Over the past several years, the LEGO Group has significantly enhanced its messages of diversity and inclusion across its corporate policies, advertising, social media, and even in related media like The LEGO Movie franchise. The LEGO hobbyist community includes amazing, wonderful people from all over the world, of every sexual orientation and gender identity. Seeing someone like ourselves represented through our favorite building toy truly matters, but until the announcement of 40516 Everyone is Awesome today, LEGO hasn’t released a LEGO set that fully embraces and celebrates the company’s myriad LGBTQ+ fans and employees, including people of color. Featuring 11 colorful minifigures with a rainbow backdrop built from 346 pieces, the set will be available on the first day of Pride Month 2021, June 1, for US $34.99 | CAN $44.49 | UK £30.
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
The packaging & instructions
40516 Everyone is Awesome follows the black 18+ branding of recent sets the company intends to sell to adults, with the front and back simply showing the assembled set from several different angles. Since this is a display piece and not a vehicle or playset, there really aren’t working functions or play features to showcase on the box.
The parts come in six unnumbered bags, plus several larger white plates loose in the box.
Wrappers for the instruction booklet are generally limited to larger sets, especially ones that include a sticker sheet. However, despite this being a set under 350 pieces with a brief instruction booklet, the booklet comes in its own wrapper.
LEGO has long recognized and celebrated its own LGBTQ+ employees, and LEGO’s head of product design Matthew Ashton designed this set himself. Earlier in his LEGO career, Matt designed beloved sets like the rare 2008 Castle Advent Calendar (7979), which he kindly signed for me at BrickCon in Seattle later that year.
Since the minifig parts are mixed throughout the unnumbered bags, the instructions simply have you build them all at once, with a single example, similar to the generalized instructions for Collectible Minifigures. (It’s also notable that a set under $50 includes a brick separator, and in the new color.)
The parts & build experience
Opening all the bags and pouring out the colorful parts feels a bit like the beginning of the build experience for the wonderful 41597 Go Brick Me.
Mixed in with all those rainbow pieces and minifig parts are a number of pieces that appear in new colors, including several arch pieces and (surprisingly) iconic pieces like 2×3 bricks in bright green, purple, and dark pink. (Matt Ashton has been teasing this set on his Instagram with a new brick every day for the last couple of weeks.)
Rather than relying on primary colors, the rainbow is built from a number of unexpected colors. Here’s the full list (using the BrickLink names in general use among LEGO hobbyists, rather than LEGO’s own, more-obscure names):
- Reddish Brown
- Bright Green
- Dark Purple
- Bright Light Blue
- Dark Pink
The base of the rainbow display stand is built from the large white plates that came loose in the box, which are stacked to provide structural integrity.
The rainbow itself is built from colorful 1×2 bricks sandwiching a tan core.
2×3 bricks alternate rows that have the tan core, creating a sturdy vertical surface, with the front of the display stand covered in tiles (with a few 1×2 studded spots to place the minifigs later).
The rounded top of the rainbow includes curved bricks that match the color of each end capped by curved arches. These hidden curved bricks provide further reinforcement of the tall backdrop section.
The finished model & minifigures
Adding the monochrome minifigs to the rainbow display stand completes the build. For allies interested in the set but potentially unfamiliar with the symbolism, the inclusion of black and brown on one end represents support of people of color within the LGBTQ+ community (similar to the recent Philadelphia Pride flag), while the light blue, white, and dark pink on the other end symbolize support for trans rights. The six colors of the traditional Pride flag are represented in between.
The backdrop itself is beautiful, and I can see LEGO builders customizing it as a display stand to share their own stories.
The eleven minifigs that line up with the stripes are all entirely monochrome, with hair pieces, blank heads, torsos, and legs all in the same color. Every hair piece is unique, with no repetition between colors, and many of the hair pieces appear in their respective colors for the first time. From a pure parts perspective, some of the hair colors feel less “useful” for custom creations than others, but I’ve probably seen nine or ten of these on the bus in Seattle.
The blue minifigure includes the set’s only completely new element, a Johnny Bravo-style hairdo.
Conclusions & recommendation
Whether you see this LEGO set as a celebration and reflection of yourself or just a colorful parts pack, there’s something for everyone in 40516 Everyone is Awesome. Assembling and displaying single-color minifigures is a fun part of the LEGO hobby for many builders, and this is a fantastic way to get a jump start on your monochrome fig collection. It also makes a great display piece at home or work.
The Brothers Brick has been a strong supporter of LGBTQ+ rights since the beginning of the website back in 2005. Many of our contributors are members of the LGBTQ+ community, and we’ve featured LEGO creations about marriage equality and Pride many times — last June, TBB celebrated Pride with a series of articles from TBB editor and LEGO Masters contestant Flynn De Marco, including a roundup of wonderful LEGO creations celebrating Pride. So, we’re overjoyed about the overt message of inclusion that this official LEGO set communicates to members of our diverse LEGO community, and we can’t recommend it highly enough.
But don’t take my word for it! We asked our team members what they thought, and we’d like to share their responses.
Here’s Senior Contributor Bre Burns:
I’m really excited. Like many of you, I’m a sucker for the monochrome rainbow figs. I’ve always wanted a bunch of them to display together. From the standpoint of someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, I appreciate the gesture very much. As one of the largest, most popular companies in the world, both in and out of the toy biz, it has a lot of social pull. A well-executed set like this makes an important statement to the world. It is both bold and classy.
And here’s Senior Editor Flynn De Marco:
Richard and I were very fortunate to be able to represent our community on LEGO Masters and bring some visibility to LGBTQ+ LEGO fans. To feel seen in the world is important and with this set, LEGO has shown it sees and recognizes its wide fan base that covers people of all races, gender identities and orientations. It’s a wonderful and unexpected move from LEGO that I think will be greatly appreciated by many. It states, unequivocally, that LEGO really is for everyone.
Yes indeed, everyone is awesome!