Review: 21047 Las Vegas

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View image at flickr

An Architecture Las Vegas skyline set was originally slated for release in January this year but following an incident involving one of the buildings in the city, it was cancelled and subsequently redesigned to omit it. The result is 21047 Las Vegas, which will be available from 1st September.

Also known as Sin City and the Gambling Capital of the World, Las Vegas is perhaps an odd choice of city for LEGO portray, although there's no disputing it's home to some interesting architecture.


Box and contents

The high-quality flip-top style box contains five unnumbered bags of parts and the perfect-bound manual which, as usual, provides information about the city and the buildings featured as well as building instructions.

The back of the box shows what they are, from left to right: the Las Vegas sign, Bellagio Hotel, Luxor Las Vegas, Encore at the Wynn, Stratosphere Las Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience.

View image at flickr

Unfortunately, I've lost track of System parts to be able to tell you definitively which ones are re-colours, so we'll have to wait until the inventory is published when the set is released.


Construction

As usual, construction begins with the base. First two layers of plates...

View image at flickr

...which are covered in a third layer of tiles and plates to represent pavements and so on.

View image at flickr

The base accounts for a large volume of the set's parts and after it's been built it's mostly small parts that are left.

Construction of the buildings begins at the right with the Fremont Street Experience.

View image at flickr

The main feature of the real building is a large semi-circular roof which has been represented here by a grey 2x4 curved brick. I think a transparent one would have been more appropriate and given the part has been cast in trans yellow and blue in the part I'm sure one could have been produced for this set.

View image at flickr

(from http://www.inoldlasvegas.com/contents.html)


Next, we turn our attention to the Luxor which consists of half a pyramid with a sphinx in front. Thus it does not require too much in the way of building.

View image at flickr

The minifig pharaoh head covering that first appeared in the 1990s has been put to good use on the Great Sphinx of Giza's head. It's one one two printed pieces in the set.

View image at flickr

(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxor_Las_Vegas)


The Stratosphere, the tallest observation tower in the USA, is added in between the two.

View image at flickr

Flexible technic pieces have been used to good effect to recreate the curvature of the structure, although it is a little tricky to get them correctly aligned at the top.

(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratosphere_Las_Vegas)


The Encore at the Wynn is a 48-floor hotel and one of two similar buildings in Vegas, the other being the Wynn.

View image at flickr

The building is curved, which has been modelled by sandwiching 1x1 round plates between square ones to allow it to be bent slightly. Stacking the 1x1s is the most tedious part of the set's build.

View image at flickr

(from https://www.watg.com/project/encore-wynn-las-vegas-nevada-usa/)


The most complex construction, the Bellagio, finishes off the strip.

View image at flickr

From the front it looks fantastic, with plates positioned horizontally and vertically to represent the different sections of the facade.

The fountains in the front of the building have been reproduced using transparent 1x1 nipple tiles and light saber blades in 1x1 round bricks.

View image at flickr

Such complexity comes at a price, though. Peering round the back reveals just how it's been achieved: bars and clips that look somewhat unsightly.

It's not really an issue, though, since the model will most likely be displayed on a shelf and only looked at from the front.

View image at flickr

(From https://www.lasvegasgolfadventures.com/las-vegas-hotels/bellagio-las-vegas.html)


Last but not least, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, erected in 1959, is added to the left-hand end.

The printed 1x2 transparent tile is, er, fabulous. Having viewed the picture of the real sign below it looks as if I should have positioned it off-centre a bit to the right.

View image at flickr

(From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welcome_to_Fabulous_Las_Vegas_sign)


The completed model

The skyline comprises a variety of different buildings, colours, architectural styles and heights so as a result it's visually very appealing.

View image at flickr

The loss of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and its replacement by the Bellagio may have denied us an opportunity to stock up on gold pieces (if that's what they were going to be, as many think) but personally I feel that the Bellagio is a far more attractive and interesting building.

