LEGO International Space Station 21321 Review 66% – What is it missing? Time lapse Speed build

In this video we review the LEGO International Space Station set 21321 ISS. There is also a speed build and commentary. We also have a 1 page review summary showing how we arrived at the final score of 66 out of 100 for this set.

What is the element that is really missing from the set that could make it that much better? How much wide appeal does the set have?

Set Number: 21321
Released: 2020
Theme: LEGO Ideas / Space
Price – £64.99GBP, $69.99USD , €69.99EUR
Pieces – 864
Price Per Piece – 7.5p, 8.1c
Build time – 1hr+

Review Score – 66%
Build Experience – 6.5
Value for Money – 7.5
Playability – 4.0
Displayability – 8.5
Target Market: Space Geeks & Ideas Fans

Pros: Good value & close approximation to real ISS
Cons: Fragile with limited playability – 10 pages of LEGO Ideas at expense of ISS Information

Summary: A great display piece for space enthusiasts.

Time code to video:
0:00 Introduction
0:34 General Information and set contents
2:30 Build and “swooshability”
5:30 Build Experience & playability
6:54 Instruction book & LEGO Ideas “Issue”
9:12 Box Art
10:30 Time lapse speed build of LEGO International Space Station
12:23 Spare Parts
12:47 1 Page Review Summary Page

SpaceX Video

JKBrickworks Orrey

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks and in this video we are going to review the LEGO Ideas International Space Station Set Number 21321. We will also have a time lapse speed build showing how it is built.

Here is the 1 page review summary. This video will go into the detail behind it and at the end of the video, we explain how we arrived at the scores and comments.

So in t-minus 3,2,1 … blast off.

This is a Family Bricks video. Be sure to hit that like button, share or if you want to be super awesome,  subscribe! Click the bell and select “All”, to be notified of new videos as they are uploaded.

General Information and Set Contents

So here we have the LEGO Ideas International Space station set 21321 retails for about £65 or $69US Dollars or 69 Euros. So that means it will give you a price to part ratio of about 7.5pence or 8.1 cents, both in American and Euros. So for that it is obviously reasonable value , obviously dealing with some printed pieces and a lot of small type pieces. There are a couple of technic bits in there, so seems to be of a reasonable value.

It’s a decent sort of size. You’ve got it being about 50 cm or 20inches across by 30cm or 12 inches in that direction. There is a fair amount of detail on this, with different solar panels, different antenna , you know a grabbing arm here, stand here. There are some really nice white nano figs that have some prints on them to look like astronauts.

Then you’ve got little, satellite, docking module, like a SpaceX type Dragon, and then you’ve even got a little, old style shuttle. Which even in the back has 3 different booster engines and even has that slight little angle like they really have. The underside has 2×2 inverted. The only weird thing about this, is that it doesn’t actually clip into the actual set. It just sort of rests in there and you don’t really know .

Its got a really nice International Space Station print on it, there as a display piece. That is the really nice thing about this set, everything is prints and there is no stickers in here what so ever which is probably a good thing cause by the time you went through and applied all those there, you’d probably drive yourself crazy.

The arms themselves also rotate all the way around, so quite good there. Then you can have them at whatever angle you prefer. Same with the other side. Obviously there you are starting to see the inverted studs so less of a display on that angel.

Build and “swooshability”

You do actually build it on the stand and start with the stand. And you can actually lift it up and take it off. You know, you can do your swooshability [swoosh noise]. If you really wanted to and it does sit nicely back on there. And it is solid enough you can grab it by the legs there, and that feels pretty secure although the little bits and pieces at the bottom will come off relatively easy as they are just held on by studs and jumpers.

Now if we turn it around, we can check out what is happening on the back there. Just go there. You can see you’ve got more details from this side. I guess when you look from this side, it isn’t really designed to be seen from this side, I mean apart from the orange you’ve got the orange there. With these flag pieces here you can see there are no prints on the back. If I was to take one off, you’ve actually got prints on the other side. So I do find if they have of made a print on the reverse side, that would have been quite good. Or even really, dare I say it, even if you just wanted to have some stickers or something there as at least with some of the other bits, you can at least turn around and move.

So if you wanted to display it from this side, flip those up and at that angle, it would be nice not having to take that all the way off to display it. I mean you’ve got all those details in there on the solar panels and then these big blue blank bits, it doesn’t look as nice.

As you probably saw, these radiator panels can turn, they have a swivel on a hinge. And this little satellite here, can also just pop off, and float into space. Or if you are trying to do a docking maneuver or anything like that, they can also go in there.

So just going back around til what we’ll call the front side. And underneath you can see you’ve got these white flags, which in this case are actually blank on both sides. So just rotate those back up there.

