The Brickset 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1

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Forest Tractor

Forest Tractor

©2018 LEGO Group

December is approaching and the time has come for us to publish the annual Brickset Gift Guide, helping you to find the perfect LEGO gift for a friend or family member.

We have divided 2018's product range into five categories, the first of which is focused upon sets costing less than $25 in the US, roughly equating to £20 or 25€. You can view a complete list of the 243 products within this bracket here.

Find out what the Brickset team has chosen after the break...


CapnRex101

76109 Quantum Realm Explorers ($19.99, £19.99, 24.99€)

76109-1Quantum Realm Explorers
76109

DC and Marvel Super Heroes sets are sometimes criticised for their emphasis upon impressive minifigures rather than excellent models but I think 76109 Quantum Realm Explorers fulfils both criteria. The Quantum vehicle is highly detailed and matches the craft from Ant-Man and the Wasp very closely, making clever use of two printed 6x6 dishes and a trans-clear canopy.

Furthermore, the selection of characters is fantastic. Wasp could have been improved with a new helmet but Ant-Man and Ghost look brilliant when compared with the source material.

I would also recommend 70651 Throne Room Showdown which offers exceptional value and contains some lovely minifigures.

You can read our review here.


iso3200

21140 The Chicken Coop ($19.99, £19.99, 19.99€)

21140-1Why on earth would a middle aged man who does not play Minecraft choose set 21140 in this category? Quite simply, it makes me smile - and I think anyone who builds it will smile too. It’s a great blend of basic bricks, colourful palette, quirky characters and a little function thrown in to boot. Kids will love the fun of laying and collecting eggs, chasing the chickens, rounding them up and dabbling in a bit of stovetop cooking.

It is the Minecraft set for non Minecraft fans - plus you can always switch out Alex for a regular minifigure and it instantly gains a new identity. The buildable chickens and wolf are all quite charming. I was lucky enough to review this set back in February and it still tickles me now. Excellent for children and a great curveball gift for an AFOL.

You can read our review here.


TheBrickPal

41453 Party Time ($19.99, £29.99, 29.99€)

41453-1Party Time
41453

LEGO has provided us with some amazing cheaper sets this year, especially the plethora of spectacular BrickHeadz released recently. Some honorary mentions I would certainly recommend include 70651 Throne Room Showdown, 75950 Aragog's Lair and 76109 Quantum Realm Explorers.

However, if I had to recommend just one set, 41453 Party Time from the Unikitty! line would be it. It's a great, cute set based on a great, cute cartoon. The model itself is very nice for its size, providing a great selection of parts for the adult builders and a fun play set for kids. It also contains an iconic character from The LEGO Movie, the show's main villain Master Frown and a fan-favorite in bodyguard Hawkodile, who is so far exclusive to this set. For only $20 with four desirable characters, many accessories and more, you can't go wrong!

You can read our review here.


MeganL

41333 Olivia's Mission Vehicle ($19.99, £14.99, 19.99€)

41333-1Olivia's Mission Vehicle
41333

For this lowest price range I really like 41333 Olivia's Mission Vehicle. It features Olivia in her new glasses and continues to emphasize her interest in science. To that end, Zobo makes a reappearance, as well as all kinds of tech gadgetry to find those lost pets. One of those lost pets, Vega, is just adorable and quite possibly one of the nicest and cutest looking animals the Friends line has had so far. A bonus is that the Mission Vehicle has space to accommodate all five Friends, something that's relatively rare.

If you're looking for alternatives, I’d also recommend any of the Friends’ bedroom sets from this year, or perhaps 41349 Drifting Diner. The MSRP for Drifting Diner is above this price range, but I've seen this set offered at LEGO [email protected], Costco, and Amazon for less than $25.

You can read our review here.


FlagsNZ

60179 Ambulance Helicopter ($19.99, £17.99, 19.99€)

60179-1Ambulance Helicopter
60179

I am a proud grandfather of a two year old budding LEGO Builder. While 60179 Ambulance Helicopter is pitched at children aged over 5 years old, we bought this set for our grandson and he loves playing with it.

A notable mention has to be made for the Xtra polybag packs that were released this year. I am sure these packs will be a great hit for anyone who is going to make some serious dioramas. I have bought several traffic light and street lamp packs for a developing train layout work-in-progress.

You can read our review here.


Huw

60181 Forest Tractor ($19.99, £17.99, 19.99€)

60181-1Forest Tractor
60181

This tractor offers a fun play experience for kids and also makes a pretty good display piece, thanks to its bright lime green and red colour scheme. And, like most City sets it offers good value for money compared to licensed sets.

You can read our review here.


