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LEGO Back to the Future Set Review: Fluxing the capacity of nostalgia

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LEGO Back to the Future (2)

LEGO recently released its first ever set based on the Back to the Future franchise. The set’s existence is the direct result of the company’s LEGO CUUSOO program that lets regular people submit their creations for a chance at it becoming an official LEGO product. The Back to the Future concept was created by Masashi Togami and minifigure builder Sakuretsu. The journey for the team’s Back to the Future LEGO set started in 2011, and was selected as the next CUUSOO product on December 20, 2012. As a fan of both Back to the Future and LEGO, it took no convincing at all for me to purchase this set the moment it became widely available for $34.99.

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The LEGO Back to the Future set contains 401 pieces and minifigures for Marty McFly and Doc Brown. The main build in this set is the iconic DeLorean time machine. LEGO provided enough pieces to build three slightly modified DeLoreans from Back to the Future Part I, II and III. Unlike LEGO’s 3-in-1 Creator sets, you don’t need to tear down the entire car in order to build the different models. For example, creating the BTTF Part II DeLorean involves turning the wheels down, changing the license plate, placing clear bricks under the base and assembling Mr. Fusion. The whole process only takes a couple minutes. The most time intensive modification involves creating the hood piece that was introduced in Part III. However, this build doesn’t take much time either.

No matter which build you go with, it doesn’t erase the criticism LEGO fans had with the DeLorean’s design. To its credit, the LEGO DeLorean is a fairly complicated creation. It’s not hard to build with instructions, but the hundreds of bricks and technic pieces that form the DeLorean makes it a unique vehicle in general. The problem is the Delorean looks very blocky even by LEGO standards. The number of exposed studs around the car also makes it look unfinished. It still looks like a DeLorean, but it’s hard to look past the general uneven design this build has.

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On the plus side, LEGO did manage to capture important details about the DeLorean. The gull-wing doors are cleverly designed and fit into place smoothly. The top black stacks on the rear of the car can also be titled up or down. On the inside of the car, LEGO has exclusive printed bricks for the flux capacitor and the time circuits. And yes, LEGO did misspell the word “shield” on the flux capacitor piece.

The DeLorean is much larger than a minifigure which should mean it’s really easy to seat them. Well that’s not really the case this time around. You have to insert a minifigure at an angle to get them into the driver’s seat. It’s a bit finicky. It’s also easier to get Marty in the car as opposed to Doc. I suspect Doc’s hair is a little too tall to slide into the DeLorean without much effort. There’s also not enough room to comfortably sit both minifigures. It’s possible to put them in there together, but it’ll be a tight squeeze.

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Like a lot of LEGO sets, the minifigures are the biggest appeal. It’s so great to have minifigures of Doc Brown and Marty McFly. Both figures have double-sided faces and printing on their front and rear torsos. Marty also comes with a skateboard, but it looks nothing like the skateboard he used in the movies. It’s not a big deal really.

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The DeLorean may be off in some ways, but I’d be lying if I said it prevented me from liking this set. This has nostalgia written all over it. I can’t imagine a scenario where a fan of LEGO and Back to the Future would pass this up.

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