Deconstructing Lego is a blog that analyzes Lego sets under a variety of lenses, sometimes comparing similar sets from different years or creating a story based around a set or analyzing the implicit message that a set creates.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

2846: Indian Kayak

One of those impulse sets.  Usually not a fan of impulse sets, unless if the minifigure is unique or interesting.

Feel like Native American is the preferred nomenclature here.  also that kayak doesn't even have sides, water is going to get all up in it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

6613: Telephone Booth

A relic of a somewhat bygone era, the Telephone Booth used to be seen on every street corner.  Today they're found mostly in airports and bars, the rest being replaced by cell phones.  This 1986 set features a somewhat fancy setup, with a roof and seating.

I really like the design of the bench, very unique to use the inverted slopes as a base for the chair pieces.  Something I want to use in my own creations.

Maybe the dude is a bike messenger, getting a new assignment.  Probably a hipster on a fucking fixie.

The phone booth is yellow which is kinda weird, but I was thinking that maybe phone booths in Denmark are yellow.  I did a bit of research (via Google image search) and it would appear that Danish phone booths are Green.

Friday, July 22, 2011

6462: Ariel Recovery

Ted:  Frank!  Frank, what the hell are you doing!
Frank:  Recovering motorcycles.  There was a huge flood so I figured I'd grab a motorcycle.  The kid has been nagging that he wants one for his birthday.
Ted:  Frank we are supposed to be saving people, not recovering motorcycles so that you can get back at your ex.
Frank:  I just feel like this is the only way he'll ever respect me, if I show up one evening on a black three-wheeled motorcycle, and we ride off into the sunset.  I don't care if his mother has him every weekend, I'm going to take my son on a motorcycle ride!

Ted:  Frank, you need to let go.  He'll come around.  A few more years and you'll be able to go to the bar with him, talk about girls and watch some goddam baseball.
Frank:  I guess you're right.  I'll bring the chopper down so we can grab that scuba diver.  Fucking tourists.
Ted:  Fuckin' tourists.

Seriously can anyone explain why they are trying to save a motorcycle instead of flood victims???

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

4030: Cargo Carrier

The 1987 set 4030:  Cargo Carrier is easily one of the most meta Lego sets that exists.  Here we have a cargo ship with the primary cargo being Lego.  A Lego set that is full of more Lego!  So meta.

I really enjoy Lego sets that contain references to the product.  This is probably one of my favorite ones though since a lot of Lego has to be shipped overseas.  The scale of the set isn't too bad, obviously the boat would have to be a lot larger to actually be at a minifigure scale, but it works pretty well regardless.

One has to wonder what the cargo is.  Perhaps boxed Lego sets, or maybe just parts that still need to be sorted and boxed up before sold.  Or perhaps the men onboard are the actual cargo, and they've escaped!  Either way, it's a very nice looking set and one that I would love to own.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Walden Pond

Thoreau ventured into the woods near Concord Massachusetts and built a small log cabin, desiring to live under the guide of transcendentalist philosophy and to objectively view society from afar.  In his own words, he

"went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

The Lego Creator set 5766:  Log Cabin can be interpreted as a set based on Thoreau's unique experiment.  There is a small patch of water in the set, perhaps meant to represent Walden Pond.  Thoreau's cabin was 15'x10', which does not quite fit the dimensions of the set shown here but it is certainly close.

Thoreau spent much of his time at Walden Pond living simply, writing about life and government, and relaxing in the woods of New England.  While this set can easily be seen as any ordinary woodland cabin, I like to think of the possibility that on some level Thoreau was thought of when this set was designed.  

The above photo is a replica of Thoreau's cabin, and looks quite similar to the Lego set.  The door it located on a different side, the but roof and placement of the chimney are remarkably the same.  

I hope this post helps you to take time to think about the cultural influences that may or may not go into the design of each Lego set.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fire Fighter Boats Part 2

There was a gap of over a decade until the next fire fighter boat was released by Lego in 2004, set 7046:  Fire Command Craft.

Unlike other sets, this one contains both a regular boat and a smaller Zodiac style fire fighting vessel.  Additionally, the glass for the control room is now facing to the aft, instead of forwards.  It's definitely a smaller boat compared to past offereings, and is somewhat boring in general.

