Lego Fabuland first came out in 1979, and stuck around for most of the 1980’s, finally disappearing in around 1987. The Lego company had enjoyed great success with their Lego Town kits aimed at children aged around 6 and over, and also catered to the baby and toddler market with their larger Duplo bricks (or Big Lego as I used to call them as a child). Children aged from about 3 to 6 may find Duplo too simple, whilst the Lego Town kits may still be too complicated for them to assemble by themselves. Fabuland was the result of trying to bridge this age range gap.
Fabuland was based around the same familiar Lego brick format used for Lego Town and all the other variants of Lego, so it felt more “grown up” than Duplo. In order to make building of the kits simpler the bricks were generally limited to the larger lego pieces, such as the 4×2 stud piece that is around a centimetre high.
These bricks were joined by a variety of larger special purpose pieces that made building a model a simple affair. Examples of such bricks were large wheeled sections for building vehicles, windows with shutters, pieces of fence and so on. This made following the building instructions much simpler, so kids could start to build the models themselves and not get frustrated in the process.
The biggest draw of Fabuland however was the range of characters that came with the kits. These characters were similar in appearance to the standard poseable Lego man we all know and love, but were slightly larger in size, brightly coloured and with heads that were beautifully detailed depictions of animals such as pigs, monkeys, sheep and mice. They could still be attached to the Lego pieces, but were far easier for little hands to play with.
The characters also had a range of accessory items unique to Fabuland, ranging from ready built scooters and wheelbarrows to brooms and shovels, similar to those provided in the Lego Town kits but larger to fit the characters increased size and also generally more detailed. Indeed, some kits consisted of little more than a single character and an accessory or two.