LEGO Creator Expert 10290 Pickup Truck: A ride that’s very “Farm Fresh” [Review]

For years, fans have been demanding a LEGO Back to the Future vehicle – and LEGO has listened. Their latest Creator Expert vehicle is indeed a way to go back in time to the 1950’s – well, in a nostalgic way, at least. The Creator Expert 10290 Pickup Truck is a classic interpretation of vintage farm trucks from that era. Available for pre-order now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $129.99 | CAN $169.99 | UK £119.99 this 1677 piece set will will be generally available October 1st. But does this surprising choice of vehicle merit your time-travel dollar? Come along as we take a close look at this set!

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

Unboxing the parts, instructions and sticker sheet

Our review copy arrived a little worse for wear, with a pretty huge dent in the box. (As well as missing its flux capacitor.)  Maybe this was a deliberate action from the shipping department, giving this 50’s style farm truck the same sort of ding that you’d expect to see in real life. (It was a joke we had to make. Sorry.)

Anyway, the set comes in a mid-sized thumb-punch box with standard “Adult collector” packaging. The minimal logo in the upper left declares, simply, “Pickup Truck”. The age range is mandated at “18+” like all other sets in this theme; a questionable attempt aims this set at “adults who think LEGO is just for kids”.  There’s nothing in the build that a much younger builder couldn’t handle, though. You do get a nice clear shot of the truck, as well as the seasonal accessories.

The back of the box shows off the pickup from the opposite angle. The accessories are spread out a bit more. It’s strange they didn’t show the sandwich board from the other side in any of the shots, as it has a second sticker that highlights the spring flowers. Maybe they didn’t want people to think that there were two signs included.  There’s an inset on the upper right with the truck’s dimensions (13″/33cm x 5.5″/14cm) and a row of photos along the bottom calling out some of the display features and grouping the seasonal accessories.

Inside the box are 14 parts bags, 4 loose tires, and a sealed bag containing the instruction manual and sticker sheets.

The instruction book is a perfect-bound and 216 pages in length. As is usual for these sets, it starts off with a couple of pages of introduction. There’s a bit about the set, a brief blurb about set designer Pierre Normandin, two pages about the “The Four Seasons” of accessories, and then the build itself. Unlike other instructions in this theme, though, there aren’t any cute “call out factoids” in the building instructions. The build is plenty engaging by itself, luckily.

There are two sticker sheets for this set. The first is printed on the standard white background and has the little touches that make sense for this truck but would have limited use in other sets. The truck’s license plate reads “010-290”, a clear reference to the set number of 10290. The door logos for the “Green Farm” show it was established in 1932, a date that matches LEGO’s own founding.

The second sticker sheet has a bit of detail for the windscreen printed on a clear backer.

The parts

This set contains a pretty great mix of parts, but aftermarket builders will be most excited by the huge variety of elements in dark red. (All with very uniform color between the dark red parts, too. That’s a problem LEGO has struggled with in the past.)  The spoiler plate is new in dark red, as is the 2×2 rounded corner brick.

Also noteworthy are these dark red 10x2x2 curved slopes. Previously they were only available in white in the 10295 Porsche 911 and in sand green in the 21327 Typewriter.

In fact, there’s so much dark red goodness that I thought it might be nice to just share the section of the part list that focuses on the color. That’s a lot of variety!

Outside of the red, there are also some cool parts like this 1x1x2 bracket in light grey, metallic silver candlestick, and dark brown 2×3 “C plate”. There are also four metallic-ink silver 3×3 hubcaps and a printed “V8” curved 1×2 slope.

There’s also a printed instrument panel with the enigmatic mile marker of “000937.9” – that has to be an Easter egg too, right? Maybe a birthday? Pierre Normandin’s LEGO ID? A hint that this set was in development for almost 938 days???? (Okay, I feel silly now. Thank you to JIM for the comment that pointed out that 0937 is “LEGO” upside down! Can’t believe I missed that.)  For the back of the truck is a “LEGO” brand plate that is very reminiscent of classic Ford tailgate styling.

