What is the best LEGO set ever?

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I'm assisting Dorling Kindersley on a forthcoming book and I'd like you to help by answering this question:

In your opinion, which is the best LEGO set ever, and why?

Please choose one only and state why you chose it. Maybe it's because of its playability, its buildability, its size, because it contains unique or rare pieces, its beauty, its quality, its value for money, or if it's a first? Let us know!

I'm going to be collating the data after a couple of weeks so please put the set number and name as the first text in your reply, then the reasons why you chose it in a paragraph under it.

You can answer as a comment here, or in the forum, but please don't chatter about others' choices!

209 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

10188-1: Death Star : This has to be my favourite set, its got it all, its massive, its got 25 minifigs, and details all of the significant scenes in the Star Wars original trilogy, plus the one no-one has seen before with the yellow crane.

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By in United States,

IMO, handsdown http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=5974-1 Space Police III Galactic Enforcer.

It has extreme playability, exceptional swooshability, lots of extremely useful pieces (at least for building spaceship MOCs) and is easy to build for young children, yet has some more complicated techniques for older ones. Plus, the ship itself is awesomely designed, and is very eye-pleasing.

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By in United States,

10188 Death Star

Size, displayability, playability, multiple scenes n one set, Star Wars, number of minifigs

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By in United States,

31313-mindstorms ev3 this is one of the best real life applicable sets that they have put out there it is well worth the $350. It costs. They really improved lego robotics from nxt to ev3 this is probably one of the best lego sets I have ever seem available. The best part is you can even learn from this in the classroom more than any other lego set. With all the competitions and real life similarities this could be one of the most educational/fun sets ever made.

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By in {Unknown country},

I think probably one of the castles but I'm not sure which one.

6080 was one my brother had and it's still one of my earliest Lego memories. It had character, looked the part came with great figures and opened up for big battles but whether it's the best set of all time I'm just not sure.

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By in Germany,

10228-1: Haunted House

I love everything about this. The fact that it's an actual house and not just the front of it. The interior, the whole look of the thing - it's beautiful. And the minifigures populating it are equally great. A Zombie cook!

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By in Spain,

hi,
It has to be one from the ones I have, I'd pick 10188... I guess it has a bit everything
Regards

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By in Canada,

I would pick set 6067 The Guarded Inn (or The Town Wall Tavern). It's one of the few sets that combine two themes into one set (castle and town). The build is excellent and offers a variety of playability with 4 figures. Also it can combine via technic pins with other castle sets of the era adding to expanded playability. It comes with the unique red Tudor wall and corner wall pieces as well as the unique goblet and grapes sign. The price of the set was around $20 which makes it very accessible for everyone. The set also has a hidden mystery as to which faction the knight in the set belongs to. (I believe he's a Black Falcon)
Oh I almost forgot it was also such a beloved set that it was reissued as a legends set 10000.

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By in United States,

There are many viable "best sets" listed above...unfortunately, I haven't built any of them...yet.

Based on sets that I've actually built, I would have to say that my favorite set to date is the Emerald Night (10194).

My opinion is based on the following:

1) Reasonably priced.
2) Fun to build.
3) Very aesthetically pleasing appearance (especially the dark green).
4) Technically well designed.

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By in United Kingdom,

6080 King's Castle
One of my first ever significantly sized Lego sets. It had plenty of figures, horses and I liked the way it folded out into a big long wall. The portcullis and drawbridge were also nice features that added to the playability. More importantly, I would still love to build it even today. This is a pure classic to me.

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By in United States,

There are so many stellar sets, but if you held a gun to my head and told me to pick one I would go old school and say 6390 Main Street. For its time it has gobs of playability, a large piece count, two road plates, a crowd of minifigs, and functioned as the heart and soul of every Lego Town until the Modulars arrived in 2007, that is almost 30 years! Definately one of the greatest of all time.

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By in United Kingdom,

#6085 Black Monarch's Castle was always my favorite set as a child. Lots of fun to build, loads of figures with cool weapons/horses and lots of playability. I put it together for the first time in 20 odd years this year and could remember how I felt when I built it the first time in 1988!

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By in France,

8043: awesome design, inventory, mechanic et playability.

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By in United Kingdom,

Speaking as an AFOL, and so identifying things that helped transfer that old childhood love into an adult passion I'd have to pick from the big, inspiring sets that translated the hobby from child's play to something sophisticated.
Some of the modulars would be contenders for how they let you build the houses you always wished you could but never had the pieces for, and for that little piece of Legoland' mini world you feel like you own. The same goes for the USC Millennium Falcon for sheer awe, though it's size and price kinda count it out.

All that is to say why I've landed on 10212, Imperial Shuttle.
It's big and expensive, but I think it's just about at the acceptible limit for what it is, and the price per piece considering the size of some of the elements is good.
And it is absolutely awe inspiring! The size is breathtaking, though not so large it's cumbersome. The shape and beauty of the ship is captured amazingly well.
Build-wise, it is thoroughly engaging, and can be overwhelming but does make you go wow as it comes together. And it has a very pleasing blend of Technic and System that again, you always wished you could have (System sets with more Technic functionality; Technic sets with more System aesthetics).
For non-FOLs it's inspiring too, a lot of people have been seeing mine recently and every one of them comment and are amazed by it.
To my mind it's perfect in every way, and should be the crown in any AFOL's collection.

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By in Denmark,

10179 - USC Millennium Falcon, is the LEGO set I've had the most fun with. The desing is awesome and the sheer size of it is soooooo cool:-)

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By in United States,

I believe the second wave set from space police III The lunar limo is one of the best sets ever. A very nice combination of elegance and scrap. The minifigure Brick daddy is a very nice one because of the head and exclusive body parts. It had one of the highest review ratings on LEGO®.com. I also believe the best bionicle sets aver was 8697 Toa Ignika because of the first appearance of the mask of life. THe set also comes with some nice technic parts and exclusive figure parts. Another one is 79003 the unexpected gathering. With five rare minifigures and some nice curves takes the shpe of the building emerging out of the hill perfectly. The interior is nice with some parts that make it available of play in the trilogy. Any one of these could be the greatest set ever.

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By in United States,

Wow some Great picks above!
This was my favorite and the best Christmas gift ever! I played with it a million times it seems (even with transformers and GI Joe!)
http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6990-1

Why I loved it:

It was the golden age of lego...
Classic Space was in the second age (the future of the future!)
The galaxy saw it's first major epic conflict: The Explorers vs. Blacktron!
Minifigs had new helmet designs with tinted visors and most of the pieces in the set were all advanced. The monorail itself was spectacular! It was a design out of our dreams; it made us look forward to the future and the possibilities of advanced technology in transportation and exploration.
The rails and pillars were useful and very functional. The playability was contagious with the battery powered monorail able to move around the track and auto reverse at your command with the twist of the track knobs. You could host battles or land ships as the monorail raced around the track, flashing that little red light on it's own will.
The Domed habitat/com station was so innovative with it's gear controlled rotating radar and the ability transform the structure from habitat to interstellar comm station.
Including the hover craft "truck", the main rail station, and the retracting radar dishes, this set was the fulcrum of playability for classic space during the great minifig revolution of the 80's.
So much love...

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By in United States,

10228-1: Haunted House
It's a set that both my children and I love. It looks spectacular, it has tons of playability, it was an interesting build, and is fairly priced for what it is. I've yet to show it to someone that wasn't into Lego without them being impressed.

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By in United States,

6075 Big yellow castle. Historic, iconic. Took Lego from basic bricks into the modern era.

If not this, then 7140 from the 1999 first wave of SW sets. Started Lego on its current licensed-set success.

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By in United States,

I vote for the Lego Monster Fighters Haunted House - 10228-1. As an AFOL the piece count and the model size are favorable and the mini figures are good as well. But the overall reason for this vote is simply due to how unique it is. Even though we have the modular series of buildings this is nothing like those and is much more playable.

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By in United States,

I vote for 6990, the Futuron Monorail Transport System. Close 2nd for me would be 6399 Airport Shuttle. Can't go wrong with monorails!

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By in United States,

Looking back on sets I played with as a kid, my vote for best set goes to 6980 Galaxy Commander. Seriously a way cooler ship and toy than anything else of the time. Of course that is a sentimental choice.

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By in United States,

6285: Black Seas Barracuda
What kid at the time didn't want one of these for Christmas? My friend got this and I got the Caribbean Clipper. We played pirates for weeks on end.

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By in Australia,

5571-1: Giant Truck

Model Team produced some great models and this has to be the best looking truck Lego has ever released. The amount of detail that the interior and exterior have is amazing ( the engine, cab and the sleeper). CHROME, so much chrome, which highlights the awesomness of this set.

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By in United States,

The Hobbit Unexpected Journey Unexpected Gathering is the best Lego set ever!

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By in United Kingdom,

I vote set 10188 the death star, it has got tons of features, minifigures and good pieces.

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By in United Kingdom,

Definitely 4621 'Red Flash Station'.

... I kid! It's not April 1st yet!

On a serious note however, I would have to pick from the following 10:

4558 Metroliner (1991)
6090 Royal King's Castle (1995)
6285 Black Seas Barracuda (1989)
6349 Holiday Villa (1988)
6394 Metro Park & Service Tower (1988)
6385 Victory Lap Raceway (1988)
10182 Cafe Corner (2007)
10188 Death Star (2008)
10194 Emerald Night (2009)
10220 Camper Van (2010)

Now that's even harder! Three of my favourite LEGO sets of all time are from 1988 (a very good year), but I would have to settle with...

6285 Black Seas Barracuda. A perfect LEGO set in every sense; fun minifigures, an iconic model, and most importantly of all, exceptional playability. They really don't make 'em like they used to.

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By in Switzerland,

My choice is 79003 "An unexpected Gathering" for the following reasons: Great minifig selection, instantly recognizable representation of an iconic place from a beloved franchise, neat part selection, clever building techniques (e.g. the windows) and beautifully designed interior and details :D

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By in United Kingdom,

I find it very difficult to choose actually. There are plenty of challengers at different price points and varying themes. 7195 Ambush in Cairo, 5984 Lunar Limo, 10237 Tower of Orthanc, 10193 Medieval Market Village and 8038 The Battle of Endor are all challengers.

Nevertheless, for me it has to be 10188 Death Star. The playability is far superior to any other set, and I think it looks fantastic on display as well.

