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.
The set itself comes in a standard high-quality Architecture box.
Inside it's chock-full of parts bags.
Five bags and one perfect-bound instruction manual. Note the brick separator: that must be my hundredth one!
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.
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.
Towers two and three follow. They are similar, but not identical.
So far, the back of the model looks like this. The grilles do a good job of portraying balconies.
Next, three 'fronts' are added which attach using some ingenious SNOT inside the towers.
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.
The completed model
The front, presumably facing the sea.
The back, which is entirely covered with balconies.
I like the 1 x 1 round tiles used to represent the gardens...
...and this detail on the right-hand end looks great.
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...
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