Event Report: 21307 Caterham Seven 620R Media Launch

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As mentioned earlier by CapnRex101, a media launch event was held today to reveal the latest addition to the LEGO Ideas stable, 21307 Caterham Seven 620R. The event, which was held at the Caterham Cars Crawley headquarters in the UK, was attended by representatives from the LEGO and non-LEGO press, Caterham and LEGO staff, and Carl Greatrix who submitted the original Ideas proposal. I attended on behalf of Brickset, and you can read my event report after the break.

The event was kicked off by Caterham Cars CEO Graham Macdonald (below) who welcomed attendees and provided a brief history of the company which celebrates its 60th birthday next year. It was immediately evident how proud he is that his company has collaborated with LEGO on the Ideas set, noting that some Caterham car sales are in kit form for home assembly and there is consequently an excellent fit with the LEGO brand.

Graham then gave attendees a tour of the Caterham showroom and workshop, providing some background information on the Caterham car range and pointing out some of the more interesting cars they have on show, after which it was time for the big set reveal which took place in a corner of the showroom. LEGO Senior Director Tormod Askildsen, who is Department Director of the LEGO Community Engagement team, spoke briefly about the LEGO Ideas platform, after which the covers were whipped off a shiny new yellow and black Caterham Seven 620R car plus a display unit alongside it upon which the Caterham Seven 620R model was proudly displayed.

The guys you can see in the picture above are Carl Greatrix (right) who submitted the original Caterham Seven proposal to LEGO Ideas, and LEGO designer Henrik Andersen (left) who turned Carl’s design into an official LEGO set. Carl described how the original Ideas submission had come about as a result of so many people approaching him at LEGO events and asking how they could get hold of his Caterham models. He described the process of gathering votes, waiting for the official LEGO review, and then waiting to see the final LEGO design as “a journey” and it was clear that he had been itching to tell people about the finished set but had remained dutifully silent until now when he could finally talk openly about it. Henrik talked about turning Carl’s design into a set that could pass the tough quality review process of LEGO, and how the main challenge had been to ensure that the model was sufficiently robust. He told attendees that every LEGO set, even those specifically aimed at AFOLs, has to undergo play testing by children to ensure it can stand up to the rigours of play, and that the Caterham was no different in this regard. While he was talking Henrik stripped down a second LEGO Caterham Seven model into its constituent parts as you can see in the picture below, pointing out certain features along the way.

Carl is a well-known member of the AFOL community, and is notorious for his meticulously detailed and realistic builds. It was therefore really interesting to hear him talk about how he genuinely felt that Henrik had improved his original design. This was partly down to Henrik having access to a number of new elements which were already in the pipeline and which just so happened to be perfect for the Caterham model. While no new elements were made specifically for the set, it does apparently contain a total of 15 printed elements and no stickers which was great to hear. Carl’s only real regret was that steering, which was included in his original design, did not make it into the final model. This was because it would have made the model too fragile to pass LEGO quality review, and therefore had to be left out. Carl said that the first thing he would do after building the official set was modify it to include steering!

After the reveal attendees were invited to participate in a building challenge. Each participant was provided with a small selection of elements and given 15 minutes to build a model of a car, with Bricks editor Mark Guest winning out in a hard-fought contest. Lunch followed, along with an opportunity for the media folks to chat with the LEGO and Caterham staff as well as each other. Attendees were also invited to test drive a real Caterham Seven.

We will be publishing a review of 21307 here on Brickset in due course, but my initial impressions are very positive – it looks like an excellent representation of the real car, and the fact that Carl is so happy about how the official set came out is greatly reassuring to me, knowing how detailed-oriented he is.

Many thanks to LEGO and Caterham Cars for hosting an enjoyable and informative event and for making the attendees feel so welcome.

17 comments on this article

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By in Sweden,

Great article. A car like Caterham is all about the driving experience, so omitting the steering is a big mistake.

I don't understand what they mean when they say fragility testing is mandatory for all designs. I have many recent official LEGO sets (70812, 70750 come to mind) that constantly fall apart the same way when my children play with them. Surely they could not have passed such tests.

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By in United States,

that is awesome

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By in Portugal,

Exactly, +Dude45 , my nephew, who is 9, is still crushed that his UCS Slave I fell apart on him as soon as he started playing with it. And it's normal, it's a display model. This Caterham is a very niche offering, it doesn't have the broad appeal of a Mini or a F40. I think we could safely say Lego could have created an expert model, with some technical elements (and certainly steering), label it 12+ or 14+, and it would still be a must-buy for virtually all its potential customers...

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By in Israel,

What a lovely event report! Lego and the Super 7 played a memorable part in my childhood, so I'm very excited about this project.
Looking forward to Carl publishing his steering modification...

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By in United States,

It is unbelievably good-looking, that's for sure, but I do not know if I can afford it... it's pretty large, but I don't see the value. Maybe for $65. Well, if I find it on sale around my birthday in a few months, I will definitely buy it. Unless some 2017 set looks better.

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By in United States,

I would love to add steering to this model--and to several of my other Creator car models as well! Here's hoping that Mr. Greatrix's methods can be adapted for the rest of my collection. Seeing the model next to that very yellow Caterham does a great deal to reconcile me to not getting a British Racing Green model, I must say!

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By in United Kingdom,

"....every LEGO set, even those specifically aimed at AFOLs, has to undergo play testing by children to ensure it can stand up to the rigours of play..."

Looks at his Space Shuttle fuel tank which has disintegrated because a mouse farted 200 yards away.

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By in United States,

I have purchased all of the other ideas projects, but I don't quite get the appeal of this one. Perhaps I am not familiar with the source material, but it is just another race car to me.

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By in United States,

I'm still waiting for LEGO to release an Ideas project that I'm actually interested in...

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By in Australia,

This looks utterly excellent. It reminds me of the 1/12 scale Super Seven BDR that Tamiya produced in the 90s. Well… maybe not to the same level of fine detail that a plastic kit will offer, which is why the Lego set is so neat.

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By in Germany,

@Yo-Duh: concerning the source material, I would guess the Caterham (Super) Seven is to British car enthusiasts what the Shelby Cobra is to the Americans.
:-)

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By in United Kingdom,

Great article, and great to hear a company like Caterham is proud to be associated with a LEGO build.
It was mentioned that these cars are built in kit form, you can imagine the Dad (or Mum to be PC) buys the real kit, and the child has the LEGO model to build along side them..

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm no car expert, but isn't the cover of the forthcoming vol. 4 of The Lego Adventures (http://brickset.com/sets/ISBN1593277636-1) showing a green Caterham 7? Not in the same league as this set, of course, but also not as expensive, I'd guess...

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By in United States,

Are people joking about the steering? This is a scale model...

Anyway, this thing looks gorgeous! Very reasonably priced at $79.99.

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By in United Kingdom,

"isn't the cover of the forthcoming vol. 4 of The Lego Adventures....showing a green Caterham 7?"

Yes it is - good spot!

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm disappointed that it's not green and yellow with KAR 120C as its registration. Oh well, I'll try to MOC it.

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By in United Kingdom,

This is a very pretty model but lack of steering is disappointing. I hope Carl will put his steering solution online. Comparing with the Volkswagen camper with 1331 pieces at £79.99 this doesn't look terribly good value.

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