Review: 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander

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View image at flickr

Almost five decades have passed since Apollo 11 delivered humans to the surface of the Moon on the 20th of July, 1969. This amazing achievement has inspired numerous LEGO models and 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander looks wonderful in official images, accurately replicating this classic spacecraft design.

The set contains 1087 pieces and costs £84.99 or $99.99 so seems to offer reasonable value in my opinion, especially given the inclusion of two minifigures. Furthermore, a superb selection of metallic gold pieces are included, representing the aluminised kapton foil which protects the exterior. They seem rather interesting and should result in an exceptional model for display!

Box and Contents

The packaging exhibits the spacecraft on the lunar surface and it looks magnificent against this dark background, accentuating the metallic gold elements. I like how the design integrates Planet Earth in the distance, some 239,000 miles away! The stage separation functions appear on the reverse along with an image of the interior, demonstrating that you can place the minifigures inside.

View image at flickr

Opening the box reveals eight numbered bags and another without a number that contains the larger pieces. The instruction manual comprises 122 pages, the first several of which are focused upon the Apollo Program and provide some information about the Lunar Module. Moreover, numerous reference images are included.

View image at flickr

Eighteen stickers are included and they are printed on a reflective surface, making it quite challenging to photograph. You might actually be able to see Huw in the reflection here! Nevertheless, the designs look wonderful and I think these stickers were necessary as the areas covered by metallic foil are very irregular so would be difficult to replicate using bricks alone.

View image at flickr

Minifigures

Two astronauts are included, representing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Numerous minifigures are intended to depict astronauts from the Apollo program and none are especially effective in my opinion. However, this bulky helmet assembly is certainly a reasonable facsimile of the real suits and I love the metallic gold visor covering the face of each astronaut.

View image at flickr

Furthermore, the minifigures incorporate a new torso, featuring the NASA emblem beside nozzles that deliver oxygen to the wearer. Unfortunately, these nice details are partially concealed when the helmet is attached and the famous Apollo 11 mission patch is also missing. Perhaps that was excluded so the minifigures could represent astronauts from a variety of different missions.

View image at flickr

The heads are similarly generic but no hair components are included which is somewhat disappointing. Arm printing would have been welcome as well, especially on the left shoulder where an American flag should appear. On that basis, these are reasonable minifigures for displaying beside the spacecraft but room for improvement certainly remains.

View image at flickr

Huw has assembled the set so describes the construction process.

Construction

First to be built is the 26x28-stud base representing the surface of the moon, complete with crater, small rocks, footsteps and indents where the craft's landing gear has hit the ground.

View image at flickr

Rather than use large 16x16 plates it's built with a lattice of 2xn plate underneath.

View image at flickr

The central section of the landing stage is octagonal which requires some repetitive building and some clever techniques to attach the four off-grid sides.

View image at flickr

The red and white pieces are Technic bricks with axle hole, into which a 318 bar with ball joint on the end is inserted, which in turn is attached to the ball joint socket on the adjacent sides.

View image at flickr

The exposed ball joints will be used to connect the landing gear struts.

View image at flickr

The sides of this section are lavishly clad in drum-lacquered gold tiles before the landing gear, made using predominantly Technic, is attached. There's some clever geometry involved, which we understand was Mike Psiaki's handiwork.

View image at flickr

The ascent stage consists of three parts that are connected using clip hinges. Stickers are used inside to represent the control panels.

View image at flickr

The four reaction control system thrusters on each corner aptly utilise a piece first introduced in Classic Space, 3963 steering nozzle, which is new here in dark bluish grey.

View image at flickr

Finally, the ascent thruster exhaust is added to the bottom.

View image at flickr

The top section clips to the bottom and the model is complete.

View image at flickr

Now we return to CapnRex101 for discussion of the completed model.

The Completed Model

Several models of the Lunar Module have been produced, commencing with 367 Space Module with Astronauts from 1975. The latest rendition includes far greater detail than its predecessors and offers more realistic proportions too, measuring 19cm wide and 20cm in height. Furthermore, the spacecraft stands on a dark bluish grey base which depicts the surface of the Moon, forming an attractive display.

View image at flickr

Craters and small boulders litter the lunar surface and that texture has been replicated effectively here, although the landing site for Apollo 11 was reasonably smooth. The combination of exposed studs and tiled areas is fantastic and I love the small craters which are represented by 2x2 round tiles with a hole at their centre. A larger crater features dark bluish grey 4x4 curved corner tiles around the rim, making their second appearance in this colour.

View image at flickr

However, my favourite details are the minifigure footsteps which are visible along the forward edge of the model. These are absolutely superb, revealing a light bluish grey surface beneath the surrounding dark bluish grey elements. An attachment point for the American flag is also included so you can plant the flag easily, although its position beside the spacecraft is not entirely authentic.

View image at flickr

The spindly Lunar Modular can be separated from its base and looks marvellous. Metallic gold, black and light bluish grey have been used to excellent effect and I love the intricate shaping of both stages which correspond with the source material. Lunar Modules varied slightly between missions, featuring different colour schemes and payloads, but this example undoubtedly takes inspiration from the Eagle and looks almost entirely accurate!

View image at flickr

Four landing legs support the spacecraft upon landing. These appear fragile but are connected to the central structure extremely securely, using ball joints and Technic components. Unfortunately, this has eliminated the ability to fold each leg but I think that was a worthy compromise for strength. In addition, sensor probes should extend below the landing pads, although their omission is sensible as the model is intended to be displayed on its base.

View image at flickr

Two ladders are laid over one leg and their position is perfect, leaving a large gap beneath the bottom rung. The upper section was actually a solid platform on the original vehicle but this design looks reasonable in my opinion and I love the plaque situated underneath the ladder. This includes the signatures of each astronaut with two images of the Earth. Black is an odd colour choice though as the plaque should be primarily silver.

View image at flickr

Neil Armstrong activated a television camera while descending the ladder and that important feature is replicated here. Opening a hatch beside the ladder reveals the camera which appears fairly simple but is instantly recognisable. I appreciate the printed tape reels and the white colour scheme distinguishes this television camera from its surroundings, although silver would have been more realistic.

View image at flickr

Furthermore, the model incorporates another storage bay for the Laser Ranging Retroreflector which travelled aboard Apollo 11 and was deployed on the Moon. This device enables scientists to measure the lunar distance with incredible accuracy and includes a sticker that depicts the round retroreflectors. The accompanying Passive Seismic Experiment Package has been omitted because of limited storage space on this rendition of the Lunar Module.

View image at flickr

The descent stage also contains fuel and oxidiser tanks which are represented by red and white round bricks. They only become visible when the ascent stage has been removed so I am delighted that such important details are included, despite being hidden inside. Two clips connect the stages, allowing easy separation to reveal the ascent stage engine.

View image at flickr

Unusual shapes dominate the ascent stage and these have been replicated with remarkable accuracy, making splendid use of some 2x2 angled slopes and inverted building techniques. The reaction control thrusters appear particularly impressive, although their mounting structure was entirely enclosed on the actual spacecraft so these black click hinges are not ideal.

View image at flickr

Transposition, docking and extraction was a vital manoeuvre during most Apollo 11 missions, requiring an astronaut to dock the Command and Service Module with the Lunar Module. The circular hatch that links the two vehicles is present here but cannot open. Moreover, the model includes two metallic silver dishes, representing the rendezvous radar and S-band steerable antennas, beside the dark bluish grey VHF antennas.

View image at flickr

The ascent stage can separate into three sections, revealing multiple control panels inside. These are represented by stickers but feature remarkably intricate designs which closely resemble the real Lunar Module control systems. I am particularly satisfied with the primary flight controls. They have definitely been simplified but the small windows, egress hatch and distinctive yellow levers are all included.

View image at flickr

Several studs enable minifigures to stand securely inside the Lunar Module but this space is relatively cramped so seems realistic. The cylindrical ascent engine cover is missing, although that would leave little room for the minifigures. On that basis, I am pleased with the interior design and the stickers are excellent, faithfully recreating the buttons and displays which appeared within the actual craft.

View image at flickr

Overall

10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander is an outstanding set, matching the high standard established by the recent 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V. The model looks fantastic on display, featuring many realistic details and numerous metallic gold elements that really stand out against the dark lunar surface. I love how the octagonal shape of the descent stage has been designed and the ascent stage looks similarly realistic.

View image at flickr

The only disappointing factor are the minifigures. They are recognisable as Apollo astronauts but there is scope for significant improvement in my opinion, especially where their helmets are concerned. The quantity of stickers may frustrate some fans too. Nevertheless, I would certainly recommend this set and its price of £84.99 or $99.99 seems very reasonable to me.

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.

Thanks to Huw for providing the photos in this review.

90 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Oh my gosh, all that awesome gold! And actual NASA minifigures!!!!! This is amazing! Might be my favorite of the year!

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By in Australia,

Awesome looking set! Must have! :D

Just when i think i'm going to be spending all my money on elements for MOCs, TLG go and release something awesome (again) in the Creator lineup.

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By in United States,

Very excited for this.

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By in United States,

a must buy--not only was #367 (#565 for me in the US) one of my favorite sets as a kid, i was born just over a month before the moon landing, so it has always been an extra-special point in history for me! was going to balk at the price tag, but for all that detail (and metallics!) really can't complain.

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By in Belgium,

So much promise. But stickers make it a definite no buy for me. If they can justify ensuring that all designs are printed in sets aimed at younger buyers, they can sure as hell justify the same for what I would consider to be an expensive marquee set.

