21 June 2024

LEGO® GwP review: 40690 Tribute to Jules Verne's Books

Posted by Tim Johnson

Available until 30 June 2024, LEGO® set 40690 Tribute to Jules Verne's Books is the latest Gift with Purchase (GwP) – and it's a fantastic one. Or should that be fantastical?

Products in this article were gifted by The LEGO Group; the author's opinions are their own.
This article contains affiliate links to LEGO.com; we may get a small commission if you purchase.

40690 Tribute to Jules Verne's Books
351 pieces
Gift with purchases by LEGO® Insiders only
Threshold US$150/ £135/ 150€/ AU$240

Available 21 to 30 June 2024, while stocks last

Set 40690 on LEGO.com


A famous French author is a suitable choice as we head towards the 2024 Olympic Games. Jules Verne is also a highly appropriate subject for The LEGO Group, as he had a big influence on LEGO designers from the 1970s and '80s such as Jens Nygaard Knudsen and Niels Milan Pedersen who worked on themes like LEGO® Space and LEGO® Aquazone. (Blatant plug: read about that in my lovely big book, LEGO Space: 1978–1992.

A previous LEGO GwP has celebrated Hans Christian Andersen in the same way – with his work bursting from a book – and for Jules Verne's version, a microscale steampunk style has been employed to present the wild variety of his work.

A delightful hot air balloon floats over the scene, which many people associate with Around the World in Eighty Days, however this mode of transport is discussed and then rejected in the novel. The David Niven movie from 1956 implanted the idea, and nowadays a hot air balloon even appears on the cover of many editions! It is in fact from Five Weeks in a Balloon, while the train on an viaduct represents Around the World in Eighty Days. The submarine is from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas.  

Rare parts

There are no new elements, but these are all still relatively rare, having appeared in 3 other sets or fewer:


There is a sticker sheet (10108718) with just one sticker, applied to a white 1x8 tile.

The minifigure has no new decorations or recoloured parts.

The build

Although there are no new elements, the set's inventory is pleasing.

I love the colour scheme of the darker colours with the lighter blue,  and the "filler" brick that eventually gets covered provides some very useful elements in colours I didn't own until now. There are a few decent quantities too, like the Bricks Special 1 x 1 with Headlight (4070) and the Brackets 2 x 2 with 1 x 2 Vertical Studs (41682), both of which are supplied in two colours.

Of course, the elements don't come mixed together like this – I'm just a psychopath. There are 4 bags, and a few loose large plates.

After a typically simple start, the book is a surprisingly intricate construction. Nothing that a typical New Elementary reader would call complex, but the dense configuration of SNOT elements require concentration, and the angled plates require a small degree of spatial awareness. Naturally, the instructions make it all easy to put together, though. 

The next step after the one shown above connects the smaller submodel upside down to the bottom of the larger submodel, creating studs in every direction except the outside of the book where the antistuds of the brackets are positioned.

The complex construction is followed by an incredibly satisfying attachment. The blue bracket bases slot into the gaps between the tiles of the book cover, with the color-coding of the elements clearly guiding the way.

It's not until Bag 4 that the microscale objects are added, and construction is rapidly complete. The submarine Nautilus is not a separate subassembly. To relieve the requirement of an extra layer of plate to lock it together, it is added segment by segment onto the water.

The viaduct is fiddly to attach, but still delightful as it becomes apparent that the two book "hinges" actually form the two vertical piers.

The sand green bookmark is a delightful touch, helping to break the overbearing frame of the model.


On first sight of images, I felt this model looked quite busy. In reality, the various microscale models hang together beautifully.

The colour blocking is quite contrasty, with the dark viaduct sandwiched between lighter and more fantastical colours.

I love the design of the Nautilus; it almost looks like some creepy-crawly bug and the element choices are excellent. 

Even the rear of the viaduct looks impressively industrial, although they are probably not intended to be viewed. 

The balloon is attached using the minifigure posing stand with 45° angled bar, neatly counteracting the same angle of the open cover to allow the transparent bar to stand vertically.

GwPs definitely seem to have stepped up a notch in terms of quality and complexity. This time the threshold is not as high, so if you still intend to purchase the latest LEGO sets or loose elements from LEGO Pick a Brick, now could be a good time. 

READ MORE: Visual list of the newest parts added to LEGO® Pick a Brick

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  1. you didn't mention it in the review, but it's a very strange decision to not use Jules Verne's actual signature for the signature sticker

    1. There's actually an interesting and super complicated copyright issue with his signature that disallows it from being used on the Lego set. (And most other things, for that matter)

    2. Interesting! Thanks for this detail.

  2. If this had included From the Earth to the Moon in it, I might have been interested. But since it doesn't, zero interest for me.