View image at flickr

With the exception of the rear of the Bellagio, it's quite presentable at the back.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Verdict

This is another excellent addition to the Skyline series. As I said at the start Las Vegas is perhaps a surprising choice for a LEGO set given the city's reputation but it does present a good opportunity to model a good variety of buildings, which have been modelled using interesting techniques.

Visiting Las Vegas is still on my bucket list. Building this set and researching this review has pushed it nearer to the top...

View image at flickr

When released on September 1st it'll cost $39.99 / 39.99€ / £34.99 which, for a 500-piece set, seems fairly reasonable.

At rhe LEGO fan media event I attended last week Kim, the company's community engagement manager, suggested that price per piece was not a particularly good way to quantify the value of sets and that weight should be used instead, or at least taken into account. So, with that in mind we will start to weigh the LEGO in the sets we review and calculate a price per kilgramme.

This one weighs 207g which thus equates to $193 and £169 per kilo. I've no idea how that compares with other sets but over time we should be able to make comparisons.


The set was provided by LEGO for the purposes of this review, which is an expression of my own opinions.

 

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39 comments on this article

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By in Canada,

I'm a little confused why they put a red flower above the Las Vegas sign instead of a yellow star piece. Oh well seems like an easy fix.

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By in United States,

I can understand why they didn't include it, but I would have liked to see Caesar's Palace represented in this set

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By in United States,

Such a strange set. The behind the scenes cancellation and redesign... the whole faux-architecture of the place anyways and the family unfriendliness of the Vegas strip making it seem outside Lego's 'target demographic' (then again, Architecture has always seemed to be aimed at an older audience, but still an odd fit for Lego).

Not to mention most of the buildings in the model actually aren't in the City of Las Vegas... they are located in Paradise, Nevada! :P

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By in New Zealand,

Just a technical note, Huw (before I actually read the article) but the mobile page format is a bit screwy on scaling. Other pages on the site are fine, but this one's got content scaled down to about 80% of full width.

EDIT: Aaah ... just noticed that the link caption for the Las Vegas sign is the problem.

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By in United Kingdom,

Eh. Shanghai's still my favourite skyline (after GT-R, of course!) With Berlin coming in second, New York third and Chicago fourth, but this comes in after them.

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By in United Kingdom,

It would help if I had ever actually heard of half these buildings. Besides, I don't think most of them are of great visual interest anyway. I'd rather have the Statue of Liberty, thank you.

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By in United States,

Intresting story for this set and thr fact that someone asked you to measure a set based on it's weigh rather than pieces must mean Lego is desperate to turn us away from jugging before buying as it may mean that they will be adding additional weigh to the boxes....

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By in United Kingdom,

Finally!!! Look forward to adding it to my collection :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

Great value for £34.99 to get 500 parts wow great, sorta wished the Mandala Bay wasn’t replaced (i know the disaster was horrible but the buildings a recognisable building). Anyway hope to get this set :)

Great review Huw

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By in United States,

I feel they should have skipped the Fremont experience and went with MGM Grand or Excalibur, both iconic and instantly recognizable.

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By in United States,

Since architecture sets tend to be made up of many tiny pieces, I suspect weight would indicate they aren't as great a value as the price/piece metric suggests. I've seen some video reviews of sets reference price/gram, so I think both views can make sense and both measures (# of pieces and total weight) affect the production/distribution costs, so both drive the price from LEGO's perspective.

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By in United States,

Great review, Huw! I think it looks better than I had originally thought. Your photos really help.

Great parts usage, like the technic pieces, the transparent nipple, pharoah headpiece, those slopes, and the simple 1x1 round plates.

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By in United States,

Las Vegas might not seem an obvious choice for an Architecture set, but Learning from Las Vegas, an article by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, which was later expanded into a book, is a seminal critique of capital-m Modernism in architecture, and it's still read widely. The city is obviously still a major tourist centre, too.

