Bob De Quatre

REVIEW: 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V

Set rating  

143 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you rate this set?

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    • Outstanding
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Introduction

Hi fellow EB members! I have to admit, I didn't support this project on Lego Ideas. In fact, I'm not really convinced by the way Ideas works... But I have to say, they release some great sets, and the NASA Apollo Saturn V really looks like a great set. Let's see if it is as promising as it seems!

Thanks to EB LUG Ambassador CopMike and the LEGO CEE Team and Designers for giving me the opportunity to review this set!

 

Set information

Name: 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V
Theme: LEGO Ideas
Year: 2017
Pieces: 1969
Price: $119.99, GBP109.99, 119.99€
Resources: Brickset, BrickLink

 

Packaging

Unfortunately, my box got damaged during the transport, and due to its size, I know I wouldn't have made it justice, so I'll just use the official pictures. 
The box is pretty big, at almost 50cm height, 40cm large and 15cm wide. It shows a very nice Earth, Moon and stars background that really fits the set. On the front of the box, the Saturn V rocket is shown in all it's glory, with the first stage engines on.

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The back of the box has lots of detail pictures, describing all the different stages and modules from the Saturn V, and how it got from the Earth to the Moon... and back.

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Content of the box

When opening the box, the first impression is "Wow, it's almost full !!". But you already knew it since the box is pretty heavy. A sealed bag contains a letter sized instruction booklet and the sticker sheet... wait no, there's no stickers in there! That means printed bricks everywhere! The bags are numbered from one to twelve, and lots of cool parts could be seen in them.

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Instructions booklet

The 182 pages instructions booklet cover looks like an old technical manual, with wear and decolorations. 

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Inside a few pages tell us about the story of the Apollo program and the Saturn V. The graphic designer did an awesome job at keeping that 60's feeling. The picture with the Lego designers is really fun, but also gives us a hint of what awaits us during the build: Michael Psiaki, which is pretty famous in the Star Wars AFOL community.

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The instructions themselves are easy to follow and really well thought. The rocket will be built from bottom to top, one stage after another.

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Build

I'll stop talking and let you enjoy the build in silence, while you look at the content of each bag's content and the building progress.

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So? Convinced?

I am! That set was so nice to build. I've never seen an official set with so many SNOT techniques. To tell the truth, I was feeling sad when I grabbed the 12th and last bag, I really wanted to continue building! Not something I feel usually...

Let's play a game: close your eyes, imagine a bracket part of your choice, choose its color too. Done? Then open your eyes and look: that part is actually in the set's inventory!!! Ok, I'm exaggerating things, but seriously, the guts of the rocket are not only filled with 4x4x6 quarter cylinders, but also with almost 150 brackets of all sorts. Just look at the following pictures:

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Not so many spare parts for a build that big. But we got a spare astronaut! (In case we lost one in the vastness of space...)

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And now some pictures of the complete model. The Saturn V can stand on its 1st stage engines, but that may not be the safest way to display it.

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My favorite way of displaying the Saturn V as it shows the engines of each stage. But I'll need to build more supports.

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Interesting parts

I usually take a picture of all the parts I find interesting in a set. I just grab the finished model and tear it apart to get the parts I want... I'll be honest: I didn't want to destroy the Saturn V!  First, let's check the printed parts. We got 8 1x6 tiles in white, 4 with "UNITED" and 4 with "STATES" printed in red. A white 1x8 tile with small black rectangles. We also got printed 3x2 curved slopes, 4 with a US flag, and 4 of each letter for "USA". The landed command module 4x4x2 cone is also nicely printed, as is the 2x2 boat stud on the lunar module. What may be the best-printed part in this set is the 3 white microfigs (plus one spare) with their astronaut's suit. The astronauts also come with a US flag printed on a trans-clear 1x2 tile.

There are no new molds in this set, but some nice new colors for some parts. The very end of the first stage engines is made with 3x3 dishes in trans-neon orange and half large barrels in pearl dark grey. As a builder I prefer small parts, and here we got some nice 1x1 round tile with bar and pin holder both in black and white! The 8x8 round tile in dark blue and the 6 1x6x5 rectangular supports in blue are also really nice. In addition, the set contains almost 150 different brackets and 150 3x2 curved slopes in white and black.

 

Conclusion

Design: 9/10 - The design looks spot!

Parts: 8/10 - No new parts, but a lot of interesting ones like all the printed parts, the brackets, and parts in new colors.

