In the world of Dune’s Arrakis where water is so scarce that offering one’s spit is considered a mark of deep respect, efficiency is everything, and design is king – it is precise and intricate, it is deliberate and quite unique, and it is felt in everything. It is an aesthetic that shapes the world, its people and their way of life, and is also what makes something like 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter a most fascinating LEGO Icons set.
And much like lead character Paul Atreides’ journey through the science fiction epic and what he finds Arrakis to represent, 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter may not be the LEGO Dune set you are expecting it to be, but it may still be one you end up embracing.
— LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter set details —
Price: £149.99 / $164.99 / €164.99 Pieces: 1369 Minifigures: 8
LEGO: Order now
— Where to buy LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter —
— LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter build —
Based most recently around the form of a dragonfly, as seen in Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 Dune and possibly also in the upcoming Dune: Part Two releasing March 2024, the Ornithopter is a military light aircraft elegant and agile in design, primarily otherwise designed to mimic the movement of a bird’s flight. A long central body is headed by a large canopy that houses the cockpit, while the tail opens up for rear access from which to load on and off. The vehicle is powered in flight by jet propulsion but in this most recent iteration has four large wings that can move up and down as well as swing fully back to help with in-air manoeuvrability and agility.
The central bird-inspired design language to the Ornithopter stretches back beyond even Frank Herbert’s original 1965 novel, with the concept of a wooden bird actually going back as far as the ancient Greeks, before both the word ‘ornithopter’ and various drawings of such aircraft were produced by the artist, engineer and scientist Leonardo da Vinci. That being said and even with Herbert’s interpretation also being more bird-like, it is hard to look beyond the modern twist brought about by Villeneuve’s vision that embraces a dragonfly-style design, both for its quite striking features, but also for how prominently and memorably it is featured within the 2021 Dune film. We got to see this unique-looking vehicle pull off all sorts of mid-air manoeuvres in more than one action sequence in particular and so it makes sense to be chosen by the LEGO Icons team as the subject of a first official LEGO Dune set.
For also being based on something that is now a few years old too, there’s the somewhat novel aspect at play here too – we can all head into LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter with a full appreciation and understanding of what we are building. And with all that, perhaps some high expectations as well.
Those expectations were pretty much taken in a new direction and, for a lot of us, exceeded when Mike Psiaki revealed the set in late 2023 and demonstrated its incredible hands-on design and playability. Those weird, bug-like movements that the Ornithopter showcases in screen in Dune are each caught in LEGO form and function across 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter for a level of play-based accuracy we could have dreamt of but not necessarily expected the LEGO design team to pull off. They have managed to create a level of hands-on playability we all, as mature adults, will most certainly get sucked into enjoying as we swoosh the model around and around, up and down.
Specifically speaking, this is recreated in how the wings move in synchronised motion as if the Ornithopter is in hover mode, and how they can fold back as if to allow the vehicle to dive down, before a separate motion folds landing gear and the rear loading ramp in and out.
Working these functions into 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter has made for an interesting and quite intricate build, even if it does mean there is no space for much of an interior. Experienced LEGO fans and builders will have taken one look at those versatile and unusual play features and clocked that heading into this there is a novel and predominantly Technic-based structure to put together, and they would not be wrong.
Indeed, this is one of those builds that you really need full concentration at every step, due to an approach that very few of us will have experienced before, and a Technic medium not all of us will usually work with. Yet it’s a build process that also makes for a very deliberate core structure that holds everything together (um, as all good LEGO sets can do…) and so brilliantly works the magic that comes out of the finished model.
The biggest clue to the level of this build is in how the notes that appear on various pages of the instructions as you go through the build (which are usually reserved for talking about the source material or fun little details) are this time specifically explaining the functionality in what you are building – this weird and intricate Technic thing is to activate this, this ridiculously strong tail is so everything doesn’t fall apart when you pick it up, this spring ensures this thing happens and that thing doesn’t. It’s quite zany, in many ways, almost like the instruction book makers are trying to make as much sense of Mike Psiaki (and team)’s latest creation as much as you and we may be.
As we say with a lot of LEGO Icons sets in particular, this is like nothing you have built before, and again because of that 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter helps deliver a new and unique experience to every LEGO fan. For those who may be newer to the LEGO lifestyle this may feel like the hardest build so far, while for brick veterans there’s so much here to challenge you with – including, once again, the notion some may hold that licensed sets hinder a LEGO design team’s creativity.
Nothing but creativity could achieve 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter and it makes for something that you will definitely remember having built once it sits on display or, more likely, as you are grabbing on to the tail, swooshing it around the living room and flapping those large wings in synchronicity.
That high level of a building experience is, as mentioned, primarily thanks to a lot of Technic parts and expertise. This point may grate with some, but it’s what allows for such a complicated model to transform into such a technical play piece.
While making for such a wonderful hands-on experience though, what 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter is has come at the expense of what it could otherwise have been, specifically around a couple of areas of design, and one of which LEGO Icons ordinarily excels at – flawless accuracy.
The hefty nature and appearance of the internal Technic mechanisms is only lightly covered by more traditional LEGO pieces – this is clever in the sense of actually how few pieces achieve what they manage to, but it is not enough to give the exterior to the ship enough of those smoother shapings and transitions between the various contours and changes in angle that the on-screen Ornithopters from 2021’s Dune have.
There are some great angles and very smart uses of parts on show here – in particular at the front end with the cockpit, and for how satisfyingly and tightly the landing gear and ramp fold into the underside of the craft – and these capture a great deal about the vehicle in LEGO form, but there is a sense that a final layer to finish off the build is missing.
