Review: 21036 Arc De Triomphe

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View image at flickr

The release of Architecture sets appears to have settled into a pattern of skylines at the start of the year, then three landmarks or famous buildings released at a rate of one a quarter or so.

This year's three are a new version of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (21035) that we reviewed in April; 21036 Arc de Triomphe, the subject of this review; and 21037 LEGO House that will be available from the end of this month at the LEGO House in Billund.

So let's take a look at this latest offering of one of Paris's famous landmarks...


Box and contents

Like all Architecture (and Ideas) sets the box is high-quality, has a flip-top and is not destroyed on opening. Inside are 386 pieces packaged in several unnumbered bags and a 86-page perfect-bound instruction booklet that also contains information about the structure and its construction. I learned, for example, that it was commissioned by Napoleon I to commemorate his military conquests but work halted when he was defeated in 1814. It was finally completed in 1836.

Parts-wise, there isn't really much of interest worth mentioning: it's mostly standard Architecture fare -- small plates, tiles and SNOT bricks, as you'll see in the inventory.


Construction

About half the volume of ABS in the box goes into making the 18x12 baseplate, which, in common with other Architecture sets is three plates high with a printed 1x8 tile at the front.

View image at flickr

Construction follows a logical sequence and there's not really much to comment on.

The round gold dish in the centre represents the eternal flame of remembrance that has been lit since 1920. It commemorates the victims of the world wars.

View image at flickr

Grey jumper plates have been used with their bottom facing out to represent the sculptures at the top of the arches.

View image at flickr

Until this point the construction has been all studs-on-top. Now SNOT and hinge bottoms (3937 Rocker Bearing 1X2) are used to provide detail at the top.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Overall 30 white Rocker Bearing 1X2 are used to good effect to replicate the textures at the top of the structure.

View image at flickr


The completed model

The completed structure stands about 11cm high. The front and back of the model are identical, which is the case for the real monument, bar the sculptures.

View image at flickr

Looking at Google Maps the top appears to have been accurately represented here.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Verdict

This is a competent model of a well known landmark. However, as you've probably been able to tell from how little I've written about it, it's also a bit boring.

Construction is mostly linear, there's no particularly clever parts usage, and nothing of note in the inventory. On the plus side it's not full of tiny 1x1 parts that need careful alignment, so building it is quick and painless.

View image at flickr

I predict it will sell like hotcakes in France but I'm struggling to see the appeal elsewhere. Die-hard Architecture fans will want it for their collection, of course, but I don't think it'll tempt many others in the way that, say, 21035 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum does, which is far more visually interesting.

It's available from shop.LEGO.com for $39.99 in the USA, £29.99 in the UK and 34.99€ in France.


Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for review. The review is an expression of my own opinions.

14 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Wow. I actually thought this was a great looking set and had considered picking it up. I don't own that many architecture sets either and I've never been to France, but this is appealing to me for some reason. Interesting how viewpoints can be so different.

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By in United States,

I might get it because they haven't made one before, but it doesn't look like it will be a family favorite. I like how they did the indents though.

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By in United States,

I like the topic/subject well enough for going along with my Eiffel Tower and Louvre, but they didn't get the proportional height of the Arc's base right.

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By in United States,

I came to a similar lackluster conclusion in my review at brickarchitect.com - Definitely think a lot of the recent additions to the series are better than this one.

Also, it looks like you did not notice the error in the instructions. It's minor, but I called it out here: http://brickarchitect.com/2017/review-21036-arc-de-triomphe/

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By in France,

May be it deserved a larger scale to make a more difficult and interesting building. Global shapes look well rendered, but a bit bulky and square just as the original is. Bigger scale would provide more details, more building techniques and interesting use of parts for sure. Not a must buy even for the French I am. Nice and... Concise review however. Not much to say about it...

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By in Denmark,

^^ no i didn't notice that!

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By in United Kingdom,

I thought the outward jumper plates and the use of rocker parts was clever, but maybe that just shows my ignorance of Lego techniques.

It's a pity the designers keep revisiting 19th/20th century buildings and New York, London and Paris. Great cities, but there's more architectural variety to this world... I wouldn't mind some Japanese architecture, for example. Surely it would be a challenging design, but if Lego produced fewer sets, designers would have more time to work on each one and come up with better and more original sets. (I'm saying this just based on interviews on Brickset where designers say they didn't have much time to work on a set.)

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By in United Kingdom,

I have no idea what the Guggenheim Museum is, and would never had heard of it if it wasn't for Lego making models of it. I would much rather have this on my shelf.

That said, I'd rather have seen a more interesting landmark recreated. Notre Dame would have been a better choice!

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By in United States,

Just picked this up to go with The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower on my desk.
Simple but nice looking. Of course at larger scale can incorporate lots of details, but for a desktop model, looks great. Helps you dream of long romantic walks along the Champs-Elysees ;)
VIVE LA FRANCE!

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By in Norway,

I like it and since I stopped collecting all Star Wars Lego (I simply can't afford it anymore), I was happy to spend money on this set instead :)

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By in United States,

I'd certainly have preferred a more imaginative rendition of the sculptures, in the style of the Trevi Fountain, but overall this is a competent-enough rendition. Competency isn't enough to get it into my collection, though; I'll regret a great many of my Architecture non-purchases more than this one. Pass.

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By in Australia,

I don't usually - well, ever - get Architecture sets, although my eyes are on the Sydney Skyline as the places depicted are the only ones I've actually visited among the Architecture line. There need to be examples beyond major Western cities. A Golden Pavilion would be a day one purchase for me.

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By in United States,

its the Arc de Full Retreat.

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By in United States,

Looking forward to snagging this on sale.
Though I do think it's time to highlight more Asian, African, and Central/South American structures, this one was really a no-brainer to make.

As the simplicity of this build is a welcome addition to my desktop, my inner Lego fan screams for more details/a bigger model.

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