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Showing posts with label Speed Champions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Speed Champions. Show all posts

Set Review - Porsche 918 Spyder 75910

Of all the supercars I grew up salivating over, the Porsches have always been the most unique to me. As someone who enjoys lists and organization, I had a high appreciation for the numbering system used to name the cars (except the 356, what happened there?). In our final review of the original Speed Champions line we take a look at this rather unique supercar.

 Total mindblow, in looking up a chart to reference all of the Porsche models I discovered the 597. Less of a mindblow was the 550 and 904 that I hadn't known about up until now. However the 911 seems to have the most variation as well as what I would call spinoff models. Not just Targas, Carreras and Targa Carreras but the 912, 930, 964, and all the 990 series. The 918 is not a direct derivative of the 911 but it looks like a concept racing version of the same car. At least, in the LEGO model, the 918 was a bit difficult to perfect and the 911 look is where the model landed. Regardless of the intent, I'm satisfied.

So of course I was thrilled that I ended up building the Porsche. Much of the SNOT work was familiar but the amount of it and the result was fabulous. I've built official LEGO models before that have ended up with little gaps behind brackets and other areas where the half plate gap looks gaudy. In this case those gaps are either filled or intentional. Stellar!

As far as the undersides of the cars go, this one is probably the best looking. The other models have used red, yellow and green parts that did not match the cars' liveries well. In the Porsche most of the "hidden" pieces are blue. There is red visible from the underside but most of it is used to build the interior.

The Porsche is also the only model that uses a different windscreen. It's the same one used in the larger Porsche 911 Finish Line set but no where else (so far). It's a neat element with more of a 3d feel than the classic City windshields. It also has a nice more realistic pitch to it than about 65°. However the integral side windows are going to limit the use a little bit, especially if you want functional doors.

While the scope of this blog is to generally focus on the smaller polybags and under $10 sets, this was a fun diversion. I don't expect to be doing any of the other Speed Champions sets unless we get some new models in the next run of the series. But I would say that these are amazing builds if you want a nice City sized compatible car with plenty of detail.

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Set Review - McLaren P1 75909

The third set in our review of the Speed Champions singles is the McLaren P1. My second daughter built this. If you're like me (and I know I am) then you understand what a second child is like. First children are very meticulous rule followers. Anal retentive if you will. Second children tend to be more free-spirited. Let's have fun! Wait! No, let's stop this fun and have more fun! Almost anal expulsive.

 Anyway, let's just say that a build in bright light orange livery was the best choice for this sweet child of mine. There were several complaints that pieces in the instructions didn't actually exist. I'd quietly pick them and listen to her rant for another minute before seeing it. But I love her all the same and she did finally finish it.

Despite the fact that red and yellow 1x2 plates obviously are (or were if you're reading this in the future. Hello future!) in production based on the other models, I'm surprised at the choice of green for some for the underbody work. I was afraid that there would be some confusion with the colors between bright light orange and yellow but it went fine. More confusion was caused (with me at least) at the disparity of color choice for the support pieces. Yeah, it's not like you can see it at 200mph but when the car flips it's like someone set a Christmas tree on fire with all the colors.

I also didn't like the long nose so much. I understand that there was a particular aesthetic that was being aimed for here and it needed an extra stud of body in front of the front wheels to do it. It just doesn't look right. Maybe because of those chunky fenders. Something a little lighter would have allowed room for a headlight brick behind which in turn could have converted the 1x2 45° slope into a cheese wedge instead. It makes sense in my mind anyway.

For her, the coolest part about the car was the spoiler. The attachment doesn't quite match the IRL car. It should have used droid arms to be more closely matched. But that didn't matter to her. It could have been attached with duct tape and she wouldn't have cared. Whatever, it's a snowboard! Of course it came off and the driver was suddenly transformed from shooting a steel and glass bullet at 200mph to shooting a poly-resin board around at slightly less speed.

Again, I built these sans stickers so that you, dear reader, could see what the cars look like naked. I think they still look kind of cool in all their natural glory. Sure you don't get some smoothing of curves or intakes (nor does the McLaren especially look the IRL car) but they are a neat scale nonetheless. I look forward to more of these in a second wave.

Next week! German engineering!

Set Review - 458 Italia GT2 75908

Ooh, another Ferrari! TLG and Ferrari seem to go together like peas and carrots. And Shell. But they're bad so we won't discuss their relationship in the tri-fecta. Let's talk about Octan instead! Or more like Hublot the, um, watch maker? Interesting...

This little racer was built by my oldest KFOL, an 8 year old girl, as in, "You build like an 8 year old girl!". Let me tell you, that's a compliment! She knocked this whole thing out without any questions or fuss. Only once did I need to clarify the instructions (totally TLG's fault, I'm sure). As I mentioned before, the build techniques are all similar and this one seems to be the poster child.

It's also got the most printed windshield with both a name and door frames emblazoned upon its top plane. This makes it look slightly aloof without any stickers on it. I'm not much of a stickerer. I prefer the pure unadulterated look of plastic. So even though these sets come with a plethora of stickers for each car, it was with remorse that I had to tell my 8 year old daughter to take off the sticker she had just put on. Mostly I wanted to photograph the completed cars sans stickers for you to see. "Once daddy's taken pictures of the cars, we'll put the stickers on." I didn't lie, it just STILL has yet to happen.

