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Review: 21302 - The Big Bang Theory

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At 2311 Los Robles Avenue in Pasadena, California is apartment 4A. Sometimes referred to as "Nerdvana", this apartment is home to physicists Leonard and Sheldon who show viewers week after week how sometimes relationships and social conventions can be more complicated than elaborate theorems. The set I'm about to review recreates the main living area of 4A, where the bulk of the show takes place. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, the characters eat, game (board and video), and just generally gather

here. So how faithfully does the set adhere to the show? And what might an AFOL get out of this set even if they're not a fan of the show? Read on.

Set Info

Name: The Big Bang Theory

Number: 21302

Release: August 2015

Figures: 7

Pieces: 484

Price: GB £??? I US $59.99 I EUR €59,99 I



The box itself is very well done and what we have come to expect quality-wise from LEGO CUUSOO and now LEGO Ideas offerings. It's the same size as the Ecto 1 box so if you're saving them like I am, they'll fit on a shelf stacked pretty well. The box front has the Big Bang Theory logo prominently displayed as well as the LEGO and Ideas logos. It shows the completed set with a white background that's been watermarked with science-y stuff. I'm sure it will greatly appeal to fans of the show when they come across it.


The back continues the white watermarked background. Instead of hyping play features (which this set lacks anyway but more on that later), the insets feature close-up views of the details of the set along with a nice display of the minifigs included. All but Bernadette and Penny are given some item to show off. Penny is waving at least. Or pointing at us. Hard to tell.


The sides have a nebulous star field on them. This "actual size" graphic is really the only thing of interest besides the same logos from the front. So that's how big a 1x1 brick is. I wonder how large it would be with a white tile on top so that it'd look like finished take-out box in the set… We may never know.



The manual has the same picture and background from the box. The manual itself is nicely bound, though the cover isn't quite as thick as earlier CUUSOO/Ideas sets like the Back to the Future or Ghostbuster sets. The thinness makes it more flexible and allows the manual to stay open to where you're building slightly better.


Speaking of the earlier set the manual for this set is taller and wider (though less thick) than those older manuals as well. Only a bad thing is you store them together but worth noting. I wonder if the problems with the Ghostbusters manuals prompted these changes. I haven't bought any of the more recent Ideas sets so I don't know how recent these changes are.


Opening up the manual, we're greeted by a summary of the show with this nice production photo of the cast.


And look, here are all those people in LEGO form! They also include a little bio of all the characters. It's well written, hitting the important points of the characters without dwelling too much on recurring gags associated with those characters.


Spread throughout the manual are these little inserts with a quote from one character. There's one for each character but Raj is my favorite character so I took a pic of his. They're memorable lines that fans will probably recognize. I sort of wish they included more but what they have is nice.


As an Ideas set, it was, of course, submitted as a project by fellow AFOLs and as usual a short introduction of how the project came about is included. Thank you Glen and Ellen for making this set possible!



The sticker sheet only has two stickers on it. I understand why they're stickers instead of printed since the parts they go on (a door and a tall brick) aren't normally printed and therefore TLG may not have a system in place to print them even if they had wanted to.

The top one that goes on the door is a bit disappointing to me. I didn't recognize it when I first saw it because the sticker is missing two pretty big parts of the poster- the Rock 'em Sock 'em robots. The print on the show (I learned from research) s called "The Final Blow" (by Eric Joyner) and depicts one robot belting the other out of the ring. The only thing I can think of why they aren't there could be copyright issues. But you would think TLG could have replaced them with CMF robots or something. TLG has done parodies of art before… Without robots it just looks like a boxing ring and therefore out of place in a geek chic apartment. And how cool would a robot sticker have been?

The bottom one is an antique fuse box, probably something in the apartment the show's set decorator correctly thought just looks really cool. I don't recall seeing it used in the show for anything and had to look it up to see what it actually was. (Though I'm familiar with the show, a lot of the small details aren't all that visible when watching it. Luckily there's a wiki article on the apartment itself written by people with sharper eyes than mine that was of great help.)


Loose in box we have these three large plates which (SPOILER) will be our floor.


The build is broken up into two sets of bags labelled "1" and "2". Lots of LEGO goodness awaits inside...


Here's the larger of those two. Some minifigs bits with lots of structural pieces.


And the smaller bag has more of the same.


Here are the more interesting pieces… The door in this color only appears in one other set so far, the Simpsons House which has six but is pricy. Solid color versions are a bit rarer for this piece and more useful in interiors.

Not having bought a lot of the City line, I don't have any of the 1x4 masonry bricks yet so these are very welcome for me.

