LEGO Ideas 21110 Research Institute [Review]

It should come as no surprise at all to long-time readers that the new LEGO Ideas Research Institute has been on my list since the day it was confirmed as a set, if not before. I’m all for more gender-equality in my minifig world, and love seeing sets with female figs.

All three vignettes

I picked up this set as well as the 21109 Exo Suit while I was on vacation, and admittedly I’ve been waiting to get a chance to break in and build it. Great way to spend the first day back from vacation, I wager.

So let’s get on with the review.

The Basics

21110 Research Institute runs $19.99, with 165 parts. The idea was posted in 2012 by Ellen Kooijman and garnered its 10,000 supporters in June 2013. It was selected as a future set, and was released August 1, 2014.

Research Institute

Overall, I really like the set. I think it covers a lot of different scientific opportunities, and I’m all for more female figs. It looks lovely on display.

The majority of the set is basic parts; with the higher parts-to-price ratio, I wouldn’t call it a good parts pack though.

The instruction book, like the other LEGO Ideas sets, is a bound book making it harder to hold it open while building. The first pages include Ellen’s biography and a description of each of the three scientific careers.

Opened Box

The Chemist


Bag 1 is the Chemist; it’s my least favorite of the three. It’s a straightforward build. I like the included parts, with the flasks and syringes masquerading as pipettes.

This bag also includes your new brick separator, just in case you don’t have one already.

The Chemist herself has an orange shirt with a lab coat, and has back-printing.

The Paleontologist


Bag 2 is the Paleontologist. This is definitely my favorite of the three, and the T-Rex skeleton is quite clever, using the nozzles as the feet and base. Unlike the other two builds, this one’s base only holds the skeleton, whereas the other two are a scene in and of themselves.

The Paleontologist also has back-printing.

The Astronomer

Completed Vignette

The final bag holds the Astronomer. This one’s fun for me though the build again is relatively simple. Some of you may know I have a fascination with space travel, so having the Gemini and Orion constellations included makes me smile.

The telescope is quite different from the original design, though still effective and likely sturdier, as it’s attached to the base.

The Astronomer does not have back-printing.

Final Thoughts

I like the set and highly recommend picking up 21110 Research Instituteiconfrom the LEGO Shop once it’s back in stock. Pick it up for anybody in your life (especially kids!) who loves LEGO. This set is a great one for me because it features “real” life jobs that are fascinating, engaging, and fun regardless of which gender-box you pick on the census form.

You can see all photos in my photoset on Flickr.

2 comments on “LEGO Ideas 21110 Research Institute [Review]

  1. adamreck1

    So happy I bought this for my daughter for Christmas. We were browsing the Lego Store online, and I wanted to show her the new Lego Friends “Animal Rescue” sets. I was psyched they were finally making the characters go on some adventures, and what was the first thing that came up? I GIANT freaking SHOPPING MALL complete with a bridal salon. I’ve defended the Lego Friends line before, but I can’t think of any way to defend the over-the-top genderizing… When Lego backs something fun and interesting like the Research Institute, I have to hope that someone over there gets it. But maybe not.

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