ARTICLE: LEGO and Animals
In 1984 the Classic LEGO Horse was released and it remained the most interesting LEGO animal for many years. It was (and is) liked and loved by fans over a range of themes from Castle, City, Paradisa, Prince of Persia to Pirates and Wild West. Later in the 80's we got some more animals like Parrots, Monkeys and Sharks when the first Pirates line was released in 1989. However during the 90's the LEGO fans didn't see many new animals, except for a cat and few others but nothing spectacular, and non of those even came close to the popularity of the classic LEGO Horse from the 80's. The 90's could be seen as the 'dark ages' for LEGO animals.
After the Millennium things finally started to improve with the release of some new interesting animals like the amazing Elephant (Adventurers theme), Owls with Harry Potter, and a Dog in 2004. But it was in the year 2009 when LEGO finally released an animal which could compete in terms of popularity with the good old LEGO Horse: No, it's not the Fish but the breathtaking LEGO Cow! There were 2 versions, one with the well known back & white pattern and another one in reddish brown. The removable horns being the icing on the cake! The fans had to wait 25 years after the release of the Horse for getting their long requested Cow. It's hard to grasp why it took LEGO so long as it was very easy to predict the Cow would become an instant classic.
The next 'big thing' for LEGO animals came in 2010 with the release of a fleshy Pig. The Pig immediately entered my top 3 of LEGO animals, with the Horse on a firm 1st place and the Cow on a 2nd position. Thinking of it, some of the most important animals (for food production) in our real world are a Cow, Pig, Horse ... and of course Chicken which finally entered the LEGO universe in the year 2011. LEGO by now had understood the fans wanted more animals which was evident from the release of a detailed Goat together with the Chickens in the Kingdoms series. Let's not forget the year before there was a Camel and Ostrich as part of the Prince of Persia theme (2010) allowing fans to explore the deserts of the world. In our current year (2012) we already got the instant popular Bear (certainly so judging from the Bricklink prices), which is very high on my own shopping list. To be complete, this year there were also the Dino's which I consider 'special animals' being extinct and having limited usefulness for most themes.
While LEGO is clearly catching up, there are still a lot of animals missing which I'm hoping to see in future sets. I'd love some LEGO Lions, Tigers and Sheep, but also wouldn't mind some Deer, Moose, Cheetahs, Gorilla's, Giraffes and Panthers. Not to forget the Bird segment which has a lot of untapped potential (Falcons anyone?). In an ideal world LEGO would make a Zoo set or better an entire Zoo subtheme, not in Duplo, but a regular subtheme that's complementary with LEGO City just like the Forest Police subtheme. Doing this LEGO would speed up their 'Animal catch up efforts' and spoil us fans with a nice variety of LEGO Animals just like we have nowadays with the minifigures.
A few days ago I stumbled upon some designs by our member Wrinkledog which show the potential of some of the animals that are mentioned in my wish list.
To give the project of Wrinkledog a push in the right direction and make LEGO aware that 'we want more', go here on CUUSOO to cast your vote. You can discuss Wrinkledog's designs here in our forums where you find some of his other designs like Elk, Kangaroos and Moose.
We'd love to hear about your top 5 of 'missing animals', so share it with us in this forum topic.
I will summarize all your feedback and provide LEGO a top 10 of most wanted animals based on this survey.