LEGO recently revealed their latest entry into their Icons theme – the LEGO Icons 10307 Eiffel Tower. This massive set has 10,001 pieces (making it the second highest part count behind the 31203 World Map mosaic), and at 149 cm / 58″, stands as the tallest LEGO set ever. It will be available from the LEGO Shop Online starting November 25th for US $629.99 | CAN $799.99 | UK £554.99. We’ve been fortunate enough to get to look at an early copy, so come along as we build this key piece of the Paris skyline!
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.
Other LEGO Eiffel Towers
This isn’t the first time LEGO has released a set featuring this iconic landmark. In fact, it’s been a recurring theme for almost two decades. Things started off in 2005 with LLCA25 Las Vegas Skyline, Eiffel Tower, a LLCA Ambassador Pass Exclusive set. In 2007 the general populace saw the release of the 3428 piece 10181 Eiffel Tower 1:300 Scale. In 2013 we had the 21019 The Eiffel Tower Architecture set, followed by another Architecture entry, 20144 Paris in 2019. 2020 had a bit of fridge decoration with 854011 Eiffel Tower Magnet Build. And, most recently, in 2022 we had the 40568 Paris Postcard.
While each of these sets has things to recommend them, they were all limited by the elements available at the time, and by the constraints of recreating such a huge structure in a very small scale. Even the 10181 Eiffel at 1:300 suffers from a very blocky look. But this time LEGO has gone all out, creating something closer to 1:216 scale.
For the curious, since the real tower is 1083′ tall at the tip, a minifigure scaled version would have to be about 1:44, or over 24′ tall. Reducing all the way down to the nanofigure (the tiny minifigure trophy/statue) scale of about 1:165 results in a tower about 6.5′ tall. Some might argue that LEGO could have gone for that benchmark with this set, but c’mon. This one feels big and expensive enough already, thank you.
Finally, a word on color. Did you notice anything about all the sets above? They all use either light or dark grey to portray the tower. And that’s not correct! In fact, it’s never been grey! Since 1968 the tower has been painted in what’s called “Eiffel Tower Brown”. I get why LEGO has needed to opt for grey elements, but it does downgrade the accuracy of every model a fair bit.
Unboxing the boxes
The outer packaging for this set helps set the tone for the building experience. It’s massive – a 15″ by x18″ by 22.5″ box, tab sealed along two sides. The overall look is the standard “adult collector” packaging, with a black background, minimal logos, a greeble strip along the bottom, and a mandated 18+ age range. I normally gripe about that mandate, and once again the set could probably be handled by a younger builder, but only one with a severe overabundance of patience. This is not a set aimed at the casual builder.
The front of the box shows the full tower, and has a small inset graphic on the upper right touting the dimensions of the set ( 58.5″ / 149 cm high and 22.5″ / 57 cm wide).
The short sides of the box show the tower at close to 1:1 scale, with the image wrapping around onto the top of the box.
The back of the box has another large shot of the LEGO tower, along with insets showing the four-part construction and a view looking up from the base. There’s also a shot of the real-world tower, and a lifestyle photo of the set taking up someone’s entire kitchen table.
Opening up the flaps reveals a portrait and quote from Gustave Eiffel, translated into several languages. (Different languages on either side, too!)
“There is an attraction and a charm inherent in the colossal that is not subject to ordinary theories of art… The tower will be the tallest edifice ever raised by man. Will it, therefore, be imposing in its own way?”
Good question, Gustave.
Moving on, like other giant sets like the 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon, there’s more unboxing to do. Inside the outer box are three smaller boxes. As indicated by the graphics on the leading edge, each box contains the parts needed to build a section of the tower.
In addition to the friendly numbering in the upper left corner, the section of the tower contained in each box is also indicated by the graphic on the front of the package. The portions of the tower that aren’t included in a section are shown as tan render, making it easy to tell what you’ll be working on.
Since each box is so self-contained, we’ll be looking at each individually.
Box 1 – The Base
The first box, unsurprisingly, focuses on the the bottom of the tower. Looking closely at the art on the box, you can see that this step won’t include any of the actual metal tower at all; just the ground and greenery at the base.
Inside the box are fourteen numbered part bags, five unnumbered bags containing large plates, and four loose 16×16 black plates.
There is also a paper envelope that contains the instruction manual.
The instruction booklet, helpfully labeled “Book 1”, is center stapled and 92 pages long.
Like other Icon and “adult collector” type sets, the first few pages give some background on the subject at hand. The set’s design team also get some coverage, with a two page spread. Lead designer Rok Žgalin Kobe talks a bit about the design challenges and how the team approached them.
