mostlytechnic

[REVIEW] 42125 Technic Ferrari 488 GTE AF Corse #51

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Technic Ferrari 488 GTE AF Corse #51

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Thanks to Lego and EB for this review set. EB has a team of reviewers working on all the new Technic sets, so keep your eyes out for a bunch of reviews in December!

 

Lego has produced a number of Ferrari cars and sets... around 50 of them over the last 20+ years. All but a couple are red (no surprise there) and many of them are race cars. In fact, almost all of them are under the Racers sub-theme, even though there's a mix of system and Technic builds. 

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1997 had a Shell-sponsored race car. 

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In 2004 even Duplo got in on the Ferrari race action. 

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2005 brought the 1:10 scale Enzo. It was labeled Racers on the box, even though it's clearly a Technic vehicle. 

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2006 had another Racers-labeled Technic set, this time a 1:8 scale F1 race car. 

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2007 continued the pattern, but went back to the street vehicles for a 599 GTB. 

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2007 didn't ignore the Ferrari racing teams though, releasing a system-style F1 Team set. 

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The 20-teens brought a range of Ferraris under the Speed Champions banner. 

And then 2021 brings the largest set by piece count, and the only one ever officially branded as Technic, the 488 GTE race car.

Name: Ferrari 488 GTE AF Corse #51

Set Number: 42125

Pieces: 1677

Price: $169.99

Minifigs: 0

Theme: Technic

 

The Box Front

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It's clear that Lego expects this set to be an AFOL display piece. It has the Creator Expert-style mostly black box, an 18+ age suggestion, and a very classy look. 

 

The Box Back

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The back continues the simple design, with a (fitting) rear shot of the car and a couple photos of the real race car. Oddly, the specs box gives the car's numbers in American-style horsepower and mph, but lists the 0-62 mph time as European-style 3 comma 0 seconds rather than 3.0. 

 

The Box Top

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As typical for Technic cars, the 1:1 shot on the top is one of the wheels. But why did they pick such an unflattering angle of the car to use here? So many blue pins in sight, and it's just not one of the better angles with the red-black and black-white color-transition stickers on the panels. 

 

The Real Vehicle

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Inside the manual, there's several pages about the Ferrari racing team and the car. There's also this head to head comparison shot. It's a pretty good Lego rendition, but at least from this angle, the fenders don't go out enough. There's also too much blue - maybe a stickered panel on each side would be better? 

 

The Stickers

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Oh my, so many stickers. SO many stickers. SIXTY TWO stickers. They do at least come, with the manual, in a cardboard sleeve, so they arrived in great condition. And these two sheets are LARGE. The curl you see here happened from letting them sit out overnight before I did the photos. It didn't affect the stickers at all; they all applied just fine. 

 

The New Parts

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There are quite a few new parts in this set, either new molds or new colors. There's also a couple very rare parts returning to production. Moving around the group here:

  • Red fender extensions, 2. These fit into the existing wheel arches to extend them outward. They only have two pin connections on them, one at each end.
  • Triangular panels, 1 of each. New in red.
  • 3x11 Panel. Just 1. New in blue. 
  • Rotor blades, 2. New in black. These are clearly helicopter blades, but they've only appeared so far in Lime in the Lambo Sian set. 
  • Frame, 11x15. Just 1. New in black. 
  • 1x7 liftarm, thin. Includes 2. This hasn't been produced in red since 2007, so they are currently $5-10 each on Bricklink. 
  • 2x3 curved panel. 2, white. This is a new mold for 2021 and I'd expect to see it in numerous sets. 
  • Printed headlights, 1 of each. This is an existing windshield part, but the large headlight print is new. 
  • 2x2 round brick, 2 in trans red. This is another part that hasn't been made since 2007. It was only ever in 2 sets, both Technic/Racers Ferrari sets. It's fitting to bring it back again for Ferrari tail lights, and this will hopefully bring the price down from it's $5-10 range. 
  • Technic pin with pin hole, 8 in red. Despite this common part being in over 200 sets, it's never been produced in red until now. 
  • 2x3 curved liftarm, thick. 2 in black. This is a new mold. It fits perfectly with several of the curved Technic panels, essentially extending them another stud. 

The Build, Part 1

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The bags are numbered 1 through 5. The number 1 bags produce this - the V8 engine and rear suspension, along with some frame for the middle of the car. There is a differential between the rear wheels, connected to the V8, so like many Technic vehicles, the pistons move as the car rolls. However, there is no gearbox or other complications. It's just a direct connection via a stack of gears. 

