LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe review

LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe takes us around the world in 2,585 pieces, but it’s not quite as entertaining as reading Jules Verne.

The French author was apparently instrumental in inspiring fan designer Guillaume Roussel to submit his inventive concept for a LEGO set to the Ideas platform in the first place, and his Earth Globe quickly struck a chord with other budding adventurers, travellers and (perhaps) cartographers, who propelled it to the review stage in no short order.

The LEGO Group then gave the globe the green light in September 2020, and here we are, some 16 months later, with the finished product about to hit shelves in 21332 The Globe. We’ve followed it for its entire journey, and from that original imaginative submission to the images presented across the 40th Ideas set’s box art, we had high hopes going in.

And in some ways, it does come genuinely quite close to meeting them – save for two unfortunately quite major hang-ups.

— Set details —

Theme: LEGO Ideas Set name: 21332 The Globe Release: February 1, 2022

Price: £174.99 / $199.99 / €199.99 Pieces: 2,585 Minifigures: 0

LEGO: Available now

LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe review 35

— Build —

When you crack open the box for 21332 The Globe – and the packaging is notable in itself, for reasons explained here – and tear open the first bags, a couple of things will strike you: first, there’s no sticker sheet in sight; and second, the build starts with what you might expect to be the least entertaining part in the sphere’s stand. But no matter – get that out of the way, and then it’s on to the good stuff.

At least, that’s what our perception of the build process was. It didn’t last long.

On the plus side, that’s partly because the stand is far more fun to put together than it has any right to be. Constructing each of the segments that angle to create the curve – an achievement in itself, given it belies the blocky nature of its elements to trick the eye into seeing a genuine bow, especially from a distance – gets repetitive quickly, but not to the point of frustration.

In fact, you’ll pretty swiftly settle into a rhythm with the mostly System-focused sub-assemblies in the stand, and this stage of the build flies by at a satisfying pace. Any tedium from the inevitable repetition is eclipsed by both how quickly you’ll move through the morass of brown, interspersed with idyllic drum-lacquered gold, and the anticipation for what’s next: constructing a sphere from LEGO bricks.

That’s unless you’re one of the lucky few to have put together 2005’s 10143 Death Star II, that is – in which case you should know exactly what you’re in store for, and are probably wondering why anybody would relish that kind of build.

Herein lies major hang-up number one of 21332 The Globe: half of the construction process is just no fun. A cross-section of Technic and System elements sets the scene for an intriguing picture of what’s to come, but after you’ve put together the central strip of plates that form the planet’s equator – bags five, six and seven of 16 – almost the entirety of the remaining build, some 50%, involves repeating the same sub-assembly of Technic axles, pins and plates a full 32 times.

By the time you’re halfway, or maybe even a quarter of the way, through building the shell – and have clocked that this is basically it for the rest of the set – any sense of excitement, anticipation or joy for the remainder of 21332 The Globe effectively melts away.

The tedium so dutifully sidestepped in the earliest stages of the build is here in full force, with no real rhythm to settle into across the small and not particularly intricate nor impressive sections that comprise the sphere (although the printed tiles labelling each continent are very welcome, even if their glow-in-the-dark nature is really neither here nor there).

And, yes, this obviously isn’t the only repetitive set the LEGO Group has ever released. But where you’ll usually find repetitive elements nestled in and among a wider build – putting together the columns across 10297 Boutique Hotel’s upper floors springs to mind as one recent example – this is an altogether different proposition, because half the build is just repeating the same structure over and over again.

That’s not to underplay the engineering and design achievement that 21332 The Globe represents, though. Inside that shell is an ingeniously-conceived structure that supports the entire model while adding only minimal mass, resulting in a final product that’s surprisingly lightweight. It’s a complex mechanism that’s streamlined through expert application of colour to never prove frustrating to assemble, in the way that some Technic frameworks can prove challenging for System-first builders.

You’ll also learn a thing or two from how the entire skeleton of the globe locks in place, and maybe even be baffled in a couple of spots: the instruction manual holds 21332 The Globe up as an educational model as much as a display piece, presumably by helping to develop your geographic (or perhaps cartographic) skills, but this is one of those sets that could genuinely have done with a few annotations to explain certain sections of its design.

The wheels that sit at only one edge of the internal frame come to mind, given they seem to support no immediate purpose in helping the globe to spin (and yes, it can spin – smoothly and satisfyingly, thanks for asking).

It could be that they’re there to help distribute tension and weight across the build, but whatever the reason, it’s perhaps the best example in recent memory of where design insight in the instructions would vastly improve the building experience. If the LEGO Group is keen to encourage its new cohort of adult fans to go beyond the instructions and inspire creativity through its sets, it would be well worth taking a moment to outline the hows and whys of its more complex techniques.

Less in need of that are the plates that form the outer shell, and the way the continents and countries are recreated through tiles and plates. Any LEGO set is essentially an artistic interpretation of its source material – LEGO is a creative and artistic medium, after all – and so it’s not really reasonable to expect a completely precise and accurate recreation of an actual globe.

All that said, there are certain areas of 21332 The Globe’s map that feel a bit lacklustre – you can see what the designers were going for with Europe, and putting it next to an actual map draws out the similarities, but it also highlights the differences, and ultimately, the limitations of the scale and medium.

Thankfully, it all works better from a distance than staring at it up close, and chances are you’ll be popping this on a shelf anyway (which will work very much in the set’s favour). But that leads nicely into talking about the second major-hang up, which is – as you’ve probably already clocked from the images in this review – the gaps.

Oh, the gaps.

