This wind turbine is made out of Lego

Lego is going green with its toys with a 13-inch tall, three-bladed, fully articulated wind turbine that both turns and pivots.

The City Wind Turbine Transit set—priced at a hefty but not totally unreasonable $66.99 on Amazon at last check—also includes two miniature figures, presumably a construction worker and a foreman, an escort vehicle, and a 16-inch long truck and extendable trailer for hauling the wind turbine to the construction site. 

In terms of realism, it’s even better than the Lego Renewable Energy set we wrote about in 2010.

You certainly can’t fault Lego for detail, as the wind turbine sits on its own nifty, green base. Where you might find fault is realism. The base is hardly wide enough to create a firm support for the tower, and some users report the blades don’t actually turn in the wind.

Nor are they battery-operated—which might have been a nice touch, though wide of the mark in terms of renewable energy. I also had a little problem with the “Lego bumps” on the blade, which don’t serve any purpose and detract from the aerodynamic profile.

What I liked best about this toy? It should encourage a whole new generation of renewable energy engineers, girls included. It couldn’t have come along at a better time, either. A 2011 study on electrical engineering Ph.D. degrees shows 62 percent going to foreign students. 

In terms of usefulness, the wind turbine model has the Kikkerland rainbow beat by a mile. But it does have some competition in the Etsy Solar Wooden Airplane—and the Solar Powered Toy Wooden Helicopter. Or it would have, if not for the price of the wooden helicopter, which at $95 is a little spendy for most budgets.

However, even the Lego wind turbine comes off second best compared to the executive desk model wind turbine called the Windbaby, which costs only $20 and looks exactly like the real thing, no anomalous bumps or anything. And the Windbaby does run on batteries, which doesn’t dampen its charm at all!

Jeanne Roberts, EarthTechling