A lot of modern Lego is focused on licensed products. These sets can be a great way of introducing children to the fun of building something from Lego. Unfortunately there are normally instructions for just one model, which often isn’t rebuilt into anything else. If you’re looking for old-style models, built from lots of bricks and with alternative models, then the Creator sets are for you.
One of the elves’ favourite Creator sets is the 31005 Construction Hauler. They’ve been clambering onto the desk at TLCB towers to play with it, when they should be out scouring the internet for MOCs. Elves have been busily driving the low-loader around and then using the digger to shovel paperclips about. Sadly, an elf has also been seen wearing one of the traffic cones on his head.
The first thing to be built is the cute little JCB-type digger. With a fully articulated backhoe and front loader, this small vehicle has lots of play potential and would be a great pocket money set in its own right. Unfortunately it has the weakest bit of design of any of the builds. The backhoe is attached via a 2×1 hook plate, which might not withstand the pulling and pushing of vigorous play.
The Tractor unit takes 32 pages of instructions to build and is packed with lots of lovely little details, such as wing mirrors, fuel tanks, sun visor, air-horns, lights and side mounted wind deflectors. Not bad for a 4-wide which is about 11 studs long and a great way to get young builders thinking about the sort of details that they could include in their MOCs. The finished unit feels solid in the hand and is sturdy enough to be zoomed across carpets or off the edge of desks…
The last part of the build is trailer with its fold-down ramp. This has a 2×2 glide plate under it to keep the trailer neatly level when it’s unhooked from the tractor unit. The finished ensemble looks good, with bright red body work and a white cheat line on both tractor and trailer.
Another reason that the elves liked this set was that it comes with instruction books for two more models. This is great, as for some Lego products it is necessary to download the instructions for the alternative build and print your own. Once we’d used our TLCB brick separator to take the first build apart (the elves keep using their teeth) the elves had great fun following the 42 pages of instructions to build the cherry-picker. This might seem like a lot of stages for those of us who grew up building in the 80s but remember that Lego’s target age for this set starts at just 7 years old. The result is another solid truck, with a big, American style bonnet made in SNOT work. It has fold down stabiliser legs and an arm with a neat swivel that locks down between the two air-horns. An elf has been stuck up in the bucket for two hours now but we’ll let him down in time for tea.
In terms of value for money, the set’s RRP is £12.99 for 256 pieces. The lack of mini-figs might make it unattractive to some KFOLs but their other sets often have buckets of mini-figs and a dearth of bricks. This is where the Creator series scores, with this set having a good selection of hinges, SNOT brackets and especially plates. The biggest chunk of plastic in the kit is a 4×10 dark grey plate, which is nicely generic and could be used for all sort of things in all sorts of builds. The bricks in this set should also fit neatly into existing collections, as the palette is limited to white, red yellow, black, grey and dark grey. The elves have now stolen all of our orange traffic cones to use as party hats, so we can’t include those anymore. Whilst Lego’s expanded palette of colours gives more variety and realism, it can be hard for younger builders to gather a collection that will let them build good-looking MOCs which aren’t “rainbow warriors”. The Creator series is a great way to add to your collection and build up quantities of components in a few colours so that you can produce builds with a consistent colour scheme.
This set easily merits a 9/10 for its combination of appearance, playability, contents and value for money. So if you’re an AFOL with a KFOL this could be a great addition to their collection and help to fire their imaginations for their own creations. Alternatively you could buy it for yourself to kitbash into MOCs but you might find it hard to take that cute little yellow digger apart…