‘What’s the point of the LEGO Titanic?’

Author, screenwriter and adult fan of LEGO Emma Kennedy bemoans boring big sets that just don’t do anything.

I had a text message from a fellow adult fan of LEGO this week: “Are you getting the Titanic?”

“Absolutely not,” I replied.

To which she replied: “Me neither. What’s the point of it?” And therein lies my problem with the big display sets the LEGO Group has started offering up – they cost an arm and a leg and after the build is done, so what? It’s just a massive amount of bricks gathering dust that you can do nothing with other than stare at.  

I have the same problem with 10276 Colosseum, another set I’ve turned my nose up at, and I think I’ve put my finger on why: it and 10294 Titanic are a wasted opportunity.

Let’s start with the Colosseum. Yes, it looks impressive, but that’s where the enjoyment of this set ends. Now consider what the LEGO Group could have done with it. The Colosseum was a vivid and electric amphitheatre. It was used for gladiatorial contests, historical re-enactments, dramas based on ancient myths and even, for a while, mock sea battles. It was the epicentre of epic entertainment.

LEGO for Adults 10276 Colosseum lifestyle 1 resized featured

If I’d been designing this set, I wouldn’t have presented the ruin. I’d have made it the buzzing space it was: keep it simple – two levels – with the suggestion of the stadium around it but not the whole thing. On level one I’d have the guts of the Colosseum, a teeming hive of activity; the animals, the armoury, the different types of gladiators. The minifigures alone would have been off-the-scale amazing.

Then, on top, the arena itself, with interchangeable scenarios: one for gladiatorial, another for ancient myths and heck, why not, one for the sea battles. Now isn’t that an infinitely more exciting and interesting set? 

Same with the Titanic – in the rush to make a great big boat, they’ve ignored everything that was interesting about it. They could have made it half the size but with decks you can remove and stack. We could have had the engine room, kitchens, the ballroom, the dining room, the cabins going from steerage to first class. And again, we could have had minifigures.

For me, enjoying a big set is about detail, moving parts, minifigures and quirky fun – one of the reasons I’m so looking forward to building 21330 Home Alone, which, from reviews I’ve seen, seems to have got everything bang on right – but if a set is for nothing more than staring at, I don’t get the point and I’m certainly not going to be persuaded to part with my cash for one.

Emma Kennedy LEGO Technic Millennium Falcon
The Liza Minnellium Falcon.

The other option, of course, is to do a custom version – I’m still labouring away on my Liza Minnellium Falcon, and I have started to turn my mind to another version of the Death Star (I have already made the Death Spa).

It’s surely only a matter of time before the LEGO Group puts out another Ultimate Collector Series version of the iconic space weapon, but here’s a plea: instead of it being a spherical grey lump, why not make it a spherical grey lump that reveals a brilliant and detailed interior? 

Imagine that – here’s the new Death Star, which looks exactly like the Death Star. Oh, hang on, it’s on a hinge, you can open it up and there’s Darth Vader’s bedroom. 

There’s a temptation when the big sets come along to leap at them feet first, but it’s the ones where detail and fun are given priority – think 70620 NINJAGO City or 75978 Diagon Alley – that are so more enjoyable than the sets that aren’t. Here’s looking at you, 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina

LEGO is at its very best when there’s a nod to humour, and I wish the LEGO Group would extend that to every big set it does. If you’re asking people to shell out eye-watering amounts of money for a huge amount of bricks, make it worth the time and effort.

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LEGO For Adults 10294 Titanic Emma Kennedy 3

Emma Kennedy

Emma Kennedy is an author, actor, presenter and AFOL who runs Relax With Bricks on YouTube. Follow her LEGO antics on Twitter at @legowith.

48 thoughts on “‘What’s the point of the LEGO Titanic?’

  • 10/11/2021 at 00:24
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    Personally, I don’t ‘play’ with Lego at my age, I enjoy the build. I love the modular sets, can appreciate the interiors but the days of playing with a mining are long gone, instead I prefer the architectural element. And designing buildings etc.

    Each to their own but I do wonder how many adults actually play v design?

    And who wouldn’t love a mining scale Titanic, let’s be serious it would have to be so massive to be anywhere near realistic it would be triple the length of the current one and cost a fortune. And how would it be displayed?

    Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 21:14
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    Uhh. Why is a 50-something-year-old asking for playsets?

    If you want playsets, buy playsets. If LEGO doesn’t make the playset you want that’s the amazing thing about LEGO. You can make anything YOU want.

    Reply
    • 08/11/2021 at 12:50
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      I’m sorry author. But did you even look into the Titanic. It can split into multiple parts. Showcasing the different levels inside. And even the engine room with spinning motor. You are slightly daft if you turned your nose up to it.

      Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 19:14
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    Seems a collection of parts gathering dust applies to all Lego kits.

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  • 07/11/2021 at 18:45
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    I’m glad someone said it!
    I would go a step beyond:
    Lego is losing site of a core appeal of Lego..
    .build it, break it, make something new.
    I saw this with my daughter….after building a star wars set she would play, look at it for a few days the put it on a shelf to gather dust.
    Who would build the Titanic and then tear it down to make a space station? Probably very few, of any.
    Maybe I’m a curmudgeon, but I’m tired of specialized sets.

    Reply
    • 08/11/2021 at 19:23
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      I understand these sets are not for everyone, but I don’t see or agree on your issue of Lego loosing sight of the core appeal of its products. Whenever I go to the store I see plenty of the classic sets available for which I do believe serves the purpose of what you are claiming they have lost sight of! These large build once sets are in my opinion in addition to the build then take apart and build something new sets you refer to and not a replacement as you are seemingly implying. Stick to the classic sets you like and leave the other sets to the people that enjoy those.

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  • 07/11/2021 at 18:05
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    There are sets for everyone. I personally would never buy certain themes or sets but I understand that others might love those sets even if its just a small niche of people.

    For example the football stadiums I think they are one of the most niche products Lego has done as it requires a football fan, Lego fan and a fan of that specific club with some spare cash too. Yet somehow they keep making new ones every year. In America nobody understands why they are made but in the rest of the world there might be those few people who tick all the checkboxes and will go out and get them on release date just like I did.

    So should Lego stop making these sets or keep diversifying as they have done?

    Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 17:26
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    Look at Orthanc. It has a lot of what the author wants. From the front, a display piece. From the back, levels showing what’s inside. Maybe not Saruman’s bathroom, but still, lots of minifigs, and brick built Treat.

    Reply
    • 08/11/2021 at 10:42
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      I guess you just don’t understand the mindset of a collector. My cousin is a lover of Naval history and shipwrecks. When she saw the lego titanic, she flipped and had to had it to her collection of models. Singer people just want to have something to look at and say “I built that” I personally have the lego ecto-1 sitting on my shelf and it has the pride of place in my Ghostbusters memorabilia collection.

      I see so many articles that boil down to, “I don’t want this thing, so therefore it shouldn’t exist”

      Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 15:40
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    Some are in it simply for the act of building. Building these types of sets can be a zen like experience.

    Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 14:12
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    The point is having fun building it, admire the results and show it to others. I actually build my sets, admire them for a couple days and disassemble them so I can build them again in a year or so.

    Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 13:07
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    Chearly doesnt make model kits either. Dont think lego are not getting the point seems to be a small minority of lego fans.

    I cant be the only one when i was young wishing for realistic builds in lego, Like the massive black truck i got in the early 90s (love that kit). Id sit for hours with piles of lego as a 10 year old making huge planes and helicopters wish this brick was more sloped or wishing it was a massive multi coloured mess because i didnt have lots of the same colours.

    This titanic kit is fantastic id of love it at 10 years old and id love it today just need money for it but isnt that the issue with all lego, just to damn costly.

    You dont have to buy it and you haven’t, the ones that love this will is it in their price range.

    Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 09:38
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    I think you’re missing the point of lego.

    Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 04:49
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    Sets like these are meant for display. Besides, the new Titanic set has moving parts and you can open it up and look inside. It’s not just some “set that does nothing”.

    It’s valid to not want to purchase these sets. It’s up to the person to decide if they want to spend the money on these LEGO sets or not. But this whole article completely misses the point of what display sets are meant to be. You don’t buy a model car or hang up a picture and then complain that they don’t do anything and gather dust.

    Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 03:37
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    My sons grew up with LEGOS. Both were very creative with them! One built a motorized tram across his room. LEGOS are a great way to find your creative niche, not only to play! At $629.99 I would not buy LEGO Titanic! I have studied the great ships. The Wilhelm Gustlov, Sultana (Civil War which I study too) and esp. Titanic. I would spend the money toward a plane tix to see Titanic museum, on books or toward a $100,000 trip in sub to actual Titanic.! It is amazing how LEGO began selling wooden toys and is now worth billions of dollars.I have much respects for the founders ,& current owners.

    Reply
  • 07/11/2021 at 01:24
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    I think they are both great sets and I have been waiting for the titanic for years

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 19:44
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    Although I’m a fan primarily of the Technic sets, especially the large ones, and I can understand your position of creating a very expensive very large paperweight possessing a general lack of “playability”, I think that you do not give enough credit to the simple joy of building such a unique and beautiful model. As soon as I saw the Titanic, I couldn’t wait to get it, but I have a love of history almost as great as my love for Lego. Beauty, as it’s said, is in the eye of the beholder. My biggest problems are where to put it once done, and what to build next. The Beatles mosaic Lego kits have caught my eye too. And aren’t they going to provide appreciation, reflection and possible conversation as they do nothing but hang on my wall once done?

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 18:08
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    Obviously opinion…but mine would be this is the worst take. I’m at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I love the huge scale sets and despise mini figs and hate the detailed interior rooms. The Jurassic Park gate comes to mind with the movie scenes in the back. Scrap those and give me a more detailed, heavier, mechanical gate instead!

    I also agree with the other comment here. Playability and functions do nothing for me. They get played with for 2 minutes after the build and never again. Lego is about the build and the display. I do the challenging build then they go up on display shelves. Once a year they come down, get taken apart, cleaned and then rebuilt for display again.

    I couldn’t throw my money at a set like Titanic fast enough!

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 17:56
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    Yeah, I don’t think the author gets it either. Presenting their opinion as if it would be universal and questioned by no one….

    I love my colosseum. I do have to dust it yes but it is beautiful and acts as a background for lots of work video calls now! Building it was an absolute joy, really soothing. Worth every penny.

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 16:40
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    I am convinced that these two sets are a metaphor for the agenda peddling that LEGO is doing right now, as well as its just plain bad overall policies that have been happening within LEGO since the 2000s. Now with that being said, I actually do like the big new adult themed sets, as they have a lot of good pieces that could be combined with other equally good pieces that could actually benefit a larger LEGO MOC and good LEGO builders of all ages should recognize that as a part of the exact sort of mindset that defines the innovative and imaginative LEGO builder.

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 15:50
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    Ok…. then this could be said for any damn lego set not being actively played with by a child…. ALL MY LEGOS SIT AND COLLECT DUST ONCE BUILT!!! The purpose IS the build! It’s good for your brain, for a plethora of reasons. If the build is NOT the number one reason to buy any set, I dunno wtf you’re doing here.

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 15:20
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    Buying a complete huge sculpted set is a ‘heck no’ but you building a giant gaudy custom is ‘aww yeah’ ???

    Think the point got glazed over….cant have space to build and display and also not have space to build and display…

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 14:21
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    I wholeheartedly agree. Skipped both these sets as well but my family will definitely be doing the Home Alone house as an advent calendar!

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 13:27
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    I couldn’t disagree more. I can’t wait to get the Titanic but have no interest in Home Alone.. It’s architectural style lacks any warmth or character and therefore makes a basic display piece. I only ‘play’ with my Lego a limited time after assembly (which is for me the main interest) and I like to display something stunning, which is definitely achieved by the Titanic.

    Reply
    • 10/11/2021 at 13:33
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      I think that these big display kits fit the same hobby niche as car models and gundam, in that the joy is in the building, display and curation.

      Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 13:21
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    It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
    Not about the final display, it’s the joy and occupational therapy value you get from building it- Just like a jigsaw puzzle but the marvel of it is not just the visual (like a puzzle) it’s also the engineering marvels and beautiful building techniques hidden inside.

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 12:38
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    I appreciate your point of view, but for me the joy of the Colosseum is the building of it, AND the display. I am a history junkie, and Roman history in particular.
    I don’t buy lego to play with it, I buy to sit down, relax, have a nice cup of tea, and forget about the stress in my life. That is the point of these big builds to me.
    Now, I will not be getting the Titanic, as it represents the modern age, and I have zero interest in that.
    Nice article, always happy to read about other adult lego fans!

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 11:51
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    The point is to, oh i don’t know, REMEMBER THE PEOPLE WHO WERE KILLED. Honestly its just lego bricks you Don’t have to complain about some plastic toys.

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 11:47
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    What do adults do with 100 piece Lego sets? These big sets are fun to build. That’s the point. Not to play with them. If you don’t want to display them after, put them back in the box and sell them for pretty close to what you paid. The secondary market is strong for big sets.

    Reply
  • 06/11/2021 at 08:49
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    This article I think is really missing the point here. I myself and am adult and I enjoy building Lego, I don’t have many sets due to my hobby lying elsewhere so I don’t have the cash to invest into both, but for me the appeal is the fact these sets become nice display pieces to look at and say to myself “I made that”. The very fact I own it is enough to bring a smile to my face, if I had the Lego titanic it would take a long time to make and I could happily stand there and just stare at it most days and be satisfied. I think whete this article misses the point is that that sets such as the Lego flowers, titanic, UCS star wars sets, is that they are aimed at a totally different demographic for people who just want really cool looking Lego sets to show off. So this feels more like an author issue rather than a set issue, this piece should be considered more of an opinion piece

    Reply
  • 05/11/2021 at 21:07
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    Totally agree. I want to be able to play with my lego, modify and MOC it, tell stories and make it my own. A large scale display piece that looks just like it does on the box and the same as everyone else’s has little interest to me. I’m yet to see anyone do anything interesting with the coliseum and it will be the same for the titanic

    Reply
  • 05/11/2021 at 21:04
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    I would say your case is almost the exact opposite case I’m in. I’ll state my example based on the Titanic since it’s the example you used and will relate it to one of the sets I currently do have.
    I would be much less interested in the Titanic if it were smaller and could come apart and stack and see all the rooms. I have the Daily Bugle set of which you can take all the front walls off of the building to see all of the inner details; However the piece is displayed up on a shelf so that removing the walls never occurs. Any time anyone has asked me about the piece I have told them that the walls come off, but it’s not something that gets interacted with because it’s a showpiece now. It was fun to build the internals, and I know they’re there but they don’t get interacted with.
    I’m interested in the coliseum for the same reason, as a showpiece. I don’t have the time or imagination anymore to be taking things apart and looking at them all the time. They get built and as you said collect dust. As do any other decorations, art pieces or picture frames that any one collects or displays within their house. However being able to build something and display it being made of Lego is it’s own choice of display / art work.

    Reply
  • 05/11/2021 at 20:34
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    The purpose of The Colosseum for me is the compliment my licensed replica props from Gladiator in my home theater so while you have a point, and yes I am the exception rather than the rule, my reasons for liking the set are there. Throw one of the impressive light kits into it, and tag it into my home automation and my home theater and it adds a bit of architectural and cinematic snap to a ten foot, 4K projection system. Let the dogpiling begin! 🙂

    Reply
  • 05/11/2021 at 20:10
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    This article really fails to acknowledge that different people like Lego for different reasons, and that that is a good thing. Personally I don’t care for play sets or features, I like models. I don’t like “quirky fun” or whimsy, and certainly don’t want to have to start pulling a model apart to show people that there are things inside. I would never wish Lego would stop making play sets because they aren’t for me.

    I have hand crafted ocean liner models on display in my house already alongside my Lego collection, so when I saw the Lego Titanic announced I knew it would be an immediate buy. I don’t know that there has ever been another set I have been so excited for, the perfect intersection of two interests.

    I like displaying Lego models, and find they are interesting even to people who aren’t generally interested in Lego themselves because they are relatable. At some point most people have tried to build something out of Lego and know how difficult it can be to make something that looks good. Most haven’t tried to hand craft a model, and have no idea how much work is involved.

    Reply
  • 05/11/2021 at 19:44
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    Yes but they will rise in value.

