In order to compile a list of the biggest and most challenging Lego sets, it was necessary to narrow down the criteria. First, the sets have to mass produced by Lego. In other words, we’re not considering any giant custom sets like the 6-meter Death Star Trench or insane 150,000 piece recreation of Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings. Second, we excluded expandable sets such as the Modular Building series that you can keep adding on to like the Town Hall (10224), Green Grocer (10185), and the newly released Palace Cinema (10232) that can be combined together to lay out enormous Lego city scenes.
Furthermore, to define what we mean by “biggest” the list considers those Lego sets with the largest amounts of pieces and/or final completed size of the set. As far as “challenging,” most of the sets listed below are suggested for builders aged 16 or older, although I’ve personally seen kids half that age cranking out 1,000+ piece sets with hardly any difficulty.
Some of the sets listed below are still available at Lego stores worldwide, while some are out of production. But you may find retired sets listed for outrageous prices on Amazon or eBay. Once Lego stops selling an item, or if produced in limited quantities, third parties grab those products and jack up the price depending on demand. You’ll find Lego sets a purchase limit per customer on certain items.
Last week we created a list of must-have movie-themed Lego sets. Now, here’s a list of the biggest and most challenging sets, ordered somewhat subjectively but with consideration of total number of pieces combined with level of difficulty. By the way, the number in the parenthesis represents the Item Number in case you decide to go on a hunt for one of these Lego sets.
1. Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon (10179)
It’d be hard to argue against Lego’s Star Wars Collector’s Millennium Falcon as being one of the biggest and most challenging Lego sets. The $499 Millennium Falcon is suggested for ages 16-years and older but younger kids can probably get through it with some supervision. The highly detailed scale model is made up of a whopping 5,195 pieces but only 5 mini-figures including Luke, Princess Leia, Han, Chewbacca, and a stormtrooper. Why the set doesn’t include C-3PO and R2-D2 mini-figures is sort of a mystery (weren’t they on the Falcon during the mission to rescue Leia?), but nevertheless the ship itself is more than enough to focus on. The Collector’s Millennium Falcon was released in 2007 and retired in 2010, but remains the most-expensive mass-produced Lego set to date.
2. Taj Mahal (10189)
If you need a little break from science fiction-based Star Wars sets you can jump into an architectural project building the Taj Mahal. The $299 set gives you more bang for your buck than the Collector’s Millennium Falcon, boxing a total of 5,922 pieces (about 700 more than the Falcon). What also makes this set a bit more of a challenge for builders is that all the pieces are all generally the same color. This makes it especially difficult for those who like to dump all their Lego pieces into a pile rather than build bag-by-bag. Puzzle builders will attest to the difficulty of puzzles that don’t vary too much in color or patterns. The Lego model of the famous Taj Mahal palace in India was released in 2008.
3. Super Star Destroyer (10221)
The Super Star Destroyer is a massive Lego set with 3,152 pieces and five mini-figures including Darth Vader, Admiral Piett, Dengar, Bossk and IG-88. You’ll spend most of your time building the interior structure of this ship (which in the end you don’t even see), but the results are an extraordinary detailed rendition of the massive ship from the Star Wars saga that measures almost 50-inches and weighs almost 8 pounds. The Super Star Destroyer sells for $399 US.
4. Imperial Star Destroyer (10030)
The 2002 Ultimate Collector’s Series Imperial Star Destroyer retailed for $269 and came with 3,096 pieces (no mini-figures included). This is a nice looking showpiece for Lego builders that sits nicely upon the included plastic showcase stands. You will, however, need some extra shelf space as the ship takes up about 37 x 23 inches when completed. (At the time of release it was the biggest individual Lego Star Wars set available.) The set also comes with a mini Rebel Blockade Runner that designed to approximate scale. The Lego sku was retired in 2007 but you can still find sealed boxes for sale if you look hard enough, albeit nowhere near the 2002 MSRP.
