A Brief History of Lego
Ever since Ole Kirk Christiansen acquired his first plastic injection molding machine and began creating modular plastic toys back in 1947, Lego sets have gotten bigger and bigger.
Not only are these large Lego sets getting bigger, but they are also getting much more detailed! To date, there have been 128 sets (not including Duplo, Technic, Dacta, bulk boxes, combo packs, etc) manufactured and sold in the US that contain 1,000 pieces or more.
Approximately 95% of these have been released since 2005, so keep checking back to see the newest creations released as there are sure to be more in the months and years to come!
Top 10 Largest Lego Sets Ever Manufactured (By Brick Count)
- The Lego Taj Mahal (10189) contains 5,922 Lego pieces and is the largest set ever sold to date. The Taj Mahal was released in 2008.
- The Lego Ultimate Millenium Falcon (10179) has 5,195 pieces. The Ultimate Millennium Falcon was released in 2007.
- The Lego Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters (75827) includes 4,634 pieces. The Firehouse Headquarters was released in 2016.
- The Lego Tower Bridge (10214) includes 4,287 pieces. The Tower Bridge was released in 2010.
- The Lego Big Ben (10253) includes 4,163 pieces. The Big Ben set was released in 2016.
- The Lego Death Star (10188) consists of 3,803 pieces. The Death Star was released in 2008.
- The Lego Death Star II (10143) contains 3,441 pieces. The Death Star II was released in 2005.
- The Lego Eiffel Tower (10181) has 3,428 pieces. The Eiffel Tower was released in 2007.
- The Lego Sandcrawler (75059) includes 3,296 pieces. The Sandcrawler was released in 2014.
- The Lego Grand Carousel (10196) consists of 3,263 pieces. The Grand Carousel was released in 2009.
(Recently bumped off the list sets include the Lego Super Star Destroyer with 3,152 pieces; the Lego Imperial Destroyer with 3,096 pieces; the Lego Sydney Opera House with 2,989 pieces; and the Lego Statue of Liberty with 2,882 pieces.)
My Lego Story...
As a child, my parents could not afford to buy us toys but my grandparents gave us some Lego sets and my parents told us we could have any toy in the world we wanted - we just had to make it from our Lego bricks. Later my mom purchased a huge bin of Legos at a garage sale for $20 and we were set for years to come.
When I was 12 I wrote to Lego to ask what I had to do to work there when I grew up. They actually wrote me a very nice letter back! While I don't work for Lego today, I am an artist and often use Lego bricks in my work and with my students. The Statue of Liberty was the first big Lego set I ever built. One day I was wondering how many other large sets had been created and I figured that a lot of other people were asking that same question. So, this is my compilation of the largest Lego sets ever made! I hope you enjoy these great creations as much as I do and help pass on a love of Lego to others.
Want to See What These Great Sets Look Like?
All sets containing 1,000+ pieces are listed in one of the following 6 Picture Galleries:
- Famous Structures
- Star Wars (including Clone Wars)
- Movie Themes (other than Star Wars)
- Boats, Planes, Trains (and other moving vehicles)
- "Other" Large Lego Sets Over 1,000 Pieces
Many of the photo galleries contain dozens of pictures, so please be sure to scroll through them all!
Listed along with each photo is the name, set number, year of release and the number of pieces. Enjoy!
FAMOUS STRUCTURES - Based on the world's most famous structures, these Lego sets are as detailed as they are large in size!
The very first large Lego set I ever built was the Statue of Liberty and it was incredible! I think I displayed that thing for over a year before I finally disassembled it to build other things. Currently, I own the Taj Mahal and the Tower Bridge although I am thinking about getting the Eiffel Tower to better round out the collection.
MODULARS - Debuting in 2007, this series has become a hit around the world. These period structures are called "modulars" because the various floors lift off.
The very first Lego modular I ever built was the Cafe Corner and it is still my favorite although the Parisian Restaurant is a close second. I currently own all of the Lego Modulars except for Market Street as I built that one but didn't really like it. However, I had waited for collector prices to rise on Market Street and ended up selling it for a premium which covered my next four modulars when they each came out!
