Now that the set has officially been revealed, I am very honoured to bring you an early review of 21335 Motorised Lighthouse, LEGO Ideas set #043 that is set to be released on 1 September 2022.
This 2,065-piece set is based on the fan design submitted by Sandro Quattrini, and like the initial concept features a working motorised Lighthouse, which contains a few very fun secrets.
The set has been scaled up to minifigure scale, and is one of the most innovative LEGO sets designed ever, but it’s not for everyone thanks to the lack of an intellectual property (IP) license, and the relatively high price of US$299.99 / AU$469.99 / £249.99.
That said, it’s a gorgeous homage to lighthouses, and is the definitive standard-bearer of LEGO lighthouses which which will be hard to top.
Let’s jump straight into the review and see if we can make the set spill its beans (a reference to Robert Eggers film The Lighthouse, one of my favourite movies in the modern era)
See below for regional pricing and product links:
- 21335 Motorized Lighthouse [US] – US$299.99
- 21335 Motorised Lighthouse [AUS] – AU$469.99
- 21335 Motorised Lighthouse [UK] – £264.99
- 21335 Motorised Lighthouse [EU] – €299.99
- 21335 Motorised Lighthouse [CA] – CAD$379.99
Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set for this review!
21335 Motorized Lighthouse Set Details
Name: Motorized Lighthouse
Set Number: 21335
Price: AU$469.99 | US$299.99 | £249.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA] [UK]
Exclusive to: LEGO.com / LEGO Stores
LEGO Designers: Luka Kapeter, (Senior Model Designer), Claus Tannebæk Madsen (Senior Graphic Designer), Peter de Fine Licht (Senior Play Designer, Elements)
Release Date: 1 September 2022
Let’s address one of the stickier things about the set – the price. This is a very expensive set, there’s no dancing around the fact and unfortunately, as nice as the design is, puts it out of reach for people with modest LEGO budgets.
One of the main reasons (but not the only) is the inclusion of the following Powered Up elements, which Motorise the Lighthouse. (PS: will be using the UK English version of Motorised in this article – apologies to all Americans).
Interestingly, the set comes with a retired motor, 45303 Simple Medium Linear Motor which I don’t believe is in production any more, but adding all the Powered Up components up, that’s almost US$60 (approx AU$98) in total, taking up about 20% of the total price of the set already.
I’m not a Technic or Powered Up aficionado or expert, but from those that I’ve spoken to, I’ve been told that it’s expensive, so for a number of fans who aren’t aware of the cost of motorising their sets, the price might come as a surprise.
Here’s a look at the sticker sheets included – some of the graphic design is great, and we’ll go into them in more detail in the review, but there’s also a reflective sticker sheet used for the Lantern Room.
It’s not all doom and gloom with stickers, as there’s this lovely Aurora Point printed curved tile included. Thank goodness we don’t have to apply a curved sticker. It’s the only graphic element that is viewable from the exterior (except the dinghy), so it works really well in this case.
Here’s a look at the instruction manual, which is split across 2 booklets, one in portrait and one in landscape orientation which I found interesting. It does make sense as the portrait version mostly involves the construction of the tower, and more vertical room makes it easier to follow.
Like all sets aimed at adults, it was a pleasant read to get you into the mood for the set with an introduction to lighthouses and their significance in maritime history, a profile of the designers: Luka Kapeter, (Senior Model Designer), Claus Tannebæk Madsen (Senior Graphic Designer), Peter de Fine Licht (Senior Play Designer, Elements) as well as an introduction to the fan designer Sandro Quattrini and numerous photos of him and his family at lighthouses.
One of the most interesting sections was about the Fresnel Lens, invented in 1821 and helped lighthouses narrow and focus beams of light, increasing their range and intensity.
The most mind-blowing thing is that LEGO developed a tiny working Fresnel lens of their own, which powers the lighthouse, giving it unprecedented accuracy. There’s a lovely shot of some of the prototypes that were made.
And yes, if you were wondering, that is a new dark blue baseplate. It’s always a happy occasion when LEGO introduces new baseplate colours!
The build starts of building the rocky base of the island. The height is not only useful to elevate the model, but also to hide large components like the motor and battery box.
4 big ugly rock pieces (BURPs) are included and used in the base.
Here are some work in progress shots.
Check out this speed build video I posted on my Youtube channel to see how the set comes together!
