LEGO Architecture series has always caught my eye, but it has never been able to encourage me to part with my hard earned LEGO dollars. It’s one of those themes that generates a lot of discussion and appreciation of buildings that LEGO so cleverly captures in micro scale.
The Skyline subtheme is actually a fairly new addition launched last year with the first wave covering skylines from Venice, Berlin and New York. This latest 2017 wave captures London, Sydney and Chicago. Even though I live in Australia (Perth), I’m actually a Pom (Australian slang for British) from London, so London caught my eye the most. Also we have a fairly strong independent streak over in the west, so Sydney while Australian didn’t appeal to me.
The set contains 468 pieces and retails at AUD $59.99 / USD $39.99 / GBP £44.99 (prices are based on the LEGO online shop). As with all LEGO Architecture sets the main audience is the AFOL community and the packaging has been styled and designed with this in mind.
Interestly LEGO sent out a questionnaire recently talking about packaging to gauge where they need to be – simple, use the Architecture as a model and base for expensive sets. I note the recent LEGO Disney Castle 71040 as an example, where the packaging was poor. The set was awesome, but the packaging did not promote the feeling of buying a special and expensive set – Anyway back to review!
The box is a pop up affair that greets you with a variety of unnumbered bags, a lovely instruction booklet and of course in case you may forget a nice little message “Enjoy your building experience”
The booklet has a classy introduction to London along with descriptions of each building or monument being captured in LEGO form with images that pulled at my heartstrings – I had to remind myself “I do love Perth, I do love Perth, I do love Perth”
As with every great city the build starts with a firm foundation, however unlike the real London (Londinium) which was built through blood, sweat and toil over thousands of years, this one adopts the now familiar long thin base as seen with all Skyline sets and finished off with the clean smooth tiled edge utilising the modified 2 x 6 x 2/3 with 4 studs on Side Plates.
With the river Thames such a prominent feature of London it seems fitting that the first landmark off the rank is Tower Bridge. Every element of the build captures Tower bridge masterfully from the strong bridge piers, main towers using a mix of 1×1 Technic bricks/headlight bricks, architectural detail utilising various modified plates with teeth to finally the use of two brand new medium blue coloured parts soft axle and Bar holder/handle (Part 6178243 / Part 6178242) capturing the famous blue suspension cables.
After what has to be one of my most enjoyable builds of 2017 so far next up was the National Gallery. The essence of the Gallery is captured well and cleverly utilises 1×2 grille tiles for the famous columns – simple but effective.
Though London is a very old historical city not all landmarks are ancient. The London Eye proves this and surprisingly blends marvelously into the London Skyline. I have to admit this is what really drew me to this set based on the desire to get ideas on how to create a modern ferris wheel in a Micropolis MOC I’m working on (don’t worry I have a blog describing Micropolis coming soon).
LEGO has thrown in two Technic wishbone suspension arms in a brand new colour – white. The two arms connected together really capture the profile and angle of the real London Eye support perfectly. The wheel itself is created utilising two pairs of rigid hose with each pod clipped on along the length. One slight disappointment is the two Technic pins are in standard light bluish grey, I would have loved if LEGO had created this part in white. By the parts being light bluish grey it really draws the eye and I would say even starts to distract from the clever design and spoils the overall effect.
Note – for the perfectionists out there no matter how hard you try you will never get the London Eye truly round.
Before we talk about Big Ben I wanted just to highlight a special little treat. I’ve always had a soft spot for printed bricks and Big Ben gets its very own clock face printed. A minor comment shame we didn’t get all four sides printed.
Not only do we get Big Ben but a small section of the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower) is well done, but maybe lacking a little depth around the clock face when compared to the detail cramed into Tower Bridge. Sorry always a critic!
Back to the National Gallery and it’s time to build our first and only monument – Nelson’s Column with famous Lions and fountains that form Trafalgar Square in front of the National Gallery. It’s a great addition and the scale of Nelson’s Column to the National Gallery has been carefully considered and matched. LEGO also kindly dropped in a spare LEGO statuette in case Nelson decides to do a runner!
Finally to cap off the build back to the river Thames and the inclusion of a little yacht (Gin Palace) casually sailing through the raised Tower Bridge.
I have to admit LEGO Architecture London Skyline 21034 has been a great start and introduction into the Architecture theme and more specifically the Skyline subtheme. I enjoyed the build and the final set is slick, modern and would look great on display for all to admire. I can see this being popular with not only LEGO fans, but as a more sophisticated souvenir when visiting London. Only negative is the London Eye use of light blueish grey Technic pin that sadly does distract from what is otherwise a ingenious design.
Maybe too much to ask but how about Perth next time LEGO?
Happy to hear of any other recommendations with regards to the Architecture theme with me being a newbie and all.
Final Rating: 9 out of 10