As with LEGO’s Modular Buildings Collection, it’s become a yearly tradition for LEGO to add a new large-scale vehicle to the Creator Expert theme. The vehicles have ranged across a variety of car market segments, but one thing they all have in common is that they’re extremely iconic. And so it’s no surprise that this year’s entry is one of the most iconic sports cars of all time, instantly recognizable no matter your level of car knowledge. 10295 Porsche 911 Turbo & 911 Targa was revealed just two weeks ago and brings us not one but two versions of the classic sports car. With 1,458 pieces, it contains the parts to build either the performance Turbo version or the suave Targa with removable top. It will retail for US $149.99 | CAN $199.99 | UK £119.99 and will be first available to LEGO VIP members starting Feb. 16, with regular retail availability starting March 1.
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 and contents
As part of the rebranded Creator Expert line, the Porsche 911’s box bears the now-familiar black packaging with greebly stripe along the bottom, and no mention of the Creator Expert theme. The front shows the Turbo version, while the back showcases the Targa as well as the car’s features.
The box is similar in size to the larger Creator Expert vehicles from previous years, such as 2019’s Ford Mustang, which is still the reigning champ by parts count. Upon opening the box, you’ll be greeted with 11 bags across 10 numbered segments, plus an additional bag for the tires and windows. The instruction manual is in its own sealed bag. Notably, a sticker sheet is absent, because all of the set’s decorated elements are printed, a premium experience that’s been overdue for Creator Expert cars.
The thick, 268-page instruction manual boldly announces on the cover that it’s for both the Targa and Turbo designs. There are five pages of introductory material at the start giving a very brief synopsis of the Porsche 911 generally, and then the Turbo and Targa models, along with a little behind-the-scenes info from LEGO Design Master Mike Psiaki. Mike is well known in the adult LEGO fan community, having been an active fan builder before joining LEGO as a designer. He notes that he designed the 911 originally as a personal project, before LEGO and Porsche decided to translate it into an official product. Interestingly, the introduction shies away from naming the specific year models the LEGO 911 is based on, though it does acknowledge that the 911 Turbo is based on the original 930 model, which was manufactured between 1975 and 1989. The Targa naturally would be from the same era, since the LEGO designs share most of the same bodywork.
There are a few new pieces in the 911 set, and they seem specifically designed for this set–though we’ll no doubt seem them crop up elsewhere before long. The two wholly new elements are a quarter circle slope that’s got a smooth, studless top. It’s reminiscent of some previous slopes that had a 3-stud rise on the slope, but with the studless upper surface and smooth curving interior it’s got unique uses. In this case, they play the role of wheel arches on the Turbo model, and four are included. The second piece is a new complex curving slope that’s similar to some older ones, but with a smoothly curved surface instead of angles. It also traces a curved corner on the bottom end. It comes in matching left/right designs, and a single pair is included.
There is also a healthy assortment of recolors–that is, existing elements appearing in a new color for the first time. I didn’t exhaustively check the whole inventory, but here are some of the ones I picked out. Dark orange in particular gets a healthy upgrade, while a handful of elements that appeared last year get a new color, like the rounded 2×4 tile and curved 3×3 elbow plate. The hubs that were introduced with 2019’s Creator Expert Mustang also get a new color with black, and this is only the second set they’ve been in.
Finally, let’s take a peek at the printed elements. Most of them are exclusive to this set, with the exception of the slope and tiles for the gauges. Those are new patterns for 2021, but aren’t exclusive to the 911. One of the 1×1 round tiles is extra. Like most previous Creator Expert vehicles, you’re provided with a variety of license plate options. In this case, you’ll get front and back European-style plates reading S – CU 6000, along with Japanese and American rear plates. More on those later.
Diving into the Porsche 911 starts the way so many LEGO sets do these days, with a simple Technic frame. It’s helpfully color-coded with red, blue, and yellow pieces to keep the orientation correct until you get enough pieces down to tell front from back (the yellow is the front). Much like the Creator Expert Mustang, which contained parts to build the standard Mustang or a supercharged GT, the Porsche 911 doesn’t ask upfront which version of the car you want to build, as the majority of the build is the same.
