Review: 10242 MINI Cooper, part 2

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The 1077-piece 10242 MINI Cooper was announced at the beginning of June and will be available to VIPs in a couple of weeks at a cost of US$99.99, £74.99, €89.99, then to everyone else in August.

I've now built my review copy so what follows is a photo-intensive review of the parts, the construction, and the finished model.

Before I start...

For those of you in the USA and Canada, I had better define some English motoring terms...

  • Bonnet = Hood
  • Windscreen = Windshield
  • Boot = Trunk
  • Exhaust = Muffler
  • Gear stick = Stick shift

(thanks CapnRex101).

Parts and construction

The parts are divided into bags numbered one to three which suits me because I don't enjoy rummaging through thousands of parts at every step.

Bags numbered one build the chassis. They contain some interesting parts, perhaps most notably 1x1 plates in dark green which I believe are new in this set. In total, the set contains 22 of them. There are also drum lacquered silver Technic parts and 1x2 curves, inverted 1x4 curves and 1x1s with one stud on the side in dark green, which I believe have only appeared in one other set.

10242 MINI Cooper

The chassis takes shape with Technic beams. The wheelbase is 16cm. I believe the real vehicle has a wheelbase of about 2.1m so that sets the scale of the model to about 1:13.

The 1x6x6 'tray' at the back is for the spare wheel.

10242 MINI Cooper

10242 MINI Cooper

Spare wheel in place, and floor tiled.

10242 MINI Cooper

The floor of the boot is hinged to enable access to the spare wheel. The drum lacquered silver parts form the 'chrome' bumpers.

10242 MINI Cooper

The gear lever is mounted in a way I would never have thought of. It can be swivelled and angled freely. Which is good, except for a design issue which I'll mention below.

10242 MINI Cooper

Bags numbered two provide parts for the rear end of the vehicle. Most of the notable ones are dark green. The 1x4 curved bricks have a double white line printed along their length. There are 12 of these in total in the set, and overall, some 290 dark green parts (27% of the total number of parts).

The dark green 2x2 round tiles are new to this set and the 2x2 plates with rounded end haven't been seen since Vikings sets in 2005.

10242 MINI Cooper

Bag 2 construction begins with the seats, front and back. The pattern is made from white, tan and dark tan tiles and bricks and looks very effective. Notice also the handbrake.

10242 MINI Cooper

Next, the rear side panels are added, which utilise the printed 1x4 curved bricks to give the vehicle its distinctive body shape. The mudguards were first seen in transparent in Speed Racer sets. They fit the bill perfectly here.

10242 MINI Cooper

Here's what the boot looks like before its covered over. Note the exhaust pipe: a minifig neck bracket with pin.

10242 MINI Cooper

Next, the backs of the front seats are added, and the rear windows. Stickers are applied to the 1x2x3 slopes at the back to give the impression of thin pillars. I don't think it's too successful, to be honest.

10242 MINI Cooper

The boot lid, hinged at the bottom, looks suitably curved and bulbous.

10242 MINI Cooper

Finally, bag two provides parts for the picnic. Who'd have thought about using 1x1 slopes as cheese!

10242 MINI Cooper

Bag three contains parts for the front of the car and the roof. I believe the wheel hubs have been used in Racers and Ferrari sets before. The 1x1 round tiles with dial printing are very cool. Minifig ice skates are used for the door handles.

10242 MINI Cooper

The steering wheel is added on the right side of the dashboard and the engine fitted at the front. Black 'claws' are used for the exhaust manifolds which look great, particularly when they are boxed in, as shown in the photo below.

It would be easy enough to move the steering wheel to the left and in fact provision has been made to facilitate it -- a gap has been left where one is needed.

10242 MINI Cooper

Next, the front grille is fitted along with fog lights, and the dashboard.

10242 MINI Cooper

The dash has three (identical) dials and centre 'control panel'.

Now that the driver's area is complete I'll point out the only major flaw with the design of the set: the steering wheel is too big and as a consequence, the very cleverly affixed gear stick can't be moved very much and, for that matter, a driver would have difficulty getting his legs under it. I'm not sure if the smaller steering wheel would look better, or if it would be too small. Maybe I'll try it out...

10242 MINI Cooper

The doors are constructed and the front wings are beginning to take shape.

10242 MINI Cooper

The doors have tiled panels inside which finish them off very well. They make use of four 2x2/1x4 plate hinges in dark green which are new in this colour this year.

10242 MINI Cooper

Next, the bonnet is fitted. You can just see how the round minifig shields forming the headlights are mounted, using yellow 1x1 clips.

10242 MINI Cooper

Next, the windscreen, which is hinged to mount it at the correct angle. Again, it uses stickers to 'thin out' the pillars, not entirely successfully.

10242 MINI Cooper

The vehicle is now complete, except for the roof.

