November 2023 LEGO News Roundup
New LEGO Brick Labels are almost ready, we’ve reviewed a bunch of awesome LEGO sets, and we’ll show you how easy it is to add a motor to the Orient Express Train.
November is a busy month for most people, especially here at Brick Architect! In addition to posting a ton of awesome reviews, I’ve been hard at work on the next update to my popular LEGO Brick Labels collection.
Coming Soon — Even More LEGO Brick Labels!
While the final update isn’t quite ready, I’ve painstakingly reviewed every new LEGO part released in 2023, as well as older parts that I had missed. As a result of this analysis, I have already added 107 new labels to the collection for a total of nearly 1800 labels!
Support LEGO Brick Labels — get early access!
I want to start by thanking the 80 people who support LEGO Brick Labels through Patreon. If you want to support the project, show your support at patreon.com — as a Patron you will be able to download a beta version of these new labels right now!
Your support helps Brick Architect and the LEGO Brick Labels project in particular. Patrons also get immediate access to behind-the-scenes content about how these labels are created, and public recognition for your support.
What’s in this update?
I work hard to make sure that every update makes the collection better and more complete. This includes a lot of work that you might not notice to ensure that each part is placed at an appropriate location in the collection, since many people use the contact sheet as a guide when building and when sorting.
The new labels are almost evenly distributed across three categories:
- Brand new parts for 2023.
This includes some parts that are already very popular, as well as some parts from the end of the year which I anticipate will be very popular soon.
- Parts from 2022 which are becoming more popular.
This includes parts which I was not sure if they would remain rare (or only used in a single theme), but have shown continued popularity.
- Parts from earlier years that have shown longevity, even if they are not used in all that many sets.
This include a review of fresh data showing the 1500 most common LEGO parts. (An update to my Most Common LEGO Parts article will be ready soon.)
If you haven’t given LEGO Brick Labels a try, consider a LEGO sorting project this holiday season! Or give the gift of a well organized collection by sharing a link to my LEGO Storage Guide. Thanks!
New at Brick Architect
This month, we reviewed 7 sets (if you include the four advent calendars), including two $300 sets coming out in December that a lot of AFOL’s are excited about. I’m also excited to share detailed (and simple) instructions to add a motor to the train!
- Review: #10326 Natural History Museum
The largest set in the Modular Building Series is 50% wider, but dedicated to a single structure. Let’s find out — is bigger always better?
- Review: #40601 Majisto’s Magical Workshop
Can a remake of Majisto’s Magical Workshop surpass the classic version? After 30-years of new parts, I certainly hope so!
- Review: 2023 LEGO Advent Calendars
This year we review four advent calendars. Let’s find out which ones stand out and are worth picking up.
- Review: #21344 The Orient Express (LEGO Ideas)
The Orient Express was known for opulent luxury and a high price tag. Let’s see if the LEGO version is on the same track…
- Motorizing #21344 The Orient Express
This set did not include instructions for adding a motor to this set, but here they are — and it only requires a few common parts.
- Review: #40603 Wintertime Carriage Ride & #40604 Christmas Decor Set
Are these holiday-themed Gift-with-purchase sets worth seeking out, or just a nice bonus when buying LEGO sets this December?
Exciting December releases for AFOLs
December is upon us and a deluge of new sets in January are just around the corner. While there aren’t a lot of new sets releasing in December, there are some pretty interesting sets for adult builders.
- #10329 Tiny Plants (LEGO Icons Botanicals)
While we didn’t get a chance to build and review this set, it has gotten top marks from reviewers for the cute pots, interesting techniques, and great price.
758 pieces, ages 18+, $50, available December 1 at LEGO.com
- #21344 The Orient Express Train (LEGO Ideas)
I genuinely loved everything about this set except the price. I felt like the passenger carriage interiors offered a modular-like level of detailing, and great minifigure-led storytelling. (Don’t miss our in-depth review, or our guide to adding a motor to this set.)
2540 pieces, ages 18+, $300, available December 1 at LEGO.com
- #10326 Natural History Museum (LEGO Icons Modular)
In my review, I explained that I did not love this addition to the modular building series, but only because the last couple years have been exceptional.
4014 pieces, ages 18+, $300 , available December 1 at LEGO.com
- Book: LEGO Space: 1978-1992, by Tim Johnson
While I haven’t gotten a copy yet, people are loving this gorgeous hardcover book exploring the Classic Space era. I want to read it to see vintage advertisements and behind-the-scenes images of early prototypes. (My only question — is it swooshable?)
200 pages, $50 , available now at Amazon.com
To see other recent releases, visit the lego.com store. (Making a purchase using our referral link helps support this website.)
Best articles from around the web
This month, articles on most LEGO news outlets were dominated by reviews of iconic sets coming out in December (like the Natural History Museum and The Orient Express Train) and a ton of articles about various Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals. I still managed to find a handful of great content from the LEGO community that I’m excited to share with you.
- A NEW COLOUR has been spotted in 80054 Megapolis City
I am eager to see this new color that fits somewhere between Red and Orange. It loooks like a nice rich/saturated option that may address the problem that the current orange color is pretty light.
—New Elementary (via Instagram)
Best of Nerdvember
But that’s not all… While the rest of the LEGOverse was pretty quiet, I found an overwhelming selection of amazing articles on BrickNerd. This is not a coincidence; we highlighted a ton of their content last November as well… That’s because they have a tradition to save some of their nerdiest articles of the year for ‘Nerdvember’. Enjoy!
There was so much good content that it was a challenge to pick just 6 articles. Thanks for keeping the LEGO hobby nerdy!
LEGO Designer Videos:
In the past, LEGO sets of interest to adult builders were often featured in ‘Designer Videos’ on The LEGO Group’s YouTube channel. While they aren’t as in-depth as Fan Media interviews that we share when we can, they do tend to include a few insights into the design process behind some of our favorite sets. I’m excited to see a lot more of them in recent months, and here are a few that are worth checking out.
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Avengers Tower | Designer Video (07:02)
Justin Ramsden, Mark Stafford, and Mark Tranter walk us through the dizzying selection of minifigs, exterior details, and many rooms you will find inside #76269 Avengers Tower. They also highlight the new curved window panels, which you get 60 of in the set!
—LEGO @ YouTube
- LEGO Ideas Orient Express | Designer Video (04:56)
LEGO Designer Ollie Gregory and Fan Designer Thomas Lajon talk about the interior details of #21344 The Orient Express Train I loved, including the “Hyper-Luxury Suite”. I’ll admit that I didn’t notice that the carriage number matches the set number! We also hear about the history of this train from Arthur Mettetal alongside video of real restored train carriages.
—LEGO @ YouTube
- LEGO Icons Natural History Museum | Designer Video (07:53)
LEGO Designers Chris McVeigh and Aswin Visser walk us through the many artifacts on display in #10326 Natural History Museum. They are pretty clear about the history of the Museum Curator figure, and offer a closer look at the story of the dog and the dinosaur bones.
—LEGO @ YouTube
Brick Architect in the News
- Top 10 most common LEGO parts (12:06)
YouTube host Olie Bricks not only used some of my data in his research for this article, but gave me a nice shout-out in the intro. (Hi Olie!)