If you recall back in 2017, the LEGO Architecture Skyline subtheme had a particular set that never made it to the mainstream public. Triggered by the unfortunate events of October, 2017’s Mandalay Bay Hotel shooting, the LEGO Group deemed wise to cancel the impending release of the LEGO Architecture Las Vegas (21038), and was eventually replaced by a redesigned set that noticeably deviated from the original plan of including the famous hotel along the Las Vegas strip. This is completely understandable and was a welcomed move from TLG that highlights the social and moral compass that guides the company.
The unreleased 487-piece LEGO Architecture Las Vegas (21038) set suffered from an initial delayed release date which was soon followed by another until it was officially announced that it will be replaced with a redesigned model. It was quite a sad day for LEGO Architecture fans, but it was a necessary step if LEGO will stay true to its core values of not depicting real-life violence in its toys.
So for almost 2 years, we thought that this set does not eventually exist. Not until a surprising report from Tom Alphin aka the Brick Architect, revealed that some LEGO Architecture Las Vegas (21038) sets found their way in a retail store in Johannesburg, South Africa. It does not come as a surprise if LEGO has this set planned ahead long before the unfortunate shooting took place. So these sets either missed LEGO’s recall train or has found their way into the market from some LEGO warehouse from who knows where.
According to Tom, this set is not actually his but was provided to him to be reviewed. In fact, Tom did a superb review that I highly recommend that you go through as well. Apart from the lamentable circumstances in which this set has been connected to, it is commendable how this set introduces several new pieces that are believed to be only found in this set such as the Technic 3-Blade Rotor (32125) and the 1x2x1⅔ Brick w/ 2 studs 1-side (32952), both in Pearl Gold colors that replicate the Mandalay Bay Hotel’s signature architecture. Needless to say, the build also introduces an interesting building technique that captures the hotel’s unique design.
No one knows exactly how many of these unreleased LEGO sets are out there – even a search over at eBay does not even yield any positive result. We may never see the LEGO Architecture Las Vegas (21038) grace our Skylines collection, but I am thankful that someone was kind enough to go out of his way to give us a closer look at this set that never was. Thanks also to Huw from Brickset for additional info.