On April 23rd, 1946, Enrico Piaggio filed the patent for the first Vespa. Now, over 75 years later, LEGO is celebrating this iconic scooter with a pair of brick-built tributes. LEGO Creator 40517 – Vespa Scooter features a modern version in Red, while the LEGO Creator Expert 10298 Vespa 125 is a larger-scale model in classic pastel pale blue. The 1106 piece set will be available March 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for US $99.99 | CAN $129.99 | UK £89.99. Hop on as we take a spin on this Italian classic and see how well it survived the transition to LEGO brick!
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 parts, instructions and sticker sheet
The Vespa 125 comes packaged in a thumb-punch box with Adult Collector themed packaging. The minimalist dark background does a great job of making the brightly colored scooter stand out. The non-LEGO logos stick to the point, with “Vespa 125” and “1960s” in the upper left, and the Vespa logo in the lower right. The “1960s” tag is interesting – a (smaller) version of a Vespa is also arriving March 1st with the LEGO Creator 40517 – Vespa Scooter. Does the year tag mean we might see more decade-based variations of the Vespa if these sell well?
The age range is mandated at “18+” for these Adult Collector sets, which is a way for LEGO marketing to try and suggest that these aren’t “toys” but rather models meant for display. There really isn’t anything super-challenging about the build, though, and this set could easily be assembled by a much younger builder.
The back of the box shows a reverse angle of the Vespa, along with several inset shots. The first calls out the set’s dimensions (8.5 in. (22 cm) high, 4.5 in. (12 cm) long), while three others show the set’s “play features” – a removable engine cover, kick stand, and turning front wheel. there’s also a “real world” photo of some Vespas on the road.
The packaging also has a small holographic “seal of authenticity” on the bottom of the box. This foil sticker has the Vespa logo, along with a serial number. Presumably, this is designed to help spot counterfeit versions of this set, as well as adding a small air of “official Vespa merchandise” to the kit.
Inside the box are eight numbered parts bags spanning six building steps. There’s a ninth unnumbered bag containing the wheels, and a tenth that holds the instruction manual and sticker sheet.
The sticker sheet is fairly large, as the images have to cover come fairly wide spaces. The license plate is designed to resemble the classic 1960s Italian design. Other images include the Vespa logo (for both the spare tire cover and front cowling), Piaggio logos, a speedometer, and bodywork detailing.
The perfect-bound instruction manual offers a fairly standard experience. The first several pages have details about the Vespa line and its conversion to LEGO, followed by the building instructions. There are a few additional details called out in the construction, similar to the Easter egg reveals we’ve seen in sets like the 10297 Boutique Hotel.
A nice touch is a double-page spread showing how Vespa’s design has changed through the years. As a point of reference, you can clearly see that this set does take its cues from the 1960s.
On the next page is a brief blurb from the LEGO design team. The press release also shares this:
“Working with the Vespa team to create this stunning automotive masterpiece was an incredible experience. Recreating the details of the original model to celebrate the classic 1960s Vespa was one of my favorite parts of designing this set. The set offered me a chance to step back in time and let my imagination flow while designing, and we hope the experience is the same for fans.” said Florian Muller, Senior Designer at the LEGO Group.
The press release also has this from Marco Lambri, Head of the Piaggio Group Design Center:
“Working with the LEGO Group was an extraordinary experience, because it brought two dreams – the LEGO brand and Vespa – together, which have the unlimited expressive potential that they offer their fans in common. Two outstanding brands able to span different ages, always able to reinvent themselves because they have the capacity to unite and to build in their DNA. As designers, the challenge was to have the soft shapes of Vespa coexist with the form of LEGO bricks, a challenge I believe we met with flying colors.”
This set contains a wealth of new, rare, and interesting parts. To me, the real stand outs are these new dual-molded wheel hubs in white and light bluish-grey. It’s an unexpected way to add some colorful detailing to the model, and opens the door for similar innovation in future automotive sets.
There are a few other interesting parts in light bluish-grey, including new large curved macaroni slopes, a printed flywheel, and a new for 2022 tire mount.
A big treat is the huge range of bright light blue parts, similar to what we saw in the limited edition Creator Expert 77942 Fiat 500. I’ve included a shot of the parts you’ll see in each of the first five building stages. Spot any favorites?
Two parts deserve their own callout – and both are new for this set. The 5×5 curved plates are new for 2022 and this color is exclusive to this set. The 3×3 curved corner slopes appear here for the first time in something other than white.
Sadly, there is a problem. LEGO’s old nemesis of color-matching rears its ugly head. You can see in this shot how the 1×4 curved slope is a different shade than the surrounding brick. It’s not hugely noticeable, and certainly not as much of an eye sore as the color problems in the LEGO Technic 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37. But it was still enough to warrant mentioning.
The build is pretty straightforward, but with plenty of interesting techniques to keep you engaged throughout. Things start off with the central spine of the Vespa, with lots of outward-facing SNOT connections and a few clips that will help recreate the smooth lines of the bodywork. It’s mostly symmetrical building, but you can already see a few small variations, starting with the 1×1 modified brick in red on one side, and a different assembly topped with a yellow 1×1 round plate on the other.
Arched brick and curved slopes immediately start smoothing out the look.
The rear of the scooter has a license plate and tail light. This brings up another small nit – the bottom light bar is made from a 1×2 and 1×1 tile, creating a slightly lopsided seam where the tiles join up. It might have been better if the designers had gone with three 1×1 tiles to create a more uniform surface.
