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What is the best LEGO set of all time?

HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
edited January 2014 in Collecting
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.

Please avoid actually discussing them in this thread, you can use this similar one for that.



  • legobuilder5463legobuilder5463 Member Posts: 4
    2140 - Roadside Recovery Van and Tow Truck

    Because it is Dutch. It has good playability and uses some parts in a good manner. For that time, it was pretty accurate. I have played a lot with it and I always kept in the original state.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Member Posts: 3,639
    #10179 UCS Millenium Falcon

    Largest sized model ever released, 2nd highest piece count, most expensive set ever released, accurate to source material, most iconic vehicle in Star Wars, proper minifigure scale, has Certificate of Authenticity for First Editions.
  • StuBoyStuBoy Member Posts: 623
    #10210 Imperial Flagship.

    Stunning model, great build, and Pirates!
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 Administrator Posts: 2,364
    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 up there with the best.

    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.
  • kezkez Member Posts: 831
    #10237 Tower of Orthanc
    -Entertaining build
    -Great display piece
    -Looks accurate to the movie (instantly recognisable)
    -Good price per piece ratio
    -Imposing iconic LOTR structure and is the largest lego set to date
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    Just 1? Yikes...

    #10196 - Grand Carousel

    It is beautiful, has a wide appeal, stands out from a distance, is unlikely to be done again any time soon, will still be appealing in 10 years, and can be liked by everyone young and old.

    The other choices I might pick... don't cover all those bases. UCS Falcon is nice, but a niche produce. Taj Mahal is all white. etc...

    #10196? It appeals to 7 year olds and 70 year olds... It crosses over to every culture and is colorful, has motion and sound, and is just generally an epic model.
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    #71001-13 : Baseball Fielder

    Gave a much needed piece for my all time favorite sport. Allowed me to really combine my two hobbies.
  • aimlesspursuitsaimlesspursuits Member Posts: 207
    #8636 Mobile Command Center because it's a cool truck that converts into the Agents base. Its got lots of playable features (including a mini-car, ATV, 2 mini-planes and a raft) plus 7 minifigs.
  • vitreolumvitreolum Member Posts: 1,406
    #10212 Imperial Shuttle

    It's a stunning model, also my first UCS set. Limiting my choice to sets I've built.
  • TechnicNickTechnicNick Member Posts: 279
    #8480 Technic Space Shuttle - Packed with clever motorized features and probably the best looking Technic model ever. It hasn't been bettered.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,099
    Out of the models I've built, easily the Imperial Shuttle. It's visually striking and I can't help but admire it when I walk into my home office. I also like the mini figures that are included.
  • legomasonlegomason Member Posts: 190
    Huw said:

    Please avoid actually discussing them in this thread, you can use this similar one for that.



  • pvp3020pvp3020 Member Posts: 198
    #10188 Death Star

    It's a hugely and endlessly entertaining build, packed with playability, looks fantastic, has loads of useful pieces and is great value for money.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    #3450 Statue of Liberty

    I like it because it's a challenging build because it is essentially a single color, except for the flame of the torch. I like the patriotic significance of the set.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,789
    #6399 because of the apparent demand of that set, even today. It is a Monorail and seems to also work with the train crowd as well as city.
    #6990 because it was the first Monorail released and is iconic

    I think it will be very difficult to pick the best set of all time, you may have to first pick the tops for each genre and work from there IMO.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    edited December 2013
    #6285 Black Seas Barracuda
    And it's not even really close, in my opinion.
  • rancorbaitrancorbait Member Posts: 1,842
    So many sets to choose from!

    #10188 is a great set but I think it is beyond what many people can afford, so I would have ave to go with #8038.

    #1 - You get 12 Minifigures, which quite a few compared to what you get with the majority of sets at it's price.

    #2 - This set is fairly affordable at $99.99, and although there are only 890 pieces, I think the number of minifigs justifies the cost.

    #3 - There is nothing but playability with this set, you get 12 minifigs, 4 vehicles, a catapult, and of course, the bunker.
  • TheCultLeaderTheCultLeader Member Posts: 48
    #10228 Haunted House

    This set looks great on display and has a lot of play value.
  • VortexVortex Member Posts: 342
    edited December 2013
    10212 - Imperial Shuttle

    The death match would be between this and 10188- Death Star- This wins by a very close margin . Yet i'll take it and and not argue that in many a mind 10188 will be Uno Numero.

