18 November 2022

LEGO® ICONS™ review: 10307 Eiffel Tower

Posted by tobymac

The LEGO® ICONS™ set 10307 Eiffel Tower comes with 10,001 parts, and is the tallest LEGO model to date. With previous Eiffel Tower sets counting 320 and 3428 parts, I’ve been given the task to find out if bigger is better.

Products in this article were provided by LEGO®; the author's opinions are their own.
LEGO® ICONS™ 10307 Eiffel Tower
US$629.99/ £554.99/ 629.99€/ AU$999.99
10,001 parts
25 November 2022
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Is 10307 Eiffel Tower the biggest LEGO set ever?

Another year, another Largest Set Ever. And yes, the 31203 World Map still has the highest part count, but adding dots to a large plate doesn’t meet my requirements for being a LEGO model, so I am excluding it. 

The record of 5922 parts was held for a long time by the 10189 Taj Mahal from 2008. In 2017, the 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon set a new record of 7541 parts. It took 3 years before the 10276 Colosseum broke that record with 9036 parts, only to lose it to 10294 Titanic with 9092 parts the following year. That last record was set with a margin of just 56 parts; the model we’re looking at today sets the record by a much larger margin: the 10307 Eiffel Tower goes to 5 digits with 10,001 parts! Where the Titanic was the longest model ever with 135cm, the Eiffel Tower goes upwards to a record 149.8cm high, with a 58x58cm footprint.

The 324 meters tall Eiffel Tower is the most recognized landmark in Paris and arguably the world. The monument was designed by Gustav Eiffel and constructed between 1887 and 1889 for the World Fair. The temporary tower was received with a lot of skepticism, but became permanent, and ultimately a cultural icon. The structure is a wrought-iron framework tower, bearing no covering and scant decoration.

The Box

The set comes in a large box measuring 58.5 x 47.5 x 38.5cm, the same size as 10294 Titanic. Inside are 3 sub-boxes, each packed with an instruction manual along with all the parts that are used in that manual. There are 74 numbered bags, each with a unique number, which is the highest number to date. In other sets, when multiple bags are used in the same stage they all have the same number on the bag, but not here. There are also stages where different numbered bags are opened at the same time. 

The designer explains,

“The set contains a big pile of bags, and when you don’t know how many bags you need, you’ll have to search the entire pile each time. Now, when you find the bag with the correct number, you know you have all the parts you need and you can continue building faster.” 

- Rok Žgalin Kobe

Aside from the numbered bags there are about 10 (I forgot to count…) unnumbered bags containing larger parts.

READ MORE: Learn more about the design process; watch New Elementary's video interview with designer Rok Žgalin Kobe.

The parts in 10307 Eiffel Tower

The set contains 10,001 parts, divided across 277 unique elements. It won’t surprise you that most of them are Dark Stone / Dark Bluish Grey, with 7543 parts and 131 unique elements. If you look at photos of the Eiffel Tower you might notice that although the tower has been painted in multiple colors, it's not actually dark grey. The color was chosen because the tower is painted in a gradient, rather than a single color, which is hard to capture in LEGO form. The focus for the set is on the iconic shape of the tower, rather than color.

There are no new molds to be found, which I like. That might sound like a strange statement in a New Elementary review, but it's good to see sets that don’t need to introduce specialized elements to achieve the desired form. I certainly appreciate the possibilities that new molds can bring, but when it’s not needed, it just feels nice. 

Aside from not using any new molds, there are also no stickers or printed parts. We do get some recolors though, and again it won’t surprise you that most of them are Dark Stone Grey.

Recolours

  • The Vehicle Track, Roller Coaster Ramp Large Lower Part, 6 Bricks Elevation (6390531 | 26559) was used to determine the scale of the tower, as it captures the bow under the first floor perfectly.
  • Hose Rigid 3mm D. 23L / 18.4cm (6400774).
  • Hose Rigid 3mm D. 12L / 9.6cm (6400767).
  • Food Hot Dog / Sausage (6388126 | 33078) shows its versatility yet again.
  • Equipment Telescope / Torch / Spyglass (6396412 | 64644) is one of those elements of which I’m surprised it didn’t exist already in this colour.
  • Window 1 x 2 x 3 Pane Latticed with Thick Corner Tabs (6388124 | 60607).
  • Plate Special 1 x 2 with Handles on Ends (6396395 | 18649), another element I could swear I’ve seen before.
  • Bar Holder with Hole and Bar Handle (6397633 | 23443) is new, and comes in strong with a whopping 660 parts!
  • Brick Curved, 3 x 1 with 1/3 Inverted Cutout (6388127 | 70681).
  • Window 1 x 2 x 2 Flat Front (6396397 | 60592).
  • Fence 1 x 4 x 2 (6388129 | 3185). It’s always nice to see a classic part getting a recolor. This mold dates all the way back to 1967, and is still in common use.
Aside from all the Dark Stone Grey, there are 2 other recolors:

  • Brick Special 16 x 16 x 2/3 with Eight Recessed Edges with 1 x 4 Studs and Four Recessed Centers with 2 x 4 Studs AKA Road Plate 16 x 16 is new in Olive Green (6396387 | 69958).
  • Wedge Plate 2 x 2 Cut Corner in Medium Blue (6394529 | 26601). Funnily enough it is used inside the base and is not visible in the finished model. I assume this means we'll see it pop up in some future set.

