Everyone loves Lego (except a person who has just stepped on a stray brick; that person HATES Lego), and in the past few years, the brand has done some excellent work to stay interesting at a time when other toys and technologies have all but replaced many of the classic playthings from my childhood. First, they partnered with incredibly popular properties like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Marvel, and DC Comics to create incredibly detailed versions of dozens of beloved characters, vehicles, and buildings.
But even cooler than all the licensed sets is the Lego Idea Series, which essentially crowdsources ideas for new sets based on fans’ best freelance Lego creations. It works like this: somebody constructs a version of the set they’d like to see Lego officially produce. They then submit the idea to Lego’s website and set about raising support for the idea. If 10,000 people give the concept a thumbs up, then Lego officially considers the project for production. There’s no guarantee that your idea will ever make it to store shelves (I’m sure there are licensing issues, etc.), but from that point, the idea at least has a chance.
About 20 Lego Ideas sets have been released thus far, including the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, and Pixar’s Wall-E. My personal favorite of the bunch, though, was The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine set, which recreates the Fab Four’s iconic animated submersible. Yes, I got the set for Christmas, and yes, I’m comfortable with that.
During the hour or so that it took me construct the little psychedelic masterpiece, I thought a lot about some sets I’d like to see. Now, I have neither the time nor the skill to get the projects off the ground myself, but if anyone’s interested in putting one of these together, I can promise at least one supporting vote.
1. Fenway Park
There are a lot of iconic sporting venues around the world, but nothing beats Fenway for unique architecture, history, and overall visual impact, inside and out. You could argue for Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium, but I’m a Red Sox fan going back to Nomar Garciaparra’s rookie year, so Fenway gets my vote. The hardest part of getting this one right would be making the seats, since there are 37,000-plus of them and using standard-sized Lego chairs in the stands would make them look enormous. I’d give extra credit to anyone who included a working Green Monster scoreboard, the red seat in the right field seats where Ted Williams reputedly hit his longest home run, and a little drunken Lego man in the center field bleachers wearing a Tom Brady Jersey and holding two beers.
2. Churchill Downs
I promise these won’t all be sports related, but come on, Churchill Downs is both an instantly recognizable piece of architecture and the best Kentucky-centric option for a Lego set (the Slade Shell station is a close second). This one would have to be pretty enormous to capture the scope of the grounds, but think about it: the twin spires, little Lego horses springing from the starting gate, the same drunk guy from the Fenway set gambling away his last dollars at the betting window, the Bacchanalian lunacy of the infield, all in adorable Lego miniature. There’d be roses for the winning horse, of course, and, in a dark twist, an equine physician with an oversized syringe waiting trackside, you know, just in case.
3. Triumph TR6 Trophy motorcycle
I thought about going with a classic Harley-Davidson in this spot, but the Trophy is the motorcycle that Steve McQueen rode in The Great Escape, which puts it on a very short list for the coolest motorcycle of all time. A case could be made for a whole set based on the movie, complete with McQueen’s prison cell, baseball, and glove, but I don’t know that it’s well known enough to garner the 10,000 votes necessary. Safer just to go with the badass bike on its own, so that it can be large enough to capture its every last gleaming detail. Legos are awesome. Motorcycles are awesome. Foiling Nazis is awesome. This is a no-brainer.
4. Jimmy Page’s Gibson EDS-1275
This suggestion isn’t because this guitar (or it’s owner) is the best or my favorite or whatever; it’s more that this ridiculous-looking monstrosity/embodiment of Rock ’n’ Roll excess brings something to the table that no other guitar ever has (or should): two necks and eighteen strings. Page used the guitar during live renditions of “Stairway to Heaven”, switching between the upper and lower necks as needed during the song’s seven-plus minutes. As crazy as the thing looks, it’s instantly recognizable, and it could even come with its own custom stand and a Wayne’s World-style “No Stairway” sign (which its owners would ignore, obviously).
5. The National Cathedral
I waffled here between the Wizard of Oz’s palace (too much one color) and the Disney castle (which it turns out they already make), but in the end, I went a different route, with what I think might be the most stunning building in the entire United States. The National Cathedral is located in Washington, D.C., and it’s imposing towers and gothic arches make it the kind of architectural marvel that would be so satisfying to assemble as a Lego set. Placing that final brick would feel just as satisfying as earning an advanced degree in building design, and would garner at least as much respect (from me, anyway). I should be clear that this Lego set would exist in the parallel universe where The West Wing takes place, so that it could include a mini figure of an angry President Bartlet yelling at God in Latin.
There you have it, my fully-assembled list. Don’t like it? Build a better one (or at least yell at me for not including that thing that you like better than the things I wrote about. Alternatively, you could construct one of my suggestions, submit it to Lego, and then earn 1% of all net profits from your creation. You can buy me a nice steak dinner and we’ll call it even.