The build

The truck is built on a solid Technic base. The rear wheels are free-spinning but well braced in the 4×6 Technic brackets that form most of the chassis.

The running boards/cab is the next major area to be constructed. The front wheels will feature working steering, and the Technic assembly that will control that is next on the list to be built.

Even after many years of building Technic sets, I’m still impressed with what LEGO designers can incorporate into their sets. This image shows show the steering wheel interacts with the assembly seen above to turn the wheel mounts.

Once the steering is in place, the rest of the front end starts to take shape. The mounts for the opening doors are also added at his stage. Those hinges are fragile at this stage, so I’d avoid futzing too much with them until later on.

The dark red bodywork makes its first appearance in the fenders and rear of the cab. This is an area where I’m glad LEGO went with a largely studless look – standard brick/plate would have made the truck’s body look far too rough.

The engine is built as a stand-alone mini-build, but locked in place in the final build There’s some nice part usage here, including a black hotdog for tubing.

The engine is set in behind a radiator and a grille made up of claw pieces in light grey clipped to a bit of flex tubing. The completed doors are pretty sturdy and open and close without any problems. A nice bit of detail is the window crank on the inside of each door made from a minifigure ice skate.

The truck’s headlights are also a clever bit of building. Minifigure shields are topped with clear radar dishes and clipped into place. Be advised, though, that getting those dishes off of the shields later will be pretty tough – once on, they’re determined to stay attached.

The truck bed has lines of tan tile to suggest inset wood. It’s a nice detail that keeps things from looking like a solid (and boring) wall of dark red.

The bench seating is another “build and then put into place” assembly. The use of curved slopes and tile make for a really attractive bit of upholstery. The 1×2 jumper plate on the seat can be used to hold the “Winter” wrapped gift in place.

With the seat in place, the interior of the cab ends up being pretty densely packed with detail. In addition to the working steering wheel, there’s a gear shift, instrument panel, and foot pedals. The last bits of the truck are the tailgate, roof, and side rails, all of which we’ll cover in the completed build.

As a final treat for the builders, each of the hubcaps is attached with two 1×1 round plates in the same brushed-silver tone as the 3×3 dishes. Since those plates will never be seen once the model is completed, there’s nothing to stop a builder from, say, raiding their stash of more common 1×1 round plate for replacements and saving these silver beauties for use in later custom builds.

The finished model

The completed pickup truck is a really sharp-looking model. While there’s no 1:1 match with existing trucks, the overall shape just screams “1950’s vintage styling.” It’s a fun,  jaunty little vehicle that makes a great display piece. The roof is removable to get a better look at the interior but is meant to be left on.

The pickup looks great from every angle. There really isn’t a “bad side” to display this from.

The opening doors and hood also add some great options for showcasing this set. The hood has an adjustable rod to keep it open, and the motor has plenty of detail to draw the eye.

From the rear, the tailgate lowers, showing off the texture of the truck bed. A great option if you want to pile in the accessories and “pose” the truck as if it were being unloaded.

The wooden side railings at the rear are removable. The gaps where they’re mounted aren’t too obvious, making for yet another display tweak for a more “suburban” take on the overall look.

As mentioned earlier, this set has accessories to carry the truck through all four seasons. The spring is represented by a watering can and flower display, with one side of a foldable sandwich board having a “Today’s pick!” sticker.  The sand green wheelbarrow is a solid build with studs to hold the potted plants.

The summer and fall share the other side of the placard, with a “Fresh from the farm” sticker. The summer harvest of carrots and tomatoes is joined by a big container of milk. The fall brings a carton full of pumpkins.

The full harvest can easily be stowed in the truck’s bed. And check out that great “LEGO” logo on the back of the tailgate!

Winter is represented with a festive wreath. The build here is pretty interesting, with a quarter-circle tile in bright green sandwiched between 2×2 green plates. Red Technic pins do double duty as holly berries and anchor points, while a red hinge plate and cheese slopes create a bow.

You also get a pretty unimpressive wrapped gift. It’s nice to see some extra parts, but this common box build feels pretty lackluster compared to the rest of the set.

