If you can’t make it to Paris, let Paris come to you.
One of the 2014 models of LEGO Architecture’s Landmarks series is the Paris’ hallmark, the Eiffel Tower. If you want to know whether or not the LEGO model makes up to it, you can continue reading this review. Although, I must admit, I had a trip to Paris planned twice, and still haven’t made it there, so I might not be the right person to compare the real tower and LEGO model. Nevertheless, here’s my thoughts about the LEGO model of the famous Eiffel Tower.
Basic info of the set
Set no.: 21019
Name: The Eiffel Tower
Theme: Architecture (Subtheme Landmark series)
Age group: 12+
Price: £ 29.99 / US$ 34.99 / EUR 35.99
Price per part: 9.343p / 10.900c / 10.900c
Links: Brickset, Bricklink, LEGO S@H
The front of the box is unexpectedly dark and shady for a LEGO set, yet the Eiffel Tower still stands out. It’s standing on white sheets of paper, presumably the architectural plans for the model. The grayish structure of the model is nicely visible, and gives a suitable impression of the slightly curved and cone-like shape of the model.
The back of the box features a picture and a short description of the Eiffel Tower, an iconic symbol of Paris. In addition, the LEGO model is presented schematically with its dimensions (height 31.7 cm and width 11.2 cm) and announcement that the Instruction booklet includes more details on design and history of the Eiffel Tower. A nice detail is the text description in 6 world languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hungarian).
A lovely feature on the side of the box is a picture of the model with its name in 6 world languages. The narrow and tall model fits very nicely on the side, which makes it nice to display the box on the shelf and save some space.
In my opinion, the best feature of the box (this is true for the whole Landmark series or at least the sets I own from this series) is that it opens up to reveal the box contents. This is not a new detail, as it was a standard in the 90’s (I believe), but nowadays it’s rather rare. I like this feature of the box, as it allows easier access to the contents. In addition, the box is made of a sturdier cardboard which makes it more convenient for storage. Both features of the box are the reasons why I decided to keep it, as I generally throw set boxes away almost immediately after building the set.
The booklet design is similar to the box’s front side. It’s made from a thicker paper and has even thicker cover and back pages. This is definitely a plus, as instruction booklets are made of thinner paper which is more prone to accidental tears.
Another feature of the booklet that stands out is the dorsal binding. In a way, this is not so handy while building, as the pages keep turning on their own, but it adds to the quality and long life of the booklet. This can be compensated by slightly rubbing the turned pages in the booklet, although it leaves a mark on the booklet. The booklet includes a detailed description of the Eiffel Tower’s design and construction, and some basic information about its designer, a French engineer Gustave Eiffel. Many interesting facts can be found in the booklet, including the fact that he was specialized in building different metal structures, was the designer of the Statue of Liberty, and was involved in building the locks for the Panama Canal.
Another lovely feature of the booklet are wonderful photos of the real Eiffel Tower. For someone, who hasn’t made it to Paris yet, just looking the photos is very tempting to start planning the trip there. In addition, basic facts about the Eiffel Tower are included. Did you know there’s 18038 iron parts included in the tower? In addition, the booklet is bilingual. All the information is written in English and French.
A random page from the booklet shows that it’s not that hard to follow up different steps of the design considering the mostly greyish structure. The parts needed are highlighted in clouds with white borders. The corners on the booklet pages seem to be reserved for some kind of ”Did you know?” information. This page states that the position of each of the 2500000 rivet holes was specified to within 0.1 mm. In my opinion, this seems very precise, especially considering the model was designed more than 100 years ago.
Parts to build the Eiffel Tower are packed in 4 polybags. There’s not much variability in colour. Parts are in 6 different colours (black, light and dark bluish gray, flat silver, dark green and red), however the majority of parts is in both shades of gray.
These are the largest parts found in the box, mostly plates and tiles. Of interest, there are two black printed tiles with French and English name of the tower. This is a nice detail, as you can choose how to name your tower. I chose the English name, as I’m more familiar with it. However, French is original, and including only a French tile would not be a problem.
Smaller parts are again mostly plates and modified plates. Special parts here are the SNOT plates, that are very abundant in this set. Majority of the parts is included in larger numbers, as they are used as building blocks of each of four sides of the tower.
Parts wise, there’s not much special bricks that would make it worth buying this set for parts only. However, the interesting parts in this set are the before mentioned printed tiles, 4×4 round plate with 2×2 hole inside in light bluish gray, 2×2 dark green tiles, dark bluish gray plate with grill, flat silver hoses and flat silver modified plate with octagonal frame.
