Today I would like to talk a bit about the new LEGO theme released this year called LEGO Juniors. LEGO Juniors is designed for younger children in mind who may find it difficult to build regular LEGO sets, or are just transitioning over from DUPLO to standard size LEGO. So why are we talking about this on a teen and adult LEGO fan-site? One reason only; LEGO Juniors comes with some really sweet pieces, that are printed! That’s right, no stickers in LEGO Juniors! 🙂
A lot of LEGO fans really despise stickers on LEGO sets. They are difficult to apply nicely and cleanly, they tear, discolor and peel off with age, and they also leave a sticky residue on LEGO elements when you remove them. Stickers that are meant to cover multiple elements are the absolute worse. As soon as you take apart the assembly the sticker becomes useless. So you end up with this awkward collection of stickered parts over several elements that you can’t really use for anything else, but you don’t want to remove the stickers because they will be ruined. Then there are the clear stickers, they actually do look nice because they blend in well with the element – if (and that’s a very big “if”) you can apply them correctly the first time, and not ever touching them with your fingers. As soon as you try to reposition them the sticker is ruined. Or if you touch the sticky side with your finger even just a little bit you will end up with ugly fingerprint marks.
LEGO fans have been asking the company for years to replace stickers with printed parts, use better quality stickers, removable or re-apply-able stickers, or at least include a second sticker-sheet with the sets. However non of this have happened – LEGO citing the increased cost of printed parts as the reason. This sounds more like an excuse though because it seems like they can manage just fine with LEGO Juniors where all elements are printed. And what nice printings they are! And that’s what I wanted to bring to your attention; the LEGO Juniors line is a great resource for some really nicely made printed LEGO elements that you can incorporate in your LEGO creation even as a teen or adult LEGO fan.
For example, take a look at the #10676 LEGO Juniors Knights’ Castle (pictured above). Aren’t those ivy-covered walls really sweet? And there is 4 of them included in the set! And what about the arch? Isn’t it nice? And it is not just printed on the front, but also at the back! These pieces are perfect for LEGO Castle fans!
The printed big arch also comes in the #10672 LEGO Juniors Batman and the #10675 LEGO Juniors Police set, with other really nicely printed designs. Also, look at the printed walls in these sets – very nice and useful designs. And what about the ramps and other printed elements in the #10669 LEGO Juniors Turtle Lair? Yep, all printed too!
How about these lovely window printings from the #10668 LEGO Juniors Princess Castle and the #10674 LEGO Juniors Pony Farm sets? LEGO obviously doesn’t have problems with printing parts when they really want to! And these are not even licensed sets! 🙄
And there is more! You can check out all the LEGO Juniors sets at the Online LEGO Shop to see what printed designs they come with. Again, all elements that you see with graphics are printed in the LEGO Juniors sets. There are zero stickers. If you find some designs that you really like you may consider buying the set, or if you need more than what’s in the box, you can get individual pieces from sellers at BrickLink.
So look out for LEGO Juniors sets; both the current releases and in the future! They are marketed for little kids and you may have otherwise overlooked them, but they have this little-known, but highly valuable feature of printed elements. You may find inspiration from their wonderful details and nicely designs.
So what do you think? Are you planning to incorporate any of the LEGO Juniors printed elements in your own LEGO creations? Which ones do you like the most? Do you think LEGO should include printed elements in other LEGO sets as well? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
And you might also like to check out the following related posts:
I actually do not have too much problems with stickers when they’re on flat surfaces, but rounded stickers seem to get a lot of people. There’s a post on Brickset Forum about stickers, the video has a good technique:
Also, I want the LotR Helm’s Deep, but since its out of stores, I’m wondering if I should piece it out, or whatever it’s called, on Bricklink. 😕
Yes, I remember reading about that tool when I wrote an article on CooperWorks some time back. As far as Helm’s Deep, you can get the set barely over the original price on BrickLink. It would cost you less than buying individual parts and minifigs.
Okay, just looked it up for you; the part out value for Helm’s Deep is $220. This doesn’t include shipping you would pay on top of getting the parts from most likely 2-3 sellers. The original price of the set was $130. Getting it now in new, sealed condition is $150-$160. So yeah, just buy it as a whole. 😉
Hm, now I wait until I can actually pay for it, whole or otherwise. Thanks, though! 🙂
Ok, I just looked at it on Bricklink, and it was $145 at cheapest. Not helpful, as that’s more then I have. Hopefully it will stay there for a while with no price increases. 😕
They NEED to add these epic printed pieces to regular sets. But I think they’re focusing more on the additional themes more than the normal ones now (e.g. Juniors, Chima etc.).
