Review: 21121 Minecraft Desert Outpost


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Lego 21121 Minecraft Desert Outpost

Thanks to Lego and EuroBricks for making this review possible! This will be a little different review than normal. Somehow I've just never gotten into Minecraft, but my two boys (9 and 5) are addicted to it. So since it's currently way past their bedtimes, I'm first writing a review myself looking at this as a Lego set but with basically no knowledge of the source material. Then tomorrow I'll have them give me an education and add that to the review. That said.... on with the details!

Name: Desert Outpost

Set Number: 21121

Pieces: 519

Price: $59.99

Minifigs: 5

Theme: Minecraft

Year of Release: 2015

Links: Bricklink Brickset

The Box


So, a set of blocks based on a game about blocks and giant pixels. Hm. Nice logo and pixelated background at the top, with a face or something over at the top right corner. Frowning ghost face? Messed up Mickey Mouse head? Not really sure.... As for the set, well, it's a desert outpost. With a river flowing next to it. Um.... isn't that against the rules of a desert?

From the boys - there's lots of rivers in the Minecraftian deserts. And the logo in the corner is a Creeper face, even though there aren't any in this set. And they really like the action of the box front with the TNT flying and such.

The 1:1


On top of the box Lego used one of the minifigs to illustrate the size. It's a skeleton with a blocky head instead of the normal minifig head. And armor. Why's a skeleton need armor? It's already dead! Guess the boys will have to explain that one too. What they can't explain is why Lego used a minifig for scale. Anyone buying Lego sets probably already knows how big a minifig is. It seems to me that using something else from the set would make more sense, but there's not really anything else that would give easy scale. On vehicle sets, a wheel works well. Here, I guess they did as well as they could with a fig with a weapon.

The Back of the Box


The back is a standard display of play features. I won't recite them all since you can see the picture. I do find it a little odd to see the "build your own creation" in the bottom corner and the top center. Isn't that the exact point of both Lego and Minecraft? Do people REALLY need that spelled out explicitly for them these days?

The Contents


3 numbered bags, some baseplates, and a manual. Simple.

The Manual


The manual is book-bound, not a stapled booklet, and nicely made. I'm not in love with the pale green background, more of a traditional light blue fan myself, but it's ok. You can see here there's no problem distinguishing light/dark grey or light/dark tan, but there were a couple times at the start of a section of building that it was less clear since there's only one color in use so far. Also, why are the print colors so far off the brick colors? For kicks I tried placing bricks on the page and it's crazy how different the colors are from the book. My wife and I do photography, so we understand the challenge of making prints match the screen or a physical object. But this is LEGO. They could do it. Once they defined the colors once they'd be pretty much done. So why is it so different? It'd make it easier for those times different color shades are unclear if the print color matched the brick color - just hold the parts to the page! Sort of how Technic sets often have a 1:1 scale axle on the page to help you get the right one from all the different sizes.

The Minecraft Ad


At the back of the manual is an ad for Minecraft, with a 70s looking dude playing along with his daughter on a "Blockstation 500" desktop computer. Personally, I love the style. I've read enough actual ads like that from back in the day to appreciate it. It sorta reminds me of a Pixar movie - it's an ad geared at kids but has lots of hidden details the adults would appreciate. Like the massive beard. And the collared shirt / sweater / jacket combo. And the Apple ][ style computer. Nicely done. The only flaw is a computer of that vintage with a full color screen :)

The Other Sets


That ad is followed by an ad for the other Lego Minecraft sets. The original micro sets are not included, but the 2014 and 2015 sets are all shown.

The Part List


For those who want, here's the inventory from the set. Yes, there is a brick separator.

The Special Parts


There's a variety of specialty and printed pieces. Not sure how much use any of them have outside the blocky Minecraft style, but they work here.

The Minifigs


Technically, I think Lego counts the wolf as a fig, but it's not built with the other figs in the manual. You'll see it soon. These 4 figs are nice though. The skeletons get Minecraft heads, and the two other characters are decent. It seems that "Alex" is a female Alex, based on the orange hair printing onto her torso. That is sort of a bummer, since it limits the usefulness of that torso for other things. The weapons and armor likewise are pretty limited to the Minecraft world.

From the boys - You get the two main characters that you can be in the game, so this is a good starting set for someone. The armor and helmets are cool, but it'd be great if Lego could make the armor leggings and shoes.

