Holodoc

Review: modular marble run

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Set Name: Modular marble run

Set number: none – it’s a MOC

Pieces: >1700 (according to the description – once again I didn’t count them)

Year of Release: 2009

Price: 124 €

Where to buy? – available only at Polegons Bricklink shop *click here*

Description (taken off Polegons website):

“The offered set is an own creation of the seller. It is not available at the LEGO Group. Through the modular system of the marble run different runs can be built with the Set.

  • The set contains:
    1. over 1700 new LEGO® bricks
    2. 10 glass marbles
    3. a building instruction
    4. a paper with exemplary marble runs in the form of pictograms
    5. table of contents and precautions

The bricks for the different modules are prepacked in zip bags<LI>You have to build the modules by your own using the building instruction<LI>The building instruction comprises 48 pages in DIN A5<LI>The building instruction was printed in a professional printing company (offset)<LI>Because the run is built with modules you can convert it quickly<LI>Optionally you can enlarge the run with own modules<LI>For every different module an unique pictogram is assigned in the building instruction<LI>The marble run on the instruction cover can't be built with the Set. This is because I didn't intend to offer a set at the moment I created the instruction.<LI>I can't give any age advice for the set. Children under 10 years need surely help (not building the modules but building runs especially using the pictograms). For children under 3 years the set is not suitable!“

Link to the set at BL.

This is a custom ‘set’ I came across when I attended 1000steine land 2008 in Frechen, Germany. Somewhere in a silent corner someone had built a remarkable marble run. It was almost always surrounded by kids, making it very hard to take pictures. default_laugh_new.gif Later on at 1000steine.de I realized there was a member who created this fantastic modular marble run: Polegon or Jan Zensen in real life. I saw him writing about the single modules in the forum and always thought: I have to try this at home with my own bricks.

The only problem: You always lack the bricks! (I think you know what I’m talking about default_blink.gif)

Then, in late 2009 Jan offered a “starter pack” with 68 modules and bridges to build your own creation. Fantastic! I immediately was hooked again and bought the set. It consists of more than 1700 brand new original Lego parts. And with 124€ It is absolutely fairly priced – try to get the bricks one by one off Bricklink or any other source. You will pay more than the actual price tag of the starter set!

This is what I got:

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The carton

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A first look inside. The set consists of 45 plastic zip bags with LEGO bricks, a solid 48 page paper building instructions, a “how-to-stack-modules” instruction, a table of contents and 10 marbles.

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My goodness! The bags sorted by module number.

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The result after quite some time of building. I didn’t take the time, but it was around 2 hours of building. No. 5 shows the bridges to connect two modules.

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The very clever pictogram to show how to stack the modules to get a certain track.

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(second photo taken from Polegons website)

The building instructions. One more word about it: The instructions are absolutely up-to-date. It’s like you have original ones, the paper is even thicker than the original. A parts list of each module in the upper corner, step by step instructions and you can easily determine what colour is what. (Easy, the parts consist of light bley and black bricks).

The modules:

Note that there are (almost always) two types of each module: One on top of the building without “roof”, so you cannot stack anything on top and the regular one in the middle of the building with a tiled roof. The quantity is shown in brackets.

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Starting module (inlet) [2]

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Crossing [4/4]

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Crossing with center hole [4/4]

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Curve [4/4]

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Speed up module [4]

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One ‘cut through’ to see how the module is working

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External speed up (this is how the marble gains speed whilst going outside the modules) [2]

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Two-way-junction (180°) [2]

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Two-way-junction (90°) [2]

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Three-way-junction [1]

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Four-way-junction [1]

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Bridge [24]

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Collector at the end [4]

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Big 270° curve (not part of this set (!), but the building instructions were included, so this is made of my own bricks). There are two problems with this module: It severly takes speed from the marbles, you have to use a speed up module right afterwards to keep the marbles rolling. If you use a lot of marbles at the same time - and my kids tend to do so default_classic.gif - the marbles can hit each other at the crossing part. Traffic jam will be the result. So now onder this module isn't part of the most tracks (see below).

There is one more secret module which is not part of this starter set, but included in the instructions. As I was asked to keep it secret I can only tell you, that this is the most ingenious module Jan created.

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Three examples of what you can build with the set. Of course you cannot build all the runs at the same time.default_blink.gif Building instructions show ideas for 9 different tracks, but as usual with LEGO only your imagination is the limit.

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The modules I made myself with my own bricks, before buying the starter set. Yeah I know, it’s disgusting…

The chosen colour sheme is so much better than mixing it all up. But my runs worked with these colours. default_tong.gif

The one module in front is a special “design by me”: It’s a staircase. I have to admit though it’s one of the worse modules: It leads one floor down without increasing the speed, but decreasing it. No good idea. The marble run needs the different floors to gain speed again when going one floor down. Otherwise the marbles may get stuck on their way.

