The Motorized Lighthouse (21335) goes back to the roots of the LEGO® Ideas theme. It is a unique idea unrelated to pop-culture. This set was preceded by Jazz Quartet, and followed by The Office and Table Football. The original model is based on the submission by Canadian Sandro Quattrini. Sandro’s submission was actually microscale. Other than a change to minifigure scale, the final model looks quite similar to Sandro’s idea. Overall, this is a great looking model. However, the price point stands out more than the model. Let’s take a look at whether this set is worth the steep price tag.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use the usual True North Bricks rating system (click here for more information) and provide my honest opinion.
MOTORIZED LIGHTHOUSE (21335) SUMMARY
- NAME: Motorized Lighthouse
- SET #: 21335
- THEME: Ideas
- COST: $379.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 2065
- MINIFIGURES: 2
- RELEASE DATE: August 19, 2022
- COST/BRICK: $0.18 CAD (extremely expensive but improves to $0.15 when you account for the power components)
- BRICK-TO-FIG RATIO: 1,033/fig (very low minifig count)
- DIMENSIONS: 25cm wide x 25cm deep x 54cm tall
- OF NOTE: Includes Powered Up components ($74 value)
MOTORIZED LIGHTHOUSE (21335) QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 53%
- BUILD: 90%
- MINIFIGURES: 55%
- ENTERTAINMENT: 90%
- OVERALL SCORE: 72%
|What I Liked||What I Didn’t like|
|Enjoyable build||Inside house is very tiny|
|Sturdy and easy to move||Expensive|
|Light works well – new Fresnel Lens element||Motor noise|
|Minimal stickers||Only 2 minifigures|
|Dark blue baseplate!||Only 1 seagull (at least you also get a cute kitten)|
MOTORIZED LIGHTHOUSE (21335) REVIEW
The retail price of the Motorized Lighthouse (21335) is $379.99 CAD for 2,065 pieces. This includes three motorized components – the Powered Up battery box (88015) and light set (88005) and the Power Functions medium motor (45303 – retired). The total value of these components is $74 CAD ($44.99 + $11.99 + $16.99). At the regular retail price, this set is $0.18 CAD/brick. When valuing this set against all other LEGO® Ideas sets reviewed by True North Bricks, this translates to only 25% (LEGO® Ideas is one of the highest value themes). However, when compared to all sets reviewed by True North Bricks, this improves to 64%. Averaging these two scores provides a final value of 45% (very expensive).
I was curious how the Motorized Lighthouse (21335) would stand up against the True North Bricks rating system when taking the expensive motorized components out of the equation. As stated above, the value of the three components is $74 CAD so the price per brick without those components improves to $0.15 CAD. This translates to a score of 50% compared to Ideas sets and 76% compared to all sets reviewed by True North Bricks. The average value score without the motorized components is 63% (passable value).
Given the price is also inflated due to the motorized components, the price per minute is also heavily impacted by the motorized components. This set was one of the slowest builds I have done, likely because I was sick at the time, but it was an enjoyable 5 hours and 39 minutes, nonetheless. The value per minute translates to 55% compared to all LEGO® Ideas sets and 66% compared to all LEGO® sets. The average is 61%. After removing the cost of the motorized components, the value per minute improves to 69% compared to all LEGO® Ideas sets and 78% compared to all LEGO® sets. The average is 74%.
The overall value of the Motorized Lighthouse (21335), including the motorized components, is 53%. I will use this value in my calculation since it is what you actually pay. However, if you account for the high cost of the motorized components, the overall value is 68%. This is worth considering if you are thinking about picking this one up.
The Motorized Lighthouse (21335) comes in a black box ubiquitous with the 18+ range of sets. Inside there are 20 bags including set bags one through 13 and a couple of unnumbered bags for the motor, lighting, and BURPS (big ugly rock pieces).
The box also includes two cardboard sleeves. One for the instructions which I am starting to see more and more. And one for the dark blue baseplate. This is the first time I have seen it used for a baseplate but hopefully it means fewer damaged baseplates. Additionally, there is also a small box with the battery box. The Motorized Lighthouse (21335) comes with everything you need to make it functional – a battery box, medium motor, and cable light. As we saw in the previous section, this definitely adds to the value of the set. However, this isn’t great if you just want to build the model without the lighting (or the cost of the lighting).
Let’s get building
The base of the structure begins with a framework for the island. You can quickly see where some of the mechanical components will sit. I did notice that some of the translucent quarter tiles fall off fairly easily, especially if they are positioned at the edge of the baseplate. However, you do get a decent number of these and they will come in handy for MOCs (my own creations).
