Today in Billund, Denmark, the LEGO House has announced the next set in their exclusive limited series, available for purchase only at the LEGO store on-site. LEGO House 40505 LEGO Building Systems is 1,211 pieces celebrating the LEGO system of play with representations of its three pillars: Duplo, System, and Technic. And while we could go on with our usual statistical analysis of the new set, as we have done for past sets in this series, The Brothers Brick was provided a copy of the set for review and an opportunity to talk with one of the set’s designers: LEGO House Master Builder Stuart Harris. So instead, we’ll get to talk more about this set announcement as we build it below. And for those headed to the LEGO House in search of this set, it’ll be available in their exclusive LEGO store only starting March 1st for a price of 699 DKK (around $100 USD | $140 CAD | £80 GBP | €94 EUR) and a limit of 3 per household.

The unboxing

The front of the box is emblazoned with the graphics of the LEGO House and a picture of the final model. In the right upper corner, a gold box denotes the limited nature of this set, as well as its order in the series. While the age range identifies the set being for those 10 or older, the subject matter of the set is definitely geared toward those wizened in the history of The LEGO Group. The copy that was sent for review was autographed by the designers LEGO House Master Builder Stuart Harris and LEGO Set Designer Markus Rollbühler. Frequent TBB readers are likely already familiar with Markus’s unofficial creations featured on the site.

The back of the box shows all five of the LEGO House sets. Stuart and Markus have worked together on four of these kits, developing a strong working relationship that has turned out some terrific models. There’s also a blurb talking about the inspiration for this set and the three historical LEGO sets featured in the build. Oh, and there’s also a shot of the back of LEGO Building Systems here. But we’ll talk much more about that when we get to building it later on.

Within the box, we find 16 numbered bags of clear plastic, two unnumbered bags, and the instruction manual. We’ll take a look at the bags as we build the set, but for now we should focus on that booklet. There are several pages dedicated to LEGO House and it’s mission, the history of the LEGO System in Play, the sets that serve as inspiration for this build, and those lesser-known building systems that aren’t represented here like Primo, Bionicle, and Modulex.

The build

The build begins with construction of the central section, dedicated to LEGO System bricks. Bages 1-3 are cracked open and combine with some additional pieces from the unnumbered ones. These quickly come together to form a base for the first micro model. Tiles with a few exposed studs are employed to allow the mini-model to separate from the stand, and exposed Technic axles portend connections to the neighboring sections.

The dark gray background with gold highlights not only offers a great contrast to the bright colors of the micro models, but it also has ties back to the LEGO House. So much of what this set represents comes back to the History Collection, the section of the House that acts as a LEGO museum. More than the other sets in this series, 40505 LEGO Building Systems is using the examples from the history of the toy to depict the larger concept of interconnectivity, the system that first allowed the plastic bricks to “grow up” with a child from Duplo up to Technic. Stuart talked about walking through this section of the House every day to and from his office. And who wouldn’t be inspired with so much history at their fingertips. Below is a shot from inside the History Collection (from the LEGO House’s website) for comparison with the model’s backdrop.

Getting back to the build, bags 4 and 5 combine together to make the base of our first mini-model. This collection of tiles, plates, and jumpers starts laying the plans for the rest of this System representation.

With bags 6 and 7, the Town Plan finally takes form. This lovely layout represents the first spark of a building system from within The LEGO Group back in the late ’50s. Acting as a subtheme, Town Plan offered individual buildings that could be added to a larger map, along with trees and vehicles to create a singular “mega-toy” from all these smaller models. It was the start of what would become a long history of interconnectivity between sets. This representation is well-thought-out and instantly recognizable. As a huge fan of microscale, I adore all the intricate representations via a minimal brick count. And of course, a Town Plan layout holds a place of honor at the LEGO House’s History Collection.

Bags 8 and 9 form up the Duplo section to the left of System. The biggest question here is why we have a recreation of a Duplo brick from System pieces instead of the part itself. During our interview, Stuart was kind enough to inform me of product safety standards that must be honored, which leads to a wedge between Duplo the other systems, at least as far as their appearance in sets is concerned. Still, the parts will always work with one another, with a 4x4x2 square of LEGO bricks equaling one Duplo 2×2 block, as shown in the backdrop on this section.

When it came time to pick the iconic set to represent Duplo, the LEGO House once again delivered with its giant kid-sized Duplo train. While the one we build from bags 10 and 11 looks far more like 1046 Train Set than the LEGO House version, it nonetheless remains an icon of the system. This is quite a deceptively-intricate portion of the build, going to great lengths to get the right number of wheels on the locomotive with the proper spacing, a functional tipper-car, and a track that appropriately fits the wheels while still showcasing those standard Duplo rail bends. For as few parts as it uses, it’s quite the train, and it all connects to the base on a single jumper element as shown below.

