With the release of the largest ever LEGO set, the 11,695 piece 31203 World Map, Kat wonders just how big LEGO sets can get
It will come as no surprise for fans that LEGO sets keep getting bigger. This trend has been on a steep increase since the early 2000s. Back then, a 1,500 piece set was big, but today that’s a pretty normal set size, with the bigger ones coming in at several thousand pieces. 31203 World Map is now available to buy and claims the top spot as the biggest LEGO set ever, coming in at a whopping 11,695 pieces. It’s taken that title from 10276 Colosseum, which was released less than a year ago. So, how big can LEGO sets go, or perhaps more importantly, how big should they go?
More pieces in a LEGO set means more details, which in the case of sets like 75192 Millennium Falcon or 10256 Taj Mahal results in a model that’s accurate to the source material. The scaling is larger so more of the little details can be included, along with interiors or even working functions. A large piece count gives the LEGO designers the room to truly capture something as accurately as possible in the brick.
This of course leads to a longer building experience, so there’s more enjoyment value in the box (at least that’s been the case until 31203 World Map, where that’s a debatable point). With all of these pieces the build is usually more challenging, and the interesting techniques engaging, which they need to be because otherwise that big model will just become a ton of repetition. Once finished the result is an eye-catching display piece certainly worth all the time and effort.
But bigger also leads to more expensive. When Star Wars 75192 Millennium Falcon was announced it was met with a lot of fan excitement – except for the price tag. At an eye-watering £649.99 ($799.99/€799.99) it meant that only the most serious Star Wars collectors were able to purchase it. It’s unlikely that licensed LEGO sets would go above the 7,000 piece-count, as otherwise the price-tag would become even higher, potentially leading to the point of alienating most fans.
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This could be the reason that the two largest LEGO sets are both within original LEGO themes, so there’s no licensing fee and fans are only paying for the pieces. The price difference between 10276 Colosseum and 31203 World Map may sound strange at first. Why is 31203 cheaper when it has nearly 2,000 pieces more? It’s because of the type of pieces and production costs. 10276 has a diverse range of system and Technic bricks, whilst 31203 is from the Art range so is almost entirely 1×1 round tiles. Even then, both are priced significantly lower than 75192.
How big can LEGO sets go? There’s no real answer to this question – only the LEGO Group know where they perceive the upper limit on piece count and price to be. The more pertinent question is how big should LEGO sets go? As sets get bigger so the price will go up and not every fan can afford that, no matter how much they may like the set. Then the bigger the model, the more room needed for display – and dining tables are really meant for eating. Finally there’s the box size to consider – storage space is at a premium in most households and even couriers have size limits on what they can deliver.
It’s always thrilling to hear about a new LEGO set breaking old records to become the biggest yet, and it’s sure to continue (perhaps some enormous new model will be announced during the upcoming livestream!). Size isn’t everything though and it’s important that these sets remain accessible without fans being daunted by price, piece count or space required.