This Architecture version of The Eiffel Tower is now available at shop.LEGO.com and also brand stores and, I believe, selected stores in Paris. The LEGO CEE team has kindly sent review copies to selected AFOL sites.
The Eiffel Tower is arguably the most recognised and famous man-made structure in the world. Built in 1889, it was supposed to stand for just 20 years before being dismantled, but Eiffel successfully persuaded the authorities that it was useful for communications and scientific experiments, so it still stands to this day.
This is the second model LEGO has produced of it, the first one being the 1:300 scale, 3400-piece behemoth 10181 released in 2007.
This one is to a much smaller scale, and stands at just 300 mm high.
The box is a standard Architecture box in black, well made, easy to open and useful to store the finished model in, but broken down a bit first, obviously.
There's not too much wasted space inside.
Four bags and one perfect-bound instruction book. It's a very monochrome set, only the dark green 'grass' tiles are not black, grey or silver.
Interestingly, the instructions do not say who designed the model: this might be the only Architecture set where it's not stated. But they do provide details on the designing and building of the real structure, in French and English.
Construction starts with the base which is 14 x 14 square. Two name tiles are provided which is a nice touch.
The middle section of the tower is constructed first and as you can see, the new-ish clip-plates are put to good use in this section, and in fact the whole tower. The 1x2 grilles are silver.
Next the legs are attached, again using the clip-plates.
This assembly is then attached to the base. It wobbles about a bit and can be hard to get level, although the stiffness of the Technic flexi-hoses does help with stability.
Finally, the top section is built with clip-plates and tiles galore and mounted onto the middle section.
The finished model is a great representation of the tower and in many ways more so than the 2007 version. It's also a lot easier to display!
At $35/£30 for 321-pieces, its price is on a par with other Architecture sets, which many would say is expensive compared to other themes, but when you buy an Architecture set, you're not only getting a well-designed model, you're also getting premium packaging, superior instructions and a proper 'grown-up' model-making experience.
I have two minor criticisms:
- I think I would have preferred the silver parts (tubes, grilles and octagonal part at the top) to have been light grey for uniformity. I certainly would have preferred the entire tower to have been made in silver!
- It is impossible to lay the perfect-bound instruction book flat to look at while building. It's a problem with all Architecture sets but worse with this one because it's bound on the long side. I had to rest my Nexus 7 on the top of the pages to hold them flat, which meant a two-hand job to turn them.
Despite these niggles, I have no hesitation in recommending this set and I'm sure it will sell well, particularly in Paris where it will have no problems competing with the tacky souvenirs of the tower available there.
Note if you're interested in photography: I bought myself a Nikon D610 for Christmas. These (and Cloud Cuckoo Palace) are the first pictures I've taken with it. I used the AF-S 60mm f2.8 Micro lens at f22 for these shots, which is now a lot more useful focal length when mounted on a full-frame camera rather than on my old D7000 DX. The model is illuminated by three flashes, diffused by Lastolite soft-boxes: one either side and one above. The camera's sensor is dust-free and hopefully I can keep it that way: I was fed up with cloning dust spots out, which, when you shoot at small apertures, are very noticeable.
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