Mazin

Your ideas for new Lego history themes

32 posts in this topic

I've searched Forum and surprisingly couldn't find such one ( correct if I'm wrong ), so would like to start a new discussion - what kind of new Lego theme based not on novadays world, fantasy, or popular franchises, but based on HISTORY would you like to see.

The basic idea is to think of a theme that could be made with the traditional Lego approach - a history theme that would be more like a fairy tale not a clearly accurate one. Like Pirates and Castle are, with its romantic feeling, mixing different historical periods together, creating something looking more like a childish idea of what the whole Pirates or Knights and Castles times were all about.

The most peculiar thing about history based Lego themes is that these were never clearly involving any nations ( and so did not abuse anyone ), being very neutral in this matter, focusing more on other attributes - like simplicity and playability of the these sets, simple undestandable rules of the world in a certain theme, contributing more to it's success.

So do you think there is any other historical period that could be made into a lego theme the same way?

With simple, yet clearly enjoyable world that kids could draw into.

Design of characters, good guys/bad guys, bases, weapons used etc...

Well - Pirates and Knights were the obvious choices... Western being another... on the other hand it didn't give that many possibilities... Same with Vikings or Ninjas...

I know that there's a lot of Ancient Rome or Napoleonics enthusiast here or anywhere around the net... but these are much more militaristic and complex ideas.

It's obvious that it's impossible anymore to make a new historical theme that would not interpenetrate other themes - I mean - Castle and Pirates where like completely different worlds - one had ships, island, monkeys, sharks, muskets, etc... and the other one had horses, castles, armor, bows and swords...

Well, there're always cavemen :wink:

Anyway...

Which historical period and what competing factions would you propose, that could work as well as Pirates or Castle?

I think my first choce would be to create something based on the romantic vision of Orient/Arabian Nights - mixing arabian, persian, ottoman and indian culture together. This would give a large base for outfits, architecture, weaponry, animals used etc that could work well together.

Edited by Mazin

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I've always wanted some early Industrial Age / steam age stuff. Maybe with a touch of Jules Verne or Steampunk thrown in? Victorian type stuff? Although that might be viewed as more of a Literary theme than a Historic. Things Like Captain Nemo or Sherlock Holmes.

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Having a Napoleonic theme would be nice, although that would never happen:/. However I would love to see a European medieval theme with British and French Castles, towns, and forts. Now that would be a nice theme. :grin:

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Something Revolutionary would be awesome. Anytime in the late 1700s/early 1800s is okay by me. Basically anything within the Georgian or Victorian era also would be welcome. I could understand more Steampunk type of sets for playability if they were to do a Victorian type era. But more suits/dresses/hats would be welcome for figures. And you could throw in more horses within the sets.

If you consider Prince of Persia a quality theme at all (not everyone likes Licensed skin tones), but they had a lot of the Middle Eastern area style of weapons and attire and tried incorporating it into the structures. Granted it was based on a movie license and not history in general. But it did bring us ostriches and camels, so it can't be all bad.

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A 'steampunk' theme would be really cool actually. I'm not sure how marketable it would be since I understand it to be a relatively minor cult thing amongst readers of SF/fantasy fiction (there have been some high-profile titles getting into the mainstream recently though, so maybe I'm wrong about that...?), but there would be a great historical aspect sitting alongside something that's more tech-geeky and imaginative. The designers could have a riot designing ships and vehicles!

As for something more educational, I'd also like to see ancient Greece or Rome being represented. The trouble with historical themes is keeping it adventurous and exciting but leaving out the gruesome bits...not that kids have a problem with that, of course. It would just be harder to sell to the parents! Gladiator minifigs being fed to lions, anyone? :devil:

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I didn't think about that. I'd love a Greek or Roman theme too. I love the movie Gladiator. I don't know how well it would be transposed to brick form though. But hey it would give us lion molds and some new armor/helmets. They do have a barbarian and Roman CMFs, so I'm sure that is their way to appease the people without getting a full theme. However, since they do have those type of figures, you'd expect fans of LEGO to be aware of the subject matter. They have zombies in playsets and all they do is eat human flesh, so LEGO must be aware that children are okay with some of these more "terrifying" aspects. My daughter's best friend (both of which are 3 years old) talk about zombies all the time. So why not add in some lions? They have wargs for Hobbit sets which are aimed at younger audiences and I'm pretty sure a warg would eat a human/dwarf just as easily as eating their own food.

