In my last haul from the LEGO® Ambassador Network, I was fortunate to get the new Tree House. As many of you know from reading my posts over the summer, I have very much been looking forward to getting my hands on this set. Similarly, many of you know that I also have a fair backlog of kits to build and review at this point. As such, when this latest haul arrived, I left the fate of my next build in the hands of all of you, my faithful readers. The results are in, and 78% voted through social media in favor of this latest offering from LEGO® Ideas. Therefore, this week I bring you the Tree House (21318) review.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review purposes. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more), and provide my honest opinion.
Tree House (21318) Summary
- NAME: Tree House
- SET #: 21318
- THEME: Ideas
- COST: $269.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 3036
- MINIFIGURES: 4
- RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2019
Tree House (21318) Quick Review
- VALUE: 98% (Excellent cost-per-brick and build-time.)
- BUILD: 100% (Awesome set, I have no complaints.)
- MINIFIGURES: 50% (Passable Minifigs, loads of accessories, atrocious brick:fig.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 100% (Fun all around.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 87%
Tree House (21318) Review
At full price, the Tree House costs $269.99 in Canada. Admittedly, this set is not cheap. However, with 3036 pieces, that price breaks down to about $0.09 per brick. That is way below my current average of $0.14/brick. Therefore, despite the high price, you are actually getting a good value. This earns the Tree House 97%.
The Tree House took me 588 minutes to build (nine hours and 48 minutes). At that rate, each minute costs $0.46. Owing to that, this set is an excellent value. Albeit, it falls just short of the best I have ever seen. I rate the build time at 99%. Averaging this with the cost-per-brick score earns the Tree House an overall value rating of 98%.
All I really have to say about the Tree House is “awesome”. The build is phenomenal. In addition, you learn some new build techniques that produce a great looking tree. Similarly, while not a new technique, the round cabins still provide some new variations on an old trick that produce interesting details, such as the round windows. I love this build, so I will go ahead and give it 100% right from the get-go.
Around the base of the tree, you have a campsite scene beside a babbling brook. There is a dinner table, and a fire pit. You also get a swing hanging from the branches higher up, and some pumpkins, plants, and mushrooms growing. Finally, there is a buried treasure built into the base as well. It consists of two diamonds.
A winding flight of stairs leads up from the ground to the first cabin in the tree. It contains the master bedroom. There is a bed, and a couple of chests of drawers. A small clock adorns the wall, and a ship in a bottle is on the shelf. The bottle is a printed piece, and a nod to the Ideas Ship in a Bottle set.
Each cabin is ultra detailed.
Of the other two cabins, one is a bathroom. This is my favorite of the rooms. On the outside wall, there is a barrel filled with water (transparent blue studs). On the other side of the wall is a shower build into a large half-barrel. There is a sink and toilet too.
The final cabin is the bedroom for the kids. It features a bunk bed and a little science station. There is a little greenhouse on the desk, which contains a flower. Next to the flower is a microscope. On the opposite wall, there is a blue jar containing a dragonfly. This is an interesting piece. It is a cylindrical 1×1 printed brick. For those who collected the more recent City theme arctic sets, you will recognize it as the same dragonfly fossil seen in the Arctic Scout Truck set.
In order to be able to access the cabins, the upper canopy of the tree is removable. Each cabin also has a removable roof, making play much easier. The branches of the upper canopy also have some mobility, and you can position them a little. Additionally, the Tree House comes with two alternate canopies. You can make the tree green for summer, or change it for a fall look of yellow and brown. Since fall in the air as I am writing this, I opted for the autumn colors.
This section of the review is where the Tree House suffers a little. Two of the characters included in the set are stumpy children. I really do not like the unbending nature of the child legs, especially now that the LEGO® Group has introduced mid-sized legs that have mobility. Otherwise, each character comes with a unique face print and a hairpiece. They all have front and back torso printing as well. None of them has leg printing, and only the adult female Minifigure has a double-sided face. Based on these design criteria, I rate the design of these characters at 37/60 (62%).
The set does include a number of accessories though. There is a sack, plate, bottle, drinking glass, pumpkin, pot, crate, fish, carrot, apple, two cherry pieces, two brushes, a small barrel, a large half-barrel, a cup, the dragonfly jar, an extra hat, the ship-in-a-bottle, two printed compass tiles, a printed envelope tile, and two diamonds. These accessories actually bring the design score up to 100%.
Four Minifigures in a kit containing 3036 pieces gives a brick-to-Minifigure ratio of 759:1. That is probably the worst ratio I have ever seen. It flat out earns a zero. If I were being entirely honest, it would earn a score in the negatives. Sadly, that really butchers the overall Minifigure score. An averaging of the design score with the ratio scores yields 50% overall.
This set is a stunning display piece. My wife has even agreed to have it on show in the living room for the season. It is also the new abode of my sig-fig. This type of tree house was my dream as a kid, and now I can live vicariously through my Minifigure counterpart. I will be keeping this set built and on display for sure. I give the Tree House and AFOL score of 100%.
From a kid’s perspective, I think this set is equally cool. The cabins are easily accessible for play, and there are loads of fun details. This would have given me hours of play. I can just imagine all of the stories a-la Swiss Family Robinson, or shipwrecked pirates that I could have played out. The Tree House also earns a KFOL score of 100%.
OVERALL SCORE: 87%
The Tree House is a solid purchase. Firstly, you get a set at an excellent value, even at full price. Secondly, it comes with loads of build time, details, and accessories. As a display set, you cannot go wrong. As a playset, kids will get hours of entertainment. Conversely, the only downside is a somewhat lack luster Minifigure selection, and a really bad brick-to-fig ratio. Since I plan to move my own sig-fig into this tree house, that issue does not bother me much. If I ignored the bad ratio, I would be giving the Tree House 99.5%. This set is phenomenal, and I highly recommend it.
What are your thoughts on the Tree House (21318) set? Be sure to let me know in the comments below. Additionally, if you like the content at True North Bricks, please follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter for regular updates.
Until next time,
What do others think?
Brick Insights is an awesome site that aggregates LEGO® set review scores from around the web. Based on their statistics, you can see what other reviewers think of the Tree House below.
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