Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: 21103 Back to the Future - Delorean Time Machine

Out now is fourth set to successfully pass through the Lego Cuusoo system; gathering ten-thousand supporters, ticking all Lego's boxes, and being made into a real Lego set.

21103 Back to the Future Delorean Time Machine comes in a slightly sturdier box than your average set, with the front opening as a flap, allowing you to use the box as a tray. The instructions are also a bit chunkier than your average book for a set of this size, printed on thicker paper than usual. I guess Lego want to give a nice impression for any Lego-newbies picking this up for the Back to the Future novelty.

The first picture here has the box and everything in it, which includes a brick-separator, and whole bunch of extra parts; not just your usual spares of the smaller bits, but addition parts which allow you to rebuild the set in three different forms, which is probably the coolest, and one of the most unique, aspects of this set.

The first build, with the various extra parts to tweak it into other versions of the Delorean.
Continue after the jump for a look at the parts, minifigures, and features of this set:

Here's a rough sort of all the parts in the box. As you can see there aren't any hugely unusual parts in there, except for the printed elements (the highlight of which is the flux capacitor brick). But there is a nice general assortment of useful and varied parts:

The main build, and the basis for the alternatives, is the standard 1980s version of the Delorean, including an "OUTATIME" license plate:

The wheels are attached using Technic elements, allowing you to rotate them into the horizontal flight mode of the future version of the Delorean. To complete the future upgrades you also add a Mr Fusion unit, and swap out the license plate for a future-barcode version. There are also a few clear bricks to display your flying Delorean on:

If you'd prefer the Back to the Future Part III version, then you need to pop off the upper tile on the bonnet, which allows you to add the panel of gadgetry to the front of the car. The set also comes with an extra set of wheel hubs, in red, to match the wheels of the Part III Delorean:

I really like that the set includes options to reconfigure the car. Despite Lego's inherently modular nature, it's not something that often is suggested in sets. This did bring about one of the more controversial changes in the design of the finished set compared to the Cuusoo proposal, with the single slope piece used for the bonnet swapped out for a set of stepped tiles - This allows the panel for the Part III version to be easily attached. On the box art the steps of tiles look quite harsh, due to the strong shadow on each step on the product photos, but in real life the design works quite well - A slope would certainly be nicer, but this design accommodates the variations in the set which makes it really fun, and looks ok.

One of the other features of the Delorean, which has been accommodated into the set, is the distinctive gullwing door. The design for the doors, and indeed the entire would-be glazed area of the car is a little fragile, but it looks good. Here's how they fold up, which also allows a look at the printed parts in the cockpit:

As you can see in the top image on this page, it is just about about possible to squeeze both minifigures in this set into the car. It's a very tight fit though, so they don't sit properly. Indeed it's a bit tight just getting one in, as the ceiling is a bit low.

Those two figures are of course Marty McFly, and Doc Brown. Also includes is a skateboard for Marty:

Personally I think the hoverboard would have been preferable, another of the icons of the trilogy; the snowbaord piece with a transparent brick under it would have done the job nicely.

The Doc comes in his radiation suit, while Marty is in his puffer vest. Both feature back printing, and alternative, alarmed faces:

Overall, I really like this set. It's a little fragile, and the little cramped inside, but like the tiled bonnet, I can accept these compromise for the sake of making a set that looks about right and has the really fun modular options which allow you to have the Delorean in whichever configuration you prefer. If you're a Back to the Future fan this is a must-get Lego set!

Play time:

You chicken?


  1. Is it the right scale to run on Lego train tracks?

    1. Alas not, Lego trains are a bit too narrow.

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