Beach Camper Van (31138) hit shelves March 1, 2023. It will join Cozy House, another Creator 3-in-1 set we reviewed recently. Beach Camper Van is a colourful set with a fun seaside theme. Interestingly, it looks fairly similar to the Sunshine Surfer Van (31079), another Creator 3-in-1 set from 2018. However, I think there have been a number of improvements made to the most recent version. Let’s take a closer look.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use the usual True North Bricks rating system (click here for more information) and provide my honest opinion.
Beach Camper Van Summary
- NAME: Beach Camper Van
- SET #: 31138
- THEME: Creator 3-in-1
- COST: $64.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 556
- MINIFIGURES: 2
- RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2023
- COST/BRICK: $0.12 CAD
- BRICK-TO-FIG RATIO: 278:1
- OF NOTE: Create 3 different models
Beach Camper Van Quick Review
- VALUE: 91% (very good value)
- BUILD: 85%
- MINIFIGURES: 81%
- ENTERTAINMENT: 85%
- OVERALL SCORE: 85%
|What I Liked||What I Didn’t Like|
|Fantastic brick-built mini builds||Table/chairs on the bed in the camper van|
|Nicely detailed camper van||Very narrow interior in the summer house|
|Brick-built ice cream sign||Car model in the Ice Cream Shop build|
Beach Camper Van Review
Beach Camper Van (31138) is part of the Creator 3-in-1 line and this set is rated 8+. This set has 556 pieces and has a price tag of $64.99 CAD. This works out to $0.12/piece and is less than the True North Bricks average of $0.13/piece. This translates to 75% when compared to other Creator and Creator 3-in-1 sets or 87% compared to all sets reviewed by True North Bricks. This averages out to 81%.
Since this set has three models that cannot be built at the same time, there is a lot of build value. I spent almost three hours building the three models in this set (not including the time to take each model apart). This works out to an incredible $0.39 per minute. This translates to 100% whether compared to other Creator sets or any sets reviews by True North Bricks. Averaging the two scores gives a final value score of 91% after rounding.
The Beach Camper Van (31138) includes three different build experiences. The main model is the camper van and beach huts. The alternate models are an ice cream shop and a summer house. Each model has a separate instruction book. One of the highlights from a parts perspective is the selection and quantities of the medium nougat parts.
The camper van model reminded me how much I enjoy building vehicles. The windshield wipers are my favourite part. I was impressed that it even had an engine compartment with a little engine. The vehicle itself is a nice 8-wide model with a great kitchenette. I particularly like the little coffee machine. The detail on the inside of the door with the flower in the pot on the shelf is a also nice touch.
Unfortunately, some of the details miss the mark slightly. While the bed is cute, the pull-down table on top of the bed doesn’t make much sense as the seats sit on top of the bed and the table pulls down over the bed as if it was the floor. Additionally, there is a single open stud on the inside of the swinging door. It feels like something should have been placed there.
Although the surfboards are unrealistically thick, the shape of the boards is nicely constructed and the retro 3-colour design looks great. There is also a super cute duck floatie. And it even secures to a spot on top of the camper van. In addition, you also build some other cure mini models of a crab and seagull. The only downside of the seagull is it has no anti-stud to attach it anywhere.
The huts are really cute conjuring up vibes of the British seaside. The bright two-toned colour schemes are fun and I enjoyed the surprise outhouse inside one of them. I thought they were just changing huts. The palm tree is also a fantastic little build. I love the construction of it using the 1 by 1 round plate with bar, arch brick, and bows. I’m not entirely sure what the white swirl piece is meant to be. Any ideas?
Ice Cream Shop
The second model I built was the ice cream shop. The shop itself has a lot of aesthetic appeal. My favourite part is the brick-built ice cream cone sign. The ice cream shop also includes a similar palm tree as the main model.
The interior of the shop has a freezer chest for the ice cream, a small sink, and what looks like a soft-serve machine. At least I am assuming that’s what the white 1 by 1 round plate (ice cream) on the brown 1 by 1 round plate (bowl) is supposed to be. If these are in fact bowls, then it would have been nice to see a few more stacked “cups” inside the shop waiting for the next customer. There are two underneath the base of the building that probably don’t need to be there, especially considering all the extra parts after this model was complete. There are also a couple of spots for the ice cream cone. However, it would have been nice to have a few more cones in the set, and maybe a money piece.
The ice cream shop also has a quaint rooftop patio. It is perfect for a date for two, unless a seagull grabs your ice cream cone! The table and chairs are very simple and there is a small planter box with a plant for added décor. The railings are glass and the two side railings are actually vehicle windscreens. Despite this unconventional parts usage, they look quite good.
The ice cream shop also comes with a small one-seater vehicle. The car feels a bit bulky for only a single passenger. However, the windshield construction is simple but works great to create a slanted windshield. There is also a cute brick-built bird sitting on the trunk.