But I understand. Maybe they will continue to add in some nice Roman figures in the CMF line and we can flesh out our own theme.

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Yeah. I think it's going to be an issue with any historical theme - how to appeal to the customers without 'dumbing down' or sanitising it? I think Pirates is a shining example of how they can successfully overcome those issues though - it's eye-catching, fun and has loads of 'playability' and scope for MOCs (many years before a certain series of movies made pirates a mainstream thing!). And yet, all of this is done off the back of a 'romantic' public perception that came from the likes of 'Treasure Island' and suchlike as opposed to how the world actually was back then. There's certainly no mention of the darker side of the historical context, such as the violence and the scurvy!

I'm not sure TLG will ever hit a marketing goldmine in the way that they did with the Pirates theme; that was a masterstroke that would be VERY hard to replicate with another. The Wild West is another child fave since kids either play 'Pirates' or 'Cowboys and Indians'. But then, Wild West is another historical theme that's been done in Lego already so what's left?

Selfishly I'd like to see a Ninjas reissue...not the fantasy-themed Ninjago that's currently available; I mean the earlier 'historical' one. I got into Japanese culture and architecture later on during my Dark Ages and I wish I'd collected those now!

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The problem about a roman theme is the standardisation of equipment. Every roman soldier would be the same, making them less special. Compare this to kingdoms where you can have 3/4 different lion knights, as well 2/3 leaders. In a child's eyes, you'd want to buy a set because it has a special minifigure, but roman sets would be largely repetitive, so kids would not want another standard roman soldier. For lego, this means less profits.

A compromise would be a "Classical" theme which explores the Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans in all aspects of their life. Each wave could be 1 civilisation and could feature 1/2 army sets, maybe featuring barbarians, and 3/4 city sets, featuring temples, forums, docks and things like that. That would make a really diverse and nice theme, however children would probably not want temples and forums so it would not appeal to them.

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I'm not sure TLG will ever hit a marketing goldmine in the way that they did with the Pirates theme; that was a masterstroke that would be VERY hard to replicate with another. The Wild West is another child fave since kids either play 'Pirates' or 'Cowboys and Indians'. But then, Wild West is another historical theme that's been done in Lego already so what's left?

Selfishly I'd like to see a Ninjas reissue...not the fantasy-themed Ninjago that's currently available; I mean the earlier 'historical' one. I got into Japanese culture and architecture later on during my Dark Ages and I wish I'd collected those now!

The biggest problem with cowboys and ninjas... vikings as well... is... the enemy.

With pirates we had soldiers - obvious choice - good "guerillas" of the sea fighting with nicely outfitted yet cruel and greedy soldiers.

With knights - two or more knights factions - well obviously "good" Lions and "bad" Blacks Falcons... and there were also ( Robin-Hood like ) Forestmen + ( thief like ) Wolfpack.

It worked well and was pretty accurate historically.

But this wasn't really the case with

Western - I liked these outlaws, but seriously - were angry faces making them a serious enemy? were Indians bad guys?

Ninjas - good ninjas, bad samurais? ... hm... not sure about that... and the biggest problems with ninjas was they they basically looked all the same - masked guys... what can you make from that point?

Vikings - fighting dragons?.... eee... excuse me!

The problem about a roman theme is the standardisation of equipment. Every roman soldier would be the same, making them less special. Compare this to kingdoms where you can have 3/4 different lion knights, as well 2/3 leaders. In a child's eyes, you'd want to buy a set because it has a special minifigure, but roman sets would be largely repetitive, so kids would not want another standard roman soldier. For lego, this means less profits.

Standarisation may not be a big problem. As the look of a Roman legionary has been evolving for centuries. They had different armor and outfit through the beginnings, Republic, Empire and so and so... + Byzantium of course. And all ot these could be actually mixed together, let's not forget axuiliares etc

I'd say it could be possible to make fine sets... but then they would obviously have to go for different nations or mix it together into some kind of "antics".

A compromise would be a "Classical" theme which explores the Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans in all aspects of their life. Each wave could be 1 civilisation and could feature 1/2 army sets, maybe featuring barbarians, and 3/4 city sets, featuring temples, forums, docks and things like that. That would make a really diverse and nice theme, however children would probably not want temples and forums so it would not appeal to them.

Yeah...

