LEGO Architecture: 21047 Las Vegas [Review]

What’s built on the dining room table stays on the dining room table….at least, until dinner. Set 21047 Las Vegas is the latest offering in LEGO’s Architecture series, which is now in its tenth year. Time sure does fly and, speaking of time, Las Vegas was originally slated for release back in January 2018. As we reported back on July 31st, this delay was necessitated by the tragic Mandalay Bay hotel shooting of October 2017. In light of this unfortunate event, LEGO decided the best course of action was to redesign its Vegas set by replacing the micro Mandalay Bay with the Bellagio hotel and casino. Set 21047 consists of 501 pieces (according to the instruction booklet’s part inventory) and is slated for release on September 1st retailing at $39.99 USD.

The build & parts

Since Las Vegas is rendered in microscale, the finished build is small enough to sit on an office desk without taking up too much space. Don’t let it’s diminutive size fool you, though. The bulk of Vegas is largely comprised of tiny elements, which means this isn’t the type of build you just breeze through. Like most Architecture sets, there is some level of repetition in the types of elements you will encounter, so sorting the pieces first can help save you time.

The structures that make up the set include iconic Vegas landmarks like the welcome sign, Bellagio hotel & casino, Luxor pyramid, Encore at the Wynn, Stratosphere tower, and Fremont Street Experience. With the exception of the Stratosphere and welcome sign, the other builds rely more heavily on plate stacking. That’s not not to say there weren’t any interesting techniques. For example, the Stratosphere tower is held in place with a bar secured inside a 1×1 plate with clip.

If you look at the Encore, you will notice the surrounding trees made up of green 1×1 quarter round tiles and cheese slopes. I found this to be aesthetically pleasing but was also surprised to learn they serve a practical function. As it turns out, the cheese slopes are positioned in such a way to ensure the structure’s curve is securely held in place.

Thanks to its water fountain show, the Bellagio is one of Vegas’ most famous hotels. I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t very impressed with the Bellagio after seeing it on the box. However, my reservations melted away when I started clicking the pieces together. In fact, I would argue that the Bellagio proved to be the most interesting build in the entire lot. It has a unique Y-shape that doesn’t come across in the box art, and the two front walls are slightly angled, held in place by bars mounted on the reverse sides. These walls used a combination of traditional plate stacking and studs-not-on-top (SNOT) building techniques, which I found to be enjoyable.

Set 21047 offers a diverse range in types of parts, with many of them appearing in tan, brown, and white. Most of these are fairly run-of-the-mill, but there were a few stand-out elements in the lot. Thanks to the Luxor, we get to see the ancient Egyptian headdress again. However, the most interesting parts are those released this year, including 1×1 double-sided cheese slopes in bright light blue and 1×2 rounded plates in white, tan, and black. I can also see getting a lot of use out of the curved tiles and the bar 1L with 1×1 round plate with hollow stud. The 1×2 Welcome to Las Vegas tile is printed and exclusive to this set but has limited application compared to patterned tiles.

The finished model

People familiar with the city of Las Vegas will notice that the buildings are not in the order they appear on the strip. While this might irk some people, I actually like the appearance of how the structures play off of one another. Looking at the skyline from left to right, the buildings almost appear to flow in the shape of a wave. It’s a great example of what’s known in the art world as the rule of thirds.

When compared to their real-life counterparts, most of the buildings are recognizable representations. Looking at each one as a stand-alone model, I would argue that the Bellagio and Stratosphere tower are the best in terms of appearance and complexity, while the Luxor isn’t all that interesting to build or look at. I can’t help but feel like the weakest building is the Fremont Street Experience, but it’s also important to take into account the limitations of building at this scale.

Conclusion & recommendation

Vegas-loving people and LEGO Architecture series completists will feel at home with set 21047, and custom model builders will likely find value in LEGO’s inclusion of some of the latest parts in their portfolio. With few exceptions, the overall building experience is enjoyable and the skyline as a whole looks excellent when finished. This was a stark contrast to my initial expectations, which were a little less than enthusiastic. That being said, I do feel there are stronger entries in the series like 21039 Shanghai, but Las Vegas has enough character for me to make a solid recommendation. Buy it for a nice, casual build or to expand your collection of useful parts.

LEGO Architecture 21047 Las Vegas includes 501 pieces and will be on sale September 1st.

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.

Check out other reviews of the 2018 Architecture sets:

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