Saturday afternoon, I got the very last of my Christmas LEGO--a gift from a friend in California that (I presume) didn't quite make it out as early as some people's Christmas presents. As a result, set 21002 Empire State Building is my newest LEGO set. It's also my first Architecture set, and I have to say that I was impressed.
First of all, it's pretty much all basic bricks, plates, and tiles. There is a criticism of the LEGO Group's decisions over the past couple decades that makes this a great thing. Basically, the criticism is that sets contain too many specialised and/or juniorised pieces. In other words, even with a fairly large set collection, a builder is always running short on the most basic LEGO elements, unless he augments his collection with things like Pick-a-Brick, BulkLUG, or Bricklink. To an extent, this can be mitigated by sets like Creator/Basic/Freestyle, or the large Sculpture sets, but there are limits to this. What's more, as a fig-favourer, this is not something that's often been available to me.
In consequence, I'm quite happy to have this attractive little collection of tan bricks--tan being a colour that is widely usable in bulk and somewhat rarer than the primary colours.
I was also pleasantly pleased with the amount of "advanced techniques" used in constructing what appears, at face value, to be be a straightforward stack of bricks. Mostly, the "advanced techniques" are used to stagger the bricks, so that half-stud differences can be used to approximate the original skyscraper. All in all, I was quite pleased.
I apologise about the picture, as it's not the best. Possibly because of the white background, I had difficulty making the colours more vivid while still allowing the tan to appear tan. Also, I've only been using GIMP (and have never used Photoshop) for a few weeks, so you get to see me on the learning curve, I'm afraid.