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Review: 8158- Speed Racer and Snake Oiler


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#1 Adam

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 07:00 PM

b]Set: Speed Racer and Snake Oiler
Set Number: 8158
Theme: Licensed/Racers
Pieces: 242
Minfigures: 2
Sale Price (USD): $19.99
Year of Release: 2008[/b]
(Above information from Peeron.com)

As a kid, I always loved Speed Racer. I watched the animated TV show regularly, was amazed by the many stunts and gadgets, and enjoyed the humorous, "Ohhh:oh:! OHHHHHHH:oh3:!!!"s from Speed. Because of this, you can imagine how pleasantly suprised I was to learn not only that a movie was to be released, but that a series of LEGO sets were going to be in stores shortly after. I ended up not watching the live action flim (I thought it looked stupid and overated), but I couldn't resist the urge to pick up LEGO replicas of the Mach 5 (Speed's car), the Shooting Star (Racer X's car), and the other vehicles and characters. For a mere $19.99, I enjoyed this set quite much. Now, on to the review.

Instructions and Minfigures

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The front of the instructions. Nothing unusual, it basically repeats the box art. See Peeron for a picture of the box.
First, my apologies for not having box shots. I was forced to throw the box out. Now, the instructions are normal, giving us a graphic, the name, and set number.

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The back of the instructions show other sets and notes about LEGO raffles.
Here we have three sets, featuring Star Wars, Bionicle, and City. The usual contest information is also dislplayed.

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A random instructions page (page 5).

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The minifigures. On the left is Speed Racer, with Snake Oiler on the right.
The set includes two minifigures, and very nice ones, too. Speed's helmet has a cool printed "M" on it, and his torso is great for any town citizen. Snake Oiler's deep red helmet is good for your collection, and his sort of punk/Chinese outfit is good for a gang and such.

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And with the helmets removed.
With the helmets off, Speed looks strange. His eyelashes are girly, giving his face a "she-man"ish effect. Snake Oiler, with his gold sunglasses and stache would make some think, "A gang face," while it makes me think "Porco Rosso" :grin:.

The Mach 5

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The sleek Mach 5. Note the numerous "M" decals and the "5"s on the side.
The Mach 5 is a good looking vehicle, and at about 19 studs long and about 10 studs wide, it's well sized. The decals are nice, and the overall design is very cool.

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The front, where you can see the large "M", the headlights, and the curved windshield.
The "M" looks nice from a distance, but up close it's kind of ugly. THe main part of the "M" is split between THREE bricks, with the "sides" on a single brick. The "sides" and the main portion don't quite line up, and the total amount of stickers for just the "M" is three.  However, the front is very nice, with certain curves raised at the correct points, and the window shield is a must.

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The back of the car, with one sticker.
The one sticker on the back is the "exhaust" or whatever, and there is a strange looking space right above it. The missing piece may be a mistake on my part, but the instructions say not to put a piece there. However, it can easily be modded in. The back also has multiple curves, giving it a "streamlined" effect.

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A view from the side. Notice how the upper curve goes above the windshield.
From the side, we see the "5" on the side, which is replicated on the other side. The arch over the wheels are very nice, not juniorized, but just the right size. Also, remember that this car has some nice hubcaps.

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The bottom of the car. You can see a bit of the wheel design and the base of the structure.

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The wheel design.
The wheels are supported by a long Technic axle that goes through two bricks and sticking into the wheels. Two gray Technic pieces hold the wheels in place while still enabling it to turn.

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The seating arrangements- there's room for two!
You must have noticed before, but there are no doors on the Mach 5 or on Snake Oiler's ride. Ah well, Speed doesn't use the doors in the TV show anyway. :tongue:

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With two occupants. There is room for both without if seeming squished.
With two in the car, there's about a 1 stud between Snake and Speed's hands. The other arm rests on the side, and, as with every LEGO vehicle I can remember, the minfigs can't reach the wheel. :hmpf_bad: The curve above Speed acts as a "headrest" of sorts, and appeared in both the show and the movie (I think). However, it's a little too far to the left for it to really work. :hmpf_bad:

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A shot of Speed Racer in his Mach 5.
As you can see, Speed looks perfectly at home in this vehicle, and with a slick design and awesome decals, this a must for any racing scene or sports car. A dissapointment for me was that it lacks some of the gadgets (from the TV show- Speed presses a button on the wheel and something happens). The Mach 5 won't be jumping gaps or climbing walls unless you mod it.

