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18 January 2021

LEGO® Technic review: 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE 'AF Corse #51'

Zachary Hill (@zacharyphill) reviews the 2021 LEGO® Technic 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE “AF Corse #51” for you today. Buying this set? Consider using our affiliate links: UK LEGO Shop | UK Amazon | USA LEGO Shop | USA Amazon | Australia LEGO Shop, for other countries 'Change Region'. New Elementary may get a commission. The products in this article were provided for free by LEGO; the author's opinions are not biased by this.

Nothing compares to the intensity of the FIA World Endurance Championship. 24-hour long races, mid-race driver changes, and multiple car classes sharing the track are a monumental challenge for any team. Race team AF Corse and racecar builder Ferrari have had an incredibly successful partnership in endurance racing, while The LEGO Group and Ferrari have enjoyed similarly astounding teamwork bringing over 50 co-branded sets to fans since 1997.


The new LEGO® Technic 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE gives racing fans the biggest Prancing Horse set ever with 1677 pieces, over 300 more than previous record holder 8653 Enzo Ferrari 1:10. At 48 cm (18¾”) long this model breaks the 13-year hiatus since the last 1:10 Ferrari model. This set is now available priced at US$169.99/ CA$229.99/ £169.99 / €175.45.

The paper pieces


First impressions imply serious business with the modern “Ages 18+” package design displaying the finished model in an elegant all-black showroom above the box’s handsome red bottom edge. The Ferrari’s box stripe pictures red greebling built from Technic liftarms, gears, connectors, and fairing elements, many of which are included within.

Another welcome commonality between this and other new 18+ sets’ packaging is the inclusion of a stiff white cardboard folio protecting the Ferrari’s instructions and two opaque sticker sheets. It has “6345740” printed on the front which looks suspiciously like an Element ID... how long until someone incorporates this into a build as a forbidden element?


The instruction books' beginning and end are rich with photos comparing the model and the real racecar and AF Corse team information including portraits, stats, and quotes of drivers Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, and Daniel Serra. Text is bilingual in English and Ferrari’s native Italian. One page is dedicated to the Technic 488 GTE’s development by LEGO designer Lars Krogh Jensen, shown inspecting a model without stickers and wheels. Jensen’s car mostly matches the final design with a key difference:  some elements are white prototypes (possibly 3D-printed) which give a sneak peek into this set’s brand new elements.

The new elements in Technic set 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE

All-new moulds

At this set’s announcement, my eyes immediately went to the fenders. Over the rear wheels, a set of inner wheel arches extend the rear fenders for an aggressive widebody stance. These new fender flares pair with similarly new 13-module long mudguards. This means these Bright Red/ Red fenders are a new mould, 2 modules shorter in length than the Bright Yellowish Green/ Lime 15-module long rounded arches found in 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37.

  • 4x Technic, Panel Car Mudguard Arched 13 x 2 x 5 Rounded Top #41 (6321712 | 69911) 
  • 2x Technic, Mudguard Fender Flare 13 x 2 x 5 (6321714 | 71689) 

The arched mudguard rests on top of the all-new fender flare piece. No clutching force is present, but the fender flare has full-length lips on both the inner and outer sides of the top edge to prevent movement between these two parts. These lips are spaced wide enough to accommodate the thickness of a thin Technic liftarm. The only connection points on the lower flare are two longitudinal axle holes. In the finished Ferrari these connection points meet liftarms and panels shared by the upper mudguard to keep the pairs of fender pieces together. LEGO intuition dictates the new flare ought to pair with the flat-topped 13 x 2 x 5 mudguards (42545) found in 42096 Porsche 911 RSR, though I have none to compare to.

The Ferrari 488 includes a few more new-for-2021 Technic components which do more than give racecars wide hips.

  • 2x Technic, Panel Curved 3 x 2 in White (6334548 | 71682). Keen eyes first spotted this in the 42123 McLaren Senna GTR where it appears in Blue and Black while 42122 Jeep Wrangler and 42124 Off-Road Buggy have introduced this part in Bright Yellow/ Yellow and Dark Azure respectively.
  • 2x Technic, Liftarm 2 x 3 L-Shape with Quarter Ellipse in Black (6326047 | 71708).
  • 3x Technic, Panel 3 x 7 x 1 in Black (6331935 | 71709). The Jeep Wrangler features this part in black and yellow, and the RC Off-Road Buggy shows this new panel in dark azure.

