09 January 2022

LEGO® review: 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van

Eero Okkonen (@eerookkonen) examines LEGO® 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van. Buying this set, priced US$179.99/ £139.99/ AU$269.99? Consider using our affiliate links, New Elementary may get a commission: USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop/for Europe 'Change region'. Products in this article were provided by LEGO; the author's opinions are their own.


10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van is one of the over forty 18+ branded sets of 2021. It is designed by former New Elementary contributor Sven Franic, who displayed his MOCs alongside me in the LEGO® House Masterpiece Gallery back in 2019, so there's also a personal aspect to this review. Let's see what Sven and Billund's part designers have come up with for this classic vehicle, captured in a beautiful Medium Azure and White colour scheme. 

New parts

  • 1x Windscreen 3 x 14 x 4 in Transparent/Trans-Clear (6319998 | 70495)

The new windscreen with curved lower corners was designed for this set and is unique to it. The corners match 2 x 2 macaroni bricks.

  • 5x Tire 49.5 x 14 in Black (6319995 | 70490) 

The new tyre was introduced in this set and 10290 Pickup Truck. It's not very exciting to me and it takes an expert car builder to notice it's new, but I believe it will help people build cars in "about Miniland scale".


I initially mistook the tyre for 32019 Tire 62.4 x 20 S as they have a similar profile and proportions - but this new tyre is much smaller. But don't be afraid - the completed bus is by no means small.

  • 4x Plate, Modified 1 x 1 with Bar Handles on Ends - Closed Ends in Dark Stone Grey/Dark Bluish Grey (6352600 | 78257) 

The new 1 x 1 plate with two bars remains unique to this set, but appears in several 2022 sets. It's compact and looks useful for just about anything; and the square antistud has pleasantly strong friction. I believe this pretty part has a glorious future awaiting. In the bus they're used as double joints on the bed/sofa and the engine compartment.

  • 1x Flag 2 x 2 Trapezoid with Flared Edge in Earth Blue/Dark Blue (6365498 | 80324) 

This is a new version of an old mould with an updated "flared edge". I'm not entirely sure how it's different from the previous versions: perhaps yet another iteration of the clip connection? It has a grainy matte texture and thick clips; my older versions had either matte texture and thin clips OR smooth texture and thick clips. Best of both worlds? The matte thin clips one is common in Dark Blue.

Decorated parts and textiles

While the set relies on stickers, there are a few cool prints. 

  • 5x Plate, Round 2 x 2 with Rounded Bottom with Black VW Logo on Silver Background Pattern in Medium Stone Grey/Light Bluish Grey (6359195 | 79804)
  • 1x Slope, Curved 4 x 2 with Black Air Vent Grille Pattern Model Left Side in White (6359191 | 79800)
  • 1x Slope, Curved 4 x 2 with Black Air Vent Grille Pattern Model Right Side in White (6359192 | 79801)
  • 1x Tile 2 x 2 with Groove with Black Air Vent Grille Pattern Model Left Side in White (6359193 | 79802)
  • 1x Tile 2 x 2 with Groove with Black Air Vent Grille Pattern Model Right Side in White (6359194 | 79803)

The arched air vents look like something from a stormtrooper helmet; not super useful, but nice to see them perfectly lined up by the printing machine. The hub caps are Light Bluish Grey, but the high-quality print makes them look like Metallic Silver. The logo is quite mundane and shouldn’t limit their use; I could see them used in a medieval suit of armour, for example.

  • 4x Cloth Curtain Right with Light Bluish Gray and Yellow Plaid Pattern in White (6352742 | 79417) 
  • 4x Cloth Curtain Left with Light Bluish Gray and Yellow Plaid Pattern in White (6352744 | 79418)

Like the previous Volkswagen van, 10279 has cute little curtains in its windows - this time eight curtains, and they're very small (the 2 x 14 plate is there for scale). They're bent 90 degrees below the hole, but are quite rigid and likely to retain their shape. The pattern is identical, with a white back, and there are two mirrored versions: four of both are included.

  • 1x Cloth Awning Long with Tapered Ends in Bright Orange/Orange (6352682 | 79385) 

The pop-up roof features another textile part which is soft - as it's supposed to crease - and very big. It looks like a glider wing, and the orange colour makes it very striking.  I wonder how a MOCer with interests in designing attire could utilize it. 

