Speed Champions is one of my favortite themes. Small, affordable sets with a lot of SNOT. But LEGO breaks the standard with a new width for the models. Curse or blessing?
Speed Champions have been around since 2015. This theme offers small, 6-stud wide cars. I must say I'm a big fan of this theme. A set with a single car start at only € 15,-, so it's great for my budget. Despite the size, the sets offers a great build, with a lot of SNOT in a tight space. I currently have 20 models on display. But the last few builds, I noticed I was getting a bit bored. It felt like the theme has reached the creative limit of what can be done in this scale. So when the 2020 series was announced, I was very happy to see the design had strayed from the standard 6-stud, and introduced the 8-stud designs.
It seems I was in a minority with my opinion, and I get that. There was a lot of outcry from fans, fearing their neat collections of same-sized cars would be disrupted by the new size. (SIDENOTE: Weirdly I didn't hear the same about the 75894-1 - 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally and 2018 MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. Maybe because this was a one-time thing?). And I get that, I'm on the spectrum myself, and I don't like it when a tradition breaks. But, seeing I was getting bored with the 6-stud, I can get passed that, and look forward to some innovation. So my expectations for this set are high. Hope that expectation is met. I'll be looking at the 76898-1 - Formula E Panasonic Jaguar Racing GEN2 car & Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY today.
SIDENOTE: I've checked, it's not the longest set name ever. Excluding sub-sets and other sets that have a letter in them, like ComicCon Exclusives, the 76898-1 comes in at place 87. Number 1 is the 65716-1 - Limited Edition Collector Pack with Vohtarak Sidorak and Life-Size Toa Hordika Mask (8742 8756).
The perfect gift for kids who love building and playing with toy racing cars. With 2 exciting electric Jaguar model cars, a detailed start line and 2 minifigures in Jaguar race suits, they have all they need for independent play and staging fun race action. Own your very own replica Formula E and I-PACE eTROPHY Jaguar model cars New for January 2020, this is the first chance to build a LEGO® Speed Champions (76898) model based on 2 exciting all-electric race cars. The Formula E Panasonic Jaguar Racing Gen2 car is a slick single-seater that races in the exciting ABB FIA Formula E Championship, while the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, with its distinctive fin, competes around the world in the official support series. The best race car kits! LEGO Speed Champions race car kits allow car fans of all ages to build replicas of their favorite cars, and then use their imaginations to recreate the drama of the racetrack. New for January 2020, these toy model cars are now bigger and more realistic than ever!
The box measures 35.1 x 18.8 x 8.8 cm, and weighs 700 grams. Inside are 5 numbered bags, 2 sticker sheets and 2 instruction manuals.
There are 2 manuals, both measuring 19.5 x 17.5 cm. Book 1 builds the Formula E Panasonic Jaguar Racing GEN2 car, on 55 pages with 66 steps. Book 2 has 71 pages, and builds the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY in 87 steps, and the starting lights in 21 steps. Weird thing: The paper in the books seem to differ. Book 1 has a mat finish. Book 2 is more glossy and more sturdy.
The pdfs can be downloaded here.
The set contains 571 parts and 32 spares, in 16 colors, and 32 part categories, with a total of 188 unique parts/color combinations.
Main colors are:
- Black: 82 unique parts, 275 quantity.
- Medium Azure: 34 unique parts, 118 quantity.
- Light Bluish Gray: 22 unique parts, 58 quantity.
Main categories are:
- Plates: 32 unique parts, 153 quantity.
- Plates Special: 21 unique parts, 64 quantity.
- Bricks Curved: 16 unique parts, 40 quantity.
There are a couple new parts in this set: 65426 - Wedge Plate 2 x 4 27° Right and 65429 - Wedge Plate 2 x 4 27° Left. These parts also appear in Black and Red in 75272-1 - Sith TIE Fighter.
There is a new rim, 66727 Wheel 18 x 12 with Pin Hole and Stud. In dimensions it's the same as the 18976 Wheel 18 x 12 with Axle Hole and Stud, but instead of an axle-hole, this rim has a pin hole.
Also new is the 65634 Vehicle Base 6 x 12 x 1. This is an interesting plate. In the dent are 4 x 5 studs and off-set. This makes it easier to place something in the middle of the car. But because of the hollow studs, you can also use a 1 x 6 plate to counter the off-set. This makes a design like this possible:
Bags 1 and 2 build the Formula E Panasonic Jaguar Racing GEN2 car. There are some great SNOT techniques, like lining up the Cheese Slope with the Wedge Brick to form a smooth wall. Also a fun way to create an anti-stud. I love the level of detail. See for instance the steering rods.
Bags 3 and 4 build the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. This is a more solid car, and much more sturdy. Besides the drivers area, the entire car is solid bricks, no empty spaces. As you can see, the printed Medium Azure differs a bit from the brick Medium Azure. It's hard to get on photo, but it looks awful! The drivers area is wide enough to fit 2 minifigures side by side. There are also room for some details with the hand-break and gear shifter.
Bag 5 builds the starting line. By pulling out the axle, the lights 'drop' one by one.
So, can my ASD cope with the 8-stud? Yes and no.
No: They differ so much, I'll probably use a new shelve for the new series. But they will be displayed nonetheless.
Yes: It still feels as a Speed Champions set. It's a logical evolution of the theme, and for me it comes at the right time. Just when I was a bit done with the theme, they spice things up and offer a brand new look.
Solution: Don't see the 2020 series as a Speed Champions. Call it Speed Champions 2.0, Speed Champions Evo, whatever. Let go of your fear and embrace something new.
In short: Both cars are great in design, techniques and detailing. They seem good representations of the real-life cars, although I don't really have an eye for that. I had fun building them, and can recommend you to try it yourself.
The only real downside is the color difference in the stickers.
Parts- and build photographs by Tobymac (© 2020 Rebrickable)