Lego's New Playable Grand Piano Set Is One Expensive Tchotchke

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Toys and CollectiblesAction figures, statues, exclusives, and other merchandise. Beware: if you look here, you’re probably going to spend some money afterwards.

Lego continues its big push towards positioning its sets as the perfect way for adults to pass the time during the ongoing coronabirus pandemic. But like its other recent releases targeted at adult fans of the building toy, Lego’s new playable Grand Piano comes with a steep price tag that’s starting to make playing with plastic bricks a prohibitively expensive hobby.

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At $120, Lego’s new art kit sets get especially pricey if you’re buying multiple copies to make a larger piece to hang on your wall, and for $230 you can buy an original NES system, a bunch of games, and a used TV instead of a brick-built recreation of Nintendo’s first console. The new Lego Grand Piano, inspired by music teacher Donny Chen’s fan-built model submitted to the Lego Ideas platform, arrives on Aug. 1 with a $350 price tag. According to The Brothers Brick, that makes it the most expensive Lego Ideas set to date, forcing AFOLs (adult fans of Lego) to perform some creative budgeting if they hope to afford all of these recently announced sets and the new Super Mario kits arriving next week.

That’s not to say that the Grand Piano set isn’t an impressive creation. Lego’s designers are doing some amazing work this year, and this 3,662-piece model includes 25 keys controlling moving hammers, functional pedals that control a damper, an adjustable bench, an opening lid, and a fallboard that can be closed. It also features a sleek SNOT (studs not on top) design so it doesn’t necessarily look like it’s built from Lego at first glance.

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Illustration for article titled Legos New Playable Grand Piano Set Is One Expensive Tchotchke
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Even the inside of the Grand Piano is lavishly detailed with golden accents, faux strings, and, hidden beneath it all, a Lego Powered Up hub, an electric motor, and a sensor that allows the piano to be actually played. Although, “played” might be a generous description of its capabilities, as when connected to a Lego app on a mobile device songs can be played, note by note, by hitting any random key on the piano in sequence. If you can’t play a real piano, you can play this one, but it also has an autonomous mode where it functions like a player piano, randomly moving the keys while one of four songs plays through the app.

With a limited selection of music, there’s not a lot of play value if this is a set you plan to build with kids, but as Lego models go you’ll probably have a better chance at convincing your boss to let you display this on your desk at work than a giant Star Wars spaceship or a recreation of Super Mario Bros. 

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DISCUSSION

apocalypse-cow
Apocalypse Cow

for $230 you can buy an original NES system, a bunch of games, and a used TV instead of a brick-built recreation of Nintendo’s first console.

Just as with your similar observation with the Art Kits, you keep missing the appeal: yes you could buy similar things at cheaper prices, but they wouldn’t be made of Legos, ... and having an appealing object to build, display and/or play with, made of Legos, is pretty much the entire point.

As for this particular kit: it looks like it would be really, really fun to put together. Not really sure how much I’d personally appreciate the result, though, since I’m not that into pianos and just having one on display for me wouldn’t be worth the cost.