Review: 10257 Carousel

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View image at flickr

10257 Carousel is the latest in LEGO's semi-annual collection of Creator Expert fairground sets. Its release comes 8 years after the first one, 10196 Grand Carousel, which is now highly revered and sought after, and which commands ridiculous sums on the secondary market, around £2000 for a new example on BrickLink.

The release of a new carousel has thus brought some relief to those who hanker after another fairground attraction to display alongside the more recent 10244 Fairground Mixer and 10247 Ferris Wheel.


Minifigures

The minifigures in Creator Expert sets are never the star attraction but they bring them to life. This one contains seven: a ticket seller (left), adult female and male, an elderly female, and...

View image at flickr

three kids: two girls and one boy. Although all seven are new as far as BrickLink is concerned none of their component parts are new.

View image at flickr

A number of accessories are included to ensure they have a fun day out. The printed ticket piece is new.

View image at flickr


Parts

Now the inventory has been published by LEGO you can view the new parts and recolours easily in the set's inventory and by clicking on the 'Elements in sets' column so that those in only one set (this one) are at the top of the table.

Tim at New Elementary has discussed the new parts and recolours at great length already so I won't dwell on them here.


Construction

Much of the pleasure we derive from Creator Expert sets is in actually building it so I've taken plenty of photos to show how it all goes together, but hopefully without revealing all its secrets.

Parts are divided into bags numbered 1 to 5 so thankfully there's no need to sift through all 2670 parts when building it.

Before getting stuck in to the carousel itself, the ticket booth is built. It's small but functional and if the set didn't include it it would be no loss.

View image at flickr

Unlike the original carousel, the base is constructed from plates rather than a baseplate, and measures 40x40 in size.

The drive mechanism takes shape early in the build and it's important to make sure everything runs freely so ensure smooth operation later.

View image at flickr

The base is then plated and tiled. Wheels run on top of the circle of tiles so they need to be pressed down firmly and flush.

View image at flickr

At the end of bag one the spine of the central column, with studs sticking out in all directions, is in place and this section is put aside while the carousel's platform is constructed from bags numbered 2.

View image at flickr

The platform is a two-level dodecagon. The smaller central section is held together with clip-and-bar plates underneath.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The larger outer section is constructed around the 24121 1/4 Circle Gear Rack 11X11 which was introduced last year in the Bucket Wheel Excavator technic model. It is this, of course, that meshes with the gears in the base to provide rotation.

View image at flickr

The twelve sections are connected to it using Technic pins, then the whole thing is made rigid with clip-and-bar connectors around the circumference.

Six of the sections have wheels underneath which will roll on the tiles shown in the picture above.

View image at flickr

The two pieces are connected before the whole assembly is positioned onto the base.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Bags #3 provide parts for the central column and the framework of the canopy. The eight sides of the column are angled using hinges and clever geometry.

View image at flickr

The canopy's Technic framework is very unsightly but thankfully it's hidden from view. The four wheels on it roll over tiles on the top of the central column.

The four cams (red and yellow technic pieces) are connected to the wheels: it is this mechanism that raises and lowers the animals on the ride as it rotates.

View image at flickr

After much repetitive building (although there's more to come...) things get interesting in bags #4 which supplies parts for the animals.

They are all delightful but also they are all flawed as you will see below.

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The frog's hind legs are hinged so that his feet stay on the floor as his body rises.

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The flamingo is a master class in parts utilisation.

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The tiger is perhaps the most impressive and colourful, constructed with some great SNOT-work to create his stripes.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The elephant looks simple enough but, again, there's some impressive and interesting SNOT at work to give it its distinctive shape.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

For those whom the excitement of going up and down on one of the animals above is too much there's a static option in the form of a swan.

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The seats are staggered to enable two minifigs to be seated side by side.

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The animals are attached to the cams at the top before out attention turns again to the canopy.

View image at flickr

The perimeter of the canopy is very parts intensive and, it has to be said, very tedious to build. First it's 12 of this 26-part assembly...

