Explorer-ing… Mighty Machines – LEGO Explorer Magazine, February 2023

While it seems that the apocalypse has been cancelled for the LEGO Explorer magazine in the sense that it hasn’t been send to the pasture for good, something is fishy in Denmark in the quite literal sense. Imagine that: The next issue is scheduled for end of March! They are seriously stretching the publication cycle as a cost saving measure. This means we’ll effectively only be getting six issues this year, if at all. It must really be selling poorly or paper has gotten super expensive… Anyway, let’s move on and see what we have here.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2023, Cover

This issue is about “mighty machines”, which in the world of a child of course simply means they are big/ bigger than others. As it is, we therefore only get a rather generic and loose selection of a few specialized vehicles, ships, machines and so on. It’s way too broad to really dig into the specifics of one of them, which is always what massively diminishes the value of these editorial pages. I’m sure that even if you don’t nerd out completely, a detailed view at a tunnel drilling machine or one of those super size mining excavators would be more than enough to fill one magazine.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2023, Info Page

The comic takes a spin on the agricultural theme introduced in City last year and looks oddly familiar, especially after having built the Farmer’s Market Van (60345) with its strip of field.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2023, Comic

The poster depicts a bunch of super cars/ hyper cars. It’s not necessarily my favorite subject, but at least it looks reasonably tasteful and fits the “mighty” topic on some level.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2023, Poster

The extra is the small blue tractor seen in the comic. It’s more of a lawnmower tractor rather than a real one for real field work, but serviceable. I intentionally mounted the main wheels the other way around, as tractors usually have hollow wheel hubs with the nuts visible, not spoked ones. The designer of the model and/ or the comic artist got this wrong.

All things considered, this is a rather hum-ho edition and I’m afraid if things don’t improve, they will never get out of their slump and won’t convince more people to buy the mag. It’s okay for what it is, but they really need to improve. The only consolation this time was that the thing came with two polybags as apparently they have tons of those from unsold previous issues. I got another skull, but yours may contain a different model. It’s not completely “free”, though. They ramped up the price by an extra euro for that.

Grey Beauty – LEGO Speed Champions McLaren Senna (75892)

I’m not a car person by any stretch of the imagination.The subject doesn’t particularly interest me to the point where I couldn’t tell cars apart if their names and logos weren’t on them. Therefore this review of the LEGO Speed Champions McLaren Senna (75892) will be solely based on my perception of the model and some quick looks at photos on the Internet, not an endless discussion about technical details and accuracy compared to the realworld item.

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Box

The set first piqued my interest when the new line-up of sets for 2019 was announced last November. I almost instantaneously liked the orange and dark grey color scheme. This made it easy to decide pro the model, as elements in those colors can be used almost universally on a lot of other builds once the model would be disassembled. It also helped a lot that there’s a good number of newer parts like the curved wedge slopes or even the white arched tiles on the fan.

All this can be had for slightly above 10 Euro in some places, but actually even the full price of 15 Euro is more than okay, given that there are more than 200 parts. Some are larger ones like the wheel wells and canopy, but naturally the majority are smaller pieces. What really adds the value is their uniqueness and the fact that some of those parts only are available in other, more expensive sets otherwise. So for me as a parts scavenger this is really good bang for the buck. Of course if you just want to build the model and keep it around as a collectible item this won’t matter much to you.

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Overview

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Fan Front View As much as I love the set, there is a bit ofLEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Fan Back View a shadow looming in what I would call a completely squandered opportunity. That is of course the wind tunnel. I totally dig the idea, but not how it has been rendered here quite half-assed. The point is that shooting advertising photos of cars in wind tunnels (or alternatively in coating/ drying chambers) is totally a thing due to the unique lighting conditions in these specialized rooms and a good few parts of the surroundings being blank metal or various shades of white and grey, providing interesting reflections and a stylish cleanroom look. That being the case, it would of course have made for an awesome little vignette to place the car in such scenario. Granted, it would have easily doubled the price of the set due to the extra parts, but it would just have been cool. As it is, the simple frame with the propeller doesn’t do much for me, but I’ll gladly take the white tiles for rounded window frames on other projects at least. Really too bad…

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Left View

The car itself is pretty elaborate and uses quite some interesting techniques to render the details. Some of that trickery is however dependent on using stickers, so forgive for not having used them and the car perhaps not looking as good as it could otherwise. One spot where this becomes a glaring issue are the doors, more specifically the lower parts which on the real car have the same color as the rest of the body, but with a specific transparent window area. On the model this is in fact another windshield element used upside down, locked in place by the upper canopy and some plates and bricks around it. Quite ingenious!

The proportions overall look okay, but are limited by the standard six stud wide construction. It looks a bit narrow from certain angles and perhaps should be just that bit wider like on most of these super cars. Unfortunately it seems in this case this would mean something like two thirds of a stud or at most a single stud and that in turn would presumably cause a ton of issues with symmetry and parts usage, so more or less one will have to accept the decision to go this route.

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Front View

One thing that still puzzles me is the actual color of the orange parts. Apparently the livery represented in the set is a special edition (if the word “special” even has any meaning left when the baseline model already costs a few million) and on images it looks to be neither genuinely orange nor yellow, but more like a bumped up version of LEGO‘s own Bright Light Orange/ Flame Yellowish Orange shifted even more to the orange-y side. It’s really hard to pin down, as every image looks different depending on the lighting conditions. It’s unsatisfactory, so I only accept it with a few reservations. Chances are, though, that unless I see it for real myself I’ll never know for sure. Guess how likely that is to happen… 😉

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Right View

Another interesting technique are the front lights, which actually use Nexo Knights broad axe blades and yes, they are in Trans Neon Orange even. in the strictest sense, though, it’s more of a visual cue to hint at the flat, wing-like headlights than an actual representation of the real situation in this area. Personally I likely would just have wedged in rounded plates or tiles, so this is an interesting example of lateral thinking and a valuable lesson for inspiration.

The rear end uses the Nexo spear heads to similar effect for the respective lights. This isn’t quite as new, as the same approach has been used for a variety of purposes from simulating Ninjago dragon eyes to all sorts of glowing light elements, but this makes it no less effective. The spoiler and aft section themselves are reasonably complex and detailed, though the many black parts make it hard to discern details from a certain distance.

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Aft View

Within the limitations of the Speed Champions line like the need to keep all cars to almost the same scale and combined with my own ignorance I would call this model an all out success. It looks nice and if I were into it, I’d not be ashamed to put it on my collector’s shelf. More importantly to me however it illustrates a certain sophistication of the design and construction. It’s wondrous how many clever tricks have been squeezed into this single small model. For that I give at a big thumbs up. I thoroughly enjoyed building this and it looks the part…