Review: 10252 Volkswagen Beetle

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View image at flickr

At Huntington and Malibu
They're shooting the pier
At Rincon they're walking the nose
We're going on safari to the islands this year
So if you're coming get ready to go

Let's go surfin' now
Everybody's learning how
Come on and safari with me

- Surfin' Safari, Beach Boys

The press release for 10252 Volkswagen Beetle was met with great excitement. We have received a set and in the latest transatlantic collaboration, Huw has taken the radical pictures for this safari and I am providing the colour commentary.

So, is this set worth the safari, or should you wait for another wave? Read on to find out....


Box and contents

The front of the box shows the model in all its glory at the beach. The landscape pictured looks very much like the California coastline. Clearly the owner of the Beetle is headed for a day at the beach, complete with cooler and surfboard. Other smaller pictures on the front show the accessories and dimensions of the model, while the back of the box illustrates some of the many interesting features of the set.

10252 VW Beetle10252 VW Beetle


Parts

Inside the box there are eight bags, each numbered between 1 and 3, a sticker sheet, four sturdy tires and an instruction booklet. No cardboard was included for the booklet, but mine came through unscathed. My sticker sheet was similarly not crumpled although other reviewers were not so lucky, I believe.

10252 VW Beetle

One of the notable things in this set is that there are so many new pieces. I will highlight some during the course of the review, but I am sure I won't catch all of them. Of particular note in this set is the striking colour of the car in dark azure (which LEGO calls dark azur), and many of the new pieces are in that colour. I think it's gorgeous and a terrific choice for this set.

10252 VW Beetle


Construction

The build starts, somewhat unsurprisingly, with Technic parts to establish the core of the model. The instruction manual for this set is one of those that highlights in yellow the new parts added on each step. While some don't like this method I do find it helpful on occasion, especially in cases like the beginning parts of this build where there are several steps that are adding bley bricks on top of other bley bricks. I know finding the changes between steps is part of the fun in building, but for a more complex model like this one I really appreciate having the changes highlighted.

The core is assembled rather quickly and soon we are on to building parts of the car that can be recognized in the final product - in this case, the running boards and black radiator grill pieces. Continuing to build the undercarriage, inverted bow pieces are used to show more graceful lines in the front and rear of the car.

The engine is somewhat complex but is an interesting composition of parts, including the 1x2 roof tile w/ 1/3 plate. An elastic band provides a nice finishing touch for the engine, which we find in the trunk of the car (or boot, for those of you on the other side of the Atlantic).

Tail lights are attached using red translucent tiles. Hazard lights are added with the new orange half circle translucent pieces which are used to great effect.

10252 VW Beetle

The base of the back seats is next. The smooth curved 1x4x1/3 pieces make for great leg rests in the back seats and are clipped in. This is the first use of the SNOT technique for the model, which is used extensively throughout the build.

The final build in the first set of bags is the rear exterior over the wheel wells. The fender area over the wheel wells are new parts to this set in that lovely blue. The rear exterior uses some more of the new pieces in blue. It is tricky attaching them to the main model and requires quite a bit of precision. I found the best way was a method not offered in the instruction manual - one of the few times I would have done something differently than in the instruction manuals.

By the end of the first bag, things are well on their way.

10252 VW Beetle

The second set of bags starts with the back support for the rear seats. I really like the technique used; I don't want to elaborate so as to keep it a surprise for those who build it. In the first of several cool features in this set, the rear seat does fold forward, allowing access to the small storage space behind. In this case the space is used for a picnic blanket (which is also new to this set).

Several jumper plates are used to create the base for the front seats. The back support for the front seats are built using the same technique as the rear seats; also allowing them to fold forward. The parking brake is found between the front seats.

The is definitely a classic Beetle, as this Beetle has a manual transmission as opposed to an automatic; the stick shift is added slightly in front of the front seats.

The build out for the frame of the front end is also an interesting technique making use of inverted bow pieces. Here we come across yet another new piece - the 1x2 angular plate in blue.

10252 VW Beetle

Next is the structure for under the hood of the car (or bonnet, for the transatlantic folks), including the gas tank, with the signature VW gas cap, which is printed as opposed to being a sticker. In building the forward hazard lights there is another interesting technique that uses yet another new piece, the 1x1 tile with a rounded end, in bley.

10252 VW Beetle

The second set of bags is finished by adding the fenders over the wheels then adding the dashboard, complete with gauge and a tilt steering wheel. Huw has made this an English car with the steering wheel on the right hand side; the instructions show it on the left but you can place it on the right by swapping a few pieces around.