The wreath can attach to the front of the truck. In the US, this is a pretty common winter sight.  I understand that this wreath placement can have other cultural symbolism as well, making this maybe a bit more grim image than intended.

Scale Comparison with the ECTO-1

Since this set uses the same steering wheel as the 10274 ECTO-1, I thought it would be nice to see them side-by-side for scale comparison. As you can see, both vehicles look like they could co-exist on the same set. And, considering the rural setting for the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie, this iteration of the Ecto-1 is based on, that might be more likely than not. The pickup is clearly at a slightly larger scale, but not outrageously so.

Both sets look good together from most angles, too. If you were looking for inspiration for a very large-scale October build, might I suggest a very large spooky street scene featuring these guys?

Conclusion and recommendation

This certainly is an interesting offering from the LEGO Creator Expert line. LEGO vehicles at this scale are often licensed reproductions of popular sports cars or pop culture icons. But this is neither; while this truck has undeniable “classic styling” it’s not a 1:1 representation of any individual auto. I doubt that will be much of a deterrent to people, though, as this is one sweet-looking set. It’s a breath of fresh air that expands LEGO’s automotive offerings from “just” the established media darlings. The dark red color, graceful curves, and quality accessories make this a great display piece. For $130 USD you get 1677 pieces – a pretty decent 7.7 cents per. The build is fun and quick, with just enough complexity to keep things interesting. And if you’re not a car person, there are a lot of great parts here for aftermarket building. Take this one out for a test drive. I think you’ll be pleased with the ride. 

LEGO Creator Expert 10290 Pickup Truck is available for pre-order now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $129.99 | CAN $169.99 | UK £119.99 and will be generally available October 1st. It may also available via 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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5 comments on “LEGO Creator Expert 10290 Pickup Truck: A ride that’s very “Farm Fresh” [Review]

  1. JIM

    Greetings Chris, GREAT review of a FANTASTIC set….but I’m really SURPRISED you didn’t know ” 0937 ” is LEGO flipped & rotated…LEGO ON !

  2. Ed

    I don’t normally care for older cars, but this model is appealing.

    Color consistency was my first question, let’s hope it stays true on production sets.

    But why does LEGO insist on limiting the turning radius of the steering in all their vehicles with such poor range of movement? It shouldn’t be that way.

  3. Jimmy

    @Ed part of that has to do with the limits of Lego wheel backspacing. The pivot point for the steering is inboard of the wheel rim centerline, meaning that instead of pivoting perfectly in place, the wheel and tire actually move in an arc forward and back.

    The 1989 batmobile got around this limitation with a very nice virtual pivot-point design!

    (From this BB review:

    I like the rear wheel arches’ gentler curved shape better than the front -note how the front have that 4-stud flat section at the top of the wheel opening. But the front needs to have a bigger opening to accommodate the steering action so that the tires don’t hit, I’m guessing this might be part of the reason they are different.

    Also the fronts have what looks like some delightful snot work so that the bottom corners of the fenders are actually inverted 2×2 rounded corner brick!

  4. Jimmy

    Thanks for this review!

    As far as the model goes: I was going to avoid this, but now I might try and pick it up (ha!). I really like the use of some gears with reduction for the steering, I get annoyed at sloppy arm-and balljoint only steering like in the Technic Jeep Wrangler. Overall this looks nicely designed with very nice $/part ratio.

    I also kind of like that this is unlicensed, as for me personally I have less hang ups about modifying a set like this to my taste than I would if it were supposed to represent a specific vehicle.

    My critiques are mostly styling: the grill just isn’t doing it for me, maybe flipped the other way around or somehow tilted a bit so that the upper edge with the tube doesn’t protrude forwards so much. The tailgate really should have chains, it’s a surprise they are missing.

    I really, REALLY wish Lego could make a vehicle headlamp that didn’t have a hollow stud in the middle. It’s just so ugly and really ruins for me what should be a nice smooth headlight lens.

    The rest of the styling is very nice. Even though I’d like to get some chrome parts, the truth is that basic trucks like this very often had painted grills. Chrome was for top-of-the-line, which often had a larger rear window too.

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