Trains have always been a popular subject in the LEGO community and the newest set that has released for the genre is the LEGO Ideas The Orient Express (21344). The set has 2,540 pieces and retails for $299.99 which is one of the more expensive sets for the Ideas theme.
The box contains 23 numbered bags, 3 unnumbered bags, two sticker sheets, and the instructions. The main focus here are the sticker sheets as the initial print run of the has incorrect coloring for them. The stickers are intended to have a metallic silver finish to them but some sets may have sheets that have a flat flame-orange coloring. You can contact LEGO customer service to request the correct sheet.
There are eight minifigures in the set, the duchess, conductor, train driver, waiter, railway station manager, scientist, writer, and film director. The duchess has a very detailed dress with metallic gold designs on both sides of the torso and dress piece. Her double-sided head shows her with a smirk on one side and a smile on the other. Her accessories include an umbrella and a brick-built purse.
The conductor has has a blue suit with some metallic gold detailing. He has a nervous facial expression and some sweat dripping down his face. His accessories include a pair of bags going onboard the Orient Express.
The train driver wears some simple blue overalls. His accessory is just a shovel.
The waiter has a black suit that has a bow tie. Her accessories include a serving tray with a cocktail glass as well as a waiter’s cloth which uses a white door.
The railway station manager also wears a blue suit but he also has a pocket watch hanging out of the pocket. his bearded face is exactly what you would expect a conductor to look like. His accessories is a brick-built lantern and a dispatch baton.
The scientist wears a striped gray suit. His face shows him with a white beard with a smile peeking through. He kind of looks like Albert Einstein to me. His accessory is a black walking stick.
The writer is named Pippin Reed and if you’re a old school LEGO fan, you would know her from the Adventurers line from years ago. She has a teal jacket with some dark red pants. Her double-sided head shows her with a calm expression on one side and a scared one on the other. Her hair is molded on to the red hat which was first used for Tina Goldstein from the Fantastic Beasts theme. Her accessories include a printed letter tile and a pen.
Lastly, we have the film director who is based on the Orient Express fan designer, Thomas Lajon. He’s in a brown outfit with some dual molded legs for his boots. His accessories include a shoulder bag as well as a brick-built camera.
Before we get into the main build, there’s also some smaller ones which are the luggage going on to the train, perhaps from Pippin Reed. There’s a dolly cart carrying a chest filled with gems and a mosquito amber brick. There’s also a smaller box with some coins as well.
The set does include the tracks which is long enough to fit the whole train on it. The train does run fairly smooth on it although it is pretty flimsy due to the length of it. As a result, it also doesn’t sit all the way flat and tends to bow in some sections. It can even run on the traditional LEGO tracks with the curves.
As for the Orient Express itself, it includes the locomotive, the tender, a dining car, and the sleeping car, all in a dark blue color scheme. The original submission had the locomotive and tender in dark green but was changed in production to have a more uniform look.
The locomotive has a very generic look to it and looks very similar to the Hogwarts Express. It runs on six wheels that are connected to the working coupling rods on the sides. The leading wheels are connected using pins to it can freely move if the train is navigating some curves.
There are some stickers for some detailing which include the name Sapphire Star for the name of the train and 52 which references the 52nd set in the LEGO Ideas line.
Inside the cabin, there’s enough space for one minifigure but there’s a good amount of detail inside using random objects for the controls.
The tender has minimal details but there is a wooden door on one side and a some steps to get to the top on the other. The hatch on the top is on hinges and there’s nothing inside the car. It does have enough room to put a battery box inside and RacingBrick has demonstrated this.
The dining car is pretty long and is a good proportion to the locomotive and the tender. On the outside, there are a number of stickers detailing the car include the Orient Express in the middle along with various cities on top of the windows for the Paris–Istanbul route. There’s also one that distinguishes between the dining car and the sleeping car and there’s also the set number 21344 in the bottom corner.
The doors on the ends of the car can open up to reveal some wood paneling which are basically stickers of potted plants. The roof is able to lift up to access the inside. On one side, there’s a bar with a stool next to it. On the wall behind is a painting of some birds. The bar itself has some bottles showcased. On the other end of the car, there are two tables with two chairs each.
For the sleeping car, it is built pretty much the same way as the dining car. The outer difference is that the car is labeled as voiture-lits. When you lift the roof, you are greeted with a lot more detail inside with very little negative space. The smaller room has a couple of bunk beds along with a sink. The lower bed has a newspaper and a secret under the bed is a gem. There’s also a desk with a lamp and a backgammon board which is stickered, of course.
The rest of the car is for the first-class room and that takes up roughly about 2/3 of the car. The bed sits next to the wall and above it is a sticker mirror showing the other side of the room.
In the middle of the room, there’s a couch across from the desk which has a typewriter, lamp, and a drink.
The end of the room has a half bath which consists of a sink and a toilet.
The LEGO train community and fans in general have been waiting for a decent train set and I think the LEGO Ideas The Orient Express (21344) may have met their expectations. The locomotive seems pretty generic but still looks good enough. The tender does give enough room to put a battery in to motorize the train even though LEGO stated that it wasn’t meant to be motorized. The main details are in the two passenger cars.
There are some negatives I have with the set. First is the price point of $300 which is a little more than I it would’ve been. The naming license of The Orient Express could’ve been one of the factors in the higher price. The sticker situation was also interesting although LEGO has already started rectifying the situation before its release.
Thank you to LEGO for sending in this set for me to review. The content above represents my own opinion and not the company. Review sets sent in does not guarantee a positive review.
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