21128: LEGO Minecraft – The Village Review

Set Score

Build experience
Parts
Minifigures
AFOL Appeal
Value For Money
Review Summary
It's a very enjoyable build, with well thought out instructions that never feels boring despite the lack of challenging techniques. A few more minifigures wouldn't have gone amiss, but no stickers got a massive thumbs up from me. It's not a cheap set, but for a licensed product with some very useful pieces for MOCing, left me with a very positive view overall.

4

Our Score

I must admit, when the very first LEGO Ideas set for 21102 Minecraft micro world came out in 2012, I had very little idea what Minecraft was. I was somewhat aware it was a computer game, but not much more than that. Since then it has seen a massive surge in popularity – especially in LEGO form. From the inception at the IDEAS stage and getting 3 more micro world models, to the announcement it would become a full on theme at minifigure scale no doubt excited many people. This was when I started paying more attention.

My main hobby outside my day job is LEGO, and although I absolutely love the LEGO video games from TT Games, I hardly class myself as a serious video gamer. I was however always enjoying seeing the Minecraft sets on the shop shelves in their bright and appealing packaging and featuring a myriad of little worlds on the front. If I had been into Minecraft back then, I’m sure I’d have not hesitated to pick some up.

Since I knew I would be reviewing the latest offering from LEGO – a D2C exclusive based on the popular franchise – I began researching it as much as I could and found myself getting lost in the world of Steve, Alex and baby pigs! What follows is hopefully an honest and impartial review that gives as much information as possible along with help from minifigure Séb!

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So am I now a born-again Minecraft convert, or is this just another opportunity by LEGO to milk the 8-bit Minecraft cash cow and release additional higher priced exclusives aimed at children? Read on and find out… (PS. I apologise now for the length of this review!)

Official Description

21128 The Village

Ages 8+. 1,600 pieces.

US $199.99 – CA $249.99 – DE 199.99€ – UK £169.99 – DK 1899.00 DKK

*Euro pricing varies by country. Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.

Build and protect The Village!

Join forces with Alex at the busy Minecraft™ village, including a variety of biomes plus a watchtower, library, blacksmith, butcher and marketplace. Enjoy hands-on Minecraft adventures featuring your favourite characters and objects with this LEGO® Minecraft set—designed for young fans of the highly successful sandbox video game.

  • Includes 4 minifigures: Steve, Alex, zombie and a zombie villager, plus a Creeper™, enderman, pig, baby pig, iron golem and 2 villagers (a farmer and a librarian).
  • The Village features rainforest, snow and desert biomes, and includes a watchtower, library, blacksmith, butcher and a marketplace.
  • Fold out the library and butcher’s buildings and lift the marketplace roof to access the interiors.
  • Grab your iron sword and prepare for battle!
  • Build the iron golem to help protect the village.
  • Accessory elements include a crafting table, water bucket, emerald-ore-style elements, 2 pumpkin heads and a chest with emerald-style elements.
  • Weapons include a sword and a pickaxe.
  • Set your imagination free—rebuild the set for more LEGO® Minecraft™ creations!
  • Measures over 5” (15cm) high, 19” (49cm) wide and 17” (44cm) deep.

 

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The Box

As with all the minifigure-scaled Minecraft sets, this set comes in a bright green box with the bold Minecraft logo emblazoned across the top over a rather 8-bit green and blocky background. It has the face of a Creeper in the top right corner and shows a photo of the set in all its glory. It certainly stands out and looks very appealing, which is always important for getting noticed on shop shelves. The box wasn’t as big as I was expecting for 1,600 pieces but LEGO are consciously reducing their packaging (Amazon could learn a lot from them on this front) and it felt nice and weighty without taking unnecessary amounts of space. Like most exclusives, this box comes with sealed tabs so you can carefully cut through them using a sharp knife and not have to rip the packaging in any way. Essential for most collectors who might want to resell their LEGO one day, but not have it living in a box untouched on a shelf forever.

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Contents & Instructions

It comes with eleven numbered bags, as you can see from the photo, along with one unnumbered bag which contains a variety of large plates within it. You also get two booklets in a plastic covering (though not with a cardboard backing like some sets); the first which is a nice thick 218 page, 345-step instruction manual containing the build steps, a few adverts for Minecraft sets and the inventory at the back, along with a second, much slimmer booklet which provides the builder with new inspiration for rebuilding elements of your Minecraft village configuration. I quite liked this, because older fans will recall the alternate models that used to be pictured on the side of boxes, so not only is this the closest you’ll get to those days, but you’re given step-by-step instructions too without it being a specific Creator 3-in-1 set.

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The Build

Bag 1 – had a smaller bag inside with some smaller pieces and the orange separator as is commonplace in more expensive LEGO sets. The first thing you build is a librarian villager, some 2×4 brick-based connectors (used at the end to link all the modules together) and a cool little outdoor market place. Although nothing was difficult to build, I did enjoy building the jungle-type tree atop the red and white awning of the market stall complete with a few trans-green 2×2 bricks which are always nice. You also get an eye of ender, a cake, an apple and an iron ingot which are all clearly up for trade, much like in the game. I like getting pieces in new colours, especially when you’re so used to seeing certain elements in the same shades of brown or grey, so the treasure chest here in medium dark flesh was a welcomed inclusion, only seen in ten previous sets since 2014.

