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REVIEW | 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van

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Set Name: Volkswagen Y2 Camper Van
Set Number: 10279
Price: US $179.99 | CAN $249.99 | UK £149.99. 
Pieces: 2207
Year of release: 2021

Hello and welcome to my review of the new Volkswagen T2 Camper van! Before we take a look at this set, it's vital that we look back at some LEGO history. Back in 2008, Lego created something new: a line of large-scaled, licensed Creator Expert vehicles. This all began with set 10187 Volkswagen Beetle.

 

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This was shortly followed in 2011 by set 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van. The T1 Camper van went on to have an incredibly long lifespan, not being retired on Lego.com until Nov/Dec 2020!

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While the Volkswagen Beetle was eventually given a massive overhaul in 2016, the T1 Camper Van has been something of a relic. Countless other vehicles, such as the Aston Martin DB5, Ford Mustang, and Fiat 500 were all released while this thing still sat on shelves. In 2020, you could walk in and find a set that was, with all respect, 9 years outdated, both in the parts that were used to build it, as well as the design techniques used by Lego. Ever since the DB5, Creator Expert vehicles have become a master class on how to design a vehicle, with countless new techniques being exhibited to achieve complex shaping, while also increasingly placing focus on functional aspects of the vehicles. So now, here we are in 2021 with a brand new T2 Camper Van. How does this set stack up to the T1? How has Lego changes over the past 10 years? Settle in and read on to find out.

This set was provided to Eurobricks for review by Lego. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and do not reflect those of The Lego Group.

THE BOX & CONTENTS

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As with all modern Lego-for-Adults sets, the T2 van comes in the black-backdrop clad set. It keeps a clean design, and only barely touches on the functionality of the set on the back. We will touch on all of this functionality in great detail later. One aspect of the set I'd like to point out here is the additional stickers included. On it's own, the van only uses a few stickers, for basic things like license plates, grills, branding etc. They then include a bunch of extra stickers to decorate your van - the only image on the box depicting this is the upper right photo here. As of the timing of writing this review, this set has not yet been revealed, so I will be curious to see if Lego shows off any other configurations. 

Contents

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Lego seems to have been experimenting with packaging of it's instructions/stickers lately. The UCS Batwing I built recently used the traditional "crinkly bag" technique, the Ecto-1 I reviewed last year used a cardboard sleeve (which was the most effective at keeping everything safe), and now this set uses a, uh, "less crinkly bag." We are certainly in a time where Lego is experimenting with their packaging to make it more sustainable, so I'll be curious to see where we eventually land on in the coming months.

Stickers 

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Here we have a closer look at the stickers I mentioned previously. On the left, you have the "standard" stickers, the ones that are deemed essential to complete the look of the van. You can see two choices of plate are given, this is not out of the ordinary for these vehicles. Lego provides you with two 2x3 white tiles and two 2x3 dark blue tiles, so you can apply all 4 plate stickers, and then choose which ones to swap out on your van. 

The sticker sheet on the right is purely decorative. The instructions specifically call these out, noting that they are meant to be applied however you'd like. I used some of them, as we progress in the review I'll show off my layout and explain why I went with that design. 

New / Interesting parts

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it's always tough to outline new and interesting parts now - Lego makes a lot of sets, a lot of parts, and as of the time of writing this review, no one has had a chance to discuss what's new (since the set hasn't been revealed), nor does Bricklink have any data on this set yet. Starting from the upper left and moving our way down in comic book fashion, here's the interesting stuff I found:

1) 1x1 with two handles in dark gray. I've previously only seen this with one handle, or as a 2x2.
2) Printed slope elements unique to this set
3) New fabric piece for the pop-top in orange. 
4) Curtain fabric pieces
5 & 6) From what I can find, these are new in medium azure elements
7) 1x1x2 modified in tan. They are also included in blue, not pictured. As well, some sand green recolored elements
8) Some new 48.5x14 tires, as well as printed wheel center caps with the VW logo on them. 
9) Thanks to Lyichir, for the correction, it looks like the windshield element included with this set is in fact a newer, smaller version of the one included with the Ecto-1. 

THE BUILD

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Let's start off the discussion of the build with this: a steering system. It's not new for a vehicle of this scale to have a steering element, but it was certainly unheard of back in the T1 Camper Van set days. As time has gone on, Lego has really put more effort into incorporating cool Technic builds into their vehicles. It's nice to be getting something as simple as steering in sets outside of the Technic range, where steering is almost a standard at this point, even on many smaller sets. 

