Review: 10261 Roller Coaster

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View image at flickr

When we first saw pictures of The Joker Manor -- the first set to include the new roller coaster track pieces -- in September last year, we correctly predicted that a Creator Fairground Roller Coaster would follow this year, but little did we know that it would be as huge, and awesome, as 10261 Roller Coaster.

Judging by the number of AFOLs who have been wishing for an official roller coaster set it should prove extremely popular, but before you rush ahead and buy it, there is the small matter of its size and fragility to consider.

Read on to find out if it's the set for you...


Box and contents

The box is huge, 58cm x 49cm x 18cm, and while I haven't checked, it's probably on a par with the Millennium Falcon and Death Star.

Contents are supplied in numbered bags -- thank goodness -- some of which are inside white boxes to prevent them all settling in transit.

The 474 steps of instructions are spread across two books -- 180 and 250 pages in size. The latter also provides guidance on fitting a Power Functions motor or integrating LEGO Boost.


Minifigures

The set is brought to life with eleven minifigures, which are spread across the bags, so act as a 'reward' as you progress through construction. Going just by the part numbers at the back of the instructions, none of the heads or torsos are new.

In no particular order...

Candy-floss seller and juice bar operator:

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Fairground staff: male ticket seller and female roller coaster operative.

View image at flickr

Both have LEGO logos on their backs.

View image at flickr

There's only one short-legged figure, a girl buying candy-floss. What a genius idea to use the beehive piece upside down with a pink minifig head in it to represent the floss!

View image at flickr

Next, we have two adults males to ride the coaster.

View image at flickr

Grandad also has a horrified expression; Mr. Cool Shades doesn't.

View image at flickr

Finally, we have four of what I presume are teenagers, all of whom are roller coaster riders.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

They all have alternative expressions; I'm not sure the blonde girl's is entirely appropriate unless riding the coaster sends her to sleep...

View image at flickr

A good set of generic figures, then.


Sub assemblies

Before looking at the erection of the roller coaster itself, I'll show you these three small models that are constructed at various times during the main build.

Candy-floss stall

A small mobile stall complete with sugar spinner, sun shade and another beehive candy-floss.

View image at flickr

Ticket booth

The booth sits at the entrance to the ride. On one side you buy tickets....

View image at flickr

And on the other, the photos taken as you descend the ride. The seat is on a turntable allowing the operator to serve both sides.

View image at flickr

Juice bar

This sits tucked away under the coaster and is accessible when queuing for it. I really like the orange and lime motif at the top.

View image at flickr


Constructing the Roller Coaster

Make no mistake, the coaster is huge: 75cm x 38cm x 50cm tall. Building a structure that size in one piece would challenge even those of us with dedicated build tables. Thankfully, then, the bulk of the construction is performed in two halves, with them coming together only right at the end.

Right-hand-side

First the right hand side is built, and as you can probably imagine it does get a bit repetitive, what with building the all the pillars and the struts between them.

View image at flickr

You can see the clever way that the pillars are mounted to the baseplates. Just plonking down a 2x2 round brick onto them would not be sufficient so each pillar has a Technic axle inside it, and an octagonal ring at the bottom, which is clipped into the grey strips that form the base. As a result they are held in place very securely.

View image at flickr

In total there are 530 2x2 round bricks and 74 octagonal rings employed in the construction.

View image at flickr

Some much-needed relief from stacking round bricks on axles comes in the form of the coaster sign which is the work of a genius.

View image at flickr

Each letter is clipped to fence pieces behind.

View image at flickr

Once it, the track, and the drive mechanism, which you'll see in detail below, is fitted, the right hand section is complete.

View image at flickr

Left-hand-side

After a long and slightly tedious build of the right hand side, it's perhaps a little disheartening that you have to start from scratch again to build the left hand side.

View image at flickr

However, it soon starts to take shape and besides building pillars and struts there are interesting diversions, such as the detailed pathways leading to the ride entrance and exit from the ticket/photo booth which is positioned in the bottom right corner

View image at flickr

The chain drive mechanism is, of course, a Technic construction but is not too complex.

View image at flickr

The controls under the platform are more so.

View image at flickr

Here, the platform is complete, and the ticket booth and juice bar are in position.

View image at flickr

Then it's back to pillars and struts to complete the final roller coaster supporting structure.