I have the old space module set (367) and was looking to set this up alongside. But I for one am fed up of sub-standard quality (particularly with regard to colours) and cheap ass tactics. Time to start voting with my wallet.

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By in United Kingdom,

Those minifigs are awful. The helmet element is totally wrong. Surely they could have splashed out on a new element for the helmet and backpack.

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By in United States,

So that was Huw, I though at first he would have more human features but those pictures show a distorted humanoid figure, #aliensamongus (end sarcasm). Thanks for this set review.

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By in United States,

Would have been nice to see printed designs rather than a sticker sheet.

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By in United States,

@aleydita, yikes, calm down a bit. You're acting awfully entitled there. The stickers are the only way for them to get some of the details accurate, especially the gold coloring. If they didn't do stickers, you'd be here complaining about how it's not color accurate.

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By in United States,

Capn, the distance to the moon you mentioned would be in km. In miles, it's about 239,000.

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By in Germany,

I am really disappointed by this set.
The minifigs look nothing like the real astronauts. That helmet piece ruins everything. The design of the lander also looks strange to me. My father has a book about the first moon landing an somehow I remember the craft looking quite different. Will look it up next time I visit there. And how I miss the days of real baseplates. This brick built moon surface looks awful to me. If I ever buy this set those parts will go straight in the parts bin and the lander will be displayed on a Classic Space crater baseplate where it belongs. Shame on LEGO for cheaping out on proper baseplates. Time to bring those back!

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By in United Kingdom,

Distance from earth to moon is 384,000 km (not miles).

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By in United States,

The set looks pretty good, except for the extremely generic LEGO City facial expressions.
Does anybody know where to get a large sheet of white paper (US) for that infinity white background?

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By in Belgium,

@monkeyby87, yikes, calm down! You're not paid to apologise for Lego. Given that Lego have provided gold print in previous products, I don't see how it's so beyond them now. It's an assumption on your part, used to justify their cheap-ass products.

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By in United States,

Despite a constant interest in space, I don't really like this set, and I can't put my finger on why....

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By in United States,

This does have a lot of notable inaccuracies that are not present in the best MOCs of the Apollo LM, but it IS an official set, and those have lower standards for accuracy because they have higher standards for stability and playability. It's certainly ten times better than any previous LM model. A must-buy for sure, even if it has stickers instead of prints.

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By in Australia,

Is there a better way to make the astronauts that wouldn't require a new mold (or a re-issue of an old mold like the backpack used in the last lunar lander set)?

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By in United States,

It looks recognizable. The minifigures are not worthy of Neil and Buzz. The women of NASA IDEAS set had so much better detailing on figures representing actual people. For shame.

I like the shaping, very impressive. The colors used (even stickers) seem to be effective.

I don't have the Saturn V set, so I likely will pass on this one also. But it looks like a good representation. I just don't think I can swing $100 when there are so many other sets I need to get.

Thanks for the review.

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By in United States,

@aleydita, the gold print would have raised the price a ton and you know it. Stickers are the best way to keep the accuracy and price, something you and many others would be real quick to call them out on. I'm not sure why you're here if you think their products are cheap-ass.

@AustinPowers, large baseplates would likely drive up the price too much, and they limit re-usability (if that's a word lol). They also may not have a current mold for a base like that, which would cost more money and be very limited in use. We all know that many people buy sets for pieces and multi-use. Lego is aware of this too. So a brick built base like this is beneficial beyond just keeping costs down.

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By in United States,

if this had 15 unique printed parts for the vehicle + 2 unique face prints for and a set of brand new helmet and visor pieces for the astronauts, you can bet this set would cost substantially more... I'm perfectly fine with having a bunch of stickers & generic faces that will largely be hidden away to keep the cost somewhat reasonable.

This certainly seems like a high-quality product, I can't shake the feeling that it looks just a little bit odd but that aside the design of the model is pretty brilliant.

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By in United States,

The minifigures are generic smilies because Neil Armstrong was a very private person who would almost certainly not have given his approval for his likeness to be used in a Lego minifigure if he was still alive. The use of generic smilies is therefore respectful to the wishes of the astronauts, not disrespectful to their memory.

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By in Belgium,

@monkeyby87, does having loads of new printed designs inflate the price as much as you seem to think? Did the Doctor Who set cost double what people expected? The recent Chinese sets? No, I don't think that's the case. It may be a production capacity issue or a way to squeeze in a few more pieces, we've heard several reasons for the inclusion of sticker sheets over the years. I don't think many would complain about paying a couple of quid more for printed pieces. This is probably the 20th set I've passed on in the last 12 months due to stickers and colour inconsistency.

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By in United States,

@aleydita, plenty of people moan and complain about the price of sets as they are. There sure as heck would be people complaining about having to pay a bit more for printed pieces.
If this is the 20th set you've passed on, you need to rethink your interests. Things aren't going to get any better (I don't think they're bad either though), and you're clearly limiting yourself.

