LEGO Technic 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE “AF Corse #51” [Review]

Did you know that LEGO has been partnering with Ferrari for more than 15 years already? Over the years, the companies presented more than 50 building sets, and in 2021, the fruitful partnership continues with LEGO Technic 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE “AF Corse #51”. This is the third appearance of the iconic 488 GTE in a LEGO product; in 2018, 75886 Ferrari 488 GT3 Scuderia Corsa featuring a minifigure of Danish race car driver Christina Nielsen and 75889 Ferrari Ultimate Garage came with nearly identical mini-copies of the car. The new Technic model, although still being a red Ferrari covered in a ton of stickers, has very little in common with the Speed Champions sets since it consists of 1,677 pieces and is almost half a meter long. The set will be available from January 1, 2021 for US $169.99 | CAN $229.99.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The box & packaging

The new Ferrari falls into the same category as the 2019’s LEGO Technic 42096 Porsche 911 RSR; these two sets have a similar number of pieces, the cars are of the same size and scale, plus they are both track vehicles designed to compete in endurance racing. However, the packaging design elevates the 488 GTE from being just a building toy into a markedly different category of hobby building sets. Although many fans claimed the new boxes are dull, it did wow me when I saw it the first time.

I also loved the box design is the custom logo containing the make and the car model. You can see it on the front and the side flaps. There is something in its design that instantly reminded me of the way the boxes of Tamiya modelmaking kits are decorated.

Inside the box are five groups of bags and a white cardboard envelope protecting the building instructions and the sticker sheets. We’ve already seen an envelope like this one in Ghostbusters 10274 ECTO-1 set.

Since the set targets the adult audience, it offers more than just plastic pieces to build the model. With that said, the book’s first several spreads offer сomprehensive information about the car, the racing team, and, of course, about the design created by LEGO designers.


Usually, we don’t talk about stickers much except for when there are way too many stickers in a set, but I think the new Ferrari 488 GTE deserves special commentary. The set comes with two enormous sheets containing a whopping 61 stickers in total. However, almost none of the stickers are meant to alter the shape and the look of the car to be achieved using plastic pieces. The actual Ferrari’s livery is mostly plain red, and it can be easily replicated with the brand LEGO red shade. But since the 488 GTS is an endurance racing car competing in several racing series, to copy the actual vehicle’s look, the designers had no other choice but to include a ton of stickers with numerous sponsors’ logos.

When assembling the review copy, I first decided to build it without applying any of the stickers to look at the actual LEGO build as it is. But once the car was complete, I noticed how great the matte Technic panels look, and I hope you will agree with me after taking a look at the pictures below. Applying so many large glossy stickers would create a weird mix of matte and shiny surfaces. Thus, my first recommendation is to consider the stickers carefully; the only thing they are meant for is to add sponsor and racing logos, but they do so by spoiling smooth matte surfaces of LEGO Technic panels. Obviously, you should go with stickers if you are a fan of the actual car’s look but be reminded that not applying stickers is also an option. For this review, I opted to leave stickers on the sheet to have a better look at the build itself and all the panel work.

New, interesting pieces and pieces in new colors

The new Ferrari is the largest LEGO Technic set of the first half of 2021. Usually, sets like this one include most, if not all, of the new pieces introduced for the year. Indeed, there are a lot of interesting pieces, including brand new designs.

You don’t expect to see a huge blue panel when building an entirely red Ferrari, but here we are. The 3x11x1 Technic panel isn’t a new piece, but this is the first time we get it in blue. However, the smaller 3x7x1 panels are brand new for 2021. You’ll find two of these in the set.

The new small 2×3 Technic panels seem to be in demand for the new 2021 sets. You’ll get two of these in white in the Ferrari, three in yellow in the 42122 Jeep Wrangler, and there are some in in the 42123 McLaren Senna GTR as well.

Another brand new design, a 2×3 curved beam, has all chances to become a game-changer. Basically, the element is similar to a 4×2 Technic beam, but it’s a tad shorter and has a cross axle hole at the base. The new design perfectly fits the 3×5 Technic panels, too, so it has great potential as the panel connector/extender.

While the 42096 Porsche 911 RSR’s headlights were brick-built and featured a smart use of transparent cockpit glass pieces, the Ferrari’s headlights are just prints. What is interesting, the printed pieces here are the windshield pieces that can be found in the smaller Speed Champions sets, for example, in 75886 and 75889 mentioned above. The prints are asymmetrical with left and right variations, and thanks to unprinted areas, you can easily turn them into functioning headlights; there is enough space for regular LEGO LEDs inside each of the pieces.

Since Ferraris are red, the set is more than rich in red Technic panels, both old and new. If you are starting your LEGO Technic collection or planning to build a vehicle in red, the new 488 GTE is your choice.

I bet many Technic fans are anticipating the set because of wheel arch panels, but here’s the news: the 488 GTE introduces yet another type of wheel arches, 5×13 panels. They are just two studs shorter than those in 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37, meaning that, unfortunately, you won’t be able to build a red Sian or a lime Ferrari in the same sizes. Besides the four new panels, Ferrari brings a brand new arch fender piece. It’s a thinner arch with two cross axle holes at both ends; the new piece perfectly fits the new 5×13 wheel arches thanks to a small groove along the edge. However, you’ll need a couple of liftarms, axles, and pins to fix the pieces together.