View image at flickr

There's a lot of cool details on the platform: gates in front of the queue lines, a height measuring stick, a control panel for the operator and separate entry and exit stairways.

View image at flickr

Joining the two sides

Now's the time that you'll need to clear space on your building table to make room for the two sections to come together.

Initially they are clipped at baseplate level before struts and tracks connect them together.

It's at this point the most tedious part of the build has to be done: clipping 203 chain links together, then carefully threading the chain through the mechanisms at the top and bottom

View image at flickr

Once that's done, though, we can play!


The completed model

Here are a few photos of the completed model:

The Technic battery box does not come with the set: it's connected to a Power Functions motor which is plugged into the chain drive mechanism. There's a picture below.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

To the right of the platform is a sliding section that allows a second train to be taken in and out of service.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The chain is held taught by means of an elastic band.

View image at flickr

No cameras, drinks, lollies, babies or dogs!

View image at flickr

A nice little detail round the back...

View image at flickr


Operation

The coaster can be operated manually using three controls.

Pulling the lever on the left out engages a wheel with the train which stops it when it's passing, and also allows -- by rotating the handle in the middle -- it to be started again.

The handle on the right operates the chain that hauls the train up the ramp.

View image at flickr

To be honest it's not much fun winding it up the ramp manually so I recommend adding a medium motor, which can be mounted near the chain. When you do so the train will run perpetually.

View image at flickr

The riders look anxious at the operator releases the train...

View image at flickr

..which then climbs to the top...

View image at flickr

Once there it doesn't have enough momentum to continue round the bend so three rotating wheels help it along, until it's reached a position to fall down the first drop.

View image at flickr

It goes surprisingly quickly, as you can tell from the motion blur that's evident even when using flash.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

It's possible to run two trains at once, and as long as there's a bit of separation and you don't attempt to stop them at the station they'll keep going and won't collide.

View image at flickr

Instructions are provided for adding the Boost box, motor and motion sensor. The only real advantage of using it instead of a PF motor is that the chain is started when the motion sensor detects that the train has arrived at the bottom of it. I'm told there are sound effects, too.


Videos

A set such as this really requires a video review but rather than make you suffer one of my feeble amateur attempts, I'll refer you to Jang's review, a stop motion film, and the 360 VR video we mentioned the other day which between them show you everything you need to see.


Verdict

There is no question that this is a fantastic set and the best fairground ride produced so far. An official LEGO roller coaster is long overdue and this set will make many dreams come true.

Price-wise, £300 / $380 for over 4000 pieces represents pretty good value and my only complaint about it is that it might have been better to have charged a tenner more and include a motor and battery box because without them it's not as much fun.

The build is a little repetitive, but once it's complete it looks great, works well and it's a lot of fun to play with. Mesmerising, almost. But, before you rush out and buy it you'll need to ensure you have enough space to both build it and display it. At 90cm long and 38 deep it won't fit on a shelf or bookcase: you'll need a table or chest of drawers or something similar to put it on.

It's also very fragile. The two halves are pretty sturdy and can be lifted and moved easily but once they've been joined together there is no easy way to move it, mainly because there's nothing solid to 'grab' to do so. Thus, once it's where you intend to keep it you won't be moving it about very much.

You can, however, split the two halves to move it. It's fairly easily done, although you need to break the chain and potentially re-thread it, which is a nuisance. To move it to photograph, I had to carefully slip an A1-sized piece of foam board underneath and carry it on top of it.

Here's where is currently rests, on top of Ikea Malm drawers, to give you a sense of scale. The baseplates are the same width as one unit, 80cm. It won't stay there for long. White bricks and sunlight don't mix too well...

View image at flickr

If you do have somewhere to put it, go ahead and purchase: you will not regret it. If not, but you have an ugly great Corellian light freighter sitting in the corner gathering dust, break it down and put this in its place: its much more fun!

It's available to VIPs now at shop.LEGO.com and to everyone from June 1st. If my review has piqued your interest please use these links to place your order:

USA | Canada | UK | Germany | France. Thank you!


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

65 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Excellent review of an excellent set, thanks for posting. I noticed one error in the review: the blonde-haired rider is described as a male, but the torso and face print are female.

