After weeks of teasing, LEGO finally unveiled the new LEGO Ideas 21314 Tron: Legacy yesterday, and we’re pleased to bring you this early review of the set scheduled for release on March 31. The set includes 230 pieces and three minifigs, featuring two light cycles with blue and orange highlights.
The box & packaging
With a similar part count, this latest LEGO Ideas set has a box size about the same as 21312 Women of NASA released last year. The front shows a highly stylized action shot of the two light cycles with Quorra off to the side.
The back of the box showcases the minifigures and the way the two bikes fit on the display stand.
Clearly geared toward collectors who will keep the box, the box folds open and can be re-closed with flaps.
There are only two numbered bags in the set, and the brief instruction booklet is loose. Following the pattern of most LEGO Ideas set, there is no sticker sheet.
The instruction booklet introduces the fan designers and professional LEGO set designers, and includes an overview of the concept and characters from the movie. We received our copy of the set from LEGO headquarters in Denmark, so we assume the set is the European edition. The front cover provides information in several languages about where to download a copy of the booklet in your own language, but the hard copy booklet only includes text in English.
Next to a single BrickHeadz character, this might be the fastest build for a LEGO set we’ve reviewed here on The Brothers Brick. The first bag includes the parts for the display base — a stack of black plates, medium azure plates, and various tiles in black and trans-blue. Even though the build took all of about three minutes, it occupies 18 steps and nearly twenty pages of the booklet.
Bag 2 includes the parts for both light cycles, which are identical in every way except the non-black highlight colors. The light cycles are completely different from the original fan design, with a much smoother shape for the wheels, integrating slopes and arches rather than a large propeller cowling. The center of the wheel assembly attaches to the body of the light cycle with Technic pins. These then use a rather interesting technique underneath to secure both ends of the bike, taking advantage of open studs on new 1×2 rounded plates and a jumper plate which attach to the smaller bars between anti-studs.
There are four printed wheel pieces for each light cycle, printed on trans-blue and trans-orange radar dishes. These are likely to see considerable use on hoverships and so on.
The wheels themselves attach to the bike via 4L lightsaber blades inserted into Technic half-pins.
Given that the two bikes are identical, I found myself consciously doubling up the build for sections that don’t incorporate blue/azure or orange, and the second light cycle was already three-quarters complete before I reached step 34 on the first light cycle and started over on step 1 for the blue version.
The light cycles attach securely to the jumper plates on the display base thanks to the 8L plates on the underside that are flush with the base.
I was done building the base, both bikes, and minifigs in under twenty minutes.
LEGO Ideas sets based on an existing property like The Beatles Yellow Submarine or that highlight real-life people like Women of NASA prominently feature minifigures. The packaging for Tron: Legacy takes a different tack, emphasizing the movie’s iconic battle bikes instead. Nevertheless, many builders and collectors seem most excited about the unique characters.
The three movie characters featured in the set are protagonists Sam Flynn and Quorra with Rinzler the evil program. Sam and Quorra wear black suits with blue highlighting (in subtly different male and female designs), while Rinzler has orange highlights. Each character carries identity discs on their back — Rinzler gets two on a neck bracket with a Technic pin.
Sam and Quorra have reversible heads with alternate expressions, but Rinzler gets a fairly generic head under his black helmet with only generic printing (common to Star Wars Rebel troopers and other “non-speaking” characters in other licensed themes). Rinzler’s helmet has a new print with orange highlights like his torso and legs, but the helmet itself is one we’ve seen previously in Marvel sets.
Under the neck brackets, the torso printing extends to the back on all three figs. It’s a little disappointing that the rear printing is mostly obscured on Sam and Quorra due to the huge two-stud, trans-clear neck brackets. The simplest and less-obtrusive solution would have been single-stud neck brackets.