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Moving on, here we see the base of the van - the gray tiled floor isn't quite as exciting as the black & white checkered floor of the T1. Note that this set will use a lot, and I mean a LOT of side-mounted panels as we can see from the beginnings here, which is in contrast to the T1 van, which tended to use mainly stacked-brick construction. 

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Note that at this stage, we build a small rubber-band powered contraption. This serves a simple purpose, press the little black stud on the underside of the vehicle, and it will rotate the 1x3 technic panel outward slightly. This is to simulate the sliding door popping out past the body of the vehicle, so that it can then slide back. 

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Moving on, next we start building up the actual frame of the vehicle. Again, if you compare this step to where we would be at in the T1's build, it really is incredible just how different the structural layout of this vehicle is in comparison. 

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Next we start to construct some interior elements of the set - a propane tank, the rear seat, and part of the interior cabinetry. 

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Here we construct the other portion of the cabinetry. Note the sand green elements that are new to this set were utilized to create the little kettle. The cabinets here do open, I will show this later. There is also a table built using some elements introduced in the Mario line, this can fold down out of the way. 

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Here's a view of the engine. It's difficult to see when mounted tot he vehicle, but is easy to pop out if you want to take a closer look at it at any point. 

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As you would expect, we need to crate some way for the steering to actually work. In this case, the steering wheel is directly attached to the steering system. You can also see a technic brick at the center of the front, this will eventually lead to the fifth wheel which will also work to power the steering, since the actual steering wheel can be tough to get to. 

Sliding Door

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Here you can see the sliding door construction. It's pretty simple and uses the 1x1 studs with nubs to sit in the actual track that we previously built onto the frame of the van. 

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Next we have the door attached, and finish fleshing out the front of the van. Since we are here, it's worth noting that this set uses a newer windshield, piece, similar in shape to the Ecto-1. You may recall that in my review of that set I was pretty harsh on that windshield; as with all Lego pieces, it sits in a bin full of other similar pieces before being divided up for sets, and with the newer window material, scratching has become a serious problem. This new one seems slightly better, as do all of the windows in the set. Don't get me wrong, they are still a bit foggy and still have some scratching, but I feel they are a little better than what I'm used to. Or, maybe I just got a good batch. Let me know in the comments what the windows on yours end up looking like. 

Roof

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The pop-up roof is significantly more complex than that of the T1. A piston piece helps to keep it up once opened, and the entire piece is also designed to slide onto the vehicle, as we will see later. Similar to the T1, you don't actually gain any extra space by popping this up unlike the real vehicle. It's purely aesthetic, but certainly looks cool. 

Lawn Chairs

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A common feature of the large-scale Lego vehicles is to include some little accessories that compliment the vehicle. This has been commonplace since the third set in the line, the Mini Cooper, which means the T1 van missed out. This time around we get not one, but two little folding lawn chairs!

Surfboard

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We also get a surfboard of some variety. It's a bit shorter and slightly wider than the one featured in the Volkswagen Beetle 2.0. 

Finished Model

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Now that the model is complete, let us first take a look at it from multiple angles. Right off the bat, one thing that impresses me is how they are able to not only use a variety of build techniques to achieve such a well-shaped vehicle, but that that they also manage to keep the perfect color separation between the medium azure and white. Speaking of which, let's talk about the set colors - I was hoping that the set would be different than the red of the original T1 set, so I wasn't disappointed here. However, Medium Azure is pretty close to the Medium Blue that was used in the VW Beetle (not to mention that the original VW beetle set was also blue.) Needless to say, I'm a bit bored of the blue color schemes here. I was really hoping for a wild new color - lime green, orange, purple, medium nougat, something to really shake up not only the VW lineup so far, but the large scale creator vehicles in general.

Front: 

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The front of the T2 van doesn't use the same V-shaped color separation as the T1. As a result, Lego is able to achieve much smoother shapes this go around. The fifth wheel is a fantastic place to hide the steering mechanism as well. Now we come to my first major complaint with the set, an issue I know many have fault with - the sticker colors are a very poor match to the medium azure, they look more turquoise in person. Given the large size of these stickers, this is quite obvious. 

Rear

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The rear of the set offers another strange visual - the curtains. The method of attaching the curtains causes them to be pushed right up against the windows, but due to the size of these elements, they tend to sit a little odd and angle inwards rather than sitting more naturally. 

Profiles

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Again with the mismatched sticker color - there's also a rather noticeable channel for the sliding door. I'm not too bothered by this - the function works well, and I really can't imagine a good way around this. I do want to mention one thing that slightly visible in this photo and the next - you can see in this photo, the roof is pretty flush with the top of the vehicle. In the next photo....