Printed tiles are always nice. We've seen the keyboard before (I can always use more), but the other two are new. The other 1x2 represents a "Spirit of St Louis" vintage radio. Very neat.

The 2x2 has a nice picture of the Golden Gate bridge. Or is it? The actual picture on the wall is another Eric Joyner art print. "The Incident" features a giant robot (that looks like the Series 6 Clockwork CMF) sitting next to the bridge with a donut in it's hand. This substitution is understandable, though, since the part is printed and a more generic bridge painting will be much more reusable in other sets. I really like it despite it's sad lack of robots.

"Cinnamon" (Raj's dog) is the exact same as the chihuahua from the CMF line. So… rarer but not exclusive and not a show-accurate Yorkshire Terrier. No new molds rule, I guess.


And now, more bags!


The largest has a bag of the food items from the Friends line. Always welcome. Also lipsticks, which are used as dry erase markers.


And more pieces that will become details in the apartment. A lot of different colors of small plates, tiles, and jumpers which will be used as books.


And more interesting pieces. Lots of printed tiles. The newspaper is a reuse but nice. Not shown (it was flipped over when I looked through the parts for some reason) is what will be, I assume, the thermostat or a light switch. Also seen before.

The 4x4 with 4 studs is a dry erase board that depicts a game of Pictionary Sheldon was playing. Hilarious inclusion!

H(hydrogen molecule) + (Pigs - Pea) = Higgs

Bow + (General Zod trapped in the Phantom) Zone = Boson

Pear + Tickle = Particle

The 1x2 tile is supposed to be a poster of Tesla's lab but being as small as it needed to be, I can see why they simplified it a bit.

The 2x4 is Sheldon's dry erase board. I can't remember what the significance of the stuff written on it is so I guess I have to watch the whole series again.

Also of great delight are the take-out containers. NIcely printed, they will be completed with a 1x1 white tile later. My only complaint is that there should be more. Hopefully, they'll be reused in future sets because I'm guessing getting extras will be more expensive than what they're worth to me right now.

The minfig statue parts represent collectible action figures or super hero knick knacks that Sheldon and Leonard have on display. First seen in the CMF line as awards, they've now been printed in a few sets most notably as a voodoo Jack Sparrow and Helicarrier inhabitants. I believe that this is the only set that they appear in these colors without printing.


And here's the complete parts listing from the back of the manual.


Now we come to the real meat of this set. As a general rule, these are spectacular.


The "1" bags give us Howard, Bernadette, and Amy. The figures each capture the essence of the characters. Though I love the dual molded legs, I wish they'd given Bernadette (printed and molded) short legs instead. Her height is a recurring joke in the series and she's definitely the shortest of the group. The Ideas project had height variation to the figures and that's one big change when it became a set that I miss.

It's sweet that Howard and Bernadette ended up in the same bag. Amy's the third wheel. Awkward…


They all have back printing and a second expression. Bernadette and amy have special molded "boots". Amy's look better than Bernadette's only because the printing on the latter's legs didn't transition to the back. I want more legs like these, please, TLG.


The "2" bags have all the pieces of the rest of the cast. Though no leg printing, the excellent design of the rest of the figures more than makes up for it. The only change I'd make is giving Sheldon the taller legs the submitted project had. Sheldon is tall. Leonard being the same height in minifig form doesn't quite feel right.


Back printing once again. The alternate faces here are all outstanding. Penny's and Leonard's confused faces are perfect. Sheldon's "Bazinga" face is great and Raj's nervous/speechless face is spot on.

If you're not a fan of the show, the parts of these minifigures are all still excellent. All the torsos besides Penny and Bernadette can be used on yellow-toned LEGO citizens since the don't show skin on the print. All of them would be excellent as citizens in a modern era Licensed MOC.



And the building begins. In the first bags, we get all of the structure out of the way along with the details in the window area. The minifigures apparently are doing a very awkward conga line that doesn't actually touch.


Here at step 8, we have the footprint of the set. It only gets taller from here. The only exceptions, as we see later, are a chair and dry erase board and I think these are only left out due to lack of floor space.


The back shelves are nice. l love the radio and the books. I think the library card catalogue piece (to the right of the desk) ends up looking more like a plain dresser. I think it would look a little better wider but I don't think any more detailing would be possible at this scale without printed tiles.

Sheldon's desk has a lamp and desktop computer on it. the computer does use the printed keyboard, but the screen is a blank black 1x2 tile. It looks okay from the side if you can't see the tile is blank, but from any other angle it looks a bit cheap.

This door with the poster is a closet. For some reason it opens the wrong way. They even put a stud for a handle on the other side. Not sure why that is, really unless someone thought it was the apartment's front door. For those not familiar with the show, the front door would actually be to the left of the set on an angled wall.


