Is LEGO Architecture 21047 Las Vegas the perfect way to capture the spirit of Viva Las Vegas?
Price: £ 34.99 / $ 39.99 / € 39.99 Pieces: 501 Available: Now
As an avid micro-builder, I was often tempted by the Architecture series, but so far had to buy one. Las Vegas has a certain glamor, a certain allure, a certain mystique that is hard to resist both in real life and, it seems, in LEGO form. There is an old saying, “Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. Well in order to check 21047 Las Vegas I have to break this rule or it wouldn’t be very helpful.
The first thing that sets this apart from most other LEGO sets is the beautiful box it comes in. I love it when LEGO sets are presented this way. It just feels like you have something special in your hand, unlike a toy that isn’t meant to be a negative on other LEGO products. It just feels like a more adult show.
The instruction manual is just as well presented, printed on sleek black pages, has stunning images of the Vegas skyline and the buildings you are about to recreate, as well as a brief history of the city, some really interesting facts and quotes from various areas of legendary stars who all graced the famous strip. You can find more facts in the manual. The drip will be given to you as the build progresses. As an introduction to 21047 Las Vegas, it miraculously creates anticipation.
As a newcomer to the architecture series, I was surprised to see that even though the 501 pieces included in the set were divided into five bags, not one bag was numbered. There are some really great pieces in this set like the Pharaoh headjoint used for the Sphinx outside the Luxor Hotel, the 1 × 1 double slopes in medium blue for the roof of the Bellagio (new for 2018) and the iconic “Welcome “To Las Vegas’ sign printed on a 1 × 2 Clear-Trans tile that is now my all-time favorite piece of LEGO – I love it.
It took me about half an hour to separate the pieces, and I’m still struggling to see exactly what it was about not including the numbered bags. It’s a minor gripe, but keep in mind that you can’t just open the box and build it.
When you start the first phase of construction, the base on which the skyline will sit will be built. It’s a satisfying process with some interesting parts and placements that seem strange at first but show up in pretty clever ways later. I’m purposely vague here because I don’t want to spoil the process too much. I’m just saying it’s a great moment when everything becomes clear.
In fact, the feeling of building the Vegas skyline from the ground up continues throughout the process. It’s almost a SimCity-esque feeling to bring the world famous strip to life before your very eyes.
The buildings themselves are all incredible micro-replicas of their real-world counterparts, starting with the Fremont Street Experience. The curved roof piece with transparent panels underneath is perfect for recreating the giant screen. It’s by far the smallest structure in the skyline, but an important one that’s considered a Vegas base. It provides an excellent introduction to the microscale techniques present in this model.
Next up is the Luxor. It’s only half the pyramid but looks so effective in black. I am surprised that the famous Luxor beam of light that comes from above is not included, especially since it plays a prominent role both in the description of the hotel resort and in the accompanying image in the manual.
The sphinx that sits outside is a simple design but it looks perfect. The real Sphinx in Vegas has a large painted face, but I think in this case the plain brown minifigure head is more in line with the more stylish representations of the buildings than the direct replica. Overall, it’s a good choice.
While the Stratosphere is very quick and easy to build, like most of these sets, it’s still a clever design. The size of the tower compared to the other buildings gives the skyline a real sense of scale.
I had the pleasure of visiting Las Vegas and had some great times at The Encore at Wynn. For me it was a real privilege to be able to put it in an official LEGO set, which resulted in all of those good memories flooding back. The build itself is pretty repetitive, but I found it to be a Zen-like experience. The designers also used clever construction techniques to create the slight curve that exists in the hotel. Note that because of the small parts used in assembly, you will need a flat surface to press the parts together and make sure they are properly aligned.
Despite the fact that the 21047 Las Vegas designers did a fantastic job recreating The Encore, I wonder if the 1 × 3 brick with the ‘Encore’ mark could have been printed? It would have been to scale and would have given the building a nice detail.
The final part of this model is the Bellagio, which along with Caesar’s Palace is probably the most iconic building on the Strip and which I have been looking forward to the most. I wasn’t disappointed – in fact, I think this could be the best “Eureka” moment I’ve had in my entire time with LEGO bricks. I don’t really want to spoil it because when you realize how the parts you are building make up the walls of the Bellagio it is a really brilliant feeling. Hats off to the designers because it’s awesome. It’s a technique I’d never dreamed of, but one that I’m sure to push forward in future MOCs.
The world famous fountain has beautiful details and the transparent parts give it a water-like sheen. The clever use of parts helps create varying heights throughout the fountain and create a sense of movement. It honestly looks like the water is starting to break out into a crescendo.
As I neared graduation, I felt sad for enjoying this process so much, certainly evidence of a great LEGO set. The last piece to be placed could only be the iconic “Welcome To Vegas” sign. It’s a really nice touch to show how the LEGO Group considered the build itself when designing the instructions.
Overall, this was an absolutely amazing set full of wonderful construction techniques to create great micro-representations of the landmarks. Despite the size, there are some really nice detail pockets scattered all over the place. I especially like the brown pieces that are used on either end of the skyline to create a sense that the city is surrounded by desert. I also have to applaud the designers for making the skyline a great benchmark. Especially when your eye line is level with the “Welcome to Vegas” sign.
Since this was my first LEGO Architecture set, I played a little to buy it, but I definitely hit the jackpot. If you have been to Vegas and have fond memories of your time there, you will love this set. If you’re a fan of micro building it should be on your list too – and if you’re a fan of LEGO in general and are looking for something a little more mature then this is recommended too.
21047 Las Vegas is available now at shop.lego.com. You can support the work of Brick Fanatics by using our partner links.