BricktasticBlog Travel – Exploring Tokyo & Dubai Skylines

LEGO recently reached out to me and asked if I wanted to review the two new Architecture Skylines sets – 21051 Tokyo and 21052 Dubai. I’ve not had any of the Skylines sets before, but I eagerly said yes, and I’m really glad I did! There’s no scores for these ones, as my usual scoring system doesn’t really work in the case of these. Let’s go travelling…

21051 Tokyo

Out January 2020 | 547 elements | US $59.99 | EU €59.99 | UK £54.99

I have only been to Japan once, but I absolutely loved it, so getting Tokyo was exciting, as I had been to a few of the places I built! A couple of weeks ago I posted about these two sets, and took a guess at what the buildings were. While I was right for a few of them, there’s one that is still missing. I’ll get to that in a minute. Inside the box are a few bags with steps one and two, and an instruction book. The front of the instructions introduce the buildings.

21051 Tokyo

Our first stop after landing in Tokyo is to get a home base. The bases of these are interesting. If you’ve not built a Skyline before, there’s lots of tiles on a weird shaped base, with an assortment of studs and connection methods dotted around. It’s not as exciting as our next stop, but we’ll get there. The first destination is the base of the Tokyo Tower, the transmitter of Tokyo’s TV and radio. It’s bright red, so you can’t miss it!

21051 Tokyo

It’s also a very interesting build, using some simple SNOT work. It’s made up of five different chunks all stacked up. The top half is built and then attached upside down, with the main base as the only studs up portion.

21051 Tokyo

After Tokyo Tower is built, we go down a little lower, but it’s not a buiding that’s been labelled. I originally thought it was the pagoda at Sensoji Temple, but it may just be a generic pagoda as the colours aren’t right. Either way, it’s a nice inclusion.

Up next is Chidorigafuchi Park, neighbour to the Imperial Palace, and home to the stunning cherry blossoms. I like that there are two tiles of transparent blue, to represent the Imperial Palace’s moat.

21051 Tokyo

Next , we catch a train to the bright and bustling Shibuya Crossing. This little section is quite possibly my favourite of the entire build. There’s so much detail packed in here, even down to the zebra crossings printed on the tiles! It’s the simplest of the sections, but so effective. Shibuya Crossing is an incredible place to visit – definitely one of a kind, so I’m very pleased that it was included in the set. The rainbow tower that’s added last is possibly the trickiest part to build, as it’s not easy distinguishing the slight colour variances. I found it tricky, although my lighting wasn’t fantastic.

Tokyo Big Sight is Tokyo’s convention centre. The shape is excellent, using 1×1 pyramid blocks upside down to simulate the upside down pyramids on each corner.

21051 Tokyo

Up next is the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower. It’s actually made up of three colleges full of students, so think of it as a high rise university! The build is made up of large 2×8 printed slopes, connected with Technic pins and 1×1 round elements. It sits on a Technic axle, so it may take a bit of time to get it oriented correctly. The first time I connected it, it was off centre, so make sure you get it right first.

The next inclusion is one that is easily forgotten – Mount Fuji. It may not look like it, as Mount Fuji is usually symmetrical, however to make it a little more interesting (I guess), they’ve made the snow slope down a little. It’s an important inclusion though, so I’m glad they worked it in.

Lastly there’s Tokyo Skytree, the newest tall structure in Tokyo, and the tallest free-standing tower in the world. This is a very simple build, using some longer Technic axes as the core, with the white flex hoses just resting inside the cone. All in all, I’m really happy with this set. It was nice to reminisce about the trip, and see how these skylines are created.

On to the last stop on our travels – Dubai.

21052 Dubai

Out January 2020 | 740 elements | US $59.99 | EU €59.99 | UK £54.99

Dubai is a city I would love to visit one day – there’s an incredible mix of culture and crazy architecture, all in the one place. After landing we set up the base. This one has some interesting connection methods, including some wheel hubs and items at strange angles. This set has five bags across three steps, and an instruction book. There’s a lot of trans blue 1×1 round studs. It’s going to be a fiddly build.

21052 Dubai

The first stop on our tour of Dubai are the Jumeirah Emirates Towers. The tall one is an office complex, with the smaller being a 56 floor luxury hotel. These two towers incorporate some interesting build techniques, with the bottom blue triangle element being held in not by clutch power, but by the other bricks around it stopping it from sliding out. The way the bases of each building fit together is also a nice surprise, and very satisfying. The small palm trees at the bottom also give a great sense of scale.

21052 Dubai

The next inclusion is possibly the easiest building you’ll ever create – the Dubai Frame. It’s actually a lookout point, with the top part of the frame as a large viewing platform. According to the instructions, it metaphorically frames the development of the city’s past and present, while offering a panoramic view of the Emirate. It’s pretty unique, and a great way to get a gold door frame.

There’s another small build that will rival the simplicity of the Dubai Frame, and that’s The Dubai Fountain. There’s not much to say about this one.

21052 Dubai

Let’s go big and iconic with the last two – the Burj Al Arab to me is that iconic Dubai building – it was the building for many that put Dubai on the travel list of many people. It’s built on a man made island, and has an underwater aquarium as well as being a six star hotel. To top it all off, there’s the circular helipad at the top, sticking out over the sail shaped building.

The build for this is a little tedious, but seeing the shape come together is very rewarding. It uses studs with bars to create the connection points for the beams, and is a perfect representation of the building in real life. The stacked wedge plates are spot on colour and detail-wise, and the white lines made on the outside just top it off as a favourite.

21052 Dubai

Lastly, there’s the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. This build, using all of step three was long and fiddly. It’s made up of 2×2 round plates, 1×2 trans blue plates, and all of those 1×1 trans blue studs. Get comfy building this one. There’s just so much glass that has to be represented, but it makes a statement on the build plate. According to the fact snippets dotted throughout the instructions, it takes 36 workers three to four months to clean the entire exterior facade and took 22 million man hours to build.

The scale of this building just makes displaying this set (alongside Tokyo) great to see. It’ll bring people who have been there over to see them, and get people talking that haven’t been there yet, but want to.

A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy of each 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.

2 thoughts on “BricktasticBlog Travel – Exploring Tokyo & Dubai Skylines

  1. David Reply

    And yet you give Tokyo a good review failing to point out Skytree’s wrong colours, black and not white and poor scaling of same parts. Also Mount Fuji’s snow line is never pictured like that and you can easy see through it! Plus it is no where near the centre of anywhere certainly not Tokyo. The red Eiffel Tower is that and not the flimsier radio it is. The unidentified pagoda belongs in China not Japan! Shibuya crossing buildings aren’t very well done in my view and the convention centre looks unlike the real thing and is little known. Given that 2020 is Tokyo Olympics then we should have had at least one stadium and Tokyo Central Station and a stab at railways lines and their high speed trains…..gratings and a printed tile or 2 would work!

    • John Post authorReply

      Hi David, thanks for the response. When working at this scale, it’s probably very tricky to get the parts, colour and shape needed to perfectly convey the buildings in question. These reviews are always from my point of view, and I still stand by my thoughts that I really liked the set. I do agree with the inclusion of a high speed train – that would have been good, but for what the set is, I like it.

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