    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
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,099
    ^ I'm hoping the Sopwith Camel stays out for another year or more. It's a great looking model and a good value at $99.
  • CoyotelilyCoyotelily Member Posts: 661
    For me it's the Taj Mahal- spectacular end result, enjoyable build, all standard pieces, a great piece of engineering amazing!
  • BumblepantsBumblepants Member Posts: 7,634
    For me #6085 Black Monarch's Castle. Great looking castle, good play features, and best of all: 4 horses, 12 minifigures.
  • mressinmressin Member Posts: 843
    edited December 2013
    928 Galaxy Explorer

    Because it offered great playability features and is the prototypical flagship set. (And emotional attachment - I adored it as a child.)
  • ErnstErnst Member Posts: 133
    Choice was for me out of 3 : 10223 Kingdoms Joust, 10193 Mediëval Market Village and 6277 Imperial Trading Post.

    Hard choice but in the end the MMV wins.
  • FrictionPinFrictionPin Member Posts: 144
    I'd have to go with #6980 Galaxy Commander.

    I still remember the Christmas morning that I got it. The main reasons why this set tops my list is. And it was one of the last sets I ever got, my dark age would start just 2 years later.

    1) It was $42.99 which in my house was a ridiculous amount of money especially on one single gift so I never imagined I'd actually get this set.

    2) 5 figures, detaches into 3 sections and 2 space buggies with those wonderful bubble tires, not to mention the baseplate. The playability of that set was fantastic, I just loved that lab section. I built that model over and over again, played with that thing for hours and hours on end sitting in the basement listening to 8-track tapes with my pile of Lego. That set inspired me to build with my imagination and try to improve on it's design, influenced my problem solving skills, grew my knowledge of structure and following directions, I could go on but this is getting a tad long.

    So, for me, choosing just one set as the best of all time...there's no doubt for me it's the Galaxy Explorer.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,789
    edited December 2013
    rocao said:

    #6285 Black Seas Barracuda
    And it's not even really close, in my opinion.

    I dunno, I think #6286 Skull Eye Schooner is better. :)

    I love the new sets, but lets face it, many play sets today are just that, there are no alternative models that were designed for those sets much anymore.
    The 80s sets were 'basic' but it was for their time, and also forced builders to become creative with the sets because there was no new part out every year that would fix a design issue.

    I would say mine are:
    City: 6390 Main street- A great complete set. A kid could get this set really and be Ok for a year. You get two buildings, including what appears to either be a repair shop or car showroom, you get a hotel that also looks like is being constructed AND you have the parts to finish it as well, a slew of minifigures and many different scenarios to build from. OR
    City: 6399 Airport shuttle, they saved the best for last with this shuttle even though it does not have switches it sought after by train, city, and airport fans as well. The detail for when it was made was pretty darn good too. I hate to use aftermarket price to dictate things, as the 10179 would win hands down, but considering how much a used version of this set typically goes for (especially for its 'primitive' design) should tell you something.

    SPACE: 497/928 Galaxy Explorer. Ask most fans of LEGO around in the 80's to name a Space set, and most will say this one.
    Runner up: 6987: Message Intercept base: I mean bad guys with an eye for abstract design? Look out!!
    The Blacktron I line also had modular design, that is you could take pieces off and add them to other Blacktron 1 sets, so you could make different vehicle designs by adding or removing pieces.

    Star Wars: None really. I mean even 10179... While very impressive, how many people were playing with these? Not many I'd imagine, most were bought to display, also there are how many different versions of the falcon out there? How many kids dismantled them to build other things? Same with DS
    Considering SW sets are more playsets than parts I would stay away from any of those.
    Impressively built? Sure, but not the best of all time IMO.

    Castle: 6080 King's Castle. I know the 375 6075 Yellow castle is well known, but its YELLOW... The 6080 was a large grey castle, lots of parts, lots of figs, and could be redesigned, with by the intended unhooking of pins to make it stretched out. Since it was a castle you could also siege it, knock pieces loose, the rebuild it. plus it was modular, you could add sets like the #6040 #6041 #6061 and #6062 and #6067 to it and make it huge.
    Runner up: 6085: Black Monarch Castle: Another well build castle, with a lot of detail but all black, you're baddies had a place to hang out.

