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REVIEW: 21026 Venice

21026 Venice  

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    • An architectural triumph!

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As the current Licensed Mod I jumped at the chance to review this set based on the LEGO Batman 3 level where Brainiac shrinks cities. *AHEM* kidding of course. It's…


Set Name: Venice

Set # 21026

Theme: Architecture

Pieces: 212

Year of Release: 2015

Price at Release: ??

Bricklink Flickr Set (links to be added)


I was intrigued to see the (fully legal and meant-to-be-disclosed) pictures of the three new 'skyline' sets when they first appeared. Even though there are still tons of architectural landmarks around the world waiting to be transformed into LEGO sets, new directions for the Architecture line make perfect sense to me. We've gotten large houses, tiny skyscrapers, mid-size monuments, and now a bunch of little buildings arranged in a line whether they appear that way in the real world or not (mostly not). That's a diversity of offerings right there.

I will be frank (though it's not my name) that I've never been to Venice, am not well versed in the landmarks of Venice, and if you'd asked me what the different things in this set are supposed to represent, you would've gotten a big old shrug. Of course, LEGO has provided that information right on the box, so I didn't have to know. Lucky me. What I'm trying to say, though, is that I'm not going to be too harsh on the 'accuracy' of the thing, since I didn't know what any of these things are supposed to look like anyway. I do happen to know that Venice doesn't actually have much of a skyline, so the choice to include Venice as one of the inaugural three skyline sets is a bit… odd.

Anyway, on with it…


As usual for the Architecture line, the set comes in really sexy packaging. The front advertises the booklet with information inside, to assure people like me that if you have no idea what you're looking at, you can find out inside. Note that the top uses the top-of-tower piece as the 1:1 image.


In case you might not want the set since you have no idea what the buildings are, LEGO has handily told you on the back. Ohhh, that clip piece is a winged lion, ok now I'll buy this. Though the booklet only contains English and Italian text, the back of the box touts the 'unique architectural experience' of Venice in a bunch of languages. Of course, the idea that Venice even has a skyline strikes me as a bit of a stretch.


As usual, if you don't enjoy your building experience, LEGO will come to your place of residence and reclaim this product in order to re-gift it to someone appreciative, aka not you.



LEGO really wants to know how you find their driving. They also want to tempt you with the Trevi Fountain. You can't hook me, LEGO… but ooh look at all that trans-blue. (Still not as much as the UN) The front of the instructions let you know that the text is available online in a multitude of languages, though I don't understand why both the US and Canada are represented. Does the Canadian version end every sentence with 'eh?' Sorrynotsorry.


The booklet only comes so thick because it has all of the text pages twice (English and Italian) and because the build goes sooo. darrrnnn. sloooowww. As the Architecture line is geared towards non-LEGO-regulars, I sort of understand. I've chosen to highlight this particular page because it has interesting graphics warning you against screwing up by using incorrect parts. I'd personally never seen these graphics before. They appear on every step that features these parts.


For your reference, I present the parts list. The light bley parts do look more dark bley in the booklet, but there are no dark bley parts in this set, so you can't muck that up.



The set contains just three fairly small bags of parts, non-numbered so you can enjoy the nostalgic pleasure of dumping all of the parts in one messy pile. You can see here already (if you didn't on the parts-list picture) that a lot of restraint has been used in terms of color palette.


Unlike many other Architecture sets, this one does not offer much in the way of interesting parts in quantity, color, or variety. The only unique parts are the trophy-fig in white, the printed brown 2x2, and the Venice plate. There are 12 sand green cheese and 14 brown grooved bricks, which are both semi uncommon colors for those parts. Trans-blue tiles are still cool and 'apollo' studs are just reaching the end of their run as a novelty. The 3L bar is also still somewhat uncommon in white. Not pictured are the SNOT parts, though it's slim pickins and I wouldn't recommend this set as a SNOT parts-pack.


The best thing about sets that have desirable small parts is that you always get MOAR. Make that TWO exclusive white trophy-figs.



As I noted above, the build is sloooowww. Almost painfully slow, for an experienced builder. At 10 steps you'll have done just under half of the base.


At step 28, you'll have finally finished the base. This is just under half of the entire build (56 overall steps, though things like the Tower aka Campanile are complete sub-builds unto themselves). There's plenty of nice tileage here, providing the completed model with nearly no studs showing.


