LEGO’s been on a great run – with surprise licenses and collaborations aplenty in 2020, but one of the most unexpected collaborations had to be with Manchester United.
For the non-sportsball fans, Manchester United is arguably the most popular football (soccer, for some of you) club in the world, mostly thanks to two key periods of dominance – in the late 1960s when they became the first English club to win the European Cup by beating Benfica 4-1 in the final, but more importantly, it was United’s unprecedented dominance in the English Premier League (EPL)/Europe from the early 90s to the early 2010s under Sir Alex Ferguson’s leadership.
Manchester United won literally everything during that period, including the treble in the 98-99 season. This period of dominance also lined up with the EPL (and football’s) international growth era, where football quickly established itself as the world’s premier competitive sport.
LEGO sent over a set for review, which worked out really well as I’ve been a Manchester United fan since I was 6, so I’ve got a pretty personal connection to this set and the MUFC team.
Read on to see what I thought of the set.
Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set over for a review.
Name: Old Trafford
Set Number: 10272
Pieces: 3898 pieces
Price: AU$449.99 | US$299.99 | £249.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AU] [US] [UK]
Exclusive to: LEGO.com / LEGO Brand Retail Stores
Theme: Creator Expert
Release Date: 16 January 2020
One of the things that struck me about this set was just how big the box was – the price is usually a pretty good clue of the scale of the set, but when it arrived, the slick black packaging and sheer size made me realise that this was going to be a pretty special set.
The black box and manual design also made it also feel very much like a Creator Expert architecture set, just at an immense scale.
The manual is what you’d expect from sets in this price-range – it’s got sections dedicated to the story of Old Trafford (also known as the Theatre of Dreams), as well as a chronological timeline of the Manchester United football club – very handy for people who are unfamiliar with the club’s history and heritage to get up to speed.
Let’s get to sticker shock – this is the sticker sheet. You have FIFTY-FIVE stickers to deal with which is an absolute pain.
I think a small amount of stickers are tolerable especially in smaller sets, but for a set at this price-point, having to deal with 55 stickers feels like some sick joke.
There are a number of stickers like the Manchester United, Stretford End and Adidas logo which require very precise application when you align them so the text or image doesn’t look wonky.
I’ve never had to deal with so many stickers in one build, and I hope to never have to deal with this many again.
Here’s the completed model! I was very surprised by the build – I also had plenty of assistance from my wife!
LEGO Old Trafford is unlike any other build I’ve ever done, filled with plenty of ingenious build techniques to bring this massive stadium to life.
The stadium comprises of 5 main sections – the pitch, and the different stands which are connected to the middle via Technic pins.
The connections aren’t particularly tight, so it’s easy to pull the stadium apart and admire most of the interiors without much hassle.
The build experience was quite tedious in certain sections. Much of the architecture of the stadium involves many repetitive builds – most notably the detailing on the roof structure.
The designers of this set have some interesting and creative build techniques into the build that’ll have you build in many different orientations.
Here’s a look at the pitch. Thankfully, the details are printed, so it looks sharp and has the checker board pattern on it.
The printed pitch raises the question, does this open the door to more football stadiums in the future? They can easily repurpose this for other iconic stadiums and arenas.
The pitch isn’t the only printed element included – the goalposts are printed as well!
Here’s a look at the Stretford End – perhaps the most notable and important stands at Old Trafford.
Before Old Trafford and stadium rules were modernised, the Stretford End used to be the main standing area at the stadium, which housed the most vocal, passionate fans – the Stretford typically dictated the atmosphere of Old Trafford.
In home games, it’s also tradition to attack the Stretford End (if the United captain wins the toin toss) in the second half, as the booming roar of the crowd would rouse the United team and demoralise the visiting team.
Here’s a look at the Stretford End’s exterior, which also features the United team bus.
I really like the archways on the outside, both the physical ones and the printed ones which give the stadium a much-needed sense of scale, alongside the bus.
Here’s a look at the East Stand, which bears a massive Adidas logo. The Adidas logo was a pain to get right as you have to piece it together using a number of 2×2 sized stickers, so you better concentrate to get the logo aligned properly or its going to look awful.
That said, the Adidas logo is pretty realistic, although it may be outdated if and when Manchester United get a new kit sponsor.
Here’s a look at the East Stand’s exterior. The stickered section also bears the Munich Air Crash Memorial plaque which pays tribute to the players, journalists and supporters that perished in the Munich Air Disaster.
On 6 February 1958, 23 footballers, journalists and supporters perished when the plane they were in crashed during takeoff, a tragedy that would shock the football world and define the club for decades to come
At the time, Manchester United were riding high, having won two consecutive English titles, and were in the semi-finals of the European Cup. Most of the players in that squad were young homegrown players, affectionately called the Busby Babes under the management of Sir Matt Busby.
The Munich Air Disaster almost brought the club to its knees, however Sir Matt Busby was able to bounce back, building a second generation of Busby Babes which included the likes of George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law that eventually lifted the European Cup ten years later.
Outside the East End is also the Munich clock, which is permanently frozen at 3.04pm – the time of the Munich crash.
Here’s a look at the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand, which was previously known as the South Stand. The stickered name is flanked by two scoreboards which have United leading by 3 goals to none.
In the middle of the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand are the dugouts (with the Man United crest) which are slightly elevated – this is where the manager, his support staff and substitute players sit.
Of course, most managers prefer standing on the sidelines screaming orders at players.
I really like the symmetry and antenna used for the roof here.
The main portion of the stadium, which is the visual nexus of the entire model is the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand – the largest section at Old Trafford with the capacity to hold 26,000 spectators.
The club’s name is emblazoned across the stands – I did an okay job with getting the stickers right, and I wish I paid a bit more attention to the alignment.
Above the stands are banners with “The Impossible Dream Made Possible” flanking the stand’s name.
Here’s a look at the exterior of the Sir Alex Ferguson which is one of my favourite portions of the outside.
The different textures, designs and colours punctuated by the steel supports are really pleasing to the eye – especially on the ground level with the arches and small pillars made using white telescopes.
Outside the Sir Alex Ferguson stand is the statue dedicated to the great man himself. Manchester United’s modern legacy and success can be solely attributed to Sir Alex’s leadership, vision and incredible management prowess which has cemented his position as the greatest football club manager in history.
One of my favourite things about the Old Trafford build is the inclusion of banners hung about the stadium paying tribute to pivotal people or moments in the club’s illustrious history.
Another cool bit of detail on the inside of the stadium is the tunnel leading towards the pitch where players emerge from.
The exterior of the set is really cool, and the designers have gone to great pains to keep it visually interesting.
The sense of scale created by the entrances, archways and pillars do a tremendous job of giving the entire structure a sense of scale, helping you visualise just how massive the 75,000-capacity stadium actually is.
Last but not least is the mini United Trinity statue, depicted by 3 black microfigures. It’s one of the most well-known landmarks at Old Trafford and just like the minifigure version, is a great celebration of United’s incredible footballing heritage.
What I liked:
- As a Manchester United fan, this is just the perfect LEGO set for me
- Incredible sense of scale and captures all the architectural details of Old Trafford well
- Model is near-completely studless, giving it a very clean look
- Lots of fun, inventive building techniques
- Makes for a fantastic display model without a massive footprint
What I didn’t like:
- Too many stickers ruin some of the experience
- Some parts of the build are particularly tedious and repetitive
Final thoughts: I wasn’t exactly too sure what to expect with 10272 Old Trafford. While I am a massive Manchester United fan, I wasn’t all that convinced by the set when it was released.
I think that 10272 Old Trafford is one of those unfortunate LEGO sets where the official photos and renders don’t really do the set justice as it’s such an attractive set.
To take a stadium with such distinctive architectural features like Old Trafford and translate it to LEGO is no mean feat, all while capturing some of its most recognizable features, both on the inside and outside.
The sense of scale of this set is my favourite thing, and I really love how well it communicates the sheer size of a stadium.
It also looks fantastic on display, and feels very much like an advanced Architecture set. Outside of the Manchester United license, this does feel like a test from LEGO to probe what a Creator Expert Architecture line would look like.
In many ways, Creator Expert is no stranger to worldwide landmarks like Big Ben and the Sydney Opera House but the packaging design of Old Trafford, and the style of manual does signal that LEGO is considering a Creator Expert and Architecture mashup.
In terms of downsides, the stickers are an absolute horror. Sure, to get some of the details, traditional printing capabilities might not exist, but it would’ve been nice to see more printed elements instead of fifty five stickers.
I also feared that this set may have quite a narrow appeal, especially for people who don’t watch football, or even like Manchester United as a team.
Due to the extended dominance of the club, while there are hundreds of millions of fans, especially in Asia which has been LEGO’s focus, there are also a TON of football fans who absolutely detest the club, especially fans of rival clubs like Liverpool and Manchester City.
The timing of this set is also quite interesting as Manchester United has been in quite a slump in the last few years, having never really found its footing in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, languishing in mediocrity despite outspending many other clubs.
That said, after building this set, and removing my football allegiance from how I view this set, I can very confidently recommend this set to anyone who wants a large, challenging and rewarding set that’s unlike anything LEGO have ever produced.
LEGO is on to something with this Old Trafford experiment, and I’d love to see an entire series of world-famous sports stadiums at this scale released. I also would love to see more landmarks or famous buildings created in this scale, and complexity – it’s really like an Architecture set on steroids.
I do have my doubts on the appeal of this set to the wider public, especially in countries like America and Australia where football isn’t as established, but for the rest of the world that call football their religion – the LEGO Theatre of Dreams is really a dream come true.
The LEGO Old Trafford set is available to purchase from LEGO.com.
Special thanks to LEGO for sending this set for this review.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review! Have anyone of you built Old Trafford yet? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!
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