This set includes two sticker sheets; one regular and one with thematic stickers for customisation without instruction. 

They're appropriately cheerful. I would have liked to see the Medium Azure stickers printed, as the colours rarely ever match. Others are okay I guess, but I didn't apply them, and the model doesn't really need them. The only parts that feel baffling without them are the licence plates.

Recolours

  • 6x Technic, Brick 5 x 5 Right Angle (1 x 4 - 1 x 4) in White (6357617 | 28973, 32555)

This fancy bent TECHNIC brick was introduced 2001 and premieres here in white. It's a pleasant piece with a flair of exclusiveness. A great tool for strong structures and therefore a welcome recolour.

  • 4x Arch 1 x 3 x 2 Inverted in Medium Azure (6357619 | 18653) 
  • 2x Tile, Modified 2 x 2 with Studs on Edge in Medium Azure (6357615 | 33909)
  • 2x Plate, Round Corner 3 x 3 with 2 x 2 Cutout in Medium Azure (6357620 | 68568) 
  • 2x Arch 1 x 3 x 3 in Medium Azure (6056455 | 13965)
  • 3x Brick, Modified 1 x 4 with Groove in Medium Azure (6357618 | 2653)

It's not surprising that this set has some Medium Azure recolours. These pieces are currently unique to this set and pleasantly broaden the wide array of this vibrant colour. I was surprised that these were not already introduced in some LEGO Friends sets.

 

  • 6x Bracket 1 x 1 - 1 x 2 Inverted in Brick Yellow/Tan (6357613 | 73825) - Introduced here, but later also appeared in 10294 Titanic
  • 1x Bar 1L with 1 x 1 Round Plate with Hollow Stud in Sand Green (6357616 | 32828) - with one extra, unique to this set

These last recolours appeal to my character-building needs. The tall, thin bracket is a part to solve many problems, and I think the bar-with-round-plate piece is one of the most important moulds of the 2010s along with the 1x2 round plate.

Rare parts

  • 1x Technic, Pin 1/2 with Stud Receptacle in Bright Green (6301284 | 65826), with one extra; also in three SPIKE sets

The new pin with antistud is interesting. At time of writing this is its sole appearance outside SPIKE and even here it's used rather mundanely. I'm not sure what I think about this part. It's almost exciting… but as studs can be connected into pin holes anyway, it doesn't offer much unless you like freely spinning parts or are uncomfortable with stud-to-pin-hole connections. I might be totally wrong though, as I'm not deeply into Technic.


The antistud has a good amount of friction, and a 3.18mm bar can be embedded into the pin, like with the usual friction pin; I'm unsure if it's a legal connection though.

  • 1x Vehicle, Steering Wheel with 2 x 2 Center in Black (6299938 | 67811), in three other large car sets in 2021
  • 2x Bracket 1 x 1 - 1 x 2 Inverted in Bright Blue/Blue (6344218 | 73825), introduced in 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery in 2021
  • 2x Wedge 2 x 1 x 2/3 with Stud Notch Right in Medium Azure (6296901 | 29119), introduced ín 2020, in three other sets
  • 2x Wedge 2 x 1 x 2/3 with Stud Notch Left in Medium Azure (6296904 | 29120), introduced ín 2020, in three other sets
  • 2x Slope, Curved 2 x 4 x 1 1/3 with 4 Recessed Studs in Medium Azure (6345200 | 6081), introduced in 2021 in Friends 41681 Forest Camper Van and Sailboat which also includes a sort of hippie bus
  • 6x Slope, Curved 2 x 1 Inverted in Dark Orange (6339914 | 24201) introduced ín 2021, in two other sets
  • 2x Tile 1 x 3 in Dark Orange (6340118 | 63864), introduced ín 2021, in two other sets
  • 1x Hinge Plate 1 x 2 Locking with 1 Finger on Side without Bottom Groove in Dark Orange (6345166 | 49716), also four in 10295 Porsche 911 


