Soccer fans (or football fans as they’re called everywhere else) will get a kick out of the newest Creator Expert set, 10272 Old Trafford-Manchester United, a massive 3,898-piece model based on the Old Trafford soccer stadium in Greater Manchester, England, which serves as the home of Manchester United F.C.and over 76,000 of their closest friends. The 1:600 replica model is rated for 16+, clearly targeting an adult market, and is available now directly from LEGO for US $299 | CAD $349 | UK £249.99 for V.I.P. members — just in time for the stadium’s 110th anniversary this February.
The box, instructions and contents
The box art alludes that this set seems to be a hybrid between two established LEGO themes: Creator Expert and Architecture. Creator Expert sets such as the building modulars and amusement park rides can be complex, yet fun sets loaded with minifigures and play-ability features. Architecture sets, on the other hand, are often serious models that look great on a shelf but offer little to no playability. This set leans heavily in the latter direction with black box art design reminiscent of Architecture sets and thus giving it an upscale feel. Unfortunately, our review copy arrived slightly crushed on the right side, slightly spoiling the effect.
Large boxes such as this one can be hard to stock and ship. Inner boxes can preserve structural integrity. Like many others of LEGO’s largest sets, inside the box there is one plain white inner box that takes up half the contents of the outer box. A random assortment of bags (2, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 17, 19, and 21) were loosely packed outside the inner box. This seemed rather odd in the sense that the bags seemed randomly tossed in and some of their pairs were inside the white box. Two inner boxes (marked box 1 and 2) could have prevented the minor damage that occurred with the outer box and, if organized correctly, could have eliminated the notion that some of the bags were just tossed in randomly. Once the inner box was opened the set proved to have 21 polybags, some with pairs, so 27 total. Two printed tiles were loose in the box and the sticker sheet was bagged in with the instruction book.
Once out of the bag, the heavy instruction manual topped out at 367 pages, and the sticker sheet contained 72 individual stickers.
The first 11 pages of the instruction manual contained a timeline history of this stadium starting from 1878 and going all the way to 2020. Pages 14 and 15 illustrated which bags were needed to build each section while pages 16 and 17 features “a word from the LEGO designer” but does not cite him by name. Odd oversight, maybe?
The build experience
Page 18 begins the build process and bag 1 takes care of the playing field. Besides the two printed tiles already revealed outside the bag, bag 1 revealed three printed tiles and two printed transparent modified bricks that became the goal nets.
The internal structure of the playing field was your standard Technic and System pieces combined to form a pretty sturdy platform.
Add the goalposts and printed tiles and the playing field is now done!
I included two supplementary LEGO pieces in this photo. The plant part is “regular” green while the small 1×1 round plate is lime green. This demonstrates that this green included in the set is bright green, which is somewhere between the other two shades. LEGO’s been using it more often in recent years. Including the 5 printed tiles there are a total of 35 pieces in this color, including 4 of the neat 2×2 triangular tiles, which appear in that color for the first time.
Between each major section, the instruction book contains a small break alerting builders that they are about to start a whole new module, along with some facts pertaining to it. Here’s the beginning of the East Stand, or the Sir Matt Busby, section. This area houses the administrative center and megastore. A bronze statue of Sir Matt Busby overlooks the stand’s forecourt.
Bag 2 revealed a relatively new part with two 1x8x3 slopes. Introduced last year, they’ve only appeared in two sets so far. The 1×8 plate included in this photo serves as a size reference. This set ultimately includes eight of these slopes in white.
Bag 2 also marks the first time using the sticker sheet. Aside from the two new slopes bag 2 was fairly straightforward, with no overly clever techniques, and comprised of both System and Technic parts to build a sturdy sub-structure.
Bag 3 adds some neat architectural elements and two small “Quonset hut” pieces (part 6258135) that were introduced last year. There are ultimately 30 of these pieces in this set.
With plenty of rods, bars, clips and hinges, there are numerous pieces in white I can see being used for cars, spacecraft, architectural models and plenty of other applications having nothing to do with the Manchester Stadium. I call these features “plumbing”. Here they are also configured as a rather leggy bug!
Bag 4 adds the sloping roof and the eastern stands. Red corrugated pieces, when aligned correctly, offer the illusion of thousands of seats. Stickers cannot be properly applied over these textured parts so bricks are used in the areas that stickers will occupy. In this case, these stands boast the Adidas sponsorship and logo.
A second tier of seats, as well as the sloping roofline, is added. More of the aforementioned “plumbing” links to the structures already built in order to hold up the sloping cantilevered roof. This module is now complete.
The first two modules can now be linked!
The Stretford End apparently houses the most passionate of Manchester United fans. Structurally, it is quite similar to the east stand, so I won’t call much special attention to it. It does, however, introduce two printed elements. It is unclear to me as to why these were printed instead of requiring stickers but they represent doors into the building. There will ultimately be 12 of these printed elements throughout the model.
These photos show that the completed eastern and Stretford modules are indeed quite similar to each other. Both are two-tiered stands that mirror image each other structurally. The differences are better depicted within the rear-view photo.
Now three modules are complete with two more to go!
Bags 8-16 build the north section, or the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. With a seating capacity of 25,258 this is by far the largest of the four stands and is home to Manchester United’s museum and trophy room. In 2011 a 9ft (2.7m) statue of Sir Alex Ferguson was erected to honor his 25 years as a manager. A large stand such as this one needs a rather hefty internal structure.