The "2" bags give us all the rest of the detail of the set. All the chairs, the couch and the large shelves are built now.

The minifigures continue the awkward conga. Or maybe it's the hokey pokey.


The carpet is very nicely done. It's an odd number of studs both wide and deep to achieve the pattern. I like getting 1x1 tiles in sets as well and this carpet alone accounts for a good deal of them in this set.


From a technical standpoint this is probably the most interesting part of the build. I believe in the submitted project two different colored soft hose pieces were used. They may not have been stable enough for the official build. TLG's solution is very stable and I think looks enough like the DNA helix model that it is immediately recognizable.

About the whole build, it really doesn't feel like you're building a set when you're constructing it. It feels a lot like following someone's directions for a small vignette. And that's basically what it is. Personally, I enjoyed that aspect of it. I build a fair number of vignettes myself and this is a pretty decent one. If you've never tried to make a small scene in LEGO, this gives you a basic idea of how that's done.

There's no real play features besides positioning the characters in the space. And there's not a lot of room for that. It really works for what it is: a small vignette to display The Big Bang Theory minifigures. Most of these sets will be built to display on shelves or desks.


And here's what we have when we're done. The dry erase board and chair don't really have enough room in the set as is. I'll probably make mine slightly deeper to fit them in. The color is also wrong on the chair. In reality, it's a wooden dining room chair with arms. The shaping is okay, but it would definitely look better in brown.

On the shelves, we can now see all the cool stuff on the shelves. On the top from left to right are:

  • A plasma ball (like in the poster to the right of the door)
  • An action figure- these change throughout the series. dark red could be Flash related.
  • A celestial globe- in the project submission, they suggested a print on it. Here you kind of have to use your imagination bit. I wonder why they couldn't have used a space helmet printed version. I think a Harry Potter set had one that might have worked adequately.
  • Model rocket - they have set some off before, one of the few outdoor activities they allude to.
  • A "Limited Edition Green Lantern Lantern"- Formerly Raj's, he uses it to bribe Sheldon into being his wingman in an episode.
  • I believe the last item is Leonard's model of the miniature City of Kandor- A replica of a Kryptonian city that Brainiac miniaturized for some reason. If they'd printed the 1x1 round brick, they could have reused it in the Superhero line. it looks nice anyway but I think that's a wasted opportunity on TLG's part.

The lower shelves are all tiles or jumpers depicting books or games.

The main couch is accurately represented along with the chair that Leonard normally sits in. I love the lamp on the end table.

The telescope is excellently built here as well, though I wish there were room closer to the window for it.

Probably the one thing I'll modify is to include the front door of the apartment. I think that would add a lot more options for displaying the minifigures in scenes from the show.


Extra Parts. Lots of little tiles here but the real standout extras are the one extra statue in each color. There's also almost enough parts to make a second rocket.



The minifigures do all fit in the scene but it seems a tighter squeeze than I expected. I think thematically, the men would let the women have seats on the chairs and couch but it was really hard to place them there (though not impossible obviously) because of their hair interfering with the seat backs. Plenty of room for three people on the couch, which is nice.


They guys all fit quite nicely in a less crowded display if you want to recreate a scene like what happened more frequently in the early parts of the series.


I really like the set. There were a few little bits that I was probably too tough on, but I think it looks really good. The build wasn't spectacular. I didn't really learn any interesting techniques or think "So that how the did that!" It was all pretty straightforward but it was neat to see the apartment coming together.

I can't say enough good things about the minifigures themselves. I'm excited to get them in LEGO form and when I finally run out of ways to recreate scenes from the show, the parts themselves will definitely find their way into original MOCs.

All that being said, I think it seems small for $60. Part of that is the sheer number of small pieces that are used for the shelves and carpet but most of that cost can probably be attributed to the minifigures. There aren't a good amount of rare pieces either outside of a few printed tiles, so it's not a parts pack by any means. Most of the parts could be acquired much more cheaply elsewhere.

When I saw the set, I wanted it. But… if I didn't get it to review, I don't think I would have been able to purchase it. There are so many great sets out there right now that had a slightly higher priority for me. Having it in my hands, though, I'm glad I didn't miss out on it.

If I wasn't a fan of the show, I don't think I would have hesitated passing on it. I think that, for most of us, that's what it will come down to. AFOL fans of the Big Bang theory will most likely purchase it. Non fans won't have a real need unless they really want the minifigure parts for something.

Design & Build: 8 - Mostly on the design side. The build wasn't spectacular but the end result is very pretty and, for the most part, accurate.