The Minifigs' Backs


Alex gets the only back printing, and no one has alternate faces.

The Build, 1


The first part of the build is a few small objects. A wolf, I think a crate?, a red torch?, a grey thing, and then 4 other torches. I do like the grooved bricks used for the wolf legs, but beyond that, not sure what I'm looking at here.

From the boys - it's a wolf, tamed since it has a red collar, then a crafting table where you make things in the game. Super useful, you pretty much can't play Minecraft without it. Next is a redstone torch used in redstone circuits. There's also a furnace for cooking both food and other things, and finally regular torches to keep monsters away.

The Build, 2


More small items. Some brown bin thing that based on the box art is a little one-man boat, a few plant things, and then I assume a red bed.

The small bin is a boat used to travel in the water or for fishing. The green cylinders are sugarcane used to make paper or sugar, both very useful in the game.

The Build, 3


And still more small items. First I see what appears to be an unfinished green tree, and then a TNT launcher.

No dad, that's a cactus and a TNT Dispenser.

Ok, I guess I can see the cactus. Still say it looks unfinished, but everything in Minecraft sorta does :)

The Build, 4


Finally, into the meat of the build. I definitely like the brown flower parts used in the door to give it some interest. And we obviously have a play feature there in the ground - pressing on the smooth section of the tan tile makes the grey tiles flip up. I'm betting the tan blocks fill that grey area and get launched out.

That's a wooden door, not as good as an iron door. Zombies can break the wooden doors. Lego did a good job matching the game doors.

The Build, 5


The build moves on to another platform. This will be the main part of the outpost, so it's a large baseplate with some feet under it to raise it. And yes, I counted studs carefully to put that brown brick right where it's supposed to be, even though it doesn't really matter.

The Build, 6


After flipping the base over, we get to start building some walls and water.

The Build, 7


It takes a LOT of jumper plates to get that offset row of dark grey "brick bricks" in the right place. And that basket thing and grey thing that we build earlier now get a home. Still have no idea what they are...

We answered about the crafting table and furnace earlier dad, we're NOT going over it again.

Remember, I wrote this ALL before talking to you.

Oh yeah. Ok, well, we're not sure why they did the two stud lower walls and 1 stud darker wall sections. That doesn't look like Minecraft to us.

The Build, 8


The door is attached here, and they made a pretty ingenious and discreet doorstop out of a couple headlight bricks with a dark grey tile across them.

The Build, 9


We turn it around and build more of the tower. There's also a bunch of those 2x2 bricks with jumper plates on top piled up here.

That looks like when my chest gets full and I have extra blocks and pile them outside my house since I don't have room.

The Build, 10


After another spin around we get to add the base with the flipper that we built earlier. I'm sure my boys with drive us all insane using it to launch those tan blocks all over the house. We also add the green thing - in context, I'm assuming it's a cactus - and the TNT dropper.

The Build, 11


Let's make a couple more small bases, hinge them together, and give one a splash of blue. And with all those jumper plates, I'm sure there's walls coming.

The Build, 12


I've opened it up here to show what's going on. The bed is in the room, and the weird walls were built as pre-fab sections and put into place.

These walls look better than the other walls. Although the bricks in the windows look more like fences than windows from the game. And the bed is actually too big, but it had to be to look right and fit a minifig.

The Build, 13


Now I've closed it back up, added more walls, and started on the roof. Still weird, and sorta boring. Grey walls get old after a while...

We love the water slopes. It could be bigger, but even like this the boat will slide down and across the blue plate.

The Build, 14


This secondary building gets joined to the main base and a few more accessories are added, like the plants.

The Build, The End


So... the bedroom gets a roof, the tower still looks incomplete, and there's a bunch of creatures around that I don't understand. The tower gets a big door, but the bedroom has just a little swinging panel? You can't really see it in this photo, but there's some water in the back corner. But it's not connected to the water up front! The TNT dropper and the block launcher both work great though, so the playability is nice.

Big fail Lego - Steve has a sword AND a cookie, but you can only hold one thing at a time in the game. There's probably mods that change that, but you can't do this in the official game. And if this is daytime, then the skeleton with no armor would be dead or on fire from the sunlight. Having the redstone torch up with the TNT dispenser is right though, since you need a redstone circuit to make the dispenser work.