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By in United States,

My all time favorite was the Deep Freeze Defender from the Ice Planet series

http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=6973-1

It was all modular, making a ton of different combinations as these brave explorers ran into all kinds of trouble. That thing "crashed" so many times I could put it back together without the instructions. I especially loved how clever it was that the small ship would list up to launch position automatically when you opened it roll top door. Ahhh memories.

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By in United Kingdom,

10185 - Green Grocer.

Unique Building techniques (at the time)
Interior details (which was a first at the time)
Has great playability
Looks great with good colours and bay windows!
and has an overall nostalgic / retro feel.
A true modern classic!!

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By in United States,

Set 10236 the Ewok Village. This set looks fantastic. It includes 17 minifigures, and can be used in place of more than just an Ewok Village. Great for any Lego builder not just the star wars collectors.

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By in United States,

This is a great post. There are many reasons to pick a greatest set of all time: nostalgia, build, parts, minifigs, and playability.

for nostalgia I'd have to go with:

497 Galaxy Explorer. Great playability, great build, nice look, and lots of parts for hours of model building fun.

for overall playability, parts and minifigs:

10188 Death Star

I was about to make a runners-up list but my mind started jumping to a dozen sets before I even got one typed in. I'll just have to say there are too many runners-up to even start listing.

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By in United States,

So many models to choose from, but I have to go with the classic 6989 Mega Core Magnetizer.

Fantastic play features
Vibrant colors
GIGANTIC
Wonderful parts selection

Just an overall brilliant design

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By in United States,

10193: Medieval Market Village
This was the first 999+ piece set I got, and not only is it a beautiful display piece it also has great play value, villagers, and when it was available, excellent price per piece.
I would write a more in-depth review of the cons, but I'm not much of a writer. :P

I should say though - if I was picking from pre-2005 sets I'd probably go with 6285: Black Seas Barracuda, a lovely set, the first pirate ship, and so much nostalgia.

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By in United States,

10196: Grand Carousel

"Grand" is an understatement for this set. The only thing better than LEGO is LEGO that has movement and sound. The functionality that moves the horses up and down is fantastic and the best part...it's all to minifig scale and just looks "right".

Now all we need is a ferris wheel in proper minifig scale.

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By in United Kingdom,

Has to be 928/497 Galaxy Explorer.

First time I'd ever seen non-generic printed bricks...
First time I'd ever seen such a large set where every brick included was for a particular model...
Three different types of hinges all in the same place allowing unprecedented levels of articulation...
Crater baseplate, instead of a monochrome block of featureless studs...
Four minifigs... with real gripping hands and arms that moved!

I lusted over this set for nearly three decades before I got a copy all of my ownsome. :oD

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By in Netherlands,

10188 Death Star

1. The playability is great. The set has a lot of neat features and a lot of different rooms (and has a lot of minifigs).
2. The size is impressive. Obviously.
3. The build was awesome. Though it took a long time, it certainly wasn't boring, there was lots of variation.
4. The detailing. It contains every room that had a big part in the movies, either Episode IV or VI. The rooms are very neatly designed and overall very accurate.
5. The minifigures. There are 24 of them, plus a Dianoga monster. Some of them are unique to this set.

I think that pretty much sums it up. It's the biggest and (coincidentally) best set I own.

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By in United States,

10181 - Eiffel Tower

A very fun, challenging and intricate build that never fails to produce a sincere "wow" from all who see it in person.

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By in United Kingdom,

Out of the sets I've owned, the one I would say is the best Lego set is the unexpected gathering.

This is because of the decent figure selection, impressive build, reasonable price and it's brilliant display layout too.

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By in United States,

My pick for the best LEGO set is 497/928 Galaxy Explorer

It was the first big spaceship in the first Classic Space line. It used all the new printed pieces, special engine bricks, wings, and space landing gear, and the big 8x8 antenna dish. 4 minifigures, a car that could be carried by the ship, dedicated baseplates with a small building; this set had everything you needed for outer-space exploration. Even after all these years, it's still one of the best-looking vehicles on the shelf; all these newer sets with their new special bricks still don't look as clean, organized, and purposeful as the Galaxy Explorer.

There are so many great sets (most of which are listed above), but 497 is still my favorite.

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By in United States,

10212 - Imperial Shuttle

Beautiful, perfectly scaled & movie-accurate. A true masterpiece with some awesome building techniques and part selection.

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By in Belgium,

As a kid: 6090 - Royal Knight's Castle. Best gift I had ever gotten back then. Built and rebuilt it many times, played with it until I was way too old for such things. I remember recreating scenes from Lord of the Rings with its figures, which leads me to my pick:

10237 - Tower Of Orthanc

I can't believe any of this actually exists now, and this is the cherry on top of the pie. Gorgeous, big and magnificently detailed. I could stare at it for hours. Also: Ent.

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By in United States,

Can't believe only one person has said this so far, but 10193 Medieval Market Village, the D2C set from the Castle line back in 2008. Everyone one here has listed some solid choices, but there are flaws with almost every set on here. Not to say that the MMV doesn't have flaws (no bad guys to fight), but a lot of sets have piece-per-price issues, while this one has 1601 pieces for $100 *jaw drops*. That was absolutely unheard of, especially back when Lego was jipping everyone with those Clone Wars sets that were insanely overpriced. Plus, it's got playability as well as being a display piece- how often do you see that? The Death Star, the Haunted House, the Imperial Flagship, and several other sets achieve this as well, but just not on the level- and value- that the MMV does.

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By in United States,

I really like the Haunted House...

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By in United States,

10188 Death Star

It has every iconic scene that took place on the Death Star in Episodes 4,5, & 6, the minifigures included are amazing, and I like that because it''s such a big set I can add my own features. For example, 75034 Death Star Troopers will definitely be added.

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By in Poland,

9473 - The Mines Of Moria.

Exellent set! Lots of pieces, lots of playability and really stunning minifigures. I love the whole Lego Lord Of The Rings / The Hobbit licence. :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

10188 Death Star

A popular choice but I think that speaks volumes. The key ingredient for any set for me is universal appeal. It keeps me entertained and also keeps my 6 year old quiet for hours on end. Both the build and it's playability, coupled with its looks and scale when on display make this my favourite. These features come from the size of the set which gives room for so many features and even though it is an expensive set, when you consider what you get for your money, I think it represents good value for money. Also, for those who are that way inclined, in years to come the Death Star may prove to be a sound investment.

I'd give an honourable mention to 79103 Turtle Lair Attack but purely because if you'd told my 10 year old self that I'd get a Lego Turtles Lair one day I'd have probably wet myself with excitement!

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By in United Kingdom,

AFOL Technic fan here #8110 Unimog because of scale, display, build enjoyment and price per part

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By in Australia,

5974 - the set that brought me out of my "dark age". Not being a franchise theme meant it was good value for money, it was fun to play with and it reminded me of my previous favorite; 6980 the Galaxy Commander.

But as has been said, hard to pick any single set. Star Wars set are nice, but too many of them now are just rehashed and its starting to kill that theme for me.

I could have also said any of the trains or monorails, but they are less value for money and can quickly start to feel more like work and not play.

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By in United Kingdom,

6286 Skulls Eye Schooner

- Great build. It comes together just like an real pirate ship.
- The perfect display piece. An open design means it's easy to create a detailed scene both inside and outside the ship.
- Clever features such as a rudder that moves when you turn the wheel, a working anchor and working cannons.
- Pirates.

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By in Hong Kong,

928/497 Galaxy Explorer

This set came right in my mind when I saw this question "What is the best LEGO set ever?"

I just can't forget the first time (when I was a kid) that I saw this set in the LEGO catalog, it was so big!

I love the design and the size of this spaceship and the playability is also high.

My mom said that she would buy this set for me if I had a good results in my exam, but it was already out of stock when we went to buy it. I have never got a touch on this set and maybe this is the reason for my vote on this set.

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By in United States,

10228 - Haunted House

It is large with lots of detail. It opens up for interior play instead of removing the tops like in Modulars (much easier for children to play inside). It has some neat spooky ideas inside. It's easily modifiable to become a "normal" house instead of a haunted version. The figures that come with it are neat looking. The sand green isn't that common, so nice to get a large supply.

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By in United States,

10188 hands down. No other set has equalled it's shear concentrated depth of kids playability mixed with 40 year old nerd porn. It has everything. It does everything. It's not only the best Lego set ever. It's probably in the running for best Star Wars toy ever. At least until they invent a real working Lightsaber.

10193 the Medieval Market Village would be my runner up. Deep entertaining build. Tons of fun from numerous play angles. And is something so distinctive yet different.

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By in United States,

I personally have to go with 79003 - An unexpected Gathering ... AKA Bilbo's house. It is just immediately recognizable and I love the door and windows. Looks great on my shelf. A close second is the Haunted House ... building it is our new Halloween tradition. And third I'd list Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter sets. I love that you get 3 buildings and also a ton of minifigures. Awesome set. I hope they decide to bring back the HP sets at some point.

Thanks to everyone who left their favorites as well, great list!

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By in Sweden,

10182 Cafe corner

such great detail over the whole building. Everything is just perfect with it.

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By in United States,

6973 Deep Freeze Defender

Was a space set with great playability. The large ship split into four different sections, and it even included a mini ship in the rear. Also, the color scheme for that line was just great with the contrasted blue and orange. I loved this set as a kid.

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By in United States,

10228 Haunted House
- Highly Unique
- Intricately Detailed
- Universally Identifiable
- Impressive Display Piece that also is full of playability

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By in United States,

4842 Hogwarts. This is a hard choice, but I think, just beating 6085 Black Monarch's Castle, it's my favorite set I own. Amazing playability, contains a great set of minifigures, and looks absolutely amazing on display.

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By in Portugal,

Somehow, I'm not surprised at all to see opinions scattered all over the LEGO range (I wonder if there will be any votes in Duplo or Galidor, and their reasons ;))...

To me, the best LEGO set ever is the 9719, the first Robotics Invention System. It launched the Mindstorms line and a whole new LEGO dimension, which I believe had a huge impact on both grown-ups and future engineers. Also, engineering/robotics courses in schools were never the same. Not to mention that I think I remember reading somewhere that this was, at least at the time, the best-selling LEGO set ever.

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By in Canada,

Definately a tough one but I'm going with the two that are very similiar but had big impacts on me becoming an AFOL.

6980-1 Galaxy Commander - at 10 years of age I did everything I could do to scrounge up money for this set; unfortunately within a couple years I outgrew Lego

6973-1 Deep Freeze Defender - a decade after loosing interest in Lego I encountered this set while at College as it reminded me of 6980; I bought it on a whim and have been an AFOL ever since.

