I fondly remember many different Lego sets of the 1990s. I feel like in many ways it could be my specialist subject. As a kid I loved Lego and the late 80s and right through the 90s were my prime Lego years. Many a Christmas was spent eagerly awaiting the latest Space or Pirate sets. I would tear open the box, grab the instructions and start building right away. Then something would happen and some vital piece would be lost (and its absence blamed on my brother) before we even got to boxing day.
Back then Lego was mostly a much simpler affair. Many sets were smaller and less complex than those we get today. However far from being more boring this simply meant that the larger sets felt even more impressive, especially to me as a child. It also meant we had to use our imagination more. Often sets needed a little kick and combining them together helped make Lego more fun.
Searching through the list of 90s Lego was definitely a nostalgia trip. I found some fondly remembered sets and many others which weren’t so eagerly awaited. As a child I never imagined how much some of the sets I loved would end up being worth (if only I’d kept the boxes, and all the pieces) I also never realized just how truly terrible some of them really were.
Lego is a beautiful creation but sometimes it also goes very wrong. This list took me down memory line to find 15 90s Lego sets which are now worth a fortune and 15 which are truly terrible.
30 Expensive: Rock Island Refuge 6273 Worth $599.45
Rock Island Refuge is part of the Pirates line and was released in 1991. The 372 piece pirate outpost comprises a hideout, with a hidden treasure room and small jail. The unique raised base plate also houses a pier as well as a cannon to fire at the accompanying small ship and raft.
This well thought out set also includes 7 mini figures including Captain Redbeard, Bo’Sun Will, First Mate Rummey and an array of pirates and imperial soldiers. The incredible detail and care in this design show how the set justifies its current high value.
29 Worst: Adventurers Car 2541
This tiny set from 1998 is part of the Adventurers Egypt set and features a car and Baron Von Barron mini figure. It was part of a promotion from Shell garage, which explains the size of the set but not the terribleness of the design.
The main question I have is how is this a car?
Not only does it not have a windscreen, doors, walls or roof but it’s also missing a steering wheel. The only thing it has in common with a car is that it has wheels on it. One thing’s for sure, it would definitely be an adventure trying to get anywhere in this bizarre vehicle.
28 Expensive: Giant Truck 5571 Worth $557.65
This Lego Truck looks like nothing special in its picture but it is the incredible detail which makes it one of the more valuable mainstream Lego sets of the 90s.
Released in 1996 the set was part of the Lego Model Team series and was one of the biggest Lego Sets ever sold. It clocks in at 1743 pieces meaning every inch of the truck is crafted with perfect detail. It is only in recent years that new large sets, such as those in the Architecture series, have begun to overtake this one in terms of number of pieces.
27 Worst: Flying Time Vessel 6493
The Time Cruisers series is another amazing source of 90s randomness, with few of the sets making any sense whatsoever. This flying vessel from 1996 is the very pinnacle of these crazy Lego sets.
The vehicle epitomizes a mash-up of all your favorite 90s Lego sets.
Dragon Masters, Pirates and Ice Planet 2002 are all represented here in this crazy contraption that features a mast, wings, wheels and even a dragons head. It looks like it was designed with all the leftover pieces from other popular 90s lines. Madness.
26 Expensive: Fire Breathing Fortress 6082 Worth $399
The Fire Breathing Fortress is from the Dragon Master series, a sub-theme of Castle Lego. It was released back in 1993 and comprises 393 pieces.
The focus of the set is the large fortress built on a raised base plate. It has a dragon head arch, jail, and pit. There is also a hidden treasure chest in a wall inside.
A door on the side of the fortress lets out the dragon contained within. There are also guards, a knight, a bandit and of course a sorcerer who controls the dragon. Overall a creative and engaging set.
25 Worst: Broadside’s Brig 6259
The pirate set was arguably the highlight of 90s Lego. It was well mostly thought out, detailed and even had sharks in it. What else could you ask for? This 1991 set, however, is definitely the black sheep of the series.
