5 August 2019

LEGO® Ideas 21318 Treehouse: the parts

Fan designer Kevin Freeser faced an unexpected challenge after submitting his Treehouse to LEGO® Ideas: he had exceeded the 3000 part limit imposed and had to redesign it with fewer elements. Ironically the final retail set exceeds it again, at 3036 pieces, but you can see why The LEGO Group didn’t want to skimp with this set. Folks, this thing is big.


The box measures 575 x 475 x 120mm and contains a 428-page manual and 19 bags of parts (although admittedly most are small) plus five bags of green leaves and five bags of yellow. (There are no loose parts nor baseplates.)

It’s those leaves that are the most interesting in terms of new elements. Considering the size of the set, there aren’t that many parts of note but Limb Element (Design ID 2417), which BrickLink more helpfully named Plant Leaves 6x5, comes in four colours of which one is new to LEGO sets: Flame Yellowish Orange [TLG]/ Bright Light Yellow [BL] (Element ID 6273388).


Better still, there are 55 of them provided! (Only 53 are used in the model.) Which brings me on to the perhaps more exciting aspect to the parts in this set: their quantities. Yes, I’m going to trot out the phrase ‘parts pack’. As you can see those Flame Yellowish Orange 6x5 leaves are paired with Dark Orange (6283957); this shade has only appeared in five sets to date and in piddling amounts compared to the 35 included in Treehouse. Should you opt for the “spring” version of the tree, you get 55 in Bright Green (6266964) and 35 in Earth Green/ Dark Green (6266967); again these are easily record quantities for this element in a set. As you likely heard already, these are made with the new plastic sourced from sugarcane (hence the new Element IDs for all). Another six botanical elements in the set also use it.

Here are some of the other ‘parts pack’ highlights to make your head drool and spin all at once.
  • 20 x “corner SNOT” Brick 1X1, W/ 2 Knobs, Corner in Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray (Element ID 6267495|Design ID 26604) which is a very new recolour for this useful piece, present to date only in 10269 Harley-Davison Fat Boy.
  • 21 x "square SNOT" Brick 1X2X1 2/3 W/4 Knobs in Medium Stone Grey (6123809|22885).
  • 12 x Corner Plate 2X4X4 in Dark Stone Grey/ Dark Bluish Gray (4539429|2639).
  • 47 x Carrot Top in Bright Green (4119479) with 10 x spares.
  • 45 x Carrot Top in Flame Yellowish Orange (6096682) with 7 x spares.
  • 56 x Brick 1X1 in Medium Nougat/ Medium Dark Flesh (6057986|3005).
  • 57 x Plate 1X1 in Medium Nougat/ Medium Dark Flesh (6215606|3024) with 3 x spares.
  • 29 Plate 1X2 in Dark Orange (6218360|3023).
  • 30 x “telescope” Stick Ø3.2 2Mm W/Knob And Tube in Dark Brown (4538950|64644) with 1 x spare, so that’s more than the 20 provided in 10193 Medieval Market Village for which this element was first created in this colour ten years ago.
  • 34 x Flat Tile 1X3 in Dark Brown (6167928|63864), beating the 24 in 71042 Silent Mary from 2017.
  • 27 x “espresso” Plate 1X1 Round W/ Horizontal 3.2 Shaft in Black (6196548|32828) plus 3 x spares – the most ever before was eight.
  • 48 x Hinge Plate 1X2 in Black (6102782|19954) however this was beaten by the 52 provided in 8880 Super Car from 1994.
  • 17 x “Apollo stud” Pl.Round 1X1 W. Throughg. Hole in Reddish Brown (6215659|28626)
  • 27 x Plate 1X1 W. Holder in Reddish Brown (6066142|60897), trouncing the 11 in 70657 Ninjago City Docks.
  • 12 x Brick 1X3X2 W. Inside Bow in Reddish Brown (6133833|18653).
  • 28 x Angle Plate 1X2/1X4 in Reddish Brown (6168623|28802).
  • 46 x Plate 1X2 in Transparent (6240204|28653).

New moulds...?

As mentioned, there is little of interest here because no new moulds were created for this set –however, this does mark the first appearance in a retail set of an element created for SPIKE Prime (which has been delayed to early 2020). One Brick 2X4 W/ Cross Hole in Bright Red/ Red (6244918|39789) is used to stabilise a vertical axle in the trunk. I’d expect that a round 2x2 brick could have achieved the same although it may have required additional bracing, which having a 2x4 element avoids. The most interesting aspect of this element to me is that LEGO ever agreed to allow it in the first place; the 2x4 brick is so iconic the company is loathe to ever fiddle with it but this and the upcoming LEGO Braille bricks are evidence this is not an absolute rule.

LEGO have made a change to the minifigure neck bracket. This recently came to our attention via fan Klaus “Rooster" on 1000 Steine after he first saw it appearing in White in 21045 Trafalgar Square, but let us know if you found it in sets earlier than that. The Treehouse now has it in Reddish Brown, so I lined it up between the old version in Black and a 1x1 bracket in Dark Orange.



