Usually when I write reviews of exclusive sets I start by saying that it's a 'highly anticipated set', however this time I'm not sure that that's the case because it's only been about 2 weeks since we first saw an image of it, so there hasn't been a lot of time for the anticipation to build.
Read on to find out if it's going to be a compulsory buy for you...
Box and contents
As usual, the box shows the model in all its glory, set against a skyline of other typical theme park rides. The right hand side highlights small details and minifigs. The dimensions, shown at the bottom, are 60cm x 38cm.
Another view of the ride and more close-ups grace the back of the box.
I particularly like this picture on the end panel showing the minifigs 'in action'.
The 138-page instruction manual is perfect bound and printed on what appears to be a higher than usual quality of paper.
There is no sticker sheet! Hooray!
Parts-wise, there are a lot of old parts in new colours as you will see in the pictures below. The only new design of part I found is this 1x3x2 inverted curve, part number 6110019. There are plenty of the new 6-stemmed flower pieces that first appeared in Elves sets, and a few printed pieces, including this 2x2 tile which has probably appeared elsewhere although I can't find it by searching for its element number (6117629)
As I have said before in previous reviews, you don't buy Creator sets for the minifigs but they are an important part of them because they bring them to life. Designer Jamie Berard has a knack of imbuing a lot of personality into the figures he includes in his sets and this one is no exception.
There are ten figures in total, 6 grown-ups and 4 children. The three adult males are, I believe, grandad, the ride operator and a dad.
Grandad appears a bit over-dressed for an outing to a theme park but his torso is nevertheless very nice, having been used in Monster Fighters and other Creator sets.
The ride operator's jacket has been around since 2011 and has cropped up in a number of City and Creator sets.
There are also three adult females: an ice-cream vendor and presumably the mother and grandmother.
The vendor's torso is particularly nice and is new this year. It's appeared just once before, in a Juniors set. Her legs, in medium azure are particularly rare, having only turned up in Minecraft The Ender Dragon prior to this. Her ice-cream scoop is very effective.
The mother's torso has also been used just once before, in the same Juniors set. That's a mole on her face, not a speck of dust :-)
The minifig lineup is completed with four children, all with freckled faces. The black-haired boy's blue jacket torso is particularly nice, as are the right-hand girl's legs, uncommon in medium lavender.
So, a lot of effort has been put into the minifig selection to make them interesting and full of character.
Construction begins with a Technic framework mounted on five 16x16 and two 8x16 bright green plates.
The Technic parts are then largely covered by green slopes and plates.
A Technic mechanism that will facilitate the raising and lowering of the loading platforms is constructed in the centre.
Here, the platforms have been put in place along with mechanisms to operate them and drive the wheel.
With the yellow lever in a forward position the platforms are lowered.
In the backward position, they are raised.
Bags numbered two provide parts for details around the base including the ice cream vendor's stand, and walkways and platforms around the base.
The ride operator has a covered booth with what looks to be a computerised system for controlling the ride. The two new inverted curves are used on the roof. Note the 1x1 bricks around the bottom, colour co-ordinated with the gondolas.
Next, the A-frames are constructed predominantly from medium blue parts, along with the drive wheels, which are show in more detail in a photo below.
The two blossom trees created a lot of interest when they were first seen in the pictures. As I and others predicted, they are constructed using a 1x1 'dalek' brick and five of the new 6-stem flower stalks. The result is a very nice circular tree giving the impression of densely packed flowers and leaves.
Bags numbered three contain parts for the Ferris wheel. The hubs use some clever Technic geometry to create the 12 spokes.
I am not going to lie: this is an incredibly tedious build. Not only are the two sides identical but so are the spokes and rim sections, which is not unsurprising of course but it does mean that you end up building a lot of subassemblies over and over, 12 or 24 times. Thankfully they comprise of just a handful of pieces so it's not too arduous.
The end result is sturdy and unlikely to fall apart with normal handling.
It was interesting to see that the geometry of the construction doesn't quite work. Two of the spokes on each side have a small spacer at the end (the grey minifig neck bracket) to provide a little more length to them which seems to be just enough to ensure it all fits together properly without slack in the spokes.
Once fitted to the A-frame the full size of the model becomes apparent.
Finally, the 12 gondolas are built. This is also slightly tedious: the three-part door assembly and identical pair at the back has to be constructed a total of 48 times!
Here's a view of the drive wheel. It's driven via universal joints and held tight against the rim by means of a elastic band which prevents slippage.
The action of the raising and lowering platforms under the gondolas was difficult to photograph but if you compare the image above showing it in its lowered position with that below, where it is raised to hold the two side gondolas in place to enable the minfigs to alight, you can just about see it.
A battery box and medium PF motor are not provided but are very easy to fit and make the model much more fun!
Care must be taken to ensure the platforms are lowered before turning the motor on otherwise you end up with a horrible grating noise as the gondolas scrape on them!
The completed model
Here it is, then, in all its glory.
I think he's regretting going on!
It's a fantastic model that has so much going for it:
- The minifigs are excellent and really bring it to life
- At 60cm tall it's huge -- larger than you first expect.
- A lot of thought has gone into the design and mechanism, particularly the raising and lowering platforms. It's been a while since I've been on a Ferris wheel but I have vague recollections of them working like this in real life.
- It's fun to play with, particularly when motorised.
- It's an eye-catching model that is likely to mesmerise all who see it, AFOLs and non-AFOLs alike.
However it's not quite perfect.
- 12 minifigs is a lot, and as many as we can reasonably expect in a set of this size, but it's not enough. 24 would have been better, enough to populate most of the gondolas with one or two.
- The colour scheme came in for some criticism when images were first seen and, now that I have it in front of me, I think I agree that it appears a bit subdued. If I had a free reign on choosing what colours to use for the gondolas, I would have chosen differently. The green ones do not stand out from the base and the purple seems too dark. I would have gone for red and blue instead. I can only guess that those colours were not chosen because they were extensively used in last year's 10244 Fairground Mixer.
- Parts of the build are very repetitive and slightly tedious although throughout it I was driven on by seeing it grow rapidly in size and the thought of how cool it'll be when finished.
That said, I like it, a lot. I didn't think I would but now I've seen it 'in the ABS' I'd rate it as one of the best, of not the best, set of 2015. Price-wise, at £150/$200 for almost 2500 parts, it would seem to be good value, particularly compared to licensed sets. Highly recommended!