Fan designer Ivan Guerrero (aka Bulldoozer) has had plenty of success with his LEGO Ideas submissions in recent years, having been the creator of both 21324 123 Sesame Street and the gift-with-purchase 40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures. Now his latest concept has become yet another physical LEGO Ideas set, with the arrival of 21346 Family Tree, the winning entry in a 2022 contest hosted in partnership with Target.
The 1,040-piece LEGO Ideas build expands on Ivan’s original design in a number of interesting ways, pushing the premise of an ever-evolving brick-built family tree even further. The thinking behind the model allows for photographs, notes, ticket stubs and other ephemera to be attached via the 16 included hanging holders, so that the set grows and become more customised over time.
The theme’s 54th release to date, the 18+ model has the opportunity to deliver something truly innovative, building on Ivan’s creation and taking the model to new heights. So does 21346 Family Tree manage to hit the mark? Read on to find out what we thought of the latest LEGO Ideas set…
— LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree set details —
Theme: LEGO Ideas Set name: 21346 Family Tree Release: February 1, 2024
Price: £79.99 / $79.99 / €89.99 Pieces: 1,040
LEGO: Pre-order now, ships February 1
— Where to buy LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree —
— LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree build —
There was certainly plenty to appreciate in Ivan’s winning LEGO Ideas submission, the brightly-coloured Your Family Tree, intended to be a ‘living’ map of the designer’s ancestry. Small photo frames were hung from branches, offering up the kind of brick-built canvas that families could use to display images of their loved ones and grow over time.
Fortunately, 21346 Family Tree retains that initial concept, although the set has changed somewhat since it was selected for further development. As with Ivan’s original design, the LEGO Ideas model consists of a sturdy black tree trunk standing on a grassy green display base, complete with red and orange foliage which contrasts perfectly with the rest of the set’s colour scheme.
21346 Family Tree then takes that starting point and adds to it, swapping out the photo frames for new orange and black 2×2 plate photo holders plus a hidden three-section storage compartment, and throwing in enough tiny accessories to allow builders to enhance the model further, customising the LEGO Ideas set depending on the seasons.
There’s definitely plenty to enjoy when constructing 21346 Family Tree, with the solid base being the starting point and offering the perfect place to keep all of those easy-to-lose additional pieces. A printed ‘Our Family’ tile adds a neat finishing touch (replacing the original’s ‘Our Family Tree) and there’s plenty of room to add bunches of flowers dotted around the LEGO Ideas model.
Although Ivan initially played around with a potential white trunk for 21346 Family Tree, the black version is more striking and offers some contrast when compared to similar builds such as 21318 Tree House and 21326 Winnie the Pooh. A selection of colourful bird houses are situated around each side and there’s even a clever Easter egg hidden inside the truck (hint: you can spot it in our gallery images below).
Where 21346 Family Tree starts to become a little shaky (quite literally) is with the construction of its branches. This part of the build is assembled in three separate sections, with the repetitive nature of adding multiple leaf pieces and colourful flowers proving to be a tiresome, time-consuming and major part of the process.
Each completed layer of branches is then placed on top of the next, completing the look of 21346 Family Tree, but offering up a rather fragile and rickety competed model. Finishing touches come in the shape of a pair of birds nesting on a leaf, a tiny toy plane lodged in the branches, a stray kite stuck up high and a new printed butterfly element based on a species native to Ivan’s Philippines home (Graphium idaeoides).
There are more subtle touches lower down, with the top of the base covered in pumpkins, a red and white picnic blanket that includes a book with a printed gold family tree front cover, a simple ladder, toadstools and an easel with three stickered painting images. The latter portrays sections of the tree itself and can be swapped around as required.
The 16 photo holders included with 21346 Family Tree are surprisingly versatile new elements, allowing for paper and card-based memories to be slotted into them, either from above or below, and hung on tiny red horn pieces for hooks. They seem to stay in place quite well when scattered around the completed LEGO Ideas model, although it is easy to knock them off when moving the build.