On the subject of prices, perhaps pence/cents per gram might be a bit more manageable than pounds/dollars per kilo? 19.3c/g and 16.9p/g feel a bit more manageable, although perhaps it's then _too_ similar to the 10c/p per part we're used to measuring against.

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By in United States,

I really don't think the back of the Bellagio looks that bad. The colors still work.

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By in United Kingdom,

Easy to see why this Architecture came to be. They have a LEGO store at the Fashion Mall on the main strip, and this would be a great "in-store" souvenir for the multitude of tourists that swing by. (same thing, with the London Architecture set in Leicester Square)

It's a shame they had to "remove" Mandalay Bay, as this showcased the whole length of the Las Vegas Main Strip. This "re-factored" model, now under represents the central, and northern parts, and to me, lacks the most iconic parts, like the Paris Hotel, and NYNY Hotel.

It could be something to do with licensing, as a lot of these iconic Hotels are owned by competing Film Companies (MGM e.t.c)

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By in United States,

The Encore is triply lame to be included. Not only is the architecture itself boring but the elements haven't been cast or painted in metallic or pearl copper. And if bad press drives inclusion or not, Steve Wynn is a total creep.

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By in Australia,

@doubledeckercouch More likely they can't fit any more in due to size of the hotels and scale involved. Luxor is down at Mandalay end too (just out of position in this kit, should swap with Bellagio) so it still covers most of strip

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By in United States,

@doubledeckercouch The Bellagio, Luxor, and NYNY are all MGM properties. The Stratosphere and Encore are separate company entities from MGM so I doubt it's because of licensing.

I think everyone has their personal opinion on what is iconic Vegas so hence they'd rather have a particular resort shown. For instance I love staying at the Wynn/Encore/Bellagio and I personally would've excluded the Freemont Experience because I'm a Strip person and rarely ever go to Downtown. I understand why Lego did it, though.

NYNY has too many elements of interest and just a Statue of Liberty would make it exactly like the NY Architecture set. Same goes for the Paris. The Eiffel Tower has already been done in larger scale and the hot air balloon isn't as iconic.

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By in United States,

@Huw are you doing weight by the entirety of the boxed set (box, instructions, sticker sheets, parts and pieces), or just the parts and pieces? I think for an appropriate measure of what determines setting a set's price that at least the instruction booklet(s) would need to be included given their size and impact on set weight, especially in large sets. I suspect TLG takes all that into consideration when setting the price (design and distribution costs, etc).

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By in United States,

@quixotequest It's only because of that radical feminist witchhunt known as #MeToo is why Wynn is labeled as a "total creep."

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By in United States,

As someone who lives a short drive from Vegas, and has visited an unreasonable number of times (sorry bank account)... This set is just sad. The buildings are out of order (in relation to “real life”) it skips some of the best buildings (excaliber, nyny, caesar’s palace, ti pirates, mirage volcano, mcdonalds on the strip, etc.) and tries to represent the most historic mile and a half of freemont street by a 2x4 curved brick?!? It is the great wall of china all over again... miles and miles of amazing architecture summarized by a generic rendering of a few recognizable shapes.

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By in United States,

@Yo_Duh Yeah, they did that with the NYC set. It's out of 'order'. But I know they do it for balance...but again, it can be rearranged to anyone's liking. Just modest Mod-ing can accomplish this.

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By in United States,

"following an incident involving one of the buildings in the city, it was cancelled and subsequently redesigned to omit it."

Just say the Mandalay Bay shooting happened. Why bother sugar coating it?

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By in Germany,

@darkstonegrey I would prefer just the weight of the bricks. Sure, the instruction adds a lot to the weight, but that is mainly due to the new „one piece per step“ toddler instructions. Like 10, 20 or 30yrs ago, we were also able to build the sets and the instructions were a fracture of the weight from today.

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By in United Kingdom,

The instructions aren't included and shouldn't be, IMO.

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By in Poland,

It's a shame they still can't produce bricks that would allow us to build flat. Just look what happens to the right side of the build.

