For the past 10 years, LEGO® Ideas has been the source of some impressive sets. Whilst the license releases are pretty cool, it’s the original ideas which have truly shown of the creativity of the LEGO fan community. Since the NASA Saturn V set proved there was a market for larger sets, the eagerness for bigger builds has grown. Along with the huge space rocket, we’ve since had the highly detailed Old Fishing Store, which shares similar DNA with the latest LEGO Ideas set. A Treehouse evokes a level of childlike magic, which captures the imagination of kids and adults alike. A feeling captured within this new set. But is it a tree-mendous set or does it need felling? Read on for my review of set 21318: LEGO Ideas Treehouse.
Build, display and play with this intricately detailed, 3,036-piece LEGO® Ideas 21318 Tree House playset. A complex build for experienced LEGO builders that all the family will love to play with, it features a landscape base and 3 LEGO tree house cabins—a main bedroom, bathroom and kids’ room. The tree has interchangeable sets of green summer leaf elements and yellow and brown fall leaf elements—these and various plant elements on the base are all made from sustainable-plant-based polyethylene plastic—and the treetop and cabin roofs are removable to allow easy access. The model is packed with play-inspiring features including a buildable picnic table and seats, swing, bonfire, treasure map and hidden gem element to play out a treasure hunt, and a wind-up crane on the balcony of the bedroom cabin. A great birthday gift, this unique creative toy comes with mom, dad and kids minifigures, plus a bird figure, to role-play fun family scenes. It also includes a booklet with building instructions and information about this LEGO Ideas set’s fan creator and LEGO designer.
- Set Name: Treehouse
- Set Number: 21318
- Pieces: 748
- RRP: £179.99 | $199.99 | €199.99
- Measurements: Measures over 37cm high, 27cm wide and 24cm deep
- Availability: Exclusive to LEGO Brand Retail Stores & shop.LEGO.com
Journey To 10K
Fan builder Kevin Feeser posted his Treehouse project to LEGO Ideas in 2017 and within 4 months it had achieved the required 10,000 supporters to move on to the official review stage. Almost a year on in late October, it was announced that the project had been approved to become a future LEGO Ideas set, along with The Flintstones set. The original project build took Kevin around 300 hours to perfect, rebuilding it many times in order to get the right look and be within the required piece count. You can learn more about Kevin and César Carvalhosa Soares, the LEGO Designer who turned the original project into the set you see here; in the sets instruction manual.
I was expecting the base of the set to be a 32×32 base plate, which aren’t always the best options for building upon. So I was glad to see that the set is actually made up numerous plate elements. Not only does this provide a much more stable base, but it allows the section around the tree to be jagged. This helps to give it a more natural look. Although much of the base is completed at the start of the build, the various details dotted around it are added later on.
There are a number of neat little features dotted around the base of the tree. A little campfire warming a cooking pot, a table to eat a family meal around, a swing and best of all, a little stream. Although the focus is the tree, these details really add some character to an already visually striking set. Once the base is complete, work begins on the trunk of the tree. The inner structure of the tree is another impressive build technique from an Ideas set. A mixture of 1x2x1 bricks, often used in the BrickHeadz range, along with a series of plate shafts; help to give the trunk a rounded appearance. The inner structure is clad in various brown plates, which use a mixture of different brown tones. Various sized bow elements help to portray the roots of the mighty trees and the various branches. Even though the trunk is mass of brown, there are a couple of fun details, including a printed piece featuring the fan designers initials and a couple of trunk ends.
As you build the trunk of the tree, you also add a trio of large branches, these are the anchor points for the three cabins. These are each built independently from the main structure and each one is packed with detail. The best thing is you don’t realise exactly what your building, then you piece the sections together and boom there’s a toilet, a bunk bed or rickety shower. There are three cabins – a master bedroom, the kids room and a bathroom. Despite each of these being quite small spaces, they are each packed with so much detail, it quite surprising.
Once each cabin is complete, they are topped with a removable roof. When I first saw how these just sat on a colour-coded groove, I didn’t think they would be very stable but the remain in place quite well. Now this isn’t just some little treehouse built in an average back garden, this is a luxury woodland getaway. So there no ambling up an old ladder, instead there is an amazing spiralling stairway, which leads to a series of walkways around each cabin. Even these are packing some fun little features including a telescope and a working crane to easily get supplies to the upper sections of the tree.
Once the main structure is complete, the final task is to give it some foliage. There are various sized branches each featuring different amounts of leaf elements. Each branch is connected in a number of different ways. Bigger branches are connected by a pair of click hinges, other simply with rod element. This mix of sizes, help to give the treetop and lovely layered and natural look. The entire top section of branches can be removed to provide better access to the cabins.
One of the most intersting things about the set, is the ability to switch seasons, by changing its many leaves. The standard build features a mixture of bright green and dark green leaf elements. These can all be completely replaced with a selection of yellow and dark oranges leaves. Now before I physically changed them, I was dreading it. There are a lot of leaves and I thought it would of made more sense to have, not only two sets of leaves but also the elements needed to build the branches. But after changing the leaves over, it was a fairly easy process and quite fun. I used the instructions and just went backwards but it’s fairly easy to decipher, as all you are doing is swapping green for yellow and dark green for ark orange. As I was swapping the leaves over I thought it looked quite cool with a mixture of both. Showing a tree fading from Summer into Autumn. I enjoyed the swap over so much I’m tempted to get some white leaves to create a winter version. But the white leave elements are a little difficult to get hold of at a decent price.
The set includes four Minifigures, two adults – one male, one female along with two kids, again one male, one female. When images of the set first found their way online, there was a little bit of an uproar, regarding the lack of female characters. But as you can see this isn’t the case and one of the many downsides to having fuzzy pictures pinging around social media. According to the teaser video posted yesterday the Minifigures represent a family know as the Brickson’s, who planted the tree and watched it grow. Each Minifigure is pretty standard, and similar to what you’d find in many LEGO City sets. It’s fair to say the focus of the set is the Treehouse, the Minifigures are a nice addition.
I must admit I didn’t pay the original Ideas project that much attention, but the resulting set is great fun to build and looks amazing once complete. The level of detail across the set is quite impressive, from hidden secrets within the base to all the mod cons inside the cabins. It’s just one of those sets that make you smile each time you look at it. I like that the leaves can be switched to change the seasons, and yes I was dreading the changing them all. But it wasn’t as bad as I expected and I actually enjoyed doing it. There are a couple of issues, firstly the instructions really could have done with outlanded highlighting where certain elements or sections should be placed. The only reason I say this is because it’s a busy looking set and it can sometimes be hard to see exactly where some of the pieces go. I would also have likes to have see some more animals. With the set having such a heavy natural focus, a couple more birds to sit in the branches, or a couple of rabbits pottering around the campsite, even a duck swimming along the stream would have really brought the set to life. These are minor gripes for what is an impressive set that is a great build, bursting with details and an important LEGO milestone, thanks to the masses of sustainable elements.
This set was provided to BricksFanz by the LEGO Group for purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are that of BricksFanz and do not reflect those of the LEGO Group. Providing the set for free, does not guarantee a favourable opinion of the set.