The latest Architecture set, 21018 UN Headquarters, is released today. LEGO has kindly sent us one to review. Before I start, I should confess that I own 13 Architecture sets but that this is the first one that I've actually opened the box of and built, which is pretty shameful, isn't it...
The UN Headquarters is in New York, USA and was built just after the second world war. It was designed primarily by Oscar Niemeyer, who went on to design Brazil's capital city Brasilia. It's said to be in the 'modernist style' of architecture. You can find out more about it on Wikipedia, or by buying the set which, in common with other Architecture sets, has extensive notes about the building in the instruction manual.
On with the review...
Box and contents
The box has the all-black distinctive styling of other sets in the Architecture range. It's a well made box that can be opened without destroying it, and can be used to store the model in. It's a shame that not all LEGO boxes are made this way.
The instruction manual is a hefty 116-page perfect bound book which has notes about the building, its construction and a brief history of the UN at the front, and a 'word from the artist' Rok Kobe, at the back.
I've photographed the main steps of the construction to give you a feel for how it's put together. First of course, you build the base plate which features printed tiles showing the name of the building; these are unique to this set.
Much of the base is tiled, and the building foundations have been laid.
Here, the base of the main tower block and the conference building at the back, has been built.
The conference building is a trapezoid shape which has required some sophisticated 'half-plate-offset' techniques to achieve. This method is often used by AFOLs but I think it's the first time I've seen it in an official set (but then, this is the first Architecture set I've actually built...)
Next, the general assembly building, front left, is completed. This features gently curved sides which also use the half-stud offset technique to achieve.
Finally, the tower is completed using all the 1 x 2 trans-light-blue plates, sandwiched with 2 x 4 light blue plates. The effect is quite pleasing. If you look closely at the top, you'll notice that it's 9-studs wide, sitting on a building that is 8-studs wide with brackets and tiles down the sides. An interesting technique was used to achieve this, while maintaining the brackets down the side. I won't spoil the surprise of how's it's done, you'll have to build it for yourself...
The flagpoles are a bit of a nuisance to line up :-)
The finished model
The finished model looks great from all angles...
Prior to building this set, I had thought that Architecture sets were expensive and parts-light sets that put style before substance, but this build has changed my perception.
This is a model aimed squarely at adults and older builders, and which uses tricks and techniques that are not seen in regular sets. Consequently, I learned a thing or two when I built it.
The finished model really is a joy to behold and, as far as I can tell, accurately depicts the UN building.
Everything about the set is quality: the box, the instructions, the attention to detail in the design and the parts selection. I therefore have no hesitation in recommending it.
It's priced at $50 in the USA, which for a 597-piece set is not too bad. I don't know the UK price, but I suspect it will be around £40. It should be available from shop.LEGO.com today (01 October) but as I write, it hasn't been added to all countries yet.
Now I'm off to crack open my other 12 Architecture sets to see if they are as good as this one...
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