10252 VW Beetle

The third and final set of bags start with the doors, which swing open. A telephone handle piece is used as a handle for the inside door. The windshield and other windows are added next. I like that where LEGO pieces are not able to reproduce of the curves of the car exactly, the designer has chosen to use stickers for a representation. This is evidenced most clearly in the back seat windows, where a sticker is applied to show the curve of the vehicle.

Though I know stickers aren't popular with some folks, I would think some sticker haters would have some appreciation for this use.

10252 VW Beetle10252 VW Beetle

Caution is required in attaching the stickers for the side windows as the ends are quite thin and could lend to tearing if reapplication is required. After application of the stickers, the tops of the window frames are built.

Heading into the home stretch of the model, the trunk lid is attached using some extended hinges. Then the rear windshield, with some additional stickers to indicate the trim as well as some surfing stickers. There are duplicates provided for the rear windshield stickers. It's not clear why (perhaps they had extra space on the sheet?). The rear windshield just slides out, allowing for easy access to storage space and the main area of the car.

Fenders are next, then the hood, using more of a cantilevered technique to allow for the multiple faces of the signature sloped nose. The last portion added is the roof with roof rack, with a spare tire to be stored under the hood.

There are four choices for front and rear license plates. These are stickers as opposed to printed tiles. There are enough tiles included that you can use all the stickers and change the license plates at will.

10252 VW Beetle


The completed model

After adding the accessories, the model is complete:

10252 VW Beetle

10252 VW Beetle

10252 VW Beetle

Note how the doors are angled slightly to enhance the shape of the body.

10252 VW Beetle

10252 VW Beetle

10252 VW Beetle

It's not a day at the beach without a beach blanket, and a cooler with refreshing beverages. The cooler is stocked with ice, a couple of beverage bottles and an open tab can.

10252 VW Beetle

The build for the surf board is interesting - I thought it was going to be a little flimsy at first, but the end result is quite solid as well as visually attractive.

10252 VW Beetle

Showing the storage space behind the rear seat - both front and rear seats fold forward. The roof just lifts off, allowing you to see easily inside.

10252 VW Beetle

Two of the VW tiles are in this set - one on the hood and one for the gas cap.

10252 VW Beetle

A close up of the headlights - which are quite effective - as well as the forward hazard lights, featuring the new bley piece.

10252 VW Beetle

There is lots of space under the hood for the spare tire, although it is a different one to the other four.

10252 VW Beetle

The elastic band is the perfect finishing touch for the engine. The new orange translucent piece is used for the hazard lights.

10252 VW Beetle

One of the choices for license plates, the British one.

10252 VW Beetle

Both doors swing open freely.

10252 VW Beetle


Overall opinion

I think this is a great set. It is a challenging, complex and fun build. The colour choices are gorgeous - I love the selection of dark azure for the car. While some may complain about the stickers, I think they are entirely appropriate, and in the case of the license plates, I like the freedom it offers the builder to choose the colour of the license plate they would like with the sticker of their preference.

There are a lot of new pieces in this set. Most of them are in the dark azure colour, but there are several newer pieces in bley and other colours as well.

I think the designer has created the look and feel of a classic VW Beetle quite well. I really enjoyed all the loving attention to detail - from the running boards to the dash board to faithfully creating the lines of this iconic car. I even like that even though there are stickers, the reason behind them is to try to create a more authentic model.

For the price point (1167-pieces, $99.99, £69.99, 89.99€), especially considering the new pieces offered, this is also a good value for the money.


Huw's view: If ever these was a perfect LEGO set then this is it. It is a very interesting build that uses all manner of techniques to render the characteristic shape of the Beetle, which is no mean feat given its curvy body. The finished model is a joy to behold and perfect for showing off: not so big that it's unwieldy and difficult to display, but large enough to be packed with authentic details. The use of dark azure, a relatively new and rare colour, is the icing on the cake.

It's very hard to find any fault with it, but if I had to give one it is that there should have been a few more pieces made in dark azure to avoid the use of multiple smaller pieces. For example, the doors are constructed using 1x3 and 1x2 bricks instead of 1x6 and 1x4s which results in more joins. However, it is really only noticeable in the photos above and when looking closely, so is not a big issue.

There is really no reason not to buy it: even the price is reasonable. You can order it today from shop.LEGO.com:

USA | UK | Canada | Germany | France

Thanks to LEGO for sending the set for review. This review is an expression of my views and opinions.

48 comments on this article

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By in Netherlands,

A really good and clear review! But in my eyes, this looks mostly like a Mickey Mouse car, not like an actual VW Beetle...
At this scale, the actual organic curves of the original car just aren't being done justice. The wheelwells / fenders look off, as does the windscreen. And the wheels themselves are too big and too fat. Loving the colour though...