While this set doesn’t offer any new molds, it does have a wide range of interesting parts and recolors. For this first box, the standouts were these road baseplates in olive green, and dark tan.
The base for the tower starts off by constructing the four corners. This is an early hint at how many times you’ll be seeing “x4” or “x8” or “x10000” while working your way through the build. A small Easter egg comes in the selection of colors for the interior bricks – the red, white, and blue mirror the hues of the French flag that will eventually top the tower.
Next up are four sets of braces that will form the inner edges of the base.
Connecting everything, you at last start to get a feel for how massive this set is going to be. The base fits on my work table, but only just. A layer of road baseplates helps lock things together.
The first X16 step is making these small flower beds.
They slot into the olive green bases, and create the classic quad that was originally under the Eiffel tower.
The next step is adding the small buildings under the base of each leg. The interior bricks are color coded – red for North/South and yellow for East/West.
Adding details to the base means that the meager “x4” construction multiplier is about to be tossed in favor of finger-shredding levels of repetitive detail building. First up are 32 stacks of 1×1 round plant plates. Then a slightly more complex 3-piece lamppost at x48. You think you’re getting a break with only x8 on the small trees, but putting the leaves on the center stalks is a warning.
The warning was this: “You’re about to enter a world of pain.” There may be only 8 of these larger tree assemblies, but each one consists of 30 1×1 round leaf elements, 5 central branches, and a 3-piece trunk. That’s a total of 38 pieces per tree, or 304 parts for the group. Which is more pieces than you see in some entire LEGO sets. And did I mention the branch/leaf combos are really hard on the fingers to assemble? Well, they are.
They sure do look nice, though.
Placing all of the decorative elements on the base completes box one. Be forewarned that you’re going to be putting the trees and lamps back onto the base throughout the rest of the build. They’re super easy to knock off.
But, putting the camera down at “ground level” you really get a feel for how immersive this model is going to be when complete. It already looks like a gorgeous day in the park.
Box 2 – The Base of the Tower
Box two contains the base level of the tower. Looking at the box art, you can see the small slice of the overall construction covered. But when you open it up, you realize there’s a LOT of building in this portion.
Inside the box are 22 numbered part bags, covering steps 19-40. There are also two unnumbered bags containing roller coaster track and flex tubing, and a last unnumbered bag with grill plates. A second carboard envelope identical to the one in box one rounds out the cast.
Inside the envelope is the second instruction manual. This one is 200 pages long and perfect bound. It doesn’t have any additional informational splash pages, but is focused only on the building steps.
Parts that caught my eye in this box were these Roller Coaster ramp pieces. This the their first appearance in dark grey, and you’ll get 8 of them.
Construction starts with a x2 assembly of the tower’s leg. As we saw in the base, the north/south and east/west legs are color coded red and yellow. This means that rather than a x4 slog, you have to go through two sets of x2, with the only difference being the accent color on a few plates and tiles.
Each side of the leg has similar construction – a beam of stacked plates topped with cross-beams.
These beams attach with clips to a square plate base, with Technic beams that will be used to join the four sections together. Note the yellow 2×2 triangle tile – that’s one of the colored elements I was mentioning.
A bit of design that caught my attention is the mount for the color-coded double-decker elevators. A 2×2 turntable is braced at an angle by use of two 1×1 quarter circle tiles that wedge in-between the studs on the surrounding brick. This allow for a two-stud connection point, a nice bit of stability as these leg assemblies are going to get knocked around a lot while trying to get everything attached.
The tan plate is the base of the leg, with the Technic beams at the top forming a “studs down” ring at the top.
After an hour or two of building, all four legs are assembled and ready to attach to the base.
The legs slot into the base and lean together, matching up using the red and yellow color keys. The Technic beams at the top are connected, and a layer of plate is applied to help get things into alignment. I had some issues at this point, as the plates at the top of each leg kept detaching due to stress from not having them “lean in” at the correct angle on all four legs. As it was, you can still see some real bowing of the plates on the connection ring at the top.
After some work on aligning things and adjusting the crossbar assemblies, though, the top of the first section was more or less level. Sort of.
Things were still very wobbly, so I was glad to see the next building section was adding some support structures. Each of the four sides gets a decorative arch. These are mounted studs-down, attaching in the gap between the tops of the legs. The lower portion is mounted on 1×2 hinge bricks, allowing the main body to swing out to align with the legs.
As hoped, the arches added a bit of locking to the upper edge of the legs. It’s still very fiddly, though, and the square brace is prone to pop off. And when you try and seat it firmly, the detail elements on the interior of the legs want to fall off. So it’s not perfect, but once you have it more or less set, you can leave it. The weight of the upper levels will eventually help ensure everything is forced into alignment.
