Of course, there is another way you can build the set; you might like to put your time and money into purchasing the elements you're missing instead. Lots of AFOLs seem to enjoy the challenge of creating sets this way. The 21021 Marina Bay Sands instructions are available for free download from LEGO's website. As for the elements, Rebrickable tells me that 37.5% of the required elements are in 21018 United Nations Headquarters, so if you own that, you have a head start - in particular the rare yet voluminous Trans-Light Blue 1X2 plates. (Rebrickable is a wonderful resource, especially if you are good at keeping up your personal inventory of sets, which is easy with sites like Brickset.)
So in light of all these barriers, part of me would love to tell you it's a terrible set not worth bothering with, but in fact it brought many smiles to my face as I built it. (I am a big Architecture nerd admittedly.) It isn't the greatest Architecture set out there but is very good, and has some nice parts and some very fun and unusual techniques.
PartsIf you enjoyed reading about an Architecture set with lots of White and Trans-Light Blue [BL]/Tr. Lt. Blue [TLG] in my previous post about United Nations Headquarters, well you're in luck because this is another one. The most exciting elements are probably the same ones that come in United Nations Headquarters, namely the 1X1 and 1X2 plates in Trans-Light Blue. Marina Bay Sands has more 1X1 plates (19 as opposed to 14) but less 1X2 plates - hard to complete with the 155 in United Nations Headquarters, but the 98 you get here are hardly to be sneezed at! Also in Trans-Light Blue are 39 1X4 tiles, which aren't new or especially rare, but that's a great quantity nevertheless. Other nice quantities of common elements in the set are the White plates; 22 1X1s, 21 1X4s, 17 2X4s and 11 1X10s. There's also 20 of those useful 2X4 tiles in Dark Bluish Gray [BL]/Dark Stone Grey [TLG].
reviewing 70126 Crocodile Legend Beast, that the Olive Green 1X1 round tiles had printing on them. Well, there are 13 clean ones here which is an exclusive for this set - or rather it was for a couple of weeks because, as regular reader Aanchir pointed out, they now come in the new Chima set 70133 Spinlyn's Cavern. There is still an exclusive in this set though (but I doubt this record will last long either); two White 1X2/1X2 inverted brackets (part 99780, as seen in the above picture of the deconstructed roof). This was my favourite part of 2012; fantastically useful. Great to see it now comes in six colours (including Sand Green!). Finally, of course, there is the 1X8 printed tile with the name of the building. It comes only in English in this set.
Amongst all this loveliness there are virtually no bricks; only three 1X2 bricks and that's it for your classic brick! There are a few textured, Technic and SNOT bricks though, but clearly this build will be a bit of a plate-stacking experience.... yayyy!
The nicest thing about this build is that the majority of it is built sideways; the three towers are long flat builds that get positioned vertically in the final model, to suggest the huge curved sweeps of the original. Each of the three towers is a bit different, so they're not a repetitive experience to build. Whilst they all use the same approach to construction - a hollow box built of plates - variations occur to achieve the differences in vertical curvature and the way in which the horizontal lower curved section of the building intersects each tower. These differences include various stepped effects and some 1X1 plate stacking (which is fun when you're using a lovely new colour of 1X1 elements!) and even include a moment where the 5:2 technique is used.
That's the technique where you make use of the fact that five plates are the same height (ignoring the studs) as the width of a part that is two studs wide. By setting plates sideways like this, you can achieve finer detail. It's an advanced technique not often used in official sets, but one famous example are the year numbers 'engraved' at the top of some Modular buildings.
By contrast, the other face of each tower is exactly the same build for all three. I find it odd they chose this side for the main box picture; the other side is far more interesting thanks to the grille tiles and the variation in 'curves' on the towers. I suppose they decided the increased colour makes it the more attractive side.
The attachment method for these sides of the towers is interesting however. A 180° reversal is required, so three of the very strange little submodels pictured here on the right are created using clip lights (part 4081) to achieve the reversal, then placed inside the hollow structures of the towers. The final side then attaches like a lid.
|©2010 William Cho. Some rights reserved.|
The age mark on the set is 12+ and that feels right for a minimum. LEGO still create the instructions with kids younger than the age mark in mind, knowing that they'll attempt builds anyway. I think 10 year-olds are the target with Architecture. Consequently, Architecture instructions aren't as hard as you might hope; certainly not as complex as the regular set instructions were back when I was 10! However there are definitely techniques employed that set most Architecture models apart, and in this case it's all the interlocking building in different directions and those odd 180° reversal constructions within the towers. Irritating as I find the 'dumbing-down' of LEGO instructions, it's actually a good thing in the long run. It allows kids to be introduced to ever-more complex building techniques (even 4+ models use SNOT bricks these days) which stretch their understanding beyond the traditional 'stacking' approach. Maybe once TLG feel that the children of the World have got their collective heads around that, they might actually give us what we've all been dying for... parts with studs on the bottom as well as the top!
My thanks to LEGO's Community and Events Engagement Team for providing this set.
Read my other recent posts about LEGO Architecture: