27 May 2017

LEGO® Creator 10257 Carousel

Posted by Admin
The LEGO® Creator line has been releasing an amusement park ride once a year for three years now, and this year's is released on June 1st (already available for VIPs) priced £159.99 / US$199.99 / 179.99€. With 2670 pieces, it's massive - measuring 38cm x 35cm (14” x 13”) and 32cm (12”) tall! Today, Sven Franic takes a detailed look at the new elements in the set. 

What makes this brightly coloured amusement park ride really shine is a clever symbiosis of circles. Round shapes have become increasingly less difficult to pull off in LEGO form with the introduction of many super-versatile parts which use a “hybrid” of systems. They combine both stud and anti-stud connections, as well as clip and bar or ball joint and socket connections, or delve into the world of Technic, sometimes incorporating three types of possible connection sub-systems in one brick.

This is nothing new, it’s just that it wasn’t until very recently that we got such a big variety of new elements which were designed with maximum potential in mind.

 Some examples are shown below.

Some of these elements opened new possibilities in brainstorming awkward shapes, mainly curves. The Carousel uses several different techniques to get circles with different circumferences to collaborate with a sturdy, legal connection. Oh, by the way, they also have to spin smoothly against each other and look fabulous in the process. It can certainly have been no easy task designing something that could meet all those requirements. I have a feeling the instructions were especially tedious to draw, in order to accommodate all the non-traditional connections and make them understandable to amateur builders. This was mostly helped by dividing builds into mini-builds. Almost the entire set is made up of mini-built sections which later come together to form a larger construction. It can get repetitive, and at times you might feel like an assembly-line worker, but the satisfaction of forming the final model pays off in the end. 


Pictured below are some of the mini build elements, often repeated 6, 12 or 24 times to form a larger structure.

There are two places during the build which use a somewhat odd connection by placing a bar into a Technic pin. I always thought this was an illegal connection, but it turns out it is just uncommon. I wanted to double check in LEGO Digital Designer which can sometimes be picky even with legal connections, but it did not object to sticking a bar into a pin. You build, you learn.

What certainly contributes to the carousel’s super smooth motion (compared to the now-ancient carousel model from 2009) is the introduction of the extra-large quarter gear element (Element ID 6151167 | Design ID 24121). It was first seen in the gigantic Technic 42055 Bucket Wheel Excavator [currently discounted on Amazon US]. This is only the second time we've seen it used. Four of them form a full circle, allowing the rotating section of the carousel to be consistently connected to the input gear run by the crank or, optionally, a motor. The old carousel model used a less ideal, albeit clever for the time traction-based connection via a large spring-loaded tyre.

New LEGO Parts in 10257 Carousel

The set doesn’t fall short on new or reintroduced element colours.

One of the first things I spotted was the short Technic bushing in Reddish Brown (6170813|18654). Only one is supplied in the set, oddly with another one as spare. The piece isn’t even visible in the finished build, so we can be fairly certain that this wasn’t the set which called for its introduction in this new colour, so hopefully we will soon see it in other sets. Now all we need is one of those new “macaroni tube” pieces in the same colour to open new possibilities in building structurally sound trees. 

A piece which appears very early in the build is the short bracket now available in Tan [BL] / Brick Yellow [TLG] (6194847|18671).

To the likely delight of train builders, the double panel (6195544|14718) is now also available in Brick Yellow. The panel plays a crucial role in the build, so it might not reappear too soon.

 This panel is almost a so-called “POOP” - but it’s not, because the inside gives a seamless surface while two smaller panels would leave a divided surface by the side supports.

The set comes with a large number of 74° Inverted slopes in Brick Yellow (6030731|2449). The piece is neither new nor rare, but getting 72 of the same elements in a single bag is just exciting to see.

For a moment I got worried that Medium Blue is losing support. With the high influx of similar light blue shades, like Light Royal Blue [TLG] / Bright Light Blue [BL] and Medium Azure which have been used prominently in recent sets, we haven’t seen many new elements in Medium Blue for a while. To my relief, from the Carousel’s total of seven Medium Blue elements, four are new and two have been reintroduced.

The shorter version of the wheel arch is now available in Medium Blue (6195545|98282). There is a total of 25 pieces, which are more than six cars' worth of mudguards if you were to use them as actual vehicle parts. The animal tail (6195157|40379) is new, as is the Aeroplane Wing 4x9 (6195158|14181), while the exciting new SNOT brick for 2017 – 1x1 Brick w. 2 knobs corner (6195548|26604) – gets its third recolour. (This brick was also initially listed in White in the pending approval BrickLink inventory for this set, but unfortunately this was a mistake and we are yet to see this brick in White.)

