The LEGO® Ideas Typewriter (21327) is the brainchild of AFOL Steve Guinness from the UK. It reached 10,000 supporters on the Ideas platform in October 2019. After the rigorous review stage, the LEGO® Group approved the design for production in June 2020. Subsequently, a year later, the set is available for VIP pre-order. Boasting features like moving keys and typebar, turning platen roller, and traversing carriage, the set is a feat of LEGO® engineering. This week, True North Bricks takes a closer look.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here for more information) and provide my honest opinion.
IDEAS TYPEWRITER (21327) SUMMARY
- NAME: Typewriter
- SET #: 21327
- THEME: Ideas
- COST: $269.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 2079
- MINIFIGURES: None
- VIP RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2021
- GENERAL RELEASE DATE: July 1, 2021
IDEAS TYPEWRITER (21327) QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 73% (Satisfactory cost-per-brick, and satisfactory amount of build time.)
- BUILD: 95% (Lots of great assembly techniques, but mechanization is very finicky.)
- MINIFIGURES: N/A
- ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (Fun assembly experience, nice display piece, but narrow niche.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 83% (Average set)
LEGO® IDEAS TYPEWRITER (21327) REVIEW
The Typewriter retails for $269.99 in Canada. Additionally, the set comes with 2079 bricks. The resulting cost-per-brick is $0.13. As far as LEGO® sets go, that is close to average. However, for the Ideas theme specifically, it is not that good. My average cost-per-brick for Ideas currently sits at $0.101. Consequently, this value is barely passable viewed in that light. Overall, I rate the Typewriter cost-per-brick at 71%.
I built the Typewriter at a leisurely pace on a rainy day. It took me five hours and four minutes from start to finish (304 minutes total). At full price, the resulting cost-per-minute of build time is $0.89. As an Ideas set, that is satisfactory (my theme-specific average is $0.762/minute). Compared to LEGO® sets in general, the set fares marginally better. My average cost-per-minute for all LEGO® sets is $0.83. Overall, the Typewriter provided an okay length of build time. I rate it at 74% in this category. Combined with the cost-per-brick score, the overall value rating for the Typewriter is 73%.
The assembly experience for the Typewriter starts off a little dull. You build a lot of repetitive pieces that form the inner workings of the machine. However, when you first begin, you have no idea what you are actually assembling unless you look ahead in the manual. Luckily, once you finish the first bag, the build picks up and is fairly entertaining. If you like complex builds with lots of mechanized parts, this is one for you.
Firstly, each key on the keyboard moves. Additionally, pushing each key causes the central typebar to arc forward and hit the spool ribbon. Incidentally, the spool ribbon is a new fabric cut for the LEGO® Group. Thirdly, as you punch the keys and typebar moves, the carriage traverses the top of the model. Once entirely at the left side, you can push the carriage back to the right in realistic fashion with an equally accurate clicking sound. Finally, you can feed an actual sheet of paper through the Typewriter. In fact, the set includes a typed letter from Thomas Kirk Kristiansen in multiple languages for display.
The LEGO® Ideas Typewriter (21327) requires careful assembly.
How well do all of the mechanized parts functions? Pretty well. However, I offer a word of caution. Do not super-pack the bricks as you build. I tend to squeeze my bricks together tightly, which initially resulted in some bowing of the internal structure early on in the build. Additionally, pay close attention to the instructions. I ended up with a piece leftover that should not be leftover. The Technic element no doubt belongs somewhere in the internal workings of the model. I just cannot figure out where. It is not the standard type of 1×1 piece typically leftover after assembly. Likely due to my squeezing of bricks and the missing element, my Typewriter does not function as smoothly as I feel it should.
There is no doubt that the Typewriter is an advanced level build. Even experienced AFOLs need to pay close attention to the instructions. I do not think this build is as challenging as the Millennium Falcon. However, it is not easy either. I am also noticing that many of these mechanized LEGO® sets are very finicky in their assembly. Even following the instructions, you have to assemble the mechanized parts just so in order to function smoothly. I am sure I could troubleshoot this to run better. However, I do not want to. The process requires too much disassembly. Additionally, this is not the Rollercoaster where display requires fluid motion. Ultimately, this is a great design, and you will learn a lot from building it. However, the finicky mechanization costs it a small amount. I rate this build at 95%.
The Typewriter is an interesting display piece. On quick glance, the model even looks real. It will make visitors to your home do a doubletake. I plan to display mine for a time. Indefinitely? Probably not. I have a finite amount of display space, as we all do. I like this set enough to keep it around for a while. However, it is not my favorite set. Eventually, as the LEGO® Group continues to churn out amazing model after model, this one will lose its shelf space.
The Typewriter will appeal to a select group of AFOLs, and I am not sure I am one of them. What I mean to say is that if the LEGO® Group had not sent me this model, I probably would not have bought it for full price. The kit comes with great re-usable bricks, especially the printed tile keys. As I mentioned before, I also like it enough to display for a while. In fact, I liked it more than I thought I would. However, I love sets designed for Minifigures and that include Minifigures. Those will always be my priority in terms of budget. This set is a fun challenge to build, and the product looks good. However, I think the niche for a set like this is narrow. For that reason, I rate the entertainment score at 80%.
OVERALL SCORE: 83%
The highlight of the LEGO® Ideas Typewriter (21327) is the challenging build. It is not the most difficult set I have ever built, but it makes the top 10. If you are an AFOL looking for something to tinker with, learn from, and even troubleshoot, this is one for you. The mechanisms inside are interesting and require care a precision in order to achieve smooth functioning. I liked the experience, but I do not have the patience to troubleshoot it afterwards. In terms of price, it is okay for what you get, but I would not go so far as to say it is good. Ultimately, you end up with an interesting display piece and conversation starter. Overall, I think the Typewriter is an average set, but leans towards the good side of average. Does it make your wish list? Sound off in the comments below or on social media.
Until next time,
Want to support True North Bricks?
If you like the content at True North Bricks, please follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube for regular updates. Additionally, you can support True North Bricks by making your LEGO® (and other) purchases using the links in the menu to the right. As an affiliate of those retailers, I earn from qualifying purchases. These earnings come at no extra cost to you but help to the keep the content at True North Bricks free. Thanks for your support!