But even without the stickers there's plenty of eye candy. The striping on the car over the rear fender is very clever. With a curved slope and a technic doohickey, my brain is tricked into believing that the curvatures came straight out of a wind tunnel session. The technic doohickey actually supports the tail light but it also changes the direction of the curve in a small space giving a very smooth appearance. Still not as smooth as the real life car but I prefer the blockiness of an F-40 anyday.

In what I thought was a mistake, a couple of yellow cheese slopes are placed on the back of the car. Apparently the stickers help carry this swoosh up the back of the car. Even so, it still looks a little funny but I can see how they're trying to match the racing livery.

Best part? Check out that tail.

Set Review - La Ferrari 75899

Week one of the Speed Champions! No, not Speed Racer. That was so 2008. Nor Speed Slammers. That was so yeesh. These are the true champions of speed featuring lots of horsies.

My four year old son built the La Ferrari. Sort of. He put together the driver, grabbed a few more pieces and got through step 3. Then the neighbor kid came over and hung out with us a for a while, advancing the model at least halfway. After he left I completed it. Oh the techniques!

I doubt it would be possible to capture the curves and lines of this car even at full scale. But the subtle use of curved slopes and other rounded pieces with offsets and SNOT do a fair to middlin' job of conveying the essence of beauty and the 4 and a half dimensions that the car was designed in. Ans since I'm not much into stickers, I'm basing this off the pure plastic.

My favorite piece is the 1x4 plate with a turned down bar. How unexpected! But the bar helps give the distinct look to the nose.  Would that some of the hood curves were only a half step instead of a full one. That would have sold the lines all the more. But we're talking about a production model here, not a one off MOC. Even so, I find little to complain about.

Except the bottom. Expect this on every car. There's a white and yellow piece on the bottom and a completely useless red 1x2 plate. This car is not nearly as bad as others, but I can see the driver's pants from below. Two extra 1x6 to fill in the chassis would have been a nice touch.

The rolling sucks too. Seriously sucks. I can push this car hard on a wood floor and if it makes it all of two feet then it wins a trophy. Two. Feet. My Hot Wheels can totally dust this so called "super-car".

The final novelty is the (re?)introduction of the trans black 2x2 brick. This part has a street value higher than crack and you get TWO of them in here! Heck yeah, come find me in the alley bro!

Set Review - Speed Champions overview

Welcome race fans! For the next four weeks I'll be reviewing the Speed Champions cars. These got my heart racing the moment I saw them. Larger than City scale, somewhat minifig scale (though only one passenger) with incredible detailing. The most exciting thing is the licensing deal that TLG acquired to produce cars from not just Ferrari but McLaren and Porsche. Porsche was a classically difficult brand to license but it IS under Volkswagen AG. Who knows, maybe we'll get a Bugatti Veyron or a Lambo next?

I challenged the kids to a new way to build. I dumped all of the pieces of ALL four sets in a big pile together. We all chose cars (or at least mine was chosen for me) and we commenced. It was delightful to watch the frustration and hear "This piece isn't here!" But we got them all built with only one error and had fun.

When I dumped out all the pieces, several of them caught my eye. These are some of the newer molds and a few are made in several colors. It's kind of disappointing that every single car uses 4 of the new bulky POOP fenders. And the Technic wheel holder POOP is a shame. But the new 2x6 rounded plate is neat and will have it's uses.

Also cool are the new spoked wheel covers. The nice thing about these is that they allow for a smaller mold to customize your car. One wheel to rule them all with a central stud allows for any of the little bits to snap on. Each car comes with two styles meaning 8 covers in all. Of course these are going to have way more uses than just wheel covers. With a central anti-stud and a diameter of ~14.8mm, they are just smaller than a 2x2 space and can click in place. My first thought was roof fans for a 4-wide train. But I bet all sorts of other greeblers have their heyday.

And then there's the windshields. Really there's only two windshields. But the larger one is used in three different ways; two with print and one plain. These are 4x6x2 with a nice curved slope and a front base that matches a 4L diameter round piece. Spacers and racers ought to enjoy these. It's a nice touch to include them plain to increase their variety of uses. The bright light orange striped one ought to still be useful but the Ferrari one is pretty limited.

Amongst all four sets are a variety of extra parts. They're all the extras you'd expect but it looks cool to see them all laid out and combined from all four sets. In reality you get multiple extras of the red pieces, the dark red tiles and the grey bits.

As you may notice there's both yellow and bright light orange. The colors are similar enough that I was afraid there was going to be some confusion and cross uses. It only happened once and we caught it early on.

The base construction of all cars are very similar. They start with a city vehicle base which is then extended 3-4 studs in each direction. All the cars are built to 6-wide and use brackets on the sides to create a SNOT effect. Two of the cars use a very similar technique and are almost indiscernible from the bottom. I would have liked to have seen a touch more variety but I guess if a technique works, use it! As seems to be typical with most builds, the "hidden" bits are built without any sympathies to the color of the overall build. This was only mildly disappointing but a little shocking on one build.

Each car also comes with a driver and a little mini-build that I assume enhances the play experience.

Next week, why does every other Speed Champions car start with 759xx but La Ferrari is 75899?