Football fans worldwide are in for a treat (as are the soccer fans in the US) as LEGO has created a scale model of FC Barcelona’s massive Camp Nou. The slogan on the bleachers reads “Més que un club,” which translates from the Catalan as “More than a club.” Can LEGO Creator Expert 10284 Camp Nou FC Barcelona hope to live up to that lofty promise? Available now for US $349.99 | CAN $449.99 | UK £299.99, this 5509 piece set isn’t about to back down. Come along as we take a deep dive into this highly-anticipated set!
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.
Unboxing the set
First off, let me state for the record that I’m not much of a sports fan, so I don’t have a lot of personal context for this set. I’ve looked over the required Wikipedia reading, but there might still be some athletics-related perspectives that I’ve missed or misstatements that will seem very silly to those in the know. Hopefully, you’re here to look at this set from a LEGO perspective, though – and that I’m sure I can provide.
This set comes in a fairly hefty box in the Creator Expert styling. That means a black background, minimal logos in the corners, and a solid display shot front and center. The age range is set at “18+”, but there’s nothing in this set that couldn’t be handled by a much younger builder.
The back of the box showcases the dimensions of the set (Height: 8″/20cm, Width: 19″/49cm, Depth: 18″/46cm), some inset shots of the real life stadium and LEGO version, and a “view from the field” alternate angle of the build.
Interestingly, there’s a holographic “Sticker of Authenticity” on the front. I assume this was mandated by the licensing agreements, but could also be a way to try and help identify counterfeit product on a high-price set that has a decent risk of being bootlegged.
Inside the tab-sealed box are 23 part bags and a white box that contains even more stuff. It’s kind of a mess and a fairly chaotic start to the building experience. The box actually contains the things you’ll need to start building – the part bags that come loose in the larger box are for steps 15-32. Inside the white box are 22 bags that will build steps 1-14, two loose large printed tiles, and another white envelope.
Spread-out, the part bags give you a nice feeling that, if nothing else, you’ve gotten a lot of LEGO pieces to add to your collection.
The white cardboard envelope does a good job of protecting the two perfect-bound instruction manuals and the sticker sheet.
The set spans two instruction manuals. The first is 312 pages long, with the first 18 pages taken up with an overview of FC Barcelona / Camp Nou’s history and some insights about the set from LEGO designer Rok Zgalin Kobe.
Book one also covers the playing field and the first half of the stands and ends with the set’s part list. (Something that usually comes at the very end of any set of instruction books.) Book two is 288 pages and completes the building instructions.
Like other Creator Expert sets, there are extra bits of information spread throughout the building instructions. These factoids help keep things interesting and are a welcome addition to a 600-page marathon build.
The playing field is made from several large printed tiles. There are also two printed transparent-clear double-wall corners with a net pattern. All of these prints appeared once before, in the 10272 Old Trafford – Manchester United set. There is also at least one newly recolored element, the bar holder with clip in light blue-grey. That’s a color that’s been highly desired by the LEGO fan building community. There are also 2×6 tiles in dark blue, dark red, yellow, and light grey. None of those are new for this set, but all are pretty scarce at present.
The sticker sheet is bright and colorful and contains prints that probably would never have found a use in other released sets. The stickers for the lettering in the stands match the graphics in Old Tafford set, creating a nice bit of uniformity across the two.
The first steps build the playing field. There’s nothing too exciting about this, but I was surprised the designers didn’t have this section be the final part of the build. It feels like it would be a pretty fun capstone to the building experience, particularly as things get really dull in the main build. But more on that later. For right now, just enjoy a modular section that you could easily repurpose as the center of another custom stadium build.
An early detail that I liked was the “quasi-illegal” connection used to mount the goals. Instead of being mounted upright, the bracket is friction-wedged between the studs. The end result is a goal that looks perfectly scaled, with thinner edges than you might expect from more traditional building techniques.
The remainder of the build divides the stadium seating into four quarters. Each base has a nearly-identical internal structure, with a layer of light blue-grey tile on top. The differently colored 2×4 plates on the edges help you keep things oriented during the build.
The majority of the stadium consists of, as you might expect, the stands. The oval shape of the arena is achieved by building wedge-shaped sections that hinge together, allowing for a graceful curve. They all “float” on the smooth tile surface of the base, making assembly easier than trying to lock them into studs. The sheer number of sections required, however, means that you’re in for a very long slog of repetitive building. There are just enough variations between each wedge to keep you from mass-assembling things, and you’ll have to pay close attention all the way through. It’s kind of exhausting, to be honest.
The example below gives you a good idea of the common construction layout that appears in each wedge. The seats are built as long strips that are clipped onto the backplane. Long panels topped with white tile create the floor of each tier, an effect that works surprisingly well.
The physical seats in the stands are represented by the grooves in 1×2 textured brick. The colored seating sections that create the large letters have a stickered background print that matches the grooved pattern, although the colors don’t match up perfectly. Also, the letters themselves seem undersized compared to the photos I’ve seen of the actual stadium. In terms of building techniques, though, the mixture of sizes and various alignments of the tiles at the leading edge of each tier of seats helps smooth out the curve and unify the wedges into a single visual unit.
The completed first section reveals that there’s a decent amount of gap between the wedge sections as you move away from the center. It’s a little distracting when seen here, but isn’t as noticeable once the full set is together. It’s a reasonable trade-off for the smooth curve to the overall building’s shape.
