Earlier today, LEGO revealed the new 10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft set, celebrating the immensely popular and wholesome Netflix series, Queer Eye.
The LEGO Queer Eye set has a release date of 1 October 2021, and will be available from LEGO.com or your local LEGO Store, and will be priced at US$99.99/AU$169.99.
LEGO are continuing to tap into the some of the biggest pop culture properties this year, following Friends Apartment, Seinfeld already on sale, and Friends Central Perk, and Big Bang Theory before it.
10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft is the next LEGO television series apartment set, but it sets itself apart from its predecessors with its contemporary interior design, but most importantly, the set represents a watershed moment for LEGO as it’s the first LEGO set to depict actual LGBT people as minifigures.
This set is unashamedly Queer, and even having the set name be “Queer Eye” is a step forward for The LEGO Group, following on from Everyone is Awesome from earlier this year that celebrated pride. Fun fact – in an interview with set designer Matthew Ashton, we learned that Queer Eye was meant to launch before the Everyone Is Awesome set!
I’ll be publishing my interview soon, so keep an eye out for that, but in the meantime, read on to see more of the Queer Eye LEGO set!
Regional pricing and links below:
- LEGO 10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft [US] – US$99.99
- LEGO 10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft [AUS] – AU$169.99
- LEGO 10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft [UK] – £89.99
- LEGO 10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft [EU] – €99.99
- LEGO 10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft [CAN] – CA$139.99
Special thanks to LEGO for sending this review set!
Name: Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft
Set Number: 10291
Price: $99.99 [US] | £ 89.99 GBP [UK] | AU$ 169.99 [AUS]
Exclusive to: LEGO.com
Theme: LEGO For Adults / Creator Expert / 18+
Release Date: 1 October 2021
Designer: Matthew Ashton, graphics by Diego Sancho
Buy from LEGO.com [US] [AUS] [UK]
At first, when I first heard murmurs about a Queer Eye LEGO set, I was very apprehensive. Full disclosure, I love the TV show, and have watched most of it, and I really like it, but I wasn’t sure how well it’d translate the fabulous makeover theme into LEGO.
I was also not a fan of the Friends Apartment from earlier this year (lowest scored yet in 2021), and was generally quite tired of the format (Seinfeld coming so soon after didn’t help), so I was dreading yet another 2021 Television Series apartment, but there is more than meets the (queer) eye with this set.
Firstly, what is Queer Eye?
It’s a rebooted version of Queer Eye for a Straight Guy, and is a Netflix makeover series, where expert gay men, give makeovers to hapless straights (but also gay people too!), and give them the tools they need to properly transform themselves. It’s not superficial at all, but the television series is incredibly hopeful, optimistic, inspiring and wholesome, and you might catch some feels.
The series stars are known as the Fab 5: Antoni Porowski, food and wine expert; Tan France, fashion expert; Karamo Brown, culture expert; Bobby Berk, design expert; and Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert, who all chip in to transform people by upskilling them on fashion, cooking, grooming and more – to ultimately help them become better versions of themselves.
It is also unashamedly gay, but that is never the focal point of the show, and the “fabulousness” quickly melts away to reveal so much heart and optimism – something that I think we need more than ever.
What’s the first rule about Fashion? First impressions count, and I audibly gasped when I saw that the Packaging Design team had discarded the bleak black LEGO for Adults box design for this crisp, bright, white design that combines colour, and very handsome visages of the Fab 5.
It works and is a total lewk.
Here’s a look at the Instruction Manual – I love this minifigure reflection design on the front, showcasing the stars and their minifigure counterparts. Also love the psychedelic colours of the Queer Eye logo behind it!
If you didn’t know who the Fab 5 are, or what Queer Eye is all about – the manual does a delightful job introducing you to the show, and the main characters, as well as the typical LEGO Designer features.
They’re all very lovely to read, whether you’re a fan of the show or not.
Another really fun touch, are these little messages from the Fab 5 that litter the instructions – there are so many of them! Each of the Fab 5 members provide quips either about LEGO, or the build, and it’s a really low-fi way of making it seem like you have the Fab 5 accompanying and commentating during the build.
It works really well, and they really captured each person’s essence with these blurbs. Very enjoyable.
Here’s a look at the sticker sheets – the set employs plenty of stickers, which allow the Graphic Design to shine, peppering the set with fun references to the show and LEGO, as well as personal touches, and Easter Eggs.
Like the TV show, the minifigures are truly the stars, and what gives this set plenty of heart – there are seven minifigures included, including 2 versions of Kathi Dooley (you’ll learn more about her soon), and they’re really remarkable, and my favourite thing about the set.
First up, we have Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness and Bobby Berk. Anthony is outfitted with his neckerchief, and denim shorts, Jonathan Van Ness is absolutely fabulous in his silver skirt outfit, and Bobby Berk has orange khakis and a fun shirt on.
LEGO have outdone themselves with just how accurate they’ve made the minifigures look to their real life counterparts. It’s actually remarkable how well they managed to translate so many of the unique features, such as Antoni’s slight smirk, and stubble, to Bobby’s well meaning gaze.