Overall, the build was very enjoyable. There is a lot of classic LEGO-type building here, and building the Lighthouse Tower was especially enjoyable as it’s quite a rare occasion to build tall models like these.
Despite the Powered Up elements and wires used, they were integrated (and hidden) very well in the set, so much so that you can’t tell that it’s Motorised just by looking at the model from the outside.
Here are the 2 minifigures included, a Lighthouse Keeper, and a Sailor who are dressed in their nautical best. The Lighthouse Keeper is a wise old fellow, with a trim dark grey beard and kind eyes, and I love his dark blue jacket which has a pocket watch printed on it. He comes with a printed compass tile.
That said, the Sailor is my favourite minifigure, with a great colour dark green colour scheme that covers her Fisherman’s Rain Hat (a first in this colour) a matching dark green jacket with brass buttons, and a very stylish fisherman’s rib stitch jumper underneath.
Dual moulded feet with brown boots tie her entire ensemble together.
Here’s a look at their back printing.
Minifigures weren’t included in Sandro’s original design (which was microfig scale), but this is a great move from LEGO as they add so much character, relatibility and playabilty to the model.
And here’s a look at the completed model, standing tall – about 54cm high and making great use of all the real estate of the dark blue baseplate. On its own, it’s a very attractive, and classy model, making it a fantastic display model, or can be easily integrated into the coastline of any LEGO City.
The colours are understated, but work very well, beginning with the dark blue baseplate which does an awesome job of representing the sea, some trans-clear cheese slopes and tiles to simulate waves crashing against the rocks.
Throughout the rocky grey island base, are hits of sand green plants, and slopes, which slowly transition up into an olive green base, where a gleaming lighthouse erupts from the earth, shining crisply in white, punctuated by tan.
The dark red roof tiles add a much-needed pop of colour, and the tip of the Lantern Room features black iron to cap the structure off.
Throughout the base, you can see the craggy rocky exterior, a result of centuries of the waves pummelling the coast, and I like the use of trans-clear cheese slopes and tiles that act as waves breaking against the shore.
There’s a small beach with an anchor enveloped by seaweed.
Oh, there’s also this cool pseudo-BURP which hides the battery! You can easily remove it to access and swap out batteries if your Lighthouse dies.
And there’s also a secret cave with treasure (and a bat!) as well as a Technic lever at the side which you use to turn on and off the motorisation. As the cave is all the way out the back, it’s a really clever way to add an Easter Egg, and also tuck the mechanism in here.
The docks are constructed nicely, and you can moor the white dinghy that the Sailor uses to come ashore. 2 more animals are featured here, a kitten and a seagull!
The white dinghy is really nice, and there’s a sticker with the letters (word?) LEDA on it. I’m not sure of the significance of it, and will ask the designers when I interview them in a few weeks.
Also LEGO are lying, lol. The boat DOES float. But it has stickers on it… so up to you if you want to live dangerously.
The Lightkeeper’s home at the base of the lighthouse is a small but cosy home to shelter from the storms. It uses a great combination of masonry bricks, and tiles/tan gold bars on the corners to give it a brick-built look.
The corners are especially pleasing, giving the exteriors some much-needed 3D texture.
And here’s a look at the Aurora Point printed sign, and lantern hanging out the front.
You can easily lift the roof up to reveal the cramped but cosy interiors.
The interiors are pretty cosy, and when the switch is on, it illuminates the small stove where a teapot is boiling. There’s a quill, and a great printed map of the Gaspesie Peninsula, which Sandro visited during a family trip which stirred up his lifelong love for lighthouses.
On the other end of the room is a bed for the Lighthouse Keeper, and also a ghostly green fish.
Hanging on the walls is this lovely family photo of the Quattrinis – what an honour to be turned into minifigures on a sepia poster!
Here’s a look at the back of the Lighthouse – you can remove the exterior of the lighthouse to reveal some ladders that allow the Lightkeeper to ascend to the Lantern Room.
A nice feature is that the glow of the stove can be seen from the back, and I also love that the house connects seamlessly to the Lighthouse via this short corridor.
In the Lighthouse tower is this portrait of Augustin-Jean Fresnel, inventor of the Fresnel Lens, which is a lovely homage to the historical figure.
Here’s a look at the Lantern Room, which uses clear garage doors to great effect.
Here’s how the lighting and technic axle, which is run all through the tower (yet well hidden) and works to motorise the Lighthouse. It’s simple, yet clever and works flawlessly.