View image at flickr

...then 12 of this 18-part one...

View image at flickr

...and finally 24 of this one!

View image at flickr

I didn't know until now that the tail part, 40379 Tip Of The Tail Ø6,47, comes in left- and right- handed varieties, presumably depending on which side of the injection mould it's been produced by. This is evidenced by the hole on one side of it. If you don't have the exact same number of left- and right- hand ones the hole will be visible from the outside on some of the subassemblies, as is the case on 8 of mine. Does it matter? Probably not, although it does of course look better without the hole showing.

Once the 'sails' and all the subassemblies have been attached, and some gold crowns added, it looks spectacular.

The 2x2 tile printed with a book is new.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


The completed model

It looks stunning! The carousel itself matches the colours of the Ferris wheel while the animals add a much-needed splash of colour. It's interesting to note that, like the Ferris Wheel, this model doesn't use any bold blues or reds in its palette.

It's rotated by turning the white crank on the right but it's a bit tiresome doing so for more than about 15 seconds so a much better option is to plug in a M motor and let it take the strain. Seeing it whizz round on its own is much more satisfying!View image at flickr

View image at flickr

As great it all looks its design is let down by one simple thing: the kids can't ride the animals properly. They need to cling on for dear life while standing on top of them.

I suspect providing a 1x2 cutout in the top of each for them to stand in would have complicated the design and spoiled their aesthetic, which it why it wasn't done, but it does seem to be a bit of an oversight that spoils it somewhat.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Verdict

In Billund last week I had a opportunity to chat briefly with the set's designer Mike Psiaki about the choice of animals.

He said that initially he tried one-piece horses but they did not meet the requirements of a Creator Expert set. So, he tried brick-built horses but they looked rubbish compared to the one-piece ones, so he built dozens of alternative animals, from which these five were picked, I suspect as much for their colours as anything else.

Apparently a sea-themed one was considered, with dolphins, sea-horses and so on, but it was thought to be too niche and too much of a departure from the original carousel.

Anyway, this is an excellent addition to LEGO's growing collection of fairground rides.

I would like to say that I enjoyed building it but, as you have seen above, and can understand given the symmetrical nature of the set, it does get a bit tedious, with 4-of this, 6-of-that and 12-of-the-other to be built at times. As a result, it's not a model you'll want to finish all in one session. Building the animals and appreciating their design while doing so just about makes up for it, though.

The finished model does looks fantastic and, if you've remembered to ensure the gears run smoothly, works well. While it can be cranked by hand it's not much fun doing so. I think I would have preferred to pay another tenner to have the motor and battery box included, even though I have spares.

The animals are excellent and could all stand-alone in small Creator polybags. It is a shame that the minifigs have to risk life and limb when riding them, though. They way they are attached to the mechanism is fairly straightforward so it would be easy to swap them out for something else: Star Wars Microfighters or Super Hero Mighty Micros or something like that, should you wish to experiment.

This is definitely a set that LEGO connoisseurs will not want to miss out on and, who knows, in 8 years' time it too could be fetching a princely sum on the secondary market...

It can be purchased from shop.LEGO.com in Europe and North America now, priced at £159.99 / 179.99 € / US$199.99:

USA | Canada | UK | Germany | France

Wait, I didn't mention the stickers! Did you notice that I didn't apply them? Possibly not, as the model looks fine without them.

A single sheet supplies shiny gold ones for the white tiles on the central column and the 2x2 round tiles around the edge of the canopy. I felt the chance of applying them all straight and central was unlikely so I decided not to: that way you can see what it looks like should you choose to do the same.


Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for review. The review is an expression of my own opinions.

View image at flickr

 

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42 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Brilliant review, brilliant set!

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By in Norway,

I love the colours in this set! this is a must-have for me
and I would like to see the sea themed one

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice review, though I respectfully disagree with you on the stickers - I personally think they really add to the set's aesthetic.
And with regards to the animals, I think sea-themed would have been better - seahorses are known for bobbing up and down, which is more than can be said for elephants.......

