After weeks of teases and months of waiting, the much loved Ideas submission has become a reality. The LEGO Group has launched its own version of the Apollo Saturn V Rocket into the fan universe. Will folks find it is a flight worth taking? Daniel Konstanski gives his first impressions.
Wow. What a set. The impressive Ideas submission has been modified into an equally, if not more impressive set, 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V. Ideas has long been known for the little details and I confess to being initially blown away by the level of detail here. From the fact that the Lunar Module can be extracted just like the real Apollo Missions, to the tiny figures, to the perfect piece count, not a detail appears to have been missed. The fact that it can be displayed on its side just like in rocket parks across the USA is the icing on the cake.
At a metre tall I am pretty sure this will clock in as the tallest LEGO set ever. While it will hold that title it is technically not the first rocket set that the LEGO Group has produced. Classic Space was rife with rockets, many of which were patterned to look like Apollo spacecraft in terms of colour. The LEGO Group has produced two rockets designed for minifigures to ride in: 3831 Rocket Ride and 6454 Countdown Corner. To say this model leaves those others in the dust is a gross understatement. Simply put, this is the far and away the best rocket set LEGO has ever produced.
Despite its excellence, there is one aspect of this set that confuses me. Who exactly is the target audience? It was my dad’s generation who grew up with these rockets. I, like many AFOLs, were born long after the Apollo missions. We did not grow up watching them on TV, and today’s kids are so far removed from them that they classify as history. My father would love to get this set as a Christmas present, and I think it will most likely be what I put under his tree this year, but other than folks who are over 60 and have a personal, nostalgic collection, who exactly will want this set? I imagine there are a collection of AFOLs who are also space/NASA enthusiasts that will pick it up, but despite thinking that it’s cool there are many other sets I would put my money towards before this one.
As the largest and most expensive Ideas set to date, I applaud the LEGO Group for going all out with this set. They could have gone at a much smaller scale and made it fit more with the standard Ideas price point, but they didn’t. The result is a gorgeous product that honours the amazing achievements of the space program. I just hope there is a big enough audience that scads of these don’t end up languishing on store shelves.