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Old 2011-02-28, 09:07 PM   #59
Cellar Door
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Mmm... bearing in mind that I only really remember the Castle stuff me and my bother had a) there didn't seem to be many small Castle sets (and the ones there were were unchanged for years... though then a lot of toys were like that at the time, or at least seemed to be) and b) were pretty uninspiring - odd little siege weapons or carts, and I seem to remember a highly unconvincing boat made of aricraft parts with flags for sails...

I guess that's a vagary of the range - 1 Castle means Castles and pretty much everything else is small fry and 2 there just aren't as many vehicles and the like to make 30-40 piece sets out of... I always thought Minifig sets of army builders might have been the answer, but it's difficult to draw a direct line between adult obsession and what kids like... As a kid I thought Minifigs were pretty awesome, but still preferred building kits - I'd have drooled over a set of Lion knights, but probably still have bought a sportscar for all the different bits. I seem to remember the old Minifig six-packs were also relatively pricey.

I guess with the women it's history at work... the three main career paths were noblewoman, wench and servant, and I guess Lego have to tread the line between realism and making something suitable for kids. Mind, one of the big problems with the older stuff is the unisex Minifig heads - you want a female Men-At-Arms, you take the helmet off and slap on a hairpiece. But then you've got one silly cow who's set out to battle without a helmet for no other reason that you can tell she's a girl. The Space stuff is the same - I'm fairly sure there's no-one who's obviously female in at least the first decade of that, because everyone's got a helmet on. Town was pretty poor really for years in this respect too for years - on percentage if not the full number.

I think a reason most of the other sub-themes haven't lasted as well as Town or City have.... With Castle it's difficult to come up with much that appeals to kids other than a couple of castles a year, a few siege weapons and then... well, you do a few more castles, with different knights. Not that I have anything against Castle or anything, but you can see why it might get stale from a commercial point of view... It's pretty much why Pirates never lasts long - you have a pirate ship, a soldiers' ship, a fort, a treasure island... and that's it. I seem to remember the second year of the 1980s Pirate set had some very silly stuff in it, mixed with some daft swapping (IIRC the second year the soldiers had the bigger ship...).

Whereas Town especially would give one sub-theme a big 'push' a year (airport, harbour, Grand Prix, Octan) before switching to something else, which probably kept things fresher - and the same stuff seems to be working for City. However, I think the hope for Castle is that it's the big collectors' theme, and judging by what you say is coming it might be that Lego are taking some note of that - quantity might not be huge, but it looks like variety is making a few strides.
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