How to get into LEGO for R1000 or less

As someone who spends way too much time and money on LEGO, a lot of people ask me the same thing: where should I start?

Adults who only ever played with LEGO as kids, or never got the opportunity to do so, are slowly considering buying sets for themselves for a variety of reasons. LEGO is a calming, non-digital activity, the stuff you make looks great on shelves, it hits that creative side of your mind… there’s just endless reasons really.

For those who have been apprehensive about buying LEGO as an adult another big hurdle is price. LEGO has, over the years, began to make more products aimed at adults which usually have thousands of pieces and cost a month’s wages.

This story, however, will look at some of my favourite sets on the market right now which cost R1 000 or less. The perfect gift to yourself to give LEGO a try.

It should be noted that, while LEGO has official recommended retail prices, what you’ll pay at your chosen store will vary.

I got the prices you see here from the online section of the official LEGO stores in South Africa. You can spend your money wherever you like (and wherever is cheapest), but availability will vary. The official LEGO stores also have some sets which are exclusives.

Finally you will see a numerical code in front of the set names here. Every set as this unique code which makes tracking down sets easier.

40172: Brick Calendar | 278 pieces | R349.99


Perfect for a new year. This set has you building four blocks which you then rotate as the year goes on to indicate the month and day.

Aside from also looking like a nice executive desk toy (for those unfortunately not working from home), the four date cubes are also fun to fidget with while on calls.

This is also a dead simple build for those who want something on the easier side as their first set.

75267: Mandalorian Battle Pack | 102 pieces | R289.99


While we may not have access to Disney+ and The Mandalorian in South Africa we can still buy sets from the show.

This one is particularly good because you get four minifigures in one box for a relatively low amount of money. LEGO minifigures are rather pricey on their own, even more so for those from Star Wars making this one a bargain.

The Razor Crest and a standalone version of The Child / Baby Yoda are for sale too if you have deeper pockets.

76895: Ferrari F8 Tributo | 275 pieces | R299.99


The entire LEGO Speed Champions line is fantastic and offers a faithful recreation of a car in high detail that also happens to seat a minifigure.

I’ve chosen to highlight this one because, well, who doesn’t love a bright red Ferrari?

If you’re not a Ferrari person there’s others on sale such as the 1985 Audi Sport quattro S1, 1974 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0, Nissan GT-R NISMO and more.

42103: Dragster | 225 pieces | R369.99


LEGO Technic differs from regular LEGO which is called “System”. System uses the bricks and plates you’re used to while Technic focuses on mechanical elements such as beams, lift arms, axles and the like. The two types of building types are 100% compatible but the technic line itself focuses on these interesting made up vehicles.

This dragster is special as it comes with a pull back motor so you this isn’t just a toy to leave on the desk as it can move on its own, if you give it a bit of help.

Most Technic sets also come with two official models, though you can only build one at a time using the pieces in the box. The dragster can be rebuilt into a hot rod.

76167: Iron Man Armoury | 258 pieces | R569.99


Speaking of hot rods this incarnation of Tony Stark’s armour comes with the flame decal one that we mostly saw in the first 2008 movie.

Like the Star Wars Mandalorian Battle Pack above you get a hefty amount of minifigures in the box with two different Iron Man armours, Tony Stark in more casual wear, and two AIM baddies to fight.

This set is also made to directly join up with this Hall of Armour set. The Hall of Armour is more expensive and is more difficult to find on store shelves, but the two looks fantastic together.

76124: War Machine Buster | 362 pieces | R599.99


Back to back Marvel sets and another one that is Iron Man adjacent. This set takes the Hulkbuster idea and gives it to War Machine.

Aside from War Machine and his mech you get Ant-Man and two Outriders to fight. War Machine and Ant-Man are in their matching white Endgame suits.

For those who want the OG Hulkbuster a set of it is actually on shelves too, though it’s a bit… odd looking.

75957: The Knight Bus | 403 pieces | R699.99


A Harry Potter set now and the Knight Bus is here in all its purple glory.

This set also swings open so you can access the interior without the need to take it apart.

Even for those not too interested in Harry Potter this set has such an interesting look that it should be considered for your shelf.

71704: Kai Fighter | 513 pieces | R799.99


Ninjago is LEGO’s own creation which focuses on young Ninjas as they go on various adventures. That’s not too important as this set is just a really cool red jet.

Aside from the striking look of this build it’s also notable for its transforming function and rather large size.

75979: Hedwig | 630 pieces | R829.99


Back to Harry Potter now and this one really is special. On the surface this is an intricate replica of Hedwig the owl complete with Hogwarts acceptance letter and a decorative stand with the Gryffindor colourway in the base.

There’s much more going on under the surface, however. There’s a Technic build inside which allows Hedwig’s wings to flap when you turn on a crank in the back of the build.

You can see this motion in this quick gif. Even when not in use this is a fantastic display piece.

40174: LEGO Chess | 1 450 pieces | R949.99


Just finished Queen’s Gambit and want to pick up a chess set? What about one that you can build and then play on.

This is my favourite pick of the bunch here and offers you the full chess experience with the satisfaction of being able to make it yourself. As you can see each part of the grid also has a single LEGO stud so that the pieces sit firmly when you place them down.

If that’s not enough the set can also be used for checkers and comes with the pieces to do so.

[Images – Brickset]


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