Lego Architecture – Empire State Building (21002) Review


Lego Architecture – Empire State Building (21002): Back to another Architecture set (as you may have noticed I have an affinity for it), but if I’m honest I’m not a huge fan of this. This is one of the 2 actual buildings I’ve seen (Big Ben being the other) and this rendition certainly captures it, but unlike Pisa or Big Ben this just doesn’t have the impact of those sets. Anyway onto the review.


Time to Knoll: 2 Minutes


Time to Build: 4.5 Minutes




  • Pieces: 77 and 25 Steps – Manual
  • Price: $19.99 (On sale for 15.98 currently) on Lego and $22.21 on Amazon
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 32mm x 80mm x 44.8mm or 114.7 cm³ but because there’s a bit more on the top ~125 cm³




  • Uniqueness: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 2 out of 5 Stars


What Else?

So then for this week I started getting it into my head about what I would change for this set, my problem being that to get enough Tan/Brick Yellow parts I would need to start buying sets like these which are full of them. So I then began playing around with Lego’s Digital Designer – which if you’re not familiar is basically a program that let’s you build virtual Lego sets. (You used to be able to order the set, but sadly that’s no longer available, there’s always Bricklink though!)

Anyway I began cobbling about some designs, mostly doing certain sections – but hey these reviews are weekly and doing a set like that in small scale properly (and virtually) was a little out there (but hey maybe there might be a future post when I can’t have a review for the week.)

As such I decided to see how long it would take me to do the same set virtually, (15 minutes) and then offer up the file here so that others could give it a crack as well in modifications (post them in comments below!) and look forward to usage of LDD in future reviews for more grandiose purposes.



Remix: This week there wasn’t as much to work with as most everything was the same color and size. I decided to be a bit creative to move pieces around so it wasn’t as uniform and made a windmill.



Final Thoughts: Overall like I’ve said while I get the mindset of a set that is the most distilled essence of the set, and not an accurate representation – it’s not my favorite. Having seen the other Architecture sets this just doesn’t feel as nice – it lacks the impact that the other sets bring to the table.

Final Score: 2 out of 5 Stars


Lego Architecture – Big Ben (21013) Review


Lego Architecture – Big Ben (21013): This build is actually a bit more special for me as it’s one I’ve actually seen in real life. While the Architecture line is meant to be a showcase of buildings, my main gripe with this particular model is that it’s not just surrounded by an equally scaled London with other buildings like the Shard and Cheese Grater with the Thames running through it. I see this, and I just want a mini London (begins planning side-project)


Time to Knoll: 9.5 Minutes


Time to Build: 25 Minutes




  • Pieces: 346 and 52 Steps – Manual
  • Price: $29.99 on Lego and $48.42 on Amazon (Because it’s currently Out of Stock on Lego)
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 48mm x 80mm x 64mm or ~245.8 cm³




  • Uniqueness: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 3 out of 5 Stars


What Else?

So I think we’re all familiar with this iconic finale of V for Vendetta. Here we see Big Ben and the Buildings of Parliament being blown to pieces very spectacularly. They use a train to explode the building in the movie, but it begs the question of how much explosive force would we need to use to blow up our miniature building.

Now of course a very very small amount of high explosives or C4 could do the job, but since we want a showy explosion let’s use gunpowder. Because we also know (thanks to 3d printed firearms) that a 5.7×28 rifle cartridge contains enough explosive force to destroy ABS plastic of something of about the same size let’s use one of those. (If we got fancy we could even pack  our own bullet and add some other chemicals such as Barium Nitrate or Lithium Carbonate to make it more showy)

Based on dimensions of the bullet from Wikipedia we know a few things. First even if we don’t take the casing off – the bullet has a diameter of 7.9mm meaning it’d happily fit in a 1 wide Lego train interior! However because it’d be 40.50mm long we’d need to have a train car interior be 6 wide to fit the whole bullet (we could then try to fit a firing mechanism in another train car behind it)

Of course since I don’t have a gun license (although apparently most anyone can buy ammo), and a desire to blow up some of my Lego set. I’ll leave a physical demonstration to some enterprising soul in the comments.


Remix: So then as is usual with my reviews I’ve chosen a remix, and this time I decided to use the nice tan blocks and made a sort of whirlygig airship. I’m particularly pleased with the misshapen sides that look like boards thrown on clearly showing airgaps to give it a more rustic look. Happily I was able to use all pieces and didn’t even need to add any keeping well within the remix rules.




Final Thoughts: Like I said, this is a great model to have, but I want a mini London to use like a Dresden-style Little Chicago. And for those who want some nice clock pieces as well as a bunch of tan bricks it’s a good buy (wait until it’s in stock though and at a normal price)

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

Lego Architecture – The Leaning Tower of Pisa (21015) Review


Lego Architecture – The Leaning Tower of Pisa (21015): Well here goes this crazy review thing. I couldn’t think to start with a better model though. I’ve always been a fan of the Lego Architecture series, and I’m a bit surprised by the Tower of Pisa model. Partly for how sturdy it actually is (haha bad jokes), but on how much it’s a great size to capture it’s essence. Any bigger and it’d feel off trying to replicate, and smaller just couldn’t give you the details as effectively, anyway onto the build.


Time to Knoll: 13 Minutes


Time to Build: 28 Minutes




  • Pieces: 345 and 65 Steps – Manual
  • Price: $34.99 on Lego and $31.26 on Amazon
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 64mm x 96mm x 89.6mm or 550.5 cm³




  • Uniqueness: 5 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 3 out of 5 Stars


What Else?

So then looking into the dimensions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from here and here, we can see that the outer diameter is 15.484m, and the inner diameter is 7.368m. Then based on the height (including foundation) of 58.36m (of which I’ve assumed the wall height to be akin to the ceiling height) we get an outer volume of 10,989.3m3 and an inner volume 2,315.29m3 of giving us a total volume of ~8,674.01m3

From there we have this. Which gives us that to recreate the real leaning tower with the sets of just this Lego set would be about ~15,757,000. Which in truth 15.7 million isn’t actually that much. However this doesn’t account for structural needs, and note there are a lot of flat-top pieces of which there would be a lot of need, but likely not this much.

Anyway I made a mountainside processing plant for something like chemicals and such. Keeping with the remix rules (see About page) I added nothing to this build, and actually only kept out the single piece with the name.





Final Thoughts: Overall I’m happy signing up for the Pley service because while I like sets like this, I don’t see this as something I’d like to buy and keep around (there’s a lot of other architectural sites I’d rather have), but it’s a neat build.

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars