The #21302 LEGO Ideas Big Bang Theory set will be officially released on August 1st, but it has been available at the San Diego Comic-Con earlier this month and some people already had the chance to get it. This is one of the most anticipated sets of the year, so today we will look at it in detail. Besides my own review I will also include the video-review of Jason from the BrickShow, so you get a chance to hear different opinions. 🙂
➡ LEGO THE BIG BANG THEORY – DESIGNERS: As you probably know already, the #21302 LEGO Ideas Big Bang Theory set was designed by LEGO fans Alatariel (Ellen Kooijman) and Glen Bricker (Glen Wadleigh). Ellen and Glen became friends through the LEGO Ideas platform where the project was originally submitted. As a fan of The Big Bang Theory show, Ellen initially built the set for herself as a fun display. It was Glen, who – after much prodding – convinced her to submit the project to LEGO Ideas. The two collaborated throughout the marketing of the project, with Glen in charge of minifigure development and project promotion and Ellen taking care of the set design. It is interesting to note that this is the second LEGO Ideas project by Ellen that has become an official LEGO set, the other being the #21110 LEGO Ideas Research Institute, which was extremely popular and retired too early. It is also interesting that both sets include a telescope and a printed blackboard/whiteboard. Nerds rule! 🙄
➡ LEGO THE BIG BANG THEORY – DESCRIPTION: Build Leonard and Sheldon’s living room for display and role play! Indulge your inner genius and build this LEGO version of Leonard and Sheldon’s living-room as seen in the hit American sitcom The Big Bang Theory! This set was created by two LEGO fan designers—Ellen Kooijman from Sweden and Glen Bricker from the USA—and selected by LEGO Ideas members. Featuring loads of authentic details to satisfy all The Big Bang Theory devotees and including minifigures of all seven main characters from the show, it’s ideal for display or role-play fun. Includes 7 minifigures with assorted accessory elements: Leonard, Sheldon, Penny, Howard, Raj, Amy and Bernadette. Features Leonard and Sheldon’s living room with all the iconic elements from the sitcom, including a telescope, whiteboard, DNA display model and various ornaments. Includes a booklet about the designers and the hit American sitcom. Measures over 3” (8cm) high, 8” (22cm) wide and 4” (12cm) deep. 484 pieces. Price: $59.99
➡ LEGO THE BIG BANG THEORY – PACKAGING: As all LEGO Ideas sets, the #21302 LEGO Ideas Big Bang Theory comes in sturdy box with a flip-up lid. The box is in fact the same size and shape as the box for the #21301 LEGO Ideas Birds and the #21108 LEGO Ideas Ghostbusters Ecto-1, which is a nice detail for collectors who like things to be uniform. As the other LEGO Ideas sets, this one also comes with a nice and thick booklet, which talks a bit about The Big Bang Theory TV show itself, the characters, the designers for the LEGO version, and of course it also includes the building instructions to put together the set.
➡ LEGO THE BIG BANG THEORY – THE STORY: In case you are not familiar with The Big Bang Theory show, the booklet summarizes it quite well: “Drs. Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper are brilliant physicists – geniuses in the laboratory, but socially challenged everywhere else. Enter beautiful, street-smart neighbor, Penny, who aims to teach them a thing or two about life. Despite their on-again, off-again relationship in the past, Leonard and Penny have finally gotten engaged. Even Sheldon has found a female companion – entering into a ‘Relationship Agreement’ with neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler. In their free time, Leonard and Sheldon enjoy fantasy role-playing games with their ever-expanding universe of friends, including fellow scientists Rajesh Koothrappali, Howard Wolowitz, and Howard’s adorable microbiologist wife, Bernadette. Set in Pasadena, California, The Big Bang Theory was created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, who are executive producers along with showrunner Steven Molaro. The series premiered on CBS in 2007 and is currently in its eighth successful season.” On the next pages there is also a description of each of the characters, along with pictures of their minifigure form.
➡ LEGO BIG BANG THEORY – BOX CONTENT: Besides the booklet, there are number of bags inside the box; 2 bags numbered #1, and 3 bags numbered #2. There are also three large plates (two 6×16 and one 16×16), and a sticker-sheet with two stickers. And of course an orange bricks-separator is also included. Bags numbered #1 contain all the pieces to build the structure itself, the computer desk, and the bookshelf behind it. Plus three of the minifigures; Amy, Bernadette and Howard. Bags numbered #2 include the rest of the minifigures, pieces for building the furniture in the living-room area, as well as all the geeky paraphernalia.
➡ LEGO BIG BANG THEORY – BUILDING EXPERIENCE: It took me about an hour and a half to build the set. It was a straightforward and easy built, but also engaging and interesting. I didn’t run across any particularly unique building techniques, except for one; the desk-lamp. I also really like the telescope, but we already got a similar built in the #21110 LEGO Ideas Research Institute. The furniture is nicely done, and is a good study for those who would like to learn techniques for interior design. My only complaint is that the directors chair should have been brown to blend in better with the rest of the set. The finished model is an excellent, instantly recognizable display-piece, and it is very similar to the original submission.
