LEGO 31212 The Milky Way Galaxy Set Review

The Milky Way Galaxy has long fascinated humanity, with the urge to explore the stars ever present throughout history. This same wonder surely gripped the designers at LEGO when they settled on bringing our swirling galaxy to life in this set. They also settled on this piece being a decoration, giving fans the ability to mount it on walls. It’s part of the LEGO ART collection, which is no surprise. This set was provided by LEGO for review. 

Photo Credit: Kieran Burt

To get the specifications out of the way, this set features 3,091 pieces, is rated 18+, is 16 inches/40cm in height, has a width of 26 inches/65 cm and a depth of 2 inches/5cm. It has no minifigures, and will set anyone back $199.99 or £169.99. That 18+ rating is fully justified however, as many of the pieces are small, baseplate orientation is key, and the instructions will often through many pieces at the builder at once. It demands concentration. To aid in this, the pieces that are added are highlighted, to make it clearer what the builder has just done and what they’re being asked to do next.  

Photo Credit: Kieran Burt

Building this with only one person, it takes about 9 hours 40 minutes, however that might vary. What is clear though, is that patience is required for this set. Mistakes are extremely easy to make but thankfully LEGO does provide some tools to prise pieces off. Building this with multiple people is encouraged, especially as the set is divided into over 31 bags, 15 baseplates, and six different instruction booklets that don’t really on the previous one back completed, and of course this will take less time. The instruction booklets themselves do contain small snippets of carefully researched information about space, making them more than just steps to follow. 

Photo Credit: Kieran Burt

Other ways LEGO aims to bring space into the living room is with a carefully designed podcast, accessible via scanning a QR code on the back of the box. It is only in English which is disappointing, and it is divided into six segments that run for a total of 1 hour 22 minutes and 43 seconds. There’s an interview with one of the designers, speculation on who, if anyone is out there, bits on black holes and more. It’s a welcome addition, though it doesn’t run for nearly the length of time that builders spend crafting this set even with multiple people. 

Moving onto the actual set itself, it’s stunning to look at. First off, the amount of colour that’s used, with blues, purples, pinks, light browns, and whites used to create the iconic Milky Way swirl. Greebling is used to add impressive detail with flowers, hairbrushes, and even whisks, mugs and forks giving the set a 3D effect. It’s not just a flat surface, as running a hand over its top will reveal. The set is worth display space, though it’s a huge investment in both time and money.   

Photo Credit: Kieran Burt

The set’s detailing does enable it to have fun, and include plenty of Easter Eggs and references. The Gaia Space Telescope that was launched in 2013 is present (and its angle can be adjusted), a marker to indicate Earth’s location, TRAPPIST-1, The Crab Nebula, and even a little green alien. That last one is bound to get a few chuckles out of anyone who’s building it. It shows that LEGO know their audiences are happy to have a laugh. 

Inevitably, some bits are fiddly. Particular ire has to be drawn to the cherry pieces, that, while not numerous, are frustrating to add whenever they appear. The build does feel its length, particularly in the mid section. Another, more significant, gripe is that some of the colours are hard to make out in the instruction booklet, particularly the lilac and orangey pink flowers making it difficult to know which pieces are required to fit the pattern.  

For any adult who’s got an interest in space, physical space to house this set, and either the time to build it or family/friends to help then this set is something worth investing in. While there’s a necessary amount of patience that’s required to cope with the small pieces and making sure they’re in the right place, this set is worth it.

Kieran Burt

My name is Kieran and I am based in the UK. I love writing about all things science fiction and fantasy, particularly Star Wars and Marvel. When I’m not writing or watching anything sci-fi related, you can probably find me exploring the open worlds of alternate lands through my Xbox.

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