Ciaran reviews a beast of a machine and sees if adults can have as much fun with LEGO as kids do?
I LOVED Lego as a kid. Hours spent making brilliant things and being totally creative. It was a very rewarding way to pass the time. Now I have kids of my own, I see them with the Star Wars and Lego Friends sets and feel pangs of jealousy. With a bit of time on our hands, we decided to try out the Lego Land Rover Defender (€180/£160) to see if it was a good way to pass a few hours (or days!)
+Thousands of pieces to keep you busy. 2,573 of them in total
+The details are just incredible. How all the cogs eventually link is like an artform
+Great way to spend time away from screens whilst using your creativity
– I’d be worried about losing some pieces as there so many of them and not too many spares so be careful
– You need a good set up at home for this and dedicated time as it’s a long but rewarding job
I was getting jealous watching my 5-year-old playing LEGO every day so I decided to take drastic action. I felt “Go Big or Go Home” was the best plan so I chose the LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender. 2500+ piece should keep us all going for a while anyway.
Firstly, the box alone is massive! There are four stages of the build with over 20 individual bags in total. It’s a behemoth but exactly what we needed to fill a few days off for family time. The end product would be something we could really show off but with all these bags in front of us, it seemed quite a daunting task. It was one we were very much looking forward to though.
Hong long does it take to make
Is “lots” an abstract answer? We would make it for two hours a day over three or four days and then my 5-year-old helper would get a bit frustrated, which is understandable as some of the pieces are very tricky to get together. It’s recommended for 11+ and rightfully so as this is certainly NOT normal LEGO. We would make time for it at weekends and the whole process lasted months.
My young boy would help find the pieces we needed for each of the almost 500 pages in the builders manual (It truly was a tome). When bedtime came, he didn’t want to stop building, so it was great bonding time and very educational too. Sometimes he would give me the wrong piece or he would put it together in the wrong spot (I did this a few times too) and we got to learn how important details are quite fast.
The building process was enjoyable and very challenging but at the right level for me I felt.
The instructions are very clear and not like some flatpack furniture where you are scratching your head wondering where the 4th screw is supposed to go when the picture doesn’t match what you see in front of you. We never had to backtrack or look for guidance online but there were a few occasions where we spent five minutes trying to figure out where to put our next piece and how they all combined together.
LEGO for adults
Even after my helper had gone to bed, I would stay up with a glass of wine and do a few more pages. It was incredibly rewarding seeing these totally abstract pieces come together to form what became an incredibly impressive machine in both size and complexity.
When you are putting each piece together, you do wonder how on earth some man (or machine) came up with this. It’s actually mind blowing at times and when you combine the completed back end of the chassis with the front end plus engine, you are really looking at a piece of perfect engineering. It’s nice to be a part of that in some way and very fulfilling.
I am already planning which model I will get next, the Rough Terrain Crane or the 4×4 Off-Roader? It’s great to have a project that stimulates your creativity and takes you away from screen time. Plus if you can find a partner to work with then it really is a great way to spend many many hours at what surprisingly ends up being very good value.
Lego for adults is great fun. It was great fun when we were kids and moving on to more complicated builds is more challenging and more rewarding than you think. I would give the Lego Technic Land Rover Defender FIVE stars.