Do you remember these vintage LEGO® sets from your childhood?

Do you remember these vintage LEGO® sets from your childhood?

If you played with LEGO® sets as a child, you know the joyful nostalgia that seeing your old favorites can bring. And since we’re all about sparking joy, every so often, we love to reimagine LEGO sets from our storied history.

This year we launch the LEGO Icons Eldorado Fortress, a set that pays homage to the original LEGO Pirates theme from the 1980s. What made this theme so special is that for many kids, it was an escape to new worlds. Battles in the living room, hunting treasure, guarding the fort and high sea adventures, the pirate world was your oyster.

To honor the set’s comeback, we thought it would be fun to look back at some vintage themes from our past.

WARNING: If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, prepare for some serious nostalgia!


In 1978, the LEGO Group launched a new idea. They were called “themes” and were collections of sets built around distinct worlds.

Before this, we released standalone LEGO sets that didn’t necessarily slot together, and so themes were a new way of grouping sets in ways that would allow builders to create larger worlds.

Initially, there were three themes: Space, Castle and Town.

Medieval Knights from the LEGO® Castle theme, 1993

To populate these themes and allow more opportunities for creative play, the modern LEGO minifigure was created. With interchangeable body parts and fixed facial expressions, there were initially 20 original characters, including knights, doctors and an astronaut – which brings us to our first set.


A LEGO Space set from 1979

In the 1960s and 70s, the world was fixated on space, as a series of inspiring feats were achieved, including the first human traveling to space and the first human landing on the moon.

Capturing this excitement, the LEGO Space theme was launched.

It started with spaceships, lunar bases, rockets and rovers, all inspired by real-world technology. Eventually, this extended into science fiction as new factions like M-Tron, Blacktron and the Space Police arrived.

The LEGO Galaxy Explorer set from 1979, released internationally

In 2022, we released an anniversary edition of the Classic LEGO Galaxy Explorer, reimagining an iconic set released in 1979. The 1,254-piece set includes four astronauts, their robot helper and a surface rover, and the completed build has an opening cockpit with seats for all the astronauts and living quarters with beds, computers and storage compartments.

Whether you want to relive your experience building the original set or are obsessed with sci-fi, you’ll be over the moon with this set.


The first ever LEGO Castle set

The LEGO Castle theme launched with a single set, a yellow castle with a troupe of knights, a couple of brick-built horses and a range of shield insignia.

But the theme soon grew, and factions developed within it, including the Black Falcons, the Forestmen, the Wolfpack, the Dragon Masters and more, all with their own characters and storylines.

But the vintage LEGO Castle theme wasn’t all about looking back, it looked very much to the future and broke new ground. For example, the LEGO Ghost minifigure was the first non-human minifigure, and the blue wizard Majisto was the first minifigure to have an individual name.

The 1980s Kings Castle

To celebrate this beloved theme, we released the LEGO Lion Knights’ Castle, which reimagines the theme for the future. With just over 4,500 pieces and a whopping 22 minifigures, including a queen, knights, archers, wizards and forest people, and complete with hidden passages, movable walls and secret hideouts, this set will launch a thousand stories and endless opportunities for play.


While it wasn’t part of the first wave of themes, we soon set sail to distant shores with LEGO Pirates.

LEGO Pirates, 1989

Beginning in 1989, the LEGO Pirates theme was all about galleons under the skull and crossbones, buccaneers burying looted treasure on deserted islands and the ongoing struggle between the rowdy pirates and the uniformed imperial authorities.

The battle initially raged between Governor Broadside and the one-legged, one-eyed and one-handed Captain Redbeard. Over the years, dozens more characters and sets were introduced.

To celebrate this beloved theme, we’re launching a brand-new Pirates set. The LEGO Icons Eldorado Fortress is based on the Eldorado Fortress set from 1989 and comes with cannoned turrets and a platoon of Imperial Soldiers standing guard.

The original Eldorado Fortress set from 1989
The new Eldorado Fortress set from 2023. Even the packaging honors the look and feel from the original

Of course, our pirates will have a task on their hands if they want to plunder the gold hidden inside, but resourceful pirates always manage to find a way.

So, why not set sail on your next building adventure and say “Ahoy” to the new LEGO Pirates set?

Looking for more?

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