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Review: LEGO 21338 A-Frame Cabin

21338 A-Frame Cabin is the first LEGO Ideas set of 2023, and boy, is it a way to kick start the LEGO Ideas year.

Based on a design by Andrea Lattanzio, this delightfully rustic cabin has been transformed ever so slightly by the LEGO Ideas team into what I think is one of the most satisfying LEGO Ideas sets ever, and one that LEGO fans should keep their eyes on, when it launches on LEGO.com on 1 February 2023.

It’s a fantastic design and build, and really surprised me with the overall experience, and just how great it looks on display, with some cunning details sprinkled throughout. LEGO really brought their a-game with this set, and seasoned LEGO fans are going to adore just how good this set is.

Without further ado, grab your hiking boots, and let’s head into the woods for my review!

See below for regional pricing and product page links.

If you’re picking up the LEGO A-Frame Cabin, please consider using these affiliate links as I may receive a small commission with each purchase that helps support the work I do here on the blog.

Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set for this review!

21338 A-Frame Cabin Set Details

Name: A-Frame Cabin
Set Number: 21338
Pieces: 2,082 pieces
Price: AU$279.99 | US$179.99 | £159.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA] [UK]
Exclusive to: LEGO.com / LEGO Stores
Theme: Ideas
LEGO Designers: Justin Ramsden, Ollie Gregory, Kenza Faten Statova (graphics), Woon Tze Chee
Release Date: 1 February 2022 (VIPs)]

Here’s a look at the instructions manual, which comes in two booklets featuring these charming illustrations (by Ashwin Visser) of the A-Frame Cabin, both during the day and at night.

I really like the design, and am glad it isn’t the plain boring render on the front, and from this point, the illustrations really establish the kind of vibe that LEGO are going for with this set.

Like most LEGO sets aimed at adults, there’s an introduction section to the the A-Frame Cabin, and how the rustic, nature-centric designs are an antidote to the busyness of modern life. There’s also a profile of fan designer Andrea Lattanzio, and the design team, made up of LEGO Design heavyweights Justin Ramsden, Ollie Gregory, Kenza Faten Statova (graphics), Woon Tze Chee.

From the names alone, you can already tell that this set is something special, as it’s a venerable who’s who of LEGO design, and LEGO aren’t pulling any punches with this set.

The Build

The build experience took me by surprise. It’s varied, engaging, interesting and most of all FUN! There are so many neat little clever techniques, and the build also flows very nicely, so you’re always working on something different, with very little repetition in between.

Here’s a bag by bag journey of how the set comes together.

I would also describe the building experience as modular-esque, in how complete it feels. There’s a bit of everything, from structural builds, to nature landscaping, to foliage, to interior furniture and even plenty of relaxing tile sections, and the part where you’re utilising dozens of Thor Hammers for the masonry below the Cabin was a particularly fun one.

Like walks through nature, this build had me enthralled and was a lovely reminder of just how fun LEGO building can be.

Oh, and there’s also this cool Italy flag Easter Egg tucked into the foundations,a nod to the fan designer’s heritage, as well as an acorn tile!

Oh, and to sweeten the deal, I was delighted to find no sticker sheet, which is always a reliable indicator at how good a set is. Here’s a selection of printed parts included in the set, to whet your appetite.

And here’s the completed model – it’s not the biggest set, but you could probably smash it out in an afternoon if you wanted to just because the build does encourage you to want to complete the next bag, but it’s in no way cumbersome.

It’s quite a sizable set, but still within the goldilocks zone where it’s not too large that it’s awkward to display, but not small enough where you lose details and complexity.

The LEGO A-Frame Cabin’s dimensions are 10″ (24cm) high, 9″ (21cm) wide and 9″ (22cm) deep.

There are four minifigures included in the set, and LEGO are actually encouraging you build your own characters by swapping the heads and wigs around, so don’t get confused if the box art features different looking minifigures.

The selection is quite good, and everyone is attired appropriately for the outdoors and cooler weather, with jumpers, and jackets. I believe the red jacket with the fleece collar is new, as I don’t recall seeing it anywhere else, and the new brown and pink jacket is a fairly new addition that made its debut in LEGO City 2023.

Here’s a look at their back prints and dual-sided heads. I also like the variety and diversity of hairpieces, and also welcome the addition of the “Olly” blonde hairpiece, which made its debut as Olly’s (from LEGO Friends 2023) signature hairstyle.

