I love the MCU. I also love modular buildings. So it was a no brainer that I would immediately gravitate to a set that combines both. And here it is – the Sanctum Sanctorum (76218). This is the second set in a line of Marvel Heroes modular-style buildings. The first was the incredibly popular and awesomely designed Daily Bugle (76178). That set went tall and came with all the minifigures – 25 to be exact! It was also based on the Marvel Comics universe instead of the Cinematic one. The Sanctum falls under the Infinity Saga branding and is specifically marketed with the Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness film. Sadly we don’t get 25 minifigs, but we do get 9, along with a great building, fun easter eggs and lots of play elements. Now grab a sling ring and jump through this portal with me.
NOTE: This set was provided by The LEGO® Group to True North Bricks for review. This does not guarantee a favourable review and all opinions are my own. For a breakdown of the rating system, please click here.
- SET #: 76218
- THEME: Marvel
- COST: $309.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 2708
- COST-PER-BRICK: $0.11
- BUILD TIME: 436 Minutes
- COST-PER-MIN: $0.71
- MINIFIGURES: 9 (8 exclusive, 1 reuse)
- BRICK-TO-FIG: 301
- RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2022
- VALUE: 87% (excellent scores for a large Marvel set, good build time too)
- BUILD: 94% (amazing exterior and assembly, great details inside and out)
- MINIFIGURES: 80% (great figs brought down by a weaker brick-to-fig score)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 100% (a great set for AFOLs, collectors and younger builders)
- OVERALL SCORE: 90% (an excellent set that will satisfy any MCU or LEGO®️ fan)
The Sanctum Sanctorum is a staple of the Doctor Strange universe. As such, it’s appeared in 3 other sets prior to this one. Our first Sanctum was 2016’s Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum (76060). This small playset brought the first Doctor Strange Minifig and the first of MANY tentacle monsters. In 2018, the epic moment that was Avengers: Infinity War brought us a new Sanctum with the Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown (76108). I loved the minifigures – three of which make their way into this newest set. But I never understood adding Peter Parker’s apartment. Or the pizza joint. None of that was in the film. It was however, a fun first foray into a ‘modular-esque’ build that also made for a good movie tie-in.
Spider-Man at the Sanctum Workshop (76185) tied-in with 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home film. The Sanctum was a key locale in the film. It was a smart idea to offer a different setting (sorta) so we ended up with the . . . basement? And a weird monster thing. And tentacles, because obviously. Speaking of tentacles, Gargantos Showdown (76205) was the only set officially tied in with the Multiverse of Madness sequel (’til now). No Sanctum this time, but they were clearly saving that for this big set. Until Doctor Strange 3 arrives, I think it’s safe to say that we have exhausted the need for more Sanctums.
The Sanctum Sanctorum (76218) is currently retailing for $309.99 CAD in-store and online. Random Fact: that is more expensive than the previous 4 sets I just talked about combined. But it’s also far more pieces than the last 4 sets combined. So ya know, that just makes sense. With 2708 pieces, we get a really decent cost-per-brick of $0.11 which is excellent for the Marvel theme. Our reviewed sets to date average $0.13 per brick to get an 80% score. Concurrently, the Sanctum gets a score of 89%. That honestly surprises me given the higher cost of the IP in general. But hey – not complaining in the slightest!
My build time for this substantial set clocks in at a little over 7 hours, or 436 minutes. Bringing those 2708 pieces back for some math, I get a a cost-per-minute of $0.71 and a score of 84%. Here we get a more close-to-average score which is $0.77 for 80%. It’s a nicely involved build, but happily not one that ever gets repetitive, boring or predictable. That’s the key to any good build taking a decent chunk of time. Combining both scores together, we come to a final value score of 87%. For a bigger, more expensive set, that’s excellent.
The Sanctum Sanctorum (76218) is packaged in an “Icons” or “UCS” style box. That means it’s a predominantly black background with the usual greebling border and artwork mostly geared to AFOLs. It’s a nice bit of design with all the minifigures shown in action on the front. Inside the box you will find 18 numbered bags, a 32×32 baseplate and 2 pretty substantial sticker sheets (45 pcs). The instructions are split into three separate books, one for each floor. It reminds me of older Creator Expert modulars which did the same thing. The back of each book has a cool illustration that you find inside the set depicting the different portals behind a door.
