The Brickset 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 3

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Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express

©2018 LEGO Group

Brickset's annual Holiday Gift Guide has now reached its halfway point and this article is focused upon sets which cost between $50 and $100 in the US.

Read about recommendations from the Brickset team after the break...


75955 Hogwarts Express ($79.99, £74.99, 79.99€)

75955-1Hogwarts Express

Choosing a single set within this price bracket is always extremely difficult and the 2018 product range is no exception. 60204 City Hospital, 75230 Porg and 76108 Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown are magnificent sets and I would highly recommend any of them, depending upon your particular interests.

Ultimately, I have chosen 75955 Hogwarts Express. This set looks absolutely brilliant on display, capturing far greater detail than any previous rendition of the famed steam locomotive and offering exceptional play value. Moreover, the station platform is excellent and I love the minifigures, almost all of which are only available here. It represents good value too in my opinion so really stands out as being among the best sets of 2018.

You can read our review here.


75954 Hogwarts Great Hall ($99.99, £89.99, 99.99€)

75954-1Hogwarts Great Hall

I struggled to choose in this category as there are a lot of IP based sets here which don’t always offer the best value for money. However, I finally caved in and settled for set 75954. Any fan of Harry Potter should have Hogwarts in some shape or form and this is a decent sized set with a brilliant selection of 10 minifigures. Flying broomsticks, a ghostly figure, brick built creatures and some great references to the source material all make this a very competent set. The interior may look a little small, but it’s a good place to play.

Surely, anyone lucky enough to be unwrapping this will be over the moon, and for those who are not heavily invested in Harry Potter or the Wizarding World, it’s ultimately a castle - and LEGO castles are always a good thing.

You can read our review here.


75230 Porg ($79.99, £69.99, 79.99€)


Porgs are one of the most beloved Star Wars creatures of recent memory, especially by kids, so what better thing to give to the Jedi-lover in your life than 75230 Porg?

The set is full of great building techniques, has a cool mouth-opening feature, and is also in scale with another fantastic recent set, 75187 BB-8. For those who enjoy collectible display items, LEGO, and the Force, what more could you ask for...

You can read our review here.


41196 The Elvenstar Tree Bat Attack ($79.99, £69.99, 79.99€)

41196-1The Elvenstar Tree Bat Attack

This category is always the most difficult for me to choose - and there were so many good sets this year! I loved 41194 Noctura's Tower and the Earth Fox Rescue, since it features the most awesome moving function that I've seen in an Elves set. 41347 Heartlake City Resort is another terrific set, with plenty of play value, lots of detail and even a monorail. 41340 Friendship House is a worthwhile set as well. However, for the building experience, the story possibilities, the play opportunities and the attractiveness of the set, I have to go with 41196 The Elvenstar Tree Bat Attack.

I was hesitant about recommending two sets from the Elves line when it seems that Elves are on the way out, but these are simply terrific. I'd highly recommend getting them while you still can. Your only opportunity may be online; at my local LEGO Brand Stores they're not carried any more.

You can read our review here.


21313 Ship in a Bottle ($69.99, £69.99, 69.99€)

21313-1Ship in a Bottle

As an advocate for LEGO Ideas and also being a master mariner and former seafarer, the set in the $50 to $100 Holiday Gift Guide category that I would like to recommend is 21313 Ship in a Bottle.

This is a relatively compact display model; the microscale galleon could easily be a model in its own right. There is also scope for you to build your own microscale model to be displayed in the bottle.

One of the main attractions of the Ship in a Bottle is that it could easily be displayed at home or work as it clearly replicates some real ships in bottle models.

The one very minor criticism is that the model is vastly smaller than the original concept submitted to LEGO Ideas. This was clearly done to make the assembly more stable so is, therefore, a reasonable compromise. I believe the original submission achieved 10,000 supporters in less than two months.

You can read our review here.


21315 Pop-Up Book ($69.99, £59.99, 69.99€)

21315-1Pop-Up Book

LEGO Ideas has provided us with a fantastic selection of sets this year but if I had to pick just one to buy for myself or to give as a gift, it would be 21315 Pop-Up Book. It’s cleverly designed, attractive and comes with an awesome selection of minifigures.

I believe it has broad appeal and LEGO fans of all ages would be pleased to receive it.

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.

16 comments on this article

By in Australia,

My one issue with Ship in the Bottle is that the Australian price is *absurd*. It doesn't even fit into the $50-$100 bracket of this category.