The last model I built was the summer house. The construction of the foundation was interesting. It reminded me of the foundation you build for the Cozy House. There is an adorable little brick-built duck swimming in the water off the side of the house. The building itself is very basic and it is VERY narrow. The interior of the bottom floor is only 3 studs deep and the tiny top floor is only 2-3 studs deep.
The bottom floor is the kitchen. The hood fan over the stove is some pretty fun parts usage as it utilizes the steering wheel as the fan. The sign of the side table is really nice and is also use don the upper deck. The upper floor is the tiny bedroom. It features a narrow bed and a nightstand. A small lamp would have added a nice touch to this small, sparse pace. Surely there is enough pieces in all the leftover bricks to create a lamp. I’m not sure what’s in the attic – a couple of boxes perhaps.
Outside there is a clothes rack. I am not entirely sure why there is an awning above it. Perhaps there are random tropical storms. The beach area features a large cactus-looking plant. The construction is similar to the palm trees but reversed. The downstairs patio has a nice glad railing. It looks very modern. Although not symmetrical, I like the support beam using the alternating 1 by 2/3 bricks and 1 by 1 round plates. There is also an exterior faucet and water bottle for some nice detail.
The upper deck looks like a comfy place to relax in the sun while taking in the sound of the surf. There is a lounge-chair with another water bottle (clearly hydration is important) and a cute radio. There is a nice big awning if you need a break from the sun. The railings look surprisingly good considering they use a piece traditionally used for vehicle chassis. There is another brick-built bird perched on the railing. I am not entirely sure why there is a ladder on the side of the building or why there is a window in the attic. If you have any thoughts, let us know! That said, I do like the detail that the white triangles add to the exterior.
Overall, the build experience for the 3 models in the Beach Camper Van are pretty good especially given the design constraints of the Creator 3-in1 theme. While nothing stands out as overly terrible, a couple of minor things land us at a score of 85% for the build value.
Beach Camper Van (31138) comes with two minifigures. This seems to be fairly standard for a Creator 3-in-1 set of this size. With 556 pieces, this works out to 278 bricks per minifigure. This translates to a score of 78% compared to other Creator sets and only 58% compared to all sets reviewed by True North Bricks. This averages out to 68%.
From a design perspective, the minifigures in this set are fairly ordinary. They do have dual-sided heads at least. The minifigures are interchangeable and the suggested combinations change with each alternate models. Both minifigures have unprinted blue pants, though they are a slightly different blue. One torso is a white tank top with apples in two different coloured green. The other tank top is also white and has a logo with a wind surfer.
One minifigure has sunglasses and a smile on one side and smirk on the other side. The other minifigure also has a smirk on one side but the other side has a panicked or worried expression. This set comes with two hair pieces – long wavy dark brown hair and a shorter blonde surfer bob style.
This set comes with fairly standard accessories – a mug, pan, shovel, and pail. There are also some cherries and various ice cream swirl elements for the single cone. Unlike Cozy House, the Beach Camper Van doesn’t have any printed elements. This works out to a minifigure design score of 93%. Averaging the brick to minifigure ratio score and the design score comes out to a final minifigure score of 81%.
My overall impression of the Beach Camper Van (31138) was higher than average. The camper van and ice cream shop are cute builds. However, the summer house stretches the imagination a bit. From an Adult Fan of LEGO® (AFOL) perspective this set provides decent variety in the types of models you build. While the ice cream shop is cute and the main model is fairly appealing, none of the models would make very exciting display models. However, there are some nice details and the brick-built mini models of the animals and some of the furniture are really well done. This set gets 4/5 in AFOL points.
From a Kid Fan of LEGO® (KFOL) perspective, this set has lots of playability. Vehicles are often a hit with kids and the brick-built mini models will stir the imagination. The ice cream shop and summer house provide different settings for greater play. That said, the narrow interior of the summer house does make it a bit cramped for a full play experience. This set gets 4.5/5 KFOL points for a combined entertainment score of 85%.
OVERALL SCORE: 85%
Overall, the Beach Camper Van (31138) is a decent set. It starts off really strong with the camper van and beach huts. It continues on a positive trend with the ice cream shop. Unfortunately, the summer house could have been improved a bit for aesthetics and playability, but it does have some nice brick-built details. The minifigures are fairly average but they do have dual-sided heads and torsos. They also have three accessories each, though nothing overly exciting. Kids will probably enjoy this set more than adults will but if you like building vehicles then the camper van is a fun little build. The average of all scores for this set results in a respectable 85% as the final score. What did you think of the three models? Do you prefer this camper van over the camper van in Sunshine Surfer Van? As always, let us know your thoughts!
Play well folks,
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