Review 10261: Roller Coaster - Night 04
Bag 10 builds up the rest of the left side, including the large pole tower with the angled supports. As precarious as it is, the geometry on the angles is impressive. Honestly, I don’t know how I could MOC my own Roller Coaster; I was not keeping up with the various brick heights to get the math just right. I did have one column that wouldn’t fit on right… and lo and behold, it was because I forgot a single 2x2 round plate in the stack. You start off Bag 11 by building the roof over the loading docks, which has an interesting SNOT design and utilizes the circular cutout plate in brown, which is a fairly useful element. The sign also has a bunch of signs showcasing the various things that you can’t bring on the roller coaster, namely a camera, a mug, a popsicle, a baby, or a dog. While it seems fairly obvious that these items shouldn’t be taken on the ride, the signs also look like something President Business would post. (Now I want to make a baby invasion with the no baby sign above them.)
Bag 11 continues by connecting the two halves together and then building a bunch of supports to really lock them in. I suppose it would still be easily to separate them with a little dismantling, but they do get locked together pretty well. You also build the double track contraption, which allows you to store a second train (or slide it out to add the carts to the track in the first place.) You also put together the six carts and… the chain. The small chain links have been around before (for a while, I was having trouble finding them because they were relatively rare, only appearing in the occasional Technic set) but I believe that this is most that ever appear in one set. There are 203+ of these that you need to individually link together… the process maybe took me 10 - 15 minutes and was far more tedious than building all the columns. But you know what they say about the weakest link.
Getting the extra-long chain in place is another troublesome hassle. Basically, you need to feed the chain through the various holding mechanisms, but some of them are difficult to access behind the support beams. (Especially if your hands are somewhat clumsy like mine.) There is a rubber band powered stopper that’s supposed to cut down on the slack of the chain… but it works only moderately well. My chain also catches a lot when I use it to drag up the trains; perhaps there are some pieces that are not flush, but I notice the chain tends to wobble a bit and not remain central along the track, so I may also need to adjust the length. But I’m careful about putting too much force on the lever when rotating the chain; I’ve had it break twice already, and to fix it you basically need to rethread the entire system. It’s a bit disappointing that the wheels on the top of the curve are basically powered by the chain, which I think adds extra stress to the chain. It might’ve been better to build a separate system that goes up the columns and spins those wheels without relying on the chain, but that would’ve complicated things and wouldn’t be as intuitive as just having one system that powers the whole thing. I haven’t attached my motor in yet, so I don’t know how problematic that would be to have the chain in constant motion. I fear the trains would get caught on something, the motor wouldn’t relax on the stress like I’ve been doing by hand, and then the chain would snap and I’d have to put together the whole system again.
Oh, and also I haven’t been able to get the braking system to work; the carts blows through so quickly that it just pushes past the wheel if it’s extended. The only way it works is if I’m manually pulling it out, and I don’t think that’s the intention.
So while the lift mechanism is less than desirably... once that train starts dipping down the track, it moves along quite smoothly. And it’s awesome and totally worth the giant set... well, mostly worth it. Basically, it’s the same kind of mesmerizing movement out of a Lego set that I’m used to seeing in Great Ball Contraption, which has always been something that I’ve never felt qualified to build for. But motors today are far cheaper than they were ten years ago (and I also earn more money) so it’s always a possibility for the future.
As for the trains, you get two cloned designs with different shades of blue. The first cart also has a longer nose that covers the clip, so the other two need a different design to easily attach to each other. The three cart limit seems ideal for the lift mechanism, although I have had some trouble with the first cart getting attached to the chain at the bottom, forcing me to give it a manual push. You can attach all six together, but the carts tend to snag when they reach the top curve, as they’re moving with the side wheels and the chain. When I’m doing it manually, I sometimes had to back up the chain to get something to hook before I could get it moving forward again. (Still, it’s fun seeing the six carts together rush down the track.) Despite the warning signs, the young child is capable of riding by just standing in the cart, so realistically it’s not a deal breaker. (Although when I made it so her feet were loose on the studs, she did get thrown off on the curve after the first big drop... so safety first.) Ironically, it’s the taller minifigures who could be in more trouble, because they’ll hit the sign at the top of the climb. (Batman’s mask, in particular, is just over the limit, so Batman cannot ride the Roller Coaster. Bruce Wayne, maybe.)