The new 2 x 3 liftarm is exciting from both mechanical and aesthetic perspectives, and there’s no doubt builders around the world will put it to both uses. The cam-like profile matches that of existing 2 x 3 Technic panels but in the form of a thick liftarm. Thin liftarms have sported round quarter ellipse outlines since 2000 and I welcome this new chubby baby sibling to the Technic quarter ellipse family.

Onboard the AF Corse Ferrari, both copies of this new piece are used to widen the dashboard - an almost purely visual use. As natural as the part usage is here under the Ferrari’s invisible windscreen, it would be equally at home transferring mechanical loads over its eccentric ellipsoid edge. The rounded shape begs to be utilized in a kinetic sculpture or Great Ball Contraption leveraging its curved surface.

New recolours

Many relatively new and useful Technic elements see their palettes expanded thanks to Rosso Corsa - “racing red” in Italian. Rightfully so, many of these new bits give Technic scale builders more options for cars suited to Ferrari’s favorite colour. All parts shown below are Red unless noted otherwise.

  • 1x Technic, Panel Curved #51 5 x 13 Tapered Right (6334500 | 68196). Fitting that the #51 panel is used on the #51 car, don’t you agree?
  • 1x Technic, Panel Curved #50 5 x 13 Tapered Left (6334504 | 68196). Both pointy panels have only been seen in Lime as bonnet pieces of 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37.
  • 4x Technic, Panel Curved 3 x 13 (6334499 | 28923). This panel is common in large-scale Technic models since its introduction in 2015 and spans a broad palette, but has never been released in red until now.
  • 10x (+1 spare) Technic, Pin Connector Round 2/3 L (6093950 | 18654).
  • 8x Technic, Pin with Friction Ridges Lengthwise and Pin Hole (6334505 | 15100).
  • 2x Technic, Axle and Pin Connector Perpendicular Triple (6334502 | 63869). This is another part rarely seen outside of black and grey.
  • 2x Brick, Round 1 x 1 d. 90 Degree Elbow - No Stud - Type 2 - Axle Hole in Silver Metallic/ Flat Silver (6335563 | 25214).
  • 1x Technic, Panel Plate 3 x 11 x 1 in Bright Blue/ Blue (6057722 | 15458).
  • 2x Rotor Blade 3 x 19 with 3 Holes in Black (6305550 | 65422). Yes, these are indeed the rotor blades from the nearly-released 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey. These have been officially released with the Lamborghini Sián in - you guessed it - lime, but this is the first time black 19-module long rotor blades will be fully making it to store shelves. 


Just enough of part 15100 are provided to build your own red Technic pincube. I found all eight  to be just barely darker in colour from other red pieces, presumably due to the plastic used. 

Rare parts

A storied past is sprinkled throughout the Ferrari GTE’s inventory with parts hearkening back to earlier LEGO Ferraris and Technic history.

  • 4x Technic, Liftarm 3 x 5 L-Shape with Quarter Ellipse Thin in Yellow (6339224 | 32250). These are somewhat common in Technic construction vehicles but have been unavailable since 2017.
  • 4x Technic, Liftarm 3 x 5 L-Shape with Quarter Ellipse Thin in Blue (6339225 | 32250). arer than its yellow sibling, these have been absent from LEGO sets since 2007. In 2002, The LEGO Group included an identical amount of this element in Ferrari’s Formula 1 rival 8461 Williams F1 Team Racer.
  • 2x Hose, Soft Axle 7L in Red (6334708 | 32580). These curve-attaining axles have only been seen in this length and colour in three sets from 2001, 2010, and 2011. Rejoice, Technic scale builders!
  • 2x Brick, Round 2 x 2 with Axle Hole in Transparent Red/ Trans-Red (6334501 | 39223).  This brick is exclusive to large Ferrari Technic models, appearing exclusively in 2005’s 8653 Enzo Ferrari 1:10, 2007’s 8145 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, and now in this similarly-sized 2021 set.
  • 2x Technic, Liftarm 1 x 7 Thin in Red(6349634 | 58486). The round 2 x 2 and red 1 x 7 liftarms are kindred Ferrari spirits with both appearing exclusively in the 1:10 Enzo. Few additional appearances have been made by this element - just two other mid-2000s sets.

Printed elements


In endurance racing, drivers and their cars are expected to outlast even the daylight. To faithfully recreate the Ferrari’s crucial nighttime gear, two mirror-image printed elements (6335200 and 6335199) form the headlights of the 488 GTE. Windscreen 6 x 4 x 1 Curved (35303) is no stranger to cars but - as the name implies - usually has the honour of being a windshield. These are common in six-module wide Speed Champions cars, although always in Transparent Brown/ Trans-Black. Fittingly for “Speed Champions”, the series hosts several Ferrari automobiles; the Ferrari 488 alone now has three printed windscreens dedicated to it with a third (18973pb11) appearing in Speed Champions 75886 Ferrari 488 GT3 “Scuderia Corsa”.


