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LEGO Ideas Tree House Review & Nature Photos

(Written by Geneva – gid617)

The largest LEGO Ideas set to date, the #21318 LEGO Ideas Tree House had me excited ever since the project reached 10,000 supporters.  Tree houses are one of my favorite things (in fact, I built myself a tree house years ago) so seeing an official LEGO tree house at this scale is awesome! To me, this set is what LEGO Ideas is all about; concepts that are too specific to base a whole theme on, but completely worth doing as standalones.

The amazing thing about the LEGO Ideas Tree House is that it comes with an extra set of leaves, so you can change from summer to fall foliage. I have a very slight preference for the green leaves, but in any case, this set is a goldmine of foliage elements – especially useful if you enjoy building your own trees.

Another unique aspect of the LEGO Ideas Tree House is that this is the first big set that utilizes the new Plants from Plants initiative; softer botanical elements made from plant-based plastic. These pieces seem just as durable and high quality as the usual LEGO leaf elements. The greens and yellows match previously released leaf elements in the same color well, but I found the dark-orange leaves a little darker than the earlier ones. (In the image below, you can see the earlier dark-orange leaves on the left, and the LEGO Ideas Tree House dark-orange leaf on the right.)

The LEGO Ideas Tree House is surprisingly sturdy, with only a couple of leaves showing any tendency toward falling off when the set is moved. The tree is very safe to grab by the trunk; I carried it all the way out to our own little tree fort this way in order to take some in-situ pictures.

Another great thing about the LEGO Ideas Tree House is that it’s fun to view from all angles. Many LEGO sets have a minimal level of detail around the back, but not this one!

As you can see from these pictures, there’s a very satisfying amount of leaves on the tree. I don’t understand why the tree wasn’t showcased better on the official pictures; to me, those pictures all give the impression of a very sparse and unrealistic-looking canopy. In person, it looks much better.

There are also lots of fun details in the LEGO Ideas Tree House, like the curved slope with “Build Your Dreams” and the fan designer’s initials printed on it.

The details aren’t confined to ground level; each of the three cabins are equipped with a full interior. One is a children’s room with a bunk bed, another a bathroom, and the third the master bedroom. Each one makes full use of the available space with some creative building techniques for the furniture. The interiors are easily accessible since not only do the roofs come off but so does the canopy.

Changing from summer to fall leaves is not difficult and only a little tedious. You won’t want to be making the switch every day, but it only took me about ten minutes.

I think the fall leaves look a little sparser than the green. But they certainly make the set pop!

That’s it as far as my thoughts on the official set, but I also wanted to see how hard it would be to give the tree house a winter look. My brother has about a dozen white leaves so I ran off with them, used a few of the dark-orange leaves that were included in the set, as well as loads of my own white tiles, slopes, and horn/teeth pieces. I’ve never used candles for icicles before but they worked well here. If you build snowscapes, make a note of it!

It probably took me three or four hours to make the necessary changes to turn the set into a winter scene. Of course, a tree house isn’t the best place to spend your winters, so I imagine the family has a winter home somewhere and just comes here on a sunny afternoon to play!

Unlike the summer and fall versions of the LEGO Ideas Tree House, I think the winter tree looks best from a low angle.

If you’ve been looking at this #21318 LEGO Ideas Tree House set and aren’t sure whether to get it or not, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful, eye-catching piece with an impressive parts count, great play-value, a fun building experience, and lots of customizing potential. Speaking of customizing… I was just wetting my feet with the winter tree – there’s more coming! 😀

What do you think? How do you like the LEGO Ideas Tree House? Do you enjoy the fact that it has two colors of foliage?  Should LEGO offer these kinds of customizing options more often?  If you’ve built the set already, were you impressed by the techniques and sturdiness of the final build?  What do you think about the idea of a winter version?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • hushpuppy February 24, 2020, 10:35 AM

    This is one of my favorite sets of all time. It’s beautiful, and I agree that it looks much better in person than on the box images. I like your idea of changing the leaves to a winter scene. I guess you could do the same with a spring scene by adding flowers to the branches.

    • gid617 February 24, 2020, 3:28 PM

      Thank you!
      A spring scene with flowers could look really pretty, especially if you changed the dark leaves for a lighter color, like the normal green shade.

  • j.j. February 24, 2020, 11:10 AM

    Geneva, your pictures are very beautiful. And I like what you did with the winter tree. Especially the icicles.

    • gid617 February 24, 2020, 3:30 PM

      Thanks! 🙂 I thought it was neat that it took me just long enough to switch the leaves that the sun was at the perfect autumn angle for the outdoor picture of the yellow leaf tree. 😀

  • quinton February 24, 2020, 12:15 PM

    Is that snowman wearing a hood? Haha! Like others said, your pictures are great! To make the ice even better, you can add some translucent clear and light blue lightsabers. Lego has done that in a few sets I think.

    • Håkan February 24, 2020, 12:45 PM

      Yeah, my idea as well. More trans-blue parts to imitate icicles.

    • gid617 February 24, 2020, 3:31 PM

      I only have three or four translucent light blue rods, so I didn’t think it looked right. But a lot of them would probably make it look even colder! 😉

  • LEGOJeff February 24, 2020, 12:29 PM

    Probably one of the best sets they ever made. The inside of the trunk reminds me of building the Saturn V. Some years back, building techniques weren’t possible because we didn’t have all the brackets and bricks with studs on the sides as we have now. Good job with the winter tree!

    • gid617 February 24, 2020, 3:36 PM

      I actually built the Saturn V not too long ago; it does have its similarities but on the other hand the Tree House is a smaller circle, based around 4×4 instead of 8×8, and they also used those nice new(er) pieces, a round stud with a bar sticking out. The Saturn V used more clips and lots and lots of brackets, way more than the tree house. Both are ingenious and really enjoyable to build. And both are Ideas sets!

  • Tony February 24, 2020, 2:04 PM

    While color differences are normally not a good thing, for the tree leaves it’s perfect. I’m still surprised to see such a big difference. I haven’t noticed it myself, but I don’t have any dark orange leaves before the switch to plant based materials.

    • gid617 February 24, 2020, 3:39 PM

      Yes, the difference in the leaf colors doesn’t bother me at all, though other color differences like the shades of reddish brown or the old dark red are often annoying. For the matter of that, the old plant leaves, especially the normal shade of green, had some variation too.
      Plus, in this case it’s only in bright light that you can easily notice the difference.

  • Legostuff14 February 24, 2020, 4:14 PM

    This set is by far the best set ever created from the ideas theme so far and it took a fan of Lego to created it. The possibilities are endless of what you can do with this set and I love the pictures. I have it and I kept the autumn leaves on just because there aren’t enough sets with autumn leaves in them.

    • gid617 February 24, 2020, 8:04 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed my pictures! 🙂 Speaking of autumn leaves, it does seem like there have been more sets with that kind of foliage lately – like the new modular, the Bookshop!

  • yoladiel February 24, 2020, 5:47 PM

    The tree can also be decorated for Christmas, Easter, and other holidays. I would like to see the tree decorated with more white leaves and crystal pieces. And I wonder what it would look like with purple leaves, like it lego elves.

    • gid617 February 24, 2020, 8:03 PM

      Or dark blue leaves like the one from the Stranger Things set. Those could make the tree really creepy! 😉

      • Undercover Afol February 24, 2020, 9:00 PM

        Oh!! I would love to see a haunted tree with dark blue leaves and skeletons hanging from the branches! 👿

  • LegoMom February 25, 2020, 11:05 AM

    Lovely photos. The tree looks beautiful. And I love your winter version. Great job!

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