All LEGO Inside Tour Exclusive Sets and Minifigures and Their Rarity - Part 1
24th February 2023
Since 2005, LEGO have held their annual LEGO Inside Tour (LIT) event aimed at giving the most committed and fanatical LEGO enthusiasts the time of their life. The tour is typically a 2-3 day experience taking place at the company's headquarters in Billund where participants get to visit LEGOLAND and LEGO's factory, meet LEGO designers and executives, get a private tour of the LEGO House, museum, and hallowed vault, take part in building sessions, and raid the employee store.
If that wasn't enough, another lure of the tour is the exclusives sets and minifigures that are given away free to all participants. Being exclusive to the Inside Tour means that the giveaways are some of the rarest sets and minifigures ever produced.
Given their extreme rarity, information on them, especially those from the earlier tours, is limited. However, we've delved deep into the history of the Inside Tour to provide production numbers based on participant numbers. So if you've ever wondered just how exclusive these giveaways are, read on.
2005 & 2006
For the first two editions of the tour, LEGO gave out the same set, which was the LECA Automobile (LIT2005). It was based on a model built in 1962 by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the grandson of LEGO's founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen. This replica was designed by Henrik Andersen and used the same construction techniques as the original. It contains 251 pieces, with a 2x6 brick with a laser engraved licence plate being the only unique part.
In keeping with the classic feel of the set, it came in a hand painted box, reminiscent of the packaging used in the 1960s.
Based on online images, 14 people attended the first tour in 2005. The number of participants in 2006 is not known but assumed to be the same, which gives a production run of around 30 copies. The reason being that LEGO keeps one copy of each set for it's vault and it's expected that one was given to Camilla Torpe, who was instrumental in creating and organising the Inside Tours.
The 2007 LIT set was the Market Street (LIT2007), which was a disappointment when looking back on it now. This is because it was identical to the retail set, with the only exclusive component being a custom sleeve going around the box, on which was some information about the Inside Tour. Whether it was as underwhelming at the time is unknown, but considering it was one of the early tours, the participants were probably just grateful to be getting such a large set for "free".
From a collectors and investment perspective, a sealed Market Street is extremely valuable nowadays, and anyone with the sleeve could pretty much demand any price for it. However, no online marketplace was seen one for sale for a very long time.
Like the previous two years, LEGO organised one event in 2007, which was limited to 14 people, meaning that's some very rare sleeve packaging. Even accounting for LEGO staff who helped on the tour, it's estimated that less than 20 copies of this set were distributed.
In similar fashion to 2007, the 2008 LIT also gave attendees a retail set in some slightly different packaging. This time it was the Town Plan (10184) set, which was chosen because that year marked the 50th anniversary of the original 725 Town Plan.
Only a couple of images have been posted online of the exclusive LIT branded box, which people have speculated might be a reflection of how disappointed the participants were by it. LEGO might have compensated them for the lack of exclusivity by going big, as the Town Plan is the largest Inside Tour set to ever be given out, coming in at 1,948 pieces.
The exclusive Town Plan set was limited to 31 copies. It is not known how many people attended the 2008 tour, so it's not clear how many went to participants and how many were distributed among LEGO employees who helped with the event.
LEGO began to up their game in 2009 with Ole Kirk's House (LIT2009), which commemorated the home of LEGO's founder in Billund. Ole had the house built in 1924 in the leading Danish architectural style of the time and had two lions placed at either side of the front door, leading to the building being known locally as the "Lion House". This house was where LEGO made wooden toys and their first plastic injection moulded toys, and it now contains part of the LEGO Idea House, a private history museum, and LEGO's vault of sets.
Given that the set was produced in 2009, the design was basic and lacked any interior. It was also slightly smaller than minifigure scale, thus limited it's use as a play set. However, this hasn't stopped the set being popular amongst LEGO fans, largely because of the significance the Lion House has in LEGO's history, as well as today.
32 copies of Ole Kirk's House were produced, with each being hand numbered and signed by the set's designer, Steen Sig Andersen. The 2009 Inside Tour was limited to 20 people, so the remaining 12 are expected to have been distributed amongst LEGO and its employees. This was the first Inside Tour set to feature a picture of the tour participants, a practice which was then used for all subsequent LIT exclusives.
2010 saw a return to cars as the theme for the Inside Tour set, with the aptly named Cars (4000000). The set included three individually bagged vehicles representing the evolution of the LEGO cars.
The white jeep is a replica of set number 330 from 1968, which a teenage Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen designed and built after school in the design department of his parents' company. It was hugely popular as LEGO sold 1,131,908 copies.
The red car is also based on a model by Kjeld that he built in 1964, although the original was much, much larger and was not converted into a retail set. The yellow car represents a modern LEGO car, and is the work of the set's designer, Steen Sig Andersen.In 2010, the LIT was still limited to only one tour and photos of the participants reveal 27 people attended. 33 hand numbered copies of the set were produced, so the surplus sets are again expected to have been given to LEGO staff who helped with the tour.
For the first time, tour participants were also given an exclusive minifigure torso with which they were allowed to make their own signature minifigure (a.k.a Sigfig), using their choice of leg, head, and hair/hat pieces. Based on the numbering of the Cars set, 33 copies of the torso are also estimated to have been produced. This giveaway was then repeated every year since.
