I was very excited to get my hands on LEGO’s new Volkswagen Camper Van. Bigger and more detailed than the first, it looks to be the perfect companion piece – and a must-have for any fan of LEGO Creator Expert vehicles. But while there’s no denying that the finished model is gorgeous, the actual building process has given me much pause. Read on to see my thoughts – and woes – about LEGO 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van.
LEGO 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van
- RRP: £149.99
- Number of pieces: 2,207 pieces
- Release date: August 2021
- Age rating: 18+
- Time to build: 6-8 hours
What’s in the box?
There’s a total of 21 bags in LEGO 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van. They’re numbered from 1 to 11, with one final unnumbered bag containing the wheels and the windscreen. (A nice idea to keep this separate, to reduce scratches from other bricks.)
A 330-page instruction booklet is also included, with a nicely illustrated preface giving some background information on the real-life Camper Van and a foreword from the set’s designer. And finally, there are two sheets of stickers; one smaller sheet for necessary detail, and a second, larger sheet that allows you to add your own ‘psychedelic’ decal, if you so wish.
Since this isn’t a minifigure-scale set, I’m sad to report that no minifigures are included.
I’ll cut to the chase straight away before I get into the nitty-gritty details of putting LEGO 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van together: never before has constructing a LEGO set given me so much grief – and I’ve put together a lot of LEGO sets. The entire construction feels flimsy; several times I had to completely rebuild certain sections because they’d just fall apart as I was adding bricks elsewhere. It had me questioning my own abilities – I’d never experienced frustration to this extent before, so surely I must have built something wrong down the line? Seemingly not; for various reasons, this is a very delicate, precarious build.
It really is a shame, because between the moments of frustration, there are some truly innovative sections. There’s a incredible amount of detail; if you’ve put together the now-retired T1 Camper Van you might expect a similar experience, but completely different building techniques are applied here. There’s a sliding door, which pops open by pressing a button underneath; a wonderful touch by itself. And there’s a fully-fitted kitchenette inside the van, which is utterly delightful. There’s a stocked fridge and a stove top with a kettle sat upon it – open the cupboard underneath, and you’ll even find a bottle of gas which is powering it.
The designer hasn’t spared any detail, which makes exploring the nooks and crannies of LEGO 102079 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van an absolute delight. Even the ancillary builds that come alongside it – a surfboard and two folding deckchairs – are wonderful.
But to allow for many of these excellent details, some unusual building techniques have been employed. There’s an awful lot of side-building here, and layering on top of studs-not-on-top (SNOT) bricks. Initially, this made for a fun experience – I always enjoy putting together unorthodox builds – but it soon becomes apparent that the use of these methods makes for a not-so-sturdy final model.
Both the rear end and front end of the vehicle gave me exceptional difficulty. I ended up building sections of them more than once, believing I must have made a mistake. No mistakes were made – they simply don’t hold together very well. The problem is, particularly with the front of the vehicle, that chunks are often built independently, then attached to the whole model. Putting pressure on the build to ensure these are securely in place means that other parts start to break. Nothing ever feels truly secure; constantly having to fix a previous section while you’re trying to build a new section doesn’t make for a fun experience.
If you manage to get through the entire build though, you’re left with a stunning vehicle – albeit one you’re probably going to be scared to touch, for fear it might just crumble in your hands. Suffice to say, it’s much more eye-catching than the T1 Camper Van, in my opinion anyway, and the additional detail in the interior really adds a wow factor.
Play or display?
Being an 18+ ‘LEGO for adults’ model, it’s safe to say that LEGO 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van is designed to be purely a display-only model. That said, the moving parts make this an attracting playset for younger hands. There are opening doors, a sliding side door, an opening boot and rear door, and an extending roof. Then there’s the kitchenette with opening cupboard doors and back set that folds down into a bed. There’s even working steering, which can be controlled by the steering wheel or by turning the spare wheel on the front of the van. All of that makes for a set that begs to be moved around and played with.
But the flimsiness of this set means that there’s absolutely no way it could handle any sort of extended fiddling. This is a set that, when built, needs to go in a display unit, preferably behind glass, and never to be touched again. It’s a real shame, because its moving functions deserve some love. I just daren’t give them it.
Value for money?
Right off the bat, you’re facing the fact that this costs almost twice as much as the now-retired Volkswagen T1 Camper Van. Immediately, that’s going to turn a lot of people off. In terms of piece count and size, though, the price of LEGO 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van feels fair. It’s very much in line with what we’d expect from a modern Creator Expert set of its size.
But considering the issues I faced while building, this is a hard set to whole-heartedly recommend. Yes, it looks fantastic when finished – but the joy of LEGO should be in the build itself. There wasn’t much joy to be found thanks to all the frustration, unfortunately. If you’re a huge Volkswagen Camper Van fan, you’ll probably want this anyway for the finished model. But if you’re simply looking for a new LEGO build, there are much better, and more enjoyable, sets out there. That’s a hard pill to swallow when you’ve spent £150 on something, but there we are.
21 CommentsLeave a Reply
Deze review van Kim klopt 100% met mijn ervaring.Ik was blij dat de bouw voltooid was. Ook vind ik weinig VW-kenmerken terug in vergelijking met de vorige uitgave, de T1 was echt een VW.Deze set, de T2, lijkt meer op een voertuig uit het voormalige Oostblok.Uiteindelijk toch redelijk resultaat maar ook wat ontgoocheling
The ‘Eastern Block’ comment made me chuckle! I’m happy with how the finished product looks, but yes, the building process left something to be desired. I’m very glad I’m not the only one — thanks very much for your comment 🙂
Lepin version of the T2 is out now at 100$, I hope they’ve ironed out all of the faulty bits and common complaints of the Lego T2. I might order one, but I am still wary after all the negative consumer reviews.