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By in Serbia,

Thanks for the review! I'm really happy that LEGO released a carousel again, it is a must have model for me this year. I'm really looking forward to build this beauty.

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By in Philippines,

Spot on review Huw! Planning on picking one up also soon! :-)

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By in Netherlands,

That is a great new version of the carrousel. I don't get the use of a M-motor.

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By in United States,

It's to bad you can't just buy the animals I think they are the highlight of the set,nice review huw

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By in United States,

This set is on my short list along with Assembly Square.

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By in Netherlands,

The swan is the only animal where the minifigs can actually sit in. all the other animals the minifigs can only sit on. I would rather have seen that the minifigs. could sit inside the animals. that there would be seats integrated in the animals. I am trying to rebuild it the elephant is the easiest. the flamingo the hardest to do so

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By in United States,

Great review. I'm not looking to add this to the collection but it really is a beautiful set. I enjoyed getting a look at the engineering involved. Thanks!

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By in Canada,

Great! Another big "must have" set.... Is there a group called Legos Anonymous? :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review and they are so much better when they include pictures of the building process. I wish other reviewers would do this.

That said I thought you'd got over not putting the stickers on.

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By in United States,

Awesome set! Great review.

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By in United States,

First thought while seeing the animals was "Wait, is there not a spot for minifigures to 'sit' on them?" It's not a dealbreaker, but it'd stink if you were planning on putting it in a populated amusement park.

I honestly prefer the old carousel. This one is nice, but I'd of preferred a new theme park ride. I suppose the release of a new carousel can be forgiven considering how difficult it is to get your hands on the old one (unless you've got pocketfuls of cash).

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By in United States,

This looks amazing, but I won't be getting it because I have the original. Need to save up for the Old Fishing Store.

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By in United Kingdom,

@yuffie - We often include photos of the model during construction where we think it necessary. This Creator Expert set is ideal for such treatment but it would not usually be appropriate for CITY, Star Wars etc. Personally, I prefer to thread photos of particularly notable building techniques through the main body of the review rather than writing an entirely separate section, although sometimes, as in this instance, the latter is more suitable.

Excellent review, Huw!

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review. I'm on the fence about this one still. But I'm glad to see what it looks like without the stickers, as that's how I'd build it. I can look at the official images to see what it looks like with stickers, after all.

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By in United States,

Great review! Can anyone tell me where I can find pictures of this set beside the Ferris Wheel and Fairground Mixer?

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By in Sweden,

Good review! I'd like to have this one as I have the other sets in this series, but I'll wait a few years and grab it when on sale, quite possibly on a Black Friday.

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By in United Kingdom,

That ticket seller minifigure looks more like Gary Oldman than the commissioner Gordon minifigure from 76001

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By in United States,

Completly unrelated question, is your name Huw as in hue, or Huw as in who, because ive always pronounced it Hue but I heard someone pronounce it who?
Also, the carosel looks awesome!

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By in United States,

Not pleased that minifigs can't (for the most part) ride the animals well compared to the horses and vehicles of the Winter Village. I think Fishing Store will get my purchase.

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By in United States,

Nice review, Huw! I actually hadn't noticed the missing stickers until you mentioned it. That being said, I'll likely apply them when I get the set, just because.

I'm with CapnRex on taking picture during the build. I'll do so occasionally, butt for most of the sets I review I don't think there's a need.

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By in United States,

too bad a soundbrick was omitted :(
everything else about thi set looks really nice.

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By in United States,

I had an equal number of left and right blue tail ends. I was holding my breath as I put those parts together hoping I wouldn't be left with any little holes on show. The New Elementary review had even numbers as well. It seems very unlucky for Huw to end up with 8 mismatched pairs.