The Leftovers


Here's the leftover parts, all from bags 1 and 3. Bag 2 had no little parts, so no extras. Nothing surprising either, but these little 1 stud parts are always nice to have more of.

The Playset


The bases have hinges between sections, so it can open up like this. There's also a seam with a hinge under the bedroom, but the roof holds it together. If you remove the brown roof then that building can split open.

We like the set opening, since it's easier to reach places and play.

The Boat


No idea why in the desert there's a guy in a tiny boat holding a cookie.

Because that's all part of Minecraft, dad. Duh. Why does it have to make sense?

The Alternate Build


Remember how the box talked about "building your own creations" with "inspiration included?" Instead of the alternate models that we see in Creator or Technic lines, this set includes a modified version. First, you remove walls and other parts to get down to this. Then you rebuild with those pieces (and it does use just about all of them) into...

The Alternate Outpost


A much taller tower. But now the TNT doesn't fall onto the launcher, and the bedroom building is looking very incomplete. Neither is a big issue - just turn the top of the tower and use some other Legos to finish the building - but it just feels like a weak effort here to me. On the other hand, it's pretty much what my boys would have done anyway!

The tower is awesome! The TNT flies further from higher up, and it's like a lookout tower to see if bad guys are coming.

See, I was right... My wife thinks the regular model looks better though, and I agree.

The Conclusion

So, what's my conclusion on this model? It's definitely aimed at a specific fanbase, as opposed to things like City. And even Chima or Super Heroes have their source material, but this just seems more specific to me. Those other licenced themes are easier to play with without knowing the source. The price is ok, since you do get several figs and larger parts instead of tons of 1x1 bricks like many sets do.

We think it's great, maybe even better than the other Minecraft sets we have. The TNT dispenser and boat are great, plus the wolf... and you get Alex!

The Ratings

Value: 7/10 - Close to 10 cents a piece, and you get 5 figs and a good size tan baseplate plus other largish plates.

Design: 8/10 - Looks very Minecrafty, but a little plain.

Minifigs: 10/10 - Good assortment, new Alex and wolf, and the boys liked that her hair was printed down onto her torse.

Playability: 8/10 - Pretty good on its own, and easy to blend with other Minecraft sets or expand with other Legos.

Parts: 6/10 - Appreciate the flexibility of these pieces for Minecraft use, but it'd be much more limited if you wanted to use them for other purposes. The unique parts are very specific to Minecraft.

Overall: 6/10 or 10/10 - My score is low. I'm not the target market for this, since I've never played Minecraft. My boys on the other hand give it a 10 and are SO glad to have this set.

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I love reading reviews from tottaly new perspective! The Dad-kids dialoguewas realy funny and well placed!

The set is good and it's my favorite, because the build looks nice and almost all things looks minecraft.

Besides dog, it's so ugly...

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Nice review! This looks like the best of this Minecraft wave, but I won't be getting any of them so it really doesn't matter. I really enjoyed the bits from your kids- those were fun to read! :classic:

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Your lack of Minecraft knowledge is disturbing :grin:

The "crate" is a crafting table, the "gray thing" is a furnace and the "unfinished tree" is a cactus, all of which are well translated into bricks.

These Minecraft sets seem pretty nice, I may pick one up if I see it on sale somewhere :classic:

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This Minecraft fad is really producing some lazy, ugly sets. I'm ready for Lego to stop devoting (admittedly, highly limited) effort to it.

And that is minecraft. If it would look better it would not look like minecraft anymore.

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Very curious about the ratings people are giving. As of right now, the poll is about even between poor, below avg, and average, with NO votes above average or excellent. How much of that is people not liking it BECAUSE it's Minecraft vs people not liking it as a minecraft set. I'm guessing it's the former - sort of how I gave 2 ratings in the end of the review. I'm not a Minecrafter, so I only gave it 6/10. My boys are exactly the target market being both Lego and MC fans, so they think it's the awesome-ist thing they've ever gotten.

Even though both MC and Lego would seem to attract similar fanbases, I think the EB users lean heavily away from the blocky style of Lego and the style of MC and so we don't appreciate the MC sets for what they are.

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Interesting review. I believe Minecraft is a victim of getting too "big", and now also owned by Microsoft. Then it´s suddenly not cool to like it, unlike when it was a small underground game. Luckily for Lego and Mojang/Microsoft, their target audience with Minecraft doesn´t giva a sh*t. (Their target audience are kids by the way).