Two pieces which haven’t been around in Medium Blue for well over 10 years are now reintroduced: the plate with bar (6195159|2540) and a 4x4 tile with studs (6195157|6179), last seen in 2002 in an obscure Belville set.

While building, I noticed that the tail piece (6195157|40379) comes in two variants. The little hole on the side is located on the right of the tail in exactly half of the 48 supplied pieces. The other 24 tails have the hole on the left.

Both versions of the tail are given the same Element ID, and the instructions don’t indicate any distinction between the parts. Given that this model uses exactly half of them facing one way and the other half the other, it can’t be a coincidence that these were supplied in two versions in order to connect them all with the hole facing the non-visible side of the model. I wouldn’t have thought such a small detail would justify two separate moulds. The hole does not support a 1.5mm pin (such as the ones used by the Friends hair accessories), so it can be assumed that the hole is just some technical requirement of the injection moulding process. Whatever the case, OCD builders are rejoicing, and good luck to anyone trying to build the original set from sourced pieces in 20 years’ time.

The relatively new 3l Technic axle connector, doubling as a slide for the new clutch gears (6196757|26287), is now available in Light Stone Grey [TLG] / Light Bluish Gray [BL]. This may give it slightly more potential as a decorative piece in the future.


While the set gives us some new printed tiles, not all decorations are printed. There is a pretty large sticker sheet giving the decorative tiles their golden mirror shine.

Give yourself about an hour to stick them all as straight as your patience will allow. I imagine kids will love this part. They really make the finished model sparkle.


Two new printed tiles are introduced: Flat Tile 2x2 w. oriental book print (6196536) in Earth Blue [TLG] / Dark Blue [BL] and a super exciting new ticket stub, Flat Tile 1x2 w. ticket print (6192534) in White.

They could have just used the old 1x1 ticket tiles from the Friends amusement park sets, but this is even better. I love the subtly vintage design, still retaining the simplicity of LEGO graphics. Can you spot the Easter egg in the serial number?

The flamingo, being the smallest ride on the carousel, nevertheless required two new pieces in Bright Purple [TLG] / Dark Pink [BL]: the always-useful 1x1 Flat Tile (6133726|3070) and the Elephant tail / trunk (6197446|43892) which, despite the fact that the actual elephant it was initially intended for hasn’t been seen since its introduction 14 years ago, lives on in many current sets. The trunk / tail piece first appeared in the now long-retired shades of Grey and Dark Grey [TLG]. Today, it is utilised as wrought-iron ornaments, monster tentacles and many other clever uses which have nothing to do with elephants; even the elephant in this set opted for a different tail and trunk design.

Speaking of elephant tails, this one uses a long version of the (Cattle) Horn (6192145|13564) in Dark Stone Grey [TLG] / Dark Bluish Gray [BL]. The set leaves you with one spare if your monster needs two. (By the way, if any box people from LEGO are reading, look into that printing error, since this piece is listed twice in the inventory on the side of the box.


You might have noticed the roof of the carousel is covered in fabric. These elements are similar in shape to the old white cloth pieces used in the 2009 Carousel model, but they are not repurposed; these are specifically tailored for this set.

The Element ID is 6196408 and there is no information on the design ID at this time. The triangle shape could theoretically be reused as sails if the bright colour doesn’t get in the way of your sense of aesthetics. But I was thinking more in the line of awnings. 

Apart from the obvious sticker sheet, this is the only all-new element in the set. I forgot where I read this and whether it is trustworthy information, but there is a rumour about the Creator line not being allowed to introduce new moulds for their sets, however, Jamie Berard who is the design manager for Creator Expert apparently revealed that fabric pieces are an exception. [You read that on New Elementary… so definitely untrustworthy! - Ed.]

The “pizza tile”, or if you want the boring official name, ¼ Circle Tile 1x1 (6173925|25269) has been quickly progressing through the colour chart since its recent introduction. The Bright Orange [TLG] / Orange [BL] version makes its debut in this set, making it the eighth colour for this element in under a year. The orange tiger ride supplies you with eight, and one spare.

The best novelties of this set come in White. For starters, the hinge piece with two tabs (6194850|30553) – something I required in this colour for a build recently. 

A new piece for 2017 which I feel has never received any hype or much recognition is the 1x2 brick with vertical bar attachment (6198933|26597), shown on the left in the image below. This element basically gives the opposite effect of plates with horizontal bars such as 60478, except the vertical version can’t be attached to a plate for obvious reasons.

 This element could also be related to Hinge Brick 1 x 2 Locking with 2 Fingers Horizontal End (30540, shown to the right in the image above) without the limitations of the predefined locked angles. The locking feature is great when you need a sturdy, static connection, but sometimes the binary angle choices don’t fit your requirements.