Build: 10/10 - Maybe the best building experience I had with an official set. Lots of nice techniques, 

Price: 8/10 - With a ppp of 0,06€, this set is rather cheap, and could be a nice source for some parts.

Overall: 35/40 (88%) - I really, and I mean really, enjoyed building this set. I wasn't sure at first if I'll keep it assembled after the review, but now there's no doubt I'll display it somewhere at home. Truly one of the best Lego sets I've seen recently! If you're interested in space, you'll get this set. If not, you'll also get this set! There is a lot of things to learn during the build, and it makes a great display piece

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Wow, it contains a lot of in interesting parts. There's more than meets the eye. Obviously, the almost 2000 parts have to go somewhere, but I'm still surprised!

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I love the set firstly because ROCKET! But also because it looks like a 5 year-old built the insides and then their scientist parent came along and put a clean shell on it to hide all the ugly lol

Thanks for sharing, that build looks nuts

Edited by Henchmen4Hire

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This set is simply astonishing

One of the best LEGO IDEAS sets so far

I love how much effort they put in the instructions booklet: it's a collection piece by itself

Getting an extra astronaut is a nice surprice

An all the prints! 

Now I can see why it took them so much time to release this one. 

Thanks for the review

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A great set indeed. Seems perfect on every aspect (design, accuracy, price, technique, etc).

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This is THE best set of 2017 IMO. Great prints, great finished model, amazing price... wow. No play features but oh well, doesn't hurt the awesomeness of this set too much.

Too bad I won't get this, it is a little lower on my wishlist. 

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2 hours ago, VaderFan2187 said:

This is THE best set of 2017 IMO.

Seconded!

The best sidenote on this amazing set is the number of bricks used for it! :wub:

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Wish I could afford this. Looks like quite complex build which are the sets I enjoy building. I love all the little details and the instruction book looks awesome.

Edited by Tech Artist

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Fantastic set and fantastic build! Can't wait to get my hand on this. All those SNOT techniques are amazing and mind blowing.

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I can't wait to buy this set on the first, what a great way to represent an era of space exploration and tech development.

Great review!

Cheers

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Outstanding set from the model itself to the box and the instruction book. And of course the number of parts. The only fly in the ointment is they didn't use 20769 as set number ;-)

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Normally i'm not interested in space stuff like this. But this one looks so splendid that i really want to have this. This might be the most satisfying build in a long time.

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36 minutes ago, Lighti said:

impressive set, whats the overall length of the rocket fully assembled?

The Saturn V is more than 1 meter tall.

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As a Technic enthusiasts I spend almost all of my LEGO budget on Technic sets, but I feel like I have to get this one. It looks stunning, the shape is perfect, one of the best looking sets ever in my opinion. The build seems to be very interesting with lots of uncommon techniques used. I have one question though; How durable is the finished model? The connections used to achieve the round shape seem to be rather flimsy but I can't tell from the pictures. 

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9 hours ago, HallBricks said:

As a Technic enthusiasts I spend almost all of my LEGO budget on Technic sets, but I feel like I have to get this one. It looks stunning, the shape is perfect, one of the best looking sets ever in my opinion. The build seems to be very interesting with lots of uncommon techniques used. I have one question though; How durable is the finished model? The connections used to achieve the round shape seem to be rather flimsy but I can't tell from the pictures. 

On the contrary, the build is very sturdy! Using vertical plates to join horizontal brackets add some tension to the build that makes it very strong, especially when using very long plates and several brackets, like here.

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2 hours ago, Bob De Quatre said:

On the contrary, the build is very sturdy! Using vertical plates to join horizontal brackets add some tension to the build that makes it very strong, especially when using very long plates and several brackets, like here.

Thank you, I thought it might be more durable than it looks to be. I really have to get this set...

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great looking set.  

You forgot 10/10 for playability.  You can simulate the entire mission with this set. 

Steve

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2 hours ago, Choops said:

great looking set.  

You forgot 10/10 for playability.  You can simulate the entire mission with this set. 

Steve

Maybe not the entire mission—it doesn't include the launch platform or crawler transporter. :wink:

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This set is almost too good to be true!  Printed parts, conversation display piece, great looking, great build, nice manual, nice box, great price (by Lego standards). 

I only wish they had included one sticker: a spec sheet like they use in Star Wars UCS and on the Batman Tumbler UCS. That with a regular sized, detailed astronaut minifigure on a display stand would have made this set perfect.  

This is a set I highly look forward to purchasing and building!

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