The start of November is a funny time for shopping for LEGO: many AFOLs are waiting to see if there will be great value around
Black Brick Friday, with all its associated offers, after the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. Others are holding out to see if there will be an extra special Christmas Gift With Purchase available. Of course, we only have a limited budget for buying LEGO sets, so people want to take advantage of the most relevant offers. When the offers are running in a different direction to local Certified LEGO Stores and more general Toy Shops – I’m looking at you Bricktober! – it can be downright confusing.
And so, on the 8th of November 2021, the LEGO Group has released a new Gift With Purchase, 40488 Coffee Cart. It is available from the 8th November until the 14th, with purchases from LEGO.com or LEGO Brand Retail stores over $140 AUD (just $9 short of the free shipping threshold); / £65 / $65 USD / $90 CAD/ 65€.
So… Is it worth spending something now, or waiting a few weeks, on the off chance that the next GWP will make it worth your while? Let’s take a look.
The set has 148 pieces, including 2 minifigures and a small sticker sheet.
There are no new or exclusive elements in this set: however, the male minifigures features the same torso introduced in the Medieval Blacksmith Ideas set, released earlier this year, while the female has a relatively uncommon face (used 5 times to date), and light purple hair-piece, previously only seen in the Ninjago City Gardens.
We begin building a few of the extras included with the model: a red bicycle and a barrel top table. The table features a brightly coloured umbrella, which feels like it was stolen from a beach in the early 1980s. Finally, an abandoned mobile phone completes the scene. This printed tile element was introduced in 2021 but has appeared a few times during the year.
Next, we start off with the base of the Coffee Cart proper. Starting with a 6×8 plate, we build up with a combination of plates and 1×4 bricks with studs on the side. Counters are added to the front and back, as well as a large window. Next, 1x1x 1 2/3 bricks with 2 studs on one side are added to each corner. I presume to add the rounded elements later in the build. Next, the magic happens: One of the highlights of these builds is the imaginative way kitchen appliances get put together. We start with the coffee grinder: 2 headlamp bricks with a transparent black 1×1 cone. Add some bespoke soft-drink bottles, as well as a couple of ubiquitous red coffee mugs and a milk jug, and you find yourself looking for a source of coffee to drink. Fortunately, our next step is the construction of an espresso machine, out of only 8 pieces.
Building up the corners of the cart and horizontal supports, we take a brief moment out to turn the cart over and add a tow ball as well as wheels: It is now ready to be towed around your LEGO City to fuel the caffeine craving masses.
Before we call it a day, we add the roof and awning, front and back. Finally, we add signage: two stickers, including a remarkable amount of detail for the coffee recipes (coffee, milk and foam ratios, for example). Finally, a large board to mount on the roof with a DOTs-inspired cup of steaming coffee completes the cart.
It’s a suitably clever build that you might expect as a gift with purchase. The Azure and White colour scheme could work in either LEGO City or Friends, with appropriate figures.
The coffee grinder and espresso machine are suitably attractive, and the entire business fits in a footprint of just 48 studs. You could easily remove the wheels and tow-ball to install a simple coffee kiosk in your town, in which case it starts to take on a vibe consistent with the smaller Snack Bar from 1979.
So, is it worthwhile pursuing this set?
With 2 minifigures and around $150, you might expect it to cost $15-20 through resellers on Bricklink. I certainly would not think that this set is worth much more than that for the component elements/ That said, this size of GWP can typically be found for around $25-30.
What is new in the LEGO Shop?
The blockbuster items that are new in the LEGO Store online this month are already on back order, in many countries: Home Alone, Tumbler, even Titanic, which was only released today!
But, there are plenty of other sets still available in different playthemes.
If you are fond of food service vehicles, this is a neat little set. Not since 2018’s US Target Exclusive ‘Bean There, Donut That’ has there been a dedicated coffee shop. This is probably the best that the rest of the world is likely to see for quite a while.
I don’t think it is enough to trigger the purchase of a ‘big set’ for me. The exception might be if I see the Modular Garage: it will retire at the end of the year, so what is currently available online is all the stock that is likely to be available: once it runs out, there won’t be any more made.
If your shopping is time critical, you might consider ordering early, to ensure pre Christmas delivery, given some of the logistical challenges still being experienced around the world. This might make it just a little sweeter. Or take your chance and wait until later in the month. I have no idea what the next GWP will be, or when it will become available. Hopefully we will find out soon.
The Coffee Cart will be available until November 14th ( unless sold out sooner). It’s a nice set, especially if you have a town that you are looking to fit out. However, I am not sure that it is one that would have me leaping online to the LEGO store for the sole purpose of reaching the threshold for this set.
I’d love to know what you think of this set: why not leave your comments below, and until next time,
This set was provided by The LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.