27 February 2017

Bucking the trend

Posted by Admin
Today, Elspeth De Montes gets imaginative with 21029 Buckingham Palace, creating some alternate builds for us, as well as analysing the parts that come in this set. Also, sheep.

As the capital of the UK, London has proved to be a popular location for LEGO® Architecture designers; 21023 Big Ben and the Skylines set 21034 London are both from the city. In addition, London landmarks appear in the Creator Expert theme with the huge 4163-piece set, 10253 Big Ben and the even larger 10214 Tower Bridge which has 4287 parts. With 780 parts, 21029 Buckingham Palace was released in September 2016 and is priced at £44.99 / US$49.99 / 49.99€.

It comes in the attractive, classy box with an opening lid that is typical of the Architecture theme. Interestingly, LEGO packaging designers are doing a survey at the moment if you have opinions on this.

You can see that Buckingham Palace’s box is not hugely oversized for the number of parts. The parts come in five unnumbered bags so it is far more satisfying to pour everything back in and have a rummage… especially if you are obsessing over the elements rather than following instructions! On that note, I didn’t quite follow the instructions.

The Palace… no, no I mean the other Palace…

Since this set is now about six months old I thought that a lot of readers would already have read a review where someone opens the box and builds the set. But this is (relatively) New Elementary so building from the instructions is optional!

Well, we all know Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s official residence in London but for a week or two every year, she heads up north to Scotland to one of her other official residencies, the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
Photography by Kim Traynor (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is located in Edinburgh at one end of the Royal Mile, with Edinburgh Castle at the other. The central Georgian frontage is a close approximation to Buckingham Palace, but those Jacobean tower structures on each end are very different from anything Buckingham Palace can offer.

I utilised the same technique that the LEGO designer used with the repeating 1x4 plates placed sideways, but these are held in place with the Brick Yellow [TLG] / Tan [BL] Light Sword - Blade (Element ID 6116614| Design ID 21462) and swing into place like a door on each side. The boundary fence from Buckingham Palace becomes the decorative stone fence that adorns the top of the central Georgian portion of Holyrood Palace. The two Guard Boxes are in place in front of the main entrance while the clock sits above the doorway itself - thank heavens for that White Plate 1X1 W/Tooth (4224792|49668) from the Victoria Memorial in the Buckingham Palace model, as it was ideal for the decorative clock.

Holyrood Palace also has a late 19th century fountain in the palace forecourt with a little circular patch of grass around it; those Olive Green elements give a lovely grassy feel without being too GREEN. This minifigure trophy is doing its best to be a subtle creatural part of the stonework rather than a statue here at Holyrood Palace.

In a moment we will leave Scotland and head for the Yorkshire Dales, but first let's examine the LEGO elements that come in the set.

LEGO Elements in 21029 Buckingham Palace

There are no exclusive parts in this set other than the obvious: a Black Flat Tile 1X8 "No. 46" with “Buckingham Palace” printed in white (Element ID 6146710).

The only other nearly exclusive element is the Warm Gold [TLG] / Pearl Gold [BL] Mini Figure Trophy (Element ID 6138682|Design ID 90398) which appears in 21027 Berlin, one of the Architecture Skyline sets from January 2016. This part also comes in White, Dark Stone Grey [TLG]/Dark Bluish Gray [BL], Dark Red, Sand Green, Bright Blue [TLG]/Blue [BL] and Warm Gold within the Architecture theme, while the three metallic colours of copper, silver and gold were all trophies held by members of the collectable LEGO Minifigures family.

The final element of note is Brick Yellow Flat Tile 1X1, Round (6139649|98138). There are eight supplied with this set and I have drawn attention to it as the only other two sets that this element comes in are ones that are within the Seasonal Theme which could be easily overlooked. 40205 Little Elf Helpers and 40204 Pilgrim's Feast have two and one of this element respectively and are all used as noses within those sets!

Copyright 2017 The LEGO Group

1x1 Elements Galore

Of the 780 pieces, 272 are 1x1 plates or tiles; that’s just over a third of the parts! These little elements mainly create the detailed facade of Buckingham Palace, grass texture in the forecourt area and roof design. Some fans like to obsess over the price per piece and at 5.8p (GB)/ 6.4c (US)/ 6.4c (EUR) this is a set that can appear to give good value in this area… assuming you want a lot of small 1x1 parts.

