LEGO 10280 Flower Bouquet from the Botanical Collection [Review]

In LEGO’s pursuit of older fans, the toy manufacturer has overhauled their adult product strategy, resulting in an immediate expansion of adult-focused sets. One of the ways this has manifested is an attempt to bring in new adult buyers with sets focusing on non-traditional subjects that might fit better into a grown-up decor. Enter the LEGO Botanical Collection, first announced last month, which includes two sets designed to seamlessly blend into a modern aesthetic with models that will look equally at home on your desk or in your den. Earlier today we looked at the beautiful 10281 Bonsai Tree, and now we’re turning our eye on 10280 Flower Bouquet, which as the name implies, constructs a variety of life-size flowers meant for display rather than for play (vase not included). The set contains 756 pieces and will retail for US $49.99 | CAN $TBD | UK £44.99 and is available starting Jan. 1.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The box and contents

The Flower Bouquet comes in a large box–larger than its $50 price point would indicate–and contains six bags of parts across three numbered steps, plus the instruction manual which is safely packaged in its own bag. There is no sticker sheet, and in fact, the set contains no decorated elements at all. And although the set doesn’t have any wholly new elements, the parts are a smorgasbord of interesting new colors.

The first and most obvious is the large unnumbered bag, which simply contains the 10 sand green 32-stud axles. Sand green is a new color for them and only the fourth color, following the somewhat common black, and rare white and yellow versions. Another exciting recolor to an old element is the dark green prickly bush. Although the bush has been around for 28 years and comes in six colors, the only shades of green it’s been available in are classic green and lime green. Adding dark green to the lineup should give terrain builders more options, and you’ll get four of them here. Another part also joins the dark green lineup: the new large steering wheel that debuted last month in 10274 Ghostbusters ECTO-1. With seven included (versus just one black one in the ECTO-1) that makes dark green the most common color for this new element.

But we can’t talk about colors in this set without remarking on the prevalence of light nougat (what Bricklink used to call light flesh). Apart from licensed minifigure heads and hands (and minidolls), it’s been among the rarest colors for standard LEGO elements. In fact, a quick scan of Bricklink’s inventory for light nougat elements since the color began to be commonly used around 2000 shows just five elements in that color that aren’t explicitly intended to be used as body parts or animals. The Flower Bouquet certainly makes a big departure then, with the set’s three roses in light nougat bringing a whopping 60 light flesh elements in four varieties, none of them minifigure-related. You’ll get 12 each of two different style of vehicle hood panel (93604 and 98835), along with another 12 1×2 tiles and 24 1×2 clip plates. The hood panels may not be the most sought-after elements for light nougat, but the other two are key elements in expanding the light nougat lineup.

The instruction manual includes a brief introduction with set designers Anderson Grubb and Astrid Sundorf Christensen, along with a synopsis of the six named flower varieties included. All told you’ll get the parts to build three Roses, two Snapdragons, a Lavender, an Aster, two Common Daisies, and a California Poppy. The set also includes three unnamed leaves and two bushy sprigs to round out the bouquet.

The build

The instructions constructs the flowers one variety at a time, combining duplicates where possible. For instance, the two daisies are identical and so get a 2x in the manual. Meanwhile the three roses have two variations with a straight and a curved stem, and so only the rose flowers are built at the same time with a 3x multiplier. Some of the flowers have a simple stem consisting of the Technic axle, while others have more complex stems with stacked Technic 3L axle connectors.

We’ll start with the daisies, which are a tight spiral of while 1×2 plates with curved ends. There are three flowers on each stem, with the place for the fourth daisy getting just a dry twig instead. The daisies are by far the simplest of the six flowers and the flower bunch is just stuck at the top of one of the sand green axles.

The daisies are the least successful of the six flowers and are easily lost among the larger bouquet. I honestly don’t think I’d recognize them as daisies except perhaps by the white-and-yellow key colors. A different solution is needed that makes larger, more distinct petals–these hardly look like you could play He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by plucking off petals one at a time.

Next up are the roses, which jump up a great deal in complexity. The rosebuds are composed of a small structure of tan brackets at the top of a pair of the dark green steering wheels. The steering wheels form a solid mounting point for clipping the peachy-colored petals into place. Each rose gets eight large petals. Constructing all 24 petals is a bit of a tedious process, but is simply enough that it doesn’t take long. Rather than the long axle, the rose stems are made with stacked dark green Technic 3L axle connectors (a new color for that element, too). A single left pterodactyl wing makes a rose leaf on each stem.

The roses are gorgeous, and instantly recognizable. The light nougat peach color isn’t my favorite (despite being excited about the parts themselves) as I would have preferred either something more vibrant, or crisp white roses, but in conjunction with the saturated poppy and snapdragons, the result is elegant and understated. Of course, LEGO is releasing red roses as a separate add-on set, and all of the petal elements are available in a variety of other colors, so recoloring them should be easy.

Like the daisy, the California Poppy is a simple flower. The center of the bud is a tightly packed assembly that let the yellow clips work as stamen. Four orange car hoods attach onto the outer clips for the poppy’s four orange petals.