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...there's some gaps visible. This is due to the fabric used for the pop-up feature. When you go to close the roof, you'll want to make sure to push the fabric inward as you close it, otherwise the fabric may bunch up and cause some gapping like this. I explain this better in my video review, which you can find at the end of this review. 

 

FUNCTIONS & FEATURES

 

Chair Storage

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First up on our list is the ability to fold up & store the folding chairs on top of the cabin. They don't actually tab in, but hold in very well, assuming you aren't flipping the vehicle over with them on top. The surfboard doesn't have any official storage, but you can fit it into the vehicle if you fold the backseat down. 

Opening Doors

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Both of the front doors do open as expected. Compared ot he T1 which had very obvious and simple swing hinges, it was nice to see Lego find ways to really hide and refine the hinge mechanism in this version. 

Steering

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Here is the max steering angle in one direction. This can be achieved by using the fifth wheel on front, or the interior steering wheel. It works well, though the interior steering wheel can be difficult to access, and isn't the most stable construction. 

Sliding door

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There simply is no good way to showcase this feature in photos. I have attached at the bottom of this review both a video showcase of the sets features, as well as a video review, I highly recommend to view at least one of them to get an idea of how this looks in action. You push the black button under the vehicle right in front of the rear tire, which pops the door out at an angle. This then allows you to manually grab the door and slide it back. To close, you simply slide it back into place and push it in. This words extraordinarily well, and provides a very fun and realistic looking experience overall. 

Cabinets

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Here's a view of the interior through the sliding door, as well as the opening cabinet doors. By doing so, you can see the right side reveals the propane tank in storage (I wonder if Hank Hill is their supplier?), and a mini fridge on the left. 

Opening trunk doors

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From the rear, you can open the rear hatches. One shows you the trunk space, which has decent room. The smaller hatch below reveals the engine, but it is very difficult to see here. Luckily, if you want, you simple pop the center of the rear bumper off of it's two studs, and this will pull the engine out for you to view. Both of these hatches, again, have much more complex hinge systems compared to the T1 van. 

Pop-up roof

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The pop-up roof is extremely simple to operate, you just lift it up. The interior piston holds it in place until you are ready to close. As mentioned earlier, when closing, make sure to push the fabric in to avoid it catching & causing the roof not to sit flush. 

Removable Roof:

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Like the T1 set, you can remove the majority of the roof for easy access inside. To do so, you simple lift the rear hatch, and slide the roof out of the back. The two balljoints at the front (which are used to help hold the orange fabric in place) soft tab under the front cabin roof when this is slid back into place. 

Interior feature

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With the roof gone, we can get a better look at the rear seat, sink, stove & folding table.

Stowed away

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The rear seat can be flattened and the table can be stowed away. It is in this configuration that you could store the surfboard if desired. 

Stickers

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The stickers are a function within themselves - as mention previously, Lego provides you with quite a variety in which to decorate your set with. For mine, I chose to load them all onto just one side of the vehicle, for two reasons; First, I feel that the amount of stickers Lego provides isn't enough to truly load this thing with designs like you'd typically see on such a vehicle. By focusing them all on one side, I could achieve a higher concentration of design. Second, I don't know that I always want to display it in such a "groovy" form. If I want to display this in a clean-vehicle look, I can simply flip the van to it's other side on the shelf. If you get this set and decide to apply these stickers, share your design in the comments!

FUNCTIONS VIDEO
 

Here is a video to better summarize the functions in action.

COMPARISONS

 

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Here it is, the T1 vs the T2. Right off the bat, you'll notice a pretty sizeable difference in, well, size. It's longer, taller, and wider (not to mention heavier) than it's earlier counterpart. In reality, the T2 was slightly longer than the T1 (177.4 inches vs 168.5 inches), but both were the same width and height. This places these vehicles at two different scales. Personally, I always felt that the T1 came across as too small compared to other large-scaled vehicles, so I appreciate the size increase. This of course helped Lego to incorporate the building techniques and features that they did, and personally I still feel like the T1 and T2 look perfectly fine next to eachother on a shelf. 

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Here we can see just how much longer the T2 is; notice again how superior the shaping is on the T2, and just how well they were able to hide the door hinges in comparison. 

