Speed champions have been an integral part of the LEGO® Lineup since 2015. Frequently criticised for a reliance on stickers, and a slightly weird proportion, these car sets underwent a significant design change in 2020: an increase in the typical width of the models to 8 studs. Ostensibly allowing some improved detailing, without an increase in stickers, as well as allowing minifigures to sit side by side. I thought I would take a look at the first of the 8 stud wide Ferrari models – 76895 Ferrari F8 Tributo, with the last of the 6 stud wide models: 75890 Ferrari F40 Competitizione.
While there are roughly 30 years in between the origins of these cars, there are sufficient elements in common to make a direct comparison of the LEGO versions worthwhile.
On first inspection, the newer larger set comes in a larger box – Although the images here do not reflect it. There are 275 elements making up the F8 Tributo, compared with the smaller set’s 198. Both come with a spanner wielding minfigure. The figure with with the F40 is wearing a race suit appropriate to the era, while the driver of the F8 is far more casual, wearing a Jacket, over a Ferrari T-shirt. He comes with the choice of a spiky hair piece and a black race helmet. It would be prudent for him to wear his helmet while driving, for reasons we will discuss later…
Building the F40 Competizione
The F40 was last of the Ferrari vehicles to be overseen by Enzo Ferrari himself, and was released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the company.
There are several bags in the F40’s Box, but they are unnumbered, so we have laid them out ‘all together.’ As you can see, there are 4 different hubcaps included, in two sets, allowing a little customisation of your car.
As with the majority of Speed Champion vehicles, the key element in the chassis is the modified plate 4×10. Adding a few elements on top, front and back, and we have the central core of a car that could become just about anything.
It quickly builds up. Like most Speed Champions sets, there is a dependence on sticks to enhance details like air intakes.. I am impressed by the use of brackets on their side to produce the look of the half plate thick black line around the front half of the car. If I were to be finicky, I would criticise the fact that this line does not continue at the same height and thickness behind the rea wheels Ultimately it feels like some of the elements, particularly on the side, are held in place by magic, at least intil the 2×2 places with 2 studs are used to support the lower aspect of the side panelling around the doors.
Building up further, we see the curved 2x2x2/3 slopes making up the distinctive curve of the bonnet. The use of the cheese sloped to prevent the use of stickers here is appreciated, even though they protrude slightly above the contour of the elements behind them. I appreciate the sloped gap under the window sill, representing the other air intake present in the souce vehicle. One element worth mentioning, among the sticker use, if the 1×1 plate with the Ferraria prancing horse logo printed on the seide of the plate. This printed element debuted in this set, and reappears in the F8 Tributo.
Once completed, there is the option to remove the fron spoiler, change the headlights and front air intakes to produce a more street legal version of the car. The final model retains the sillouhette of the car, but keeps a lot of the LEGO aspects of the build: the car roof feels a little angular, and lots of studs on display: perhaps a little too much for a car which has so many curves in its basic construction. I will save a further discussion regarding the use of stickers, as well as the dimensions for a comparison with the newer, larger model.
The F8 Tributo
Released in 2019, the Ferrai F8 Tributo represented a new peak for what could be achieved using their V8 engine in a production vehicle. It is a beautiful example of the curves that can be used in a supercar, to improve the aerodynamics of the vehicle.
The LEGO version of this set is the first of the new 8 wide Speed Champions sets that I have built. With 275 elements, it comes with a build in two parts, along with two backs of bricks.
The first bag go the F8 Tributo builds the back half of the car. there is once conspicuously new element included: an 8×12 modified plate with studs on the side. This element is the new core of the 8stud wide Speed Champions sets.
as you can see, there is a depression (in the middle of the element, where the the studs are offset half a unit: this allows two mini figures to sit side by side on the inside.
I really appreciate the way that the real window louvres are achieved, by stepping 1×2 trans black tiles. The new scale allows this to slope down over 5 studs – which I think looks a little smoother than the 3 tiles used with the older scale. The use of the compound sloped bricks on the side of the enhances the number of angles used in the car, forming the shape of the rear air intake, helping to achieve the feel of the curvy source material. I appreciate the use of the 1x4x1 1/3 sloped cure element in the shape on the rear of the cabin, but the line is again somewhat disrupted by the use of a cheese slope at the back of it.
As well as stickers used to form the lines on the rear windows (4 in total), there is one other sticker used to supply detail which cannot be achieved by the shape of LEGO bricks alone: the one placed along the centre console.
The second bag builds up the front half of the car. This includes the panels on the side of the car door, and the bonnet. there are two ‘Nexo Shield’ elements which are printed with black shadow lines on them, which are used at the base of the front air intake. the bonnet itself has an air intake built in, with out any stickers details. The only detailing in the front of the car requiring stickers is in the place of the headlights. Unfortunately, these stickers are used on two curved sloping bricks on each side, resulting in a challenging line up exercise.
