Brick Build: Optimus Mars – Lepin

Brand: Lepin
Part Count: 2700
Manual: 143 pages, printed
Build Time: 18 hours
Completed Size: 17.5 inches/ 44.6cm
Cost: $99 – “Educational toy Store” on aliexpress

So much bigger than you were expecting

This kit included 20 bags of parts total. 1 of those bags was the rubber tires, and the other was a set of chromed parts to swap with silver parts that were in the build bags. I heard that this was only included with the first batch of kits so I’m glad I was able to get it. The chrome is pretty nice, though it shows fingerprints super easily.

Since I ordered from a Chinese vendor via aliexpress, they didn’t include the original packaging. The box that the bags came in was STUFFED tight and taped up like a mummy

Easily the thickest instruction manual I’ve seen for plastic bricks

While any written language notes were in Chinese, I was easily able to get through the instruction manual thanks to the diagrams. I did get hung up in a couple of places when assembling any of the dark blue parts as it became difficult to determine what parts I was actually looking at with the dark bricks and black lines.

The build process did some interesting things where I thought for sure I was going to have something that just crumbled in my hands, but ended up super solid.

Build Quality:
I’ve built a LOT of different Brick Bots over the years, from simple mini-builds to Leader sized kits; both official Lego and “clone brands”. I found the process of this build to be pretty enjoyable and I was really impressed with how solid the result was. Granted at this size, I still hold my breath every time I need to touch it as some parts will pop off if given the chance; but I never felt like it was going to explode just from trying to assemble it. It also doesn’t suffer from what a lot of MOC kits I’ve built do, which is to have large sections poorly connected.

Every thing feels intentional and well thought out. Whomever designed this build, has clearly been working with Legos for a very long time.

I had 2 parts that were malformed in my set. One wasn’t fully injected but it didn’t cause a problem and was easy to hide away. The other looked like it got double stamped and I was able to trim the smooshed bit with my knife and have the part work properly. I was also missing 2 parts, but thankfully they weren’t critical parts. One was part of the neck collar and that annoys me, the other was a detail on the inner thigh, but I was able to use a similar part from the pile of extra bits. It ends up angling left instead of right, which isn’t too big of a deal.

So greebly, I love it; but don’t sneeze

This set is modeled after the version of Optimus from the Bumblebee movie, and I think they did a great job nailing all the details from the source material. You wouldn’t be able to get this level of detail from a smaller set. The designs on the face plate and some parts on the arms were printed rather than stickers, which was a really nice touch. The only place it let me down was the around the eyes. I think that could have been handled a lot better and just looks weird. Translucent blue parts for the eyes would have been great, and there’s empty areas around the eyes that feels poor.

All Primes have to pose like this, right?

Given the size we can afford to have more articulation, but with a brick build, you risk destroying it the more you move it. This struck a pretty nice balance though made some odd choices. We have a ball joint at the neck; shoulders have an outward motion as well as swivel around; nearly 90deg at the elbow, a rotation below the elbow for the forearm; ball joint at the wrist; hinge at each knuckle- though the fingers love to come apart when posed; hips can go outward but are really designed to be fixed in a wide A stance; knees can bend about 45deg but since the hips can’t go forward it serves no purpose; ankles tilt in and out to work with the A stance.

I found that the wrist joints aren’t strong enough to hold the gun up and will wilt. Elbows, hips, and knees all ratchet so no issues there other than fear of breaking the build. The shoulders use a single ball for the swivel which isn’t strong enough to hold the arm up when holding the gun but is fine when just the arm weight by itself.

The chest windows are on hinges to get the angle right, but they don’t hold on real well. Honestly I was really surprised that they didn’t hinge open to show off a little BrickBuilt Matrix since that’s what every other Prime does.

All of the “hip skirt” parts are positionable but since they hips don’t move it doesn’t do more than allow the build to have them attach at an angle that a non-jointed part wouldn’t allow for.

Final Thoughts:
If you love building BrickBots and aren’t hung up on Official Lego Only nonsense, then I highly recommend getting this set. $100 feels like a really pricey model for an off-brand, and it is, but I imagine if this was official Lego, you’d be paying 3x that if not more. Keep in mind that a lot of the Lepin or other clone brands don’t have as high standards for QC as Lego, and neither did KREO.

I give it 4.5 out of 5

4.5/5 Autobots
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