The extent of interests and subjects which inspire LEGO® products is immense. So much so that it’s expanded far beyond the usual entertainment brands to include clothing, sport and music. Now art can be added to that list with the latest addition to the LEGO Ideas range. Inspired by the original fan design created by Truman Cheng, the 44th Ideas set recreates the famous painting of Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. The Starry Night was painted back in 1889 and is inspired by the view from Van Gogh’s room in a local asylum. It shows an imaginary village inhabiting the valley he could see through the window. This iconic painting is now on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It’s certainly an interesting subject to translate into a LEGO set but is it fun to build and does it make a great display piece? Ahead of its early access release on May 25th, Here’s my review of the LEGO Ideas Starry Night set.
Build creativity. Build concentration. Build your own 3D LEGO® brick version of one of Vincent van Gogh’s most celebrated artworks, The Starry Night, which can be seen at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Discover innovative building techniques to capture Van Gogh’s swirling brushstrokes, and hang your completed masterpiece by the hook on a wall or display it freestanding. This wonderfully detailed LEGO Ideas model (21333) comes with an adjustable display arm on which the Vincent van Gogh minifigure can stand with his paintbrush, palette and easel.
Find your artistic groove
A super treat for yourself or a home decor gift idea for other art lovers, this collectible model includes instructions to guide every step of your immersive, creative experience.
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- Set Name: Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night
- Set Number: 31333
- Pieces: 2316
- RRP: £149.99/$169.99/169.99€
- Number of Bags: Bags x 9 + loose elements
- Stickers: N/A
- Minifigures: Vincent Van Gogh
- Instructions: Booklet x 1 + LEGO Building Instructions App
- Availability: LEGO Stores, LEGO Online & MOMA stores from June 1st, early VIP access from May 25th
Now it’s not the biggest Ideas set in terms of piece count or scale, but it is still a fairly hefty set coming in at 2316-pieces. A lot of small parts are used to recreate this famous piece of art. But this isn’t just a fancy variant of the LEGO ART range, this is a completely unique recreation of one of Van Gogh’s most loved pieces of work. Its history is covered in the instructions, along with details on fan designer, Truman Cheng and the LEGO Design Team, who transformed his original vision into the set you’ll get to build.
As the set offers a 3D take on the painting, it provides a layered view of the village set against the star-speckled night sky. The build begins with the imaginary village sitting in the foreground of the painting. Here the set is more like a traditional LEGO build, although you’d be hard-pressed to tell exactly what you are constructing at first. The village scape is built in two sections and is mostly made up of layered plates and bricks. Once joined, they form the foundation for the rest of the build.
Behind the village is the part of the set which is closest to being painting-like. It’s a little daunting at first, especially when you tip out numerous bags of elements for a single numbered stage of the build. In order to achieve a paint-like effect, the sky part of the build, which is also the backing of the scene, is constructed with multiple layers of mainly 1×2 and 1×4 plates. The mixture of light blue, pale blue, bright blue and dark blue plates do an interesting job of almost evoking the strokes of a brush. You’ll notice the sky backdrop features a series of 2×2 side bracket elements, which are topped with a 2×2 single stud plate. These act as connection points for a handful of printed disc elements as well as another collection of layered detail in the swirls of clouds but before those get added, the ‘painting’ needs to be framed.
The picture is surrounded by a simple black frame, the mixture of black plates, bricks and curved bricks, creates a hefty frame; which perfectly surrounds the 3D painting. It also includes a ‘kick-stand’ of sorts, which helps to stabilise the set depending on how you display as well as helping to connect the final aspect of the build. With the frame complete, the layered sky and partly constructed village sit within the frame and with a little general press, the two sections connect together. Rund the back you’ll find one of the hanging bricks introduced in the LEGO ART sets. Although, it’s a risky set to put on the wall, unless the wall is in an area no one will be passing by it.
At this point, the set has a lot going on and looks fairly impressive. But there is still plenty more to add to finish off Van Gogh’s masterpiece. A selection of different sized and printed discs are used to represent the bright stars shining in the night sky along with the moon. Obviously, these are a little abstract and unusually coloured as they were in the original painting. The swirls of clouds use a similar technique of layering plates, but they combine with various slope elements to add a little more shape to them. The clouds are then connected to the sections on the backdrop, which haven’t had discs popped on them. The clever combination of elements and colours is used to create beautiful rolling clouds, which stand out nicely against the darker base of the night sky.
In the final part of the build, a tangle of trees dominates the foreground of the painting. I’m no art critic, but it feels like this represents Van Gogh’s torment, as it uses dark colours and shape lines compared to the soft lines and brighter colours of the night sky. It also acts as a blight on the tranquillity of the rest of the picture. That’s a little deep for a LEGO set review. This twist of trees slots into a section left within the village scape.
With the brick-built painting complete, the finishing touch is a small platform, which is attached to the little stand leg on the right of the picture. This is where you can mount the included Vincent Van Gogh minifigure and his painting easel. The minifigure is a great likeness of the artist, who has painted a couple of self-portraits. I really love this minifigure because of the little brush strokes it features. It looks like it’s been painted and it nicely combines with the painted feel of the rest of the set. This section also includes a small paint easel, which contains a printed plate also showing the Starry Night painting.
It’s an impressive set, both in terms of the build experience and its appearance. As I opened several bags for just one number step, it was a little daunting but I really enjoyed the build, especially the sky section. The use of 1x plates does a nice job of capturing Van Gogh’s painting style as well as seeming a little like brush strokes. The 3D layering of the image gives the set a great visual appeal. However, I really would not display this on a wall unless it was somewhere out the way. In other words, the 3D aspect of the set, especially with the minifigure easel attached, makes it stick out a lot and if it was on a wall it could easily be caught.
+ Fantastic build experience
+ Very detailed
+ Van Gogh’s ‘painted’ minifigure
+ Will be a set to garner interest beyond the LEGO community
– Random bricks purposely left over and there’s no reason
– It may have limited appeal
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 a set for free does not guarantee a favourable opinion of the set.