They’re more prevalent during construction, and they’re masked slightly when the entire sphere is complete – mainly because the panels on the opposite side prevent light from bleeding through – but they’re still pretty prominent when you’re up close and personal with 21332 The Globe.

The mix of wedge elements and regular plates used for each strip of the sphere don’t really sit flush with each other, and the way they clip together at the top and bottom of the globe means they inevitably don’t sit equal across each hemisphere, either, so some of those gaps around the finished model are worse than others.

Again, it’s a limitation of the medium, and one you sort of just have to accept in a set like this. But coupled with the repetitive and largely uninteresting build, it does prompt the question: is this something that should have been a LEGO set? The LEGO Ideas team recently outlined some of its criteria for selecting sets to Brick Fanatics, including all the parties with a say in the review process.

Beyond just asking where it fits in the portfolio, whether it’s bringing something new and refreshing to the table – as is Ideas’ traditional remit, and as 21332 The Globe certainly does through concept alone – the LEGO Group must surely (and presumably does) ask itself: “Will this make for an entertaining and aesthetically-satisfying product?”

For 21332 The Globe, it perhaps should have thought a bit longer, and asked a bit harder. The finished product definitely resembles a globe, and is absolutely unlike any other LEGO set ever released (except maybe 10143 Death Star II). But if the LEGO Group couldn’t find a way to make the build more interesting, or solve the aesthetic issues, it maybe should have thought twice about giving it the green light.

Of course, that’s making huge presumptions about what the wider market wants from a LEGO set, and its tolerance for accepting what can be done with bricks, plates and tiles. If you’re less concerned about an entertaining build and are happy to overlook those gaps, you’ll probably find a lot to love in 21332 The Globe. Different strokes, etcetera.

— Characters —

21332 The Globe doesn’t include any minifigures, just as Roussel’s original pitch didn’t, and just as it genuinely doesn’t need to. Like so many recent 18+ sets, this is a display piece that sits perfectly outside the LEGO Group’s traditional minifigure-driven wheelhouse.

— Price —

You’ll need to part with £174.99 / $199.99 / €199.99 to pick up 21332 The Globe, and by all accounts that feels like a fairly reasonable and competitive price among the wider LEGO portfolio in 2022. You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck in terms of the price per piece (don’t forget, there are more than 2,500 elements here), even if a lot of them are very small, and the finished product commands a surprising amount of space.

It is an almost entirely hollow ball, though, so the value proposition feels ever so slightly deceptive in that regard. More pressing is just how much enjoyment you’re going to get out of the build, which plays such a pivotal role in the value any set presents that it can’t be overlooked – and especially in 21332 The Globe. If you’re after an entertaining build experience first and foremost, that price may start to sting.

— Pictures —

— Summary —

We’ve come through this review sounding pretty critical of 21332 The Globe, and it’s not without reason, but the 40th LEGO Ideas set has plenty going for it, too. To create such a lightweight sphere that can spin on its axis, anchored into its stand by just a few elements, is no mean feat. Engineering nerds will find a lot to love here – as will parts junkies, given the liberal spread of attractive colours like dark blue and drum-lacquered gold.

That doesn’t make 21332 The Globe an easy recommendation, though. Looking past its two major hang-ups is tough when they form such a major part of the reason most of us buy LEGO sets, and could ultimately prove decisive in whether you make room for this in your LEGO budget. For what could (and perhaps should) have been a home run of a LEGO Ideas set, given how uniquely it’s positioned within the wider portfolio, that’s just a little disappointing.

LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe review 8

This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group.

Support the work that Brick Fanatics does by purchasing your LEGO Ideas sets – whether that’s 21332 The Globe, because it will certainly find a home with plenty of fans, or any of the rest of the mostly-stellar crowdsourced line-up – using our affiliate links. Thank you!

— FAQs —

How long does it take to build LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe?

You’ll spend around three and a half hours putting together LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe, but it might feel like much longer given how repetitive it is.

How many pieces are in LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe?

21332 The Globe includes 2,585 pieces, which is 525 more than fan designer Guillaume Roussel’s original LEGO Ideas submission.

How big is LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe?

LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe measures a full 40cm tall and 26cm wide, including both the sphere and its stand. That’s a decent size for the price tag.

How much does LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe cost?

LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe comes in at £174.99 in the UK, $199.99 in the US and €199.99 in Europe. It’ll be available to purchase from February 1 at LEGO.com and in LEGO Stores.

Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

4 thoughts on “LEGO Ideas 21332 The Globe review

  • 19/02/2022 at 16:13
    Permalink

    This is a great set to build with the family (2 adults, 2 kids), the repeativeness lends itself well to a group build. The kids (age 11 & 9) really enjoyed it, and the final model is amazing. I honestly don’t know how anyone can whinge about the gaps, what do you expect from trying to build a sphere out of blocks? I’m glad it’s regular lego for the surface and they haven’t tried to make it too perfect with special pieces, that would have been a real shame.

    Reply
  • 03/02/2022 at 07:08
    Permalink

    Every Ideas-Set that is not just another license piece preying people’s nostalgia is a good set.

    Reply
  • 18/01/2022 at 13:15
    Permalink

    Their advertisement on social media shows off a Ship in a Bottle alongside this globe. That would’ve been a pretty cool addition to this set, maybe hiding inside the globe and having some mechanism to remove it, like the Super Mario 64 ? Block!

    Reply
  • 18/01/2022 at 10:27
    Permalink

    perhaps more suited to occasional building like the art sets – do a latitude strip (longditude?) a day and spread it out? Those gaps are odd though. Is it a better or worse sphere than the previous death star II? and could it form a decent base for a death star mod?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *