Revisiting the LEGO Wild West Saloon set from Bricklink’s AFOL Designer Program [Review]

Over the last few months, we reviewed the Wild West Saloon and the popular Löwenstein Castle custom LEGO sets from Bricklink’s AFOL Designer Program (ADP). Since we received an early review copy, it arrived without the actual packaging and manuals. Bricklink has now generously sent us the actual packaging backers can expect to receive. With box-in-hand, we wanted to provide our readers with a quick revisit of the set, this time only focusing on the unboxing experience and instruction manual.

When the BrickLink ADP winners were first revealed in early January, the sets’ final builds were showcased without their final packaging. I conducted a survey for LEGO fans regarding their decision to purchase a set or not by posting a poll in a local AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) Facebook group. The results were quite interesting, yet not entirely surprising either. The final box design was a huge factor for LEGO fans out there, with over 60% of polled participants waiting to see the packaging before making a commitment to buy a set.

First and foremost, I was not expecting the BrickLink team to send us the final packaging since we already completed a pre-release review. Having said that, I’m glad they followed up with us. The TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) answer is: Once again, the BrickLink team has gone above and beyond for the overall experience, with the final packaging matching the quality of the build. If you care about a set in its entirety, you may want to seriously consider the sets being offered. Dive right in to look at the details of the unboxing experience.


The box

At first glance, the box may look ordinary, but there is more to it than meets the eye. The overall presentation is clean, consisting of a white background with an illustration of the model on the box. Look further, and you will find a couple details distinguishing it from ordinary sets. Each set is personalized with a handwritten serial number in the lower right-hand corner. Ours was a lucky number 7!

There is also a shiny sparkling sticker in the lower left-hand corner announcing the exclusive LEGO element included. This special element wasn’t included with the early review set. The underside showcases the number of parts, the designer name of Legopard (aka Jonas Kramm), and the set reference number BL 19004.

Unlike the typical LEGO boxes we receive, this set features a sleeve slipped over high-quality black box, which is thick enough to protect its contents and more. With this level of presentation, everything feels like an exclusive offering here.

The box is also amazingly detailed with special printing that is strategically located. It screams out “premium” in all areas.

The underside of the box has further details on the program, along with copyright information.

A glint of gold should have caught your eyes by now – a security seal. Something as simple as a sticker seal adds to the overall feeling of exclusiveness. The small things really do matter.

The security seal displays a repetitive VOID statement if you decide to peel it off. It’s the point of no return. As a collector of all things unique, I did hesitate for a moment in doing the deed that needed to be done.


The insides revealed

With the lid open, you’re greeted by a thank you card and bags filled with parts.

The reverse side of the card lists the program’s 13 finalists along with illustrations of their models.

The labeling format of the bags did not change. They’re packed and sealed securely as opposed to the zip-lock bags we received in the pre-release set.

The instruction booklet

The booklet is the same size and is as detailed as the sample from our pre-release review. However, this time it’s a proper, professionally printed booklet.

Indeed, it does make a significant difference in polishing up the overall experience.


The exclusive brick

From the very beginning of its advertising campaign, Bricklink had touted that an exclusive piece would be included with each set. It’s now revealed, and it sure touches all the right spots in making this a differentiated experience, akin to what LEGO did with the Technic liftarm in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Technic. This brick bears a version of the official LEGO logo for the 60th anniversary of the brick, and is a variation on the logo brick included with some sets last year. This brick is sealed, and a printed card is issued with the description and unique Bricklink part number.

The element itself is the new 2×4 brick with 3 Axle Hole that made its appearance quite recently in the Education Spike: Prime set.

With its unique callout to the 60 years of the Lego brick, if you’re a collector of special edition bricks, this is one that you’d probably want in your collection. Since all the parts in the sets were supplied by LEGO, including this printed one, this is an official LEGO element and not simply a custom-printed brick.


The play feature

While it may look like we’ve covered all the packaging, there’s just one more thing hidden inside – a play feature incorporated into the box. Located on the sides are slots where you can release the outer sleeve that secures the box.

Once the sleeve is removed and positioned, it features a backdrop complementing the final build. The printout of this features a western theme of blue skies, a rock formation and in the vast plains where all things cowboy happen.

It’s not something that you’d expect to have, but it does just really show how every part of the out of box experience was put to use.


Summary

There are many ways Bricklink could have cut the corners or saved up on little things, and we’re glad they didn’t. Every part of the experience was well thought out to evoke feelings of awe and to impress. They did the whole program a lot of good by making the final touches of the experience something splendid. The program is truly special for how it’s recognizing the LEGO fan community and its builders.


If you’re still undecided on whether this is for you, don’t forget to catch our full review of the LEGO Wild  Saloon set from Bricklink’s AFOL Designer Program.

We also had the pleasure of covering the Löwenstein Castle set from BrickLink’s AFOL Designer Program. Don’t miss it if you’re a fan of Castle themes.

And last but not least, it’s still not too late to get your hands on this set. Bricklink is still taking orders for the 13 exclusive sets until July 1st, but that’s only a few days away. Once they’re gone, we assume these sets are never coming back.


Check out the full gallery of review images below.

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