An architecture set for $229.99! Are the LEGO group smoking the Egyption hashish? Or does this set walk like an Egyptian into the must buy category? Read on to find out.
Normally Oscar builds a lot of the architecture sets as he loves world history. As major landmarks, they tie in pretty well with this theme. However, with some other pressing activities, I was able to swoop in and claim this build for myself (well mostly, but more on that later).
Many of the past sets have been in the sub $100 range, so when this one came out at $229.99 we were a little surprised that a set had cracked the $200 mark. Having said that, there are others that were over $100 (e.g. the Statute of Liberty and the Taj Mahal), so it’s not unheard of. In fairness, this set does have quite a few pieces at 1476. With 8 bags to build, let’s get stuck in!
As is par for the course, the first 6 pages of the instructions provide great information of the source material, designer and some of the key features of the build. In this particular set, Anderson Ward Grub has packed many unique elements of ancient Egyptian life. The key ones are explained well. Interestingly, these instructions also had a few areas where unique approaches for NPU’s were used such as explaining a golden canopy element is commonly used as a roller skate.
Almost immediately we are presented with the first serious challenge in the build. Which name plate to choose! The set name plate is presented in both hieroglyphics and English. I really dig the hieroglyphics, but in the end my OCD had me choose English to match the rest of the collection.
Remember earlier when I mentioned it has quite a few pieces. Once we laydown the foundations, it’s immediately apparent just how large this set will be. It’s easily the largest of the architecture sets in our collection.
After the initial base is laid down, you can immediately start to see some really nice features. The sand dunes along the perimeter of the pyramid look superb.
As do the other Egyptian landmarks of the time. Using micro scale really magnifies just how huge the pyramid’s really are! The Sphinx’ are pertty cool on the left, but I dig the use of the 1×2 grille to create the windows. I’ve never really paid a huge amount of attention to this technique but it’s really well used here.
As we build up the smaller pyramids, we start to see hidden detail such as the tombs of lesser gods. Although you can’t see these ones are finished, it’s really nice that they’re included in the build.
As one can imagine, a set like the Pyramid is going to have a fair bit of repetition due to the nature of the shape. However, before we get there, there’s also a little tedium putting the trees down. On one hand, the instructions make it really easy to see where they go, but on the other, it’s a little fiddly getting them placed. It’s hard to argue with the finished result though. It really does look fantastic. The use of varied plates underneath the river bed is a solid choice to provide texture to the river.
If you look to the bottom of the pic below, you’ll see a great little technique to create the steps. It’s actually three LEGO Panel 1 x 4 x 1 pieces stacked on top of each other and set in place by gravity. It’s not until the next piece is set down that they entire stairs are solidly mounted.
As we continue the bill, the body of the Pharaoh is prepared near the riverbank in the Valley Temple. It caps off the previous technique and also looks period perfect.
Next we look at the process to get the capstone to the top of the pyramid. As you can see the mechanism used to take these extremely heavy pieces of stone is well illustrated. The technique to make it on an angle is also well thought out.
Several cranes are put in place as shown and a winch is used to drag the blocks up this amazing structure. Once the underside of the pyramid is complete as shown, it clips securely into the already finished base.
We then get started on one of the more tedious parts of the build. The outside of the pyramid. However the white seems to be even more white than normal. The starkness does deliver something that’s a little satisfying as we put the external perimeter together. Or maybe that’s just my heat stroke talking after being left in the desert too long?
As you can see below, the entire outer shell of the pyramid can be removed. Once the build is finished, it’s the entire outer casing that removes as one. However, we’ve shown it half built so you get a better idea.
Remember when I told you earlier, Oscar let me build most of the set myself? Well, I’d like to claim the “Dad of the Week” award after letting him install the final piece – the capstone. If that’s not Super Dad material, I’m not sure what is!
The final part of the build is creating the small Felucca – Ancient riverboats that carried people and goods up and down the Nile. They are simple, but really do the set justice.
And one last thing – on the rear of the temple you can see the various tunnels. These were used to move around inside the pyramid and also often had false tunnels to prevent grave robbing. You can also see two openings at the bottom to build a second set and create the full pyramid if you so desire. And desire you should, as that would be epic if you have the space to store it!
Once finished, you can see the sheer size of the set. It’s massive (by Architecture standards). And by a fair margin as well. You can see just how big when compared to the Singapore set.
So.. the final set in all it’s glory. Is $229.99 a lot for a LEGO architecture set? Absolutely.
Should you still get this one? Absolutely.
It’s without a doubt my favourite of the architecture series. It’s a fun build, really colourful and a great display piece. It’s got some playability with the removable shell and the ability to build a full pyramid if you get two copies of the set.
But more than all of that, it’s just really captures all the elements that LEGO encapsulates that makes me happy. I can stand there and just marvel at this amazing set. The pictures don’t do it justice. In the flesh it’s even more splendid! Highly recommended.
Set: Great Pyramid of Giza
Set #: 21058
Number of Minifigs: 0
Number of Pieces: 1476
A special thanks to our friends at Zavvi for supplying this set for review.