Theme: Creator Expert
Release Year: 2019
Cost: AU $159.99
Pieces: 1087 (with two minifigures)
One of the most popular sets to come out in 2019 was the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander. After the success of 21309 Saturn V in 2017, it was great to see a more detailed version of the Lunar Lander come to shelves.
Inside the box should be eight numbered bags, a bag of the larger plates, an instruction manual, and a sticker sheet with 18 stickers. Some of these are reflective, and some are not.
Two minifigures are included, both looking identical. These guys are obviously Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. The space suits are great, and the gold visor on the helmet is a nice touch. The torso printing is also beautiful, but it is a shame that the NASA logo is covered up by the helmet. It is a shame that there’s no arm printing – there’s a distinct lack of an American flag on the arms, but the set isn’t intended to be about the minifigures.
One of the drawcards in this set is the amount of metallic gold elements included. There’s also a lot of dark and light bluish grey included. With gold dishes in the feet, gold 90 degree cut tiles and 1×2 tiles, and plenty of items that could be repurposed to be rocks, it’s a nice assortment of items. If you’re looking for colour though, this isn’t the ideal set to go for.
The build starts with a fantastic representation of the lunar surface. It’s simple, but it’s not meant to be a drawcard, only a support act to the main event. As a support act goes, I love it. It’s really clever. The indents where the landing gear sits work really well, and the small detail of the footsteps is brilliant.
I’m not going to lie though – I thought this build was extremely repetitive. The top section is different, I’ll give it that, but the bottom chunk of the lander is very repetitive. It has an octagonal shape and has some interesting techniques, but it’s a lot of the same, just four times over.
There’s ball joints and SNOT all over the place, which is interesting, and it’s enjoyable seeing it all come together. What I liked during the build were the little facts dotted throughout the instructions. The red and white tanks are meant to represent fuel and an oxidizer, so the fuel can burn in space. The simple fact that these are represented, even though they’re hidden from view after the build is done, shows a high level of detail.
Other things like the camera that filmed Neil Armstrong descending the ladder is represented, which is a nice thing to point out to people that see the set. Being an 80s kid, I had no idea about how that worked, so seeing it in this representation was interesting. After the outside is clad in gold elements, the landing gear are assembled, using ball joints and beams to hold it in place.
The ascent stage (the top light grey part that went back up into space to the command module) is made of three large parts, with stickers inside to display the control panels. The loudspeaker elements (officially known as a steering nozzle), are the control system thrusters, which are used to maneuver the craft into place when docking. There’s also a smaller thruster underneath to get it back into lunar orbit.
NASA has had quite a representation in LEGO over the years, with 13 sets since 1975. This one is obviously another step up. The closest we would have got with the lander was 10029 Lunar Lander from the Discovery theme. That one looked pretty good, but this is out of this world (I had to).
The details are superb, there’s a history lesson during the build, and it’s even possible to re-enact the landing, walk and takeoff to a certain extent. For space fans, this is another must have, and will look fantastic next to the Saturn V.
It’s fantastic to be able to separate the lander from the base with ease, and touch it down just as smoothly. It’s strong, the spindly legs look fragile, but are able to withhold the weight of the craft, and the plaque underneath the ladder with the signatures of the astronauts is a nice touch.
All in all, the set is a fantastic inclusion into anyone’s collection, and will certainly draw the eye.
ELEMENTS & MINIFIGURES: 17/20
DESIGN / APPEARANCE: 20/20
VALUE FOR MONEY: 9/10
A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.