Theme: LEGO Ideas
Release Year: 2017
Cost: AU $119.99
While I love the variety and ingenuity of the LEGO Ideas theme, there are some sets that have been produced from the range that are nothing short of spectacular. 21313 Ship In a Bottle is definitely amongst that group. I reckon it’s one of the most unique sets released in the theme.
Originally designed by Jake Sadovich, it’s changed pretty drastically since the original LEGO Ideas project submission, but does it retain the sense of beauty and awe? Read on to find out what I thought.
There are quite a number of elements in this set that are brand new. Printed elements include the 2×4 “Leviathan” tile, the wax seal 2×2 round tile, the inside-printed compass dish, and the five new printed flags. There’s also a new 1×2 2/2 SNOT plate in reddish brown, and the intriguing 1×2 rounded plate, which has already been seen in a large number of sets from this year. Other interesting inclusions in my mind are the reddish brown 2×2 cut corner plates, 4×4 bow tiles, the printed globes and all of those clear parts! There’s also a whopping 284 trans light blue 1×1 round plates. These make up a quarter of the parts in the entire set, and I still think there’s not enough of them.
There is absolutely no swooshability in this set whatsoever. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. It’s all a static display piece. Yes, you could take the ship out of the bottle and ‘sail’ that around the carpet, but that is entirely not the point of this set.
It all begins with the ship. Luckily for us, the bottle gets built around the ship, so it’s much easier. The ship is an incredibly enjoyable build. I was pleasantly surprised! There’s a stack of SNOT elements in here, and it all results in a very nice looking ship, complete with an extensive amount of detail for something so small. To be honest, the build process is a little haphazard, but it makes sense. Everything just lines up well and the little details like the railings and ladder showcase a very clever use of parts.
The perfectionists among us will need to be careful with this, and I’m one of them! The cannon ports along the sides of the ship and the sails can easily be slightly out of alignment.
Next up is the bottle, and it’s all clear elements, aside from four 1×2 reddish brown jumper plates. It can be a little frustrating to filter through the parts you need, but it ends up being very strong, especially the base. It’s a masterful design! All SNOT, in plenty of different directions, and not too complex to build. It ends up looking great as the base of the bottle.
As you work your way up the bottle, things progress faster. The larger parts are used, mixed in with some smaller ones to keep it all together. Around half way the ship is added in. Pouring the ‘water’ in is very therapeutic, and sounds amazing, but there’s not enough water in the bottle. I think one more bag should have been added.
The final section of the build is creating the stand. I thoroughly enjoyed this part, almost as much as the bottle! It’s very cleverly designed and uses some great SNOT techniques to put it together. The whole build ends up surprisingly sturdy and stable. It’s another very clever use of LEGO geometry.
While the overall design of the set has changed significantly, there’s still a beauty to the new version. It’s immediately eye catching, thanks to how unique it is, and every aspect of the build – the ship, the bottle, the stand, even the water – invites questions from people admiring it.
I had concerns that the joins in the transparent parts would interfere with the look of the ship, but it’s very minimal, and the ‘frosted’ look of the base is perfect and works really well. I was also pleasantly surprised by the redesigned stand.
I loved the intricacy of the original design – the cannon looked brilliant – but the simpler and cleaner design really works in favour of the whole build. With a stand that’s much more conservative, the focus remains with the bottle and ship. The printed dish with the compass is also a fantastic choice of detail.
Again, while I loved the detail in the original ship, it’s hard not to like the new version, especially if you’ve not seen the previous iteration. The shaping of the hull, especially at this scale, is executed incredibly well. I would have liked to see some white ice-cream elements used on the cannons as smoke, but that’s something that I plan to add soon.
There’s also the extra detail of the cork. It’s a great addition and is well executed.
One detail that I was very surprised about when building this set is that the final build is reversed from the box image! I (and I know others did too) noticed it when the sails were added. It’s the first time I’ve ever come across this reversal, and I’m wondering why it was the case with this set. It’s a very simple thing to change, I just thought that it was highly unusual for a LEGO set.
VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10
For $120, this set is quite reasonably priced. It’s chock full of transparent parts, which tend to fetch a higher price on sites like Bricklink, and they’re also incredibly versatile. In fact, there’s a great parts selection here, regardless of variety – what you get has the potential for awesome new models.
What you also get is a great build experience on a very unique set. If you manage to find this one at a cheaper price, you’d be mad not to pick one up. If you’re thinking about getting one at the retail price, do it. It’s fun to build, and looks great on a shelf.
The joy and appeal of many LEGO sets, and a huge reason for purchasing them is the play factor. The differing factor with this one is there is no play factor. There’s no point in purchasing this one if you want to play with it. To me, that reduces the collectibility rating. I saw plenty of people who weren’t interested in this one purely for the lack of play options. Of course, there’s the flip side of that coin, in that people want this for the parts, or for the display value.
If you’re like me and enjoy the uniqueness of the LEGO Ideas theme, then you’re in luck – this is one set you’ve not seen before! Simply for the uniqueness factor, this is a highly collectible set. There’s also all those windows.
While that seems low for an excellent and unique set, it’s only because of the lack of playability. If we were to consider the score without the play aspect, it sits in the high 80s, which is reflective of what you get.
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.