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  • 05/11/2021 at 19:25
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    That is… if I can get it ordered! Seems to be always out of stock. 🙁

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  • 05/11/2021 at 19:23
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    In the 1980s my father was a huge fan of the whole National Geographic Titanic thing. He also loved assembling those styrene plastic models, including versions of the Titanic. Now that he’s retired, he is much more concerned about his health. I see the Titanic Lego kit as a perfect gift for him to assemble this winter, indoors, without toxic glues and thinners.

    Reply
  • 05/11/2021 at 19:03
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    “Why do people like things I don’t like?”

    People look for different things out of sets and that’s ok. So you prefer detailed, mini-fig -focused sets but that doesn’t mean it should be the only type of set Lego creates (and I say that as someone who prefers those kind of sets too). I see (along with Lego) that some adult builders are going to prefer display pieces like the Titanic and Coliseum. Staring at them is the point.

    Also I’m trying to wrap my head around how a minfig scale Titanic set would work, even at half the size. It wouldn’t even look like the Titanic at that point. It would just be some random ship.

    Reply
  • 05/11/2021 at 18:51
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    Personally, I love vehicles. And I like design aesthetics. A set like 21330 Home Alone does nothing for me, whereas 42115 Lamborghini Sian is a brilliant set. Our respective preferences are completely subjective.

    Titanic would be amazing if you could remove the decks and reveal detailed rooms inside. It’s clearly a tradeoff between designing a playset versus a properly scaled 3D replica of the ship. If you want both, even at microfigure scale, you probably have to increase the size and more than double the number of pieces.

    Or maybe ‘the point’ is that it’s your job to modify the model into a playset. I’m sure you would spend another $600 on Bricklink, but how satisfying would it be to then have the Titanic playset that you desire.

    Reply
  • 05/11/2021 at 17:51
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    Agree with Lightyear. Why does everything always have to be something else and not acceptable if not liked.
    ‘Whats the point’, its boring, I would have done this, I would have done that. Enjoy things for what they are, and if not enjoyed move along.

    Maybe ‘Let’s put a revolving clown mask on the Mona Lisa’ could be Emma’s next post, as the current artwork is very low energy I am sure she would argue.

    Reply
  • 05/11/2021 at 16:42
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    “It’s just a massive amount of bricks gathering dust that you can do nothing with other than stare at.”

    This describes most Lego sets aimed at adults. Even if there are “play features” in a set. For most AFOLs, once it’s built and the “play features” have been tinkered with upon building, it just becomes a display piece. I think that is where this article is missing the point. By suggesting there is no point to these sets or diminishing the appeal of sets as display pieces I think it’s the author that is missing the point.

    Reply
    • 05/11/2021 at 19:25
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      Yeah, I have to agree that this article misses the mark for me… I get that it’s an opinion piece on strictly-display-only sets, but that’s what they are – display sets, they’re meant to “gather dust”. The pleasure comes from the build and from admiring the finished product. Different strokes for different folks, I guess, but many display-only 18+ sets are just not made for after-building play, because that’s not their purpose…

      Reply
    • 06/11/2021 at 02:36
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      I couldn’t agree more. The Colosseum is known for being tedious but not the Titanic. Most AFOLs enjoy building. We are adults and don’t always need play features. Why do you think model kit makers enjoy the craft? After they finish those model planes and cars sit on shelves just the same. This is her opinion to have, but is nowhere near the norm or consensus of the community.

      Reply
    • 06/11/2021 at 07:51
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      Completely agree! Not being kids, we just want the enjoyment of building something complex and then display it to our friends.

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    • 06/11/2021 at 15:49
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      Excellent commentary. Spot on.

      Reply
    • 06/11/2021 at 21:06
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      I don’t agree, I quite like the diversity of Lego products and being able to build a great display piece and then have it at the office, everyone coming in, praising it is one way to enjoy Lego. The other way may be spending ages building a Liza Falcon. And yet another swooshing the planes and fighting with minifigs. Every way is awesome.

      Reply
    • 07/11/2021 at 07:40
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      Most of these sets as a display model are so great to have in your living room. It’s always something visitors and friends are interested in. And for me the building experience is the joy I get out of a Lego set. And to display something this massive and recognisable is great!

      Reply

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