    Pirate: This is a toughie as Pirate sets are all pretty good. Imperial Trading post is nice, detailed and can have a lot of playability to it as you can have ships visit as well.
    But like @Rocao said: 6285 is really the standard here, even though I like #6286 Skull's Eye Schooner more (Not counting the Imperial Flagship of course)

    I'm hesitant to add newer LEGO sets onto this list. I mean most are designed for one purpose, that is they do not have even alternate builds on the boxes anymore.

    Modular: 10185 Green Grocer.
    Not the first, but the first with added details in the building I believe. and that green color really pops. but again it really is interesting as one design.
  • mrfootballmrfootball Member Posts: 84
    Without a doubt in my mind, the UCS Millennium Falcon (10179) for overall awesome-ness. It's the most desired, most-expensive Lego set ever and the flagship of Lego's most important license.

    Runner up...The Motorized AT-AT (10178) was personally the most enjoyable Lego building experience. Creating such an iconic vehicle from my favorite SW Film, The Empire Strikes Back...with all of the gears and a motor that brings it to life. Epic!

    Nostalgic favorite. My first real Lego set ever was the Galaxy Explorer. I loved that set so much.
  • davee123davee123 Member Posts: 854
    I think you could interpret this question a lot of ways. Here's what I'll go with:

    (1) 10193-1 Medieval Market Village. As an AFOL, my favorite individual set was probably this one. The Star Wars UCS sets and other model sets are great, but they're one-offs. I could buy and customize 20 copies of the MMV and make a really nice looking LEGO-ish medieval town. It was also blossoming with things AFOLs have been clamoring for, like peasants, pitchforks, cows, foliage, and the return of the turkey. The piece selection is also fantastic-- you can do a LOT with it-- even coming with 8 minifigs.

    (2) 10182-1 Cafe Corner. My favorite lineup has got to be the modular town buildings. So, for that reason, I would have to pick Cafe Corner. It was the start of an adult targeted theme that has AMAZING builds, is great for display, can be customized a lot, and creates a new, more realistic feel for LEGO town. Before that, LEGO town sets with minifigs were mostly overly-shrunk down walls with windows-- very little detailing, sparse interior, and action-centric. Very kiddish. This created a new gold standard in LEGO minifig scale.

    (3) 497-1 Galaxy Explorer. As a kid, your favorite set was probably whatever one of the biggest sets were in your theme of choice. So it might be a castle from the 1990's, a spaceship from the 80's, or a Harry Potter set from the 2000's, it's hard to pick. But the Galaxy Explorer was pretty much a first in that regard. In 1978, LEGO introduced the minifig, but it also introduced fantasy-based themes like castle and space, where previous themes had mostly been set in present day (with a few exceptions). That means that the Galaxy Explorer was pretty much the first of the crazy-high nostalgia sets with minifigs-- the start of a trend that's continued ever since.

  • DrLegOBrickDrLegOBrick Member Posts: 68
    As others have, here are my honourable mentions, the runners up as it where in no particular order:

    6285 Black Seas Barracuda
    7946 King's Castle
    5974 Galactic Enforcer
    6398 Central Precinct HQ
    6897 Rebel Hunter
    7900 Heavy Loader
    6075 Wolfpack Tower

    As for the last two, it's so impeccably hard to pick. Both are close to my heart in many ways, both I got during a bad time after coming out of Hospital, and both are theme's I love. It's literally impossible for me to decide, both are number one, both are equal for me, and the final decision is bias, but I've been asked to choose one, and I like to stand out in a crowd. My second pick is 10210 Imperial Flagship, but my top is:

