When JBBrickFanatic’s LEGO® IDEAS submission BTS Dynamite was announced, a lot of AFOLs said. ‘Huh? What?’ I’ll admit I was unfamiliar with the source material. Just like I’ve struggled with Adventure time, Minecraft, the Caterham seven and Tron Legacy. But just because I am unfamiliar with the source material does not invalidate it.
Today, the LEGO Group have revealed 21339 LEGO Ideas Dynamite – recreating scenes from the K-Pop boy band’s 2020 music video, along with bringing us
I have long had a feeling that while LEGO Ideas is dependent on AFOLs to provide designs and inspiration for sets, the target market for IDEAS sets is far broader. Indeed, IDEAS seeks to tap into the zeitgeist to identify trends that might be appealing to an Adult Audience. Not just established AFOLs, but other adults who might not yet be in the habit of picking up LEGO sets. As such, while many submissions will appeal to the established LEGO Audience, others won’t.
The original IDEAS submission for BTS was derided by the LEGO fan community at the time of its reveal, for a couple of reasons: first, the relative simplicity of the submission: the minifigures include limited details. and the actual build looks far more simple than most buildings coming through LEGO Ideas, and indeed LEGO Creator/Icons these days.
But that’s not really all. K-POP is probably not on high rotation for many AFOLs. As a music genre, and indeed cultural touchstone, K-Pop is virtually unknown to me: I listen to Radio National (think NPR/BBC 4), and tend to avoid contemporary pop music on radio stations. Add to this the iPod culture – where my kids tend to listen to their music in relative privacy, and I am unlikely to ever get a grip on contemporary culture again. If I ever did. I have been surprised by the level of cultural awareness amongst both the young people around our family (late teens/early 20s, Anglo-Australian background) as well as their parents – familiarity with K-Pop in general, and BTS in particular.
Out of curiosity, I have taken not necessarily a deep dive, but at least a shallow wade, into the BTS Back-catalogue. It’s not Dire Strait’s Brothers in Arms, but I can certainly see the appeal. The music is well produced, seems to feature actual melodies rather than being reliant on tribal drums and, my goodness, they are very handsome young men!.
When you compare the submission with the original video clip, on which the submission is based, I reckon it works.
But there is one thing that became apparent to me on looking at the pastel-toned final set, with a four-stud wide ice cream van:
This Is A Paradisa Set.
Paradisa was a subset of Classic LEGO Town from the 1990s. Featuring life in pastel pink, living it up on the beach resort, or the country club, it featured people living their best life, in a world where it was perpetually late afternoon in summer, just as the shadows started to lengthen across the ground. A life of indulgence, and on the whole free of policemen and firemen. But there were waiters, pink drinks and lots of ice-cream.
Actually, the set feels like Paradisa in an urban setting: free of resort life, but we have lots of pastel shades: pale pink, cool yellow, and mint.
Perhaps the donut shop is a little too brightly coloured for this purpose
but the disco, basket ball court and record store look like they could fit right in with Paradisa. /i do see that the record shop contains a mixture of printed and stickered 2×2 tiles.
Here is the Press release:
16th February, 2023: The LEGO Group are lighting it up with their latest set – a tribute to the global pop icons – BTS. The LEGO Ideas BTS Dynamite set, designed by a LEGO fan, features the seven-piece band on the video set of their global smash-hit single “Dynamite”, which when released in August 2020 reached over 100 million views in less than one day and one billion views in just eight months, and even gave the band their first number-one single in the United States.
Sing, song the night away as you build this 749-piece LEGO set and uncover authentically recreated details that mirror scenes from the iconic music video. Customers can now combine at-home karaoke sessions with brick building and immerse themselves in a world of disco, donuts and dynamic dance moves.
The new set embodies the band’s creative forms of expression and includes the vibrant donut shop, ice cream truck and record store. Each building is fully detachable from the set, allowing for individual play and display experiences.
But the set wouldn’t be complete without the biggest South Korean boy band in the world – who are now also available in LEGO minifigure form for the first time. All seven minifigures of the band members – RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook – are ready to sing and dance in sync on the LEGO stages.
This LEGO Ideas set was the brainchild of LEGO fans and friends Josh, 20 from Indiana, and Jacob, 21 from New York. Combining their love of BTS and passion for LEGO building, they worked together to bring the set to life.
Talking about their process, Jacob said: “Josh did the building and design work and, as a massive BTS fan, I told him what needed to be in it, what details were most important. It was a really fun process”.
Josh continued, saying: “Jacob had the BTS knowledge, and he was able to direct my build in the proper way. I watched the music video over and over and tried to capture its essence in the LEGO bricks. It was insane when the project went viral online overnight.”
Talking about developing the set, Federico Begher, Head of LEGO Product Group, commented: “When we saw Josh and Jacob’s colourful design we knew it would be a hit and this was proved by how quickly they reached 10,000 views in the LEGO Ideas voting. The BTS fans have already got behind the design and so it was important that we were as faithful to the original creation as possible. The set highlights creativity, passion and most importantly, fun! We can’t wait to see the fans building and displaying it.”
The LEGO Ideas BTS Dynamite set is on sale from early March 2023 for £89.99 / €99.99 / $99.99 on http://www.LEGO.com/BTS and in LEGO stores.
The set has 749 pieces and will be 38 cm from end to end, and comes with the 7 members of the band, all sporting the best looks they can. The set will be released in early March, and cost £89.99 / €99.99 / $USD99.99 / 169.99 AUD / 129.99 CAD.
I may not understand K-Pop, but I understand the notion of Four stud wide cars, and I am excited to see the aesthetics of classic Town and Paradisa reappear in an IDEAS set. It hearkens to a 4 stud wide version of the LEGO City Donut Store Opening from 2019. Its initial selection might have baffled older middle aged AFOLs, but aesthetically, I can see the appeal. While I was planning to let this one pass me by… I might just have to take a look.
LEGO IDEAS has become an incredible platform, bringing us an incredibly diverse collection of sets over the last 13 years. It is only reasonable to expect that you (or I) won’t want all of them, at first glance. But as a key mechanism for the company to key into adult audiences beyond their established fan base, LEGO IDEAS gets an amazing amount of attention within the company, working towards producing sets designed to bring new audiences to LEGO building. Sometimes, they might just also sneak in a shoutout to fans of eras gone past: 2009 saw great attention given to Classic Space and Castle, and even peripherally to Bionicle. It is probably about time Classic Town’s DNA was injected back into core products. What do you think? Are you excited to see this set revealed? Are you a BTS Fan? Once we have listened to Dynamite, where should we go next? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,