5. Death Star (10188)
When this set first came out in 2008 there was no doubt Star Wars fans and Lego builders alike would want the set in their collection. The edition is made up of 3,803 pieces and shows several views of the interior of the Death Star from Episodes IV and VI, as well as the 8-beam superlaser featured in the films. The set still remains hugely popular because of its inclusion of 24 mini-figures, several of which are rare to find and only included in this set: Luke Skywalker (in Stormtrooper outfit), Han Solo (in Stormtrooper outfit), Assassin Droid, Interrogation Droid, Death Star Droid and 2 Death Star Troopers. The Death Star also features the rare Dianoga trash compactor monster. Death Star (#10188) is one of the most expensive Lego sets priced at $399.
6. Tower Bridge (10214)
You also get quite a bit of plastic for your dollar in Lego’s Tower Bridge set that boxes 4,287 pieces for the list price of $239. Designed by Jamie Berard, the set is a replication of the Tower Bridge over the River Thames in London that was completed over 100 years ago in 1894. Once constructed the Lego set measures 40” (102cm) long by 17” (42cm) high and 10” (26cm) wide. The drawbridge even opens and closes. Tower Bridge does not contain any mini-figures, but does include a mini-scale double-decker bus, green car, yellow truck, and black taxi. Tower Bridge was released in 2010 and is still available at Lego.com and other retailers.
7. Grand Carousel (10196)
Lego’s Grand Carousel is one of those sets that anyone can enjoy and actually plays music while it turns driven by a LEGO Power Functions motor and sound brick. The set includes 9 mini-figures such as a carousel conductor, random parents, and kids that can sit on the carousel mounts as it turns. The carousel measures 15.1” (38.4cm) by 15.1” (38.4cm) by 13.8” (35.0 cm). Grand Carousel was only produced from 2009 to 2010 and stocked in limited quantities. The 3,263-piece set retailed for $249, and because of its limited availability lists for upwards of $2k unopened on eBay.
8. Death Star II (10143)
Death Star II was released by Lego in 2005 (before the Death Star #10188) but remains another great Lego set. With 3,441 pieces, Death Star II replicates the incomplete Death Star from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983). Unlike the Death Star that features themed sections of the Death Star in which mini-figures can be placed, the Death Star II focuses more on the overall design and construction. The set measures 25” (65cm)” high and 19” (50cm) wide (including stand). Death Star II carried an MSRP of $269 and was retired in 2009.
9. Imperial Shuttle 10212
No doubt one of the coolest Star Wars Lego sets, the Imperial Shuttle was designed so well it barely looks like Lego after you put together all 2,503 pieces. Once complete on its stand, the ship measures 28-inches tall (71cm) by 22-inches wide (57cm) with wings deployed. The 5 minifigures that come with the Imperial Shuttle are Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Shuttle Pilot, Imperial Officer, and Stormtrooper. The ship was available from 2010 through 2012 and carried a list price of $259. Just don’t confuse this 2010 set with much smaller and earlier Imperial Shuttle sets including the 234-piece Imperial Shuttle (#7166) or the 82-piece Mini Imperial Shuttle (#4494).
10. Motorized Walking AT-AT (10178)
The Motorized Walking AT-AT utilizes the Lego Power Functions System to walk forward, and features an opening cockpit and rotating laser cannons. The AT-AT measures 12″ (30cm) tall and over 14″ (36cm) long after constructed from the 1,137 Lego pieces. Mini-figures include the AT-AT Pilot, General Veers, Snowtrooper and Luke Skywalker with grappling line and lightsaber. The set was available from 2007 through 2010, but can still be found sealed for under $500. The Motorized Walking AT-AT requires six AA (1.5V) batteries and is suggested for builders at least 14 years old.
Jeff Chabot has a background in web development and design, as well as working in broadcast television as a studio engineer, lighting director and editor. He frequently writes about technology, broadcasting, digital entertainment, and the internet.