Featuring Winnie the Pooh and friends, this delightfully charming set will be available from 18 March 2021 onwards for LEGO VIPs, and 1 April 2021 for everyone else.
Winnie the Pooh is an icon – celebrating his 95th anniversary this year, so it was a no brainer that Ben Alder’s Ideas submission hit the requisite 10,000 but also went all the way to being turned into the 2nd LEGO Ideas set of 2021. Third if you count the Vintage Car GWP.
Read on to see my thoughts on what could arguably be the set of the year.
Special thanks to the LEGO Group for providing this set for review
21326 The Keeper’s Village Set Details
Name: Winnie the Pooh
Set Number: 21326
Price: AU$159.99 | US$99.99 | £89.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA] [UK]
Exclusive to: LEGO.com, LEGO Brand Retail Stores
Theme: LEGO Ideas
Release Date: 18 March 2021 (VIP early access), 1 April 2021 (general release
I’ll just repost what I wrote yesterday about my disdain for the 18+ box art on sets that are based on childhood properties and topics.
Let’s talk about the incredibly poor design choice of using the bleak, uninspiring and pitch black 18+ box designs for the LEGO Winnie the Pooh set.
I complained that the 18+ branding didn’t work well in my LEGO Sesame Street review, but boy does it look even more disjointed from the happy, nostalgic, charming and warm feelings evoked by Winnie the Pooh.
No, this set is not for adults only, and yes, you can and should enjoy the set if you’re younger than 18.
LEGO, just take the L on this, admit that this is a poorly made decision with this bleak, uninspiring branding on Ideas sets, especially those based on children’s shows and cartoons.
LEGO Ideas has been on a great run, digging into childhood nostalgia, beginning with last year’s excellent 123 Sesame Street set, but they have perfected their craft with the LEGO Winnie the Pooh set.
After you get past the bleak box, the magic begins with the instruction manual. Look at how bright and cheery the instruction manual is with the lovely illustrated art direction.
A far cry from the black doom & gloom 18+ box.
Winnie the Pooh’s stories are timeless, whether you were read them at bedtime, or watched the classic cartoon and I just love how well designed the instructions are.
It begins with a handrawn map of the Hundred Acre Wood, followed by an introduction to Winnie the Pooh and friends.
It captures the heart and soul of Winnie the Pooh so well, and the illustrations are just gorgeous, evoking all sorts of nostalgia.
I won’t share all the pages of the manual, but I really love this shot of the design team, and quotes about their connection to Winnie the Pooh, and experinece working on this set – LEGO Element Designer Ann Chen, Senior LEGO Element Designer Felipe Silva Telles, Graphic Designer Ashwin Visser, Senior LEGO Designer Ilia Gotlib, and Senior Element Designer Simon Wilson.
We also get a lovely 2-page spread dedicated to Ideas submission designer, Ben Adler, featuring his lovely family and a shot of his original project as well. His story and inspiration behind his project is so dang wholesome, it made me feel all warm inside.
Here’s the back of the manual.
You can already tell from the love and care put into this instruction manual that LEGO is already on to something special.
When I saw the official photos and the piece count (only 1256 pieces), I mentally dismissed the set’s building experience, vividly thinking – okay, the minifigures are great, but the set design and build were going to take a backseat and be unmemorable.
Oh boy, was I wrong!
This is one of the most technically impressive LEGO sets I’ve built in 2021. Don’t let the piece-count and cheery Winnie the Pooh characters fool you, I was blown away by just how challenging it was from start to finish – and it’s one of the rare non-Technic sets that I feel deserves the 18+ adults-welcome label.
If you’re planning on building with kids, you will need to supervise and help them.
The massive Oak Tree in particular was so much fun to build – the structure is rock solid, and the techniques used to get the detail of the front of Pooh’s house were mind-blowing, and I loved every minute of it.
I don’t often feel challenged building sets and following instructions, but this was a pretty exhilarating build that seasoned adult LEGO fans will enjoy.
Meet the LEGO Winnie the Pooh minifigures!
The minifigures are truly the stars of the set, and boy, did LEGO go all out here.
