Brick Architect’s Best of 2018

2018 was a big year here at Brick Architect. Let’s look at our top-rated sets for 2018, most visited articles for the year, and a glimpse into what’s planned for 2019.

In 2018, Brick Architect began the transition from a personal LEGO blog to a mature LEGO news source with high editorial standards, multiple contributors, and a lot of new content. In total, we shared 52 articles in 2018—an average of one per week! This included nine geeky editorials, advance reviews of seven unreleased LEGO sets, reviews of several LEGO books and storage products, seven great interviews, and our holiday gift guide.

This increase in content was only possible by expanding the website to include a diverse set of perspectives. Thanks again to our seven contributing authors, who wrote 24 great articles in 2018. (Michael Kindness wrote 10 stories, Lydia Nelson wrote two stories, Christine Coste wrote five stories, Koen Van Der Hoeven wrote three stories, Alexander Holroyd wrote two stories, Amy Alphin wrote one story, and Jonathan Jonas wrote one story.) All this great content resulted in nearly twice as many visitors in 2018 as compared to 2017!

Top-rated LEGO sets of 2018

We reviewed 22 official LEGO sets in 2018, although several of the sets were released in previous years. We also reviewed two sets which weren’t released until January 1, 2019: #21043 San Francisco skyline (4/5 stars), and #21044 Paris skyline (3/5 stars).

Must Have (5/5 star) sets

Five very different LEGO sets earned our top 5/5 star rating for 2018. Sets only earn the coveted “Must Have” rating when they are so good that they would be almost any LEGO enthusiast. These sets combine creative building techniques, a good value, and a fantastic finished model.

#21039 Shanghai Skyline

#21039 Shanghai Skyline. (5/5 stars)

#21039 Shanghai Skyline. (5/5 stars)

The first set to earn our top 5/5 star rating this year was #21039 Shanghai Skyline. We loved the diverse building techniques, as well as how much it stands out on a shelf thanks to the  42.  Bright Reddish Violet (Magenta) used on the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and the  102.  Medium Blue used on the Shanghai World Financial Center.

#41597 Go Brick Me

#41597 Go Brick Me. (5/5 stars)

#41597 Go Brick Me. (5/5 stars)

The very best LEGO sets inspire you to keep building well after you’ve reached the last page of the instructions. #41597 Go Brick Me is the rare set that you can set up in a public place, and be sure that someone will build something cool by the time you come back. I have three copies at work which helped several of my colleagues re-discover the joy in building with LEGO bricks.

#42082 Rough Terrain Crane

#42082 Rough Terrain Crane. (5/5 stars)

#42082 Rough Terrain Crane. (5/5 stars)

In addition to being the largest LEGO Technic set ever released, #42082 Rough Terrain Crane is also a fantastic set. The models most impressive attribute is it’s sheer scale… The truck is very large to begin with, and even more impressive when you extend the massive boom a meter above the ground. We’re also pleased to report that it is very strong and stable; guaranteed to offer loads of fun to build, and show off once it is complete.

#21315 Pop-up Book

#21315 Pop-up Book. (5/5 stars)

#21315 Pop-up Book. (5/5 stars)

While I haven’t quite finished wiriting the review, I assure you that #21315 Pop-up Book is one of the best LEGO sets in the past ten years. I haven’t had this much fun building a LEGO set in years… Seeing the model come together, and watching as not just one, but two stories unfolded in front of my eyes was an absolute delight. This set proves why LEGO Ideas is here to stay!

#40289 Diagon Alley

#40289 Diagon Alley. (5/5 stars)

#40289 Diagon Alley. (5/5 stars)

It is incredibly difficult for a free-with-purchase LEGO set to earn top marks, because they don’t include very many parts, rarely include exclusive parts or minifigures, and almost never feature advanced building techniques or a compelling finished model. #40289 Diagon Alley is a fantastic little set that breaks all of these rules.

Highly Recommended (4/5 star) sets

LEGO sets still need to be excellent to earn our Highly Recommended (4/5 star) rating. They are almost as good as our 5/5 star sets, but might have a slightly narrower audience, feature less innovative building techniques, or be overpriced compared to similar sets. Either way, these seven sets deserve your attention.

Highly Recommended sets:

Top Articles of 2018

While we’re proud to share 26 great articles in 2018, I wanted to highlight the top 10 most visited articles in 2018.

Top 10 articles:

  1. Hard-to-Find LEGO Colors (and what to do about it)
  2. Interview: Modular Building Series with Jamie Berard
  3. #21038 Las Vegas Skyline Preview and Redesign
  4. Building Contest: Build your hometown landmark using LEGO
  5. Preview: #21041 Great Wall & #21042 Statue of Liberty
  6. Interview: LEGO Creator Expert with Jamie Berard
  7. Jeff Friesen’s Microscale Cityscapes
  8. Billund — Is everything awesome in LEGO Land?
  9. Great Architecture on LEGO Ideas
  10. Interview: Rok Žgalin Kobe on LEGO Architecture

Given the overwhelming the popularity of my 2018 analysis of the LEGO color palette, I am planning to share a revised 2019 edition soon! I also hope to share more exclusive interviews as they are very popular!

Goals for 2019

I am extremely proud of the great content we shared in 2018. That said, I’m always looking for ways to improve. In 2019, we will focus on continuing to offer consistently great new articles and reviews about once a week. Creating great content is getting easier… We created a shared review template, continue to grow the team, and are learning how to collaborate more effectively.

The one place where I really want to improve is by increasing the number of articles featuring in-depth analysis of the LEGO system, be it the evolving LEGO Color Palette, the constantly evolving selection of LEGO elements, or other areas requiring in-depth analysis. If you see something you like, be sure to let us know!

Subscribe to learn more…

I’m preparing an even more in-depth version of this article, but it’s only available to subscribers. If you want to learn even more about our goals for 2019, and a sneak peek at content we have planned for the new year, be sure to subscribe!

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I hope that you loved what Brick Architect created in 2018, and can’t wait to share exciting new content this year. LEt us know your favorite articles or reviews of 2018 by leaving a comment below.

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