Snake Oiler's Car

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Snake Oiler's somewhat ugly- yet not out of place- ride.
With lots of "scale" decals, an orange and black color scheme, and a hint of lime green, Snake Oiler's car looks more like something you'd drive around on Halloween, not on the track. The stickers are annoying, with some tiny "cheese slope" stickers that you can't get off your finger. It's got a bit of a scrunched look, but it's got some good atributes as well.

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The frontal view. You can see those lime green studs, and now you ought to know what I was talking about.
On the front, we have the "snake's head" (or, to go with Snake Oiler's suit, a Chinese reference: The leaders of Chinese triads are called "Dragonheads" or "Snakeheads". The theme may be derived from that, but I haven't seen the movie, and don't know for sure.), with "fangs" on the front to emphesize the snakeyness. There's a comic in the LEGO Club magazine where Snake uses his "fangs" to steal bricks from other cars, giving him a turbo boost. I somehow doubt he steals LEGO bricks in the movie :tongue:.

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The back, with the awesome nitro engine-thingy ready to go!
Below the raised platform, the "engine" on the back gives you a "fast and furious" vibe. No reptile stickers here, but there are a LOT more to come.

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The side of the car. #12 Hydr-A-Cell is pictured where the door should be. Get it?
As is noticable, this vehicle has a boxy design and a random color shceme. THe black is thrown in at certain spots, and though it fits with the orange, it has a "just put there" feeling. Also, this set has NO HUBCAPS! :oh3:

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The bottom of the car, which has the same wheel design as the Mach 5. But what's with the blue and orange?!

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The seating arrangments are basically the same as the Mach 5's, but the "arm-rest" is a stud higher.
Notice the black and orange reptile stickers and the "radiator" sticker that goes on the large black curved piece. As in the Mach 5, there is a gap in this car, yet not in the back. It's easy to see, right behind the seats. It seems sloppy, but as with Speed's car, it can easily be modded to your liking.

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This shot shows what the car looks like with two in it. It's the same spacing as in the Mach 5, so I took a picture of the side instead of a front-on view.
In both the Mach 5 and Snake Oiler's car, the steering wheel is unreachable and the minfigures are looking above the windowshield, but, when playing, it's hard to notice.

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A pic of Snake alone in his car.
Snake's car is sort of ugly yet cool at the same time. It's a strange combo, because it's difficult to imagine something being both (a LEGO, I mean), but it is. The stickers don't go together correctly (a spot on the reptile skin doesn't merge with the other half of that spot), yet they fit the car and I can imagine Speed thinking that it's going to be a hard race. Snake himself is cool, though his dark red helmet and pants clash with the orange and black combo, as does the random lime green studs. In the above photo, the raised thing that's on most race cars is clearly visible. That is a nice looking feature, and though the black and orange are too "blunt", kids wont notice it when they're zooming it along the kitchen table. Snake Oiler's car isn't as nice as the Mach 5, but it's an OK car.

The Rating

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Based on the box art/instruction cover graphic. Go here to see a pic of the box, from Peeron.com.

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Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer, he's a demon on wheels....! :sing:

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Playability: 4.5/5- the set is fun to play with, but it lacks some of the Mach 5's key gadgets (ie. the jump feature)
Minfigures: 3/5- Speed is kind of girly, but they're decent figs, good for various MOCs
Design: 4/5- if it were just Snake Oiler's vehicle, the score wouldn't be so high, but the Mach 5 is really well designed
Overall: 4/5- A great set, if for parts, a Racers moc, a sports car, or just for your collection

The set's value is decreased by the quality of Snake Oiler's car, which is only decent, but the Mach 5 brought this set up for me. At $19.99 for a 242 piece set with some nice cars, two awesome windshields, new wheel curves (the thing that covers the wheel- mudgards, I think), and two pretty good minfigures, this set is cheap, and definately worth your while. I'd reccomend it to fans of the TV show/movie, or people who aren't fans as well. This is one of those sets with many uses, and If you have an opportunity to purchase it, don't hesitate to do so.

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Peeron page
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Thanks for reading!

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#2 KimT

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 07:11 PM

A great set with some very useful parts.
I'll be sure to get this when on sale in a shop near me.
Thanks for sharing it with us. :classic:
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#3 Manta

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 08:15 PM

The set looks very nice. I did find your review to be a little bunched up, but it was understandable, and got it's point across. Back to the set, I might buy this set, I would have prefered it with the monkey too, monkeys rock! :thumbup:
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