Finally, we come to the Technic section off to the right of the model. Bags 12 and 13 bring the base to life, this time with a blue color scheme.

With bag 14, the Technic representation in this historic tour of LEGO system development. Harkening back to 1977, 853 Car Chassis is the fundamental representation of any Technic car. Even recent models still boil down to the fundamentals displayed here, though the parts and complexity have changed significantly. This was the logic in selecting the Car Chassis for the third section on this model. There’s no actual connection here holding the car in place. Instead, it rests between two 1×1 round bricks at an angle. They do a great job of adding X/Z stability, just no flipping the model over!

Now, as much as I adored making those 3 mini-models, its with these last 2 bags of parts that the fun really begins! Those who have read my coverage of microscale creations before know that I absolutely love at particular medium. Cobbling together a nanoscale facsimile in LEGO is one of the great challenges of this hobby, in my opinion. So when I found out the back of this model houses 19 nanoscale sets from the history of LEGO, my heart skipped a beat. Let’s crack open bags 15 and 16 and get to work, shall we?

Moving across the model’s back from left to right, we have representations of the iconic LEGO wooden duck pull toy, an early house, the wooden fire truck, and one of the vehicles from Town Plan. The next section brings a nanoscale train, the first LEGO castle, the first Duplo set, the first Technic forklift, and a Classic Space ship. The third section of shelves has a Duplo train, Black Seas Barracuda, a Duplo farm, the Technic space shuttle, and LEGO Mindstorms. And finally, moving into more modern sets, we have Bionicle, the Temple of Airjitzu from Ninjago, the LEGO Ideas treehouse, a Technic crane, and a Friends house.

The designs on these nano-models are phenomenal! Working without illegal connections, Markus has given us a tour of LEGO history, with some specific highlights that are quite meaningful to me (looking at you, Bionicle and canister). You probably also noticed the empty space at the end, but we’ll talk more about that later.

These last bags also have two printed 1×8 tiles, with the model name and “LEGO House” on them. These pats go on the front, and are a standard addition to all models in the LEGO House series. I’ve included a shot of the printed pieces on their own, along with the other printed 1×1 tile used as a crosswalk in Town Plan.

The finished model

With everything together, this display piece is ready for the shelf. As the sections have come together, they’re “connected” by a loose axle in a Technic pin hole. While this technique can tend to create gaps if trying to abut the system representations in a straight line, I would much rather have the loose connection to prevent the abrupt jerk that sometimes happens when trying to remove an axle from an axle hole. It’s important to note that the modularity of this set is just begging for more sections honoring the other LEGO systems. After talking with Stuart, I see a Bionicle representation being added to my copy in the near future. But the real question is, who will dare to take on Galidor?

Completing the model

“But Kyle,” you say, “How can you complete the model after you finish building it?” As the model was first presented, and reinforced by Stuart during our interview, that blank spot on the back of the model is for you, the builder, to fill in. Dip into your collection, spin up a nanoscale set from your personal LEGO history, and add it to the collection. Talking with Stuart, he’s got a Fabuland build to work on for his mini-museum. I’ve decided to add a rendition of one of my most memorable sets from my childhood: 6959 Lunar Launch Site. The Christmas I found that set under the tree has remained one of my most vivid childhood memories, and the Spyrius LEGO Space faction continues to be my favorite theme. I’ll be honest, the importance of this set didn’t fully hit me until I placed my mini-LLS among the other nano builds.

Conclusions and recommendations

It’s hard to provide real recommendations on a set that’s only available from one LEGO store in the world. If any of us LEGO fans are lucky enough to make it to Billund, Denmark and take in all the experiences at the “Home of the Brick,” of course we’re going to take advantage of all the limited edition sets that are there. If you’re not walking out with all 5, you may never get another chance to collect them. Independent of any recommendation I provide, opportunity will be the driving factor. And as far as recommending a trip to LEGO House, I’m afraid I can’t comment on that, as I’ve never been.

But I can comment on the quality and ingenuity of the set I just built, which are both outstanding! There is no better homage to the history of The LEGO Group available in a box. It’s a symphony of LEGO’s basic colors, coming together in familiar forms to tell the story of how we all got here, both the company and its fans. And while other sets in this series may represent specific points in time (the company’s entry into toys, theme parks and model making, engineering advancement, and iconic pieces), 40505 LEGO Building Systems wants to take you on a journey through it all. For that reason, Stuart and Markus can chalk this up as a big success! So while I know you’re buying all 5 of these LEGO House exclusives when you visit Billund, maybe put this one in the cart first.

With 1,211 bricks, and available exclusively at the LEGO store at the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark, LEGO House 40505 LEGO Building Systems is hits the shelves starting March 1st and retails for 699 DKK (about $100 USD | $140 CAD | £80 GBP | €94 EUR)

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