The LEGO 10261 Roller Coaster is the latest model in the Creator Expert line, and comes in at a huge 4124 parts. But what really makes it stand out is its physical dimensions - this is a massive display piece and when combined with some motorisation it really draws a crowd. But it is any good?
Box & Contents
As expected from a 4000+ part set, the box is huge. It measures 85cm x 49cm x 19cm and weighs 5.8 kg.
- 47 plastic bags of parts (plus the usual bags within bags I didn't bother to count)
- 2 instruction booklets wrapped in plastic, with the sticker sheet included
- 2 internal boxes to give it more rigidity (the bags were both inside these boxes and loose in the main box)
The two instruction booklets divide the build into two halves and have 179 and 258 pages each.
The most obvious new parts in this set are the 7 red track parts. 5 of them are existing designs from previous sets (e.g. 70922 Joker Manor, and this year's 31084 Pirate Roller Coaster). 2 of them are new designs though:
The first part giving us the steep ramp, and the second being a 16L version of the existing 26022 8L track.
There are also several parts appearing in new colors:
The model contains two major halves which are built separately and joined together near the end. After completing all the #1 bags, we have a number of 16x16 and 8x16 baseplates joined together with jumper plates. It's pretty flimsy at this point.
The only decorations so far are a small bench, a tree and a fairy-floss machine. I must have broken that tree a hundred times during the build and photography of this model, being in a corner and in the way!
The only denomination any minifig carries with them are $100 notes, so that is some expensive fairy-floss!
The #2 bags add the base structural support for this half of the model. You can see the octagonal frames used to connect all the bottom clips to the vertical supports.
There are plenty of cross-structural girders and clips joining everything to make it stronger. The vertical supports with the round 2x2 bricks actually have 12L axles inserted inside them to give them extra strength. It's certainly a pain to get them apart again if you make a mistake! There are a few 3L technic beams used as well here and there, but not as many as I would have thought would be needed to keep a model this large in one piece.
The #3 bags are up next, and introduce a bit of needed extra color. There is a second layer of supports and cross-beams using the 2x2 bricks/axles combinations (ouch my fingers), and plenty more octagonal frames. But we also get to add some of the nice red roller coaster tracks which, let's face it, are the main attraction of this set.
The bags numbered #4 add two more layers of those increasingly annoying 2x2 bricks with axles threaded inside them. I usually build most of my sets with my kids, but by this point they wanted nothing to do with it. "Your turn dad!" meant it was nothing but page after page of white columns.
Bags #5 introduce a bit of variety. You get to add more of those lovely track parts, and the first hint of the mechanics used by the automation. There is also the COASTER sign which is used to break up the sea of white parts.
This is actually the end of the first half of the model.
The COASTER sign is a nice design and well done for it's size. The three tyres on the top track are used to propel the cars along after they climb up the steep ramp.
Bags #6 starts off with the second half of the model. It is actually quite a bit bigger at the base than the first half, but not as tall.
Bags #7 add the first layer of support pillers, and the basic machinery that will drive the ramp's chain. By now, I'm counting down how many of those white 2x2 bricks are left. The end can't come soon enough for me... which is not how building a LEGO set should feel.
The #8 bags add a bit of relief in the form of more red tracks and a couple of stands.
A nice little Juice shop to wash down your fairy-floss. The Ticket stand sits right under the tracks, and of course tickets cost $100 each.
Bags #9 build more of the mechanism that moves the cars up the ramp. On top of that are the gates allowing entrance to the cars once they are in place.
The middle crank has a curious connection. When turned clockwise, the gears move apart and have no effect. When turned anti-clockwise the gears connect and the tyre rotates. It doesn't really seem to serve any purpose, but stood out to me.
After that, the #10 bags build up the top layer with tracks. There's nowhere near as many of the painfull 2x2 white bricks in this layer, and we had a mini celebration when the last one got used! This is the completed second half of the model.
The final bags #11 join the two halves, and build the 6 cars - in two groups of 3 connected cars each.
Power Functions and Boost
Like the other Creator Expert fairground models that have been released, a simple way to connect up some motorised functions is provided.
Using the Power Functions allows for continuous running of the ramp's conveyor belt and the cars will cycle endlessly around the roller coaster.
It also shows you how to use the newer Boost parts which include the proximity detector so you can program it to only turn the track when the car is at the bottom of the ramp. It also allows you to add some neat sound effects - like some screaming :)
I now hate white parts! All kidding aside, there were 530 of the 2x2 round white bricks which in itself isn't so bad. But having to thread most of them over 12L axles makes it much harder. Taking the set apart is going to be difficult too.
I now have a behemoth taking up most of my office space. Don't underestimate the size of this thing. If you want it it is probably as a display piece and you will need to plan accordingly. Fully built it measures 88cm x 40cm x 51cm.
I can't deny that it is a fun model though. The kids play with it every day, usually involving some sort of mechanical failure where track parts mysteriously dissappear causing the cars to derail or fly off onto the floor. Running the Power Functions continuously can get quite noisy though. The Boost setup is better in that the motors only turn during the ramp-up phase, however the constant screaming sound effects make up for that!
The set is not cheap at US$380 or €330, and the after-market value will be in the red track parts. My quick calculation for just buying the 41 track parts came to $280.
Is this set for you? If you couldn't already tell, it's not for me. It's far too big, it costs too much, the build experience was very repetitive, it's too fragile to move around, and while it looks exactly like some old-style roller coasters (Luna Park in Melbourne is what it reminds me of), I don't think it's a particularly attractive model - at least until the cars start running around the track and starts mesmerising the audience!
Disclaimer: This LEGO set was kindly provided for review by The LEGO Group. Anything said in this post is the opinion of the author and not The LEGO Group.