Appearing for the first time ever in White in this set is the super cool, newly redesigned, “macaroni tube” Shape W. Tube Crosshole (6194851|25214). Being the seventh colour in less than a year shows how needed and loved this piece is by designers. It supports bars, axles and studs and leaves a beautiful, seamless shape when connected.

And finally, that revolutionary new element, Round Plate 1x1 w. 3.2 shaft, is also now in White (6174937|26047). Whoever designed this part deserves a medal. Such a subtle change in traditional plate design, by just making the outer edge round, opened it up to so many otherwise impossible connections, including the ones used in this set.

After a massive boost of new Warm Gold [TLG] / Pearl Gold [BL] decorative pieces, mostly from the new Elves sets, the Carousel contributes one more: the Feather (or Flame) piece (6196565|64647) seen on the right in the image below.

As seen on the left, the set also comes with six crowns (6143597|25516) in Warm Gold [TLG] / Pearl Gold [BL]. Although seen before, this piece was only included with one Angry Birds minifigure, so the element’s inclusion in this set liberates it from its IP licence and should make it more easily obtainable.

A rather uncommon element, having only appeared in eight previous sets in three colours, is Corner Plate 10x10 which now comes in Dark Green [TLG] / Green [BL](6194846|92584). The piece was originally introduced in 2011.

The final recoloured element is a 2x4 tile in Sand Yellow [TLG] / Dark Tan [BL] (6164288|87079). 

The latter is the fifth recolour of this part just this year, joining Dark Red, Medium Lilac [TLG] / Dark Purple [BL], Medium Blue and Bright Green, all introduced in 2017.

This concludes our look at all the interesting new pieces in the set.

Final thoughts

The designer’s choice of replacing the traditional horse ride carousel with different brick-built animals gives us more variation in the choice of pieces in interesting bright colours. Instead of having complete moulded animal elements like the old 10196 Grand Carousel had, or the mini version from 10235 Winter Village Market, I feel the brick-built animals are more in the spirit of the Creator theme. Besides, since they don’t represent real animals, but rather models (usually fibreglass), their slight blockiness can be entirely forgiven. 

The simple, yet effective, mechanisms which make the animals move is flawless, and the colour scheme goes very well with the only other remaining amusement park set, 10247 Ferris Wheel [Amazon US]. 10244 Fairground Mixer, which started this sub-theme, is now retired. We can only ponder what iconic amusement park ride might come next from the top-secret LEGO Creator design lab.

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  1. Unfortunately my copy didn't come with 24 left and 24 right tail pieces (6195157|40379). So I think that LEGO doesn't put exactly 24 of each in every box but rather has them mixed together.
    Now I'll have to get some from BrickLink to fix the unsightly holes.:(

    1. I ended up with 24 left and 24 right. I was holding my breath as I was building those sections hoping that the last couple wouldn't have holes showing.

  2. Good review! I really appreciate the close-up pictures of many of the new parts, particularly the printed tickets—I I can see those getting a lot of use in the future.

    "Instead of having complete moulded animal elements like the old 10196 Grand Carousel had, or the mini version from 10235 Winter Village Market, I feel the brick-built animals are more in the spirit of the Creator theme."
    The Grand Carousel didn't have molded animals; it just had some (IMO pretty ugly) brick-built horses.

  3. At some point in the past few years I think the pin mould was changed to allow a bar to be put through it. Most of my pins cant have bars through them

  4. Anonymous: Sorry to hear that, maybe this was just a lucky box that hit the magic number. Are you sure you didn't just mix up the orientation? it can play games on you. I wouldn't object if the hole was visible though, it's no big deal.

    Andrew; Right you are, I must have mixed up the horses with the decorated ones from the holiday set.

    Unknown: That is interesting, I had to go and check through my pins, it took me a while to find one that wouldn't fit a bar, but you are definitely right. There are black traction pins with smaller holes. My pins are either current or from around 98', so the change is somewhere in between. I am sure someone knows more about this.

  5. There's no way they'd cut two molds just to make left and right versions of such a purely cosmetic difference (remember, these are the same people who can't decide whether to put pips on the edges or undersides of tiles). They could, however, make a single mold with half left-up and half right-up, which would then result in an even split on which way the mold marks face (though there's no guarantee you'd get a perfect split in any given box, and the odds are actually against it). They could also cut a second mold to run at a second plant, or more than one to run at the same plant if it's a shape that's in really high demand. I ran into something like this with Clayface, where early copies could be predictably sorted based on the number just below the UPC box. Those that ended in -645 had 100% opaque 1x1 round plates, and the 2x2 round plates all had the pip in the upper left stud. Those that ended in -642 had all or mostly translucent 1x1 round plates with weak clutch, and about a third of the 2x2 round plates had the pip in the upper right stud and were also translucent. The last -645 copy I bought had some of the -642 parts mixed in, so I think at some point they switched from molding and packing in two locations to shipping the parts from the second location to all be packed in the same place.