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By in United States,

Can't wait to get my hands on this and place it in my city's yet non-existant theme park. Will probably have to wait until Christmas though, due to it costing a small fortune. Thank you for the wonderfully detailed review Huw... just a couple nit picks; that is clearly a female blond haired minifigure (unless it's a dude with man boobs and lipstick), where's the random dinosaur attacking the riders as they wait in line, and Candy-Floss?! Is that Brittish English for Cotton Candy?! LOL :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Got mine on Friday and spent the weekend building it - I usually like to savour the build but I just wanted to finish and play with this one! I found myself having to study the instructions quite carefully for the technical bit under the station just to make sure everything was in the right places but it all works so I must have got it right. I have fitted a motor to it, as you say, it does make it better. Very impressed with the structure, it is sturdy and well designed and the cars run extremely smoothly. Definitely was not disappointed, I love it!!
(Could us Brits have a custom tile that says Candy Floss though!)

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By in United Kingdom,

Man-boobs, I say...

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By in United Kingdom,

Looks awesome, but space is my issue. Buy first and work it out afterwards I think :-)
Any comments on stickers Huw? How many?

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By in Denmark,

"The box is huge, 58cm x 49cm x 18cm, and while I haven't checked, it's probably on a par with the Millennium Falcon and Death Star"

The box for the new Millennium Falcon is WAY bigger at 54cm x 45cm x 39cm - 85% bigger!

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ not many, fewer than 20. Mostly signs. You can see most of them in the pictures.

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By in United States,

"I'm not sure the blonde [fe]male's is entirely appropriate unless riding the coaster sends him to sleep..."

A lot of people like to close their eyes on rollercoasters.

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By in United States,

"Before looking at the erection of the roller coaster itself..."
I know a lot of male AFOLs are excited about this set, but--come on man--a lot of kids come to this site too. Please try to be a little less crass. :-P

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By in Denmark,

Although it appears to be a great Lego set it represents a very old fashioned type of roller coaster - it only goes fast when it goes up and down.

Modern roller coasters are to a high degree based on going fast in curves with almost vertical tracks.

Hope such tracks will be introduced later.

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By in United Kingdom,

Wish I could get it but way to exspensive!

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By in United States,

The $330 listed in the review is incorrect. It's $379 on the Lego website. $330 would be a much more favorable price though :)

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By in United States,

Candy floss? Is that what some of us may know as cotton candy? I’ve just never heard of candy floss..

Anyway the coaster looks great. No way I can display something like that though! Also I was a bit disappointed about the three wheels that ‘help’ at the top.

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By in Puerto Rico,

Excellent review of a monster set.

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By in United States,

@Librarian1976.. Just in case your comment was not in jest..

e·rec·tion
noun

the action of erecting a structure or object.
"fees will be levied for the erection of monuments"
synonyms: construction, building, assembly, fabrication, elevation
"the erection of a house"

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By in United States,

People here really have no sense of humour.

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By in United States,

@Huw you'd really recommend this over the work of art that is the Falcon?

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By in United States,

I just brought in my set from my front porch. Can't wait to dig into it with my kids. Hope to take up some of the summer down time.

And as a structural engineer specializing in construction of steel buildings, I completely approve the use of the term ERECTION. That is what the industry says. My first job out of college involved an erection that lasted 1.5 years.

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By in United Kingdom,

Has anyone done a review or video that covers the boost additions?

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By in Czech Republic,

Absolutely amazing set that I have absolutely no place for.

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By in United Kingdom,

What's the fuss about the word erection? Is it not used in this context in the US?

It's hard avoiding overuse of the words build and construct in reviews, I thought it would make a nice change :)

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By in Canada,

Is it 88000 + 8883 the only PF you need?

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By in United States,

Erection is used by adults in the U.S. without giggling - just not all of them.

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By in United Kingdom,

Now we just need a minifig doing the traditional boob flash for the rollercoaster photobooth.

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By in United States,

I disagree with the man boobs, that's a girl.

@shaase, any of the PF battery boxes will work 88000, 8878, 8881 along with the M motor (8883). The connection for the motor is part of the build, just attach it and go.

Great model. I have it on a card table and it is every bit as wide as the table. Took me a little under 10 hours to erect.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review, thanks; day 1 purchase for me and totally agree with you that it's worth it. I've found it fits nicely on top of IKEA Besta cupboard too, and although awkward to carry, I've moved it a couple of times by holding the support structure at either end. Manual #2 shows this lifting point on page 244.

