I used to play quite a fair bit of Minecraft. I still play it once in a while when a new update releases, but back before I had a full time job, I would easily clock in at least 6 hours a day on it. Someone on Twitter said Minecraft is like a personal zen garden, which feels pretty accurate. It's relaxing to turn off your brain for a bit and just build stuff. Not unlike a certain building toy readers of this site would be familiar with...
When LEGO teamed up with Minecraft to create a line of sets, it came a few years after my peak Minecraft phase. I was kind of mixed about them at first: the sets adapted the style of the game fairly well, with the downside being that they looked a little too...simple? I finally picked up one set a few weeks ago, the Iron Golem set (which I enjoyed building more than I expected to). And now this set: The Village 21128, the biggest set in the series.
The set is priced at $199 USD and contains 1,600 pieces. It comes with 4 buildings, a garden, a market tent, an animal pen, and a well. It comes with 10 figures: Steve, Alex, two villagers, one villager zombie, one regular zombie, one Iron Golem, one Enderman, one Creeper, one pig, and (deep breath) one baby pig.
Steve and Alex are the same minifigs found in other Minecraft sets. Steve comes with his trusty iron sword, and Alex is wielding a diamond pickaxe.
The Villagers are exclusive to this set, and come in two variations - a librarian and farmer. I particularly like the librarian figure - I could see his torso piece being re-purposed as a straitjacket.
Next up is another exclusive fig - the Villager Zombie! And a regular ol' zombie, which can be found in several other sets.
The Iron Golem (not to be confused with The Iron Giant) is the same one found in the previously mentioned set The Iron Golem. I really dig this figure - it looks simple, but the construction uses a few really neat building techniques.
The Creeper and Endermen figures are the same ones featured in other sets. I wish the Creeper's legs (feet? Claws?) were pose-able instead of being permanently stuck in the struttin' position. Same for Enderman - it's a cool figure, but his legs aren't pose-able either. They would be far less intimidating if you saw one bunny-hopping towards you.
Oink oink (the pigs are adorable, though. And derpy).
The build was very brisk - it took about four hours. The set is separated into different "modules" - the house, library, blacksmith shop, watch tower, well, marketplace, garden, and animal pen - and are connected by 2x4 bricks.
The first bag I built was the marketplace, which actually isn't in the game at all - in the game, you just talk to a villager and they present you with items you can buy. This was a clever way of adapting this part of the game into a playset.
The marketplace includes a tent, a chest full of Emeralds (the in-game currency), and a selection of odd wares - an Eye of Ender, a cake, an apple (balancing precariously on its stem), and an iron bar.
Next up is the Blacksmith Shop. It features a small pool of lava (used for smelting and toasting marshmallows, presumably), a work table, two furnaces, and a table with chairs.
The roof is connected to a hinge, which allows you to open it up to access the interior.
This is one of my favorite of the set. The roof feature is really well implemented, and it looks fairly close to the actual shop in the game. My only quibble is with the table and chairs - it's purely for aesthetic value. It's too cramped to seat an actual figure. Although, in the game you can't sit either, so maybe it was intentional?
Next up is the library. The exterior doesn't have much details, aside from some mushrooms and a cool brick-built door. The two sides of the building are connected by 2x4 hinge bricks, which allows you to open it up and access the interior.
Inside is a crafting table, a table and some more cramped seats, three bookshelf blocks and an attic with a spider-web.
Not too exciting. The bookshelf blocks don't really look like the ones in the game, but I like that they're brick-built instead of a printed part/sticker.
Not much more to say about this one. Onto the watchtower!
This one features a watchtower upon some rocks, a tiny waterfall, snow, more mushrooms, torches, and some emerald blocks under the tower that're ripe for the pick axin'.
Not much to say about this one, either. There's nothing inside the watchtower's interior, aside from a hole in the ceiling to allow access to the roof. It'd be nice if they added a ladder to access the roof, though. You can also remove the watchtower from its base so you can access the emerald blocks underneath.
Next is the well/desert biome. It features a well with a removable top, a bucket, a cactus, streetlamp, and some dead bushes.
Not much to this one. I feel like the well could be wider, it's only 2x2 studs. It feels really cramped.
Up next is the garden. It features another street lamp, carrots, wheat (?), and potatoes. Everything you need to feed a bustling village!
The garden connects to the animal pen. The pen has a gate that can be open and closed. Also includer is a little pond with some reeds growing by it.
Last up is the butcher's house. The exterior features a pen in the back of the house, and two pumpkins!
The pen is nice, but I feel like it's way too cramped. If you swing open the door, it's guaranteed to slam into whatever animal you're keeping back there.
Like the library, the two halves of the house is connected by hinge bricks. Open it up, and you get access to the interior, which features the return of the cramped table and seats, plus a work bench. And...that's it!
The set comes with two booklets - the instruction book, and another book which has instructions for alternate builds. I really like the alternate builds book, and wish LEGO included something like this for more sets.
Overall, me recommending this set comes with a few caveats. If you're a Minecraft fan, this sets captures the look and feel of this locale in the game really well, and it'll look great alongside your other LEGO Minecraft creations. But if you're not familiar with the game, I'm not really sure there's enough in this set that'll grab the attention of a standard AFOL. It comes with plenty of 2x2 plates with center stud pieces, and a whole lot of nougat-colored pieces. If you're in need of parts, you can do a lot worse than this set. But from a collecting standpoint, I can't really see this sitting next to something like, say, the Brick Bank on a shelf.
I give it three out of five Nerdlys.
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