 

The Build, Part 2

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Bags #2 add a ton of size to the car. There's a few studs to add at the rear still, but the overall size is pretty much done now. The steering wheel is functional, but be careful. When you add the steering wheel, check if it's straight when the front wheels are straight. If not, you can pull one of the 16 tooth gears off, align them, and put the gear back on. If you don't catch it now, you'll have to disassemble a lot of car to fix it later. The manual doesn't point this out, so I'm giving you the warning. 

 

The Build, Part 3

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This set of bags puts the front of the car on. You'll notice a distinct lack of stickers... there was a lot of discussion in the forums here about how the car would look without, and even some nice Photoshoppery, but I wanted to see it for real. So I built the car with no race stickers on it, photographed it naked, and then I added the stickers later. The only stickers I put on during the build were neutral ones (like Ferrari logos) and the interior. 

You can see here some gaps in the front end. Some of these are deliberate - the ones in the middle of the hood are for airflow in the real car. However, the other parts below are too visible. A black panel underneath would have helped. I also don't like the gaps above the wheels where the triangular panels don't cover behind the headlights. That's part of building a Technic car though.... 

 

The Interior

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Before closing up the car, here's a shot of the dashboard. There aren't too many stickers here, but they do add a lot to the look. The seat is pretty minimal though. 

 

The Build, Part 4

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The #4 bags put the rear on the car. Without stickers, the blue and yellow looks pretty out of place. If I was planning to keep the car stickerless, I'd definitely replace those with red parts. I'd also have to debate whether I wanted a white stripe down the center or not. 

 

The Build, Finished

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The last set of bags obviously complete the car. Here's a set of photos from different sides, showing the naked car.

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If you want a non-race version of the car, clearly you'll need a few red parts to replace the blue and yellow around the car. The black aerodynamic bits (the front splitter, rear diffuser, rear wing) and white stripe still look pretty racecar though. And to me, without stickers, the doors look odd. The gap behind the doors and the upward slope combine to make the car look bent when viewed from the side. Enough of that. Time to take a few panels off for easier stickering, add the rest of the 60-odd stickers, and see how it's designed to look.

 

The Stickered Car

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With stickers, some of the color choices make much more sense. The incredible busyness of the stickers, I think, makes the car look much better. It hides the Technic-ness of the build and makes it look more finished. The gaps and odd shapes here and there are less noticeable. It's also a great engine compartment in my opinion - it's amazing how much a couple crossed tubes and a couple of flat silver elbows make it look so much more accurate. 

 

The Underside

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Since I know people would want to see it, here's underneath the car. This does not look very Technic. There's HUGE empty spaces where most Technic sets would have gearboxes and functions. Clearly, this is a shelf model, not a play set. 

 

The Comparison

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Here's the Ferrari next to the other 2021 set I reviewed, the Jeep Wrangler. As you'd expect from a 3x price difference, there's a massive difference in size. There's also a massive difference in sticker count, but not a massive difference in functions :blush:

 

The Other Comparison

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The most logical comparison car would be 2019's 42096 Porsche 911 RSR, but I don't own that set. Digging a little further back, 2015 had the 42039 "24 Hour Race Car" with its generic stickers and non-licensed anything. They're very similar in size, despite the Ferrari having 400 more pieces. It's obvious the extra parts went into giving the Ferrari more, smaller panels and more complex shaping. The 24 Hour car had several functions (a gearbox to switch between a knob opening the doors or opening the hood, and optionally could have those functions motorized, plus more interesting suspension) but lacked the functional steering wheel. Given the similar size and the fact that both do have significant stickering, I don't think average people would think twice if they saw these cars together on a shelf. 

 

The Suspension

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Personally, I think the car sits too high. There's room to fit a full liftarm on top of the wheels, and the ground clearance is a brick and 2 plates. That seems like a lot for a serious racecar like this. That's to give the suspension room to move though - there is full independent suspension. When compressed, it looks like this:

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I think that looks better, and I'm tempted to sacrifice the functional suspension (or at least some of its range of movement) to have the car sit lower. 

 

The Issues

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There's a few areas of the car I think could be better that I haven't mentioned yet. First, there's this gap over the rear wheels. On the front wheels, flex axles are used to match the curve of the wheel arch. Here, they used rigid connectors and left a gap. There's a build reason for that - the long rod of connectors is only half-inserted in the back for a while, then when the rear wing area is added, it's pushed back to lock things together - but it doesn't look great. 

You can also see in this picture the worst sticker offense IMHO. The black and white sticker on a red panel... on the real car, there is a white section of the rear pillar. They were trying to represent that, splitting the panel visually into the pillar and the black of the back window area. However, it does not work. Being on a red panel is a big part of the problem - since you can see the red all the way around the sticker, it ruins the desired illusion. This would have been better as a black panel with the sticker. 

