There really should never be an age limit on LEGO because the basic concept of these bricks and the potential for creations and imaginative play is instilled in us from playtime as young children right through adulthood. What changes is the type of model we create and the bricks we use. There are a number of more detailed sets with smaller piece and intricate designs that come with a recommended age of 16+, including the buildings, landmarks and movie props highlighted below. Whether buyers stick to this is up to them but the complexity of the parts, combined with the detail of the stories that can be created with the figures and scenes, means that they are definitely for teens rather than kids.
Lego Building Sets That are Ideal for the Older Player
LEGO Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters 75827 Set
There are many LEGO themes that are geared towards younger users because of the subject matter but some, like the LEGO Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters set, are much more suitable for an older demographic. There is so much detail in the interior of this three storey firehouse and the range of characters that many elements could be lost on younger players – although there is still the fun game of capturing Slimer and the other ghosts and running tests.
There is the public area on the ground floor, the living quarters on the first floor – complete with a well-stocked fridge and arcade game – and the top floor contains the lab and darkroom for solving the cases. The other reason for the 16+ rating on this set is the scale of this building project. This is currently the third largest set that LEGO have created and there are so many elements to the design to keep builders occupied.
LEGO Disney Castle 71040 Set
Disney Princess sets are often seen as the theme for younger builders. Kids can create the castle of their favorite characters and spend their time playing out scenarios with the minifigures and accessories. The Disney Castle 71040 Set is immediately different because it is classed as a 16+ model – kids can play with all the rooms and characters when its finished, but it needs the patience and skill of older builders to put it together.
This is because of the vast number of detailed parts. There are more than 4000 bricks in this 29 inch high model and lots of rooms. Every room has its own décor, all the turrets have finely crafted brickwork and flags and there are other elements like the clock. The set also comes with 5 classic characters – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Tinkerbell – and lots of interesting accessories, such as the pumpkin, spinning wheel and magic carpet.
LEGO Volkswagen Beetle 10252 Set
This LEGO Volkswagen Beetle 10252 Set is the sort of model that fits in perfectly with the range of LEGO sets for builders 16+. is all about creating that balance between the fun, playful elements of a LEGO model and the building project. There is still a fun element to this product, thanks to all the smaller features, interchangeable elements and moving parts, but it is also tricky to build.
There are 1000 pieces in total for teenagers to get their hands on in this LEGO Creator Expert range model. Many of these are the azure and beige building blocks that form the car, but there are also lights, wheels, door handles and much more to put into place to turn the model into a “functional” car. There are also fun accessories like the cooler box, surfboard and beach towel, so this models can be played with on completion as part of a more diverse beach scene.
LEGO Creator Expert Assembly Square 10255 Set
One of the best ways to ensure that a LEGO set is difficult enough for 16+ players is to make sure that there are plenty of small, fiddly bricks that need to be formed into a complex pattern. The LEGO Creator Expert designers have outdone themselves with their new 2017 release – the LEGO Creator Expert Assembly Square Set. This set has more than 4000 pieces to contend with in order to create three very diverse buildings with three storeys. This challenge is made more difficult with the fact that each story contains an entirely different business with its own interior design, accessories and related mini-figure. These areas are the bakery, florist, cafe, music store, photo studio, dental office, dance studio and apartment.
If that wasn’t enough, LEGO have ensured that this 10th anniversary model contains lots of new ideas and elements. The tiled pieces have become more intricate, there are new curved pieces for the architecture and roofs and there are even new corner pieces to add a new dimension to the build. This set takes modular building to a new level and there are no short cuts with all those detailed designs. There is a lot to think about here and experienced players are sure to enjoy the challenge.
LEGO Brick Bank 10251 Building Set
The buildings in the LEGO 16 plus age range are notable for their greater attention to detail in the design and a more serious theme. Kids under the age of 16 may not get too excited by the idea of the grand LEGO Brick Bank building set, with the added laundromat next door, but it makes a great addition to an ongoing collection.
In this Creator Expert model the architecture of the bank is so striking that it works brilliantly as a static, collectors piece to take plenty of time over. This can be seen in the brickwork and the interesting elements used for the windows. There is, however, plenty going on inside as there are 5 mini-figures – the bank manager, secretary, bank teller and a mother and child – and they each have their own rooms and accessories. Players can stamp checks, sort coins, type up letters and even press the silent alarm.
