As you’ve surely noticed from reading our site in the last few days, this weekend marked the 116th annual New York Toy Fair, North America’s largest toy trade show and the site of LEGO’s product reveals for the first half of 2019. As always, The Brothers Brick was on site to bring you in-person coverage of all the latest sets, which we’ve covered with hundreds of photos in our theme-specific articles (see the full list below). As Toy Fair is the gathering for more than 30,000 toy industry professionals, LEGO is eager to put its best foot forward, so let’s set aside the new sets for a moment and look at LEGO’s presence at the show, along with our experience there.
This was my third year attending the show to bring TBB hands-on coverage, and I followed the news from the show for years prior to that. One thing that never struck me until I attended was how different it is to most other venues where I interact with LEGO. Toy Fair New York is not a fan convention and it’s not a comic book or geek/nerd convention. It’s an industry trade show. Everyone in attendance — the people manning the booths, the people walking around, the people taking photos — is at work, and is there because it’s their job. Make no mistake — most people are having fun (how can you not have fun in seven football fields’ worth of toys?), but you won’t see cosplayers or even families, since children aren’t permitted. What you will see is every type of toy imaginable, from infant toys to RC cars to board games.
As usual, LEGO had prime placement on the main show floor, just a few steps from the entrance with a huge floating logo and red bricks visible from the foyer.
But even before getting onto the show floor, LEGO had a special promotional area in the entryway. Last year, this space celebrated the 60th anniversary of the brick, but this year it’s been dedicated to The LEGO Movie 2.
There was a large brick-made sculpture of Unikitty in her enraged, apocalyptic form that originally debuted at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con. It’s roughly life-size, if anything minifigure-related can be called that.
There was also a photo-opportunity with Emmet in a life-size LEGO home, along with an activity to build your own microscale model of Sweet Mayhem’s Systar Starship, though sadly they were already packing the activity up by the time I’d finished the main event.
Moving inside on the show floor, many of the smaller booths are open to passersby, while the largest brands all have walled booths accessible only by invitation. (Mattel actually goes so far as to sequester itself off in another room away from the show floor.) LEGO’s booth is a stark contrast to the bright, busy colors on most other booths, having a massive area cordoned off with minimalist white walls showing LEGO models designed by kids, along with some quotes about their creations.
The four gigantic 2×2 red LEGO bricks hanging above the booth were visible from anywhere in the room, and are remarkably accurate, right down to the raised lettering on the studs. While I don’t know their dimensions, I’d speculate they were at least eight feet on a side. Does that make them the largest LEGO bricks ever? Also, if DUPLO is twice the size of LEGO, and QUATRO is twice the size of Duplo, what does that make these?
As you walked past the booth, two large brick sculptures point the way to the booth’s entrance. I’ll leave it up to you to decide precisely what they are.
Around at the front of the booth there’s a reception desk and waiting area, accompanied by decorative bins of bulk basic brick and a rainbow waterfall sculpture reminiscent of the one in the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark.
Now, of course, we get to the good part: going inside the white walls to see what new LEGO is in store. There was another large LEGO logo hanging on the wall immediately inside the booth, made of monocolor minifigures. The lack of dust on these figs indicated it’s a new model made for this show and not merely swiped from their US headquarters in Enfield, Connecticut where I know a similar model hangs. (After all, LEGO models, especially ones like this, are nearly impossible to dust perfectly.)
Three character sculptures from The LEGO Movie 2 stood guard inside near the entrance, overlooking the wall of official sets from the movie. Each is about three feet tall.
As with previous years, the press event we attended was packed — a great deal more than these photos might indicate, since I didn’t get around to taking these until near the end of the event.
The models are displayed on lighted racks, sometimes with the boxes behind the sets, and sometimes with the boxes in another adjacent case. While the sets look incredible in person, getting decent photos that aren’t extremely back-lit or overexposed was a challenge.
As the event is only two hours long, it’s a mad dash to photograph everything and ask the staff our questions.
Finally, after rounding up all the new sets from the LEGO booth, I headed over to the Santoki booth to check out LEGO-branded merchandise. It was a much more modestly sized booth in a quieter section of the floor, but as always the Santoki staff were very knowledgeable and excited about their new LEGO tie-in products, especially their expanded line for LEGO Star Wars which we covered in our LEGO merchandise article.
We hope you had as much fun checking out all the new LEGO products as we did. Let us know in the comments what you’d like to see more of, or suggestions for what you’d love to see us do in the future!
Don’t miss the rest of our New York Toy Fair 2019 coverage here on The Brothers Brick:
In-person coverage from the show floor:
- LEGO Star Wars Resistance and Action Battle sets close-up
- LEGO Star Wars 20th Anniversary sets close-up
- LEGO Hidden Side sets close-up and video
- LEGO Jurassic World sets close-up
- LEGO Movie 2 sets close-up
- LEGO Toy Story 4 sets close-up
- LEGO Gear and Merchandise
New LEGO set announcements:
- LEGO Star Wars Resistance and Action Battle sets announced
- LEGO Toy Story 4 sets
- LEGO Ideas The Flintstones set
- LEGO Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar sets
- LEGO Hidden Side series
- LEGO Movie 2 Space Palace, Sparkle Spa and Triple Decker Couch sets
- LEGO Movie 2 Rexcelsior set