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By in Australia,

Definite purchase for me. The car is too cute to pass up.

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By in Netherlands,

Overall, I like it. Some remarks from my side:

- Although its curviness is specifically mentioned in the designer video, the car looks a bit flat in some areas (the front and back lid, the roof).
- I'm missing wipers (although the other cars in this theme also don't have wipers) and the typical 'grilles' next to the head lamps.
- I don't like the rim/hub cap solution (leaving the holes in the rims visible and making the hub caps seem to 'float').
- The tires look too fat and placed too far outward.
- I wonder about the doors: to add to the curviness, they're 'slightly open' (when closed, they're not fully perpendicular to the driving direction). However, theoretically (!) this does not fit, does it? I'm surprised that this is considered a legal solution.

Still, a wonderful birthday present! ;-)

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By in New Zealand,

What a great review. I really like the front view as it captures the VW look.

I am looking at building an A4 Mallard train and all those new, curved dark azure parts will help, although I must agree with Huw in that some of the smaller bricks should have been replaced with larger pieces.

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By in United Kingdom,

@BeaR
It looks like the doors are at a slight angle closed. If you look closely the vehicle widens by one stud on each side between the hinge of the door and where it closes against the seat, so any gaps are due to two different angles meeting from what I can tell.

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By in Netherlands,

@Loerwyn
I'm aware that the slight angle is not a mistake and also understand that that results in a gap. To rephrase my question: if you were to build this model digitally, you be able to open the door or better yet, would the door fit in at all?

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By in France,

Looking forward to August.

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By in United Kingdom,

Yes, the doors are mounted at a slight angle which results in a small gap but helps replicate the shape of the body. You can see it in the top-down photo above.

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By in United Kingdom,

This set has opened up lots of parts not seen in Dark Azur(e) before which is a big help for a MOC Modular I have planned. Hopefully, the choice to have it in Dark Azur(e) means the Mallard in the future. That's a train I would buy.

As for the set itself, I'll be buying it at some stage.

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By in United States,

What a great color and beautiful model. Wonderful photos, Huw, and a well-written review, MeganL!

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By in Netherlands,

@Huw
I know it's intentional to help replicate the shape and I don't mind about the gap. I just wonder about the THEORETICAL fit of the door: in LDD, wouldn't the door (slightly) interfere with the bodywork when closed and would you be able to open it?

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By in United Kingdom,

After opening and closing it a few times to test... no it doesn't touch the bodywork.

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By in Poland,

TLG we need more blue colors, now it's not enough.

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By in New Zealand,

Very nice indeed. But definitely a "No" from me, thanks to the FORTY PERCENT price-hike for NZ over the UK price. Errrrmm ... shouldn't the post-Brexit collapse of the pound make things *better* for us? And before anyone says "NZ import taxes" : please, just don't. This is price-gouging. No more, no less.

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By in United States,

It doesn't seem too be available in the US just yet, even after logging into my VIP account and clearing cookies.

Still wouldn't it be worth it to wait until August for the free London Bus [40220]?
http://brickset.com/sets/40220-1/London-Bus

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By in Poland,

I love how it looks - both color and curved parts / technics used. What a relief after boring-looking Ferrari.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ Maybe it's too early in the morning in the USA still.

There'll be enough cool new stuff to buy in August, trust me!

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By in United States,

Service rep told me Lego is having issues with the U.S. web site in that the buy button is not available while logged in as a VIP. Just ordered it by phone and can't wait to build it.

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By in United States,

Yeah, I'm having the same problem, I'm unable to buy it, even after logging out/in to my VIP account. Anyone else from the USA been able to buy one yet?

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By in Costa Rica,

I predict a lot of azure in the next LUGBulk round.

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By in United States,

^^ Update - Just bought mine, it should be working now for VIPs in the US :)

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By in United States,

I have no idea what I'd do with this set, but I seriously want it!

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By in United States,

Hmm. A good build that is. Make more CREATOR cars, I hope they do.

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By in United Kingdom,

Did you know Hitler designed this to be the car of the people for Germany

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By in United States,

I find it ironic that the first sentence to indicate that MeganL lives in the United States includes the British spelling of "color".

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By in United States,

Ah, that color is so perfect...

Now, when can we get dark orange in these quantities? :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Lovely review, though the car isn't my thing.

I found it funny that MeganL twice called them "hazard lights", whereas I've always known them as indicators. Mind you, gauging by the number of people who don't bother using them, perhaps drivers are now being taught that they're hazards lights.....