  • 2x Plate, Modified 2 x 6 x 2/3 with 4 Studs on Side in Dark Stone Grey/Dark Bluish Grey (6401210 | 72132 | 87609), introduced ín 2021, in four other sets
  • 1x Tile, Modified 4 x 4 with Rounded Corners and 4 Feet in Medium Nougat (6317938 | 68869), introduced in 71369 Bowser's Castle Boss Battle in 2020
  • 6x Arch 1 x 3 Inverted in Brick Yellow/Tan (6328182 | 70681), introduced in 2019 and available in two other sets
  • 1x Arch 1 x 3 Inverted 1x in Medium Stone Grey/Light Bluish Grey (6329117 | 70681) introduced in 2021 and available in five other sets
  • 1x Arch 1 x 3 Inverted in Dark Red (6337786 | 70681), introduced in 76177 Battle at the Ancient Village in 2021
  • 1x Brick, Round 2 x 2 Dome Bottom in Sand Green (6258323 | 15395), introduced in 2019 and available in three other sets
  • 1x Plate, Round 1 x 1 with Bar Handle on Side - Closed Ends in Sand Green (6278550 | 26047), introduced in 2019 and available in three other sets 

  • 1x Plate 2 X 14 in Bright Bluish Green/Dark Turquoise (6270534 | 91988), returning from 75253 Droid Commander from 2019
  • 2x Technic, Axle and Pin Connector Perpendicular Triple in Bright Yellowish Green /Lime (6334042 | 42191 | 63869), in three other sets
  • 2x Tile, Modified 4 x 4 with Studs on Edge in Medium Azure (6151414 | 6179), returning from 10728 Mia's Vet Clinic from 2016 

  • 1x Brick, Modified 1 x 2 with Studs on 1 Side in Medium Azure (6348142 | 11211), introduced in 2021, comes in three other sets 

  • 3x Technic, Axle 2L with Pin without Friction Ridges Lengthwise in White (6289797 | 65249)

Worth mentioning is also the new frictionless pin with a 2L axle. It was introduced this year but appears already in eight other sets.

Quality of parts

There have been grave concerns raised by other reviewers about the fragility of the model, and Tips and Bricks pointed to the quality of the elements as the likely cause, with some pieces being strangely flexible and lacking clutch power. I experienced none of these issues however, so maybe there are regional differences on the parts produced? My model presumably originated from European factories and was in a standard EU box. Let us know in the comments if you experienced issues, mentioning which country you're in.

The completed build


After about six hours of building, the kleinbus is ready to hit the road. It's a relatively large and bulky vehicle, but nicely rounded. It is, if anything, a pleasant and friendly-looking car, not only due to its hippie association but also the aesthetics. There is something akin to tapirs and manatees and bowhead whales on the shaping - it's a kind giant. I think the round headlight eyes and the big spare tyre nose play a part here. And while the car is rounded, it does not look like a polished potato like most modern cars. 


I've recently seen comments online about the front bumper falling off. This happened with my model too, but not often enough to bother me as this is common enough in MOC-building. I assume it was due to the connection not being stable enough (6 studs of 2x3 jumpers, all on the same level without any supporting Z-brackets).


In general, the subtle shapes of the T2 are well captured. On the real vehicle, the front doors are wider, extending further in front of the wheels, but this has not been captured on the model. And no wonder, as it would have been extremely hard using current arched bricks! This does not bug me at all, though. The only thing that bugs me is the groove between the cheese slopes and the 1 x 4 curved slopes on the front; but there is no clear way to fix them (an imaginary 1 x 5 x 4/3 curved slope would probably do the trick). The model also lacks wipers. Designing these seems like a neat little challenge for those interested in modding their sets.


I was worried that Medium Azure would look too bright and energetic for this vintage car, but when used in large and clean areas, it looks peaceful and beautiful. The colour scheme is based on Sven Franic's own T2, which is cool.

Functions

This is not a Volkswagen Transformer, but opening all the doors and slots and trapdoors alters its looks a lot. I made a 53-second video to present these functions:

The cab doors are simple but flush, and pleasant to open and close. The sliding door is more complicated, and takes a rubber band-operating button near the back wheel to open it. The function is well-designed and has a similar feel to modern Volkswagen Transporter's sliding door (I used to drive police Transporters to wash while doing my civilian service). 


The boxer engine compartment has a double hinge - using two of brand new Plate, Modified 1 x 1 with Bar Handles on Ends - Closed Ends (78257) - and closes beautifully without any gaps. The back door is similarly gapless, but the construction is somewhat flimsy. 

The roof pops up to give more headroom to the "living room" -  at least in the real vehicle. In this model, the construction of the function takes this space, so the purpose is mainly aesthetic. It is very nice though; it has to be helped open, but it then rises on its own accord with the shock absorber piece. The soft cloth part folds nicely after a few attempts and leaves no major gaps.