Pausing to look at the structure, it really is a beautiful build. You may note that a lot of the cross beams don’t read as level right now – but going back through and tapping them all into visual alignment really needs to be saved for later. The addition of some flex tubing along the bottom edge helps clean up the lines and reinforce the look of the arches.
I had thought box two was going to be “just” the lower legs, but there’s more building to be done. The lower part of the 2nd tier awaits! Of course it starts out with putting 144 1×1 round plates along the outer edge. What fun!
The center ring of the level has a bit of clever construction. The grates are all mounted on 1×2 hinges, and are locked into the correct angle by leaning against the modified 1×1 bricks with side studs.
Returning to the outer ring, an outer layer of 1×2 ingot tiles adds some nice texture.
Turns out there’s a bit of meaning to those ingots, too. One of the factoids spread throughout the instructions gives us the inside scoop:
“Gustave Eiffel engraved the names of 72 French scientists, engineers and mathematicians into the tower. On the LEGO model the names are represented by 72 Ingot pieces.”
The outer and inner rings are connected with some beams, and a layer of grates are placed on top to lock things together.
Then we return to the outer edge, adding some complex (and repetitive ) scroll work.
The next step has 128 1×1 round plates as part of the edging. We’re rapidly closing in on LEGO Art mosaic levels of stud placement.
I can’t really complain about the end results, though. The detailing looks incredible.
Finishing the instructions in Book Two, we can slot the start of the 2nd level into place. this also has the benefit of squaring up the lower legs and providing a safe “push point” to try and lock together the lower leg construction. Just don’t go crazy and push too hard. You really don’t want to have to start over.
Box 3 – The Top
Entering the final stretch, we move on to box three. As the illustration shows, this one contains most of the vertical height of the tower.
Inside the box was the expected white carboard envelope that contains the instruction book. A surprise was a second white box that contained some of the part bags. These bags were spread out across the building areas (Step numbers from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s) with no obvious reason for them to be grouped together.
In total, there are 34 numbered parts bags, spanning steps 41 through 74. There’s also a final unnumbered bag containing grill plates.
The final instruction book is perfect bound and 252 pages long.
The interesting pieces for this box are more rare-ish and recolored parts. The 2-plate tall blocks in dark grey are nice to get in quantity, and the dark grey hotdogs are the height of French cuisine.
Things start out with building the legs for the 2nd level. The basic construction is very similar to the lower legs, starting out with a square plate base with Technic beam bracing.
The legs themselves area also nearly identical in styling, connecting to both top and bottom plates via clips.
There isn’t any red/yellow color coding on this level, so orientation isn’t super important. You do build two of the legs first, attach them, then go back for a nearly identical build for the other two. The shorter spans and closer Technic connections means that this level is a lot more sturdy feeling that the lower level.
Locking everything together, have a nice solid section of tower. The inverted Technic beams at the top do have the same problem of wanting to pop off the plates at the top of the legs due to the flex from non-perfectly aligned leg angles.
Speaking of the lower level, here’s a shot of the two together. You can get a feel for how things are starting to come together. We’re also to the point where my (rather large) backdrop is struggling to keep up with the size of the set.
The third base follows the same strategy seen at the join between the first and second levels. A series of plates and Technic beams form a hollow for the previous section’s top to slot into. The form factor is decreasing, making this a slightly faster build.
At the center of the level, a hole for a Technic beam is exposed, another concession to the need for stability as things go vertical.
Another cute detail is the use of those dark grey hot dogs for curved metalwork.
The center strut is made from four brick-built beams attached via clips at the top and bottom.
Support beams are connected with Technic rods and locked into the center of the assembly. Small colored elevators are added, giving the model a bit of a “Seek and find” treat. A second set of large beams go around the central tower, creating the framework for the vertical rise.
More latticework is built, again with a very similar build to what we’ve seen on the earlier levels. These slot into the larger framework and require quite a bit of fiddling to get all the crossbeams aligned.
This looks like a complete section, but it’s actually just the first half of the third level. There’s still more building to go!
You can slot it onto the second tier to test the fit, if you want.
The next bit of tower starts with another support beam tower, with another couple of elevator cars. Another set of brick-built beams will surround this core.
The crossbars are getting a lot smaller as we reach the top. The same general set of parts is still used, though. This does unify the look, as a change in technique would have really stood out.
Once this section is complete, it attaches to the lower half and is secured with four 2×2 tiles at the join.
At long last we’ve reached the top of the tower. A small ring of windows is fleshed out with transparent 1×1 and 1×2 plate.