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By in Denmark,

Porsche designed the car - it was commisioned by Hitler.

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By in United States,

cant wait for mine to come!

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By in United States,

@phi13 - I live in the US, but grew up in Canada, where I was taught British spellings. It's a habit I refuse to give up :-)

@naranek - I called them hazard lights because it was the first thing that came to mind when I was writing the review. Otherwise, I may well have called them blinkers....which isn't quite as eloquent. But you're right that hazard lights may be an appropriate name, considering they're not generally used, at least not here in California.

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By in United States,

Awesome

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By in United States,

Is it just me, or does this thing look more like a Citroën 2CV than a Beetle?

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By in Puerto Rico,

The VW looks amaizing, reminds me of the one my dad owned (it was grey and he ended up selling it because he couldn't get the cash to fix it).

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By in Singapore,

anyone seen this instore yet (US)?

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By in Belgium,

I've bought it. Really like the look and feel this things has as a display model.

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By in Hungary,

I don't know wether I like this model or not. It is a nice try, but some parts of the model are really out of scale. I mean the tyres are too big and too fat for the size of the car, so are the new curved parts of the wheel wells: these would fit a 30-40% larger model in my opinion, just compare the LEGO model to the picture of the real Beetle amongst the images of the 10252 VW Beetle product page: http://images.brickset.com/sets/AdditionalImages/10252-1/10252_Real-Beetle.jpg
Now this model looks more like a general 50's car, only the headlights and the shape of the hood tells that it's a VW.

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By in Netherlands,

Love the new Lego Beetle in this color. Tho mentioned earlier, I also miss the two air vents just under the front head lights. I also think the two exhaust pipes are too far apart from each other. Nevertheless a certain buy. And perhaps a MOC for an open Cabriolet.

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By in Australia,

Technically the Queensland plates should be maroon or green text on a white background, and a curved border with the same colour as the text. The QLD should be below the license plate (with either QUEENSLAND - SUNSHINE STATE, or the much less popular and somewhat oxymoronic QUEENSLAND - THE SMART STATE instead of QLD, although admittedly the printing for this would be too small to read). But that's just being nitpicky. I really like the look of this set, definitely going to purchase it, and glad my home state was referenced in it :)

EDIT: Actually, just googled old queensland license plates, and it looks like we did have black ones like in the model back in the 1950's-1970's. So I stand corrected.

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By in Australia,

I absolutely love it, for all those negative Nellys....I think it's wonderful and can't wait to add it to my collection
Another "Precious"

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By in United States,

I stopped in a Lego store today and saw this in person, and holy cow it looks incredible. Color is awesome, and a really great size, and good value too. I let my brother collect all the car sets otherwise this would be a sweet one to have.

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By in Australia,

Oops didn't realise the builder did make it RHD as opposed to LHD pictured on the box. RHD will definitely looks right at home with QLD/UK plate!

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By in United Kingdom,

^ It's an easy modification and it would have been wrong to have LHD with UK plates :-)

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By in Germany,

For all y'all complaining about the wheels: This is obviously a customised vehicle.

The sloping headlights and "Tombstone" rears didn't occur on the same model year, so the owner either refitted newer rear wings onto a pre-1968 car or the other way around. They also have less-common round mirrors, and have fitted two of them (very safety conscious). The mirrors being fitted on the door hinges again points to an older car.
Obviously the exhaust system is not stock and together with the wider wheels and tyres suggests that the engine, despite looking innocuous enough, makes more than the 30-40 horsepower the car rolled out of the factory with.
So overall a very nice, very tastefully built custom Beetle. I'll be picking one up as soon as possible.

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By in Australia,

Great review - thanks :) Although I was already sold from earlier images ....

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By in United States,

Wow! This could be the best vehicle from the Lego "car series" yet! I also like the unique color- dark azure.

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By in United States,

@phi13 & MeganL - Regarding color/colour...can't get enough U in the US, "eh"? :)

Triple entendres for the win!

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By in United States,

Probably the most interesting build of the 4 main Creator car series sets. I love the camper and all its interior, love the mini as I own one and the Ferrari was fun but this just blew my mind. Great addition and build for the series and car enthusiasts alike!

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By in Mexico,

Great review, MeganL! Beautiful set. As much as I'm not a fan of the azure color scheme LEGO chose, and aside from the fact that I don't usually buy the ''exclusive'' range of sets, this is a fabulous representation of the Beetle and a huge step up from the 2008 version. I'd say this is one of those sets where the stickers actually help (I'm looking at you, back windows LOL).

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