And here is their back prints, and alternate faces – I love Jonathan Van Ness’ “yasssss” exxpression – it’s absolutely perfect.
The two most stylish Queers are Karamo Brown, and Tan France, who are Culture and Fashion experts respectively. Karamo’s ensemble of bomber jackets is quite legendary, and he’s outfitted with a pink one here, whereas Tan has a sand green suit, with a fun speckled shirt beneath.
Bruley, the French Bulldog who made several cameos throughout the series, is immortalised in LEGO form, after passing away in 2019.
Here is Karamo’s back printing, and Tan’s alternate face as well. Fun fact about Tan’s hairpiece, according to designer Matthew Ashton, the hairpiece was designed exclusively for Tan, although it did end up appearing in Everyone is Awesome first due to the release dates being swapped around.
Here’s a look at the smartphone tile included, which I think is new-ish?
Last but not least is Kathi Dooley, from Season 4 of Queer Eye. She is Jonathan Van Ness’ music teacher, from Quincy, Illinois, and undergoes her own transformation when the Fab 5 go back to Jonathan’s old high school. It’s a really special and touching episode, as she was instrumental in helping shape Jonathan’s future, and being comfortable with himself.
There are 2 versions of Kathi, pre and post makeover, and of course she comes with her iconic orange mullet, which Jonathan was more than pleased to chop off.
There are of course alternate clothes available, off the clothes rack – with Karamo in a very schmick floral bomber jacket, Jonathan Van Ness with a “Love is Love” pride shirt, and Antoni with his trademark Leather Biker Jacket.
Oh, and if you were expecting Antoni’s “Thyme is on my side” written on the back, LEGO have given it a bit of a swap, with “Rebuild The World” spray painted on the back.
Karamo’s jacket is seriously sick, and is quite possibly one of my favourite LEGO torsos to date.
There are some of the most detailed, and modern minifigures that LEGO have ever created. I like fashion, so the rich array of clothing options are just sensational, and I must say I am blown away by just how good the printing and graphic design has gotten to make the minifigures so recognisable.
The sheer number of clothes, and outfits for a set that costs US$99.99 is surreal.
Here’s a look at the completed Fab 5 loft, which has several main sections – Jonathan’s salon, a living area with couch, and a large open plan kitchen for Antoni, as well as a clothes section in the back for Tan France.
It’s a tried and true format, but unlike all the other apartments, the Fab 5 Loft (which is based off the Atlanta loft from Season 1 and 2) just oozes contemporary design, and feels like a modern apartment, instead of a ratty old 90s building.
The colours are muted, with greys, black and whites, with plenty of fun pops of colour and of course indoor plants to brighten up the space.
Here’s how the set looks from the back.
Here’s a look at Jonathan’s salon, which features a swivel chair, a mirror, and some bag hooks for satchel bags on the side.
The mirror isn’t the most reflective, but does its job, and you can replay scenes from when Jonathan finally gets to put an end to Kathi Dooley’s mullet.
There is a small “makeover” chamber (cool door by the way), where Kathi can enter as her old self, you spin a gear and she transforms into her new mullet-less self, with better clothes!
Here’s how the play feature works.
Here’s the main couch, which is the primary area that the Fab 5 watch the fruits of their labour, and the climax of the episode. The white couch is pretty interesting, with stickers used for the details of the pillows.
It’s a modern L-shaped couch, and there’s also a glass coffee table, and lounge chair next to it.
And similar to the all the other apartment sets, you can remove the carpet section, which allows you to pose the Fab 5 how you wish.
The colourful rug on the base makes use of printed tiles.
And yes, the entire Fab 5 fit comfortably in this area.
Here’s a look at the widescreen TV and entertainment unit with the large sticker featuring the Fab 5 in LEGO minifigure form, as well as the Queer Eye logo.
There’s also a laptop with a stickered screen.
Over to the right hand side of the apartment, is this large potted plant, as well as a glass panel with the neon sign – Style, Taste, Class printed on it.
This was definitely one of the surprises as I didn’t expect this element to be printed. I did expect it to glow in the dark, but alas, it doesn’t.
Next to it, there’s also a display cabinet, with a few trinkets, and a minifigure statuette in it as well.
To the side of that, there’s also a stickered poster featuring a stylised Fab 5 logo, next to a very cool pipe fixture.
We now step into Antoni’s domain – the kitchen, which is large, and as you can see, makes great use of these gorgeous new white masonry bricks for the back wall.
You get so many of these new white masonry bricks – 85 in total in the set!
There is a large kitchen island with barstools, and an induction cooktop, which makes use of printed tiles, and there is a pot, frying pan, and salt and pepper grinder next to it.
One of the best accessories in the set (and maybe of 2021) is undoubtedly the sliced avocados on a wooden board. The staple food of millennials and Gen Z, this will no doubt be a treat for fans of avocados.
There’s plenty going in the back, but fans of the show and (millennial/Gen Z-speak) will absolutely enjoy this Yaaas Queen stickered poster, that hangs above the kitchen sink area.
