When you collect sets from several different LEGO themes, one of the issues that will eventually arise is how to display them in a cohesive way without looking too chaotic. Ideally, you would set up a different display area (shelves or tables) for each collection, but this can take up quite a bit of space. One option some LEGO fans follow is to limit themselves to collecting sets from only a couple of themes. However, this self-imposed rule could be a quite painful to follow, especially when LEGO releases so many great sets across different themes. Most LEGO fans will eventually break their own rule and buy a set outside of the themes they collect, which can lead to the cluttered collection syndrome they have been trying to avoid…
Another option is to mix up themes that could realistically go together. For example, a LEGO City display could easily accommodate pretty much anything a city would have; buildings, airport, ship port, trains, space station, outdoor locations, fairground, racetrack, etc. As long as the models are the same scale (usually minifig scale), and somehow fit in with the style, color-palette, and story of the city, they could be linked together in a believable way. So, sets from themes like LEGO City, LEGO Creator, LEGO Super Heroes, LEGO Friends, LEGO Jurassic World, LEGO Speed Champions, etc. could make a nice display together.
LEGO Space and LEGO Castle are two other themes that are broad enough to accommodate many different collections. All of the LEGO Space sets released through the years can make a fantastic display together, and you could even mix sets from licensed themes like LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Super Heroes. And, a LEGO Castle display can include everything from realistic medieval castles to sets from fantasy themes like LEGO Lord of the Rings, LEGO Harry Potter, and LEGO Elves.
Even though you can mix themes into one coherent display, and although the setup won’t require as much space as displaying each collection separately, you will still need quite a bit of room to allow realistic transition from one location to another. Many LEGO fans use one, two, or more large tables for this purpose. There are many examples of such displays on YouTube and various LEGO forums.
If you have even less space, and you don’t have room to build a display with realistic transition between various neighborhoods and locations, you can create a more compact setup by placing everything in a theme park setting. A theme park is basically a compact space where everything goes. You can have a pirate ship next to a pagoda, a palace next to a space station, and it all makes sense. There is no need to have transition between the different locations, just a bit of footpath for minifigs to go from one location to another. There is really no limit to what you can place in such a setting; sets from LEGO City, LEGO Space, LEGO Pirates, LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Super Heroes, LEGO fantasy themes, they can all peacefully exists next to each other in a believable way.
For example, take a look at the display featured here. It was set up by LEGO fan David Lefort, (a.k.a. BasilBricks). It includes both official LEGO sets, and custom models grouped together in six neighborhoods – much like the layout of Disneyland and other theme parks. Even though the Entrance Plaza, Main Street, Fantasy Land, The Orient, Shipwreck Cove, and Star Wars Galaxy include builds from completely different themes, they can be placed in close proximity, tied together by footpaths, train tracks, and waterways in a relatively compact space with room left for expansion.
Fantasy Land features the #71040 LEGO Disney Castle, the #10257 LEGO Creator Carousel, as well as a custom-built Rapunzel’s tower, the house from the movie Up, and many other details. To the left of Fantasy Land is The Orient with the beautiful #70751 LEGO Ninjago Temple of Airjitzu and #70618 LEGO Ninjago Movie Destiny’s Bounty, and a large number of lovely cherry blossom trees. Also, notice the #70612 LEGO Ninjago Movie Green Ninja Mech Dragon on top of the #10232 LEGO Creator Palace Cinema. On the right of Fantasy Land is Shipwreck Cove with the #75903 LEGO Scooby-Doo Haunted Lighthouse, the #71042 LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Silent Mary, and a modified #9474 LEGO Lord of the Rings The Battle of Helm’s Deep. Close to the entrance is the #10247 LEGO Creator Ferris Wheel, and a modified version of the #10244 LEGO Creator Fairground Mixer is included in Star Wars Galaxy. David also plans to ad the recently released #10261 LEGO Creator Roller Coaster. Although not visible from this angle, some of the other LEGO Modular Buildings are also included, as well as many other sets either in their original form, or modified to fit the display. You can find more pictures from different angles at David’s Instagram gallery.
While this display is pretty large, it is clear that if David would have wanted to keep all the different themes separate, they would take up significantly more space. Even if you don’t have this many sets, or this much space, the idea of using a theme park setting to display together sets from a wide variety of themes can be very useful for any size collection.