Anyway, with the map sticker showing a complete park with the three rides, do you think this could be the final fairground model?

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By in United Kingdom,

Argh! Space problems puts me off this great set.

Wonder how workable it would be to make a taller layout that uses less real estate?

Or perhaps a long thon, non-looping that could run alongside the wall.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ They are not likely to reveal next year's ride, are they? :-) I found it interesting that the mixer was not included.

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By in United States,

@JDC I think Huw was being facetious.

If it takes me longer than 4 hours to erect, do I need to call a doctor?

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By in United States,

Mine is arriving tomorrow, and I'll be putting it together this weekend. I'm glad to read the two halves themselves are sturdy - I won't be able to put it together at it eventual resting-place; the top of my dresser. The good news is; It will (barely) fit on my dresser. The "bad" news is, nothing else will. :D

Remember, there is ALWAYS room. :D

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By in United States,

I measured, and this thing will take up my entire dresser. ;D I think it'd be cool if LEGO did a roller coaster from Disneyland too!

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By in United States,

Thanks for including this nugget:

"The seat is on a turntable allowing the operator to serve both sides."

It's little, thoughtful things like this that make me love LEGO so much!

Great review!!!

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By in United Kingdom,

I saw a Video of someone building theirs on two big grey baseplates. Do you think this would add any stability for moving the sections? Thanks, Alex

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for a great review!!! I already own all of the other fairground rides and as soon as I saw the Joker Manor, I began imagining and lusting after this ride before I even saw it. Once I saw the first pictures I felt it looked amazing yet as time has gone on and cemented by this review, I'm not sure that, simply because of its sheer bulk and immovability of whether I should get it (I probably will if only not to regret it in the future) and where on earth I could put it! This has coincided with me developing a strange compulsion towards Ninjago City and Docks, a theme that I have nothing of, but find myself inching towards as my next big buy!!! And this from a modular collector who doesn't have the Downtown Diner (doesn't do it for me)! Aargh - Lego simply make too many amazing big sets these days....

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By in United States,

I love the blond girl's alternate expression. Reminds me of when they take a picture of you when you're on the ride and there's always that one doing something goofy while everyone else looks appropriately scared. Also love the Classic Space call-back on the one guy's shirt.

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By in United States,

Well, today I learned that the UK calls cotton candy "Candy-floss." Although it sounds like the name cotton candy originated from the US, so I guess the Brits just wanted to further differentiate the dialects. :P (Apparently in Australia it's called "Fairy Floss.")

This is definitely on my wanted list, but it looks like it'll displace both my Farris Wheel and Ninjago City models for display space.

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By in United Kingdom,

And to quote Thanos.....
THIS DOES PUT A SMILE ON MY FACE!!
i love the new hair piece on the candyfloss vendor i love the candyfloss cart, the ticket booth and the juice seller stall, lego could of added a couple more seagulls,
The build overall and lay out are great, nicely detailed amazing set with a wonderful use of Red white & Blue... I think it needs a name like the American dream Coaster or the British knight, as both flags are red white & blue..

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By in Netherlands,

Lifting it is doable; see last instruction pages on where to grab it

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By in United Kingdom,

@Rednaxela, yes I think it would help considerably.

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By in Australia,

I want one but I just can't afford to spend the equivilant of just under 2 weeks rent on LEGO right now...

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By in Singapore,

Excellent review! This set seems to be cheaper in Singapore, but the size is too big to allocate.

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By in United States,

Picked it up Saturday. Great addition to the rest of the amusement park sets.

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By in United States,

Anyone able to compare and contrast with the CDX coaster?

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By in France,

Candy floss or cotton candy is "barbe à papa" in French which could be translated as "Father's beard". Much more close to what it is both in English or American English.
Great set, nice review and pics thanks Huw. I won't show them to my daughter or will have no rest with "dad we must have it we must have it!". I would like to : it's so beautiful!

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By in Switzerland,

If I was a minifigure, I would criticize the riding experience of this coaster. The ride contains only turns to the right side! If you watch the POV experience linked above, you will immediately notice that „something is missing“ without some alternation in the direction of the curves. I’ve never seen a coaster in real life which has all curves to only one side.

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By in United States,

^ Yeah the ride is definitely weak, not to mention the safety concern with those three massive tires at the top! I was thinking about buying 2-3 of these sets and attempting a MOC. As mentioned by someone else the track geometry is a bit limiting (which 9V train fans will be used to) so we'll have to get creative here. Must...have...loop...

