LEGO Architecture London #21034 [Review]

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Many of the world’s most famous landmarks have already been represented in brick form through LEGO Architecture, and now it’s the turn of some of London’s famous sights.

Pieces: 468
Set Number: 21034 
Minifigures: None
RRP: £44.99

Coming out next year along with representations of Chicago and Sydney, this London skyline shows off Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column, five of the city’s most famous and historical attractions. I was immediately attracted to this set, and not just for the obvious locational reasons, as I have always been an admirer of the Architecture range. As much fun as the always-popular DC Comics, Marvel or Star Wars releases are, taking in such sights as the US Capitol Building or the Louvre makes for a nice change and adds something different to the ever-expanding collection.

I was fortunate enough to take in the new LEGO Store in Leicester Square – the only place you can buy this set for the next 6 weeks – before it opened to the public, and among the smorgasbord of LEGO sets and large London landmarks constructed from tiny bricks, this London skyline set caught my attention. So much so that I was pretty eager to open the box and start building some of the sights I had previously passed on my journey to the store.

So let’s start with the box; coming in the same style of box used for all Architecture sets, the sleek black design fits in well with the theme and does not follow some other LEGO sets that seem intent on the oversized packaging. Four included bags, and a thick instruction manual, suitably fit inside, there is little-wasted room. A quick word on the manual, which as well as providing you with the steps required to build the piece, also contains facts, information and images of the landmarks. It’s a nice touch.

London Skyline

A fair amount of the build time goes into the base and foundations of the set, including an effective use of clear tiles for the River Thames. Another rarity for LEGO sets, the inclusion of a pre-printed piece (and there is another to come later), a black tile with LONDON on it. Once the base is built, we get to work on Tower Bridge. Quite simply, this is an astounding model. Considering the minuscule size, the level of detail here is remarkable, with the most impressive part of it being how LEGO have achieved the great detail just by the unique use of some of the pieces. It is here that you have – if you didn’t have it already – a greater respect for the designers given what they have been able to accomplish here on such a small scale, not just with the Bridge model but also the entire set. Of course, the Bridge’s famous raising parts are included, and there is even a small basic ship to go through it.

Following the completion, and subsequent wonderment, of Tower Bridge, we move onto the London Eye, and I found it quickly coming together with the construction of the base and A-frame. Up next is the main part of the Eye, the wheel itself. This is where it gets a little frustrating, as you are instructed to join four white flexi tubes to create the circle. My OCD caused me to take considerable time trying to make it as perfectly spherical as possible, something I know can be done as the model in the store confirmed. Once I was satisfied with my shape-making, the tubular circle is locked in with two grey Technic pins, which leads me to my one small complaint about the set; the pin stands out considerably and doesn’t fit in with the colour scheme, and surely producing a white pin for this set wouldn’t have been difficult.

With the London Eye and Tower Bridge done, we move on to possibly London”s most famous landmark; Big Ben. Of course, given the size of the set here, we aren’t going to get a fully-detailed extravaganza, however, it is remarkably effective with the little elements it has. The set’s second pre-printed piece – the clock face – acts as the centrepiece. Just behind it sits the Houses of Parliament, again very well designed with the clever use of bricks. Three green studs at the front also gives the impression of grass. Alongside that is the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column, both pretty simple in design but also very effective.

The Set Overall

Let’s not beat around the bush, I love this set. The choice of landmarks is spot on, and through great design and clever brick choices, they all look superb. Yes, I had an issue with elements of the London Eye build, however, this does not detract from how this looks when complete. It doesn’t share the same playability value as the usual LEGO sets, however, I tend to believe that Architecture sets are brought simply to be displayed, and so should this one.

Some may look at the £44.99 price tag and consider that steep, however for the level of detail and quality of the build, this should not be looked at as overpriced. As a certain fruit-named technology company like to tell us, premium products cost premium prices, and this is certainly a premium product. It was not hard to notice many others taking plenty of looks at the model on display in-store, and I would certainly expect many visitors laying down the cash to take this one home with them.

In a growing collection of some of the most famous landmarks and cities in the world, London’s biggest and brightest have joined the party and firmly taken the spotlight.

This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the authors own personal views and are not influenced in any way.

THE GOOD

  • Best of the Architecture range yet
  • Tower Bridge model looks superb
  • Incredible detail

THE BAD

  • Parts of the construction of the London Eye

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