This year, we have been commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Publication of the 6000 Ideas Book. First published in 1979, this book tells the story of two minifigures: known to some as Mary and Bill, others as Indigo and Polka-Dot. This story unfolds through the town they live in, a visit to a moonbase, and finally visiting a jousting tournament at an ancient castle. All the way, providing inspiration for construction using a six colour palette, and the minifigures you have on hand.
One of the features of this book is the double spread sticker sheet, providing everything from the Minifigures torso designs used by our heroes, as well as signage used around the town.
As you can see, these stickers demonstrate the ongoing agreement existing between Shell and LEGO at the time, as well as usage of the Red Cross, before the organisation began to defend its trademark with extreme prejudice. The L-386 is also a reference to the 1976 Air ambulance set. Set 361 was an early Police headquarters set.
Some of these stickers are relatively large, and panels were comparatively rare in those days. In fact the models in the book happily show stickers placed on angles across multiple bricks regardless of sticker size! Something that would, today, cause many of us to break out in a cold sweat.
The adhesive used with these stickers has been quite effective, and the paper quite resilient: I have recently uncovered elements from my childhood collection with stickers from this book applied, and still sticking strong, if not a little worn out around the edges…
But is there a point to all of this?
I might be one of a handful who haas been feeling especially sentimental about the 40th Anniversary of the 6000 Ideas Book. I would love to see a ‘new edition’ but I suspect the current building techniques and parts palette might make providing inspiration with just a series of photos difficult to be produced in house todays. One of the reasons we no longer see alternate builds on the back of boxes, like we once did, is because Customer Service would get inundated with enquiries about how to build them and ‘the instructions are missing’…
I would love to see the LEGO Group recognise this anniversary: the 6000 ideas book influenced a generation of builders. In my opinion, it remains the definitive example of using minifigures for story telling, with no dialog, and minimal instructions. I would love to see Bill and Mary’s torsos turn up in LEGO Tower, or as playable characters in the upcoming LEGO Legacy: Heroes Unboxed. Or as a couple of figures in series 20 of the Collectable Minifigures? Or even produce a ‘people pack’ featuring characters from the story – including spacemen, towns folk, brick headed aliens with their arms on backward,s and knights. I’d buy it! I’m sure some others would too. But perhaps this is contrary to the point of the spirit of the book, which was really ‘Make do with the parts you have, but we have some stickers to enhance the experience…’
Looking for something a little Xtra?
Jumping forward to 2019, and we have now seen seen the release of a number of supplementary sets, particularly to help builders add a little detail to their city. The Xtra range now includes a number of useful additions: food, landscape, street lamps and bicycles, amongst others, as well as some playmate with different environments which can be joined together using bricks and plates.
And this year… this pack has been released. Set 853921 contains a variety of stickers which can help add life to our LEGO Town layouts. The set consists of five sticker sheets, and twelve brick/plate/tile/panel/pretzel elements.
We have a range of elements inside the set, most of which are designed for applying a sticker to, or else to provide support for such an sign:
Some are regular tiles, others are tiles with a clip on the back, and then there is a larger round sign, we well as the window panel.
As you can see, we have a variety of sizes and shapes – round and rectangular; large and small. We have generic businesses: Toy shop and Bakery, as well as some well known LEGO Brands such as Octan and City Pizza… as well as LEGO itself. To say nothing of logos we have come familiar with over the years, such as international freight and and the LEGO Train lines logo. And that large clock looks just like the classic LEGO Clockface tile. Although perhaps 2:57 is more likely to be the time depicted by these than 6:12
The stickers are printed on transparent label stock, which I looked at a while back: it appeared to be a bit more robust in a variety of testing situations than the white papered sticker which are also frequently used. This has the advantage of allowing the color of the brick or tile that the sticker is applied to providing the colour of the signage. I think this is a great use. Of course, if you get a bit upset every time you are asked to apply a sticker, this might not be the set for you!
I can see many of these stickers having great application in a city layout. Some in jokes from the last few years are used, with the set including references to Mt Clutchmore, and Paradisa Beach.
While I don’t have an active city layout in development, I really like the look of these stickers, and am almost looking forward to having somewhere to stick them.
What so you think? Are they a positive addition to the ‘add on’ sets that people might buy? A great, creative solution to a problem that any kid who has ever written a word on the side of a brick in felt tip pen could attest? Or another ***** sticker sheet? Or just a quiet, announced tribute to a book that changed the lives of many?
Leave you comments below, and until next time…