The geometry has changed to fit the System. As many AFOLs will know, the vertical section of the old version had an unusual depth, generally agreed by fans to be the highly unusual measurement of 3 LDU. The new version is 4 LDU, i.e. half the height of a plate, which is the same as you find on brackets. While nice to see things standardised, I also feel it is sad to lose quirks in the System. I’ve used this 3 LDU piece in MOCs to achieve the subtlest of detailing (which precisely zero people have ever noticed of course) and I expect other builders will have found techniques that necessitate the use of the 3 LDU version of this element.

By the way, if you’re not yet familiar with Sariel’s great LEGO conversion tool to convert LDU into studs or plates … or frankly any LEGO measurement into any other... check it out at studs.sariel.pl!

If you want to get your hands on one of the new style of neck bracket immediately, that may prove troublesome. Buying recent sets is possibly your best option but that is not guaranteed either as TLG always drop either old or new elements into sets until the old ones are used up. [EDIT: some readers have reported receiving both kinds inside Trafalgar Square, which is a problem given that you have to line some up against each other.] BrickLink do not (yet) differentiate between the old and new versions of this piece – perhaps they are unaware, or don't consider it a big enough change to burden sellers with – and it seems even TLG have not created a new Design ID for this mould change, which I find strange. Mini Fig Back Plate w. Knob had the Design ID 42446 when originally introduced in 2002 and it seems this was later changed to 28974, although I'm not aware what the alteration was at that time. But you can see from this macro photography by Elspeth that the new neck bracket has the Design ID 28974. [EDIT: Our friends at Rebrickable.com have confirmed the first time they identified the new ID 28974 was in October 2018, so it seems this does indeed correspond to the new design.] 

As for the Element IDs, I'm confused here too. There are new IDs only for Dark Brown (6277183) and White (6277181), although the Trafalgar Square instructions show the old ID.  The Treehouse instructions also list the old ID for Reddish Brown (6170809) and Bricks & Pieces shows that too. Maybe another parts update is still to come, or the change in Element IDs for Dark Brown and White relate to some other invisible change.

I also spotted another minor mould change in this set which has perhaps been around for a while. There is one Lipstick (Design ID 93094 and later 25866) plus a spare provided in the set and when making the required connection I noticed the clutch was almost non-existent on the ‘lipstick end’, whereas the other 3.18mm end has the usual clutch you’d expect. I tried many of the lipsticks in my collection and both ends have decent clutch (and I’ve got very beautiful lips). As with the neck bracket, it seems IDs are not being updated for the lipstick either.

I’m more upset about this change, as having such a short 3.18 element is so useful. I imagine they did this because the lipstick end does not end in the typical way a 3.18 bar does, and perhaps this has therefore been deemed a potentially confusing building experience for children.

Printed elements in 21318 Treehouse


There are no stickers in this set but one lovely new printed piece is included: Plate W. Bow 2X2X2/3 in Reddish Brown with an inscription chosen by the fan builder (6283550). I also thought this 1x1 round brick in Transparent Light Blue with dragonfly design (Element ID 6284030) was new but was fooled by it being given a new Element ID; reader Arconoide points out it actually came in two LEGO City Arctic sets last year plus a polybag.

There are no new minifigure parts but some are uncommon, if you don’t already own 60202 People Pack - Outdoor Adventures from 2018 that is.


The boy’s cheerful bespectacled face, Mini Head No. 2634 in Bright Yellow (6231933|39135), only appears in two other sets including Outdoor Adventures. Same with the girl’s torso, Mini Upper Part, No. 4059 in Sand Yellow with Medium Azure arms (6210620|76382). The adults’ torsos have both only appeared in Outdoor Adventures, namely Mini Upper Part No. 4288 in Medium Nougat (6224041|76382) and Mini Upper Part, No. 4354 in Brick Yellow/ Tan (6231940|76382). Stranger Things 75810 The Upside Down brought us Chief Jim Hopper’s fedora; Figur Head Clothing No 8 in Sand Yellow (6252771|13565) is used for the second time here.

Uncommon elements in 21318 Treehouse

A few other pieces are rare enough to mention to you.


  • 1 x ‘ship in a bottle’ in Transparent (6248005|34090) originally from the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, included here as a nod towards the LEGO Ideas set.


  • 1 x Bird, No. 10 in White (6253309|48831) from 41161 Aladdin's and Jasmine's Palace Adventures. Interesting that this is presumably therefore a “Friends” animal used with minifigures.
  • 6 x Plate 1X1X2/3, Outside Bow (6258135|49307) are used as pillows and while this piece is rapidly becoming common, White only appears in two LEGO Movie 2 sets so far.


  • 1 x Crown, No. 1 (6259700|39262) is used to make an exotic flower. The piece has appeared in this colour in 75936 Jurassic Park T. rex Rampage, 75938 T. rex vs Dino-Mech Battle and LEGO Friends 41376 Turtles Rescue Mission.


  • 1 x Round Brick 1X1 in Earth Green/ Dark Green (6253282|3062). Seems surprising this common piece took so long to come to this colour, and even more surprising it has only appeared in 10264 Corner Garage until now.
  • 9 x Left Plate 2X3 W/Angle in Earth Blue/ Dark Blue (6251381|43723) and Right Plate 2X3 W/Angle (6251382 43722) only appeared in two other sets since 2016.
  • 2 x Wall Corner 1X1X1 in Earth Blue (6247781|6231) was introduced this year, only in two other sets so far.


  • 3 x Frame 1X4X6 Dark Brown (6259764|60596), only seen in 31097 Townhouse Pet Shop & Café to date.
  • 3 x Brick 1X2 With Cross Hole in Dark Brown (6272144|31493), only previously available in Stranger Things 75810 The Upside Down which has 28.
  • 7 x Plate 1X3 W/ 2 Knobs in Reddish Brown (6251470|34103) only found in 75228 Escape Pod vs. Dewback.
  • 8 x Brick 1X16 in Reddish Brown (6258989 2465) from 80102 Dragon Dance.


  • 1 x Radiator Grille 1X2 in Dark Orange (6228922 2412) in two Star Wars sets in 2004 but reappeared in April this year in 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City, and then 60228 Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control.
  • 9 x 1/4 Circle Tile 1X1 in Medium Nougat (6248536|25269), only in two sets.
  • 1 x Vegetable, No. 3 in Bright Orange/ Orange (6267125|51270), the pumpkin from 75947 Hagrid's Hut: Buckbeak's Rescue and Stranger Things 75810 The Upside Down.
Also, not pictured:
  • 1 x Corner Plate 45 Deg. 8X8 in Reddish Brown (6234270|30504) only in two sets.
  • 6 x Plate 1X6 in Dark Brown (6223039|3666), the most of this colour ever provided in the four sets since being introduced in 2010.
  • 1 x Plate 4X8 in Dark Azure (6209672 3035) in two Friends sets since 2018

Seems I found a lot to say about a set with no actual new moulds! I will describe the build in a separate review, so come back soon. 21318 Treehouse is available now, priced £179.99/ US$199.99/ €199.99.



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12 comments:

  1. The 1x1 round brick with dragonfly is not exclusive. We find it in arctic's sets 2018.
    Very interesting changes on the minifigure neck bracket and libstick.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think the lipstick has changed, I've had the same zero-cluch problem recently, but I had tried all of my lipsticks, including the colored ones, the rubbery part just has zero cluch. I really don't understand why Lego keeps using dual-molded expensive lipsticks instead of just producing a proper bar 2L. I know a bar 2L would be lost inside some other parts, but.. come on it's very needed.
    And if Lego stopped using closed studs (another of my gripes), then it wouldn't be possible to lose a bar 2L inside some elements anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe all the ones I tried are the very early lipsticks, as the clutch is the same... perhaps the 93094 to 25866 change was indeed the narrowing of the lipstick

      Delete
  3. Yes, I ambitiously bought a bag full of lipsticks only to find out they are useless as a 2l bar substitute

    ReplyDelete
  4. Disney minifigs series 2 use the bird as a minifig’s accessory, so may we call it a trend? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In general, themes that use minidolls tend to share a lot of their smaller animals with themes that use minifigs — for example, the chickens in the Sunshine Ranch set, frogs/spiders in various Friends/Elves/Disney sets, and most crabs and fish aside from Flounder and Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.

      In some cases this can be explained as Friends sets using a mold for minifigs before they have an equivalent of their own, like Heartlake High reusing an owl from the Harry Potter sets prior to Elves introducing a less angular owl mold. But I also suspect that below a certain size, many animal molds do not have a great enough level of detail to justify having separate simple/angular and detailed/rounded variants for different themes. Even smaller animals like this bird as well as the hamster, baby bunny, baby turtle, and baby dolphin feature beady, black, minifig-like eyes rather than expressive, colorful, minidoll-like ones.

      The Rubber Duck is also shared between minifigs and mini-dolls, and I suspect we’ll see the same if it gets reused as an actual bird or duckling.

      And the body of Balthazar’s bat form in The LEGO Movie 2 sets is likewise styled after the 1997 LEGO bat, not the rounder and more naturalistic looking Shadow Bats from the LEGO Elves theme — though I suspect this was mostly a nod to LEGO history, as with Killer Croc using the older, simpler LEGO crocodile/alligator parts rather than the newer, more detailed ones from the 2015 LEGO Pirates and Swamp Police sets.

      Delete
  5. The ship in a bottle was in the first wave of PotC sets, long before Silent Mary.
    Great review of the parts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Original ship-in-a-bottle:

      https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=95228pb01

      Silent Mary ship-in-a-bottle:

      https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=95228pb04

      I don't know why they changed the pattern. The first version had already appeared across five different themes including PotC, and over a span of four years. It's not like they flushed it as soon as the Captain's Cabin set went out of production. There was a two year gap between the first and second version, but the Silent Mary also had completely new deco for the minifigs. So the two most likely reasons are that it simply fell out of production long enough to get culled, or that they pointedly decided to revamp the deco for the Silent Mary.

      Personally, I feel the first version works best for what it was supposed to represent in the movies (that being the Black Pearl actually sailing inside the bottle), while the Silent Mary version makes a better traditional ship-in-a-bottle due to the inclusion of a pedestal.

      Delete