LEGO Architecture 21030 United States Capitol Building Building Set Review
It has been nine long months since Lego released its first batch of Architecture sets for 2016 – Namely three city skylines, the Lego 21031 Burj Khalifa build, the Lego 21029 Buckingham Palace build, and lastly, the Lego 21030 United States Capitol Building.
All of the skyline builds were fantastic, but we do like more accurate and finely detailed models of famous real-life structures, and the US Capitol build seems to fit the bill quite nicely.
The US Capitol building is the official home of the United States Congress. It also houses the seat of the legislative branch in the United States Federal Government. The building is located on top of Capitol Hill in Washington DC. It was first completed in 1800, and gradually expanded over time, with the addition of additional chambers meant for the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, expanded chambers for the bicameral legislature, and the giant dome roof.
Much like the buildings created for the United States’ judicial and executive branches, the US Capitol building carries a neoclassical style and is painted with a white exterior.
The entire build is packaged right inside a black-colored flip lid box, which is the standard box for Lego Architecture builds. It is probably the second biggest build in the Architecture theme, after the Lego 21010 Robie House build. All of the 1032 parts in the 21030 aren’t placed inside numbered bags. Plenty of them are comprised of tiny bricks and tiles measuring 1 x 1. This includes over 178 white headlight bricks.
The construction starts at the base, and once the first 33 steps are finished, the 18d x 56w is now ready for the tiles and plates, along with the soon-to-be-added walls. It’s not really that exciting when you line up all of the 1 x 1 tiles, but this just pales in comparison when you compare it to the next part of the construction.
The side and frontal walls of the build are entirely comprised of headlight bricks, all stacked together and measuring three feet high. If you’re a perfectionist like some of us are, you’ll definitely want to take your precious time into lining them all up, even though you can see that a lot of these bricks are covered by Fence 1 x 4x2 W.4 Knobs, which are supposed to hide the imperfections of the build.
A lot of the headlight bricks included here have already been mounted with a square hole that faces outwards. This is supposed to represent a window. And because of this, the side stud projects inwards. To accommodate this, which slightly protrudes from the dimensions of the average bricks (measuring 1 x 2 and 1 x 1), Lego Technic part (1 x 1) and other parts of the build that get used whenever there is a need for a huge wall, the headlight brick stud fits in nicely right inside its holes.
Stacking up the 1 x 1 bricks are a tad bit precarious, until you hold them firmly into place with the help of those grey plates. Meanwhile, the roof of the building comes together pretty nicely.
The last part of the construction is the dome. It is loosely attached on top of one row of brick studs, allowing you to remove it if you want to take a look at the rotunda found underneath. The Statue of Freedom stands nice and proud on top.
The aspects of the build that capture your attention when you first lay your eyes on the completed build is its size. It’s a pretty huge build – Measuring over 44 centimeters x 14 centimeters. The second is the amount of detail that went into it, namely the columns and the windows.
It’s a completely unavoidable fact that on a build of this scale, the amount of columns and windows attached to won’t be the same as its real-life counterpart, but that doesn’t really matter.
Sometimes we can’t help but compare the 21030 to its real-life counterpart, especially with the backside of the building, since this is the part of the US Capitol building that has been photographed the most.
The back doesn’t even contain any additional details whatsoever. In fact, the curved fences utilized for the rotunda make it look all pale and ghastly. But it doesn’t really matter, since you will only most likely see the front side of the build when you put it on display.
As mentioned, you can lift off the dome to take a peek at the statues of former US presidents inside the rotunda. This is a welcome sight, especially for a Lego Architecture build since most of them do not contain any interior designs, or are only sparsely decorated.
The amount of detail afforded to its frontal side goes all the way towards the sides of the building.
The Lego 21030 is a set that completely takes plenty of time and effort to be built. And once you’re done doing so, it’s truly worth it. If you’re the type of builder who likes to connect a couple of pieces together in order to build up a Lego Architecture model created in no time at all, then the 21030 is not the build for you. But if you have enough time spare or want to savor every single moment of the construction, to exert loads of time in putting in every element, to make sure that everything is completely lined up, then this build is highly recommended. And once you’re through with it, you’ll feel nothing but a strong sense of achievement.
The set is a really good display piece, and we can highly recommend this to Lego Architecture fans, or any other adult builder that wants to find a good, yet challenging build.
We feel like it’s only fair to say that we’re biased towards the Lego 21030, and towards Lego Architecture builds in general. So when the early photos of the build, along with the Buckingham palace build first showed up on the internet, we were immediately stunned.
Sometimes we have made attempts to construct a Lego Architecture build without the aid of an instructional booklet, but we figured that the 21030 was a tad bit too large to try and construct it in that way.
We like Lego builds that are able to capture the most classic examples of a certain architectural design. Neoclassical architecture, in particular, is so wonderful to create thanks to Lego. We had hoped that constructing a Lego model of the US Capitol Building would invoke the same feelings as constructing the Lego White House build.
The 21030 is comprised of mostly white bricks, and the selection of parts really does reflect this. This set, in fact, contains a rather obscene amount of white bricks. There are a total of 178 headlight bricks, all measuring 1 x 1. This is over 17 percent of the bricks found inside the box. It’s currently a rather expensive piece of white brick – Each individual brick costs over $0.09 per piece. But we feel like the prices will eventually come down once the set officially goes on sale.
The other expensive parts found in the build are a handful of tiny telescopes, quarter domes measuring 3 x 3, as well as a spindled fence. And beyond all of that, we also get to see a wonderful assortment of elements in a sand-green hue, a couple of plates in an olive shade, and a combination of parts in both light and dark grey.
As mentioned, the entire construction process starts off very slowly, since you have to construct the base followed by the foliage and the street level paths. This would actually be okay if it weren’t for a huge amount of 1 x 1 bricks and tiles, which are very difficult to line up in an orderly manner.
The next part of the build is short, but swift – There’s a couple of rows in the back comprised of simple bricks. And once again the whole construction process slows down after that, while you gradually line up then attach all of the 178 headlight bricks over the next 40 steps. This is one of Lego’s most repetitive builds so far, especially since the huge model has to be completely symmetrical – It’ll look terribly awkward if it doesn’t. Meanwhile, a tiny benefit in the middle of all this building has got to be the part where you build up the gallery of statues underneath the gigantic dome.
It’s a good thing that the brick picks up again right after that. The rough outward appearance of the several highlight brick rows is immediately remedied, after you begin installing the columns that cover up these bricks.
The building’s outward appearance gradually begins to form when you add in several layers of tile and plate, as well as the main roof line. The techniques builders normally use to build up that huge dome are highly effective too, since it creates a good layer of columns, along with plenty of other details.