Review: #21026 Venice Skyline
Let’s see what the smallest of the three new LEGO Architecture ‘Skyline’ sets has to offer. Will it bring back memories of your vacation in Venice, or leave you wanting for more?
November 12, 2018: Brick Architect now includes numeric ratings for all reviews. The review originally included a rating of 6/10 stars, but this was not based on our updated rating guidelines. You will see that the new rating is “Very Good” (3/5 stars).
In November I offered a first look at the new 2016 LEGO Architecture models when photos of the sets were released online, and now I am pleased to share a review of the smallest of the four new sets featuring a cityscape scene of Venice, Italy. “Cityscapes” is a new sub-theme for the LEGO Architecture product line which focuses not on specific buildings, but on very small scale models of a cities most iconic landmarks. Liberties are taken with geography and scale to compress a whole city into a 32 stud wide scene which includes only the 4 to 5 most iconic landmarks.
The Venice model is the smallest of the series, with only 212 bricks and featuring just 4 buildings. It includes a high quality box and booklet like all the models in the Architecture series. It is tri-lingual: English, French and Italian. Each of the landmarks featured in the model are explained in the booklet along with a photo of the real building.
From left to right:
- Rialto Bridge is a large bridge with shops near the center of the city. It is actually several canals north of St. Marks Square. This strong element in the overall composition is cleverly constructed using two 62361 / “Mudguard 1 1/2 x 6 x 1 with Arch”. This achieves a near perfect curvature and a nice elegance as compared to a basic arch.
- St Mark’s Basilica is the ornate church on the east side of St Mark’s Square. It’s essence is well captured in this small but colorful model, even though the real building has more arches and the columns are rather crudely rendered using 2412 / “Grille”.
- St Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower for the basilica, and is on the west side of the Basilica. The ordering of the buildings is a bit strange, as you will see in an illustration below, but it looks nice placed next to the basilica even though it is actually in front of it. The lion is the only printed brick in the set besides the name tile.
- The two columns represent the St. Theodore & Lion of Venice columns. They are my least favorite elements in the composition, because they are too small to be enjoyed, and a clip is a pretty crude placeholder for a lion.
- Lastly, the Bridge of Sighs is captured in isolation on the right. It feels like an afterthought, and I would have preferred to remove it, make the model less wide, and offer the model at a lower price. While I did recognize it immediately when seeing the model for the first time, the real bridge connects two taller buildings rather than being a standalone structure, causing this version to not make a lot of sense.
Despite some shortcomings, I give this model high marks for aesthetics, because it captures the feel of Venice really well.
The part selection is pretty good with a variety of colors, some clever parts usage including the ones I already called out above. The most valuable part is the 90398 / “minifigure statuette” in White which is a new color for that element. Only one is needed to build the model, but two were included in the set. At the time of this article it is a 5$ part on Bricklink, but I think it will fall to around 1.50$ in a few months.
Due to reasonably diverse parts, this set is a 6/10 rating for part selection.
The MSRP is 29.99$, which is a staggering 14 cents per brick. (It doesn’t include lots of large bricks to justify price, and the new Berlin model includes nearly 300 bricks for the same price.)
Sadly, this is one of the worst priced sets in the whole LEGO Architecture series, which negatively impacts my rating for the set.
It’s a cool model, but an overpriced set. (It feels like it should have been a 19.99$ or 24.99$ set.) I put #21026 Venice at the middle of the pack compared to other sets in the Architecture series with an “Very Good” (3/5 star) rating. I would recommend this set for people who love Venice, folks to really love the Skyline series, or if you can find a great deal.
Spoilers / Box Build
I always try to build the LEGO architecture models without using the instructions. This was a pretty easy model to build using on the photo on the front of the box. I’ve included some photos of the finished model, so don’t scroll any further unless you want to see spoilers.
In November, I built this model using spare parts from my collection. I had shared some photos on my Instagram account, didn’t share them on my blog until now. I identified how to build most of the model correctly, with the only mistakes being the need to substitute some parts for different colors or similar parts because I have a relatively small collection. I also used slightly different but equivalent parts on the base, mostly due to the fact that I did not own and had never seen part 87609 / “2×6 Plate with 4 studs on side”.
Once the official set arrived, I built it without using the instructions. (This is called “Box build” when done competitively at LEGO conventions.) I was pleased that the only mistakes were due to things I literally couldn’t see from the photo on the front, and are not really visible in the finished model. Specifically, the sand green cheese in the back was rotated the wrong direction, and the reddish brown bricks in the back were assembled in a different but equivalent way. I got the lowest two levels of plate right, although I swapped a gray 2×2 and black 2×2 in a way that didn’t matter at all.
I wanted to close by sharing this view of the model which breaks apart the various layers of the model so you can see how they go together. We have the base which is pretty similar across the various LEGO Architecture Skyline models, the ground level, and then the buildings on top.