I think another big problem is that they try to make sure that each set nowadays is a 'battle'. Take a look at this set as an example. There's really no reason why the tower and the catapult need to be bundled together...both of them would be serviceable standalone sets in their own right. The same goes for this one (One of my favourite modern sets, actually. The fort is really nice and the siege tower is both unique and very well-designed).Cliffjumper wrote: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...
In the 80s and 90s, you could get small castles like this on their own, but nowadays you're far more likely to see the things bundled together in a single box with an 'enemy' set. And while I can see the attraction (kids can buy a single set and have a battle) I think it prices Castle out of the market a bit. Lego is expensive enough as it is, and when I was a kid buying the stuff with my allowance I rarely had more than $20 or $25 to spend at any given time. If Lego made an effort to have one or two small castles in the sub-$20 range, I think it would do a lot for the line. Because like you say, Castle is about castles. Troop builder sets, civilians sets, chariots and catapults are cool, but if they're the only thing kids can afford then they're not going to get into the theme to start with.
Pirates and Space have it a bit harder, I think, because making a small Castle is a lot easier than making a small boat or starship (at least, ones that don't suck).
Historical accuracy is cool and all, but when your kingdom is filled with dragons, orcs, wizards and the undead I think it's safe to say that it's taking a backseat to fun. Unfortunately, most little boys don't have fun playing with female characters, and between those two stumbling blocks it means that females aren't a huge priority.Cliffjumper wrote: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.
Actually I think the unisex heads are nice in that respect because at the very least, they're a lot easier to repurpose as females than modern minifig heads. They're generic, sure, but at least they don't have beards and stuff...Cliffjumper wrote: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.
Castle's always done that to some degree. In the last four or five years we've gone from knights vs. skeletons and a necromancer to knights vs. goblins, back to the bog-standard "two teams of knights fighting", and now to a focus on civilian stuff. I think Castle has as much potential variety as Town, but because it has fewer sets per year and because some of those sets need to be the standard Castle fair, most of it stays potential.Cliffjumper wrote: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.
What the difference boils down to, I think, is that where Town might have five or six 'airport' sets in their 'airport' year, Castle really only has room for one or two sets that break out of the standard mold every year. So we'll get a blacksmith and a mill one year, a siege tower another year and harbour/ship combo in a different year, but the line never seems to focus on a theme as much as I'd like it to.
On the other hand, a lot of the things that they could do with Castle end up getting explored in licensed themes like Harry Potter or Prince of Persia, and that both limits what they can do and probably contributes to Castle having so few sets per year.
Is it? I always thought Town and Star Wars were a lot bigger with collectors, although Castle does have a lot of adult fans.Cliffjumper wrote: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.
That was glorious, wasn't it? Just a shame about the price...Skyquake87 wrote:They've obviously taken note of how well the premium collector set 'Medieval Village' did from 2008.
I think think the adult Lego fandom is a bigger than the adult Transformers fandom. If 10% of Transformers' sales comes from adult collectors (I think that's the number that gets thrown around?) then Lego is probably closer to 20%. That's just a guess, mind, and probably skewed by the sheer amount of army-building and multiple-buying that goes on. But there's no way Lego would produce so many sets that cost >$100 if they didn't have a huge adult fanbase to support it.Skyquake87 wrote:reading through amazon's reviews, its quite suprising how many adults buy and enjoy Lego. The massive technic sets contain reviews from fellas well into their 60s! Brilliant!