LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat review

Can LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat convince you to buy a plastic replica of your favourite pet? Well, at least this one won’t walk over your face in the middle of the night…

That’s the hope, anyway. Originally submitted to LEGO Ideas by Damien Andres, 21349 Tuxedo Cat is the first time the LEGO Group has tackled this animal at this scale and with this much realism (distinguishing it from the cartoonish 43247 Young Simba the Lion King launching the very same day), and in doing so it’s hoping to reach possibly the widest target market on the internet, or perhaps in the world: people who love cats.

To achieve that it will need to not only pass for a convincing cat, but also deliver an engaging build and somehow convey just the right amount of character and personality in plastic bricks. A tall order, for sure – but if anyone can pull it off, it’s the team in Billund. So will 21349 Tuxedo Cat be a purr-fect prospect?

— LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat set details —

Theme: LEGO Ideas Set name: 21349 Tuxedo Cat Release date: June 1, 2024

lego

Price: £89.99 / $99.99 / €99.99 Pieces: 1,710 Minifigures: 0

LEGO: Order now

As modelled by Brick Fanatics‘ resident tuxedo cat Kiki.

— Where to buy LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat —

LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat will be available from LEGO.com and in LEGO Stores from June 1, and is available to pre-order now. It might also show up at a third-party retailer a few months down the line. It’s hard to say. Cats are unpredictable creatures.

— LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat build —

Unless this is your first rodeo with LEGO bricks, you probably know what to expect going into 21349 Tuxedo Cat. But you know what? This might just be someone’s first experience with LEGO bricks – such is the universal power of cats – and for them, this is definitely going to deliver. Building up a central hollow core and then attaching the framework around it may not surprise those of us who have been in this game longer than we care to admit, but remember the first time you saw it executed as well as this and how impressed you were. It’s novel to someone right now, just as it was novel to us once.

That’s mostly how 21349 Tuxedo Cat comes together, anyway, but even for veteran fans there are some fun little techniques to savour along the way. The tail mixes together well-worn slopes with newer tiles and corner plates with credible (if not incredible) results, and there’s some fascinating stuff going on in the head to capture the specific shaping of this black-and-white moggy.

And black and white it is, rather than the Siamese-Birman cross Damian originally pitched to LEGO Ideas. But there was precedent for switching to this inevitably more universal colour scheme: Damian’s first pre-Ideas build was black, and he published a recoloured black version of the finished submission as an update while it was still gathering votes. The switch makes perfect sense, anyway, broadening the appeal of 21349 Tuxedo Cat to a much wider audience.

But no matter the colours of its coat, what’s really impressive about 21349 Tuxedo Cat is how it will have you second-guessing yourself from pretty much the minute you walk out of the room. Catch it in your peripheral vision and you’ll find yourself thinking, ‘Yep, there’s my cat on the table,’ before the penny drops a moment later and you realise you’ve been fooled again. (Just think how much weirder this scenario will be if you don’t even own a cat.)

The point is that it’s a reasonable enough facsimile of a real-life cat to make you take a second glance, and if that isn’t the total and unlimited power of a LEGO cat then we don’t know what is. It’s not faultless: the dome elements that make up the top of its head are enough to break the illusion when the light catches them just right, and Damian’s original approach of slopes protruding forward from the centre of the head – without having personally tested its feasibility as an actual LEGO set, just to note – does look streets ahead.

But pop it somewhere the light won’t give the impression that it’s wearing a hat, or better still pop it at an angle (it’s so convincing from the back), and that qualm evaporates. That’s not to downplay it, though: it’s still the one major flaw with this otherwise near-perfect LEGO cat. Minor flaws abound too, like a lack of whiskers (tricky to pull off at this scale with any realism, admittedly) and only modest articulation around the ears, paws, tail and neck.

They’re offset a little by the interchangeable eyes and mouth – although the mouth that hangs slightly open doesn’t really look like any cat we know – which go some way to offering customisation in what’s an otherwise fairly rigid set. And it doesn’t look like it’ll be terribly easy to recolour: there are some large elements here that limit things to block colours, so hard luck to all the calico cat parents out there.

All that said, 21349 Tuxedo Cat does an admirable job of achieving what it sets out to do: build a reasonable and convincing approximation of a life-sized black and white cat from LEGO bricks. You really won’t find much to grumble about here, and if you do happen to own any real-life tuxedo cats, it will never fail to make you smile.

— LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat price —

21349 Tuxedo Cat comes in at just £89.99 / $99.99 / €99.99, which from a price-per-piece perspective makes it one of the best-value sets in recent memory. That metric isn’t always reliable, but it feels apt here in a way that it rarely does in this age of LEGO sets bulked out by tiny elements, because there are plenty of bigger pieces and the finished product is hefty in both weight and stature.

The result is that you genuinely won’t come away feeling short-changed. And it’s cheaper than owning a real cat…

— LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat pictures —

— LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat pros and cons —

There’s little higher praise we can bestow on 21349 Tuxedo Cat than to say that it has already fooled us more than once into believing it’s the real deal. There’s room for improvement for sure, but as a first pass at a mass-market life-size LEGO cat, this is going to find plenty of forever homes from June.

LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat prosLEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat cons
Almost purr-fect shapingIs that a forehead or a hat?
Good enough to fool you into thinking it’s the real dealNo whiskers
That rare LEGO set you won’t need to wait for a sale onLimited articulation

This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group.

Support the work that Brick Fanatics does by purchasing your LEGO using our affiliate links.

— Alternatives to LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat —

This might have been a tricky section to fill just a month ago, but cat lovers are spoilt for choice come June. Debuting alongside 21349 Tuxedo Cat are 43243 Simba the Lion King Cub and 43247 Young Simba the Lion King, each at different ends of the spectrum and both offering something different to this LEGO Ideas moggy. If you prefer your cats big and jungle-y, there’s always 31129 Majestic Tiger or 31150 Wild Safari Animalslion.

— LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat FAQs —

How long does LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat take to build?

If you really wanted to – say, if you were on a deadline to review it – you could build LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat in a little under two hours. We wouldn’t recommend it, though. Best to take your time…

How many pieces are in LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat?

21349 Tuxedo Cat includes 1,710 pieces, which gives it one of the best price-per-piece ratios of any LEGO Ideas set. There are some pretty big pieces here too, so you’ll feel the value.

How big is LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat?

LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat stands 32cm tall, 16cm wide and 20cm deep, so it’s roughly life-sized – at least for a young cat. The real-life cat modelling in this review is three and a half years old, for reference.

How much does LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat cost?

LEGO Ideas 21349 Tuxedo Cat retails for £89.99 / $99.99 / €99.99 and is available to pre-order now ahead of its June 1 release date.

Author Profile

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.

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.

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