Saturday, June 18th, 2016 at 10:07pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
While we wait for our last summer Bionicle review to be posted, why don't we go back over to the LEGO Architecture line? BZPower Blog Assistant Ta-metru_defender today takes a look at 21028 New York City, the flagship of the 'skyline' series of sets. Will the model rise to new heights and earn a spot in your shopping cart? Or will it get lost among the hustle and bustle of city life? Check out our video and text reviews to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
It's a LEGO version of New York.
The box art is the cityscape - The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, and One World Trade Center - resting on some plans against a plain black backdrop. You've got all the usual info along the side, but the really spartan, almost Apple-esque design, really lends it all a very 'adult' feel. This is a grownup LEGO set.
Another thing of note is that One World Trade Center's spire stretches onto the top of the box since it's so tall.
Back of the box has a head-on profile view of the buildings, little pictures letting you know what they look like in real life, and a blurb about the city.
The box opens like the Wall-E Ideas set, revealing the pieces and manual.
The instruction booklet is nicely bound and has a bunch of neat pictures of New York and the buildings represented in plastic form. There are even little quotes about the city by people like Truman Capote and H. G. Wells. it's all really cool; this isn't so much an instruction booklet as it is a coffee table book, which is where I'd put it if I had a coffee table.
Anyway. Build time.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The buildings aren't terribly complex to put together, but there are more than a few cool build techniques used throughout, mostly based around jumper plates and headlight bricks. There's some repetition, mostly because you do the same thing a bunch of times to get the texture on the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building right, but hey. Architecture and all that.
Plus, the final result is indubitably worth it.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
This is what we're here for, right? You wanted a LEGO New York and this is what it is.
Look, it even says New York City on a printed tile. How cool is that?
The only non-building in the lineup, The Statue Of Liberty uses a lot of those new 2x2 jumpers to build its (quite accurate) pedestal and places a sand green microfig on top for Lady Liberty herself. Does it do the job? Sure. I mean, I can nitpick about how the microfig only looks like the statue by virtue of color, but that brings up the question of whether the statue should even be portrayed at this scale. In all honesty, the Statue of Liberty is the part of this set I'm least jazzed about, in part because it's the most touristy/stereotypical part of the set. Moving on!
Now, the Empire State Building is probably my favorite landmark-building in the City. I was really disappointed by 2009's Empire State Building, and thus didn't buy that one. But when pictures of this lineup started cropping up and it looked liked itself, man, it was a shoe in. Now, it's not a perfect rendition of the actual building, but as far as it being an abstraction of the actual thing, it's downright recognizable. The vertical grills do a lot of work in adding texture to the building and preventing it from looking like a plain tan monolith. It's also a pretty nifty build with a lot of grills attached to headlight bricks giving it texture.
While talking about the Empire State Building I mentioned this set being a sort of abstraction of the actual thing. These buildings are hardly exact replicas of the actual ones, rather they gotta feel like them, if y'know what I mean. You really see this with the Chrysler building. Does it look like it? Undoubtedly. Is it accurate? Sorta. The iconic spire isn't nearly as intricate in ABS as it is in real life, but the tooth pieces do a lot of work in making it recognizable. There's some neat use of jumper bricks to give it the tiered look down below, so, like I said, it looks about right. One thing that bums me out a little is that the four gargoyles aren't represented someway. I have no clue how they'd be done at this scale, but they would have been cool to see.
The Flatiron Building is an incredibly, almost dazzlingly, simple build. It's literally just wedge plates and round 1x1's on top of each other. But it works. Really well, in fact. There's no doubt as to what building this is, and it looks great. The light grey streaks aren't accurate, but they do make it a little more interesting to look at. One thing it doesn't have, though, is the first floor 'cowcatcher' that juts out (where, in real life, there's art inside!). Adding it in would have made the building a stud longer and thrown off the base, though, so, granted.
And now, the newest building of the lot, one that I've got to watch be built over my time in the city, One World Trade Center. I don't envy the designer behind this set; see, 1WTC tapers towards the top, but also twists in a way. In simplest terms, it's a diamond at the top and a square at the bottom. The LEGO version of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere accomplishes this quite well, though at the expense of it being a solid blue building. Light gray is used in conjunction with sand blue to give the impression of the building tapering. It sorta works, but I can't help but to wonder how it'd have looked with sand blue or a trans-light blue. Nonetheless, it certainly looks the part and I like how it accomplishes the twist.
So then, as a whole, how's the set look?
Man alive, it looks great.
Now, I live in New York and I see these landmarks fairly regularly. I can see the Empire State Building from my roof (and my kitchen window if I push my face against the glass); I pass Flatiron if I'm walking to the LEGO Store, I see the Chrysler Building while walking home from work and One World Trade Center is a good marker of which way is downtown. All this to say, I'm incredibly biased about this set and I love having a model of my favorite city built out of my favorite toy.
There are a few oddities here, like the order of the buildings; they aren't arranged chronologically, nor by height, or even in order from downtown to uptown. The color choice for 1WTC (as I mentioned before).
The lineup, too, begs a couple question. I get that the Statue of Liberty is iconic and all, but should it really be done at this scale? There's no torch or anything, so it looks almost unremarkable. I would have loved to have seen one of the city's bridges added to the line up. I'd love to have half of the Manhattan or Brooklyn Bridge there; it'd be nicely different from the buildings and make a bit more scaled sense than the Statue of Liberty.
But while talking about scale, the buildings are all roughly proportionate. That's cool.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
Um, it's a display piece. But hey, we can try!
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- It's New York!
- And the buildings look like the buildings!
- Some neat building techniques
- Again, it's New York!
- Excellent display piece.
What's not to like?
- Would not have minded a bridge instead of the Statue of Liberty
Like I said, I'm biased. But that the set is actually really good makes me that much happier. I love this set, hands down. I have it sitting around in my apartment and friends remark about it too, because, y'know, New York.
With all said and done, I love this set. If you like New York, then get it. Otherwise, well, its value is primarily in its representation of the city. It could work as a parts pack, but honestly, why would you do that?
S'yeah. Great set, and massive thanks to LEGO for sending me a copy to review.
Thanks as always to LEGO for sending us this set and thanks to Josh for doing the review. We welcome your questions and feedback in the Talkback - are you thinking about picking up this set? We have plenty of other reviews in the pipeline, so keep checking back for those on BZPower along with al of the latest LEGO news!
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