Price: £19.99/$19.99/€19.99 Pieces: 204 Available: Now
Pandas are an in-trend animal at the moment, featuring on plenty of weird and wacky merchandise. With their little ears, big noses and comical patches around the eyes, they definitely have the cute factor. So it’s no wonder they’re a popular critter to find in the Minecraft video game, but how does this blocky cuteness translate into 21158 The Panda Nursery?
One of the characteristic charms of LEGO Minecraft sets is the blocky nature of the models, recreating the aesthetic of the game itself, but 21158 The Panda Nursery takes this to an extreme. Almost everything is extremely simplified. If it weren’t for some of the fiddly little details the LEGO Group could easily have branded this set into the 4+ category.
The nursery is an open enclosure, but it’s only big enough for one panda and there’s no hint of trying to care for the animals whatsoever. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the set, because in Minecraft animal husbandry is not a huge part of the game. Alex’s rooftop camp above the nursery is a bit more successful, with some nice details like a torch to keep hostile mobs at bay, and a newly printed 2×2 round tile representing a cake. Biologists would definitely not recommend feeding pandas cake, but in the LEGO world anything is possible.
A much more interesting part of the build is the environment. Although it’s rather small, using four 6×12 plates, it is really nicely detailed. While three bamboo trees might not quite represent the 12-40kg (20-40lb) of food that pandas need to eat each day, their design is great. Bright green and dark tan are a really good colour-combo, effectively recreating the distinctive segments in which bamboo grows, whilst being different heights adds some nice building variety.
Built from various black and white plates, topped with tiles for a smooth finish, the baby panda looks adorable, however the adult panda looks quite weird and very static, using 1×3 arches for legs and having no pose-ability to the body. Considering how small the ocelot is at only three studs long, it actually looks really nice, especially the hinged plate as a bushy tail.
Perhaps the biggest problem for 21158 The Panda Nursery is that it lacks some playability. Once the novelty of caring for the animals has worn off, there unfortunately isn’t much for fans to do with the model, and other LEGO sets at the same price tag offer much more replay-ability.
This product was provided for review by the LEGO Group.