Only one LEGO set has included a Transparent/ Trans-Clear version of this curved windscreen before now. The clear canvas of the Ferrari’s headlights allows us to make an educated guess into how The LEGO Group transforms a transparent part into a partially opaque and metallic design. A layer of white ink has been applied to the part first as a primer for the red ink which overlaps the base layer. Two shades of metallic silver are applied as a base for the individual lamps and reflector, and then a final black outline is applied.


The support structure for these lights is a stair-stepped set of plates joined to the Technic frame by a pin and brick arrangement. The top inside surface of the windscreen rests on a red rounded 1 x 2 plate (35480) with no stud connection, and the selection of this plate appears to be due to it having no LEGO lettering atop the studs - a smooth move. Any raised letters would push the back end of the windscreen up, causing it to be misaligned. There is sufficient room between the lower black plate and the windscreen to add a 2 x 2 plate roughly in the center with even more room for non-LEGO components, perhaps a custom lighting kit to guide your driver in the dark.

The build

Careful thought has been put into recreating the 488’s elegant lines and a few clever spots make effective use of the new components introduced in this set. The finished model is fairly sturdy but has enough flex and somewhat loose sections to make me wary of spirited play.


The build proceeds as normal for a large Technic creation starting with the rear axle and heart of the racing beast - the engine. Adequate detail is found in the engine bay with a smooth black engine cover and two curved pipes alluding to two large intercoolers which flank the real car’s engine. Two Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray rigid hoses are held by short bars with clips (48729) to form the X-shaped portion of the roll cage over the engine. The arrangement here causes the Technic roll cage to bend and overlap whereas its real-life counterpart is straight and self-intersecting, but the inclusion of this detail is welcome even with slight imperfections. Few large gaps are present on the model due to its abundance of panels, but the gaps above the rear wheels are largely hidden from promotional and box photos. All three new black 3 x 7 Technic panels are used to form the car’s monstrous rear wing which is easily pulled straight off if your car needs a low-downforce setup.


Hidden under the car’s front is our lone blue 3 x 7 Technic flat panel. The underside of the car reveals how to convert Osprey rotor blades from lifting to providing downforce. With only a few pin holes on one end of the blade, all holes are occupied to secure the rear of the skirts. Two more freely-rotating short bar clips per side provide some support along the inboard edge of the rotor blades, but I found these to come misaligned often during handling. My instinct is to grab the car by a point between its wheels when lifting it, but I’ve shifted to gently gripping it by the roof so as to not disturb the side skirts. The Technic Lamborghini Sián utilizes this same mould in the same place but rotated 90 degrees, an arrangement I can only assume provides better stability.


Mechanical details include a full double-wishbone suspension supported by four hard springs. Suspension travel is limited on the front two wheels by contact between a white Technic 1 x 2 thick liftarm (60483) and red pin tow ball (6628) - on my model those parts have already begun to wear and shed particles from rubbing under spring force. Technic is mechanical and mechanical things wear out; at least those parts are easy to keep spares of. AF Corse might be concerned if their car’s front end starts riding gradually higher, but I won’t notice on my plastic replica.

The tyres have plenty of clearance but some rubbing is present at full suspension compression or full steering lock. The only steering control is a steering wheel. Both doors open to reveal a spartan race-ready interior with just one seat. This rightfully-vacant interior leaves deep spaces in the cabin and under the hood where the right Technic wizardry ought to be able to squeeze in a Powered Up hub and motors, or just add some strength to the soft chassis.


In his 42122 Jeep Wrangler review, Alexandre Campos noted the new curved 3 x 2 Technic panels would be perfect for building spoilers flanked with the small #21 and #22 Technic fairings. He hit the apex with that prediction as the Ferrari 488 features two such arrangements, fully visible with its main wing removed. At the rear of the decklid an inverted trio forms a small lip spoiler while the second set is graced with a prancing horse on the rear bumper.


Instructions call for the application of full-coverage stickers to nearly every panel. I first built the model with only non-livery stickers applied and found the car still looked race-ready. For builders seeking a road-spec 1:10 scale Ferrari 488, some modifications must be made apart from tossing aside the sticker sheet. Components of the livery have been built into the car with white, yellow, and blue accents needing replacement. The racecar’s aggressive ground effects package is a far cry from a streetworthy 488’s bumpers, but most of the car could be directly used in a roadgoing variant.