STAR WARS - Star Wars is undoubtedly one of the most loved movie series of all time and also one of Lego's best selling themed series.
I am a major Stars Wars movie fan but I have only built a couple of these iconic pieces in Lego. My first was the X-Wing and that was a lot of fun and I really like the Yoda statue which I have built a few times. I currently own the R2-D2 and it is a dream to someday build the Millenium Falcon.
STAR WARS (continued) - Yes, there are SO many Lego Star Wars sets over 1,000 pieces that we had to divide them into two galleries. Enjoy!
MOVIE THEMES (& TV other than Star Wars) - We all love movies and we all love to play with toys from these stories.
I've only built Hogwart's Castle from this catagory although some of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit sets are on my future "to build list"!
BOATS, PLANES, TRAINS (and other moving 'vehicles') - As humans, we seem to be fascinated with speed and "going where man has never gone before"!
I currently own the VW Bus but I am thinking of trading it for the Mini Copper which I think is adorable. The space shuttles are a lot of fun to build and I've got the Imperial Flagship on my dream list.
"OTHER" LEGO SETS OVER 1,000 PIECES - Just because these sets fall into the "other" category does not mean they are any less impressive!
The Grand Carousel was the hardest Lego build I ever completed. It was fun but I enjoyed the Ollie Dragon and Minifigure statues more. Medieval Market has a lot of great details which I really appreciated. I don't currently own the Architecture Studio but I am thinking of adding that one to my collection next.
Looking for Large Lego Sets?
After hours and hours of research, I do believe this list contains ALL of the Lego sets ever produced that contain 1,000+ pieces! However, if I have accidentally missed one (not including Duplo, Technic, Dacta, Bionicle, Bulk Bins, Combo Packages, etc.) please let me know.
Available in smaller sizes...
While the BIG Lego sets are a lot of fun to look at, you can still have a ton of fun playing with the smaller ones too as many of the creations above are available in smaller sets as well.
For instance, between 2000 and 2011, the Star Wars Millennium Falcon was released in 7 different sets ranging in size from 13 pieces to 87, 356, 641, 971, 1,233 and of course the ultimate 5,174 piece behemoth - simply choose the set that fits your space and budget!
Large Sets vs Custom Creations
Now, all of the large Lego sets listed above, are just that, sets. You see, a lot of super cool, very large and immensely creative models can be built using basic Lego blocks to create custom designs without having to purchase a "kit". (Just check out the work of artist Nathan Sawaya for plenty of examples - Nathan with one of his creations pictured at right).
Really, I mean, why should the Lego designers have all of the fun? Regular kids and adults alike can create large creations that are just as detailed and imaginative as the Lego retail sets. Simply use bulk Lego pieces and start having fun building and designing your own new forms based on personal interests.
Obviously, Legos are not just for kids...
So which is my favorite?
I am obviously an avid Lego fan, so a lot of people tend to ask, "Which is your favorite large set?" That is not one of the easiest questions to answer! If I could pick an entire category, I think I would say the modulars because I love the detail that each one has and also how they all fit together to create one ginormous town! For a single set, though, I think it would be the Statue of Liberty. It was the first 1,000+ piece Lego set I ever built and with the pieces all being the same color (minus the flame) you have a lot of bricks to create other, custom, creations. In fact, I've even made my own Ollie Dragon Statue out of the sand green bricks from my Statue of Liberty and he looks really good in that color!
Information courtesy of 20+ years of my own Lego experience with dates and other specific data researched from Lego books and websites. Many photos are from my own collection while others were sourced from Amazon (via our affiliate status) or other public domain images sources/friends from around the world. All Lego "artwork" created by individuals is specifically identified.
Love Lego? Share it here...
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on January 28, 2019:
I love Lego. ^_^
click2CYtoday (author) on January 28, 2016:
I'm so glad you love Lego too! I hope it isn't long before you get a 1,000+ piece set - they are a ton of fun!
Kids Cardz from Andalucia,Spain on January 09, 2016:
great hub. I love lego, but haven't yet got a 1,000+ pieces set.
Birthday Wishes from Here on August 07, 2013:
I love Lego a lot! It gives you the potential to create the things that they share or can also use your own imagination! Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful lens!!!