10303 Loop Coaster Review

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No: 10303
Release Year: 2022
Cost: AU $599.99
Pieces: 3756 (with 11 minifigures)

In 2018 we were spoiled with the first LEGO Roller Coaster in 10261 Roller Coaster. It paved the way for the new track and car elements and we’ve been having fun making roller coasters ever since. Those cleverer among us have made some fantastic tracks and even managed to get some rudimentary loops happening with different elements, but we didn’t have an official one. Well, four years have gone by, and now we do. Not just a set with a single loop, but a double loop! This is also not just any set. It’s the definition of a monster of a set. You know it’s a big set when it doesn’t actually fit on the box without wrapping it over the top!

Inside this gigantic box are 35 numbered bags across 15 build stages, five un-numbered bags with tracks and 8×16 plates, the instruction booklet in a fancy paper envelope with printing on the outside, and a sticker sheet in that envelope with 16 stickers. The manual includes a timeline of the Fairground Collection so far, unfortunately without the original Grand Carousel, which wraps around the page to include the newest member of the family, the Loop Coaster. A message from the designer, Pierre Normandin, before getting stuck in. There’s a lot to like with the parts in this set. An impressive collection of track elements – 10 different types in total, including the new ones – the 4 stud long super short straight section, a 90 degree curved incline used in the loops, and a curved 90 degree drop as well. I found that when these are first use, it’s a little like an Escher painting, in that it’s hard to tell what sort of curved track it is. It took me a few looks to get it right.

The build actually starts with the extra builds – the vendors, a park map and bench, and the coaster cars. The carts are really great, so it’s a positive start! I also like the park map that includes a few of the previous Fairground attractions. The first bag also includes eight of the minifigures in one hit, with the final three being added in the second stage. Before getting into the good bit, let’s take a look at the 11 minifigures. There are three vendors, the ride operator and seven members of the public.

Vendor number one is the hot dog vendor. The big hot dog stand is great and the new sweating head print is a good one, but the torso is a little unimaginative. The balloon guy is just awesome! A super colourful torso and a pink hat, including a superb overly excited face! The bike is a beauty, using some blue balloon dogs for good measure. This is a great vendor – easily my favourite. The final one is the pretzel vendor. The torso, ponytail cap hair and spectacled head is great, and I like the imagination used in the pretzel cart, but I’m not a fan of the way the pretzels are added. They tend to stack by themselves and can fall off very easily. One knock of the cart and over they go.

The ride operator has a LEGO top, with the LEGO logo on the back and an ear piece on the side of the head. Another nice inclusion. The other minifigures include:

  • a younger man with a green jacket and music tee – nice to have another of these torsos
  • the grandmother, presumably of the young lad
  • the young lad himself with a blue jacket and white tee. He’s disappointed that he’s too short to ride the coaster!
  • an older guy with a sleek, slick back hairstyle and great looking glasses
  • A pair of colourful twins (that’s what I’m going with). There’s a blue haired female with blue jacket and floral top and a red haired female with a bit of a denim look and red top.
  • Lastly there’s a tall haired female with an excellent torso, complete with satchel.

The build begins with the smaller half base section. It’s full of plates, offset stud tiles and clips, all for the reinforcements of the supports. The round upright supports are next, with some extra supports branching off a couple. The colour scheme of light bluish grey, dark blue and light bright orange is great. It’s not too repetitive either, with a few differences here and there in terms of height or design. The next base section is the remaining half, which is bigger. Loads of plates and reinforcements for the supports. When it’s added the footprint of the set is seen for the first time. It’s big, but it will end up being taller than it is longer! The entrance to the coaster is well labelled with a clever sign on what not to bring onto the coaster, including hats, balloons, hotdogs and also the poor squirrel.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The support structure for the loops is really clever. There’s axles running through the cores of the supports for extra strength, and Technic added to support the top loop structure. These are aligned using  SNOT and Technic and it works a charm. Hidden underneath is even a lost balloon – brilliant! Once the loop builds are done, it’s time to get some proper height into the set, with the monstrous tower. There’s bag after bag of 2×8 plates, 2×4 and 2×6 bricks, and so much more. It’s super strong, and it certainly makes an impression. I’ve got a standard trestle table that I use as my build table, and combined with the base, the parts for the tower and a few other smaller things on the table, I ran out of space for the first time with an official LEGO set. The tower makes use of a lot of straight track for both the drop and the counterweight track, as well as a couple of curved tracks back to back for the turn down. I’ve seen this used in MOCs before, but it’s great to see it in use here.

Add the LOOP sign (a couple of people asked what LBP meant) and it’s time to get this thing vertical and secure it to the base. At first I was wondering why there were studs there when they weren’t actually being used, until I realised that they’re the perfect pace for the Technic connection. It’s not forced, just the perfect amount of space. LEGO geometry at it’s finest.

From one exciting part to the next – the lift mechanism.  There’s heaps of plates, tiles and bricks for strength and aesthetics, and an insane amount of chain links. 222 small ones and 33 larger ones for the carriage catch. I ended up taking a couple of the smaller links out to tighten the chain, as it was slipping a little under load. The next section is the wheel and gear heavy – the lift itself. It’s not overly pretty but does the job. I absolutely love the fact that it’s panel tiles instead of a track so the cars can just be placed on and removed incredibly easily. There’s a long length of string that is wrapped over the top of the tower that connects to the counterweight that sits on a couple of roller coaster cars. It’s actually pretty heavy and has a great adjustment ratchet system. As you build the mechanism you realise that the whole thing is run off the same mechanism. The lift, the brake and feed tyre, the lot. The brake stops the cars when they come through to the station, and then feeds them through slower. The block also raises and lowers to stop cars at the station, and then load them into the lift when it arrives. It’s seamless.

The power system for the set is a hand crank. It works well and runs relatively smoothly, aside from a bit of crunching after the carriage delivers the cars to the top. It’s pretty minor. The best thing about the mechanism is that it’s ready to fit a motor and battery box system. The motor clips onto the yellow axle at the top and it’s ready to go. I used a medium Power Functions motor and a battery box, and it’s plenty powerful. What I will say is it’s noisy! My goodness.

The last portion of the build is the station, and you get a bonus five track pieces, because apparently we didn’t get enough! I like the clipped tiles added to the roof, and the images from the cameras around the ride too! It’s clever but I found it hard to position minifigures inside. The carriage also tends to slam down pretty hard. It would have been nice to see some buffers underneath to make it a little softer. I guess adding a braking system like the Haunted House has was too much to ask! It would add a lot more complexity and unsightly building.

That being said, this set is spectacular. It’s monumentally big, eye catching, elegant and modern, and oh so much fun to play with, especially if you have a motor. A serious contender for set of the year.

A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.