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By in United States,

928/497 Galaxy Explorer - Playable, sleek design, and it launched/embodies a theme that endures to this day!

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By in United States,

10237 Tower of Orthanc

Awesome LotR model from the outside -- great playability on the inside. The light up palantir is a great touch. Oh, and don't forget about the ent and the eagle. Yep, that's my favorite right now.

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By in Canada,

10196 - Grand Carousel - Visually stunning design with a variety of colour and detail... Power functions draw the imaginations of both young and old... One of the most intensive and lengthy build times of any set... A huge variety of pieces which allow the owner to recombine into a vast number of their own creations!

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By in Italy,

my girlfriend say: 10193 the Medieval Market Village

mine is 9468 Vampire's castle. Its playabilty, its gothic beautiness, and its nice build are the reasons.

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By in United States,

1993's Central Precinct HQ (6398)
http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6398-1

There's a reason TLG releases a police station nearly every year. Police stations are consistently profitable for TLG and profitable because boy's love them. Central Precinct HQ was mine as a child, and looking back I see how lucky I was! Police stations before hadn't quite reached the grandeur of 6398 and soon after we saw juniorization negatively impact those that followed. Current stations almost match 6398, but none quite capture the handsome build, parts selection, vehicle assortment, and playability of this glorious representation of TLG's golden age.

TLG would not be the same without the iconic police station. My personal LEGO experience, and those of so many others, would not be the same without the police station. I believe 6398 strongly represents TLG's most iconic set.

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By in Belgium,

6990-1 Monorail
http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6990-1

Got it when I was young...it was just "wow" and I've had a blast while playing with it before our fireplace....ahh those memories... :-)

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By in United States,

7597 Western Train Chase: it was Toy Story, a great train, and included two of my most favorite characters: Rex and Woody.
It motorizes nicely, and runs wonderfully.

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By in United States,

Great question! For me I'm torn between these three:

10228 Haunted House, 10193 Medieval Market Village, or 4504 Millennium Falcon.

Almost in the same group is 7744 Police HQ.

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By in Canada,

10193 Medieval Market Village.
great set for a great price. Excellent selection of parts and amazing detail in the build.

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By in Canada,

Wow, this is a tough one!

A toss-up between http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=9450-1 Ninjago Epic Dragon Battle and http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=8572-1 Tahu Nuva and http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=8106-1 The Exo-Force Aero booster. Each set was fantastic, with great pieces, and a LOT of play-ability. I mean, I remember playing with those sets for hours on end, even as a teenager/adult.

If I had to pick one though, it would be the Epic Dragon Battle. Although a bit pricey, it came with an amazing assortment of minigures, and all three items in the set, the Snake, the Dragon and the prison all looked like they had a lot of thought and consideration put into their respective designs before being released. It's what made me start collecting Ninjago too!

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By in Australia,

It's very difficult to choose just one. For me it would come down to one of 6086 Black Knight's Castle, 10193 Medieval Market Village, or 6285 Black Seas Barracuda.

The Black Knight's Castle is, to me, the epitome of a time now mostly lost in the toy industry: before manufacturers and the public decided that A) toys are exclusively for children and none of them are for adults, and B) that being for children means they need to be simplified and homogenized. There's an element of this in the Medieval Market Village too: it added depth to a Castle line that was otherwise all about conflict. I actually like the 2007-2009 Castle very much - I'd say it's among my favorite Castle eras - but it was cool to see some of what the Crown Knights were fighting to protect from the skeletons and trolls/orcs/goblins/whatever. And I love the trees, the stalls, and the water wheel!

The Black Seas Barracuda does so many things right for me: the build is great, the playability is great, it looks and feels like the epitome of the cultural romantic/fantasy conception of pirates. It's just a home run of a set that achieved everything it tried to do, and it really shows what Lego can do with non-licensed sets if they seriously try.

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By in United States,

It's close between 10193 Medieval Market Village and 8779 The Grand Tournament (from Knights' Kingdom II). Out of all the sets I've built over the years these two really stand out.
The MMV was perfect because of it's civilian focus, and the buildings are stupendous along with a great variety of minifigs and jobs (or something of that sort).
The Grand Tournament was amazing because it had three awesome minifigs, a bit of a castle tower (so it didn't feel very sparse), and a ton of playability.

I'll have to go with 8779 The Grand Tournament. It was a perfect set, even though you only got 3 minifigs for 30$ it never felt small or overpriced.

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By in United Kingdom,

By a long way it has to be the 6985-1: Cosmic Fleet Voyager. The coolest looking lego ship, that came apart in the middle, to leave a command centre on which ever planet you landed. Spent so much time with this set.

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By in United Kingdom,

10212 - Imperial Shuttle

This is the set that brought me back from the dark ages. I saw it and was immediately hooked in once again. The set is absolutely beautiful. Admittedly, I still haven't built this set due to space constraints but I will surely be saving it for a very special day.

Had I looked at Lego sets a year earlier, the mighty #10179 (UCS Millennium Falcon) would be a serious contender.

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By in Hungary,

Not easy but for me its the 8480 Space Shuttle

http://brickset.com/detail/?set=8480-1

It's one of those unique sets that represents the complexity and special design of a real vehicle. Looks great, the functions are awesome, especially it was released in 1996, and for the 10 year old me it was a real spacecraft. Ever since it stood on my desk and i guess it is the top of all the lego sets.

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By in United States,

10228-1: Haunted House

This is the set that got me back into LEGO. Simply a fantastic build, awesome for display and playability. I have quite a few favorites (Eiffel Tower, TaJ Mahal), but this one has to take the top spot for me.

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By in United Kingdom,

Owww, nice question. I guess the set I had the most fun with as a child (also as I liked the whole theme) was 6987, the Blacktron Message-Intercept Base. That would be my choice.

The one I always wanted the baddest (and eventually bought) was 6989, the M:Tron Mega Core Magnetizer, and one that I still have my mind set on is 6940, the Classic Space Alien Moon Stalker. That's a lot of space sets! The modular buildings are definitely my favourites of the moment.

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By in United Kingdom,

8860 This set made me the engineer I am today. Lots of real-life matching function that I could learn from and it had serious playability! So many great parts to then build your own creations from :-D

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By in United Kingdom,

Star Wars got me back into lego and there has been many good sets in this line... But my vote goes with the first set of significance I owned (and still have)- 6080 Kings Castle. Amazing set at the time and IMO better than current or recent castle offerings. Love it!

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By in United States,

6970 Command Base. Although I fortunately had Galaxy Explorer too, I soon took it apart to make my own ship. The base remained for a long time, because nothing I could do would improve it. It had a monorail, it had a wall-sized video screen (which in 1980, nothing said "the future" like a TV-wall!), it had an aerial and ground vehicle, it had lots of articulation (although not to the wondrous degree of the Mobile Rocket) and it had DAT BASEPLATE!!! The classic space baseplate is the single piece ever made by LEGO that most stimulated my imagination. With that, it WAS the moon in my mind. Did I mention IT HAD A MONORAIL?

or...

10194 Emerald Night because it was the "Command Base" for my son. I am pretty sure that the five hours he spent building it on Christmas Day were the happiest and most focused of his life to date. I've actually never built it myself, but it looks absolutely flawless and elegant. The price was amazing for what it was.

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By in France,

6399 Airport Shuttle

It was my favourite set as a child, and I still have a special fondness for it. I loved the small details (the hotdog stand, the timetables at the stations, the "tickets" that the passengers could hold), the minifigures (9 in one set!), and the monorail itself of course. It's still the set I think about whenever someone asks me about my LEGO memories or what my favourite LEGO set ever is or why LEGO means so much to me.

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By in Australia,

375 Castle
One of the first sets with minifigures,it had masses of minifigures, looked wonderful, had infinite playability and contained many of the hall marks of modern Castle sets- drawbridges, towers, gates, attacking/defending or even just friendly knights factions. And seriously, a YELLOW castle. Castles dont get any cooler than that.

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By in United States,

4507 Prehistoric Creatures
This is a great set, when it came out the price was only $30 USD, well worth it. Creator sets (then designer) let you have more options of what to build with the pieces. The main model includes a Stegosaurus, a great Pterodactyl, and a fantastic Tyrannosaurus Rex. As a fan of both dinosaurs and Legos, this is my vote for Best LEGO Set Ever.

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By in United States,

79003 An Unexpected Gathering

This set has many great minifigs, is fun to build, utilizes some interesting and advanced building techniques, has great parts (plus lots of accessories), has tremendous playability, looks fantastic as a display piece, is priced reasonably well...

If I had to choose a second it would be 10237 - Tower of Orthanc. That is an amazing set too!

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By in United Kingdom,

10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

I first saw this in a Lego catalogue and didn't see any interest in this set and ignored it, I had no interest in Volkswagen in any way, after 2 years since its release it really grabbed my attention after seeing reviews and the LEGO designer video. I purchased it ahead of the other 2013 exclusive sets. This is a must have set for every Volkswagen fan and for people who grew up in the 60's. This is an impressive recreation of the iconic Volkswagen Camper Van from the 1960's, this is an iconic and popular LEGO set as its one of LEGO's best seller. It is a great collector’s item (This will do very well as a long term potential as for adults who are from the Volkswagen Community) and display piece.

Overall this set it is a must have set for every Volkswagen fan. If you’re a Lego collector of cars this will also be a unique and it will stand out from other Lego cars of this scale. This set has four unique pieces. Is it worth the money: for “Volkswagen” fans is a must buy. This set is a best seller so get you hands on it when you can.

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By in United States,

@canon03,
OMG...the carousel. I was thinking about whether I should post this here or not, but heck...this has to be the worst set in my 200+ sets collection. It always breaks, very fragile. Sure, it's visually appealing, but other than that it's probably the worst-designed set for playability. It's the only time I actually pondered glue.

Not to end on a sour note, I really like the Unimog, and the UCS Millenium Falcon!

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By in United States,

10188 - Death Star

As a fan of both Star Wars and Lego, I can't think of a set that could possibly top this. It's massive, it covers tons of scenes from the Original Trilogy....and the minifigures!!! This set raised the bar for licensed Lego sets, and nothing has come close since (except perhaps 10237 Tower of Orthanc).

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By in United Kingdom,

Tough to pick just one set from so many. I guess when I think of the best sets(s) I think of ones that truly capture the essence or likeness of the models they represent.There also needs to be a sense of fun and good playability with nice figures. For the most part that falls into themed or more recent sets because as lovely as some of older sets are they fall short compared to their more modern counterparts (the price of progress I guess).

