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Review: 21034 London




"A mighty mass of brick, and smoke, and shipping,
"Dirty and dusty, but wide as eye
"Could reach, with here and there a sail just skipping
"In sight, then lost admist the forestry
"Of masts; a wilderness of steeples peeping
"On tiptoe through their sea-coal canopy;
"A huge, dun cupola, like a foolscap crown
"On a fool's head - and there is London Town."

--Lord Byron

Set Number: 21034
Theme: Architecture
Subtheme: Skylines
Piece Count: 468
Price: USD $39.99
Source: Brickset, LEGO Shop
Official Image:




"By seeing London, I've seen as much of life as the world can show." -- Samuel Johnson

I guess I've got a ways to go then!  But to get as close as I can at the minute, let's see what this set has to offer!

In keeping with other box art from the Architecture Skylines, the London set is shown on top of a couple of blueprints.  It's a very clean, modern presentation.


The back identifies the buildings shown in the model.


Like other Architecture sets, the box is nicely designed with an opening flap.





"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford." -- Samuel Johnson (...again)

I suspect there are a few things outside of London - say, in Denmark - that might also fall under the heading of "all that life can afford" for us Fans-of-LEGO, but be the truth of the quotation what it may, it figures prominently on the inside page of the instructions booklet for this set.  The front, however, repeats the same design as the front of the box.


The instructions are printed on a black background, which made the first few steps - the black base of the building - slightly difficult to follow, but not too bad.


On the back of the instruction booklet there's an interesting design of the skyline fading into a blue-print style outline.


At the front of the booklet, before reaching the instructions, there are several pages showing large color images of the landmarks represented in this build, and including brief descriptions of each one.


It was neat to see some little fun facts scattered throughout the booklet as well:




“A person who is tired of London is not necessarily tired of life; it might be that he just can’t find a parking place.” -- Paul Theroux

Inside the box are four bags, unnumbered.


Tan, greys, black, and white predominate here, though there are plenty of trans-clear pieces and a few blues and golds.


A few of the parts that caught my attention were the azure flexible bits, the silver "bowl," a host of 2x1 trans-clear tiles (40, to be exact!), a light grey clip (a first for me), an azure bar joint, a few tan front-facing teeth, the olive 1x1 round tiles, light bley 1x1 curved tiles, a nanofigure in white, and an azure jumper.


These were the extra pieces by the time I was done building: (note: the transparent 1x1 round tile is trans-light-blue, not trans-clear)


The construction process is fairly straight forward.  There were a few clever bits, but due to its nature as a skyline, there are no hidden "solutions."  It would probably have taken longer, but this is the kind of set that would be pretty easy to build just by looking at the picture on the front of the box.


Final Set

"London, thou art the flower of cities all!  Gemme of all joy, jasper of jocunditie." - William Dunbar


Flower of cities or not, this is certainly a gem of a set - lovely bright colors, instantly recognizable models, and to crown it all, some really great new pieces!  It's a great set to display, though I'm afraid one of these days it will succumb to my desire for 40 trans-clear 2x1 tiles...


I believe this exceeds the average skyline set in length, and as you can see from the back view, it has two sections that stick out slightly.




"Nothing is certain in London but expense." --William Shenstone

First stop in your lovely, because free, tour of London here - The National Gallery!  Located in Trafalgar Square, this art museum sits atop the ancient location of the King's Stables.  Home to a collection of twenty-three hundred paintings, the museum is broad in scope, with important works representing all the main developments of Western art!  Plus, admission is free!


Note the 3x2 white tile on the back.  That escaped my eye as I was collecting the interesting pieces, but it's a part I'd never seen before!


Next stop: Nelson's Column!  "England expects every man to do his duty!"  From the cement bottom to the sandstone tip of Nelson's hat, this monument measures a full 169 ft 3 in (51.6 m) - the real one, of course, not the LEGO one...


Moving on, we reach what is probably one of the most iconic sights in this skyline - Big Ben.  Well, officially it's named Elizabeth Tower.  Not catchy!  
Fun fact: on top of the pendulum there's a stack of penny coins to help regulate the time.  Adding one will change the clock's speed by 0.4 seconds in a day.


Although I've discovered this before, and actually used it myself just recently, the geometry of the slope bricks making up the roof never ceases to amaze me!


Our fourth stop dominates the skyline - appropriately, as it is, after all, the London Eye.  Or, to give it its full name (as of 2015), the Coca Cola London Eye!  At the time of its erection (1999) it was the world's largest Ferris Wheel, and each capsule weighs in at 10 tonnes!


It's a little tricky to bend the flex tubes that make up the Eye into a perfect circle, but it breaks up the skyline very nicely.


The Eye is cleverly connected to the base of the skyline with a 4L bar pushed through a couple of technic pins.


And last but not least, the Tower Bridge!  Another iconic symbol, the Tower Bridge opened officially on 30 June 1894, Prince of Wales (future Edward VII) and Princess of Wales (Alexandra of Denmark) officiating!


It must not, however, be confused with the London Bridge, another half a mile downstream.


Let the poor sailboat on through!


That concludes our little tour of London!  I think you'll have to agree that the designers did a good job choosing landmarks to include in this skyline.  Each one of them is quickly recognizable - at least, as soon as you know what the original looks like.  Plus, they go together excellently well!




What a great way to get a lot out of a little!  This is one of those builds where every piece counts.  The final set is solid, well-worthy of being displayed!  And as a bonus, it's a great educational springboard.  I learned quite a bit about London thanks to this set!

Playability: 10/10 - Kidding!  This set is obviously meant to be gloated over, not played with...  But if I had to give it a rating for playability, it'd be 5/10.  After all, you can swoosh it around.

Building Experience: 6/10 - Enjoyable, but nothing too amazing and a few repetitive parts.  And attaching all 40 2x1 trans-clear tiles right was confusing...

Design: 10/10 - Seriously.  The micros are spot on, detailed, and beautiful.  And unlike my microscale creations, these are actually attached!  If you've built microscale, you probably know that that's a feat in and of itself!

Aesthetic: 8/10 - On the whole, this is a very pretty set, with hardly any spots for even the pickiest to find fault.  I've said it before, but the variety of heights and shapes in the landmarks chosen is really pleasant to the eye.  Plus, there's just the right amount of color with the bits of olive, azure blue, and gold!

Price: 7/10 - Although the set is on the small side, that's just because the pieces are small, not because they are few!  On the contrary, there's a lot to like about the parts selection.  And then there's always the high-quality box and instruction booklet!

Overall: 8.5/10 - This is definitely one of my favorite straight-out-of-the-box sets.  Lots to enjoy and admire.  Well designed, aesthetically beautiful, and a fun building experience.  Plus, as a MOCer, I really like the idea of those 40 2x1 trans-clear tiles.  - Just in case that wasn't already obvious.

And so I'll leave you all with one parting quote!

“London is a splendid place to live in for those who can get out of it.” --Lord Balfour of Burleigh
I have a feeling that might be true in a lot of cities...

Till next time!

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