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The crookedness is my fault, from how I built the set, but even so, I think the black rectangle stickers there are dumb. Since I'd already build the car without them, I could not get them on straight. They're supposed to make that section of the panels "disappear" but since you can still see red all the way around, it just doesn't work. I'm really tempted to remove them. That said, the other stickers were not nearly as hard to get aligned right as I feared. Since there's gaps between the pieces on the front end, slight misalignments aren't obvious. 

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At the back is a different story. These stickers are impossible to get aligned correctly without being able to try a bunch of times. Since the sticker goes to the end of the beam, it's hard to judge precisely how it's positioned in the middle. I'm thinking here about just removing the sticker from the 7 stud arm. 

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I am not a fan of this roof design. I don't like having the white beams under the curved panels, plus stickers, to make the white stripe. It creates a groove down the middle of the roof that shouldn't be there. It would take a bit of redesign, but it would look better with a 2 stud wider roof so that the center could be a curved panel in white. There's gaps on the side anyway, so just widen the roof, take the curved red axles straight back, and push the white/black stickered panels out a stud (or replace them with a different panel). 

 

 

 

The Ratings

Design: 8

Build Experience: 8

Features: 2

Playability: 3

Parts/Value: 7

Overall: 8 or 5. 

I split my final score because it depends on who you are. Despite the Technic branding on this set, it doesn't feel Technic. There's very minimal function - just the steering wheel, suspension, engine, and opening doors (the S@H listing says there's an opening hood, but there's not). In fact, there's not even standard "hand of God" steering via a knob on the roof or back. The ONLY way to steer is via the steering wheel, which makes it difficult to push around. There's a lot of wasted internal space, and the space that IS filled is complex connections to get panels connected at the right angles to form the body. If you're looking for a Technic vehicle, there are much more interesting models out there - I can't help but think of set 8297, the Technic Off-Roader that was my exit from my dark ages. It was slightly smaller, but had all the functions of this car, plus motorized winch, motorized ride height adjustment, a gearbox to switch between functions, soft-opening doors, etc. For the Technic enthusiast, this would only rate a 5, and that mostly as a part pack for red panels. This is not a car for Technic people the way the Lambo, Chiron, or other cars are. Those two are of course much more expensive as well.

This set is CLEARLY intended for people looking for a decoration. It fills that role well, hence the score of 8. If you want a large, impressive looking car to have on a desk or shelf, this is a great model. This is the car equivalent of the Ideas Piano or the Lunar Lander. They've got a bit of functionality to show to people, but mostly, they sit there and look cool. There's nothing wrong with that, but it makes me question the Technic branding on this set. Honestly, Lego had it right with the older sets being Racers branded. This might almost be better branded as a "UCS" Speed Champions set. I think it would be better understood that way. The flaws in the set are all rather minor - there are cosmetic things I'd do differently, but nothing that's unmodable. This set also hits its 18+ age mark better than most. The instructions are clear, but not as hand-holding as most modern Technic manuals. For example, if you're building a subassembly and need to turn it around, that will be indicated as usual. However, if the whole car needs turned around, they don't mark that. It's expected that you can see and follow the picture without calling it out. There's quite a few times where you attach things that aren't shown clearly, but when you look at where it's going, there's only one way to do it. Nothing was overly difficult, but it was definitely a bit more challenging of a build. 

I enjoyed building the set, and I'll enjoy having it in my collection. I might have to pick up a few other cars to go with it, but hope it doesn't get too jealous of their features:innocent2:

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Fantastic review @mostlytechnic! I like the set, but honestly a bit surprised to see the amount of unused space...

Edited by JintaiZ

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15 hours ago, mostlytechnic said:

Overall: 8 or 5. 

Without the context, I was confused with this score... but after reading the summary below that, it makes sense these the score would be different coming from an enthusiast or diehard Technic fanatic.

I clearly belong on the former rather than the latter, and in my opinion it is one of the most sleek and sexy looking Technic set that one could display with the Ferrari badge.

Thanks for the review!

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Im incredibly torn on this set

On the one hand, when i owned the enzo and 599 sets in the past, this is what i dreamt of, basically the same size car but with working suspension and more detail, and while they arent the top-end Ferraris, the rear engined V8 two seaters are the essence of Ferrari to me. Im also a big fan of GT/Le mans racing, and the #51 AF-Corse car is special to me in that regard.

On the other hand, €180 for a set with this little features and issues like the lack of structural stiffness feels like a slap in the face. If lego can push out a set with the functions, details and partcount of the defender (ive got other issues with that set, but that is not relevant) for the same price, it kind of boggles the mind that we get a 42077 (which was feature light already) reshell and €80 extra on top. And one last minor gripe, from what i can tell the ferrari logo stickers arent clear-backed, meaning you cant make a proper streetcar out of it, even the Pista version has those logos on red/black parts. Obviously putting a full white stripe down the car's length isnt a huuuge issue, but clear back stickers should be the norm for stuff like logos on cars.

I will probably end up buying it when i find it with a decent discount at a weak moment, but it is going to take a LOT of modding to make this look proper on the shelf, and that is before considering adding extra features.

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12 hours ago, vectormatic said:

On the other hand, €180 for a set with this little features and issues like the lack of structural stiffness feels like a slap in the face. If lego can push out a set with the functions, details and partcount of the defender (ive got other issues with that set, but that is not relevant) for the same price, it kind of boggles the mind that we get a 42077 (which was feature light already) reshell and €80 extra on top. And one last minor gripe, from what i can tell the ferrari logo stickers arent clear-backed, meaning you cant make a proper streetcar out of it, even the Pista version has those logos on red/black parts. Obviously putting a full white stripe down the car's length isnt a huuuge issue, but clear back stickers should be the norm for stuff like logos on cars.

 

You're correct. The stickers are NOT clear-backed. The only way to use the Ferrari logos on an all-red car would be to carefully cut the white off from around the badge. 

18 hours ago, makoy said:

Without the context, I was confused with this score... but after reading the summary below that, it makes sense these the score would be different coming from an enthusiast or diehard Technic fanatic.

I clearly belong on the former rather than the latter, and in my opinion it is one of the most sleek and sexy looking Technic set that one could display with the Ferrari badge.

Thanks for the review!

I think my gripe is that is tried to appeal to both groups and so doesn't quite hit either one. 

For display, they could have left out the suspension and engine, making a pure show set. That would have allowed a better designed model, since a lot of internal space and part budget would have been freed up. They could have made it more rigid and filled in a few of the gaps. 

For the Technic folks, they could have simplified the cosmetics and made it more feature-filled - or bumped it up to Lambo scale and price.

My assumption is their target market (and heck, probably this is what their experience and market research shows - certainly the people on a Lego fan forum aren't the majority of their customers) wants something to look nice and when a guest comments, they can push it around, show the working suspension and engine, and most people would be pretty darn impressed by that. I know a couple Ferrari fans at my work and I plan to show the car to them, and they'll be suitably impressed by it as it stands. 

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It's a nice parts pack for someone not buying any Technic sets since 3 years like me.

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@mostlytechnic I think it is a decent set for kids as well, i know it carries the 18+ label, but any somewhat lego savy kid of about 12 should have no issues with this, and i know i wouldve been pretty happy with this set at that age.

 

But yeah, that 18+ label really makes this an odd one, not good enough to appeal to the technic die-hards and just a tad flawed for the tifosi/petrolheads

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51 minutes ago, vectormatic said:

@mostlytechnic I think it is a decent set for kids as well, i know it carries the 18+ label, but any somewhat lego savy kid of about 12 should have no issues with this, and i know i wouldve been pretty happy with this set at that age.

 

But yeah, that 18+ label really makes this an odd one, not good enough to appeal to the technic die-hards and just a tad flawed for the tifosi/petrolheads

I may be wrong but isn't the 18+ label only there because the stickers with tons of trademarks?

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1 hour ago, Lipko said:

I may be wrong but isn't the 18+ label only there because the stickers with tons of trademarks?

The 18+ label is there because TLG has a strong focus now on sets for AFOLs and casual adult builders. Besides creating brand new product lines for them the easiest is to reposition some sets that were 10+ or 14+ previously. The Ferrari is very much like the 42096 Porsche that was a 10+ set, it has a license and not many playable functions so it is pretty easy to say that it is more about the building experience and it will become a shelf queen -> perfect for the 18+ category. 

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42 minutes ago, kbalage said:

The 18+ label is there because TLG has a strong focus now on sets for AFOLs and casual adult builders. Besides creating brand new product lines for them the easiest is to reposition some sets that were 10+ or 14+ previously. The Ferrari is very much like the 42096 Porsche that was a 10+ set, it has a license and not many playable functions so it is pretty easy to say that it is about more about the building experience and it will become a shelf queen -> perfect for the 18+ category. 

Agreed. With their recent approach towards casual adult builders and not including enough Technical playabilities, it seems that way. However, with little tweaks like adding a working steering it can appeal the younger ones too.

Edited by thekoRngear

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Thanks @mostlytechnic for doing this picture review. I still appreciate the photo/text review more than the video ones, so I appreciate the time you put into this.

I am conflicted about this set. The car looks much better than 42096, and I very much like the new parts (rotor blade, 3x2 panels, both wheel arches, red 3x13 panels).

But the cost is just too high. It seems like LEGO is getting validation to raising the price ceiling of Technic sets, and this gives more space for the mid- and low-priced sets to increase. Maybe my expectations are too set in the 2010s, but I'll read the reviews and buy only the parts I need.

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The sticker-free pictures for comparison are much appreciated. I wonder if the relative lack of functions in this set is to avoid competition with the 1:8 series. If the 1:10 car sets had a transmission too, the only thing setting the 1:8 cars apart would be a slightly larger size and slightly higher level of detail, which would make the $200 extra hard to justify.

I'm thinking of picking this one up for the parts, maybe on sale. It's frustrating to have the suspension setup so similar to 42077 and 42096, which isn't the best for this kind of car. The first thing I'd mod is making the suspension more like 42039, then give it an HOG somewhere.

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I think it's a great set, but wheels/ tires are not costume by Ferrari or Lego... like the Porsche set 42056. And the front headlights are different of the real one. 

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I built it yesterday and really enjoyed it. Lowered the suspension slightly though to get rid of that awkward ride height 

I think it looks great and can’t really understand all the negative feedback it’s been getting. With regards to stickers I had no issues aligning them and mounted as I went on with the build. 
 

Obviously not a 1:8 set in complexity bit something has to set theese apart. I paid like 159 euros for this btw. 
 

 

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17 hours ago, falkn said:

Obviously not a 1:8 set in complexity bit something has to set theese apart. I paid like 159 euros for this btw. 
 

The problem isnt just how it compares to the 1:8 sets, but also how it compares to sets like 42077, that set is roughly the same scale, has the same features, but in a generic shell, rather then a porsche/ferrari, and costs just slightly over half of this ferrari, going by list price we (in the netherlands) are paying 80 euros for having a ferrari shell rather then a generic one, which is a bit... much imho

And lets not forget that 42077 itself at the time was criticized for low feature count, its ancestors, 42039 and 42000, while both slightly more expensive, had a simple gearbox to drive two manual mechanical functions (opening engine cover/DRS on 42000, opening doors/engine cover on 42039), which could also be automated by PF. In essence, 42077 has the same automotive features as 42037, a €55 set.

 

I can see the appeal in the set, as i said before, this is pretty much what i dreamed of when i had the enzo and 599 on the shelf, but after the GT3RS and Chiron, i dont think i can go backwards this much, i like building intricate designs, this one seems lacking in that respect.

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1 hour ago, vectormatic said:

The problem isnt just how it compares to the 1:8 sets, but also how it compares to sets like 42077, that set is roughly the same scale, has the same features, but in a generic shell, rather then a porsche/ferrari, and costs just slightly over half of this ferrari, going by list price we (in the netherlands) are paying 80 euros for having a ferrari shell rather then a generic one, which is a bit... much imho

And lets not forget that 42077 itself at the time was criticized for low feature count, its ancestors, 42039 and 42000, while both slightly more expensive, had a simple gearbox to drive two manual mechanical functions (opening engine cover/DRS on 42000, opening doors/engine cover on 42039), which could also be automated by PF. In essence, 42077 has the same automotive features as 42037, a €55 set.

 

I can see the appeal in the set, as i said before, this is pretty much what i dreamed of when i had the enzo and 599 on the shelf, but after the GT3RS and Chiron, i dont think i can go backwards this much, i like building intricate designs, this one seems lacking in that respect.

The piece count is quite different though. The cost/piece is actually the same not even taking inflation in to account. Add the licensing costs to that and I think it’s as cheap as it could get. 
 

I’m also quite sure that the next 1:8 car is a red Ferrari so I’m thinking they want to differentiate a lot between those models. 

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1 hour ago, falkn said:

The piece count is quite different though. The cost/piece is actually the same not even taking inflation in to account. Add the licensing costs to that and I think it’s as cheap as it could get. 
 

I’m also quite sure that the next 1:8 car is a red Ferrari so I’m thinking they want to differentiate a lot between those models. 

So... what does this set do with those 600+ extra parts that 42077 didn't?

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12 minutes ago, howitzer said:

So... what does this set do with those 600+ extra parts that 42077 didn't?

It has a much more complex body, 42077 had a few big panels here and there and that was all. If you want to compare to something then compare it to 42096.

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7 hours ago, howitzer said:

So... what does this set do with those 600+ extra parts that 42077 didn't?

Look like a ferrari

 

If that is worth the price is up to you

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