21329 Fender Stratocaster Review

Review by Luke Comins (SAFOLs Members)

Released October 1 2021, this set includes 1,074 pieces.

The Gig
Just about all sets released under the LEGO® Ideas banner come from fan designers uploading their creations and getting 10,000 votes. In recent years, contests have offered a unique way to gather fan-created content. After a few smaller projects have been transformed into GWPs (gifts with purchase), this set is the first to be released after being featured in a LEGO® Ideas Contest. Back in 2020 LEGO® Ideas ran the ‘Music to Our Ears’ contest. This contest required fans to create a music-themed build. Fans could vote for their favourites as well as the possibility of one of the finalists becoming a future LEGO® set. One such entry was the legendary Fender Stratocaster project designed by Slovakian fan designer Tomáš Letenay. It did not win one of the contest’s top prizes however was chosen to become the 37th LEGO® Ideas set.

The Fender Stratocaster was created back in 1952 and became an instant classic, everybody needed a ‘Strat’. Known for its distinctive shape, double cutaway, extended horn and contoured back, the timeless design has led to nearly 60 years of market dominance for the Stratocaster – and that’s exactly the kind of legacy that makes it a perfect fit for the LEGO® Group, particularly the +18 Adult theme.

The Good, the Bad and the Build
The set consists of a guitar, foldable display stand, amplifier and foot pedal which comes in twelve numbered bags.
The first eight numbered bags contain the parts for the guitar, and the rest are for the amplifier.

The instructions booklet also includes some neat extra content including the history of the Stratocaster and the fan designer behind the set’s original concept.

You start by constructing the neck and fretboard of the instrument. There are 6 strings included in the build that aren’t normally offered in such a long length and they each have a coloured stud attached to them. Once correctly placed in position, these are then removed. This visual marker is a simple yet helpful way to ensure the strings are placed in the right formation. Once they are, you are required to twist them counterclockwise in order to tighten them. The unique fretboard tiles are really cool and make it possible for MOC builders to now create some other brand guitars. The 1×1 corner tiles supplied for 4 different picks are also a nice touch.

The headstock looks somewhat close to the real thing, but the connector piece makes it look a bit crappy and the tuning keys and bridge in silver would have been a real bonus. The printed Fender logo could also have been a fraction smaller just so it doesn’t freak out my semi-OCD mind.

The guitar can be built in red or black and I chose the red version to build first as that is what is shown as the main image on the box, and I personally find the red ‘Strat’ more iconic.

The body of the guitar uses various sideways building techniques using slopes to recreate the curves. The top curves are unfortunately not as smooth as have been achieved on the bottom of the guitar shape. The result is that swapping between the two colour ways isn’t all that simple. You can’t just cleanly detach the black body and attach a red sub-assembly as the official images suggest; thanks to the way the strings are integrated into the bottom of the pick guard and the body, you’ll have to pry apart chunks of the guitar if you fancy a change.
The volume and tone knobs could have been detailed whether printed or with stickers. LEGO® have printed tons of random 1×1 round tiles…
Oh yes, the stickers… there are a few nice ones to apply, one for the back of the guitar and three for the amp.

One of my favourite parts of the Fender build is the unique textile strap (same as used for minifigure capes etc). On a real instrument, the strap is an important tool to help with playing it.
The version here has been given a LEGO® twist, with brick stud patterns interwoven with the Fender logo, a nice print!

As much as the focus of the set is the guitar, the accompanying ’65 Princeton Reverb amplifier is just as important and in fact, is even more interesting to build.
The amp pulls a similar trick to the LEGO® 71374 Nintendo Entertainment System’s console in how it’s designed first and foremost to be dynamic for the builder, rather than solely to be admired on display. The various components of the motherboard and fuses that form the inner workings of the amp have all been worked into the build, even if some of those pieces aren’t connected in a traditional manner. This includes the speaker dish being held in place by the edge of studs and various different coloured 1×1 tiles wedged sideways between studs. The results are pretty cool and can be easily viewed or accessed once the set is built as the back and top covers can be removed.

Just as you would a real guitar, the LEGO® Stratocaster can be connected to the amp via a uniquely long piece of tubing. Another is used to connect the foot pedal to the back of the amp. Even the pieces used to achieve this are interesting, with ‘lipstick’ elements used to create connector pins. These elements are also used inside some of the fuse tubes inside the speaker.

The guitar measures in at a reasonable 36cm tall and 11cm wide and comes in surprisingly close to the initial design concept, both in scale and design.

This build brilliantly captures the iconic shape, proportions, and details of the Fender Stratocaster, across both the guitar and amp.

It does seem a little smaller than expected but I think that adds to the charm as well as making it a lot easier to display. Interestingly, the amp seems to be the overall bigger hit in the set.
There is not really any playability in the set so best to stick to your air guitar or a real one for that.

Oh yes, LEGO® throw in a nice big LEGO® Fender sticker as an added bonus!

This set took 4hrs build time including making the black version of the body to swap if I feel like it one day…

(Photos Credit: Vizcom)