Almost every Bond car has some tricks up its sleeve, but the LEGO Speed Champions Aston Martin DB5 is function-free for a reason.
A Bond car without gadgets is like a LEGO Star Wars advent calendar without a weapon rack or a LEGO City without eleventy-three Police stations. But when the latest version of the agent’s most famous set of wheels, 76911 007 Aston Martin DB5, appeared in the Speed Champions range, other than a selection of swappable number plates, it had no more trickery than the average pensioner’s Honda Jazz.
However, it wasn’t for the want of trying. In a recent interview with Brickset, Speed Champions designer, Chris Stamp talked about the challenges of trying to cram Q Department’s optional extras into a model only eight studs wide. “I did consider including gadgets,” said Stamp, “but it was not possible without compromising the outward display value. The ejector seat, for example, would need to fit within the height of a single plate and I cannot imagine how that could be done.”
While a previous version the car – 10262 James Bond Aston Martin from the Creator Expert range – did include a number of functioning elements, for the Speed Champions range, an accurate representation of the vehicle took priority. Stamp continued, “prioritizing the appearance of the DB5 was definitely the way to go for Speed Champions. If there was a chance to include functions without affecting the exterior, then we would, but any gadgets found on the Aston Martin DB5 would be quite parts-intensive.”
If working gadgets, such as the revolving number plates, retractable machine guns and bullet proof shield couldn’t be integrated into the build, did Stamp consider incorporating removable items that could be used to display the model in different variants? “Not really because those detachable sections would need to be easily removable,” he explained, “so attaching the headlights for easy removal would have complicated the design even more. Designers working on Speed Champions now and in the past have already questioned whether it is possible to recreate certain vehicles at this scale and needing to account for detachable structures would make things harder still.”
There was also another reason for not trying to include weaponry on the car. “we have to consider the LEGO brand and whether miniguns or machine guns would really be appropriate, even in a fictional setting. Pure fantasy weapons are one thing, as you see in Star Wars, but realistic weapons are more difficult and best avoided for Speed Champions.”
This is an interesting point, as while the LEGO Group’s policy on ‘realistic’ weapons is long held and well understood, it didn’t stop the aforementioned Creator Expert set from featuring retractable machine guns among its range of tricks. We can only speculate, but it’s possible that the decision was made because the larger set is conceivably destined to appeal to an adult audience, while a Speed Champions design is more likely to end up in younger hands.
Ultimately, when designing at this scale, there will always be trade-offs, and for every design element that makes it into the final set, there will be another left on the table. Stamp alluded to this as he said, “We have included alternative number plates to reflect the different movies. The model is inspired primarily by No Time to Die, so lacks the bulletproof screen from earlier movies because the identifying ridge behind the rear windscreen is missing from the car from No Time to Die.”
“We were determined to acknowledge its past appearances though, with the number plates. My sketch model also included the GB sticker from Goldfinger, but we decided to omit that, ultimately.”
The set, 76911 007 Aston Martin DB5 is available now. It has 298 parts and costs £19.99 / $19.99 / €24.99.
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