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I bought my 6 yo Benny's Spaceship because he really wanted it and he demonstrated building skills, but my wife ended up building it for him (I would have built it, but was gone that day). He also played with it for a couple of days and now it sits there with the rest of his "mature" collection. He likes playing with his minifigs, smaller Lego sets, and with his random parts box every day.
Like most 6 yo they will eventually want to dismantle the set and create random stuff with it. Are you ready to let that $300 set become a parts pack down the road?
I think the other big questions to me besides stability is
A- how much playability does this particular set have?
B- is it better to get one huge sets or 3 large sets?
Anyway, I do not know the answer to the questions I posed, because it is dependent on the child.
In the end, I think if you feel he will love this set, and this is his desperate want for Christmas, that there is nothing wrong with that, especially if he has experience building a number of Lego sets.
As for the Sandcrawler being a $300 parts pack... if you are buying it for him, enjoy the experience of building it with him. After that, I wouldn't worry about it.
Eh. My experience is that 14+ has very little difference compared to 9-12 sets or 12+ sets.
Sometimes those higher age sets requiring sorting, but it really is no more difficult to build.
DiAgon Alley and Haunted house are both 14+. The winter sets I think are 12+. The kids did all of these at very young ages. It is true that they are targeted towards an older audience, but from a build perspective many of those higher age sets are not any harder building for a young child with build experience.
Now, what I do think can be harder for younger kids are builds with a bunch of technic pieces. This is because sometimes those take a while to see what is being built, and some of those connections require a bit more finger strength.
@tyvek One item I have done with my son is create a list of the items he is interested in. We color code them from top, mid and lower interest sets. Then we have a discussion about price. One year when he pointed out Death Star, I showed him how for that price he could get 4 other sets on his top list. (Not to mention I point blank told him that one was out.) I did similar with R2 starting when it first came out. Now, over the years, I have found that sometimes he really does have his heart set on one particular build, and he would rather have that than several items at the top of his list. Sometimes after discussing, he has changed his mind. Overall, though, I have found that these conversations really help both of understand where his interest really is. This year, R2 has been top on the list since February. I think he is old enough now for a 'model' set, which will sit on his dresser once built. It sounds like Sandcrawler, though, may be really what your kiddo wants. :-)
That is different than simply the set might be hard because of the age range. That is very specific to an issue with the directions. I know even we can have a hard time differentiating in some directions between a dark grey and a black in some directions.
The one thing I should add is that that in the older directions often they do NOT tell you what pieces you need for that step. You figure it out by looking at the picture. That does increase the possibility of errors if one is not familiar with that, although we honestly have been fine here. If the colors are too similar, though, in the print with the Sandcrawler, that can create an issue in making it hard to see what needs to be done. Not having looked at the Sandcrawler directions, I have no idea if they tell or do not tell the pieces needed in each step.
The conversations are useful, though, because I have found in other years that things shift a bit when we analyze his list.
Honestly, I save all of our instructions.
When you go to the sandcrawlers page http://brickset.com/sets/75059-1/Sandcrawler at the Instructions tab below, it states that the instructions are "no longer listed" but still available for download.
I took a peek and they do seem pretty intense!
We keep all the books too but with a 6,5,3, and 2 year older "helping" and playing with the Legos things get a bit out of control! HA!
But to address your inquiry seriously, perhaps therein lies the answer to your quandary. Show him "A New Hope" and maybe once he sees the Sandcrawler "in action", the set will lose a lot of its luster in his eyes. Maybe he will pine for something smaller, like say "The Mos Eisley Cantina". If that doesn't do the trick, show him the rest of the trilogy. Even if he doesn't lose his "must-have-Sandcrawler" stance, then at least you will have introduced him to the magical world of Star Wars that will definitely make this holiday season one to remember for the rest of his life!
I don't think it's a good idea to show a 6-year-old SW movies. Personally I saw them at the age of 10-12 and my interest into the SW movies had started seriously a few years ago. I know someone might disagree but SW movies are not for such a small kid. They don't understand the big story behind all the battles.
@Lego_Lord_Mayorca I have no idea why he is so drawn to this set. We have looked a photos online, saw the Lego produced video, saw random people on youtube talking about it and assembling it. And now he wants it even more! I think it comes down to two things...it is a vehicle and a building. You can move it around and it has lots of compartments to put stuff. That is very appealing to my guy. I, however, just see this big brown box that looks like no fun! But alas, I am not a kid.
@GallardoLU Great idea! We are unsure on how to give it to him...Santa or us. But if Santa brings it we don't get to go to the Lego Store. But if Santa brings a gift cert....then it might be the best of both worlds! I'm sure a gift cerft could be in all the kids and they all could get a set that day.....hummm!
That is a semi truck and unfolds into a building.... And 1/3 the cost. ;-)
Don't get him a different set, that would be crushing when he has his heart set on a sandcrawler.
I think part of it is that Lego's advertising just happens to have been successful and a six-year-old has been drawn into the hype. Speaking as someone who was a six-year-old once (and not a parent or child psychologist), get him something that'll be a surprise, keep him interested and cater to his existing interests.
And if the child loses interest quickly (as most kids do with most toys) we all know that Lego sets are easily sold on the secondary market.
Also it seems like the dad will enjoy the set if the child loses interest so there's not much of a downside here.
And I don't remember ever getting ANY Lego as a child, but I did go to Legoland in Denmark in 1971 so that must put me in the old person category too. :-)
My views on receiving clothes have not changed throughout my life but my parents got me interested in a pair of slippers by hiding a key in them to the cupboard where the Death Star was being kept :o)
Christmas morning finally came, and I was genuinely puzzled at what I might find under the tree. You see, the reason I was so crazy about a theme that wasn't seeing wide release until next month was because frankly, 2000 was a very lackluster year for Lego in my eyes. Only the UCS TIE Interceptor truly caught my eye, but everything else was a HUGE "meh". Town was dead to me. Castle was pretty much dead to me once I saw the whole Knight's Kingdom lineup in the flesh. Arctic Expedition was just a small spark in a snowstorm of mediocrity, and even Star Wars couldn't save me. A brief flirtation with Roboriders began in earnest that summer, but after getting three of them, the thrill was (like the Throwbots before them) gone.
So you can imagine my surprise Christmas morning when I found NOTHING under the tree...
Just an empty basket. Except, it wasn't quite empty.
There was an envelope.
Too surprised to be crestfallen, I opened the envelope. Inside was something even more puzzling. Two tickets to Legoland California, for both my sister and I. Legoland! But that was so far away...
My sister (just as equally confused) and I ran upstairs to wake up our parents. I asked my father, "Dad, this is awesome, getting tickets to Legoland and all, but it's in California! When can we go???"
My father and mother looked at me, and my father smiled and said probably the greatest sentence I'd heard him utter up to that point in my life.
"How about right now?"
Sure enough, my parents had planned it ALL in advance. Bought the plane tickets, reserved the hotel and rental car, and gambled (or planned as well?) on my sister and I waking up early enough to get dressed and packed for a flight to San Diego! Truly incredible, and of course, once we were there, Legoland was the pilgrimage to cap off my childhood devotion to Lego. Lots of good food, beautiful scenery, and just an overall good time was had by my family on that trip. And to top it off, when we came home in time for New Year's Eve, it snowed for the first time I could consciously recall (I live in Texas), enough to build snowmen and have snowball fights.
Oh, and of course, while I was in San Diego and Legoland, I did manage to get several sets, including the biggest Wild West Indian subtheme set (1997's Indian Village) for a mere $20 at a Seven-Eleven gas station. It was truly a magical time!
So I think why he was so successful was he is very unusual for a 6 year old when it comes to Legos. He loves to build sets. He has so much patience and determination that he literally only played with this for the first 3 days after Christmas. All his other toys remained unopened. While there were a few pieces that needed a bit for finger strength to push in, he was able to complete this nearly on his own.
Playability for a 6 year old: The base was constructed amazingly strong. I was very pleased at how sturdy it was. The walls of the sandcrawler were very sturdy as well. He has been able to play with it without issues on the main pieces. There are two top pieces that come off and those are kind of falling apart. (I might need to add a few extra supports underneath). However his other siblings might be playing too rough with it.
Extended fun factor: Well, I'm not too sure about that one. It really is one big brown building. But with the cranes and treads, he is really loving it. We got him a few micro Star Wars Lego sets so he is roll playing with them and the Sandcrawler.
Sneaky parent move: We have special rules with this set. We don't want him to disassemble it. We don't want a bunch of brown 1-ers or 2-ers scattered in the Lego bins. So right now it is not with the other Legos. But like all our other sets, we saved the box so maybe one day when the fun is done we will ebay it to get different sets.