In 2007 7906:  Fireboat was released with a style much different from past offerings.

Again we see a cockpit with the glass slated to the back, but more importantly the set itself looks more like a speed boat than a fire fighting vessel.  While the inclusion of a motor at the bottom is an awesome feature, the boat itself looks sloppy.  It's missing the green and red lights (used for navigation so that other boats can tell where and in which direction another boat is moving in the dark) that any boat should have, and does not even have a roof for the captain.  This set also has a small craft that can be detached, another nice feature, but it doesn't make up for the other flaws of this set.  While I enjoy the design of it overall, it just doesn't work as a fire fighting vessel.

Finally, in 2010 Lego released 7207:  Fire Boat (note that the previous set was called 'Fireboat'.  The difference in the naming between the sets is a single space!).  This is a set that really does it right, that really captures that aesthetic of what a fireboat is and harkens back to the sets released in the 1980s.

What is there not to love about this set?  The hull is very similar to those released in the 1980s, being somewhat short and very tall.  It has a full functioning cabin with a windshield that leans forward, just as many real fireboats are designed.  Like the older sets, it also has an elevated fire fighting crane device, but also manages to include the small inflatable boat that appears in the newer sets, ultimately combining new and old beautifully.  And it includes four figures, a rare sight today.  One last homage to the older sets is the inclusion of a water line on the side of the hull, indicating how low in the water the vessel is riding.  Whoever designed this set clearly had an affinity for the older models, and was able to recreate that aesthetic while adding new elements and ideas.

Those are the major fire boats released from 1982 to 2010, nearly two decades of fire fighting vessels.  If you enjoyed this sort of post, please check out my series on The Evolution of the Lego Castle.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fire Fighter Boats Part 1

Since the early 1980s The Lego Group has released several fire fighting boats of various sizes.  Prior to 1982 Lego released a few sets that were not minifigure scale, however I will only be focusing on the sets that are to scale.

4025:  Fire Boat is easily the smallest of the bunch, which makes sense considering it was the first one.  It has a fairly basic design but also includes an elevator device that moves up and down which can be seen in around half the sets.  One interesting tidbit about the first three sets is that they are all under the Boats subtheme, rather than the Fire subtheme.

Next is the 1987 release 4020:  Fire Fighter.  Like all the other sets a plastic hull that actually floats is included and is one of the main appeals.  Compared to later sets it is definitely less sophisticated and has fewer parts and features, but is still an interesting set.  The forward leaning glass is consistent for the majority of these sets, as is the inclusion of a water gun station.  Although the set is of a better scale than 4025, it's not nearly as interesting looking and has fewer play features.

This last set that I'll be looking at today was one of the first sets I owned, and is definitely my favorite fire fighter boat.  The 1991 set 4031:  Firefighter features a well-made cabin, four minifigures, elevated fire hose, and a helicopter.  The hull itself is longer than previous boats and overall feels like a more complete set.  The cabin itself is of the same style as the previous two boats, but this trend will change in the 2000s when the next boat is released.  The fire fighter sets have never been as popular as police sets which is probably why there was over a decade gap between this fire fighter boat and the next.

In the next post I will discuss the final three fire fighter boats.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

7821: Track & Lighting Maintenance Wagon

I've been on this wagon for years now, wandering the countryside, searching for my meaning in life.  Every few miles stopping to fix a burnt out light or mend some twisted track.  This small 6x16 platform is all I know, with a few ladders and tools and a small balcony that swivels around.  I sometimes like to pretend that I'm gazing upon a seaside village from this yellow balcony, watching the waves crash in as the fishermen head out early in the morning.

Instead, I know that this small cart will be my lot in life.  My partner, identical to myself, spending the best years of our lives wandering the abyss of train track.

The weird thing is that he looks just like me, identical in every way.  I sometimes wonder if he is merely a figment of my imagination.  Does he really exist?  Has the toil of fixing tracks and lights along this expanse of railway warped my mind, much like the warped tracks I fix daily?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

6940: Alien Moon Stalker

Classic Space was one of the first major themes to appear in the late 1970s, and continued for over a decade after that, eventually evolving into other space themes.  It featured no enemy, but rather astronauts in different uniforms who generally worked together.  The focus was exploration, not fighting or resource collecting, which is a significant difference from some of the space sets of today.  It seems in many ways to bridge the gap between the City and Town space sets (focusing on shuttles and training on earth) and the more fanciful space sets (Space Police, Mars sets, etc.)