What do you think? Do you collect LEGO sets from different themes? How do you display them? Do you have any issues with your displays looking too cluttered? And how do you like the idea of turning different themes into a theme park? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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That’s a fantastic idea! I see he already has plans to add the roller coaster. I wonder where he gonna put it in the layout.
They posted some more pictures with adding the coaster in different ways and asking for suggestions. 🙂
So colorful, and I can definitely see it helps with displaying mixed themes. Doesn’t look weird at all to have Ninjago next to the Disney Castle next to pirates. Great idea!
I wonder if the display is modular in any way so he can add new sections, or does he have to take a lot of it apart to add a new set. It looks very good, and I recommend checking out the other pictures too. Thanks for sharing.
Hm… not sure, but looking at the pictures, it seems that this layout was reconfigured many times. So, I suppose that it is built in such a way that it can be reconfigured easily.
You still need a pretty big space for this, but I get what you are saying. It would be weird to display these sets next to each other without something tying them together. However, to make a theme park, you will have to get at least the carousel and the ferris wheel, and some people may not care for those sets. I wonder if there are other ways to tie them together without the theme park setting that would be equally effective.
I think even one fairground set could tie it all together. I have been to a number of smaller fairs where the big attracting is one Ferris wheel and all the other rides and attractions are much smaller.
As far as other ways that sets from different themes could be pulled together, one thing that comes to mind is perhaps something going through history. Like putting prehistoric sets with big and prehistoric animals together, transitioning to castles and such, then contemporary settings, then futuristic ones. They could be displayed in a row on a shelf or something. Just an idea. 😉
This is very beautiful. Just make sure you have no cats or kids! 😀
LOL! Yeah! Although both cats and kids could be fun building buddies! 😀
Seems Disneyland was the main inspiration.
Interesting that Lego has taken up fairgrounds once again. Fairgrounds and playgrounds used to be a mainstay of the Fabuland theme between 1985-1989, and playgrounds were fairly frequent in Paradisa (although the sets were often juniorized and the color scheme hard to mix with ordinary Town sets).
Gosh, I love those Fabuland sets! Paradisa was pretty sweet too! 😀
Yeah, but that omnipresent (or ubiquitous to use another fancy word) light green color was very hard to mix seamlessly with Lego’s traditional green…
That’s true. That green was a very unique color.
It is almost as hard now as it was then, but you could theoretically do a gradient of baseplates and tiles from (Paradisa) Light Green (discontinued, rare) to Medium Green (discontinued, rare) to Bright Green and Classic Green. Medium Green tiles are pretty rare, however…
I have been doing something slightly different. I have been collecting sets to create a beach town from Creator, City, and some of the older adventure sets for a small airport, etc. In addition I use the Lego Forest Police (4440?) actually as a ranger station for a park. I have all the camper sets for a campground and use the medieval windmill, a pirate ship, and one of the smaller port sets as an historic site in the park, complete with the blue and red minifig soldiers as costumed interpreters. Sorry for not having the set numbers all handy. In the process of moving across state and the sets are packed up.
Harry, that’s a great idea too! Your setup actually sounds very similar to St. Augustine, one of my favorite historic towns in Florida with camp sights, castles, pirate ships, and reenactments! 😀
For a beach town, you could look up the Paradisa theme, at least for inspiration. (It has something more of a Miami or Riviera vibe to it, though.)
Wow, this Disney Down Under display is really beautiful. The theme park idea really does allow for a realistic setting for all genres, as you say. But it still has to be pulled off well with a good positioning of sets and the all important landscaping / added details to bring everything together. In this case it is done very skilfully and that is why it is so successful.
Yeah, tying them all together is the hard part. So, some landscaping skills certainly help! 😀
As I only have one table available for LEGO, which is needed for building, I just group sets together by theme. Then I construct a diorama around them and put these groups on shelves. It’s not the amount of space but what you do with it that makes or breaks a setup
Well said! 🙂
This is a fantastic idea, and amazingly well executed. It does take lots of space, and, I see many other LEGO creations tucked under the table. That makes sense for the theme park, I guess. I do like to have more of my sets out though. Aside from having my city covering my dining table, I have individual themes separated different shelves in my built-ins – similar to the different sections shown in the end credits of The LEGO Movie. While that works for display, it is less playable than this style, and I may need to rethink my space. 🙂
Shelves are a great way to display sets too, but as you said, they are more difficult to play with. You could just ditch all the other furniture, and replace it with LEGO displays. Who needs all that other stuff anyway! 🙄