Exciting new for today! Both the 6th and the 8th LEGO Ideas sets designed by LEGO fans will be officially released by LEGO beginning of August. The 6th LEGO Ideas set is the LEGO Exo Suit by Peter Reid, and the 8th LEGO Ideas set is the LEGO Research Institute (originally referred to as the LEGO Female Minifigure Set) by Ellen Kooijman. The LEGO Exo Suit set is going to be revealed in the next week or so, and a copy of the LEGO Research Project has been sent to Ellen and she reviewed it on her blog, so let’s take a look and discuss. 🙂
The LEGO Ideas Research Institute is a project that a lot of people wanted to see succeed (original submission shown above). It is a non-licensed set that got great public support (not an easy feat!) because it features female minifigures in prominent roles… or just because that T-rex skeleton is awesome! In either case, it is a well-designed set with three small vignettes; one for the astronomer, one for the paleontologist, and one for the chemist. Ellen is a scientist herself – she works at the Swedish Museum of Natural History as a senior researcher – and her comments on the set are very interesting to read; things that someone from a non-scientific background likely won’t notice. I highly recommend that you read her review at her blog.
The front of the box for the LEGO Ideas Research Institute shows the three vignettes included in the set in one picture. The back is a slightly different picture of each of the scenes. I really like how closely LEGO designers stayed true to the original submission; pretty much everything is the same, or better. The only things that were changed are parts and connections that were not strong enough for an official LEGO set.
The LEGO dinosaur skeleton turned out really sweet, although I can’t tell from the pictures if the skeleton was changed to white from the original tan. I would really like it to be tan as that would be more realistic. The astronomer’s telescope is a great design, and it is nice that they also included a blackboard with a new print with some constellations – just like in the original submission. The little lab is also excellent and includes everything a minifig chemist would need.
I would say that the only thing I don’t like about the set so much is the minifigures. I did like them in the original submission; Ellen’s design for the chemist’s lab-coat was ingenious. I’m aware that LEGO doesn’t want to make new moulds for LEGO Ideas sets, but an elongated torso could have been used in other sets as well. Anyhow, I do like the lab-coat printing on the torso of the chemist. The other two minifigs have regular torsos also available in other sets, and that’s what I’m disappointed about; a couple of more newly printed female minifig torsos would have been nice. Ellen mentioned on her blog that it was important for her to convey the message that most scientists wear casual clothing apart from safety clothing worn in labs. I just don’t like the ones LEGO had chosen. Having said that, the dual faces are great, and as Ellen mentioned “this is an awesome aspect of the figures because the alternative facial expressions of panic and frustration really tell stories”.
Ellen also writes that she was told that the chemist minifig was loosely based on her, although she disagrees with the hair color and style of glasses LEGO designer have given her. And most importantly, in the official set she is wearing make-up – something that she strongly discourages in the lab, because it may cause contamination of the samples. And she was also surprised that they didn’t give her minifig protective gloves like she had in the original submission. Safety is number one in a lab. LEGO should have consulted her in this regard – after all she is the scientist. 🙄
The #21110 LEGO Research Institute is going to be available in August. There is no official mention of the price as of yet, but according to what I have read it will be around $20. And stay tuned for the reveal of the LEGO Exo Suit coming soon! In the meantime you can check out the currently available LEGO Ideas sets at the Online LEGO Shop.
So what do you think? How do you like the LEGO Research Institute now that you had a chance to see the final model? Are you planning to buy it when it get’s released? Do you think it will be a popular set? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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