The LEGO® Group has a long history producing NASA and space related sets. I love them. In fact, True North Bricks has reviewed many, including the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander, the International Space Station, and many of the City theme kits. My personal favorite among those was the Lunar Space Station. Space exploration fascinates me. Additionally, it makes for great play. Earlier this week, the LEGO® Group announced the latest in their NASA inspired sets. As luck has it, they also sent me a pre-release copy to review. Consequently, today we take a closer look at the amazing NASA Space Shuttle Discovery (10283) set.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more) and provide my honest opinion.
SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY SUMMARY
- NAME: NASA Space Shuttle Discovery
- SET #: 10283
- THEME: Creator Expert (18+)
- COST: $269.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 2354
- MINIFIGURES: None
- RELEASE DATE: April 1, 2021
SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 77% (Satisfactory value. Great compared to LEGO® in general, but low for an 18+ set.)
- BUILD: 95% (Great build, however it has a minor design flaw I did not expect.)
- MINIFIGURES: N/A
- ENTERTAINMENT: 95% (Great AFOL display piece.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 89%
SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY (10283) REVIEW
At full price, Discovery costs $269.99 in Canada. Additionally, the kit contains 2354 pieces. Consequently, the cost-per-brick works out to $0.115. That is a good value compared to LEGO® sets in general. By comparison, my average cost-per-brick across all LEGO® themes is $0.139. However, it is a tad expensive for the Creator Expert line of adult-oriented sets. On average, for an 18+ kit I have spent $0.099/brick. Ultimately, I rate the value-per-brick at 76%.
A similar situation arises when we examine build time. Compared to LEGO® sets in general, Discovery keeps you building for hours. I took me seven hours and nine minutes (429 minutes total). However, 18+ sets all offer a lot of build time. In this case, Discovery falls a little short. At full price, the cost-per-minute of build-time works out to $0.63. Comparatively, my average cost-per-minute across all themes is $0.83. For 18+ sets, the average is $0.52. I rate the build-time value in this case at 77%. Combined with the cost-per-brick score, the Space Shuttle Discovery earns a satisfactory value score of 77%.
This kit comes with two amazing builds. Firstly, you assemble the Hubble Space Telescope. There is nothing that I do not like about this model. The product looks amazing, and you get loads of shiny silver bricks. The telescope features two display modes. The first has deployed solar panels. These are new printed plastic sheets. The second consists of brick-built tubes representing undeployed solar panels. Discovery’s cargo bay is large enough to hold the satellite. However, you stow the panels in order for the satellite to fit. Additionally, Hubble comes with two display bases. The first allows you to display the telescope next to ship with solar panels fully deployed. The second stand inserts into Discovery’s cargo bay. Consequently, you display Hubble as if it is deploying from the shuttle. Both are wonderful options.
Obviously, the main build is the set’s namesake. Much like Hubble, Discovery is a phenomenal design. It really impressed upon me the actual size of the orbiter craft. I knew these ships were big. However, it never donned on me HOW big. The scale really becomes apparent when you insert the tiny little chairs into the mid and flight decks. Additionally, the seats themselves represent new pieces in my collection.
The flight deck lifts off to reveal the mid deck below.
Discovery also offers a number of interesting build techniques. My main interests all involved new ways to achieve smooth curves, straight lines, and angles. However, there is one point where the design does not work. At first, I thought it was a mistake I made. However, you assemble two orbital maneuvering thrusters that mirror each other. Both ended up with the same issue. The maneuvering thrusters sit at an angle above the main propulsion engines. Initially, the attachment design seems impressive. But, upon execution, a flaw reveals itself. The maneuvering thrusters press against the population engines. The design is missing a mere hair of clearance. Consequently, the thruster pushes out by a fraction of a millimeter, resulting in minute separation of bricks in the thruster housing. To the untrained eye, the flaw is likely unnoticeable. However, I am a little surprised that this issue made it past LEGO® designers.
Discovery uses some interesting build techniques (see examples above).
Otherwise, the model features a lot of functionality. Firstly, turning the top propulsion engine causes the elevons to move. Secondly, the payload doors open. Thirdly, pushing in the body flap causes the landing gear to lower. Sadly, pulling the body flap back into place does not raise the wheels. You have to push each wheel back into the fuselage. Fourth, the remote manipulator system arm is fully articulated. Unfortunately for Canadian fans, the arm does not have a Canadian flag sticker. It really should considering it was built in Canada and was nicknamed the Canadarm. Finally, you can remove the flight deck and its roof to expose the mid deck.
Overall, the build experience is a good one. The only area that tested my nerves was placing the reflective sticks on the payload doors. Otherwise, Discovery does not feature excessive sticker detailing. My major complaint is the separation of maneuvering thruster bricks. To a lesser extent, I wish the landing gear pulled back up. This is a great build with a lovely design. I rate the build at 95%.
This section of the review does not get a score since the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery (10283) does not include Minifigures. However, I think it should. Minifigure astronauts on the display base would be fun. In fact, my initial thought after seeing the set’s box was disappointment at the lack of minifigs. However, designers did not intend for the set to be Minifigure scale. The shuttle would be considerably larger (and more expensive) to accommodate them. Interestingly, you can modify this build relatively easily to accommodate a pilot by turning the flight and mid decks into one space. I did this in under five minutes just for fun. Consequently, the Space Shuttle Discovery easily transforms into an amazing playset for Minifigures you already have.
Since this is an 18+ set, I will forgo any estimates at KFOL value. However, like I mentioned in the previous section, it has potential. From an AFOL perspective, I love it. For years, I have kept my City Space Port set on display. I am fascinated by space exploration. This model is certainly getting some shelf space. However, it needs a lot of shelf space. Discovery is 54 cm long and 34 cm wide. Additionally, this is a niche interest set. Not everyone is thrilled at the prospect of building an orbiter. However, I think space exploration still offers a wider appeal than themes like Monkie Kid, Ninjago, or even Harry Potter. I rate the entertainment value ay 95%.
OVERALL SCORE: 89%
Space fans are in for a treat with the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery (10283) set. It represents an accurate, detailed model and makes a wonderful display piece. The price point is okay, but for an 18+ set without Minifigures, I feel it could be a little better. However, the price would not deter me from buying this set even if the LEGO® Group had not offered it to me. Like the Apollo Lunar Lander, Discovery was a must-have for my collection. As if the set was not great enough, it takes no effort at all to modify it into stellar playset of for Minifigure display. How do you feel about the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set? Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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