@TeriXeri, the minifigures in those types of sets, like chess, are often a lower quality. There's something about them that's not quite the same as regular minifigures in regular sets, so that contributes the price difference. You might not be able tell that's there's a difference, but there is indeed. It's been talked about before on how sets like those can be made with that many figures for those prices.

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By in United States,

I really hope this will not be a repeat of Saturn V where it is on backorder for months on end. Yes, I truly want at least one of these. We plan on going to Disney in late June, so the plan was to take some spending money to the Disney Springs Lego Store in Florida. Maybe they made enough this time to maintain stock in the stores.

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By in United Kingdom,

I like the way they included the Luna Laser Ranging Experiment's retroreflector - which is one of the best ways to counter those people who say mankind never went to the moon.
Now I want to see 21309: NASA Apollo Saturn V built to this scale.

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By in United States,

Love love realistic spaces sets. The more the better, especially based on specific missions. The direction LEGO should go, away from tired Star Wars.

Would drool over a Hubble S.T. set

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By in United States,

I will probably buy this set at at least 20% off. I do think the set is fine, but considering the amount of cut corners here, I'll probably save my money for some other sets on my wanted list.

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By in Netherlands,

It's the best lunar lander we've had so far... but that's not as high praise as I would've liked to give it. I agree that the stickers really let this one down, as do the astronaut helmets and other inaccuracies.

It's a historic subject. We've got photo's of how it's supposed to look. And I personally feel such a model would attract the detail-oriented space buff more than the average ten year old. If they made it with all prints, better astronauts and just overall a bit better, I wouldn't mind paying a bit more. I mean, the Saturn had at least somewhat appropriate looking astronauts - and all gold on the lander, with no stickers...

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By in United States,

I agree with @Sethro3 on the minifigures. Buzz Aldrin is such a charismatic person IRL and I guess the slight smirking one must be him ... however, as Chris said, hairpieces would certainly help. Astronauts always have photos taken without helmets, and do quite a bit of public/community speaking -- so it would be nice to have a better representation.

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By in Netherlands,

Could you make a picture where the click hinges of the reaction control thrusters attach directly to those of the fuselage? Seems to be an easy mod to make the set look more accurate, I wonder why they chose to include the black mountings anyway.

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By in United States,

All I can say is - WOW! This looks like such an AMAZING set, IMO. Hopefully I can get my hands on this soon... I think it looks absolutely marvelous, and while I obviously am not a fan of stickers, that won't be a reason to stop me from (hopefully) buying this great set. (I say hopefully, because they are so many great sets out there now :) ) The only real letdown is the minifigs, I just really think they could have improved the heads, and adding in extra hairpieces would have made this set near-perfect, in my view. But it's still definitely a huge triumph, both in LEGO and real life - looks just absolutely wonderful!

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By in United States,

Argh!! I didn’t need a new set I want to come out! I already had plans on what to buy for June!! Well, this is a day 1 purchase for sure, so other stuff now needs to wait.

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By in United States,

I don't like to apply stickers any more than the next guy, but I can understand why they're used. Aside from being cheaper, printing a design creates a unique piece that is often only applicable to the set it's included in and cannot be used for any other purpose (except for control panels and such, I suppose). Providing a sticker sheet allows the builder some options - either leave the stickers off entirely or take them off later if you want to use the piece for something else. Also, I'm sure it makes the Bricklink team's job easier. :)

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By in Belgium,

Can't wait to order it at midnight (if the website doesn't crash, you never know…) because I love this set, but… why does it have to be 5 euro more expensive in France and 10 euro in the Benelux, compared to Germany???

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By in United States,

I love this. Will go great with the Saturn V.. though I still haven't found a suitable place to display that one.

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By in New Zealand,

This is a great review. It will look great in an Area 51 film set Moc diorama.

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By in United Kingdom,

I have no idea how I missed any sort of announcement or news regarding this set until this moment! Have I been living under a rock, or was it not announced...?

Anyway, must-buy, day-one, etc. more than any set for a while. I'm going to spend days recreating the launch, journey, landing, and return trip, so minifig-scale CSM (with lonely Mike and\or explodey Apollo 13 O2 tank) next please :-)

Thank you, LEGO & NASA (and Brickset for the news & review!)

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By in United States,

For those disappointed by the helmets...I think a nice substitution would be to swap out this helmet / pack combo with the new white helmet from the 2019 City space sets...just put the gold visor on the city helmet. Pair that with a brick-built pack and you have a marked improvement. This is what I plan on doing...it'll show off the fairly accurate torso printing as well.

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By in United States,

The box shows part #61409 Roof Tile W. Lattice 1X2X2/3 sloping downward, but you've got it sloping upward in the photos of the build. Just curious which is correct.

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By in United Kingdom,

a great set and great review. just need to hold off until the 5th June to qualify for the gift with purchase!