Sesame Street was the first Ideas set to introduce new mould for minifigures, but Cookie Monster and Co did feel a little basic. Winnie the Pooh and his friends, especially Eeyore demonstrate just what LEGO can do if they want to flex their design and manufacturing capabilities.
Here’s the LEGO Pooh minifigure, with his cheery smile, cute little bear features and red shirt which is lifted up, revealing his cute cuddly tummy.
Dotted throughout the set are also these honey pots, printed with the words “Hunny” and with honey dripping from the rim.
Here’s Pooh’s back printing – overall, not too bad, but I think Pooh looks a little odd as he looks too tall and lanky, lacking his big, cuddly, THICC features.
The use of regular legs is a bit of a miss here, and I think medium legs would’ve been perfect, but they don’t exist in this colour.
I tried short legs (harvested from Jake the Dog from LEGO Dimensions) and he already looks infinitely better.
Piglet and Eeyore are just the most adorable pair, and Tigger is my favourite minifigure from this set.
Piglet’s cute facial features, and timid, shy personality is captured pretty well, and I love his scarf and red balloon, as well as his highly detailed head.
Tigger on the other hand, is just perfect – the designers absolutely hit a home run with Tigger’s design – I love his stripes, tail, arm printing and just how well they captured the shape of his head.
Here’s a look at their back printing. Tigger is just sensational in every way!
Last but not least, we have Rabbit and Eeyore. Rabbit was a pretty obvious choice, thank to his humanoid shape – Owl and Roo while nice to have would probably be too expensive to do.
The details and printing on Rabbit’s head are pretty impressive as well, but the colour mismatch between his lighter head, and body is a little disappointing.
The biggest surprise for me is everyone’s favourite morose donkey – Eeyore. I really did not expect LEGO to go all out with a massive, highly detailed brand new mould which just gets everything right for Eeyore.
His sad expression, body posture, hair on his neck and tail AND a slot to affix a ribbon is nothing short of perfect.
Like many of you who endured (or are still suffering) through a global pandemic, I identify the most with Eeyore and his defeated nature – you could call him my spirit animal.
An absolutely delightful lineup of minifigures, and small flaws aside, are really the reasons to buy this set – and they will not disappoint.
Here’s a look at the completed set, which really does not feel like a 1256-piece set. It’s actually quite large, thanks to the sheer presence of the Oak Tree and foliage out the front.
It doesn’t occupy much space, so it’s great if you’re constrained by surface area in your home, and does an amazing job as a display or playset for younger kids.
The set has 3 main areas – a garden/recreation area out front, the massive oak tree that Pooh has converted into a home, with the building extending out the back.
There’s a simple stickered sign with directions to the 100 Acre Wood – the fantasy woodland that Pooh and his friends live in.
Out the front is a small campfire, and a log for Pooh to sit on – the large and small wood tiles are printed which is always welcome.
There is also a stepping stone path towards the main entrance, and plenty of cool features around such as mushrooms, pots of honey lying about, and even a small brick-built snail.
These green mounts look deceptively simple, but the construction techniques to build them are highly advanced, and they give the entrance a really nice organic, earthy vibe.
Notice just how nice the curves of the building structure interact with the green mounds, and how the leaves are placed at an angle, held in place by hidden clips.
This section here, with a massive root that extends into the earth is also an inspired design choice, giving the tree a whole new believable shape.
The Oak Tree is arguably the best tree that LEGO have ever designed in a set, and is the visual anchor of the entire model.
The density of foliage is just outrageous, and it feels like it has so much volume and is larger than it should be, thanks to just how busy it is.
The secret to the construction is the amazingly clever use of green coral pieces as additions to foliage, and all 24 of them give the tree its respectful volume.
Hidden between the leaves are 2 bright yellow beehives with these adorable printed bees buzzing around. You can swivel them around to simulate a swarm lazily encircling the hives.
You get so many as well!
Here’s a look at the back structure, which has Pooh’s little cottage built into the trunk of the great Oak Tree.
The exterior is nothing fancy, but there are some cute flowers and foliage on the windows, and I like the simple technique for the shutters.
The technique used on the tiled roof is also really visually pleasing, especially the blend of earthy colours, and pops of leaves breaking up the tones.