10242 MINI Cooper

The roof is detachable and held in place by four studs at the back, on the rear window. The hinge tops at the front of it are not used to fix it to anything, their less-than-one-plate thickness has been used to provide the correct spacing above the angled windscreen.

10242 MINI Cooper

The completed model

Now view the photos below and decide for yourself if it looks like the real thing...

10242 MINI Cooper

10242 MINI Cooper

The mudguards match the diameter of the wheels perfectly.

10242 MINI Cooper

10242 MINI Cooper

10242 MINI Cooper

The picnic basket, blanket and water bottle fit snugly in the boot.

10242 MINI Cooper

10242 MINI Cooper

The front sticker (which I just remembered I hadn't affixed...) does not actually look a different colour in normal light: the flash lighting has made it appear so.

10242 MINI Cooper

10242 MINI Cooper

10242 MINI Cooper

10242 MINI Cooper

Overall opinion

I really enjoyed building the set, it was never boring or laboured, apart perhaps for having to line up the 1x1 tiles on the seats. It has lots of interesting and realistic features and details. You have a feeling, while building it, of 'no expense spared' on parts, which isn't usually the case with regular retail sets. There is also lots of interesting parts usage throughout which helps keep the build entertaining.

It's not without its faults, though: I'm not convinced the stickers on the 1x3x3 slope window pillars work particularly well but I guess there was no alternative. Also, it's a shame about the gear stick having its movement restricted by the steering wheel. A smaller wheel, or shorter gear stick would probably solve this problem.

When images of the set first appeared, there were cries of it looking nothing like a Mini. Having seen it from all angles above, what do you think now? Personally I reckon the designer has done a very good job given the limitations of the medium, the need to keep the build enjoyable, and the model sturdy.

The distinctive wings and headlights, the curved side panels, the bulbous boot, the protruding mudguards are all present and capture the essence of the prototype well in my opinion. The windows and pillars might not be perfect but they are close enough and don't detract from the overall look, which is unmistakably that of a Mini.

My scores then, are:

Parts: 5 -- Lots of dark green, including many new parts in this colour.

Building experience: 4 -- Enjoyable throughout but over too quickly.

Playability: 3 -- Not much to do with it other than roll it back and forth and admire its details.

Value for Money: 4 -- £75/$100 is not too bad for 1000+ parts, but LEGO can always be cheaper, right?

Overall: 5 -- Despite some less than 5 scores above I will give it a 5 overall: It's a great set that any AFOL would enjoy building and admiring, and hopefully it will attract a few non-AFOLs to the hobby, too.

Many thanks to Kim in the LEGO CEE team for providing the copy to review.

35 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review.

And to answer your final question - I still think it looks very little like its real life counterpart.

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By in Canada,

Great review; too bad you can't steer the wheels.

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By in United States,

This model looks great. I don't even like Mini Coopers, but I really want this set. Great, detailed review.

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By in United States,

Regarding this:

"The doors have tiled panels inside which finish them off very well. They also use 2x2/1x4 plate hinges which are new in this set."

Is this a completely new part? Upon first reading, I interpreted it as a 2x2 plate and 1x4 plate connected by hinge. Looking at the photos, though, it seems it's part 73983. Is that correct? If so, and you're referring to it being new in earth green, it looks like it's also in #76020 in that color (so still "new" but not new in this set).

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Thank you for the correction. I checked BrickLink, which doesn't have any sets listed as containing them in dark green, but then that's probably because they haven't inventoried #76020 . So, new this year, then...

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By in United Kingdom,

Awesome review Huw, Looking forward to getting one myself as I love Mini's the original ones not the new ones of course, I reckon Lego did a pretty good job capturing the general look of it yet still keeping it looking like its Lego built, Shame about the sticker use though would have been the best set ever had it had printed pieces instead.

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By in Canada,

Using wedges as cheese (and 1x1 sand flat tiles as bread) is one of my favorite details from the medieval market village. =)

Looks nice. No personal attachment to Minis like my wife does to VW vans, so passing, but nice.

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By in Canada,

@Huw - The exhaust and muffler are not actually the same thing, the exhaust is the entire pipe system that directs emissions from the engine to the tear of the car, where as the muffler is only a component in part of the pipe which muffles the loud sound of the running engine. Just thought I'd point that out :o)

Back on topic, this set looks amazing, the build appears to be a lot of fun!

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By in United Kingdom,

^ OK, I'll blame the Capn' for that :)

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By in United Kingdom,

@Huw The price is £74.99 not £79.99. The price should be £59.99 maybe that's making for too much; The comparison between this and the Volkswagen Camper Van make this set feel like that due to the size differences. The fact we get rare colours and pieces is a reason the price is £74.99.

I was on the road to purchasing this set when it was unveiled; now I'm completely sold. I didn't spot the windshield pillar stickers at first sight but I'm annoyed that they would be applied to transparent pieces (It's a nightmare as fingerprint will show though) I also don't know why Lego gave us a big steering wheel rather than the one in that was used in the Volkswagen Camper Van (It is available in Black)

The fact that this set will be released a day before my 18th birthday (August 2nd) is a thumbs up and a great gift for me from Lego as I will officially become an AFOL :)

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By in United States,

Regarding the UK/North American terms, I think the bonnet and boot are the only two that regularly confuse those over here. All the other terms are interchangeable here.

