LEGO Indiana Jones was a stellar LEGO theme, offering thrills and fantastic builds across its short two-year run. For its time, it was revolutionary, but it’s still renowned today, with some of the LEGO Group’s best vehicles, scenery and minifigures ever. Best of all, it wasn’t afraid to delve into some questionable subject matter in a way that children could understand – that’s right, Nazi soldiers, human sacrifices and gangsters were stuffed into one licensed LEGO theme.
‘I love top five lists, Jock! I love ‘em!’
Of course, what would one of the LEGO Group’s best themes be without a top five list? Choose wisely, and you just might find out what the number one best pick is. Here are the top five Indiana Jones sets released from 2008 to 2009.
5. 7682 Shanghai Chase (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
Who could forget the opening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? A musical number done right, a deal gone wrong and a quick escape and car chase from Club Obi Wan. Short Round was behind the wheel, while Shanghai gangsters followed in hot pursuit. The set features five minifigures and two vehicles, with a special fabric roof on Short Round’s car.
What puts this set in the top five list is the perfect balance between the almost fully black gangster van and Short Round’s beaten-up car. It’s a great selection of LEGO pieces in multiple colours, even using Battle Sroid arms to frame the front windscreen. The wheel arches are well-designed, too, a technique borrowed from the next set.
4. 7622 Race for the Stolen Treasure (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
7622 Race for the Stolen Treasure includes a military truck with a canvas covering made of fabric, barely hiding the shine of a pearl gold chest filled with treasure, as well as a lightly armoured vehicle featuring a mounted gun. It’s a strong army builder with three German soldiers, but thanks to well-implemented building techniques, its design is what stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Both vehicles use wings for the wheel arches and wedge plates for the narrow hoods of each vehicle. This set was immensely satisfying to build as it makes the most of every element, only using a few large LEGO pieces. While fresher ideas for vehicles exist in 2023, few could match this set in 2008.
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3. 7620 Indiana Jones Motorcycle Chase (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
If the fourth and fifth picks for this top five list were fantastic because of their building techniques, then this third entry continues that trend at an impulse-buy price. Weighing in at just 79 LEGO pieces, this set offers a great selection of parts, scene-accurate side builds (a rarity these days) and of course, two great motorcycles that can be amassed to recreate the stunt-heavy scene in the film. It goes above and beyond what an inexpensive set should be and can do.
It more than makes up for its light weight with an economic, intelligent build. This set uses Tiny Turbos fairing as the wheel arch on the left-hand side of the sidecar, a round roof piece for the sidecar’s bulbous front, and fantastic motorbike parts. Plus, you get no less than three minifigures in an inexpensive set. One of these is Henry Jones Sr., featuring one of the most detailed faces and torso prints in that era of LEGO sets.
2. 7623 Temple Escape (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
As the first film in the series, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a movie that had to convince its audience that its whip-wielding, treasure-hunting hero was worth watching. Thankfully, no Indiana Jones scene could be more iconic than Raiders’ hair-raising opening, in which Indiana Jones and the traitorous guide Satipo explore an ancient Peruvian temple to retrieve a lost treasure.
7623 Temple Escape manages to capture immense detail with beautiful foliage and creepy skulls, multi-coloured green and grey Big Ugly Rock Pieces (BURPs), a collapsing idol plinth, and of course, a rolling boulder mechanism using a smooth ball. With two skeletons and four awesome minifigures, including villain Rene Belloq, the only thing missing is a bag of sand. It has all the play features you could ever want, just shy of the first pick of this five…
1. 7199 The Temple of Doom (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
A fierce argument can be made for the quality of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as a piece of popcorn cinema, but even so, not nearly as fierce as the love people have for this set. What it lacks in piece count it makes up for with a brand-new and unique rail system, letting you recreate a fast-paced minecart chase as seen in the film. This set matches the same unsettling and strange vibe viewers enjoyed in 1984 with glow-in-the-dark horns, skulls, and worst of all… snakes.
Perhaps the roller coaster-like design of the set doesn’t lend itself well to a display, but few Indiana Jones sets play the concept and fun factor as well as this one. The play value from the hazards in this set is unmatched, even without factoring in the minecart track. Plus, you’ll love the massive selection of unique minifigures, including the rare Mola Ram and Temple Guards, as well as the main named trio. This Indiana Jones set is an adventure to find in the aftermarket at a decent price, but after all, if adventure has a name … it must be Indiana Jones.