First of all, a big thank you to Bonaparte and LEGO for making this review possible. This has been really fun. I knew very little about this set when it was given to me, so I looked it up and found that it looked to be a very good set. As I'm going to study engineering, the architecture series really quite appeals to me, however, I'd never gotten one as I really like minifigures. Will this set hold up to my expectations? Read on!
Name: Imperial Hotel
Set Number: 21017
Price: US $130
Year of Release: 2013
Flickr Set I left plenty of pictures in their large size!
The overall design of the box is the same as the rest of the line, black, with a shot of the model. Very professional looking. Underneath the model, there is what looks to be blueprints, which really give the set a "design" feel.
Flipping the box over, we have some writing about the set as well as some construction details. A picture of Frank Lloyd Write adorns the upper right corner and his signature is in the bottom middle.
The left side of the box has pictures of the left side of the built model, and an overhead view of it. On the right hand side, there's a faded out shot of the front of the model as well as the name of the designer; Rok Kobe.
I find the top most interesting. Along with the 1:1 image, there's a part of the model in a brick-paper format that fades to the built model. Also on the top there's a box that says, "Frank Lloyd Wright Collection." Nothing to special about the bottom, just your usual warnings.
Architecture sets have flaps and open much like other toy boxes, when I opened mine it looked like this. Quite full, and the "Enjoy your Building Experience" printed on the bottom of the box here, made me smile.
Inside the box were 10 bags, the manual, and six 6x16 plates.
Only a few parts stuck out to me, the 3x3 corner slope in sand green, the 2x1 brick with studs on one side in light bley, and the printed 1x8 tile. (Though in every Architecture set) I believe the 2x1 brick is new for this year.
Here are our extra parts. The 1x1 tiles and plates are most useful to me, and there are quite a few of them.
The manual is much more of a book than the usual LEGO set, it's bound and is made of much heavier paper than a usual one. The front of the manual has the same art as the front of the box, minus some of the facts about the set.
On the first inside page, there's a picture of the hotel as it stands today. (As well as what was recreated in the set, minus the tourists)
Continuing on, much more like a book, there's a contents listing on the second page.
Underneath a paragraph talking about the destruction of the hotel, there's a painting of the hotel, and I must say while simple it looks like a grand building.
As you continue turning the pages, you come across the two page spread. Exactly like the one on the of the box, but three or four times larger, it was also very hard to photograph.
Each step in the manual was very clear, I had no problems telling what color was what. Here's a shot of just one of the many steps in building the model.
Here I cover the first few steps. We establish the base for the hotel as well as the concrete around it. (Each of the build pictures link to a 1600+ pixel version)
Continuing on, the first level is constructed, with plenty of half-plate offsets.
Then the roofing over the entrance is added, and the bottom floor is completed.
You then start on the second level and add some of the many windows.
Finally, the roof is added, and the model completed.
Wow, is a good word to describe the completed model. I could sit a look at it all day. The size, details, and colors really have a "wow" factor and make the model shine.
Here you can see the many windows that you are built using snot techniques, really nicely done LEGO, and capture perfectly the real look of the building.
The back of the model is flat, and has no details what-so-ever. But since you never see the back why put anything there?
This set is big. At 34 by 30 studs the hotel has a large footprint, it's bigger than Bag End!
The next several pictures are all of parts of the model that I thought had interesting building techniques or just looked cool. Here we have some of the windows and the roof, that I think works nicely together,
The front entryway to the hotel is very ornate.
A lot of half-plate offsets are used in this model, you can see a few here.
The windows here on the side are attached with 1x1 bricks with a stud on one side, the snot gives the building a great look.
This technique here isn't new, I just think that it looks pretty neat.
Looking at the real building alongside the model, it's very close. I'm not sure about the decision to recreate it in tan, but it does work nicely with the green. The only one thing that could be added is the reflection pool, but that's not part of the building so I see why it wasn't included.
There's no one good word to describe my feelings for this set. It's large, accurate, and I had an amazing time building it. I was mostly surprised at how complex the model really is, though I'm fairly sure this is common for Architecture sets. 1188 pieces make this the second largest set in the line, and a very good introductory set for it. Again, I'd like to thank LEGO and Bonaparte for the opportunity to review this set, I had a great time!
Playability: 9/10 This isn't a set you can play with, however, it would make a great model to put on your desk as a conversation piece.
Design: 10/10 The design is top notch. It matches the real building nicely and I find no flaws. There are a variety of techniques in this set that I thought were interesting.
Price: 9/10 I didn't pay for this set, but for any set with this large if a piece count anything between $100-$130 is very fair.
Parts: 10/10 There was a huge selection of tan light bley, and dark bley tiles and plates. These sets are known for that but I didn't realize it until I got one.
Total: 38/40 An excellent score, I would pick the gem up if you've been thinking about it, or even if you haven't!