Inside the box you’ll find loads of bags, numbered for subassemblies 1 through 7, a bag of miscellaneous large pieces, and the bagged instructions. For no discernable reason, the bags for subassembly 2 come in a plain white box.
Right away in the first level of bricks, you’ll encounter one of the more unique bits of construction in the set: bricks set at 45° angles from the normal plate axes, to mimic the stone columns on the detailed exterior walls. Most of the pieces are some version of 1×1 and 1×2 plates and bricks, and many of them come in multiples of hundreds. So it’s no surprise that the build can be a bit tedious, occasionally feeling as if you’re not making much progress when you’ve just placed several hundred pieces on the model and realize that you’ve only made the building a single brick taller. On the building front, the 1×1 bricks twisted 45° create a visually interesting front, which are held secure by tan 3×3 cross plates.On the east end of the building, the large windows are set a half-stud out from the rest of the wall, which also gives a nice visual appeal. The section is held secure using a combination of clips/bars and jumper tiles. The lone tree out front is a brilliantly simple microscale tree, taking advantage of the new 6-stemmed flower stalk, and no doubt we’ll see this technique proliferate in the fan community. The clock tower is perhaps the most repetitive portion of the build, with five nearly identical floors, each consisting of hundreds of pieces in a pattern. The walls of the tower are made of sideways plates, stuck to a central support column by way of bracket plates. The second floor houses a simple gear mechanism which connects the small clock on the south side (behind the tower) to the large clock faces in the spire.
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Turning the small clock makes the hands on the clock tower move. The main clock floor houses a large gear, and on the back of each clock face is a smaller gear which meshes when the clock face is in place, so the hands on all four clocks move in sync. Sadly, the hands are in fixed positions relative to each other, so it can’t really be set to a specific time via this mechanism. It’s in the picture above, just above the clock, behind the tan telescope piece. Fortunately, the model does come apart, with the grey roof sitting on tiles to facilitate easy removal for access to the bell. Finally, this set comes with a lot of extra pieces. Free pieces are always a nice bonus, and in this set you’ll really hit the motherload. Many of the extra pieces are tools from the clocks’ hands. Since minifig tools come in a prepack of 9 unique tools, and only the socket wrench and closed wrench are used on each clock face, you’ll end up with 4 extras of each of the other 7 tools.
I had no idea that this set was so complex. Unfortunately, this year’s selection has elicited some disappointment as a couple of the sets released under the banner have not reached the exceptionally high standard expected of a direct to consumer set. It is therefore an ideal subject for an official model of this size and it looks incredible based on images alone. There are 27 bags full of pieces numbered from one to seven and another which holds the larger elements and four sets of tools. Oddly, the six bags printed with the number two are kept in a small white box. The entire model stands on three bright green 16×16 plates along with a pair of 8×16 plates in bright green and blue, all of which are strapped together by additional plates underneath. It is not until later that the purpose of the studs which are left exposed becomes clear and this is very satisfying. Repetition defines construction of this model and that is particularly prevalent during the early stages as the lower wall sections are assembled. This is inevitable given the nature of the real structure and the use of some remarkable techniques involving the inversion of various pieces maintains occasional interest throughout construction. The entire structure continues to ascend as the third set of bags are opened. This section is almost identical to the last and is puncuated by repeated instances of stacking pairs of 1×1 bricks to form the windows and exterior detailing. This is a relatively simple section of the build but the change is welcome and my enjoyment certainly increased as a mixture of larger, structural components and small details are assembled. Arranging the 52 1×1 clips on top is a little dull but they look splendid and a similar technique could be adapted for other models. In reality the roof is lined with a series of organic shapes, similar to fleur de lis, but these little clips are a good approximation of the architecture. The best known section of the entire building is the last to be constructed as the clock faces and bell are put in place.