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By in United Kingdom,

I was pretty sure the minifig with the big hair and the measuring stick was a dude, but there is a faint trace of lipstick under the sunglasses.

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By in United States,

@greenhorn, while true, some sacrifices had to be made for it to run properly. They needed to keep the coaster somewhat compact while also running. They could only do so much.

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By in United States,

@People who type on keyboards...

Your thoughts do not perfectly align with mine & are therefore offensive & invalid. Think of the children who can read this & comprehend nuance!

I mean really.. the words "HUGE" & "BOX" on the same website?!?!? I expected better choices regarding the description of a package.

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By in Germany,

I just come here for the man boobs and the erections. (Erects himself to make some popcorn.)

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By in United Kingdom,

another excellent item to my fairground collection.. rollercoaster, carousel, ferris wheel and fairground mixer... would love a huge bumper car with rc cars would be great come on lego

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By in Germany,

Anyone noticed, that they used roller skates as decorative elements on the ticket booth!? I love such details!!! <3

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By in Switzerland,

Thanks Huw for this review.

I received yesterday my set I ordered last week and I have already started to build.
I have also noticed that it not easy to move it.

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By in United States,

Not surprised they left the mixer out. It really doesn't fit with the rest of the theme honestly. Part of me thinks it was designed as a one-off before they really decided to make a full-on theme park theme made up of attractions that are of the permanent installation variety.

From day 1 with the mixer my complaint was always that so much of the piece count was used on a couple of trucks - glorified CITY vehicles that we have 100s of - instead of on adding more to the unique nature of the set. Admittedly, the fact that it was designed to all fold up and fit on the trucks is kind of an impressive accomplishment, but it wears off quickly making you hate those trucks all the more - and especially once the rest of the theme started coming out.

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By in United States,

not sure which i like more: the set, the review, or the first 30(ish) comments on this article ... either way it'll be a buy for me

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By in Germany,

@Huw, great review and a great set I can't wait to get my hands on.

If you'll oblige, what is the story behind the signage/symbols in the upper left corners of each drawer on the Malm dressers?

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By in United Kingdom,

That's where I keep by surplus brick stock, that which doesn't fit in my plastic drawers. The plates show what's in each drawer.

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By in United States,

I thought the staff members were shirtless at first...

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By in United States,

@greenhorn as you can see from the video here of a 90+ year old wooden coaster with the same color scheme, due to the layout (long and narrow) having all major turns in the same direction is not uncommon.
https://youtu.be/nzDlv1ZhTiA

Thought the Giant Dipper has some small RH turns, all the significant ones are left. One can imagine that if we created a model scaled down to "minifig scale" none of those RH turns would be large enough to survive, and the coaster would have all LH turns.

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By in United States,

Someone please sell this to me. I don't have enough money to buy it.

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By in Belgium,

Thanks for the thorough review. It looks great and I really love the candy floss (or 'sugar spun' in Dutch if anyone is interested) and the lime and orange. I have not got the money nor the room but very impressed with it.

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By in United States,

Just out of curiosity, I tried moving (Well, at least picking up) my completed Coaster. Surprisingly, if you lift it by the method shown on one of the last pages in the manual (though I wish it had shown both sides) it comes up surprisingly secure. I believe I'll be able to move it to its permanent location when the time comes without disassembling it into the two sections.

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By in Australia,

Hanging out for this. Anyone else here from Australia and still waiting for theirs to be delivered? I ordered this when it was released to the VIP members and the tracking info says it has been sitting in customs for the last week. With VIP early releases, if you are in Australia, is it usually quicker to wait until release day and buy it from a physical Lego store? Thanks!

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By in Australia,

Bizarre... I'm in Australia as well and am having the exact same issue. Tracking says it cleared customs over a week ago, in a location that's only an hour drive away, but it still hasn't arrived. One can only hope it will arrive soon...*sigh*

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By in Australia,

@ bl4ckie8 - I contacted Aus Post and they said to contact Lego. Lego said: "Your order has been delayed as it was going through customs in Australia. We’re working with our couriers to understand why the parcel has been held up so that it can get on its way to you as soon as possible".

They also gave me 300 VIP points for the hold up. Still no update on when it would be arriving though.

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