I guess they could go with different names and mix some of the similar factions without clear differences:

Romans + Greeks

Barbarians ( Celts, Germans, Gothces etc ) + Scythians

Egyptians

Persians

Assyrian...

Oh... I'd love to see Persians in phrygian caps :sweet:

They kind of did a "Roman" guy years ago :wink: :

6105-1.jpg

However I would love to see a European medieval theme with British and French Castles, towns, and forts. Now that would be a nice theme.

Was there really such a big ( visible ) difference? Well they could just use different architecture style for existing fake factions - like making Black Falcons more "French" and Lions more "British" :wink: I'd actually say that there is more medieval stuff to take from the Slavs ( Russian castles and armor ), late medieval warfare etc... or even mix Vikings into Castle theme...

Edited by Mazin

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I like your idea of a "classical" theme. It could focus on Alexander the Great, Roman, and Persian conquests. I think TLG wouldn't have an issue with country conflict like they would with WWI and II sets and Napoleonic sets. Also for anyone here that likes this idea, I suggest you support the "Lego History Theme" on Cuusoo http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/7893 . It could use some more supporters. I think a nice idea for history sets is that they could provide a "history card" focused on the history of the set. This would make the sets even more educational.

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That was nicely said, Grimmbeard, you are right, stop talking about what you want and go do something about it ( vote on Cuusoo). :sweet: However if you love the roman idea vote for this one, it already has over 2k votes!

Edited by Commander Law

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A nice Oriental theme would be cool, some Chinese-style temples, forts and gates. Something along the lines of Ninjago but more reality-based.

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Yes, everyone go out and utilize your vote!

bjtpro, that would also be a great theme to have. There's so much asian culture and history out there!

Edited by Grimmbeard

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A nice Oriental theme would be cool, some Chinese-style temples, forts and gates. Something along the lines of Ninjago but more reality-based.

This would be the best historical theme ever!

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I like your idea of a "classical" theme. It could focus on Alexander the Great, Roman, and Persian conquests. I think TLG wouldn't have an issue with country conflict like they would with WWI and II sets and Napoleonic sets.

Good and civilized westerners conquering the Middle-Eastern empire (Iran is the modern day successor of Persia, so called until 1935)? I'm not sure Lego would want to make a theme of that... :tongue:

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Many of you are basing your theme starting with Minifigs... umm... LEGO is mainly an architectural system... so minifigs should be an afterthought... (although I know many of you looooove those minifigs, can't fault you there...).

A Roman series for example is NOT just the same Roman soldiers... there the differnt ranks Centurians, etc.... and lest we forget the Vandals, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks, Huns, Lombards, Celts, Dacians, Pythians, Carthaginians, Judeans, etc (and don't forget the Ptolemies)... there's plenty of Roman possibilities.

Ditto for the Grecian/Macedonian... you have the Persians, the Myceians, Trojans, Minoans, Tuscans, and miscellaneous Pelepenisians.

And as for parts... all they really need are a few good column capitals.... Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite, Egyptian, Persian, etc. And the columns themselves... the 2x2 round bricks look rather nice, but I'm somewhat disappointed with the new 2x2 "fluted" columns (it would be nice if the studs on top had the fluting, but they don't and it looks awkward). Either that, or maybe some 1 piece 2x2x10 column pieces in either fluted, or unfluted styles. Other than that the LEGO brick and slope palette is already in place for ancient style buildings.

Almost forgot... here are some very nice ideas (one just coincidentally happens to be mine :wink: ) from the 14 year old Acropolis contest....

http://www.ancient-theme.com/1998/ancient.html

And one nice thing about ancient building styles and parts... these can be reused in Renaissance, Neo-Classic, Beaux Arts and even modern public buildings for the Town system or other systems. So Roman soldiers and gladiators are nice... but classic/neo-classic building parts that can be used for other LEGO systems are even nicer.... :sceptic:

Edited by LEGO Historian

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Not quite "history" but falling somewhere closer to legend: the Trojan War?

There are no clear "good guys" or "bad guys" as it was the gods on Olympus manipulating everyone. (Of course there should be no mention of anything that could be construed as "religion" so gods are probably out - maybe it is magical curse or something?)

File off the serial numbers of why the war started (make something up! or not! I'm sure given two factions kids can come up with their own reasons!), and you've got an ancient city being besieged. Ships and horses and seige engines, raids on trenches / camps, etc.

