The set: Research Institute (Set 21102)
The price: £15.99
Bricks in the box: 165 (10.3p a piece)
Time to build: 5-10 minutes per vignette
What’s in the box:
Let’s take a moment here to talk about the packaging. I had to have an actual moment when I opened this. It is beautiful. I wish all LEGO packaging was like this (at least for the more grown up sets). It feels so substantial, and amazing. It’s also great for putting bits back into for storage, and you don’t have to rip it open! More like this please LEGO!
The instruction manual feels nice and features some information about the ideas project, and the professions in the box as well as the instructions and the parts listing. Each model has it’s own paper background, with hexagons for the chemist, dinosaurs for the archaeologist and stars for the astronomer.
The set itself contains three vignettes, and each one comes in it’s own numbered polythene bag. Each bag contains a smaller bag for the smaller parts of that vignette.
Interestingly the first bag contains a brick separator, which I’ve never seen in such a small set.
First up, we have the chemist.
This lady comes wearing a lab coat and name tag. She, and the others, are all dual faced, with an ‘oh gods everything went wrong’ face as well as a normal ‘serious scientist’ face.
The chemist set includes two drawers and a cupboard filled with lab goodies like syringes and beakers. On the top is a rack of lab specimen jars and a clamp holding a beaker.
Having an astrophysicist as a boyfriend, I was quite interested by this part of the set. Sadly he doesn’t get to use a cool telescope to write his PHD and instead spends all day with computer simulations. Much less fun than stargazing!
This vignette comes with one mini-figure dressed in blue trousers and a grey jacket with snazzy pink neckerchief.
The model has a pre-printed chalkboard with a few star systems listed, and a tray built at the bottom. This tilts on a hinge joint.
The telescope is a pretty damn neat build with what looks like a cross bow in the middle.
The floor is tiled with white and grey 1×1 flat tiles. This looks fabulous, although they didn’t include anything to stand the minifigure on. I might swap one title out to one with a stud to get this effect.
I think the archaeologist set is going to be a big hit. LEGO could do a whole serious of dinosaur skeletons and be onto a winner. The way this model is built is perfect and I plan on keeping this set up and on display for a good long while! Rawr!
This model also includes a microscope (made with binoculars) and a spare bone for our archaeologist to examine. She also has a (working!!!) magnifying glass. Perfect!
One issue with this set is that the minifigure is too short to use the microscope. A small oversight!
The figure in this uses a top we have seen recently in the LEGO bike shop set, and has plain brown trousers. She has reddish hair (not tied up) and both a frowny and normal face.
Overall: I tried to buy this online but it had sold out (and is still out, so I made a special trip to Westfield London to get one (thankfully they had quite a few left!) I would well recommend trying to get hold of a copy as it is a beautiful, if tiny, set. It has some fantastic detail, is all about showing that women can do science, and gives girls a set of LEGO for play that goes beyond the weird shaped girls and girly activities you get in LEGO friends sets. That said, I think anyone can get a lot of fun out of this set – so buy for your boys too! I’m sure they will love that dinosaur!