Review: 21021 Marina Bay Sands

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In October, we had our first glimpse of this Architecture set when a small image was posted on the LEGO customer survey site. Last week, its instructions were added to the LEGO Customer Services site and now, thanks to LEGO's Singapore office and the CEE team, I have one to review.

Before I launch into the review, I suspect you're all wondering 'how can I get one?' Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that it can be purchased now. The bad news is, only in Asia. It's also for sale at shop.LEGO.com but only to Korea. It can also be purchased from the Marina Bay Sands hotel gift shop 'and selected LEGO retailers in Asia'. I'm told that it's a limited edition run of 10,000. Your best bet then, is to head to the forum and see if you can hook up with someone in Asia to get one shipped to you.

Marina Bay Sands is a hotel and leisure complex on the southern tip of Singapore. It was designed by Moshe Safdie and opened in 2010. It's 57-stories high and cost $5.7 billion to build. It has some very cool features including a rooftop 'infinity pool'. There are some great pictures of it, and the building, on this blog. The 602-piece LEGO version was designed by Rok Kobe, who also designed the UN Headquarters.

It appears that LEGO Singapore has its offices in the Marina Bay area which may help explain why this set has been produced.

Packaging and contents

The set arrived in an very cool outer box made from vinyl or something that folds flat to reveal a map of the Marina Sands development. Inside was the boxed set and a press kit on CD. I suspect, therefore, that the retail version won't be packaged like this.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

The set itself comes in a standard high-quality Architecture box.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

Inside it's chock-full of parts bags.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

Five bags and one perfect-bound instruction manual. Note the brick separator: that must be my hundredth one!

21021 Marina Bay Sands

Construction

Building begins with the base as you'd expect but as you can see, construction of the rest of the model is going to be a little different to usual with just four studs and 2 Technic pins upon it.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

Next you build the central tower which attaches to the pins on the base. Two connecting 'corridors' are added which the other towers will be attached to. The four studs on the base are used to stop them wiggling about: they are not actually connected to them.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

Towers two and three follow. They are similar, but not identical.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

So far, the back of the model looks like this. The grilles do a good job of portraying balconies.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

Next, three 'fronts' are added which attach using some ingenious SNOT inside the towers.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

Finally the 'skypark' featuring the gardens and infinity pool, is added. On the real building, it's at a height of 200m and cantilevers 65m out at one end.

Overall, it's a relatively straightforward build that took about 90 minutes or so to complete, including stopping for photographs.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

The completed model

The front, presumably facing the sea.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

The back, which is entirely covered with balconies.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

21021 Marina Bay Sands

I like the 1 x 1 round tiles used to represent the gardens...

21021 Marina Bay Sands

...and this detail on the right-hand end looks great.

21021 Marina Bay Sands

Overall opinion

If you study the pictures of the real building at the pages I link to above, you'll see that it's entirely curved: all four of the towers' sides are curved and there are curvy bits sticking out all over the place.

Rok must have wondered what he'd let himself in for when he agreed to design a LEGO version given the curves and lack of perpendicular sides on the original building. Nevertheless, he's done a great job of capturing the shape and elegance of it and think you'd have trouble bettering it at this size. Many details of the original have been reproduced as best they could be and the finished model is a joy to behold.

I have nothing negative to say about the model itself. The only negative thing about it is how it's being marketed. There are LEGO Architecture fans across the world but many outside of Asia will struggle to get hold if it, and that's a shame because it's a great model.

In South Korea, it costs 79,000 Won, which is about £45 or $75. For a 600-piece Architecture set, I suspect that's about right, maybe a little cheaper than others. So, get hold of one if you can.

Having researched the building for this review, I now have a longing to go to Singapore and visit it...

28 comments on this article

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By in Singapore,

Nice review! I think it's one of the first on the web.

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By in United Kingdom,

Typical! I was in two minds about this when I first saw it. Now I know I can't have it (not easily, anyway), it's gone straight to the top of my 'want' list.

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By in Netherlands,

In actual fact, in the real building, the balconies overlook a park and beyond that, the sea, while the 'front' overlooks the bay.
Anyhow, thanks for reviewing this set! This definitely looks better by way of this review than the previous official pictures I'd seen. It's quite a bit bigger than I had expected too.

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By in United States,

The building looks just freakish in real life! So it is cool it was chosen for an Architecture set. Can't wait to get it! Maybe they will extend production so the rest of us mere mortals have a chance at buying one. Hint, Hint!

While you are in Singapore, make sure you visit Legoland Malaysia just across the border. Keep an eye out for those country special fares on Singapore Airlines…that is how I did it for a roundtrip from NY to Kuala Lumpur stopping over in Singapore for just 1100.US two months ago.

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By in United States,

i thought that i saw this set for sale in the USA at the local Lego store in Nashville TN. i am going there today I hope. It's my birthday today, and my wife is giving me a budget of 200 dollars. If i see it i am going to buy it and i will let every one know. (i thought i saw it on the shelf the last time i was there acting like a kid at the candy store window.)

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By in United Kingdom,

Quite a nice little build actually.

I don't buy the architecture series myself but this appears to be one of the better models in the series.

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By in United States,

@astarguy - you may be thinking of the United Nations HQ set, which also has a bit of trans-light blue elements.

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By in Singapore,

i dont think just the asia will used up all the 1000 sets. And further more the sets sold in singapore SGD 89.90 is too expoensive. Maybe once it get into US or UK the price will drop.

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By in United Kingdom,

^Architecture sets are all extortionate for the bricks you get, I wouldn't expect the price to drop myself.

On that being your 100th brick separator, Huw, should an AFOLs expertise or collection be judged by how many brick separators he/she has? That could be a brilliant little feature against people's profiles, like a tongue in cheek ranking system! I think I'm a 6er, and I really want to get a green one as mine are all orange. :P

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By in United States,

That's too bad it's Asia only, this was the first Architecture set I was thinking about buying. Though I have to say...$75 for 600 mostly tiny bricks puts me off rather...

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By in United Kingdom,

That hole in the 'deck' of the overhanging roof looks dangerous.

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By in United Kingdom,

A good looking set though not too bothered about Architecture. Are you also saying that this set will only ever be available in Asia and wont be coming to rest of world later on?

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By in United Kingdom,

Oooh! 1x1 round tiles in Olive Green! :)

Nice review btw!

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By in United States,

Kind of pricey. (Guess I'll ask my family to pick one up...)

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By in Canada,

I find all Architecture sets have been expensive for what they are however have enjoyed the larger models and later building chosen. Are we positive its only released in Asia. If anyone is willing to pick one up I would be interested. Ebay prices are already ridiculous

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By in Canada,

I can try to help get one from Korea, shipping from South Korea is not too expensive, I guess about $25 with tracking, there's EMS too, much faster and maybe around $35. I'm not sure how heavy the box is though.

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By in Slovenia,

The designer is from Slovenia, the same country as I am. :D

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By in United States,

Do we know what this set costs in Singapore? Also how big is the box?

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By in Australia,

"It appears that LEGO Singapore has its offices in the Marina Bay area which may help explain why this set has been produced."

...or maybe just because it's a beautiful and world-famous building. It deserves to be included in the LEGO Architecture theme just as much as the UN HQ and the Korean temple.

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By in United Kingdom,

I have big Ben and the Whitehouse but will not be buying anymore. I have all the modular buildings and tower bridge which I think are far better value for money. These sets all seem so over priced. Getting the Sydney opera house for Christmas and looking forward to the Parisian restaurant next month.

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By in Singapore,

Just a quick check on Lego site (http://aboutus.lego.com/en-us/lego-group/locations). The head office of Lego is along the promenade near the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the new downtown area called Marina South. Since completion, Marina Bay Sands Hotel has become the latest tourism icon in Singapore. The Infinity Pool on the Marina Bay Sands Hotel's Skypark is the world's highest outdoor swimming pool.

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By in Singapore,

The set is selling ~US$70 here in Singapore. You could get it at the Marina Bay Sands gift shop, local TRU or any of the Lego speciality shops (not owned by Lego but they sell nothing else but Lego) which numbered around 15 or so around the island. But with the limited quantities produced, I know that it is sold out in a couple of the shops here so if you are visiting, I suggest you give a ring to the shop you are interested in visiting before you go down. Of course, if you scout on ebay, you will probably see some over-priced deals being sold by my fellow countrymen.

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By in Indonesia,

Wow. I thought that being close enough to Singapore gave me a chance to get this set. Apparently, the scalpers got to it first...

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By in Germany,

Seeing how Rebrickable (and I assume a bunch of other sites) got a copy to review, too, I have to wonder what TLG is thinking. What's the point of soliciting reviews for a set that won't even be made available to a larger audience? Not to mention that they are giving away a bunch of sets that are extremely limited to begin with, artificially limiting the supply even further.

I can only guess their marketing was on some kind of autopilot and simply screwed up this one. Don't tease loyal customers. Give them reviews of things they can actually buy, or keep quiet.

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By in Canada,

The set is already sold out on the Korean Online Lego store.

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By in United States,

talked to the lego store today (bought 4 sets for my birthday) i guess i was WRONG when i thought i had seen a model in the store. they said they have had some inquires about the set but they had no idea if it would ever come to the USA. i guess its a limited set. Bummer i want one i guess i will just have to over pay on ebay.

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By in Australia,

I can confirm that the LEGO office in Singapore is about a 10 minute walk from Marina Bay sands, I have been to both buildings... that being said though, Marina Bay Sands earns its place on its own merit.

Having stayed at Marina Bay Sands, I can say that this building is absolutely worthy of an Architecture set. It seems to be getting a lot of criticism from those outside of Singapore because people haven't previously heard of it.

For those of us outside the US, some of the other Architecture set decisions seem to be a bit ridiculous (Rockefeller Center?), so it's good to see more international architecture covered.

Marina Bay Sands really is an engineering marvel and a place you will remember forever once setting foot in (and on) it. I really hope they continue with the Singapore theme and create an Architecture set for the lotus shaped Singapore Museum which is often photographed with Marina Bay Sands in the background.

Just need to find a way to get my hands on this set now....

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