Do you remember your first $200 LEGO set? I don't. That's because I tended to wait until those sets went on sale, or until the next door neighbor sold hers at a yard sale at a significant discount. My biggest buys to date have been a couple of modulars and an Ultimate Collector Series B-Wing and those came by way of birthday gift cards and a May the 4th clearance. Meanwhile I'm still waiting for the chance to nab a Death Star but in the interim, I settled for something a little more down to Earth.
That thing was the LEGO Creator Expert Ferris Wheel, by all measures massive and beautiful. Designed by AFOL Jamie Berard, the set stands about two feet high and covers the area of a 48x48 baseplate (though for some strange reason, they don't include such a baseplate here -- a green 48x48 would have been nice!). Unlike the first LEGO ferris wheel -- a clunky, drab thing to look at -- set #10247 has a bright color scheme with a smooth spin and lots of fun little features.
The first things you notice are the wheel's bright white colors, enhanced by new transparent elements and held up by sky blue trusses. The use of hinge plates here gives those trusses the feel of a Star Destroyer's sleek angles. Anchored firmly into the ground courtesy of new Technic elements, the ferris wheel is sturdy and strong, and doesn't feel flimsy when (carefully) lifted or moved.
No really, there's a lot of Technic pieces in this set. Above, the hand crank that smoothly turns the ferris wheel and the lever the raises and lowers the safety ramp...
...and the wheel itself is a forest of axles and bushings, interspersed among green, yellow and purple gondolas. Look closely and you'll see a lot of 1x5 modified Technic plates -- the axlehole in the middle is perfect for the wheel's "spokes" to punch through and be held by.
The gondolas are nice little constructs, with a 4x4 square plate with the middle 2x2 removed, lots of l-shaped brackets and hinge plates holding together 2x2 rounded slopes. Each one can hold up to three minifigures... depending on which Simpsons characters you try jamming into them. :-)
Like I said, #10247 has plenty to love, and that includes the accoutrements. For example, the new trees, comprising five new plant stems affixed to a modified 1x1 brick with five studs.
Lots more nice touches, like the little ice cream cart with tilted umbrella.
And lots of new elements, from Technic arms and brackets to all those trans-color fins.
And last but not least: the minifigures. You get 10 of them, each with (I believe) new, unique torso prints and nine of them with hair. I do wish LEGO could've thrown in two or three more figures considering there are 12 gondolas AND an operator's booth, but it's all good.
On a scale of one to five Nerdlys, I'm giving this set a 4.75. The pros: this is the first $199 LEGO set that I believe is worth every penny, from both a playability factor but also from a collector or displayer's point of view. Kids faces will light up just seeing this in stores, and adults like me will get to reminisce about the first time they ever went up in a ferris wheel whenever they lay eyes on it. At more than 2,400 pieces, it's a good per-piece value, and if you keep one unboxed look for it to appreciate in just a few short years, more so than the Fairground Mixer, which simply isn't as iconic an amusement park ride.
The cons: could've used a few more minifigs, and for almost $200, couldn't they have thrown in some lights and a Power Functions kit? But all of this is relatively minor nitpicking for such a great set, which LEGO VIPs can get ahead of public release June 1st.
Final question: you think they'll ever make a Bueller wheel? :-)
Check out my video review here: