21335 Motorised Lighthouse is an upcoming addition to the LEGO Ideas range. It’s distinguished by its use of a motor and a new bespoke Fresnel lens element, which helps to focus the light properly. This is a feature of real lighthouses, and helps to set the model apart from previous LEGO lighthouse sets.
However, the gap between them may not be as wide as you may think. Several LEGO lighthouse models have demonstrated unexpected innovation in their building techniques.
31051 Lighthouse Point, for instance, adopts a simple modular design. This allows the different components of the set to be shuffled around, changing its configuration from a tall model to one more spread out. It also includes a light brick to guide your LEGO ships to safety.
70594 The Lighthouse Siege is far more of a playset, offering features like an external zipline and various minifigures to play with. The lighthouse itself is filled with concealed deterrents: a trapdoor that deposits visitors in a prison cell, bombs that can be dropped from its midsection, and a spring-loaded protectile fired from beneath a table. There’s also a ladder that drops down when the lighthouse is unfolded, and – of course – the requisite light brick in the top.
While 70431 The Lighthouse of Darkness lacks the light brick, it does offer a more ghoulish flavour – something that 75903 Haunted Lighthouse also touched upon. To aid its AR functionality the light can be twisted round to reveal a spooky eyeball, while sections of the tower unfold to reveal fangs. However, the best feature may not be in the lighthouse itself. A pair of claws can be made to emerge from the nearby rocks, reflecting the theme’s broader use of smart mechanisms.
21335 Motorised Lighthouse is certainly the most appealing in terms of its subject matter; it does what we need a premium lighthouse model to do. But in a way, it’s best understood in a greater context; as a subject matter with much greater LEGO potential than we might have expected.