The building of the model of the Eiffel Tower starts with now almost classic Architecture set’s platform with distinguished black edge with printed name of the model on the tile. I chose English name, however, you can ”personalize” your model of the Eiffel Tower, and use a tile with French name.
The platform is tiled with dark green tiles representing the grass around the tower, and light bluish gray tiles representing the paved surface below the tower. Positioned on the turn tables in each corner are the bases for each ”leg” of the tower.
Another specialty of this model is SNOT building. In addition, to classical SNOT techniques with SNOT bricks, throughout the build you can find different 1×1 modified plates positioned at 45° angle in respect to other bricks. Here, at the first level of the tower, you can see gray clips at the edges of the level.
The grill plate is used as a base for the first level, and again here you can see 1×1 clips positioned at an ”odd” angle. The grill plate looks nicely as it is similar to the iron structure of the real tower.
In one of the later steps, you attach the middle part of tower’s legs to the angled clips. These middle parts of the ”legs” attach to the higher smaller platform with the same technique. An interesting detail at this step is that you actually have built the middle part of the tower, but you cannot attach it to the base platform, as the bottom part of the ”legs” are not built yet.
The bottom part of the tower’s ”legs” is added later during the building. They’re built similarly to the middle part from previous picture. The only difference are the additional clips on the sides of the ”legs”. These clips will hold the flexible hoses, but are added a bit later. Also, at this point, the model is up-side down.
The finished bottom half of the model looks great attached to the base platform. The flexible hoses are a great detail, although the flat silver colour is not so evident in this colour scheme. Aditionally, slightly more reflexion and mimicking of metal colour is provided by the two rows of flat silver grill plates around the edges of the lower two platforms of the tower.
The upper part of the tower differs in size and shape from the bottom part. At some point it looks very odd with sides of the upper inverted pyramid sticking out in the empty space. Although, different in shape, the same SNOT techniques are used as in the lower part. In the bottom of this upper part of the tower, you can again see the clips positioned at 45° angle.
The finishing touch of the tower is the octagonal ring in flat silver at the top and flag pole at the top of the tower. The only thing I’m missing at this point is a printed tile with French flag design to hang on the pole. This would be the icing on the cake.
The finished product
After some repetitive small builds, here’s finally the finished model of the Eiffel Tower. The model is instantly recognizable. Although LEGO bricks are generally considered as ”blocky”, there’s almost no sign of blocky appearance in the Eiffel Tower. Specifically when viewed from an angle, the cone like shape of the tower is even more evident, and small details in flat silver and slightly differently angled ”sides” of the tower really stand out.
How well the designer(s) of the set managed to replicate the cone like structure of the tower, is nicely seen also from the birds’ perspective. What I missed is the designer(s) behind the model. As I remember for some models of the Architecture series, the name of the designer was included on the box. However, for this set I couldn’t find any reference as to who is the person(s) responsible for this lovely model of the Eiffel Tower.
Thanks to EB member Steve309 who provided the missing information of the set designer (as seen in the book entitled Lego Architecture: The Visual Guide), I can add the name of the designer behind this set. This is Rok Zgalin Kobe, a Slovenian architect and designer of the Trevi Fountain, Imperial Hotel, Big Ben and other Architecture sets.
The Final Verdict
The overall design is well executed. The Eiffel Tower is instantly recognizable, and the colour scheme is reminiscent of metallic iron structure. The shape of the tower is spot on thanks to some simple, yet effective SNOT building techniques. The only thing I missed is a small French flag at the top of the pole.
Selection of parts is just a pile of mostly light bluish and dark bluish gray plates and modified plates. It’s definitely not a set worth buying for parts only, as there are not that many special or rare bricks included. However, it might be useful to get a hand on some SNOT parts in light bluish gray.
The build itself is not that simple build as some of the bricks are positioned at a 45° angle, however there are some repetitive elements included which takes away a bit of fun. Nevertheless, the build is impressive and enjoyable enough as it’s starts somewhere in the middle of the tower, and is not straight from the bottom up.
The set is definitely not meant to be played with, yet it’s still sturdy enough to be handled even by younger hands. As for the target population, it’s a great model to display (and this is one aspect of ”play” for the AFOLs, isn’t it?).
The price is a bit on the expensive side with more than 0.1 EUR per brick while it doesn’t offer any special or rare parts. However, in my opinion it’s still a better value than some other smaller sets from the Architecture Landmark series.
Overall: 40/50 (80 %)
From the overall score the greatness of the model is not that obvious. From specific aspects, such as parts, price and build the model doesn’t appear to be sticking out of the average. However, the design is well done, and it’s a recognisable model of one of the most famous Paris’ buildings.