LEGO Icons 40579 – Eiffel’s Apartment: A towering gift with purchase [Review]

The massive Icons 10307 Eiffel Tower will be arriving on November 25th – and LEGO has a gift with purchase promotion that is tied about as tightly to the French landmark as you can get. Gustave Eiffel’s private apartment, hidden on the third level of the tower, has been re-created in minifigure scale for Icons 40579 Eiffel’s Apartment. We’re still waiting on the official word, but our guess is it is linked to the purchase of the 10307 Eiffel Tower so getting this “booster box” of 228 pieces carries an indirect price of US $629.99 | CAN $799.99 | UK £554.99. Does this set make the overall tower more appealing? Come along as we take an early look!

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.

Unboxing the parts, instructions and sticker sheet

Eiffel’s apartment comes in a small tab-sealed box with adult-collector style theming. That means a black background, minimal logos, and a greeble strip along the bottom edge. It also means a mandated age rating of “18+”.  As usual, that value is pretty much meaningless as a much younger builder could easily handle this set.

The back of the box shows the apartment from both front and rear angles. As there aren’t any play features to speak of, LEGO’s marketing department had to settle for Gustave’s minifigure posing near his desk and looking through a balcony-mounted telescope.

Inside the box are three unnumbered part bags, a 60 page, center-stapled instruction booklet, a small flier touting the upcoming transition to paper part bags, and a sticker sheet.

The sticker sheet in our review copy came balled up around the parts bags, arriving in less than pristine condition. Leaving it to sit under a heavy book for a while helped smooth out the worst bends, and luckily there weren’t any actual creases to deal with. All of the stickers are recreations of the apartment’s vintage 1880’s wallpaper. It’s unsurprising that LEGO would opt for stickers rather than a large batch of more-or-less single-use prints, even if I could have seen these showing up in a City Modular building at some future point.

The build

The build for the apartment is pretty straightforward, consisting of mostly studs-up brick and plate stacking. There is a nice technique at the very center, though, where a small 2×2 turntable is used to rotate the stud orientation 45 degrees, locked in place by the corner plate below it.

The walls of the apartment sport some intricate sticker work. There’s very little repetition here, and I can imagine that the sticker sheet will be one of the most in-demand aftermarket pieces from this set. (Particularly as there are no unique parts to be had elsewhere.)

Assembled, the gaps around the edges of the stickers wreck the illusion of wallpaper a bit. One tip I’d pass along – don’t put the stickers on the wedge-shaped pieces until the wall is assembled. You’ll have a better chance of aligning the trim designs across bricks.

The center of the room is dominated by a large beam from the tower structure. This sub-build attaches to the floor via the yellow clips on that 2×2 turntable I mentioned earlier. The connection is pretty firm, and the beam will survive the jostling it’ll endure as the other apartment furnishings go in.

The interior gets some set dressing with a wooden desk, chair, and table. The desk has a small lamp and a 1×2 tile with a printed envelope pattern. In a bit of meta reclusiveness, there’s also a small model of the Eiffel Tower itself perched on a small display table.

As micro-scale renditions of the Eiffel tower go, it’s not bad. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of issues, though. The main flaw is that the tower is floating above the table top – the 1×1 transparent brick used to hold it up is 1/3rd of a plate too tall. I’m also not sold on the use of pistols for the lower level’s legs – it’s creative, but the shaping feels off to me. It’ll be interesting to see if any LEGO fans share an alternate design to swap out with this one.

Or maybe this is just a concept of the Eiffel Rocket, caught mid-launch.

The outside of the apartment has some necessary-feeling railings and a couple of telescopes. I wasn’t able to find anything to indicate how true-to-life these details are, but they seem pretty reasonable.

The finished model

As seen on the box, Gustave fits well into his apartment. There’s not a lot of room for him to move around, but this is clearly meant to be a display piece and not a playset.

Comparing the completed model to a photo of the actual apartment, you can see that LEGO was able to match the look pretty well. The only choice that seems very off is the decision to make the beam dark grey instead of brown as seen here. The wallpaper design isn’t an exact match to the stickers either, but it’s close enough to feel representative.

Mannequins of Thomas Edison and Gustave Eiffel in the apartment – Photo: Tour Eiffel / Facebook

Actually, the color of the outside is wrong, too. Since 1968 the entire tower has been painted in what’s called “Eiffel Tower Brown”. In fact, it’s never been grey! I get why LEGO has needed to opt for grey elements, but it does downgrade the accuracy of every model a fair bit. I suppose having the interior support strut be grey matches the choice of the overall tower coloration. If you want to be generous about it.

There’s just enough room for a minifigure to stand behind the telescopes and put them to use. Considering the apartment is almost 1000 feet in the air already, it must allow for quite the view of the Paris cityscape.

The minifigure

This set contains a single minifigure – Gustave Eiffel himself. Sadly, there’s nothing unique about Gustave. His torso has been seen once before as part of Cedric Diggory’s outfit in  75948 Hogwarts Clock Tower and his face has had 8 previous appearances, often used for Ben Kenobi. His grey hair has shown up four times, including as part of Vernon Dursley in 75968 4 Privet Drive. His legs are plain black, so nothing special there at all.  Rarity aside, though, this is a unique combination of parts, and the likeness to Gustave is pretty close to the mannequin on display in the real apartment.

Conclusion and recommendation

Eiffel’s Apartment is an interesting way for LEGO to expand the 10307 Eiffel Tower without directly ratcheting up the already high price and part count of that set. It recreates a minifigure-scale view of a part of the tower and considering the almost urban-legend quality of the hidden apartment, it’s also a conversation piece. The build itself is interesting, if not particularly complex. The included minifigure is a good likeness for Gustave Eiffel, although it doesn’t contain any unique elements.

Is this set worth getting? Well, if you’re already purchasing the 10307 Eiffel Tower set, then that’s an obvious “yes”. Will this set have any appeal for those who don’t want the larger offering? That’s a tougher call. For Eiffel fans on a budget, it might be tempting, but I can’t see too many casual LEGO fans seeking this one out. There are no unique elements aside from the sticker sheet, and the parts in general are all fairly common. Depending on the quantity produced, and how long the promotion lasts, you might consider socking your copy away if you’re not interested in finding even more display space for Eiffel constructions. You might be able to (eventually) make someone’s day who wasn’t able to escape the $630 US price the second the larger set hit the shelves.

Icons 40579 Eiffel’s Apartment. is a gift with purchase that we guess is linked is to the purchase of the 10307 Eiffel Tower, which is listed at US $629.99 | CAN $799.99 | UK £554.99. It 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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