Next up are the black floorboards and seat connectors, along with the first bits of the exterior paneling–the curved bottom panels beneath the doors. It’s a minor nitpick, but that tiny 1×2 patch of red that you can see in the passenger footwell is never covered up–a miss considering how easy it would be to fix.
By the end of Bag 2, the frame has is extended to the base of the rear bumper, and the rear seat and foundations for the sloping roof in place. The foundations are set at an angle with a Technic pin at the front, and a great bit of LEGO math at the back that takes advantage of the unique geometry of the 2×4 rounded tile to connect the angled roof foundation to the frame. In the first image below, the 2×4 tile will sit over the five exposed grey studs, and the rounded corners keep it from interfering on the upper left corner.
The rear wheel arches go in front of that whole mechanism, and they also have an interesting bit of building. Because the widebody fenders are a hallmark of the Turbo version but aren’t present on the Targa, they have to be easily attached and removed. This means that LEGO had to figure out a way to have studs facing out on the wheel wells, an area that’s generally quite compact. The solution is this interesting system that utilizes Technic 1×5 plates and 1×1 nipples to get a few studs facing out that the fenders for both 911 versions will hang on.
The complex rear bumper is largely built as a single unit and then attached to the frame. The first printed pieces get used here, with the red 1×8 PORSCHE tile across the back, flanked by the two trans-clear 1×2 tiles with red printing. The exposed portion of the 1×2 tiles create the tiny white reverse lights that are sandwiched between the large orange turn signals and the red taillights.
At this stage, as I started to get some of the white body paneling in place, I realized that the light grey backdrop I was using for my photos probably wouldn’t provide enough contrast, so I swapped over to the blue backdrop, letting the 911’s striking white exterior pop a bit more. At last, we’re ready to give this beast a motor, though it looks a little anemic right now. That’s because the base engine block is built as a unit and then slotted in, and later will be covered with more assemblies to create the 3.0-liter flat-six with or without the turbo. The engine is technically not attached to the car’s frame since it just slots in, but once all the accouterments are later placed over it, it’s pretty well locked into place. Here you can also see the new slopes that make up the rear corners of the 911.
Now let’s shift forward a bit to the cabin, starting with the seats. The seats are quite straightforward, but they take advantage of the new curved 3×3 elbow plate to give a much smoother look than similar designs in previous cars. The combination of dark orange and medium nougat looks splendid for imitating a lush leather interior. The steering is up next, which is a very simple system that leaves a fair bit of play in the wheel. It’s a single module that clips into the frame with Technic pins, and the front bumper module follows in the same manner.
The doors come next along with the windshield. The doors use classic plate hinges and don’t have a stop like the Mustang’s doors, so they can fully extend to touch the front fenders. The windshield connects with a single pair of clips in the middle to a medium blue handle, which lets it sit at the proper angle. It does ultimately end up with a fair bit of wobble along that axis, though. Pressing everything down firmly gets rid of most of the wiggle, but any pressure loosens it back up.
The front wheel wells don’t need a solution quite like the rear, because there are no widebody fenders for the Turbo upfront. However, the narrow wheel wells have to accommodate the turning wheels while still having a few studs facing out for the tiles that make the narrow fenders. This necessitates a clever little construction consisting of a 1x2x3 panel and a telescope to give just that tiny bit of extra clearance.
With the addition of the hood, front quarter panels, and headlights, this car is finally starting to look like a Porsche. This is also as far as it will go before you have to choose which model you’re making. Unlike the Mustang’s alternate versions, the Porsche 911 requires fairly extensive building to swap between the Turbo and Targa version. There’s also some overlap in the pieces used for the two versions. You’ll use Bags 8 and 9 building the Turbo, while you’ll need Bags 8 and 10 for the Targa.
I’m going to kick it off with the Turbo, not simply because that’s the first one in the booklet, but also because the Targa has always been my favorite 911 version, and since I’ll be building both for this review, that’s the one I want to end up with when I’m done. Some of the pieces of the Turbo conversion are modular and easy to swap out like the widebody fenders, but the rear window area and engine pieces are connected fairly substantially to the rest of the car. There’s also an error in the instruction manual (page 195) where the window panels are attached; the instruction manual erroneously shows the printed element going on the right when it should go on the left. Once the main rear window and engine upgrades are affixed, the roof and whale tail clip on easily as whole units.
You may have spotted one thing odd in that last image of the car, though. There’s no axle. And this is something I hadn’t even considered when thinking about how the car would get upgraded from a base 911 to a Turbo; the Turbo’s widebody means that the rear wheels sit out further, so naturally the axle attachment point would be different from the standard 911. This is accomplished by having the entire axle be swappable. You simply build it either longer or shorter by two studs, depending on which version of the 911 you’re building and then clip it into place. Despite clipping in with only two studs, it sits firmly and doesn’t feel loose at all.
Add on those vaunted widebody fenders and some black rims now, and your 911 Turbo is complete.
Before we spend too long on the finished model, though, let’s backtrack a little and build the Targa. The Targa is surprisingly a simpler model, and most of its pieces are pretty modular. There are a few pieces that attach to the car to prep it for the larger elements, and the engine gets a makeover too, but it mostly can come apart in large chunks.
The conversion between models, however, is probably my biggest disappointment in the set. It feels so close to being able to be hot-swappable like the Mustang’s versions; as if with just a few more strategically placed elements and connections, you could pop everything off and switch a Targa to a Turbo in a matter of seconds. But despite the construction issues, you’ll encounter another obstacle–the set reuses a lot of the same pieces for the two models. The most annoying to me was the tires, because I hate putting tires on rims, and the set only includes one set of tires for the two sets of rims. After building the Turbo, I actually tried to disassemble it carefully to see how much I could salvage between the two. Here’s the resulting pile of leftovers from the Turbo after extracting only the bits I needed for the Targa. As you can see, this won’t be a Turbo again anytime soon.
Conversion difficulties aside, the Targa cuts a beautiful figure with its big glass rear window and distinct rollbar.
The completed model
I’ll admit that as fan of Porsches, I’m predisposed to love the bug-eyed shape of Porsches, but the LEGO Porsche 911 is a beautiful car. The headlights and bumpers are captured perfectly, giving the iconic 911 look from either the front or back.
There are all the usual working functions, of course, with access to the hood, engine bay, and both doors, along with working steering.
The Targa model also features a removable top, which just like on the real car, can be stowed in the front trunk.
The dark orange interior looks excellent, and even features tipping seats which offer almost no access to the rear seats, just like the real car.
Upfront you’ll get a hand brake, stick shift, and of course the steering wheel. I do have a few minor nits to pick here, though, that would have taken the interior from good to great (besides that flash of red on the floorboards I mentioned earlier). First, the stickshift should be black, not dark grey. Of course, the towball-rod element doesn’t currently come in black, which is no doubt why dark grey was used, but surely a $150 set justifies it. Perhaps more importantly, Porsches to this day are known for their iconic 5-dial instrumental panel, not the four dials seen here (which also anachronistically include a digital readout). The underlying grey elements out also to have been black for the dials, too.
Lastly, the doors have several awkward bits of studs exposed that make it look unfinished. I tested them by placing 1×2 white tiles over the studs, and they fit fine, so there’s no functional reason they were left exposed. Perhaps it was a cost-saving measure, or part of the LEGO branding of leaving a few studs here and there. Either way, it looks better with them covered.
While we’re on the subject of nits, I’m disappointed that the orange turn signals on the front and back don’t match. I think either design works well–the transparent orange of the front signals or the opaque orange of the rear–but since they match on the real car, they ought to here as well.
