Every now and then, a LEGO set comes along that proves that you don’t need thousands of pieces and complex building techniques to build a beautiful model.
21340 Tales of the Space Age is the 48th LEGO Ideas set, and the 3rd for 2023, following 21339 BTS Dynamite and 21338 A-Frame Cabin, and eschews traditional LEGO building for a minimalist approach where less is more, and aesthetics is king.
21340 Tales of the Space Age will be released on 5 May 2023, and is quite simply a buildable work of art, inspired by retro-futurism and classic sci-fi design.
See below for regional pricing and links:
- 21340 Tales of the Space Age [US] – US$49.99
- 21340 Tales of the Space Age [AUS] – AU$79.99
- 21340 Tales of the Space Age [UK] – £44.99
- 21340 Tales of the Space Age [EU] – €49.99
- 21340 Tales of the Space Age [CA] – CAD$64.99
If you’re picking up the LEGO Tales of the Space set, 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!
21340 Tales of the Space Age Set Details
Name: Tales of the Space Age
Set Number: 21340
Pieces: 688 pieces
Price: AU$79.99 | US$49.99 | £44.99 | €49.99 | CAD$64.99
Exclusive to: LEGO.com / LEGO Stores
Release Date: 5 May 2023
LEGO Designers: Anonymous
Unboxing and Instruction Manuals
The fan design was created by Jan Woźnica (@john.carter.creations) and interestingly, the LEGO designer decided to remain anonymous.
Opening up the box reveals 8 numbered plastic bags, and 5 booklets containing instructions and an introduction to the build and fan designer. The illustrations just ooze style, and are a nice callback to the style of posters that inspired the Jan Woźnica.
And on the back, are these small illustrations featuring the focal point of each postcard.
Interestingly, there’s a 5th booklet with no build instructions but contains more details of each build, and a profile of the Polish fan designer Jan Woźnica, as well as more beautiful graphics on the inside.
Here’s a closer look at each instruction manual design for your pleasure. I really like these, and have half a mind to frame these up as they’re just so cool.
As you can probably tell, this is a set that you can build together with up to 3 other people, making it a great group activity with a partner or friends.
And here’s the completed set. The build experience had some interesting points, but wasn’t too engaging, as it felt repetitive in parts.
Placing the plates to create the gradients can feel repetitive after awhile, and it may prove challenging if you’re colour-blind, or have a vision-impairment, but this is a fairly quick build that you can knock out really quickly.
Let’s take a closer look at each postcard.
This is my favourite – the Rocket Launch postcard which is just stunningly beautiful. From the circular clouds of the blastpad, to the subtle white terrain, and the dynamic movement of the rocket, which breaches the pink hues of the atmosphere into the starkness of space, the composition in this is just stunning.
As an added bonus, there are these printed 1×1 tiles with stars on them. If the configuration of these stars look familiar, it’s because they form the Big Dipper constellation, and you are also given several other simple constellations that you can build as well, to further customise it.
Here’s a closer look at the clouds of vapour and steam of the rocket launching into space.
The colours, composition and elegant design of the Rocket Launch postcard is just gorgeous, and this is my pick out of the bunch.
Next we have this Meteor postcard, which again, features a very simple composition, with a large meteor crashing into the atmosphere, followed by small bits of debris breaking off and streaking behind it.
There are 2 micro satellite dishes, tracking this beautiful cosmic phenomenon and I really like how the hues of blue contrast against the meteor’s white and yellow as it burns up as it enters the atmosphere.
The meteor is quite large, and I think just a smidge too big as it overwhelms most of the postcard, but you can also play around with the angle and adjust the smaller fragments too.
That said, the use of the flexible tail-piece gives it a very clean and minimalist look, and is still looks fantastic.
The third postcard features warmer earth tones, with 2 lunar eclipses occurring concurrently in the sky. The planet has rocky peas, and there is a small white rover and base down below, which are delightful visual elements that add so much to the story in this simple postcard.
I really love just how simple the buggy is.
One of the most incredible and genius design techniques used is the negative space used with these two 8×8 round tiles, used to create different phases of the eclipse.
In fact, you can easily shift the black tile around to adjust the look of the eclipse, which is really fun to do.
And last but not least, we have the surprise 4th postcard, which was proposed by the LEGO Design team, and co-created with fan designer Jan Woźnica. It introduces a new colour palette, adding green into the mix and features a black hole in the sky.
