Review: 10268 Vestas Wind Turbine

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When we reported on the release of 4999 Vestas Wind Turbine back in 2008 it caused a lot of excitement but also disappointment when it became apparent that it was to be made available to Vestas employees only. Consequently it became much sought-after and expensive on the secondary market. It went to the top of my wanted list but unfortunately I never managed to get hold of it.

When we learned that it was to be re-released I had mixed emotions: happy that I was finally going to be able to acquire one but also disappointed that it looked to be pretty much identical to the old version when we might have expected it to have been refreshed a bit to take advantage of pieces that have been introduced since its original release.

Now I've built it my disappointment has waned...


Box and contents

The box has been updated with Creator Expert branding, a prominent list of Power Functions components included, and the plants from plants logo.

View image at flickr

Parts are supplied in unnumbered bags: 9 'crinkly' ones contain all the small parts.

View image at flickr

A further three contain the large pieces used for the mast, the green BURPs,and Power Functions parts.

There's also a green 32x32 baseplate: something of a rarity in sets nowadays.

View image at flickr

You are no doubt expecting a photo of the sticker sheet about now, but there isn't one! All parts are printed which is a significant upgrade of the original set and somewhat surprising given LEGO has a policy of not printing company logos on bricks, I believe because it confuses ownership.

View image at flickr

The manual is now one book instead of two. As well as the building instructions, there's information about wind turbines, Vestas, wind power, plants from plants and LEGO's environmental policy.


Minifigures

The minifigures are all new. The Vestas workers have printed torsos this time, with a V logo which looks OK but I would have preferred a detailed jacket or shirt print with a more discreet logo on the pocket or something. They are protected by dark blue hard hats instead of the original red. The backs of their torsos are not printed.

The female figure sports a modern torso print instead of a plain white one and the dog is the new design introduced in 2010 or thereabouts.

View image at flickr


Construction

Building begins with the van which is actually one of the best and most realistic 6-wide vans LEGO has produced. A plain white van might seem a bit dull but as those in the UK will attest, they are ubiquitous on the roads here.

The van in 4999 Vestas Wind Turbine has a blue stripe along the side but Vestas has changed its branding since its release so this version has been changed to suit.

View image at flickr

A tool box and welding equipment on a sack barrow are provided to enable the workers to facilitate repairs when needed.

View image at flickr

It slides neatly into the back of the van.

View image at flickr

Next we turn our attention to the cottage and base.

The building is simple with an open back. A few nice details have been included such as a cooker and sink, a cupboard with lamp on top and a bed.

The most impressive part is the inclusion of Power Functions lights, on pillars either side of the front door, and the neat routing of the cables under the furniture and green plates behind the building. This is the only non-Technic set to include lights.

View image at flickr

A shallow sloped roof finishes off the house before building the hill behind it. It's made using four green BURPs which have only ever appeared in 4999 and now this one.

The most significant change between this and 4999 is the method used to mount the mast to the baseplate. It's a bit flimsy in the original set and I suspect lifting the model by the mast would have caused it to detach. That is not a problem with this one thanks to the use of brackets and Technic bricks which hold it very securely.

View image at flickr

The mast is constructed next (sorry, I didn't take photos as it's a bit fragile to move about until finished) and attached to the base before the hilltop is completed.

View image at flickr

The battery box is hidden inside the hill. It's a bit of a job routing the cables so the 'lid' above it can be fitted. Once it's on, the yellow Technic beam allows the switch to be operated from the back.

View image at flickr

Here's the house, hill and scenery completed.

View image at flickr

In 4999, the door at the back of the mast was affixed onto a grey plate using grey 1x4 bricks with 4 studs on the sides but they have been changed to white on this version and it looks much better as a result.

View image at flickr

Finally, the head and blades are built. There are one or two differences here between this and the original model, most notably the absence of a blue stripe on the side, to reflect the change in Vestas branding.

A 2x2 round tile with 1 stud neatly finishes off the cone on this version and one or two pieces elsewhere on the head are now white instead of grey.

View image at flickr

The blades can be mounted to the hub at an angled pitch, as I have done and as shown on the front of the box, or straight, as shown in the instructions.

The head can be freely rotated on the mast, thanks to the large Technic turntable underneath.

View image at flickr

The head is hollow and houses a medium Power Functions motor which powers the rotor. Two Power Function extension cables connected in series provide power from the battery box at the base.

View image at flickr


The completed model

Until you see it it's difficult to appreciate just how huge it is! The top of the head is some 65cm from the floor and when a blade is pointing directly upwards, its tip is just under 1 metre above the ground!

It's an impressive size that will wow all those that see it.

