Santa has visited early this year, and has brought a Lego Advent calendar. There are 24 little numbered doors, each containing a dime bag of Legos. There’s a new toy or doodad to build every day, which, in turn, builds anticipation for Christmas.
I will build these and attempt to discern what they are.
December 5: Micro Express
The Micro Express is, as the name implies, an extremely small train. It’s possible that this is an in-universe model train (i.e., a model train for a Lego person), based on its size and the packaging—the calendar box has a fold-out section that depicts what I assume is an indoor area with model railroad tracks. Whenever I see a two-unit train, I am reminded of SEPTA’s leaf cleaning operations, which involve a vehicle that is 2 parts Regional Rail train and 1 part Willy Wonka-style random industrial device. This train, however, appears to be complete as-is, from its sleek nose to its oversized tail light.
Trains are quite fun. For being so tiny, this one is surprisingly interactive. The coupling between the engine and the car is articulated, and allows for some flexibility for the train to make its way around a curved section of track just as a real train would (although this coupler may be optimized for navigating the Z-axis in a way that few trains are required to do).
Ease of Build ★★☆☆☆
Since the instructions for all items in the calendar are limited to about 2 x 2 inch square, a long skinny object can’t really make much use of the available space and, like so many things, becomes a victim to the aspect ratio. There was some difficulty in figuring out the exact nature of the coupling on the first try and some of it was a bit fiddly, but I don’t think it caused any permanent damage. Still, given the calibration of this “Ease of Build” scale (of which, there is none), I think this is on the lower end.
I was easily convinced that this is a train. I especially like the trucks and the detail of the roof, which is highly evocative of the top of a real electric train. The roof detail is so good that I am able to overlook the fact that the car is like 25% tail light.
Extra Parts ★★★★☆
This package comes with an extraneous translucent red square, translucent gray square, and an additional truck (which I guess is called a “bogie” in British English?)
It’s great. I think a toy passenger train is maybe slightly less intrinsically fun than a cargo train, since instead of pretending to load it with Chevy Vegas or Lucky Charms or something highly explosive, you’re mostly pretending to load it with people who want to be somewhere else, but all trains are pretty fun. This one looks like a fast European train, which is also cool, even if it’s a sad reminder that the United States could send several dudes to the moon but cannot make a high-speed rail system.