6 August 2016

Dark Azure Immersion

The release of 10252 Volkswagen Beetle marks the third year in a row that the LEGO® Group have released a large-scale vehicle under the Creator Expert banner (following 10248 Ferrari F40 last year and 10242 Mini Cooper in 2014) plus of course there have been others in 2011 and 2008, both Volkswagen vehicles. Let's hope this annual tradition continues, as these are absolutely wonderful sets for many reasons - I'll hand over to Elspeth De Montes (azurebrick) to describe why, once she's out of the bath.

I am on a Dark Azur (TLG)/Dark Azure (BL) high at the moment following my total immersion in my favourite colour with Creator Expert 10252 Volkswagen Beetle. This 1,167 piece set is now available priced £69.99 / US$99.99 / €89.99. The VW Beetle has been immortalised in LEGO form before, back in 2008 with 10187 Volkswagen Beetle, which contained 1,626 parts and had a studs-on-show look that now looks somewhat ‘retro’, but nevertheless sells well above its original recommended retail price.

First I want to talk a little about the colour Dark Azure (I will use the BrickLink name as I always feel that the LEGO Group missed the ‘e’ off by accident). First produced in 2011, LEGO Colour ID 321 is not a common colour by LEGO standards, having quite a restricted collection of parts prior to the release of this set. In fact, there were only 113 parts in total; a figure which includes a host of variations of minifigure legs and torso designs. Containing 35 different elements in Dark Azure (swoon!), 10252 Volkswagen Beetle can be thought of by its alternative name, ‘Dark Azure Parts Bundle’.

New Dark Azure

Of the 35 elements, there are 23 existing moulds that are appearing in Dark Azure for the first time in this set and one element, the first listed here, is a completely new mould that makes its debut in this set.
  • 1/4 Arch Brick 5x5 with Cut Out (6152112 | 24599)
  • Brick with Bow 2x4 (6031839 | 93606)
  • Brick with Bow 1x4 (6151667 | 11153)
  • End Ridged Tile 1X2/45° (6151689 | 15571)
  • Roof Tile 2x1x2 - '65° slope' (6151673 | 60481)
  • Radiator Grille 1x2 - the 'grille tile' (6152109 | 2412)
  • Brick, Modified 1x1 with Handle (6152103 | 2921)
  • Tilted Corner 4x4 with Angle (6151693 | 43708)
  • Brick 1x3 (6154879 | 3622)
  • Brick with Arch 1x1x1 1/3 (6151669 | 6091)
  • Flat Tile 1x1 (6151658 | 3070)
  • Plate 1x1 (6151658 | 3024)
  • Roof Tile 1x1x2/3, Abs - the 'cheese slope' (6133838 | 54200)
  • Slope 45 2x1 with 2/3 Cutout - the ‘Stafford Slipper’ (6151668 | 15672)
  • Plate 1x2 with 1 Knob - the ‘jumper plate’ (6151671 | 15573)
  • Flat Tile 1x2 (6151659 | 3069)
  • Left Shell 2x6 with Bow/Angle (6151672 | 41748)
  • Right Shell 2x6 with Bow/Angle (6151670 | 41747)
  • Plate 1x3 (6153538 | 3623)
  • Angular Plate 1.5 Bot. 1x2 1/2 (6152110 | 99780)
  • Angular Plate 1.5 Top 1x2 1/2 (6152101 | 99781)
  • Plate 1x2 with 1 Horizontal Snap (6151674 | 11476)
  • Plate (A) 4M 45° (6152113 | 15706)
  • Plate 1x10 (6151666 | 4477)

¼ Arch Brick 5x5 with cut out


The Dark Azure part that is a new mould is the ¼ Arch Brick 5x5 w/cut out. It is a quarter circle and so four together form a circle that is 10x10 studs in size. It is smaller than the other existing quarter-circle parts shown below which form circles of 12x12 studs.
When four are combined to make a circle, the central cut-out fits a round 6x6 plate. The inner curve of the part is the same as that of the 6x6x2 round corner brick (Design ID 87559, shown in green above) and also a 4x4 'macaroni' brick (Design ID 48092, shown in grey above).

There are eight of this new curved part supplied, to form the four slightly-larger-than-half circle wheel trims on the VW Beetle. You can see below that the designer has used the 1x2x1 1/3 curved brick (6151669 | 6091) in between the two ¼ arch bricks to slightly extend the wheel trims by one stud, and then another of the same at one end to shape the bodywork.


It's not only part 6091: the relationship with other curved bricks below shows that the outside curve also matches the curve in other parts. Note that I have laid part 6191 sideways.

