LEGO Ideas 40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures gift-with-purchase review

40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures is a LEGO Ideas gift-with-purchase that brilliantly demonstrates the benefits of turning to the fan community.

From May 16 to 30, or while stocks last, orders of £160 / $160 / €160 at LEGO.com will receive a copy of 40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures, a gift-with-purchase based on a fan concept by Ivan Guerrero.

You may recognise Ivan’s name from 21324 123 Sesame Street, as he was also responsible for taking that LEGO Ideas set to 10,000 votes on the crowdsourcing platform. He’s one of Ideas’ most prolific users, having joined the 10K club on multiple occasions, and his latest successful design comes off the back of last year’s contest to find a future gift-with-purchase.

The Adventures of the USS Cardboard swept the fan poll by more than 700 votes in March 2021, and has now materialised as 40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures.

The best LEGO Ideas sets channel the spirit of their original submissions while improving on them in subtle ways, using elements and graphics only available to the LEGO design team. 40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures certainly fits that brief, expanding the scope of the playful build while reworking other areas to make them more relevant to the set’s target audience.

That means the finished model is far more substantial than Ivan’s initial concept – at least in the bedroom vignette backdrop, which balloons to 12×12 studs and two plates thick at the base – while retaining most of the neat visual touches, from the rocket and (unfortunately not glow-in-the-dark) stars decorating the bedroom walls to the army men littering the floor.

The cardboard rocket itself is almost piece-for-piece identical to Ivan’s design, too, and that’s certainly no bad thing, because it was already a wonderfully-realised model of a spaceship that genuinely looks like it’s constructed from old boxes and packing tape.

Some of the restrictions of the colour palette diminish the effect slightly – there’s too much grey – while the stickers are maybe not as kitsch as Ivan’s (the brown LEGO logo adorned to shipping boxes would have been a neat addition), but the fan designer will likely have little to complain about. Likewise for the flag, which replaces the cute pizza box concept with a recreation of a Classic Space set, suggesting little Timmy here has torn up his dad’s prized possession. Good for him.

Also included in 40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures are a cat and teddy bear, both as per the original submission, though the bear has been upgraded with a mech (presumably to compensate for losing the cardboard clockwork robot) that’s just as inventive in its design as the rest of the set, incorporating roller skates, umbrellas and a whisk.

That standalone mech, fixed on a cool yellow base but also able to stand free of it, effectively sums up what makes 40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures such a winning GWP: would we ever have gotten anything as pure, imaginative and so packed with interesting elements from a regular freebie? Between this and 40487 Sailboat Adventure, here’s hoping the LEGO Group turns to the Ideas community for its gifts-with-purchase more regularly.

£160 / $160 / €160 is no small outlay to acquire 40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures, of course, but it is one that’s at least consistent with previous gifts-with-purchase – including May the 4th’s 40531 Lars Family Homestead Kitchen – and therefore avoids some of the worst excesses of recent GWPs, such as 40532 Vintage Taxi, which was initially available with orders above £200 / $200 / €200.

You’ll be able to secure your copy of 40533 Cosmic Cardboard Adventures by spending at least £160 / $160 / €160 on any and all products from LEGO.com and in LEGO Stores, from May 16 to 30 or while stocks last.

This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group.

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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.

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