Price: £159.99 / $199.99 / €179.99 Pieces: 2670 Available: Now
Following 2014’s 10244 Fairground Mixer and 2015’s 10247 Ferris Wheel, Creator Expert 10257 Carousel is the LEGO Group’s newest addition to their recent run of carnival rides. How does the carousel fare? Let’s take it for a spin and find out. No apologies will be offered for those puns, or refunds in the event of inclement weather.
10257 Carousel consists of the titular ride, as well as a small ticket booth and a collection of seven minifigures. None of these figures feature anything new in terms of printing or parts, but what’s on offer is a very nice selection. The set contains a couple of new printed tiles, firstly the ride tickets and secondly the open books – of which there are twelve – along the outer edge of the carousel. Both are fantastic prints, and will likely find their way into many a MOC. Also of note, there are some parts in new colours, including cylinder hinges, 1×1 plates with bar, and macaroni tubes all in white. In medium blue, we have dinosaur tails, fenders, and 1×1 bricks with studs on two adjacent sides (previously only seen in tan). There are also a few new pieces in pink used for the flamingo.
Obviously geared toward experienced builders at 2669 pieces, the Carousel is a hefty build and will take even the most seasoned LEGO builder a fair few hours to complete. Early on in the build process, there’s a lot to like, as the framework of the interior is chock full of clever design. While there is a considerable amount of Technic in use to facilitate the functional aspects of the build, as well as some of the structure, much of the interior relies on standard System parts, which is nice to see.
As the build progresses, the size of the set reveals itself to be a bit of a double edged sword. While in the end you have a highly attractive display piece, the necessary repetition quickly becomes apparent. The deck of the carousel is comprised of twelve nearly identical wedges, each being built from several pages of instruction. While the solution itself is interesting and well designed, the building of it becomes a bit tedious – an issue we’ll be returning to later.
Once the base and deck are finished, it’s time to begin adorning the central support for the roof. This bit is very authentic, with mirrored panels lining the column. This mirroring is achieved through the implementation of stickers. That choice may prove problematic for some, particularly because the stickers need to be applied to 2×2 round tiles, which are notorious for easily ending up off center. While it would have been much more appealing to have these tiles printed, it probably wouldn’t have been possible to get the same shiny mirrored affect that way.
Next the build moves on to the roof structure, which uses another nice mixture of Technic and System elements. Once in place, it is time to build the animals, which are the highlight of the build. Each of the five animals is assembled in a distinct way, with all but the swan implementing a pole, allowing the animals to move up and down as the carousel spins. The frog is a true standout, as the designers have engineered its legs to be loose so it appears to be hopping as the ride goes round and round.
Once the animals are complete, building 10257 Carousel takes a real turn. While much of it has been fun up to now, the build begins to become a bit of a grind when adding the finishing touches to the roof. The finished details are brilliant and are very satisfying to look , but building them is a chore, as once again, you’re building twelve of the exact same thing. This is simply a statement of fact, as opposed to any sort of indictment against the design. For a project like this, it’s simply the nature of the beast.
At the end of the build, one is left with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. The final result is impressive to behold, both visually and as a feat of engineering. The designers have done a remarkable job of capturing the look and feel of a classic carousel in resplendent detail. In terms of functionality, the movement is relatively smooth thanks to upper and lower sets of wheels that facilitate the motion. Cranking the mechanism by hand works, but the full appeal of the set is realised once Power Functions are added. The box that contains the gearing for the crank houses both the hand operated handle as well as a port to connect a Power Functions motor. It’s as easy as plugging the motor right in, no disassembly require, which was an excellent design choice.
It is worth mentioning that the way the animals are built into the ride makes them incredibly easy to remove. This means builders can take a shot at building their own animals, or even other things to trick out 10257 Carousel. Centaurs, jet skis, rocket ships? Let your imagination run free!
With 2669 parts at six pence a piece, the Carousel is quite reasonably priced, particularly when you factor in the number of uncommon parts and new colors. Those looking to bolster their fairground collection will definitely want this set, which despite repetitive building at times, meets the high standard expected from a Creator Expert set.
This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group.