As you put together the base you will build a peculiar little stack of coloured plates. Be sure to read the small excerpts throughout the instruction book. In this case, the mismatched plates are a tribute from Sandro to builders with a limited selection of pieces. We have all been there!
Playing with angles
One of my favourite aspects of the build experience early on is the dock. It uses some simple techniques to allow it to sit at an angle. Although simple, it is still one of those “ah-ha” moments when you build it. The house itself also sits at an angle using a large 4-by-4 turntable.
The rest of the island is an enjoyable build experience. It combines the use of the simple BURP elements with a few SNOT (studs not on top) techniques to add some variation to the rocky cliffs. The top of the island is covered in a nice olive green to give it a more muted look. There are sand green and light tan accents scattered throughout. Overall, the landscape looks great and definitely gives that feel of a chilly island off the coast of Canada.
Quaint little house
The little house includes a lot of great detail both inside and out. The exterior uses a lot of ingots and 1-by-1 tiles to give it a stone look. And I absolutely love the brick-built door and door handle.
With a floor space of just 14 by 6 studs, I was amazed at how much detail is crammed into the little house. Above the bed there is a 2-by-3 tile with one of the few stickers. This one is particularly interesting as it is a LEGO® version of a photo of Sandro’s family trip to see the lighthouse at Gaspésie. I also like the brick-built oil lamp and the fish above the passageway into the tower. While there are a lot of details, it is a bit cramped once you add a minifigure, never mind trying to add two! Additionally, there is nowhere but the bed for somewhere to sit.
Making it functional
As mentioned in the Value section, the motor used in the Motorized Lighthouse (21335) is the now retired Power Functions medium motor (45303). I would imagine the Powered Up medium linear motor would also work but for whatever reason they used the old Power Functions motor instead. The motor is attached to a worm gear sandwiched between two pretty dark turquoise Technic connector blocks.
The Motorized Lighthouse (21335) is built on a large island. this creates the perfect space to hide the motor and battery box! Interestingly, the motor sits on rubber dampers. I was hopeful that this would help reduce any motor related noise. Unfortunately, if it does impact the noise, it doesn’t impact it enough. I found that running the light function to be quite noisy.
More hidden components
Typically when using power functions, there is a lot of excess wire that you need to hide in a small space. However, in this case the long wires are needed to run from the base of the island up the tower. Interestingly, while the cables start to run up the tower, one continues to the top while the other turns back and goes down to the house. It connects to a Technic brick inside the stove in the kitchen. Even though the wire is on the exterior of the building, it is quite taut and can be tucked in between the ingot and tile on the outside wall. This is the first time I have used the cable lights and they are definitely pretty cool. In addition, they are only $11.99 which seems very reasonable. However, you do need a power source and that’s the more costly component.
The other light wire is nicely hidden in the side of the tower. Additionally, the motor connects to a long axle that also runs up the inside of the tower. The axle turns the Fresnel lens and mirror. There is also a ladder that runs up the inside of the tower. While it isn’t very realistic, I am glad the designers attempted to include some means of getting to the top of the tower. They just as easily could have left it to your imagination as they often do in other sets.
The tower is closed in using a few different types of bowed elements giving it the traditional tapered look. I thought it might get a bit repetitive but the outside of the tower uses different combinations of plates underneath the bows to break up the monotony. It is also a great way to show you how you can achieve the same look using different elements.
Light it up
The Fresnel lens and mirror (sticker) are part of a nice compact structure that rotates at the top of the tower. The beginning of the instruction booklet actually provides a nice little write-up about the Fresnel lens. In addition, it also shows a photo of ten different prototypes for the new Fresnel lens element.
The structure that encloses the light at the top of the lighthouse is created using 22 transparent garage door elements. I was worried that this structure would be rather flimsy. However, it is actually quite sturdy once you attach it to the base and the roof. It attaches to both using jumpers and rounded 1-by-2 plates. The overall look is fantastic.
Overall, I found the build experience to be very satisfying. The island was fun to build, even with the BURP elements which get nicely hidden. The house is quaint and very detailed, though a tad small. The construction of the tower is interesting and not monotonous. I was pleasantly surprised by the build experience of this Motorized Lighthouse (21335) and would recommend it to other adult builders. Overall, I rate the build experience at 90%.