The whole roof section can be removed by opening the back door and sliding the roof out. I only discovered this function a couple of weeks after building the car, but it's quite ingenious - if a bit tricky, due to the flimsiness of the back door.


Removing the roof or opening the sliding door reveals a the living room with foldable "rock'n'roll bed", sink, stove, adjustable table, fridge - with authentic banana clip - and bottle of propane gas.


Compared to the living room, the driver's cab is very sparse. The seats are pretty if somewhat rigid in their 90 degree angle, and the gearstick is fun, but otherwise it's all studs and antistuds. The steering function, geared to both the steering wheel and the spare wheel on front, takes most of the leg room. The lack of design focus is understandable, but something little like a glove box or a wunderbaum wouldn't have hurt. 


The SNOT work on the door is marvellous and a good example of high-quality design.


The surfboard and a pair of foldable chairs finish the model. The beautifully coloured surfboard is just stuffed inside, while the chairs are folded and put into the slot above the cab. It works well but feels a bit illegal…

Conclusion


Gandalf and Bilbo - built for my old Iron Builder challenge against fellow New E author Jonas Kramm - are not included in this set (and neither are the 1960s Finnish VW myynti and VW huolto bricks with their posts). Bonds between the producers go far back. What drove old Gandalf and Mr. Baggins into this Folk Wagon business is up to your imagination.

10279 is a pleasant, well-designed set with tons of good and exciting parts. There are some slight shortcomings and the flimsiness of the back door; to my eyes they don't seem to be the result of bad design but rather compromises of limits on parts and space. 10279 is an expensive set but does not feel overpriced when compared to other sets with a similar price point. It has a nice building process, including some complicated folding mechanics along the journey. There is some trivia written into the instructions, which adds something extra to the experience. 

Cars are a traditional subject of LEGO sets and MOCs, but I don't have much experience with them. I must confess that I crashed the kleinbus twice by driving it off a table and then off a chair; fixing it took half an hour both times. So I'm a bit of a crash test dummy myself… and so I can tell you that the set won't survive a drop of 80 cm, but might, if you're lucky, summion into existence a black 1x2 brick that definitely doesn't fit anywhere. Oh well... I'll keep the kleinbus built for a few weeks and then it will drive me into new adventures, as parts in my own models, completing the circle.

Buying this set, priced US$179.99/ £139.99/ AU$269.99? Consider using our affiliate links, New Elementary may get a commission: USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop/for Europe 'Change region'

Editor: Chris Baginski

READ MORE: TobyMac dissects the LEGO® City Stuntz bikes... literally

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5 comments:

  1. While I dont have this particular set to comment on the parts quality, I do think its worth adding that every time I've come across parts that feel lower quality (poor clutch, soft feel, etc. The problems described by Tips and Bricks), they've been bought from Bricks and Pieces, which I believe ships from a European factory? Meanwhile the sets I buy here in Australia have always been fine quality-wise

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    Replies
    1. Hmm, from what I have heard, the troubles with brittle and broken parts seem to primarily stem from the Mexican factory that supports the American market. The Asian parts would feel differently, but not necessarily be any more fragile than European, it seems...

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  2. Good review! I expect this was in the works for quite some time, given the in-depth analysis and high quality photos.

    The sand green 32828s are now also available in 80032 Chang'e Moon Cake Factory from the Monkie Kid theme, which has two of them (twice as many as this set, but still a rare part).

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  3. The Pin with Antistud is great for making legal stud-in-pinhole connections across multiple holes. The new part offers enough play and is shaped so that bricks and such can be placed across multiple pinholes without stressing the parts.

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  4. The revised geometry of 1x Flag 2x2 Trapezoid with Flared Edge (80324), is that the thin flag surface is flared out thicker along edge near the clips. Functionally this long continuous fillet that spans from one clip to the other should make the part stronger and keep the clips from being deformed.

    If you insert a bar across both clips, that edge of the flag near the bar is thicker than the other edges of the flag. I am making a guess that the clearance between that edge and the bar is also reduces, which has implications for if you are trying to attach other parts in that space.

    For example with parts on my desk, I can insert a bar through the hollow end of a Plate, Modified 1x4 Offset (4590), and then clip the flag to the bar with one clip on each side. On this new flag it looks like there's possibly not room for that.

    I think that covers it, damn it'd be easier to do this with pictures!

    Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete