Over Christmas I built the Creator Expert VW Beetle, and found it to be a most enjoyable thing to take to the beach. So,
I was quite excited when it was announced that there would be a small version of the model available earlier in the year (40252). Decked out in Dark Azure, just like 10252 (I sense a numbering pattern), I knew I was going to want to get it. I also knew it was going to prompt me to place a shop.lego.com order when it became available.
And so April came. Free gift with purchase over $60 was announced. I was excited. And then the triple VIP points were added. This period of the year coincides with school holidays in many states of Australia, and many of our major retailers have LEGO® Sets reduced by 20%. Some stores were excluding Collectable Minifigures, Some excluded The LEGO® Batman™ Movie Sets, and one excluded The LEGO® Batman™ Movie Collectable Minifigures.
It was also time for a large parts order. So I placed my order through Bricks and Pieces, and also ordered the new 40174 LEGO® Chess Set (because: bricks with studs on 2 adjacent sides – Design ID 26604… 96 of them. I am rubbish at chess.) I handed over my credit card details and I waited. This was on the 8th of April. On the 25th I received an email telling me that ‘demand had exceeded supply.’ I was disappointed. I had hoped to get this set, as it would complement my Mini VW T1 Camper Van (40079) and MINI Cooper Mini Model (40109) poly bags nicely.
I sat down and started to write a Dear Support letter, and then realised that if demand was really that great, odds are I would have no chance of getting hold of it. Anyway, I still had a significant number of VIP points from my purchase, equivalent to the cash required to purchase on on the open market.
Then I had a revelation.
This is a LEGO® Set. LEGO® bricks are part of a sophisticated interlocking construction system, with parts available in all sorts of colors. Perhaps I could put it together with parts that I had. Certainly I expected I should be able with my parts collection, although the dark azure would prove to be a problem. Unless I wanted to sacrifice the Big Beetle, and even then I was unsure as to whether I would be able to find ALL the necessary parts in it. So I got hold of the instructions.
Did you know that the instructions for many LEGO® Sets (certainly those produced this century) can be found at service.LEGO.com ? It helps to know the set number or the theme and year of release. Important tip for new and old LEGO® builders.
I found the instructions exactly here.
Then the question arose…what colour could I use? I did a quick search on the inter web and found that just about any colour in the LEGO® Palette was used by VW at some time or another.
So how would I make my choice? The parts list feature at brickset.com is very helpful here: it will let you know how many colours a part is available in, and which sets they can be found in. This model uses a lot of curves, specifically design ID 11477 Plate w.Bow 1x2x2/3: 12 in fact. Some on the roof could be substituted with 2x2x2/3, but I would need the narrow version to complete the curves on the body. This part has been released in 33 colors at this time. There are also a couple of 50950 Brick with Bow 1/3: also in many colors. So, I’ll stumble across a useful colour even if by trial and error. Are there any other elements that could be a stumbling block for me? I started off looking at lime green. You may need sunglasses for the WIP later…
The wheel arch used looks a little different, compared to others I have built up, and it turns out that it was introduced in 2014. The arch does not extend as long as the more frequently used version. It has appeared in 43 sets over the last 3 years, predominantly in CITY, but also in Friends and The LEGO® Batman™ Movie sets. I have not bought many vehicles over this time, however I do have a copy of 60149 4×4 with Catamaran waiting to be built. One of this years CITY Sets, it also has 2 of the wheels specified by this set (11208, with tyres 11209). These wheels are also on the pizza truck reviewed a little while ago. Joy.
Of course, my actual process may have involved a lot more trial and error…
So I set about my work.
The construction of this model is interesting: I particularly enjoy the way the running boards are offset, so that they can smoothly integrate with wheel arches.
It took me a little time to get up the courage to open up the Catamaran set for the wheel arches. In the mean time I attempted a lime dark green and sand green version, without the arches, and a predictably dreadful result.
It appeared that I may have enough dark green for the body, including the running boards, but will need to use dark stone grey for the wheel arches. I am a little short of those small bows, so I opted make the roof sand green. I was lacking the requisite offset plates in green, so I decided to add 2 white stripes to the trim. I think it works: If only I had successfully found a light stone grey bumper bar/fender.
I found a Collectable Minifigure Series 4 Female Surfer to top off the build. She has a printed surfboard and a surly grin, for the win.
My thoughts of the build.
When I look at the completed model, I understand why some say it may not perfectly follow the lines of the VW Beetle. I don’t think that was necessarily the sole point of it however.. This is one of a few sets where all of these pieces are available in dark azur(e). Its a great parts pack, especially for the baby bows. Lots of smaller parts are limited to this set, the larger Beetle 10252, and one or two others. There are also a few good transparent clear elements.
I enjoyed putting the vehicle together. Sometimes a hunt and gather mission helps to put me back in touch with my collection. The car certainly zoomable, and while not a color match for 10252, I enjoyed putting it together. The running board/wheel arch integration is neat, and I appreciated the way the rear of the car came together. As a vehicle, I give the build 4/5 Arbitrary praise units. If I had the actual set, I’d give it 4.5/5, for the quality of dark azur(e) parts it provides.
If you were fortunate enough to get this set free with purchase, take the opportunity to enjoy it. The build is enjoyable, and its a great collection of pieces. It was only a matter of time before ‘while stocks last’ meant I would miss out. Enough things seem to work out, for the world to not end when they don’t go the way I had hoped. I was able to put this vehicle together without chasing down extra pieces, and had a great time reconnecting with my pieces. When life gives you lemons, grind them up, add a little sugar, water and mint and enjoy the resulting refreshing beverage! It may not be the beverage you were expecting, but you can still enjoy it!
But is this really about putting together a model from a set I didn’t get? Or was this whole article just a metaphor for a bigger issue?
Until next time:
3 thoughts on “Missing out and optimism: Not quite the 40252 Mini VW Beetle”
Huh. I got that same EMail. I wonder how many actually got the set.
…from buying the Chess set too. Freeky….
I know plenty who have. It was pretty popular! Coupled with triple VIP points at the time, it was a bumper time for the online store!