I enjoy the game and I find the Lego sets very pleasing. Not only do I get Lego versions of characters and Mob´s, I get alot of big plates, bricks and tiles in uncommon and useful colours.

Designwise this set has a lot of flaws and the designer didn´t really succeed trying to create a larger build with limited pieces. The cobblestone wall should be made out of two "brick" bricks on top of each other instead of a 2x2 a the bottom. The snotted tiles on the walls makes no sense and the roof is a waste of bricks.

I do however like the fence windows, sand blocks (2x2 bricks with 2x2 jumperplate, easier to remove when simulting digging/mining), the boat and the tamed wolf.

By the way the swinging panel is a fence gate. And as of version 1.9, Steve will be able to use two items at the same time. :)

Now, I realise I sound like a socially handicapped nerd defending Linux against Windows, but I just wanted to add my opinion. Last weekend I spent three days building a Lego Minecraft landscape on fourteen 32x32 baseplates during a public event. The clueless parents had to drag their excited children away from my bulding session. So I belive and hope we havn´t seen the end of Lego Minecraft.

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These sets look so boring, honestly. But this was a great review, and I loved the bits with your kids! :tongue:

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Was I the only one who saw the box and thought it must come with 1x6 or 1x8 tiles for the water?

As for the set itself, at least it gives young builders a decent number of basic bricks, but it's expensive for a parts pack. Not a set I would buy.

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This is the worst review I've ever read. It really is.

Did you have a terrible day or something... And then decide to kick the proverbial dog: This set.

And its not that I'm a Minecraft fan at all; at all. I'm in no way, yet, familiar with anything Minecraft. And perhaps I do not even disagree with your final ratings of this set. Its just the general tone of your review. As if it was something you just did not enjoy doing. And, if you admit you are not the target audience:

Then why do it at all?

For an official Eurobricks review, it seems very biased for some unknown and personal reason on the part of the reviewer, and really, it is useless for anyone curious about what Minecraft or Lego Minecraft may be. It tells me almost nothing except that in no way does the reviewer really enjoy anything regarding Minecraft. The slot of "Review: 21121", in my own opinion, would've been better left to someone with an actual investment either 21121, or the review process itself.

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Sorry it came across that way - it certainly wasn't how I intended it! I went out of my way to acknowledge my limited knowledge and get my kids involved to help me fill in the gaps. I had a blast with this set!

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Sorry it came across that way - it certainly wasn't how I intended it! I went out of my way to acknowledge my limited knowledge and get my kids involved to help me fill in the gaps. I had a blast with this set!

Is there a reason why you did the review, then? Just curious. I mean, I'm not a Lego Friends fan - not because of anything in particular; it just not my interest area, you know. But now, acknowledging this, in no way am I going to do an in depth review of a Lego Friends set to have posted online, either.

Its like having Marie Osmond do the audio play-by-play for a playoff game. Now, I'm sure there are many out there who would not mind, and even some that find the prospect entertaining. (And this is nothing against Marie Osmond, who for all I know, is more versed in sports than I.) But, in the end, there is really no point in it. Its a train wreck waiting to happen. Marie Osmond fans aren't getting anything out of the deal; Marie Osmond, herself, may not even want to be there; and, it does a greater injustice to the playoff game's audience, who, unable to be there in person, were really, really jazzed for some more detail/ perspective into the game...

Minecraft, it seems, is already such a misunderstood line to many Legoers, and non-Legoers alike, that I think it makes it more imperative that any Minecraft review be done by someone Minecraft-savvy. I want to learn about Minecraft, as a non-Mincecrafter, and thus, I look to reviews such as this to educate me - not to share in someone else's ignorances about it.

Thanks for the great photos, though.

Edited by notaromantic

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amazing review, love the kids helping with this review, I think ill buy this set when i get a chance to, i wont go out of my way to buy it, but if i see in a store ill definitly pick it up for me and my little brother, hes more of a fan of minecraft then i am, i like it for the creativity of it.

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I very much enjoyed the review, thank you for that.

The subject matter, however, doesn't do much for me so I'll skip the poll entirely - I know I'm not the target audience and would probably just things unfairly.

The only real appeal of this set for me would be to part it out to pad my brick supply, I can always use more decent sized block, jumper plates and large plates in neutral colors. Even then, though, I suspect I'd only buy it if I found it on clearance somewhere.

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