Every once in awhile a LEGO model comes along that makes you pause, a little slack-jawed, and then scramble for your soon-to-be-empty wallet. There are a lot of cool sets in the LEGO lineup, but a rare few are targeted at adult builders with a larger budget and a thirst for a premium experience and finished product that serves as an office-decor talking piece. These are sets that aren’t just large and complex, but sets that can be called a work of art; an ABS sculpture. Few sets that I’ve encountered fit this bill better than the new Technic 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. It has 2,704 pieces, and it’s available beginning June 1 online as well as in select markets. It will hit store shelves in the USA in August, where it will retail for $299 USD.
The LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS is truly a premium product through and through, beginning with the box it’s packaged in. The first thing I noticed upon picking up the box is how incredibly heavy it is. As you may imagine, I’ve hefted a lot of LEGO boxes over the years, and have a feel for how heavy they generally are. The Porsche box tips the scales at a whopping 11 pounds. For comparison, 10224 Town Hall, which has roughly the same number of pieces, weighs only 8.4 pounds. The box itself is quite special, with a gorgeous glamour shot of the 911 against a black backdrop, with minimal text.
The real fun begins when the box is opened, which has a fully removable lid instead of the hinged top that most large sets provide. The inside of the lid—yes, even the inside of the lid is special here—features silhouettes of the Porsche 911 lineage back to the original 1963 version, and embossed gloss black Porsche 911 graphics adorn the outer walls of the lower box. Even the most space-starved collector will want to hang on to this box.
Pulling off the lid is no letdown, though. The interior contents of this set are as carefully crafted as an Apple product’s packaging. The four unique rims are nestled into cavities along the left side, with suave black sub-assembly boxes around the other three edges. The manual lies in the center, a coffee table-worthy tome in stark orange with the Porsche crest, a lovely contrast against the other black contents. The manual is a mind-boggling 578 pages in length. The first 38 pages are filled with world-class photographs from Porsche’s history, as well as images of the Porsche factory, and both the real and LEGO 911s’ development. The accompanying text is in both German and English, and gives more background for the model and its real-life counterpart than any other LEGO manual; even the UCS and Ideas sets have only a page or two.
Each of the sub-assembly boxes is matte black with fine-art shot of a portion of the sub-assembly on the front. These boxes have tabbed flaps on the ends, so that they can be reseated in the main box. Turn to page 39 in the manual, and prepare to dig into Step 1. But first, the manual has a paragraph of text, outlining what you build in this sub-assembly: “The first step in the construction of your 911 GT3 RS is to build the drivetrain, complete with dual clutch gearbox (PDK), paddle shifters, suspension and the heart of the 911 GT3 RS, the 4.0 flat 6 engine. When you have completed all the steps in box 1 you will be able to test out all the functions and see how they work.” From there, the construction flows as any large Technic set does. Now, there are no numbered bags inside the sub-assembly boxes, so essentially all the pieces in this 2,704-part behemoth come in only four installments. If you don’t want to spend time sorting, I recommend that you open each bag in its own pile, since the parts are roughly sorted by size and type. If you’ve built any of LEGO’s recent top Technic models, you’ll be familiar with the build process, consisting of intricate gearing, an abundance of Technic liftarms, and the myriad different Technic pins used with abandon throughout. Even if this will be your first Technic model, you’ll be fine if you take your time and set out the parts called for at the beginning of each step. With 856 total steps in the instruction manual though, this will not be a short build. Expect to spend a minimum of four hours building, and likely much more, unless you’re a Technic guru.
The first two boxes build the chassis, engine, gearbox and interior. In a neat bit of engineering, a large portion of the second sub-assembly’s frame nests over the undercarriage and bolts on with a few Technic pins. The third and fourth boxes finish the car out with the body panels and wheels, and a few other details. There are a few new pieces worth noting in the model. Firstly, there’s a new three stud-long version of the Technic with stop. It’s appeared in a few other sets this year, but you’ll get 18 of them in this set (not that you’re likely to part this set out). The two other new molds in this set are exclusive to the Porsche: the hubs and the wheel arches. Obviously four hubs are provided, but you get six of the wheel arches, since four are used on the front. The two front outer-facing wheel arches each have printing for the vents. Each wheel hub has a center stud, where a 1×1 round tile emblazoned with the RS logo sits. Oddly, while these are printed, the 1×1 round tile in the center of the steering wheel has a sticker for the Porsche crest. However, this does mean that this is the first set to contain unprinted 1×1 round tiles in black (and an extra is provided), and there are a number of elements appearing in orange for the first time. The passenger side dash has a 1×4 white tile laser-etched with a unique serial number for each kit. All the rest of the decorated elements on the set are stickered, though the number is minimal.
The finished set is a masterpiece. The car is huge; it’s 1:8 scale, which puts it at almost two feet long. The functioning features all work excellently, with opening doors, front cargo space and engine lid, plus mechanical functions like steering and shifting. There’s even a piece of Porsche-branded luggage which nestles into the front cargo area. The functioning paddle shifters are a mind-boggling feat of LEGO engineering. A simple finger pull on the either paddle shifts the car up or down with a satisfying ratchet. It is a bit odd that no Power Functions motor is included, since it’s a bit hard to tell what the shifter is doing without having power to the wheels. I’m not a Technic expert, but I believe there’s a space left where a motor could fit between the front axles, though the manual makes no mention of Power Functions compatibility. On that note, Eurobricks has reported that following the instructional manual causes the shifting to function out of order. LEGO has confirmed that this is intentional, and has issued a statement which we’ve reproduced at the end of the review.
This set has raised the bar not just for LEGO Technic models, but for LEGO models as a whole. The presentation is superb, making every step of the process actually feel like you’re handling a premium product, and the end price of $299 actually feels like a steal. This is a model you’ll want to display on your solid oak desk while you glance out of your corner office from the top story; if you don’t have an oak desk or a corner office, you just may feel as though you did after building this.
Update June 01: LEGO has issued an official statement regarding the gearbox issue that some fans have reported, which we referenced in our review.
Thank you to all our dedicated fans for the comments regarding the GT3 RS by LEGO Technic.
It is correct that the gears in this model are not sequential as in the real Porsche PDK. This is however, a deliberate decision taken to ensure that we make the best possible LEGO version of this amazing car that both meets our design requirements and gives everyone a great building and product experience.
It was a considered decision taken during development that the gears running in the correct order meant that it did not result in a great experience when driving the car. Too many gears are engaged at the same time and smooth running with all those tolerances is just not possible.
If you switch the build in steps 267 and 269 the gears will run sequentially, and everyone who feels that this is the better solution should feel encouraged to do so.
LEGO Technic really is the ultimate open source design product and now that it is finally available, we look forward to seeing all the ‘improved’ models our fans create. After all, that is what LEGO building is all about.
We hope everyone will have a great building experience and feel a strong sense of pride from creating both our version and their very own LEGO Technic representation of a Porsche GT3 RS. We are very fortunate to have such skilled and dedicated fans that can spot this small deviation from reality and would like to thank everyone for sharing their ideas and expert knowledge.
LEGO sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set to review. Providing TBB with products for review does not guarantee coverage or a positive review.