So here we are, The Big Bang Theory set is finally available, and we can finally see if it's worth or not. When Lego Ideas announced the production of this Idea, i was undecided. On one side i'm a huge fan of the show since its inception, so of course i rejoiced at the news. On the other side i couldn't help but grumble about how much franchises became dominant in Ideas, despite the abundance of worthy unlicenced models (such as this one for example, which i choose for reasons completely unrelated to me being the author). TBBT is actually one of the worst offenders here, as there's very little "model" in this set, it's more a bunch of minifigs with a literally half a room to provide a background.
At $59.99 / €59.99 for 479 pieces, it's also on the expensive side. Is it worth it? Let's find out.
The box is elegant with its white background and black sides, featuring a prominent The Big Bang Theory logo and the complete model, and is of the reclosable, higher quality kind, like those for the Architecture line (and indeed for most of Ideas line) . On the back, some highlight of the model and the complete lineup of actors/minifig.
The instruction booklet is also of the higher quality kind, with bounded side. You can see the sticker sheet too, which counts only two stickers! Very good. As usual, some pages are dedicate to explain the project and its authors.
The pages feature a white background with some very light "sciencey" prints (kind of invisible in this pic) and is very easy to follow.
The box contains the usual pile of bags and three loose plates. There are some interesting pieces with some unique prints. Here's a completely arbitrary selection:
We can see many printed pieces: the two whiteboards of couse, a picture of the bridge, the linghting ball antenna thingie, the vintage radio etc. There are two nanofigures, one red and one blue (plus two spares), a brand new green tap, two globes (of which the azure one is new), and other assorted rare or uncommon pieces.
The set also contains two smaller bags:
One contains four markers, which are rubbery pieces, and the other.. ugh. I've already seen the exact same bag of parts in 41040 Friends Advent Calendar, and it's terrible. It's a set of kitchen utensils and cuttlery, but it's made of a different plastic than regular lego, one that feels very cheap and flimsy and.. wrong. Well, i guess it's a quick way to provide each minifig with something to hold.
But let's build! The first steps guide us throu the creation of the floor where the three big plates are joined together. A raised side of the right (which is true to the show) is also outlined.
The build then concentrates on the right corner, where the shelves are built.
A small desk with a laptop and a lamp are built next, all of which are lovely micro builds.
The side is completed with some blue curtains, posters, and trinkets to populate the shelves
Lastly, the ever present DNA molecule sculpture is added to the scene (at least i think it's DNA). Given the size constraints, i think they did a good job of capturing it, even if it's not an helix. Someone unfamiliar with the show might be puzzled about the nature of the build but well, it's an interesting model.
An incredible cure has been used to recreate the room as similar to the real thing as possible. Here's how this side looks:
You can see they recreated many details, starting from the already mentioned molecule model to the whiteboard. There's some (probably Tesla related) lightning poster on the wall, which is captured into a 2x1 tile with a zapping round antenna print, that will surely turn useful in other context too. The vintage radio is similarly recreated with another lovely printed tile. Books, curtains, and even the wall mounted CD case holder are all there. Lovely attention to detals.
Now it's the turn of the other side, where we left an uniform boring wall waiting to be decorated. But first the carpet is created with some differently colored tiles.
And finally some furniture, including the iconic couch (with Sheldon's spot):
Here they are mounted on the model, along with a nice round table with a lamp:
The left side of shelfing receive its load of stuff. The main table is also put in place, filled with chinese take away food represented by some super cute white 1x1 bricks with chinese prints. That reminded me of an hilarious scene from the show, where Leonard reveals purchasing tons of boxes from Sheldon's favorite chinese place when it went out of business years before, and pouring the food taken from other shops into those boxes ever since, to avoid Sheldon freaking out on the change!
