One of the big changes to the way the LEGO® sets have been marketed to AFOLs during 2020 has been the introduction of the 18+ branding on sets that are predominantly aimed at AFOLs. This labelling has been applied to sculptures, vehicles, Fairground rides, UCS Star Wars, Modulars, Mosaics and even the Winter Village. Most of these have had precedents in previous ranges. After releasing 23 sets during the course of 2020, I wonder if we should brace ourselves for an onslaught of such sets in 2021.
On January 1 we will se the first sets in a new 18+ ‘Collection’: the Botanical Collection. Designed for adult builders, not so much because of the technical challenge, but more the subject matter, these sets have around 750-850 elements, and will retail for around €49.99/$USD49.99.
The first of these, 10280 Flower Bouquet, presents us with a 756 part set, and the makings of five different flowers, as well as some ornamental leaves and grasses. The designers, Anderson Grubb and Astrid Sundorf Christensen came to the project in different ways: Anderson is a designer with the LEGO Group. Astrid has been involved in making brick built decorations, including flowers, in LEGO headquarters, as part of a return to work program. Her involvement here led to becoming involved with this project.
I was fortunate to be sent copies of the first two releases in this collection for review, by the LEGO Group. We will look at the parts included in the sets, the individual flower builds, and the challenges in making all these flowers sit in a regular vase.
Lets Take a look at the builds.
The builds are not too complicated, but might require a little care and attention for people who are cautious about the way that they build.
There are 3 bags in the box as well as five 32 stud long technic axles, in sand green.
As always, thanks to Mrs RamblingBrick for knolling out the elements, so that you can see what is included.
Bag 1: Common Daisy and Rose
The first bag includes two Common daisies, as well as 3 Roses.
The first thing obvious in looking at the contents of bag 1 – where we find the elements for the rose and daisy – is the number of ‘light nougat’/ flesh coloured elements. These have been rare in the past, rarely available out side minifigure heads and hands for consumers (although the model shops at LEGOLAND parks have a greater palette available).We have 2×1 plates, with side clip; 2×1 tile, as well as 4×4 modified plates, and car bonnets.
There are some new parts in dark green, including the 5 stud wide steering wheel, first seen in black in the 2020 ECTO 1 model. We have a collection of left pteranadon wings, from the 2020 Jurassic World sets as well, which serve as leaves with the roses.
The Daisy builds up simply around 4 clip hub, with 3 flowers and a stem yet to bloom. 1×2 rounded plates make up the bulk of the petals, and then secured with a 2×2 round yellow tile. There are two stems, with 3 blooms each included in the set.
The rose is a more sophisticated build: starting with some SNOT Brackets. Some white tooth elements are placed in the centre to produce some smaller petals. As we move out the colour becomes richer, and deeper.
The light nougat elements are attached using clips to the steering wheels, and then placed on stems. The final effect is pleasing, but perhaps not the most accurate model possible.
The use of the pteradon wing as a leaf on the rose is effective, as far as the shape, but I found that the collar it is mounted on would be difficult to fix in place, without firmly apposing the stem elements.
Bag 2: Californian Poppy, Snapdragon and Grasses
Lots of Orange elements feature for the Californian Poppy – and the wedges and modified curved plates are both new in this colour. The leaves on the snapdragon are recoloured and repurposed CBBS claw elements. We also see a variety of droid heads in bright purple and bright reddish violet. The Dark Green Bush elements used in the ornamental grasses are a new part number, and I think are new in this colour.
Construction of the single Californian Poppy is relatively simple, but effective.
The snapdragon is a little more challenging. More from the point of view of requiring a little more patience, and more repetative steps. Particularly considering the fact that there are two to build. Stacking up around 3 sand green rings, it is important ro line up the alternating flowers on each row..
The grasses are very simple, and their presence just cements the presentation.
