Wednesday 26 January 2011


Ever wondered what 4287 LEGO pieces would look like if you threw them into 3 crates ? Well wonder no more and instead fix your gaze on the picture below, click to enlarge, and enjoy all the LEGO goodness.

4287 Pieces of LEGO.....
So in case you hadn't figured it out already, I finally got around to unboxing and starting to build Set 10214 Tower Bridge a few nights ago. Given it's size, there were a few things to consider prior to embarking upon the build, such as "Where will I be able to display it ?" and "Is there enough clear space on my desk to accommodate it during building ?" but eventually the urge to build overcame all sensible objections so I got down to it.
With a set this size, at least some rudimentary sorting prior to the build itself is essential to ensure that finding pieces doesn't become an intolerable chore, and as usual all small pieces (2 x 2 studs or less) were consigned to one clear crate, plates bigger than 2 x 2 studs to another, and everything else to a third, as you can see in the first picture above. Tan pieces predictably dominate the mix, together with a nice sprinking of Medium Blue, and also a fair bit of Medium Bluish Grey, Dark Bluish Grey, and White. The 556 Tan Cheese Slopes that this set includes deserve special mention, partly because this is the first set to ever include Tan Cheese Slopes at all, and secondly because of the sheer number of them. Yes, 556 - you did read that right.

The set comes with 3 decidedly slim instruction booklets (pictured above); this lack of bulk is largely explained by the degree of repetition in the build. All 3 booklets were unfortunately creased and bent to some extent having been lying awkwardly in the box. This is an all too common problem, and is not merely cosmetic - I found myself having to frequently flatten out Booklet 1 in particular as the corner kept curling up and I couldn't see some of the instructions. Not a hugely big deal, of course, but irritating nonetheless, and I would have hoped that the LEGO company would have found a satisfactory way of dealing with this common issue by now.

So what of the build itself ? Well, you start off by building the centre section of the bridge (pictures above) which opens like the real thing, and then move on to the two huge predominantly tan towers (work in progress pictures below).

A tower takes shape (step 27, first instruction booklet....)
Step 51 - end of Booklet 1
The picture immediately above corresponds to the end of the first instruction booklet, which is as far as I've got so far. So as you can see, I still have a long way to go. It's been a pleasant build, not too taxing and with lots of nice little details and interesting build techniques to hold the attention. I love the use of Technic pulley wheels for the corners of the towers, for instance, and all those tan cheese slopes are put to good use smoothing off the corners and making the structure look authentic, although the inevitable repetition that this involves is a little tedious.

I'll post again when I've made more progress, but so far so good - I'm enjoying the build, and it's already clear that the finished model is going to be awesome !

Tower Bridge review Part 2 -->


  1. Congrats on finally taking up this challenge! All those tan cheese slopes!

  2. Anonymous29/1/11

    Wasn't the report that Lego are going to shrink-wrap the instructions for larger sets (and include any sticker sheets in that packaging) in order to avoid this problem in future?

  3. @iadams - I heard that too. I bought my set last year, however, a few days after they became available, and I don't think LEGO were due to start protecting the instructions until this year, so I missed out. It's a small gripe, however, and at least no stickers to worry about in this case....

  4. Anonymous30/1/11

    Yes, my copy had the same problem. At least we've got an improvement to look forward to.

    Many companies these days would be more likely to be undoing that sort of protection in order to save costs these days. At least TLG have found one way to demonstrate they are still committed to quality.

  5. @iadams, sounds like you have this set too, in which case a question - have you noticed any quality issues with the Tan bricks and plates ? I will share some observations when I complete the build and blog again, but for now I'd be interested to hear if you or anyone else has run up against quality issues.

  6. Anonymous31/1/11

    I don't remember noticing anything when I built it. Mine's still built, I'll check it against your comments when you post them.

  7. Anonymous12/2/11

    My first properly packaged instructions:

  8. That's more like it ! I saw similarly-packaged instructions on The Brick Show's review of the Diagon Alley set, so this initiative to protect instructions in the bigger sets now seems to be in full swing

  9. Great post!

    I just found your blog -- but be sure I'll be a regular around!

    Keep on bricking!

  10. that.
    is a lot.
    of 1X1 plates