Not new but Dark Azure


I am considering asking Tim to rename the blog ‘Dark Azure Elementary’ just for this post, so that I feel justified in mentioning all the Dark Azure parts in this set. There are 11 more Dark Azure elements, which have all appeared in at least one set before, but most of these remain relatively uncommon and indeed some have only appeared this summer. In order of increasing appearances (ie. number of previous sets) we have:
  • Plate 1x2 With Slide - ‘door rail’ (6145412 | 32038) appears in one other set from June 2016, 75148 Encounter on Jakku.
  • Roof Tile 1x2x2/3, Abs - 'double cheese' (6151663 | 85984) appears in one other set from June 2016, 70596 Samurai X Cave Chaos.
  • Plate 1x4 (6133728 | 3710) appears in one other set from June 2016, 70596 Samurai X Cave Chaos.
  • Plate 2x6 (4640891 | 3795) appears in 4 other sets.
  • Plate with Bow 1x2x2/3 - the 'baby bow' (6137300 | 11477) appears in 4 other sets.
  • Plate 2x2 with 1 Knob - the 'double jumper' (6029163 | 87580) appears in 6 other sets.
  • Roof Tile 1x2/45° (6036851 | 3040) appears in 6 other sets.
  • Brick with Bow 1x3 (4640901 | 50950) appears in 6 other sets.
  • Brick 1x1 with 1 Knob - the 'washing machine' (6004938 | 87087) appears in 6 other sets.
  • Plate 1x2 (4653988 | 3023) appears in 12 other sets.
  • Brick 1x2 (6004943 | 3004) appears in 23 other sets.
This gives a good selection of Dark Azure plates that will allow far more creations in future in this wonderful colour. 1x1, 1x2, 1x3, 1x4, 1x10, 2x6 and 1x2 with door rail are all included in this set in varying quantity – the smaller sizes are in relatively large quantities, as noted in this image:


New but not Dark Azure

There are a further six elements that are new, including two new moulds.
  • Medium Stone Grey [TLG]/Light Bluish Gray [BL] 3.2 Shaft with 3.2 Hole (6143318 | 23443)
  • Black 3.2 Shaft with 3.2 Hole (6143318 | 23443)
  • Transparent Bright Orange [TLG]/Trans-Orange [BL] Flat tile 1x1 ½ circle (6147049 | 24246)
  • Medium Stone Grey Flat tile 1x1 ½ circle (6151688 | 24246)
  • Transparent [TLG]/Trans-Clear [BL] Windscreen 2x10x4 (6135457 | 24607)
  • Medium Stone Grey Flat Tile 1X1, Round, No. 57 - the ‘VW logo tile' (6153248 | 26866)

3.2 Shaft W/3.2 Hole

The 3.2 Shaft W/3.2 Hole is one of the new moulds and is supplied in both Medium Stone Grey (quantity three) and Black (only one). It can act as a hinge and a connector for all pieces with bar ends of 3.18mm diameter.

The short, closed bar at the top of the part is wide enough to fit a clip but not wide enough to fit a minifigure hand. In the VW Beetle, this part is used to connect the side mirrors, the dividing ‘line’ down the bonnet and the handbrake, to give it effective movement.

Flat tile 1x1 ½ circle

There are two re-colours of the flat tile 1x1 ½ circle,  a part which made its debut in Mixels Series 7 in White, mainly as a tooth or a hoof. In the VW Beetle, the Transparent Bright Orange is used for the rear indicator light and the Medium Stone Grey is used as part of the front indicator light. The latter is a particularly useful colour as a decorative tile in architecture, interiors and of course for those mad Spacers.


Windscreen 2x10x4

The VW Beetle uses a new windscreen element that is 2x10x4 in size. The build requires that two narrow stickers are used at either end to enhance the shaping of the final model. Existing similarly sized windscreens, Windscreen 3x10x3 (Design ID 2694) and Windscreen 2x12x4 (Design ID 6267), have not been used in any new sets since 2014 so this is a welcome addition to the range of larger-sized windscreens. In reality, the actual VW Beetle doesn’t have a flat front windscreen as there is a subtle curve to all four edges - now, that would be a great windscreen to have, albeit tricky to combine with standard bricks.

Round 1x1 Printed Tile ‘VW’

There is one printed tile in this set that is new, a Medium Stone Grey round 1x1 tile with the famous VW logo printed on it. These are used for the fuel tank cap (below) and on the bonnet of the car.  


I love this tile! So simple but it’s the perfect size to use in minifigure-scale vignettes and to turn any item into a VW-branded model…for example here is Tim Johnson proudly using his VW vacuum cleaner. This is a cunning way to make men gain interest in household appliances, I mean who wouldn’t want a VW blender? Assuming it passed the emissions test first of course.

Throw in the towel

A nice touch is the fabric beach towel behind the hinged back seat of the VW Beetle. Its 10x4 size gives plenty of room for two minifigures to lie on when sunning themselves by the beach. Actually, I hope no one steals this idea but I was thinking it would make a perfect awning for the 973 D-27C Winnebago Chieftain from The Walking Dead!