The rear assembly clips on to the main spine at a slightly raised angle. The exposed gaps will largely be covered by other elements later in the build.
The next assembly is the top of the seating area. It features some fairly new mirrored 2×10 curved slopes, appearing for the first time in bright light blue.
The seats are built from dark blue brick and attach to the body via Technic rods.
The front seat has a bit of a jagged edge to it, but I don’t think it looks too bad. It’s offset by the clean lines of the rear cushion and adds a small reminder of “this is a LEGO model” to the final look by giving fans an easy part to recognize in the 2×2 slopes.
The front floorboards are nicely curved, making good use of the 5×5 curved plate. A hinged plate at the base allows for a non-right angle attachment point for later, and the tan 2×2 section slots nicely into the exposed gap in the side of the body, making assembly a snap.
The front steering column has a prominent Piaggio logo. It’s interesting that they went with a “full tile” sized sticker here, rather than a smaller sticker of just the logo. This choice helps keep the logo centered and aligned, but at the cost of another slight color mismatch between the printing and the surrounding brick.
The pillar attaches to those hinged plates mentioned earlier. The connection here is a little loose at first but gets locked in fairly well as the build progresses.
The side wheel covers share a mirrored build and are designed to be easily removable.
In place, you can see that the Vespa’s wasp-like shape is coming together nicely. (You knew “Vespa” translates to “wasp”, right?)
The sides of the front cowling are again mirrored building, with a Vespa logo stuck to the left top side. The yellow pins on the frame help keep things properly aligned, but these panels are a bit more fragile and prone to popping off if you try and lift the bike by them. (So don’t do that.)
The engine is a fun little section that I was first concerned was just a treat for the builder. This section is immediately obscured by a wheel cover, after all.
You can still see many of the details if you tilt the scooter over, of course. But the packaging (and set description) do call out that the covers are meant to be removable, so you can actually look at the details all you want without fearing your “breaking” the model.
The next feature to be added is the kickstand. It locks into place very well and does an excellent job of stabilizing the model. Unfortunately, just like the real thing, the Vespa is nearly impossible to balance upright without using the stand. It lowers the display options a little. I suppose an after-market tweak could be to add a brick-built stand that doesn’t raise the front wheel off the ground.
The front wheel is its own sub-section and slots up through the front pillar with a long Technic rod. This allows the wheel to freely turn; a nice feature.
The handlebars feature a snazzy-looking front headlight and lightsaber-hilt-based controls.
The foot brake is also a great little design.
The springs on the front wheel are made from brushed-silver 1×1 round plates. It’s always a treat to see that color included in a set, and they look very classy here, particularly paired with those amazing wheel hubs.
The completed rear wheel/engine area also looks very clean. the use of stickers was a necessity, I think, as I can’t imagine a brick-build solution that would have worked at this scale. Again there’s a slight mismatch with the colors, but using a larger sticker (rather than a close-cut around the vents) keeps things better aligned. Particularly for builders like me who struggle with putting stickers on straight as it is.
The spare tire’s cover is built from dark blue brick with a Vespa logo sticker. It clips onto the front.
The Vespa also has a rear storage rack and basket. A small bunch of flowers clips into the basket, making for a nice display. I say a small bunch, as the scale of the bike and flowers makes this a pretty tiny bouquet.
In place, it does look great. I’m particularly fond of the design of the flowers here. The choice to include them adds a great bit of color to contrast with the blue of the scooter.
Less successful is the “helmet and goggles” accessory build. It just doesn’t work for me. I’m not sure what design changes could have been made to improve things, either. Other than maybe looking for a different accessory choice entirely…
Anyway, you can either prop the helmet on the seat or hang it from the handlebars. Personally, I just set it on the ground by the wheels and hope it doesn’t get noticed.
The finished model
The Completed Vespa 125 is clearly….a completed Vespa 125. The shaping is great, the stickers look good, and it’s ready to be put on a shelf and start gathering dust.
The scooter looks solid from just about every angle, too. A lot of thought clearly went into making sure this was an accurate recreation, and that time and attention really show.
From a display standpoint, you’ll probably want to showcase the right side, as it has the foot brake, engine, and shock absorber details.
I don’t know if I’d recommend showing off the model with the engine cover removed, but it’s certainly an option. Better yet, use it as an excuse to take the model off the shelf and show it to someone. Then drive it around your desk while making little engine noises. It’s a blast. Or maybe I’m just very lonely and eager for human interaction.
I thought it would be worthwhile to also show how this model compares to its smaller Creator cousin. Side by side, you can see some of the design changes that have happened over the decades, making it an interesting companion piece. The variation in color is also pretty striking.
Conclusion and recommendation
This is arguably one of the nicest display sets LEGO has ever offered for (a penny under) $100 US. I love the LEGO Art mosaics, and I love comic books, but I think I’d rather pick up a copy of this (for $20 cheaper) than the new Batman mosaic…and I’m not even particularly a Vespa fan. This model looks great, the colors are great, the build is interesting…it’s a real win all the way around. At 1106 pieces, the price-per-part hovers at 9 cents, which, considering the new, rare, and interesting parts, makes it a workable parts pack for custom building, too. Yeah, I’m comfortable recommending you take this one for a spin. Who’s with me?
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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