Despite a long sequence of cars from Lotus, BMW, Ford, and others, no other car maker featured in the James Bond movies can come close to the iconic status of Aston Martin, starting with the 1963 Aston Martin DB5 first featured in Goldfinger. Long rumored and officially announced at a special event in London earlier today (see our complete coverage here on The Brothers Brick), the latest vehicle in the LEGO Creator Expert series is 10262 James Bond Aston Martin DB5, which includes 1,290 pieces and is available now for LEGO VIPs and will be available worldwide August 1st (USD $149.99, CDN $179.99, 149.99€, £129.99, 1399DK, etc.).
The box, instructions, & sticker sheet
Even though LEGO Creator Expert sets are geared toward more advanced builders and feature a series of classic cars, this line has not yet followed the lead of the gorgeous precedent set by the LEGO Technic design team with 42083 Bugatti Chiron and 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS with their luxury packaging. The Aston Martin comes in a standard LEGO box with prominent James Bond “OO7” and Aston Martin logos.
The back of the box features all of the vehicle’s working features. One of the fun aspects of this set has been the “EYES ONLY” hype ahead of the set’s launch, but apparently the packaging design team didn’t get the memo from marketing, effectively spoiling all of the set’s secrets on the back.
Four sets of numbered bags contain the parts for the car. Unlike the highly modular build process for themes like Star Wars, you’ll first dump out hundreds of parts from several bags — each group of bags has three bags, plus interior bags for smaller parts. Four tires and a long Technic piece are in a separate, unnumbered bag.
The single instruction booklet comes in its own wrapper, also enclosing the sticker sheet. The booklet is styled like an MI-6 mission briefing, complete with “CONFIDENTIAL” AND “Military Intelligence” stamps on the outside of a manila folder. Our copy of the set provided by LEGO in Denmark features the European packaging, and the instruction booklet’s text is in English and French — it remains to be seen what other languages the instructions will be available in in other countries and online (the official website wasn’t online yet as we wrote this review).
Interior pages feature background on the Aston Martin DB5, James Bond, and the prototype vehicle used in Goldfinger (see more instruction booklet photos in the gallery at the end of this article).
For vehicles in particular that are likely to be displayed and played with heavily, it’s always disappointing that details are achieved with stickers, and the DB5 is no exception, with the Aston Martin marque, license plate variants, and other key details relegated to stickers.
The build & parts
One of the main pleasures of Creator Expert sets is in the complex techniques and unique parts usage, whether in previous vehicles like 10252 Volkswagen Beetle or modular buildings like 10260 Downtown Diner. The same can certainly be said for the Aston Martin DB5. The first set of bags include the parts for the chassis, including the Technic mechanisms for a couple of the main play features. The second bags build the passenger doors and rear sides, with some interesting techniques to ensure that the doors open and close smoothly.
But it’s not really until you open the third set of bags that you truly begin doing challenging brick-work on the more complex exterior details of the DB5. The side vents behind the front wheels include a 2×4 silver tile that sticks partway out of the opening, attached to the interior with a clip connection. Similarly, the sideview mirrors are attached to sub-assemblies that connect to the car’s body on inkwell (or “nipple”) pieces.
The finished look for both these relatively minor details is seamless — you’d never know that such complex construction techniques were used to achieve them.
The front grill uses a set of seven printed silver 1×2 tiles attached to a Technic plate, held in place solely by the open undersides of arches on either side.
Stickers on transparent elements are notorious among serious LEGO builders, since they’re difficult to apply cleanly, without leaving visible bubbles. We managed to do that for the bars on the windscreen and rear window, but a sticker-free solution would have been ideal.
Although a shiny silver LEGO Aston Martin with chrome details would have been stunning, we suspect that producing such a set wouldn’t have been financially viable for LEGO, so the silver has been downgraded to light gray and the chrome to flat silver. Nevertheless, this means that the set does include a fair bit of silver pieces, including a number of Technic pieces in silver for the first time.
The front grill we mentioned earlier consists of 7 printed silver tiles.
