2016 is shaping up to be an amazing year for LEGO fans with some fantastic models being pumped out by the boffins in Billund. One such set is 10252 Volkswagen Beetle, which I was very excited about.
When the LEGO Volkswagen Beetle was announced a month ago, the official images were incredibly well received by fans. I ran a quick poll on my announcement post, and 90% out of 600 respondents indicated that they would be picking one up.
The Beetle arrived a couple of days ago, and I’m stoked to be able to bring you a comprehensive review which should hopefully give you a closer look at the set!
The Volkswagen Beetle will retail in Australia for AU$149.99 ($99.99 in the US) and will be publicly released on LEGO.com and in LEGO stores on 1 August 2016. LEGO VIP members can now access the set from LEGO.com (be sure to be logged into your VIP account) or at your local official LEGO store.
Special thanks to LEGO for sending an early review copy for the purpose of this review!
The LEGO Volkswagen Beetle is the fourth entry in the collection of Creator Expert cars modelled after some of the most culturally significant vehicles in automotive history. The Creator Expert sub-theme properly kicked off with the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van way back in 2011 (the set is still in production), and was followed by the Mini Cooper in 2014, and Ferrari F40 in 2015.
The T1 Camper Van is one of my favourite LEGO models of all time, and I was pretty stoked that LEGO was going to take on yet another iconic Volkswagen. This isn’t LEGO first attempt at a Volkswagen Beetle, with the older 10187 Beetle kinda, sorta laying the foundation for these large scale LEGO vehicle models.
The set is considered large, but at 1167 pieces, it’s nowhere near as massive as UCS sets. The build is relatively simple, but challenging and varied enough that you won’t be bored.
Here’s a look at the contents of the box – there are three main sections, broken up into 8 polybags.
This is the sticker sheet included. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of stickers as LEGO have graciously included plenty of spares. There’s also a selection of car plates to choose from so you can customise your Volkswagen Beetle with either Californian, Queensland (Australia), English (MAT 278B) or German (WOB) plates.
Each location has some sort of cultural significance to the Volkswagen Beetle, with California and Queensland who are both famous for sunny weather, the beach and surfers. The Queensland plate has a tiny Easter Egg contained in it – CAD is possibly a nod to Mel Caddick, a LEGO designer who hails from Queensland!
Not too sure about the significance of the English plates, but the German “WOB” plates are for Wolfsburg, the city where Volkswagen AG is located.
Here’s a brief look at the progression of the Volkswagen Beetle build. Bag 1 starts off with the undercarriage, and you start building up the rear of the Volkswagen Beetle.
In Bag 1, you also put together the four cylinder air-cooled boxer engine which is located in the rear. The air-cooled engine was a really cool innovation back when it was introduced in the Volkswagen Beetle Type 1.
In the second portion, you assemble the interior of the Beetle, which includes the front and back seats in tan as well as the front of the car. In the front of the car, the black rectangular shaped part is the Volkswagen Beetle’s petrol tank which features a lovely Volkswagen printed tile as a cap.
The Beetle really starts to take shape at this stage, with the gorgeous round curved bricks being put into position.
Here’s a look at the side of the build, midway through Section 2 and 3.
Here are the leftover stickers with plenty of spares!
The last few bags put the finishing touches of the Beetle and the end result is every bit as wonderful as you would imagine it to be. Now that I’ve built this set, I can confidently say that this set is an instant classic and is one of the top contenders for best builds of 2016.
*it appears a tile somehow dislodged itself from the side of the Volkswagen Beetle! Apologies in advance if this offends anyone – it should be completely smooth!
Let’s get up close and personal with the LEGO Volkswagen Beetle.
The front of the Volkswagen Beetle is the most triumphant part of the entire vehicle. The designer Mike Psiaki has done an exceptional job of translating the Beetle’s iconic curves and overall shape into the LEGO medium.
The bonnet is an ingenious piece of design, and I really like the use of large curve slopes, which almost seamlessly tilt downwards – applying clever use of angles which also coincidentally gives it a very smooth and clean look.
The rod that bends through the bonnet takes a while to get used to as it sticks out slightly but it serves its purpose well in recreating the original look of the Beetle’s bonnet.
You can lift the bonnet up to reveal a small storage compartment for the Beetle’s spare tyre. I thought it was really neat that LEGO retained the real world practice of including a slightly smaller tyre, so don’t be alarmed if the sizes don’t match!
The tyre compartment is pretty neat – it just cradles the tyre comfortably and when you remove it, you can see right through to the bottom of the ground.
Here’s an aerial view of the front compartment, which you can also see the fuel tank and printed VW round tile that I highlighted earlier.
The curves on the Volkswagen Beetle is undoubtedly its best feature. Here’s a look at the new curved brick that’s positioned above the wheels. It’s a brand new mould and you get 8 of them in this set – I’m not a prolific MOC builder, but plenty of my friends that design their own LEGO models were absolute ecstatic about this piece and it’s potential applications.
It also helps that it’s in the oh-so-whimsical shade of dark azur, which is quite an uncommon colour.
The Volkswagen Beetle also looks great from the side. From this perspective, you can get a really good look at the overall shape of the car and form an appreciation for the curvature of the Beetle.
I think it’s mostly stays true to the original iconic shape of the Beetle, which is quite a feat of LEGO design.
The doors swing open in a very smooth manner, and I really love the use of a grey “telephone” piece as a door.