Lots of potential for individual "heroes" from each side, just change the names of the characters from the Illiad. Then they can have the "heroes" fight duels with each other while the battle rages around them.

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I would love to see one of these two historical themes.

The age of Napoleon, some french buildings or his siege against Russia with some russian buildings would be a great addition to Lego.

The third Crusade also will give to Lego very nice new designs and minifugres.

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I would love to see one of these two historical themes.

The age of Napoleon, some french buildings or his siege against Russia with some russian buildings would be a great addition to Lego.

The third Crusade also will give to Lego very nice new designs and minifugres.

I dunno about Third Crusade, it would kinda touch too much on religion and the such.

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I dunno about Third Crusade, it would kinda touch too much on religion and the such.

It shouldn't...

Related to Lego, a representation of the Third Crusade should suppose english and french fortifications, trebuchets, catapults, sultans, assasins, fire-balistas, and some arabian architecture.

It should be great to see those in a Lego scene.

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Something to consider about modern themes is that it generally should be clear who the "good guy" and the "bad guy" are. Kids like good-versus-evil conflicts-- in fact, people in general like to attach a good-versus-evil narrative to anything they can. And just leaving it up to the kids to decide who's good and who's bad is poor marketing. Ideally, yes, it promotes imagination. In reality, it just creates confusion, as without a clear idea of who the "bad guy" is, kids will likely have a hard time understanding why the characters are fighting.

Ideally a set design (and for that matter, a theme design) should present a clear play scenario, and for conflict-driven themes this means it must be apparent 1)who the two sides are, 2) what they are fighting over, and 3) which side the kids are meant to identify with. This means that highly accurate themes based on historical warfare are pretty difficult to manage. It would be hard to create a theme based on any of the crusades that emphasizes why the characters were at war, and furthermore it would be difficult to create such a theme and give due credit to the role race, culture, and religion played in these conflicts. Plus, you couldn't have a designated "bad guy" without being simplistic and offensive to an entire culture.

As for what historic themes I think LEGO could do? A Victorian theme with some steampunk overtones could definitely be neat. So could any theme focusing on an ancient culture versus the monsters of that culture's myths. But in general, international or interracial conflicts are probably best avoided, because simplifying those into a play theme could make for a real travesty. Even a theme based on historical civil wars would require dealing with more nuance than a toy line could very effectively handle. The best conflicts are therefore the ones like in the Castle and Pirates themes that deal with archetypes rather than very specific cultures and historical time periods.

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A Roman theme would have a lot of different unit types. First you could have legionaries with Lorica Segmentum (the classic plate style armour), then a different print with Lorica Hammata (chainmail) and a third print with Lorica Squamata (scale armour). You could also include different unit types such as the various types of auxilia used by the romans (including a wide variety of cavalry). You could also differentiate between ranks with various types of helmet plumes and crests. You could even go for an earlier Roman period, that of the Republic pre-Marian reforms and have Hastati, Principe, Triarii and Velite, or you could go for the late Roman period and have late style legionaries and foedarati (barbarians employed by the Romans).

For enemies you've got the Greek city states with Hoplites and pikemen, Parthians with their very heavy Cataphract cavalry, various barbarian tribes and of course Carthage which should include elephants (I'd probably go with Carthage). So there is plenty of scope for interesting mini-figs.

The buildings are somewhat harder but could include a roman fort, town gate (being besieged), an amphitheatre, regular theatre, a temple, a roman market street (based on the one at herculaneum). You could also include galleys, siege engines and other cool stuff like ballistae (flick-fire time).

The Trojan War could also be a cool theme as its all myth and legend anyway (I don't think there would be a need to edit out the gods of religions that have been dead for 1500 years).

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I can see a Roman/Greek/Classical Theme happening. Yes, there are tons of different units and those empires were huge! So there's no lack in types of sets they can make.

Just think of an exclusive Colosseum set! :wub:

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I would actually like to see TLG revisit the Vikings Theme from 2006. They've come a long way since then, and I think they have a better idea of what works and doesn't work in terms of playset design. I'd dispose of the reliance on technic parts and use some of the more current building techniques created for Lord of the Rings. Mix in several different types of dragons using the Fantasy Era mold as a base, and I think you'd have a pretty awesome theme on your hands.

Okay, so I just watched "How to Train Your Dragon" again, and it's got my mind swimming with possibilities. :grin:

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I do and don't think this would happen. Which means: I want it, but I don't think it will happen.

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