When the Adult Engagement Team asked me if I would like to review the new set 40516, it was described merely as ‘Merchandise.’ No description was available beyond that. Sometimes that can be a little vague. I was expecting to receive a storage box, a branded bag or an ill-fitting T-shirt ( mainly because nobody asked me my size.)
And then it arrived, and I opened the box. This set was something totally unexpected: bands of bright colour, with minifigures in single shades. The build looked elegant and straightforward enough. But I found myself thinking: Could this be one of the most significant sets of recent years?
Let me explain.
As you have no doubt seen, the set features 11 bold, colourful stripes on a platform. 11 minifigures stand on the platform, each matching a coloured stripe. Elements of a single colour make up each figure.
A message is sent out with the set, written on the first page of the instructions. It comes from Matthew Ashton, Vice President of Design for the LEGO Group, and designer of this set:
Matthew Ashton, VP of Design, The LEGO Group
“I wanted to create a model that is a symbol of inclusivity, that celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love. Everyone is unique, and with a little more love, acceptance and understanding in this world, we can all feel free to be our true AWESOME selves! This model is to show that we care, and that we truly believe ‘Everyone is Awesome’! We hope you’ll build this model and display it with pride. It’s a celebration of love, a celebration of you!”
I read it. I paused. I read it again. I have been trying to work out how best to respond. As a white, straight male, I feel almost unqualified to do so.Continue reading