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I think this photo really illustrates the increased size of this beast. I must say, the new windshield looks fantastic here and certainly leads to a more streamlines front end. I always give props to the original for finding a way to do that v-shaped color separation, but I appreciate the cleaner building techniques used on the more modern day build. I should mention here, the front bumper on the new set has a tendency to fall off as it's not very well secured in place. Mainly this just happens if you accidentally hit it too hard or tilt the vehicle up from the back, but it's a concern to address nontheless.

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The rear view again goes to show the improvement in build technique, so many more angles and side beings used rather than stacked-brick construction. And to reiterate, the door hinges are incredibly well hidden this time around. 

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I don't have the original VW Beetle (but if I get it, you can be sure I'll be doing a throwback review), but here's the more recent VW sets all lined up.

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For fun, here's the camper van with the Fiat 500...

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...and the Mini Cooper. 

OVERALL

When I heard that a new Camper Van set was coming, I rally didn't know what to expect. I have always held the T1 Van set in high regard, it's an enjoyable set that stood the test of time and continued to be popular even amongst the advanced new vehicles that have been dropped long after it was first created. After building the T2, I really came to realize just how far Lego has come over the past 9-10 years. The building techniques, the features & functions, the attention to detail, the presentation, even the durability and feel of the T2 feels like a complete revolution compared tot he T1. When a new model of car is released in the real world, you expect it to improve somehow upon the original, and Lego has managed to give that feeling with the release of the T2. Make no mistake, this is by far one of my favorite large-scale Creator vehicles that Lego has done. It continues to push the boundaries in terms of Lego car-design and functionality. Highly recommended.

SCORE
How do I rate this set?

9 DESIGN

The clean lines and subtle shaping of the T2 van were excellently captured here, and the functional elements of the set are well hidden. 

9 BUILDING EXPERIENCE 

Nothing truly repetitive in this build. You constantly bounce around between building the frame/exterior of the vehicle, interior, and technic elements for functionality. It's a stimulating build with many well-designed structures to achieve the final resulting set.

9 FEATURES

More features than you'd ordinarily find in one of these vehicles. Outside of an actual working engine, this set achieves most of the functionality of the real thing. 

6 PLAYABILITY 

Ultimately, this set will sit on a shelf. Opening doors and trunks is perfectly fine, but when it comes to car-based sets, it's hard to go much higher than a 6 unless you start going into remote-controlled elements. 

7 PARTS 

A good variety of new or interesting parts. Some elements (the pop-up roof fabric) are likely to be unique to this set. Whether that decreases their usability is up to you, but it does mean this is the set-to-get if you are seeking such elements. 

8 VALUE FOR MONEY 

At 180USD for ~2200 pieces, this set is a good value if price/per/part is an important ratio to you. The set is large, hefty, and comes with a good variety of parts. The count isn't inflated by small parts or anything, and theres a good number of large or special elements included.

8 An excellent set

 

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Wow.  It may not look like much, but it's really got it where it counts.  So much impressive Technic functionality is packed into that boxy little van.  Thanks for the review!

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Nice review, 1 small detail, the front grille stickers are put on in reverse?  

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After building the original camper van, it's so fun to see the evolution in building techniques and functionality between the T1 and T2. I would have loved to see it in flame yellowish orange, for a closer resemblance to the T2 in Little Miss Sunshine (cool yellow would be a better fit, but we already have the Fiat in that colour). Nevertheless, that cool baby blue looks fantastic.

Thank you for the review and especially for the size comparison pics! They do a perfect job in illustrating the size of the set.

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10 minutes ago, TeriXeri said:

Nice review, 1 small detail, the front grille stickers are put on in reverse?  

:drunk: Right you are, those definitely should be flipped. 

 

4 minutes ago, Roses said:

After building the original camper van, it's so fun to see the evolution in building techniques and functionality between the T1 and T2. I would have loved to see it in flame yellowish orange, for a closer resemblance to the T2 in Little Miss Sunshine (cool yellow would be a better fit, but we already have the Fiat in that colour). Nevertheless, that cool baby blue looks fantastic.

 

I do agree with you on that one - while the blue is nice, this is the third Volkswagen vehicle we've gotten out of 4 in a shade of blue. I was really hoping for something different, not only for the sake of the current VW lineup but the creator cars in general. Where's orange, lime green, even purple?

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I think it's a beauty, I love how the comparison between the t1 and t2 shows how much better looking these 18+ get. The one disappointing part is the scale, though it's never really been about scales but just really about the model.

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Nice review! I love that new 1x1 piece with a bar connection on each side!

Quick correction, though—this definitely isn't the Ecto-1 windscreen. That one was 14 x 6 x 4 while this one seems to be 14 x 3 x 4. It's steeper and has a smaller radius along the bottom edge (2 studs instead of 4).