Make it Modular
This is a really enjoyable build. As a modular fan I was eager to get this built and I am really impressed with the end result. It comes together as you expect: baseplate, tile work, 1st floor, 2nd floor, 3rd floor, roof, donezo. It’s a tried-and-true method that has already yielded multiple great sets across many themes. And it comes as no shock that the placement of pin connections and the sizing of the footprint connects to any existing modular AND last year’s Daily Bugle (76178). Such a smart call and honestly one of the biggest reasons I wanted this set.
Being a corner set there are limitations however. The ‘left’ side easily fits next to another build, but the opposite side is connected to a couple of random trash builds (so to speak). With the Sanctum only flush on one side, the rear of the building is sorta, kinda not making sense architecturally? It’s not a big issue mind you, but it doesn’t fit in quite as cleanly. A proper corner building is flush to the plate on two sides which lets you place your other buildings directly adjacent. You just gotta figure there’s an alley behind the Sanctum I guess. Don’t go down it though, for obvious reasons.
The first floor of the Sanctum is quite well done. The rusticated brick work on the outside is excellent. It’s a series of 1×4 tiles and frankly, couldn’t be done any better. The gray tiled base is identical to other modulars keeping that consistency going. Even the lamp post is the same, albeit black instead of white. Grilles on the windows is a feature repeated on each floor to good effect. Not well done though: my sticker placement on one door which now looks crooked. Argh. And a serious question if I may: why is the mailbox NOT the Daily Bugle? Was that not the obvious choice? What is the ‘Law Times’? Am I missing a reference?
Around back is less detailed, but there is a smartly done wall with a magic portal. Using trans orange quarter circle tiles sells the effect. Said portal is a removable wall element and it lets you access a small recreation of the library at Kamar-Taj. Here you’ll find the time stone on a pedestal and a book behind a chain. It’s none other than the Darkhold, the tome of evil magic. This removable wall element is one of three in the set. Another on the second floor shows Gargantos coming out of a portal (tentacles!) with the third floor showcasing a poster for the Steve Rogers history exhibit at the ‘Bricksonian’ Museum (too damn clever). You can mix and match these in any location as they are built exactly the same size.
Inside the first floor is the main foyer with some nicely done stairs, a sofa chair, portraits and a grandfather clock. Removing the mezzanine floor you’ll find a hallway with a shelf and a fridge. Remove the fridge and you’ll find the Tesseract hidden under the stairs. Which is honestly something I keep forgetting about. There are several great details and easter eggs on this floor which are really fun to place and figure out.
The Sanctum Sanctorum’s second floor looks like two floors on the outside but is only one floor inside. Getting to the top of the stairs you come to a door, book cases, two armchairs and lots of decorative items. Easily the coolest feature is the magical doorway leading to three different locations. Each is a stickered panel that you can move side-to-side from the outside wall. The ‘levers’ are cleverly disguised as exhaust vents. The shelves have more than a few easter eggs scattered in and on top: the ‘shamballa’ wi-fi password, magic books and even an anger management book written by Bruce Banner.
Two arm chairs sit to the side with a mug of frosty beer on a table. This is one of two clear references to Thor: Ragnarok. In this case it’s the meeting in the Sanctum between Thor and Strange while he searches for Odin with Loki. The second is the ‘Shady Acres Care Home’ sign found in the back dumpster. It’s the nursing home that Loki puts Odin in to hide him on earth. It’s then found to be demolished, hence the dumpster art. This one’s a really deep cut and I had to look it up to remember the scene. But it’s stuff like this that make me love sets like this.
The third and final floor of the Sanctum contains a bunch more magical knick-knacks. It goes without saying that the focal point of the floor is the distinctive circular window. It’s a really well designed and nicely printed windscreen element. And it’s a great update to the same element found in the Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown (76108). That element lacks the colour and extra printing that makes this one much more accurate. Some armor, more portraits and a chest round out the decorating.
Heading to the roof we find a few mechanical details and a tiny vegetable garden. My favourite features are the chimneys. Those in front look great and fit the architectural style perfectly. And the ones in back also get the job done. Yeah they’re simple but the illusion is spot-on and that’s what I look for in architectural sets. And you can can of course remove the roof to access the third floor for play. Lastly, is that small pot with a twig in it a nod to baby Groot? My money’s on yes.
