LEGO recently added four smaller sets to the Online LEGO Shop that would make great gifts for LEGO fans who like micro-building and/or traveling. The LEGO Creator Postcard series currently includes four sets, featuring the skylines of New York, Beijing, Paris, and London. They are similar to the LEGO Architecture Skyline series in the sense that each vignette features micro versions of iconic locations in a small display. However, there is also an additional feature that makes these sets quite exciting; forced perspective techniques.
According to Wikipedia, “forced perspective is a technique which employs optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger, or smaller than it actually is. It manipulates human visual perception through the use of scaled objects and the correlation between them and the vantage point of the spectator or camera. It has uses in photography, filmmaking, and architecture.”
Using forced perspective is a technique that LEGO fans have been experimenting with for a long time in their own custom projects. And it is now also appearing in some official LEGO sets. A recent example is the #21333 LEGO Ideas Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night, where shapes, colors, and textures are layered on top of each other in such a way to create the illusion of greater debt.
Each of the LEGO Creator Postcard sets has a solid flat 12×18-stud background, perpendicular to the 4×18-stud base. Because the studs of the background are facing sideways, it’s easy to attach tiles and other small elements to add a bit of texture and interesting details (like a city skyline, clouds, hot air balloon, etc.).
The base in front of the background is very narrow (only four studs), but LEGO designers were able to maximize the space by layering and slightly angling some of the structures. It’s really interesting to see how much can be done in such a small footprint!
In the #40519 LEGO Creator New York Postcard set, the most interesting feature is the angled bridge that disappears behind the Statue of Liberty minifig (a very effective way of using forced perspective). The Empire State Building and the One World Trade Center take up the rest of the space. Translucent blue elements and green 1×1 round plates add a bit of vegetation. Except for the American flag printed on a 1×2 tile, all the other decorated elements you see in the set are stickered.
The #40568 LEGO Creator Paris Postcard set features the French capital’s most famous landmarks; the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Pont Neuf. I think the most interesting feature of this set is that the Eiffel Tower is partially built on the base and partially on the background. Some of the pieces aren’t even connected, but our eyes correct any imperfection and gaps. Another nice feature is the addition of the colorful hot air balloon. Here also, any decorations you see are stickers.
The #40569 LEGO Creator London Postcard won’t be available until January of next year, but it is already added to the Online LEGO Shop. It features some of the British capital’s most famous sights; Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, the London Eye, and a red double-decker bus. This set has a lot of interesting shapes, but I feel like the forced perspective techniques don’t work as well. I believe this has to do with the fact that in the foreground, everything appears to be on one plane. It might be possible to remedy this by repositioning the bus in between the structures and thus adding a bit more dimension. Note that Piccadilly Circus was renamed Brickadilly on one of the stickers to add a bit of humor.
The #40654 LEGO Creator Beijing Postcard set has a bit of interesting history. It was originally meant to be released as the #40520 LEGO Creator Beijing Postcard, but as far as I know, this earlier version never made it to market. The only difference between the two sets is the omission of the Chinese flag in the later version. The two included famous sights are the Great Wall of China and the Summer Palace. The Great Wall of China is partially built in the foreground at an angle, and partially in the background, represented by 1×2 textured tiles attached to the skyline. I’m not entirely convinced about the final result, but perhaps the background could be tweaked a bit for a better effect. The Summer Palace looks lovely with its bright colors. Another special feature of this set is that it comes with two stickers – one in English and one in Chinese – and you can apply the one you prefer.
LEGO has been releasing so many big and expensive sets, and it’s nice to take a break once in a while and appreciate smaller sets. The LEGO Creator Postcard series is proof that it’s possible to incorporate advanced techniques and create something impressive even on a small scale. If you want to check them out, the LEGO Creator Postcard sets are only $14.99 each and are available at the LEGO Creator section of the Online LEGO Shop.
What do you think? How do you like the LEGO Creator Postcard collection? Are you planning to get any of them? And what do you think of the building techniques used in the sets? Do you see a use for them in your own creations? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below!
And you might also like to check out the following related posts: