LEGO Creator Expert 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine review

Great scott! 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine is one of the sleekest, most accurate Creator Expert vehicles the LEGO Group has ever released.

Back to the Future is an absolute classic of a film, to the point it’s housed in America’s National Film Registry due to its importance to popular American culture. Since the original film’s release in 1985, its popularity has endured and the DeLorean (the time machine built by eccentric scientist Doc Brown) has become one of the most admired and iconic movie vehicles of all time.

Recently the LEGO Group has been pushing nostalgia buttons at a more frequent rate than ever. Not only have we been treated to updates to Pirates and Castle, but we’ve also seen sets based around iconic retro consoles in 71374 Nintendo Entertainment System, classic films and sitcoms in 21330 Home Alone and 10292 The Friends Apartments, and memorable movie vehicles in 10274 Ghostbusters ECTO-1.

Once upon a time, LEGO Ideas was the home for those sets based around our cherished childhood memories, but the introduction of LEGO for Adults has allowed the LEGO Group to spread them across its entire portfolio. And while releasing sets based around massively popular classic franchises is obviously a smart move from a marketing perspective, it does mean a lot of hardcore fans will be expecting a high level of authenticity – and will be quick to criticise the set if it falls to meet those expectations. 

This is perhaps where the original DeLorean, 2013’s 21103 The DeLorean Time Machine, missed the mark. Yes, it was great to have a LEGO DeLorean, but the model hasn’t aged well, and it’s widely considered to be a poor rendition of the iconic vehicle. The question now is: can 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine make the most of its increased scale and budget to deliver the large, accurate model ’80s movie fans have been clamouring for all these years?

— Set details —

Theme: LEGO Creator Expert Set name: 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine Release: April 1, 2022

Price: £149.99 / $169.99 / €169.99 Pieces: 1,896 Minifigures: 2

LEGO: Available April 1, 2022

LEGO For Adults 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine 2

— Build —

The fan service bestowed upon this model begins right from the moment you have the box in your hands. A lot has been said about the LEGO for Adults art style, with the muted black boxes dividing the fanbase. However, in this instance it really highlights just how great the DeLorean looks, and perfectly complements the source material with lighting bolts and smoke surrounding the model. It’s sleek, it’s stylish, and it does a great job of getting you excited for what’s inside. 

The instruction manual contains the usual informative introduction, coupled with some excellent film stills. What’s more, the forward has been written by none other than Bob Gale, co-writer and co-creator of the Back to the Future trilogy – an excellent touch that yet again demonstrates the LEGO Group has gone the extra mile with this set. 

The build begins in a fairly straightforward manner, but pretty quickly you’ll be constructing the mechanism for the retractable wheels. The designers considered making the set with the wheels in rebuildable positions, but quickly realised if this set was to feel 100% authentic, then the wheels simply had to be able to flip into hover mode and back again. It was a smart choice, as it adds so much to not only the build experience and design, but to the overall quality and authenticity of the final model, too.

The mechanism is a fairly intricate and involved build. Technic gears, bars, lift arms and elastic bands combine to create two sub-assemblies that connect to a large handle hidden under the chassis. Flicking the handle one way or another allows the wheels to smoothly rise up and down – this is one set that definitely doesn’t need roads.

The most intriguing aspect about the build is rather than large sub-assemblies that connect together to form the overall model, it feels more like a collection of much smaller builds – some no bigger than five or six studs long – that slot into the framework, slowly building up the details of the bodywork. The top of the roof, the sides of the bonnet and the rear headlamps are just a few examples of this method in action.

In places it does feel simplistic in its design, but that isn’t necessarily a negative: it just shows that sometimes there is no need to overcomplicate things, or to try to use more advanced techniques just for the sake of it. The sub-assembly that makes up the wing door mechanism, for example, uses just two modified plates with Technic pin holes at the bottom, connected by a single Technic pin.

It’s probably one of the most straightforward designs we’ve seen in the functions of a Creator Expert vehicle, but it’s smooth and incredibly effective. Techniques like this are spread throughout the build, and the simplicity of its design is also 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine’s brilliance.

That isn’t to say there aren’t flashes of innovation woven throughout the design – quite the contrary. The wheel arches feel completely unique when compared to other Creator Expert vehicles, and the shaping created around the front bumper looks incredibly accurate, from the headlamps to the way the drum-lacquered parts wrap around the front.

And when it comes to the source material, nothing quite beats constructing the iconic flux capacitor – it is, after all, what makes time travel possible. The 2013 version relied on a single printed piece to recreate the device, whereas here the instantly-recognisable three prongs of the capacitor are built using a grappling hook element, appearing in flat silver for the first time.

It’s a simple build, but one that you’ll absolutely love putting together. Thankfully, this flux capacitor doesn’t require 1.21 gigawatts to operate. Just a simple press of a button, cleverly concealed on top, adds even more authenticity and excitement to the final model. 