View image at flickr


Differences between this and 4999 Vestas Wind Turbine

I've pointed out most of the changes above, but to summarise, these are what I noticed when comparing instruction manuals:

  • Vestas minifigures are printed and not stickered, dark blue hard hats, new heads
  • New female minifig; new dog
  • The blue stripe has been removed from the van and the Vestas logo is now printed
  • The tools are the new bagged ones and not the old type supplied on a circular sprue
  • The flowers are the new type, as are the stems, which has necessitated the use of 2x2 tiles with 1 stud to affix them to the base
  • The mast support has been significantly improved
  • The surround of the door at the back of the mast is now white instead of grey
  • Several small parts on the head are now white instead of grey; other minor parts changes
  • The blue stripe has been removed from the head and the Vestas logo is printed
  • White 2x2 round tile with 1 stud on the front of the turbine cone
  • Other hidden parts colour changes


Verdict

After seeing the press release for the new set I though it was a missed opportunity not to update it to take advantage of new parts and modern building techniques. Now, having built it my opinion has changed and can be summed up as 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' because, actually, there's nothing wrong with it and absolutely no point in making improvements just for the sake of it.

The weakest part of the old set -- the mast mounting -- has been improved and that was probably all that needed doing. The rest is 'old school' LEGO, utilising traditional bricks and methods, and that is not a bad thing.

Perhaps what's not so good at first glance is the price, $200 and £160 for 826 pieces. In the UK the same amount can buy you 21311 Voltron with 2321 pieces so from that perspective alone it appears to be poor value.

However, it does contain more Power Functions components that any other non-Technic set I can think of (M motor, lights, battery box, 2 extension cables) which would cost about £25 if bought separately.

It also includes a lot of large pieces: the BURPs and, in particular, 9 of both White Slope, Curved 8 x 6 x 2 Double and White Slope, Curved 8 x 6 x 2 Inverted Double which, as you can see if you click the links, cost a fortune on BrickLink. To buy them, and the four green BURPs on BrickLink at the moment, would set you back about $120! Prices will no doubt tumble when this set is released but nevertheless they are not cheap parts.

So, on balance, then, £160 / $200 is a lot of money to spend on this set but when you delve deeper perhaps it's not so bad after all.

Having said that, if I only had that amount and had to choose which set(s) to buy it probably wouldn't be this one. It's definitely one for the connoisseur, the collector who has everything else already.

It will be available from shop.LEGO.com from 23rd November and you will be able to buy it via these links:

USA | Canada | UK | Germany | France


Thanks to LEGO for providing this set for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

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38 comments on this article

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By in United States,

thanks for the review! maybe i'll save my VIP points for this instead of the city train

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By in United States,

Looks alright (EDIT: looks almost exactly like the original), but why can't Lego re-release a set people actually want? I know this is crazy, but I'd be up for re-releases of the 06-08 Batman sets. Lego knows what sets fans want and don't want. They don't even have to re-release sets, why not make sets that have never appeared as a set? Like the Geonosian Arena for Star wars? Or maybe even a Hall of Justice for DC Super Heroes?

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By in United States,

Very cool set, there are massive farms of these in the area about 50km south of Chicago. If you have a rural setup, this is a natural inclusion.

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By in United States,

It's definately on my Wanted List, as the original one has been for years. However, as you said for the money there are many other great sets which I'd buy first. Thanks for the great review Sir Huw!

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By in United Kingdom,

@Colby Customs: They should release a Genosian Arena. And more importantly, where is my UCS Avengers Tower?!

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By in Italy,

I have VESTAS turbine (4999) and I love it.
It's incredible, nothing is comparable in a modern city layout!

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By in Canada,

I find it funny that another new set being released with the old Power Functions but not the new Powered Up items.

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By in United States,

Looks good, but not something I'd buy.

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By in United Kingdom,

@shaase
The new power functions don't have lights yet, AFAIK.
And I'll definitely be buying one of these.

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By in United Kingdom,

I finished Bricklinking 4999 this summer - bad timing!

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By in France,

Very nice set, but i will save my money for an Imperial Flagship, an Emerald Night or a Horizon Express re-release ?? But if it goes under 150€, i will consider to buy it ??

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By in United States,

meh...

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By in United Kingdom,

I was ambivalent about this set... until reading this helpful review!
It may have to be promoted to the 'maybe-just-maybe' list of sets.

@colby customs - The sets that "people actually want" vary from person to person. For example, I'm not especially interested in re-releases of those Batman sets (I too would like a Geonosian Arena though!), and you may well not care for the sets I'd like to see available again (LOTR and Castle...)
I'm sure LEGO know what people actually want (i.e. how to make money) and they've deduced that this wind turbine is a winner.

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By in United States,

Thanks for the comprehensive review, and the detailed list of differences. If you don't mind a quick typo spot, though, "spue" in that section should be "sprue".

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By in Belgium,

This is a relatively well designed set (although I wonder why the back is left open…), but the price is just ridiculous. No way I'd buy it unless it cost 120-130 euros — which is not going to happen.

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By in United Kingdom,

I liked the look of this before, but the review has really tempted me.... thanks Huw!

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By in United Kingdom,

Every time we see something like this, there's at least one comment from someone who, presumably having spent exactly no money or time on market research, claims to know better than Lego what 'people' want.