However, that’s one of the main downsides of 21346 Family Tree. You’ll need to pick up the main section of the build and lift it away to access the hidden storage compartment from time to time, which can result in photo holders being dislodged, branches being moved out of position and various elements being nudged around by accident. The top of the tree in particular seems quite susceptible to damage and constantly requires leaves to be pushed back into place or slight tweaks to return the set to its former glory.
That being said, there’s still plenty to enjoy about 21346 Family Tree and there’s no doubt the LEGO Ideas set will be appealing to a specific audience. The ability to customise the model, adding new images to the photo holders, swapping out foliage to different hues as the seasons change and the option to add more copies of 21346 Family Tree to your collection to grow your own brick-built memory forest are easily its key selling points.
— LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree characters —
One major change from Ivan’s original LEGO Ideas submission has been the removal of its minifigure family. The set’s designers could have opted to follow the example of 21337 Table Football and include multiple minifigure parts for builders to add in their own family members. The team ultimately felt that the notion of exactly what a family means to people is different for everyone and that adding minifigures would have limited what could potentially be achieved with the model.
Any possible minifigure parts have therefore fallen by the wayside to be replaced by a selection of accessories including two birds, a butterfly, binoculars, roller skates, flower elements, a magnifying glass, a basket and many other useful pieces.
— LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree price —
There’s certainly no denying that you get plenty of bang for your buck when it comes to 21346 Family Tree. The set includes 1,040 pieces for £79.99 / $79.99 / €89.99, with a huge number of those elements available for customising the completed build.
While you may never actually get round to using all of the supplied parts, the option to have them there and be able to personalise 21346 Family Tree, truly making it your own, is one of the LEGO Ideas sets most impressive highlights.
— LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree pictures —
— LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree pros and cons —
There’s plenty to appreciate in 21346 Family Tree, with the 54th LEGO Ideas set offering up a unique model that can grow and change over time. The inclusion of the new photo holder elements represents another point in the build’s favour and we’re interested to see how the pieces could be used in future LEGO models.
However, there’s no denying that 21346 Family Tree does have a number of shortcomings. The fragile nature of the set doesn’t do it any favours, especially as you’ll need to move and handle it in order to reach accessories and update the build in the years to come. Likewise, the lack of minifigure parts is understandable but regrettable, as a selection of those elements could really have given the LEGO Ideas model a big boost.
|21346 Family Tree pros
|21346 Family Tree cons
|Set can be added to and customised as required
|Model is fragile and prone to damage
|New photo holder elements work really well
|Branches and foliage need constant repositioning
|Multiple accessories included for personalising the build
|Lack of any minifigure elements
|Sticks closely to the look of the original submission
21346 Family Tree set was provided by the LEGO Group.
— Alternatives to LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree —
There are a couple of fun alternate tree-based builds options that might just be what you’re looking for. 21318 Tree House stands over 37cm high and includes 3,036 pieces plus four minifigures for £214.99 / $249.99 / €249.99. The LEGO Ideas set also comes with interchangeable plant-based elements, as well as a wind-up crane, landscape base and multiple accessories.
If you’re after something that’s a bit smaller and more affordable, then you could always pick up 10281 Bonsai Tree for £44.99 / $49.99 / €49.99 with 878 pieces or 40648 Money Tree, a 336-piece build priced at £21.99 / $24.99 / €24.99.
— LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree FAQs —
How long does it take to build LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree?
LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree takes about two straight hours to construct, with plenty of options for customising the build afterwards.
How many pieces are in LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree?
There are 1,040 pieces included with LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree, as well as a small sticker sheet. You’ll need to provide your own photos though.
How big is LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree?
LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree measures over 29cm high, 18cm wide and 18cm deep. Removing the tree from the storage base reduces its height by about 4cm.
How much does LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree cost?
LEGO Ideas 21346 Family Tree can be pre-ordered now and will ship from February 1. The set is priced at £79.99 in the UK, $79.99 in the US and €89.99 in Europe.
- From video game journalism to kids’ publishing, I’ve been there, seen it, done it and worn the T-shirt. I was also the editor of the first-ever official LEGO magazine way back when, LEGO Adventures. I have a passion for movies, comic books, tech and video games, with a wallet that’s struggling to keep up with my LEGO set wish list.