In decreasing number supplied in this set, not counting the handful of spares, we have:

  • 62 Brick Yellow [TLG] / Tan [BL] Round Plate 1X1 (614126|6141)
  • 57 Transparent [TLG]/ Trans. Clear [BL] Plate 1X1 -Tr (3000840|30008 )
  • 22 Brick Yellow Plate 1X1 (4161734|3024)
  • 22 Olive Green Flat Tile 1X1, Round (6047015|98138)
  • 17 Medium Stone Grey [TLG]/ Light Bluish Gray [BL] Pl.Round 1X1 W. Through. Hole a.k.a. the ‘Apollo stud’ (6168647|28626)
  • 14 Dark Stone Grey [TLG]/Dark Bluish Gray [BL] Flat Tile 1X1 (4210848|3070)
  • 12 Sand Yellow Flat Tile 1X1 (6055172| 3070)
  • 11 Medium Stone Grey Plate 1X1 (4211399|3024)
  • 10 Brick Yellow Flat Tile 1X1 (4125253| 3070)
  • 10 Medium Stone Grey Flat Tile 1X1 (4211415| 3070)
  • 8 Brick Yellow Flat Tile 1X1, Round (6139649|98138)
  • 8 Olive Green Plate 1X1 (6058245|3024)
  • 6 Black Round Plate 1X1 (614126|6141)
  • 6 Transparent Round Plate 1X1 - Tr. (3005740|30057)
  • 2 Black Flat Tile 1X1 (307026|3070)
  • 2 White Plate 1X1 (302401|3024)
  • 1 Bright Red [TLG]/ Red [BL] Flat Tile 1X1 (307021|3070)

Relative curves

Buckingham Palace’s architectural style is is not known for its grandiose arches or curving features, so it should be of no surprise to find a dearth of curvy parts in this set. There are only three parts that stand out as having a curvaceous aspect and none of these are particularly rare now, as all appear in 11 other sets or more:

  • 3 x Brick Yellow Wall 1X2X2 W. Bowed Slit (4642933| 90195)
  • 2 x Brick Yellow Brick W. Bow 1X3 (4125253| 4490)
  • 1 x Medium Stone Grey Window Frame 1X2X2 2/3 (4523353| 30044) with the Black Cavity W. Leads (3004626|30046) in place inside the frame

Heading to the Yorkshire Dales

Dry stone wall building is a real-world skill here in the Yorkshire Dales where I currently live. I thought that the ample supply of small parts in this set could be useful for this very purpose. Turning sharp corners into curves is not always easy with LEGO elements but the beauty of dry stone walls is that there are naturally a few gaps in the wall.

A healthy supply of the Flat Tile 1X1, Round allows one side of the 1x2 plates to be fixed in place while the other ‘floats’ around the curve to give shape.

As mentioned there are two colours of these Flat Tile 1x1, Round in this set: 22 x Olive Green (6047015|98138) and eight Brick Yellow (6139649|98138).

At first I was going to build a whole tower and then I had grand aspirations to build the Tower of London. I quickly realised that this technique is rather parts-intensive so I settled on a little corner of Yorkshire stone wall instead with a bit of moss.

It wouldn’t really be a proper Yorkshire dry stone wall without a wee sheep in the photo of course. So on the other side of the wall having a nibble at the Olive Green grass is a little lamb. On that note, there are not many white parts in this set!

Final Thoughts

Buckingham Palace is an Architecture set and fans of the series will generally buy this set, build the model and display it. It is beautifully presented with the luxury box and instructions with details and coffee-table-book-feel, so also works as a ‘London Souvenir’ or a gift to an adult. This is probably not a set that AFOLs will buy for parts, nor to create a mega-sized Buckingham Palace by combining three of the sets together. Although I realise that I have set a challenge now by saying that…

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  1. There are actually two different shades of gold minifig trophy. The one that comes with the S2 Judoku is noticeably lighter than the one that comes with the S9 Marilyn, though Bricklink does not recognize this difference. I think all other sources for this element in drum-lacquered gold match the S9 version more than the S2 original.

    And I think my cousin's husband might prefer your build to the original design. He says he was born on the very northernmost tip of Scotland, and their wedding involved a kilt, a bagpiper, and a plaid garter.

  2. Yes that's right regarding the minifigure trophy, hence why the Warm Gold is exclusive to the two Architecture themes. In addition, the Sumo Wrestler is listed as 'copper' rather than gold while Marilyn has the Metallic Gold that matches the trophy held by the Karate Master CMF.

    I bet your cousins wedding involved a ceilidh too!

  3. Brilliant! What a great approach to reviewing a set.

    1. Thanks Richard, I received it a little late for a regular "ooo look at this new set" review...I thought I'd build something else just to showcase the parts a little :-)

  4. Wow great review! You can check out my LEGO comics blog here:


    1. Thanks Matt. I did check out your comic blog...ha I like that you build the Creator Expert logo ;-)