One of the big draws of this set from a pure parts perspective is likely to be the new 1×2 curved brick. This new element appeared for the first time in the Creator Expert 10261 Roller Coaster, though that set only included two. The curves along the Aston Martin’s sides and engine compartment are achieved by a whopping 44 of this new piece!
The wire wheel elements insert into the actual wheels and are also unique to the DB5
The finished model & play features
Like many of its 1960s contemporaries including the Ferrari 250 GTO, Corvette Stingray, Shelby Cobra, and Jaguar E-Type, the Aston Martin DB5 features complex compound curves, particularly on its sloped rear deck. Many casual LEGO fans assume that anything built from LEGO will inevitably be blocky, as though everything is simply built from 2×4 bricks, and they express a mixture of awe and dismay that both LEGO sets and custom creations can be anything but utterly square. The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle demonstrated how curvy a LEGO car can get, but sadly that isn’t the case with the LEGO DB5. Instead, the rear deck is effectively flat.
Similarly, the real DB5 is sloped when viewed from the front, and those angles are entirely lacking from the extremely square LEGO version. Overall, the shaping of this classic, iconic vehicle is disappointing in LEGO form.
Where the LEGO DB5 shines, though, is in all the working features integrated behind that dull gray skin. James Bond’s original DB5 featured numerous gadgets built into the car by Q Branch, and the LEGO DB5 incorporates nearly all of them. The license plate rotates to display several number plates, including the iconic BMT 216A, along with JB-007 — just in case someone looking at the car on your shelf at work isn’t 100% clear that it’s the car from Goldfinger.
Turning one of the exhaust pipes raises the bulletproof shield that protects the rear window.
The DB5 has a surprisingly spacious trunk (or boot, if you’re James Bond), with plenty of room to store extra tuxedos. The only thing in the trunk, though, is a pair of black telescope pieces used to extend the wheel-mounted tire-slashing scythes.
Thanks to a bit of Technic wizardry in the hinge, the hood (or bonnet) opens smoothly, despite being recessed into the front of the car.
A detailed engine sits inside, and can be lifted out with a bit of jiggling.
The most complex and finicky working feature is the passenger-side ejection seat. To activate it, you pull the center of the rear bumper, which connects to a flipper mechanism that raises the roof. Releasing the bumper activates the ejection mechanism itself, launching the passenger’s seat into the air and out of the car.
While conceptually very cool, we found that the complex series of Technic connections nestled inside tended to stick at first — at least until we’d poked and prodded it a few times and something finally settled into place, at which point the roof opened smoothly and the seat launched more consistently.
A telephone handset is integrated into the driver’s side door, so that 007 can check in with M back at MI6 HQ.
The interior is relatively detailed, with lots of (identical) dials on the dashboard, (decorative) steering wheel, and a gearshift that flips the front parking lights to reveal machine guns.
A long Technic axle connects the gearshift to the front of the car, where another Technic mechanism flips the parking lights.
A Technic gear next to the gearshift flips the center console’s speaker around to reveal a small TV screen.
While it’s a first in the series with a movie tie-in, the Aston Martin DB5 is just the latest in a well-established line of LEGO Creator Expert cars, including several previous cars from Great Britain. The Mini Cooper appears to be built to a similar scale, and stands a bit taller than the sportscar. However, the lovely 10258 London Bus is built at a smaller scale, and should be much larger compared to the Aston Martin.
Conclusions & recommendation
We generally avoid pro vs. con and score-based reviews here at The Brothers Brick, because we want you to make your own decision based on our photos, videos, and the information we share in our write-ups. But it’s hard not to think of 10262 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 except as a balance between disparate positive and negative traits.
On the positive side, the car is packed full of really fun working features, it has a solid selection of interesting parts in high quantities, and you might just learn some useful building techniques along the way. However, the overall shaping leaves a lot to be desired, most of the parts themselves are in a fairly boring light gray (vs. the unusual dark green and azure for previous cars), and the price is rather high at $150 for less than 1,300 pieces — Creator sets are generally a great value.
Taken as a whole, then, the LEGO Aston Martin DB5 is by no means a perfect set, but it’s still a solid entry in the excellent Creator Expert vehicle line.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.