LEGO Creator Expert Big Ben 10253 Set
16+ LEGO sets have that rating for a reason: they are still fun building set for young, creative minds but there are elements that are far too challenging for younger children. Many of these sets are play sets with a little more detail and character, but the LEGO Creator Expert Big Ben 10253 set takes builders on a different route.
This is a static display that works as a centerpiece for a collection and requires a lot of time and effort. Some of the basic building elements are great for younger players, but the detail of the removable roof, the internal bell and the clever winding mechanism for the clocks requires a more capable hand. This detailed set – the fifth largest so far – is one for architecture fans that prefer the challenge of the complex build to the potential for play and stands out with its use of colors, shapes and interesting elements.
LEGO Creator Fire Brigade 10197 Building Set
The LEGO Creator sets for builders aged 16+ are designed to offer a different approach when the more childlike, simplistic sets just don’t offer the right look or enough of a challenge. If you are building the perfect, detailed town, a primary colored, child-friendly fire station is going to stand out.
The LEGO Creator Fire Brigade building set is the ideal alternative for older collectors because it used an old-fashioned, 1930s design for the architecture and fire engine that work with kits like the Brick Bank and Town Hall. There are internal features over the two storeys and a series of mini-figures and accessories; however, the main selling point is the attention to detail on the exterior. The interesting colors and shapes of the 2231 bricks lead to an interesting effect of brick and stone and there is also an attractive bell tower and sliding door for the garage area.
LEGO Creator 10218 Pet Shop Set
A large number of LEGO sets for builders aged 16 and up come in the form of detailed building with lots of interesting facades, interiors and stories to tell. An interesting example of this is the LEGO Creator Pet Shop where players can build two very different, connected buildings and furnish them with plenty of accessories to advance the story.
On one side is the pet shop that gives it its name, complete with a kitchenette upstairs, where the owner can restock all the toys and bones for the dog, cat, parrot or clean out the fish tank while a girl rides over on her bike. Next door, a women can decorate her townhouse or tend her rooftop garden while the painter gives the outside a lick of paint. With so many elements to each floor, fine details like the French windows and even a spiral staircase, there is plenty to keep buyers amused.
LEGO Creator Grand Emporium 10211 Set
Shops are attractive for many LEGO players because they offer the chance to build an interesting building with unique accessories and open up ideas for creative play. With 16 plus LEGO sets, there needs to be more of a challenge and something else to capture the interest. That is why the LEGO Creator Grand Emporium set is so appealing. The Grand Emporium is a striking department store that minifigure shoppers will flock to because of its range of goods and the high-end vibe.
This good looking building has three storeys, with flags and fine details on the outside, and each storey is kitted out with a different department. Clothes and accessories can be bought on the first floor, which also has a fitting room, there is glassware on the next floor and the final stop on the escalator is the toy store. Other interesting features include the revolving door, window cleaner and ice cream seller.
LEGO Creator Expert Parisian Restaurant 10243 Set
On a similar theme of different floors and stories within one street scene, there is also the Lego Creator Expert Parisian Restaurant to bring a taste of French culture and design to a teenager’s LEGO town. The two floors differ entirely. Downstairs, buyers will find themselves creating a beautiful restaurant with outside seating, where a romantic couple enjoy the service of the chef and waiter.
Inside the building there is the blue and white kitchen with all the necessary units and tools and some clams to turn into chowder. Upstairs is the studio apartment where a girl works on her paintings, with her easel and painting tools, and has the less luxurious features of her kitchenette and pull down bed. There are stairs between the two on the outside and lots of detail to the interior and exterior, such as the restaurant front, to tie it all together.
LEGO Star Wars R2-D2 10225 Set
LEGO’s 16+ building range gives collectors the chance to build replicas of famous models with impressive attention to detail and this is also true of the LEGO Star Wars R2-D2. This large droid is part of the Ultimate Collector series and it comes with a range of parts and bonus features to make the model as authentic and appealing as possible. Builders can carefully craft the character’s shape, right down to the controls and wires, and the moving elements, such as the arms and retractable legs, add to the sense of personality.