The floating shelves are really nice, as is the Espresso Machine and cute little details like bottle of hand wash, and cleaver at the back. In the corner is a white fridge which opens up to reveal..
A well stocked refrigerator, with some oats, ice cream in the freezer, and a carton of orange juice. The label is in Spanish – NaranJitas (which means small oranges) aka Orange Juice, a lovely nod to Diego Sancho’s Spanish heritage.
Over on the other end is a feature wall, with a blackboard, where the Fab 5 brainstorm their makeover ideas – it has some neat little references to LEGO such as a LEGO chair, 2 x 2 brick, but there’s also another personal touch hidden by Diego – which are the blueprints and layout of his mum’s apartment, which such a sweet gesture.
I also liked the chalk/white marker hanging on the wall next to the blackboard.
Last but not least is Tan’s small little corner, hidden away from the Apartment where he has an array of clothes to choose from. There are trousers, and a hanging rack of spare torsos to allow outfit changes.
In the official photos, the shirts are depicted without hands, but I can assure you that there are arms here, which you can of course remove to make it look more realistic.
On the shelves are accessories such as a pink handbag, and wigs at the top, but here lies a rather interesting accessory – a red baseball cap.
It’s 2021, and red caps have a certain political connotation, and my mind immediately went to Season 1 Episode 3, with Cory Waldrop, who tried to brush off owning a MAGA hat, which in certain circles is considered a hate symbol.
I think this was intentional, that this was included in the set, as it demonstrates a unifying message that we can all get along, despite our differences. It’s a very subtle reference, that will be lost to people that have not seen Cory’s episode, but I think this is a very mature gesture from Matthew Ashton to demonstrate that you can extend an olive branch to people who think and believe in different things.
What I liked:
- The minifigure design is exceptional, and sets a very high bar of accuracy
- 7 minifigures wuth so many new clothing options
- Contemporary and modern apartment design
- White masonry bricks – 85 of them!
- So many great nods to the show
- Finally, an 18+ set without a black box
- Feels like exceptional value
What I didn’t like:
- All the new fashion items are mostly for men
- Lots of stickers – I do wish the avocado could’ve been printed
10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft is one of the most pleasant surprises of 2021, and I am amazed at how well this set translated into LEGO form.
I was prepared to be let down, but I really enjoyed just how much was packed into the set, which feels like terrific value.
The minifigures in particular are just sensational, and set a really high bar for Graphic Design, and just how accurate Diego managed to translate the actor’s likenesses onto a minifigure. This is a huge step up, and I wish we’d see this translated to other licensed minifigures.
I personally appreciate and enjoy fashion, so the vast array of clothing options here made me very happy – we get bomber jackets, Antoni’s biker leather jacket, and so many cool prints and fashion forward designs that you just don’t get from other themes or sets – but I do wish we had some extra variety for women.
As for the apartment design, the Fab 5 Loft fills in a niche that LEGO has never quite done – the modern apartment, blending contemporary interior design to make a very swanky looking loft.
Even if you dislike or don’t care about Queer Eye, there is plenty to like here, especially if you’re looking for more minifigure outfits, or just want a contemporary apartment that you can modify, and redecorate to your liking. I challenge you to look past the license, and enjoy the set for what it is – a modern apartment, that’s home to a gaggle of ridiculously stylish and trendy men.
Queer Eye is a phenomenon, and has a very large audience of women, and non-LEGO fans, who will undoubtedly be drawn to this set, so I think this set will do a fabulous job reaching non-traditional LEGO fans, especially fans of the show and Fab 5.
And more importantly, it’s a huge gesture by LEGO in continuing their mission to promote diversity, inclusion and representation, which Matthew Ashton has hinted will continue on in 2022 and beyond.
This is a Danish multinational, that has traditionally only made toys for kids, now depicting gay men in a LEGO set with the word “queer” in its name. Massive points for representation here, and I cannot understate how important this may be for people within the LGBT community.
Lastly, this set also breaks some barriers – with Jonathan Van Ness depicted as a LEGO minifigure, I believe this is the first ever non-binary LEGO character, which is really just astounding to even think about.
10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft is a very nice surprise in 2021, and I think will be one of the breakout sets of the year.
Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★✰
Build  – Not too tedious, or challenging, but I did enjoy the relaxing nature of building furniture, and walls.
Real Value  – This is tremendous value – tons of useful elements and minifigures, for US$99.99
Innovation  – Apart from contemporary design, there aren’t any really innovative techniques here, but the minifigure printing is exceptional.
Coolness  – It’s a modern apartment, and it has tons of contemporary fashion minifigure parts.
Keepability  – Packing so much value, and Queer Eye being a long-running series, I can see this keeping its value well.
Thanks to much for reading my early review of 10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft!
What do you think of the set? Does it appeal to you even if you don’t know, or are not a fan of the series?
10291 Queer Eye The Fab 5 Loft will be released on 1 October 2021, and will be available from LEGO.com or your local LEGO Store, and will be priced at US$99.99/AU$169.99.
Special thanks to LEGO for sending this review copy!
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