Next to the daisy, the poppy is my least favorite of the flowers. The final result is a little too precise with the four petals being a bit too square. I’m not sure what a better solution would have been, but viewed in the bouquet surrounded by the other flowers it’s not as noticeable. And with only one in the set, it provides a nice pop of warm color to offset the purples of the aster, lavender, and snapdragons.

The snapdragon is next, and was my favorite to build. Although the assembly was a bit tedious, the result is splendid. A center of octagonal plates provides a mounting point for the snapdragon’s tiny buds. The picture below illustrates the constituent parts along with an assembled flower (minus the stem) on the left. Snapdragons can be found in a wide variety of colors, and I’m already generating ideas for recolors of this build.

The snapdragon is the highlight of the bouquet. Standing tall, the vibrant magenta becomes the focal point of the bunch, and the flower closely imitates its real-life counterpart.

The lavender was the most boring build, but the result is lovely. The lavender instructions pretty much boil down to making the 10-piece assembly below and repeating it 9 times. The assemblies are then stacked to create the lavender’s tall, spindly flowers.

The lavender imitates a variety that has the flowers spaced quite sparsely along the stem. It’s not inaccurate, but I would have preferred it to follow after a variety with tighter flowers for a more lush, delicate look rather than the woody look with lots of stem. I think they’d also look better with darker purple 1×1 plates on top of each lavender-color 1×1 plate (ironically, most lavender flowers are a darker purple than LEGO’s lavender color). To be completely accurate, each lavender sprig should also have its own stem rather than be connected as a bunch just below the flowers, but I think that’s a fine artistic choice to make it easier to arrange them in a vase.

Finally, the aster. A complex and delicate flower, the aster’s build is a series of concentric circles of tiny petals (34 petals in total). Like the lavender, it’s not an engaging build, but the result is beautiful.

Asters are a huge family of flowers encompassing a wide range of varieties. Initially I thought this aster didn’t look like the asters I was familiar with, and that’s true. What I had in mind was more of a purple daisy (and in fact, daisies are closely related). But some varieties of aster have tightly bunched petals and uniform color, and this LEGO design does a splendid recreation of them.

The bushy sprigs likely represent a real plant, but I’m not a florist so I’ll leave it to the experts to say exactly what this is. In any case, it serves the same purpose here that it would in a real bouquet–to add volume and visual balance. They’re extremely simple but do the job well.

Likewise, the leaves also add visual balance and interest to the bouquet. Made with long sand green 16 x 4 wedges (not a new color, as they appeared in sand green in last year’s 70840 Welcome To Apocalypseburg) tipped with a sand green surfboard (which is a new color), the leaves have a bend in the middle so you can angle them to suit your needs.

Conclusion and recommendation

10280 Flower Bouquet is one of the few sets that can’t really be displayed on its own, without adding something else. You’ll need to use either a standard flower vase or construct one if you prefer to keep it all brick. I opted for the glass vase, and I think it would make a wonderful addition to an office. No matter how professional the office you work in, these flowers will fit in with the decor unlike, perhaps, your UCS A-Wing or Ghostbusters ECTO-1, if you’re trying to keep your nerdery on the down low.

Or if you’re like me and prefer to keep your LEGO sequestered into its own space, this might be one of the few sets I’d bring into the standard household decor. The vase I had on hand is just a bit too large, but I’m sure I could find one that would fit perfectly.

At $50, you might expect that the majority of the set’s 756 pieces are tiny elements, much like the LEGO Art mosaic sets. But that’s not the case. While there are a reasonable number of small elements, the set isn’t particularly skewed toward them; it’s just a very decently priced set. The price-per-piece comes out to a little less than $0.07, putting it well below the average. And two expansions have already been revealed, bringing red roses and tulips (although they don’t bear the Botanical Collection moniker or the 18+ age range), and they’re priced at $13 and $10, respectively. At a higher price, I’d merely classify this set as a fun novelty. But for $50, it’s cheaper than many real flower bouquets and will last significantly longer, while bringing some nerdy fun to your decor in an elegant manner. It would also be easy to expand with either the official flower sets or more flowers of your own. This set earns a hearty recommendation.

10280 Flower Bouquet is part of the new Botanical Collection. It contains 756 pieces and makes 10 flowers. It will be available starting January 1 from LEGO for US $49.99 | CAN $TBD | UK £44.99 and may also be available via third-party sellers on ebay and Amazon.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

2 comments on “LEGO 10280 Flower Bouquet from the Botanical Collection [Review]

  1. Rainfoot

    I come from a long line of florists and the more I look at this set the more I like it. I was allready planing on picking up the Bonsai Tree set and now I’m strongly tempted to get this one to build as a mothers day present.

  2. claire king

    I received my new Lego catalogue today
    and immediately looked for something fun for the granddaughters to work with me….only to find it out of stock. Of course the exceptionally greedy after market on ebay and Amazon had plenty for twice the price. Avail at Target, but no pick up/curbside delivery and they won’t ship this item. Can’t encourage the greedy and can’t risk my life to shop in a store. Shame. What a beautiful kit.

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