Gotta agree with Megan on this one. The Elvenstar Tree Bat attack is a great Elves set, in a year of really great Elves sets. I'd definitely be happy receiving that on Christmas morning.

By in Denmark,

It's going to be so dull next year when there are no more elves sets. They are so interesting to build, with fun ideas and hidden features. I'm going to miss it.

By in United States,

We jumped the gun on Elvenstar and got it for my daughter last month - I can absolutely concur with MeganL's recommendation here. It's a stunning set whose only drawback is the same as all contemporary Lego sets - it's so we'll designed that kids are loathe to disassemble it to make their own creations.

I'm very sad that this is the end of the line for Elves, and I hope Lego did good enough sales to see that exciting themes that appeal to girls AND boys are worth selling.

By in Finland,

Hoping to get Ship in a Bottle this Xmas among with Great LEGO Sets: A Visual Dictionary. :)

By in France,

Hogwarts Express is brilliant

By in United States,

Good list here. My kids have wanted 4/6 of those sets, and we have already bought 3 of them.

By in Greece,

Harry Potter sets win over all the rest hands down! ;-)

By in United States,

there are really a lot of great sets in this price range - all excellent picks!

By in United States,

The book was a great set. One of the best fo the whole year. Ship is the same.

By in Switzerland,

I would choose either #31084-1, which is very fun, with nice details, and the cheapest way to get some roller coaster pieces, – or – #75221-1 which contains some cool, rare parts.

By in United States,

Can't say I disagree with any of these choices! I have to admit I've become disillusioned with Harry Potter lately, but these new sets still awakened some long dormant nostalgia in me. I doubt I'll be buying them but it's cool to see how the designs continue to improve.

Of course, the one set from this price range that I would most highly recommend is one that's not listed above: #70653-1 Firstbourne! She's maybe my favorite LEGO Ninjago dragon yet, bringing together many of the most interesting traits of previous dragons: foldable wings with flexible wing membranes and a flapping function, an organic-looking brick-built head with articulated jaw, a streamlined and swooshable brick-built body, articulated legs and claws, a swinging tail function, detailed printed eyes, a really coherent color scheme, and an impressive size. The only major thing she lacks that some previous Ninjago dragons had is a shooting function. She is also one of the first two LEGO Ninjago dragons designed with a removable saddle so you can depict her either in her wild state or after allying with the ninja.

As characters go, the set includes two additional female characters who are also easily my favorite ship of Season 9: Heavy Metal and Jet Jack. Additionally, the set includes two ninja and two other Dragon Hunters, one of whom is the hilarious Chew Toy. The set also includes a post-apoc helicopter for the Dragon Hunters (which can lower a roast turkey on a Vengestone chain as dragon bait), a creatively constructed wasteland shrine that helps set the scene, and three of the four components of the collectible Dragon Armor.

The Firstbourne set's overall price per piece (7.9 cents) is also pretty incredible, and while the set does include a lot of small detail pieces, they don't end up feeling like filler added simply to inflate the piece count. The price per gram (5.7 cents per gram) is also nothing to sneeze at, and lower even than for many Creator Expert sets. Overall, this was one of the sets that excited me the most this year, and one that I would happily recommend even to people with no previous interest in LEGO Ninjago.

By in Canada,

I've also got 4/6 of these. Great list!

By in United Kingdom,

All good sets there! I’m most appreciating the design of the Harry Potter sets, but I feel like I should want the Porg most.

I’d be very happy with any of the Last Jedi, Elves and HP sets in this price range. With 75955: Hogwarts Express and 41194-1: Noctura's Tower & the Earth Fox Rescue at the top of my list.

I am also find myself randomly liking the: A75218-1: X-wing Starfighter, 10263-1: Winter Village Fire Station and 41347: Heartlake City Resort.

I would recommend 75929-1: Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape for the well-designed dinosaur and nice Gyrosphere stand. Three nice figures and a cute baby dinosaur as well.

76108-1: Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown looks like the best marvel set design overall. But I’ll be gifting a 76107-1: Thanos: Ultimate Battle to a Marvel fan for the Thanos figure.

By in United States,

Megan, elves are not retiring this year there will be 5 sets due for March 2019. I have confirmanation from a lego designer

By in United States,

@Steve2005 - if that is true you will have made my week! Now I’ll be looking forward to March......

By in United States,

@Steve2005: Without any source or evidence I can't help but be skeptical, but... I want to believe.

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