The model is also not at minifigure scale, nor has as much of an interior as you may otherwise be hoping for. The cockpit fits two, sat one behind the other, in comparison to the on-screen vehicle having space for five – one pilot up front followed by two rows of two. There’s no other inside space within the model either, because of the sheer number of mechanisations built into it to allow for all its stability, movement and playability. Let us be clear on this particular point, though – a lack of interior space is not actually a massive compromise and for how well this ship flies around in the hands it is more easily forgotten about than you’d think.
However, combined with the fact the set is much larger than minifigure scale, it is odd that the combination of issues that the model has factor around not being able to work space or play for the minifigures into it, nor more notably (and where it does matter more) accurately capture enough of the exterior bodywork to the vehicle. Usually, the bigger the LEGO Group goes in scale, the more achievable the details are, the more the LEGO set looks like it’s meant to (think LEGO Star Wars UCS). Perhaps there is a more refined version of this LEGO set sat in the offices in Billund, with such beautiful bodywork, and perhaps it constantly has pieces falling off whenever someone activates one of the play features (how many LEGO Star Wars UCS sets are this hands-on?). We’re just guessing.
Either way, you can see that the LEGO Icons design team had a choice with 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter – go big and offer up a fancy but potentially delicate, display-only LEGO model, designed for a one-time build and then many dustings. Or, go big and offer up an impressive, hands-on and fully manoeuvrable model you can actually fly around in much the same way as you see in 2021’s Dune epic.
Sometimes Icons delivers the display-orientated option, sometimes the designers can strike a nice balance between the two creative directions, but in reading around what they have been saying about this set and from getting hands on with it, 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter is a representation of play-focused design. Sometimes that makes for not the most accurate recreation of subject material, but it does almost always make for the LEGO sets that are most fun.
And, incredibly difficult Technic build to one side, 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter is nothing if not fun.
— LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter characters —
LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter feels like a two-in-one set. One half is this larger-than-minifigure-scale model that is at once both quite striking on display and very playable to swoosh around. And the other half is most of the cast of characters from 2021’s Dune realised in minifigure form. It’s a larger-than-usual minifigure line-up, perhaps indicative of this being a one-and-done set for the LEGO Dune partnership. If that’s the case, then getting Paul Atreides, Lady Jessica, Gurney Halleck, Chani, Leto Atreides, Liet Kynes, the wonderfully-named Duncan Idaho and a fully-floating Baron Harkonnen ticks almost all the boxes for those wanting a complete LEGO Dune experience.
The designs for each character are as detailed and accurate as you would hope and, even though they are somewhat dwarfed by the Ornithopter they stand next to, make for a really authentic collection to round out the set.
— LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter price —
LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter comes in at £149.99 / $164.99 / €164.99 which for what initial expectations around this set may be does feel expensive. However, because of how hands-on and playable this set is, it is a much bigger build than those expectations may otherwise suggest. Combined then with an impressive cast of characters in minifigure form, for Dune fans ready for something a bit more Technic-based than usual, 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter delivers on value.
— LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter Base pictures —
— LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter pros and cons —
LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter is going to challenge traditional LEGO fans, both new and experienced, for being a predominantly Technic-based build. It is so impressively intricate and scientific as a LEGO model that it’s actually quite hard to understand, even as you stare at it, even as you build it with your own hands, even as the instructions try to usher you along with explanation too.
The complexity of the build process will challenge and confuse, but it will also deliver a quite exceptional hands-on experience that will allow you to move a quite sizeable 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter around in many more ways than you would expect a LEGO model to achieve, all while assuredly staying together, and all in a way that is at once both authentic to the on-screen source material this is based on, and, just simply, very fun.
The compromises come in how this is not a minifigure-friendly set, nor one that gives as much importance to display as other LEGO Icons sets can and do. That will take some adjustment for those who can’t move beyond initial hopes and expectations. But, for how much of a play-thing 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter is, a few times around the living room moving those wings up and down before swooping them back and sending it into a dive and you’ll perhaps understand why this set has been built as it has.
|10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter pros
|10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter cons
|Very playable model, even for grown-ups
|To be as playable as it is, the interior is filled in…
|Authentic LEGO build in many ways
|…and the scale is larger than for minifigures
|Great line-up of minifigures
|The final model is not as smoothly finished off as we’d usually see from LEGO Icons
This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group.
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— Alternatives to LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter —
LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter is all about hands-on play for grown-up LEGO fans, and some of our favourite sets are just the same, such as 77015 Temple of the Golden Idol and 10323 PAC-MAN Arcade.
— LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter FAQs —
How long does it take to build LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter?
LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter will take a good few hours to build, particularly if, like us, you had to go back and check your mistakes a few times. This is a tricky build!
How many pieces are in LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter?
LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter contains 1,369 pieces including for minifigures of Paul Atreides, Lady Jessica, Gurney Halleck, Chani, Leto Atreides, Liet Kynes, Duncan Idaho and Baron Harkonnen.
How big is LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter?
LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter measures 23cm tall, with a body that’s 57cm long and a wingspan that comes to 79cm.
How much does LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter cost?
LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter retails for £149.99 in the UK, $164.99 in the US and from €164.99 in Europe.
- As one half of Tiro Media Ltd, I mix a passion for print and digital media production with a deep love of LEGO and can often be found on these pages eulogising about LEGO Batman, digging deeper into the LEGO Group’s inner workings, or just complaining about the price of the latest LEGO Star Wars set. Make a great impression when you meet me in person by praising EXO-FORCE as the greatest LEGO theme of all time. Follow me on Twitter @RobPaton or drop me an email at [email protected].
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