LEGO set review: San Francisco (set #21043)

Mon Feb 11, 2019

Alongside the Paris set (# 21044, reviewed in the January 29, 2019 issue of TechNews), the beginning of 2019 also saw the release of another welcome addition to the LEGO Architecture Skyline series: San Francisco (set #21043). With a total piece count of 565 pieces (almost 100 less than the Paris set) and a rough build time of an hour and a half (a half hour more than the Paris set), this set follows the general theme of the Paris set by focusing on capturing smaller details as opposed to portraying larger, iconic pieces. 

That is not to say that this set is lacking in iconic structures, by any means. When looking at the final constructed product (or the preview on the packaging), the eye is no doubt immediately drawn to the vibrant representation of the Golden Gate Bridge, spanning across the majority of the set’s length. Taking a departure from other sets in the Skyline series, this specific bridge is notable both for its individual and aesthetic value but also for the interesting three-dimensional effect created by having the bridge’s towers be different heights, creating the impression that the set is really spanning across the Golden Gate strait.

Underneath the bridge is also a miniature representation of the once-imposing (and now just touristy) Alcatraz island, complete with a lighthouse. On the left side of the bridge stands Fort Point, the pre-Civil War fortification that was spared demolition during the bridge’s construction due to its recognized artistic value, while the rest of the coast section contains the more modern Salesforce Tower, Transamerica Pyramid, 555 California Street, Coit Tower, various Painted Ladies houses, and San Francisco’s signature hilly streets (complete with cars).

Overall, the San Francisco set maintains the high standard of build quality that is to be expected from the Skyline series, from the grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge’s towers to the miniature (and adorable) Painted Ladies. Like the Paris set, the frequent use of 1x1 bricks may be frustrating or even painful during the process, but the end result and its fidelity to the featured city is completely worth it. The individual identity of each structure is beautifully and creatively portrayed through the plastic bricks that we have all come to love, and the use of green pieces throughout gives the set a sense of varied elevation that no other Skyline set has ever attempted, making this set truly unique among the line.

The LEGO San Francisco set measures six inches (about 16 centimeters) tall, 11 inches (about 28 centimeters) wide, and two inches (about seven centimeters) deep. A coastal center of commerce and finance, whose architecture (both in real life and in the set) blends past and present, LEGO San Francisco shows a history and geography that is truly unique among the others in its line, and it is available now for a retail price of $49.99 anywhere LEGO sets are sold.



Image courtesy of the LEGO Group



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Appears in
2019 - Spring - Issue 2