10298 & 40517 Vespa Reviews

Review by Luke Comins (SAFOLs Members)

Set Number: 10298
Pieces: 1,106
Theme: Creator Expert
LEGO Designer: Florian Müller
Release Date: 1 March 2022

Now here is something I am EXTREMELY overjoyed to get in Lego form as I have owned 2 Piaggio Vespa scooters since the mid 90’s.
Since my days in the ‘dark ages’ (a term that seems to be coined by AFOLs for when we lost the plot with regards to our childhood LEGO® and turned our attention elsewhere on whatever for however long) I have really wanted LEGO® to produce a Vespa scooter set. 20yrs later and they finally have, and I have one, well two!

Just some interesting Vespa ‘Did you Know’ to begin with…
– The name Vespa means ‘wasp’ in Italian and is derived from the vehicle’s body shape – the thicker rear part connected to the front part by a narrow waist, and the steering rod resembled antennae.
– The small wheel size was dictated by available parts after WWII. The wheels on the first Vespa’s came from Piaggio’s bomber plane factory and were originally manufactured for landing gear, hence why they only have a single arm front suspension/fork.
– The Vespa 125 (the particular model this LEGO® set is based on) was launched in 1960, and the pastel blue tone was the only colour the 125 was available in when launched.

The LEGO® designers tasked with designing this set teamed up with the Italian scooter company Piaggio and the convergence of these two culture powerhouses has resulted in a fantastic looking Vespa scooter model. A perfect way to also celebrate Vespa’s 75th anniversary!

The box, the now familiar black Creator Expert 18+ adult orientated type, works well here making the set and its colour stand out. But what matters the most is what’s INSIDE the box…

The instruction manual is packed with trivia, and an introduction to the Vespa 125. There’s plenty of classic photos of the Vespa throughout, an informative timeline and a short profile on the set’s designer, Florian Müller.

The build is split across 9 bags with a couple of steps having two bags and you can expect to take about 3 hours to complete the set.

The fitting choice of Light Royal Blue as the colour scheme will have custom builders and parts collectors in their element (pun intended) as there are over 70 types of pieces in this rare colour, including a multitude of parts that appear in bright light blue for the very first time.
Building with so many of these Light Royal Blue elements was a delight as it’s not a LEGO® colour that’s usually found in such abundance, and the relative rarity (thus far) does make it quite a novel experience.

Unlike a lot of the four-wheeled vehicles in the Creator Expert theme, the first stage uses very little if any Technic elements to make up the frame, relying instead on a variety of System parts. It’s a really enjoyable start and it’s always a pleasure to watch a model of this size begin to take shape using nothing but regular bricks and pieces.
Vespas have a signature shape defined by soft curves, something that certainly isn’t easy to translate into LEGO®. There is a very impressive level of skill employed here by the designer to get the shape of the Vespa. In order to get its flowing curves, there are plenty of bow elements used but these only go so far as to craft the wasp-like body. The back section of the Vespa, along with the area where you’ll find the seats, are both connected to the frame via a series of hinged plates. This helps to angle them.
One part I really like about the frame of the set is the footwells where the black anti-slip strips protrude from the floor where the rider puts their feet when moving. Once the frame is complete much of the other details are built independently and added to it. These include the large curved pods which frame the rear wheel. 
The removable right side engine cover/panel is a nice feature and when removed shows the entire detailed engine. A nice printed Technic disk is used for the flywheel and four plain disks are used for the cylinder block. Underneath the engine is the kickstarter that hinges up and down. Further underneath you will also find the working kickstand. The stand is hinged so can be retracted, but then of course it does not balance without the stand down. It has rubber dampers on either side of the stand to give it some grip when displayed.

The most exciting new parts for me are the wheels and tyres, both a first for LEGO®. The rims are dual-moulded light grey and white. When the tyre is attached the joint is seamless so it looks like they are white-walled, something rather in vogue on automobiles in the early to mid 1900s and appeared on various early Vespa models and customised Vespas since.

The Vespa’s licence plate at the back has the words Roma (Rome, where the Vespa was launched) and the date 23 April 1946, the date Piaggio filed the patent for the Vespa.

To give the set a little more character, it features a few added accessories. One of the most unique is a spare wheel. Not something you’d expect such a small mode of transportation to have. The Vespa slotted them in various different places but the early models featured them on the back of the steering column, nestled in the same space as the rider’s knees. The LEGO version doesn’t actually include a tyre, in fact, it’s a little smaller than the actual wheels used in the set.