I think for purely capturing the scene and location or vehicle they are representing then, Lego Hogwarts Castle - 4842, Lego Hogwarts Express - 4841, Lego Indiana Jones Temple Escape - 7623 and Lego Star Wars Slave 1 - 8097 all need a shout out, lovely sets, great figures all with good playability and that fun factor.

For sheer size, playability, design and fun with outstanding figuers then Lego Diagon Alley - 10217, Lego Star Wars Death Star - 10188, Lego Star Wars Ewok Village - 10236 and Lego Pirates Imperial Flagship - 10210 are all fantastic sets, they look great

I have to say as an example of a great set that captures the true essence of the source material which is great fun to build and play with and has outstanding figures for a vey low price then Lego Super Heroes Superman v's Power Armour Lex - 6862 needs a shout out (I love that little set)

However my all time favorite best set has to be Lego Ultimate Collectors Millennium Falcon - 10179. This set is on a scale that has to be seen to be believed back when it was released it blew people's minds (still does), the design is out of this world, there is so much detail here and the selection of figures is perfect for the set. Quite simply the best and most impressive set ever made.

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By in United States,

I have to go with 10182 Cafe Corner. It was a fantastic, detailed build, but more than that it was a fun build--I remember how I noted at the time how much I enjoyed the whole process. Most importantly, though, it ushered in a new era, with the other modulars that followed but even the level of detail in other sets, particularly exclusives.

My runners up are 10185 Green Grocer and 10193 Medieval Market Village. I think the Green Grocer was an even better build, but wouldn't exist without the Cafe Corner. Likewise the MMV owes something to Cafe Corner. As the first, I have to go with 10182.

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By in Canada,

10179 UCS Millennium Falcon: had soooo many pieces and was really detailed

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By in Netherlands,

I completely agree with pandea06. Green Grocer has it all! Great build. Good asortiment of bricks and colors. Playability and loads of details troughout the set.
http://brickset.com/detail/?set=10185-1

My runnerup is the UCS Star Wars Imperial Shuttle. In my oppinion this is the best and most accurate representation of a Star Wars vehicle to date (except for the UCS millenium falcon maybe but that set just to huge).
http://brickset.com/detail/?set=10212-1

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By in United States,

10220 - Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

Hands down, this is my favorite. A fun, non-repetitive build, tons of detail packed into a recognizable model that make it a great display piece. Everyone that sees it at my house loves it.

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By in Australia,

Unlike all of the other comments and choices, putting a spotlight on sets with a large piece count, my instincts told me to select one of the sets from the Winter Village line. 10199-Winter Village Toy Shop is the ultimate gift for anyone especially adults as it shares the festive spirit throughout all the house. Although it is directed towards Christmas, it could be played with all throughout the year and the white bricks could be replaced to indicate the change to another season. The set itself has so many different elements in which the minifigures can resort. There's he Christmas tree & ladder, the toy shop(both first and second levels) and the brick light( included in every Winter Village set except the Market, which ruined tradition!!)
A 'best set' does not have to be chosen by the quantity of bricks, but the quality of the product and how long it keeps your imagination running, this is why the original Winter Village set is truly the best!!!!!!!

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By in Pakistan,

10212 - Imperial Shuttle

The death match would be between this and 10188- Death Star- This wins by a close margin .

1 ) STAR WARS- is probably considered the Ferrari of Lego .The 2-PRESENCE of the shuttle is overpowering . Its a DISPLAY MASTERPIECE , the most accurate and 3- LIFE LIKENESS to the real model like no other SW set. Finally what takes this from the death star is the improbability that there will be another Imperial Shuttle to top this . This 4-WILL REMAIN THE ULTIMATE Shuttle . There will likely be a Death Star to follow in the future .

Honorable Mentions:

- An Unexpected Gathering- A remarkable product considering what it gives you in just 657 and takes on the big guns chin up .
- Orthanc
-VW Camper
-Tower Bridge
-Motorized Bulldozer
-Sopwith Camel
-Haunted House
-UCS Imperial Star Destroyer
-Emerald Night ( Dont have this yet)

Thank you

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By in Canada,

My favourite set thus far is probably the (10193) Medieval Market Village. It came with 1600pieces, only a $100 US price tag, two highly detailed medieval buildings, and lots of cool minifigures. As an adult collector I get a little bored and sore from building big sets, but Medieval Market Village was a lot of fun to contruct.

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By in United Kingdom,

4558 - Metroliner/Euro Express.

An excellent Lego train set in an iconic livery. Great fun to build and then rebuild into other things (not just trains, though a double cab loco was always a popular alternative to the power-cars); lots of useful special parts, a lot of basic pieces and 10 minifigs too; for good versatility. And you can add one or more of 4547 (the Club Car) which is in the same livery, to make your train even bigger.

I've been meaning to rebuild my power-cars recently, since I've never broken up the four Metroliner carriages I've had for years and continued to use on my railways.

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By in United States,

79003 - An Unexpected Gathering

It's not a lot of money, and is one of the most iconic sets in my favorite line of LEGOs–The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings. It has great characters and beautiful architecture, plus it has so many different details that it's almost hard to take in. I love the round pieces on the doors and windows. Also, I like to put a light brick inside and take pics, especially of the dwarves around the room in positions singing "Misty Mountains." Overall, it is an amazing set and worth every $69.99 that it is here!

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By in Australia,

Haunted House is in my opinion the best. The appearance of the building is magnificent and there are plenty of interesting minifigures and rare bricks. What's more, there's nothing else like it; it's a truly unique LEGO set.

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By in {Unknown country},

The Mines of Moria - 9473
This set has great play ability and comes with some of the greatest minifigures of all time. Including the exclusive Troll, Boramir, and 2 moria orks, this is a favorite. I love how you can collapse the walls and play with the structure. Another cool feature is that you get a TON of exclusive Moria weapons with it. This is a great set!

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By in United States,

Medieval Market Village- around 1600 pieces for 100 bucks. Great detail, made by castle fan AFOLs. A very intersting build and comes with a lot of extras

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By in United States,

#79003 - An Unexpected Gathering

- Very fun to build
- Doesn't cost a ton and lots of value for the money
- Awesome minifigures from a super-popular licensed theme
- Finished model is both sturdy and fun to play with
- Finished model is visually impressive

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By in United States,

4990-1: The Rock Raiders HQ:

I'd vote for this set because I feel that it is a "quintessential" set, if I'm using that terminology correctly. :)

It embodies a number of Lego's signature aspects, especially of more classic, pre-2000's sets. It's blocky - with very little SNOT architecture, it feels like many older sets did - rougher, simpler. The set also has a lot (and I mean a lot) of playability, another feature of well-done sets. There's a crane to swing, wheels to roll, compartments to use, minfigures to set out on adventures, and one big, bad enemy to tussle with. The playability also has a great mix of peaceful, industrial action (which Lego likes to feature) and more combat-based action (which Lego also likes to feature. I feel that this strikes a good balance between combat and "non-combat" action, something that Lego has always been good at.

Overall, it's a solid set. That, and I'm a huge Rock Raiders fan.

Hope this survey turns out well!

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By in Hungary,

MONORAIL forever!! http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=6399-1: my fav set is the 23-yo Airport Shuttle.
It's huge, it's unique ..... and it's cool! And with 6347 (or 6921) offers a many opportunities for play.

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By in United States,

928/497 Galaxy Explorer - Raumkreuzer

The last decade brought us many of the greatest LEGO sets ever, but for nostalgic reasons it has to be the Galaxy Explorer! I lusted after this set as a kid like Ralphie after his BB Gun and and there it appeared for me under the Christmas tree circa 1980..., I will never forget it. The greatest LEGO Space set ever, so big (for its day), so awesome.

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By in United States,

Although my personal favorite was Pizza to Go, I think Unexpected Gathering taught me a whole lot more about building and proportion and tricks of combining interior and exterior design. And ways to get curved shapes out of mostly rectilinear pieces. Advanced Lego Education! With Minifigs!!

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By in United Kingdom,

7740 - Inter-City Passenger train - My first train - I still have the box under my bed - everything works 30 years later and it was what made me want to build cities around this wonderful Red and yellow train. For the same christmas I was also given 7819 (Postal wagon) and 7824 (Railway Station)

My kids and I can set this up with the station alonside his 4511 High speed train and play for hours. 12V and 9V happy together.

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By in United Kingdom,

75002 AT-RT , I have many many sets, but this is the one particular set that I always come back to, at the amount it's priced at I believe that everyone should have this or more than one of these in their collection.
If I went for a more expensive favourite set it would have to be the "The Hobbit" an unexpected gathering, or the medieval market village.

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By in United Kingdom,

Definitely 10188 Death Star

Though a lot of the modulars come close. 10185 Green Grocer, as I loved building it (especially the radiator, the fire escape and the grandfather clock)

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By in United States,

The Death Star super playset, the UCS Imperial Shuttle, the Haunted House, the Deep Freeze Defender, the Galaxy Explorer, the Mega Core Magnetizer, the Unexpected Gathering, these are all very good sets.

Personally, I think the best set all around ever is the 6335 Indy Transport.
http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6335-1
1) It's got loads of playability. It carries 3 Indy cars and a full rack of tools and spare tires.
2) It looks pretty good.
3) It's cheap!
4) It's a great toy. You could make a non-Lego toy version of this and it would sell like crazy!

Those other sets are great, but they're huge and expensive.
This lil' guy packs way more bang for the buck! :D


Zrath (not Zatth)

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By in United Kingdom,

10212 imperial shuttle for me it's simply a stunning recreation of an elegant ship. A long and mostly interesting build, not bad value for money and the finished article is a wonderful (and very large) display and conversation piece. On top of all this it is minifig scale and a good minifig selection is included with chrome lightsabers no less!

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By in United States,

9450 Epic Dragon Battle

It is a great value for money. The Ultra Dragon is the coolest Ninjago dragon to be released. The Great Devourer can be used to reenact scenes from the Ninjago TV series. All of the pieces are interesting and in rare colors. The highlight of this set especially is the Green Ninja AKA Lloyd Garmadon, as this is the only way to get this version of his minifigure without having to hunt down his hard-to-find spinner.

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By in United States,

7163 Republic Gunship

For being a 2002 set, this is by far my favorite model in my collection. The Minifigures are outstanding, even by today standards, the gunship is quite movie accurate and contains some rare pieces, including a magnet container, and had a quite fair price. However, my favorite detail is the clone troopers, mostly because their design is quite movie accurate, and they actually gave you a decent amount of them, 4 to be exact.

