While I remain unimpressed by the choices made by LEGO regarding marketing their new Friends line to girls, I actually genuinely like some of the sets. I’m not overly happy about the introduction of Disney Princess to the Duplo range, but I can hardly blame LEGO for taking advantage of what is clearly a proven, successful brand.
What I am genuinely saddened by, though, is dinosaurs.
I think most people would agree that dinosaurs are an excellently gender neutral subject. All kids love dinosaurs, whether they like the cutesy Land Before Time version or enjoy collating impossible stats about the excitingly named creatures. Dinosaurs have universal appeal.
I am saddened that this lovely Duplo set is now so hard to come by:
I am absolutely gutted by the new dinosaur LEGO sets.
First, look at their faces:
They are angry!
I think I can see why though:
Spikes and guns and trucks, and what appear to me to be big game hunters.
Dinosaurs suddenly don’t appeal quite so much. What is this? Another attempt at appealing to one gender and one gender only?
Sadly, though, this isn’t new. There was a Dino Attack theme in 2005, and the 2010 Dino theme was similar too. The only time the dinosaurs weren’t anachronistically mixed with guns and trucks was a short run of dinosaur figures in 2001 – but I imagine lone figures have limited appeal without environments to set them in.
Interestingly, one of the Dino sets allows a direct comparison in terms of build complexity with the Friends sets – on the boy team, Ocean Interceptor is aimed at ages 6-12, costs £29.99 and comprises 222 pieces. Bringing up the girls side is the City Park Café, which is also aimed at ages 6-12, costs an identical £29.99, and by what I see as a remarkable coincidence, contains 222 pieces. I struggle to see why you’d consider the jet boat a more complex build than the cafe. Maybe my definition of complex is a bit skewed – I am not, as you may have guessed, in the target age range. You can view the building instructions for yourself if you wish to gauge relative complexities though – use the tool on the LEGO website, with code 5888 for the Dinosaur set, and code 3061 for the Friends set.
I wonder if LEGO will ever release a PROPER dinosaur set. One that would appeal to a budding palaeontologist rather than a budding big game hunter or monster fighter.