LEGO Creator Expert 10253 Big Ben Building Kit Review
Lego 10253’s Big Ben Build Equates to Big Fun
London’s Elizabeth Tower – More popularly known as the Big Ben – Is nothing short of iconic. Completed in 1859 by architect Augustus Pugin, the tower has often been considered as a British cultural icon and is most likely the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the English capital. After its completion, clockmaker Ian Westworth referred to it as perhaps the largest and most accurate four-faced chiming clock in the entire world.
Lego has decided to bring you a little piece of this British landmark to your home thanks to their Lego 10253 – The Big Ben build. The company’s own direct-to-consumer range usually brings about some of the most popular 2016 Lego sets amongst its older fans, particularly young adults. However, over the past couple of months, their releases have been a hit-or-miss amongst its loyal fans, since they did not reach their standards too much. All that changed when Lego news announced the release of the Big Ben build.
After its release last May, the Big Ben build has received an overwhelmingly positive response from both Lego Creator and fans alike. Much like the real Big Ben, this build is connected to another popular UK icon, the Palace of Westminster. Something of this magnitude (the real Big Ben measures 96 meters) seems really fitting to get its own Lego build.
The front side of the box shows the build in its entirety, both showcasing the Big Ben tower and the Palace of Westminster build. This shot looks perfect especially with the row of buildings found at the back. Aside from that, you can also find the usual Lego Creator Expert logo on the upper right corner of the box, just on top of the tower build itself, along with smaller pictures that show the measurements of the build.
Meanwhile, the backside of the box shows the whole build with fireworks in the background – A common occurrence during major celebrations in London, such as New Year’s Eve or the Queen’s birthday. The entire lighting does not exactly capture the majestic orange hue that the Palace of Westminster sports during the nighttime, which is a brilliant sight to behold in real life. That aside, the model still looks incredible against the starry background. Once again, smaller panels will showcase a couple of the building’s subtler details.
Similar to the other booklets found inside the Lego Adventures series, such as the Lego 10252, the Lego 10253’s box also contains an instruction manual that reveals facts about the real Big Ben building. There are a total of 27 labeled bags, the first seven filled with Lego bricks, and the rest holding in the bigger elements of the build. Also included are four sets of tools. An interesting thing we discovered about the box’s contents is that six bags are kept inside a smaller white box – And the contents found in those six bags don’t really hold anything important, so we’re not exactly certain why those bags were kept away from the rest.
As usual, the construction starts at the base – The whole build stands on three green plates measuring 16 x 16, all connected by extra plates beneath. The first few stages of assembling the Big Ben build remind us of a build from Lego’s Modular Building sets, since the bricks and tiles here are all arranged in a random pattern. It’s not until later on that these studs serve their purpose, and lend a helping hand to the build.
Constructing this model means that you have to repeat certain building patterns over and over again, and this is especially obvious during the first parts of the build, while assembling its lower wall sections. This is clearly unavoidable, given the look of the actual structure. Usage of some really amazing techniques that deal with the inversion of several pieces will keep you interested in this build – One of the notable techniques is found at the base of the Speaker’s Tower, in which the corner panels are placed upside down to create a smoother outer surface.
The whole structure continues to rise as you open up the third bag of bricks. This part is pretty much similar to the last one, and requires more repetitive stacking of 1 x 1 bricks, to create windows and the exterior. The end result looks delightful, but placing hundreds of bricks and making sure that they all have the same angle is somewhat taxing.
The next part of the build is the Speaker’s Tower, with the angle of the build finally changing up. More windows and statue figures are placed around the build, as well as the roof of the tower itself and one segment of the clock tower. This portion of the build is relatively simple to construct, but the change is always welcome – In fact, we also enjoyed constructing this portion, since it deals with using a mixture of larger, structural components and tinier details.
The fifth bag holds in all of the pieces needed to construct the Elizabeth Tower’s two modules. These pretty much look the same, but you can connect them to each other without much difficulty – And they’re not as repetitive as we had expected. The middle part of the structure utilizes a whole assortment of giant piece, which guarantee a very sturdy design. Meanwhile, panels found outside are fixed sideways with the help of brackets, to show off a vertical façade instead of a horizontal one. Door rails and 1 x 2 plates play a vital role here, with 250 pieces used in the whole build.
The portion is the roof is up next, and with that, the whole Palace of Westminster is finished. Fixing all 52 pieces of 1 x 1 clips found on top of the roof might seem tedious, but they still look wonderful when finished. You can use the same type of technique for the remaining models. The roof of the actual palace is in fact littered with a whole assortment of organic shapes that slightly resemble fleur de lis, but when it comes to the build, these tiny clips will do the trick.
The main highlight of the entire build just so happens to be the final part of construction, as the Big Ben’s clock and bell are put into place. Once again, this requires repetitive use of connecting blocks, but this time, you have to incorporate taps as well. These taps come in a tan color, and, if completed, create the carved stonework. The part found beneath the clock is impressive, as well as the assembly of the clock itself.
All in all, it takes you at least nine hours to construct the Lego 10253 Big Ben build from start to end – Of course it’s alright for you to take breaks in between building. The building time reminds us of the Lego 60110, which also took ten hours to finish. The entire look of the Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster requires you to stack up blocks in a repetitive pattern, however, this is inevitable and it might even wear you out during the process. The handful of unusual building techniques don’t even balance out the monotonous stacking, in our honest opinion – But the final look of the building is definitely worth it in the end.
The entire set copies the northern wing of the Palace of Westminster – In real life, it includes a portion of the Speaker’s Tower, the Speaker’s House, and of course, the Elizabeth Tower. We think the model itself looks absolutely spectacular, filled to the brim with details right across the front and back sides of the tower. It captures the essence of the Neo-Gothic style that the actual tower possesses.
The build’s size is impressive as well, measuring at least 60cm. It’s much taller than Lego’s other Big Ben build from the Architecture set (the Lego 21013), and the Lego 60125, which has a width of 43 cm and a depth measuring 19 cm. Thanks to the Lego 10253’s dimension, the build comes across as a highly versatile display piece – Which, despite its towering height, fits quite nicely into a small space.
The Speaker’s Tower portion of the build is connected to the part of the build that resembles the River Thames, represented by a blue plate. The tower itself looks a tad bit plain as compared to the remainder of the building, but it’s still very realistic-looking. We also liked the tooth pieces that form the carved shield in front of the tower, while the windows found on the side protrude slightly, and are attached on both the top and bottom of the jumper plates. Clips make sure the panel is tightly secured in the middle.
So to sum it all up, the Big Ben build is a breathtaking model in itself – No matter which angle you look at it, this build looks as spectacular as the landmark it takes after. No amount of detail is spared. And furthermore, the tiny little statues found inside the build are finely detailed too, while the arrangement of the windows is pretty much an exact replica of the actual tower. The Big Ben build costs $249.00, which we think is excellent – Based on the amount of pieces and the magnitude of the entire model.