The final product is actually sturdier than I would’ve expected. While the individual beams and columns are still wiggly (the far left tower in particular) the inclusion of the tracks actually help lock everything in more than I was expecting. And it’s strong enough that you can lift the whole thing by grabbing onto particular sections (or just the baseplates.) All together, it’s not that heavy, since there’s a lot of opened space between all the bricks. So, despite taking up twice as much shelf space as the Ferris Wheel, I’d say they weigh about the same.
The last bag gets you three more civilian figs, bringing your total to 11. They include some interesting pieces, but nothing particularly noteworthy. Above is the full collection of figs from the set. Overall, some of them have uncommon hair pieces, and lots of them have alternate facial expressions that work nicely with the Roller Coaster, so it’s a fun lot. Most of the torsos appear to be generic City styles, although I recognize more than a few from the “Fun at the Park” minifigure pack from two years ago. Plus, the two park employee yellow torsos are nice, and have the Lego logo on the back. (And Batman doesn’t actually come with this set, but let’s be honest, you didn’t know that at first. )
This is my most expensive set I’ve ever purchased, and it’s also probably one of the largest too; the foot space is about the combination of Ninjago City and the Ferris Wheel. But in terms of height... well, the other two beat it. The top section only comes up to the top of the third Ninjago City level (not entirely visible here, since my Ninjago City has been modified with an extra level) but the sand green tower would still beat the Roller Coaster. However, the Roller Coaster only gets up to the midpoint on the Ferris Wheel, which continues to hold the title of tallest Lego set (in my collection.)
The final question of is this set worth it is... a challenging one. The $379.99 price point is insanely high. Luckily, they’re releasing the Creator Roller Coaster at a far more affordable level. (I mean, $89.99 isn’t exactly cheap, but it won’t break the bank either.) Plus, the track pieces are appearing in other sets too, either as part of a coaster or trolley system, or just as decorations. (The pieces do have some use. In fact, the ones angling upward would be place side by side and make for an interesting Golden Gate Bridge design. I’m not taking apart my model to test it out, but it could be done.) The only exclusive track piece is the vertical climb track, and we’ll inevitably see that again. Sure, it would be problematic to motorize your own mini Roller Coaster, because you’ll need to track down the chain and build the lift mechanism yourself. But honestly, if that’s what you’re going for, you might as well go big and get this set which includes all you need to pull that off. (Well, you need to supply the motor and battery pact, but there’s an easy connection point already built in.) Or you could go insane and buy three copies of the set and build a monstrous Roller Coaster with a full vertical loop! (I mean, you'd be spending $1,139.97, but it would be worth it, right?) Besides the high price, this set also takes up a lot of space; you’re going to want to keep it on a hard table. (Building it on carpet, like I did, is not recommended.)
So really, I wouldn’t recommend this set for the average builder; you need to have a certain level of dedication to invest time, money, and shelf space into this set. And even then, I’m still not very impressed with the chain lift system. That said, if you are the kind of dedicated builder this set is targeted towards, you probably know. In that case, the high price point would be the major deciding factor for whether you should get this. For the same price, you could get 19 Toa or Star Wars CCBS figures, 4 of the Creator Roller Coaster, Ninjago City and the Fire Mech, or a little less than half of the big Millennium Falcon. Or also the cost of two months’ worth of lunches, more than half a month’s rent, or a plane ticket to go to BrickFair Virginia (but not quite enough to also cover the ticket back.) The point is, it’s expensive, so I recommend that you take financial consideration of the purchases. (To be fair, I did this and still bought the set anyways.)
I might put together a short video review showing off the set in action, but honestly I don’t have the setup to make it any good; I barely have the shelf space for this!
Edit: I've tweaked the chain and added the motor, and it seems to be working alright.