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By in United States,

8448-1: Super Street Sensation

I pick 8448 because it has so many functions that accurately replicate those on a real car, such as the transmission, suspension, steering, and V8 engine. Plus, no matter which body style you choose, it looks awesome!

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By in United States,

#1 Overall: 6399 Airport Shuttle

It embodies what LEGO is in so many ways. It has so many cool features and details I don't know where to start. The elevated track, the most complex stock track layout ever offered in a LEGO set. Two stations, one of them being elevated. Never been done again. Motorized. A burger stand, three monorail cars, nice selection of minfigs, incredible box art and packaging. The complete package. If I had to live with only one LEGO set for life, this would be it, I would never be bored.

A close second is the legendary Galaxy Explorer. This is an amazing set and still has more shelf appeal IMHO than 90% of the products carried in modern day LEGO stores, no joke. Most LEGO sets are flashy and focus more on figs than the actual builds. This is how it should be, great build, complimented by the figs, no gimmicks, just pure fun.



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By in United States,

the 10196 grand carousel. my friends still tell people about my merry go round that worked and had music. too beautiful for words.

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By in Hungary,

10210 Imperial Flagship, or
6970 Beta I Command Base

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By in United States,

5974 Galactic Enforcer

The size is perfect and it splits into multiple ships. I love that there is a small command center in the middle and the 4 prison pods are perfect. It just looks like a classic sci-fi spaceship. Tons of playability and you can swoosh the ship easily. Don't forget about the little robot behind the pilot.

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By in New Zealand,

For me it's 10228 - Haunted House - fun to build, great details, looks great on the shelf.

All around, a fantastic creation!

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By in United States,

I'll join some of the others in saying that 10188 Death Star is the ultimate Star Wars set and one of the best Lego sets ever produced. It features most of the most iconic scenes and characters from the Star Wars saga. It has a great value and is a great display piece. It provides hours of building and even more hours of play. What more could you ask for? If you're going to get only one Star Wars set or even just one Lego set in your life, get this. Even if you're not a Star Wars fan, you will be able to appreciate the amount of detail that went into the design of this set. I don't actually own this set, but it is my dream to own it one day.

An honorable mention goes to the first Mindstorms kit as it was an innovative product that introduced kids to robotics and had virtually endless play value. I used to spend weeks building all kinds of robots and contraptions with it. In terms of educational value and allowing you to be creative and have fun, it doesn't get better than this. It may not appeal to everyone though.

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By in United Kingdom,

928 Galaxy Explorer.

Why?
- Sentimental, certainly. It was my childhood's favourite set.
- it seems to be also the set which stands for the whole of classic space. I love classic space.
- It has a ton of playability options which I have never seen repeated in any other Lego space set - think "transport storage".
- "Blocky is beautiful"

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By in United Kingdom,

375 The original yellow castle. http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=375-2

1) Very versatile - lots of bricks of the same colour in lots of sizes + 5 base plates, winch, lots of minifigs, lots of plates, hinges, arches.
2) An important set - It kicked off a very successful perennial theme, and for me, it kicked off much of the sets we have today.
3) Nostalgia.

It was £25 from Woolworths in 1980.

(928 Galaxy explorer was very good also - I recall it used to warp (but not in the Star Trek sense!) ).

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By in United States,

10188 Death Star

It is big (high number of pieces), great building experience, very playable, many minifigures, and full of detail. Also for its size, the price is not that bad.

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By in United Kingdom,

10197-1: Fire Brigade

It's the modular building that brought me out of my dark age. A great build and just lovely to look at the detailing on the front. It's dolls house pretty. Great value price too.

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By in United States,

6990 Futuron Monorail. My first big set and it still runs great!.

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By in United States,

442 Space Shuttle from 1979 - I know you asked for the "best", but this is my nostalgic favorite. I was fascinated with space/astronauts, and loved Legos as a kid: this was the perfect combination. My brother & I had other space sets, and there are scores that are bigger and have more detail, but this was very "swooshable" and, having been released within the first year of minifigs, helped to set it all in motion.

@pirro - I agree with you on 375, we had that one too (I still have probably 60% of it left, believe it or not) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

79003 An Unexpected Journey (Bilbo's Bagend) is probably the best Lego set ever (within a reasonable price range). Fantastic design, amazing techniques, and great minifigures/accessories.

@Huw this is a neat exercise and I enjoyed reading all of the other entries and the reasons for them! A couple others that make the tops for me:

10188 Death Star: wish I had it. Still on my Christmas list, Santa, if you are reading this!

7140 X-Wing Fighter: I remember the excitement in 1999 as Episode 1 came out, and just about had a leg-O* when I heard that there would be Lego versions of Star wars sets - my all-time favorite movie combined with my all-time favorite toy. A dream come true!

* Can I say that on Brickset? :-)

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By in United States,

928 Space Cruiser & Moonbase/497 Galaxy Explorer
It really fits all the criteria for being an incredible set, a lovely selection of parts, plenty of playability, nostalgia for many fans, and a sort of beauty in the simplistic style of it- and really, when a set has so many of those qualities it must be something special!

It featured a lovely selection of parts at the time which could be easily be repurposed for your own creations once you were finished building the primary set. Although some people may find it to be a downside if a set does not feature a plot, this set came from the era where sets didn't have plots which left whoever built it to use their imagination to form their own stories. The playability of this set is also makes this something special, you could swish the ship around and could play with the small outpost on the baseplates and open up the back of the ship to let out a small rover. I can only think of a few other sets that are like that but I don't think any of them mean so much to me as this set.

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By in Canada,

Huw, after reading these I think you (and DK) should not only compile the favourite set but also compare this with the age group as well. It appears a lot of us older individuals are nostalgic for the sets we had (and may still have) as kids from the late 70s and 80s.

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By in Canada,

6862-2: Superman Vs Power Armor Lex

Super awesome build!!!
playability last forever and the perfect selection of minifigs!!!!!
best set so far!!
i hope lego can top this set soon!!

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By in United States,

10226-1: Sopwith Camel.

Now, this isn't necessarily my favorite Lego set, but I think it's the best. let me explain:
This set likely is fourth on my list of favorite sets, behind the Green Grocer, 1:300 Eiffel Tower, and Taj Mahal (in that order). However, the Sopwith Camel is more affordable, has better colors, and has much more playability than the others, and in my opinion is just as pretty to look at. Additionally, it can be stored much more easily, and it appeals not only to the AFOL community but also WWI and plane enthusiasts. I'm a Lego collector, I enjoy having impressive sets that I can build and set on the shelf to look at for years (Like the Green Grocer and Eiffel Tower) as works of art, but let's remember what Lego is: a toy. And planes in general are among the best toys to ever exist, among cars, trains, and teddy bears. The Sopwith Camel is likely the best singular toy I've ever owned, I could spend hours swooshing it around, making propeller and machine gun sound effects.

My runners up are the Green Grocer, Haunted House, and Medieval Market Village.

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By in United States,

8556 Boxor

I know this is exposing my Bionicle roots, but this is really one of my favorite sets from the theme and possibly Lego overall. It had an awesome punch action feature, and the design was so superb, and almost every piece seemed to have some importance to the function. Plus, it was the only set to feature the first iteration of the Matoran, since all the others were only available from McDonalds.

I also have a soft spot for the 6175 Crystal Explorer Sub Aquanaut submarine, as it was my first large Lego set, and I've based all my standards for Lego ship models on it ever since.

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By in United States,

It's hard to pick just one! However, if I had to pick the best LEGO set, it would be (drumroll)... set #10237, The Tower of Orthanc!

Belonging to the Lord of the Rings licensed theme, which I avidly collect and have long awaited, this set captures the pivotal tower to near perfection and includes rare, wonderfully-designed minifigures (with brick-built Ent). It is not only a wonderful display piece, but it contains multiple levels within the tower that have great playability and usefulness in recreating the scenes from the movies. This set was a must-have for my collection; it could have cost double what it was priced at and I still would have purchased it!

I would like to give honorable mention to sets #79003 An Unexpected Gathering and #10217 Diagon Alley (wonderful licensed sets that are part of my top 3 picks), sets #8078 Portal of Atlantis and #70010 The Lion CHI Temple (clever designs and integration of animals into fortresses), and #10197 Fire Brigade (my first modular building that started my collection of the theme). I will say that set #10243 Parisian Restaurant may be joining my list of favorites too once I can purchase one in this upcoming month, based on the pictures I have seen.

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By in United Kingdom,

10188 Death Star

It is a difficult decision, especially with Café Corner and Green Grocer thrown into the mix, but overall the Death Star wins. The sheer size of the beast once it is built is tremendous, as well as 24 minifigures and many, many hours of hard work building it make it excellent value for money.

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By in United Kingdom,

10228 - Haunted House.
I think the model itself looks authentic with all the detail you'd expect to see on a haunted house. The details inside are great and I think nearly all of the monster fighter figures look amazing. I also didn't think the price was too bad at the time for what you got. This is a set you wouldn't mind having on display anywhere as a haunted house would look good in any kind of room.
Saying all that, although I think it's the best, it's not necessarily my favourite, that would have to go to:
6080 - King's Castle, for sentimental reasons and because you got your money's worth of knights back then! ;-)

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By in United Kingdom,

928 - Galaxy Explorer
I was lucky enough to have been given some of the smaller Classic Space kits for Birthday's and Christmas but this was the big one, the one I wanted above all else. It was the only thing I asked for and I was over the moon when I got it. I remember it being a complicated build for me (I was about 5 or 6) but with my Mum's help it was created and it is magnificent.

A classic delta V shape that reminds you of the actual Space Shuttle and best of all it came with a landing pad and that fantastic moon plate (I ended up with several and it was amazing how the moon looks so symmetrical!) and that great little launch control base. Add to that the ability to put a rover in the cargo hold and the hours of fun I had with this are beyond count as I visited moons and planets and conducted multiple rescues of 918 Space Shuttle (it always seemed to be getting into trouble in those days!) kept my imagination flowing. Now as an adult I appreciate some of the little details but especially the vehicles registration number printed on the side of the set is the same as the set number - I love that.

Today the very same Galaxy Explorer sits proudly reconstructed in my office as for me it's my favourite LEGO set ever.

