In April, it was revealed that LEGO would be releasing Level 4 of the Master Builder Academy (MBA) called Invention Designer (20215). From the initial images, the set would be based on a steampunk design. The Invention Designer set contains 675 pieces and retails for $79.99 which is about $0.12/piece. The contents of the set include three high-quality and very in-depth instruction booklets, three numbered bags, one unnumbered bag, and a black tool belt – 17M. Each book corresponds to each bag and will let you build from a particular theme. For Kit 10, you will be building a Time Machine and other springboard models using the same pieces. The book itself gives you a back story of steampunk and various building techniques that you may or may not already know about. LEGO Designer Mark Stafford takes you through the various builds that are available with the Time Machine theme.
There are three minifigures in the whole set but each Kit has their own with a themed accessory build. For the Time Machine theme, the minifigure has a dark blue torso with the MBA Level 4 emblem. The legs are also dark with a little bit of white in the waist area. He has a black top hat, an Invent-o-Pack v.0, and an Universal Invention Controller as his accessories.
The first build for Kit 10 is the Time Machine. After seeing the finished build, you can really see the steampunk theme emanating from it. The coloring of the bricks that were used were spot on from the grey to the occasional use of the tan pieces. The dark blue and the dark red pieces were also a nice touch. Some of the details that also make the build jump out was the use of the pressure gauge tiles and the steering wheels. The black tool belt acts as a bumper in case the vehicle runs into something during reentry from time travel. Overall, the Time Machine is a perfect example of a steampunk build from the Industrial Revolution time period.
In addition to the Time Machine, the book also gives you building instructions for four steampunk springboard models as well as six more on the LEGO Master Builder Academy website. In order to get access to the additional building instructions on the website, you’ll have to enter a one-time use code that is in the book.
The first springboard model that you build is the Steam engine. It’s not a fancy build but it looks good. You can pretty much add it to a vehicle or a building such as a factory. You’ll get the basic things that you would see on a steam engine like pressure gauges, valves, and the smokestack.
The next springboard model is the Horseless Carriage. Although LEGO names it a Carriage, it looks a lot more like an old steam tractor. LEGO’s inspiration of the Carriage is from a mix of a steam locomotive and a farm tractor. You have the satellite dishes acting as the wheels in the front with the steam engine right in front with a little smokestack.
The third springboard model in the Invention Designer kit is the Mad Science Ray. This along with one of the addition models that I’ll show you later is one of my favorite builds of the set. The Science Ray can be added to an existing MOC to show off your evil, deviant ways. The control panel has lots of gauges and levers and dials to make the Science Ray operational.
The final springboard model from the book is the Hover-Mobile also known as the One-Minifigure Personal Levitation Device. Like the Time Machine, you can see a lot of features that are reminiscent of steampunk on the Hover-Mobile such as the gauges on the sides of the vehicle and the smokestack on the back. The mechanical lever in the middle is a neat addition. The satellite dishes act as antigravity repulsion projectors to make the vehicle hover.
As mentioned before, there six additional springboard models that are only available through the LEGO MBA website. One of these additional models is the Self-Propelled Boat. The most recognizable feature of the boat are the paddle wheels on both sides of the vessel. In the middle of the boat are gauges and steering wheel pieces which can be used as pressure release valves or controls for the paddles on the side of the boat. There is also a simple steam engine build in the back. In the front, are a couple of gold chains that give the Self-Propelled Boat it’s shape and plus the coloring gives it a bit more steampunk feel.
The second springboard model from the website is the Automated Sawmill. The build looks similar to a regular sawmill except that there is a steam engine powering the machine. On the engine are gauges to check the power levels of the saw. There are also red and green studs that probably represent the on/off buttons. On the side of the machine is the saw arm with a propeller acting as the saw blade. The arm is connected to the opposite side using a Technic handle piece to act as the lever. Towards the front is the cutting surface made from grill pieces.
The seventh springboard model and third from the website is a Flying Chair. It’s a very simple design with a rotor in the middle powered by the steam engine in the back. There is a control panel in the front and a satellite dish as the landing mechanism.
The eighth springboard model is also one of my favorite builds from the first book, the Photon Accelerator! You’ve probably seen this machine used in movies and tv shows that have evil villains. Using the power of steam, the Photon Accelerator can disintegrate anything that’s on the table. Below the table are gauges and levers to operate the machine. A smokestack with white smoke is attached to the engine.
The Rocket Pod is the fifth springboard model from the website. It’s a pretty nice looking vehicle that kind of looks a little bit like a Transformer. It’s looks have a futuristic steampunk design with the dome engine in back of the Rocket. The side panels along with the back dish piece enhances the look even more. The front area has a panel with various controls.
The final build for the additional springboard models and for Kit 10 is the Aerial Exploration Glider. The steam engine on top of the glider’s wings power the propeller while the rider controls the aircraft in the seat below. The black tool belt acts as a chain to support the wings and also to hold down the engine.
Overall, the first book of the LEGO Master Builder Academy Invention Designer set is an absolutely great one. All the builds from the book and the site are pretty cool as well as the information that you get from the book. My personal favorites in Kit 10 are the Time Machine, the Mad Science Ray, and the Photon Accelerator. I can’t wait to see what the other two books have in store. Stay tuned to for my review of Kit 11 – World Architecture and Kit 12 – Inventor’s Lab in the next few days. The ratings below are just for the Kit 10.