LEGO set review: Las Vegas (set #21047)

Wed Sep 05, 2018

After an unfortunately delayed product development cycle, the LEGO Group has finally released the next set in its long line of LEGO Architecture Skyline sets - the shining lights of the Las Vegas Strip. Originally slated to be released the same time as the Shanghai set (set #21039) in January 2018, the Las Vegas set’s release was pushed back to the following September after the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting. Originally containing the Mandalay Bay hotel (from which the shooting occurred), the set’s delay was prompted by the LEGO Group’s desire to replace the hotel’s portrayal in the set with the Bellagio Hotel. Now that it is finally released, the set contains LEGO-scale representations of the Bellagio Hotel, Luxor Hotel, Encore at the Wynn, Stratosphere Tower, Fremont Street, and the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” neon sign.

Although the constructed set is rather small in comparison to the other skyline sets (Las Vegas is not exactly known for its towering skyscrapers, after all), the set is still (appropriately) distinctive because of its opulent colors and incredibly varied shapes, in perfect analog with its model city.

Coming in at a maximum height of seven inches (around 19 centimeters), a width of 10 inches (27 centimeters), and a depth of two inches (7 centimeters), the set is on par with other LEGO Architecture Skyline sets. Containing 501 pieces, building Las Vegas in LEGO form takes approximately 40 minutes to an hour and is for the most part an enjoyable build. Constructing the Bellagio and Encore hotels does get a bit tedious as their multiple stories reuse the same building techniques for quite a while (I’m sure there’s a commentary about the monotony and artificiality of heavy commercialization in here somewhere), but seeing the finished product come together still elicits that special kind of satisfaction all LEGO sets end up providing.

When completed, the wide differential in the overall appearances of every hotel is readily apparent. The large canopy of the Fremont Street Experience and its neon lights shine in the shadow of the Stratosphere Tower and the long flexible tubes used to represent its legs. Standing next to the tower is the contrasting brown and tan façade of the Encore, with its curvature also properly represented through the LEGO bricks. The sheer black pyramid of the Luxor and its sentinel Sphinx stand proudly in the middle of the set, sadly lacking the nighttime beacon light from the pyramid’s apex. The Bellagio Hotel is rather strangely situated to the side of the Luxor where the Mandalay Bay would geographically be located. The rush to replace the hotel after the October 2017 tragedy may leave this spatial inconsistency, but it does not take away from the impressively detailed appearance of the Bellagio and its namesake fountains. Finally, the desert sand and long road leading to Vegas with its iconic welcome sign complete the left flank of the set.

Overall, having the LEGO Las Vegas set finally available is great news for LEGO Architecture aficionados and casual collectors alike. While plastic LEGO bricks may not be able to fully capture the (highly commercialized) allure of the City of Lights or the questionable vices of Sin City, its miniature representation at least requires no advance reservations and can be acquired now for a retail price of $39.99. Enjoy your stay.