All these pieces and internal elements mean that this is a rewarding project for Star Wars fans. Once the project is complete, buyers have the choice of playing with this interactive model – using the computer panel and saw to get other characters out of trouble – or they can simply display it proudly beside the fact plaque and miniature figure. This is the first of the two Star Wars 16+ LEGO sets that I have come across and added the this 16+ LEGO set list.
LEGO Creator MINI Cooper 101242 Set
The LEGO Creator Expert MINI Cooper is a great choice for builders aged 16+ that are into their model cars and want something a little more interesting and authentic than the standard, buildable LEGO vehicles. This car copies the design of the classic Mk VII model through the boxy shape, the small wheels and the racing strips on the hood. Naturally, the majority of the bricks are in the classic green and white.
There are other interesting details to the car that enthusiasts will enjoy, such as the spare wheel in the trunk, the functional doors and the use of fog lights, as well as extra accessories to tell more of a story. The concept with this set is that the MINI has been driven out into the countryside for a picnic, which is why builders will also find the picnic basket, bottle and blanket to set out next to the car.
LEGO Creator Expert Detective’s Office 10246 Set
All of these buildings work to a theme and a scene to play out, which is where the 16+ rating sometimes falls down, and buyers can enjoy all the best cliches and tropes with the LEGO Creator Expert Detectives Office set.
This means the set is great fun with its details and host of characters. There is Detective Ace Brickman, Al the barber, a police women – who is there to help with all the clues in the office and the scuffles in the bar between the suspicious pool player and dart player – and also a woman in red that may end up dead by the time the story is over. The office is full of accessories and has the benefit of a kitchenette and bathroom, downstairs is the barbers shop where Ace can get a shave, reflect in the full length mirror and listen out for gossip and next door is the bar.
LEGO Creator Expert Palace Cinema 10232 Set
A building with a bit of a difference is the LEGO Creator Palace Cinema because it has the fun and character of the other buildings but also the collectability of the landmarks. There are some rare pieces here that will appeal to many fans, with the dark tan, dark red and gold bricks giving the cinema a classic look and sense of grandeur to what must have been a city landmark for decades.
This is more than just a detailed building, however, as there is a ticket stand, concessions stand and a big screen for mini-figure to interact with, the chauffeur had pulled up in the limo and the photographer is ready to snap the child star inside. There is a nice mix of old and new, with the “walk of fame” side walk and old fashioned design juxtaposed with the reclining seats for the minifigures, and clearly plenty to inspire builders.
LEGO Creator Expert Ferris Wheel Building 10247 Set
In complete contrast to the buildings that are on offer with their heavily detailed rooms, accessories and themes, there are other structures to create that can add something completely different to a collection. The LEGO Creator Expert Ferris Wheel is precise what buyers would expect in that they can build a large scale fairground ride with associated accessories and people – in this case the pretzel, balloon and ice cream stands and the 10 mini figures operating and enjoying the rides and stalls.
What builders may not expect is the detail that has gone into the model, with 2464 pieces, boarding ramps benches and working, multicolored cars for the riders, and the fact that it can rotate if players have the additional Power Functions 8883 motor and battery. Turn the crank and watch as the carefully crafted ride works to its full potential – providing it has been assembled correctly.
LEGO Creator Fairground Mixer 10244 Set
There is definitely a childlike sense of fun to LEGO fairground sets but the LEGO Creator Expert Fairground mixer has so much detail in the parts and potential story-lines that it earns its 16+ recommendation. The main build is the Fairground Mixer ride, with the different multicolored cars and moving parts.
The look of this ride has universal appeal but it is the ability to add LEGO Power Functions components, to really set it in motion, that raises the age bracket. Then there is the added benefit of the glow-in-the-dark elements for night-time fun and the fact that it can be folded down to be loaded on the truck and taken to the next town. The set then has added depth with the details on that carny’s truck and the inclusion of the ticket booth, other sideshows with prizes to win, food stalls and twelve different mini-figures.
LEGO Creator Volkswagen T1 Camper Van 10220 Set
It is all about the detail with LEGO vehicles in the 16+ age range and collectors want more than a few bricks that roughly fit into the right shape. The LEGO Creator Volkswagen T1 Camper Van is a great example of what LEGO Can achieve when they really consider the shape of the build and the additional features. This large, 30cm long van is compiled of 1322 pieces for the most authentic look and shape possible.