The last two furniture items are built: a modern looking chair (actually a nice build including four minifig neck brackets), and a big whiteboard with some scribbles in it. I tryed and see if there's somethig taken from the show in there but i couldn't connect anything. UPDATE: as a reader pointed out in the comments, it's probably from the episode where Sheldon and Leonard play pictionary against Amy and Penny (obviously Sheldon make some abstruse and impossible reasoning to get Leonard to guess, while blaming him when he couldn't).
This side is also recreated with great care. Two ion lamp ball and a globe are represented by different ball pieces, an action figure is embodied in a microfig and there's also a superb micro Green Lantern lantern.
The rocket in the Lego room doesn't seem to match anything in the real life counterpart, but it must be said that the actual content of the room changed a bit with the years and seasons. Here's how it looked in the first season, indeed there's a spaceship! (sorry for the pantless dudes)
As much a good room as it is, i'm pretty sure most people will purchase the set mainly for the minifigures. Seven of them are included, the historical five main characters (Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, Howard and Penny) and the now regular Bernadette and Amy.
So, here they are in details!
Leonard Hofstadter is captured perfectly. His thick glasses and hooded jacket are great, as is the "recycle" t-shirt often wear in the show. The hairpiece is appropriate, despite being an old and plain one. One face is smiling, the other is upsed, certainly becouse of some of Sheldon oddities.
Sheldon Cooper sports his classic Flash t-shirt. The hairpiece is good, but i think the face expression is one of the least realistic of the bunch, sadly. Maybe it's just me, but i can't see him in this minifig face. The alternate face show what is probably his hilarious "creepy fake smile" expression, and it's pretty fun!
Howard Wolowiz is great. It sports a recent hairpiece (seen for example on Larry the Barista in TLM), paired with great printed sideburns. He wears his iconic red shirt with black turtleneck and one of the best nerd belt buckle of his collection: a nintendo controller. His expressions show two different smiles. I think this is one of the best of the bunch.
Raj Koothrappali wears his usual violet jacket with old fashoned sweater, and what is actually my favourite hairpiece ever, which is realistic enought for him. The alternate expression is the super funny face he has when women are around and he is affected his "shyness mutism" (a problem which is fortunatelly much healed in recent seasons). His indian complexion makes for a good addition to our minifig collections, as dark skin is rare.
Penny (curiously no surname is ever given in the show) is not bad, with her customary pink shirt and blonde hair, but i think it suffer from being a little too much a generic minifig. The alternate face is the disgusted-shocked look she often reserves to Sheldon.
Bernadette Rostenkowski (later Wolowitz), is the love interest of Howard. Cute and fragile in appearance, she reveals a strong nature when she gets angry at her husband, screaming just like his mother used to do. She's shown with a tipycal dotted white and pink skirt, and his expressions perfectly capture both the cuteness and the anger of the character.
Amy Farrah Fowler is Sheldon girlfriend, and almost a female version of his character, despite some important differences. This is also one of the most recognizable character of the group, the particular smile instantly remind of the actress, and her unfashonable look is also well represented. She has one of my favourite female hairpiece most famous for being in the Librarian CMF minifig.
All of them have backprints and many use limbs with two different plastics, a recent innovation in minifigs making.
All love interests are represented:
Poor Raj has very little luck with women (despite being sweet to the point of femininity) and direct his love to his pet dog, Cinnamon, which is also included in the set. His being the last of the group to find a girlfriend is the subject to many jokes and touching moments on the show, and finally in the current season (the eight) he is in a somewhat stable, if a little creepy, relationship with a girl.
Here's the whole group of friends enjoying a dinner just like it often happens in the show:
If you've read the article up to this point, you can already see where this is going. This is a set almost entirely targeted to fans of the show. For them, the set will surely appeal mainly due to the high quality minifigs, and they'll be enthralled by the highly curated reconstruction of all details from the show. It's a great display piece and a perfect "geek" gift for your friends who are fan of the show but not (yet) of Lego.
For everybody else, this sets has little to say. It has seven generic (albeith well done) minifigs and half a room with lovely furniture and no play feature whatsoever. Even as part pack, unless you're interested in some of the unique printed pieces, there are cheaper options.