Theme: LEGO Ideas
Release Year: 2019
Cost: AU $279.99
A while back I posted a poll to my Instagram and Facebook accounts, asking you what big set I should review next – the T-rex, or the Tree House. The Tree House won hands down, with over two thirds of the votes, so here it is!
Weighing in at 3036 elements, 21318 Tree House takes the podium position as the biggest LEGO Ideas set ever. It contains a crazy amount of plant elements, and some serious detail and scale as well. There’s a lot of bags included – 21 numbered bags across 19 build stages, plus another 10 bags for the summer and autumn leaves – five bags of each. There’s a rather chunky instruction manual, and not a sticker in sight!
This design differs slightly from the original submission, but in my eyes it’s an improvement. It’s been polished. The design overall is the same, but the details are different. It’s brighter and looks gorgeous.
The Tree House is loaded with incredible parts, but let’s take a look at the minifigures – there’s four of them. A family maybe? They’re not overly exciting, but are good inclusions.
The male has a tan shirt and a large hat (as well as hair), and the female has a dark tan top with sand blue shirt underneath, and short hair. She’s also the only one with a double sided face. The children look ready for the outdoors too. Both have orange hair (nicely done LEGO), and the girl in particular looks good with the moulded cap and hair element.
The tree sits on a sturdy base of bricks and Technic, with a central rod through the middle to secure it. The base is made from green slopes and round plates and looks fantastic. There’s also a small creek made from dark azure and trans clear 1×2 plates on top that looks super effective. The base is incredibly detailed, and that’s without the additions!
The trunk is built in smaller sections. There’s specific colours used throughout the build so you’re oriented the right way and while it is a little tricky at times to see what shade of brown you need, its very exciting stacking them up on top of each other. It’s great seeing the large branches added. These support the round rooms that make up the tree house. The angled branch especially is a nice touch. The tree as a whole ends up looking very organic. There’s even a little bird house with a white bird. These aren’t used a lot, as they were only added to the list this year. There are a few minor gaps throughout the build, but none of the bright bricks inside the trunk are visible. Once the trunk is done, it’s on to the rooms.
They’re all different, and while there’s not a lot of room inside them for moving around, the designers, Kevin Feeser the fan designer, and Cesar Soares from LEGO, still packed in a great amount of detail. There also may not be much room, but I think it’s easy enough to get a minifigure around. There’s ample play opportunities with this set. There’s a master bedroom, bathroom and kids’ room. The octagon shaped rooms all use hinge plates at the top and bottom, so while they’re fragile during building, they’re strong once the top hinges are added. They’re all detailed perfectly, achieving the cobbled together look that all tree houses need to have.
The bedroom includes a bed with a hidden compartment (containing scissors – a nod to Kevin Feeser who is a hairdresser by trade), dresser, storage units and benches. It’s admittedly not much, but it’s by far enough. The way the small window has been created, using plates and arches in studs up and studs upside down was awesome. I’m really glad they used it more than once. There’s also a hat rack by the door, which is great for storing the man’s hat.
The bathroom has a lot more windows, which is somewhat surprising, but it would be very nice to have a bath up there! The bath and shower is neatly done, and the toilet is great, although the green toilet paper is odd. There’s also a small winch for lifting heavier items to the top – in this case, some groceries. It’s great for display and play as well. I love the sand green tiles inside the bathroom. It looks clean and natural.
One of the highlights for me in this build was the rope bridge that connects the bathroom to the kids’ room. It uses 1×1 rounded plates with clips to make it bend in multiple directions, and fits so perfectly. I absolutely love it! There are also a couple of lanterns scattered around the structure that have Black Panther’s ears as the lantern tops. It’s a great use of the part.
The third room is the kids’ room. There are some nice inclusions in this section, but the standout is the bunk bed. It’s clean and was a nice surprise! There’s also an ice balcony with a telescope, and some scientific details inside the room – a telescope, binoculars, and a flower in a dome.
The roof sections are done next, each with a complex array of ball joints and clips to get the cone shape. They’re solid when connected, but the octagons may need to be squeezed a little to get them to sit just right. The dark blue contrasts beautifully against the green and reddish brown. I didn’t add the autumn leaves on mine, but I’m sure it would look good there as well.
The top section of trunk is a little different than the rest, using Technic pins and swivel plates to allow it to not only have multiple branch angles, but so the canopy can be removed completely, and very easily. Once the top section is done, the details at the bottom are added, which makes the set come to life.
There’s a stunning staircase, table and chairs, a fire and cooking pot, and some flowers. The fire cleverly uses wands as the sticks, but the staircase is magnificent. It curves gracefully up to the house. I wish there were some more studs on different levels, but what we get is good. The table looks great – it’s wooden and cracked like a real wooden table, and the candelabra using a white lipstick element is pure genius.
Throwing in the pumpkin was a surprise too! These are the new elements that were introduced this year, so it’s great to get another one. The use of the white crown as flower petals was also clever. I saw that element in the bag and weren’t sure where it was going to be. I’m glad the swing uses chains and not string – string tends to buckle and not sit straight. The design is also neat and tidy.
The last build portion is the canopy. Adding 90 leaves to branches is repetitive, but seeing the canopy take shape is exciting. Carrot tops have been used to strengthen the connecting leaves and it looks good. I’m still amazed that we get autumn leaves as well.
This is a serious parts pack! The leaves look nicely random (while they actually aren’t), so more natural. Like I said before, I didn’t add the autumn leaves on, but it looks brilliant in the images, so I look forward to doing it later. I just didn’t want to go through the whole process of making canopy a second time!
This set is another easy favourite of mine. It was a very enjoyable build, although it did take some time! I was building it for the better part of a day. The price is not too crazy, either. It’s a big number, but it’s a big set. I’m absolutely thrilled with this one. It’s strong, stunning to look at, and will remain high on the wanted list of many LEGO fans for a long while to come.
ELEMENTS & MINIFIGURES: 20/20
DESIGN / APPEARANCE: 19/20
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.