29 May 2024

LEGO® Creator set review + MOC: 31148 Retro Roller Skate

Posted by Eero

LEGO® Creator is the odd-one-out of the evergreen themes: you never know what the next wave will entail. It seems that people generally like the sets, but a die-hard LEGO Creator fan is one of the rarest types of LEGO hobbyists. New Elementary features LEGO Creator sets infrequently, as they rarely have any new pieces. However in the esteemed January 2024 wave, set 31148 Retro Roller Skate caught my eye. To find out why, let's roll.

Products in this article were gifted by The LEGO Group; the author's opinions are their own.
This article contains affiliate links to LEGO.com; we may get a small commission if you purchase.

31148 Retro Roller Skate
US$29.99/ £24.99/ 29.99€/ AU$49.99
342 parts
Released 1 January 2024

Set 31148 on LEGO.com


Five months after release, many of the new elements are still unique to this set. Additionally, most seem to be available from LEGO® Pick a Brick. We've added links to every element ID below, so you can check availability in your country.  

"Look mum, non-black tyres!"

  • 4x Tyre 43.2 x 22 ZR in Bright Pink / Light Purple (6466349 | 5327)

It was the pink tyres that piqued my interest in this set and therefore we've taking a little detour into the history of non-black LEGO tyres. 

Soft, rubbery LEGO pieces that are large enough to allow some bending are hard to come by. Inverting larger tyres to create smooth, bulbous shapes has been in the MOC builder's toolkit for decades, but it used to be limited to black. 

There have been non-black tyres before, but not in the types that can be inverted – at least not to my knowledge. The Large RC car tyres seem to be an exception, but I don't ever recall seeing them on a MOC, probably due to their rarity.

The first tyres LEGO made were grey. Tire Smooth - Large Solid (36) and Tire Smooth - Small Solid (132old) debuted in Light Grey in 1963: a few years before appearing in Black - though information about sets and counterparts this old is always hazy.

The old grey tyres appeared in several material variations, based on empirical evidence on how they have aged after the 1960s. The last set they appeared in was released in 1969; this means that all of them are at least 55 years old. 

In a weird way, this makes me happy. Many of them are yellowed or blackened, something that I utilised to capture the different hues of North Carelian soapstone in my Pohjola building a while back. However, some of them have turned almost Tan and are rock-hard, impossible to connect to anything without cracking. One of mine has almost cracked into shards, but still holds. It would make a cool historical artefact in an archeology-themed MOC.

After the '60s, non-black tyres made a few very odd appearances. Tire 30 x 10.5 Offset Tread (2346) appeared in Light Grey in 3038 Spider Slayer in 1998 and 9748 Droid Developer Kit in 1999.  Tire 17.5mm D. x 6mm with Shallow Staggered Treads (what a name! Holy Shallow Staggered Treads Batman!) (42611) appeared in Milky White in the two basketball courts of 2003, 3432 NBA Challenge and 3433 NBA Ultimate Arena, notorious for its large blue round things. Tire 21mm D. x 12mm - Offset Tread Small Wide (6015) - or some of its variations - appeared in a Spongebob Squarepants set, 3830 The Bikini Bottom Express in 2008. Tire Technic Wedge Belt Wheel (2815) has appeared in Pearl Gold and Medium Azure even more recently, but it barely counts as being a tyre.

Right now, a new coloured tyre renaissance seems to be dawning: aside from these Bright Pink ones, two LEGO® Technic Space supertheme sets - 42178 Surface Space Loader LT78 and 42180 Mars Crew Exploration Rover are packing Light Bluish Gray tyres: Tire 56 x 26 Tractor (70695) and Tire 68.7 x 34 R (61480). That's what it takes to make Eero take interest in LEGO Technic sets. 

Let's get back to roller skating.

The rest of the recolours

  • 6x Technic Axle and Pin Connector Toggle Joint Smooth in Yellow / Bright Yellow (6469823 | 3182)
  • 1x Cone 3 x 3 x 2 in Bright Pink / Light Purple (6469822 | 6233)

It's surprising to see the toggle joint is new to yellow, as it's such a common colour in LEGO Technic. A useful piece, certainly. 

I'm more excited about the Bright Pink cone, though: It's one of my favourite moulds, with pleasant proportions, that is very useful in building limbs. I think I need another one, because limbs usually come in pairs.

The largest stock of recolours is in Light Aqua, however:

  • 7x Bracket 2 x 2 with 1 x 2 Vertical Studs in Light Aqua / Aqua (6468178 | 41682)
  • 3x Slope Curved 3 x 2 with Stud Notch Left in Light Aqua / Aqua (6469819 | 80177)
  • 3x Slope Curved 3 x 2 with Stud Notch Right in Light Aqua / Aqua (6469820 | 80178)

These are useful and pretty pieces.

Rare parts

The Light Aqua goodness continues with the rare pieces…

  • 6x Plate 1 x 1 x 2/3 Half Round with Side Stud (D-SNOT) in Light Aqua / Aqua (6469825 | 3386) - new in 2024, found in 2 other sets 
  • 7x Brick Special 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with 4 Studs on 1 Side in Light Aqua / Aqua (6469824 | 22885) - in 2 other sets

  • 2x Slope Curved 4 x 2 No Studs in Light Aqua / Aqua (6469826 | 93606) - Previously only in 8487 Flo's V8 Cafe in 2011
  • 2x Brick Arch 1 x 3 x 2 Curved Top in Light Aqua / Aqua (6470229 | 92903) - in 2 other sets

And there's a side order of some other bluish hues:

The build

The finished product is a single roller skate, about 1:2 in scale and relatively realistic in its shaping.

Curved slopes and wedges form the shoe, while some LEGO Technic and macaroni tubes create the bow of the laces. Candles as the lace-ends look fantastic. Only the central notches of those pin connectors are unsightly, and irritating to position so that they are not visible.

The colours look really nice: fresh but retro. The parts necessary to create two different patterns on both sides are included, so you'll end up with some extra pieces in each case. The box encourages designing your own patterns, so this set seems to have an element of the deceased LEGO® DOTS theme baked into it.

You can also remove the skate to leave a normal shoe. It's up to you. It comes off easily, probably too easily. 

It's probably not much of a play function, but aside from rolling it around, and designing your own patterns, this set doesn't provide that much play value as it is. The build is fun, the techniques are good; and as a 3-in-1 set this also offers the possibility of building a radio or a skateboard instead. They don't look as good as the roller skate, though. They don't even use the pink tyres.

It's hard to perceive the target audience for this set. Don't get me wrong, I like it; but I wouldn't have been very excited about it as a kid, and the adult set catalogue is vast these days. A small display piece in a kid's room? Maybe. But only maybe. 

On the other hand, the oddness of the concept has a certain charm, and LEGO is about imagination. I could imagine a kid upgrading it into a minifigure vehicle, for example; there is certain beauty in the idea. 

And, of course, for me, right now, the point of the set is to build it, give an approving nod to its design and then build something using its pieces…

Eero Okkonen's MOC: The Roller Girl

I think people are interesting, so I like building them. A profiled tyre doesn't look like a human body part, but inverting it makes the shape more organic and profile-less. My first idea was to use it as the collar of a boot, but the scale would have been too large.

Here, the Bright Pink tyre turned into a strapless tank top. 

I think this type of garment would have also worked well as a ball gown. However, I wanted to make a character that somehow relates to the reviewed set… so ended up making roller skates in a similar colour scheme, but on a much smaller scale! The rest of the figure repeats the set's colours as well.

The colour scheme of the set is very bright, which is a good thing; But my model needed a bit of contrast. 

The first version had short, black hair. A work-in-progress image of it was published to our Patreon recently. It was too much, though, and I wanted to incorporate some Medium Nougat from the set's sole. 

The contrasting element ended up being the wire of the ear buds, connected to a cassette player. Small earbuds probably aren't that retro (or are all wired earpieces retro now?), but I had never built a character with them, so it was about time. The cassette player is retro, at least. Its deck uses the relatively recent 1x2 curved slopes in Trans-Yellow, which also appear in the sporty sunglasses.


There seems to be a consensus in the community that LEGO Creator is living its golden age right now. The theme has also widened its scope, being something like an affordable, small-sized alternative to LEGO® Icons and other 18+ sets. This is something an adult hobbyist follows with glee. 

31148 Retro Roller Skate is undeniably an odd toy, despite its pattern-design activity; but it's also a fun model with great parts. The value of US$29.99/ £24.99/ 29.99€/ AU$49.99 for 342 parts is decent if not extraordinary, giving that there are no figures. However, the main lure here is the quartet of Bright Pink tyres, something truly unique to work with. 

The renaissance of LEGO Creator comes with the renaissance of freshly coloured tyres. Great!

READ MORE: LEGO® Friends: see the new parts for June 2024

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  1. Another fantastic MOC from Eero!

    This set is pretty cute but the alt builds (not reviewed here) are a little weak, in part because they don't make use of the snazzy pink tires from the main build

    1. I though so too till i looked closer and he used it on the girls top. Its a trick i saw before where you flip the tire inside out.

    2. I think Andrew meant the official alt builds: a skateboard and a boombox.