The back opens up like a dollhouse to reveal Winnie the Pooh’s house. It’s a little cramped as you can see, but it’s still impressive how much the designers managed to squeeze in.
In the attic is a box with Poohsticks in them – if you watched the cartoon, Poohsticks is a game that Pooh invented, where you drop sticks into the river from the bridge and the winner is the first one to emerge on the other side.
The back of the box also has a sticker with CR – the initials of Christopher Robin included in which is a nice nod as he didn’t quite make the cut into the set.
There’s honey literally everywhere, and in his lounge room there is a fireplace connected to the chimney, an armchair and a cute little portrait of 2 bees on the wall.
The lines on the bee-trails are cursive letters for J and E, the initials of Ben Alder’s kids, which is just the sweetest thing ever.
In the hallway is a dresser, and above it a stickered map of the 100 Acre Wood, with locations of all of Pooh’s friends’ homes.
And on the other side of the hallway, an umbrella stand and mirror, where Pooh works on his confidence and self-love.
On the other end of his home is more honey in the attic, and a bed for him to sleep.
What I liked:
- The minifigures are delightful and lovingly designed, packed with plenty of details
- The surprisingly advanced and challenging build
- The Oak Tree is sensational
- Looks awesome on display, and works great as a playset for younger kids (once built for them!)
- The best LEGO instruction manual ever
What I didn’t like:
- Set is a tad pricey but thankfully, still accessible
- The 18+ box design
- Some mismatched minifigure colours.
LEGO have taken Ben Alder’s Ideas, vastly improved on it and have somehow created magic using just plastic LEGO elements, and a heap of childhood nostalgia.
The playful, joyful and nostalgic essence of Winnie the Pooh is celebrated in stunning fashion – not just by the incredible cast of minifigures and the lengths that LEGO have gone to capture their likeness, but in the overall build.
Like Winnie the Pooh stories which can be surprisingly deep, the build really impressed me as the complexity and challenge was a welcome one that most seasoned LEGO fans will truly enjoy.
The Tree design is simple inspired, and the set is littered with all sorts of fun little details like beehives, and nods to the cartoon and story.
LEGO have blended nostalgia, a fun building experience and playfulness in this set unlike any other before.
Sure, the set might be a tad pricey, but with the great minifigures (and Eeyore), the set’s display presence and overall quality embedded into the set, 21326 Winnie the Pooh is truly an outstanding set that is worthy of a 5/5 score.
It’s not everyday that a LEGO set manages to evoke such vivid memories, and sense of wonder, perfectly distilling the heart and soul of Winnie the Pooh’s enduring legacy.
What I loved most about this set is who the set was designed for. It’s designed for fans who are into the cute characters of Disney’s Pooh, those who want to relive their childhood nostalgia, or like Ben Alder, who want a fun little LEGO set that they can then use to play with their kids and introduce them to the wonderful world of Winnie the Pooh – in an interactive and tactile fashion that you can’t quite get from the TV or books.
Rating and score: 5/5 ★★★★★
Build  – The build was surprisingly challenging, with many awesome complex techniques and details
Real Value  – It’s a little expensive, but you are really getting a lot out of the set and the value is justified. It will also hold its value incredibly well.
Innovation  – The techniques that went into the tree, and facade are mind-blowing. Minifigure design and Eeyore is also a revelation.
Coolness  – Wins obvious nostalgia points, and there are plenty of awesome surprises waiting to be discovered. Also, best instruction manual ever designed.
Keepability  – Like Winnie the Pooh, this set will be timeless and will be remembered as one of LEGO’s best
Thanks for reading my review of the LEGO Ideas Winnie the Pooh set! I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll leave you with this Classic Space x Winnie the Pooh mashup! And yes, Eeyore is sad because he doesn’t have a spacesuit.
The set’s release date is 18 March 2021 for LEGO VIP members, and 1 April 2021 for a wider release and will be available on LEGO.com or your local LEGO Store.
I’d love to know what you think of the Winnie the Pooh set, and if you’re excited to pick it up.
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Special thanks to the LEGO Group for providing this set for review.