Holiday Gift Guide day 3: $25-$50

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'Twas 3 weeks before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a polybag mouse. :o)

At first glance, I imagined that I would be overwhelmed with potential candidate sets in the $25 - $50 price range. However, even with 80+ sets from which to choose, I found myself continually peeking both higher (Attack on Weathertop 9472) and lower (Garbage Truck 4432).

That being said, it seems this is the "Retailer Exclusive" range as I counted at least a dozen in the lot, some of which are "must haves" for the avid collector. And it is from these 12 finalists that I have made my choice.

For Adults: 6857 The Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape ($39.99 / £39.99)

I think an argument can be made that this is not only one of the best Batman sets, but also one of the best sets ever produced by LEGO.

For a licensed set, the price is very reasonable so long as you're not shopping at Toys R Us. The price/piece ratio is good. The set comes with five iconic minifigures along with a plethora of interesting and rare pieces. The track pieces alone had me desperate to get this set, if not multiples of this set.

Besides the great pieces, figures and price, this set offers a ton of playability. Additionally, it stands well on its own as a display piece for those of us "big kids" who like to keep a set in the office for those quiet times at work. :o)

Whether you're shopping for your nephew or simply nudging the spouse, this is one set you don't want to miss.

The Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape is currently available from LEGO shop@home.

For children: 6141 My First Farm ($24.99, £19.99)

This next selection was a much, much easier choice.

As a first time father, I have quickly been introduced to (and fallen in love with) Duplo. Throw in our affinity for animals and it was an inevitability that my son would have this farm. :o)

I'm not yet a Duplo afficionado, but I've so far been very pleased with the price points, especially this one. Besides the four animals and great fence pieces, you get a farmer, tractor and a couple of swivel doors/windows. Apparently, the set also came with several flowers but we mostly leave those be. ;o)

One of the great things about this set is the variety of play possibilities. Some days, it's all about stacking as many animals as possible on the car platform. Other days, we're building space ships with fence post wings and swivel door/window cockpits for the pig pilot. As much as we're looking forward to getting the Zoo and Photo Safari, we're honestly never bored with this set.

One thing to keep in mind though, is that once you go Duplo, there's no going back. Like Cheetos and discount Blu Rays, you can't stop at just one. In the wise words of Yoda, "Farm leads to Panda, Panda leads to Hangar and Hangar leads to Safari-ing." The farm set is the path to the Duplo side. ;o)

My First Farm is currently available from LEGO shop@home.

What would you have chosen from this list?

17 comments on this article

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By in Norway,

"The Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape" is a very nice set, and it would have been great to get it for 40$ or £, unfortunately, the only place I could find this was at lego.no, where it cost 500 NOK(88.42$ or 55.16£). I got it with free shipping, I thought, and sure, I didn't pay for the transportation, but I had to pay over 100 NOK in customs, because they brought it in from Germany.

In the U.S. you could get "Helm's Deep" or "Jabba's Palace" for this amount of money, so it's definitely not the set I would pick from this list.

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By in Germany,

The price for the Funhouse Escape is nice - too bad you cannot get it for that price - anywhere. Retail is apparently 49 Euros, at Amazon.de it is the cheapest with almost 70 Euros. I don't get it.

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By in United Kingdom,

It's still £39.99 at shop.LEGO.com in the UK. Personally I think it's one of the worse sets of the year but each to his own!

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By in United Kingdom,

As Huw says, 6857 Dynamic Due Funhouse Escape is £39.99 at shop.LEGO.com, but it's a whopping £49.99 at ToysRUs (a 25% mark up!!). It's great set with good minifigures.

I went in a TRU for the first time in ages at the weekend, and was staggered by some of their mark ups, on Lego and other toys. Vote with your feet folks!

As Mickitat says, 6857 is usually on Amazon (in the UK as well) at some horrible mark ups.

