The marriage of LEGO and The Beatles seems like such an obvious one, it seems odd that it's taken 50 years since Beatlemania for it to happen.
The idea for a LEGO Yellow Submarine set was submitted by a fan designer, Kevin Szeto, in May 2015. His prototype won project approval after receiving more than 10,000 supporters, and was put into production by the Danish toy company. It is the 15th product in the LEGO Ideas series, which allows fans to propose ideas for new sets.
I completed the main structure of the Yellow Submarine over one weekend, but I probably spent another half dozen weeknights tweaking details here and there. I would estimate I spent about 25-30 hours designing and building the initial model.
LEGO Yellow Submarine contains over 550 pieces. In addition to the titular submersible, the set contains minifigs of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and the 1968 film's Jeremy Hillary Boob, Ph.D.
The set has a 10+ age guidance. We enlisted a LEGO and Beatles fan to help, who in proper Yellow Sub style we'll call Young Ted. He's five, but had little trouble working his way through the instruction booklet and assembling the pieces. Some of the smaller items required adult assistance, but for the most part this was a straightforward and greatly enjoyable build.
LEGO designer Justin Ramsden, who surely has one of the best jobs in the world, had the task of turning Kevin Szeto's prototype into reality.
I watched the film when I was younger and was really inspired by how it oozed so much imagination – comparable to how I view LEGO elements. I'm also a massive fan of The Beatles, having grown up with their music all my life, so to see The Beatles in Lego form is a dream come true.
There are many new elements included within the model (and old elements in new colours); two of my favourites are the 2x3 tile and the 1/4 circle tile. As a LEGO designer I've wanted these elements for ages, so I'm pleased to finally get my hands on them!
The set comes with separate stands for the submarine and the minifigs, as well as accessories: as in the film, John carries a telescope, Paul has some Love, George owns a piece of the engine, and Ringo has a hole. Jeremy, fittingly, brings a green apple.
The top of the submarine lifts off, allowing The Beatles to sit inside. It also has a secret compartment towards the stern, which can hold the minifig accessories.
LEGO Yellow Submarine is released on 1 November 2016, and is priced at USD 59.99 / EUR 59,99 / GBP 49.99. It's not cheap, and probably not the sort of thing you want the kids to pull apart and scatter, but it's beautifully designed, great fun and has enough charming quirks to make any LEGO or Beatles fan very happy indeed. The exclusive minifigs are the icing on the cake of a very special set. And not a Blue Meanie in sight.