Review: The LEGO Story

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View image at flickr

This model is one of thirteen sets that are being produced as part of the AFOL Designer Program (ADP) collaboration between BrickLink and LEGO.

You may recall that in 2016 I helped promote BrickJonas' LEGO Factory playset on LEGO Ideas by building and photographing it. The project was unsuccessful on Ideas but he was undeterred and continued to work on and enhance it before submitting it to the ADP where it reached its funding goal in no time.

The team in charge of the ADP kindly offered to send me a couple of pre-production models to review so given that connection I was keen to take a look at this one.

It seems obvious to me that LEGO fans would appreciate a model of a LEGO factory made from LEGO bricks but it's something the company itself has yet to produce. So let's see if BrickJonas has sucessfully filled that gap...


Packaging and contents

The ADP team at BrickLink is still busy packing the sets and printing the instructions so I received pre-production copy of it bagged up in zip-lock bags with instructions printed on a laser.

That is not how the production versions will arrive: they'll be packed more like regular LEGO sets in sealed bags and the instructions will be printed on an offset press and perfect bound.

Suffice to say, though, that all parts were present and correct and the instructions were perfectly legible.

A USP of the ADP sets is that they will all contain a unique LEGO part not found in any regular LEGO set. What it is has not been revealed yet, and mine didn't come with it, so I can't tell you!


Project concept

The LEGO Story differs from BrickJonas' earlier Ideas project in that it depicts a LEGO factory through time in four vignettes. Each one is a stand-alone model that does not connect to the others, but they are uniform in size so they look good when displayed together.


Woodwork shop

The first vignette depicts a scene in the company's woodworking days of the 1930s. It's packed with realistic details and the tools of the day: workbench with vice, drill press, tool rack, crate of planks, and a finished duck on a shelf at the back.

View image at flickr

The floor is fully tiled and the walls have a number of interesting features such as skirting board and picture rail.

View image at flickr

It's not designed to be viewed from the back but nevertheless it's neat and tidy.

View image at flickr

Each vignette comes with a minifigure and this one is a good resemblance for Ole Kirk Christiansen, attired in paint-spattered overalls.

View image at flickr


Early injection moulding

The second vignette jumps 20 years to the 1950s with a model of one of the company's first injection moulding machines. It's perhaps a bit large compared to the minifigure but that increased size has allowed Jonas to include a lot of detail.

View image at flickr

The room has a door in the back wall, and the windows are built on their side with 1-plate-wide surrounds to keep things interesting.

The shelving rack at the rear of the room is for storing injection moulding dies.

View image at flickr

Once again, it looks neat and tidy at the back.

View image at flickr

The minifigure provided with this one is very business-like in a pin-striped waistcoat, and is probably more at home in the accounts department than the factory floor!

View image at flickr


Designers' office

The next vignette brings us up-to-date with a modern designers' office. The 12x12 stud base is smaller than the other two but there's still an impressive level of detail: parts drawers (designed by Adeel Zubair) a plant in the corner, a miniature model of Elizabeth Tower and the facade of the Houses of Parliament (10253), and a desk covered with brightly coloured bricks.

View image at flickr

Once again, the walls have been made more interesting than a stack of bricks through the use of SNOT building techniques.

View image at flickr

There's not much to look at round the back but then you're not likely to be looking there!

View image at flickr

The female designer is wearing a cool classic space shirt.

View image at flickr


Modern production

The fourth scene sits on a 12x24 base and depicts a modern injection moulding machine.

View image at flickr

The huge machine dominates the room and is probably close to minifig scale: the real ones really are huge.

View image at flickr

Round the back of the machine, on the rear wall, tubes carrying ABS pellets are connected to it with pipework to allow continuous production.

View image at flickr

Jonas has used SNOT techniques again for the windows which makes them much more interesting.

View image at flickr

LEGO element moulding factories are sparsely populated by humans: those that do work in it will be highly skilled engineers keeping the machines running 24/7. I can't remember if they wear hard hats or not, but it seems appropriate.

View image at flickr


Verdict

This is an excellent concept that's been exceptionally well executed. Each vignette is an attractive stand-alone model packed with details and interesting building techniques to ensure that what could be rather boring -- walls and windows -- is anything but. There's not much -- OK, any -- playability, but that is not the point of it.

It's a model that I think every adult LEGO fan with an interest in the company would appreciate.

The set contains 1442 pieces and costs $99, or $25 per vignette, which seems very reasonable. You can order it from BrickLink until the end of June.

View image at flickr

The BrickLink AFOL Designer Program is an excellent initiative that will bring to life some superb models by talented designers. In many ways it shows what LEGO Ideas could be if it were not cluttered up with proposals based on IPs but on good old traditional LEGO values.

I also have a lot of respect for the BrickLink team for pulling it off. They have done the community a great service. So, if you haven't already, take a look at the sets available and place your order for these unique and limited sets before it's too late.


Thanks to BrickLink for sending the set to us to review. All opinions expressed are my own.

34 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Wow that looks great!

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By in United States,

These are all super cool, I think the designers and all the people involved deserve a large round of applause. My favorite here has got to be the first room, the woodworking one. I may see if I can buy just that. Thanks for the review!

