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Back in June 2021 we saw a microscale project by Sandro Quattrini pass the review stage. It was a beautiful build, with a rotating light brick included to make it functional. The process of making the lighthouse turn on was a little cumbersome, but the aesthetics of the build were lovely, so I was really excited to see the final product. Earlier this week we saw the official announcement of 21335 Motorized Lighthouse and it’s had some work done! It’s now minifigure scale, includes two minifigures as well as the original design of lighthouse and cottage on a rocky outcrop, but the functionality has had a complete overhaul, now mimicking the workings of a real lighthouse.
There’s 19 numbered bags across 13 build stages, a brilliant brand new dark blue baseplate, some BURPS and an 8×16 dark tan plate, a Medium WeDo 2.0 motor, Headlight set and a Powered Up battery box. There’s also two instruction booklets – one in landscape for the base and the cottage, and one in portrait for the lighthouse itself.
The two minifigures are the lighthouse keeper and a female sailor. They are both brilliant inclusions, especially with the sou’wester hat in dark green. The last time we saw this was back in 2019’s Hidden Side 70419 Wrecked Shrimp Boat, when it was in bright light orange. The keeper’s torso has some excellent detail, although he looks like he’s about to cry! The minifigures also come with a little kitten, a seagull and a row boat, for the first time being seen in white. There’s also five stickers included.
There is a lot to like about this set. I wasn’t convinced with the predominantly black and white lighthouse at first, but it’s grown on me. It’s got a classy, old world feel about it. Let’s take a look through some of my favourite details, starting from the bottom. The rocks look very natural, especially working with the dark blue baseplate. It’s a moody, sombre feel and I’m really glad they opted for a darker water colour. There’s obviously a few BURPs included to make up the height, but they’re not noticed that easily. The focus down at this level is for the stone jetty, jutting out at an angle before smoothly incorporating itself into the main build. There’s a small cave off to the right, which hides the very subtle switch – a Technic beam in dark bluish grey, and some treasure.
I love how they’ve thought of the user needing to replace batteries, so a detailed section of rock can be removed to get access to the battery box without destroying part of the build. The motor is perfectly hidden in the base, with only a small length of wiring visible between the lighthouse and the cottage.
The cottage itself – Aurora Point – is superb. There’s some great corner stone effects with the 1×1 tiles and tan bullion elements, and the pop of red in the roof is a great use of colour in an otherwise muted build palette. Inside there’s a bed, desk and stove, with one of the two LEDs coming out the back of the fireplace. It’s rather eerie but warm at the same time.
The cottage is attached at an angle with a turntable underneath the build, and an axle holding it to the lighthouse itself. The lighthouse has a slight taper to it, with much of the tower being built separately and added on. This means that the back section of panelling can be removed to see inside the tower. Granted, there’s not a lot to see – some ladders, an axe and a stickered tile, but it’s a nice touch. It’s also the home for a length of axle to get to the top.
The important section of the build is the lantern room at the top. Yes, the railing outside is great, but it’s what is inside that counts. Using a ring of transparent garage door pieces and capped off with a simple plate and radar dish, this tube houses one of the coolest bits of LEGO assembly I’ve seen in a while. The motor runs all the way up to a small gear turned by an axle, which spins the lantern assembly. One of the headlight LEDs is plugged unto the base of the turntable, with a mirror sticker applied to a 2×3 tile mounted at a 45 degree angle just behind the newest element from LEGO, the Fresnel lens. This lens is seen in lighthouses all over the world. Invented in 1821 by Frenchman Augustin-Jean Fresnel, the lens focuses a beam of light to be brighter and more powerful. Yep, LEGO did their own. Seriously, well done. Wow! I was skeptical at first, but seeing this thing in a dark room is just great! It really does focus the beam, and although it’s not very bright, it really does work.
Down the bottom there’s even a minor suspension setup for the motor, to stop vibrations rocking the whole set. The motor assembly is built on four rubber dampers. I’ve not seen this before, but I’m assuming it works, and also reduces some noise as well.
The build experience for this set was fantastic. I had a blast building this one – not a great deal of repetition, and the lantern assembly is really well done and kept me guessing. If I had to change anything it’d be to put a brighter light in the top, as it’s really not that bright. Hopefully aftermarket lighting companies solve this problem for us. It’s also very expensive, especially for Australians at AU $470, after the recent price increases for LEGO. You do get a motor and lights, and end up with a rather unique model, but be prepared to shell out a fair bit. It’s great to see another unique and original design in the LEGO Ideas range. I’m looking forward to more.
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.