Eight more printed bricks representing doors are brought in for this module. This is also a good time to note that this model contains a lot of neat bricks, tiles, slopes, clips and other useful parts in this nougat color, or as I call it “Thai iced tea.” There are 276 in all!
Much of the internal structure will eventually hold the stands, while keen architectural details begin to flesh out the exterior.
Some very neat 1×3 spanner pieces in red are introduced in bag 13, which are here to help construct the corner angle seats. I can imagine other very useful applications for these. This model ultimately contains 25 of them.
For no particular reason, I stacked the two corner seating sections in a “black widow hourglass” configuration.
This section begins to feel rather arduous with building the stands. All told, there are 345 corrugated bricks in red, each needing to be aligned correctly. I’m not sure if this is a selling point or not but you can rearrange the stickered sections a bit to reflect your own sentiments. My maturity level is right where you’d expect it would be.
I’ve had my fun so now it’s back to serious business. By this point, attempting to line up dozens of stickers has become a mind-numbing chore and my least favorite part of this build. There are 72 stickers in total. Several are in this module. Here, two tiers of seats are clipped in place.
The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand will be the only section with three tiers of stands adorning the central area. At this stage, the central “nosebleed” seats and upper tiered corner stands are installed into place.
This is a good time to call out the neat array of clips and bars in nougat color that will eventually secure the large roof into place.
The large curving roof of the Sir Alex Ferguson section looks like it could fly.
Six struts act as structural support for this section of the roof. Once again, there are plenty of neat parts here that can be used for other applications.
These structures of “skeleton fingers” will go over the rounded corner sections of the roof.
When the roof is clipped on it naturally sags and rests upon the top tier of stands. The six struts in the center lift the roof off the stands, but only just slightly. While the white “skeleton fingers” may offer structural support for the real Manchester Stadium, these details on the LEGO model are purely cosmetic but replicate the real structure nicely. Here is the finished module.
Next, the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand is attached to the other modules and everything is really beginning to look like a football stadium! With four modules done there is just one to go!
Renamed the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand in 2016, this last module of the stadium serves as the media center, player dressing rooms and elevated team dugouts. The players enter the field via a 100 year old tunnel on the southwest corner of this stand, and this is the only part of the original 1910 stadium that has stood for all time. Like the Sir Alex Ferguson stand, this large module needs a sturdy substructure. In building a little more, this module contained the set’s only part in dark tan; the 1×6 tile sits dead center in the second photo.
Some nice progress fleshes out the rear section, while the stands look great in this module. Thankfully, there weren’t many stickers to be had with this one.
In building the roof I’ve discovered new parts; these curved windows can make excellent architectural elements. Furthermore they fit under that curved arch…finally! I can imagine some exciting applications with these parts. All assembled, these roof bits have an Amityville Horror feel.
Here’s the roof, now complete.
This module also includes a bus. This acts as really the only tangible scale reference that clues us in to just how massive this stadium really is. Also included is “The United Trinity,” a stand-alone statue that sits out in the parking lot.
The final module is finished!
The finished model
This is a handsome and accurate model of the Old Trafford-Manchester United Football Stadium. The final dimensions measure 6.5” (18.5cm) high, 18” (47cm) long and 15” (39cm) wide. There are no minifigures with this model, which frankly I was happy about. One minor criticism is that, while Technic pins hold the finished product together, it is not sturdy enough to be lifted or even nudged across a flat surface without having to piece the modules together again. Three large sections can be transported safely, but not all five at once. Still, the end result is breathtaking.
Conclusion and recommendations
I realize I may be the exception to the rule here, but I am not a sports fan. Also, I live in the US. I surveyed the sports fans I knew within my immediate vicinity and found that none of them were into soccer. Already, this seems to propose an interesting problem for LEGO. While Americans admire and revere landmarks from around the globe (i.e. Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Sydney Opera House, etc.), when it comes to sporting arenas, it seems American sports fans favor a more local affair. When LEGO came out with the 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner and the 80102 Dragon Dance sets last year they figured that only China and Asia Pacific markets would be interested in these sets, but global demand had proven otherwise. This Manchester stadium however may garner quite the opposite effect, at least here in the US. I can say with conviction that there are some excellent pieces here that can be utilized in all sorts of applications and, at nearly 8 cents per brick, this set is a bit more cost effective than average, even for a licensed product. I know nothing of Overwatch but bought some of the sets anyway for their neat parts in great colors, but $300 falls far outside of most “impulse buy” budgets. This is a financial commitment and, I’m hoping my non-sports-fan status is not swaying the decision here, but I’d wager few non-sports fans would plunk down the money for what may amount to few hundred useful parts.
Yet sports fans are by nature passionate creatures and will support their favorite team through both their highs and lows. Needless to say, this will be a “must buy” for any Manchester United fans. My assessment is this will sell like gangbusters in Great Britain and much of Europe and less so elsewhere. American buyers however, whether they be sports fans or otherwise, may give this one a hard pass in favor of other large sets such as the 1989 Batmobile and the Disney Castle.
As of January 16, 2020, LEGO VIP members can buy the 1:600 replica model of Creator Expert 10272 Old Trafford – Manchester United directly from LEGO for US $299 | CAD $349 | UK £249.99. It is also available from third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.
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.
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