Thank you for your review about the build. I thought it was me. I too had to rebuild the front and back several times and still going. It really does become frustrating.
Thanks for your comment, Aaron. I’m both relieved it wasn’t just me, but also somewhat saddened that most people have had a similar experience. It’s such a shame, as the model is fantastic. But even trying to move the model to a new shelf a couple of weeks after building, I ended up having to rebuild sections as it just fell apart on me. I’ve built a LOT of sets and never had an experience like this one before.
Seriously Kim, Lego need to answer some questions on the build design. All of the frustrations raised in your article are spot on. On my build the engine has fallen out/collapsed at least 4 times, as parts are added others fall off and in comparison to the VW T1 build this model has been over designed. I have had the pleasure of building more than 25 Lego models from the smallest to the biggest and this particular build has been a disaster for me. For what it is worth I have written to Lego to express my disappointment.
Thank you for a well crafted review.
Thanks for your comment, Peter. It’s sad to see everyone having the same experience here, but yes, I’ve lost count of how many LEGO sets I’ve put together and never had an experience like this! Do let me know if LEGO respond to you – I’d be interested to hear what they have to say.
Hvad fanden er det for en gange lort, tror sku ikke designeren har prøvet at bygge den selv
sæt en finger på og hele lortet falder fra hinanden. Jeg giver op efter 4 forsøg med fronten, LORDT
I’m so thankful I read your review. I too was questioning my ability the whole time I was building this set. I had to go back and rebuild the base so many times it got to the point where I had to take a break for a few days because it was so frustrating. It’s now in my glass display cabinet and I won’t be taking it out to show it off anytime soon.
Thank you for your comment! Yep, mine is on a shelf, and I won’t be moving it any time soon (even in trying to move it there I ended up having to rebuild a bit…). Genuinely is sad to see so many people having the same complaint. I happened to glance at the set reviews on lego.com yesterday, and we’re far from alone!
This is a great article as I watch tears roll down my 11 year old son’s face (yes he builds mature sets) thinking he is doing something wrong and then see my husband step in and hear parts break off as he unbuilds and rebuilds the front end. Certainly not brining us the joy that all the other sets usually do. I read your piece out loud to both of them as they try to get through this build and they both are nodding loudly!
Aww, your poor son. I know how he feels – I wasn’t far away from tears! I’m glad I was able to offer some solidarity. And no, it’s certainly not his building skills. I too had to look online to see if it was just me, and thankfully/disappointingly, there are lots of us. Thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂
Thank you for confirming that I am not an idiot. I rebuilt the rear end. Finally, it held together. Then more of the same with the frontend. I rebuilt and finally just gave up and trashed the set for spare parts. You are absolutely correct that he hangs both ends by one peg, and then they fall apart. This was the most frustrating build of my career. Like you said, there is so much potential here with the fine details, but the basic backbone of construction sucks.
Oh thank god it’s not just me. My wife gifted me this set to pair with our T1 and I set it aside for my annual New Yeas build. I have never been this frustrated in 30 years of building. On top of 2 elements being missing to hold the cloth top on, I can NOT get the top to stay down flush like all the photos. In trying to troubleshoot this, I have destroyed the rear gate 5 times and rebuilt it as many. It’s gorgeous when done, but not the most “fun” build………any tips on that top?
I feel exactly the same as all above! I cannot get that top to work…I’ve rebuilt it 3 times!
I hope you’ve been able to get it together by now! Thankfully I didn’t have too much trouble with the top – it just needs a little bit of force in the right direction. I did have to rebuild the back about five times though and it still doesn’t stay together very well. It just can never be touched or moved, ever!
I am wondering why nobody has commented on the stickers yet. This set (or any set in this price range) would deserve prints, this one at least for the air intakes at the front, the fuel filler door and the “Volkswagen” writing on the boot. But okay, if it has to be stickers, why can’t they do black on clear printing like they do e.g. on some of the Harry Potter sets. The blue colour on the stickers does not come even close to the blue colour of the bricks, this way the stickers drag down the appearance of the whole car.
I seriously considered to leave out the stickers at all for this reason, but you have to apply the air intakes at least in order to make the front resemble a T2 bus remotely.
You’re right, the blue colour of the stickers is not the best match. I personally don’t like the clear stickers either as they never look quite as clear as they should. I certainly left off the optional decoration stickers and only used the necessary ones. I’m not a fan of stickers in general, and this set certainly wasn’t the biggest offender in that regard. With the other issues overshadowing it, I just didn’t think to talk about them. But discussing sticker usage in more detail is something I’ll bear in mind more in future reviews – thank you for the feedback.
So came back from a deployment to this sry. I now wish that I could strangle the bastard that approved the QC review! So what now? Has Lego done anything? Should I even try reaching out to them? I’ve checked and rebuilt the roof a dozen times!!! And it still won’t lie flat without breaking! Nevermind the stickers and front door weaknesses, I literally can’t finish it because of the roof! Any recommendations?
I found the problem with the front end was the 3 angled blocks with three crosses parts 6230229, they didn’t hold so I glued the three crosses part in place to make it sturdy. Problem solved. Likewise the bumper I glued in place as it kept falling off.
This model has driven me bonkers. I’ve built many models over the years but as you say this is like eggshells when you’re building it. Particularly the rear opening window, the engine and the steering mechanism. I’ve rebuilt them all numerous times as they simply fall apart when you’re putting pressure on another part of the model.
The end result is lovely but, as you say, I’m terrified to touch it for fear that something will fall off!