The only plus side to TRU is that the York branch still has a fair number of older/discontinued sets in stock, including 4842 Hogwarts Castle at £79.99 (whereas I saw them selling it for £109.99 last Christmas when my son wanted one).

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By in United States,

Thanks for the quick words about the Duplo Farm. I was torn between that and the Firestation for the 2-yr old son of my girlfriend. For some reason your note about the fence pieces swayed me.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ I think the reason it's marked up at TRU and Amazon UK is that it's a TRU exclusive in the UK.

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By in Sweden,

I actually thought the Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape was the biggest letdown of the year. Yes, the minifigures are all amazing but the building itself was really disappointing. It was just missing that something extra that I can't quite put my finger on. The fact that I had to pay full price definitely factors into it too though, if it'd just been a regular set that I could've found at a discount I don't think I'd have been quite as disappointed.

For my money, the best set in this price range is easily the Monster Fighters Crazy Scientist's lab. It was the only MF set that was a direct translation from the old horror movies the theme was inspired by, and who doesn't love Frankenstein? Great minifigures, and a really fun build.

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By in United Kingdom,

I have to say that I agree on the Funhouse set- I must admit that I did really buy it mostly for the figs, but its a really nice set too. And its really grown on me over time, and has some great little play features- who doesn't love sending Harley's cart wizzing down the tracks! :D
It was orginally £39.99 in ToyRUs, but they quite quickly seemed to add on the ridiculous mark-up. I really don't know why anyone shops there with the prices they charge.

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By in United States,

For those quiet times at work....HAHAHAHAHAHA

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By in United States,

I prefer batcave instead Dynamic Due Funhouse Escape

In TRU is on sale $54 in US however, i need to buy Dynamic Due Funhouse Escape haha

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By in United States,

Theoretically, Weathertop is on Amazon right now on sale in this price range. I, however, limited my review to MSRP for this range. :o)

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By in United States,

The Funhouse is a great set, has great figs and fun playability, but don't ever try to pick it up...it's very fragile. I spend a lot of time rebuilding it.
My son also has the Duplo farm, but received it just when he was pretty much outgrown from Duplo... It happens fast. The animals and tractor are cute.
Set 6868 - Hulk's Helicarrier Breakout is a great set if you can find it for the MSRP of USD $49.99 or less.

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By in New Zealand,

Ahhh, funhouse, that's a great choice. Not much more than a frontage, but for the price it has all the minifigs you could want and tons of playability. Would have been nicer as a larger, £80 set, but wouldn't everything?

That Dulpo farm looks great, I must get it, my son loves tractors.

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By in United States,

I'm honestly surpised that my choice of the funhouse has been mostly panned so far. I believe I've near lost all of my community credibility (did I have any to star with?) by labeling it one of the best ever. ;o)

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By in United States,

Adults I'm saying 6864, as it's better in the price per piece and at $50, and kids, I'm going 2 ways: For those just starting, 4635 is a no-brainer with 525 pieces for $30, otherwise, 60009 for the others with 5 minifigs for $50, but the $30 set with Chase McCain is another solid bet.

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By in United States,

One of my favorites in this price range is #3061 City Park Cafe. It comes with come wonderful colors, would fit equally well into City or Friends, and has some great accessory pieces.

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By in Canada,

Dont feel bad yellowcastle, We all have our own tastes and it was just last week when it was I getting slag for posting about my EB shopping experience. :)

I do feel however that the funhouse is NOT the best set ever, and far from it when looking at other years. Perhaps when looking at price point and figures it is a nice set for the current 2012 season but even then I may have chosen a different one.

To be able to get the joker , harley, riddler, robin,batman, track piece, second riddler head, fish, barrel etc in one set is a good buy.

IF I WERE TO CHOOSE one set in the licenced theme sets I would choose 6862 Superman Vs Power Armor Lex, This set gets you the first look at superman, potentially the only version of wonder woman, lex and a great little suit all for a very reasonable price point. But thats me...

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