It is described as “a base and jail” but fits neither description.
The jail appears to be the size of 1 Lego criminal and seems to comprise bars on the front and a massive gap to the rear. The base is even worse, being simply a doorway your Lego figures would have to walk through sideways to enter. Security level zero.
24 Expensive: Launch And Load Seaport 6542 Worth $432.25
Released back in 1991 the Launch and Load Seaport is part of Lego Town’s Nautica sub-theme. It contains 1022 pieces and 7 mini figures.
The seaport set has 5 raised plates that were reused from a discarded idea for the trains series. There is a wharf, container crane and guard shack. The set also includes a cargo ship, semi-trailer truck, forklift, pilot boat and of course plenty of cargo containers. It all fits together seamlessly in this unique and engaging set.
23 Worst: Deep Freeze Defender 6973
This intriguing spacecraft from the Ice Planet 2002 series was released back in 1993 and is one of the largest sets in my worst list. The set itself consists of 4 separate sections and can be built to form 1 large or 2 smaller ships.
My gripe is not with the concept but with the design.
The great thing about Lego is that you can create anything, however, I expect a certain level of excellence from pre-built sets.
22 Expensive: Royal Knight’s Castle 6090 Worth $416.10
The Royal Knight’s Castle was released back in 1995 as part of the Royal Knights subsection of the Castle line. It comprises a large castle occupied by 6 guards, 2 knights, a king, and a skeleton. There are also 3 horses.
This set was the first to feature 2 gates and contains some exclusive items you won’t find in other sets. These include the Royal Knight’s flag and king’s cape.
The castle itself is incredibly detailed and even includes a trap door, dungeon, and secret passageway. At 743 pieces it is also a larger set originally retailing for around $95 and now worth approximately 4 times as much.
21 Worst: Sport Coupe 6530
This simple Sport Coupe from 1990 is both terrible and amazing. It’s terrible because it is a simple triangular car which is vibrant yellow with tiny wheels. It appears to have no doors and room for only 1 person.
The reason it is amazing is because it looks like an exact replica of Cheese Louise, the car owned by Simone Giertz, a YouTube star, member of Tested and builder of terrible robots. I wonder if the Lego version can also be made into a computer mouse?
20 Expensive: Control Center II 8485 Worth $373.35
The Control Center sounds both impressive and potentially nothing like you expect. Forget thoughts of city Lego and flying planes (which I admit was my first thought) this 1995 set is from the Technic range and features a control pad which is used to control 3 different Lego objects.
The 1079 piece set can be rebuilt into a helicopter, hovercraft or dinosaur.
Each model features a range of working parts and can be controlled by the fully functional panel. The sheer variety of the sets means this expensive set, which retailed at $220, has increased in value since release.
19 Worst: Droid Fighter 7111
The year 1999 saw the release of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. It also saw the release of this licensed Lego set to accompany it. The 62 piece Droid Fighter is almost as bad as the movie was.
I know in a small set you will never get huge detail but this set feels like they didn’t even try. The main thing which stood out was how most Droid Fighter toys were a mixture of cream, gray and a dark green while this one is unique in its brownness. Overall it’s simple, terribly thought out and very very brown.
18 Expensive: Imperial Trading Post 6277 Worth $575.70
This 592 piece trading post is from the Lego Pirates range and was released in 1992. It is a well-built set which includes 3 buildings, 2 cranes, several canons, a ship, and a rowboat. There are also a whopping 9 mini figures including Imperial guards, merchants, and pirates.
The largest of the Imperial Guards range, this impressive set is well designed and features both a normal and raised build plate. Like many Pirates sets its design is both functional and eye-catching.
17 Worst: Sunset Stables 6405
Released in 1992 this stable set is part of the Paradisa set and features 2 mini figures, a horse, horsebox and stable.
There are several glaring errors with this set. Firstly the horse box does not look big enough for the horse to fit inside. Secondly, the car pulling it has no doors, walls or roof, being simply a windscreen on wheels. Finally the stable. I’m unsure how it can be classified as a building, since it is simply a roof on stilts.
