As striking as this LEGO Architecture London Skyline set is, the biggest surprise is that, six years after its release, it’s still around. Poor old LEGO Tokyo and Chicago on the other hand, have been retired and are going for over twice their original price online.
But whether you’ve set foot in the city or not, you’ll be glad this Architecture set is still around. Featuring LEGO versions of London’s National Gallery, Nelson’s Column, Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the London Eye, it’s a great little build.
LEGO Architecture 21034 London Skyline
- RRP: £34.99
- Number of pieces: 468
- Release date: January 2017
- Age rating: 12+
- Time to build: 2 hours
What’s in the box?
The pieces of LEGO Architecture 21034 London Skyline are divided into five bags, which is reasonable for a set of this size. What’s a little surprising, however, is that they’re not numbered. Nor are the instructions, so it’s a case of emptying all the bags into a tray and poking around for whichever piece you need. We suspect that might be a sign of the set’s age: it’s certainly more unusual to find sets with unnumbered bags today than it was back in 2017.
The instruction booklet’s additional content does almost make up for this. Aside from telling you how to build the set, it also features an information page about each of the five buildings, with a colour photograph of each. However, while the booklet shows a LEGO Brick Separator, there isn’t one included. Chances are, though, you’ve already got more than a few hanging around the house.
With under 500 pieces, the LEGO Architecture London Skyline set is, for the most part, an easy build. There’s something particularly relaxing about watching the set come together from the ground up – first the ground then the river, and then each building. Even the blue pieces, which serve as Tower Bridge’s cables, were relatively easy to fit.
There is one tricky section, though, and that’s the London Eye. Up until that point it was just a case of putting the pieces in exactly the right place – we had to backtrack maybe once, and that was our fault. But to make the Eye, London’s gigantic Ferris wheel, you have to position the “cars” on two pairs of plastic straws.
There’s a 1:1 scale drawing in the instruction manual to help you (you can lay the straws on top of it), but it’s a little fiddly. We spent way too long trying to get the cars perfectly equidistant before we realised we could be there all afternoon. We eventually got to a point where we felt it was good enough and moved on.
The set does make cheeky reuse of a couple of familiar pieces. Firstly, Nelson, “widely regarded as one of the greatest naval commanders in history”, according to Wikipedia, is the same tiny LEGO guy we got in our LEGO Advent Calendar. Then there’s the spires next to Big Ben, which are little LEGO flashlights. On the one hand, we admire the company’s innovative use, or rather re-use of parts. On the other, there must have been some more suitable pieces available. As much as we love this little set, every time we look at Big Ben, we know.
Play or display?
This is definitely one for display. It’s not so much that it’s an adult set – its age rating is 12+ – but because there’s next to no interactivity. You can raise and lower the Tower Bridge, but the London Eye isn’t designed to move. There’s no specific way of coupling it to other LEGO Architecture Skyline sets, but we can see this sitting nicely alongside Paris, New York and more. Even on its own it’s still an eye-pleasing set, particularly given it’s a mere 15cm high.
Value for money?
Should you pay this set’s £34.99 asking price? Absolutely – let’s face it, you’d spend more than that on a round of drinks in London. But, more importantly, with some LEGO prices on the rise it’s great value for money – it’s actually come down in price from its originally £44.99 RRP.
Should you buy LEGO Architecture 21034 London Skyline?
If the idea of casting your eye over London’s skyline appeals to you, you should absolutely buy this. Yes, LEGO will probably, at some point, be putting out another huge Big Ben set or reissuing Tower Bridge. But we absolutely love the way it represents a (compressed) chunk of London, even with those torches.
It may be for display only but it’s fun to build and looks good sitting on whatever shelf space you’ve got left. And, at £34.99, it’s great value for money. Though, be warned, now we’ve started we can see these Skyline sets becoming a bit of a habit. If you want this one for your collection, we’d recommend grabbing it while it’s still around: six years is a long time for any LEGO set to be on shelves, so it’s likely this one will be discontinued sooner rather than later.