Are you hoping to receive any sets within this price range and what would you recommend to others? Let us know in the comments.

 

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23 comments on this article

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By in Australia,

The Forest Tractor was probably one of my favourite City sets this year, and that's saying something, because this year's range of City were by-and-large brilliant. I liked the Ambulance Helicopter too (and given they're rescuing a snowboarder, I felt like, like the Snowplow 60083, it fits well into the Winter Village landscape).

Not sure I agree with TheBrickPal (sorry dude). The Unikitty sets were so bizarrely-overpriced (particularly for such a niche, odd theme. Here in Australia, K-mart is already clearancing them out to get rid of them). And IMHO, it's pretty damning to look at the photo. The set has nothing to it, certainly not compared to the City or Friends sets of similar price. Maybe Hawkodile is rare and all, but that just does not look like value for money.

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By in Poland,

Chickencoop from minecraft is indeed amazing set.

In Poland Unikity sets are more expensive. The party is priced as 30$ set... Zordboy is right here. This set is nothing special.

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By in Germany,

Correction @TheBrickPal Re: value of the Unikitty sets: your RRP's for non US countries is totally off. It is 29.99 (!) Pounds as well as Euro, which makes this line one of the most horrid in terms of value for money, and that is not even considering the crappy source material. Total shelf huggers over here, sure to see them on clearance very soon.

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By in United Kingdom,

I've also never played Minecraft, but I know that this "Steve" character is really Alex.

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By in United States,

You called Alex "Steve" in the Minecraft set. If you don't quite remember their names yet, perhaps they *haven't* been in too many sets just yet (although let's be honest, they have.)

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By in United Kingdom,

Haha! Yes I did! What a sloppy proof read!

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By in United Kingdom,

I would say (and this will seem biased due to my username) 75887 Porsche 919 Hybrid: it has a rewarding building experience, but not too complicated for children, and the finished product looks spectacular, quite possibly the most realistic lego car I've ever seen.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^Names fixed :-)

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By in Switzerland,

I love Minecraft and The Chicken Coop is such a great such. It really does make me smile.

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By in United States,

I would add 60150 - Pizza Van to the list.

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By in United Kingdom,

^while I agree it's a great set, it came out last year, and was on the 2017 list.

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By in United States,

Ahh yes, you are correct. I just purchased one last week, so it's fresh on my mind.

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By in United States,

The " Forest Tractor" AKA Skidder (here in the western US) is one of my favorite small sets this year. Not only does it provide good play & decent parts at a good value, but it hits close to home, since the timber industry is a big part of our economy where I live!

It's also currently on sale at several big box stores!!!

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By in United States,

Nice--I just picked up that tractor a couple days ago for my son for Christmas. He's finally reached the age where we can sit down with a catalog (yes, the paper catalog--so glad I still get those in the mail!) and point at all the things that look fun while I silently take note...

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By in United States,

AustinPowers and Zordboy: while I certainly understand where you’re both coming from, $20 is the price here in the United States which feels like pretty great value to me, with multiple parts to it and more characters than what would normally be in a City or Friends set of the same price, especially considering more pieces (including some complex one-off molds, too, like Hawkodile’s beak) go into each.

When I first saw the set images, I was worried this would be $30. I’m glad that turned out not to be the case, though. The value here is great and I stand by my choice. Even the price per piece ratio is spot-on in the US. Also, given this wave could be going on clearance soon, even better! I get that you may not agree, but that’s more of a difference of location, which is totally understandable. I don’t blame you for wanting to look elsewhere.

I will acknowledge that the theme itself isn’t for everyone, but that’s why there are multiple other picks on this list, isn’t there. :-)

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By in United States,

I already own: Quantum Realm.Explorer (the inclusion of the trophy is almost spot on and it needed a few more figures but it is an awesome set), Forest Tractor and Helicopter Ambulance; some very nice sets that go along whatever City you are building.

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By in Canada,

Ooh, the holiday gift guide with Brickset team recommendations! Always a fun time of year.
Love the initial <$25 picks. Although I must say, no matter how hard I try (not hard), I just can't get into Minecraft. It does absolutely nothing for me.
My favorite has got to be the 60181 Forest Tractor, but I'm a sucker for slightly niche City sets.

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By in United States,

41453 Party Time is definitely the choice among these that spoke to me the most! Good value, at least in USD (no idea why other countries' prices are so incredibly high by comparison) and enough characters and props/scenery to offer some good play value. Plus, a lot of the characters are cute enough that even people who aren't already fans of Unikitty should be able to appreciate their colorful uniqueness.