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By in United States,

I would like more history sets like this with more figures of history.

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By in United Kingdom,

What, no Stanley Kubrick minifig? ;)

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By in United States,

@tkatt: I noticed that too and asked about in the press release article. CapnRex101 says they are sloping upward in the instructions and believes that was the intention.

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By in Australia,

Wow !

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By in United States,

This is the first Lunar Lander since #10029-1 (2003). That set was part of the Discovery Channel/Discovery Kids theme, which is one of the most enigmatic in my memory. There were six sets in the range:

#7467-1 International Space Station was a microbuild with an 8-long space shuttle.

#7468-1 Saturn V Moon Mission, #7469-1 Mission to Mars, and #7470-1 Space Shuttle Discovery were all at least partially minifigure-scale, but had no minifigures.

#10029-1 Lunar Lander was a D2C and contained two astronaut minifigures, the only minifigures in any of the sets.

#7471-1 Mars Exploration Rover was Technic.

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By in Canada,

Nice set! As CDM mentioned, if you buy 40345, you can change the suits to have something somewhat more accurate (don't forget to change the gloves for a shade of blueish gray). To me what is(was) more concerning was the thrusters. Looking at a picture of the real thing shows that Lego took a serious short cut here. So I've been LDDrawing and I figured out a way to fix this with only 5 parts (2 technic 1x1 bricks, 1 technic friction pin, 1 1x1 plate and 1 of 28192). Of course, you'll need to do this 4 times (all these parts are available in the appropriate colours now). It won't be a day one purchase for me but I'll get it in due time. Now, let's see if we can get the ISS as well soon...

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By in United States,

such an expensive wave...
also, does anyone but me wonder why there's no overwatch sets this wave.(Overwatch cancelled?!)

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By in Australia,

Been waiting for this set! I was hoping for a UCS style set with more size and detail but will definitely buy this. Maybe even two, one for my son and one for me.

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By in United States,

Curious as to how many of the 1087 pieces make up the base?

And is this the first time we get a tile printed with the set title in a non-architecture set? BTW that's a pretty low-reuse print and kinda begs the question that aleydita is trying to point out about prints vs stickers in these high-end sets.

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By in United States,

So who's going to build the Saturn V, to scale?

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By in {Unknown country},

Lets compare this set to LEGO 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V.
The Saturn V is way better looking and seriously impressive set which has nearly twice the amount of bricks and in USA costs only 20 dollars more than 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander.
Am I missing something or is this set not a good value?

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By in United Kingdom,

@TheMikeAwakens, having double-checked the instructions, I can confirm that the cheese grater slopes in question should have the thick end at the bottom, as shown in my images.

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By in Canada,

Correction on the previous mod post: because the mod replace a 1x2 brick (70821), you will need at least 6 parts (two 1x1 technic bricks, one 1x1 regular brick, one 28192, one technic friction pin, one 1x1 plate). And while you are there, you may decide to put it a bit higher for accuracy. Then you will need (one 1x2 plate and four 1x1 plates). These parts are required for each thruster. With this mod, the spacecraft looks much more accurate. Now to see if the front window can be fixed...
(modding even before the set is released!)

Edit: the window could be tremendously hepled with part 17454 (and the glass 17457) but it does not exist in light bueish gray and 17457 does not exist in trans-brown. :-(

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By in United States,

Interesting that it's under Creator Expert. Cool stuff though!

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By in Hong Kong,

The vessel's build looks interesting but the stickers are a big turn-off. The base is not entirely necessary IMHO. I'd rather have printed parts than the base. Can't help but think this set could have been so much better as an Ideas set. A set to be had on sale perhaps. Hail Saturn V set!!

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By in United States,

This is a great set. I’m not sure if I’ll pick it up yet though.

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By in United States,

@aleydita:
Each theme gets a limited number of new elements each year. If Part X doesn't come in Color Y, you can burn one of those new element slots to put that into production. If you need a red 2x4 brick with print on it, that also counts as a new element. If you toss a sticker sheet in the box, that _doesn't_ count against your total. So, print seriously impacts their ability to design new sets and is generally avoided if it's not really necessary and/or something that's already being produced. Stickers allow them to do sets like this without burning all their new element slots for the entire year on this _one_set_.

And they put stickers in sets like this because they figure you're old enough to be able to handle applying stickers without making the resulting model look like trash. Are you suggesting they're wrong about this?

@darkstonegrey:
Nope. Some of the LEGO Inside Tour sets (which are not officially part of the Architecture theme) have had printed tiles. In fact, the LEGO House tile that appears in the 2017 Architecture set actually first appeared in a 2014 set based on the same building in a smaller scale. However, this does appear to be the first set to feature that style of printed 1x8 title tile that _couldn't_ have been released as part of the Architecture theme.