There is a new 6x6x1 1/3 windscreen element used in this set, which does a reasonable job in matching the shape of the source material. It has the added bonus of being printed on top, and down the front on each side. There is a slight shortfall in the colour matching with the bright red used in the rest of the model, including the side, where the curve extends from the printed element onto stickers on each side.
While the windscreen is unique to this car, it does not quite follow the lines of the facet slope immediately behind it. I can see why this might be done, if only to keep the element completely in system, but I found it a little distracting. Something that brought me a little more joy in this model was the presence of wing mirrors, as well as a structured front hood, allowing the air intake to be brick built.
The angle of the slope is still limited compared to the source material, but there is certainly a lot more detail built into the shape of the car – particularly when examined along the side panels.
I do have one problem, with the minifigure in this set. While he is able to sit offset to the side of the steering wheel, with room for a passenger, unless he is wearing the racing helmet instead of the supplied hair piece, you cannot close the windscreen element completely.
Stick Around For Some Of The Big Differences In The Two Scales:
There are purportedly two major advantages in the new scale: the opportunity to brick build more details into the car, than at 6 wide: and this subsequently has implications for the number of stickers required to provide detail to the model (I am not including branding or numberplate at this point). the other is to achieve a more realistic proportional ration between width and length.
Lets consider the F40 Competizione: The Speed champion’s model measures 7 stud wide (including wheels) and 16 1/2 studs long. A length to width ratio of 2.357. Compare this with the actual vehicle: 4358mm(L) x 1970mm(w) – L:R = 2.21. The overall effect is of the model looking a little long and skinny compared with the real thing.
Compare this with the F8 Tributo: 20.3 studs long; 9 wide (including wheels, excluding wing mirrors): L:R=2.256. The real car measures 4611mm(L) x 1979mm(W). The L:R =2.34. Ultimately, this sees the model to be a little wider, proportionally than the actual car. Examining the models vertically, the F8 Tributo appears to be a more realistic proportion.
How about brick built details, rather than stickers?
The F40 uses stickers for air intakes (four 1×2, two 2×2 and one 1×6), as well as window detail: three with the rear window, and one with each side window. There is also the company logo on the front, and a rear number plate.
The F8 uses no stickers for air intakes, although there is printing on top of the windscreen element which enhances the rear window, along with two sticks along side that window. There are also two stickers extending the side windows, as well as the headlights (four 1×2 stickers). the printed nexo shields, at the front of the car also probably replaces a sticker compared to the F40. There are 3 decorative stickers: one 2×2 logo up front, and two 2×1 stickers at the rear (silver logo, as well as a registration plate.
I would suggest that the lateral brick built intakes, as well as those over the engine, and also the front hood have made stickers almost redundant in this set. Were it not for the shape of the source vehicle’s headlights, two 1×2 stickers would have been adequate. We remain challenged by the rear window details, as we have in previous years, across the range.
Ultimately, that is 12 stickers used for details that cannot be brickbuilt due to the scale (I am ignoring the logo stickers, and number plates in this comparison) in the smaller car, and 8 in the new format (which could allow you to get away without 2 of the headlight stickers, should you wish)
I feel the larger size of the 8 wide vehicle provides a more realistic proportion to the original vehicle that we have seen with the historical 6 wide Speed Champions scale. The larger build is able to better show off the curves and angles that the 6 wide version of a similar car.
Personally, I prefer this new format for the Speed Champions: It feels more realistic, and reduces the number of stickers required. The overall model is also a more satisfying size to look at an zoom around, but it does feel out of scale with my existing LEGO buildings and streets.
I give the 75890 F40 Competizione three out of five (3/5) arbitrary praise units, and the 76895 F8 Tributo four out of five arbitrary (4/5) praise units. Both sets provide a resonable brick build version of the source vehicle, for the scale, but I found the slightly larger version a more satisfying build. That said, I so not have a large collection of Speed Champions: I suspect that had I invested on the entire range to date, that I might feel a bit more frustrated with the change in scale and format.
It has certainly changed the look of the Speed Champions line up in 2020. At this stage, we are starting to hear various rumour and innuendo about sets for next year, but I haven’t heard anything definite one way or the other regarding 2021. Will they continue? Was this a last hoorah prior to ending a line which, by all accounts, still seems to sell well? Personally, I suspect we will see the return to 2022, but probably in the second half of the year, with new sets. any sets dropping in the first half of the year will quite possibly be new vehicles, yet to be unveiled in their own right.
What do you think of the new model width for the Speed Champions Range? Is it an improvement, breathing life into a line that was starting to become more and more of the same? Or is it one of those things that go towards making 2020 the global dumpster fire that it has become?
Why don’t you leave your comments below, and until next time,