One last note: Jan asked me to point out that the marble run shown on the frontpage of the instructions can NOT be built from the set! But with all your bricks laying around at your place you might be able to do so. default_classic.gif The instructions for this run ARE part of the booklet.

Final Conclusions:

Parts: Okay, its bley and black only. But in this case I can’t imagine a better colour selection.

Price: I wrote it above and I stand to it: You won’t get the bricks cheaper elsewhere. For those interested: A fairly good price per piece ratio: 7c per brick. But I don’t think this information is too important.

Playability: If you can’t get children to play with this set, you will never get them to play with any other Lego.

Overall Rating: A perfect 10/10! And please don’t say it doesn’t come with minifigs.default_hmpf.gifdefault_tong.gif

I hope you enjoyed reading this review . It would be my personal pleasure (and I know Jan thinks so as well), if you are inspired by this review and the clever idea behind it and start to build your own marble runs or even new modules.

Think of a green marble run for example, or even a rainbow coloured one? If you did so, please post photos of them here!

Edited by Holodoc
Indexed

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Great review. This is a good "set" but not I don't think Lego ever contemplated making their pieces useful in marble runs :tongue:

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Nice one! For a minute, I thought you are reviewing some rare parts or some mysterious new stuff until I begins reading the review.

Now, I need to get a thumbnail and indexed this accordingly. :tongue:

Thanks Holodoc. :thumbup:

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I always wanted a marble run when I was young. I tried to build something for ball-bearings once (long time ago), but it wasn't very good. I had a lot of them, I wonder where they all are? Might give this marbles idea a go, & I know I have plenty of them somewhere!

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Thanks for sharing this review Holodoc! This just goes to show how our beloved lego can be even more fun that it is. What a great way to play marble run using lego. This Polegon / Jan guy is just pure genius for inventing this lego marble run.

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I always wanted a marble run when I was young. I tried to build something for ball-bearings once (long time ago), but it wasn't very good.

Your sentence remind me of the younger years. My brother and me created marble runs made of paper around washing powder boxes. They used to be round that time. Now they are rectangular.:cry_sad: These were the times...

I want one :cry_happy:

What are you waiting for? It's worth every single cent!

Thanks for sharing this review Holodoc! This just goes to show how our beloved lego can be even more fun that it is. What a great way to play marble run using lego. This Polegon / Jan guy is just pure genius for inventing this lego marble run.

You're welcome. Jan's creation is indeed absolutely ingenious! I'm so glad he offered this starter pack. Just look at my poor attempts above and you know the reason.

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Wow! That's awesome!

Really great how it's all modular and stuff :) Definitely great playability. Kind of weird though how you have to use marbles, not LEGO balls.

I think it would be cool to have other pieces, such as a piece that would make the ball slowly spin to the center and fall, or a spiral, and much more :). But that stuff would be pretty hard to do....

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Very interesting review Holodoc. This is the kind of posts I really appreciate. Something new and unexpected. Good job :thumbup:

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Kind of weird though how you have to use marbles, not LEGO balls.

You don't have to use marbles, you can also use Lego footballs or basketballs for the run. Marbles are a bit heavier, so I think this was the reason they are included in the set.

I think it would be cool to have other pieces, such as a piece that would make the ball slowly spin to the center and fall, or a spiral, and much more :). But that stuff would be pretty hard to do....

Ha! Exactly my thinking, that's why I tried the staircase module. It would be very cool to see more additions to the set, invented by different AFOLs here.

Very interesting review Holodoc. This is the kind of posts I really appreciate. Something new and unexpected. Good job :thumbup:

Thank you. The main credits go the the clever inventor.

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Awesome review Holodoc! What a great product. It really stimulates creativity and challenges people to build onto it. Very reasonably priced too. I'm glad to see something like this exists. Really makes me want to play! :grin:

Thanks for sharing and giving this excellent concept and product some well-deserved exposure! :sweet:

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awesome review and awesome set!. is there anywhere we can get the instruction?

Polegon sells the instructions booklet (5€ if I recall correctly). All I can offer is this folder. But the instructions alone are worth the money.

I myself bought the instructions first and then the set afterwards.

Awesome review Holodoc! What a great product. It really stimulates creativity and challenges people to build onto it. Very reasonably priced too. I'm glad to see something like this exists. Really makes me want to play! :grin:

Thanks for sharing and giving this excellent concept and product some well-deserved exposure! :sweet:

Thank you for your kind words. What keeps you from playing? :wink:

I found some more interesting details in Polegons BS-folders:

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"Big runs".:oh:

Click on the image to see more...

And animations:

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Head over to Polegons BS-folder.

It's really worth it!

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