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By in United States,

The Saturn V said (one of the best ever) is a bit of a LEGO anomaly. It’s a huge set overall that came from Ideas and is of exceptional value in terms of price for pieces. There are very, very few like that. So pretty much every set otherwise is a bad value compared to Saturn V. All things considered, I think this is a decent value.
Yeah, I know, stickers suck. But you’ll all get over it. If you don’t buy this because you don’t like stickers, then you’re only hurting yourself.

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By in United States,

I'm thrilled by this set, not at all upset by the fact it has stickers, and have already moved it to the top of my Wanted List. If there's any offer analogous to the Mustang Key Chain I'll make it a day 1 purchase and find something else to use to get the Rocket Ride GWP set. Can't say better than that, can I?

Clearly TLG can keep a secret when they really want to--better than many governments or defense contractors!

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By in Sweden,

Take my money! I also think that I need all the city space. All of it!

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By in United States,

I have the other Lunar Lander from what, the early 2000s? This looks like a great update! It’s gonna look fantastic sitting next to my Saturn V!

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By in Germany,

@monkyby87: I wonder how it has become such a strain financially for TLG to produce baseplates when in former times it was possible for so many sets. LEGOLAND, Space, Castle, Aquanauts, you name it, all those themes had lots of sets with baseplates, flat as well as raised in all kinds of shapes. And all these sets were still affordable strangely enough.

Oh yes and prints are hideously expensive too. Hence why sets by companies like Cobi or MegaConstrux, which use prints almost exclusively, are so much more expensive than LEGO...
Oh wait... ;-)

In all honesty, the argument that prints (or baseplates) would make sets more expensive is plain BS. It just means that TLG would have less of a crazy profit margin. That's all.
And I for one see this as simply cheaping out. Like mentioned above, other manufacturers manage to provide high quality prints and affordable sets at the same time, so why shouldn't TLG be able to do so? The answer is, as long as there are people believing those BS arguments TLG can get away with it.

By the way, do you work for TLG? Or why are you so overly apologetic for their shortcomings? Why are you so invested in defending their BS arguments? Do you actually know how expensive prints are? Do you manufacture printed ABS parts yourself? If so, then explain why printing pieces costs more for TLG than for Cobi, MegaConstrux, et al.

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By in United States,

@AustinPowers:
I already explained why they limit the number of printed elements and provide sticker sheets instead. As for the baseplate thing, I've heard that they don't actually make their baseplates but farm them out to one or more other companies. It's worth noting that the baseplates are vacuum-formed while they specialize in injection-molding. The two processes require completely different equipment, running sheet stock vs pellets. Baseplates also tend to be a bit wonky compared to injection-molded parts, as I discovered personally. I had a project that required tiling several baseplates, which worked fine for the first few years. Maybe 3-4 years later, the tiles tend to shed really badly if I don't handle the baseplates carefully, and I'm planning to add a layer of plates sometime later this year to help alleviate that problem. Dunno why tiles are a problem when plates aren't, but I have another project from around the same time where I needed an extra plate of height. Those plates don't shed anything.

So, I think partly it's about quality issues with the baseplates. Partly it may also tie into the fact that you can either build on baseplates or not build on baseplates, but you can't do both in the same model. A baseplate adds about 1/2 plate height, so if you try to build half on/half off, you end up with a height difference that can't be easily corrected. So, aside from Modulars (which would become incompatible if they ever _stop_ using baseplates), they largely seem to try to avoid using baseplates. There's also the issue that a baseplate forces a minimum box size that they may otherwise be able to avoid.

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By in Germany,

The one thing that Lego as a company probably needs the most is competition. If Lego had strong competition, we might not have these recurring discussions about stickers in premium sets.

For me, stickers significantly reduce the joy of building with Lego and prevent Lego sets from being otherwise nearly perfect products. Applying stickers neatly requires quite a bit of time, patience, and dexterity (of course, compared to something like painting Warhammer miniatures, this is still laughable). There is no such dexterity requirement anywhere else when building with Lego.

And as a customer I am not interested in Lego's internal processes (part budgets, recolors, etc.) and I don't have to be.

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By in United Kingdom,

This set may be a slow burner, I’m not going to make my mind up about it until I’ve studied the pictures/reviews a bit more. My first impression is that although it should be just my thing, it’s not looking like a day one purchase. A few details seem off, one being the minifigs which I think are terrible. OK, I’m a person that likes well designed minifigs and pay alot of attention to them, and I admit that this type of set shouldn’t be judged on them alone. That said, the astronaut helmets are more Alien than NASA and feel that if a new helmet was not possible, they should’ve gone with a classic space/motorbike helmet and air tanks.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Purple Dave
You did indeed explain, but, as deikoon alluded to, the limitations LEGO have on printed pieces are their own, artificial construct. As AustinPowers said, it just comes down to profit.

Sure, stickers allow fans to leave designs off, and allow reuse but they definitely break up the pleasant flow of a build (deikoon again).

