Back in 2014, LEGO started a new theme called LEGO Juniors. LEGO Juniors was meant for young children who were just transitioning over from DUPLO to regular size LEGO, or who were new to LEGO and appreciated simpler building instructions and less complicated building steps. LEGO Juniors sets contain regular size LEGO pieces and minifigures, but they also include large starter elements for some of the more complex structures (i.e. buildings and vehicles).
LEGO Juniors sets included basic non-licensed sets with buildings, vehicles, construction, etc. as well as sets that were tied to other themes like LEGO City, LEGO Friends, LEGO Ninjago, LEGO Disney, LEGO Super Heroes, and more. LEGO Juniors sets were also interesting to adult LEGO fans and collectors because of the unique licensed minifigures, and because all the decorated elements are printed (no stickers are used in LEGO Juniors sets).
LEGO Juniors was discontinued as a theme in 2018 and was replaced by LEGO 4+. The idea with LEGO 4+ is the same; introducing young children to LEGO for the first time, or helping them transition from DUPLO to regular LEGO. As the name implies, they are recommended for children who are four-years-old and older. LEGO 4+ sets can be found in pretty much every theme now, and they continue to include unique printed parts and exclusive minifigures that makes them interesting to adult LEGO fans and collectors.
Unfortunately, LEGO 4+ sets are much harder to identify. While LEGO Juniors used to be a separate theme that was easy to find at the Online LEGO Shop or the Brickset or BrickLink databases, they are no longer separated out as an individual theme. This means that you have to look through all the sets in a theme and see which ones have the big red 4+ sign at the corner of the box. And that’s exactly what I do, as I really like the printed elements from these sets.
Some recently released sets marked as 4+ and I thought looked interesting are the #10768 LEGO Toy Story Buzz & Bo Peep’s Playground Adventure, the #10769 LEGO Toy Story RV Vacation, and the #10770 LEGO Toy Story Buzz and Woody’s Carnival Mania. All three sets come with unique minifigures (I love the standard minifig Woody and Jessie, and the cute dresses and hairpieces of Boo Peep and Gabby Gabby), and look at all those large printed pieces! The RV vacation set has some particularly nice printed signs that could work well for an RV lot in your city. And the carnival set is jam-packed with printed parts; the ice cream stand comes with a nicely printed 1x4x2 panel, and the shooting game features a very large 4x16x10 printed gate piece, a burstingly colorful 6×12 printed modified tile for the sign above, and several printed 2×2 round signs. So much could be done with these!
The #43180 LEGO Disney Belle’s Castle Winter Celebration is another great 4+ set with beautifully printed pieces. LEGO normally uses stickers for those large half cylinder parts, but here all the decorated cylinders are printed (you get one large 3x6x6 half cylinder in tan with two printed windows, and two 2x4x4 half cylinders in lavender with one printed window each). The 1x2x2 panel with a printed mirror and the 4x4x2/3 wedge with the highly detailed stained glass window pattern are two other very nice pieces in this set.
Two other recently released 4+ sets I wanted to bring to your attention are the #75247 LEGO Star Wars Rebel A-wing Starfighter and the #75268 LEGO Star Wars Snowspeeder. They join the #75235 LEGO Star Wars X-wing Starfighter Trench Run and the #75237 LEGO Star Wars TIE Fighter Attack from last year with cute and chubby midi-scaled fighters. Again, all the decorated pieces you see are printed.
I like these sets a lot, especially for the printed pieces. I’m always looking for them when a new wave of sets get released. Unfortunately, as I said, they are hard to pick out from the sea of new sets as they are no longer grouped under one theme. But once you locate them, they are usually full of rare and unique treasures. And if you don’t want to full sets, you can always just get the most interesting parts from the BrickLink marketplace.
What do you think? How do you like the older LEGO Juniors and the current LEGO 4+ sets? Do you have any favorites? Did you find any interesting parts and minifigs in them? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below!