    6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle. Two exclusive figures, vital for any Avengers teams, outward appearance is near accurate to the film and given the circumstances is great, great parts, great play features, (including that SHEILD drone), great adjustable wings and most important of all, highly, highly, swooshable. I've read Marvel comics since I was five, I own nearly 5,000 Marvel comics and I love ships. Nuff said, I think
  • dannyrwwdannyrww Member Posts: 1,394
    edited December 2013
    79003 An unexpected Gathering-
    When I as a kid I went through a phase where I was obsessed with the hobbit and Lord of the Rings (mostly from the Rankin- Bass Cartoons). I was really disappointed that there were no toys to go with the cartoons and often tried to make my own with D & D miniatures and the like. I even made little hobbit holes out of cardboard to go with them. Now I got into Lego (as an adult) starting with the CMF blind bags. My students told me there were some history themed figures and I started collecting them (I am now a middle school history teacher). I then started buying castle themed and Harry potter sets. When I heard they were coming out with LOrd of the rings sets I was very excited. Now some of the sets have been hit or miss, but when they released the Hobbit hole set it was like a dream come true. It looked like I would want a Hobbit home to look like and has become one of my most treasure possessions. This is a toy I've always wanted and now I own it and can surround it with elves, hobbits, dwarves, and orcs.
  • aplbomr79aplbomr79 Member Posts: 159

    rocao said:

    #6285 Black Seas Barracuda
    And it's not even really close, in my opinion.

    I dunno, I think #6286 Skull Eye Schooner is better. :)

    I love the new sets, but lets face it, many play sets today are just that, there are no alternative models that were designed for those sets much anymore.
    The 80s sets were 'basic' but it was for their time, and also forced builders to become creative with the sets because there was no new part out every year that would fix a design issue.

    I'm hesitant to add newer LEGO sets onto this list. I mean most are designed for one purpose, that is they do not have even alternate builds on the boxes anymore.

    Modular: 10185 Green Grocer.
    Not the first, but the first with added details in the building I believe. and that green color really pops. but again it really is interesting as one design.
    There is no way I could have said it better. Everything that I was thinking, racao nailed it. Even down to Black Seas Barracuda and King's Castle.

    I would add this, although the licensed sets are great - there was a model that the designers could emulate. Yes, I know that there have been castles and ships and the such - but most of the sets in the '80s and '90s were designed with multiple builds allowing for more imagination and playability.

    6080 (King's Castle) tops the list due to it's new parts and is the predecessor for all the later castles, and then 6285 (BSB) because of it's capstone of the 'new pirate theme'.
  • tomalphintomalphin Member Posts: 250
    edited December 2013
    The best modern sets I've built as an adult have been:
    #79003 Unexpected Gathering - best set in the less than 100$ price point. So bright and colorful, nice details, an asymmetrical design and lots of figures.

    #10188 Death Star - How can you beat this large build which takes 10+ hours and includes a variety of techniques? Add a great selection of minifigures and artfully captured scenes from the movie.

    #21050 Architecture studio - An aspirational set with no instructions whatsoever. I've dedicated countless hours to this set through my Lego Architecture Studio 30-day challenge, where I built 30 models using only white and Clear bricks (mostly from this set) and I offered a guide to the 10 bricks you need to buy to make this set better.

    More at

    It's great to see the diversity of responses to this thread.

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,789
    edited December 2013
    # 6390 Main street.
    I have convinced myself this is the ultimate LEGO set.
    It is really the hallmark of LEGO IMO.
    -LEGO Main Street part of the City/Town genre which I believe is the longest genre in LEGO
    -Two buildings, one being constructed AND had the parts included to finish it, along with an auto repair shop/car show room. Right down to the chef selling popcorn on the street, and a beat cop. Two trees as well, including the Cyprus tree. Plus you get a truck and a car.
    -The playability of the set, to me, is excellent and many things can be done with it. Whether used as its set, or to build other buildings with it, and you also have vehicles and a building crane.
    -The mini-figs are actually building their own set in constructing the unfinished hotel, something that is the essence LEGO.
    - It was so nice they made it twice as part of the Legend line (#10041).
    - You got TWO road base plates with it, a 'T' Intersection and a straight. It allowed to be a town center for the rest of your buildings that came along later.
    -Also time wise, while it was big set, much of it was brick and the hotel is really easy to assemble. A Child will not spend much time building it, the instructions are pretty straight forward. They are not dealing with complex instructions because everything has to be SNOT. Kids will be playing with it before they know it, where as many sets today take a long time to build to look 'realistic'. Again, it really is the essence of LEGO IMO.
  • wagnerml2wagnerml2 Member Posts: 1,376
    #928 - Galaxy Explorer and #375 Yellow Castle

