Name: 7685 Dozer
Theme: CITY Construction
Price: AUD59.99/ USD39.99/ GBP 19.45/ EUR - 29.95-34.95
Resources: Brickset/ Peeron/ Lego Shop@Home
The 2009 Construction sets looked to me to be some of the most visually appealing to appear in the City theme since 2007. Compared to the 2005 sets, the new Construction sets are scaled in a happy compromise between the enormous 7249 XXL Mobile Craneand the mish-mash of small subsets that was the 7243 Construction Site. In addition, this year we have been spoiled with a host of great new vehicles such as the Crawler Crane and Dump Truck, excellent reviews of which appear elsewhere on this site. I was especially excited by the new Dozer set (as it is called at S@H) as it retains the visual beauty of 2007's Motorized Technic Bulldozerbut is obviously scaled down for minifigs and more importantly, retains a classic brick-built feel.
Part 1: Box, Parts, Manual
Random instruction page:
NSDSS (Not-so-dreaded sticker sheet It's only a small one)
Parts, neatly bagged - they're divided into 3 subgroups:
Nothing really new here, but there are some interesting parts including: trans-orange 1x1 plates - haven't seen these for a while; yellow geary things - the same kind that were in the 08 Mars Mission Crystal Reaper set, obviously designed to go with the large track pieces; and - NOOOOO! - the much-hated and ugly landing gear pieces from the 06 Airport line
Part 2: The minifig and the build
Our lone minifig and his warning post. This minifig is a standard dead-boring one. They even used the exact same one in one of the small Creator sets last year. I am over that face and wish TLG would create new generic face-prints every few years rather than only updating the licenced themes. If I saw as much facial hair in the real world as I do in Lego City I would think I'd time-travelled to San Francisco in the late 70s . I haven't stickered the fence post 'barrier' as I'm keeping them pristine for the Farm subtheme; I don't think the design is quite right for Construction anyway, and prefer the brick-built ones from the 05 theme - a small quibble though. The trans popsicle/ Bionicle eye things seem to be the new 'must-have' part for 09 sets, as they seem to be everywhere.
The Dozer's base is a few technic beams which will later allow wheels to attach so the tracks can sit in place:
Greebly-SNOT engine parts - this does look nice:
The cabin takes shape:
Here is a strange usage of the piece usually used in mining craft. Is it a rotor? An enormous fan-belt? A death-trap for those opposed to the current construction in their area of Lego City? This detail is featured prominently on the box art and also the S@H gallery so presumably it is important.
At least it's covered so as to avoid accidents....
...most of the time!
Track holder cogs in place:
For those that can't count to 29, the instructions provide the full length of assembled track for each side. How does yours measure up?
Below, the track is applied. At this stage, the vehicle does look kind of tractorish doesn't it? And indeed, wikipedia assures me that a bulldozer is just a big tractor with crawler tracks and an attached metal 'blade' which is the part that pushes stuff around. See here! You learn something new every day! Indeed, I think I trust wikipedia on this point... Summer 09 Lego Star Wars set lists... not so much
The next section is the assembly of the 'blade' section:
It attaches to the main body of the vehicle by the long bar pieces:
Here you can see the bars slide into the pistons from a birds'-eye vantage. The long yellow technic arm pieces click on via technic pins to hold the blade in place:
And voila! The fully assembled bulldozer!
Part 3: Showin' off the goods
I really like that S@H feature which allows you to spin the model 360 degrees so you can have a good gander at your intended purchase from all angles. To let you have a better look at the Dozer, I have decided to provide the same functionality! Except instead of a Flash animation, here you have to scroll your eyes quickly down the page Please don't tell me if this gives you a migraine
Whee! I'm dizzy!
Part 4: Features and problems
One thing that you quickly notice about this set is that, for its size, it doesn't have a large amount of features apart from the obvious primary one of, well, being a bulldozer, which it admittedly does quite well . It also has a few weaknesses that are kind of annoying. Let's take a quick tour of our newly-built vehicle.
First up, the cab section (with roof of). One standard printed control panel in black is in front of the seat and there are two levers. The double-sided doors sit at a roughly 45 degree angle to the body of the cab which is a nice touch. I know several members here probably had an accident in their pants at the very thought of the return of door vehicles, so I'll pause for a moment so you can clean yourselves up... Done? Good?
The main issue with the cab is oddly one of swooshability. There's no obvious section which you can use to pick up the Dozer, so by default the cab section becomes your choice, seeing as it sticks out a bit. However it is poorly built in terms of strength and is as delicate as the nightingale's song when put to any practical use. Here we see a typical result of trying to pick the Dozer up from this end - starring Sherlock Holmes in the Case of the Exploding Cab:
The problem is that the front section (windscreen and roof) are only attached by the bottom of the window panel and the back section has no fortifications. Through trial and error you learn a sort of crab-like pincer movement to grab the Dozer in the middle but this is initially frustrating.
Another weakness is that it is very difficult for the blade to actually pick anything up as it travels across the ground (carpet only if you want the treads to work) as the angle is kind of high and there's no 'scoop' parts to hold anything in place.
On the plus side, the blade assembly looks amazing and is quite flexible. I love the studless plates and the black grillwork - a really classic Lego touch. Dropping rubbish is easy as the bottom of the blade hinges down:
There is also a commendable angle of movement of the blade apparatus itself.
Here it is in the lowered position:
And in the elevated position:
The other feature is, as noted, this weird hatch. You can't do anything with it. Its spin is not controlled by anything other than the Hand of God (ie your finger) so quite why it is prominently pictured, I have no idea. Just sit and enjoy its quiet majesty while we all contemplate its part in the infinite universe.
Part 5: Operations Manual
So you've just bought a bulldozer - now what are you going to do with it?
First, terrorise local citizens with your lax respect for local planning laws:
Fill in some gaps in the timeline of the Indiana Jones universe:
Hours of endless fun! Enjoy!
Part 6: Overall Rating
I really think this set is a good one. The vehicle has a pleasing Classic Town feel to it, as it is largely brick built. I especially like the sweet blade section and how it resembles a junior version of the motorized Technic Bulldozer. The stickers are minimal and unobtrusive; the technic construction is unobtrusive and for the most part restricted to what is necessary for the set to function; the build is generally solid and enjoyable. Yes, it does have problems - most notably the stability of the cab section - but nothing insurmountable. The fig and the fence post barrier are also a little blah, but they are minor points only. As for price - we all know the ratio of parts to price has dropped in 2009 as seen in Star Wars, Power Miners, Pirates - in fact pretty much everything apart from 10193 for the Jan releases! If I was in the UK, I would think it was a bargain for under 20 quid. In Australia $59.99 is maybe a tad high - but when you compare it to something similar like the Power Miners Thunder Driller 8960 which is $10 cheaper but a far less interesting and detailed model, I think you get your money's worth. Overall, I would rate this set 8/10.
Thanks for reading!
Edited by TheBrickster, 23 January 2010 - 06:21 PM.
Poll options amended.