Overall I consider both the accommodation and transport highly unsuitable for ponies, even if they are made from Lego.
16 Expensive: Trauma Team 1896 Worth $856.90
The Trauma Team set was released in 1991 as part of the Town series. It comprises 2 trucks, a motorcycle, rescue helicopter, and 5 mini figures.
The 284 piece set retailed for just $28 but is now said to be worth over $850.
The yellow and black design is reminiscent of the Res-Q series which released 7 years later in 1998. Each vehicle slightly resembles a cheese wedge, in keeping with the style of the time. It also features 3 Lego stretchers, the most in any single set.
15 Worst: Meteor Monitor 1875
This set from 1990 is from the Blacktron series, based around space. This raises some important questions about how on earth this craft was considered appropriate for the setting.
The Blacktron astronaut looks happy enough but I’m unsure how he’s smiling so much when he’s in an entirely open vehicle with absolutely zero protection from space.
The craft, what little there is of it is simply a seat on some wings with a couple of levers. Quite how he will survive monitoring anything is beyond me.
14 Expensive: Super Street Sensation 8448 Worth $359.10
The Super Street Sensation is a Lego Technic supercar set released in 1999. The flashy red supercar features working steering and a moving piston engine.
It originally retailed for $130 and contains 1408 pieces.
Every inch of this car is engineered with attention to detail. The open hooded design means you can see the working parts the Technic range is known for. Every bit of the working engine is on display in a well thought out supercar shell.
13 Worst: Torch 8500
Part of the Technic Lego line this 1999 set is known as the Fire or Torch Slizer. The Slizer range is also known as the Throwbot series and features a range of bots which throw things.
I was relieved to see the word Throwbot as I had no idea what a slizer was. A robot which throws is much easier to understand. The design, however, is harder to comprehend.
The most confusing part is the cog which appears to take the place of a head. I can identify arms and legs but I’m still unsure as to where the head actually is. Instinct is saying the only head like object is better left unmentioned.
12 Expensive: Monorail Transport Base 6991 Worth $831.20
This huge 573 piece Monorail Transport Base is part of the Space Unitron series and was released in 1994. It includes a monorail station with 2 terminals and a train. There are also 4 mini figures and a ground vehicle.
It was the last and also largest monorail set released by Lego, which may explain its $800+ price tag. The set is also incredibly flexible as it can be easily combined with others. Multiple base plates and extra monorail track sets allow you to use it to connect two Unitron bases together.
11 Worst: Racing Pickup Truck 1991
This set is part of the race section of the town series. It’s called a racing pickup but shows no resemblance to either a racing vehicle or a pickup truck.
Although it’s good to see that the driver has put safety first with his racing approved helmet. Sadly that’s pretty much the only thing right about this car.
From the chunky design to whatever that contraption in the back is, I’m still trying to work out what’s going on. I did notice however that it has doors, so that’s something. Sadly that’s the biggest plus I can give this quirky vehicle.
10 Expensive: Skull’s Eye Schooner 6286 Worth $575.70
This Pirate ship from 1993 is known as Skull’s Eye Schooner, Darks Shark II or Black Skull. It is an 892 piece pirate ship with 3 masts, 9 pirates, a row boat and a shark.
The schooner appears in the Lego Racers video game and is the pirate’s flagship.
The set itself is incredibly well thought out and features 4 cannons mounted on 4x4 turntables which can slide across the ship from side to side. Opening up the side walls allows access to the inside of the ship where another mechanism allows the rudder to be controlled by the steering wheel.
9 Worst: Island Arcade 6409
Back in 1993 someone at Lego had the wise idea to release this Paradisa set featuring a spinning wheel game, tiny merry-go-round and seating area. It also includes a baby pram and an ice cream chest.
I actually quite like the inventiveness of the spinning seats but I’m perplexed by the rest of the set. Who on earth decided that a pram and a casino game were an amazing combination?