Not new but not Dark Azure

A special mention must go to one other re-coloured element, namely the Black flat tile corner 1x2x2 (6133722 | 14719) as I thought this was new to this set at first. It turns out that it has actually appeared in two sets both released in June 2016 so it is still fairly new and exclusive. The other two sets are both in the Speed Champions theme so may have passed under the radar of other AFOLs too. A nice finishing tile in shiny black is always welcome and four are supplied with the VW Beetle.

The Build

The VW Beetle is fun to build, I think there were three bags but since I excitedly poured them all into a big pile to find all the Dark Azure parts, I can’t be 100% sure. I would certainly not be winning a VW Beetle speed build competition with my ‘huge central pile’ technique but it was definitely exciting for me. There are some lovely techniques used to make a curvier shape out of bricks, as even curved LEGO bricks do not always allow easy shaping.

For example, the new 5x5 wheel arches are great but behind the new bricks, the designer had to incorporate a few different techniques to achieve a shapely matching wheel arch and fender area.

The curves and the slopes are also offset to allow for different widths and angles and attached via brackets and you will notice the use of a technic pin to angle one curved slope – a lovely bit of engineering.

Another area where the curves were noticeable was the bonnet where the double hinged shape allowed for a steeped angle of ‘curve’. The upper portion of the bonnet near the windscreen uses the curved slopes but the lower portion is actually completely flat. The use of the second hinge and then the central 3mm hose gives the illusion of a curvier bonnet. It is an interesting solution to creating curves from flat bricks and I really like the final appearance.


Another technique I wanted to highlight was 180 degree stud reversal. There are lots and lots of ways to achieve this, but back in ‘the old days’ when I was a minifigure of a girl, the common method was to use the headlight brick. Just because a technique is well-known and oft-utilised does not make it unsuitable for those great LEGO Designers, as the VW Beetle proves - its backseat uses the technique to good effect.


 I should also mention that the seats all move forwards and backwards too, but that is thanks to bar and clip hinges, as you can see in this photograph taken during the build process.


The same image also shows another aspect of shaping. If you look at the angles of the doors and body, the designer has angled the doors to give the ‘curved’ bodywork that is part of the actual VW Beetle. You can see the angle clearly when focusing on the black step area beneath the closed door. The doors are 10 studs apart at the front and 12 studs apart at the back but it is subtle enough that there is no real gap on the final model and the doors move freely.



Final Model

The completed car with the surfboard and cooler is awesome and a very attractive model to display, not just because of the colour but also its aesthetics. 



I haven’t really mentioned the sticker sheet much, mainly because I don’t really count the stickers as a ‘part’ and I usually don’t apply them. In this set, the stickers are not applied to any of the lovely Dark Azure parts and really the only more exclusive new part subjected to a sticker is the front windscreen. Give me a printed brick any day…and they did – four printed VW logo tiles!


You will note that I applied the UK driving licence plates and also applied the stickers with a degree of imprecision; I can only apologise and say that I was on rather a tight schedule. Regular New E readers will know that I am mummy to 12-week old twins who seem to take my attention away from LEGO at the moment. Sorry for my dodgy sticker technique, I am much better at sticking nappies on I promise… I also closed the bonnet like a chick and didn’t slam it hard enough so the slight gap you see in the final images of the completed build are related to me and not the model! [Ed. - I had the same problem... I think it relates to how snugly the tyre inside has been fitted, and not chick stuff.]


If you are wondering what scale this VW Beetle is, I can confirm that it appears to be a perfect fit for this handsome young chap who hails from Belville. He can sit on the seat and hold the steering wheel to try and catch the eye of a passing young lady.

Summary

  • Awesome Dark Azure Parts bundle, so many new elements and in great quantities.
  • A fun build with nice techniques used.
  • A generous supply of four printed VW logo tiles – make anything into a VW!
  • Great looking final model that will turn heads.
  • Who cares that my Dad thought the completed model was a Citroën CV2?



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11 comments:

  1. It looks more like the doors are 11 studs wide at the front, unless you're counting the specific width at the hinges. Where the bricks actually stop, they've only cut in half a stud on each side, though, as can be determined by looking at how much of the tiles beneath them have been uncovered.

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  2. I was counting the 10 studs in between the doors at the front....

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  3. I always enjoy New Elementary, but this took the cake for me. That terrific new drop of parts is a bolt from the (dark azure) blue -- it's just perfect for something I have in-flight. Thanks so much!

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  5. Love the picture of your sigfig in the bath. I'm thinking a Lego Pirelli calendar would be the perfect accompaniment to all these cars.

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    1. Have you seen the pic of Tims sigfig in the bath Rich ��

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    2. Too much excitement in one day already

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  6. Lovely review, at last someone else who thought bug looked like a tin snail - kudos to your dad, he's not alone!

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    1. Thanks :-) I have to admit that I am not a car expert but despite any inaccuracies in the final model appearance, I really love this set...

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  8. Regarding your comment on the Walking Dead Winnebago, it's ironic that Lego set 31052, featuring an RV that is close as Lego is ever going to get to that iconic model, is also designed by Mike Psiaki, the designer of set 10252.

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