Edit: with the exception of the exhaust/muffler pointed out above. :)

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By in United Kingdom,

@Huw - I'm insulted ;oP

Good point though @Rancorbait, they are not quite the same it would seem, news to me! This looks to be a great set, and one which I will be picking up as soon as I can lay my hands on one.

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By in United States,

Also, "stick shift" is generally used to differentiate the type of transmission used, so "stick shift" or just "stick" as opposed to "automatic". Older generations can still be heard saying "standard" to mean the same thing, since an "automatic" transmission was an optional upgrade in the past, but now is rather the standard.

The object used to switch gears on a "stick shift" would then be the "shifter". Some people use the term "shift knob" but that's usually understood to mean the actual handle, the removable part that can be replaced due to either usage wear or style reasons.

Anyway, great review of a lovely set. Not too interested in it myself, but it's definitely an over-all well-designed model.

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By in Australia,

This model is just asking to be bought in multiples and mocced into various colours. Can't wait to build a few myself, and in dark blue and maroon, if the right parts are available!

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By in United States,

One additional translation, 'wing' = 'fender' for Americans.

Nice review, I like how it looks. I hadn't noticed the pillar stickers till now. They look like they wrap around on two sides of the parts they are on? It would of been nice if the emblems were printed.

I'm probably going to buy one.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm very happy to see that this British Car is assumed to be right hand drive. (And equally happy to see it can be easily changed, I'm well aware there are barely any places in the world that drive on the left!)

I'm even happier to see Huw make the call on the steering wheel that I made when this set was unveiled! A shallow piece of gratification perhaps, but I'll take it! :P

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By in United Kingdom,

And I think you've summed up how it looks compared to the real thing very well Huw - it's very good, considering the limitations of the medium.
Of course it doesn't look exactly like a real Mini and is missing some of the longer curves particularly around the windows. Would it even be possible to recreate those in Lego?
And given that it should be blocky and clumsy, pretty much everything below the windows is very impressive to my mind.

And @Adzbadboy, I believe the stickers you are worried are going onto transparent pieces are going onto the dark green tall slopes, no need to worry.

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By in Germany,

Can someone post photos of the Mini next to the VW van? Are they about the same scale?

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By in United States,

Sweet ride! I think this is sweet and good piece-heavy, but I'm passing in favor of BSSS.

Great Review!

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By in Canada,

Apologies for all the spelling errors in my post above, I was in a hurry :o)

@CapnRex101 Sorry ;o)

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review! Just makes me want to buy this set more and more. This will be a definite purchase for me!

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By in United Kingdom,

I just realised where is the windows for the doors? Where is the rear-view mirror?

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By in United Kingdom,

^ ...and the rear brake lights!

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By in Canada,

Can't wait to get my hands on this and set it up beside the VW van and the Beetle (although the Beetle seems substantially larger). Again great review Huw.

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for that link @Adzbadboy, the convertible mod looks fantastic, and actually, it seems like a good fix for the problems with the roof too!

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By in Canada,

Does it look like an actual Mini? Well, when I first scrolled through the images I thought one was a picture of a real-life Mini for comparison. I wasn't mistaken for very long of course, but nonetheless.

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By in New Zealand,

Fabulous review.
My first car was a Mini just like this. I will look out for it when released.
I wonder whether there will be other classic British cars such as E-Type Jaguar in British racing green or Lady Penelope's Rolls Royce in classic pink.
The Mini has earned iconic status though the Mr Bean TV series and in New Zealand the 1981 hit movie Goodbye Pork Pie although they were both yellow and black cars.

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By in United States,

According to the sales associate at my local store, the August free item when you purchase $75.00 or more from the Lego store is going to be a Mini Mini Cooper.

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By in Germany,

@Adzbadboy - thanks a lot!

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By in United Kingdom,

The petrol cap at the back-left should have matched the chrome bumper, instead of being transparent.
But having grown up in the shadow of the Longbridge factory where they were built, an excellent model.

Italian Job Minis (from the original film) would be good.... complete with the gold...

Or even an R/C mini.

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By in Netherlands,

@flagsnz iirc the colour of the mini's used in the Mr. Bean tv series is either green or blue.

In my opinion it totally looks like a Mini. In comparison to a photograph of a real Mini the Land Rover does come to mind, but it still looks like a Mini to me.

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By in United States,

awsome review!

I am trying to find out who designed it but when i searched on google nothing came up. does anyone know? thanks!

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By in United States,

Actually, I call the 'gear stick' a 'gear shift' in the US. Not much difference, though.

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By in Australia,

Does anyone know when this will be avalible in Australia?

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