First review... here goes:
So I was able to fulfill one of my life long dream and go on the Lego Inside Tour in Billund. I would in a heart beat recommend this to any LEGO fan. For those that can't afford to go, there's a nice little documentary that National Geographic made that does show a lot of stuff that I saw: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCPGlM9T ... re=related
Every year the Lego Insider Tour has run, the participants have received an exclusive set. In the past they have been cars - some even designed by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (current owner, and grandson of Ole Kirk Christiansen) - houses, and for the 2011 year, LEGO has created highly appropriate (and amusing) set to go along with the Inside Tour: LEGO model of the LEGO moulding Machines that made the LEGO bricks that made this LEGO set
There are two moulding machines, the smaller is the original hand crank machine that dates back to 1949. The second larger moulding machine is an example of the current ones that are being used today to create the bricks we love.
Set: #4000001 Moulding Machines
Price: Free with Inside Tour
New Pieces: None, custom Sticker sheet.
The first thing I noticed when I received it was how HEAVY it was - at over 800 pieces (including spare parts), it's probably the most densely packed set I've ever seen.
The front of the box shows the assembled set (I did find it amusing that even Lego Designers suck at applying stickers). And the top shows pictures of the actual machines:
The back provides some nice information on the Mould Machines, as well a group pictures of the Lego Insider Group #14 (dedacted for privacy) as well as the KKK himself playing with it
I actually debated a good 3 weeks before I decided opening this set. Originally I had grand illusions that I would keep it Mint In Box forever. But I realized I would never sell it, so what's the point of keeping it sealed? I'd rather enjoy it and share it with the community.
When I finally opened it, I was surprised at what I saw. First it was a slip box - which wasn't standard LEGO packaging - but it makes sense as it's a super small run (68 only), secondly instead of the standard polybags I encountered a series of LEGO ziplock bags:
Anyone who has had to order missing parts would be familiar with these bags, they are the bags that are used by customer service to fulfill missing part orders (which we saw on the tour). I suspect that these sets were litteraly assembled by customer service. It also explains why the set was so densly packed - as there were no air pockets in these bags.
Along with the bricks were two instructions and a little sticker set. The Instructions are pretty nice, but not the same quality as the mass produced ones - both in paper quality and instructional quality. There was a odd disclaimer proclaiming the instructions were generated through proprietary means - which could mean that the instructions were auto-generated - probably something similar to the DesignByMe instuctions (though I've never actually done a DesignByMe, so I'm not sure).
Timelapse of build:
The build was pretty quick, and had some nice wrinkles and some advanced techniques, while it's officially 10+ (according to the box) interms of standard LEGO sets, the build rates slightly higher, as there is some snot work and some nice greebling (though i'm sure it's actually on the real thing, not just to make it look cool).
What really stuck out for me during the build was the attention to detail - even for parts that are hard to see. For instance on the larger Moulder Machine - the mould has some nice work - simple cheese wedges - but much better than say simply tiling it.
I was also impressed at the accuracy of it, when I saw the box art, it's instantly recognizable as THE moulding machine - that we had seen just a day before.
Both models are fantastic. Of the other Inside Tour sets, it's probably either best or second best (Ole Kirk's house the other notable set).
They're not as swooshy as some of the other stuff Lego has produced (in general and for the Tour). While there is some playability very nicely built into the set- it's really not something I see many kids playing with for extended periods of time.
Set in action:
It feels like something I would put on my office desk (if it wasn't secured in my bullet proof glass display case).
It's definitely feels like an AFOL set - which course makes sense, as it was designed by an AFOL LEGO designer (see the smiley on the front for signature!).
Ultimately, is this set worth the admission price? - absolutely not. I would never pay that much for this. But the Tour isn't about getting this set, the tour is about seeing LEGO and how things are made, how it's done, and meeting the people that "have the best job in the world". THAT was well worth the price of admission.
Though this set does make one kick-butt souvenir.
see flickr stream for additional pics http://www.flickr.com/photos/si-mocs/