Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas Car-nage

As part of my ongoing efforts to indoctrinate my little boy in the joys of LEGO, I ended up getting him Cars Set 8679 Tokyo International Circuit for Christmas. OK, so he's barely four years old, and it's a rather large set with a recommended age of 7 - 12, but he's a huge fan of the Cars movies and I thought he'd enjoy building and playing with the 8 different cars within. Also, it's a set which lends itself to building in short bursts, which given the attention span of the average 4-year old, I felt was a must....

Predictably, it's been fairly slow going; I'm trying my hardest to sit on my hands and let him find all the parts and do all the building himself, only intervening when he asks me for help. I'm naturally quite impatient, so all this watching and guiding doesn't come easy - I'd rather be doing. When you break down the necessary steps that us AFOLs take for granted, however - identifying the parts needed for the next step of the instructions, using colour and shape matching skills to find the necessary parts amongst all the others, completing any sub-assemblies, and then figuring out how the new parts fit onto the existing build - it's actually pretty impressive that a 4-year old is capable of figuring it out at all, so I keep reminding myself of that.

I've previously written here and here about my unexpected enjoyment of the Cars sets, and at an admittedly early stage of the build, Set 8679 hasn't disappointed so far either. I've been particularly impressed with the LEGO rendition of Shu Todoroki, the Japanese entrant for the World Grand Prix as seen in the Cars 2 movie; you can see a picture of him below (click to enlarge).

Shu's dirty tyres are testament to his zoomability; literally microseconds after Shu was completed he was being zoomed around the room by my son, the rest of the set briefly forgotten, while I looked on enviously....

Compromises will generally have to be made when trying to reproduce most things in LEGO form, particularly at such a small scale, but I think the designers have done an excellent job here; you can see Shu in all his Pixar glory in the video clip below.

If you can't play the plug-in above then click here to access the clip via YouTube.

According to various sources on the 'net, the design of Shu Todoroki is based on the Toyota GT-ONE racer (below; pic from which competed in the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1998 and 1999.

It's a shame that Shu only appears in Set 8679, which is the biggest and most expensive set in the theme. Given that 2012 will bring at least 8 more Cars sets including standalone versions of Finn McMissile and Francesco Bernoulli which were previously only available as part of larger sets, LEGO had a second chance to release Shu Todoroki as a standalone set in 2012, but I guess he wasn't iconic enough to merit his own set. Unlike Jeff Gorvette, obviously (!)

Set 8679 also includes a version of Lightning McQueen (pic below).

Having previously bought, enjoyed and reviewed Set 8200 Radiator Springs Lightning McQueen, I was looking forward to comparing and contrasting the two versions. I was expecting different paint jobs, different 'facial expressions' and different rims, which you can see below (Set 8679 on the left, Set 8200 on the right).

What I wasn't expecting was differences in the actual design - the two versions have totally different rear ends (click pic to enlarge).

Give me the version with the fixed rear spoiler (8679) every time...

I'm well aware that some of you don't share my enthusiasm for the Cars theme; for those that like it, however, this set is already looking like a winner, just by virtue of the selection of cars it contains. Tomorrow we'll build the rest of the set....

Before signing off, I'd just like to remind everyone that hasn't yet voted for their favourite set of 2011 to do so ASAP - you'll find the poll at the top of the screen on the right, and you only have 3 more days before voting closes.

Last but definitely not least, I'd like to wish all readers a happy and prosperous New Year, and I'll be back with more of the same in 2012.

Cheers !

1 comment:

  1. As a photographer I must say your images are always a charm. Bright sharp and well composed. Thanks for blogging about an old hobby of mine.

    Bert M