I woke up this morning to an email from Lego talking about their Lego MBA (â€œMaster Builder Academyâ€) Program. As tends to be the case on the Internet, that one thing led me on a path of Lego that I had difficulty escaping from.
The first thing I came across was a new set being released early next year. Itâ€™s an exclusive for VIP members, and it is essentially a miniature version of a larger series of sets!
Here is the original firehouse set (left), and the smaller mini version (right)
The mini modulars, as well as the full-size sets that are still available, can be found on the Lego site here. There is also a video where they talk about their inspiration for the miniature series, and what itâ€™s like to build them:
I found the video above on a site that apparently does a lot of reviews of Lego sets. While poking around to see if they had any other information about the mini modulars, or any other upcoming sets, I found a review for the Ninjago Fire Temple set that I made a month or two ago.
Curious what someone else might think about this amazing set, I decided to watch the video. Oh, how very, very painful.
All right, so I guess I should start off by saying that everyone has different reasons for enjoying Lego. And far be it from me to judge anyoneâ€™s reasons to like or not like a particular set. Ultimately, Iâ€™m probably not the target audience for this â€œreviewâ€.
But wow. The reviewer talks at one point about personally building the set, but I have my doubts as to how much building he actually did. Thereâ€™s no talk about some of the fun building techniques that are used in putting this set together. Thereâ€™s no talk about some of the intricate details on both the temple and the finished dragon. But hey, it comes in a big box and costs just over ten cents a piece â€“ thatâ€™s pretty important right? Also, thereâ€™s apparently about 200 pieces per minifig in the set. I have no idea what bearing that has on anything, but okay.
Also: SCYTHE. SCYYYYYYYTHE
The real injustice comes at the end of the video, where the reviewer pans the set for being $120. Despite his seemingly favorable opinion about the set up to that point, he decries the price and the lack of â€œspinnersâ€. The â€œspinnersâ€ are part of a game that is based on the Ninjago universe, and as far as I can tell adds nothing to the building of the set, or its final look. But apparently the lack of them makes its price unreasonable.
So, hereâ€™s the thing. I get the impression that the reviewer is looking at the set from the point of view of enjoying the final set as a play set. Which is fine. But you can buy pre-built play sets anywhere these days. The appeal of Lego â€“ to me, at least â€“ is the process of building it. Playing with the final set is, of course, a fun and expected reward for finishing it. But youâ€™re not just paying for the completed set â€“ youâ€™re paying for the experience of building it. The building techniques, the thought and consideration that went into each step, those amazing â€œahaâ€ moments when several seemingly innocuous steps come together to create something brilliant and expressive.
Everyone likes different aspects of Lego. Some like the pre-made sets, like me. Some like to take a random assortment of bricks and let their imagination be their guide. Some like to play with the final product. But when thereâ€™s a guy like this â€“ a guy who doesnâ€™t seem to know what to talk about until the very end, when he suddenly talks passionately about how expensive the set is, and how itâ€™s lacking a component that doesnâ€™t have anything to do with the core Lego building experience â€“ I feel there is something genuinely wrong. For any Lego fan.