I certainly want this. I can't afford it, but I want it. I love a wind turbine. I also absolutely love the irony of it being battery operated. Is there such a thing as an aftermarket solar panel for power functions?

Also - sack barrow! I thought that piece had been discontinued. Or have I just been missing it whenever it appeared?

EDIT: Okay, I looked it up, the sack barrow has appeared every single year since its introduction in 1991, except for 1997, 2000 and 2002. So I'm really not paying attention.

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By in France,

^my thoughts exactly!! An environmentally friendly model being driven by poisonous batteries!! Kind of ironic.
That said I still want it but hopefully will find it at a discount.
Great informative review

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By in United States,

If LEGO did a focus group on this set and asked people what they would pay for this and the people said "Oh gee, I'd pay $200 for this set, easy, all day long". Well, I'm not a violent person, but I'd like to find those people and kick'em in the shin.
All kidding aside (or am I?), I've always really liked this set. The van with slide-out welding equipment is especially cool. The design of the turbine is incredible and the size perfect. Additionally, the small improvements from the original set make it that much more appealing.
But $200?! Ouch. It hurts the wallet for sure.

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By in United States,

This one is too expensive for poor little old me. Anybody want to loan me money that I may or may not pay back?? My credit is okay...

Why WOULDN'T you want to help me out? You would be just in time for an early Christmas present!! Please??

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By in United States,

I like the set and would like to buy it but for $200, I feel I can get better value picking up something else instead.

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By in United States,

Huw, how fast does it spin? Fast enough to generate a breeze?

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By in United States,

Oh I am getting one, seems a great collection piece.

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By in United Kingdom,

Fantastic looking model and it would look great on display. Thinking ethically however, that wind turbines have become a symbol of social inequality I would have to pass.

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By in Czech Republic,

I have to agree with several ppl around here: making the blades twisting using a battery-powered feature is just total irony.. I gathered that the blades (rotor) is quite efficiently moving thus it MIGHT under certain circustances generate some (laughable) minimum energy.. e.g. put that set into some wind tunnel (hairdryer and such) and the blades will start rotating.. anybody has found any ideas, hints etc. how to turn this magnificient set to a true "energy maker".. ? - of course, nobody expects that it will power up your househould, just the sheer fact that its truly capable of creating some miliwatts of energy.. that can be displayed by the LEGO energy meter..

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By in Russian Federation,

Seems prone to falling.

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By in Sweden,

Why does it have to be branded with Vestas logos? Would be more appealing without it.

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By in United Kingdom,

You can not justify Lego charging a high price because certain rare pieces are extremely high price on Bricklink.com. Lego now produces those parts for pennies, so how is it okay for Lego to charge over the top prices just because people on Bricklink do?

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By in United Kingdom,

Sorry, but, whichever way I look at this and analyse the price etc, I can’t justify paying £160 for a Set with less than 900 pieces, even if it does have rare parts and power functions. The parts are only rare if LEGO don’t produce in great number and no part is rare to TLG, they just make as many as they need. Yes there is the license, but SW lisenced sets never cost that much.

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By in United States,

Put some chairs at the tips of the blades and add this to my amusement park!

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By in United Kingdom,

I had a 4999 and sold it. Everyday since I have made sure to give myself a kick (about 3 years now!).Can not wait for this to be released, gives 7905 something to build.

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By in United States,

You spent a third of the review trying to convince people the price isn't a ripoff, it is. But nice try.

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By in Canada,

I don't quit get the furor over "price per piece"? It contains power functions and many large parts. The amount of plastic contained in the box rivals that of sets with higher parts counts. The finished model is something impressive to behold, and wouldn't be 'better' if it contained hundreds of tiny pieces instead of larger, sturdier parts.

The whole "price per piece" as a measure of value is an asinine train of thought at the best of times. The adverse reactions to this particular set are a glaring example of that skewed perspective gone horribly off the rails.

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By in United States,

Has it ever occurred to anyone to check the cost per piece based on pricing for [email protected] replacement parts? Wouldn't that be the best guideline for comparing with currently in-production parts?

I notice alot of the complex or large parts are way more than 10 cents / p per part, more than what the cheaper small parts would offset. Weight is likely a bigger factor in set pricing (and that would include instruction manuals, packaging and box size).

Ultimately, I guess it's a matter of whether you find the set worth the cost - keep in mind you're also paying for packaging and presentation, not just a pile of bricks.

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By in Hong Kong,

Fantastic set but beyond my reach costwise and (especially) spacewise. Of course it would be nice for the turbine to be environmentally sound, but I doubt Lego could make one that really catches the wind and powers a small light. There are non-Lego science sets out there that do just that.

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By in Germany,

"wind turbines have become a symbol of social inequality" I'm afraid I don't follow, could you please explain?

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By in United Kingdom,

@melvlee
Check out set 9688.
LEGO have you covered :-)

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