The cap continues with more grey hot dogs. The pigeons love ’em.
And voila! The very last thing to be put together is the french flag. A welcome burst of color after slogging through a mostly monochromatic build.
Setting the cap on top of the third level completes the set!
The finished model
The completed tower stands just under five feet tall. It’s pretty glorious. At least…it was.
You see, after spending 20+ hours this week on assembling and documenting this build, I was a little punch drunk. When it came time to move my backdrop and put the Eiffel Tower on the floor so I could actually have enough clearance for the whole thing, I didn’t notice that my lighting kit was in a precarious state. The cords were stretched too tight and…well….
But that’s the nice thing about LEGO – you can always rebuild things! A couple of hours or repair work later, and I was able to get some documentation of the completed tower. One observation from the repair work – the first level was the one that required the most work. The top bracing ring still didn’t really lock into place well, and the whole assembly was just a wobbly as it was the first time around until the upper levels put some weight onto it.
Anyway! Here’s some thoughts on the completed Eiffel Tower!
The metalwork looks great, although you’ll want to spend some time aligning the crossbars once the weight has settled.
Even the view from the underside is accurate to the Eiffel tower. Not that anyone is likely to casually experience this angle in person. Reaching in with your phone is about the only way to see this, and you’re going to knock over a lot of those trees and lampposts in the process.
The red and yellow double-decker elevators are a fun detail to look for, and a tiny spot of color in all that (inaccurate) dark grey.
The view from the ground is really nice. This is the landscape as it existed when the tower first opened. These days, according to my friend Mara, it’s more just long lines of tourists waiting for a chance to ride up to the top.
There are even little notches in the base so you can get your fingers in there to brace things when trying to pick things up. Just be sure to break it into the separate tower sections first!
There aren’t any play features, but that’s probably for the best. Although the completed model is pretty sturdy, you don’t want to push you luck with moving it around a lot, or staging adventures like the start of the second Christopher Reeve Superman movie. (Although a nanoscale Superman and Lois would almost be in scale…)
Displaying the tower
One of the big problems with this set is that…well…it’s big. While the Titanic and Millennium Falcon are just as huge, but they’re also short. You can fit them on top of a bookcase, or maybe shell out the bucks for a transparent coffee table to house them. The Eiffel Tower is nearly five feet tall, and that presents a bit more of a challenge. Not everyone has 10′ ceilings, so putting this on a shelf (assuming you have one deep enough) may not be feasible. It’s far too massive to be a centerpiece of a normal table – it’d block line of sight, as well as probably taking up most of the tabletop.
I did find a holiday-appropriate solution, though! Just wrap that sucker in lights and shove it in a corner! Instant Christmas tree stand in! Just be sure to wall it off from the Roomba.
And…if you want to get extra creative – and have the parts on hand – well, there’s no reason you can’t make the whole thing just a little more…super.
Yeah, that’s Superman propelling a bomb-laden elevator into space. Merry Christmas!
Conclusion and recommendation
If feels like LEGO has been leaning into “super massive” sets in recent years. Capitalizing on larger budgets of adult fans, they’ve pulled out the stops and gone for spectacular builds that show just what LEGO bricks can make when you have enough of them. It’d be hard to describe The Eiffel Tower set in any other terms. It’s spectacular. And expensive.
The build gets a bit tedious and finger-bruising at times from repetition, but the designers did a good job of varying the order of build tasks so it manages to avoid feeling like too much of a slog. There are interesting build techniques to learn, and this model is a master class in detail work. I can’t recommend it as a speed build challenge, as you’ll get the most enjoyment if you can take your time and appreciate each part of the construction.
For $630 US, you get 10,001 pieces, or 10,000 pieces and a brick separator if you want to count it that way. That works out to just over six cents per piece – not a bad number. It’s unlikely that too many people will be using this as a parts pack (unless they need a LOT of dark grey), but there are a good mix of elements. The downside is that many of them are massive quantities of smaller parts, and there are no new molds (and only a couple of recolors) to tempt the part-hounds. Maybe that would be different if LEGO had licensed the actual Eiffel tower brown color and done a special run of parts just for this set. (Think Maersk Blue on steroids.) But I shudder to think how expensive a set that like would have been.
The sheer number of times LEGO has revisited the Eiffel Tower in recent years says there’s likely to be some real consumer interest in this set, but there’s still the issue of what to do with it once you’ve built it. It’s far too large to be easily displayed. But I suppose if you’re shelling out the money for this kit, you probably already have somewhere in mind.
How about you? Do you have room in your heart (and your wallet) (and your home) for this set? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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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