An interesting looking set!  It features the moveable claw that is seen in other space sets, as well as the neon transparents screens that appeared in many space sets over the years.  While it looks like a base, the legs actually move (though I'm not exactly sure how) making it more of a large exploratory base, perhaps scientific in origin.  As I mentioned earlier, we see a blue and red space man (there are also yellow and white (more common) and the rare black) working together.  Not sure why they have different colors to be honest.

There are also rockets in the middle of the ship, which would fire upwards.  While many Classic Space ships feature weaponry, it's never really explained why they even need it.  Perhaps there is conflict, but further investigation will be required.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

6666: Ambulance

6 is an evil number, and 6666 is a super evil number, so why was this set, an ambulance, given such a number?

Interesting torso they chose for the woman, one of the more revealing outfits that she has.  Perhaps she is a young college student who got alcohol poisoning after using her fake ID to get into the bar?  Something of note are the incredibly small wheels on this vehicle, not something you see very much today.  Additionally, this set marks a shift in how medical sets were designed.  If you look at the 1981 ambulance...

...a red cross is used instead of the Star of Life.  The Star of Life was designed in the United States 1970s, after the Red Cross organization complained that the current United States medical symbol was too similar to theirs.  6666 was only released in the United States, while 6680 was an international release.  So, we can see that by the 1990s The Lego Group was changing their models or at least designing models specifically for certain countries, rather than using the ubiquitous and universal Red Cross symbol.

It's also interesting to look at the designs of these two ambulances.  Both are very similar in many ways, both in terms of construction and how they can be interacted with.  The main difference is how the back opens, as you can see in the photos.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

1790: Shark Fisherman

There comes a time in every boy's life, when he realizes that to become a man, he must catch a goddam shark.

Today is that day.  This set comes with a small dock, a protective gate so that one does not fall into the ocean, and a simple fisherman.  The guy appeared in a lot of sets in this era.  Aviators, Five O'Clock shaodw, green fisherman torso and a blue cap.  He appears in a lot of Leisure subtheme sets.  The subtheme itself is pretty odd to be honest.  Similar to the Paradisa subtheme, both emerged in the 1990s and were primarily luxury sets.  Indicative of the economic prosperity of the 1990s, such sets reflected the general feeling of luxury during this era.  It does seem odd though that he would be catching a shark, probably left over from the Pirates theme from several years earlier.

Lastly, what kind of a fisherman wears a lifejacket if he's on a pier?  How odd.

1492: Battle Cove

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

The famous John Donne poem (above) seems to have no bearing on The Lego Group.  Rather, they've created a set where a single pirate is stranded on a small 6x10 stud island.  It's an odd set because there is a considerable amount of infrastructure on this island, despite it being so small.  A brick wall and a cannon signify that the pirate may not be all alone, as this could be a small archipelago, one of several islands in the nearby vicinity.  It may just be a defensive outpost.  The oddly black brick and pirate flag indicate that the island may serve as a warning to nearby ships to stay away, else suffer the wrath of the pirates.

The shark, however, is interesting, as it exemplifies the aloneness of the pirate.  He cannot merely swim to shore of course, so it's clear that he is relying on others for transportation.  Regardless, the shark gives the user the feeling that he is cut off from the rest of the world.

Lastly, why was he given two guns?  In most sets the pirates are generally only given one weapon, and someone a sword and a gun if they are lucky, but two guns is rare indeed.  Perhaps there was another pirate on the island to save him from boredom, but at some point he died.  Perhaps the shark ate him.  Or maybe this pirate shot him in a delirious fury.

Monday, April 11, 2011

4073: Tree 1

4073:  Tree 1 was released as a part of the 2000 Studios theme.  4073 represents the tendency for capitalism to commodify natural goods, going as far as to sell a tree.  The tree is not an actual tree, but rather merely a prop for Hollywood.  The ubiquitous tree has been transformed into a mere prop.  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

4793: Ogel Shark Sub

4793:  Ogel Shark Sub comes from the Mission Deep Sea subtheme, which falls under the larger Alpha Team theme.  The submarine, unlike most, has two arms, one with a claw and one with spinning blades.  This is interesting because several of the Aquazone submarines also came with arms attached to the subs, so I wonder if they were designed by the same people, or possibly paying homage?

