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Why the new LEGO® Ideas Viking Village was worth the wait

Vikings return! Why the new LEGO® Ideas Viking Village was worth the wait

Pop culture and movies catapulted stories of Nordic adventures into the mainstream, and unbeknownst to some, this popularity of the Vikings crossed over in the LEGO® brick world too.

In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that these ocean-going Scandinavian explorers had their own range of LEGO sets. The LEGO Vikings line, released in the mid-2000s, featured a range of Vikings defending their fortresses and ships from terrifying creatures inspired by the elaborate and rich world of Nordic mythology.

Ever since that line ended, there has been a distinctly Viking-shaped hole in the hearts of many LEGO fans and designers worldwide.

Well, now the Vikings are back, bigger and better than ever, and to celebrate, we met the design team behind the Nordic-inspired new set.

A historic, fan-favorite LEGO set

The LEGO Viking Village began life on LEGO Ideas, the fan-generated ideas platform.

It came from the mind of fan designer BrickHammer, who worked closely with the team through the development of this set.

Jordan Scott, a design manager at LEGO Ideas, tells us the whole story.

“The first Viking Village iteration got 10,000 votes (this is what you need for your idea to be considered), but when it went into review, other products were chosen for production,” says Jordan.

“But the Viking theme is very popular, so when Target wanted to do a new set, we suggested some sets that had reached 10,000 votes but weren’t approved. This one was up against a few others in a public vote, but – in the end – this won.”

And so, the Viking set has the rare honor of being voted for not once but twice.

Once victorious, our expert LEGO design teams set to task to elaborate and bring the original fan vision to life.

Welcome to the Viking Village

“We have four structures in the village,” says Isaac Snyder, the project’s model designer. “A blacksmith’s smithy, which has a furnace and functioning bellows (which was fun to design). Sitting in the middle is the largest building, the chieftain’s longhouse; it’s the biggest interior space with plenty of extravagant detailing, a cooking fire and a throne for the chieftain. The tallest structure is an enclosed watchtower that connects to the frontal lookout post via a rope bridge. While underneath the two-story structure sits a hidden cave for mineral mining.”

Isaac and the team took inspiration from the historical Vikings and his extensive experience as a LEGO designer and fan builder of fantasy and medieval sets.

“We do try to have authentic details where possible,” says Isaac. “The style of the hall is appropriate and, overall, a lot of the interior details are accurate to how the Vikings would live.”

In fact, it’s our most realistic LEGO Vikings set yet.

And just as authentic as the architecture are the details that went into the clothing and character design.

The latest in Viking fashion

“I did a lot of research on clothing styles and what kind of materials and colors they were using,” says Johanna Wurm Jensen, graphic designer on the project.

Johanna was responsible for designing the shields’ elaborate iconography and the minifigures’ clothing.

“We imagined how Vikings would have dressed and tried to include small detailing on the jewelry and necklaces that were common in the era. We also tried to use colors to create a natural theme.”

Four Viking minifigures are included in the set: the chieftain, a blacksmith, an archer and a shield-maiden.

Each of these comes with the tools of their trade or the weapons and armor they need to defend the village, including shields printed with Odin’s two ravens (Hugin and Munin) and his two wolves (Geri and Freki); these shields are Johanna’s favorite designs in the set.

“I really love the shields! They bring a new color combination; we had never had a green-and-yellow shield before, and the intricate printed details on them worked out very well.”

While they tried to keep the set more on the realistic side, there are some fun nods to mythology with fantastical elements. For example, Vikings didn’t actually have horns on their helmets!

They also included some tributes to classic Viking sets of the past, including a dragon logo from the original theme, which has been used on the runestone and barrels, plus a little Easter egg to pay homage to the original fan designer (try to spot it).

The beginning of a new legend

It’s wonderful to welcome the Vikings back into the LEGO set line-up, and we think that fans both old and new will love building the LEGO Ideas Viking Village.

In stories, songs, films and LEGO sets, Vikings have been going strong for over eight hundred years. There’s no reason why they should stop now.

Looking for more?

Check out the Adults Welcome homepage to see our collection of adult-focused sets and articles!