Very good points made in this article… i never really paid attention to Juniors, but now I actually want some of the sets… TMNT, Batcave, and the inside wall of the Castle with the banners??? A MUST HAVE!!!
I actually just bought 4 of the junior’s sets recently. I got the Princess Castle, Horse Stable, and the suitcase gas station and suitcase house. I pretty much go them for some of the unique elements that you can get in them that don’t come standard with any sets. It’s nice that they are printed though, that is a added bonus.
Printed parts are nice, but hard to Moc with big, specialized pieces… The girls’ sets might be the most interesting…
Just one of two pieces like these could really spice up a MOC. At least that’s how I would use them. 🙂
The printed castle banner arch and walls would work great for a throne room moc.
Yeah, I thought of that too! 😛
I Love those bricks that already have stuff printed.
Cool! But when they get older and like to create their own stuff it would be hard to change the theme…
The Juniors sets seem to vary quite a bit. Some seem mostly like juniorized builds, others are more of a box of random bricks. The latter type would be better suited for personal creations.
“LEGO citing the increased cost of printed parts as the reason. This sounds more like an excuse though because it seems like they can manage just fine with LEGO Juniors where all elements are printed. ”
There are 9 Juniors sets as of now. There are countless normal sets released in 2014 alone, excluding Juniors. I think LEGO has just enough disposable income to get away with about one theme having exclusively printed pieces. If they printed all pieces instead of stickers, LEGO would be more expensive, and people who are normal toy buyers and not avid LEGO collecters might/would turn to cheaper alternatives such as *gag* Mega Bloks and Kreo.
That’s an interesting theory, and I have considered it, however I find it unlikely to be true. If they could only manage one theme to have printed parts they could have choosen one that is much more desirable than Juniors. Besides, LEGO doesn’t appear to have any issues with having disposable income; their profits are in the billions every year, and rising. And remember; they are not a publicly traded company, so they don’t have to worry about sharing profits with shareholders. All profits go back to a single family. I think they could afford throwing us an extra sticker-sheet or printing a few more parts. But I could be wrong. 😉
I wondered about if Lego decided to produce printed pieces due to the audience being very young.
I’ve seen that Mega Bloks included stickers for their Duplo-like products, though. (I guess the idea is that the parents should apply them, but then, the audience mostly seems too young to really care…)
Little kids like to take their LEGO with them and subject them to all kinds of torture. When me and my siblings were small we used to play with LEGO in the bathtub and outside in the sand-box all the time. Stickers would not stand up to such harsh treatment. But as you said; we didn’t really care about decorations either. As longs the minifigs had some basic printing and the sets were realistic enough, we filled up the rest with our imagination. So I’m really not sure why LEGO is putting so much printing on these sets, but I’m not complaining. 😉
Thanks for introducing the LEGO Juniors and they look really nice! I particularly love the #10672 LEGO Juniors Batman which can serve as a much cheaper alternative for #6860 The Batcave if we don’t need a very sophisticated model!
Yes, that’s a good point aboout the Batcave. The Juniors version is nice enough to work as an alternative to the larger set.
I HATE. STICKERS!!!
We hear ya! 🙄
Am I the only FOL that, 9/10 times (or maybe even more), prefers a sticker to a printed part? Personally, I’ve never had much trouble putting them on straight. And I’ve always found it easy enough to get rid of the sticky stuff after taking a sticker off.
I guess it’s because I have a pretty limited collection, and if all the pieces that had stickers on them were printed instead, it would take away a lot of their versatility (given what I build at least). I don’t think I’ve ever regretted taking a sticker off – or putting one on, for that matter.
After all, when am I ever going to use the stickered parts in the Ninjago theme, for example, for anything except the set they were originally intended for? For the most part, if I need one of those pieces, I want it with no design, or a different one… so having a sticker I can take off is fine by me!
The last set I built was the Warp Stinger on sale (50% off), but I didn’t bother with the stickers. I just left them in the box.
Yeah, I do that too with some sets. However in a lot of models the stickers do add significantly to the awesomeness of the set. I”m looking at Benny’s ship for example. 🙂
Gen, if you are building the sets and then take them apart to use in MOCs there is no problem. So I would say that with smaller sets or sets that are specifically meant for MOC-ing stickers can be a good option. So in this regard you are definitely not alone.