➡ LEGO BIG BANG THEORY – MINIFIGURES: I would like to discuss the minifigs in more detail because they are the biggest drawing points of this set. All seven minifigures are printed front and back, and they all have dual-sided heads with different expressions. The graphic designers for this set obviously spent significant time on the details of each character to make them instantly recognizable. The final result is very impressive. An interesting detail is that Sheldon’s arms and Bernadette’s and Amy’s legs are using the new two color plastic technique introduced in the LEGO The Simpsons line. In addition, Bernadette’s legs are not just two colored plastic, but are also printed to mimic her skirt. So yeah, lots of work went into these minifigures. Another detail I would like to point out is that while Leonard’s shirt looks standard green on the box-art, it is in fact a light-bright green (I’m not sure what’s the official name for this color, but it similar to the lighter green LEGO foliage, but even lighter). Also, while on pictures Bernadette’s and Penny’s top looks very similar, Bernadette’s is actually a much darker magenta, while Penny’s is dark-pink. Howard also has a nice printed belt. These minifigs would be an excellent addition to any LEGO City setting because the printing is so nice. In fact five of them could even be swapped to yellow heads and hands, because only Penny and Bernadette has a flesh-colored neckline.
➡ LEGO BIG BANG THEORY – DECORATED PARTS: All of the decorations you see in the set are printed, except for the boxing-ring poster on the back door and the antique fuse-box on the front door-frame. The printed whiteboards and the old radio are particularly nice. And of course everybody’s favorite is the printed Chinese takeout boxes. If LEGO would have included a couple of more of these we would be in heaven. I don’t really like the two stickers, and I did not apply them to my set. The fuse-box is okay, but kind of unnecessary, and the boxing-ring poster just doesn’t look good. In fact most people who have seen the set couldn’t even identify what it suppose to be. It could have been done much better.
➡ LEGO BIG BANG THEORY – EXTRA PARTS: LEGO always includes extra of the smallest pieces in case you loose them. Besides the usual 1×1 plates and tiles that you would normally expect, there are some other interesting extras here. You get two extra tiny trophy figures (which represent action-figures here) – so all in all you will have two blue and two dark-red trophies. These are very rare and highly desirable pieces, and are unique to this set in these colors. You also get an extra white lightsaber hilt, which is not unique, but still fairly rare. And there is an extra green tap (used as the handle of the green lantern), which is very rare. And there is an entire package of four different color lipsticks (used as markers in this set), and a package of 17 light-orange kitchen utensils (only the forks are used here). Both the lipsticks and utensils are from the LEGO Friends line and they are normally packaged together – I guess LEGO decided it was not worth to separate them, so they threw them in as extras. A nice surprise!
➡ SUMMARY – THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE: Number one negative is the price. If you are a fan of the TV show, I’m sure you will buy this set; $60 is doable for most people, and the set captures the show very accurately. It is a perfect display-piece and it is fun in every way. However if you are looking at this set just to get the unique minifigs and accessories, you will likely look at the price-per-piece ratio more critically. With only 484 pieces $60 is a lot. Yes, you get seven unique minifigs, but LEGO has been getting better and better at giving us great minifig designs, and you can get a good variety cheaper in other ways. So I would say that if you are not into the TV show, and you are not collecting the LEGO Ideas line, you may likely pass.
There are a couple of other minor details I didn’t like but thought to include for the sake of completeness: I already mentioned the two stickers that I find poorly designed and that the directors chair should have been brown. Also, I liked the original DNA double helix better. In the original submission the intertwining DNA helix was instantly recognizable even for non-science oriented persons. In the final design, unless someone is familiar with the show, and know what that blue and red contraption supposed to represent, it is really hard to recognize. Both of these design decisions would have required a recolor of current pieces, so that’s most likely why it didn’t happen.
In addition, I don’t like how on the bookshelves the books are perched on top of exposed studs. On most of the shelves the books are sitting right on top of the studs – which looks unrealistic and messy enough – but on the bottom shelf in the living-room (behind the couch), the books are actually suspended in mid air between the bottom and top of the shelf. Unless these are magic books, I don’t see how this could be realistic. With a few tiles to smooth out a shelves and a slightly different technique things would have looked better.
Even though so much work and detail has gone into it with the two colored plastic and printing, I don’t like Bernadette’s leg design. The end result doesn’t look like a skirt at all, the flower pattern doesn’t look like flowers, and the white hip section is odd. While all the other minifigs look excellent this one just didn’t come together. Fortunately her top piece is really nice, so personally I will just replace the legs to fix her.
➡ SUMMARY – THINGS I LIKED: Besides the price and the few minor details mentioned above, all in all the #21302 LEGO Ideas Big Bang Theory is a really nicely done set. If you are a fan of the show, this is an instant buy. If you are not a fan of the show you may still consider it for the minifigures, the printed elements, and other interesting parts. The set is also an easy and fun building experience, and looks great on display. I particularly enjoyed the construction of the furniture, the desk-lamp and the telescope. And of course I love all the printed parts and most of the minifigures. I generally stay away from using old clichés, but this is definitely a conversation starter, which is probably a plus for brainy, but socially awkward nerds – just like in the show itself. It would be really funny to see this set show up in the TV show! 😀
As I mentioned at the beginning the LEGO Ideas Big Bang Theory set will be available on August 1st. You can find it under the LEGO Ideas section of the Online LEGO Shop. So what do you think? How do you like the LEGO Ideas Big Bang Theory? Are you planning to get this set as soon as it becomes available? Or are you going to pass? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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