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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The completed model
After adding the accessories, the model is complete:
Note how the doors are angled slightly to enhance the shape of the body.
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.
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.
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.
Two of the VW tiles are in this set - one on the hood and one for the gas cap.
A close up of the headlights - which are quite effective - as well as the forward hazard lights, featuring the new bley piece.
There is lots of space under the hood for the spare tire, although it is a different one to the other four.
The elastic band is the perfect finishing touch for the engine. The new orange translucent piece is used for the hazard lights.
One of the choices for license plates, the British one.
Both doors swing open freely.
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:
Thanks to LEGO for sending the set for review. This review is an expression of my views and opinions.