The build itself delivers exactly what you’d expect from an A-Frame Cabin, with the signature pyramid-shaped roof being the main draw.

For the most part, not much has changed from Andrea’s original fan submission, especially with regards to the structure. The most drastic changes are the trees, which I’ll address a little later.

The roof is quite dramatic, and very smooth, with plenty of brown tiles giving it a very uniform and sleek look, with a couple of exposed studs here and there to give it that LEGO DNA.

There are two sections that can connect (loosely) with the cabin via Technic pins, allowing you to take them apart and change the scenery and how the trees are positioned, or for these sections to function as standalone parts.

On the left, is this log pile, which makes great use of both the 1×1 and 2×2 printed log tiles to great effect.

Resting on the tree branches is this lovely new printed butterfly, which adds so much woodland character to the build. It’s surprising seeing this brown variant for printed butterflies, which first made their debut in 80110 Lunar New Year Display. There are 3 butterflies included in the set which is great.

The tree here is swiftly in the midst of shedding is leaves, and features autumnal colours aplenty, which gives it a lovely fall-look. Perched on the leaves is this little blue Twitter bird which contrasts very nicely.

The major changes from the original fan design are the trees, which were much lusher, but probably didn’t quite meet LEGO’s standards for stability and safety. In fact, while I like how the original trees look, they also seem like they would fall over or shed plenty of leaves at the lightest touch.

The trees here have a very functional and sturdy design, but the foliage still isn’t dense enough for my liking, which is of course an easily rectified problem, and an invitation to add as many more leaves as possible without compromising on the stability.

Oh, and they also have these black Technic connectors, which look quite jarring, as the colour isn’t quite uniform.

Here’s a look at the larger slice of woodland section on the other side, which has some craggly rock, and a small stream, where the hikers discover an Otter!

The Otter (and frog) are delightful additions, and the animals really are the unsung heroes in the set, as they help the set feel organic and alive.

The landscaping, and stream design was a highlight of the build for me, as the set rightfully ends with this section, which was a complete joy to build.

There’s so much motion, and dynamism in this little slice of the forest, and along with mushrooms, and even a canoe, with storage for water and life jackets, it feels so alive and bursting with little secrets for out nature-loving minifigures to discover.

Here’s a look at the trees and leaves – which are green, and slowly turning red. I like the mix of colours here, as it adds some really nice bursts of colour, as well as the changing colour of the leaves which signifies the changing of the seasons.

Swinging over to the front porch, we get to appreciate the liberal use of Thor Hammers for the Masonry design for the Cabin’s foundations. It looks incredibly cool, and is such a clever use of what should be a very unique minifigure accessory and gives the build a lot of character.

Up the steps, there is ample room for the minifigures to hang out, and there’s even a bunsen burner stove to fry an egg, and a cool outdoor rocking chair, which cleverly makes use of Indiana Jones whips for details.

The facade does a great job of adapting Andrea’s original design, where the wood panelling is slightly uneven in sections. It’s a really subtle effect, but looks amazing, especially when you realise what is happening here during the build.

Before we get inside, let’s swing around to the back, which is also panelled up nicely, and has a black chimney that extends all the way to the top of the roof.

There’s some Octan Gas tanks at the back, with fuel gauges.

An outdoor shower, complete with some soap. Brr! I hope there’s warm water here!

And the funniest thing ever. There’s no toilet on the inside.. and since it’s the great outdoors. There’s a shovel.. and some toilet paper. You put two and two together about how people go number two in the A-Frame Cabin.

The roof of the A-Frame Cabin pops out, and I was surprised to discover that they’re not fastened or attached to any part of the build, and just rest comfortably on the frame of the house, which I thought was really ingenious.

Here’s a look at the two roof sections, which just come off easily, allowing easy access to the interiors.

Here’s the A-Frame Cabin without its roof – it’s just a frame. Geddit? A frame?

The upper level bedroom can be removed, modular style, allowing easier access to it, as well as parts of the ground floor. The ground floor is really lived in, and packed quite densely with stuff.

There’s a neat LEGO welcome mat. This tile was first used in 10290 Pickup Truck, and this is the second set the tile has been made available in, which was a nice surprise.

The sign from Medieval Blacksmith also makes an appearance here above the door-frame!

The house is cluttered, but in a nice way. It feels really lived-in, and there are plenty of little trinkets and artifacts strewn around. I like all these little knick-knacks as they tell a story of someone who loves collecting and examining things, where it’s old newspapers (partially tucked under the lounge chair), or precious crystals!

To pass the time at night, there’s a record player and an extensive collection of vinyl. I love the record half-peeping out of the shelf, and there’s also an acoustic guitar hanging from the wall.

On the other side of the room is a desk, with a lamp and typewriter. This A-Frame Cabin looks like the perfect retreat for a writer, especially someone who is looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life to be one with nature and just be creative.

This would totally be my dream life, being a hermit in the forest, and just write away.

There’s a kitchen, and I was surprised to see an old-school revolver used as a tap! It was pretty clever, and I just love that an extra gun was included in the spare parts…just in case.

You never know when you need a gun in a secluded cabin in the woods, and this was a genius way to include one without it seeming like LEGO included a pistol in a LEGO set. Although they totally did here.

There are steps that lead upstairs to the bedroom. Just watch out for random bits of LEGO! You’ll understand why shortly.

You don’t want to step on any LEGO bricks. There’s no medical help out here in the woods.

And here we have a look at the bedroom. A little cramped for 4 people, so we’ll have to use our imagination where everyone else sleeps.

Like the rest of the cabin, there’s plenty of stuff in the bedroom.

Watch out for spiders in the roof!

There’s treasure maps here and there.

And of course the inhabitant is a LEGO fan. There’s even a LEGO Ideas Treehouse built up here, along with some colourful bricks.

And above the bed is this printed poster, a nod to one of Andrea’s other MOC designs, which you can find on his Instagram.

Oh and speaking of the LEGO Ideas 21318 Tree House, it looks fantastic next to it. I’ll need to change over the Tree House’s leaves to better match the autumnal tones, but I think they look splendid next to each other.

And last but not least, it cannot be overstated just how impressive this set looks on display, and how photogenic it is. Check out some shots I took.

What I liked:

  • Incredibly fun building experience
  • Lots of minifigures and animals bring this set to life
  • Makes for an excellent display model
  • Plenty of fun Easter Eggs and details inside
  • Does Andrea Lattanzio’s original fan design justice

What I didn’t like: 

  • Trees are a little sparse for my liking
  • Would’ve liked a bear included!
FINAL THOUGHTS:

21338 A-Frame Cabin is an outstanding LEGO set that gets it right on so many different levels. From the immersive and incredibly fun build experience, to discovering plenty of details as you build along, this set is a near-perfect LEGO set that makes LEGO Ideas such a special theme.

There’s so much to love, and for those looking for unique model, the A-Frame’s unique shape, and rustic look makes for a fine addition whether in a wider “city’ or as a standalone model.

There’s plenty of things to discover, inside and outside the cabin, and I love the sheer number of animals and creatures included from otters, to frogs, to birds to a squirrel – it really does emulate being in the wild where you’re not quite sure what animal you’ll encounter next.

Hopefully not a bear, which I would’ve loved included in the set.

Just like real life, trips into the wilderness are an excellent antidote when the stresses of city life get too much, and sometimes, it may seem tempting to get jaded about LEGO, but this set just pulled me back in with how complete of an experience it is.

It’s a nice break from the super heroes, and even large complex Modular Street designs, and for me, a welcome reminder of how fun LEGO can be.

It’s a set that doesn’t cut many corners, and I think is priced incredibly well considering the sheer number of minifigures, animals and a beautiful final display model.

What also excites me is that this set is just begging to be expanded upon. Whether you’re adding more foliage, or building wilderness around it, it seems like the designers are inviting fans and builders to build around the A-Frame Cabin. After all, there’s a canoe without a stream or lake.. And an extra pistol.

I normally advise waiting to buy sets, but this is one of those rare sets that can be a Day One buy, just because of how fun the build experience is, that you need to experience it.

Whether you’re a seasoned LEGO builder, or new to the hobby, this is one 2023 LEGO set that you should absolutely buy, because it’s such a complete and incredible building experience that will be tough to top at this price point.

Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★✰

Build [5] – So much fun with many clever techniques, variety and incredible flow
Real Value [4] – Despite the relatively high price, there’s a ton of stuff included for a sizable display model
Innovation [3] – Some really clever build techniques here, but more refinement than innovation
Coolness [4] – Whether you’re into nature, storytelling through minifigures or a cool display model, this set has it all
Keepability [5] – This is one set you’ll be hard pressed to put away. But even if you do, it’ll be great to harvest for parts


Thanks so much for reading my review of 21338 A-Frame Cabin! I hope you enjoyed this rustic journey into the wilderness!

21338 A-Frame Cabin will be available from 1 February 2023 (for LEGO VIPs) exclusivelyfrom LEGO.com or your local LEGO Store.

Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set over for an early review!

What do you think of the LEGO A-Frame Cabin? Will you be picking it up when it launches?

To get the latest LEGO news and LEGO Reviews straight in your inbox, subscribe via email, or you can also follow on Google News, or socials on FacebookInstagram (@jayong28), Twitter or subscribe to the Jay’s Brick Blog Youtube channel.

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14 responses to “Review: LEGO 21338 A-Frame Cabin”

  1. Thomas Maguer says:

    Hi Jay, thanks for your work!
    Just a question, if you know, since I am checking on this great set since a few months now: I suddenly see it available through various retailers, some of them AU$50 cheaper than Lego price. Does that mean it is not “Exclusive” anymore? I didn’t know that such status can change overtime, if indeed it can… Thanks!

  2. Jennifer van Dreven says:

    Oh, and what’s the relevance of the diamond next to the bed?

  3. Jennifer van Dreven says:

    I just finished building this set. Fabulous. But a little perplexed with a few things. First. What is the foliage thing near the stairs? Timer, clock, candle, wand, plant leaf. Some sort of marijuana thing? What am I missing?Second. Where’s the fireplace or outdoor fire with marshmallows. Surely that’s a must!? Third, thanks for the treehouse explanation, totally missed that, thought it was some sort of cat scratching post, but there was no cat, haha.

  4. Lucas B. says:

    Step A is the frame, the A-frame! Step A2 is the walls, the AWOLS!

  5. Lucas B. says:

    I sure do love me a extra pistol out in the woods.

  6. lorraine says:

    Love all the little details added to this. Trees may bit sparse but I like the varied autumn colours. Very nice set

  7. Andrew Gardiner says:

    It does look good and your rave review has moved it up my list. Also thanks for the photo showing it with the Tree House. The trick will be to add a stream and some small trees to link the two together.

  8. Maks says:

    thank you for this fantastic review. i suppose reading these from now on will help satisfy my curiosity on buying LEGO sets hahaha.
    just followed you in couple other SM sites. thank you jay.

  9. Csb123 says:

    WOW great review, I am really looking forward to this set
    The details are incredible! I love the wood holder, the otter, and the meta Lego set!

  10. Nic says:

    HI

    Looks great – but wouldn’t it be wonderful if LEGO used those branches/leaves to make an addon set for my bonsai tree ? Pretty please ? I enjoy changing between Summer and Spring so why not Autumn as well !

    Cheers
    Nic

    • Joe B. says:

      I had the same idea and ended up buying those autumn-colored parts through bricks and pieces. I ended up buying twice as many parts as I wanted to, but my daughter and I now both have bonsai trees, so it’s going to work out. It looks really good.

      • Nic says:

        Well done! Got a list of what you needed to make our life simpler you could share 🙂 ?

        (Although I guess we should also need to get a Winter mode right now 😀 ! )

        • Joe B. says:

          This is what I got, which is mostly red, yellow, orange, and brown versions of the pieces already in the bonsai tree:

          PLATE 1X2, ROUNDED, NO. 1 SKU:6248971 QTY: 20
          PLATE 1X2, ROUNDED, NO. 1 SKU:6210269 QTY: 20
          PLANT, W/ PLATE 1X1, NO. 1 SKU:6253884 QTY: 33
          PLANT, W/ PLATE 1X1, NO. 1 SKU:6286830 QTY: 33
          PLATE 1X1 ROUND W/ 3.2 SHAFT SKU:6153863 QTY: 10
          FLOWER 1X1 SKU:6299813 QTY: 11
          FLOWER 1X1 SKU:6214234 QTY: 11
          LIMB ELEMENT SKU:6273388 QTY: 10
          LIMB ELEMENT SKU:6283957 QTY: 10
          PLATE 2X2 ROUND SKU:6030521 QTY: 3

          It looks like the A-Frame cabin has the limb element in dark red now. That wasn’t available on pick a brick. And this is almost twice as many as I needed. I just bought spares to meet the minimum $14 so I wouldn’t get charged the $7 picking fee. It also let me experiment with combinations of the different colors.

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