Unlike a lot of past Architecture sets, this one doesn't particularly feature any interesting techniques. I'd reckon you can figure out the entire build from the front-of-box picture. For this reason, I stopped taking in-build pictures at step 40 since I thought they'd be rather boring. If there's anything else you'd like to know or see build-wise, ask away in the comments.



Though I wasn't previously familiar with these buildings (as I've said countless times at this point, or I could count the times but won't), my first impression upon completing the model was one of surprised liking. It really comes together quite well as an impressionistic little display - the spare color choices add to the aesthetic, and it strikes you as a whimsical collection of buildings that have been sliced out of their respective settings and arranged miraculously in a line. A lot of these buildings appear more tan than white in real life, but in the vein of the Architecture Studio set I like the choice of white as a through-line color of the set.


The back is nothing much to behold. This model can really only be displayed from the front, but that's perfectly fine for what it is.


Now I'll run through the various buildings left-to-right before I show off some up-close glory shots and wrap things up…

Rialto Bridge

Hailing from the 16th Century, the Rialto bridge contains three parallel walkways - two on the outer sides and one through the center lined with shops. The center is open across the width, allowing passage between the three different walkways.

Of course, at this scale the walkways running the length of the bridge simply cannot be approximated. The designer did commendably manage to convey the opening in the middle with the 1x2 brick with technic hole. I'm not 100% on board with the positioning of the cheese slopes on the ascending sides - the pictures included in the booklet don't make the bridge look like it has a roof that peaks across the width. Still, overall it's a cute little build that conveys what it's supposed to.


St. Mark's Basilica

As the oldest of the buildings presented, built to its current specifications in the 11th Century, St. Mark's Basilica looks pretty darn impressive and ornate in real life. It's decorated with friezes, murals, and golden statues. The real thing has five domes, and the three that line up aren't on the face of any side, as presented on the model.

Despite the debatable 'inaccuracies,' the model presents a lovely slice of the Basilica with what I'd call a recognizable profile (if I'd known what the real Basilica looks like, that is). The use of brown and sand green confound me somewhat for the building itself, but in the context of the larger set they look great. As I've said, I actually enjoy the color inaccuracies in this set. That old printed 2x2 round tile was also a good choice to approximate the latticed semicircle on the real building.


St. Mark's Campanile

Near the Basilica in real life stands this tower, 'one of the tallest structures in the city' (according to the instructions), originally from the 16th Century. The tower does indeed have protruding 'columns' of brick-work, which informed the use of the groove bricks. Then comes a white section with open arches on each face, conveyed by the log bricks in white. The brick section above does appear to have friezes on all four faces, but a quick Google Image search of the Campanile shows that it's very often photographed from the lion side, so the print chosen makes sense and I don't fault the set much for having just one print. Additional prints on the two sides would have been a nice bonus, though, since you will see the tower from those angles when displaying the set. Finally comes the pointed roof, which really does appear to be an oxidized copper (aka sand green) color in real life.

Overall, this is the most 'accurate' building of all in terms of detailing and colors chosen. Though a simple build of stacking, it comes together quite well and provides some nice height contrast for the set.


St. Theodore & The Lion of Venice Columns

I really enjoy the fact that all three skyline sets use a trophy fig to convey completely different statues in completely different scales. These two columns topped with statues sit on the edge of a tiled courtyard, which is why the tiled pattern for the ground was chosen. The columns are near the Campanile in real life, so being juxtaposed with it makes them recognizable for what they are supposed to be.

It's almost humorous that a clip piece is supposed to be a winged lion, but on the other hand it's also a testament to creative microscale. You can tell that these are columns topped with statues even if you had no reference for them, and that makes them a job well done. They're also simply cute.


Bridge of Sighs

Coming in last is the Bridge of Sighs, a 17th Century ornate little bridge that runs between the Doge's Palace and the old city prison. The real thing has some latticed windows, which is why those slotted tiles have been used.

I must say that this model strikes me as unsuccessful and a rather odd choice. The real Bridge of Sighs runs high over a canal between two buildings - this looks like a free-standing structure that could really be anything. It looks more like a small mausoleum or temple than a bridge. Internet Searches reveal to me that the Bridge of Sighs is one of the famous landmarks of Venice (which I could've guessed from the fact that LEGO chose it), but it just doesn't work at this scale. It's still a pleasant little thing, but it's quite a stretch to see this model as what it's supposed to be.