However on large sets that are meant for display or in sets where the sticker has the be applied over multiple parts (therefore it cannot be taken apart without ruining the sticker), printing would be a much more reasonable option. Most people are not going to take apart the Maersk train to build something else. Maybe they will get a second one for parts, but the fact is that a train like that is going to attract buyers who are wanting to display the train.
To get stickers with a set like that is just painful. It doesn’t look as goog without the stickers, but once you apply them you can’t take apart the train because i.e. the nose of the train is wrapped with a sticker! Also, the stickers in this set are the kind that will crackle with age. To have such an expensive set ruined over low quality graphics is just wrong.
So yeah, I would say that adding stickers with some sets would make sense, however on expensive display-models, with graphics that goes over multiple parts, and where non-stickered options of the part is commonly available, printing should be the preferred method. At least that’s what I would vote for. 😉
I can see your point, and it would make sense for TLG to print on such large sets (since like you say, those will mostly be bought for display) – and surely the profit margin is high enough to afford a bit more printing!
If it weren’t for the fact that the stickers are low quality and cracks, though, I would think that using stickers, even for such a big set, wouldn’t be too bad… the way I look at it (and smaller sets – like Benny’s Spaceship) if you’re building it to display, as long as you put the stickers on straight in the first place, it won’t really matter that they’re stickers (again, apart from the aging problem) – since you aren’t going to take it apart and use the pieces. If you are going to take it apart and use the pieces, then being able to get rid of the printing (especially the highly specialized printing), is a bonus.
I do agree though that a sticker shouldn’t have to go over multiple parts. In that case, I think my vote would be for printing!
To avoid the stickers getting damaged problem I always buy extra sticker-sheets for my favorite sets. If you keep them in a zip-lock bag they last pretty much forever. If I buy 3 extra sticker-sheets for a set, and I have to replace it every ten years, they should last for 40 years or so. 😉
Extra stickers are also great for MOC-ing. Some stickers are really neat and can be used many ways, so when I shop on BL, I always check what stickers the sellers have. They usually only costs a few pennies. I still prefer printing though. 😛
If I could find these on a good clearance or they’d start having an option of buying the set but not the extra bricks and it costs less, i’ll bite.
the problem is that part of the Cost is from all those extra 2x bricks that the Junior line tends to come with but I have no use for a bunch of bricks in a size I don’t even use that much and have more then enough in almost every 2 wide size except the 2×3’s that I could use a few extra of.
Sherrie, you can also buy just the printed parts on BrickLink. Not all the new Juniors sets are inventoried yet, but the first wave has been. You can buy the parts for less than a buck a piece as everybody is ignoring them… so far. 😉
I thought about that but that wouldn’t really work out in my case, at least not at the moment.
the big printed pieces are kind of on the heavy side and according to BL weigh in at anywhere from 5 to 12 grams a go. might not sound like a lot but when some of my orders have squeaked in at just under the 13 oz cut off, that little extra weight would probably push me over especially if I can track down a few parts that I really want to stock up on.
i’m actually kind of interested in some of the sets not just for the parts but for the sets themselves.
Sherrie, that’s a good point about shipping fees. You might consider looking for a seller near you. While First Class mail is the same fee to all States and simply depend on weight up to 13 ounces, Priority Mail is a bit more complicated. If your order would fit in the Priority Mail small flat-rate box (most LEGO orders would, unless you are ordering baseplates or a very large lot), shipping is $5.05 no matter what part of the country the seller ships from. So that is just a bit over the 13 ounce First Class options, which is $3.47.
If your order is so large that it doesn’t fit in the small flat-rate box, the seller would have to use the other Priority Mail options, which is by weight and by zone. This is when buying from a seller that is close to you really makes a difference. A one pound package sent within Zone 1 would ship for $5.05, but the same package would costs $7.81 when shipped to Zone 9. A two pounds package to Zone 1 is just a little bit more at $5.32, but to Zone 9 it is $11.96! Zones are determined by the distance between the seller’s zipcode and yours. So this is something to keep in mind when shopping. And yeah, some of the sets are worth buying as a whole. 😉
I think the new Juniors range is a fantastic introduction by LEGO and they haven’t patronised the younger audience by compromising on quality.
We recently had fun reviewing the LEGO Juniors Police set http://www.idads.co.uk/review-lego-juniors-police-the-big-escape/ I think it’s great value.