Small scale skylines have a favorite feature in the LEGO Architectural range. running primarily from 2016-2020, we had a surprise appearance earlier this year from a model of the Singapore Skyline. These sets have covered many major cities from around the world, and have varied immensely in their price ((30-60USD) and part count (212-857). Aimed primarily at a serious adult audience, we have seen a couple of more cheerful ‘postcard’ sets pop up in the creator range this year. Initially slated for release earlier in the year, postcards of New York and Beijing were delayed, possibly due to trade mark issuses associated with the use of the Chinese Flag. While sets are in the process of being rolled out around the world (July-August 2022), a further 2 have been revealed: London and Paris. I am thankful to the LEGO group for providing early copies of these sets for review.
Postcards serve an interesting role in life: most of us receive them from family and friends who are travelling, or send them our selves; sometimes we collect them as a momento of places we have been, providing better pictures than we might be able to take given the weather experienced on the day we were visiting…
I shall try to avoid waxing too nostalgic. However, it is almost 10 years since I last went on a trip to Britain and France with my family, and as such, these sets piqued a certain level of interest. I shall not bore you with the details, or family photos here and now. Lets wait for another occasion.
The postcard sets face a conundrum for locating online: LEGO.com lists Creator 3in1 and Creator Expert (transitioning to Icons) as themes on the website, but not ‘plain’ Creator. Use the site search, and use the word ‘postcards’ or the set numbers, and you will find them.
The postcards present major landmarks of the city, on a 4×18 stud base, with a tiled backdrop depicting the sky, 12 studs high. There are some interesting building techniques applied in both sets, so lets start with the Paris build.
The first thing that strikes me, looking at these elements, is the number of plates present. Plack, green, medium azure, as well as various modified plates: offset, and rounded, and more. medium blue. There are a number of blackSNOT elements, and a collection of other poieces likely to be used in a way not previously conceived.
We also have a small sticker sheet – the title ‘Paris’ is presented in a font resembling that used on theentrances tothe Parisian Metro Railway system. While most details in an architechtural skyline set are provided using bricks, here we use stickers, particularly for details around the Arc du Triomphe, the ferry, road on the bridge and the French flag.
As we start building, we use the larger black plates to form the backdrop, tilingh overt, but leaving some studs free for further details in the future.
Next, we more onto the base: a collection of SNOT bricks, joined top and bottom by plates.
We proceed to add different elements to the base: the arc du triumph; Pont Neuf – the oldest stone bridge in town with one of Paris’ ubiquitous ferries, taking in the sights. finally, we take on the base of the Eiffel tower.
I am particularly fond of the way that the bridge uses the arched column elements in its base, and the tooth elements representing the rounded supportss on the side of the bridge.
The Eiffel tower makes great use of the plate with bar element to set up the grille tiles as supporting girders for the tower. To say noting of the cunning use of the mudguard to set up the curve.
We put the sky field/skyline onto the backof the base, and fill in the balloon, and build in the top of the tower. We add on the ‘Paris’ Sticker, onto a black 2×6 plate, and our build is complete.
Here are the elements of the London Postcard:
Certainly a lot more tan here than in Paris, but also more grey. Just an observation…
Again, we have a small sticker sheet, showing that we are in Merry Old England, as well as providing a Union Jack to fly from the tallest tower. We have some advertising to be placed on Picadilly…er… Brickadilly Circus and some curved stickers for the London eye… I suspect these will be a challenge.
And then, there are the clock faces…no pressure.
Like Paris, we start with the sky field, and the buildings in the distance seem to have filled up this background a little more here, compared with Paris.
Next, we move to the base, which feels as if it is tracking along the River Thames.
We build up some wharfs, and then start work on Big Ben (or, the Victoria Tower), using alternating layers of vertical telescopes and wedge plates. Ultoimately, the tower is clipped onto the backdrop. Surprisingly for London, the sky is mainly blue, with a white cloud. It is a postcard, after all! We also place the main supports for the London Eye.
Bricadilly circus is remarkably sophisticated, built arounds a series of wedgeplates and SNOT Bricks – it is a shame that they are covered up with the curved slopes. I really appreciate the way that the plates with the clips are used to represent shopfronts. There are some great jokes in the signage, including the latest West End Musical, the Sound of Bricks and some fish and chips wrapped in newspaper.
Next, we follow up with a microscale London Routemaster Bus. Unfortunately, this iconic vehicle is a little out of scale with the rest of the build, but I don’t this it would be ablw to be completes at a smaller scale.
In the mean time, we complete the London Eye: the stickers on the curved tiles are fiddly. But we persevered, and we got there. Eventually. I really like the way that the rest of the detail comes into place on the Eye, with the capsules feeling the part.
Lets att in Bricadilly circu and the bus: we are complete. Bricadilly is mounted on a single stud, and pivots back towards , so it is also angled.
I appreciate the final form of both of these sets: they are compact momentos of the cities, highlighting some iconic sights. Postcards are frequently photographic composites of major sights in a city, and so I feel it is fine to put the elements together in the way that they have, without needing to be as exacting as with skylines.
Together, these sets bring some great examples of microscale building, as well as some interesting ideas about geting ‘off the grid’ – particularly in London. The backdrop means that we dont need 360º views of the attractions, which in turn helps these sets to be reasonably priced.
A feature that I almost missed is that both of these models can be returned to their boxes, fully built. If that’s your thing.
40568 Paris Postcard has 213 pieces, and is currently rolling out around the world for $14.99Euro/USD or £13.49. The equivilently priced Beijing and New York postcards are priced at $24.99AUD.
These sets don’t ooze style in the way that the architecture skylines do, but at a fraction of the price they are fun insights into different destinations around the world, and a creative take on the two dimensional postcards my Grandparents sent me when they were cruising the world back in 1975. I felt inspired by the way they bring microscale builds to more accessible sets. I especially ejoyed putting together Pont Neuf as well as Big Ben.
I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of the stickers for the London Eye, but overall, I appreciate the way those stickers add to the details, while not leaving printed elements to live on with a single purpose. The stickers on the name plates are particularly on brand for what I expect to see on a postcard, reflecting the iconic bowler hat in London, and reflecting the iconic Art Nouveau stylings seen on the Parisian Metro.
These sets will not compete with the Architectural Skylines series: they occupy a completely different space in the market. That said, Architecture has been taking a different direction in recent years, with a return to larger models such as the Coliseum, and more recently the Pyramid of Giza, as well as the Taj Mahal.
That said, we did see a return to Singapore this year, although that set was starting to get a little larger than the typical skyline set.
These are fun, relatively inexpensive sets that provide a great guide for building in microscale , and the neat part usage associated with that, as well as image composition. I give them both a 3.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise Units.
I’d love to know what you think of them both: why not leave your comments below, and until next time,