NEW YORK—Upon walking into a gray, bricked-facade gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea area, color immediately flooded my eyes. LEGO chose an unassuming location to show off some of the more than 100 new sets coming out in time for the 2018 holiday season. The company literally took the blank canvas of the gallery’s interior and splashed it with colorful bricks, some waiting patiently in buckets begging to be dumped out and some built into magical express trains, massive starfighters, and working roller coaster replicas.
As an avid LEGO fan for years (I had my father’s old LEGO bricks to play with as a kid), I’m always struck by the hundreds of new sets that come out each year. According to Amanda Madore, senior brand relations manager at LEGO, the company constantly tries to spice things up in new sets with various levels of intricacy. While some builders are perfectly content sitting down for a few hours with a 1,000-piece set, others want a burst of building that’s just as fun and yields almost instant gratification. Also, some fans can’t afford to drop hundreds on a huge LEGO set and that’s where new forms like Brick Headz come in.
Even branded collections from pop-culture heavy-weights Star Wars and Harry Potter have new sets that appeal to all kinds of users. Both collections have been a part of LEGO’s lineup for years, and Madore told me that the differences between the old sets and the news ones can be striking. New sets pay more attention to detail and cover a wide range of objects, characters, situations, and settings, which allows the company to appeal to all types of LEGO fans including those just discovering their love for building.
Included in the releases are new Powered Up sets that incorporate remote controls, smart device connections, and the LEGO Boost coding toolkit. Users can personalize Powered Up-ready sets with dynamic motion, lighting effects, and other special features depending on the set. While LEGO already had some connected toys, the Powered Up platform officially launches on July 1 with mobile apps for Android and iOS. Powered Up sets including the LEGO Batman App-Controlled Batmobile, the LEGO City Passenger Train, and LEGO City Steam train will debut later this year, along with the rest of the new LEGO sets. Be sure to check out some of the forthcoming sets in our gallery above.