As the number of reviews we've done grows, we've been wanting to add a way to express what we think are the best sets out there. As a result we're introducing a rating system on our reviews (we might go back and add it to existing ones at some point) to capture the key elements we think are important to a good set. These key elements are LEGO-ness, Detail, Build, Display and Accessories and we rank each out of 5. Once we've got a score on these 5 elements, we multiply by 5 to get the set's overall score (out of 100). Let's break each one down in turn.
While it might look very realistic if LEGO manage to build a model that ends up with all flat surfaces and cover the model in stickers (front end of the Audi R8, I'm looking at you…), the end result doesn't necessarily look like a LEGO model - and isn't that why we buy these sets in the first place? We'll award points for sets using LEGO in a way that still makes the model clearly look like LEGO and plays to the strength of the bricks whilst still maintaining the look of the car. On the other end of this spectrum, Technic sets can look like LEGO but not at all like the actual car - so we know what we're looking for.
We're looking for the set to capture the iconic or signature features of the vehicle. Examples would be the Audi R8 side blades, or the aero work on the Ferrari SF16-H F1 car set. Capturing these details in the model is what makes the set resemble the real thing in a cool way and not just be another variant of the same blocky body with some different stickers on the front, back and sides. Typically LEGO have gotten better at this over time, some of the earlier sets definitely show what can go wrong.
Some models are just really tedious to build, or very repetitive once you've built more than one Speed Champions model. LEGO do pay attention to making the models more fun to build (if you've ever wondered why random pieces inside the model that you can't see at the end are different colours, here you are). We're also just keen to capture our own experience of building the model on the day, whether we've recently built similar models and are a bit tired of elements or whatever works for us. Don't take it too seriously.
Ultimately, is this model destined to head back into its box (or into pieces again) or is it the kind of thing you're going to want on a desk or shelf, to look at. This captures for us the difference between models that are a bit featureless or not that exciting, versus a model you'd want to have out as you'd display a die-cast or similar. The better the model, the more likely you're going to want to have it out to play and look at!
Finally, the accessories that come with the set. LEGO vary this over time, but typically larger sets will come with more of a set-up, for kids to play with, or to provide a display environment for the model. Some of these just seem incredibly pointless, all the way to surroundings with cool details of their own. Obviously it varies with the set's scale, we're not about to penalize small, cheap sets for not coming with 1,000 extra pieces of surroundings.
And that's it. We'll try this out and see how we like it - if it's no fun, then we might stop again! Let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions, you can e-mail us at info AT speed-champions.com.