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By in United States,

I have to go with 79003 - An Unexpected Gathering. I was extremely fired up about 10237 - Tower of Orthanc, but it's already been built and disassembled. I haven't yet opened 10236 - Ewok Village, and I haven't yet bit the bullet and bought 10188. But after a number of Winter Village, Super Heroes, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Hobbit sets, Bag End is the set displayed on the shelf.

I am, however, going to throw one set out there that I don't think has been mentioned yet that I think is also right up there - 10217 Diagon Alley.

Growing up, 575 - Coast Guard Station and 404 - Universal Bulding Set were my favorites.

Of course, all bets are off once the Simpsons sets come out...

Great idea for a forum!

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By in Netherlands,

For me, it's 6399 Airport Shuttle (monorail). For an entire generation of kids, it was the largest LEGO set ever made, very expensive and thus mostly unobtainable, which gave it a legendary status. As a playset, it was new, unique and exciting and transformed any small LEGO town to a metropolis. It was the one set that I always kept wanting, throughout my childhood AND my adult life (I have it now).

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By in Belgium,

I have some doubts, but thinking about my own childhood the sets I enjoyed the most and still like a lot are:
- 6952 Solar Power Transporter
- 6080 King's Castle

But, from the recent years, I might go for:
- 10188 Death Star
- 10937 Arkham Asylum Breakout
- 10228 Haunted House

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By in Czech Republic,

10197 The Fire Brigade. The very known set at these times. It already should be retired but it is still in production. Look at the brickset counter how many users got it & want it... Cheers

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By in France,

7914 - Mandalorian Battle Pack
I think it's one of the best sets cause it allows lots of playability for only 15 €. of course, it's not a huge and impressive set, but it contains 4 mandalorian soldiers (with jetpacks and good weapons), which is hard to find, and when you want to have fun and you enjoy Boba and Jango Fett: it's only what you need !

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By in United Kingdom,

6683 Hamburger Stand

A childhood favourite, it still encapsulates charm and character for me with a solid build and good use of basic colour. The open back allowed play and the chef/baker is a Town legend. Even a hamburger is represented (I believe) despite the lack of brown bricks. Where are all those workmen and emergency services going to eat? Still my favourite snack bar that generates thoughts of eating fast food.

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By in United Kingdom,

7143 - Jedi Starfigter (2002)

This Attack of The Clones set had a sleek design, was fun to build, was not repeteitive like some sets, was fairly sturdy, had a clever use of pieces and was good value for money at the time.

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By in Netherlands,

4483 AT-AT (2003)

biggest mini-fig vehicle at the time, set came out as a sudden surprise; great build, great minifigs, unique new parts, just love it :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

This is probably the hardest decision of my life!!!
The first thing which comes into my head are sets like the modulars, Ewok village and tower bridge. So, I've decided to go for something a little bit outside the box and have been thinking about all the great promotions TLG put on for us every year!
For this reason I am choosing 3300003 LEGO Brand Retail Store from the grand openings.
It's a great little set with the details of the PAB wall, BAM tower and of course the red brick at the front of every store! It also feels like a very exclusive set with it being housed in the black packaging box which is also the type of box on ole kirks house and so on... It feels very exclusive!
Even though the play ability is limited it's still a great set fore display and a must have for any LEGO fan!!!

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By in United Kingdom,

So many choices from my youth I would say:
8860 Technic Car Chassis As took me ages to build and spent many hours driving around the floor, changing gears and reversing
6970: Beta I Command Base. I never stopped building this or playing with. It was always around in my room :)

Now I am an adult:
10188 Death Star. Its so playable, fun build and I have found it appeals to none lego fans
8070 technic super car enjoyable build and is a fab display model
10178 Motorized At-At walker. fantastic model and just awesome to see it moving. This is my wifes favorite and calls it her little pet and a friend after seeing it. Went out and purchased one off Ebay
10214 Tower bridge, impressive model and good build
10225 R2 D2 great build and looks awesome

But I think my favourite model is the

10178 Motorized At-At walker I just love it

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By in United States,

6973-1 Deep Freeze Defender was the best set in one of the best themes

Runners up are:

Galaxy explorer
Death star
An Unexpected Gathering
Motorized AT-AT

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By in United States,

6285 Black Seas Barracuda!!
-classic, iconic, nostalgic, best toy from my childhood, & still on the shelf as a "grown up". Great playability, display, & the original pirate ship!

Amazing recent sets that deserve a mention: haunted house, orthanc, bag end, death star,imperial shuttle, vw camper van, palace cinema, diagonal alley, & queen Anne's revenge! Oh, and the old monorail (6990)!

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By in United Kingdom,

I think it's just impossible to decide, like picking a favourite book or film, but for display, playability and the fact that it's well built and recognisable, at the moment, I probably prefer 9474 the battle of Helm's Deep than any other set.

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By in Germany,

There are a couple of great sets in my book. Not too many, but a few really shine:
Agents - Volcano Base - 8637
Castle - Black Knights Castle - 6086
Pirates - BSB - 6285
Indiana Jones - Venice Chase - 7197
LotR/ Hobbit - Unexpected Gathering - 79003
Lego Movie - Classic Spaceship - ?????
Trains - Metroliner - 4558
Space - Mega Core Magnetizer - 6989

But my favorite should be the Millennium Falcon - 7965. I love space ships and the SW line had some new versions of classic ships a few years back that were simply amazing. The new Tie and Y-Wing were great, but the Falcon wasn't simply a starfighter but a real ship that could be used as a playset or a vehicle.

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By in United States,

My favorite set has to be An Unexpected Gathering.

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By in Germany,

79013 - Lake-town Chase

Being an AFOL who grew up with the 1980s and early 90s sets, I have to say that the recent lines of Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit are really my favourites. Many good things of the past are retained in them and even beefed up! Out of them, probably "Lake-town Chase" is the one I like most with "Whitecap Bay" as a close second.

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By in United States,

Although I was a super fan of all the original Lego Space stuff, I'm going to have to go with 6080 King's Castle, especially since I built it with my son and I am looking at it right now as type this!

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By in United Kingdom,

There have been a good few pinacle ones, indeed in recent times as much as any, but I must say the one that takes it for me is the majesty of the:

6929 Space Transporter / Star Fleet Voyager

http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=6929-1

From nose to tip, I have to bow to this wonderful ship, it made my childhood, gracefully flew and indeed fly it now still - just pure perfection - looking at the Red Space minifig through the underneath blue transparent cockpit piece, then across the rest of the ship, fit for any mission, for me it just doesn't get any better.

Impossibly detailed, easily held for flying, I'd like to go back to the Christmas I originally got it and explore the universe again - ok - let's go!

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By in Finland,

10193 Medieval Market Village.

Beautiful, playable, a ton of useful pieces, good construction technics, nice minifigures and lots of accesories. The set suits for both children and adults. It's also one of the few Castle sets that aren't centered on war and conflict, which I appreciate.

Runners up:
6067 Guarded Inn - the MMV of its time, the set has a little bit of everything and doesn't even need a huge amount of bricks to do that.

6285 Black Seas Barracuda - even today when I speak of Lego with people born in the 80s this is the one set that will almost certainly be mentioned with dreamy eyes...

79003 Unexpected Gathering - beautiful realisation of a beautiful location

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By in United Kingdom,

6210 Jabba's Sail Barge

Well I have not been collecting all that long and although I love the Death Star, Battle Of Endor and AT-AT sets I do not own any (mainly due to price), so have had to chose a set I actually own and have built, so my choice is.

#6210 Jabba's Sail Barge - I chose this set due to the sheer size of it, great mini figures, attention to detail and being a good representation of the film scenes. You also get the skiff and pit, so as a play set there is loads to do. Took me ages to build it as well, and very happy with the finished set.

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By in United States,

I'd have to say 2013's Tower of Orthanc, probably because I'm a huge Tolkien fan.

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By in Australia,

Morning - loving this!

I personally beleive the best set, was a small pirate offering from its' first wave way back...

6265 - Sabre Island

http://brickset.com/detail/?Set=6265-1

Was my first ever lego set, I built it so many times, I can still build it from memory some 20plus years later. It was everything you needed in a lego set, an island base, a firing canon, a captain with some soldiers at his beck and call, a palm tree to relax under and a small boat to row across to your newly emerging soliders tavern - spent many hours waiting for the great pirate ship to appear on the horizon.

Was also a good price for a youngster to buy.

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By in United Kingdom,

Wow - some great sets listed here many of which I have (and lots I want) but my personal fave is the hamburger stand 6683 (good shout camberbrick green - I thought it would be just me!)
I love this set - it's so simple yet effective and the colours, theme and design are just perfect for me
Yes - emerald night, sopwith camel, space shuttle, medieval village, and others in my collection are great but I'm going for this one (complemented by 6601 ice cream man)
Hmm - just thinking about guarded inn - now I do love that set too along with my forestmen sets.....

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By in United States,

3450 Statue of Liberty, is at the top of my list. It was probably the first set aimed at adults, was a massive set and cost when it came out showing tat Lego was beginning to look forward on expanding their customer base.

Honorable mentions:
10188 Death Star Just a wonderful and playful set.
10212 Shuttle, the size of it with the wings open and the building techniques to open and close the massive wings is awsome.
10179 Falcon words cannot even describe how wonderful this set is.
8258 Technic Red Crane Truck. The gear box is incredible the amount of functions that can be done with only 1 motor.

So many wonderful sets hard to pick 5 or 6 let alone only 1

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By in United States,

In my opinion, 10204 Vezon and Kardas is one of my favorite sets, and among the best of the Bionicle sets. Not only does it contain three models in one (lacking in instructions for them, unfortunately), but the final model is very impressive, especially with Vezon perched on Kardas.

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By in United States,

- 10188 Death Star - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=10188-1
As much as I like classic sets, no other set has the 'wow' factor or more playability more than this set. Hours and hours of fun and plays well with many other sets (especially mini scale). This is the ultimate Lego Star Wars playset, and the 'best' Lego set.

