December 2023 LEGO News Roundup
I’m pleased to report that 2023 was a success at a personal level and in cold hard numeric terms, too. This month we look back, highlight some awesome articles this month, and some top picks for 2024.
On the personal side, I had several positive experiences in 2023 as an AFOL. The two LEGO Conventions which I attended were definite highlights. First, I attended BrickCan in Vancouver, BC – and shared a detailed account of the experience in the article Going Big at BrickCan 2023.
I was also very pleased to see how much better BrickCon went in our new venue at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, WA. The new facility is larger, closer to my home, and quite frankly much nicer than the worn-out facility at the Seattle Center which we had used for many years prior. I didn’t end up writing an article about the show, but I had a blast. I also heard from many attendees that my interactive talk on LEGO Part Names was very fun — and funny if you havethe right sense of humor. (There were a lot of discussions about rods, shafts, and holes.)
You might have also noticed a complete lack of content in October, but this was for a good reason. I took most of the month off to travel with my family in California. While the majority of the trip involved camping and even backpacking with my wife and 5-year old son, we ended the trip with two days at LEGOLAND, which we all enjoyed – perhaps more than we had expected. I also got to do an interview with Master Builder PJ Catalano, which I plan to share in the new year.
I’m also really proud of the content we shared this year. This included 30 longform articles ranging from Enhancing your LEGO Hobby with 3D printing to Motorizing #21344 The Orient Express and a Backstage tour of #10312 Jazz Club with Jamie Berard.
We also reviewed a ton of LEGO sets this year, with three sets earning our coveted Must Have (5/5 star) rating: #10316 Rivendell (Lord of the Rings), #21060 Himeji Castle, and #21343 Viking Village. (It’s not easy to earn top marks here!)
Great support from readers like you
While I get a lot of satisfaction from writing content that I know is great, it’s even better when we hear from you! There are so many ways you can show us your appreciation of the unique content here at Brick Architect, such as subscribing to our newsletter, supporting LEGO Brick Labels on Patreon, or purchasing LEGO products or storage solutions using our referral links.
Most of all, every visit counts! I am happy to report that after two years of decreasing web traffic from the COVID induced spike in 2020, we saw a 15% increase in pageviews and a 21% increase in visitors compared to 2022 (and an even bigger increase compared with 2019). I am thrilled to continue to seek out the type of longform articles which we specialize in.
This increase is consistent with trends observed in established websites like Brickset (which saw smaller growth in pageviews and same 21% growth in unique users). Two other sites that shared 2023 statistics include Rebrickable with 33% increase in unique users, and Bricknerd with an astonishing 64% increase in pageviews.
LEGO Brick Labels – v40 Update
I’ve painstakingly reviewed every new LEGO part released in 2023, as well as older parts that I had missed. This is a major update which adds 120 new labels for a total of 1802 unique parts — Maybe sorting your LEGO collection should be your 2024 New Year’s resolution?
What’s in this update?
I work hard to make sure that every update makes the collection better and more complete. This includes a lot of work that you might not notice to ensure that each part is placed at an appropriate location in the collection, since many people use the contact sheet as a guide when building and when sorting.
The new labels are almost evenly distributed across three categories:
- Brand new parts for 2023.
This includes some parts that are already very popular, as well as some parts from the end of the year which I anticipate will be very popular soon.
- Parts from 2022 which are becoming more popular.
This includes parts which I was not sure if they would remain rare (or only used in a single theme), but have shown continued popularity.
- Parts from earlier years that have shown longevity, even if they are not used in all that many sets.
This include a review of fresh data showing the 1500 most common LEGO parts.
Whether you use my guide to help sort your collection into logical groups, or print the labels to make parts easier to find, I hope this update helps you get more organized!
Support LEGO Brick Labels
Join 94 LEGO fans who support LEGO Brick Labels at patreon.com. Your support helps LEGO Brick Labels project and Brick Architect website. Supporters at the Patron level or higher get immediate access to behind-the-scenes content about how these labels are created, and public recognition for your support.
New at Brick Architect
In addition to the huge update to LEGO Brick Labels described above, we managed to review six different LEGO sets. While none earned our top “Must Have” (5/5 star) rating, four of the six sets earned our “Recommended” (4/5 star) rating.
- Review: #31149 Flowers in Watering Can & #31150 Wild Safari Animals
3-in-1 sets are often a good value, but can either of these upcoming sets earn top marks as a great model and building experience?
- Review: #42639 Andrea’s Modern Mansion
Let’s find out how new parts, new colors, and new techniques combine to make this brightly colored contemporary home into one of the most up-lifting sets in recent history (literally).
- Review: #21345 Polaroid OneStep SX-70 Camera (LEGO Ideas)
From a distance this set almost looks like a real camera, but does it look good enough up-close to deserve a place in your collection? Let’s find out!
- Review: #40603 Wintertime Carriage Ride & #40604 Christmas Decor Set
Are these holiday-themed Gift-with-purchase sets worth seeking out, or just a nice bonus when buying LEGO sets this December?
Exciting January 2024 releases for AFOLs
January is an important month for new LEGO sets, and this year is no exception. While the majority of new releases are sets aimed at younger builders, the AFOL community is excited by several of the new sets… and some of the exciting new parts (and colors) that they include.
Of particular note is the #40681 Retro Food Truck, which was included in press photos for #10326 Natural History Museum but not officially annouced until now. It is now available as a gift-with-purchases of 190$ or more at LEGO.com website. (It was very well-received in this review at Brickset.)
- #10328 Bouquet of Roses
This is one of the most realistic bouquets yet, and let’s be real – even at $60, this might be cheaper than real roses and could last a lifetime (so long as your partner shares your fondness for LEGO).
822 pieces, ages 18+, $60, available now at LEGO.com
- #31211 Macaw Parrots
These silhouette-style wall hangings offer a new take on the LEGO Art series.
644 pieces, ages 18+, $60, available now at LEGO.com
- #80113 Family Reunion Celebration
I am extremely eager to build this set which features really nice architectural detailing and a new fence element.
1823 pieces, ages 18+, $130, available globally now at LEGO.com
- #80054 Megapolis City (Monkie Kid)
Approaching the large size and sheer madness of the Ninjago City sets, this looks like a lot of fun for builders of all ages.
2330 pieces, ages 10+, $190, available now at LEGO.com
To see other recent releases, visit the lego.com store. (Making a purchase using our referral link helps support this website.)
In addition to these sets, you should definitely consider two of the sets we reviewed this month which earned our “Recommended” (4/5 star) rating: #42639 Andrea’s Modern Mansion and #21345 Polaroid OneStep SX-70 Camera
Best articles from around the web
I hope you enjoy a short selection of my favorite articles this past month.
It’s something that I actually wanted back when teal came back. I was originally pitching red-orange and teal because they’re complementary to each other, but red-orange took a little bit longer to finally get in.
If you have made it this far, I want to thank you for reading these monthly roundups. They take a long time to write, but I think it is worth it to capture the pulse of the LEGO community once a month. I’m pleased to report that this is the first year where I didn’t combine more than one month into a single article. No promises for 2024, but it feels good to have made it this far!