The Brick Connection - DUPLO

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The Brick Connection A novice Lego fan explores the great brick world of LEGO

Hello LEGO fans and happy early birthday America!

Yes, the good old U.S. of A. is turning the big 2-4-0 on Monday. 240 years young! And actually, for a country, that is young. And a good age-appropriate present for a young person/country is LEGO DUPLO!

(Nailed that segue!)

LEGO DUPLO is yet another LEGO theme/product that I knew next-to-nothing about prior to my LEGO fandom. But with only a year under my belt as a LEGO fan, and despite my 27 years of existence, LEGO DUPLO might actually be the perfect LEGO product for me.

After all, it is designed for children 18 months to 5 years old…On second thought, maybe DUPLO is too advanced for me.

Okay obviously the age range is not based on your “LEGO age”, which is a term I just made up. What makes DUPLO “designed for small children” is that the pieces are too big for them to choke on and the builds require very little skill. (Then again, those are my top two wants for a LEGO set, so maybe DUPLO is the right fit for me.)

DUPLO bricks are twice the length, height, and width of traditional LEGO bricks. Despite their larger size, you can still connect them with the traditional bricks. Which I think would make for some pretty fun MOCs if you have both types of bricks.

Because I love to look into the history of LEGO, here are some facts about DUPLO that I found:

DUPLO was first launched in 1969 and is manufactured in Nyíregyháza, Hungary. I’m not really sure why it’s produced in Hungary, but I guess it’s best to not mix up the DUPLO bricks with the regular ones.

The name DUPLO comes from the Latin word duplus, which means double. (You see what they did there.) Also, LEGO trademarked Duplo as DUPLO, so that’s why I keep using all caps. TLG is very fond of trademarks in all caps.

The official theme of DUPLO started in 1975. Twice since then they have tried to drop DUPLO for a different name, like LEGO Preschool in 1977 or “Explore” in 2002. Both name changes were short-lived. You can’t kill DUPLO!

Like with the bricks, DUPLO Figures are twice as big as the traditional minifigures. The figures cannot be broken and rebuilt like regular minifigs either. This is again, to avoid having small pieces that very young children may attempt to swallow. (You hear that, very young children? TLG thinks you’re stupid.)

DUPLO has generated many subthemes over the years including two popular licensed themes in Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. The Thomas theme ended in 2009 after 5 years. The Bob the Builder theme also ended in 2009, but it was one of the longest lasting DUPLO subthemes and LEGO licensed themes.

The other DUPLO themes are Farm, Airport, Traffic, Zoo, Town, Police & Fire, Construction, and Trains. Pretty simple stuff obviously. LEGO’s Disney licensing deal has been very kind to DUPLO with Toy Story, Cars, Mickey Mouse & Friends, and Disney Princess all having DUPLO sets.

But enough about boring facts!

Since once again I do not have any actual sets to look at with my own eyes, I resorted to YouTube. And you know what, YouTube can make little baby LEGO sets look pretty fun.

Check out this cute video of the DUPLO Spider-man and My First Police Set. They even combine the sets in a fun little action sequence:

Here’s another DUPLO video, with a mix of different Mickey Mouse DUPLO sets. Awww!

So obviously for the hardcore LEGO fans, DUPLO is not that interesting. But going back to what I said before, I think it’d be really cool to build MOCs with both types of bricks. Heck if you just had a ton of DUPLO bricks, imagine how massive of a build you could do, using a lot less bricks. Maybe I should forget about traditional LEGO and invest in DUPLO bricks. I’m someone who gets flustered at the idea of building with all the different little LEGO parts. My right brain doesn’t imagine things in such intricate detail. But with DUPLO bricks I can picture building a huge castle. And by castle, I pretty much just mean 4 really high walls with no roof. (How do you build a roof with DUPLO bricks….or any bricks??)

Even though older LEGO fans may not be interested, DUPLO is a big deal to LEGO as it was one of its top selling themes last year.

So why am I tackling this topic. Well, as I’ve done for the last year, I am fully submerging myself in the LEGO world. So that means knowing every little thing and theme about LEGO that I can.

Also, someday I’m just going to assume the persona of someone who grew up their whole lives as a LEGO fan. I’ll talk about the good old days of DUPLO and how my mom wouldn’t let me transition to traditional LEGO bricks until I was 13 because it wasn’t until then that she was pretty sure I wouldn’t try to eat the LEGO….like 85% sure.

I will know so much about LEGO in fact that I’ll start trying to convince people that I am the great-granddaughter of Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of LEGO. I should probably start practicing my Danish accent.

Alright, enough of that silliness.

Did any of you play with DUPLO before you advanced to the big kid LEGO? Do you still own any DUPLO parts? Do you ever combine your DUPLO and traditional bricks?

An inquiring mind wants to know.

Thanks for reading! Happy Birthday America! Suck it Britain! Sooooo glad we left you when we did.

Until next time….don’t get any fingers blown off while playing with fireworks this weekend! Just leave it to the professionals.

*Compliments, general feedback, and constructive criticism are welcome. Any haters that are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate can go step on some Lego with their bare feet.*

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