Monday, September 7, 2015

LEGO 21020: Trevi Fountain - REVIEW

Last week, I teased my newest purchase - the LEGO 21020 Trevi Fountain set.  I bought the set because I have had the good fortune of actually seeing Trevi Fountain in person and so I thought it's be a fun addition to my collection.

Before I begin the review, I must be honest.  Until seeing the Trevi Fountain set, I had very little interest in the LEGO Architecture line.  The entire line seemed to be mostly devoid of color - and building in micro scale has never appealed to me.  That said, I decided to give the Trevi Fountain set a try since the set does have at least a little color (thanks to the water of the fountain) and I was able to get the set for about half of what it costs in retail thanks to eBay.

As I feared, the vast majority of the set was indeed plain white (or plain grey) bricks - but there was enough blue to keep things somewhat interesting.  Also that orange thing is the brick separator.  I'm getting quite a collection of those little tools!

Moving on to the actual build, you begin by placing the lone printed piece in the set (the one that says Trevi Fountain) and then continue to build the outside frame.  I was happy that the nameplate was printed and not a sticker!  The blue 1x1 bricks in the back are actually only going to be visible from the back of the model (which you'll see in a bit).

The next step is to place all the trans blue "water" pieces.  As you can see, there is a LOT of water to place...and in a few steps there will be even more water for the fountain portion!


By this point in the build, the water is mostly complete (save for a couple of trans blue bricks on some of the not-yet-built rock structures.  You can see the waterfall of the fountain is also built - and so is the back of the structure.  Notice that LEGO did use one big piece (the hollow back white wall piece) in the set.  The main statue of the fountain will actually sit in front of that hollowed out spot which gives the model a nice sense of depth when all is said and done.


At this point, the model is almost totally done - only the detailing on the roof remains to be completed.  You can see a lot of jumper tiles - the roof actually uses jumpers on jumpers which results in something that looks good but ends up being not nearly as sturdy as the average LEGO set.

And finally, 731 pieces later we get the completed model!  It's a nice looking structure that I think does a good job at mimicking the source material (especially given the small scale of the model).  The two horse statues in the fountain area both look nice but are extremely fragile.  I think I knocked each one off at least once during the taking of this photograph!

From the back, you can see that there isn't actually much to see with the model.  The trans blue pieces allow some light to pass through the model to the front but otherwise it's pretty dull back there.  That's ok though as the real Trevi Fountain has a full building "behind" it - something that wouldn't really make sense to build in the same LEGO set unless you were trying to recreate all of Rome!

The extra pieces in the set are minimal - basically your usual 1x1 tiles (square and round) plus the brick separator.

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  1
Play Value:  1
Kid Value:  2
Adult Value:  5
Overall:  8

In the case of the Trevi Fountain set, it's safe to say that the whole is worth way more than the sum of the parts.  There are very few rare or unique pieces in the set - and those that are (the all white shield for instance) are totally boring and wouldn't have a lot of uses outside something like this set anyhow.  There is virtually no play value in the set so I wouldn't recommend buying this set for a child unless that kid has some sort of fascination with fountains...or Rome.  For adults, I wouldn't recommend this set at full retail price - the majority of the pieces are really small so the price-per-piece idea isn't a good gauge.  Instead, if you can get this set on sale, go for it - it does look quite nice when it's complete.  If not, you could probably use Brick Link or even eBay and create your own Trevi Fountain and save some money along the way!

I still gave the set an 8 overall because it does a great job of doing what it is supposed to be doing.  It's a pretty good replica of Trevi Fountain in LEGO form - and yes, the lack of color is boring but it's true to the source material (which is the important part).

One more note - if you do ever find yourself in Rome and at the Trevi Fountain make sure you are aware of pickpockets.  The area around the fountain is PACKED with people (it's a very small square to stand in) and pickpockets have the run of the place.  I was with a tour group and we had one lady who did get pickpocketed!

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