This model is one of thirteen sets that are being produced as part of the AFOL Designer Program (ADP) collaboration between BrickLink and LEGO.
You may recall that in 2016 I helped promote BrickJonas' LEGO Factory playset on LEGO Ideas by building and photographing it. The project was unsuccessful on Ideas but he was undeterred and continued to work on and enhance it before submitting it to the ADP where it reached its funding goal in no time.
The team in charge of the ADP kindly offered to send me a couple of pre-production models to review so given that connection I was keen to take a look at this one.
It seems obvious to me that LEGO fans would appreciate a model of a LEGO factory made from LEGO bricks but it's something the company itself has yet to produce. So let's see if BrickJonas has sucessfully filled that gap...
Packaging and contents
The ADP team at BrickLink is still busy packing the sets and printing the instructions so I received pre-production copy of it bagged up in zip-lock bags with instructions printed on a laser.
That is not how the production versions will arrive: they'll be packed more like regular LEGO sets in sealed bags and the instructions will be printed on an offset press and perfect bound.
Suffice to say, though, that all parts were present and correct and the instructions were perfectly legible.
A USP of the ADP sets is that they will all contain a unique LEGO part not found in any regular LEGO set. What it is has not been revealed yet, and mine didn't come with it, so I can't tell you!
The LEGO Story differs from BrickJonas' earlier Ideas project in that it depicts a LEGO factory through time in four vignettes. Each one is a stand-alone model that does not connect to the others, but they are uniform in size so they look good when displayed together.
The first vignette depicts a scene in the company's woodworking days of the 1930s. It's packed with realistic details and the tools of the day: workbench with vice, drill press, tool rack, crate of planks, and a finished duck on a shelf at the back.
The floor is fully tiled and the walls have a number of interesting features such as skirting board and picture rail.
It's not designed to be viewed from the back but nevertheless it's neat and tidy.
Each vignette comes with a minifigure and this one is a good resemblance for Ole Kirk Christiansen, attired in paint-spattered overalls.
Early injection moulding
The second vignette jumps 20 years to the 1950s with a model of one of the company's first injection moulding machines. It's perhaps a bit large compared to the minifigure but that increased size has allowed Jonas to include a lot of detail.
The room has a door in the back wall, and the windows are built on their side with 1-plate-wide surrounds to keep things interesting.
The shelving rack at the rear of the room is for storing injection moulding dies.
Once again, it looks neat and tidy at the back.
The minifigure provided with this one is very business-like in a pin-striped waistcoat, and is probably more at home in the accounts department than the factory floor!
The next vignette brings us up-to-date with a modern designers' office. The 12x12 stud base is smaller than the other two but there's still an impressive level of detail: parts drawers (designed by Adeel Zubair) a plant in the corner, a miniature model of Elizabeth Tower and the facade of the Houses of Parliament (10253), and a desk covered with brightly coloured bricks.
Once again, the walls have been made more interesting than a stack of bricks through the use of SNOT building techniques.
There's not much to look at round the back but then you're not likely to be looking there!
The female designer is wearing a cool classic space shirt.
The fourth scene sits on a 12x24 base and depicts a modern injection moulding machine.
The huge machine dominates the room and is probably close to minifig scale: the real ones really are huge.
Round the back of the machine, on the rear wall, tubes carrying ABS pellets are connected to it with pipework to allow continuous production.
Jonas has used SNOT techniques again for the windows which makes them much more interesting.
LEGO element moulding factories are sparsely populated by humans: those that do work in it will be highly skilled engineers keeping the machines running 24/7. I can't remember if they wear hard hats or not, but it seems appropriate.
This is an excellent concept that's been exceptionally well executed. Each vignette is an attractive stand-alone model packed with details and interesting building techniques to ensure that what could be rather boring -- walls and windows -- is anything but. There's not much -- OK, any -- playability, but that is not the point of it.
It's a model that I think every adult LEGO fan with an interest in the company would appreciate.
The set contains 1442 pieces and costs $99, or $25 per vignette, which seems very reasonable. You can order it from BrickLink until the end of June.
The BrickLink AFOL Designer Program is an excellent initiative that will bring to life some superb models by talented designers. In many ways it shows what LEGO Ideas could be if it were not cluttered up with proposals based on IPs but on good old traditional LEGO values.
I also have a lot of respect for the BrickLink team for pulling it off. They have done the community a great service. So, if you haven't already, take a look at the sets available and place your order for these unique and limited sets before it's too late.
Thanks to BrickLink for sending the set to us to review. All opinions expressed are my own.