The LEGO Ideas line has been hit and miss for me. I’m not very interested in most of the pop culture models that they’ve produced, preferring the sets based on original ideas or actual things. I had a lot of hopes for this latest set when I picked it up and it didn’t disappoint.
Like the other Ideas sets, the Caterham Seven comes in a nice box with a well-bound instruction booklet. A couple of pages in the front are devoted to the history of the car. At the end, there are a couple more pages about the designers behind the model.
The elements are packaged in six bags (with more bags inside) numbered from one to three. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the parts in those bags are either black or bright yellow.
Digging into the first bags there are a lot of exciting elements. Those bright yellow arch bricks aren’t new, but they are rare. Right now they sell for over $3 each on BrickLink! This is also the first set that I know of that contains the new 2×3 tiles, seen here in black. I suspect that these will become common and useful. The printed discs are awesome, with metallic print that looks perfect as brake rotors. This is an element that I can’t wait to use in mecha. Lots of great recolors here too.
The first set of bags builds the backbone of the car and the big rear fenders. Some nice snot work here on the fenders. A lot of subtle offsets being set up too. The four jack-stands are an interesting inclusion. I suspect that since the actual car can be bought as a kit, it must come with a set of stands to use during the assembly.
A lot of great printed elements in this set to set up the racing stripes and branding. The yellow print on the black bricks is a bit paler than depicted on the box. Those new elbows are great and I look forward to doing fun things with those in the future. More nice recolors here too. The 1×1 round plate with bar is a great new element and this is the first time that I’ve gotten my hands on it.
In bag two, we build the body of the car and the front fenders. Some great part usage in this section and those gently angled side panels are well done. The front fenders float nicely on struts, capturing the essence of the originals. Still a lot of work to do in bag 3.
Some new colors and a lot of printed elements in bag 3. I’d love to get my hands on a pile of those bright yellow tiles with the black print. There are some cool looks that I could get out of them. More recolors here too. The other fun little element here is the printed gas cap, which I could see getting a lot of use in mecha and space builds.
A lot of clever shaping in this last part of the build. The angled engine bonnet and the drooping nose are particularly well done. The only piece of the build that I didn’t like as the dash, which seemed a bit sloppy compared to the rest of the model.
The attention to detail on this model was great. So many interesting bits. I have to say that I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the Beetle, but I’m not really a British racing enthusiast. The finished models is quite handsome and I’m happy to display it on a shelf and show it off.
For me, this was another stellar model from the Ideas team and a perfect example of the intent behind the Ideas platform. LEGO would never have approached Caterham about basing a model on their iconic car if thousands of fans hadn’t asked them to, and we would have been a bit poorer for it.
Keep building and enjoy!