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By in United States,

I think I will try to rebuild the Encore in a combination of metallic and dark bley--its reflective surface is surely critical to its impact. As it stands it looks more like a brownstone building from New York City than a piece of Modernist architecture!

Otherwise I think it's a very handsome model. The Bellagio fountains and building are especially appealing to me--even from the back.

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By in France,

I really like those skylines. Even if on this one the different buildings are a bit too tight to each other IMO. But good rendition. The Architecture line has always impressed me, with the clever use of parts to simulate and create buildings and monuments aspects. Sydney's opera (the big one) is for me one of the most beautiful and better sets ever released. I wish I had room and money enough to collect this nice range too... Thank you for your review. And I am now curious to see with coming reviews the results of weight measures/comparisons. Guess it will give us a good indicator of the value of a set - let's say that combined to ppp ratio it will help us to estimate a better value for money of future releases.GG

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By in United Kingdom,

Not one I'll be buying, but I do like the rendition of the Lxuor. Reminds me a little for the tiny red pyramids I used to make with roof bricks when I was a kid.

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By in Netherlands,

To make your Las Vegas skyline even bigger, you could also add '21026: Venice' and a part of '21028: New York City' ;-)

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By in United States,

@Avenger Caesars Palaces’ ommision is quite odd in my opinion. It’s one of the more iconic and popular hotels in Las Vegas, especially after Evil Kenevil made his infamous jump over the fountain there..

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By in United States,

I could never understand you guys' fixation with the price per piece when the size of pieces vary so wildly. Weight is obviously better. I'd argue mass is still better, but for me I just look at it and decide if it's worth the price to me. Pricing is more than just the cost of the parts. One must also consider market forces, demand, upper and lower spending limits, disposable incomes of target demographics, consumer confidence, etc.

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By in United Kingdom,

Love the skylines so will no doubt add this to my collection when the wallet allows. I guess including Fremont makes it more acceptable to have the buildings in any order rather than just different hotels on the strip.

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By in United States,

>I could never understand you guys' fixation with the price per piece when the size of pieces vary so wildly. Weight is obviously better.

I think it's mostly that when you're at the store you can see the part count on the box (on the Western Hemisphere boxes, at least) but the mass isn't readily available (and most people are no good at estimating mass by picking something up and holding it). The question "is this better or worse than 10¢ per part?" is trivial arithmetic to do while walking in the toy aisle.

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By in Spain,

The fountains may be an issue for me: Transparent 3L bar inside a transparent 1x1 round brick is not a good idea. Friction between transparent plastic parts is very high, and it may break the 1x1 round brick.

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By in United States,

@tim1724 Funny, I always wondered why they put the number of pieces on the box. Even when I was a kid this number meant absolutely nothing to me. So, over time would you account for inflation and make it 10.1 cents per piece, or was it just gonna stay at 10 cents forever??? I'm just messing with ya. Whatever is fine...it just never really added up to me, so to speak.

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By in Hungary,

As a tourist who visited Vegas 17 years ago the Encore doesn't add any value to this set, indeed it takes a place from other iconic buildings as the Excalibur, Ceasar's Palace, MGM Grand or Treasure Island. I understand the exclusion of The Venitian, Paris or the NY-NY, because their trade mark buildings were released as separate Architecture sets, but including Encore was a bad choice.
Anyway, I like this set, and I'm really happy that finally they included Bellaggio, my sweetest memories of Las Vegas are from the Bellaggio Fountains, which is the best attraction in Vegas IMO.

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By in United States,

More typos than usual.

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By in United States,

@Harken_X the "radical feminist" motivation is a red herring. The substance of complaints was substantiated enough to get him removed, de-licensed, and generate lots of bad press. If controversial, bad press is the reason to dis-inclusion of the Mandalay Bay, the Encore still has merit (beside it being ugly and sub-iconic) for dis-inclusion.

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