Here at The Lego Car Blog our Set Review Library, where almost a hundred LEGO sets and related products have been reviewed by our, cough… ‘experts’, plus a few readers too, is easily the most popular area of the whole site.
Despite an inconsistent scoring methodology, and with some very probably written drunk, the value of the Library proves how important reviews now are. From holidays and restaurants to electronics and sports, there’s probably nothing you wouldn’t buy without checking out the reviews first, and that of course includes LEGO.
But should you trust what we write? Not a chance! Well, not on our own at least. That’s where Review Aggregators come in, pulling reviews from multiple sources to give a far more balanced overall score. The most famous of these is probably the Rotten Tomatoes movie review aggregator, a gem of a tool to peruse before you spend your hard-earned on a movie ticket.
But what if you could do the same for LEGO sets? Well now, thanks to the chap pictured below, you can!
This is Linus, and we like him already. Clearly anyone who can fall asleep upside-down in a pile of LEGO is one to watch. And so it’s turned out, as Linus has created very probably the most important LEGO-related website of the past decade. Over to the man himself to explain all…
It’s been a while since this picture was taken. I had moved around a lot, gotten married, and we were pregnant with our son, so adulting made LEGO hard to prioritise. I really wanted something to build to relax and fill the time, so I went to the store and browsed the LEGO aisle. And felt really, really lost. Since I was in a grey age I hadn’t followed the latest releases, and I had a hard time figuring out what to buy. I went home, explored a few different parameters that might be important when buying a set, and built a mockup. In my head I called it ‘shouldibuythisset.com’. Not that catchy – really glad I changed the name.
I figured that the easiest MVP I could build while still being useful, is to gather reviews for all of the sets. This way I could figure out what other people thought about the set, and if I knew I trusted one reviewer more than the other, I could pay extra attention to that person.
It all went from there. Eight months later and we’ve got a site that automatically picks up new reviews from qualified reviewers (like TLCB!), calculates average scores for each set, compares them per year and all time, and does other cool calculations too! The long term goal of the site is to help people like me figure out if a set is worth the money. After building my simple prototype I went back to the store and purchased the Ninjago Katana, a set I wouldn’t have looked twice at otherwise. It’s a cool set and I’m glad I picked it up. That’s what I hope the site can do more and more as I continue working on it.
We’ve had an early play around on Brick Insights and we’ve come away incredibly impressed. Not only does the site work an absolute treat, making set reviews easy to find, easy to read, searchable by year, by reviewer, and with some deliciously nerdy stats, the site itself looks beautiful. By comparison TLCB looks like it was shoddily cobbled together by a bunch of amateurs.*
Above is the Brick Insights 42054 Technic Claas Xerion 5000 page as an example, with an aggregated score of 94/100 from nine review sources (of which we’re one), and comparisons to the averages across the range and the year in which the set was released. Each of the reviews listed is hyperlinked to the source site, and each reviewer has a page too with their own averages, number of reviews and scoring distribution (we learned that we have 99 reviews, 71% of which are scored, and that our average score is 7.8/10).
Brick Insights‘ graphics, animations and navigation are top-notch, and each new review uploaded by their chosen sources will be automatically added to the relevant set and reviewer pages, changing the relevant statistics too. You can find The Lego Car Blog’s Brick Insights page by clicking here, and we hugely recommend taking some time to explore the site – it’s going to be worth its weight in bricks.
*Which it was.