Across the last seven years, Speed Champions has positioned itself as one of the best sources of complex builds for pocket money prices. The detail crammed into each of its cars within the price points it must deliver them at is practically unparalleled, and the scale and space involved lends itself almost automatically to intricate and impressive building techniques.
It’s therefore easier than you might first assume to connect the dots between Speed Champions and the wider LEGO for Adults range, including Creator Expert, Star Wars and Ideas. If you don’t have the budget required for 21325 Medieval Blacksmith or 10297 Boutique Hotel, Speed Champions offers similar complexity for a much smaller investment – particularly with the switch from six-studs-wide to eight-studs-wide cars in 2020.
So while its sets may subsequently not come in at the same breathtaking scale of some of those themes – including the recently-revealed March 2022 wave, which brings seven new cars to the table – it’s clear that it still carries the same ambition. And according to Speed Champions design lead Chris Stamp, that’s entirely down to how the design team approaches each and every one of its models.
“We don’t design our vehicles for kids,” Chris tells Brick Fanatics. “The secret is, we design our vehicles for adults from a detail standpoint, because we know that our fans are kids, teenagers, adults, and car fans of any age. And if we design it for a kid, adults might not think it’s cool enough, or teens might think it’s kiddish, which was maybe our six-studs-wide approach.
“We aim for the adults because if it’s cool enough for an adult or teens, kids are going to think it’s amazing. The adults are the most critical, [who] we try the hardest to impress, and then it’ll hopefully be good enough for kids and teens as well.”
As a result, it’s maybe not so surprising to learn that Speed Champions can be a daunting experience for LEGO designers – except for the one who’s previously worked on some of the LEGO Group’s most complex and detailed 18+ sets.
“Every designer, myself included, who’s been on Speed Champions – except for one guy – has said that it’s harder to design for than they expected,” Chris explains. “The LEGO Group has done cars for so many years with Creator Expert and CITY, and everything from Speed Racer and Racers to Indiana Jones and Super Heroes has vehicles.
“But every single designer we’ve had on the project has said to me at some point, ‘Wow, this is harder than I expected’ – except for one designer, and that was Rok [Zgalin Kobe], who was the designer of LEGO Architecture, and that’s because the detail he gets in is phenomenal.”
If you’re looking for a build that shows off what LEGO can be in 2022 without splashing megabucks on the latest direct-to-consumer set, Speed Champions is definitely worth your time. Last year’s mix of eight-wide cars are available now, including the brilliant 76902 McLaren Elva (review), while this year’s latest batch will be available to order from March 1.