I’ve always had an affinity for Space and NASA but got into the LEGO collecting a little bit late and missed out on some of the iconic sets like LEGO Space Shuttle Expedition (10231) or even LEGO Moon Lander (10029) so the LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V (21309) would mark my first ever NASA inspired LEGO set!
The “Apollo NASA” logo next to the LEGO Ideas one is the official logo of the Apollo program which ran manned missions to the moon from 1961 to 1972.
The front and back of the box contains some facts like how each sections of the rocket is deployed and at which stage.
The set consists of 1969 pieces and there is a really cool reason for that. It is actually the year which the Saturn V rocket landed Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on the moon! This would also be the largest LEGO Ideas set ever released.
The instruction booklet comes in its own packet and has some notable insights into the creation process of this LEGO Ideas set.
The pieces is divided up into twelve individual bags which makes for a much more structured building experience. I’m always in favour for more bags as it allows me to adjust my build schedule better and it is a lot easier to find the parts as opposed to have thirteen bags for each section like some other build I did recently.
I would not say that this was a difficult build overall but it was challenging in some parts. The structure of the rocket has two layers, an internal one that is made up of the curved panels and then the outer layer is dressed around it to give it a cylindrical look.
To achieve this, inverted 1×2 / 2×2 brackets are placed at a 45 degree angle at the corners so that when you plate it up afterwards, the cylindrical shape is maintained.
I’m also happy to announce that there are no stickers for this set which means that all the images on the LEGO elements are printed! Not a single adhesive to be found!
One of my favourite part to build was the engine thrusters which used the 4×4 dark bluish grey buckets for the thrust chamber.
My first impression after finishing the completed model is actually how solid it feels when holding it although I would not recommend running around the house playing with it.
As I mentioned earlier that there are absolutely no stickers in this set. Every image on a LEGO element is printed which actually means that there are quite a bunch of ‘unique’ elements in this set.
There are several printed white 3×2 curved slopes like the USA flag and the ones with the letters U, S, A which was used in the S-IC stage engine section.
Slightly further up, there are 1×6 white tiles with the words “United” and “States” printed on them which is used in the S-II Stage section.
There is one element that I have not encountered before which is the Light Bluish Grey flower stud. I could be wrong but I don’t recall the flower studs to be available in that colour before this.
This set’s crowning achievement for new elements has to be the microfigure astronauts. They are fully printed white microfigures which is similar to the Marvel Microfigures that was available on the Helicarrier and Ant Man microfigure in the Superhero Airport Battle (76051).
And that is not all, the front face of the Lunar Lander is a printed 2×2 Boat stud and the command module is also a printed 4×4 dark bluish grey cone with a center axle hole.
I’m quite pleasantly piqued as how they maintained a flag of the USA in microfigure scale which they achieved by printing the image on a 1×2 transparent tile.
The original LEGO Ideas project for the Saturn V was conceived by Felix Stiessen and Valérie Roche which already envisioned it as a 1:110 scale model of the rocket. This meant that the LEGO model would have to be at least 1 meter tall.
“The most challenging part was the Lunar Landing module. I (Felix) tried building it as small as possible (I wanted it to fit in the half-cone parts as seen in the model) while still looking good and accurate. After that, we began building the rocket around it. We tried to make the rocket as sound as possible, so Valerie included pillars and beams inside for structural integrity” ~ Felix Stiessen
That mandate for structural integrity carried over into the final model by LEGO Designers Mike Psiaki, Carl Thomas Meeriam and Austin William Carlson. (Kind of feels like the astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins from the Apollo 11 mission eh?)
The rocket is sturdy enough when assembled fully but it is also able to be separated into its individual sections without bricks falling off. This can be attributed to the dual wall design of building an internal “pipe” out of curve panels and layering whatever surface they needed around it.
The lunar lander module is perfect for its scale and the design team was also able to retain the feature where it fits into the half cone at the top.
“We were amazed by how big the actual model was and how it was able to separate into all of the different stages and components. This was very difficult to implement in our final design, since we needed to make sure that the rocket was strong enough when connected together but also easy to separate.” – LEGO Saturn V Design Team
The build utilises some alternative techniques like attaching a 1×1 brick with side stud to a 1×2 plate with hook just to achieve the right amount of offset distance.
The Recommended Retail Price for this set has been announced as SGD$199.90 and that puts it around the SGD$0.10 per piece region which is quite decent.
Compared to the recent LEGO Star Wars Jedi Starfighter I just reviewed which was pegged at the same SGD$199.90, the LEGO Ideas Saturn V rocket is much more palatable.
And if you are a builder, the variety of parts you get from this is really worth it with all the curved panels, slope bricks, tiles and not to mention the printed elements as well.
The prices in the other regions are as follows USD 119.99 / EURO 119.99 / GBP 109.99.
A very well constructed set with a palatable price point that makes it a definite must-have for space fans. If there is one word to describe this LEGO set, it would be “huge”. It stands a full meter tall which would tower over any other model in your LEGO Space collection or any other collection for that matter.
The set will be available in all LEGO Brand Stores from June 1st onwards. Do check with your local LEGO Store on when their shipments will arrive as it is different for other regions. Happy Bricking everyone!
A sincere thank you to LEGO AFOL Relations & Programs (ARP) team and LEGO Ideas for sending me this set to review. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in this review do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the LEGO Group. Review sets sent in does not guarantee a positive review.
Also a big thank you to fan designers Felix Stiessen and Valérie Roche, LEGO Designers Mike Psiaki, Carl Thomas Meeriam and Austin William Carlson for their work on this amazing set.