All those details
Overall, from top to bottom, this is an excellent design. The exterior is wonderful with plenty of real-world details to satiate modular/architectural lovers like myself. And it’s also the most screen accurate Sanctum to date. Hollow studs are visible on many parts of the exterior. This allows you to attach minifigures and posing pieces. With so many flying characters you pretty much have to. But even with all these points it’s almost still not enough? Well, not enough for 9 minifigures from 2 separate movies. Minor quibble though as I don’t want the whole thing covered in studs.
My main critiques for the build are (unsurprisingly) the stickers. Y’all know I’m fine with stickers, but this is A LOT! We all want printed elements but with this many specific references that would be impossible. So as usual, we get a plethora of stickers. I’ve gone over several of the better/clever ones. And you can certainly omit some and still get the effect you need. I’m still a bit thrown off by the overly accurate build vs the sometimes cartoonish stickers too. Thankfully the circular window is printed at least!
Even with all the stickers in the multiverse, the Sanctum Sanctorum is an amazing build. Modular, full of detail, architecturally accurate and a great size. Aside from modding it bigger, you’d be hard-pressed to do better at this scale and price. My final Build score is a very enthusiastic 94%.
The Sanctum comes with 9 minifigures. 8 of them are new prints and 1 (Doctor Strange prime) is a reuse. Of those new prints, only 3 are new characters. Each is an alternate multiverse character of Strange or Mordo. With 9 minifigures and 2708 pieces, we get a brick-to-fig count of 300. For a set this size, that’s sadly very little. This gives the Sanctum a score of only 64%. By comparison the average for superhero sets reviewed to date is 195 bricks-per-fig for a score of 80%. Comparing it back to last year’s Daily Bugle (76178), it’s a big step down as that set comes with 25 minifigs and 1000 more pieces. That set earned an 86% score which was excellent. But let’s look to the figs themselves to see how they rank.
Will the Real Strange Please Stand up?
It should come as no surprise that this set features multiple Doctor Strange Minifigures. Each one is a variant of the character from the Mulitverse of Madness film. Prime Strange (as I call him) is a reuse of the design in the Gargantos Showdown (76205) which is a great fig. The molded plastic cape is exceptional and I’m glad it’s the standard going forward. Our other Stranges are Sinister Strange and Zombie Strange – two excellent choices. The former has a great alternate face print with the evil 3rd eye and the latter is just a fun mess of a LEGO®️ zombie. All three have front-and-back torso and leg printing, energy blast accessories and a hairpiece. Only zombie strange is missing an alt expression. Which, I mean….really what would you give him? LOL.
The Doctor Strange minifig has stayed very well detailed in all his appearances. The original from the first film still sports the time stone and has a traditional cloth cape. Using two pieces for the cape was a smart call, but this new molded cape is fantastic and much more fun. It’s a character on it’s own so it should look the part. It’s very reminiscent of the molded Batman cape first found in the 1989 Batmobile (76139). Superheroes need dope looking capes, simple as that.
Multiversal Friends & Foes
Rounding out the characters from the Multiverse of Madness film are Master Mordo and Wanda. Like the Stranges, each comes with an energy element for an accessory. Unlike the Stranges, no one gets leg printing, which is really unfortunate.
Of the two, Mordo is the newest character having only appeared in the original Doctor Strange film. Here he gets a nice torso print, cape and a dual-sided expression. And can we please take a minute to appreciate that new braided hair piece? It’s really fantastic and so far exclusive to this fig/set. This is only the second minifig of the character.
Wanda is in full Scarlet Witch mode here with an intricate torso print and one-piece hair/crown element. Her hex powers are created with two 1×1 trans red bricks instead the usual power elements. It works, but I’m not sure what the reasoning is. She looks very close to her fabulous (and frankly superior) counterpart from the Marvel Studios collectible minifigs in 2021. But without that great leg printing this one feels a little too budget for my liking. Check out below for Wanda’s progression from angsty pawn to super-powered chaos deity.
And then there’s Wongers (Madisynn ftw!). The torso print is great, but with no hairpiece and this torso print, I think, this is meant to be Wong from the first Doctor Strange film. He was not included in that initial Sanctum set so I guess this is a nice way to call back and make a new fig. And like Wanda, the lack of leg printing is unfortunate. Each of the past offerings of the minifig have great leg printing, so why stop now?
That film with the Stones
Our last three minifigs are Iron Man, Spider-Man and Ebony Maw. Each one is based on their appearance in Avengers: Infinity War and each is a new print.