The round side mirrors are a little plain and I think the wrong shape, as most of the photos of Volkswagen Beetles on Google seem to indicate that they have rectangular-ish mirrors. I would’ve really liked a tile with a reflective sticker on it instead, just for that extra touch of realism.
Speaking of the doors, if I wanted to poke holes at the model, I do admit that the gaps between the bricks are a little unsightly. It’s not something that you can really avoid since it is built out of LEGO bricks, but placed alongside the other smoother elements in the model, the gaps look quite apparent.
I don’t really mind it, but I’ve read some comments that said that they disliked the look of it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Here’s a look at the interiors of the Volkswagen Beetle. The car’s dashboard is fairly plain, there’s a steering wheel which unfortunately can’t turn the wheels of the car. There’s also a printed speedometer hidden behind the steering wheel in the photo.
I really like the handbrake as well as the stick shift, although the former looks freakishly large! The seats are built out of plenty of 1 X 1 studs which was a bit of a hassle putting it together but the end result looks decent enough. Both the driver and passenger seats can be adjusted and tilted backwards and forwards.
The back seat can also fold forwards, and there’s a small area for the rolled up beach blanket.
For a better view of the interiors, you can easily detach the roof of the Volkswagen Beetle which gives you easy access to the insides.
Here’s a look at the rear of the car which also opens up to reveal the air-cooled engine. The “flap” that opens up was a very interesting and fairly complex build as you construct it in a variety of different directions.
For a Creator Expert set, I’m glad that stickers aren’t (mostly) an integral part of the model. On the back windscreen, you have the option of adding three different stickers which add a lot of flavour to the Volkswagen Beetle. You have a sticker for Al’s Boards, which I’m guessing is a surfboard brand or shop, Wax, for umm, surfboard wax and a cute warning symbol with an exclamation point on it.
You can also see the two blue strips on the edges of the windscreen which are stickers. They’re really subtle which is nice. In the photo above (to the far right), you can also see the stickers on the back glass of the side doors.
Here’s a look at the Volkswagen Beetle from above, which gives you a better look at the rack on top of the car. The rack takes a while to get used to. The rails are a little flimsy – the brackets do an okay job of holding the surfboard and cooler secure.
There’s no clip or anything, but if you notice those little rubber thingies? You can slide them along the rails to “lock” the surfboard and cooler in place.
Due to the Volkswagen Beetle’s affinity with beach culture, good times and easy going folk, it comes with a lovely fabric beach towel, a brick-built Esky (Aussie term for a cooler), some chunks of ice (transparent blue cheese slopes), 2 glass bottles and a green can.
I like to think that these are 2 bottles of Heineken and a can of Victoria Bitter. And yes, that’s one of those new printed “can” tiles! We get an extra one as well, which is a really neat accessory to get!
Lastly, here’s a look at the surfboard with the very Aussie colours of yellow and green! It’s a simple but effective build, but I love the combination of colours. Taken as a whole, this entire set seems like the most “Australian” set ever created with all these little nods to Strayan beach culture.
Update: Here’s a side by side comparison of the VW Beetle with the T1 Camper Van!
What I liked:
- So many dark azure elements!
- Build is pretty cruisy and easy for anyone to get into
- Beautiful curves
- The entire model is just a treat to behold and makes for a great display piece
- Fantastic price point
What I didn’t like:
- Gaps on the doors look a little weird
- Side mirrors
Final thoughts: What an exceptional set. There is so much to like about the 10252 Volkswagen Beetle that I have no problem proclaiming this as one of the best and most complete sets of 2016, if not ever.
LEGO have done so many things right with the Beetle that you ought to rush out and buy this immediately.
From the get-go, the Volkswagen Beetle grabs your attention with its bright and cheery dark azur paintjob. Dark azur is a fantastic colour that has typically only been found in Friends sets, so getting so many of these elements is a treat for LEGO builders. That said, you probably want to keep the Beetle intact as it’s such a gorgeous display model.
You’re then directed at the Beetle’s amazing curves. Insert something about how #realLEGOmodelshavecurves here. Building the Beetle and bringing these curves to life is quite an experience – you’ll be introduced to a lot of complex and clever techniques to ensure that you have a great time putting it together. The build really demonstrates how mature LEGO have become in introducing advanced techniques into retail sets.
With LEGO, I love building and displaying them and the Beetle is one heck of a model to show off. The scale and overall size of it makes it a very attractive model to look at – this is one of those LEGO sets that I will probably never disassemble. It’ll be on permanent display, just like its bigger brother, the T1 Camper Van.
Lastly, the price point is just perfect. It’s not too expensive which means that it’ll be extremely accessible to LEGO fans the world over. For an AU$150 set, you get so much value out of it that this is one of those sets that you simply cannot pass up.
LEGO 10252 Volkswagen Beetle is just satisfyingly perfect, and it has everything that you could possibly want from a Creator Expert set. If you haven’t previously considered this set, I would strongly recommend picking it up as it’s just an absolutely brilliant and exhaustive LEGO build.
The LEGO Volkswagen Beetle is now available for purchase for LEGO VIP members. I can see this set selling extremely well (and possibly going out of stock initially) so I wouldn’t wait till the general release on 1 August 2016 to order it.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope that you this review and the photos! So sorry about the missing tile in the photos – if it’s any consolation, now that I’ve spotted it, I can’t unsee it!
Let me know your thoughts on this set and if you still intend to pick it up!
This set was provided by The LEGO Group for review purposes. This does not in any way influence the review of the set.