AF Corse wraps their cars in a modified tricolore stripe livery which is broken up due to Technic and sticker limitations. The moderate fragmentation didn’t deter me from covering my car in stripes and sponsors. In the real world I would never refuse a sponsorship to drive a Ferrari, but if you want your LEGO shelf a bit less commercialized by UPS, Hublot and Shell, omitting stickers is always an option. 

Conclusion

With the prestige of a 24 Hours of Le Mans podium-clinching car and team to measure up to, the new 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE “AF Corse #51” captures the essence of a hardcore racecar. New fenders recreate the race-ready stance of the #51 while more new-for-2021 Technic bits are sprinkled throughout. The new biggest Ferrari set packs a pile of panels and some novel building techniques but as an “Ages 18+” set it’s light on play features. 

Ferrari, motorsport and Technic fans can add this 1:10 scale model to their garages for US$169.99/ CA$229.99/ £169.99 / €175.45. If you enjoy our work and would like to support New Elementary, consider using our affiliate links to purchase this set (or any): UK LEGO Shop | UK Amazon | USA LEGO Shop | USA Amazon | Australia LEGO Shop, for other countries 'Change Region'. New Elementary may get a commission.


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11 comments:

  1. Adding that 2x3 quarter ellipse to my list of "best pieces" alongside the TECHNIC cam piece, Slizer/Throwbot foot, and the modified Slizer/Throwbot foot "block 3x3 w/ cross axle". Incredible density of connection points paired with cool shaping is an instant win in my book.

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    1. This is by far my new favorite Technic part of '21. I had the Electro/Energy Throwbot and still have most of its beautiful purple parts around, no feet in that one though! Those look great; I'll have to get some to try out.

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  2. I agree that the 15100 is a different blend of plastic. In Lime and Yellow, they also are a different shade. And pushing the pin in a hole feels very different from a normal pin.

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    1. They definitely are harder to push into a hole than ordinary pins.

      Delete
  3. The wing endplates are connected via a half-pin into the wedge plates underside tubes, correct? Is that a common connection method in official sets? I don't recall it being used terribly often and now I'm curious.

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    1. Yes, two half-pins in the ends of the Technic panels hold each wedge plate on. I can't think of more examples off the top of my head but it does provide a connection which easily pops off and is quick to rebuild if the enormous wing gets caught on something while pushing the car around. I'm sure that connection wouldn't be allowed if much more than one plate was attached. Time to research!

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  4. Complete sham review. The pricing of this set is atrocious. IT BENDS IN THE MIDDLE WHEN YOU PICK IT UP, everything but the headlights is done with two giant sticker sheets, the entire undercarriage is bar and empty. This is a product where they removed everything they could to make it as barebones as possible and still charge an obscene amount for it. The 99 bucks dodge charger has a similar size, better form and function and IT DOESN'T BEND WHEN YOU PICK IT UP. Christ sake. This why why lego fanboy get a bad reputation

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    1. The comparison to the Charger is interesting. From my perspective:

      Bends in the middle: I haven't handled both of them so can't comment but this is very concerning, I'd expect a technic vehicle to be robust.

      Sticker sheets: I typically like printed elements, but in this case there are so many graphics that I prefer stickers, so I could choose not to apply them and use the parts elsewhere. Also the price would go up even more if all the elements were printed. The printed headlamp lenses are perfect.

      Function: They both have fully sprung suspension, steering, piston engines. The Charger has the wheelie gimmick and the supercharger.

      Form: The GTE is a much better representation of the real car. The Charger is slab-sided and ugly with ugly standard wheels, an atrocious front fascia and jagged wheel openings. It's nothing like the beautiful coke bottle styling of the real thing.

      Parts: The charger includes the cool Power Joint and Power Joint Ballpart, The GTE has the beautiful wheels, the new fender flares, and subjectively nicer wheel hubs and related suspension parts.

      Conclusion: I'm skipping the Charger to get the Ferrari. Adding stiffness to the GTE won't be terribly difficult. Not that I should have to, but on the balance it's easier to fix than the faults of the Charger.

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    2. Forgot about price!
      The charger is $0.09/piece, the Ferrari is $0.10/piece. That's a long ways from "atrocious".

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    3. We'll be sure to pass your comments on to TLG, anon. Maybe without the caps tho

      Delete
  5. The rotor in black is Back... does that means an OSPREY REVENGE..?

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