The LEGO Group have a great deal of admiration for London, over the past few years there have been over 15 sets directly inspired by the UK’s capital city. Previous LEGO® sets have featured London landmarks and iconic vehicles. The latest London-themed build comes from LEGO Ideas and fan builder John Cramp. This prolific builder has crafted numerous LEGO sets and finally, one of his designs was chosen to become the latest LEGO Ideas release. The 55th LEGO Ideas set recreates a slice of London life, with a classic red telephone box on a cobbled London street. Here’s an early look at the Red London Telephone Box.
Set Name: Red London Telephone Box | Set Number: 21347 | Pieces: 1460 | Theme: LEGO Ideas
RRP: £99.99/$114.99/114.99€ | Number of Bags: Bags x 11 + loose elements | Instructions: Paper booklet + Builder App | Stickers: Sheet x 1 | Insiders QR: Yes | Fan Designer: John Cramp
Availability: LEGO Stores, LEGO Online & General Retail
As mentioned above, this is the latest LEGO set to be inspired by a fan designer. Each LEGO Ideas set is based on an original design, created by some amazing LEGO fans. But this one is a little bit special as it was designed by a fellow Leicester LEGO fan. Apart from living in the same county, I played zero part in the set’s creation but I’m still excited to see someone local to me getting one of their designs transformed into a LEGO set and I’m genuinely pleased for John. You can learn more about John and the history of the classic red telephone boxes in the set’s instruction booklet.
London is filled with iconic locations, transportation and objects, which are instantly recognisable globally. That includes the red telephone box. Long before mobile phones, streets across the UK were dotted with red kiosks which housed telephones. The K2 design was the most prolific before more modern-day designs replaced many of them. Some of the red telephone boxes remain today, with many of them having different uses such as mini libraries or housing defibrillators. Regardless of their past or current use, they are an iconic piece of British history and this LEGO replica captures that nicely.
The build begins with the phonebox and features a lot of similar build techniques due to the similar appearance of the kiosk. It may not seem like it, due to them being a single colour but the old K2 phoneboxes have little flourishes which add to their appearance. Capturing these on such a smaller scale is even more difficult but the fluted architrave which borders the window panes is achieved through a mix of side-slide plates and grilles. The sides of the phonebox along with the door, are all lined with transparent window panels. These have been changed from the fan design and are much narrower. I’m sure the change is related to the overall design of the set, but I prefer the wider panes of the original design as these match the appearance of the actual phonebox.
Another impressive detail is the interior light found in the ceiling of the phonebox. It may seem that adding a light brick would be simple but it requires a clever technique to not only have it partly exposed inside the phonebox but also to have a means to easily illuminate it. A platform of bricks, which features a light brick is built separately from the phonebox and neatly fits in the gap at the top of it. Then another separate section sits over the top of it. This has a button which can then activate the light brick. This top section also features several printed elements to recreate the iconic ‘Telephone’ sign and the crown insignia moulded into the roof of every telephone box.
Once the phonebox is complete, you have the option to create two different interiors. One is based on the traditional rotary phone and the other is the modern-day phone system introduced in the 90s. Both options use some of the same pieces so you can’t swap them out without a little rebuilding. Both interiors feature various stickered elements, these are packed with Easter Eggs. Some relate to past LEGO Ideas sets such as the Jazz Quartet and the Typewriter. Others are connected to London such as the London Bus and LEGOLAND ads. Some are a little more obscure as they relate to fan designer, John’s family including the initials of his children and his wedding anniversary replacing the telephone numbers.
The base has undergone the most change from John’s design. It may have lost the red postbox from the original design, but it has been expanded. The larger base is designed to ape a cobbled London street, with various tile elements used to recreate it. The base is decorated with an old-style street lamp, iron railings and a little extra colour through a pair of hanging baskets and a planter. Another stickered element can be found here, this features a LEGO twist on a London street sign. The expanded base also means it can double as a phone stand. I’m sure someone will find some way to incorporate a wireless charger into it.
LEGO Ideas continues to be one of the most varied and enjoyable to build LEGO themes. This is a great example of how an original idea can result in an interesting LEGO set. The build, although a little fiddly in places due to the small pieces or similar sections, is still great fun. Although the set has lost the postbox, the expanded base adds even more character to it. The Red London Telephone Box will be available from February 4th, with Insiders early access from February 1st.
The LEGO Group provided this set for review purposes. The thoughts within this review are those of BricksFanz.com and do not reflect those of the LEGO Group. Providing the set for free does not guarantee a favourable opinion of the set.