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It’s not about that a LEGO set transports me aback home. But approved readers of The Brothers Brick apperceive that I was built-in in Tokyo and lived in Japan until I was a teenager, so I was abundantly aflame aback LEGO appear 21050 Tokyo. I’ve enjoyed anniversary of the antecedent LEGO Architectonics skyline sets I’ve built, but how does this one assemblage up for accession who calls Tokyo their hometown?

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Tokyo was appear as allotment of the LEGO Architectonics skyline alternation for 2020, alongside 21052 Dubai. Tokyo is congenital from 547 pieces and will retail for $59.99 USD | $79.99 CAD | £59.99 GBP. Both sets will be accessible starting January 1st.

Looking aloft LEGO’s amount bazaar of kids and alike the affectionate of developed builders we affection actuality on The Brothers Brick, LEGO Architectonics sets are about awash in day-tripper hot spots, architectonics allowance shops, and added places area the boilerplate LEGO architect ability not shop. Acceptable as a result, LEGO Architectonics sets are awash in athletic double-folded boxes with autogenous press and added capacity advertence they’re advised to be acclimated to abundance your set rather than departing it out into your “build-fodder” collection. The aback of the box provides accessible callouts that acquaint you what landmarks are featured in the LEGO set.

It’s notable actuality that Tokyo Skytree is mislabeled “Tokyo Skyline” on the aback of the box — an abnormal copyediting miss, and commodity acceptable to be adapted bound in consecutive printings of the box. (Our packaging is the European packaging beatific to us from LEGO HQ in Billund, Denmark.)

The apprenticeship album appearance anterior pages with quotes about Tokyo and advice about anniversary of the locations.

LEGO Architectonics sets accept consistently had black-themed packaging and instructions, which does present some challenges during the architectonics process. While some darker colors accommodate white highlighting about them, added colors like aphotic dejected may not, authoritative it adamantine to analyze genitalia and colors in accustomed alive allowance lighting altitude (as adjoin to beneath flat or appointment lights area these booklets are designed). The aforementioned is authentic for cellophane pieces — I’m still not assured that the alpine assemblage of 1×1 annular plates in a bubble of cellophane colors that I concluded up architectonics was correct.

After creating the base, the body action follows a left-to-right adjustment for anniversary of the structures on the base.

When complete, 21051 Tokyo skyline appearance the afterward alleged barrio and locations, from larboard to right:

In accession to the locations alleged on the box, the skyline appearance a five-level pagoda, a abundance that is acutely advised to be Mount Fuji, and a temple/shrine aboideau abaft the blooming blooming copse of Chidorigafuchi (something I’ll appear aback to later). Chase me home as we booty a afterpiece attending at anniversary of these locations in turn…

Tokyo Belfry was congenital in 1958 and stands 333 meters tall, corrective for afterimage in alternating red and white. Tokyo is the bigger burghal in the world, and there are places in the burghal I never visited, either while alive in Japan for 15 years or aback I visited best afresh this accomplished June for Japan Brickfest 2019. Nevertheless, Tokyo Belfry is indelibly and iconically affiliated to the burghal in my apperception — consistently there, abundant like the Space Needle actuality in Seattle (which abounding locals accept analogously never visited).

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The LEGO adaptation incorporates red Speed Racer windscreens as the arches in the tower’s base, with astern 1x2x3 slopes angry upside bottomward arch up to the aboriginal ascertainment deck. The accomplished anatomy is affiliated through its amount via simple confined rather than more-complex access or Technic axles.

Standing abutting to Tokyo Belfry in the LEGO set (but about 10 km afar in the absolute city) is the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, which houses several educational institutions. Advised by the architectural abutting Tange Associates and completed in 2008, the belfry has won architectural awards and is amid in the Shinjuku axial business district.

The tower’s characteristic filigree exoteric is recreated in LEGO through press on arced slopes, absorbed with Technic 3-branch cross-axles. I’m not absolutely convinced, though, that the assemblage of 1×1 annular artery works to accompany calm the three abandon in a bland curve.

Next, Chidorigafuchi Esplanade is a accepted atom for examination blooming blossoms in the spring. The esplanade is on the moat of the Imperial Palace, which is captured as a brace of 1×2 trans-blue tiles. Abaft the blooming blossoms and the moat is a gatehouse.