Here’s a look at the mirror – the LED light comes in from the bottom, so to reflect it out into the Fresnel Lens, the designers cleverly used this mirror to achieve their goals – physics!
And here’s how the mirror looks while motorised, without the Fresnel lens.
And here it is, the brand new element that was custom-designed for this set – the LEGO Fresnel Lens. It’s just awe-inspiring that LEGO would go all the way to develop a plastic Fresnel lens, just for this set, but you can’t imagine a working LEGO lighthouse without one anyway.
Elements like these aren’t cheap or easy to develop, and I’m really curious to see where else this is used again.
Here’s a look at the magnification – it’s a lens all right!
And here it is fixed into the light. Combined with the mirrors, this combination allows light to not only be bent, but amplified and focused into a beam.
Here’s how it looks with the light on. Of course this being a lighthouse… it works better in complete darkness.
So off into my coat cabinet to try it out, and of boy does it work satisfyingly well. When tuned on, the lantern room rotates at a healthy pace, and most importantly, the light, focused by the fresnel lens does seem to have a lot more power.
It’s hard to get the “beam” effect but I’ll be tinkering with it this weekend to see if I can make it happen.
A really cool thing is just how the rings of light look on the wall, which really showcases the Fresnel lens at work.
What I liked:
- Does the original fan design justice and takes it to the next level
- Motorisation works like a charm
- LEGO developing a brand new Fresnel lens
- Minifgures add so much story and character to the set
- New dark blue baseplate!
- A fantastic display piece
What I didn’t like:
- Set’s retail price is very high, putting it out of reach of most people
- Could use more seagulls at this price
- Area outside the house is sparse
- Will feel extra costly if you already own the Powered Up parts
There’s a lot to like about 21335 Motorised Lighthouse, but most of all, it absolutely delivers on its promise – a working LEGO lighthouse with some cunning LEGO element wizardry inside to make it all work.
For those that enjoy maritime history, or feel a magnetic pull of Lighthouses, or the roaring sea hammering against the coast, sets like these will absolutely be a siren song to you.
Lighthouses are popular tourist attractions, and still play an important role to this day, even if technology has made Lighthouse Keepers largely redundant.
It’s a great display model, a tall monolith that’s unassuming at the same time, and incredibly gorgeous when on display. It has height, a great colour scheme, and (weakly) lights up a room when you flick a switch.
The Fresnel Lens and dark blue base plate should make LEGO element enthusiasts very happy, and in my head, does justify the price slightly.
The price is going to be the largest stumbling block for this set – at US$299.99 / AU$469.99 that’s a BIG purchase, and looking at LEGO’s portfolio, there are numerous sets you could get at or around that price range like the Boutique Hotel, Disney Castle (+US$50), Sanctum Sanctorum or Home Alone.
This is a very competitive price-range which means that you’ll only want the very best experience, and while this is a marvellous build and gorgeous exhibition of LEGO engineering and design, it is also very niche and won’t appeal to everyone.
A lot can be blamed at the Powered Up components, which I’ve wrestled with but ultimately come to the conclusion that they’re absolutely necessary to do what it’s meant to do. A more budget option could be LEGO releasing a version of the set without Powered Up, to save on costs, and allow those that don’t want the light, or want to use their own parts, but I can imagine that would be very complicated.
Maybe more stuff could’ve improved the value proposition – the area outside the house is quite sparse, and a well or some extra things would be nice, or you know, just chuck in like 5 seagulls because one just isn’t enough. Bad luck to kill a seabird.
That said, this is the price of Powered Up, and R&D required to develop the Fresnel lens, and while the sticker price is high, if you have the means to buy this set, you’ll be greeted by one of the most unique and daring LEGO sets created that will shine bright and stand tall in your collection.
History will be kind to this set, much kinder than this review.
Oh if you’re planning on buying one, make sure you have enough AA batteries on hand before you begin the build!
Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★✰
Build  – A really fun build, with great techniques to hide wires/axles, as well as a varied journey
Real Value  – The total sum of the parts do not really meet the asking price, especially in this post-price rise LEGO world
Innovation  – LEGO developing a Fresnel lens specifically or this set is outstanding
Coolness  – I like what this set stands for, is such a unique experience
Keepability  – This is a gorgeous set that will be hard to put away.
Thanks so much for reading this review of 21335 Motorised Lighthouse. Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set over for an early review!
What do you think of LEGO’s efforts here with the Motorised Lighthouse? Is LEGO asking too much for this set?
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