As you can see it has a very sleek design and is pretty awesome looking, but we can't ignore the fact that a submarine with arms is just absurd.  It's generally much too dark underwater to see anything, rendering such weapons useless.  Additionally, submarines are generally used for long-range combat against boats, which would make arms pretty useless.  But who cares, this is a really fucking cool submarine.

Shit, look at the dude it comes with (three of them!).  He has a fucking skull for a head and a trans green helmet.  Intense guy.  Anyway, overall it's a really cool set, but not very practical.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

7477: T-1 Typhoon vs. T-Rex

This 2005 set came from the Dino Attack theme.  A very sophisticated helicopter is attacking a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  I have no idea why.  It just seems kinda rude (but this helicopter is fucking awesome).

According to Brickpedia, the dinosaurs are mutants and are in the future and therefore must be stopped.  These dinosaurs appeared in the year 2010 (which just ended!!!).

What's really interesting about this theme though is that it was only released in the United States.  Elsewhere it was released as Dino 2010.

7298:  Dino Air Tracker is more or less the same set but with a large cage instead of large guns.  The US versions were military themed, while the European versions were much more peaceful.  Very interesting!  This is the only theme that I know of where there were major differences in how it was released and marketed for different regions.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Evolution of the Castle: The 1990s

This is part three of a four part series on the evolution of the Lego castle.

6081:  King's Mountain Fortress

The King's Mountain Fortress was released in 1990, and is the first Lego castle to feature a raised baseplate, a dramatic shift from the flat baseplates and regular flat plates that housed previous castles.  As a result, this set has significantly fewer pieces than some other castles, especially castles for the Lions faction.  Other than 6059:  Knight's Stronghold (released in the same year) this is the first set with molded wooden doors, as opposed to earlier sets that only had a drawbridge or makeshift grate to block the entrance.

Like many sets, this one includes towers, a drawbridge, flags, and knights.  Two interesting inclusions are that of the maiden and of the ghost minifig, which began appearing in sets around this time.  Compared to a lot of castles it is a bit lacking, but it does have a small courtyard which is rare among castle sets.

6086:  Black Knight's Castle

The Black Knight's Castle from 1992 also features a raised baseplate, the same baseplate from 6081, but the castle itself is much more impressive.  This Dragon Knight castle features the first molded gate piece along with the requisite drawbridge.  Take a look at the color scheme compared to past sets.  While there is an overwhelming amount of black, there is now a fair amount of grey to offset it, along with a beautiful red roof that really catches the eye.  Not only is this castle large, it is also much more aesthetically pleasing than past castles, and is a much more complex build compared to the square castles of the 1980s.  Lastly, check out all the horsemen!  Very much like the original yellow castle, having so many horsemen.

6090:  Royal Knight's Castle

The Royal Knight's Castle, released in 1995, features a new and very large baseplate and is one of the most impressive castles that Lego has ever released.  This castle features several very tall towers and some new play features like a catapult.  Additionally, it is one of the first (maybe the first??) castles to not have a drawbridge, opting instead to have doors and a grate.  This Lions faction set makes me nostalgia hard and is one of my favorites of all time.  It also features a king with chrome sword and crown, which will become more popular in the 2000s.  Lastly, there is a cloth flag and a cloth cape, two items which became popular in the 1990s.

Next will be the final installment, focusing on the 2000s.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

4950: The Loader-Dozer

Moria.  You fear to go into those mines.  The Dwarves dug too greedily and too deep.  You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum...shadow and flame.

The Rock Raiders theme, released in 1999, contains a series of sets wherein members of the LMS Explorer dig for energy crystals.  According to Rock Raider mythos, the LMS Explorer was on its way home when it ran into an asteroid field and was badly damaged.  After being flung towards the Planet U, members of the ship dropped down to the planet to extract ore and Energy Crystals.  The series has the same goal of many themes, collecting crystals.  Rock Raiders, however, has a much greater backstory, with comic books and a game that explain why they need the resources.

