Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
Please use our links: LEGO.comAmazon
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

City Subthemes?

AanchirAanchir Member Posts: 3,043
edited March 2018 in The Database
Something that occurs to me, browsing City sets on Brickset: should we be listing Great Vehicles as a subtheme of City? It's one of the main categories LEGO uses to define their City lineup since at least 2012 (even on their products page), but currently the database sorts them into various subthemes according to their subject matter like "Traffic", "Medical", "Harbour", "Construction", etc.

Also, I notice that LEGO has a lot of more specific names for their City subthemes on their website than Brickset uses. The 2017 sets we have listed as "Jungle" are listed on as "Jungle Explorers", the 2017 sets we have listed as "Fire" are listed as "Fire Brigade" (though they were listed as just "Fire" when they came out so that one might not need to change), and the 2018 Mining sets we have listed as "Mining" are listed as "Mining Experts".

Looking at past versions of the LEGO City website on, the 2015 sets we have listed as "Construction" were listed as "Demolition", and the 2016 sets we have listed as Prison Island were listed as "Prison Island Police". It may seem a little odd to break up existing subthemes like Mining or Construction into separate groups by their year of release, but ultimately I don't feel it's that different from how we already break Police into Swamp Police, Forest Police, etc. Or for that matter, how we break Space Police into Space Police I, II, and III.

Finally, City has since at least 2013 had a "Town" subtheme… but like Great Vehicles, Brickset doesn't seem to acknowledge it. Some Town sets over the years have included #60023, #60026, #60086, #60097, #60132, #60134, #60153, #60154, and #60169.

I understand that it can be useful to sort sets according to what kind of jobs or groups they're associated with, but couldn't this be better achieved using tags than by ignoring the official subthemes?


  • BumblepantsBumblepants Member Posts: 7,728
    Some of those like great vehicles would be nice but adding town as a Subtheme for City would be confusing considering the entire line used to be called Town.
  • AtuinAtuin Member Posts: 11
    Using a bit more the official names in the mess that is City sub-themes sounds like a good idea. Indeed Great Vehicles seems to have appeared in 2012 for the first time. Here's a crude little collection of Lego website screenshots 2005-2012 (sorry for the bad layout, maybe doing a better one sometime...)

    Unfortunately, the same probably can't be done with the original Town line (1978-1997), since official sources heavily contradict eachother on that matter...

    And yeah, as confusing as it might sound to some, I think the City - Town theme should be listed as such. I'm pretty sure it is not the only occurence of such a phenomenon. Pirates (the big main theme) for example has multiple sub-themes that are also called Pirates (Pirates I (1989-1997), Pirates II (2009) and Pirates III (2015) respectively.
    Also Aquaraiders is both considered a Main Theme (2007 line) and an Aquazone sub-theme (1997 line).

  • AanchirAanchir Member Posts: 3,043
    Some of those like great vehicles would be nice but adding town as a Subtheme for City would be confusing considering the entire line used to be called Town.
    Well we already have City as a subtheme of Town, Space as a subtheme of City, and Classic as a subtheme of Space, so I think that train left the station a while ago. :P
  • AanchirAanchir Member Posts: 3,043
    edited July 2018
    Semi-related to this topic: I was thinking about a Town subtheme I remembered but couldn't find in the database and I got curious, so I flipped back through some catalogs. It turns out there are a few subthemes named in catalogs that aren't listed as Town subthemes in the Brickset database!

    The 1991 US catalog lists #6508, #6510, #6644, #6646, and #6669 in the "Max RPM" subtheme. Its logo is a checkered flag shown flat. In the 1992 catalog, 1993 catalog, and 1994 catalog, this subtheme is renamed "Race" and #6514, #6537, #6538, #6539, #6551, #6561, #6648, #6663, and #6670 are added. The "Race" logo is updated to show a wavier checkered flag on a light blue field. Currently all of these sets are variously listed in the "Vehicles", "Racing", and "Boats" subthemes of Town (which do not appear in these catalogs at all), while Brickset's own "Race" subtheme (separate from "Racing", strangely) only includes sets from 2000. In the 1990 catalog, this subtheme went by an even different name, "High-Speed Adventure"

    These catalogs also list #6542, #6540, #6541, #6679, and #6353 in the "Nautica" subtheme. This subtheme's logo is a yellow anchor on a blue field. It's the subtheme I was looking up originally, which I remembered seeing as a kid in posters and catalogs. Currently, they are listed on Brickset as Boats, Police, and Coast Guard respectively. While these accurately describe what categories of vehicles they include, now that Brickset has tagging we can use tags to reflect that without formally assigning them to those subthemes, same as how I think we should for the City Great Vehicles.

    Finally those catalogs list #6340, #6344, #6348, #6354, #6364, #6380, #6387, #6389, #6398, #6483, #6511, #6531, #6571, #6593, #6664, and #1896 in the "RSQ 911" subtheme (renamed "Rescue" in 1993, which is probably the name it was already using in other countries since 911 is a US-specific emergency number). Its logo is a white fire helmet on a red field above a yellow police badge on a blue field. Again, if Brickset were to use the Rescue label as the name of the subtheme, they could be separated into fire, police, etc. via tagging. In the 1990 catalog, this subtheme went by the name "Emergency".