41333 Olivia's Mission Vehicle is also a very good set, but in my opinion most interesting in combination with the Friendship House plus any set or sets that have Stephanie and Mia, so that you have not only the vehicle itself but an HQ to park it at and a full crew of Friends to go on missions together. On its own the interior is a bit bare and the single mission included (rescuing a cat from a very small tree) doesn't make the most impressive use of the vehicle's passenger or cargo capacity… really, the vehicle's most practical use in this case is getting to the site of the emergency, but even that benefits from having another set to establish where it's traveling FROM.

If I were to select a similar sized Friends set that I think offers a better stand-alone play experience, I might select #41332-1 Emma's Art Stand or #41348-1 Service & Care Truck. Or, as you said, one of the bedroom sets, perhaps chosen based on which Friend's interests most closely match the intended recipient.

There are quite a few sets I love from my favorite themes like Elves and Ninjago in this list (including many I've bought), but as with the Mission Vehicle, I think they are most interesting as part of a larger collection of those themes, rather than as stand-alone gifts. Ninjago's Throne Room Showdown set in particular is also best suited to people who already like Ninjago and have some familiarity with the characters, their roles in the story, and their and relationships to one another, since other than the box illustrations there's not too much in the set itself that clearly telegraphs who each character is or who else in the set is on their side. If I were trying to introduce the Ninjago or Elves themes to somebody who didn't previously have any of those sets, I think I would choose to get them one of the sets at a higher price point.

A set not mentioned by anyone above that seems like a really great option within this price range is #31073-1 Mythical Creatures, which has a great piece count, a great size, and some really coherent and creative builds for its price (including parts in some rather rare colors). The fantasy creature subject matter also means that it immediately can jump start all kinds of great play scenarios even without any minifigures or scenery included — there's no limit to the kinds of stories you can tell with a fearsome dragon, troll, or giant spider appearing to attack (or befriend?) your other LEGO or even non-LEGO toys! Of all the options, this is probably the set I would most highly recommend as a gift within this price range if I knew nothing about the intended recipient except that they were old enough and/or experienced enough to build non-Duplo, non-Juniors LEGO sets without parental assistance.

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By in Australia,

I'm on board with the Chicken Coop- I've already picked it up for the one person in our family who's not requesting Lego. As a chicken lover she doesn't know what she's missing.

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By in United States,

I have to agree with the T-Rex man here...the Ant-Man set and NinjaGo's Throne Room are EXCELLENT $20usd sets.
Great figs all around plus the Quantum Explorer has that MoC feel and the Throne diorama is classic NinjaGo and all those weapons.

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By in Canada,

Love the tractor and own it and just recently picked up that van from the Friends line up. Two of my favourites from this list.

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By in Australia,

Good to see the Forest Tractor getting so much love.

I agree that "Mythical Creatures" should've been on the list. I busted my foot, earlier this year, so I limped into my local K-mart's Lego aisles to buy something and keep myself occupied for a few days while I was at home recovering, and that's the set I bought. I ended up absolutely falling in love with the dragon. The beautiful dark red, the fearsome appearance, it was gorgeous.

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By in United Kingdom,

All things considered objectively my favourite must be 41191-1: Naida & the Water Turtle Ambush for the design of the big turtle and the cute baby turtle. I appreciate the inclusion of the bat and darker elements as well as it adds some depth in terms of the story and play value.

But I’m extra keen to get 75951-1: Grindelwald's Escape for the Thestral, the nice carriage design and of course Grindelwald himself. A nice set for a Fantastic Beasts Fan.

I’d say 76094-1: Mighty Micros: Supergirl vs. Brainiac just for the bottled city of Kandor. (For a big Superman/Supergirl fan.)

Juniors wise I know of a little boy who enjoys his 10756-1: Pteranodon Escape (and I want that raptor in 10757-1: Raptor Rescue Truck) .

I think duplo 10879-1: Gentle Giants Petting Zoo looks great for the littlest of us. The dinosaurs are adorable.

My opinions on the article choices:

I have already gifted 76109 Quantum Realm Explorers this year so I’d agree that is a good choice for a marvel fan. He had mentioned wanting it and loved it except for sharing the view that the Wasp could be improved.

That 21140 The Chicken Coop is a really decent set, I’d definitely build that right away. It captures the feel of in game chickens nicely.

The cat in 41333 Olivia's Mission Vehicle is just the best! Agreed. But overall I like the design of 41332: Emma's Art Stand the best in the friends line.

I love Unikitty so 41453 Party Time is on my list for that figure, but I’m not that taken with the aesthetic as a whole. Yes there is something pleasing about 75950 Aragog's Lair!

60179 and 60181: Look like good choices as you can’t really go wrong with city sets as kid’s presents. I’m more taken with the arctic sets personally …I like the animals.

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