Brickset statistics:
Doing an advanced query of all sets ranked by rating (and # of ratings), These are the top 6 sets:
1. 4.9 (87reviews) 7662-1: Trade Federation MTT - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=7662-1
2. 4.9 (33reviews) 6285-1: Black Seas Barracuda - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6285-1
3. 4.9 (31reviews) 6085-1: Black Monarch's Castle - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6085-1
4. 4.9 (22reviews) 10193-1: Medieval Market Village - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=10193-1
5. 4.9 (20reviews) 6399-1: Airport Shuttle - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6399-1
6. 4.9 (18reviews) 10188-1: Death Star - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=10188-1
(3 other sets are rated at 4.9: 10197 fire brigade, 6350 Pizza to Go, and 6209 Slave 1)

The other sets I think are freakin awesome:
- 6080 King's Castle - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=6080-1
Not only an excellent set, but it set a new standard for castle in combining other sets together (6040, 6073, 6061) to make bigger and more awesome castles.
- 6285 Black Seas Barracuda - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6285-1
Classic and beautiful pirate ship. The best set of that year (remember the cover of the catalog? Even the spacemen dropped in to gaze upon that vessel).
- 6277 Imperial Trading Post - http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6277-1
I think this is the best pirate fort. So much to do. So complex and beautiful. My brother and I wanted this so badly. Also included the only trading ship.
- 6986, 10210 (best sailing ship!), 10193 (castle fans waited a long time for this set!), 7676 (this got me out of my dark days), 7649, 6090, 1906 (great playability added with the box), the 'excellent' list is quite long...

However, my favorite set is: 6086 Black Knight's Castle - beautiful castle and beautiful figures. Wolfpack & ghost figures add to playability along with the dungeons and the nice red roof section. I really love this set, but the question was what I thought was the 'best', not my personal favorite.

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By in United States,

Too hard to choose...

Almost all of the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit sets are great, especially 9473 Mines of Moria and 9471 Uruk-Hai Army. Great for play or display, excellent minifigures, great builds. Not too colorful, but they are still amazing sets.

8877-1: Vladek's Dark Fortress is another notable set. It's a big set with lots of minifigs and playability.

10193 Medieval Market Village is just a beautiful set for both collectors and kids. So much detail... wish they would do that more often.

Collectible Minifigures (technically considered sets) has also been a great line, with Series 9 and 11 being the best of the bunch. So much detail and playability!

7417-1: Temple of Mount Everest, 7411-1: Tygurah's Roar, 7412-1: Yeti's Hideout, and 7418-1: Scorpion Palace were my favorite Adventurers sets. I loved activating all of the functions like the collapsible bridge, falling boulder, and sliding mountain faces! The sets were action packed and just amazing! They are probably the best of the ones I have listed!

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By in United States,

I would have to agree with Ninjagoyo. The set that was most epic for me was 6970 Beta I Command Base http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=6970-1. I also had the galaxy commander and many other Lego Space sets. The monorail, videowall, and patrol ship were all awesome. The joy of building for hours and playing is something I will never forget and have carried into my adulthood. This is why we're all posting to Brickset nes' pas? We are all kids at heart playing with the toys that we played with growing up. I became an aerospace engineer because of these sets and keep several at my desk at work as well as a Lego version of the satellite I work with. It's great to hear of everyone's favorites and see so many posts. Happy holiday's and building to all!

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By in United States,

10193 Medieval Market Village it is.

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By in United States,

My favorite is 8364 Multi-challenge Race Track. It was a completely random venture into the slot car world and unfortunately no one really noticed its presence (racers as a whole I think was completely overlooked). The charge feature was brilliant, and the fact that the set was a 50/50 combination of build and play made it all "even". Too bad I was only 6 then and had no patience to build its 600+ pieces.
A second for me would be Tahnok from 2002 (or any other Bohrok) because it was a first for LEGO in a way. It was the first wave to actually have a well developed storyline and special pieces and this kind of uniqueness that the first wave (Toa Mata) didn't have. I mean, that wave, in my opinion, was the one that started the whole "big theme made only by LEGO" trend.

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By in United States,

10188 Death Star

This is by far my favorite lego set. It comes with an astounding 24 minifigures and has lots of playability. You can pretty much reenact any Death Star scene from episodes 4 and 6. It also works great for display.

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By in United States,

Hands down, 10193 Medieval Market Village. I was in my dark ages when it was released, and when I got back into LEGO, it was immediately at the top of my catch-up list, even after I had already bought my first copy.

Even when I was little, I was really big into MOCing, and would buy (or ask for) sets for the parts in them. That being said, MMV has a lot of appeal to me both for the parts and as a set.

First, the parts/piece ratio is unheard of; even when taken into account that most of the pieces are small, it comes out way ahead. Also, there is some really inventive NPU, such as the sextant for a torchholder,the dark brown carrots (you know what I'm talking about), and the brick-built birds. Great pieces include the animals, and the huge amount of food pieces. There's more, but I think I've said enough.

As a set, I think MMV is the one I have left put together on display the longest-even my non-AFOL wife (she tolerates my hobby (thanks hon!)) thought it was a beautiful set. The colors were different from most other Castle sets, and the details created a complete village scene. I always thought the big castle sets were missing something, like where are all these soldiers and knights supposed to sleep and eat? Those things like the tavern and the upstairs rooms take care of that and really fill the scene out. It's a beautiful, complete set, which I haven't seen in other places.

The only thing I could ask for would be more foliage.

*a caveat: I have always had a soft spot for castle themes. Also, I don't own any of the modulars--yet, I'm looking at you, PR--and the Grand Carousel is another one I have drooled over someday owning (a pipe dream, due to its price).

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By in Singapore,

I'd say 10194 EMERALD NIGHT TRAIN. This represented the first 'serious' train for AFOLS and children alike, first set to use the new wheels, and a beautiful emerald green colour scheme with corresponding rare parts. I'd even say that this set shifted the paradigm of Lego trains... Well, the playability of a train set is undeniable and it fits into any town. Not everyone likes Star Wars ;) but this is a universally enjoyable set.

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By in Germany,

The question should at least differentiate between licensed and unlicensed sets and perhaps target audience and price range.
"THE" ultimate Lego set not only has to be a huge set or a great set. It has to be a set that embodies everything Lego stands for. It has to be innovative, an interesting build, encourage experimentation like taking the set apart and building something new and it should have aged well. 6080 did all that and still does it. 10188 is just a huge licensed set, it is a terrible build (boring and repetitive like no other), there is little about it that is clever, even though it is of course a great achievement to create a set that embodies all those scenes from the movies. But still, it is a show-piece, something to re-enact the movies, not a set to be taken apart and the parts incorporated in kid's own creations. With the constant deluge of new Star Wars minifigs it has also aged not very well, it feels dated, a new version would certainly include different parts and building techniques, too. 6080 on the other hand has aged very well, it fits in perfectly with newer Castle sets. For the adult target audience I would go with 10189 Taj Maha if I had to choose a single set, even though the build is pretty repetitive. Otherwise I would choose the modular buildings series. 10193 is a very nice set, too and so is 10228, but "THE" perfect set really should be a timeless set and not just a huge set (6918 is for it's size comparable to 10193).

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By in United States,

Although I can appreciate all the large, complex and beautiful sets. For me, the go to set as the most fun is Sail and Fly Marina, (6543) so much to do with everything that is in there and makes the most of a basic brick selection. I also really like Enchanted Island (6278) from the same time.

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By in United States,

The Imperial Dropship (set 7667). It is a very cheap price at $10.00. Also, it features 3 storm troopers, with 1 shadow trooper, keeping the battle pack interesting. The ship was very fun for a battle pack at the time, because it had an opening cockpit, and a place to drop your troops. Very good army builder as well.

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By in United Kingdom,

928 - Space Cruiser and Moonbase.

I love all the Classic Space sets but this one was the set that started me off in the realms of real collecting.
It's timeless and could be released tomorrow and nobody would be any the wiser.
Its playable, easy build and had the awesome crater base which is by far the best thing ever!!!

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By in Canada,

It would be impossible to select a single one. I think the easier way would be to select one per category, and from there an overall winner.
I propose the following categories (with my winners/runner ups):
Classic: 537
Space (anything with an astronaut): 6950
Technic: 8860, 8110
Buildings (architecture, modulars, castles, haunted house would go here): 21018
Transport (trains, planes, cars not fitting in any previous category): 5563
Licensed (Star Wars, LOTR, TMNT, DC, etc.): 7191, 10030
Other (?): 21103
My explanation:
537: looking at the pictures in the box it makes you think you can build anything.
6950: the suspension is fun, it looks the part and it has a rocket!
8860: square pistons and no front suspension, but if you had it before you were 12 you're an engineer now (or at least think like one).
8110: a showcase of technic building, pneumatics, portal axes, differentials, crazy suspension, and it looks like the real unimog.
21018: sorry, is the only building I own.
5563: if you don't think this is a great truck, then go and look again.
7191: yes, the Falcon is bigger, but who destroyed the Death Star?
10030: in which other SW spacecraft do the LEGO studs look like they belong?
21003: how can you build a delorean with all those square pieces? Well, that's the magic of LEGO!
Overal winner: unimog 8110: the AFOL father will buy it, his teenager son will build it, and the 6 year old kid will play with it while his baby brother watches in awe.

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By in United Kingdom,

hi
my favourite is the haunted house in the monster series
it brought back many happy memories of the old
b-movies on telly

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By in United Kingdom,

10231 Shuttle Expedition. I waited 20 years for a proper shuttle set, and LEGO delivered a beauty.
10194 Emerald Night. I will never forgive LEGO for discontinuing this set ust before I saw one and tried to buy it.

21103 Delorean Time Machine would have been up there with the great sets if they hadn't deviated so far from the Cuusoo-winning design. As much as I enjoyed building it, I simply cannot forgive the stepped bonnet.

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By in Netherlands,

928/497 - Galaxy Explorer

a classic and still impressive!

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By in United States,

In my mind, 6970 - Beta I Command Base is the ultimate Lego set, based on all the criteria I had as a kid (swooshable spaceship, lots of minifigs, lots of detail pieces) and as an adult (swooshable spaceship, lots of minifigs, lots of detail pieces).

http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=6970-1

That said, my all time favorite set is the humble little 6650 - Fire and Rescue Van from 1981. I dare anyone to build one of these and resist rolling it around over little Lego obstacles. It is impossible.

http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6650-1

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By in Australia,

7740 Inter-City Passenger Train

a mix of sentimental value (got it for xmas around 28 years ago), long lasting toy still works perfectly after all these years. now my kids play with it, great colors, all kids (and big kids) love trains.

runner up i would go with 6285 Black Seas Barracuda

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By in United Kingdom,

10188 Death Star

As with a lot of the other comments the playability of the set wins it for me. It's also like having lots of smaller sets that keep your interest and allows for lots of different configurations.

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By in France,

My pick would be 10193 - Medieval Market Village.

- great price/pcs ratio
- lots of different mini figures (soldiers, women, kids,...)
- lots of animals
- 2 very nice buildings that offer both play features (when opened) and a realistic looking (when closed)
- a splendid and very unique tree
- a set that is very consistent, offering a true display scene as well as many play features.