The botheration is that this tiny, two-story abode is in an architectural appearance acclimated for Buddhist temples like Sensō-ji in Asakusa and Shinto shrines like Meiji Jingu in Shibuya. Alcazar gates chase a absolute altered architectural style, and the Imperial Palace is congenital like a castle, in accepted atramentous and white rather than accustomed copse or corrective red, like the acclaimed “Thunder Gate” (Kaminari-mon) I took a selfie at a few months ago. Juxtaposition is accepted in LEGO Architectonics skyline sets, but agreement this abode in the set’s Chidorigafuchi Esplanade after allotment it as apery commodity like a Meiji Altar aboideau seems like a huge absent opportunity. Personally, I anticipate the pop of red for a Buddhist temple gate, with a printed minifigure arch for the huge cardboard lantern, would accept been an amazing detail abundant added adumbrative of the burghal than a all-encompassing amber aboideau in the accomplishments of a area that has no such gate.

Shibuya Bridge aloof alfresco Shibuya alternation abject is sometimes alleged the “crazy crossing” and appearance acutely in movies like Lost in Translation. It’s an circle in which bags of pedestrians cantankerous at already aback the cartage lights stop in every direction. Like Times Square in New York City, the barrio about the bridge are covered in aflame signage appropriate up to the top, and it’s been a admired atom for “iconic” Tokyo day-tripper photos for 40 or 50 years.

Shibuya looks amazing at night, and one of my admired photos from my cruise in June is this photo of Shibuya Bridge at dusk.

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Even admitting the calibration is too tiny to appearance scurrying pedestrians, and LEGO hasn’t approved several dozens of new licensing deals to appearance Yakult, Salonpas, or UC Coffee signage, I adulation how the designers acclimated a array of printed and cellophane pieces to charm the crazy attending of this acclaimed location, complete with printed 1×1 bridge tiles (which are new).

Behind Chidorigafuchi Esplanade and Shibuya Bridge looms Mount Fuji (or Fuji-san in Japanese — never “Fuji-yama”), an alive strato-volcano (which aftermost erupted in 1707) about a hundred kilometers abroad from burghal Tokyo, but arresting on the border on any bright day. During my cruise in backing June, while additionally traveling amid Osaka and Tokyo at night, I’m aghast that I never saw Mt. Fuji once. Nevertheless, it’s such an basal allotment of the Kanto arena mural (and Japanese iconography added generally) that anyone who’s spent added than a few months in Japan should be able to characterize Mt. Fuji from memory.

There are two key elements to an authentic allegorical representation of Japan’s accomplished peak: The cone tapers added steeply abreast the peak, and the snowcap sits aloft the aiguille with a clean, beeline band amid the aiguille itself and the blow of the mountain. Not so with this Mt. Fuji, which has a awe-inspiring abruptness in the amiss administration on the larboard and an asperous snowcap. Mt. Fuji is such a basal aspect of Japanese iconography and the mural aloft Tokyo that there is no alibi for accepting this wrong. Oddly for me as a Tokyo-born Seattleite, this bad Mt. Fuji looks to me like a adequately acceptable Mt. Rainier — about the aforementioned ambit from the city, and with a abundant added angled aiguille than Fuji.

I had the advantage of seeing an aboriginal book of Hokusai’s “The Abundant Wave off Kanagawa” at the Tokyo National Architectonics during my summer trip, and this is an authentic artful arrangement of Tokyo. There’s a artlessness to Mt. Fuji’s appearance that inspires adorableness in abundant works of art. By abacus accidental complication through the absurd acme and snowcap, the LEGO Architectonics designers accept delivered a Fuji that has been bargain in stature. Added is not necessarily better.

The tallest free-standing anatomy in the apple is Tokyo Skytree at 634 meters. Completed as a broadcasting belfry to alter Tokyo Belfry (with the about-face to agenda broadcasting) in 2012, it’s additionally the second-tallest architectonics in the world, topped alone by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. As a result, Tokyo Skytree dominates Tokyo’s skyline from aloof about any direction.

The belfry looks abundant in the set’s promotional photos and on the box, but the struts of the LEGO adaptation are congenital from elastic Technic axles, which are not beeline and do not ambit accurately aback absolutely acclimated in the set, as is anon accessible in the photo above. There is no aboveboard way to absolute this problem, aback the acme of the elastic axles are not absolutely affiliated to annihilation — they’re artlessly arranged beneath the astern cone allotment with an accessible center.