The colour scheme is a mix of light grey, flat silver and drum-lacquered silver, and it’s an effective combination. An entire model built from drum-lacquered silver would look phenomenal, but would also be phenomenally expensive. Instead, the designers have used the drum-lacquered parts to accentuate the bodywork, and cleverly recreate the silver highlights along the rear of the DeLorean’s chassis. These parts give the final model a sheen and shine when it catches the light, making for a reasonable compromise from a fully-drum-lacquered car.

Throughout the Back to the Future trilogy, the DeLorean is as much a key character as Marty McFly and the doctor himself, and during the three films the car undergoes a number of changes. From its original appearance in the first movie to the memorable moment it takes to the skies and travels into the future in the second film, and the cobbled-together time circuits strapped to the bonnet during the third, each look is distinctively different.

Choosing which of its three looks to represent within the set must have been a real challenge, but putting the cherry on top of what is already a deliciously good LEGO DeLorean cake, the designers have included the parts to build whichever is your favourite. A few tweaks to the base model will transform the DeLorean into its appearance from any one of the three films. 

Each look is incredibly authentic, especially in the design work that’s gone into the bonnet. This is perhaps the biggest weakness of the 2013 model. The bonnet was blocky, using a staggered building technique, which just didn’t look accurate at all. This newer design has captured the unmistakable sleek angles of the DeLorean, and is probably the most effective aspect of the entire set.

Modifying the base model for each different look is not a particularly time-consuming process, probably taking around 20 minutes to construct all three, and to finish the set, a UCS-style display plaque is also included. 

Compared to what has come before, the final model is undeniably accurate and authentic, capturing all the detailing, shaping and angles that we’d expect to see on the iconic machine. It looks incredibly impressive from up close, and from afar is one of those rare LEGO sets that doesn’t really look like LEGO – that won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but as a representation of the DeLorean it is absolutely superb. 

— Characters —

Unusually, this particular Creator Expert set also includes two exclusive minifigures, Doc Brown and Marty McFly, both dressed in their outfits from the future.

They are exclusive to this set and will no doubt prove to become incredibly desirable. The printing across them is exceptional, with both characters featuring printing that extends from the torso down to the legs. Marty even has printing around the sides of his legs to represent his self-tying sneakers.

The inclusion of minifigures is pretty rare across the Creator Expert theme, at least where vehicles are concerned, but they’re always an extremely welcome addition – especially when they’re this good.

— Price

For a vehicle as iconic as the DeLorean, from a film franchise as popular as Back to the Future, the LEGO Group could have pitched this at almost any price it wanted and it would still have been guaranteed to be hugely popular. To its credit, the retail price of 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine – £149.99 / $169.99 / €169.99 – is perfectly pitched.

A model that offers three different looks, all of which are exceptional; two exclusive and brilliantly-designed minifigures; and an experience from start to end that fans will absolutely love – all for a price that feels fair and in-keeping with the rest of the portfolio.

— Pictures —

— Summary —

10300 Back to the Future Time Machine delivers fans of the franchise a warm and fuzzy nostalgia hit. But more than that, as an authentic and accurate model of the DeLorean it cannot be overstated just how good this set is.

From the attention to detail across the build and its minifigures to the level of fan service that has gone into the design, it’s an awesome package for any Back to the Future fan.

The build is a really enjoyable experience, even if it’s not the most complicated within the theme, but the final model is absolutely stunning and really is without faults. The detailing is spot on, the shaping is perfect, the colours feel right, and everything about it feels like it’s been designed by someone who clearly loves the franchise and loves the DeLorean. The only thing it doesn’t do is travel through time, but that might be asking a bit much.

Now, make like a tree and get out of here to the nearest LEGO Store to pick up your copy (once it’s out!) – this is a set that is destined to be a future classic.

LEGO For Adults 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine 35

This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group.

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— FAQs —

How long does it take to build LEGO Creator Expert 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine?

10300 Back to the Future Time Machine isn’t the most complicated of Creator Expert builds and, while there are moments of brilliance, it’s not the most time-consuming model to put together. There are 13 bags in total and you’ll probably need to set aside around five hours to build it.

How many pieces are in LEGO Creator Expert 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine?

10300 Back to the Future Time Machine contains 1,896 pieces, which is a fairly sizeable piece count when compared to some other Creator Expert vehicles on the market. It also has a whopping 1,503 more parts than 2013’s 21103 The DeLorean Time Machine. 

How big is LEGO Creator Expert 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine?

10300 Back to the Future Time Machine measures 35.5cm long and 11cm high, but do note the height will be considerably taller with the lightning rod attachment connected. 

How much does LEGO Creator Expert 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine cost?

10300 Back to the Future Time Machine launches on April 1, and will retail for £149.99 in the UK, $169.99 in the US and €169.99 across Europe.

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