For those of a certain age, Concorde felt like the future: a supersonic jet plane with a top speed of 2,179km/h that touched the edge of space, and took passengers across the Atlantic from London to New York in just under three hours, heralding an exciting age of aviation innovation.
Designed jointly by both British and French aeronautical engineers throughout the 1960s and ’70s, the intent was to design a commercial plane that could travel faster than the speed of sound. Concorde would cruise at 60,000ft with an average speed over Mach 2. The plane’s first commercial flight was in 1976 and it remained in service right up until 2003.
Twenty years on and it remains one of the most iconic and elegantly-built examples of aeronautical design. And so it is that a legendary aircraft like Concorde deserves a mature and grown-up LEGO set.
Recreating its famous sleek lines, smooth fuselage and beautiful angles proved a challenge for the design team (as they outline in the manual’s introduction). The question is, did they manage to pull it off, or is 10318 Concorde one model that should have stayed grounded?
— LEGO Icons 10318 Concorde set details —
Price: £169.99 / $199.99 / €199.99 Pieces: 2,083 Minifigures: 0
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— Where to buy LEGO Icons 10318 Concorde —
— LEGO Icons 10318 Concorde build —
What makes a LEGO set deserving of the 18+ label? Is it the technical aspects required for the build? Well, some 18+ sets have been fairly straightforward and mundane to construct. So is it the more grown-up packaging? Not quite: several 18+ sets have veered away from the black boxes to which we’ve become accustomed. Then it must be the source material… unless you consider Winnie The Pooh and Sesame Street ‘adult’.
As you can see, it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly separates a LEGO set intended for adults. Perhaps there are no broad rules; perhaps it’s only something that can be understood on a case-by-case basis. But even while the particular criteria might not be tangible, 10318 Concorde somehow still feels like it fulfils them.
Inside the box of this striking airliner are 2,083 pieces, spread across 21 bags numbered one through 21. There are understandably a lot of white parts within those bags, several of which appear in this colour for the first time. There are also several brand new pieces, including two printed moulds for both cockpit parts and a brand new 4x4x3 cone (used for the tail section).
For a set that contains over 2,000 pieces, it’s a very pleasant surprise to see that there are absolutely no stickers required. Ten unique printed parts are found within the set including fuselage elements with printed windows, livery for the plane, the cockpit windows, the display plaque and more.
The lack of stickers helps to create a sense of class and maturity, making the set feel like it’s most certainly aimed at adults. The accompanying information contained within the opening pages of the manual not only details the history of the iconic airplane, but also of the aviation industry as a whole. When you consider Concorde’s maiden voyage was only 60 years after the first powered vehicle took to the skies, it makes the engineering achievement all the more impressive.
Throughout the entire manual there are tidbits of information about Concorde itself and notes from the designers about each stage of the build. These little fact nuggets really help the design process behind the model come to life.
Unusually, though, the instructions for 10318 Concorde do not explicitly tell you what you’re building. It’s actually quite refreshing – the set doesn’t hold your hand, and expects you as a grown and seasoned builder to be able to cope with the slight lack of direction.
It’s not long however until a note from the designers lets you know that you are in fact building the wings, the shaping of which is without a doubt Concorde’s most defining feature. Known as the ‘delta wings’, the sleek, stylish and curved design must have been a real head scratcher for the LEGO team to pull off, but they have delivered something quite spectacular both in its design and final execution.
The wings are predominantly built from a single layer of bricks ranging from 1×3 to 1×12 studs in size. It’s very enjoyable to build something of this scale with just a single layer of bricks, but as satisfying as it is, it doesn’t make for the most technical of builds. This is countered by the incredibly smart Technic mechanics used for the landing gear integrated into the middle of the fuselage.
As the build progresses more is added to this Technic assembly until finally the front landing gear and rear landing gear are connected to each other, and a twist of the tail lowers and raises them simultaneously. It’s incredibly smart, ingenious and extremely fun to operate. The only negative to this design feature is that it was revealed on the box art and should have perhaps been left as a surprise during the actual build process itself.
The fuselage uses large printed pieces to replicate the passenger windows (fun fact: because of the heat produced by the supersonic speeds Concorde reached, the windows could be no bigger than a human hand and the fuselage itself would stretch up to 25cm). The windows are plentiful and quite small in scale and applying them as stickers would have not only been laborious but more than likely would have impacted on the smartness of the finished model, so it’s a wise design choice to have these printed.
