Holiday Gift Guide day 2: $10-$25

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In the second part of our gift guide, I'm going to pick two sets in the $10-$25 price range, the sort of thing you might buy a nephew, or maybe even a not-quite-an-AFOL friend who needs a bit of encouragement to become one!

So I've picked a set for my imaginary nephew and one for my imaginary 'on the brink of becoming an AFOL' friend.

For children: 9441: Kai’s Blade Cycle ($14.99 / £12.99)

There's no doubt that Ninjago has been a fantastic success for LEGO this year, perhaps more so than last year, when the sets were mediocre at best.

At first I didn't 'get' many of the sets but once I'd seen the cartoon it all clicked and I found myself wanting, and buying, most of them. If it had that effect on me, I reckon boys in the target age group will be very pleased to receive this set.

A few of the sets don't get much air-time in the cartoon but the four vehicles that the Ninjas morph into for transportation certainly do, and Kai's motorbike is one of the coolest (along with Cole's 4-wheeler).

It's a sleek looking thing, full of interesting angles, and a neat 'big blade attack function' activated by pressing down just in front of the handlebars.

Rattla and his Hypnobrai staff in a 'shrine' complete the set to give Kai a serpentine opponent and provide hours of play opportunities.

For adults: 4434 Dump Truck ($19.99, £14.99)

There are so many excellent sets in this price range (this BrickList shows them all) so it was very difficult to choose one set that would appeal to my not-quite-an-AFOL friend.

An obvious choice would have been a licensed set, of which there are plenty in this price bracket, but in the end I chose this City truck.

Licensed sets are great, but they are expensive for what you get in terms of number of parts, and are not necessarily the best introduction to LEGO due to their specialised nature.

This truck, on the other hand, is one of the best City sets to have been released in recent years and showcases everything that's good about LEGO: realistic; recognisable to everyone; lots of parts (222); interesting and not too difficult to build; fun to play with and great to look at and display. For that reason I think my NAFOL will soon become a AFOL once he's built this...

What would you have chosen from this list?

18 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

I agree on both of these sets, absolutely excellent, but my pick for older buyers would be set 9496, Desert Skiff. I think that is one of the best sets in that price range Lego have produced in recent years and for a Star Wars fan it can't be beaten in my opinion at this price point.

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By in United Kingdom,

The dumper truck is great but the 4-wide rear fender leaves the rear wheels exposed and the wheel arches floating in space. Easy enough to fix with a little work - after that it looks near perfect ( apart from the wheels looking a tad too small). Agreed it's a great set for a NAFOL and the pick of the list. Next best would be Shelob.

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By in Norway,

I think you picked the best City set, but, like CapnRex and Missing Brick, I would have gone with Desert Skiff or Shelob.

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By in United Kingdom,

My imaginary friend hates Star Wars :-)

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By in United States,

4201 Loader and Tipper is another great set. It's a bit cheaper with less pieces but it's like a two-for-one deal including two vehicles and two figures with some great playability! AND those neat Mining minifigures. (Don't get me wrong, 4434 Dump Truck is an awesome set too.)

Now if your imaginary friend lives in the States, it would be no contest: 60018 Cement Mixer. Some price as 4434, one less piece, two figures, but the playability is off the charts!

Now I'm off to rebuild both 4434 and 4201. :o)

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By in Sweden,

I'd probably pick the Dirt Bike Transporter of the "Great Vehicles" series. The dump truck is really nice, but it doesn't quite have a coolness factor, which the Dirt Bike Transporter does. Plus, in addition to the jeep and trailer you get two bikes which may bring this NAFOL's memories back to the LEGO motorcycles of Ye Olden Days.

However, if this person was also a big fan of either Star Wars, LOTR or comic book movies, the Desert Skiff, Shelob Attacks and Power Armor Lex sets are utterly fantastic and among the best of the year (regardless of price). Great minifigures showing just how far LEGO has come, and really fun builds that do a good job showcasing what LEGO building is like in 2012.

Oh, and I'd like to give a shout-out to the Mining Truck as an alternative to one of the "Great Vehicles". It's really expensively priced in the U.S. ($35!) for some strange reason, but the UK price is within this range (£20). It's a really iconic and true-to-life vehicle that is sure to bring back memories of playing with such Big Yellow Trucks as a kid. Downside is that it only has one minifigure (and costs more than the Great Vehicles sets), but I think it deserves a mention at least.

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By in United Kingdom,

Excellent feedback, keep it coming!

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By in United Kingdom,

Depending on the age range for 'children' I think the fire truck, but for adults, maybe something more serious, so I think the truck is a good choice. I wouldn't recommend Hero Factory as there's not much you can do with them, and they don't stand up without careful consideration.
@Huw, don't you just hate it when your imaginary friends don't like Star Wars, he's really difficult to buy presents for

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By in New Zealand,

The Ninjago motorbike is a great suggestion for kids, I'd add Olivias treehouse instead though if that kid happens to be a girl :) ..

Also, #3817 the flying dutchman is arguably more set for your money and seems to promote more constructive play than the motorbike. It's probably not what kids would ask for, but it's what I'd rather get them.

For very young kids, the new 'duplo with books' are fantastic, and I've bought many of them already. They go down a treat with 2 year olds, with #6759 busy farm being the best, because all little kids love making animal noises and playing with animals.

For AFOLs I'd suggest a gandalf or shelob (the small LOTR sets are uncommonly good) but that probably also just reflects my preferred choice of licence :) ... aside from that, #850486 rock band is a brilliant set for AFOLs, and has a uniqueness and collectability that's not often found at this price range.

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By in Canada,

Girl? *I* want Olivia's Treehouse. How cool is it! (Okay, I'd replace the smooth pink 6x1 planks with brown ones. But that's it! =] )

My 18 month old daughter has had Busy Farm and Caterpillar now for a few months... she ADORES them. She likes reading the stories, she loves the animals especially piggy and frog. She laughs when I moo or ribbit. She recognizes the animals to the ones on the page and they 'walk' on the page (or 'stomp'). Best of all, she is progressing from pulling the duplo apart on her own to just recently developing her motor skills to fit pieces back together. Not super-easy yet, but she loves putting additional 4x4 pieces on top of Froggie for a hat! Or trying to put their heads back on. It's been amazing to watch and she's nowhere near tired of the sets. Outstanding!

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By in United States,

What does NAFOL stand for?

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By in Canada,

Dirt Bike Transporter is a favourite, both for me and my son. We have all four sets from the City Line (4431, 4432, 4433 and 4434), and you can't beat the Dirt Bike Transporter for playability and coolness.

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By in United States,

Any Great Vehicles set (4431-4435 or 60016-60018) for both is my pick.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^^Not-yet AFOL..

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By in United States,

Last years Ninjago sets were great! The Dragons were all very well designed and sleek, and the Fire Temple was one of the best sets I've bought in a while... but this years were great as well.

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By in United States,

I would have chosen Jay's Storm Fighter instead of Kai's Blade Cycle. I actually hate the Blade Cycle. The blade attack function barely does anything, and Kai looks small and ridiculous standing up on the back.

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By in United States,

I bought three dump trucks when it first came out. The first one I left as is, the second I modified so that it can pull a trailer for my skid loader, and the third I used for parts.

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By in United States,

Huw - please continue to use this format for photos. The other version doesn't display on my computer [Some virus protection or other.]

And these are such nice photos.

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