The Empire State Building is perhaps the most famous skyscraper in the USA, if not the world. Its distinctive art deco style also makes it one of the most attractive. At 443m high it was the tallest building in the world until 1970 so all in all it's no wonder that it's a popular subject for LEGO's Architecture series to model.
This new one, 21046, which stands at 55cm tall, dwarfs them both and upon first inspection looks to be a bit of a boring and repetitive build given that it's big, square and there are 684 1x2 grille tiles to attach, but that's not the case at all...
The building sits on a 26x16 base which as usual is bordered with tiles including a printed one. Roads populated with yellow cabs occupy the first few studs along the sides. It's a shame there isn't a bit of variety in the cars, given that cabs are far from being the only vehicles on the road in the city!
Take note of the four sets of escalators leading from the ground floor, made using drum lacquered silver 1x2 cheese graters, now, because you won't see them again!
The central core of the skyscraper consists of literally hundreds of SNOT bricks and plates upon which either 1x2 grille tiles, or sub assemblies like that shown below, are attached.
Hidden away inside, visible only briefly during building, are drum lacquered 1x2 tiles used for the lift doors.
The designer could have made the core solid using 2x4 bricks or something but instead he has used what would once have been considered an illegal technique to mimic the steel girders used in the real building.
The 2x3 tile is slotted between the studs of a 2x3 plate, and another one is attached to the top.
I didn't get to talk to designer Rok Zgalin Kobe at the recent fan media days, but I understand that he said to those that did that this technique is OK with tiles, but not plates.
Anyway, the assembly above, and four similar ones, are stacked onto the tower to build up its height.
Four subassemblies, clad with dozens of 1x2 grille tiles, are attached to the exposed studs on the sides.
Having done so, the lower part of the building is largely complete.
Just a few more sub-assembles with dozens more grille tiles, and the narrow section at the top, which includes the observation platform, to attach.
Finally, the mast, which at one point was used for docking airships, is constructed using drum lacquered silver parts around a core of 1x1 'Dalek' bricks.
What could have been a dull and boring build was actually anything but. Yes, there are a lot of grille tiles to attach but unlike affixing 1x1 pieces which need to be meticulosity aligned, it was not arduous at all. In fact, there is a refreshing lack of 1x1 pieces in the set, which helps keep the pace of building up.
The completed model
It really is a thing of beauty...
The mast is attached with just a 318 bar in a clip so it's easily knocked out of alignment :)
The roof tops of the various protrusions from the main tower are all light grey which is probably realistic and also helps provide some contrast to the predominantly tan coloured building.
The view at street level.
The observation deck, on the 102nd floor just below the mast, is 373m above the ground, or 38cm on this model!
Compared to other LEGO Empire State Buildings
As you can see it dwarfs the other versions. By my reckoning, this one is about 1:800 scale.
The series 3 Gorilla Suit Guy insisted on ascending the tower. I can't think why...
There's something special about the design of the building: its proportions, its rocket-like appearance, its art-deco styling.This model allows you to really appreciate all of this in a way that's perhaps difficult in NYC.
Not only is the finished model a joy to behold, it's also a pleasure to construct. The core uses some interesting building techniques, and you're not constantly bogged down aligning tiny 1x1 pieces, so it's a pleasant and relatively quick experience, despite all the grille tiles.
Architecture sets are not usually very cost effective parts packs but this one makes a pretty good one, particularly if you're after tan grille tiles and hundreds of SNOT bricks and plates, which you can view in the inventory.
In terms of playability; well, there's isn't any unless you're planning to re-enact King Kong...
Overall then, this is another excellent Architecture set, and one that, at £90/$129, seems reasonably priced, too.
It's available now at shop.LEGO.com in Europe and will be released in the USA on August 1st. You can order and view it at shop.LEGO.com using the links below: