2000451 Panama Canal is a rare LEGO Education product that is readily available to the general public, available worldwide with free shipping. In a crowded LEGO marketplace full of familiar sets, it stands out. Every LEGO set has some connection to what has come before, and this one is no exception.
Having recently reviewed 2000451 Panama Canal as well as comparing the model to the real world structure, today we look at how it relates to the LEGO Group’s own products. The Panama Canal is unique within its theme – past LEGO Education sets have not depicted any other real world infrastructure. While the set’s placement within the Education line means it stands apart from more mainstream sets, relationships with other products none the less exist.
2100 Sears Tower
While 2000451 may be the only scaled down real world landmark in the Education line, the LEGO Group has a whole product family dedicated exclusively to that premise – the Architecture line of sets. This theme dates back almost a decade to 2008. 2100 Sears Tower was one of the inaugural three sets that kicked off this popular ltheme which is still going strong today. While not for everyone, Architecture sets have a devoted fan base who love having small copies of major landmarks to display on their desk or at home.
1575 Finjet Ferry
One of the charming features that makes set 2000451 appealing is the inclusion of five miniatursed ships for traversing the canal. They represent a cross section of the types of vessels that travel through the real world waterway, and one of the five is a cruise ship. Many readers are likely unaware that the LEGO Group released a number of cruise ships as a promotional product line that stretches back over 30 years.
Like the tiny versions found in 2000451 Panama Canal, each one is brick built and intended for display as a model rather than being built at minifigure scale. These sets have never been available at broad retail, instead reserved for sale with the specific cruiselines themselves for passengers. 1575 Finjet Ferry was the first of this series, released all the way back in 1977.
10188/75159 Death Star
On the surface, a planet killing space station like 75159 Death Star seems to share very little, if anything, with the Panama Canal. However, there is a portion of the LEGO Group’s massive battle station model that is the spitting image of the Panama Canal model. It is the blast door where Obi-Wan famously meets his end at the blade of Darth Vader. The mechanism employed by designers to slide that door open and closed into a slot is exactly the same one incorporated into the Panama Canal model. A gear is turned that engages with sawtooth components on the door/lock to move it forward and backward. While the Death Star version is bigger, the mechanics are the same.
42042 Crawler Crane
Due to the colour contrast, one of the first aspects of 2000451 Panama Canal to which the eye is drawn to are the six tan gears that are turned to open and close the locks. They stand out from the rest of the set due to their even placement and colour difference. This component, known as Double Conical Wheel Z20 1M, is used in a lot of sets that require some sort of motion. 42042 Crawler Crane includes the same number of this piece as the Panama Canal.
10241 Maersk Line Triple-E
Much like the Ferry sets released through the years, the LEGO Group has also partnered with with their fellow Danish company Maersk to release a variety of cargo ship models. While a miniature ship with the distinctive colour pattern of the Maersk line is absent from the Panama Canal set, a micro scale copy of a ship with similar construction to 10241 is present. Specifically a cargo ship in which the tower and bridge are somewhere in the middle of the vessel with cargo containers both fore and aft, instead of the the tower being at the rear of the ship with all cargo in front of it. I would be curious to know exactly what the relative advantages and disadvantages of these two types of construction are.
So even a set that stands out as much as 2000451 Panama Canal shares traits, fun facts and design techniques with other LEGO sets. Seeing the ways in which seemingly distinct sets actually have commonality is always intriguing, but showing it with an unusual set like this is even more fun than usual.