Botanical Boosters – Roses and Tulips join the LEGO flower arrangement [Review]

LEGO definitely has us looking forward to spring. Joining the 10280 Flower Bouquet are two new sets: 40460 Roses (US $12.99 | CAN $16.99 | UK £11.99) and 40461 Tulips (US $9.99 | CAN $12.99 | UK £8.99). First announced in December, they’re available now in the UK, and coming soon to North American LEGO stores. Are they pretty in person? How well do these new blooms complement the existing arrangement? And is there anything to these sets beyond just being a display piece? Read on and see!

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

Although neither of these sets is listed on the packaging as being part of the Botanical collection, that’s how they’re listed on LEGO-owned Bricklink. And it seems to me that due to their theming (and the timing of their release) that they’re meant to be viewed as “booster packs” for the 10280 Flower Bouquet set. But conspiracy theories aside, there’s nothing on the box art to tie them to the adult-collector market – instead of being listed as aimed at “18+” builders, both of these sets are deemed appropriate for the 8+ crowd. The box art is pretty simple, each with a detail shot of the flowers on pastel backgrounds.

The back of the box shows the flowers from a slightly different angle, and has the dimensions for each. (Roses at 25 cm/9.8″ and the tulips at 24 cm/9.4″) There’s no question that these two sets, at least, are part of the same theme; each has insets picturing the other.

40461 Tulips

This set avoids the horrible thumb-punch style, going with tab closures. Inside the box are two unnumbered parts bags and a 24 page instruction booklet. My booklet is folded in half and kind of mangled on removal, but that’s pretty common for smaller sets.

This set introduces new colors for four parts: bright green for the 7L claw, bright yellow-green for the Technic cross axle, and cool yellow and medium lavender for the 2×3 bow plate. The other bright yellow-green parts are also rare: for example the cross axle has only appeared one other time, in the Technic 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37. The other parts in the set are more common, but do provide some useful pieces in a bright range of colors.

The center of each tulip is based around a square studs-out center. Plant stems in reddish brown work well for the organic details.

A small nit is that the base of the medium lavender tulip uses yellow parts instead of purple ones. Unless viewed from a very low angle those bricks aren’t really exposed, so it’s not a big issue.

The stems are identical for all three tulips. The bright yellow-green of the stem itself has a strong contrast with the bright green of the leaves. The general shape matches that of a tulip, but I think that the stem-to-leaf connection looks off. I can’t think of a better option though, and this construction does give us a bunch of hard-to-find bright yellow-green Technic connectors, so the trade offs are reasonable.

The flowers sit well on the stems, and the overall build is sturdy. You know, when compared to a real flower.

40460 Roses

Like the Tulips, this box is tab-sealed. Inside the box are two unnumbered parts bags and a 24 page instruction booklet. The slightly larger packaging means that the instruction booklet doesn’t have to be folded to fit inside, making for a nicer experience when you open the package.

This set offers several new parts and colorations. The green 6 x 4 x 1 Hexagonal Windscreen is a new color that appears here for the first time. Also new are the dark green steering wheel and Technic connectors, which also appear the new 10280 Flower Bouquet set. The remaining parts include some more common but useful bits like curved slopes and teeth-plate in red, dark green 1×1 round plates, and bright green claws.

The center of each rose uses two of the dark green steering wheel elements underneath a square studs-out core. The center of the bud is rotated 45 degrees from the rest of the build, keeping the final shape from feeling rectangular.

The outer petals are made from 8 of the red 3x4x2 bow plates shown above. They are clipped onto the steering wheels at a slight offset, again keeping things from feeling boxy or over-aligned. Each bud also gets four bright green claws along the lower ring.

Each rose gets a unique stem. Each has a dark green Technic core and two green windscreen leaves. The variation occurs on the second stem with thorns made from ox-horn thorns in reddish brown. Those are connected on the bent Technic connectors, helping the buds to sit at different angles when displayed.

The assembled roses are reasonably sturdy, although not exactly “swooshable”.  They don’t sag under the weight of the buds, and they do indeed look like red roses.

The finished models

The tulips have a fun range of colors, all of which fairly scream “springtime”. I’m not sold on the leaf design, but it is recognizably shaped. As the cheaper of the two sets at $10 US, it’s also a good set for army building….er…making your own Easter bouquets.

Overall, the assembled roses look very nice. The colors are very bright, and the shapes are complex and organic. The downsides are that the bright green claws are just a little too bright, and the windscreen leaves are a little too angular. The exposed studs on the bow plates wreck the illusion a bit, too. I’m usually fond of LEGO models leaving some exposed studs to remind the viewer they’re looking at a brick-based creation. But in this case, I think it detracts more than it adds.

Neither set comes with a vase or other display stand, but I had the parts on hand to make a quick one out of some Technic rings. I assume most people will just put them in a glass or vase they have lying around. Or maybe you just want to drape them artistically across any flat surface. You do you.

Comparison with 10280 Flower Bouquet Roses

Set 10280 Flower Bouquet also includes roses. An easy difference to spot is that they use light nougat pieces instead of red. Less immediately obvious are changes the build: while nearly identical, both the buds and stems do have differences.

The core design of the bud is consistent between the sets. The differences all happen in the outer petals. The red rose uses the same bow plate for all the petals, and has bright green claws as accent leaves. The Flower Bouquet rose uses a car hood for a variation in petal shape, lacks the green leaves, and has a 1×2 tile covering the studs in the inner petals. There’s also more variation in the colors used, with the Flower Bouquet set having a gradient between the inner and outer petals, as opposed to the monochromatic red version.

The core construction of the stems is identical between the sets, but the leaves are very different. The Flower Bouquet uses a dual-molded pterodactyl wing, while the red rose set uses green windscreens.

Putting the red roses into the bouquet works pretty well, but the greens in the claws and leaves do not play well with the more subdued greenery of the larger set. They look good in isolation, but mixed in those brighter colors just stand out too much, and the angular windscreen doesn’t match the other curved shapes.

The tulips fit in a little better, but their main issue is again with a green-mismatch. The bright green stems and leaves again pull the flowers out of the unified arrangement. The flowers themselves, though, blend in very well.

The solution? Bury the tulip stems into the center of the bouquet and just take off the green accent parts from the red roses. With those minor revisions the bight red of the roses adds a real burst of color to the arrangement.

Conclusion and recommendations

These sets both offer a cost-effective way to add some flowers to your LEGO collection if the $50 US for the 10280 Flower Bouquet is out of your price range. Both are good representations of their real-world counterparts, and are pretty close in cost to what cut flowers will run you around holidays. Both sets have their minor flaws, but there aren’t any major issues with either.  They look nice, and are a fun way to sidestep allergies and hungry pets if you want a botanical display in your home.

If you’re looking at these as parts pack, the news isn’t quite as nice. The tulips come in at 9 cents per part, with the roses even more expensive at 10.8 cents-per.  While both have good quantities of rare and unique colored parts, most of the elements are pretty niche-use. Neither integrates with the Flower Bouquet set super well, but maybe it’s silly to expect every flower to compliment every other one. In the end, I like these sets, and I’m happy to see LEGO branching out. (Maybe I should have saved that pun for a Bonsai Booster set.)

40460 Roses (US $12.99 | CAN $16.99 | UK £11.99) and 40461 Tulips (US $9.99 | CAN $12.99 | UK £8.99) are available now from the LEGO Shop Online in the UK, and will be available in North America soon. They may also be available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.

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.

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