While Creator Expert sets have rightly been taking most of the plaudits in recent years, the standard Creator line also produces some gems on occasion. 31039 Blue Power Jet is undoubtedly one of these. The set stood out at the London Toy Fair where I first saw it, and now that I have built the jet, it is even better than I remember.
This is the largest of the three Creator sets this Summer, containing 608-pieces and priced at £49.99 or $69.99. The main model appears to be based on the F-35 Lightning and is quite realistic on the whole, using a huge number of curved slopes to recreate the flowing lines of the real aircraft.
I have not built the two alternative models, a helicopter and a speedboat, simply because I don't think they look nearly as impressive as the primary model. This review will therefore focus on the jet alone.
Box and Contents
The box is long and narrow, displaying the power jet in flight with the two smaller models inset to one side. On the back you can see large images of the alternative builds as well as the play functions for the main model.
Inside are several bags of pieces as well as a single instruction manual. Instructions for all three models are included in this one booklet which is unusual. Lots of larger sets in this latest wave seem to have only one instruction manual rather than several which is a good thing in my opinion.
Construction begins with the base of the fuselage, which consists mostly of Technic pieces to form a sturdy spine for the jet. The landing gear are fitted very simply while the power plant inside the fuselage uses various brackets and tiles to add some greebling. SNOT techniques are integral to creating such a smooth surface all over the vehicle and these begin with the addition of some slopes to the side of the model which help to conceal the landing gear when it is folded away.
The cockpit and engine nacelle are the next sections to be constructed, again using plenty of brackets to create some unusual shapes. Lots of curved slopes are used to enclose the brightly coloured pieces inside, and hinge pieces form the angled air intakes. It it worth noting that a 1x1 clip and 1x1 tile are used in the cockpit to represent a computer screen just as they were in 76042 SHIELD Helicarrier earlier this year. This technique, once considered 'illegal' by set designers, now seems to be making its way into quite a few sets as a result of the 1x1 clip's redesign.
I think the construction of the wings is the most impressive aspect of the entire build. These make use of hinges and the clever geometry of angled plates to create an accurate wing silhouette which looks fantastic with red and white stripes. These wings are then attached using hinges and are secured with yet more curved slopes. I believe these hinges are only used as they are required for the alternative models but it is nice to mix up the building techniques again.
At last the model is completed with the tailplane, cockpit canopy and two vertical stabilisers which are built at an angle using Technic connectors and axles.
The Completed Model
When finished, this model is a real sight to behold. It isn't huge but the sheer quality of the design is evident and the colour scheme looks fantastic. The entire model has almost no visible studs on it and looks incredibly sleek from the nose cone to the tailplane. The front of the vehicle is very impressive, constructed at an angle using 3x12 angled plates which looks superb.
The cockpit opens in two halves to reveal some control panels and two seats. These will fit a minifigure quite comfortably, although none are included to occupy the seating.
I think the model is roughly minifigure scale, which greatly increases the playability. As you can see I had to call in a special guest to give you a sense of the set's size.
Other play features are limited to access hatches for the engine, adjustable ailerons and folding landing gear. Although I absolutely love this model, the landing gear could probably be improved as the two rear wheels are not totally hidden when retracted. This is hardly noticeable though and doesn't really bother me as they are not visible from most angles.
There is plenty of play value in flying the jet around as it is an absolutely solid model, with no fragile areas at all, but I think this set is even more appealing as a display piece. It looks pretty much perfect from nose to tail in my opinion and is really a lesson in how slopes can be combined to form a flowing shape.
This model is pretty much perfect. The build is hugely entertaining and the finished jet looks absolutely brilliant with a huge amount of detail and a gorgeous sleekness to the whole design. I would dare to suggest that this is the best plane LEGO have ever produced! I certainly prefer it to the similarly priced 31011 Aviation Adventures and I think it matches 10226 Sopwith Camel although it is difficult to compare them as they are based on vastly different source material.
Whether or not you think this is one of the best models of its kind ever produced, I suggest that 31039 is definitely worthy of a place in your collection.
The set will be officially released on June 1st but if you can't wait until then it is available now at Smyths in the UK and Toys R Us in the US.