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By in Germany,

I'm with @deikoon on this. I don't care about the internal rules TLG sets for themselves in order to justify cheaping out on its customers. They can talk as much as they want about "parts budgets" and similar BS. They have all the means at their disposal to provide parts in any colour as well as prints on most pieces, at least of regular shapes and sizes. And as CMF series prove they can also manucafture all kinds of weird one-off pieces as well as print all kinds of never-to-be-used-again stuff.

I look at the competition, and by now there is actually lots of competition. And I am not talking about copycats like Lepin, but legal alternatives like Cobi, MegaConstrux, Oxford, Xingbao etc. And those offer sets with better PPP ratios while often still providing lots of high-quality printed pieces.
So it IS possible, it is just a matter of wanting to.

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By in United States,

@deikoon, you can be ignorant to internal processes and guidelines, but that doesn't mean they don't affect sets. You not caring about them doesn't mean they shouldn't, and won't, exist. Artificial constructs or not, that's how Lego works, and we'll have to deal with it.

I don't like stickers either. I much prefer printed pieces. Heck, I think most everyone here agrees. If there were options between a printed set and a stickered set, I'd always choose the printed set. But I don't have such a disdain for them that I would limit myself as a result. And I don't dislike a set simply because it has stickers, when the overall product is great.

And I won't comment on the Cobi or MegaConstrux comment...we all know why those aren't as expensive of Lego. It's not because they're a more "generous" company than Lego... -_-

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By in Canada,

I was hoping for a new Lunar baseplate as a throw back to the Classic Space theme.

@EvilTwin I believe the use of miles was stated as the US doesn't use the metric system as the rest of us https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5-s-4KPtD8

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By in United States,

@bananaworld It's a construct built on decades of ever-improving financial metrics that allow them to sustain the business into the future. Lego is not a charity.

These debates are so tiresome. Just because you don't like stickers (I don't either) doesn't mean you know more about the market, sales projections, and competition than people who do this stuff for a living. Get over it.

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By in Netherlands,

What a fantastic set! Back in 1969, I watched the moon landing on the TV and as a boy I collected everything ‘space’. Will buy it when it becomes available!

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By in United States,

The whole sticker debate is silly—the main reason that this set uses stickers seems to be to have a reflective gold surface for some parts—the same way that reflective stickers are used for mirrored surfaces like the central column of the recent Carousel or various hand or wall mirrors in the Elves, Friends, and Disney Princess sets. There's no way to achieve that level of reflectiveness as a print—the only way to achieve that would be chromed parts, which present their own challenges (since chromed parts generally need their own dedicated molds to satisfy Lego's modern standards for part fit, a far more expensive prospect than either prints OR stickers).

And once a set has a sticker sheet anyway, it makes sense to fit other decorations like the control panels and flag since you can do so for basically no added cost (as opposed to the much higher operational costs for putting more printed parts into production).

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By in United States,

@AustinPowers: I'd contest your claim that "all those sets were affordable". Unless sets cost way less in Germany than in the United States back in the 80s and 90s, many of those sets were ludicrously expensive compared to the amount of actual building that went into them

I'm not saying that I didn't love #6195-1, #6339-1, #6082-1, or #4990 as a kid, but since I was getting those as gifts from my parents, I didn't have to think about how much they cost at that time. I guarantee that as an adult I'd think twice about paying the equivalent of anywhere from $110 to $150 in today's money for a set with less than 600 pieces, when I could get a better building experience, a better play experience, AND a better value in parts at similar prices from modern-day sets like #60200-1, #70655-1, or #70425-1.

It's bewildering to me how often AFOLs complain about parts they consider overspecialized or dumbed down, and yet still find creative multi-piece foundations like we see in so many modern sets and themes inferior to the far more specialized and dumbed down baseplates that were the standard in the 80s and 90s.

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By in Australia,

Gee-wiz! Lot's of whinging! This thing looks unreal! They've done a great job making it look authentic and really the stickers are pretty minimal. The moon surface looks fantastic and I don't think the old-school moon baseplate would have looked as good. However, even as someone who doesn't care about minifigs, these are a bit of a let down, they could have done better to brick build a life support pack I think.

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By in United Kingdom,

This set looks fantastic! Yes there have been compromises for the sake of cost mostly but still a day one purchase for me. Will go great next to my Saturn V! I do hope they now make the Command Module in similar glory.

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By in United States,

@bananaworld:
Sure, and they could go back to the days when they posted their only two annual losses. Win-win, right?

They put limits on how many elements they could keep in production at any given time _because_ the designers got stupidly ridiculous with it. They were designing new molds that they would only ever use once. They were basically doing the same with colors. And throw in everyone wanting every available element in every available color, and their element inventory was getting out of control. As part of their restructuring intended to avoid posting a third annual loss, they reportedly put a limit on how many elements could be maintained at any given time. If you want a new element, you have to retire an old element by taking it out of production and, after a waiting period, purging any leftover stock to make room for something new.

