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From knights and pirates to spaceships and robots, 1990s Lego sets were in a league of their own. The Lego Group experimented with many new themes throughout the decade, and the variety on offer was a real treat for 90s kids. Get ready for a nostalgic trip back down the Lego brick road with our top twelve 90s Lego sets.
In 1990 Lego released their first NASA-themed set allowing kids to assemble the symbol of space exploration, the humble space shuttle. While there are plenty of more fantastical and complex Lego spaceships out there, there’s something undeniably appealing about building this piece of history.
This kit quickly became an essential part of every Lego city. After all, there’s no better advertisement for how advanced your brick civilization is than a docked spacecraft!
Like all the best 90s Lego sets, it’s additions like the cart, astronaut, and launch tower that really make it come alive. It’s no surprise this timeless kit rocketed to the top of every kid’s wishlist.
When people think of vintage Lego sets from the 1990s, many will picture the legendary castle sets first. The medieval theme has always remained a cornerstone for Lego, and modern castle sets are still being enjoyed by kids today.
1992’s Black Knight’s Castle is arguably one of the most beloved castles Lego Group has ever released. The black and grey color gives this set a unique appeal compared to other castles without being overly grim.
Once you’ve had the joy of building the castle itself, the wide array of extra items and figures adds an incredible amount of play value. All the little accessories, from the visored helmets to the cloaks, flags, and plumes, make this set a delight. There’s even a friendly ghost figure to give your castle some extra spooky vibes.
If you ever wanted a Lego set that encapsulated 1980s Miami, this would be the one. With its soft pinks, a pool, palm tree, stone driveway, and convertible sports car, the only thing missing is a minifigure of Tony Montanna.
While not the most complex of builds, this set sticks out, adding a tasteful touch of luxury to any Lego city. The house itself has a good height and more depth than you might think, with space for a kitchen at the back and an area for the obligatory pet parrot to stay.
An easy contender for the best Lego spaceship ever, 1993’s Deep Freeze Defender is one of the ‘coolest’ 1990s Lego sets. While its low profile makes the craft look incredibly sleek and fragile, it’s actually quite sturdy when fully constructed.
The craft really feels like something you’d use to explore an icy alien planet, with two detachable cockpit modules on skis and a host of other awesome details. The middle section opens up to reveal a rocket ready for launch, while the back section has a sliding door that hides a third modular vehicle.
Spacecraft not your thing? Well, how about this old-fashioned pirate ship, complete with cannons, monkeys, and plenty of swag to boot.
Sailing into stores in 1993, Skull Eye’s Schooner is the largest ship released by the Lego Group in their classic pirates series. With black and white sails featuring a massive jolly roger, the scallywags crewing this ship clearly weren’t afraid to advertise their intentions.
One of the most impressive elements is that the deck cannons can be easily rotated and move to either side of the ship without taking them out. If the real pirates had this kind of tech, it’s safe to say history would have played out differently!
Remembered as one of the all-time best classic Lego sets of the 90s, Skull’s Eye Schooner is dripping with character from prow to stern and has a great variety of memorable minifigs, including the iconic Captain Roger (Redbeard).
The perfect accompaniment to the Space Shuttle Launch, 1994’s Century Skyway is a great example of just how much detail you can fit into a Lego set. From the large airplane to the pint-sized forklift, every inclusion feels purposeful and, needless to say, provides plenty of fun play opportunities for kids.
While the airport structure itself is impressive, it’s the plane that steals the show. While only four studs across, the plane has great functionality, being able to store four minifigs and their luggage without needing to be disassembled. Extra details like the working garage and helicopter cargo doors add even more interactivity to this already great value set.
The Lego Group has always seen its brand as more than just a toy, but as a great tool to educate and encourage creativity. This point is perhaps best illustrated by the early Technic collection aimed at older kids, allowing them to use Legos to create moving vehicles (or creatures) with rudimentary robotics.
Aside from the parts and instructions needed to build either a helicopter, hovercraft, or menacing robotic T-Rex (very reminiscent of Transformers Beast Wars), Control Centre II featured three electric motors and a control pad that allowed you to program movements, bringing the toy to life.
While bulkier and not as advanced as the later Mindstorms sets, Control Centre II was very impressive for its time. This is definitely one Lego collection that needs a re-release!
Outlaws, beware – the cavalry has arrived, and they’ve got the ultimate Lego fort! Part of the Westerners theme, this 1990s Lego set is unique for its log cabin walls and bricks. While not as grandiose as some of the castle sets, Fort Legoredo feels authentic to the time period it’s emulating and comes with plenty of minifigs to fight over it.
This set has many neat details, from the trapdoor to the small chimney and bull horns on the roof. Compared to the other Westerners sets (outlaw hideouts and Wild West towns), this set is the most distinctive and a must-buy for anyone who wants to complete the theme.
Why is it that deep sea treasure is always guarded by ravenous sharks? This nostalgic 90s Lego set gives off some strong Jaws vibes with the small boat, harpoon gun, diving cage, and, of course, the three terrifying shark figures.
The stone ruins and sword + gem-filled treasure chest are a nice touch, almost like the divers are exploring one of the earlier castle sets that has somehow sunk underwater. Hidden handles and cleverly positioned seaweed make it easy to keep the figures in mid-air, giving the impression they’re actually swimming underwater.
Long before Ninjago, Samurai-era Japan was already getting the Lego treatment with kits like 1998’s fantastic Ninja Fortress. This set is a real behemoth, coming in at almost two feet tall and packed with detail from top to bottom.
As you might expect from a ninja hideout, there are plenty of traps and pointy objects all over, not to mention a little jail to keep unlucky samurai. The fortress has interlocking sections, so it can be easily mixed and matched to suit your style.
However, the coolest aspect of this classic 90s Lego set has to be the ninja hand glider, although the mounted samurai with his removable torso armor is awesome too. Oh, and there’s a nice skeleton minifig thrown in for good measure.
Did you think we’d get through this list without bringing up Star Wars? Star Wars Lego is undoubtedly the Lego Group’s most successful product and paved the way for countless crossovers with other movie franchises, from Lord of The Rings to Harry Potter and, more recently, even Netflix’s Stranger Things.
In the lead-up to the much-anticipated release of The Phantom Menace, Lego Group released several sets based on the original trilogy. Star Wars fans were delighted to finally get official Lego sets of classic vehicles they had been making home versions of for decades, and unsurprisingly, the X-Wing was the most popular.
While later Lego X-Wings would be much larger, this ship was still pretty hefty for its time, coming with 266 pieces. A neat detail is the inclusion of a lock hinge which made it easy to “lock S-foils in attack position” without them falling back down.
The Rock Raiders were one of the best original themes expanding the Lego universe, and it’s a shame they were so short-lived (being discontinued in 2000). The theme focused on a group of space miners and explorers with futuristic industrial vehicles and equipment.
The Chrome Crusher is the star of the Rock Raiders vehicles – every part of it perfectly encapsulates the theme of future space miners. The fact that the mining laser lights up is a nice touch, and the drill piece is striking and unique when compared to other sets of the time.
Lego Group had big plans for the Rock Raiders, with several comic books and even a video game being developed. Unfortunately, the Rock Raiders ended up buried under the runaway success of Lego Star Wars.
Still, we’re crossing our fingers that the Rock Raiders will come smashing out of a rockface and make their comeback someday!
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The rarest Lego set is 4000001 Moulding Machines, of which only 68 were produced. The set was given as a gift to Lego Inside Tour attendees in 2011 and depicts the plastic injection machines used to create Lego bricks – talk about meta!
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