So you do have the ability for some of these dishes that are on hinge joints, and a little grabber arm here that you can move around. And these also move around and rotate on their pivots as well. Its good you’ve got a couple of these little nano figs as you can have them out , out and about doing their little space walks, repairs or whatever you might want them to.

Same sort of deal with the shuttle itself as well. Can have that and have a bit of a swooshing going on. If it needs to dock or do whatever maneuvers it wants, It can do that as well. And of course the kids being the kids, the first thing they wanted to do, was go and put some rocket firing missiles on to it [missiles fire off and make bang noises]. But we might just take those off and put them back there.

Check around the video and you’ll be able to see the kids review and how they were playing with it and interacting with it.

Build Experience & playability

Otherwise as a general build experience it was pretty solid. There wasn’t anything to tricky and takes about an hour or so to be able to do. It can get a little repetitive and tedious as you do make quite a number of these satellite type things or variations of that slightly. And then you have to go through and make 8 of these solar panel type things.

Which when I did it with the kids, we each did it so we ended up with 3 each, give or take. But I could see that if you were doing that by yourself, you’d really want to get into some sort of system. Or when you get to bag 6 in the instructions and it says you’ve got to do it 8 times to get towards the very end its like … urgh [groan].

So in terms of playability there are some aspects where you are able to play a little bit but it does get pretty fragile so we found when the kids are playing with it, things are falling off pretty easily. And even when you picking it up and taking it off the stand and things, if you are not putting it down and grabbing it from the right part , it does fall of quite easily . So that said, it is probably more a display piece in and off itself.

It has a significant presence, it has a good size, colors work well, you’ve got this nice little blue with the hints of the orange coming through and the white, grey and the stand works really well. Obviously you’ve got the printed pieces there and the other little bits and pieces in terms of paraphernalia in terms of the shuttle and some of the satellites.

As we’ve already mentioned you get a couple of these printed nano figs , there is 2 there and you actually do get a spare one . There is no real minifigs but there is no real need for it, given what it is and the size and scale.

Instruction Book & LEGO Ideas “Issue”

So just having a look at the instruction book and much the same as the box art. Generic sort of stuff for LEGO, Going on about the international space station, couple images there. Just going into the history, the fact it is the 15 nations and about some of the research doing in space. And some of the experiments they do up there you can’t actually do on earth. So it is good you can get that sort of information .

Then next up it starts to go on about the fan designer who came through and did this. And then goes through his many attempts to get through the LEGO ideas and how it was rejected twice, and how he kept on refining it and then coming back. Then they wanted to do the 10th anniversary of the LEGO Ideas and putting it forward, and then the fan vote pulling it through so it could be an actually made set.

Which is great to get that sort of history there but then it just goes on more, another 2 pages on LEGO Ideas, , more stuff on LEGO Ideas, more stuff on LEGO Ideas, before you start getting the building. And then in the back as well, you have another 2 pages on the LEGO Ideas . So effectively there is about 9 and a half pages just prompting the LEGO Ideas, which I can kinda get.

The thing that was annoying was that you only have these 2 pages , which is a little bit of generic information but doesn’t actually explain all the different parts , doesn’t have a blueprint or anything like that to explain what all the different parts are that you are building. Beyond the actual solar panels, we didn’t know what a lot of this sort stuff is. You had to go and do like a Google search and you can find all sorts of blueprints that tell you all sorts of different things.

We didn’t even know that these things here were the radiators for it. And you know they could have done a little something to explain the other bits and pieces in there. The fact then, they had 9.5 pages going on about the LEGO Ideas and everything like that, there is a real missed opportunity where they could have had that information in there.

So you get a better connection with what it is that you are building otherwise its like I know there are some solar panels and ….. yeah, that’s it. So again, just think that was a missed opportunity.

Otherwise the instructions themselves are a pretty standard sort of thing for LEGO. There wasn’t really anything too complicated in there. Its just more getting through some of the repetitive and tedious detail. Oh actually, a tenth page on LEGO Ideas.

Box Art

So here just checking out the box art. Its got a nice picture of the LEGO version with a realistic earth in the background there. Space Shuttle. Showing that it is a LEGO Ideas set number 29. And just some specs from the LEGO sizes itself. And then being a 15 member country, all the different flags that are funding the international space station.

Flipping over to the back, again we just see another nice little shot of it there all set up. And a few little pull out details that it has there, the grabbing arm, space shuttle coming into dock, and then just a top down view of it there. And then international space station 20 years that it has been going.

I guess the other things with this is you generally think of space and you’ve had all the NASA sets and you somehow think it is NASA. But being the international space station, it isn’t actually NASA , it’s a 15 member county.

Just checking out some other details. On one edge of the box there, it is just showing some 1 to 1 of one of the printed pieces, and then just some, the space station, the shuttle, the nano fig, space capsule and the satellite.

And the spine there, just another composite shoot. Box with just some generic  details and another shot just down the side. So overall a nice box design and just showing what it is an in context.

Time lapse speed build of LEGO International Space Station

And now into the time lapse of the actual build itself. The box opens up in a clam shell type way, and you’ve got 6 bags and the instructions. The kids enjoyed having a look at some of the space photos and some of the other sets in the range. Quickly checking out what each bag builds, and then onto the actual build itself.

Start off with one of the satellites and build the actual space shuttle itself as well. The space shuttle itself is actually quite a good build , particularly considering there aren’t that many pieces. Its bizarre to think that with the retiring of the space shuttle program 9 years ago, they grow up and never see a space shuttle launch or have any real idea of that.

They have seen the space shuttle prototype Enterprise on the USS Intrepid in New York harbor and Atlantis in Cape Canaveral. So now done the stand and starting to build out the main corridor for this space station itself.

And with that, onto bag 4 pretty quickly. So now building out a few nodes and I think some laboratories. Having to try to reference some diagrams off the internet to know what is what. Both sides do this by building off a long technic axel and threading the pieces onto it.

Now next up we build the radiators with the white pieces. Any excess or waste heat on the ISS needs to be gotten rid of. Pure water in these pipes would quickly freeze, so they add in ammonia which has a lower freezing temperature and prevents the water from freezing. Its amazing all these little things they have to think of and prepare for.

Next onto bag 6 and making the 8 racks of solar panels. It was good to have us all working on these at the same time. Once that is done, the solar panels move into position and then they are putt into the right places. The space shuttle comes along, and some astronauts. A few other accessories and I think we are good.

Another look at our final LEGO model build of the International Space Station.

Spare Parts

Here are the spare parts that came in the set. Being a set with a lot of little parts, you’d expect there to be a fair number of parts. Its great you get another one of these printed nano figs, so there are 3 of those altogether.

Otherwise a pretty standard selection. You’ve got a ski pole in pearl gold which is quite nice and a couple of roller skates in the black and light bluish grey. And a little 1×1 round printed piece there.

1 Page Review Summary Page

And now onto our review summary of the international space station. You can see it was released in 2020, the set number there , cost, 864 pieces and the price per piece being around 7.5pence or 8.1 cents (both in American and Euros). Build time is about an hour plus.

For the build experience we gave it a 6.5. It’s a pretty solid build but it does get repetitive and tedious , particularly with that last bag with solar panels and a lot of the little satellite type constructions.

Value for money we gave a 7.5. Its reasonably good value at 7.5p and 8.1c price per part ratio, but they are smaller pieces and parts. We did feel though that with 10 pages or so on LEGO Ideas, and not much going into the actual space station itself, there was a real missed opportunity there to learn about the space station and become more invested in the set, and understand exactly what it was that you were building.

I didn’t really learn anything new about the space station and quite the contrary, had to go to Google and start looking through some results there to start learning anything new.

For playability , we gave the set a 4.0. Its quite fragile and not a great deal you can do with it.

For displayability we gave it an 8.5. It displays great from one side but that is the issue. As a display piece, when you flip it over to the other side, it doesn’t really display well, you’ve got to fiddle around with it to get it into a good display orientation.

Looking at the target market, we’d say it is mostly for space geeks and Ideas Fans

The pros with this set is that it is good value and a close approximation to the real international space station.

The cons as we’ve mentioned previously is that it is fragile with limited playability and you get 10 pages of LEGO Ideas advertising at the expense of any real, quality ISS information.

The overall summary is that it is a great display piece for space enthusiasts.

In terms of buy recommendation, in terms of a “day 1, must have”, ranging all the way through to a “Kragle it” because you can’t stand it, we put it somewhere between a purchase where it is on sale or only for really die hard fans of space and Ideas.

So taking an average of the 4 scores we have up there, we can up with an overall rating of a 66%.

It’s a solid set but you are looking at a subset of a space demographic, largely those that want something for display.

Here is a SpaceX Falcon Heavy video we did. Links around the video. This was a fan design we put together and the kids are really into space. We’ve also done this Orrey by JKBrickworks, again links around the video. With both sets the kids have been able to engage and learn, and felt gotten great value out of it.

We were hoping for something similar with this international space station set but feel it was disappointing and something that will collect dust on the shelf.

What do you think? Are we being too harsh or feel comments are on the money, let us know in the comments below.

This is a Family Bricks video. Be sure to hit that like button, share or if you want to be super awesome,  subscribe! Click the bell and select “All”, to be notified of new videos as they are uploaded.

Close Out

You might like to see the kids review and play through of this LEGO International Space Station and you can click here to do so. Here is the Falcon Heavy review. Alternatively here are some other videos you might be interested in.

That’s all from us here at Family Bricks. Thanks very much for watching and please do hit that thumbs up if you’ve enjoyed the video. Until next time when we talk about all things LEGO and Lifestyle.

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