Starting with Spooder-Man we get an amazingly detailed print that is ever so slightly different than the previous ones but hey, it’s amazing. The stand outs are the arm, dual-molded leg and feet printing which really take advantage of every surface. He looks awesome. He comes with a couple of hand-held web blasts for accessories. Check out the last pic for just how subtle the Spider-Man suits have been for this design.
Next up is the Iron Man MK 50 armour featuring the newly updated helmet mold. I have to say, this new design is so much better. Seeing it in hand and beside the original MK 50 it’s definitely more screen-accurate. The torso and leg prints are nearly identical but there are subtle changes if you look closely. Very closely LOL. We have still yet to see any arm printing on an Iron Man fig, but even without that, they’re always very well done.
Last we have Ebony Maw with a new print and recoloured head and hands. While it’s more accurate, I have to say I’m most disappointed with this fig. The prior minifig has excellent torso and leg printing which are now gone. His accessories are two spike elements. Overall a good fig and one you can make better by swapping this new head onto the old body. I’m not usually one to do that, but in this case I think it’s an improvement.
Comparative Minifigure Anatomy
Are the Sanctum Sanctorum’s minifigures perfectly done? No. But they are quite close despite my very specific critiques. Judging them on their own and with our criteria, they still score an excellent 92% overall. It’s a nice variety too since you get figs from 3 different films in one set. Unfortunately that brick-to-fig ratio hurts my overall score a bit. Taking both numbers into account, my final minifigure score is 78%. I am going to round up to 80% however. We all want more figs and more printing of course, but I can’t judge too harshly. So I will still recommend the set on the strength of the figs alone.
Whether you’re looking for an excellent display piece, a great play set or even a gift for an MCU fan, this is pretty much it. On it’s own, there is so much to play with in this set. The interactive elements are fantastic. There’s certainly enough to keep younger builders occupied for a while. And with all those minifigures you can make tons of role-playing fun across a few films. If you have several other MCU figs then get those out too so you can expand into even more scenes and moments. Interchangeable wall elements are a brilliant idea and improve the modularity quite creatively. I for one will leave Gargantos out as my modular street citizens wouldn’t be thrilled to see that. Who would?!
Since this fits in with existing modulars, it seamlessly works into your existing LEGO®️ city. When I place it on my shelf it looks awesome. There’s enough uniqueness there to also let it stand out in all the best ways. I will keep it as the end piece so-to-speak as I don’t think it looks best if you build off the back. That space leaves an ‘alleyway’ and although I don’t hate it, my modulars are all forward facing and it makes no sense. If you have a city block going on then you’ll definitely have more planning options to work with.
If you’re into creating your own MOCs or modulars in particular this will provide you ample spare parts. And it’s definitely a good way to be inspired to create something with similar architectural traits. The stone base, colonnaded walls, windows and even the roof are nicely pulled from real world designs. I really think this set ticks quite a few boxes for almost every type of brick fan out there. Consequently, it gets a perfect 100% entertainment score.
The Sanctum Sanctorum is an easy recommendation and you will definitely enjoy the build and the finished result. Cross-marketing into an already existing and popular theme is brilliant, and no doubt increases it’s desirability amongst AFOLs and collectors. It’s got tons of play possibility for young builders with or without the characters included. Speaking, the minifigures are great but ironically the weakest feature in my opinion. At this price point a few more would of course be welcome to make that brick-to-fig ratio lower and therefore more enticing. But take those MCU figs away and you’ve got an excellent building for anyone. Is it Spongebob’s house now? Go for it! As an MCU fan I am very happy with this set. And as a modular collector I’m thrilled to add it to the collection. My final score is an awesome 90%.
- Architectural details
- Screen accuracy
- Minifigure selection
- Easter eggs
- Overall build experience
- Modular compatibility
- Brick-to-fig value
- Heavy sticker reliance
- Rear detail/connection
- Lack of minifig leg printing
- Needs more interior space
- Needs more minifigures
That’s a wrap on the Sanctum Sanctorum (76218). I dove in deep with this one. Like any magic spell, I did my best to conjure up the goods. I hope we see more large sets for the Infinity Saga and from the world of Marvel Comics. And I really hope we get something major from DC Comics sometime soon as well. What are you thoughts on this set? Do you have any of the other Sanctum sets? What do yo think of the minifigures? And what’s your fave easter egg you noticed? Please comment below and let me know what you think. Thanks as always for reading and until next time, keep on brickin’. 🧱
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