Lego Architecture – Brandenburg Gate (21011) Review


Lego Architecture – Brandenburg Gate (21011): Another Architecture build, this one which isn’t a terribly great piece of architecture, but a great provider of certain pieces for unique builds. Also unlike other builds from architecture where it seem more tall – this looks small on an image but is actually a pretty decent size – which is actually not a good thing from me, because it wouldn’t want to have this built to use for a display piece.


Time to Knoll: 13.5 Minutes


Time to Build: 22 Minutes




  • Pieces: 363 and 40 Steps – Manual (41 Pages)
  • Price: $34.99 on Lego and $28.99 on Amazon
  • Weight 241 grams
  • Combo Points: (4X32X1X1) = 128 points
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 48mm x 96mm x 86.4mm or 389.1 cm³ of course there’s a little bit more on the top so it’s really 418.6 cm³




  • Uniqueness: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 1 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 5 out of 5 Stars




What Else?

One of the main things that Lego has categorically not really done is to make sets that are really more military based – there’s even people who go massively out of the way to provide arms and armaments for those who want them in their Lego builds or videos. To a degree this makes sense since they are a toy company (although I don’t see Architecture as a child’s toy), but I can understand how it goes against the ethical and moral ground Lego is built on.

This is actually kind of sad though because some of the best model kits you can buy are usually from military vehicles and planes, but we sort of lose that aspect from Lego. Of course this being a more adult-themed set from Germany I kind of wish though that I could get something like a German Marder III


Of course the internet feels the same way and has responded by offering a whole bunch of sets you can get from Brickmania or even Ebay – all custom sets using Lego pieces (and often BrickArms as well) Just looking through these the builds look fantastic, and I’m already looking into sets with tank treads so I can see if I can re-create some tanks for my own collection.


Remix: So for my remix this time I actually kept within the gate theme (and of course my typical rules – this is another build where I use all pieces, but of course most are hidden). This however is a more asian-style temple gate which I thought of when I decided to use all those roof pieces as steps which felt neat.


Now if you’re wondering about how that angle was achieved without using some angle bending pieces that didn’t come with this set – you can see the mechanism below.


If that looks weak though, and you;re assuming that big backend piece is holding everything up though – you’d be wrong. The combo of distributing the load across the stairs, a heavy bottom, and that small 2×4 plate actually locks in the stairs well enough that it’s fine free-standing.



Final Thoughts: Overall I think this build applies to those who are German, but mostly those looking for certain pieces to use in their other builds. In that respect I liked working with what the kit has to offer, but just not it’s finished product.

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

Lego Architecture – Seattle Space Needle (21003) Review


Lego Architecture – Seattle Space Needle (21003): Another in my continuing series of Architecture reviews. I mention this in my remix notes – but the scale and piece count works here so well. I know some people are not fans of the needle, but for the model – I really like how it’s come together.


Time to Knoll: 1.5 Minutes


Time to Build: 4 Minutes




  • Pieces: 57 and 27 Steps – Manual (12 Pages)
  • Price: $19.99 on Lego and $29.95 on Amazon
  • Weight 56 grams (So close to the same number of pieces.)
  • Combo Points: (1X0X1X1) = 0 points
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 32mm x 80mm x 12.8mm or 32.7 cm³ but as noticed there are a few extra parts so the true total is 49.5 cm³




  • Uniqueness: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 5 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 1 out of 5 Stars




What Else?

So when I first thought about something special for the Space Needle – I noticed from Wikipedia the facts of how sturdy the structure actually was. The building was made to withstand 200mph winds which at the time was double what the 1962 building code required. So this is a scale model, so I can just scale down the speed and test this right?

Those with Aerospace engineering backgrounds likely just shouted at their computers. Because it seems to be nearly the opposite. Due to pesky things like fluid dynamics (and in this case yes air is a fluid) you need to properly match air viscosity and make sure things like the Reynolds number is satisfied. This requires a Wind Tunnel which I don’t have lying around (and considering the scale of this model – that’d be one hell of a whopper)

I still wanted to ‘destroy’ my scale model though – so thanks to some sites detailing making a homemade shake table I could. Thankfully I haven’t lost my marbles, but I also secured the base with tape (just so the shaking wouldn’t ‘pop’ it off the surface). My hope for failure is where the 2×2 Circle Plate with the technic axle meets the base plate of the model. So I tried this.

And nothing. I figured – well okay I can remove the black nameplate – surely that’s just making it too wide anyway.

And still nothing. In fact I had to decrease the model to a single 4×6 plate (I made it to surround the sides so it ‘sunk’ in.) Only then did I get the failure I want. So it seems at the end of the day the model is likely just as sturdy as the Needle itself.



Remix: I did manage to use all pieces, and I tried many different possible ways to remix this. All the ways though just felt wrong, and even my drone (with stand) feels wrong. I know I normally seem to laud sets where remixes come easy, and that good sets allow you to easily make new things. However I also really appreciate this build. Aside from it’s simplicity I get the sense that no matter what I did – this wanted to be the Space Needle. Kudos to the designer Adam Reed for his fine work.



Final Thoughts: Again another pleasing model from the Architecture line. In fact my only real complaint is that only residents from Seattle would enjoy this. Unlike Big Ben, or the Tower of Pisa and other historical landmarks – this lacks an appeal to, well sense. It’s like – you could easily have some of the more iconic locational sets – even if you’ve never been there. This however lacks that same appeal. (Unless of course you have the whole line of Architecture in which case get them all)

Final Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

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 (12 Pages)
  • Price: $19.99 (On sale for 15.98 currently) on Lego and $22.21 on Amazon
  • Combo Points: (1X2X1X1) = 2 points
  • 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