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13 best Lego sets for adults who want to construct a masterpiece

Feeling nostalgic? Lay the bricks for memory lane with these challenging builds

Siobhan Grogan
Wednesday 09 March 2022 15:06
<p>You can either commit to mammoth operation or opt for a more stress-busting build</p>

You can either commit to mammoth operation or opt for a more stress-busting build

The much-loved Danish brick is a firm favourite with children around the world, but countless adults are just as devoted. These over-18 builders trade rare sets and bricks, share news in online groups and have created astonishing designs on the Channel 4 series, Lego Masters.

Even casual fans are recognising the benefits of sitting down to focus on building Lego sets. As with adult colouring books, it’s a great way to switch off from the real world, practise effortless mindfulness and even get a much-needed fix of nostalgia. Clicking together the iconic bricks is also believed to help creativity and problem solving.

Lego have responded to the increased demand by expanding their range of 18+ sets to include models on a variety of themes including famous buildings, films and TV shows such as Star Wars and Friends, and even a botanical range especially created to relieve stress.

Some are mammoth builds featuring thousands of pieces and costing several hundred pounds, others take just a few short hours to put together, with price tags that won’t make your eyes water. You’ll be proud to keep any of them out on display afterwards. Just remind the kids to keep their hands off…

How we tested

We built a range of sets to consider the level of difficulty, cost, how engaged we were while working on them and how much we enjoyed the process. We followed the paper instructions while building each one and roped in (very) willing teenage helpers to get involved. We looked for sets that were challenging and entertaining, ones that captured our attention and, most of all, ones we felt proud to look at every day once finished.

Read more:

The best Lego sets for adults for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Lego ideas the globe: £174.99, Lego.com
  • Best to show off – Lego Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer: £614.99, Lego.com
  • Best challenging build – Lego technic Ferrari 488 GTE AF Corse #51: £119.99, Zavvi.com
  • Best for football fans – Lego creator expert Old Trafford – Manchester United: £277.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best detail – Lego NASA space shuttle Discovery: £159.99, Lego.com
  • Best for novices – Lego Architecture The White House display model: £77.99, Zavvi.com
  • Best for mindfulness – Lego botanical collection flower bouquet: £41.99, Smythstoys.com
  • Best epic project – Lego Titanic: £554.99, Lego.com
  • Best fun build – Lego BrickHeadz Spice Girls tribute: £44.99, Lego.com
  • Best for nostalgia – Lego ideas Seinfeld apartment building: £69.99, Lego.com
  • best for minifigures – Lego Queer Eye, the Fab 5 loft: £89.99, Lego.com
  • Best future collector’s items – Lego Star Wars Republic Gunship: £309.99, Lego.com
  • Best to build with kids – Lego Marvel Avengers Thor’s Hammer Infinity Saga set: £104.99, Zavvi.com

Lego ideas the globe

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

It’s not always easy to find a Lego model that no one in the family will object to being on display, but this globe could have pride of place in any home. Released in February 2022, it’s made up of 2,585 pieces and – rejoice!– not even a single sticker as every detail is pre-printed. It uses a combination of Lego technic pieces to form the axis and Lego system bricks to build the surprisingly successful spherical shape, and we loved the glow-in-the-dark tiles used on oceans and continents.

Of course, the nature of the globe means the build is fairly repetitive once you get the hang of it, but we actually appreciated the soothing, mindful nature of building something almost automatically. It still took us a few solid evenings to build this model and we were staggered by the finished product. Standing over 40cm high, it looks fantastic and spins just as smoothly as you’d hope. The youngest Lego fan in our house was particularly taken with it and very keen to keep it in his bedroom. A classic suits-all set that really could go anywhere and will look good for years to come.

Read more about Lego’s globe

Lego Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer

Best: To show off

Rating: 7/10

Lego’s Star Wars range is perhaps the most in demand with keen adult fans of Lego (AFOL) prepared to stump up serious cash to recreate characters, scenes and starships from the films. And this set is mammoth, with 4,784 pieces, a gigantic box and a lengthy spiral-bound instruction book.

Unusually, the build starts with a Technic stand, which the whole model is mounted on. You’ll need plenty of free space for it too – the finished build is enormous, measuring over 90cm long and 60cm wide. It even comes with its own display plaque to place alongside it in case you’re in any doubt that this set is strictly for looking and not touching.

Though we found the grey exterior a teeny bit tedious to build, the attention to detail elsewhere is extraordinary, with a scale model of the rebel starship that attaches to the front, a tilting tractor beam antenna and twin deflector shields. Two minifigures are included – Imperial officer and Imperial crewmember – but we would have liked a few more in the box for this price. However, if you’re a real Star Wars fan and have the (considerable) space to display this, you’ll be the envy of every Lego-loving visitor.

Lego technic Ferrari 488 GTE AF Corse #51

Best: Challenging build

Rating: 9/10

If the thrill of the build appeals above all else, this Lego version of the famous Ferrari will keep you transfixed. With 1,677 pieces, it took us a couple of days to finish the 48cm long car and it was a complex and occasionally fiddly build that really kept us challenged.

The detail throughout makes it fun though. The doors and bonnet open, the steering wheel turns and the car even has front and back suspension and a V8 engine with moving pistons. These realistic features particularly appealed to our teen testers, who enjoyed customising the car exactly as they wanted and then using it once it was built. Overall, it’s a great set for anyone who fancies a challenge and has always dreamed about owning their very own Ferrari.

Lego creator expert Old Trafford – Manchester United

Best: For football fans

Rating: 8/10

Any diehard Man United fan will love this set, even if they’re not a huge Lego obsessive. The faithful replica of Old Trafford looks seriously impressive out on the shelf and is built to a scale of 1:600, measuring around 47cm long and 39cm wide when completed.

The build itself is very clever and engaging, with some nifty techniques that had us glued to the instruction book. At a stonking 3,898 pieces, it’s not something you’ll knock up in a night though. It took us just under a week when working on it for a couple of hours at a time, and we were really impressed with the detail including the Munich Clock, statues of Matt Busby, the United Trinity and the player’s tunnel.

When completed, it looked much better than we expected, with a palpable sense of scale, yet it’s not too enormous to leave out on display. However, we would’ve loved some minifigures thrown in for the price and the stickers – there are more than 50! – which nearly brought us to tears trying to apply them all accurately.

Don’t panic if you hate Manchester United either. Lego also makes a version of FC Barcelona’s stadium Camp Nou (£289.99, Lego.com) and is said to be planning others soon.

Lego NASA space shuttle Discovery

Best: Detail

Rating: 8/10

Anyone who was a Lego fan growing up almost certainly built their own space shuttle at some point. Tackling the NASA space shuttle Discovery should definitely bring back fond memories if so, even if the quality of this set is worlds apart (sorry) from the simpler sets of childhood.

The detail throughout this 2,354-piece set is astonishing and you’ll definitely want to play with it once its built, rather than stick it on a shelf. There’s landing gear to be engaged, a robotic arm, an opening cockpit to peek at the flight deck and an engine that turns to make the lift move.

Best of all, there’s a mini-Hubble Telescope inside which was launched by Discovery in 1990. This has a movable door and solar panels and can be displayed either with the shuttle itself or separately to get a little more for your money. It’s really enjoyable to build and challenging enough to hold the attention without making you weep in frustration. An excellent buy for the money.

Lego Architecture The White House display model

Best: For novices

Rating: 7/10

Fancy having a go at some Lego but not sure you’ll stick with it? This is a great set to start with to see if you’ll get the brick bug, and is ideal for all the family to work on together. It’s a fairly straightforward build with just 1,483 pieces, so it can be completed in a couple of hours if you stick at it. But it’s the perfect build to leave out on a table so you can dip in and out of it as you fancy too.

A faithful replica of the home of every United States president since 1800, the neoclassical building comes with all the key features including a West Wing, an Executive Residence, connecting colonnades and a Rose Gardens. It can easily be divided into three sections for a closer look and comes with a booklet explaining a little more about the building’s history – particularly useful if you’re getting the kids involved.

If you enjoy it, we’d recommend taking a look at the rest of the Architecture range afterwards, which includes landmarks such as the Taj Mahal (£104.99, Lego.com), the Singapore skyline (£54.99, Lego.com) and the Statue of Liberty (£89.99, Lego.com).

Lego botanical collection flower bouquet

Best: For mindfulness

Rating: 9/10

Lego’s botanical collection is designed to encourage creativity and ease stress, and we were totally hooked when we built this pretty bouquet. Inspired by real flowers including roses, poppies and daises, the whole set is made from a plant-based plastic produced using sustainably sourced sugarcane for more eco-friendly play.

There’s only 756 pieces in this set so it won’t take long at all to build, but the real beauty is how customisable it all is. Stems can be taken apart and made shorter or longer while petals and leaves can be repositioned to make the unique bouquet of your dreams. The shapes and colours of the petals are beautifully realistic and look great arranged in a vase or jar at home – we had several compliments from visitors on ours.

Best of all, once you get bored of looking at it, you can take it all apart and rearrange the bouquet differently for a whole new display. We think it would make a fantastic present too.

Lego Titanic

Best: Epic project

Rating: 8/10

Clear your diary. You’ll need to put your social life on hold for a good few weeks if you intend to master this mega build – which is one of the largest Lego kits ever created.

Released just before Christmas 2021 and a regular sell-out ever since – don’t worry, it will be back in stock again soon – the 9,090-piece replica of the ill-fated ship is an absolute whopper. It comes in an enormous, heavy box that is undeniably intimidating. We almost didn’t know where to start but as always with Lego, it comes together slowly simply by following the clear step-by-step instructions.

As the model is so gigantic, it did feel like progress was non-existent at times, but we felt the trick was to do a bit whenever we felt the urge rather than getting swamped with it. An extraordinary model soon takes shape with features including the grand staircase, boiler room, smoking lounge, promenade deck, a swimming pool, lifeboats and over 300 portholes. There are various moving parts too including an anchor that can be raised, an adjustable tension line between masts, and turning propellers which rotate the piston engines.

The end product is simply beautiful and every Lego devotee’s dream. But be warned: at a huge 135cm long when built, you might need to redecorate just to find space to display it.

Lego BrickHeadz Spice Girls tribute

Best: Fun build

Rating: 6/10

Okay, we know this set is 16+ rather than for those over 18 but we couldn’t resist including it because it’s such fun to build. Launched on at the start of March, it’s certainly not tricky to put together but it looks great once it is.

The set has been made to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Spiceworld album release, and is the first time a pop band has been immortalized in the BrickHeadz style. Mini versions of all five of the Spice Girls are included, with microphones, stands and even a lollipop for Baby Spice, Emma Bunton. Each piece is instantly recognisable with Geri in her famous Union Jack dress, Mel B in leopard print, Melanie C in a tracksuit and Victoria in her trademark LBD. If you’re already a BrickHeadz fan, it’s a must-buy, but it would make a good talking point in any house.

Lego ideas Seinfeld apartment building

Best: For nostalgia

Rating: 8/10

Anyone who spent the Nineties watching classic American sitcom Seinfeld will be delighted to get their hands on this Lego version of Jerry’s Upper West Side, New York apartment. Though it looks fairly straightforward and isn’t especially taxing to build, the set is jam-packed with quirky details any true Seinfeld fan will notice straight away.

There’s a painting of Uncle Leo on the wall, a fridge with a Superman magnet, giant pretzels, a blue statue and even a goldfish in a bag. There’s even a small stage for stand-up comedian Jerry to deliver his one-liners. We especially loved the minifigures of five of the show’s characters including Seinfeld himself, George Constanza, Cosmo Kramer, Elaine Benes and Newman. We reckon this model will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling long after you’ve finished building it, and no one will be able to pass it without stopping for a quick tinker.

Lego Queer Eye, the Fab 5 loft

Best: For minifigures

Rating: 7/10

Just like the show itself, the stars of this Queer Eye build are the fab five themselves. This recreation of their original Atlanta loft comes with brilliant minifigure versions of each presenter – and Bruley the dog of course – plus two versions of Kathi Dooley, a character from the show who received one of the most famous makeovers.

The loft itself is enjoyable to build and took us around four hours – but we took extra time cooing over the quirky details. These include Jonathan’s swivelling salon chair, Karamo’s couch and scrap book, cute chopped avocado and a clothing rack for Tan. We especially loved the built-in transformation booth for those all-important before and after reveals. But, the immediately recognisable minifigures are the real reason to snap up this TV-inspired set. Almost as fun as the real thing.

Lego Star Wars Republic Gunship

Best: Future collector’s item

Rating: 8/10

This was voted for by Lego fans to be an “ultimate collector series” set so is definitely one to get your hands on if you’re passionate about building – or a Star Wars obsessive.

Unlike others in the same range, it’s not such a lengthy build with 3,293 pieces, so the price tag is (slightly) more reasonable than some of the other models available. It’s all the better for it in our book, with less repetition, ingenious engineering detail and some of the largest Lego pieces ever created. It’s still suitably challenging however, and took us nearly a week to build, working a couple of hours a day.

Seen during the Battle of Geonosis in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this faithfully replicated model has pilot cockpits, swing-out spherical gun turrets, two cannons, opening sides and rear hatch, and interior details. The minifigures of Clone Troop Commander and Mace Windu are included, though we would have loved some more. The finished model was a lot bigger than we expected too, at 74cm wide and 68 cm deep, so make sure you have the space to display before you fork out on this one.

Lego Marvel Avengers Thor’s Hammer Infinity Saga set

Best: To build with kids

Rating: 7/10

If you and your children love all things superhero, this is the build to bond over. Launched on 1 March, it is a recreation of Mjölnir, the distinctive hammer used by Thor in Marvel Studios’ Infinity Saga. It comes with a stand and information plate to display the model and of course, the all-important Thor minifigure too.

It’s not too difficult for any junior brick fans to join in either. With 979 pieces, the set features some repetition so once they get the hang of it, they’ll be able to help despite the fact it’s aimed at adults. They’ll also love the fact the head of the hammer opens to reveal smaller models of the Infinity Gauntlet, Tesseract and Odin’s Fire. As an added bonus, it’s sturdy enough to be played with once built instead of just left out on show – if you’ll let them near it.

Read more about the Lego Marvel Avengers Thor’s Hammer set

The verdict: Lego sets for adults

Lego lovers won’t be disappointed by any of these sets. The Lego ideas the globe should interest everyone and really has excellent on-the-shelf appeal once it’s completed. Plus, it gets bonus points for including no stickers. If you’re keen to give Lego as a present, you also won’t go far wrong with the lovely Lego botanical collection flower bouquet. It will last a lot longer than a shop bought bunch too.

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We’ve also found the best hard jigsaw puzzles for adults – let the games begin

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