Revealed only yesterday, 71411 The Mighty Bowser recreates the King of the Koopas at an extreme scale, made possible by a box filled with 2,807 pieces. The final model stands 32cm tall, 41cm wide and 28cm deep, and packs in a surprising amount of articulation and interactivity. It all comes at a cost, though: and it’s one that’s thrown the LEGO Group’s upcoming price rises into the spotlight.
When news of the set dropped on reddit, reactions to its design were mostly positive – comments ranged from ‘sick as hell’ to ‘pretty damn cool’ – but the community has seemingly come collectively unstuck at its price tag, which reaches £229.99 in the UK, $269.99 in the US and €269.99 in Europe. That’s in line with the golden price-per-piece ratio of 10p/10c per element, but as we all know, that’s a flawed metric in 2022.
Consider DOTS sets, for instance, which have sunk as low as 1.7p/1.9c per piece in 41935 Lots of DOTS. That box includes an incredible 1,040 elements for just £17.99 / $19.99 / €19.99 – but they’re all tiny tiles. The same logic can be applied to LEGO Art sets, like 31203 World Map, which has a price-per-piece ratio of 1.9p/2.1c, offering 11,695 parts for £219.99 / $249.99 / €249.99.
Perhaps what matters more at this point is the perceived value of a LEGO set, and where 71411 The Mighty Bowser is concerned, that value clearly isn’t being felt from the official images and designer video alone – at least among the LEGO community on reddit.
“I had to do a double take on that price,” one user wrote, while another added: “Yiiikes. I too can’t see myself hucking $270 for this, but it does look incredible.” Most of the responses in the initial reveal thread echo similar sentiments, but some go even further, comparing the cost of 71411 The Mighty Bowser to the LEGO Group’s wider price increases scheduled for August/September.
“I love it. Do I love it enough to pay 270 bucks? No, I do not,” wrote Avenger772. “Unfortunately, looks like I’m going to be taking a long break from LEGO after these price increases.” With a faint air of inevitability, links have also been drawn between the LEGO Group’s recent record-breaking profits and its upcoming price rises.
“I absolutely love LEGO, and for years and years I was one of the guys defending their prices when people complained,” said BubsyJenkins. “But this year they’ve finally gone too far with the price hikes [in my opinion]. I just can’t afford to buy like I used to and they just posted record profits.” Another user later added: “LEGO is going to feel the effects of raising its prices. I guarantee it.”
It’s worth noting that not everyone is unhappy with the price of 71411 The Mighty Bowser, at least taken in isolation. “A little surprised to see the negative reactions to the pricing on this one,” wrote troublesome_sheep. “Personally I would prefer it at the $230 to $250 range, but I don’t think $270 is that bad. Licensed set [plus] 2,800 pieces, I think it’s a ‘fair’ price.”
Beyond just the discussion around 71411 The Mighty Bowser’s price tag, though, maybe the more important consequence of its reveal is that it’s generating further discussion around the cost of LEGO as a whole. With price increases to a quarter of the company’s portfolio coming as soon as next month, the buying habits of many of its adult fans could be about to change – at least if the community reactions to the Koopa King are any indication.