LEGO produced almost thirty sets based on Cars and Cars 2 but a couple of significant characters were left out, one of whom was Sheriff. 10742 Willy's Butte Speed Training is therefore a very appealing prospect as the set includes Sheriff along with a brand new version of Lightning McQueen and some interesting accessories which could form part of any Cars display.
The Cars 3 range differs from previous sets in that it forms part of the Juniors theme, employing relatively simple construction methods and plenty of printed elements. I was concerned that the simplified vehicles of the 2017 selection would look odd beside the more traditional cars released in 2011 and 2012. In fact, they match up perfectly and I would have no hesitation in displaying the new cars alongside the original models!
The Completed Model
Lightning McQueen is faced with a new generation of faster and more technologically advanced rivals in Cars 3 so is compelled to undergo further training in order to compete with them. The set description confirms that this sand blue and light bluish grey colour scheme is intended for training purposes and it looks great, clearly distinguishing the model from past renditions while also maintaining the integral features of Lightning McQueen such as red racing wheels, a confident smirk and the number 95.
The model consists of just sixteen pieces, half of which are dedicated to the wheels. Regardless, printed designs capture plenty of detail and the shaping of the bodywork is fairly accurate to the film, particularly at the front where the wheel arches hug the curvature of the tyres perfectly. The new spoiler element is notable as it could be used on models of other vehicles at a this scale, despite having been designed specifically for Lightning McQueen.
Unfortunately, an area of the bright red chassis remains visible when the model has been assembled so the colours appear mismatched. An extra piece could have covered both the red chassis and the rear surface of the tyres but this would probably have necessitated a new element, many of which already appear in the set. However, this is a pleasing rendition of Lightning McQueen and I am glad to see a totally distinctive design.
Sheriff only appears in this set and includes several new pieces. The character is based on a 1949 Mercury Eight and is shaped accordingly, with a prominent bonnet and circular headlights as well as a metallic silver radiator grille at the front. Another new element is used on top, forming the windscreen and windows with the assistance of further printing. The siren is represented by a trans-red 1x1 round plate and authentic designs adorn either side of the model, ensuring that it looks superb from every angle.
The printed detail continues towards the rear where the Mercury branding is visible above the registration plate. I think the model looks terrific on the whole, although it must be acknowledged that the bodywork extends over the rear wheels in the film and that feature is not present on this depiction of Sheriff. Nevertheless, this is one of the best Cars models yet in my opinion and it will slot perfectly into place alongside other Radiator Springs residents such as those found in 8487 Flo's V8 Cafe.
A jumper plate leaves one exposed stud towards the rear, allowing you to fit a trailer and tow it around. The set includes a speed gun for this purpose and a ball joint on the hitch ensures that steering is not hampered. It looks rather large in relation to Sheriff but offers some additional play value which is always welcome.
You can lower the feet to set up the radar speed gun separately and it can be manually rotated to follow a car in motion. I like the printed speed display as this looks sufficiently generic to appear in any CITY or Super Heroes display, although the base looks rather blocky and would probably look out of place in anything other than a Juniors set. I think it suits this context though and a speed gun is clearly appropriate for speed training!
Trailers for Cars 3 have suggested that Lightning McQueen cannot match the rookie Jackson Storm for pace but that he can become a more intelligent racer. It therefore seems sensible that he would return to Willy's Butte to hone his skills and the set includes some terrain so Lightning can master a few new manoeuvres, just as he did in the original film. This ramp is very simple but it looks pretty good, with a natural colour scheme and some attractive printed elements.
Lightning McQueen can accelerate up the ramp and crash through a roadblock which works reasonably well but the underside of the car sometimes gets caught on the studs at the top of the ramp. Moreover, the gap in between the planks of wood looks a little odd and it is tricky to keep the gates in line as the Technic pin connections are fairly loose, although that is an inevitable result of the play feature.
The set also comes with an orange traffic cone and a small section of a banked turn. These curved slopes are exclusive in medium nougat while the two printed 2x4 tiles also only appear in this set. They are decorated with the Radiator Springs sign and an image of Willy's Butte, both of which would prove useful if you were to build an entire Radiator Springs layout.
The curve is very small but you can still display Lightning McQueen as though he is racing around the corner, as shown below. The sign is attached using a single Technic pin so swings freely as a car passes underneath and I like the contrast between the earthy colours of the ground and the bright blue graphic. Ideally the sloping corner would be a little larger so Lightning could actually drive around it but it serves effectively as scenery.
10742 Willy's Butte Speed Training was my most anticipated Cars 3 set and it does not disappoint. The exclusive Sheriff looks great and I like the new sand blue Lightning McQueen too, although I have yet to see the film so am not sure how prevalent this design will be. Much of the scenery is equally pleasing and the printed elements are excellent, particularly since most of them could be very useful elsewhere.
I would definitely recommend this set to collectors of past Cars models and the price of £15.99 or $19.99 seems fair in relation to the volume of content. However, 10743 Smokey's Garage offers even better value for money and includes three important characters from Cars 3 so might be of greater appeal to some. Ultimately, both are good sets and should be taken into consideration if you are looking to expand your Cars collection.
I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.