I can't watch this thing go round without hearing (or humming) the tune from the Grand Carousel. A sound brick really would complete this. The other thing I'll be adding shortly is vertical rows of trans yellow 1x1 round plates to the visible light blue studs in the central structure. I also added 1x4 white double bow pieces to the SNOT bits holding on every other fence piece.

Surely if ever a set needs the stickers applied, this is it? I can understand not applying stickers 90% of the time, but it's not like Lego has the option of making printed mirror bricks. The final pics above don't do the set justice.

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By in Canada,

I tried building this set twice, & hubby tried once. It's now been thrown back in the box where it'll remain. All those tan wedge pieces that never stay together, plus the stair piece that's only held on by 2 half studs did me in. I don't mind repetition but this one has a lot. I freely admit I'm not a great builder but I did the Ferris Wheel and Mixer without any trouble but this has been an unhappy experience for me.

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By in United States,

I have the Grand Carousel and so say "meh" to this one. The sound brick is great and I found enough room to put a rechargeable battery on the inside to power lights all along the perimeter. It's a thing of beauty! It's one drawback is that moving it from one table to another requires a special effort since the baseplate is not rigid. That doesn't look to be a problem in this new one.

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By in Hungary,

Except for the frog, it would have been easy to put 1x2 studs on the back of the animals with a different color, representing a saddle.

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By in Canada,

Thanks for the review.
There is some interesting building techniques.
I really appreciated to see pictures of the set without stickers, as I was planning to not apply them.
For small sets with many stickers (Speed Champions), it would also be interesting to see the sets without stickers.

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By in Australia,

Great review and a stunning set.

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By in United States,

I like the look of this set. The model looks good and the minifigures are fine, maybe one or two more would have been nice though. I'm still unsure if I need or want this set.

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By in Germany,

I think the problem with the minifigs arises because the set isn't anywhere close to minifig scale to begin with. The Ferris Wheel was, and the minifigs therefor fit and look good in conjunction with it. Same with the Fairground Mixer, which was basically like a large City set imho. This Carousel looks great to my eye, but I will certainly not put the minfigs on it because I think the scale just doesn't work. Those old big (and now quite rare) Technic figs would fit a bit better size-wise, though not aesthetically.

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By in Germany,

Meh. I'm not a fan of the animaks, and it just kills me that the minifigs can't be seated in them. Is standing on carousel animals and holding onto a pole actually a thing? Strikes me as a little dangerous for the kids.
Also, far too many stickers to get them all on straight, and I don't think it looks all too great without them.
All in all, an easy pass for me.

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By in Belgium,

Hah, I didn't notice the stickers were missing until you mentioned it. Food for thought!

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By in Canada,

As I often don't put stickers on or selectively don't put them on some sets I appreciate the idea that you provide the images without stickers on. I think it looks good either way and haven't decided which way to go with this set although aligning all those circles stickers doesn't excite me in the least. The set looks amazing and will definitely be getting a copy at some point. As always thanks for the great review.

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By in United States,

Thanks for the response Huw, i never knew that.

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By in Australia,

Dolphins were too much of a departure from the original carousel, so they went with a giant frog instead? Weird.

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By in United States,

Thanks for the great review! I wish I could get this set.

As for a sea theme, I expect some clever builders out there will turn out many variations on this carousel with their own spin on the animals.

And for those who lament the lack of sound brick, you can always replay the carousel music from RollerCoaster Tycoon:

https://youtu.be/-tpLgBprqLI

Just hope it doesn't break down...

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By in United States,

My mother is not as big as a Lego fan as myself but she was impressed with this set (not so much with the price tag).

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By in United States,

To all who think the animals are a weird choice, this is a Carousel you'd find at a zoo. I've seen one very much this in real life. Oddly enough they didn't market it that way.

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By in Australia,

This is a fantastic set and seeing it physically in the Lego shop, I am convinced that it is worth the time, effort and money. Great playability, great display, fantastic techniques, some animals of choice might not fit everyone but as Huw mentioned, one can swap them with another (limited by creativity and perhaps physical space). Thank you for the review!

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