If they took every sticker they produce and turn those into printed elements, they'd have to open up at least one new warehouse just to store all the stuff. They also do pad-printing, and I remember reading something about that process being at or near capacity these days. In order to completely switch, they'd probably have to double capacity. Pad-printing also requires pads. For every color on every sticker design, they have to make a new pad. Depending on how much those cost compared to however they're printing the stickers, that could potentially cost millions of dollars every year just to manufacture them.

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By in United States,

i just purchased this set. yes i do feel that the price was a bit high but i love alll things space and the fact that i knew N.A. Armstrong in his professor days is a big plus.

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By in Germany,

@monkyby87: you say you know why sets from other manufacturers are cheaper. Care to enlighten me? Take Cobi for example. Their sets are cheaper even though
a) they offer almost entirely printed pieces
b) offer better quality pieces. I take that back, they offer the same quality, but better colour accuracy
c) they have better instructions

Now, again, why is LEGO more expensive you say?

By the way, have you ever actually built a set by Cobi, or Xingbao or MegaConstrux for that matter? I have, several actually, as I don't limit myself to just one manufacturer of bricks, and I know their quality. Your "knowledge" appears to be coming more from hearsay than actual experience.

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By in United States,

@AustinPowers, yes, I have built from other companies. I too don't just stick with Lego. But Lego is best. Their quality is better. Yes, it is. You can sit here and say it's same quality, blah blah blah. It's not. They don't always fit together well, and things aren't nearly as interchangeable as those of Lego. I know I can take a Lego brick from one party of a model and fit it with another piece without issue. You can't always do that with the other sets. Lego may be a premium brand when it comes to construction toys, but they've earned that over the years.

Better instructions? I don't know. I've never had problems with Lego instructions before, regardless of the set, so I can't see how the other companies have better ones. If you have trouble with Lego instructions than I can see why you're so smitten with the other companies.

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By in United States,

@monkyby87:
Official LEGO instructions have had a few failures over the years. I've never built it myself, but I understand the Darth Maul Bust instructions are probably the worst they've ever done. It's all done in top-down view, so you can't tell the difference between plates and bricks. And they don't include insets with the parts list for each step, so you basically have to guess until you hit a point in the construction where it becomes obvious that you guessed wrong.

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By in United Kingdom,

The stickers are disappointing. But the biggest disappointment for me is the branding. If this is a NASA for Apollo 11 then those figures should have been licensed - that is fleshie - ones, with decent detail to represent them. They managed to do good representations of the women of NASA, with name plates too, yet probably the two most famous spacemen ever do not get the same treatment. This is a real let down for me.

But the design does look superb.

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By in United Kingdom,

As to details, I reckon they could have got almost as close to the gold sticker details by using various different shaped "gold ink" tiles instead.

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By in United Kingdom,

Would like to add that I didn't hesitate cashing in on VIP pts as soon as I saw this. It was an inspiring period in my infancy to witness such feats and despite not realising at the time the challenges, the whole Apollo programme was just fantastic. Getting the Lunar Lander in 75 and seeing a reassuring Saturn V model in nursery, it oozes with memories that assures that, as with the Lego Saturn V, it represents to me and those who recall the feat of human endeavour, a symbol of our time. While I feel that the new model could be a tad better here and there, such as including the old lunar base plate, it's a fine model.

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By in United States,

This set reminds me a lot of the Lunar Module model that is at the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC... My only down side about this set is that the legs don't fold as they do for the set from The Discovery Channel. I got to build it for my job a week before it came out, and I did enjoy the build plus the set overall

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By in United States,

Curse the stickers!!! I would pay $50 more if the pieces, at least the American flag for crying out loud, were printed!! Ordered anyway - it looks phenomenal and premium space sets are always a cause to celebrate:)

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By in United States,

Just ordered my second one. My son and I both like this one allot.

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By in United States,

After the amazing Saturn V set, this set is a complete disappointment.

* Over use of stickers give it a cheap knock off appearance.

* The reviewer claims the interior was "faithfully recreated". Obviously the reviewer is not at all familiar w/ the LEM. Where's the iconic viewer with the yellow? Do an image search for "lem interior photo" and not only is this missing -a huge let down- but several other obvious parts are m.i.a.

* Minifigs. The reviewer did touch on this but didn't mention that this was such an easy fix others have already done so online with EXISTING Lego bits! While their fix looks great, since it's not part of the kit... it just shows how little effort Lego put into this.

* Maneuvering thrusters. Why are they on such lonnnng arms? This is not at all like Eagle.

Why Lego, why :(

I was so hyped about buying several of these (1 for my office and 1 for my desk here at home). Now... I am so sorry to say, this is a hard pass.

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