Snapdragons are not common in the wild in Australia, but my mother had a few in her garden in years gone by. While a bit smaller than the ones she grew, the models were still recognisable to me. There is great opportunity to spend lots of time ensuring that you have the angle of the blooms all facing in the right direction.
Bag 3:Lavender and Astor
There are a couple of new elements in this bag: the long wedges, as well as the surfboards in sand green, as well as the dark green technic axle connectors in dark green. We also have two half circle bricks, which aren’t new, but I certainly haven’t encountered many in my travels. The medium lilac 1×1 modified plate with clip are also new in this colour.
The lavender provided a special challenge: 9 units, consisting of a grown, a leaf and to stems, each with 6 flowers. Stacking these units was a challenge, as the connection is ok, but not as strong as you might normally expect. The final effect is fine, but it was happy to fall apart if I dropped it.
We make some more grasses/decorative leaves using the long wedge elements, with a tip added by placing a surfboard underneath. These leaves are on a regular click hinge, but the clutch was not necessarily enough to reliably hold up the long leaf.
These long leaves certainly work well to add some additional colour blocking to a vase of flowers.
There are three of these leaves, one lavender, and finally an Astor. It’s quite a nice flower, with an increasing number of elements as we build outwards with multiple rings:
As we build it up, we alternate between units with one leaf and two, on either side of a modified 1×1 plate with clip. It becomes a little trick to ensure they are all lined up appropriately, and this is one of the challenges of the build, which is afterall aimed and more patient people than the average 6 year old.
Once complete, I really like the final effect of this flower: the lavender leaf element works well as a petal for the flower, especially in the quantities in use here.
Going Potty with Vases…
And so having finished putting all the flowers together, I found myself trying to put them all together in a vase. Domestic flower arranging is not especially within my personal skill set, and so this exercise probably took more work than actually building the actual flowers. Some of the flowers felt a little top heavy, but were able to be trimmed by removing some ‘axle connector units’ from the bottom. This was quite a useful way to help wrangle flowers in the pots. These elements can also be useful for placing a flower upright on a plate or brick, as they are ridged so as to easily fit between studs. I had been hoping to have a nice narrow vase to demonstrate each build, but ultimately, I had to work with what I had.
Gradually adding new flowers to each vase left me with increased admiration for florists, and flower arrangers. Several rubber bands helped to to keep things together, but ultimately, the roses did not fit in that partticular pot. I tried one more time, and then transferred the entire bouquet to a wider necked vase.
Overall, I found that this set presented an interesting way to come up with an aesthetically pleasing household decoration. While the construction techniques, in their own right, are not especially challenging, the repetition of much of the construction adds to the challenge of the build. Arranging the flowers in a vase, in an aesthetically pleasing fashion adds to the challenge. While this might not be the challenge embraced by all adult builders, I think it makes the set worthy of the 18+ label.
The set is reasonably priced, and I can see the set being used as a parts back by many people who enjoy building flowers as an everyday MOC concept. The new steering wheel – 5 modules wide – is potentially very useful as a starting point for builders of circular flowers. The range of colours on display here is quite pleasing. Flowers in nature tend to consist of multuple repeating Como units in their structure, and having sufficient elements in these situations can be a drawback to pursuring designs of your own. The choice of flowers depicted in this set means that there are plenty of elements presented as sufficient multiples to pursue your own designs.
Overall, it is a good start to the year for the 18+ sets. I give it 4/5 arbitrary praise units, although it will not be a set that holds appeal for everyone.
This set has 756 parts, and will be available from Shop @ home on January 1. It will cost $AUD89.99, or $49.99 USD/Euro/GBP.
I’d love to know what you think of this set: there are some many beautiful sets coming up on January 1. Is this one you would invest in? or do you have your eye on something else?
Leave your comments below, and until next time, Play well!
I was sent this copy of the set by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Pssst… If you like this set, as well as the 10281 Bonsai Tree (review coming really soon) keep your eyes out for your chance to win both of these sets with our next great building challenge. Check back on Saturday (AEST) for further details.