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Set Review: 21032 - Sydney Skyline

Feb 16, 2017 2:15 am
by Joe Meno
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21032 - Sydney Skyline
Review by Geoff Gray – BrickJournal Photo Editor

Sydney Australia joins the list of cities throughout the world that The LEGO Group has modeled in their Architecture series called “Skyline.” BrickJournal recently received a copy of the set 21032 – Sydney from The LEGO Group for review.

The following is our opinion of the set and the Architecture series in general.


Photo courtesy of The LEGO Group.

The Set
From the very beginning, the Architecture series has had a unique purpose, vision and place in the lineup of LEGO sets. It is meant to inspire people to explore architecture, engineering, history, design and even travel, while providing the same LEGO build experience you can get with Creator sets. From the first set released in the current Architecture line (#21005 - Fallingwater) in 2009, the company has used the same core layouts and design philosophy for all the sets:

1. Models of Iconic buildings throughout the world.
2. Distinctive artwork that combines photos with blueprints for the packaging.
3. Historical facts and photos/diagrams at the beginning of every instruction booklet.
4. Basic LEGO elements for the design of the model itself.

The Skyline series took the concept one step further by deciding to model the “profiles” of cities through use of well-known landmarks for each city chosen. In New York for instance, they chose the Statue of Liberty, The Flatiron Building, The Chrysler Tower, the Empire State Building and the new Freedom Tower (World Trade Center). For the Sydney model, they chose four landmarks:

• The Sydney Opera House
• Sydney Harbour Bridge
• Sydney Tower
• Deutsche Bank Place


A picture of the back of the box showing the four landmarks included in the model.

I was already familiar with the first three landmarks listed above, but did not know about the fourth (the Deutsche Bank Place). Now that I have read the beginning of the instruction booklet, I know who designed it, when it was built and even the fact that the design had to consider the “need to ensure sufficient sunlight for the surrounding public spaces.” Details like that are a nice touch and show that when the company designs an Architecture set, they really do their homework.

The Build

set contents

The contents of the set prior to assembly. Photo courtesy of Peggy Gray

I found the Sydney Skyline build to be very similar to the New York build. You start by creating the overall base of the model, which includes the individual building foundations. Then you add the structures one at a time from one side to the other. For the most part, you will build the bulk of the structure separately and then attach it to the base in sections (the one notable exception was the Empire State Building in the New York model, which was built primarily directly on the base). The use of trans-blue tiles shows the water, and the addition of a couple of 1x2 tiles with vertical teeth gives the illusion of a light chop to the water under the bridge.


In the middle of the build.

There are a few interesting facts sprinkled throughout the instruction booklet. For instance, on page 61 (the last step of the main bridge assembly) there is a sentence that talks about how the builders tested the bridge’s load capacity. There is a fact on page 66 about the Bank’s design to allow plenty of light and air throughout the building (I will not spoil the surprise about how the testing was done. You need to read the booklet).

The last couple of pages of the booklet offer a glimpse of some of the other sets in the Architecture line, but they do not use photos to show the sets. They use wireframe renderings of the elevations of the sets, which is a style of art that I really love.


Graphic taken from the instruction booklet for the Sydney set. Courtesy of The LEGO Group.

I think that all the Architecture sets are well designed and laid out. If you enjoy anything about the landmark(s) being modeled, then you will really enjoy the set. I think the coolest feature of the Sydney set is the ability to represent the Opera House at such a small scale. The other buildings and the bridge are also well done, but the Opera House is something that is so iconic that it will be the most critiqued part of the model. Fortunately, the designers got it right.


The LEGO Group asked for any pictures of the set taken with the actual skyline. Since it would be a 22 hour flight for me to get there, I did the next best thing and put the set in front of a picture on our TV.

I would also say that even though I focused this review on the Sydney Skyline, the others are worth looking at. The design for the Freedom Tower in the New York set is also extremely well done. I have not yet built the London Skyline, but it is on my wish list. The company has also put a fair amount of thought into the Architecture website, offering more insight into the models as well as interactive maps showing where the buildings reside within the cities. They also have some very nice photography there:


Image taken from The LEGO Group’s Architecture website.

Footnote: We featured Fallingwater and the Architecture line as our cover story in BrickJournal Vol2 Issue7, available at Amazon.