From the back, the gaps are even more obvious, particularly thanks to being able to see through to the grey background in this photo. The repeated texture from the 1×2 bricks looks great, though, and somehow feels visually distinct from the stands despite being the same pattern on a differently colored brick. The larger signs are stickers on 2×6 tile, and add a bit of color and pop to this angle.
Section two is just a mirror image of section one, with different stickers for letters and scoreboard display. The scoreboard, by the way, references the club’s 5-0 win over rivals Real Madrid in 2010. But you probably knew that already.
Putting the two stand sections together with the playing field gives you an idea of how things are progressing. This “half-shell” amphitheater would almost work as a smaller display option, except for the exposed scaffolding under the seats. It wouldn’t be super difficult to custom build a “cover” for the sides if you wanted to, though.
From the back, you can see the longer edge of the oval reads as a unified wall. This will get more enhancements later on when the final decorations are added.
The other half of the stadium has a lot more going on on the exterior. The first hint of this is the small exposed 2×4 area on the lower left and the 1×2 bricks with a connection bar that appears in the fourth wedge from the left.
That small brace is the anchor point for one-half of the large glassed-in foyer. The “NOU” sign is a sticker on a dark red 2×4 tile. The glass wall sections here are connected using hinged plates, with the right side clipping onto the fourth wedge. The top of the far left wedge is added now, locking the assembly into place.
The next step puts the roof coverings on. There’s some clever tilework on the roof that does a good gapless job of approximating the curve of the glass wall below it. The roof overhanging the seating is braced with lightsaber hilts and blades in light grey, a detail that set designer Rok Zgalin Kobe calls out in the instruction books as a favorite touch.
The final quadrant is a mirror of the third, with the final bit of lettering filling the middle tier.
From the outside edge, things continue to look good, with the “Camp” tile lining up with the “Nou” on the previous chunk.
At this point, you can slot all five sections together. The Technic pins slot into 2×2 round bricks without any connective friction, allowing for easy assembly (and disassembly).
The final bit of the build is adding some decorative touches to the top of the stands and to the grey base. We’ll cover those enhancements in the next section.
The finished model
The completed model is an interesting beast. It’s too deep to fit on most bookshelves, but not too large to completely overwhelm a coffee table. Compared to the actual building the dimensions feel a little off, but that might just be the photos I’ve seen. Maybe someone who’s seen Camp Nou in person can comment with more authority on the shaping. Assembled, this is very much a “look but don’t touch” display piece, as the connections between the sections aren’t locked in. Just rotating the model to get a look at the different sides usually resulted in having to smoosh things back together into one unit.
The build looks good from pretty much every side. The geometry of the build does result in larger gaps in the exterior “corners” of the oval, but it’s not too distracting as other details quickly draw your eye. One of the more meta elements are the tree designs – the same build is used in the Old Tafford set, and also in the 10276 Colosseum. It’s an arena trifecta!
I suspect the “Camp Nou” signage and impressive glass wall will be the angle most fans choose to showcase this from, though.
There are some fun little details when you look closely, too. These two transparent-clear wall elements represent the player’s zone – an area with covered seating for the players and coaches.
As mentioned earlier, the giant letters built into the middle tier are a mixed success. The scale feels a little off, and the printing on the background feels just a touch too dark. I was tempted to see if I could find a different phrase to build into the set using the letters provided. After running the letters through an online anagram solver I got “Cucumber CNN False Squeal” and I guess that’s just Illuminati confirmed.
One of the final details to be added is some flex tubing along the top edge. Surprisingly it’s not just decorative, but also functional. The edge of tubing that overlaps the stadium roof actually holds the white panel down flush with the wall.
Along the opposite wall are a bank of lights and eight flags. There are yellow and red striped Catalan flags, red and blue Blaugrana flags, and blue flags with the yellow FC Barcelona crest.
The last detail to call out is the FC Barcelona team bus parked out front. The stickers on the sides call out the team’s “Barca Barca Barca” chant and also includes the Club crest. It’s super cute, but again throws the scale of the stadium into question. The microscale bus is very tiny but nowhere near tiny enough to match the scale of the actual building.
Conclusion and recommendation
Sports fans worldwide will likely be drawn to this set. Based on the popularity of the 10272 Old Trafford – Manchester United set, it makes sense that LEGO would continue to expand their licenses into areas that appeal to this range of adult collectors. If you’re not a sports fan (and I, admittedly, am not) this set may not have nearly as much shelf-appeal, unless you’re looking for a giant parts pack. At $350 US for 5509 pieces, the price-per-part is just over six cents per, which is pretty cheap considering the licensing fees likely involved. That said, there are very few interesting or rare parts in this set and very little variety, so you’d expect the price to reflect that. This is a display piece, so there’s no playability to discuss, and the build is pretty tedious with a handful of interesting techniques that quickly become rote. So…is it worth getting? Well, that’s going to be a pretty individual choice this time around. If you’re an FC Barcelona fan, and you have the cash, then go for it! If you’re a collector, it might be worth a gamble due to the worldwide popularity of the subject matter. If sports isn’t your chosen LEGO theme, though? Go pre-order yourself a couple of Pickup Trucks instead.
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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