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Bag 2 – also had a smaller bag inside. Here we start to build what I think was my favourite component of the entire set; the blacksmith’s shop. It’s very similar to what we see in the game complete with a fire pit forge and two furnaces using printed 2×2 bricks (built in bag 3). Here we use our only Technic pieces in the set, but it’s a great technique for creating a hinged roof that I wouldn’t have thought of doing myself. Usually we use a combination of tiles and studs to make a removable roof, or opt for the style seen in the Haunted House or recent Ghostbusters Firehouse HQ with a hinged opening. I’ve certainly never seen a hinged roof that opens upwards like a treasure chest. It might seem a bit over the top, but it’s a very satisfying movement that allows sausage-fingered adults access to inside the build for when they’re playing with…ahem…displaying minfigures within.

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Bag 3 – again featured a smaller bag inside. We finally get to build one of our heroes, Steve. Here he comes without armour, just in his usual purple trousers and blue top, but with his cool sword. He’s appeared in most other Minecraft sets before, but his inclusion here was inevitable. The inside of the building is furnished and with the roof now fitted your blacksmith shop is complete. It’s also worth noting that we this roof is topped with two (of the three that appear in this set) 6×6 dark bley tiles which are lovely. This marks the first time they’ve appeared in this colour as well, previously only available in light bley and dark green. Large tiled pieces are always excellent for MOCs, so lucky us!

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Bag 4 – contains two smaller bags within it and where we start building the library. The first step means building a crafting table with a printed 2×2 tile and two 1×2 printed bricks. This is one of the 2 builds that have the sloped roofs and feature a hinged opening like the aforementioned Haunted House. After building a door and the walled sections for both hinged sides we move on to bag 5 to complete the build.

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Bag 5 – yet again contains a smaller bag inside. Here we meet a new character in the form of the creepy Enderman. This build looks as scary as when it appears in the game and comes complete with a grassy block that he’s rudely stealing from the village. I actually quite like the new element used for it’s body. I’m sure someone could come up with an interesting parts usage for it in a MOC. Something I might try sometime, although unfortunately you only get one in this set, so not enough to use multiple times.

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This is followed by a bit of repetition with small 1×1 plates to build the books for the library bookshelf. I liked the inclusion of a spider’s web above the books although there are no spiders in this set. Lastly we build the stepped blocky roofing before finishing it off with smooth tiling. Altogether in this entire set you do get 46 1×4 and 31 1×6 tiles in medium dark flesh which will be very useful to many, I’m sure. Altogether we’re left with a nice looking building that can open up for more playability.

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Bag 6 – another smaller bag inside. This is a slight departure from the general village feel as we start building a new icy/snow-based biome. A rocky base with some simple, but cool little mushroom interpretations and a nice icy waterfall making good use of some trans-blue 2×2 slopes.

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Bag 7 – contains a smaller bag inside. You start by building some mineable emerald ore elements and a couple of torches before the awesome Iron Golem. I really like these sub-builds, and the Iron Golem looks awesome. It’s clearly designed to be very poseable and makes great use of the Mixel ball joints. It’s just a shame that so far they only appear in grey, because really they should have been white here and detract a little from the overall appearance, but not too much.

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Once that’s built you make a small house which has a little balcony that I suppose could serve as a watchtower to the village. The cool thing is once it’s built, it gets plonked over the rocky terrain with the waterfall, so it’s nice to have a building with a bit of height included.

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Bag 8 – has two smaller bags inside. You start by building the only other villager minifig (excluding the zombie versions) which is the blacksmith. You build some torches like on the icy biome and then a pig who is just adorable. I love how his little eyes are closer to the edges of his head than the middle, giving him a somewhat crazed but lovable face. This also used rare modified pink 1×2 bricks with groove in that have only appeared in two previous sets. The main part of bag 8 is the the farm or allotment with carrots at different stages of growth and some potatoes. This is complimented with a pig pen and a small bit of extra land next to it. The farm also has one of two lampposts found in the set which is a nice little mini-build and looks pretty close to the source material, given the occasional limitations of what is and isn’t possible with LEGO.

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Bag 9 – yet another smaller bag inside. First you build the creeper with it’s funny little running body (again, another new element specifically designed for this character) along with another hero Alex who has a diamond pickaxe, sand green torso and brown legs, and an even cuter baby pig to go with the first.

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We start building a desert biome here which I really enjoyed. As with everything so far, there was nothing remotely challenging about the build, but I liked the sandy landscape as a contrast to the rest of the village. The cactus does a fine job using green bracket pieces to give it spiky appearance and there’s also a nicely recreated well (complete with pail of water). I was most pleased to see the inclusion (and effective use) of three dark orange 6-stemmed flower elements as desert shrubbery. It’s just a shame more weren’t used in the set as these will be great for future MOCs.

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Bag 10 – has two smaller bags inside. As we begin to approach the end of the set we build the first part of another building, similar to the library we built earlier. This time we’re building the butcher’s shop. It has a little enclosure at the back similar in style to the pig pen we built on the farm module and a butcher’s block on the inside. Again, it makes use of a hinged feature so you make both sections and interiors first before joining them together.

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My favourite part of this section is simply the inclusion of two really cool pumpkin head pieces to place on the outside. In the game these have a few uses, so it’s great that kids playing with this set will be able to make use of them. I also think they’ll make great accessories for other builds, like if you made a modular comic book store or even as a blocky add-on to a Halloween-themed build. I’m not sure why, but I love the inclusion of any pumpkin-related accessories in LEGO form. I can sense a future article forming…

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Bag 11 – the final bag and again containing one smaller bag inside. This bag includes the final minifigs of the set which are a zombie and a zombie villager. Let’s face it, zombies are pretty popular these days so the inclusion of them here will be a big draw for some. They are still Minecraft in style so not really useful anywhere else, but cool nonetheless. The final section of the build is to complete the roof of the building, tile it up and then attach all the individual modules together to create your Minecraft village.

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The Minifigures

We are given quite the variety of characters in this set. Eleven altogether, though I’d maybe consider six of these to be actual minifigures. These are Steve, Alex, two villagers exclusive to this set, (librarian and blacksmith) which have a new moulded body element, a zombie and a zombie villager (also exclusive in this set). The other characters are a pig, a baby pig, a Creeper, an Enderman and an Iron Golem. The Iron Golem also features a new element which is a modified 1×2 tile with minifigure head post. Like several other elements in this set, this could be a very useful part in the future of LEGO building. I’m sure someone will come up with a great use for it. I think if you’ve got several Minecraft sets already these minifigures are not going to get you overly excited, and certainly don’t warrant purchasing the set for, but if this your first entry into the popular theme then you’ll be happy with the array of characters you get. I’m slightly surprised that for a set calling itself The Village, you only get 2 villagers and a zombie incarnation. For a set this big and this expensive, it would have been nice to get three more, but maybe LEGO has those planned for a future set.

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Conclusion

Overall I actually really enjoyed building this set. I’m used to building quite a lot of sets that don’t feature loads of different colours so it was refreshing to build with greens, tans, medium dark flesh, grey, blue, white, red and even pink! I was worried that the build might get repetitive after a while but at no point did it feel boring whatsoever. Perhaps only in slight bits of repetition like the books, or the sloped roofs, but here they cleverly spaced out the similar looking buildings so you did one in an early bag and didn’t come back to the other until the very end. I especially enjoyed building in a modular fashion so you could feel a sense of accomplishment by completing one model and then carry on to the next bag, or leave it until another day.

Once they were all finished they connect together and you have a really nice looking and complete set, rather than the sparse and bitty style of playset like Assault on Hoth or even the Winter Village Market to some degree. Maybe it’s because Minecraft is so square in nature that it works, but I feel like LEGO could do something with this type of model (pun not intended) in some of their other themes like City. The thing with City sets is that they often don’t really go together because they’re just a bunch of separate vehicles that fit in your city layout (if you’re lucky enough to have one permanently set up) or Police and Fire buildings. Imagine if they did a load of modular builds (not like the big scale modular buildings), but for city where each set can connect to the next. People would feel far more inclined to buy them and then they could feature different configurations to how you could set up your models. Just throwing out an idea LEGO if you’re reading…

The other most notable absence from this set was from the DSS (dreaded sticker sheet). Not ONE single sticker was to be found anywhere. Amazing isn’t it. This made the build far less stressful than some other exclusives which require painstaking concentration to apply the stickers at the best angle. So much so, I’m pining for more sets with printed pieces as opposed to stickers. Aren’t we all though?

In summary I would say this is a far better set than I ever anticipated. It doesn’t have any challenging builds so don’t expect to gain any expert knowledge into new building techniques, but for kids this makes it ideal. It clearly isn’t specifically designed as a display set, but it does look really good when connected together of which you can arrange in any fashion you wish. The addition of a few other biomes adds interest to the scenic element of the set and makes compatibility to other available Minecraft sets very easy. In fact, if I see some on offer I don’t think I’ll hesitate to buy them now to add on and expand my village. Whilst a bit on the expensive side, this set could make a very useful pieces set if you’re into parting out. Personally I’m actually tempted to modify mine slightly and turn it into a Hobbiton build from Lord Of The Rings. That’s the great thing about LEGO. The possibilities are endless.

21128 LEGO Minecraft – The Village is available now for VIPs or to the general public from 1st June 2016.

Disclaimer: A huge thanks to LEGO CEE for sending us out a set to review. All opinions here are my own.

LEGO SYSTEM A/S

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