Review 21034 – London here we come !

When LEGO asked us a while back if we were interested in reviewing The LEGO Architecture London Great Britain Set not everyone in our little creative collective jumped up and down to volunteer to review this skyline. When we accept a set for review, we have the unwritten rule we need to come up with a creative image. It is not so much about the unboxing or the actually build (they are great fun too), it is about taking the set to the next level. Make it our own. Take it for a spin, and come back with an image. A creative image.

I have a few LEGO Architecture sets in my little studio and used them before in some shots, so I was curious what I could come up with and said yes to the challenge.

Just a couple of days later, a friendly postman left a package behind with the classic LEGO logo on the outside, and I could not wait to unpack this beauty and see what I could come up with.

Shorty was curious at first when we started the unboxing …

A beautiful black box was revealed and the depth of the photographic challenge became instantly clear to me.

This was not a single building I could warp into some creative perspective illusion as I had done before with the Empire State Building (there might be a reason why it was announced as a skyline).  Trying to show off in my little studio with glossy reflections was also not an end state option as the art designers at LEGO did a fantastic job both on the box, in the booklet and on the architecture website.

Original Art Work by the LEGO Group – All Rights Reserved.

I needed to come up with something completely different.

This was to become a true skyline picture.

I had a few ideas lined up for my skyline, from making a composite with some footage I shot in London before to actually shooting it against an art-ificial bokeh background, but first I had to unbox it and actually build it.

Building the set was fun, and the rich 120-page booklet printed on responsible paper was riddled with interesting little tidbits of information on the architectural buildings included in the panorama.

The National Gallery, Nelson’s Column, Big Ben, The Eye and the Tower Bridge. All iconic buildings in London.
All with their little known secrets.
All with very detailed build instructions.

The Judge was very much interested in the small print of The Tower Bridge…

If you are interested in a more classic step by step build review of the experience, we warmly recommend the Brothers Brick review here or the very detailed review of New Elementary, including an interview with the designer of this set Rok Žgalin Kobe. New Elementary also gives you an analysis of all the special bricks in the set. And if you really want, you can browse the instructions page by page here. Courtesy of LEGO.

The Doctor is most interested in the clockwork of Big Ben.

Taking about special bricks. The clock in this set is finely printed on the tile (great, you all know what I think of stickers), but it is only printed on one side. The original Big Ben and the previous Big Ben LEGO Architecture set both have four clocks. Each on every site of the tower.  A small detail that our good Doctor puzzled for a while.

My favorite “brick” is Nelson, and I am happy I got two in the box (which seems to be the standard) while the packing list officially only states one. I am sure “Nelson” will show up in other photo shoots moving forward.

Shorty looks for sure not that happy with this new little one …

So back to my photographic challenge, as we review sets here with the key purpose of producing great pictures. Kind of. We do like to build, but we are not your regular builders as such and the image is what we go for.

I was going to go for a skyline.
A skyline with an authentic feel.
The skyline of London.

And it just happens to be that  Lizzy is throwing a toy photographer photo meetup later this month in London. Talk about a coincidence. So no better place and time to take set 21034  for a true skyline shoot in the city that never sleeps heart of London with some fellow toy photographers.

If you have never joined a toy photographer meetup and you are in the neighborhood or have some spare air miles to use, do pass by. It is an awesome experience, and I can’t wait to meet Lizzy and some other old friends in London for some collective plastic fun. You only need some plastic toys, something that can take pictures (an iPhone will do) and some warm clothes.

So, I am not done yet with this little set.
I will take it back to its roots for my skyline shot on location.
Stay tuned and maybe see you in London.



PS. The great folks at LEGO are doing a survey on how important boxes are for you. If you have a few minutes to spare, do complete the great boxing survey from the LEGO group and let them know if you tear the box apart or carefully store it away for generations to come. The box in this set was a classic black one and I really like those.

PPS. Shorty, The Doctor and The Judge are all permanent residents in my little studio and are not included in set 21034

I could not resist shooting my own little reflection shot. Far from the masterpiece of LEGO, but good practice. And great fun. And not my final submission for this set either …

PPPS. You can buy this beautiful set in the LEGO Shop online or pick one up in the largest LEGO store in the heart of London.

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Cat Turner
7 years ago

I’ve bought Lego for my kids for years but I think that more recently the trend towards these kind of themed kits and away from the more generic bricks really inhibits creativity. To make the kit you have to follow the specific plan, and there’s zero room for any kind of creativity. I’d really like to see kits being brought out that allow for a lot more freedom and less of these kinds of things. That being said, it does look really cool!

7 years ago

Hi Cat, I agree with you that the Architecture series (and some of the other theme sets) are very prescriptive in their instructions and my feel they block some of the creativity. And yes they’re sometimes more of a display set than a pure play set. The Architecture series is also by design more oriented to the grown ups and less to the kids and features quite often some more advanced creative techniques that inspire in different ways (you still have to build it), while the pure white starter Architect set is just that. A starter with no instructions, having… Read more »

Tracy McGrady
6 years ago

Nice, in-depth post.

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