The basket/crate is simplistic and it secures nicely to a rear carrier which would have been more epic in chrome parts. The yellow flower bouquet is a cool contrast to the pale blue of the majority of the build and the use of the broken eggshell element looks cool. The bouquet is attached inside the basket so you can secure it and change the angle.

The traditional open face helmet that comes with this set is a little odd. While I appreciate the sentiment (and the extra parts), the design doesn’t have the sophistication that the rest of the model has, and those goggles just look lame, to be honest. The helmet and goggles are somewhat out of place, and while they do fit the theme, the scooter would be just fine without it. There’s also no ideal place to rest or hang the helmet from.

For fans of SNOT (studs not on top) building techniques, this is a dream set, as there is serious lack of studs showing and, other than one or two here or there, the only area that has a few together is the centre mat in the footwell. The effect of this makes it look like a non-Lego Vespa model in a big way and adds to the iconic curves of the scooter.
I however don’t like to see the few exposed plate bottoms under the neck of the scooter as against the mostly SNOT backdrop it does look quite odd.

The 10-sticker sheet, hmmm… I do wish we had got one or two printed elements with the Vespa or Piaggio branding on them but instead all the branding is in sticker form. There are some pesky stickers that cover entire parts. If I had to find another downside to this model, other than that seat and helmet, when observed closely you may notice some variation in the colour of the light royal blue pieces. It’s not too bad but some elements, such as 1×2 plates, seem more ‘yellowy’, and some of the curved pieces, such as those on the front wheel cover, are slightly lighter. However when displayed and viewed from a distance the final model looks great.

Unlike other vehicles in the Creator Expert theme, the scale of the Vespa is vastly different. It’s not the most complex but much bigger in terms of its scale, measuring at a nice 35cm long and 22cm tall.
Comparing the 10298 Vespa 125 to its closest counterpart, the 10269 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, the Vespa has slightly more pieces and is ever so slightly bigger.

To conclude, the attention to detail is very impressive, the design techniques are enjoyable to construct, the colour scheme gives the whole set a very unique feel, both to build with and to look at. It’s not the most complex of builds in the Creator Expert vehicle line, but it’s very entertaining to put together.
Vespa enthusiasts (like me!) will absolutely love this set, and will no doubt be impressed with how authentic the end result actually is, while it’s also a rather quirky entry in the Creator Expert theme to tempt even those with little interest in the scooter itself.

Prior to getting this set I read a few online reviews with all the accompanying comments and found there was a common thread saying that many found this set to be flimsy in various ways however when I completed the build I didn’t find that to be the situation at all.

Having said all that, LEGO® went bossies and not only treated us with one Vespa scooter but TWO! I can’t recall another time when two LEGO® models of the same item have been launched on the same day.
So, here’s a short review on the smaller, more modern version in striking red…

Set Number: 40517
Pieces: 117
Theme: Creator
Release Date: 1 March 2022

This set comes in a small tab-sealed box. The front and back are pretty similar with a central image of the Vespa seen from either side.
Inside the box are two unnumbered parts bags, a 40-page instruction booklet, and a small sticker sheet.

For a small set, there are some interesting pieces to be had. Lots of red and feels perfect for this later model Vespa. The rounded corner slopes in red are new for this set, as is the red modified brick with Technic connection. It also includes a couple of the new 1×5 plates in black.
The build for this set is quick and easy, taking advantage of some SNOT (studs not on top) connections to create a nicely rounded body accomplishing the overall look and shape of the Vespa rather well.
One of the most interesting techniques on this set is the use of a Technic axle to connect the front and back of the model. It is very efficient and adds a lot of strength.

A few stickers provide the front Vespa badge, some minor detailing for the engine side cover/panel and a 1946 number plate, a nice nod to the year the Vespa was first manufactured.
Due to its compact size (just 9cm tall, 12cm long and 6cm wide), the model does have a few design flaws (twin front suspensions/forks on vespa? Noooo…) but it’s unmistakably a Vespa. It still shows just what can be achieved with only a handful of bricks.
The wheels look smaller and wider than they should and the front fender is a bit too wide due to this.
The steering column is fixed and cannot move, and because of that and the wide tyres, it can balance on its wheels without the need for a stand.

It’s perfect for those who have an affection for the Vespa scooter but without the room or the budget for the larger one.
It obviously doesn’t have the same wow-factor as the larger version, but it is nevertheless a very decent model.

It will take around 15-30 minutes to complete.