As the build progresses, so does the feeling of maturity within the model itself, thanks in part to the techniques employed and the elements used throughout. Similar in a way to the much, much larger 10294 Titanic, this is a set with a smartly-designed exterior and perfectly-executed microscale building for the interior details. Adding the interior is a design choice that wasn’t necessarily needed, but one that makes the model that much better for its inclusion.
The interior design is at once both sophisticated and playful. The parts usage for the passenger bathrooms is inspired and very funny at the same time, and the pearl gold seats are a unique design that will leave you smiling. This is a short section of the build, but an extremely enjoyable and memorable one.
The nose cone section is equally well done, offering a real masterclass in building in multiple directions. The sub-assembly is a joy to construct, while the printed parts really add to the sleekness of not just the model but the entire set as a whole. Two new printed cockpit elements have been designed exclusively for this set and look absolutely superb, and the brick-built stand makes the model look like it’s taking off, creating a very dynamic and striking display piece.
The one negative perhaps is the lack of different livery. Concorde was famously designed and built by two nations, the UK and France, both of which used their own liveries for their versions of the jet. But neither the British Airways nor Air France detailing is presented within the model, which feels like something of a missed opportunity. A simple tweak for the design would allow fans to choose which airline they wanted their copy of 10318 Concorde to represent, and would’ve added another dimension to the set as a whole – not to mention lending further authenticity to the model. But it might also have jacked up the price, so perhaps we’ve dodged a bullet…
— LEGO Icons 10318 Concorde characters —
There are no minifigures here, although you can almost imagine the tiny little passengers sitting comfortably in the stylish seats and making full use of the on-board amenities.
— LEGO Icons 10318 Concorde price —
10318 Concorde’s price feels very decent. It’s an ambitious and accomplished model with fantastic techniques, brilliant parts usage and is both a complex and enjoyable build. The final model is one of the LEGO Group’s sleekest to date, and will look stunning on display – no doubt attracting attention from all that gaze upon it.
It definitely has a feel of 10294 Titanic in terms of its design, build and finished model but comes in way, way under the price of that set, making for a brilliant alternative to those whose budget won’t stretch to a £600 set (so that’s nearly all of us, then).
— LEGO Icons 10318 Concorde pictures —
— LEGO Icons 10318 Concorde pros and cons —
For all the praise we’ve heaped upon 10318 Concorde, there are a couple of drawbacks: namely the lack of accurate livery, and the slightly gappy appearance when the nose cone is facing downwards.
Those aside, 10318 Concorde really does feel like a LEGO set designed just for adults. It is mature in its design, grown-up in its presentation and the finished model is incredibly elegant – doing justice not only to Concorde itself, but also the LEGO Icons range as a whole. It’s easily one of the best 18+ sets that the LEGO Group has ever designed, and is a must-build for any aviation enthusiasts.
|LEGO 10318 Concorde pros||LEGO 10318 Concorde cons|
|A brilliant and engaging build with complex and enjoyable techniques||No varied livery|
|A super-stylish and sleek model to display and admire||Slightly gappy front section when the nose is facing down|
|Good value for the price|
This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group.
— Alternatives to LEGO 10318 Concorde —
10318 Concorde feels like 10294 Titanic’s sleeker yet cheaper cousin. Both sets employ impressive building techniques, mixing microscale building with larger sub-assemblies. They also both look absolutely incredible on display and are very enjoyable to construct.
If the Titanic doesn’t float your boat (or budget) then 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery offers a very similar build and model. The accompanying Hubble Telescope build looks incredible too and the drum-lacquered silver pieces are great for any part aficionados out there.
60367 Passenger Airplane offers a more traditional LEGO set that is still focused within the aviation world. It won’t look quite as sleek on display but will offer a lot more playability and, with eight included minifigures, would be a worthy addition to any growing LEGO City collection.
— LEGO 10318 Concorde FAQs —
How long does it take to build LEGO 10318 Concorde?
Considering there are over 2,000 pieces in the box, 10318 Concorde is not the lengthiest of builds. A seasoned LEGO builder could probably assemble the whole thing in less time than it would have taken Concorde to fly from London to New York and back again (or roughly five to six hours).
How many pieces are in LEGO 10318 Concorde?
10318 Concorde includes exactly 2,083 pieces. Of those parts, several elements appear in white for the first time (and are currently exclusive to the set), and there are three completely new parts.
How big is LEGO 10318 Concorde?
10318 Concorde is surprisingly big, measuring an impressive 105cm long and 43cm wide. Best make sure you’ve got room for it first…
How much does LEGO 10318 Concorde cost?
10318 Concorde will set you back £169.99 in the UK, $199.99 in North America and €199.99 across Europe. It’s available now and should be at the top of everyone’s wish lists.