Thanks to my wife, Pandora, for pointing out to me that LEGO Westfield, London, were giving away 300 exclusive London Bus sets as part of their official store opening today. So I sauntered down to West London, thinking I'd pop into the shop, buy a little something, and get a free set for my trouble.
The trouble was far more than I'd bargained for. News had traveled, and there was a queue just to get into the shop. It was moving slowly, but the store staff were giving away free LEGO Universe games to those waiting. Twenty minutes or so later, I got into the shop... only to find another queue for the counter, and this one was moving even more slowly. I began to worry they'd run out of buses before I got anywhere near to the counter - but my fears were unfounded; there seemed to be plenty to go around, and I left the store with a little bag of red parts (and quite a lot of purchased stuff ).
Review: LEGO Westfield Exclusive London Bus
Name: London Bus (I'm guessing)
Price: FREE with any purchase from LEGO Westfield on 27 February 2011
Links ... This set is not currently listed on Brickset, Brickshelf, Peeron, or Shop@Home
I was expecting an impulse-style printed polybag; I was a little surprised to be handed a resealable bag with generic printing similar to the ones Shop@Home Pick-a-brick comes in. There is nothing on the bag to indicate what's inside...
...but from the rear, you can see the parts:
The parts inside aren't packed separately, and there's no distinction between smaller and larger parts. I've not encountered anything like this before; the one advantage is you can sneakily build the model, then take it apart and repackage it and no-one would know
The a single, folded instruction sheet is the only thing inside the bag besides the parts.
The cover shows a computer-generated version of the model, with a pseudo-city background; presumably LEGO weren't going to devote lots of time and effort into a short-lived Free exclusive, and who can blame them?
In case anyone wants to build this from their own parts, I've shown all the instructions here: click on the pics for high resolution images.
There are no piece call-outs, and the instructions use about 6-8 parts per step, on average. It's a simple build.
Here's the spread of parts: click for high resolution.
Of note are the 17 clear 2x1 bricks; otherwise the selection is unremarkable, except....
... if you want to build this from your own parts, beware!
This set contains what I believe to be a new part: a 1x2/2x4 bracket, part ID 93274. It doesn't seem to be listed on Bricklink.
It's a simple build, largely brick-on-brick.
First off, a 12x2 plate has wheel bearings and plates attached, then strengthened with two 2x12 bricks.
Arch bricks form the wheel arches:
The new bracket forms the SNOT front - the only non-traditional build technique of the whole model.
Windows are formed from 1x2 clear bricks:
Where a 1x1 window is needed, three 1x1 plates have to suffice. There should be a 1x1 tile on the stud visible at the front, but I missed it until the end.
Two 4x6 tan plates form the upper floor, and more windows are added:
At the front and rear are two sandwiches of 1x2 plates: red, black, red. These are meant to represent destination indicators.
Finally, a 4x12 plate makes the roof, which is topped off with modified slopes and cheese wedges:
Not bad for a little set. I thought I must have left the 1x2 tile out, but I can't see where it should go
The Completed Set
And we're done! Simples.
It's recognisable as a London bus, despite the simplicity and lack of detail. But what did you expect? The bus is meant to be the iconic AEC Routemaster - often thought to be the 'symbol' of London. Actually you don't see them around much these days, except as Wedding transport, but the image is enduring, and I think the designer has done a good job considering how small the set is.
From the nearside, the bus looks a little blocky, and there ought to be more windows:
They've done a good job with the cutaway front, though.
The offside is a little plain:
I'm not sure the cheese wedges work so well for the roof, but I don't know what else would do. Also, the wheels - which come from Speed Racer sets - look a little pimped for a 50 year old bus!
The front isn't so exciting. I think the destination indicator should be larger (eg. 2 plates), and the upper front windows ought to be double.
The rear, on the other hand, while plain, is accurate enough.
This is the image of buses I usually see, as I arrive at the bus stop :
It looks good from this angle. My only complaint here is the platform: it should be lower; as it is passengers will need a ladder to get in!
Well, for a free souvenir set, this isn't a bad rendition of the classic London bus. It's as instantly recognisable as its real-life counterpart, and is a fun little set to build; plus if you were lucky enough to get one, you know there aren't many around.... until some idiot posts the instructions on t'internet, that is
It seemed a little unfair to score this section, so you've just got opinions.
Design: Pretty much as good as you could get for 130-odd parts and four studs wide, but there are a few flaws as I've pointed out. I'll let them off.
Build: 5 minutes max, nothing taxing...
Playability: It goes forwards and backwards. It is a minor talking point on the shelf. What more do you want?
Parts: Actually, here the set begins to impress. There's 17 clear 1x2 bricks, and what I believe to be a unique part I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it's commonplace, though.
Value: Did I mention it was free? Actually, when you consider that time is money, and it took me an hour each way to get to the shop, then an hour or so of queuing, then of course I had to spend the best part of £300 pounds on other LEGO....
Verdict: I've got an exclusive set, and I'll get more mileage out of recounting the story of getting it than I get out of building it. Plus I got to meet some fellow Eurobrickers in the process (albeit briefly)
Hope you enjoyed the mini-review! C&C welcome.
Edited by WhiteFang, 10 March 2011 - 05:12 AM.