UCS sets, introduced in 2000, are meant to be more detailed and aimed at older builders. Typically, they represent a single ship, vehicle, place or character, using as many parts as required to have a very unique set. All UCS are usually Direct To Consumer sets, referred as D2C or DTC, which means they are generally sold by LEGO directly and only by few retailers, making them "hard to find" on the market. Usually, LEGO lists them as "hard to find" or "exclusives" on their website.
UCS was primarily used for Star Wars since 2000, but was also, in a way, used for Batman. In 2006, 7784 The Batmobile Ultimate Collectors' Edition uses the mention Ultimate Collectors' Edition which is very similar to UCS. For many, this set is considered as a part of Ultimate Collector's Series collection and sometimes extended to more recent Super Heroes sets, such as 76042 The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, which are similar in the marketing and product design to UCS Star Wars sets.
These sets did not generally include Minifigures, but since 2007, most have included at least one. Depending on the UCS definition and list, the first one to include minifigures is either 10123 Cloud City or 10179 Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon. Most are also not designed to scale with Minifigures, though there are some cases (such as 75060 Slave I or 75192 Millennium Falcon) where the set is completely to scale.
Ultimate Collector's Series sets tend to be larger, and more expensive than typical sets. Commonly, Ultimate Collector's Series sets were given a five-digit (10xxx) product number until 2014, when Star Wars UCS adopted the 75xxx numbering. Some of them might include an informative and exclusive plaque, which provides additional information about the ship, vehicle, place or character built.
Identification and controversy over UCS sets
The very first UCS sets, being 7181 TIE Interceptor and 7191 X-Wing Fighter, had an explicit mention they were part of an Ultimate Collector Series (the 's only appeared in 10179 Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon's title and 75059 Sandcrawler's logo) collection. It was also added for 7194 Yoda, 10026 Special Edition Naboo Starfighter and 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer.
In 2004, 10129 Rebel Snowspeeder, a set which used all the standards of an UCS set, did not have this usual mention, and only had a regular box. Ultimate Collector's Series was then not used for ten years on any box. It was initially replaced by Original Trilogy Edition starting from 10131 TIE Collection, while this set only had four minifigure-scaled TIE Fighters. This logo was also used for explicit UCS sets, such as 10143 Death Star II, but also for regular sets like 7263 TIE Fighter.
In 2007, the UCS title comes back for 10179 Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon, but does not appear anywhere else on the box than the set name. This set was the only ship which was named as part of the UCS collection between 2004 and 2014.
In May 2011, the UCS Promotional Poster was given away during the May the Fourth event. This poster clarifies the UCS list, after seven years the UCS mention has disappeared from any box with the exception of 10179. It includes obvious UCS sets such as 10129 or 10188 Death Star, but also sets that could have been seen as regular, like 10131 TIE Fighter Collection or 10123 Cloud City. It includes also 10018 Darth Maul Bust which was not identified as UCS prior to this poster, despite being a 2001 set similar to 7194 Yoda. The poster also refers to 10221 Super Star Destroyer which was not released yet. Some sets of this list are controversial and not identified as UCS: 10131 or 10123 are not a part of Brickset's list for UCS sets.
Following sets still did not include the UCS mention, but were assumed as UCS: 10225 R2-D2, 10227 B-Wing, 10240 Red Five X-wing Starfighter and 10236 Ewok Village. The last one is a controversial one as it is a wide playset including many minifigures, but is listed as an UCS set by Brickset.
In 2014, the UCS mention comes back with a logo on 75059 Sandcrawler, which is also the first one to adopt the 75xxx digit format. It includes some controversial sets such as 75098 Assault on Hoth, which was highly discussed due to the use of the UCS tag for what seemed to be a collection from different Hoth sets, similar to 10131 TIE Collection. The nature of 75159 Death Star was also discussed as 10188 did not include a specific mention to UCS in its box. Nowadays, most sets considered as UCS include this logo, even if this mention was sometimes controversial and it was also not mentioned in different sets considered as UCS and released after 2014.
Since 2017 and 75192 Millennium Falcon's release, the UCS logo was replaced by a black mention. UCS sets are also called Ultimate Collector Series, removing the 's again, since this release, as the very first UCS sets between 2000 and 2003 were.
In 2019, more controversy emerged over 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City which was not identified as an UCS but as a part of Master Builder's Series, despite being similar to 10188, 10236, 75059 or 75098. The set is rarely listed as an UCS but can be considered.
No explicit mention is on 75244 Tantive IV which questioned its UCS nature, despite 10198 Tantive IV being considered as an UCS on the UCS Promotional Poster. Some have chosen to not include this set on their UCS list, such as Brickset. It is not a part of Master Builder Series either.
List of Sets
This list is based on the UCS Promotional Poster and on every box with an UCS mention or logo in the box or set name. It does not include 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City, part of Master Builder's Series, or 75244 Tantive IV, considered as regular.
Although no DC sets are explicitly UCS, the mention of Ultimate Collectors' Edition is similar to it. This list presents an extended list of different DC sets part or similar to Ultimate Collectors' Edition.
|Image||#||Set||Number of pieces||Minifigures||Price||Release|
|7784||The Batmobile Ultimate Collectors' Edition||1045||$69.99||October 2006|
|76023||The Tumbler||1869||Batman , The Joker||$199.99 / €199.99||August 1, 2014|
|76052||Batman Classic TV Series - Batcave||2526||Alfred Pennyworth, Batman, Bruce Wayne, Catwoman, Dick Grayson, The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Robin||$269.99 / €249,99||2016|
|76139||1989 Batmobile||3306||Batman, The Joker, Vicki Vale||$249.99 / €249,99||November 29, 2019|
|Image||#||Set||Number of pieces||Minifigures||Price||Release|
|76042||The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier||2996||Captain America (Age of Ultron Variant and microfigure), Black Widow, Hawkeye (Age of Ultron Variant and microfigure), Iron Man (Microfigure), Nick Fury(The Avengers Variant and microfigure), Maria Hill, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents 8× (microfigure)||$349.99 / €349.99||March 1, 2015, Retired November 4, 2017|