Enjoy summer with a picnic! We have suggestions for cheap picnic essentials, including a cooler and utensils and where to find them.
Star Wars Lego Sets, Harry Potter Lego Sets
Lego Set Themes.
Of the many collections available, Star Wars Lego sets are the most sought-after by far. This wildly popular Lego franchise was launched in 1999 and comprises about 250 sets and mini-sets, featuring builds from every movie in the series. Star Wars Lego sets command prices of around 10 cents per piece on average; licensing costs make them more expensive than many other Lego kits. The cheap Star Wars Lego sets on our list start at $25.
After Star Wars, Harry Potter Lego sets and Lego City sets seem to attract the most attention. More than 50 Harry Potter builds have been brought to market since the first release in 2001. Harry Potter Lego sets also average around 10 cents per piece, though there is more price variance from kit to kit than with the Star Wars products. Hagrid's Hut, our pick for best cheap Harry Potter Lego set, retails for 9 cents per piece, as does the Walmart-exclusive Lego Harry Potter Construction Set Bundle (starting at $69). The bundle packages together the 281-piece Knight Bus (starting at $26, Amazon) and 466-piece Hogwarts set (starting at $45, Amazon) and contains 10 Harry Potter minifigures. Although the price tag puts it out of our budget range, the cost per piece is competitive and the set is a good start to a Harry Potter collection.
Lego City is one of Lego's most enduring non-licensed lines. Designed for ages 6 to 12, Lego City sets have a more general appeal and feature things like police stations, airports, and city transportation. The series made its debut in 1978 (back then it was known as Lego Town) and now includes more than 400 Lego City sets. Surprisingly, they run about 13 cents per piece on average, more than the Harry Potter and Star Wars Lego sets.
Lego Set Versatility.People who are passionate about Legos are often inspired to come up with their own creations. Adult fans of Lego, or AFOLs, as they're known on fan sites, fill forums with posts about this, and parents encourage creative tendencies in their Lego-obsessed children. Free building, or building without directions, requires a variety of bricks. Some sets add more to a Lego stash than others.
The specialized boat bottom of the Power Boat Transporter contributes to playability by making the watercraft seaworthy. It isn't terribly versatile, however. The turrets and accessories of the Harry Potter Lego sets also may be difficult to adapt beyond that collection.
One way die-hard Lego lovers increase their architectural arsenals is by purchasing bulk bricks. Lego stores and the online Lego shop peddle supplementary building kits, such as the Lego Basic Bricks Deluxe set (starting at $30, Amazon). Basic Bricks Deluxe contains 650 pieces, which works out to a cost of between 4 and 5 cents per piece. These work well for children who aren't picky about color and theme, as well as building enthusiasts looking to expand their inventory.
Those who need particular types and colors of blocks can buy them on a one-off basis through the Lego Pick a Brick program. Individual Legos run anywhere from 5 cents for a 2x2 plate with a ball socket to just under $4 for a 16x16 plate.
Another way collectors bolster their supplies is by purchasing used Lego lots on Craigslist or eBay. We've seen Lego lots selling for $6 to $8 a pound on Craigslist and bulk Legos ranging from 2 to 8 cents apiece on eBay.
Lego Set Construction.Not surprisingly, users are most impressed by cheap Lego sets that fit together smoothly and stay that way unless purposefully disassembled. We saw no prevalence of complaints about Legos being questionably constructed or of poor quality, but some sets seem more breakable than others once assembled.
The Harry Potter Lego set Hagrid's Hut does get dinged by users posting reviews on Amazon for roof panels that detach easily when opened, but a consumer who posted a review at the Lego Shop says the kit is sturdy when carefully assembled. Commenters on the Lego site also complain about the number of stickers, a gripe often heard about Lego products. Lego purists prefer pre-printed bricks or more realistic building techniques, such as using Lego grille and light pieces instead of stickers on a Lego vehicle.
Think Twice Cheap Legos
This Pictionary-style game challenges players to use Legos to replicate illustrations of everything from a parachute to a dinosaur to the Sydney Opera House. While most agree the idea has merit, reviewers grouse that the game doesn't come with enough pieces. Other disappointments include ambiguous directions and the game's tendency to outlast the patience of young players. For ages 7 and up. Read more »
Lego Basic Bricks Deluxe Review
Hagrid's Hut Review
Mace Windu's Jedi Starfighter Review
Luke's Landspeeder Review
Power Boat Transporter Review
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