    For cloth parts, we got something of a confirmation from a set designer who was talking about the chrome-plated mirror element from the Detective's Office modular. He said it had been classified as a fabric element, and that therefore the restrictions were less than they'd be for a molded element. So that basically confirms that actual cloth pieces are under the same eased restrictions. But yeah, Creator is supposed to stay away from ordering up new shapes, though they're fine with old shapes in different colors. They're even supposed to avoid specialized parts if they can come up with a brick-built solution, which is why they made hockey sticks from bars and headlight plates for the Winter Village sets when an actual hockey stick has been available since CMF S4.

    As for Technic pins, that is a very mixed bag. Between pins and axle-pins, I know of ten basic connectors:

    - half-pin: has a hollow stud on one end, and has probably always accepted a bar as a result.
    - 3/4-pin: accepts a bar through the entire length.
    - 2L pin: old ones only take a bar in the split tip, but newer ones will fit it to the center, where the inner diameter is reduced.
    - 3L pin: will only accept a bar about 1 stud from each end, with the center third being of a reduced ID.
    - 2L axle-pin: old ones only fit a bar into the split tip, but newer ones will accept one all the way to the center:

    - 2L pin: you can feed a bar all the way through.
    - 2L axle-pin: fits a bar all the way to the center.
    - 3L axle-pin (++o): fits a bar the entire length of the pin third.
    - 3L axle-pin (+oo): has a rectangular hole in the pin portion that's too small to accept a pin.
    - 3L pin: has the same rectangular hole, which is probably meant to increase strength on the longer section of pin.

    I know the friction 2L pin has an old version that does not have a center notch, but I don't think I own any to check. Besides that, I only know of the non-friction 2L pin and axle-pin that have two distinct versions based on when they were made. For the latter two, based on the samples I found, I suspect that the mold changes came pretty close to when they switched to tan as the default color for axle-pins in 2002. I know the non-friction pins and axle-pins on my Technic Hailfire Droid (released in 2003) are the newer style, and I built that right out of the box. And I know the old light-grey ones came out of a box of loose parts that largely consists of early Bionicle sets, so they're probably from mid-2001 to mid-2002.

  6. New E said: "There are two places during the build which use a somewhat odd connection by placing a bar into a Technic pin. I always thought this was an illegal connection, but it turns out it is just uncommon."

    I believe this became legal in 1991 when LEGO introduced the Technic Flex System, which is now defunct. All the technic pins were redesigned to accept 3.2mm hose, which happen to be the same diameter as 3.2mm bars.

    This picture from BL shows the flex system components:

    The flex system was supposed to provide control lines, much like the brake cables on a bicycle. The thin nylon cable ran inside a 3.2mm hose. The ends of the hoses were anchored inside technic pins. If you lookup the instructions for set 8856 Whirlwind Rescue you will see what the flex cable system was supposed to be.

    Prior to this, the 2780 black pin would not accept a 3.2mm bar. You still see these among old used parts on BL. The newer 2780 pins have much thinner walls (and very sophisticated moldings to make up for this).

  7. Okay, if that's true, that would explain why I don't recall owning any black 2L pins that wouldn't accept bars, but it's interesting that it took another decade for the non-friction 2L pin to be able to accept bars, but that it's got very limited uses in terms of the flex cable system. You should be able to use a 2L non-friction pin as a coupler for flex tube, and the reduced diameter hole through the center would still allow a flex cable to pass through. The problem is, the flex cable can't be lengthened so this would only work in situations where you're matching up short lengths of flex tube with longer flex cables.

    I suppose it could be set up so the black 2L pin, and the two shorter pins would allow pass-through anchor points, while the grey 2L pin would provide a hard terminus for the flex tube, but since I was still getting the older version of the latter pin in the early 2000's, that would mean that the change came right as the flex system was being abandoned. To date, I think I only own two sets that actually use the flex cable. One is the Technic Stormtrooper, which uses an uncovered cable to trigger the dart launcher that serves as his blaster rifle. The other is the Technic Droideka, which uses a couple cables in a purely cosmetic capacity, forming the edges of the armored shell on the back of the head. Every other instance I can think of where a set I own uses any flex system components, it was strictly limited to the flex tube, towball-pins, and towball-axles.