Parts: 7 - Not a lot of cool parts. Thankfully, this set is definitely more than the sum of it's parts.

Minifigures: 10 - The small flaws I pointed out aren't enough to make me take points off. They're all instantly recognizable as the characters they represent.

Play or Display: 9 - DIsplay rather than play. There's not enough room or features to really play but with a few modifications, this'll absolutely find a spot on my shelf for a while.

Overall: 34/40 - The quality of the box, manual, and set are all really excellent. It's exactly what you'd expect an Ideas set based on the BIg Bang Theory would be like.


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I never thought I'd see a set based on a TV sitcom

What a time to be alive...


7 minifigures with double face? Is that a record?

Some cool features like the DNA molecule. Overall kinda meh IMO

Good review

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Outstanding review. Terrific photos and amazing attention to all the details. Thanks so much!

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Thanks for the review! I've seen other comments about the retro fuse box as well. I'm glad they included it because I have stared at that thing on the show several times because it does look odd on the wall. I wondered if it was meant to be a decoration or actually a vestige of the buildings past. I think there is another similar object on the wall in either Leonard or Sheldon's room as well.

Overall I like the look of the set even though its not something I'm likely to buy.

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You're right, I'll get it because I'm an AFOL fan of The Big Bang Theory.

Thanks for the review. I need to modify it slightly to fit the display cases I've been using; a 16 deep plate will fit, but the sides taper as the go up, so the wall will have to be moved forward one - making the space even tighter. I hope I can make it work. I'll probably do the floor with 1x brown tiles for a wood floor. Whatever. I'll post pictures someday.

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Thanks for the review. I want all the minifigs because of their general versatility, but man it's quite a bit of cash for someone who's not a fan of the show! The build seems fairly detailed but overall a bit dull, so not worth it for that.

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Thank you for this wonderful review. As a Lego set I'm kinda on the fence about this as I think there are better values to be had for my Lego Dollar, but I've been a fan of the show for years (and voted for this project when it was first proposed) so I'll probably pick one up just as a display piece. It's nice when two of my interests overlap so completely.

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Fine review and a fantastic set. The build is very enjoyable, almost so much fun like a modular building. :classic:

Oh, at the end, there is a Nerd-Party, too. There also has been one a week ago. :wink:

And, if you like - this is my review in English

Review-Images and pictures of the Nerd-Party.


Edited by Zusammengebaut

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This is the best review of this set I have read. You actually made me hate it less than I initially did. Excellent writing.


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I think it's kind of sad that something like this gets made, when a way more cerebral (and, frankly, cool) set like Sherlock gets tossed in the gutter. As it stands, BBT has fallen into the 'Friends' trap where everyone is inevitably pairing up after only a couple of seasons... and I expect it will age just as poorly as Ross, Rachel and co.

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thanks for the review..but in the last picture, I'm greatly disappointed not seeing Raj as Aquaman...

I will definitely pick up this set. I can't wait until the 1st. I hope I am able to acquire one and they don't all sell out right away like all of the other Ideas sets...

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Great review!

I must respectfully disagree about the minifigure heights; even if it actually comes up in dialogue in the show, the height differences of the principal cast members really aren't different enough to warrant using the short and long legs, even if the project proposal included them. Heck, even Chewbacca over in the Star Wars theme doesn't use the long legs, and he's much more suited for them than Sheldon, while Bernadette is still clearly not short-short a la Kenny Baker, Peter Dinklage, etc. The cast photo you show in the instructions shows their heights to be much more in the same ballpark than most ensembles who get the short and/or long legs used in other licensed themes.

I think it's kind of sad that something like this gets made, when a way more cerebral (and, frankly, cool) set like Sherlock gets tossed in the gutter. As it stands, BBT has fallen into the 'Friends' trap where everyone is inevitably pairing up after only a couple of seasons... and I expect it will age just as poorly as Ross, Rachel and co.

Sherlock? Doesn't it have routine murder and a drug-addicted protagonist? Cerebral or not, it probably just isn't suitable for LEGO. The most important thing when it comes to potential pop-culture licenses isn't how good a TV show or movie is, but how suitable for kids it is, and even though The Big Bang Theory is awash in sexual innuendo, it's probably not "worse" than Sherlock.

Edited by Blondie-Wan

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thanks for the review..but in the last picture, I'm greatly disappointed not seeing Raj as Aquaman...

But, but,...Aquaman sucks! He sucks underwater! :tongue::grin:

Thanks for the review. Loved seeing the set and the figures through your photos and I'll definitely be picking this up as soon as I can order it via S@H :sweet: .

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