    While I'm mentioning things, the 1990 US catalog referred to the Flight subtheme as "Airport", but it was "Flight" from 1991 onward and Brickset currently uses this name.

  • AanchirAanchir Member Posts: 3,043
    Some updates which I forgot to mention in that last post

    In the 1990 catalog, "Race/Max RPM" sets are listed as "High Speed Adventure" and also include #6395, #6528, and #6591

    In the 1995 catalog and 1996 catalog, the "Race" subtheme adds #6334, #6335, 6337, #6484 (currently listed on Brickset as one of two "Rescue" sets, strangely), #6517, #6546, #6596, and #6639.

    In the 1990 catalog, the "Flight" subtheme (which is, as far as I can tell, fairly accurately cataloged on Brickset) was known as "Airport". It was "Flight" from 1991 onward.

    In the 1990 catalog, the "RSQ 911/Rescue" subtheme was known as "Emergency" and included 6380 (already mentioned in the previous post) and #6482 (the other set already in the "Rescue" subtheme on Brickset).

    In the 1995 and 1996 catalogs, the "Rescue" subtheme adds #6338, #6525, #6545, #6625, and #6598.
  • Baby_YodaBaby_Yoda Member Posts: 1,295
    Perhaps this sort of thing would justify the introduction of sub-sub-themes?
  • HugeYellowBrickHugeYellowBrick Member Posts: 496
    Perhaps we need to think 'relational' instead of 'hierarchical'.
  • AanchirAanchir Member Posts: 3,043
    Thinking it's time I bumped this topic since a year or so later, the Brickset database still doesn't acknowledge the "Town" or "Great Vehicles" subthemes at all, instead haphazardly forcing these sets into other, often defunct subthemes.

    Here's a spreadsheet I've been working on trying to make more sense of this stuff. I'm not sure how accurately I've labeled the polybags, but for the most part I've tried to pull as much from current and archived versions of (as well as the LEGO Customer Service instruction manual archive) as possible:

    Here's some of the specific changes would be needed to bring stuff in line with LEGO's official categorization for City sets:
    • Sets 4206, 4207, 4428-4429, 7553, 7641, 7747, 60023-60024, 60026, 60031, 60153-60155, 60063, 60086, 60097, 60200-60204, and 60232–60237 should have their subtheme changed to Town.

      Exceptions could be made for some of this stuff like road plates, airline promos, and advent calendars, but to be honest I feel like tags ought to be enough to distinguish those from the rest of the subtheme, while also linking them together with equivalents from other themes besides City.

    • Sets 4431-4435, 60016-60018, 60025, 60027, 60053-60061, 60081-60085, 60113-60119, 60144-60152, 60177-60183, 60218-60223, and 60240 should have their subthemes changed to Great Vehicles.

    • Sets 5611, 7990-7994, and 7998 should have their subthemes changed to Transport, which is how they were listed on and are now listed on LEGO Customer Service.

    • Sets 3177, 3179, 3180, and 3221 should have their subthemes changed to Airport. Yes, believe it or not, that's the subtheme they were categorized as on both and LEGO Customer Service, even at their time of release!

    • The "Medical" subtheme should be renamed Emergency. Otherwise, it'll be pretty much complete and accurate once the Town and Great Vehicles sets have been removed.

    • These sets should have their subtheme changed to Demolition. This is how they were listed on and how they are now listed on LEGO Customer Service.
    I think that's pretty much everything.
  • ShropshireShropshire Member Posts: 658
    Arctic ?
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Member Posts: 5,555
    Arctic ?
    I think he means everything he found that was wrongly categorized; not every subtheme.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,116
    This is good stuff, @aanchir, sorry I've not had time to do anything with it. I'll ask @CapnRex101 to attend to it when he has time.
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 Administrator Posts: 2,364
    @Aanchir - Thank you for the suggestions. I have changed most of those subthemes, as suggested. However, there are some that have not been updated for the following reasons:
    • I have not changed the subtheme for any Advent Calendars as I think people would expect to find them by searching the term 'Seasonal'.
    • I have not added the 'Airport' subtheme to those three sets as I think that may confuse people. They share little obvious relationship with other 'Airport' sets.
    • I have not changed 'Medical' to 'Emergency' as I think 'Medical' more accurately describes the subject of those sets.
    • I have not introduced the 'Demolition' subtheme as I think people searching the database would expect to find 'Demolition' sets with the existing 'Construction' range.
    • I am reluctant to create the 'Transport' subtheme for only seven sets, especially since that could probably be applied to many other sets.
    LEGO's subthemes are definitely worthy of consideration but sometimes they are not really appropriate for the Brickset database, separating sets one might expect to find together.
  • gt7319cgt7319c Member Posts: 33
    I think the City subtheme changes that were made are good.  Would it also make sense to move some (if not all) of the nine released sets that are listed in the General subtheme to the Town subtheme?  The characteristics of the sets in question ( #4937, #7280, #7281, #8398, #8401, #8403, #30224, #30356, #40170 ) seem to align well with the other sets that have been placed in the Town subtheme.  Set #30364 which doesn't have a subtheme might fit in Town as well.  Set #30363 which also doesn't have a subtheme might fit in Harbour. 
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at or Amazon?

Please use our links: Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the, Inc. Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, which are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.