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LEGO 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van Review

LEGO 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van review

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

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.

The build

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.

Things start off well with a solid base that incorporates the floor of the van’s living area. You can see a lot of studs on the side here, ready for the sides of the van to go on.

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 wonderful kitchenette, with well-stocked fridge.

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.

The additional chairs and surfboard to finish off the display.

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.

LEGO 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van  review
The inner Technic workings that eventually allow for working steering. The front of the van is build around this.

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.

The driver and passenger seats. You can see the studs along the bottom where the front of the van will fix.

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.

9 Comments

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  1. 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 🙂

  2. 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.

  3. Peter Dirksen

    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.

  4. 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

  5. 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!

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