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Those stickers are bleedin' awfull! Third party mfgs can make something much better, not acceptable TLG!

In the future I expect these Creator cars to be made with tiled bodies like this one, but unfortunally it just highlights the fact that tiles are a tiny bit smaller and have rounded edges which do not create a cohesive look that bricks do (or plates, but no-one wants a set like this with studs all over!)

Better than the orginal? Not sure, the first one had more charm imho, but a terrible front with those hoses and thick A-beams + terrible front windshield

It would be nice if the review had some pictures of the actual real vehicle as well :thumbup:

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I was really hoping that this would be no good so I won't have to buy it, but I will have to now!

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9 minutes ago, Lyichir said:

Nice review! I love that new 1x1 piece with a bar connection on each side!

Quick correction, though—this definitely isn't the Ecto-1 windscreen. That one was 14 x 6 x 4 while this one seems to be 14 x 3 x 4. It's steeper and has a smaller radius along the bottom edge (2 studs instead of 4).

Agreed! I can't wait to see how that new piece is used in future builds. Such a versatile piece

Ah, good catch, thanks! I didn't even think to check the dimensions on it, I might update with a comparison photo between the two when I have a chance. It's nice to see Lego introducing more windshield elements in different sizes, I think that continues to be a challenging point when building vehicles at many different scales, and is always appreciated to have new options in that realm.

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Do you think it's a different kind of plastic? I'm sure TLG got a lot of flack for those new formula trans parts

Feels different, sounds different, clutch etc?

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I really like the set in general, but the forms, compared with the original T2 seems odd. This thing is just too angular! And I'm also agreeing on the color choice - some nougat would look great here. Just don't know if I would buy it, the 10290 looks better to me, but thanks for the review! 

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15 minutes ago, 1974 said:

Do you think it's a different kind of plastic? I'm sure TLG got a lot of flack for those new formula trans parts

Feels different, sounds different, clutch etc?

It still seems pretty much alike the other recent trans parts we've gotten with this new formula. Still foggy, still some scratching, still that different (softer?) feel that these parts usually have. But I want to say those attributes are all SLIGHTLY less intense than they have been. maybe it's just the lighting I was under, or as I said potentially a good batch. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks  for your review, it's a great job.

For me however, personal is't a YUCK.
Another volkswagen, bah TLG, why again?
Why not another great van from the past like a Citroën HY, those are also often used as camper.

Edited by JaBaCaDaBra

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I don't like this "upgrade" at all. Maybe it's an illusion, but the roof looks far too thick in relation to the windows. And why are the studs at the bottom of the windows visible? The old T1 was much more elegant in that respect. I'll certainly look this up at my Lego store, but I'm doubtful about getting it. The vintage pickup is the better choice. Thank's for the review.

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12 minutes ago, brimbolet said:

And why are the studs at the bottom of the windows visible?

This is the problem with going studless. there simply are not the right LEGO parts to go all the way, so when you do see studs in a mostly studless design, they stick out like a sore thumb

You can wait a couple of decades for the right parts to come or you can just embrace the studs

Afterall, no studs, no LEGO :wink:

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Awesome review!! Cool video to show the functions.

I love the little details (chairs for example) and the hand of god steering. The roof is very nice as well.

Thanks for the comparison. Not sure which one I prefer. The old one is more iconic, but the new one sure has some improvements.

Thanks for taking the time to go the extra mile.

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Very nice set and also a great review @VBBN! I know some family members that will definitely go for it.

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Great review, I liked the set itself, lots of new and interesting parts, as well as their unique construction.
I should also highlight the very good quality of the photos.

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2 hours ago, 1974 said:

This is the problem with going studless. there simply are not the right LEGO parts to go all the way, so when you do see studs in a mostly studless design, they stick out like a sore thumb

You can wait a couple of decades for the right parts to come or you can just embrace the studs

Afterall, no studs, no LEGO :wink:

I usually have nothing against studs, quite the contrary actually, but on transparent pieces they look sometimes odd. The bottom studs on the front windshield aren't even the problem for me; it's the side windows. In the T1 the windows were pushed inwards and the connection was masked with a row of white tiles in front, which wasn't of course accurate. But they could have used years later the white window frames with glass instead. Rotated at 90° it would even fit the window bars of the model. That would have improved the visual appeal for me greatly.

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Thanks for the detailed review.  :classic:

The review was provided to Eurobricks for review by Lego. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and do not reflect those of The Lego Group.

Did LEGO provide the review or the set?

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