Las Vegas is the eighth model (ninth if you include the Great Wall of China) in the LEGO Architecture Skyline series. The current version uses 501 pieces and replaces the original model (21038), with the Bellagio Hotel in place of Mandalay Bay Hotel. A horrific event at Mandalay Bay in October 2017 prompted LEGO’s decision to remove the building from the skyline, before it was officially unveiled.
Las Vegas is known for its casinos, shopping, and over the top flair. Located in the US state of Neveda, the city is surrounded by desert and often experiences temperatures above 110°F (43°C). The city is distinct as much of its identity is borrowed for elsewhere, including Paris, New York, and Venice. While many people don’t associate Las Vegas with a traditional skyline (such as those of Chicago, New York, and Shanghai), the city offers a great deal of interesting high-rise architecture.
The skyline contains three highrise models, two smaller builds and the infamous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. The large models are the Bellagio Hotel, Encore at the Wynn, and the Stratosphere Tower. The Luxor Hotel and Fremont Street Experience round out the remaining buildings. With many other famous hotels in Las Vegas (Circus Circus, The Venetian) is hard to criticize LEGO for their choices.
Unpacking the Box
Inside the box are five bags; three small, one medium, and one large. There is also a quote on the inside from Cinnamon Stomberger: “It’s hard to imagine a bigger desert oasis than Las Vegas.”
The instruction begins with a brief description of Las Vegas, highlighted by the quote from Jeff Maguire: “So much of Las Vegas falls under the heading “it has to be seen to be believed.” After some beautiful images of the skyline models, it’s time to start building!
The base of the Las Vegas Skyline is generally 4×36 studs, with an additional four studs in back for the Luxor pyramid and Bellagio Hotel. Clip elements are used to attach the Stratosphere Tower (1) and Bellagio (4). At 28 steps the construction of the base clearly defines the placement of each building, which makes me look forward to the completion of the skyline.
Fremont Street Experience
The Fremont Street Experience is the smallest model (excluding the Vegas sign) of the set. The build is relatively straight forward, highlighted by the semi-circle canopy brick. While the build is simple it should not underestimate the importance of Fremont Street. With numerous museums, attractions, concerts, and (of course) casinos, the street is one of Las Vegas’ premiere experiences.
The Luxor Hotel was once the tallest building on the Las Vegas Strip. The Egyptian themed hotel is composed of black pyramid, sphinx, and obelisk. These elements account for the simplest build of the set, and there is not much use of piece creativity. One thing that is missing from the pyramid is the Luxor Sky Beam (a trans-blue bar would suffice), the most powerful beam in the world.
The Stratosphere Tower is one of the more creative builds in the skyline. Three flex axles bow and attach to clips to form the structure of the tower. The entire model is connected to the base through a bar and clip connection. Overall the tower is really well designed, especially the crown however I would have liked to see some more detail in the base.
Encore at the Wynn
The Encore and Bellagio hotels use one stud facades to portray their design. The Encore is the most tedious of two, and is constructed with brown/tan 1×3 plates and 1×1 round elements. When I say tedious, I mean tedious. Just when you think its complete there’s another layer to add. The most interesting part of the hotel, however, is its curved facade, held in place by green quarter circle tiles and cheese slopes. While the actual colors of the upscale Encore hotel are gold and copper, LEGO’s tan and brown are a solid (economical) solution.
The Bellagio Hotel is the most interesting model of the set. Mirrored facades span the width of the fountain pool, which are attached to the base through 1×2 rounded hollowed plates and held in place by bar and hollow stud elements. The two facades use traditional and horizontal stacking techniques, all held together by bar and clip elements. The center wing alternates 1×1 rounds plates, and 1×2 rounded hollowed plates. Most renowned are the hotel’s fountains, constructed with clear round elements and trans-blue bars.
Las Vegas Sign
Last but not least is the Fabulous Las Vegas sign. While not technically in the city limits (it lies four miles south in the town of Paradise) it is the most famous symbol of Las Vegas. The LEGO version uses a simple bar and clip connection to display a printed “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas”.
The Las Vegas skyline manages to incorporate the lavish and over the top feel of the city into the set. A variety of techniques are offered (flex tube and bar, bar and clip, curving plates) though they are not as interesting as the Shanghai skyline. The set makes for a great gift for LEGO architecture fans, as well as bachelors/bachelorettes visiting Las Vegas.