme also got some love with 76218 Sanctum Sanctorum. This massive model is compatible with the LEGO ICONS Modular Buildings Collection. As such it’s suitable detailed, featuring secret compartments, magic doors and various supernatural artefacts. Characters such as Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Scarlet Witch can all be found here, as can rarer characters such as Baron Mordo and Ebony Maw.
An unexpected (albeit long-anticipated) reveal was the LEGO Avatar theme, which takes inspiration from the 2009 James Cameron epic. Only one set from the theme – 75574 Toruk Makto & Tree of Souls – was unveiled, with interesting new elements (like longer minifigure legs) returning to the LEGO lineup.
Other set reveals included a new group of Collectible Minifigures (with a decidedly festive theme) and a new set of LEGO Super Mario character packs. These latter models are a bit more ambitious in their overall design, and both product collections are sold in boxes rather than bags. As such, feel guides are quickly becoming redundant.
The LEGO Minecraft and LEGO Art themes got some new sets too at this point. The Art set – 31207 Floral Art – was especially interesting, as it featured a new rectangular shape and a rare white picture frame. 15 different pictures (one at a time) can be produced with a single copy of the set.
However, LEGO Minecraft fans got a chance to have some creative input as well. A fan vote for a new Minecraft minifigure was held during the show; the winning choice would appear in a future Minecraft set. Eventually the fans chose the mysterious Crystal Knight; look out for it if you’re a Minecraft fan.
Football fans were served by a new football-inspired Brickheadz set. 40542 FC Barcelona Go Brick Me lets you create a version of yourself as an FC Barcelona football player. It even comes with a brick-built goal, making this one of the better sets in the BrickHeadz lineup.
The most tantalising set reveal may have been the one we didn’t see. The LEGO Group took a moment to reveal their entire Star Wars lineup for 2023. Unfortunately the sets themselves were blurred out, so there wasn’t much information we could glean here.
Of course, it wasn’t all new set reveals; a number of special features were sprinkled throughout the event. Fans of the LEGO Masters TV show could enjoy a collaboration between contestants from various versions of the show. Together they built a lavish cake out of LEGO bricks, with several LEGO themes referenced.
Lightyear director Angus MacLane also made an appearance via a pre-recorded feature, where he shared his love of LEGO and its use in his own design process. Angus has a long established love of LEGO sets – even creating a successful LEGO Ideas submission – so this was a treat for both LEGO and Pixar fans.
Elsewhere in the show, we watched a feature filmed at Warner Bros. Studio Tour to promote a LEGO Harry Potter set. We also learned that LEGOLAND parks had hit double digits, thanks to a new one opening in South Korea.
Other features shone a spotlight on existing LEGO sets – some new, some less so. 51515 Robot Inventor (released in 2020) made an appearance to promote its new machine learning functions, while the LEGO CON hosts took a moment to try out the LEGO CITY Stuntz line.
For older LEGO fans, we got to take a closer look at 42143 Ferrari Daytona SP3, a lavish new entry in the LEGO Technic line. This set is now available for purchase, although its accompanying book sold out shortly after its debut on LEGO.com.
Finally, a number of trailers appeared for various LEGO TV shows and games. The long-running NINJAGO TV show got a trailer for the second half of its Crystalized season, while LEGO Friends also received a trailer implying an end for the current storyline.
Other trailers during the show included one for fighting game LEGO Brawls, and a quick teaser for LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation. This is the latest in a long line of LEGO Star Wars animations, and will appear on Disney+.
In short, this was a jam-packed show for LEGO fans with something for everyone to enjoy. Set reveals gave AFOLS a reason to tune in, while trailers and featurettes shone a spotlight on events for families and younger LEGO fans. With a solid template established, we expect future LEGO CON events to be similarly successful.
LEGO CON 2021
The original LEGO CON launched on June 26 at 5pm BST / 9am PT / 12pm ET. The event was filmed live from LEGO House – one of the LEGO Group’s tourist attractions – with Michelle Khare and Melvin Odoom on hosting duty.
The show opened with a pre-show event, which gave the AFOL community a chance to shine. Six older LEGO fans took a moment to share some of their expertise, touching on subjects like stop-motion animation and drawing inspiration from the outside world.
The next segment of the show took us into outer space, and was hosted by a real-life astronaut. Mike Massimino discussed the NASA Artemis programme (designed to return humanity to the moon) and built a LEGO set in a simulated zero-gravity environment.