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By in United States,

That's really neat! I almost picked up this one but my wallet was already tied up in Löwenstein Castle and the Saloon... speaking of which will you be reviewing either of those?

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By in United States,

Why does the article say that these vignettes are of uniform size if the base sizes are labeled as different (12x12, 12x24, etc.)?

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ The saloon has been reviewed at New Elementary, the castle at Brothers Brick.

^ They are all 12 deep and the walls are the same height.

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By in United States,

Great review, great initiative and - so far - excellent execution by all involved. Thanks for posting this, Huw!!!

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By in United States,

Where can I get the shirt the female designer is wearing??

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By in Portugal,

It looks great and it is a set with content, the designer is telling us a story, with great parts and cool techniques! Great job!

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By in United States,

"There's not much -- OK, any -- playability"

...Challenge accepted

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By in United Kingdom,

This is a fantastic set, so detailed and all the colours are great and i love all four minifigs..

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By in United States,

Cool!!!

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By in Germany,

"In many ways it shows what LEGO Ideas could be if it were not cluttered up with proposals based on IPs but on good old traditional LEGO values."

Whats the meaning of "IPs"??

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By in United States,

^ IP is short for "intellectual property"

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By in United States,

@The Teenage Brickster - if there’s interest in another review of the castle, I’m getting a copy of that, so can do it when I receive my copy.

I’m getting the Science Tower so can do a review of that, too.

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By in Latvia,

Great set! My favorite vignette is the old moulding machine room

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By in United Kingdom,

Can't wait for mine to arrive! :-)

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By in Croatia,

I'm a little bit late to the party, because I had a really busy day, but first of all, I'd like to say a huge "THANK YOU" to Huw for writing this fantastic review and making these excellent photos of the set! I especially like the first photo, I never thought about displaying it this way, but this layout looks fantastic - this is my new phone lock screen, haha!

I think this project literally changed my life, because my dream came true with it, and also a story came to the end with this set. It all started several years ago with the LEGO Factory Playset which Huw mentioned in the article, and after some unsuccessful tries, I finally achieved what I wanted. I really hope that fellow AFOLs will enjoy building my idea - please send pics to me! :)

I'd also like to thank everyone who supported me not only in the last couple of weeks, but in the last couple of years, and I must say it's awesome to see all these positive comments here and on BrickLink too!

This whole project was my best experience in my life so far, so I really hope this wasn't the last AFOL Designer Program, and many AFOLs will have similar opportunities in the future. The BrickLink team really nailed it, hats off for them, I can't wait to open the ADP sets which I ordered! I saw some "top secret" things and I must say that even receiving and unboxing these sets will be a really unique and amazing experience for every LEGO fan! ;)

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review. My only comment - it might have been nice to have the scenes hinge together so that one could close it up into a large rectangle (with a removable top that has a large LEGO logo ?), and then open it to reveal the scenes. I'm on the fence WRT purchasing this set, but Huw's review makes it appealing.

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By in United States,

I really, really want to get this so badly, but sadly I have so many other sets out there I'm trying to get so I have limited funds :-(....Someday, though, hopefully I can get my hands on a copy of this beautiful model!
@KovJonas: Congrats on successfully designing such an amazing model, I love how you incorporated interesting building techniques and SNOT work throughout the builds. I also just really appreciate the amount of detail you put into this!

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By in United Kingdom,

@KovJonas, you are, as always, welcome!

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By in Croatia,

@mdransom: everyone is welcome to post photos of MODs of this set, haha! :D I actually thought about including technic pins, but you can still mirror build two vignettes, and place the four vignettes in a way so they form a 24x32 rectangle. :) I like your idea, by the way!

@Koolbrix2018: thank you! :)

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By in United States,

Thank for the excellent review Huw! I am more excited than ever to receive my copy! Hopefully Bricklink is able to start getting them out to us in May.

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By in United States,

@kovjonas love the set! Proud to be a supporter of it!

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By in United States,

Nice set, but lacking a building burning down twice :)

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By in United States,

The set is great, but no physical minifigures of the Christiansen family as well as the modern designers and entrepreneurs.

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By in Croatia,

Thanks everyone!

@Jersey Brick Guy: that's nice to hear, thank you!

@markisnot: LOL :D

@JeagerEX: the minifigure selection was really small, so these were the best possible figures. :)

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By in Papua New Guinea,

Wow, now I really want a LEGO woodshop. Have it include a drill press, table saw, mitre saw, a planer, and a band saw and I'd be sold.

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By in United States,

Someone asked about the designer fig's shirt... You can find something similar on Redbubble, with a discount on your first order via https://www.talkable.com/x/osm1YX

Search for "LEGO Classic Space Fan". I went with the option with 3/4 length red sleeves, but they can do a variety of styles.

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By in United States,

I'm looking forward to receiving my copy!

@mdransom I'm intending to build them and then put them back to back so that they all look out and build a "box" for them for easy transportation so that they can be turned on a lazy susan type setup once they are revealed. I haven't quite figured out the design yet, and will tinker with it when it arrives. :)

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By in Norway,

I think out of all the AFOL Designer Program this is the best and the one that gives the most sense.

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By in Croatia,

Thank you so much @BrickBoddis! :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Mine arrived this weekend, and even the £20+ customs charge didn't distract from the real joy that this set is!

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