The build

Even before starting the assembly, you can tell a lot about the model’s inner structure just by looking at the list of play features and functions. Like the 42096 Porsche 911 RSR, the 488 GTE has a fake V8 engine, functioning steering, and fully independent suspension. Under the Ferrari’s body hides a regular LEGO Technic chassis. It will be familiar to anyone who has built any of LEGO Technic supercars, or, for example, 42077 Rally Car.

Along both sides of the chassis, you’ll find long helicopter blade pieces. Unless we consider the canceled 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, 42125 is the first set containing the pieces in black. The blades look extremely cool as part of the car’s molding. I also liked how the blades are kept in place by a couple of bars with clips, but later it turned out that the clips don’t really work that well. The blades are way too flexible to be held in place by a couple of small clips. While preparing this review, I had to retake dozens of pictures because of misplaced blades.

With the pieces from the second stage, you finish the front of the car. This is when the Ferrari starts to take its iconic shape. Because most of the panels are pretty massive, it doesn’t take many pieces to cover the front area.

Along with the front exterior, you finish the interior of the car. As expected, no surprises here: the interior is pretty dull, with a very simple driver’s seat and a couple of control panels made with stickers.

With no stickers applied, the model demonstrates some very intricate panel work in the front. Small panels facing multiple directions do a great job of copying the actual car’s shape and giving the LEGO version a very aggressive sporty look. Obviously, it is not a perfect copy, but I did enjoy assembling this area.

The next stage is all about the rear part of the car. The rear fenders take their places inside the rear wheel arches giving the 488 GTE its distinctive look. The build at the stage is pretty straightforward and enjoyable.

I particularly liked the use of blue and yellow elements at the back of the car. The real car is covered with sponsors’ logos, hence the non-typical colors on a red Ferrari. I’m very pleased to see this solution instead of black/gray elements with colorful stickers applied on top. Of course, the sticker sheets include the corresponding stickers to be applied on both sides, but the livery looks recognizable even without them.

One more interesting piece you’ll find in the set is 2×2 round brick in transparent red. Two of these are used as the rear lights. This element/color combination makes a comeback after 13 years since the last appearance, and this is only the third LEGO set to include the piece. What is peculiar, so far this is strictly a Ferrari element; the other two sets to include it are 8653 Enzo Ferrari 1:10 and 8145 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano 1:10.

The rest of the assembly includes a bunch of panels and flexible axles that form the car’s silhouette.

The finished model

Several hours and many panels later, you get the best looking LEGO Techni Ferrari car so far. Both the front and the back of the car make great use of all types of panels available in the set, creating a very aggressive, sporty look. Whether you display it on a table, on a shelf, or even hang it on a wall, it looks great from almost any angle.

The 488 GTE’s nose and the distinctive front wing are my favorite elements of the LEGO design. Obviously, the possibilities are limited by the smaller Technic panels’ actual shape, but I believe the design team deserves praise.

The most arguable point of the set’s design is the roofs’ silhouette. When comparing the LEGO version to the actual car from the side view, you can notice that the brick-built roof is slightly too high closer to the end of the cockpit. In my opinion, this is a minor issue since the LEGO version is actually full of compromises.

488 GTE
Image © John Chapman, via Wikipedia.

The suspension height has always been one of the weakest features of LEGO Technic cars. Without any adjustment mechanism, you are always stuck with the road clearance that the chassis offers. For this Ferrari, the situation is unfortunate around the rear wheels. Take a minute to compare the space between the top of the tire and the fender in the real car. You’ll notice that the actual 488 GTE has a lot lower ride height.

The rear of the car isn’t as impressive as the front, with a lot more openings. I suppose some of the points could be improved with alternative panel combinations, but that would mean even more compromises in other parts of the car.

Right behind the cockpit, there is a very nicely decorated rear window revealing a V8 engine model inside. This area may lack detailing, but it is on par with the rest of the model. This whole area is elegant and gives nice examples of how to use flexible elements.

The bottom of the complete model turned out to be one of the most surprising points. The center of the chassis is a large LEGO Technic frame. This piece is perfect if you want to put a gearbox inside it, but the frame is just a structural element in this Ferrari. So, when you turn the model upside down, get ready to discover that the car has no floor at all. Actually, it’s a brilliant design idea, as it saves a lot of pieces yet lets you create a fairly robust structure.

Conclusions & recommendation

The upcoming wave of LEGO Technic sets is about to bring several very exciting sets. Not all of them are perfect, but they are all about fresh designs. LEGO Technic 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE “AF Corse #51” continues the lovely trend of medium-sized supercars; it is huge and detailed enough to be a collectible, but still not as expensive as the premium LEGO Technic supercar sets. The price tag of $170 in the US may ruin the fun, so I won’t say this is a “day one” purchase.

LEGO Technic 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE “AF Corse #51” includes 1,677 pieces and will be available starting January 1st, 2021 from the LEGO Shop (US $169.99 | CAN $229.99 | UK pricing TBD).

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

2 comments on “LEGO Technic 42125 Ferrari 488 GTE “AF Corse #51” [Review]

  1. winstonheard

    That’s a much better headlight solution than I thought it would be initially. I can’t wait to pick this up. Some alterations will need to made to get rid of all of that blue and yellow

  2. Rick

    This set is too ugly as a show piece and comes with too few functions for a technic piece. I am surprised this does not come up in the review at all.

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