Of course the Rock Raider crew also ran into their own troubles, namely the Rock Monsters.  They feast on crystals, just as the Rock Raiders need the crystals to power their ships, and are only aggressive when their crystals are in jeopardy.  While the Rock Monsters are seen as brutish enemies, they are really only protecting what is rightfully theirs.  However, the crew of the LMS Explorer is not merely mining crystals for profit, exploiting the Planet U, but rather need to in order to successfully escape and return home.

So, unlike many crystal-collecting themes, the Rock Raiders may be disturbing the natural habitat but are only doing so in order to survive.  A stark contrast to the Aquanauts and Aquasharks who are disturbing the natural ocean environment for their own gain.

Regardless, the vehicle here is clearly used as a bulldozer of sorts for moving around ore.  The crew member appears to not be deliberately attempting to hurt the Rock Monster, but rather is attempting to escape and leave the monster alone.  While he could easily use the dynamite on top of the vehicle to destroy the Rock Monster, he decides instead to merely flee the otherwise peaceful creature.

The rich mythos of the Rock Raiders gives us more to work with and allows us to see them not as capitalistic exploiters of the resources of a distant planet, but as shipwrecked explorers.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Evolution of the Castle: The Late 1980s

This is part two of a series on the evolution of the Lego castle.

6074:  Black Falcon's Fortress

This set, released in 1986, is another mid-sized castle which can open up.  One interesting aspect to this castle (which I only know about because I own the 2002 re-release) is that the outer walls of the castle have holes for pegs, meaning that you can connect other sets to it in order to create larger castles.  Otherwise, this set is a fairly standard design.  The front entire front of the castle is raised up which is something different, but not something significant.  One oddity, however, is the lack of any swords.

6085:  Black Monarch's Castle

Released in 1988 (the year of my birth!) 6085:  Black Monarch's Castle is a dark monolith among other Lego castles.  It's an enormous set, with two towers in the back and a two-story gate tower in the front.  This set also uses a flat baseplate (the last major castle to do so) and has hinges so that it can open up for play.  The attached army is the first iteration of the Dragon Knights, another faction among many.  There's not much else to note, except again the lack of swords, which I do not understand.

6059:  Knight's Stronghold

A simple expansion to 6085:  Black Monarch's Castle, this set is the epitome of the "Battle in a Box," with both Black Falcons and Dragon Knights.  Fairly basic design, but the ability to add it to an already existing set and the inclusion of two warring factions makes this an interesting set.  Additionally, it calls me to question which of these factions are to considered good and evil.  More than likely it is futile and immature to label these factions as being good or evil, when really they may just exist as opposing factions fighting for land and glory.  It may not be until 2000 with Knight's Kingdom I that we can with certainty assume that one faction is good and the other evil.

Part three of this four part series will be on Castle sets in the 1990s.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2555: Belville Swing Set

The Belville Swing Set was a promotional set released in 1998, available only at Shell gas stations.  Like any Belville set, it features a number of rare parts, such as the apples, basket, chrome piece on top of the swings, and two cats.

First, note the suggested age.  5-12 is nothing surprising, but the addition of the caricature of a small girl not only indicates that the set is for girls, but rather that it should only be bought for girls.  Later Belville sets, such as those released in 2008 dropped this, indicating only the suggested age (as all Lego sets do).

Additionally, note the inclusion of hearts.  Hearts are generally seen as being something that young girls like, but it is interesting that the two girls in the set also have a heart around them.  Are they in love?  Or are they in love with their cats?  Will they one day grow old as cat ladies?

Most interesting however is the fact that this is a Shell gasoline promotion.  Though Shell has not experienced any oil spills that were extensively covered in the media, such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill or the 2010 BP Gulf Coast oil spill, Shell has a history of spills in Nigeria (note that these spills, according to some estimate, have been much larger than any other in history SOURCE).  

So, even if Shell has not been targeted in the media for causing any oil spills, it doesn't hurt to be proactive, right?  Which is exactly why a gasoline company would sponsor a Lego toy that feature clean crisp water and a beautiful white dolphin.  Oil spills are often associated with images of sea animals covered in crude oil, which is why the set comes with a completely white dolphin, instead of the more common grey dolphin that Lego more regularly produces.  

Take a step back and examine this set further.  It is a swing set, there is no mention of a coast or water or anything of the sort.  All that it took to turn this set into a seaside swing set was the inclusion of a dolphin, four pieces for the dock, and new cover art.  Shell is clearly associating themselves with clean water and untainted sea life so that younger generations will choose them when going to the pump.  This is a genius piece of marketing.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Evolution of the Castle: Early Beginnings

The Castle theme is one of the most popular and longest running themes that The Lego Group has produced.  Stretching back from the late 1970s all the way up to the present, it's a theme that many remember fondly.  Castle construction itself has evolved over the years, from simple fortresses to mountainous strongholds.  Today's castles have come full circle, imitating the infamous "Yellow Castle" released in 1978 with a similarly square and baseplate-less design.  I will now take a look at how the castle has changed throughout the years in a multi-part series.

375:  Castle
The first Lego castle, dubbed the "Yellow Castle" by many, serves as the prototype for many of the castels that The Lego Group produced over the years.  Note the inclusion of horses (though most sets come with one, maybe two) and a bevy of soldiers (but no archers, which is interesting).

Moving onto the castle itself, we see a number of features.  A drawbridge with a winch that can pull it up (some castles use this technique, but there are several other methods of drawbridge operation), towers, a back door, and ramparts along the top of the walls.  While the castle clearly belongs to the Crowns faction (which made a surprising reappearance in 2009), note the inclusion of several other factions, all of which seem to be allies, which is a stark contrast to modern "battle in a box" sets.  Thought unseen, the set has hinges which allow it to open up, another feature seen in many other sets.  Lastly, the set includes a large, flat baseplate which becomes uncommon in later years.

6073:  Knight's Castle
Released in 1984, this small Black Falcon outpost resembles the "Yellow Castle," along with other castles to be released later, in several ways.  Both feature the basic design of a square fortress with a drawbridge (and raised Gatehouse) along with battlements on the walls.  Additionally, we again see a large back door and the ability to open up the castle as both a play feature and as a method to expand the size of the castle.

Although the design is similar, there are two major improvements.  First, the castle is grey and even has some parts with stone details.  This makes the castle not look absurd.  Secondly, the horses are now molded pieces, as opposed to constructed ones.  These look a lot better, and are the same molds used today.  Unfortunately, there are much fewer minifigures in this set.

6080:  King's Castle
Another set from 1984.  This set features the Lions faction.  The mid-1980s had two major factions, the Black Falcons and the Lions.  The Black Falcons would eventually die out and be replaced by other factions, most of them evil.  The Lions, however, have appeared in several different iterations, the most recent being the 2010 Castle theme.  The 'good' faction generally gets the big castle, while the 'bad' faction gets the small one, so it can be surmised that the Black Falcons are enemies.

Regardless, here we have another large, grey castle with a drawbridge, square design, and the ability to 'open up.'  One key addition, however, is the introduction of the portcullis (the large grate-like structure which can be lowered and raised vertically) which will appear in later sets (but as a specialized piece).

Ultimately, this is the largest castle up to this point, with twelve minifigures, four horses, and nearly 700 pieces.  Both of these 1984 sets also introduced archers to joins the ranks of soldiers with swords, axes, and spears.

This concludes the first in a series of posts examining the evolution of the Lego Castle.

9348: Community Minifigure Set

A new Lego education set was recently released, featuring members of the community.  Unlike most sets, it actually has an even number of men and women.

So this set is marketed as an educational product, displaying different roles that people play in the community.  Really glad that they included such an equal distribution of men and women.

In terms of gender roles, this is actually a really great set.  We have a female police officer and a female fire fighter, two roles that are generally seen as being male-dominated (fireman and policeman).  Even more interesting, the sole construction worker is also a woman.  Moving onto the hospital workers, the woman has a stethoscope and white scrubs, while the man does not.  Is the man a nurse, and the woman a doctor?  Again, defying gender roles.

So as you can see, this is a really great set if only because of the strides that the Lego Group made to defy gender roles.  A huge difference from the Paradisa and Belville sets of the 90s.

However, one interesting thing that I noticed (and this is probably due to the fact that female hair pieces block the other side of minifigure heads) is that every woman has an angry scowl on the reverse.

This is the only fault of the set, that it enforces the stereotype of women being upset and making such a face.  But I digress, this is one of the most progressive sets that the Lego Group has ever released.