The overall shape is fantastic, though it does end up slightly flattened, more akin to a modern 911 than the taller, gangly models of the 70s and 80s.
However, none of this significantly diminishes my opinion of the model. It’s still a strikingly beautiful design of a car famous for its curves. Fans have been building amazing models of Porsche 911s for many years (check out our LEGO Porsche 911 archives) but converting a design into a marketable kit is another matter altogether, requiring structural stability in a way that fans are not beholden to, and the result here is a top-notch vehicle.
This isn’t the first Porsche 911 LEGO’s created, and in fact, it’s not even the largest. As big as this car is (and it’s more than a foot long) it ranks as only the third-largest 911 for LEGO. Here it is next to its two bigger twins from Technic, 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS and 42096 Porsche 911 RSR. Interestingly, the white Technic 911 has only 122 more pieces.
Let’s talk for a moment about another detail, though: the license plates. License plates on LEGO cars are a common place for easter eggs, and this set is no exception. We spotted that the Japanese license plate was from Gunma Prefecture and wondered if it might be related to Initial D, a manga about street racing set in Gunma. So we reached out to the set’s designer, Mike Psiaki, to shed more light on the subject. The plate numbers, of course, align with the LEGO set numbers. Mike tells us:
I talked with Porsche about ideas they had for license plates, and they mentioned that the 930 was a car that helped them break into the Japanese market; something about the engineering ingenuity of the turbocharged engine really caught on there, apparently. I thought that a Japanese license plate would be a cool way to pay homage to that. I feel like we’re sometimes underrepresenting our Japanese fans in the products we create as well and we can probably do more grand gestures than a license plate on a car, but I thought it was a least a nice wink in their direction. The Gunma Prefecture is more a nod to the roads of Mt. Haruna that I’ve seen time and time again come up as amazing drives, especially for a rear wheel drive monster like the 930. But I guess Mt. Haruna’s fame as a driving destination ultimately stems from its portrayal in Initial-D, so I guess it is all linked together in the end.
And speaking of license plates, how about that orange New York plate? It reads P51 AK3, which will seem familiar to a lot of fans. It stems originally from a transposition of Mike Psiaki’s last name, and this is its third appearance, following P51 AK1 and P51 AK2 on two of Mike’s previous Creator Expert vehicles, the VW Beetle and Ford Mustang.
Conclusion and recommendation
The Porsche 911 Turbo & 911 Targa isn’t the perfect LEGO car. But it’s really darn close. As you’ve read, I’ve got my nitpicks with it, but it’s a magnificent set that’s filled with clever techniques, whether it’s the unique attachment points for the fenders, or the swappable rear axle. While I found the switch between Turbo and Targa models to be a bit clumsy, the fact that the option exists at all is a great thing. LEGO could have easily chosen the more iconic 911 Turbo and left it at that, likely even with the same price point. And had they done so, I would have still felt this was a model worth buying. But getting to choose another variant–which is just as good a build as the Turbo–adds a lot of value to the set and makes the build experience highly rewarding. As a parts pack, the set’s price is right on par for part count, and you’ll get a great variety of useful pieces, particularly in white. But it’s such a gorgeous model, it’s almost a shame to contemplate it.
So if you’re wondering whether the Porsche 911 makes a good addition to the Creator Expert lineup of vehicles, the answer is unequivocally yes. German engineering was already well represented with both a VW Van and a Beetle, but it didn’t feel complete without the most German of sports cars, the 911. This set earns a solid recommendation.
And before we part ways, here’s Christian from LEGO’s Scala line modeling with the 911, because what’s a sports car from the 70s without a sexy ad?
10295 Porsche 911 Turbo & 911 Targa contains 1,458 pieces. It will retail for US $149.99 | CAN $199.99 | UK £119.99 and will be first available to LEGO VIP members starting Feb. 16, with regular retail availability starting March 1. It may also be available from third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.
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.
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