This yields further repetition but the clever use of taps, appearing in tan for only the second time, to form the carved stonework just beneath the clock face is impressive, as is the assembly of the clock faces themselves. These dimensions yield a versatile display piece as it will fit into a relatively small space but is imposing due to its height. The tower itself is a little plainer than the rest of the building but is realistic nonetheless.
I love the tooth pieces which form the carved shield at the front while the windows at the side protrude slightly and are mounted on jumper plates at the top and bottom, with clips securing this panel in the centre. Dark bluish grey tiles surround the structure and the shape of this paved area is a perfect match for reality, as is the placement of a tree just in front of one of the entrances!
This tree looks fantastic, making use of five stalk components which are arranged around a 1×1 brick with studs on four sides. Dark bluish grey is an ideal choice of colour for the roof and it contrasts beautifully with the tan and pearl gold surrounding it. Black half-cylinders are used on top of the windows and this is a bit of a shame as trans-black would have been even better, although the difference in colour is surprisingly subtle, particularly when viewed from a distance. The reverse side is bland to represent where the actual building would continue. Dark tan is used for this area but the shaping of the stonework is maintained at the edges using 1×8 tiles as this is visible when the model is viewed from the front. These are set in between the windows to recreate the recessing of these statues on the actual building which are visible in this image of the carved stonework.
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The walls look spectacular when viewed from afar and they look equally impressive up close, as you can see below. Three lamp posts are arranged along the edge of the pavement to the side of the model, just in front of the cloisters which are easily recognisable in relation with the real thing . A small clock is also hidden at the back and this controls the rotation of the hands of the clock, which will be discussed further later in the review. Once again, dark bluish grey slopes are used and this looks fantastic as it breaks up the colour scheme of the structure brilliantly. The vertical lines are a little more defined on this model than they are in reality but that is unavoidable and it still looks brilliant to me, with an accurate number of narrow windows hidden between the bands. The small panels used to create texture between the vertical bands are particularly impressive, nicely breaking up the tan colour scheme of the model by introducing some shadowy areas. The only issue with regard to accuracy comes just beneath the clock face as a series of taps are lined up to create some moulded detailing. These look splendid but should actually extend a little further out beneath the casing of the clock, reducing the sudden change in width between the tower and the stonework around the clock face.
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A slight modification would probably be fairly easy to implement but this minor problem is hardly noticeable given the splendour which surrounds it. Each one is authentically printed and the golden flowers around the outside also match the ornate casing of the clock face on the actual building. The hands can be moved manually to show any time, although they do not pass over one another cleanly as the handles of the wrenches used are slightly too thick. Nevertheless, it is pleasing to be able to show any time. Twisting the clock at the back of the model allows you to turn the hands in unison on all four clock faces. It is slightly unfortunate that the hands do not move at different rates but the scale does not permit a realistic movement so this is easily excusable in my view.
I like the golden flowers which are used once again to create some texturing at the base of the roof and four more ski poles are used to represent the gilded finials. The level of detail is extraordinary and the model compares very favourably with the real thing considering the scale at which it is constructed. Furthermore, the numerous tiny statues are authentic and the arrangement of the windows is an almost exact replica of the real building.
I love the tan micro figures and gold ski poles. Does anybody know what they look like next to each other?I attempted to break down the actual clock building but never managed to get into the actual mechanics to get the rod connected, so the clock dial turns but it’s not making contact with the actual clock. They’ve set the scale, created the groundwork, made the pieces needed, and left the areas available to connect to.
I love the top of the tower; the bell, the clock faces and the shape of the roof. The tower section are repetitive, the palace repeats horizontally and vertically. Nevertheless, the price tag is very fair. What is along the back side (opposite big ben)?
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The sheer amount of useful pieces is staggering. Sure, you can see the piece-count on the box (4163 pieces), but that information doesn’t really sink in until you see the mountain of pieces in front of you. Another surprise for me was the actual size of the final model. On the pictures it definitely looks big, but the clock-tower seem to shrink the rest of the building. In fact, sometimes all that pulls a model together into a cohesive form is the shape of the parts. The most obvious of these is the turned pillars in the front wall of the building. For the most part, the pillars are nothing more than a stack of 1×1 bricks and plates, with a couple of other elements in between to connect the 1×1 pieces into the walls. But by turning the stacks slightly, they get locked into the space behind them. So taking advantage of the geometry of the 1×1 elements makes the model more secure, and also provide an interesting pattern. Another spot where this technique shines is in the section of the building that hangs over the water. There are studs on the corners to allow sideways building, but the bottom most of these bricks with sideway studs have a slight issue; because of the studs are on all four sides, no regular bricks could be placed next to them. The solution to this was to use small corner panels to accommodate the studs, while still creating a smooth wall on the outside. In addition, the walls of the corner panels rest against the studs, which prevents the panels from moving around.So once again, the structure is held secure by the geometry of the part rather than just the standard connection points. However the best example of part geometry is in the clock-faces. Each face is free-floating, and then fit into a frame. Not a single stud, bar, or any other connection holds them in place. The concept is remarkably simple: create a box by only building up the edges (essentially making a frame). This is exactly what is being used in the tall clock-tower where you see the vertical lines. All of those lines are panels you build and then install sideways connected by only two studs. The real structure of the tower is simply the frame. This technique is highly versatile because it allows you to be very creative about what you place on the sides of the box, as they don’t have to support the overall structure, and thus allowing you to create a sturdy model, while also experimenting with delicate decorations. When you build such a parts-heavy model, there are some additional factors you need to consider while building. With so many smaller pieces, interlocking elements have never been more important. If possible, try to have any wall interlock in three directions. Each wall interlocks left and right along its length, plus a third direction for added stability. With particularly delicate sections like windows, it can be hard to keep everything securely lined up. These small additions make it possible to move the model around without crumbling the decorative parts. Finally, when building a large and detailed structure, you will need lots of the same pieces. Rather, they use hundreds of the same pieces – especially structures with a limited color-scheme. And this also gives us an opportunity to examine what can be achieved with rotating gears. Let’s start with the most basic principle; opposite rotation.
When two gears are side by side they will act inversely toward one another – so if one spins clockwise the other must go counterclockwise. Finally, we get a second aspect of perpendicular gear placement up by the clock-faces. If you have one large gear that operates multiple smaller gears, it will matter if you connect the gears above or below the larger gear. Putting the gears in one of these two places will change the direction the smaller gears rotate. The end result is that no matter which way the large gear moves, all the others will move in the same direction. As you become more proficient, you may not need the full box frame, and could get away with just a framed wall section. Rather we are trying to replicate something the best we can, which sometimes means using a lot of smaller parts to match our idea. As long as you can recognize the problem areas that can come up, you will be better prepared to face these challenges. Did you learn something new that you can incorporate in your own creations?
Moreover, these telescopes come in white!
I really love it when they give us parts in new or rare colors this way. And if there are no other attachments, won’t the dish sometimes rotate with the hands?
I guess, but the whole concept seems ridiculous.
I mean, the sets aren’t bad, they’re just not that original….
I think all the decorated parts are printed, not just the eyes. At least that’s what it looks like on the pictures. What a glorious model, announcement and most of all, at such an incredible price point. Special elements created exclusively for this set are the 4 printed clock faces with awesome looking roman numerals. The hour and minute hands are adjustable via a smaller clock knob that’s built into the back of the model. It looks absolutely immense, and should make a great display piece to impress your guests, family members and pets. The absolutely best thing about the set is the price. Check out more lovely, crispy high resolution photos below!
I suspect that due to the large numbers of same elements (and low price) it will be popular with people parting it out.
I think with large architectural sets, the repetition is almost unavoidable. The back definitely looks more complete, so it looks good from all angles.
You will have to buy two models to complete.Apart from that it’s still good value just for the parts alone. It looks absolutely jaw droppingly fantastic.