The FIFA Women’s World Cup is almost upon us, and it’s incredible to see how differently the event is being anticipated this time as opposed to last time. Part of that is because the World Cup is being hosted in Australia this year, but also because people are now more open to women’s sports. Women in sport still don’t have equal treatment, support, pay or sponsorship, so it’s still nice to see when big brands really get behind the women’s games in ways that help new audiences connect with it. On that note, LEGO has released the Icons of Play set and today will have a life-sized Sam Kerr mini figure at Marvel Stadium.
I’ve had the pleasure of building the Icons of Play Set, so here is a mini review of that, along with all the details of the big LEGO activation going down before the friendly with France tonight.
LEGO Icons of Play
The LEGO Icons of Play set is all about celebrating women’s soccer in general, rather than trying to recreate any one team or ground like most other LEGO sports sets. It includes 15 minifigures, including ones representing real players, Asisat Oshoala, Yūki Nagasato, Sam Kerr, and Megan Rapinoe.
I can only assume that the rights to those real players were really expensive, because the value proposition on this set is pretty bad. It’s got an RRP of $169.99, but only has 899 pieces. Generally, for value, I always used to look for around 10c a piece – 15c if it was a licenced set. This works out to 18.9c per piece, which is a tough ask for parents buying this for soccer-keen kids. That price is borderline fine for adult collectors, but ultimately it would be ideal if little kids who dream of being the next great soccer player had a chance to play with their heroes, and I worry it’s out of reach for them. It is on sale on the LEGO store at the moment for $135.99, which is a bit better (roughly 15c), but it is still on the higher side.
The build experience itself is very straightforward. You get a little portion of the pitch with a goal (including a stick to attach the goalie to for play), a stand (which has a cool mechanical element that gives the crowd the effect of doing The Wave), a trophy ceremony area, a box of water bottles, and a little seating area for the team. Although the box says ages 10 and up, I couldn’t really see anything a 7-year-old would have too much trouble with, as long as a more experienced builder was around to help when needed.
It’s definitely designed to be more of a play set than a display piece, which is again surprising at this price point. There are also a bunch of stickers, which kids will love and adults will hate.
Having now built it, I love it. I think I’m going to rebuild all the set pieces (except the stands, I love that Wave) to make it better to display the figures, and there are more than enough pieces to turn it into something cool if the suggested ones don’t suit your needs. This set is more about mini figures than the stuff you build. I love that this set exists, it feels important somehow.
Also, from a personal perspective, I love how queer this set is. Obviously, not all female athletes are queer, and not all fans are queer, but some of them are, and Megan Rapinoe and Sam Kerr are queer icons. Even the miscellaneous minifigures seem quite queer. Not all women who wear suits are queer, but the coach in this set almost certainly is, and don’t think the fan wearing the colours of the trans pride flag escaped my notice. I still remember looking on in awe the day I saw a set with a Batwoman minifigure in Myer, so forgive me this moment of marvelling at how far we’ve come, even if we’ve still got so much further to go.
What’s going on with LEGO at Marvel Stadium?
Tonight is the big friendly match between Australia and France. It’s the last friendly before the World Cup kicks off next week.
Outside the stadium, from 5:30-7:30, fans will be able to take photos with a giant mini figure of Sam Kerr, a “play stadium” where kids can build some LEGO before kick-off, and a photo wall where you can pose with a big brick-built trophy and record a message of support for The Matildas.
The big Sam Kerr minifigure took 200 hours to design, and 33,000 LEGO bricks to build, so it should be pretty cool. It’ll be part of a trickshot studio where fans can pose and play with it.
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