It’s finally over: the dumpster fire train wreck of a year (at least it feels a bit that way) that was 2020 has come to an end. And with the arrival of 2021, comes a swath of new LEGO® sets to see the new year in. With over 100 new sets available in the LEGO® catalog, and Christmas still a recent memory, the online store, and LEGO Brand Retail stores(but not LEGOLAND parks, discovery centres or Certified stores) have added a little sweetener to entice you to shop. (Let’s hope the stock lasts long enough for the promotion to run its course). The Vintage Car 40448 has come from a LEGO Ideas contest run in 2019, which asked AFOLs to design a vintage car to cruise the mean streets of your Modular City.
New Year’s Day Breakfast Build.
I was fortunate to be sent a review copy by the LEGO Group. It was 8:30 am on New Years Day, 2021 in Melbourne Australia, and the sun is slowly coming out, burning away a light, hazy cloud cover. I pour my first coffee for the day, and took it, the set, and a tray outside, to complete my first breakfast build for the year. With its cool 50’s lines, and rocking teal colour scheme, the 40448 had me excited to sit down and start building.
Cosmically speaking, it was a bit early in the day to ask my wife about knolling the bricks out, so I approached the set with the traditions typically reserved for 8 year olds…
There is one thing you cannot deny here: That is a lot of teal! Lots of small detailing elements: 1×2 33ºslopes, wheel arches, small plates, SNOT Bricks, and 1x1x 2/3 outside bows – amongst others. The other elements that called out to me as I looked at this pile were the surfboards, rounded 1×2 plates and brackets.
The set comes with 2 minifigures, neither of which contain exclusive elements, but they certainly evoke the 1950’s. Does the presence of the Newbury High letterman sweater imply that the couple have fallen through a portal from the realm of hidden side, back in time to the era of peak modular? Or have strange things been happening there for longer than we may have considered? The lack of new Hidden Side sets in the 2020 line up implies that we might never know.
Moving on with the car proper, we start with a central core, and add some SNOT brackets at the tail end, as well as a really interation between a SNOT brick, and brackets: the parts attached to the Sidewards studs rest nicely on the half plate upwards overhang from the upwards facing brackets.
The rear bumper is built using some intriguing techniques, placing inverted plates and slopes along side the main body. A rounded 1×2 plate is used to add a 2 stud long tube above those inverted plates, and to hold onto the tail lights.
We build around the rear end of the car with bow plates, and the shapes that evoked the era start to become apparent. The numberplate is applied as a sticker. Often there are cunning mysteries hidden in these details, nut I think this one loses some of its joy as an Easter egg when it is explained in the publicity material associated with the GWP: “Look for this fun detail on the license plate: A is for Arne (the German fan who won) M is for Mel (the LEGO designer) and 0937 is “LEGO” written with upside-down numbers.”
Next, we install the seating. Uncommon for many cars, we only have one row of studs per minifigure. But having been used on offset plates, I can see how this will work, allowing 2 minifiugres to sit side by side in a 6 stud wide car.
The side doors are immovable panels, and they include a clip for the wing mirrors which I will later go on to discover that I placed incorrectly in this step!
The front end details rapidly take shape, and as has been mentioned in other models in recent times (nost niticeably the Harley Davidson Fat Boy, the use of chrome elements would be really cool here. Indeed, these elements were all depicted as chromed in the original LEGO® Ideas contest submission. I do like the way that quarter circle 1×1 tiles are used to capture the shape of the hood.
The windscreen is cleverly placed using some teal hinge plates, resulting in the element being placed upside down, prviding a thicker look to the top of the windscreen as you would often find with a real convertible.
We fit the final trim: the surfboards to the sides, the wing mirrors and ultimately the wheels.
The final model is certainly ready to cruise into the new year.
Overall, this is a terrific build. I love the overal colour scheme and lines of the vehicle. Unfortunately the surfboards don’t clutch quite as well as you might have become accustomed to with typical sets. Essentially, they are attached by a single hollow stud, conecting with a 3.2 mm connection on the bottom of the board, with another stud (no clutching) to provide some stability. This would be hard to improve on, however, without adding to the complexity of the build somewhat.
As an Ideas set, I find it incorporates a number of building techniques that I would not normally expect to see included in regular Speed Champions or City car sets. Or perhaps the techniques used are taking advantage of new elements such as the 1×1 brackets and 1×2 rounded plates – which are only just coming into their own, after being available for a couple of years.
I give this set 3.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise Units. It is available from January 1 – 17 with purchases from lego.com of over $AUD169/US85. What do you think of this Gift with Purchase? Would it encourage you to ‘pull the trigger’ on some new year purchases? Or would you be buying them anyway?
Why not leave your comments below, and until next time, Play Well…
This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.