Beneath it, is a black alien civilisation that is observing the black hole in the night sky, hopefully far away enough that it doesn’t get sucked in.
I like the nod to the blackhole, and it keeps within the theme of the postcards, which depict cosmic phenomenon, and while it lacks motion, it makes up for it in mystery and storytelling.
Placed together, you can see why LEGO added the Black Hole postcard, as the green hues wonderfully balance out the other colours, and makes it much more visually appealing when displayed together.
Here’s a look at the back, where you can see each postcard has a Technic hanging bracket, which allows you to hang it up on hooks or walls as a bonus option to display them.
Oh and despite the simplicity of these builds, the LEGO Designer managed to sneak in a small reference and Easter Egg, the Polish flag which are in 2 of the postcards when viewed from behind!
There are a myriad of ways you can display the postcards, whether singularly, or attached together as a longer piece (thanks to Technic pins locking them together), and they all work.
You can also combine them, and hang up a few postcards, and display them on a shelf or surface.
Because these postcards are so small, even when displayed together, they are extremely easy to display in your home, and due to their incredibly beautiful and simple designs, will be sure to elevate any living space you place them in with a touch of class.
What I liked:
- A novel idea executed brilliantly
- It’s an affordable LEGO Ideas set
- Stunningly beautiful with masterful use of colour and composition
What I didn’t like:
- Absolutely nothing at all
If you have an eye for aesthetics and appreciate nicely designed things, 21340 Tales of the Space Age will surely appeal to you.
The classy classic sci-fi inspired designs, that are subtle and minimalist enough to trick the eye into thinking that it’s not really made out of LEGO is remarkable, and is akin to what LEGO is doing within its Art theme, only on a much smaller scale.
The designs employ masterful use of colours and composition, and despite being incredibly simple, still manage to tell a story, and evoke emotions when looking at them.
At US$49.99, these are an inexpensive way to showcase your love of space and scifi, and are affordable enough that you won’t have to deliberate long on whether you can afford them or not.
Obviously, if you enjoy minifigures and/or clever mechanisms, this set won’t be for you, but I think these are one of the most beautiful sets that LEGO have ever released, and would make for a terrific gift to someone else, or even yourself.
Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★✰
Build  – Interesting, but also quite tedious and repetitive in parts
Real Value  – Great value for 800+ pieces, and 4 brick-built postcard
Innovation  – Outstanding way to use simple LEGO elements to create visually gorgeous art pieces
Coolness  – These are the types of LEGO models that just ooze style, and will elicit compliments from fellow sci-fi/art admirers.
Keepability  – Great pieces to display that you don’t have to think hard to place them
Thanks so much for reading my review of 21340 Tales of the Space Age
21340 Tales of the Space Age will be released on 5 May 2023 for LEGO VIPs, and will be exclusive to LEGO.com.
Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set over for an early review!
What do you think of the Tales of the Space Age? Will you be picking this set up in May?
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Akira Sharma says
What kind of hooks to you recommend to use for hanging the postcards up
Jay Ong says
These are pretty small and light, so command hooks should work for each postcard. Or else, nails in walls could work too.
I’m really disappointed by the changes. I loved the original Ideas and wanted it. The blue sky set gave me such strong Star Trek vibes that are lost now. </3
While the changes might seem minor, they distract and none was for better. And while I understand adjustments that LEGO regularly does to fan sets before their production, here it really feels like a change for the sake of a change.
The issues with the added set were already mentioned. It's London underground meets UFO.
CARMEN COLLINS says
The new design is much better!
Zachary Maness says
Does anyone else think the orange one was mars with the rover, or is it just me
This is the sort of Ideas set I like to see rather the the usual licensed type things, something interesting and creative p
John Cooper says
This is overpriced!
Agree for the simplicity and the parts used it is just crazy priced. Fortunately it is simple enough to build from pictures and spare parts
Sign me up
Rourke Alvarado says
Great review, I defeinetly have this set on my list! Just one thing, you said that it has over 800 parts in your ratings, but this set only has 688.
This is likely to be a day one purchase for me, or at least close to it. This sort of theme is my jam, and they will look great next to my NASA tourism posters.
Thanks for the review!
I’d bet the Lego designer stayed anonymous because Jan did such a great job that anything else was just a tweak here or there. I was wondering if Jan was involved in the 4th design as well, so thanks for that info. Great set – will probably be picking up one for home and will definitely be sending one as gift!