5 LEGO Sets to Buy in 2022 Before They Retire
8th July 2022
The end of the year is always a time when we see many sets leave shelves. By December 31st we’ll have said goodbye to over 300 sets, meaning you have less than 6 months to get your wishlist organised, and your bank balance sorted, in time to make those crucial purchases. Unless you have an endless pot of money and infinite space, it can be difficult to decide which retiring sets to buy. To help make this decision, we’ve picked out our five favourite sets retiring by the end of 2022, on the basis of their quality of design and build, uniqueness, and investment potential.
Imperial Star Destroyer (75252)
There have been five depictions of the infamous Imperial Star Destroyer over the years but set 75252 eclipses them all. This was the second colossal Star Wars set to hit shelves, following on from the 75192 Millennium Falcon. Its piece count of 4,784 puts it just outside the top 10 biggest LEGO sets ever made, and if there was ever a vehicle worthy of being recreated in such gigantic proportions, it is the Imperial Star Destroyer. Every child will remember the first time they saw the opening scene of Episode IV, where the starship seems to stretch on for eternity.
The finished model extends over one metre in length and you’ll need all your strength to lift it onto your chosen display platform. But once it’s there it will look magnificent and capture the wide-eyed attention of any house guest. As you would expect, the level of detail on the outside is impeccable, capturing every rivet, turret, and hatch. And that’s just as well, as you won’t find anything on the inside, just a collection of technic pieces propping up the huge chassis.
Aside from the lack of interior, one of the other big criticisms of the Imperial Star Destroyer is the miserly minifigure allowance. Only two are provided for the £614.99 / $699.99 price tag, which seems downright unfair. However, despite these weaknesses, it remains a spectacular set and one any hard-core Star Wars fan will want to own.
In terms of its investment potential, this depends on how much people are willing to pay for a LEGO set. The RRP is already pushing this to its limit and exceeding that of most collectors. Regardless, in a few years you could probably add a couple hundred onto the current asking price, but you’ll need to find plenty of room to store it!
NASA Apollo Saturn V (92176)
Saturn V has played a central role in space exploration and human history, being the rocket that first put man on the moon. Therefore, any set depicting such an iconic vehicle was going to be one to keep an eye on. Other than the accuracy of this recreation, what makes the set so impressive is its height. The Saturn V rocket towers over all but one LEGO set, sitting at second on the list of tallest ever sets.
LEGO has produced a long run of space-themed sets, and this is one of the best. We especially like USA spelt out on the bottom of the rocket and the American flags. There’s also no need to worry about placing these slightly askew and ruining the look of your model as all these parts are printed. It’s a testament to this set that the only improvement we can think of would be the inclusion of some minifigure astronauts, and even then, the choice to provide microfigures instead has the benefit of giving a sense of scale.
If you’re looking to buy this set as an investment, it’s unlikely to perform the best. This is because the Saturn V has been around since 2017, as this particular set is a 2020 re-release. Because of this five-year window, it’s not going to be the rarest set. You’ll be better off building this set as intended, and either displaying it as a centrepiece to a space-theme collection, or using it to recreate the famous moon landing.
Monkey King Warrior Mech (80012)
Monkie Kid was originally designed to appeal to the Asian market, which is a strategic area of growth for the LEGO Group. Although they have been made available to the western world and proven popular, LEGO has been cutting back on sales of Monkie Kid sets to make more shelf space available for other themes. As a consequence, levels of stock of the Monkey King Warrior Mech are running seriously low outside of Asia. Although its retirement is officially scheduled for the end of 2022, in reality it is already sold out in many regions. If you can still find one, we highly recommend you pick it up.
The colour combination of the giant mech is beautiful and this set holds the record for the most gold drum lacquered pieces. For anyone with a penchant for gold, this set will be very appealing. It will also prove a useful purchase for any MOC builders with a gold-inspired construction in mind. The proportions are also very impressive, so while many LEGO fans will be experiencing a bit of mech fatigue lately, this one (literally) rises over the rest.
As a play piece, this set has received much criticism over the mech’s lack of poseability, unwieldiness, and delicate construction in places, but on display it will certainly catch your eye. It’s also not likely to be at the top of everyone’s wish list, so may prove hard to come by in the years that follow. Good for anyone looking for some return on investment.
Lunar New Year Ice Festival (80109)
I feel the Chinese-inspired seasonal releases LEGO treats us to every year are always a little overlooked, perhaps because they are less visible than other sets belonging to licensed themes. This a shame as there have been some delightful models that have come out under this small sub-theme, with The Lunar New Year Ice Festival being no exception.
Like the otherr traditional Chinese festival sets, 80109 comes with a commitment to the highest quality. The design is exceptional and full of colour, printed parts are favoured over stickers, and a generous selection of minifigures is supplied. The set depicts a delightful winter scene full of surprising details and interesting pieces. The ice rink is composed of 18 novel transparent opal 1x6x5 panels, which captures the milky appearance of frosted ice very well. There are a host of other unique and rare parts, many of which are those in transparent white and blue.
Of the 13 minifigures provided, the standout is of course the man dressed in the charming tiger costume. Every year LEGO includes an outfitted minifigure in the seasonal sets to match the Chinese zodiac symbol that the current year falls under. We’ve already had a pig, bull, rat, and tiger, and next year we can expect a rabbit. Together they make for a very collectable series.
The completeness of the model makes for a great display piece, but it’s also packed with playability, so would appeal to both older and younger LEGO fans. For many this set will have gone under their radar, but it shouldn’t be missed!
1989 Batwing (76161)
Batman’s futuristic flying craft, which appeared in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie captured people’s imagination and has become iconic in the years that followed. It's a spectacular looking vehicle full of beautiful curves and angles, so we were delighted when LEGO announced this set in 2019.
As a replica of the original it performs very well and only deviates from the source material in a few places. The set uses some sophisticated building techniques to capture the arc of the wings and is incredibly detailed inside and out. I think all black models always look imposing, and this is no exception. On its stand, the Batwing makes for a very impressive display piece.
The set also comes with three minifigures of very high quality, two of which are exclusive to the Batwing. Batman is the repeating minifigure, having previously appeared in the 1989 Batmobile. Although many would have liked a unique Batman for this set, let that not deter you, as this version is one of the best we’ve had. This is primarily due to the cape and cowl piece which is moulded from rubber and beautifully captures the Superhero’s flowing cloak, giving him a unique sense of movement.
The 1989 Batwing is the second of three huge and exceptionally detailed Batman vehicles, all coming out in consecutive years. This set matches the proportions of the 1989 Batmobile and The Tumbler, so would complement them magnificently if all displayed together.
For this reason, as well as the quality of the build and the minifigures, this set is likely to prove highly desirable in years to come. Many collectors and fans of Batman and DC are going to want all three to showcase side-by-side. We’ve already seen the 1989 Batmobile rocket in price on the aftermarket, and the expectation is that the 1989 Batwing will follow suit. Although, if I was forced to choose, I would pick the Batwing last from the three large Batman sets, it’s still a remarkable set and well worth shelling out for.
Disclaimer: This article or any others on brickranker.com should not be considered financial advice and investing in LEGO is risky.
If you found this site useful please consider supporting Brick Ranker by using the affliate links below when purchasing LEGO.