The final area in the LEGO Architectonics Tokyo skyline is Tokyo Big Sight, an exhibition and assemblage centermost amid on the Tokyo Bay waterfront. The appointment belfry with its astern pyramids was advised by the architectural abutting AXS Satow and completed in 1996. The LEGO adaptation uses 16 1×1 pyramids in an attack to carbon the appearance of the structure, with the top astern and affiliated in the centermost via a pin. Unfortunately, the pyramid-to-pyramid astern affiliation doesn’t actualize an absolute pyramid shape, and the apparent anti-studs on the top of the roof are distractingly unfinished. Overall, the body doesn’t absolutely work, and accustomed that this is not a acclaimed or awful arresting battleground like Tokyo Belfry or Shibuya Crossing, its admittance is a bit baffling.

The printed genitalia in this set are annihilation if not generous. In accession to the all-important “Tokyo” asphalt and all the arced slopes for the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, there are lots of abundant 1×1 tiles, including sidewalks and rainbows.

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The admittance of printed 1×1 tiles agency that you get a ton of benefit tiles!

My acknowledgment to LEGO’s attack to reflect my hometown in artery is inherently and acutely personal, and accordingly absolute subjective. Tokyo agency commodity absolute altered to me than the burghal does to accession visiting from abroad, accession creating a LEGO set from a distance, or alike accession who’s never left. Despite the accompanying accurateness and ambit I feel adjoin the burghal of my birth, my contempo cruise alone accepted Tokyo as my admired burghal in the world. As a result, I’m abundantly amorous about seeing Tokyo depicted in LEGO as it “should” be.

This angle originated aback I congenital my own microscale Tokyo aback in 2011, abounding years afore LEGO got into the microscale burghal skyline business. My tiny Tokyo (built to the modular Micropolis standard) featured Shibuya with not aloof the iconic bend barrio with their announcement but additionally a alternation abject with best orange and adhesive rolling stock, as able-bodied as a ammo alternation dispatch abroad from the city. I’ve included the National Diet architectonics (essentially, the country’s basic building), as able-bodied as a Shinto altar with torii aboideau and blooming azaleas. But my Tokyo isn’t all landmarks and appealing landscaping. My Tokyo additionally has the abhorrent mid-century accommodation blocks that aggregate up any burghal skyline, cranes at the seaport, and arid old warehouses.

I’m not suggesting that a LEGO Architectonics adaptation of Tokyo should accommodate accommodation blocks and warehouses, but the alternative does feel like the architectonics aggregation didn’t absorb abundant time researching Tokyo — alike by Googling “best places to appointment in Tokyo” or “most important architectonics in Tokyo.” This is able by the absolutely all-encompassing pagoda and temple abode included about in the set. There is alone one acclaimed pagoda in Tokyo, at Sensō-ji in Asakusa, and yet the five-story pagoda at the abject of Tokyo Belfry is not alleged at all in the set.

Tokyo Tower, blooming blossoms in Chidorigafuchi Park, Shibuya Bridge — all of these are amount to what makes Tokyo one of the greatest cities in the world. But it is additionally a burghal alloyed with sadness. Tokyo was about burnt to the arena alert in the aboriginal bisected of the 20th aeon — aboriginal during firestorms acquired by the Abundant Kanto Earthquake of 1923, afresh again by American firebombing adjoin the end of Apple War II (killing at atomic 100,000 civilians). Absolute little survives of actual Tokyo. This makes every affiliation to the accomplished precious, alike aback the pagoda at Sensō-ji was rebuilt in the 1960’s and Meiji Altar was reconstructed in the 1950’s. At the aforementioned time, the structures in LEGO Architectonics skyline sets accept consistently been alleged landmarks. So to leave a pagoda and temple/shrine aboideau absolutely bearding feels like they’ve been added to the cityscape in the account of an Orientalist artful rather than a 18-carat charge to absolute Japanese places (and the absolute bodies who abide them).

To alarm this set black for a built-in Tokyoite would be an understatement. I can absolve aberrant choices like the Tokyo Big Sight appointment tower, and I absolutely adulation this LEGO arrangement of Tokyo Belfry and Shibuya Crossing. But a Mt. Fuji that looks like Mt. Rainier, Tokyo Skytree with doughy legs, and celebrated architectonics that charcoal bearding (against the conventions of added LEGO Architectonics sets) are all unforgivable. What’s best black is how abutting this set is to great, if alone the designers had agitated to do a atom of analysis about the history and ability that resulted in the architectonics depicted in the set.

LEGO Architectonics 21051 Tokyo skyline includes 547 pieces and will be accessible starting January 1st, 2020 from the LEGO Boutique ($59.99 USD | $79.99 CAD | £59.99 GBP) and elsewhere.

Don’t absence our reviews of antecedent LEGO Architectonics skyline sets:

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