21320 LEGO Dinosaur Fossils Review

Theme: LEGO Ideas
No: 21320
Release Year: 2019
Cost: AU $99.99
Pieces: 910 (with two minifigures)

As you may know by now, I’ve been playing with the Dinosaur Fossils set for a while now, while I run fossil making workshops at work (part two to come this week). While I had the set in my hands, I thought I’d do a review.

This set is pretty much entirely different from the original LEGO Ideas project by Mukkinn. The original had five dinosaurs, all made in tan.

There was a Stegosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Plesiosaurus and the Triceratops. The last one was the only one to make the cut, and they’ve all been changed to white – not a very authentic fossil colour. It’s also interesting to note that the Triceratops is completely different to what we have now. There was also a Tyrannosaurus rex (among others) added in an update. Even so, I like the new design. The question remains though – can you still call it the same project?

This version has three dinosaurs in white – the Tyrannosaurus rex, a Triceratops and a Pteranodon. There’s also a bonus skeleton – the LEGO Sapiens, otherwise known as a LEGO skeleton! Very clever, LEGO. He comes with a reddish brown fedora. Inside the beautiful box will be six numbered bags, three instruction manuals (one for each skeleton, and five stickers. It’s a shame that this LEGO Ideas set has stickers – it’s usually a sticker free environment.

There’s really only one minifigure included in this set, the un-named paleontologist. He’s quite good, with parts that have only come from a handful of sets each. He’s got a bone and a functioning magnifying glass.

There’s also a crate full of paleontological goodies – tools, a cup, a sketch book, an egg, a bone, and a marker (black lipstick).

First up is the Pteranodon, the smallest of the three. With no flying dinosaur present in the project submission, it was nice to see it appear in the final product. It’s a quick build, and looks great. The contrast of the black bases against the white is striking. It’s a shame there’s a little bit of light grey mixed in with the skeletons, but you often see metal in a skeleton mounted in a museum so it’s not too distracting.

The head of the pteranodon is clever, with inkwells used as eye sockets. There’s also a little bit of poseability in the model as well, so it can be positioned how you like it.

I particularly like the tail end – the feet are simple but very effective. I almost wanted to display him standing up.

The Triceratops is the next biggest of the trio, and here’s where you get to see how the skeletons attach to the bases. Four Technic beams are sunk halfway into the base itself, with the feet attaching to the base only. There’s no movement in the legs at all because of it, but they are very secure.

The original submission had black pillars supporting each skeleton, with the dinosaur essentially standing free, but I’m not sure how strong these would have been. This option is rock solid.

The head looks particularly good, with the big bony plate behind it and the large curved horns on the head. The shaping of the beak-like mouth is clever, too. There’s a little bit of articulation in the head, but not a lot. The ribs look fantastic, as does the tail.

Lastly there’s the main attraction, the Tyrannosaurus rex. This model is superb. It’s big and imposing, and the detail is exquisite. There’s a certain amount of poseability in the neck and head, but it’s let down by the weight of the head – the neck just can’t support it with it’s ball-joint. There’s also no movement in the legs. Likewise, most of the tail can go up and down, but not side to side, with the exception of the tip. The ribs and chest look really good, using Nexo Knights shields at the front.

The head is brilliant. The shape is perfect and the jaw can open and close nicely. Don’t go to far though, it looks rather comical.

Also, it can have a serious underbite thanks to the two droid arms that it uses to connect to the head. The nose looks fantastic, using a 2×3 white rock plate. It’s like it was meant just for that use.

Overall, it’s great that they’ve included these dinosaurs, but I would have liked to have seen more of a tie back to the original submission. To me, this seems like way too much of a deviation away from the project, and a whole different set. The parts that are included are more than enough to make a different dinosaur if you wish, and the displayed versions look extremely cool, especially if you’re a dino fan. It’s a good price and a good build.

BUILD: 17/20

OVERALL: 78/100

Stay tuned for the next installment of the workshop series! It’ll be coming soon.

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