The Moulding Machines (4000001) set was the exclusive for 2011, which contained two models, one of the company's first injection moulding machine, which they bought in 1946, and one of a modern moulding machine. The 1940s machine was hand operated by a single LEGO employee who had to use their skill to judge how long the plastic took to melt and when it was ready to remove from the mould.
Unsurprisingly, the 2011 machine was significantly more advanced, with full automation and the capacity to produce 10-12 LEGO elements every second.
The set contain 795 pieces and was designed by the Design Lead, Steen Sig Andersen and Junior Designer, Melody Louise Caddick, both of which were on hand to sign boxes.
In 2011, the number of tour participants started to grow, with roughly twice as many participants than the previous year. 68 copies of the set were produced, each of which were hand numbered. The exact number of tour participants is not known but based on the set's number it is expected that two tours were held, which would mean two variants with a photo of either group.
Following 2010, another LIT exclusive minifigure torso was handed out for participants to make their own minifigure. The torso print remained the same, with only the printed date being changed. Based on the production run of the Moulding Machines, this torso part is estimated to have also been limited to 68 copies.
LEGO's first corporate plane, the Piper Aztec, was the inspiration for the 2012 Inside Tour set. The plane was bought by LEGO in 1962 and in the same year, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen (who took over as Managing Director of the company in 1957) built his own airport just north of LEGO's Billund factory, which consisted of a wooden hanger and 800-meter grass runway. The Piper Aztec is still owned by the company but is sadly no longer in use and is housed in a museum.
The Piper Airplane (4000012) is a very accurate replica of the real plane, and includes all the detailing on the fuselage, including the LEGO logo on the tail. These were created using stickers because, as is customary with LIT sets, they don't tend to feature any unique parts.
It has been noted that the 795-piece count is a mistake by AFOLs trying to recreate this set for themselves, as they have found it to include around 170 fewer parts. Seeing as the previous year's LIT set also had a claimed piece count of 795, this could be a mistake or a strange joke from LEGO.
Excluding the Market Street and Town Plan sets, this was the first LIT exclusive to feature minifigures. There were five in total, which presumably depict Godtfred (minifigure with glasses), his wife Edith Kirk Christiansen, LEGO's chief pilot Hans Eric Christiansen, and two airport workers. These were also all made up using existing parts.
The Piper Airplane was limited to 53 copies, which were all hand numbered. Again, the number of tour participants and whether they were split between two tours is unknown but there's a good chance not all 53 were distributed amongst them, with some going to LEGO staff.
Once again, an exclusive minifigure torso was given out for participants to create their own LIT Sigfigs. The torso printing was much simpler than that used for the 2010 and 2011 minifigures, with just “LEGO Inside Tour 2012” on the front and the company logo on the back. This is also expected to have been limited to 53 copies, with no information suggesting otherwise.
The 2013 LIT exclusive remained on the theme of iconic LEGO vehicles, namely the Villy Thomsen Truck (4000008), which was purchased by LEGO in 1958 and was the first truck used by the company to transport its goods between cities. LEGO outsourced this job to the Villy Thomsen company, hence the name of the vehicle.
The model has a piece count of 355 and was designed by Henrik Andersen. None of the parts were unique as a very extensive sticker sheet was provided to create all the company logos.
In online images of the box, the set can be seen numbered from 1 to 43. However, LEGO ran three tours in 2013, which were each limited to 25 participants. An explanation for this is that the three set variants, each with their own tour photo, were limited to 43 copies. This means that a total of 75 were distributed to tour participants, and a further 54 were given to LEGO staff organising and running the events. This gives a total production run of 129 copies.
The exclusive LIT minifigure torso for 2013 adopted the same simple design as in 2012, with only the date print being changed. This part is also is also expected to have had a production run of 129 copies.
LEGO delivered another replica of a famous vehicle in 2014, but this time it was the black steam train attraction from LEGOLAND.
The LEGOLAND Train (4000014) was designed by Steen Sig Andersen and contained 548 pieces, including 7 minifigures. Unusually for LIT sets, there were two unique parts, which were the train operator's torso and two black 1x2 bricks with “132” printed in gold. However, LEGO produced a surplus of these, and they were available to buy from LEGOLAND Deutschland so they can be found on the secondary market.
In 2014, LEGO ran four Inside Tours with 30 participants each. Each tour group received the set in a unique box with a photo of their tour group. Each of the four set variants was numbered from 1 to 80, making a total of 120 being distributed to tour participants. The remaining sets were distributed to LEGO employees helping with the event and it's assumed that four went to the LEGO vault. This gives a total production run of 320.
The same set, albeit without the Inside Tour packaging, was given out in 2014 as a gift for Skærbæk Fan Weekend AFOL exhibitors and as an exclusive for LEGOLAND Florida Ambassador lifetime pass holders. The Skærbæk Fan Weekend (4000014) set changed the packaging from black to white and included branding of the event. It is also extremely rare as only 350 copies were distributed.
The unique LIT minifigure torso given to attendees is also expected to have been limited to 320 copies. The torso design for 2014 changed and had a print commemorating 10 years of the Inside Tour.
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Graham is a passionate LEGO collector, who has a penchant for the Castle, Pirates, and Western themes. You can usually find him monitoring the latest developments and giving his opinion on what's hot and not in the LEGO world.
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