After this segment, the convention broadcast returned to LEGO House with an interactive element. Using an online tool, viewers of the broadcast were encouraged to submit designs for an in-house installation.
These designs would later be turned into a physical product, and incorporated into a mural within LEGO House. DOTS design lead (and LEGO MASTERS judge) Amy Corbett was on hand to offer some design tips.
The show then proceeded to unveil some new sets in the LEGO Harry Potter theme. 76393 Harry Potter & Hermione Granger is one of the more unusual releases in the theme, recreating Harry and Hermione at a larger scale than usual. Two LEGO designers also competed to build another set (76389 Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets) as quickly as possible.
Following a brief montage of ‘smashing’ moments on the LEGO MASTERS TV show, the convention took us on a brief tour of LEGO House itself. This offered us a peek at parts of the attraction we don’t normally see, including the backstage area of the Masterpiece Gallery. It also highlighted some of LEGO House’s top features, serving as a handy promotion for LEGO House itself.
This advertisement was followed by a spotlight on a particularly ambitious LEGO creation: a life-size LEGO model of a Lamborghini Sián FKP 37. This car had already been recreated in a consumer-level product (42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37) with the larger model taking its cues from the design of that set. The video offered a detailed look at the car’s design process, and was certainly a good example of what LEGO is capable of.
Following a brief segment on 21327 Typewriter, the LEGO Group shone a spotlight on its sustainability efforts. This is a cause the LEGO Group has been pursuing for some time, although it still has some progress to make in this area. However, the company did share one of its areas of exploration at the time – manufacturing LEGO bricks from recycled plastic bottles.
As we approached the end of LEGO CON 2021, we enjoyed a mix of set reveals and tributes to existing themes. The Minecraft and Super Mario themes received a spotlight on their play features and design philosophies.
Viewers were also invited to vote on a LEGO minifigure to appear in a future Minecraft set. The Ninja won by a considerable margin; you can find them in 21183 The Training Grounds, opposite a purple-clad fighting companion.
The Friends theme – a perennial favourite amongst LEGO fans – also got a chance to shine, with a featurette on one of its designers. The NINJAGO theme celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2021, and a retrospective on its best moments to date was shared.
After these, we finally got a reveal of another new LEGO set. 75315 Imperial Light Cruiser – a new entry in the Star Wars line – finally graced our presence, including a number of highly desirable minifigures like Moff Gideon and Fennec Shand. Ironically, the light cruiser itself earned a mixed critical reception in some instances.
Other LEGO Star Wars reveals included 75312 Boba Fett’s Starship and 75311 Imperial Armoured Marauder. Like the Imperial Light Cruiser, these also drew inspiration from The Mandalorian and included key characters like Boba Fett and Greef Karga.
Next up was a LEGO Technic challenge involving 6×6 Volvo 42114 Articulated Hauler. This pitted LEGO designer Samuel Tacchi and Volvo engineer Frida Jönsson against one another in a thrilling competition. Each person had to guide a LEGO hauler through an obstacle course, and deposit its cargo of jelly in a square at the finish line.
As well as a suitable bit of humour for the show, the segment also acted as a neat showcase for the set’s functions. Its ability to drive around and tackle uneven terrain was advertised, as was its ability to deposit its cargo in a specific place.
The show closed out proper with a closing party, which featured a performance from L.L.A.M.A – mascot for the ill-fated VIDIYO theme. This acted as another showcase for what the LEGO line-up was capable of, and featured the song Shake from L.L.A.M.A, Ne-Yo and Carmen DeLeon. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to give VIDIYO the shot in the arm it needed.
LEGO CON reception
So, how was LEGO CON received amongst its viewers? That probably depended on what kind of LEGO fan you were. Younger audiences got on better with the convention thanks to its interactive elements, fun segments and building tips. Moments like the LEGO Technic jelly race were also entertaining, even if they weren’t explicitly aimed at the younger LEGO fan.
For older LEGO fans, the show had a lot of content that didn’t directly appeal to us. Major reveals like the LEGO Star Wars sets had already been unearthed through other channels, while other activities like the LEGO DOTS mural maker were clearly aimed at the younger LEGO fan. Other segments on themes like Friends and NINJAGO were also of limited interest, even if these did – at times – help us understand the LEGO design process better.
The convention overall also suffered from technical issues, with several outages and resolution issues during the show. The choice of platform may have been an issue: failing to use any kind of live chat limited our ability to communicate. That said, the LEGO Group’s focus on its younger audience might account for this.