The exterior definitely looks the part with the two-tone design, the roof rack and the shape of the lights and mirrors. What makes the set more interesting is the sense that someone is living in this van. The interior has a detailed dashboard but there is also a folding table and seat/bed, a closet and curtains on the eleven windows. The additional “Make LEGO models, not war” t-shirt gives some clue to the van’s destination.
LEGO Landmark Sets to Build in Fine Detail
LEGO Creator Expert Sydney Opera House 10234 Set
One of the best things about sets for players aged around 16 years is that they can have the small pieces, fine detail and difficulty that other sets may not allow for. Because of this, LEGO sets based on world landmarks can be great way of providing teenagers with more of a challenge. The LEGO Creator Expert Sydney Opera House set provides a replica of the Australian masterpiece in a complex structure measuring 11x25x15 inches.
This familiar building, with its interesting curves, shell-like roof and odd shapes, is recreated in great detail, including the forecourt and other external element. This is also a desirable addition for LEGO collectors because of the use of hard-to-find colours and shapes, such as sloping bricks, dark tan elements and the first blue 48×48 baseplate, that bring the building to life in a way not possible with regular bricks.
LEGO Tower Bridge 10214 Set
Another well-known landmark available to build is the LEGO Creator Tower Bridge set. Just like the Sydney offering, this set gives builders the chance to create a grand structure with plenty of intricate bricks of different shapes and colors but there is also the ability to separate it into sections for easy transportation.
The other difference is that there is a greater element of play to this model that sets it apart and makes it more interesting. The idea of being able to drive traffic along the bridge and stop it by raising the bridge may not be of interest to all 16 year players but the thought that has gone into the mechanism and the choice of vehicles has to be appreciated. In addition to the two fairly normal cars there is a black cab and a red double decker bus – both of which are almost as iconic for London as the structure itself.
Recreating Movie Scenes with LEGO Sets
LEGO Star Wars Red Five X-Wing Starfighter Building 10240 Set
Now we come to the 2nd Star Wars 16+ LEGO set on this list. Not all LEGO sets are about creating attractive buildings and landmarks for a town because there are also plenty of kits out there that bring users a taste of the movies. One such example is the LEGO Star Wars Red Five X-Wing, the ideal ship to recreate in brick form for true fans of the franchise thanks to its selection of 1558 pieces and moving parts.
This is the sort of model where that 16+ age rating highlights the need to find a balance between collectors piece and plaything. The description for this model shows that it is designed to be used in mock battle, with the manufacturers encouraging buyers to fire the torpedo that lead to the destruction of the Death Star and the addition of the R2-D2 mini-figure. Despite this, there is also the ability to display this detailed, 20” long model with the included display stand and fact sheet.
LEGO Marvel Superheroes The Shield Helicarrier 76042 Set
A rare 16+ Marvel LEGO set. The 16+ age recommendation on these kits will always be seen as an estimation by parents and there is no reason why keen builders who are a little younger won’t appreciate the work and potential involved in kits like the LEGO Shield Helicarrier 76042 set. This is a must-have LEGO set for Marvel fans as the detailed interior and exterior have been designed to match the model seen in the films and explored in LEGO video games.
The range of parts and features is impressive and includes the quinjets and fighter jets for the 2 runways, support vehicles and a lot of characters. The set was updated for 2015 so in addition to Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Captain America, Iron Man and the 8 agents there is a Maria Hill figure too. If that was not enough, buyers owning Power Functions parts can also enjoy the lights and rotating rotors.
LEGO DC Comics Superheroes The Tumbler 76023 Set
On the subject of the favorite superheroes of teenagers, there is also the LEGO Superheroes The Tumbler set for them to enjoy. This LEGO DC Comics 16+ set is definitely one for the older teenager that is more interested in creating a precise replica of one of the coolest Bat vehicles around than in playing with it. The creators have ensured that every part means the expectation of keen fans as much as possible by carefully crafting the armored exterior, added detail to the interior and putting those massive rubber tires on the wheels.
This could be enough for kids as nothing more than a static model because the finished build and the bonus fact sheet about the real vehicle show that it is a great display piece and conversation starter; however, there is the chance to interact a little more with the adjustable top wings and the exclusive Batman and Joker figures.