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By in United States,

#4501 Mos Eisley Cantina
One of the few sets that has a Dewback. It also has some great sand-colored elements that I have not seen anywhere else. The Landspeeder is a nice addition. But my favorite part is Greedo. He has yet to be put in an another set.

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By in United Kingdom,

This is such a close one for me,favourite two are The Death Star and Unexpected Gathering.

But I'm going with Unexpected Gathering 79003. Lovely colours,lovely design,some amazing minifigures. This was an absoloute pleasure to build. Loved every minute of it,great price. Loved everything from design of the windows to inside. Amazing!

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By in Italy,

http://brickset.com/detail/?Set=6830-1 <- here's my pick.

Why?
Because the best set ever doesn't have to be a large one.
Because this set came out the year my dark age started, so I never owned it, and it still bothers me.
Because it is as basic as awesome, with opening wings and detaching engines/robots.
Because Futuron minifigs are the coolest I've ever seen.
Because I can pick a single set as Huw requested.

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By in United States,

I think I'm going to have to go with 6285 Black Seas Barracuda. It is probably one of the most iconic Lego sets ever created. Not only does it look amazing, but there is a lot of playability as well. Pirates is one of the most popular non- licensed themes, and this set is the jewel of the theme.

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By in United States,

The Galaxy Explorer (928/497) is top of my list. This one set transforms your entire house into a Galaxy full of adventure.

The Skull's Eye Schooner (6286) has to be a VERY close second. Such an elegant design, and one of the most playable sets ever! And it's just so BIG!!! It's just awesome!

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By in United States,

This is a tough question to answer, for sure, and my vote would have to be in the more accessible price range as not everyone could afford the huge Death Star. my vote would go for the 7659 Imperial Landing Craft. The ship was pretty sturdy, minus the top fin at times, and although it came with the coveted dual spring fire missiles, it could be retooled to carry more minifigures as well as containing the dropping function made it a must have as a troop transport.

On a personal level, my first set that propelled me into being a LEGO fan was 6431 Road Rescue. It came from a simpler time when small sets were much more prevalent and had a higher play value. Alongside this was 6473 Res-Q cruiser, which was higher end and had a high amount of playability (it had wheels on the bottom so you could play anywhere with it, it was great). It wasn't as pretty and well crafted like today's sets are, which harkens back to a simpler age.

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By in Spain,

6399 Airport shuttle

Beautiful design, loads of playability, perfect for integration into a town, 9 minifigures, a real classic.

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By in United Kingdom,

928 / 497

Reason: it captured so many young minds with space exploration particularly with the development of NASA's space shuttle at the time.

Easy to build and a box that stimulated builders to create something else. I particularly liked the space base with the aliens visiting and the shaking of hands!

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By in United Kingdom,

Yet another vote for 928/497 Galaxy Explorer. Not only was it one of the first sets to feature articulated minifigures, but it also had immense play value. From the lunar landscape, to the control centre to the ship itself, it does what LEGO does best: it opened a world of the imagination. And the icing on the cake was the hidden buggy inside with which you could impress your mother (or so you thought!) and your friends.

My second favourite is 10188 Death Star. Even though I'm not a Star Wars fan and never owned this set, its elegance in capturing so many classic scenes from Star Wars: A New Hope and its size must make it a contender for best set.

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By in Hong Kong,

6399

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By in United States,

79003: An Unexpected Gathering. It's so detailed and accurate, it has an enjoyably unpredictable build, ridiculously complex minifigures, and a treasure trove of rare and useful parts. And don't get me started on how they designed that big front window...

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By in New Zealand,

928/497 Galaxy Explorer. Everything about this set is perfect, and it was THE set to have in the 80s. Even now, 30 years later it has wow factor when on display. It has great alternate models, and the playability and features are brilliant. Additionally it has some brilliant companion sets.

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By in United Kingdom,

EMERALD NIGHT

- aesthetically pleasing (it looks so good some folks don't realise it's lego)
- clever design (it's can be motorised and it was driving wheels!)
- fun build.
- great assortment of pieces
- very good value for money at the time.
- it looks very much like the subject matter.

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By in Finland,

7740 Inter-City Passenger Train definetively for me, since its such a classic, a flgaship of the 1980's new train design, a set that I also got for christmas as a child after a long time of wishing for it. It really sparked my interest to lego as a system of model railroads, and also after a decade's break of teen years made me an AFOL. :)

This was a very tough pick from the several hundreds of sets I now own, so I would like to mention also a few others that in my mind are "bubbling under":

6399 Airport Shuttle, because it just is. Incredible idea, potential and playability, I just love the monorails!

4999 Wind Turbine - Vestas Promotional. Again a totally mind-blowing idea to build a "functioning" wind turbine in "minifig scale", such a huge addition to any lego city

6383 Public Works Center. A huge set for its age, with endless functions and playability.

1592 Town Square - Castle Scene. Again, classic town lego at its best, opening lots of ideas like using the yellow castles as "historical" part of your cities, using old minifig mold as a statue (I think this was the first time), and just the architecture of the old book store building is amazing for the time!

6544 Shuttle Transcon 2, such a high-end representation of what is possible combining shuttle and lego town airport!

10184 Town Plan. Along with the new modular buildings it began a whole new era in city building after a quite a "boring" period. This set more then any other speaks about the vast amounts of fun its designers had when designing it, its in the details! :D

6980 Galaxy Commander. This was THE big mothership for my classic space collection, incredibly inspiring when I was a kid. The use of trans-coloured -bricks was also on a level of its own for the time it represented.

7866 Remote Controlled Road Crossing 12V, a real tribute to the many intelligent functions and endless possibilities that the 1980's golden age of 12v trains had. I my mind, this is by far the best train accessory set ever!

6414 Dolphin Point. There have been loads of "alternative" nice city sets in somewhat "alternative" categories (like Paradisa, sports, boats, fun fairs etc.), but this has always been my favourite. It has a lighthouse, the only sailboat ever to be seen in lego town sets, a restaurant, an entire paradise island!

Having already arrived at 10 sets, I'd better stop here... There are so many so cool sets! So thanks everybody for sharing Your favourites and it will be nice to see what are the overall results of this "survey"... :)

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By in United Kingdom,

7066 Earth Defence HQ (Alien Conquest)

This set for me because it's so close to what I was fascinated with building myself when I was 9ish, inspired I think by the vehicle from the Logan's Run tv show. Great playability, modern but reminiscent of classic space.

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By in United States,

Mine is http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6539-1 Victory Cup Racers. Perfect set for racing. It has 4 cars to race with 4 minfigs and helmets. It also has a semi with crates for all 4 cars a forklift to load/unload them and extra tires on a cart a gas tank and a jack for pit use. It just has so much playability.

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By in United Kingdom,

death star bit expensive but worth it

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By in United States,

10188-1 Death Star, followed by 10179-1: Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon and 10236-1: Ewok Village. Each set was fun to build. The Millennium Falcon was a challenge to build. The Ewok Village presented a great opportunity to include other sets to increase the realism. The Death Star was just fun overall.

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By in Canada,

6989 - Mega Core Magnetizer.
http://brickset.com/detail/?set=6989-1

While there are great sets, this seems like a classic. Every AFOL I know thinks it's fantastic, really fun build and great playability. It was a big set at the time, but not by today's standards - And it still manages to have multiple separate vehicles, a steering system and a magnetic system.

It also included some unique pieces such as the black double convex slope bits.

I personally own 3, and would like to do a bigger scene with them one day!

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By in United States,

I'm pretty sure that every set in the Space Police II theme was flawless but if I had to pick my favourite, it would have to be the Death Star. It was my 40th birthday present and I smiled throughout the entire build. Watching the various levels reveal their features during the build was constantly engaging. Was it expensive? Sure, but I know of no one who thought it excessive. It is a masterpiece.

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By in United States,

Another vote for either 497/928 Galaxy Explorer or 6990 Futuron Monorail. Big sets that weren't just big, but were ground-breaking. The first introduced the Space theme, and the second really expanded the possibilities--and both remain true to what Lego is all about--imagination!

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By in Europe,

There are (much) bigger sets and there have been many iconic and landmark sets over the years, but my most prized possession and the one I can still build from memory 34 years on is the classic 'One Man Space Ship http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=918-1.

A true classic and about as close to perfect as any space Lego set ever managed.

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By in United States,

79003 - An Unexpected Gathering

This is the crown jewel of my collection. Although my budget isn't huge, as soon as I saw this set, I knew I had to have it. I ended up getting it for about 25% off from Amazon last spring and was extremely impressed. The thing I like most is the incredible detail. The entire set is packed with little details from the movie. It is also suprisingly realistic and durable when handled. It appeals to both the kid and the collector in me. I can play with it and it looks great as a display set at the same time. It is just all around an amazing state. This is certainly what I think is the greatest LEGO set ever produced.

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By in United Kingdom,

Can I be the first to revise my answer now that 10243, Parisian Cafe has been released? It is truly amazing in every conceivable way! I still think 10212, Imperial Shuttle is my personal favourite, but 10243 is just too perfect.

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By in Brazil,

Not many technic fans around...

For me the best set ever is the 8421 mobile crane from 2005. This set has everything: Motorized functions, pneumatics, manual functions, 6 wheels steering for the first time. The way the crane arm fully extend is just ingenious... And it really looks like it should... Reminds you of a real crane truck but looks like lego... No panels or tons of stickers here. For me it is that Great.

Other sets that I think are Great:

8285 tow truck - just because how huge and beautiful it looks... And it also tows my 9397 really well ;)
8455 back hoe - for its amazing complexity and number of functions in a small size
10178 Motorized at-at - a gift from my girlfriend and her favorite (she calls it our dog ;)) just amazing see it walking heavily as in the movies
10226 sopwith camel - the most beautiful lego ever and the way we control the flaps like a real one just blows my mind
9493 x wing - a perfect functional xwing for 60 bucks? Really impressed no one mentioned this one before me
79006 elround council - because is cheap, looks amazing and I really love lord of the rings

Ps: my first comment on the site ;)

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By in France,

I'm hesitating between the 6980 and 6985 (nostalgic choice) and i would say 6985 !
I've spent a long time : hours, days, months..... to play with, a wonderful model very swooshable.
The rest of my top 5 is :
5 : 10193
4 : 10217
3 : 10179
2 : 10185
1 : 6985 (=6980).

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