The fan designers’ original design featured a single bike with one minifig astride. We suspect LEGO Ideas sets have a minimum price point to make it worth producing, and the third minifigure feels a little like filler. Personally, I really liked Quorra in Tron: Legacy, so it’s great to have a minifigure depicting this intriguing character. But Sam and Rinzler get to take the bikes for a spin on the grid, and the fact that the display stand doesn’t even have room for Quorra makes her seem unfortunately superfluous. Thankfully, the display stand also works for just the minifigs, where she fits right in alongside Sam, who gets a helmet of his own to do battle with Rinzler. Quorra has a sword, but no helmet.
Rinzler uses two identity discs to battle Sam and Quorra, and can carry both on his back.
The finished model
A second light bike certainly adds to the play and display value of the set, and the repetitiveness of the build is alleviated by how quickly you’re finished. The wheels spin fairly well on fabric, where the friction helps spin them, but the central Technic half-pin that holds the axle doesn’t spin as well on smoother surfaces without slightly adjusting the gap between the wheels and the bike’s body.
The bikes look great on the display stand, with paths on the grid for each bike and a transparent light trail behind them both. I think the orange and azure pieces stand in reasonably well for transparent elements, but actual trans-blue and trans-orange would certainly have been more ideal. Similarly, the trans-orange elements are a mix of regular orange and neon-orange.
Conclusions & recommendation
Unlike some movie-goers, critics, and fans of the original Tron from 1982, I quite enjoyed Tron: Legacy — I even own a copy of the Daft Punk soundtrack, which is great background music for writing, user interface design, and other creative projects. So, I consider myself enough of a fan of the movie that I feel like I should have been more excited about this set. But I wasn’t — it’s yet another LEGO Ideas set based on someone else’s idea rather than a unique design of your own (like the wonderful Old Fishing Store).
The set might work well as a tchotchke on a shelf for hardcore Tron fans — and to be clear, the light cycles and minifigures are each well-designed, and the streamlined light cycle with the minifigures in a forward-leaning, aerodynamic position are a notable improvement over the original fan model.
But I’m finding it hard to recommend the set to a broader audience of LEGO builders and collectors. There are certainly a handful of nice parts — particularly the printed transparent radar dishes — but at $35 for 230 parts, this is by no means a screaming deal of a parts pack. The high cost of the Tron set was particularly jarring for us, since we reviewed 41597 BrickHeadz “Go Brick Me” the same evening we worked on the this review. While I personally have no issue with LEGO’s parts-per-price ratio inevitably and necessarily increasing over time, the longstanding 10 cents per price average is still a convenient yardstick (centstick?) to compare prices. The price-per-part for Go Brick Me works out to 4.2 cents per brick, while the price for Tron is 15.2 cents — more than triple! As we noted above, it took me all of twenty minutes to finish Tron. Chris, Caylin, and I then spent the entire rest of the evening exploring the customization possibilities of Go Brick Me, and I’ve spent another two evenings this week doing so just for fun. For both price per parts and sheer play value, there’s no comparison.
We always wish our fellow LEGO builders success with their LEGO Ideas projects, and it’s hard not to also root for the success of the final, official LEGO set when it’s eventually released. Many of our friends are also LEGO set designers in Billund, and we respect the challenges and constraints that they work within. But a LEGO set needs to stand on its own merits regardless of how much we want brothers Tom and Drew or the designers in Billund to have a best-selling LEGO set to their name.
So it’s particularly hard to render a “Meh…” verdict on a fan-designed set that it’s clear so many of you reading this are probably very excited about.
Unfortunately, the brief, repetitive build with a limited parts selection and high price point didn’t win us over, and I’m personally not enough of a super-fan of the Tron movies for the subject matter and minifigures to outweigh these other factors. Ultimately then, I suppose we are recommending the set to LEGO Ideas completists and hardcore Tron fans. But I just don’t see the appeal for the much broader audience who may not care about a pair of rather mediocre Disney movies from 1982 and 2010.
LEGO Ideas 21314 Tron: Legacy includes 230 pieces and three minifigures. It will be available on March 31st in all the usual places for $34.99 USD (prices variable elsewhere).
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.