Theme: LEGO Ideas
Release Year: 2022
Cost: US $199.99 / DE €199.99 / UK £174.99 / AU $319.99
Every once in a while, a LEGO set is announced that leaves you captivated. Not just for the attention to detail and quality, but when it gets you asking – how did they do it? This is one of those sets. LEGO Ideas is the perfect theme to really push the boundaries, and this one certainly has done that! Originally designed by Guillaume Roussel (Disneybrick55), this set is just fantastic, and another awesome example of how SNOT techniques can really shine. 21332 The Globe will be available from 1st February, 2022 for US $199.99 / DE €199.99 / UK £174.99 / AU $319.99. I’m on holidays at the moment so I’ve missed the big announcement, but here’s a review instead!
The instruction manual starts like all the other Ideas manuals, with some real world information. In this case, it’s a history of globes, a bit about the fan designer, and the LEGO team.
On to the build, starting with the stand. From the outset, even with the stand, be prepared for some serious repetition. This is definitely the sort of set to build while you’re idly watching something on Netflix (or your chosen streaming service), or listening to a podcast. It can be pretty mind numbing, until you start to place the continents and labels on the plates. The base is built up using a strong, circular design, and small tyres are placed around 1×1 round studs to provide some grip. The globe arm is then built and attached using a segmental approach, with hinge plates used to reinforce the build. A bit of repetition in here, but it’s not bad, and gives you a good idea of the size of the globe.
Next up is the globe itself. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how it was done – I initially figured it’d be a Technic ball with studs facing out and the plates stuck on top. How it’s actually done was not what I was expecting.
The centre ring is created first – 16 6×6 plate sections with some Technic beams to join them together at angles. This was really well done. This is also where the first details of the continents are added. Each continent and ocean is labelled with a very nice printed tile. The central ring is then given some central core structure with an interesting Technic axle array – four arms reaching out in four directions, with a stronger core in the middle. This then gets another vertical section added on top.
Next is where it gets repetitive. each half is made up of 16 curved assemblies that connect the centre ring to the pole (for lack of a better term!). These assemblies are made up of three sections – two designs with a mixture of plates and wedge plates, when attached form a relatively tight ball. Having to make 16 of the same assembly twice over is tedious, but it’s broken up into 8 build stages. Four assemblies per bag are made, followed by adding the continents and labels for those particular sections. They then get slotted in place thanks to a Technic axle at the centre ring, and a clip at the pole. They’re strong and resistant, and are also made up of a brand new element, the 2×6 wedge plate. These come in three colours – dark blue (ocean), dark tan (desert), and green.
Curiously, inside there are four wheels. I am completely stumped in figuring out what they are there for! As far as I can tell, they serve no purpose. They’re behind the little boat on the surface of the globe. I was thinking maybe as a counterweight, but I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference!
For the bottom half, the same inner core structure is done, followed by the curved assemblies. The final step in the process is to slot the axles in each pole, add the polar caps (using large white printed domes) and slot it into place in the frame. There’s a pinhole in the bottom and an axle hole in the top. The assembly just fits so incredibly well and spins so smoothly! Add the final capping details to the frame, plus the name plate and some final detailing on the base and you’re done.
From a design and architectural perspective, this set is an absolute marvel. Having a large rotating sphere on a stable but minimalist frame off axis is quite the feat, and it does it amazingly well. There’s some slight rotation in the frame when picking it up, even with a hand on the frame and a hand supporting it under the base, but that’s to be expected. Geographically, the designers have done a phenomenal job with the stud limitations they have. The small gap in between each curve There are, however, a few tweaks that could easily be made. The compass rose looks excellent too.
There’s an extra stud in the Great Australian Bight that looks a little off. Shortening this by using a 1×2 plate at the top and a 2×4 wedge plate would fix that. It’s great to see that Tasmania was included! Indonesia, PNG, Malaysia and the Philippines look good – not a lot of real estate on the plates there!
Asia has been done well, as has North and South America and Africa, however Europe doesn’t look quite right. After looking at a map I can see what they’ve tried to do, so it’s a great attempt, but it’s not as instantly recognisable. The areas that threw me off were Spain, Turkey and the UK. Norway and Sweden look good, and I love that there’s a specific quarter circle stud just for Denmark, the home of LEGO! The problem with Europe is the gaps between the plates. If these were seamless, it’d work much better, but alas, that’s not how LEGO works!
Overall, I’m glad that the designers went with some differentiation in the design, adding more desert, as well as tweaking the original shape of the continents. Some look better, some not so much, but as a whole, this is one stunning LEGO set that will be studied for a long time to come. It’s fun to spin, looks gorgeous, is lots of fun figuring out locations, and is an absolute marvel in set design and build. This is one of my new favourites, and an easy top 5 set for 2022 already. And for the flat-earthers out there, there’s always 31203 World Map.
The Globe will be available from 1st February, 2022 for US $199.99 / DE €199.99 / UK £174.99 / AU $319.99.
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.