The 10247 Ferris Wheel is an Expert Creator set, which typically means it's a larger and more complicated build than most. It's certainly physically larger than most LEGO sets at 60cm tall, and is a lot of fun to play with.
The box itself is pretty big at 57 x 48 x 9 cm and contains:
- 25 x bags of parts.
- 1 x bound instruction booklet (no cardboard backing).
See the full inventory of 2463 parts (making it the 2nd largest set released in 2015 so far). Like recent large sets (eg SHIELD Helicarrier, 24 Hrs Race Car, and the Detective's Office) the Ferris Wheel contains a properly bound single instruction booklet. It also makes use of the new system of highlighting parts to be placed in steps where it might not be so obvious. However, unlike the Detective's Office which used red, the Ferris Wheel uses yellow outlines.
There is one new part in this set, used in a fairly unimportant place which is strange. Is it just a new mold I didn't recognise?
And a couple of newish parts that are pretty rare:
There are several parts appearing in new colors:
And these parts appear in rare colors:
There are 10 minifigs included, 6 adults and 4 children.
Straight away, you are building off the bottom baseplates which gives an impression for how big this thing is going to get. There's not much to the bottom layer, just building the foundation for the mechanisms above.
The platform is built in such a way as to allow room for the carriages to swing past while the wheel is turning.
The platform can be raised or lowered via the yellow handle. It must be down for the wheel to be able to turn or the carriages won't fit through the gap when it rotates (more on this later). The idea behind bringing the platform up is to allow passengers to get off the carriages safely.
One problem with the platform is that it can get stuck against the sides and so won't move freely up and down. The building instructions even tell you to forcibly pull the sides away which is only a short term fix anyway, and is definitely not standard practice. I'm surprised this passed their quality tests actually.
The main ferris wheel is driven by two small wheels with rubber tyres which provide friction against the outer ring of the big wheel. This is a nice way to do it as I imagine trying to connect a motor to the center of the wheel would struggle to get enough torque to spin it easily. A couple of rubber bands (not shown yet) hold the wheels against the ring.
The construction of the actual wheel is next. It is made of two identical rings with lots of identical spokes, making the build quite repetitive at times. It is also a bit delicate and fragile while building. However, once the two rings are connected together (via 25 different axles) it all holds together quite well.
The wheel connects to the four A-frames with some pins allowing it to rotate very easily. It actually uses the new (for 2015) parts 18587 and 18588 which are actually Minifig Rapid Six Shooter Barrel/Triggers.
There are twelve carriages to build, four of each color.
The carriages have enough room in there for the children minifigs to stand up, or the adult minifigs to sit down.
There are two main functions with this set. First, the central platform under the wheel can move up and down. I guess it provides some extra playability to the model, but in reality it doesn't work very well. There needs to be more of a gap between the platform and the carriages as they swing past when the wheel is rotating, because they tend to bang and drag against it quite often.
Secondly, the main wheel can be turned manually via the crank handle at the back of the set. I found the handle to be annoyingly small, and could benefit from a larger wheel. It doesn't make too much difference though because it becomes redundant after applying the power functions.
The completed model can be optionally motorised, but you'd be nuts not to. The instructions show how to mount a medium motor with rechargeable battery. I only have the battery powered packs, which have approximately the same dimensions but no studs to secure it as instructed.
The instructed usage is to connect the motor via a gear chain which has a 3x step down from the axis driven by the manual crank handle. This gives it a rotation speed which seems suitable for a ferris wheel ride. However, of course you are free to try out other speeds with different gear ratios and/or motors. I tried connecting it directly to the main axle as shown above (and also added an IR controller, because they're cool). This made it 3x faster with no sign of running into torque issues so could probably be made to go faster with different gearing.
This Ferris Wheel set would appear to be a successor to the Fairground Mixer set from last year. At least they have a similar circus/fairground based theme which is not done often (only Ferris Wheel from 2007 and Grand Carousel from 2009 that I could find).
A great feature of the Fairground Mixer was its use of glow in the dark parts. It would have made perfect sense to include similar parts in the Ferris Wheel.
Building the Ferris Wheel may take a while and can be repetitive, but it doesn't seem to really be an "expert" build. I'm not sure what the criteria is for that classification, maybe the use of the dodgy "stretch" technique to stop the platform friction when moving up and down. My 8yo son helped with most of the building and had no problems following the steps.
Once completed, it's definitely an impressive model. It's size and intricacy probably help with that impression. Everyone who has physically seen it while I was writing this review has commented on how amazing it looks.
It's a lot of fun to play with, especially once motorised. I would highly recommend using an IR remote control though, as reaching around to flick the power switch gets annoying.
It makes a great companion set to last year's Fairground Mixer and hopefully we see more sets in this theme soon... a roller coaster would be awesome :)
All photos taken during this review can be found on my Bricksafe page.