    The size and playability of these two sets were legend. They were durable yet detailed and came with plenty of figs for hours of entertainment. These are the two sets that hooked me on Lego at the age of 8. I have been a fan ever since. I think there are many of my generation that fall into the same category!
  • KiwiLegoMeisterKiwiLegoMeister Member Posts: 212
    Got to be Set 8877 - Vladek's Dark Fortress. A huge 983 pieces; and not tiddly little bits, but whopping big pieces. Total weight - 6.1lb; 2.77kg. Plenty of castle pieces and big base pieces.
    I have 7 of these sets; a great source of spare pieces; and second hand, still relatively cheap! I generally only pay $75US per second-hand set.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,789
    Shameless bump
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Member Posts: 1,533
    #10179 - UCS Millenium Falcon

    Simply because if there was only one set that I could hop back in time and pick up, this would be it.
    (To build, not stash away!!)
  • VortexVortex Member Posts: 342
    I was really curious to know the score so flipped open th pad to do some number crunching. Here are the top dogs and the story so far :

    6080 - Kings Castle - 5
    10179-Millennium Flalcom - 6
    10237-Tower Of Orthanc -6
    6285-Black Seas Baracuda -7
    10212 Imperial Shuttle -8
    10193- MMV-11
    497-Space Explorer-12
    79003-Unexpected Gathering-12
    10228- Haunted House- 13
    10188- Death Star- 24

    Seems like death star has the clear lead so far and the vote rate is slowing own.. Maybe this will encourage a second surge.

  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    I'm surprised no one else voted for #10196... I guess I'm the only one. :(

    Did no one buy it when it was out, and that is why it is now worth $1,500?
  • VortexVortex Member Posts: 342
    ^ I only mentioned the top 10 sets voted so far.
    10196 has actually scored 3 votes so far. I did see you had marked this as your UNO número , it could be that this is one of those gems which just was not scooped by enough people here on Brickset. I don't have it and honestly I don't hear as much of this set as I would expect compared to the other similar sets.
    Thinking about similar sets , Eiffel tower has one vote and so does Tower bridge . Now those two are fabulous monsters of sets. I guess this really says something about people's absolute favourite kind of sets .

    Emerald night - 3 votes
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    Tower Bridge and Eiffel Tower are both amazing in their own right, as-is Taj Mahal.

    But if push comes to shove and I was asked "what is number 1, above all else, across all demographics, to as many people as possible, that has universal appeal through the ages..."

    It simply has to be #10196, nothing else compares when using those guidelines.

    UCS Falcon is amazing, but it simply lacks broad consumer appeal, it is a niche market, abit a good size one.

    My 68 year old mother knows what the Falcon is, but would never own one. She might actually be willing to have a Grand Carousel in her home.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants Member Posts: 7,634
    ^I remember seeing some clown won a blue ribbon in the state fair for entering a #10196 as something he/she designed in the art show back when it was available. Outrageous. Nothing to do with this topic really but I always think of it when I see the set.

    To the point, I do see your point and I do think it is a beautiful model but it just doesn't appeal to me all that much. Perhaps just because it is not a set I can ever imagine playing with much as a kid or an adult after watching it go around a few times.
  • Jonn420Jonn420 Member Posts: 267
    My first set......

    Because it started this sickness
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    Another vote for Galaxy Commander!!!
    The ultimate Lego Space set.

  • ErnstErnst Member Posts: 133
    edited December 2013
    Ernst said:

    Hard choice but in the end the MMV wins.

    Forgot the motivation: the set has all Lego is about, building and playing and is the best motivation and inspiration for making MOC's. The final result is the most colourfull Castle set I know.

  • nerick906nerick906 Member Posts: 430

    for being the biggest and most beauriful ship ever !

    (and made me loose my mind again for lego...)
  • brclark82brclark82 Member Posts: 217
    #6399 Airport Shuttle

    My first big lego set as a child and still the most fun to play with.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,789
    The 'greatest' or 'best' does not mean most expensive to buy or most painfully slow to build (IE DS and UCS Falcon, Carousel, Market Street, Cafe Corner, etc) IMO the Best LEGO set of all time should transcend the decades of LEGO, not because it is the most expensive set on eBay right now.
  • piratemania7piratemania7 Member Posts: 2,146
    Definitely Black Seas Barracuda. Hands Down.
  • LobotLobot Member Posts: 1,029
    10179 UCS Millennium Falcon

    No question in my mind: the size, weight, 5,000+ parts and those lovely yellow technic just doesn't get any better!
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