The LEGO world is abuzz with news on the Bugatti Chiron (42083), for it is the day. The lucky few who got their early review copies free from LEGO are flooding YouTube and other media channels with their reviews and as of the official release event you can in fact buy the latest Technic monster already, for the time being of course only at the full MSRP directly from LEGO.
As I hinted a few days ago, I feel I need to say a few things about it as well, especially since I’m bursting with thoughts on some of the new Technic elements found on the model. So rather than yet another giddy video of someone getting excited about a free lunch, this is going to be a more reserved, neutral look at things. I only sprinkled in two of the official marketing photos (© 2018 The LEGO Group), but you can easily find more materials on respective seller and news sites.
Let me preface this again by saying that I’m not in the least a car aficionado. I already mentioned that in my review of the Rally Car (42077). That doesn’t mean I could be swayed and coaxed, especially if LEGO sent me one of those boxes at no cost, but overall it’s not a top priority. Even disregarding my limited financial options I never could convince myself to actually buy the Porsche (42056) and presumably this will not be much different. The initial price is just insane, anyway, and unless one has the hots and needs/ wants this right now, waiting for a got promotion with discounts will probably be the smart thing to do, no matter how you see things otherwise.
For me personally it’s all about finding a good middle ground in terms of looks vs. reusability of parts with Technic models,since I usually can’t keep them around in their assembled form for long due to my small flat. In that regard neither the Porsche nor the Bugatti are or ever were a top priority. What would a do with a gigazillion panels in very specific colors? And storing those wheels and tires consumes an awful lot of space! I also don’t necessarily think that their realworld counterparts are particularly attractive and of course the limitations of LEGO Technic impart their own extra bit of “ugliness”, so you get where I’m coming from. It really becomes a matter of “if the price is right”.
That said, there are some interesting bits in the Bugatti by ways of some components in previously unavailable colors or even entirely new items. When the first clues about this model dropped early this year, I had hoped for Dark Pearl Grey/ dark grey silver-ish parts, as those would be more generally reusable for other car models as well. Fine, we ended up with lots of Dark Azure (again) and Dark Blue. From the looks of it the latter now encompasses almost every panel and liftarm shape, so buying a bunch of them on a parts-selling site like Bricklink might make it possible to rebuild older models in this color. Personally I’m in fact almost tempted to attempt to build an older US Navy jet or one of the Blue Angels aviatic team, so there’s that.
Other “new” colors include the small no. 21/22 panels in Light Blueish Grey as well as in Dark Tan. Likewise, there are now also some liftarms in the latter color, which should come in handy when you build Star Wars stuff or military-themed models. This is complemented by a plethora of conventional bricks (lots of curved slopes) in same colors to mimic various covers and smooth out transitions between elements. The Dark Azure is very prominent, too, though I hope LEGO realize that it’s getting a bit tiresome when it’s used so excessively an almost every new model in some way.
Where the technical details are concerned, this model seems to offer some interesting solutions here and there like the extendable aft spoiler or the seven gear transmission. On the other hand I totally don’t get why they once again they threw in their old crappy motor imitation in light grey with yellow pistons. Ideally they would of course have created a custom engine part for such an expensive model, but I would have settled if they had at least made the parts silver. Similarly I’m not convinced using flexible hoses to simulate colored ridges is the best possible solution, though at least the creative use of some light grey stud shooters put a grin on my face.
Similar to the Porsche a lot of the good stuff will barely be visible and barely be used, but it’s definitely worth mentioning the new gear parts. The corkscrew switcher nubbins for the clutch mechanisms ar a godsend and will make construction of complex transmissions (and automating them for RC models using a motor) a million times easier. I seriously hope LEGO will be rolling out this stuff in other models as well together with the new twenty tooth blue cog and the redesigned clutch bushings. The rest seems pretty much standard fare, but I’ll wait for the building instructions to become available to everyone. Who knows, there might be some clever trick hidden in there?!
Regardless, my overall conclusion is that the model probably has been severely over-hyped. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a good model, but it’s also highly divisive. A little less marketing noise and a quieter rollout along with a more realistic price would probably have left a better impression. Currently it leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste as in “Even if you save money for the next two years you can’t afford it.” and that cannot be a good thing. After the initial rush from the most ardent enthusiasts it may deter other people and they may take their money elsewhere. One can only hope that the market regulates itself and finds a good price. After all, that’s what gave the Porsche such a long life…