The Motorized Lighthouse (21335) comes with two minifigures. The fisherwoman wears a dark green fishing hat that we first saw in the Hidden Side Wrecked Shrimp Boat (in bright light orange). It has only appeared in one other set (Hidden Side The Lighthouse of Darkness) but in sand green. The fisherwoman wears a matching dark green jacket with gold buttons over a light tan sweater (perhaps a Stanfields wool top). The back has a couple creases printed on it. She has dark tan pants with tall brown boots. It would have been nice to have a bit more detail on the boots, but the dual colouring is nice. Her outfit is perfect for being out in her rowboat which comes with oars and a pail. She has a big smile with her teeth visible. And who wouldn’t be smiling if you came with an adorable dark grey kitten!
The lighthouse keeper is wearing a smart dark blue suit with a nice pocket watch in his front pocket. He has matching plain dark blue pants. It would have been nice to at least have a printed belt or something, especially since there are only two minifigures. Similar to the fisherwomen, his torso has creases on the back. His outfit is completed with a dark blue hat with a gold band that looks really sharp. He has a warm expression with a slight smile slightly obscured by a light grey beard. He comes with a “brass” marine telescope for spotting ships at sea. There are also lots of minifigure accessories in the lighthouse including: printed map and clock, pots and pans, kettle, cup, bottle, axe and wrench. There is also a seagull, bat, and two fish (silver and yellowish green).
Minifigure design summary
Interestingly, neither minifigure has a dual face. However, a dual face wouldn’t really work for either minifigure since both have a hat rather than hair. This means you would likely be able to see the alternate expression from behind. Overall, I rate the design of the two minifigures at 87%.
Minifigure to brick ratio
Despite the high design score of 87%, with only two minifigures this set has a very low minifigure to brick ratio (1:1,032.5). LEGO® Ideas sets tend to have fewer minifigures though this set is particularly drastic coming in at 45% when compared to all LEGO® Ideas sets reviewed by True North Bricks. The situation is far worse when compared to all LEGO® sets that we’ve reviewed. In fact, the ratio doesn’t even fall within the parameters of the scoring chart and therefore receives a score of 0%. The average of these two scores is a dismal 23%. When taking the design score and minifigure ratio into consideration, the overall minifigure score for the Motorized Lighthouse (21335) is 55%.
I did not have any particular expectations about the Motorized Lighthouse (21335). It wasn’t overly appealing to me though I do like architectural models. After building it, I can say that I absolutely love this set. It makes a very nice display piece and I much prefer it to the Loop Coaster. The set also looks great with the warm glow of the light in the house and the rotating light in the tower.
Unfortunately, because the lights are connected to the motor, it is a bit noisy. I wish there was an option to turn on the light without needing the motor to rotate the light in the tower. However, it does look pretty cool!
More than a display piece
I also like that the roof of the house is removable rather than a side panel. This allows more of the space to be used for all the great details. However, I struggled trying to position the minifigures inside the house, and particularly inside the tunnel and tower – adult hands are too big!
I do like that the panels on one side of the tower are removeable. However, it is challenging trying to position the minifigure on the precarious ladder in the tiny space. He plummeted the length of the tower a few times during my attempt.
A nice surprise was the small cave with the hidden treasure chest filled with jewels. This adds a bit of playability to the set. It is also the access point for the light switch.
Overall, I found the Motorized Lighthouse (21335) to be quite entertaining. The set makes a great display piece. The earthy tones of the dark grey, olive green, and dark red roof give it a realistic and even slightly sophisticated look. It would look perfect in a den or study. The playability is a bit limited for adult hands in the small spaces. However, there are lots of details and opportunities to create little scenes to tell various stories. The functionality of the lighting works well though it is a bit noisy. Overall, I rate the entertainment value of this set at 90%.
OVERALL SCORE: 72%
Although I wasn’t originally drawn to the Motorized Lighthouse (21335), I am really glad I got the chance to review it. It was a great build experience, and the final model is now one of my favourites. It is unfortunate that the price point is so high. However, almost $75 of that is from the motorized components. That said, a lower priced set without those components would have made this set attainable to more people. Then those who wanted to spend the extra to light it up could do just that. The lack of minifigures in this set is also unfortunate. It would have been nice to have one or two more. The strengths of this set are in the build experience and the entertainment value. I enjoyed both aspects thoroughly. If you can afford the high price tag for this set, then I recommend it.
The average of all the scores gives an overall score of 72% for the Motorized Lighthouse (21335). That said, if you include the optional analysis that removes the impact of the costly motorized components then the overall score is 76%. Either way, it places this set in the satisfactory range according to the True North Bricks rating scale. Is this LEGO® Ideas set on your must have list? What other minifigures would have made a nice addition? Tell us below or share your thoughts with us on social media.
Play well folks,
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