I was also amused by the addition of a random palm tree. What is this random place and who would take a baby there? We’ll never know since the set appears not to include an actual baby for that pram.
8 Expensive: Alpha Centuri Outpost 6988 Worth $402.80
Released in 1991 the Alpha Centuri Outpost is from the Blacktron Future Generation sub theme and is the largest set in this series at 406 pieces.
It features an outpost with spacecraft, landing pad and rover. There are also 5 identical Blacktron Future Generation Astronaut mini figures included in the set.
The outpost is built on a raised baseplate alongside the landing pad. It also features electric components which comprise a light and sound array inside the outpost. A nice space base for your Blacktron figures.
7 Worst: Prize Stables 5880
Belville is a Lego series which always makes me wonder what they were thinking and this Prize Stables set from 1994 is no exception. Not everything about this set is terrible, however, just most of it.
If these are the prize stables I dread to think what the regular stables look like.
I love the very 90s telephone and what I can only assume are supposed to be beds on the roof. I say the roof because the stables appear to have a huge wall shortage, having only 2 flimsy poles and what looks like Trellis’s keeping the horses safe. Zero marks for both practicality and safety.
6 Expensive: Air Tech Claw Rig 8868 Worth $383.80
This Technic set was released back in 1992 and contains a huge 954 pieces. It is a semi truck which has a pneumatic crane on the back of it.
As this is Technic Lego the crane actually works thanks to a v-6 engine with moving pistons and fans. The truck also has working steering and a pump. Extra instructions allow the set to be rebuilt as a working snowplow.
This Technic set retailed for around $140 and is now worth almost 3 times that as it is incredibly difficult to get hold of.
5 Worst: Spy Shark 6135
The spy shark is a 1996 set from the Aquasharks series. It took me a while to figure out what it is supposed to be. A shark? A submarine? A hovercraft?
After research it would appear that it is a submarine “disguised” as a shark. I am unsure as to when sharks became neon orange but you live and learn.
The cockpit is tiny, the concept surreal and the mini figure looks as confused as I am by this set. I can see why kids may love it but it leaves me slightly bemused.
4 Expensive: Magic Flash 5581 Worth $351.50
To me the Magic Flash set is the one which most scream 90s. From it’s chunky design and seemingly random name to its red, yellow and black color scheme, every inch of this set betrays it’s 1993 release date.
The 784 piece set was part of the Model Team range and comprises a race truck with trailer and a speedboat. It can also be rebuilt into a dragster.
With its bull bars and flashing lights this quirky set is now worth almost 5 times its original value of $80.
3 Worst: Robo Raider 2151
The late 90s brought us the Roboforce series. This Robo Raider just sums up the craziness of this idea. The robot has a storage area in its chest and its head functions as an escape vehicle for a mini figure.
What baffles me is the shape of it. I can’t understand how it constitutes a robot. It’s difficult to make out which bits are arms and legs and the post box stomach is kind of disturbing if I’m honest.
Overall a great idea just really isn’t working due to implementation. This robot definitely gets a pass from me.
2 Expensive: Blacktron Space Value Pack 4741 Worth $599.45
This value pack is part of the Blacktron Future Generation, a faction from Lego’s Space series also known as Blacktron 2. The value set comprised of 3 separate space vehicles. These were a Tri-Wheeled Tyrax, Sub Orbital Guardian and an Allied Avenger.
Also included were instructions for a Super Vehicle, which combined all the above sets together to form one huge machine. The set is worth more together due to the addition of the super vehicle instructions.
1 Worst: The Crazy Lego King 2586
This 1998 set is a promotional set released with the Lego Chess computer game. It features a Lego king on a throne.
I’ve seen it described as the crazy Lego King and that certainly sums him up.
He has a knights armor, a scepter bigger than he is and a mighty crown which clashes really badly with the silver diamond on his throne. His slightly eccentric dress and facial hair also leads me to believe he’s actually the evil twin of the real Lego king.