Other parts of note

There are some other elements that are interesting:

  • Technic Brick 5 x 5 Right Angle (1 x 4 - 1 x 4) in White (6357617 | 28973) has appeared in 3 other sets since 2021.
  • Technic Brick 1 x 10 [9 Holes] in Dark Azure (6197913 | 2730) has appeared only twice before in 2017 and 2020.
  • Support 1 x 1 x 5 1/3 Spiral Staircase Axle in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray (6228982 | 40244) has been seen in 3 sets, 2 of which go all the way back to 2006.
  • Plate Special 2 x 2 with Only 2 studs in Sand Yellow/ Dark Tan (6396392 | 33909) was introduced in October in 21336 The Office.
  • Brick Special 2 x 2 with Pin and Axle Hole in Black (6365577 | 42929) has appeared in 3 other sets.
  • Window Frame 1 x 3 x 3 in Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray (6381253 | 51239) was introduced this year and appeared in 2 prior sets.
  • Plate Round 1 x 1 with Open Stud and Bar on Underside - Long Space in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray (6392597 | 79194) was also introduced this year.
  • Plate Round 1 x 1 with Hollow Stud and Horizontal Bar 1L in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray (6388118 | 32828) is another element introduced in 21336 The Office.
  • The same goes for Equipment Candle Stick in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray (6388120 | 37762). But where The Office provides 1 instance, the Eiffel Tower gives us 345 of this element!
  • Brick Special 1 x 1 with Scroll with Open Stud in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray (6388131 | 20310) was introduced this year in 10305 Lion Knight's Castle, and we get it 72x here.
And we also have some rare elements in other colors:

  • Plate 16 x 16 in Black (6306097 | 91405) has been seen in 3 sets.
  • Brick Special 8 x 16 with Six Recessed Edges with 1 x 4 Studs and Recessed Center with 2 x 4 Studs in Sand Yellow/ Dark Tan (6346348 | 71772) has been seen in 2 other sets.

Speaking of road plates: We get a nice quantity of them here, covering the ground. A lot has been said about them, with some very strong opinions, but I’m happy to see them getting more usage here.

With a total 10,001 parts, there are bound to be several elements that come in high quantities. I’ve sorted out the top 5 for you, all in Dark Stone Grey, and it looks like the result of a visit to the Pick-A-Brick wall:

  • 704x Plate Special 1 x 1 with Clip Vertical [Thick Open O Clip]
  • 666x Plate 1 x 6
  • 660x Bar Holder with Hole and Bar Handle (as mentioned, this is new)
  • 390x Plate 1 x 2
  • 345x Equipment Candle Stick
Other interesting numbers: the smaller beams filling the sides of the tower are mostly made out of bars and bar-connector parts. This is where the 660 x Bar Holder with Hole and Bar Handle and 345x Equipment Candle Stick come in, but there are also:

  • 172x Bar 3L
  • 152x Bar 4L
  • 256x Bar 2L with Center Stop
  • 168x Weapon Lightsaber Hilt with Axle Hole
  • 112x Technic Axle Connector Hub with 4 Bars
  • 32x Bar Holder with Clip
  • Most of the beams are held in place by the 704x Plate Special 1 x 1 with Clip.

Building LEGO ICONS Eiffel Tower

Now for the large task of building this beast. We start at the ground and move our way up to the flagpole at the top. Mr. Eiffel will keep an eye on our construction; he is not included in the set but is found in Gift With Purchase set 40579, which will be available from the same date as this set is released, 25 November 2022. 

The entire model is made out of 4 sections: the base with the lower legs, the first observation deck with the middle legs, the second observation deck with the top legs and the top observation deck. 

The base is made out of a sturdy frame of standard bricks and LEGO Technic bricks. Naturally it no accident that blue, white and red bricks are used in the internal structure. After building the same section 4 times, they are connected to each other, and just 30 steps into the 692 total steps I already start to run out of room. 

The frame gets covered in road plates, and on the corners we add the entrances to the tower. You can spot a color code here: there are 2 entrances with yellow bricks inside, and 2 with red bricks. These colors play a guiding role when adding the first legs later on.

The first major repetitive task comes with adding the greenery. There are 8 small and 8 large trees and 48 street lamps to be placed. In total, 432 of Plant Flower Plate Round 1 x 1 with 5 Petals are used.

According to the designer, the ground is designed to resemble when the tower was opened. The tower itself is modeled after its current look. The finished base measures 75x75 modules. With its roughly 1:200 scale, the designer explains that a human would roughly have the size of 2 stacked plates. Nano trophy figures would therefore have been almost 4 meters high!

Next up are the lowest 4 leg sections. The vertical corner beams are created out of layers of plates, with Plate Special 1 x 1 with Clip in between to attach the filler truss beams. The exposed studs on the corner beams represent the rivets that are used on the real-life tower.

Each leg consists of 4 sides, each built separately, with 1 corner beam and 1 side of filler truss beams. Each side is slightly different, so technically speaking, building a leg is not repetitive... but yeah, this got annoying very quickly. 

The 4 sides are joined by a clip and bar connection to a 8 x 8 plate on the top and bottom. Because the plate with clip is 1 x 1, it can rotate a bit, creating the right angle for the completed leg. 

The elevators inside the legs are set on a 45 degree angle, using a trick I haven’t seen before to keep the turntable at the correct angle. Because the 2 quarter round tiles can rotate a bit, it’s not a very tight fix, and the turntable can move a few degrees. 


Using the new Tile Half Round 1 x 2 would fix that, but that gives such a tight fit I think it might put stress on the parts, and therefore be illegal by LEGO standards. For holding the elevators, the wobble has no real effect on the final look.

The legs are color coded by the elevators, like the entrances. There are 2 versions of the lower legs: the ‘red legs’ are slightly different from the ‘yellow legs’. The finished loose legs feel very wobbly, but once they are in place and joined together at the top, the resulting structure is surprisingly sturdy. The top of the section is build upside down, so the next section can be placed without exposed studs or an additional layer of tiles.

The last step for the first section are the bows between the legs. As with the real-life tower, the bows are purely decorative and are not load-bearing. The designer explains that the designers who first came up with a concept version of this model – Nic Vás, Joel Baker and Alice Geiger – used these rollercoaster tracks as a starting point to determine the scale of the model. 

Some rigid hoses are added to let the curve move along the legs to the ground. While moving the model around, the arches are the most likely sections to let loose, as they are held in place by just a few studs. Using the rigid hoses, you can ‘push’ the arch a bit upward so it stays better connected to the tower.

The first observation deck measures 37x37 modules, and requires a lot of parts. In the real-life tower, Eiffel had the names of 72 French scientists, engineers and mathematicians engraved into the tower. They are represented by 72 Ingot Tiles along the sides. 

All around, we add round plates, clips, bars, bricks with scroll, telescopes and other decorative elements. All 4 sides are identical and by a certain point, the repetitiveness was no longer fun. But the result is very pretty.

Like the lower legs, there are 2 versions of the legs leading to the second observation deck. And I have to be honest: at this point I kinda lost the joy in building. Another 16 vertical beams with truss beams. This is definitely not a set to build in one sitting, but should be spread out over more than a short weekend. If this review didn’t have a deadline, I probably would have taken a few days off to find motivation again after putting in a lot of backbreaking hours. 

But I pushed through, and soon the section was finished.

Onto the third section, which is the tallest. The sausage shows its versatility as a decoration piece. The section is split up into 2 parts that are joined after completion. Yes, more truss beams! Luckily, the higher up we come, the smaller the truss beams, so the section is coming together fast. 

Inside the floor in between the 2 sub-sections we find some filler plates in a familiar color.

And here we are, at the top! The scooter stands are cleverly used in the antenna but are tricky to keep aligned. All that is left now is flying the tricolore, and all 10,000 parts (the 10,001st is a brick separator) are in place!

Conclusion

Putting aside my complaints from doing the build quickly, I must say the end result is simply impressive. 

With its near-150cm height and 58 x 58cm footprint, the Eiffel Tower is massive, and captures the look and feel of the real-life tower very well. 

One of the key features of the tower is its open look; only a truss frame without filling, and the set represents this very well. The legs are made up out of just beams, built out of stacked plates. I expected some sort of inner framework or supports made out of Technic bricks and beams, but the whole weight of the tower is carried by the beams in the lower legs, and still the tower stands stable. That’s an impressive feat of engineering, mimicking the real life tower. So I must say, this is the best Eiffel Tower set to date.

In terms of parts: it’s a very mixed bag that might not fit into many MOC projects. Naturally, there are a lot of Dark Stone Grey parts, with most of them being bar-related parts and 1x1, 1x2, 1x3 and 1x6 parts. The bar-related parts will require a pretty specific MOC. Seeing the price tag, it will depend on your needs if this is a MOC-feeder for you, or if you’re better off with Pick a Brick.

I think if I took my time and spread this build out over a longer time, building a maximum of 5 bags per day, I would have really enjoyed the build. So there is just one major issue for me: where am I going to put this behemoth?

In closing: the manual describes the best way to transport the set. First, break it down into the 4 sections, simply by lifting them off. Then, place your fingers underneath the section and you can move it around. The base even has indents at the sides to get a grip. 

I found out the hard way you can’t lift the second section by holding it by the top, turning the set into a ‘I fell’ tower.

Editor: Chris Baginski

READ MORE: Eero Okkonen examines LEGO® DOTS part 80319 Adhesive Patch 

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5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great review. That's a lot of pieces! Second review I've seen where someone had a oopsie after finishing. :-0 An impressive model but I'm left with the same question - where do you put it?

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    1. Well, that should solve the problem of where to place it, at least...

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  2. The fact that you had to have opened every bag at once BEFORE building it to get those pics of the most prevalent parts strikes fear into my heart. 74 numbered bags... all for naught.

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    Replies
    1. TobyMac's dedication here is jaw-dropping!!

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