Lego Eiffel Tower is the tallest set of all time

Originally published at: Lego Eiffel Tower is the tallest set of all time | Boing Boing


Cool, but it would be cooler if it was in minifig scale.

At 5 feet tall the scale is 1:200. A lego minifig is roughly 1:48 scale, if you only care about height and not their chunky bodies.

So a minifig scale Eiffel tower would have to be about 21 feet tall.


Here’s the actual set, since frustratingly neither the BB post nor the linked article linked to it. I googled so you don’t have to.

Looks like a stunning set and I love it when LEGO leans hard into their adult audience like this.


At this price, I’d kind of expect it not to have glaring gaps like below. Struts seeming not to meet the structure they are supporting…

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I know it’s Lego and they have in recent years tried to stick to standard pieces and not create unique pieces just to make a specific model**, but even so.

** A rationalisation which apparently dramatically reduced manufacturing overheads and helped return them to healthy profit, I seem to recall reading somewhere recently.

But this addition is pretty cool:

Screen Shot 2022-11-27 at 17.44.43


I’m not remotely a Francophile, but I am glad there’s nowhere to display this in my house, or I’d have bought it already.


How many Paris lines is that?

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I’d love to build this, but much like its origin story, I’d need a small country to gift it to me.


I’d prefer to have the Saturn V but sure, I’d need some serious funding just like NASA to achieve that dream.


If it helps, the Saturn V kit has a relatively low price-per-brick, so really you’re saving money :wink:

(Fun fact, that kit has exactly 1969 pieces, and Apollo 11 launched in 1969)


Ah, an economist:grimacing:


I definitely see how that is disappointing, but on the other hand if there is one thing Legos are particularly bad at it would be arbitrarily angled diagonals (and the arbitrary dimensions they bring with them), so it’s at least understandable. Legos only work in integer nub-to-nub distance resolutions after all.

As for the “stick to standard pieces” thing, to me that sounds like one of those cases where corporate profits/-eering actually align with customer interests - as long as the selection of standard pieces is broad enough, obviously.


Yeah - I guess they have to get a pass on this, using standard pieces.

Here’s another version of the story I read recently.

He also infused a sense of urgency into the company culture, and next focused on Lego’s manufacturing plant. By the 1990s, Lego had more than 14,000 unique pieces and its manufacturing costs were sky high. He slashed this number by more than half, to about 5,000.

And the obligatory Guardian article for good measure.



Does the set include the lighting of the real thing? If so, does photography of the lighting require special permission so as to avoid violation of the designer’s copyright?

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That kinda makes it sound like you dislike French people…

It’s a bit of a modern myth that LEGO ever did that. They very occasionally make a special piece, like a boat hull for a pirate ship. However most of the pieces that people think are special are repurposed from other sets, or are re-issues of older pieces that non-LEGO-enthusiasts aren’t familiar with.

Furthermore, every piece LEGO makes is always within the System, so it’s never single-use. That’s another unfounded criticism people often level at modern LEGO. That boat hull becomes a section of an engine nacelle on an awesome giant starship that someone will build. Everything always works together in countless ways that often aren’t obvious to non-enthusiasts who aren’t familiar with the System and how it works.

I mean… I don’t know how to respond to that criticism. It’s an incredible model and all LEGO models have little compromises because of the medium, but that’s the art of it. This complaint is like criticizing 8-bit artwork because the curves are blocky and there aren’t enough colours.


You did see my later post, where I extracted the quote from the article? That new CEO forced the designers to rationalise down from 14,000 pieces to about 5,000. Not a myth, unless he was bullshitting the interviewer/the journalist did not check ‘facts’…

And re

I also said:

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You may have missed sets from the 90s [edit: er, 2000s] One-off colors and custom molds for specialty pieces with broad, unfocused product lines nearly wiped Lego out. Bionicle is credited with saving them in the face of lines that barely lasted one season. Robertson’s “Brick by Brick” covers this fairly honestly.

They deviated a lot from the System, and it hurt Lego. This set was cited as a particular example of how specialized the parts had become.


I didn’t say they didn’t lower the active production piece count. They did.

It’s a myth that LEGO today is somehow worse than [age of complainer minus 30 years] because of more specialized pieces.

It helps to understand how LEGO is made to put your article into context. LEGO does not invent pieces willy nilly. They have a catalog of hundreds of thousands of pieces, and they choose a subset to produce at any one time. When a new set is being designed, the designer is given a certain amount of leeway to vary from the active production, but not too much. Pieces are swapped in and out of production regularly, but there is overhead for doing so, so they have to balance that. Changing tooling, making sure the old dies are still good, etc, costs money and time. So they try to minimize that, but also they want to maximize the number of different pieces in production at a time to keep sets interesting and designers free to do more.

That’s what your article is about- tightening up the active window of production, not “stop inventing new pieces” or “stop making pirate ship hulls”. In your Eiffel Tower example, if you’re imagining they would make a special piece to close that gap, they would not. If there isn’t a piece in the active production or the deep inventory of tooling that would do it, they won’t. The deep tooling pieces are less likely to be available than active production, but for a marquee set they will usually swap out production for them when needed, They likely did that dozens of times for this Eiffel set. Genuinely inventing a new piece to solve a design problem is immensely rare and something LEGO has never really done. The bar is very high to create a new part from scratch, and they have to have a raft of use cases already in mind before they do.

I hope the above helped to explain that there is no such thing as “standard pieces” in LEGO. There’s an arbitrary set of several thousand from the hundreds of thousands for which they have tooling that are being produced at a given time. That production set is a constantly rolling window depending on which sets are on the market, which are in design, which are selling well, etc. Managing this incredibly complicated rolling window production is among LEGO’s greatest achievements as a company and why they continue to be so much more than other basic construction toys.


Ah - well I may have mistaken what your “myth” reference was referring to in the first place.
Though it was not clear from the article that (given your interpretation) he reduced it from 14k to 5k in production at any one time. It very much read as if it meant total number of manufacturable parts was reduced from 14k to 5k.

I’d never have assumed that all 5k (or 14k) were actually all in live production at any one time, anyway.

But maybe the author of that article didn’t properly grasp what they were being told. That would not be a surprise.

I’d say “standard pieces” as meaning the range of currently manufacturable pieces (even if not actually in live production at any point in time). But I’m sure there were some unique pieces for some sets, even if designers found ways to adapt them for use in other sets one they existed.

But they are much more disciplined these days, whatever their past activities - that’s for sure.

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