I love micro photography, so I had some fun with this set. I hope you'll enjoy these few shots I've chosen.


On the whole, I enjoy this set a lot more than I expected to. The official pictures make it look almost bland, but in front of me the model works really well. The restraint used in color selection works swimmingly. Each structure individually does a decent job of approximating the look of its source material, besides for the Bridge of Sighs which really should not have been chosen. Nobody would normally expect a model of architecture to be termed 'adorable,' but I'd call this set adorable.

As a parts pack, it's not great. There are a few decent parts on offer, but if you're only in it for the parts I would't particularly recommend it. At the time of this writing I don't yet know the price, so it's hard to comment on the value of the set. Purely as a model and display piece, LEGO's Venice does a great job. If you're at all interested in architecture or small tasteful displays, I'd say grab this set when you can.


Thanks for reading!

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Great review! I like this new approach with the smaller buildings but more diverse collection of landmarks. Agreed the bridge of sighs is a bit of a let down, but that printed piece on the tower is very cool. I guess the inaccuries come from the limited scale; these scales seem much smaller than some of the older sets, such as Big Ben or the Louvre (the two I have to compare to :grin: ).

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See? LEGO can into churches.

Anyway... hmm... I don't really feel this, largely because I wanted a more majestic version of the basilica.

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I remember my Hagia Sophia Architecture proposal in Lego Cuusoo being rejected because it was a religious building....

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Great review with this Battle over Venice set. Just one thing, havent it been posted in the wrong forum ? :tongue:

I like this idea with cities as a new architecture theme line.

Lots of usefull parts in here, lets hope the pricetag aint rediciolus.

Love that photo with the "not to do" graphic in the instructions manual. Is the usual choke warning twice as big in the instructions booklet as well ?

I really would like to know why LEGO found it nessecary to point out which pieces NOT to use in the different steps. Someone most have told them thier instructions didnt work out. ( But i so wonder who ! ? )

Never been to Venice but would love to go there.

Again great review. Thanks :classic:

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Of the three new sets, I like this one the best. It's aesthetically the most pleasing. The whole build style and color scheme go together very nicely.

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Beautiful Venice. It's like as if we get most of the iconic attractions altogether in one setting. Love the scenic approach and it does make a fine desktop piece on your office table like I could do with my Berlin set as well. Thanks Clonie for this review.

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I guess the inaccuries come from the limited scale; these scales seem much smaller than some of the older sets, such as Big Ben or the Louvre (the two I have to compare to :grin: ).

This one really is itty bitty; my pictures probably make it look larger than it even is. Since LEGO is likely continuing their single-building line as well, I like that they're offering some real teeny micro stuff.

Amazing review by the way.

Thanks very much!

Love that photo with the "not to do" graphic in the instructions manual. Is the usual choke warning twice as big in the instructions booklet as well ?

I really would like to know why LEGO found it nessecary to point out which pieces NOT to use in the different steps. Someone most have told them thier instructions didnt work out. ( But i so wonder who ! ? )

I too would love to know why those 'cautionary' graphics have been added. I mean, sure, those parts are somewhat similar, but there are only 212 parts in the entire set! Plus, technic bricks with holes can't really be confused with the 1x2 protruding stud brick. Even more perplexing, the graphic about the 1x1 bricks appears on the step with the headlight bricks, which comes AFTER the other 1x1 SNOT bricks are already in use. It all seems quite extraneous to me, even putting myself in the shoes of an unexperienced builder.

To address your other question, I find no choke warning in this manual.

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To address your other question, I find no choke warning in this manual.

I just found it funny. As you sort of mentioned yourself. Its almost impossible to use wrong parts. I could understand those graphics being used in other themes where the age range would be way different.

Hillarious that there aint any choke warning.

Now i need to own this set just to frame some of these pages from the instructions booklet ! :laugh:

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Nice review, the picture quality is excellent!

But I don't really like this set; The use of printed round tile is nice, but those bridges are rather boring and have no interesting pieces or piece uses... The overall color scheme is nice though.

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Ugh. That Bridge of Sighs is bordering on criminal... I guess that's accurate, connecting to a prison?

That part is getting an instant MOD when I get it. Raise it 2 plates, put walls on each side, and I think it will look 1000 times better.

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