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REVIEW: 7633 Construction Site

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Poll: How do you rate this set? (63 member(s) have cast votes)

On a scale of 1 to 5

  1. Poor (1 votes [1.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.59%

  2. Below Average (3 votes [4.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.76%

  3. Average (10 votes [15.87%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.87%

  4. Above Average (36 votes [57.14%])

    Percentage of vote: 57.14%

  5. Outstanding (13 votes [20.63%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.63%

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#1 Svelte


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 07:03 AM

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Theme: CITY
Name: Construction Site
Year: 2009
Pieces: 898
Minifigs: 5
Price: $AUD149.99, $US99.99, GBP 58.69; EUR 89.99-99.95
Resources: Brickset, Peeron, Lego Shop@Home

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Construction Site is the largest of the 2009 January City releases - and indeed, one of the largest City releases we have seen that *isn't* a Police station since at least 2005 :oh:. The trend since 2006 has been to release medium to large sets at a slightly cheaper pricepoint, usually featuring large pieces and including one supersized vehicle (the 7894 Airport or 7994 City Harbour spring to mind). Construction Site is somewhat of a departure from this model in that it is largely brick-built using few large pieces, and rather than focussing on one or two large features, actually is comprised of 5 smaller models across 4 instruction books. The last construction site produced in 2005, 7243, seemed more focussed on mining operations, with a dump truck and grinding conveyor belt, but with the inclusion of quite a large civilian building in 7633, Lego's emphasis is firmly on everyday life. Glimpses of City sets arriving later this year seem to follow the pattern of large sets made up of small civilian submodels, so the question we should ask here is - is this trend any good?

Part 1: Box, Parts, Instruction Manuals, DSS

Front of the box:

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Back of the box:

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One of the Lego designers has too much time on their hands. Notice how the bagged bricks are now colour matched to the submodels? Good to know that, like a celebrity starlet, the carpet matches the drapes.

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Four instruction manuals for four sets. You can see clearly just from this how each of these could work as an individual release (except Lego may not think the lift and shopfront marketable enough). Indeed, the second model is basically a Cargo transporter with stickers to match:

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The RIP (new acronym for Random Instruction Page):

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Yay! Bonus DSS (Dreaded Sticker Sheet)! I love when this happens. It means I can totally stuff up the stickers without feeling guilty, knowing that I have a spare set to use in case of emergencies. Be still, my trembling hands!

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Bagged Parts. Nine crinkly bundles of goodness with one bag of extra large pieces.

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The graphic designer with too much time on their hands has been at work here too - notice how Bag 9 has a 'point' bottom right of the numeral so the kidz don't get it confused with Bag 6. A classy touch - the kind of clue that always appears in sub-par Agatha Christie TV mysteries when the murderer steals the wrong room key, blunders in and kills someone totally inappropriate.  

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Parts, beautiful parts! Bwahahaha!

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Some interesting things to notice. Firstly, the classic windows last seen in 4996 Creator Beach House have been replaced with a new lipped version. Instead of this:

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We now have this:

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Why would they replace such a wonderful part with this strange foreshortened one, I wondered? :sick: Then I looked at the glass. They seem to have changed the window mould so the new hideous glass with the pin-prick production marks all over it can fit in both the 3 x 4 window frames *and* the new sloping window roof pieces. I guess this saves them a few pennies here and there. A shame though as the old glass was actually transparent and the new piece produced last year looks like it's been riddled with gunfire. Additionally, there is room for 2 studs to connect under the middle of the top rim of the new frame for extra support.

The moon is made of this, apparently:

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I love these 4x4 expanded versions of the cut out plate. Flashback, baby! Also, trans-orange 1x2 plates, the wheel rim in yellow (not sure if I've seen this before) and the new cage piece.

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Plus 2 of those 32 long technic axles. I used to hate these pieces! Juniorisation, blah blah blah. Now I love them :wub: You will find out why!

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Part 2: The build(s)

I won't go into too much detail about the build of each model, unless there is something particularly interesting for each one.

First up is the little dozer, variations of which never seem out of production. This would make a good $AUS10 set by itself.

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The new cage piece is good-lookin' and versatile - much simpler and stronger than was used in the contrived brick-built version in the 2008 Truck & Forklift set 7733:

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Rear view of the dozer/ digger:

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The tracks attach via a simple and yet clever use of an old Space piece and simple 1x1 cylinders:

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Second up is the large Cargo transport truck, which keeps the colour scheme of last year's themed sets and the same decal. It is a fairly simple build, with a cab attached to the large one-piece carriage section. The only thing I don't like about it is that the rear wheels sit slightly lower than the wheels on the cab, so the whole thing slopes downward slightly and is very close to the ground. Here we go:

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Front view of the cab:

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Rear view:

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The transport bed:

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With the dozer on board:

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At this point my unimpressed-looking cat interrupted the build by sleeping on the instructions so I don't have many detail shots of the construction of the lift and the shopfront  :cry_sad:

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The lift is of a simple an excellent design. Basically the friction of the small rubber wheels against the 32 stud long axle is sufficient to hold the small lift platform in place at an point up or down the shaft. It's genius :wub: Lego has never done such a simple yet well designed lift! Yes, the ones in 10188 Death Star worked fairly well, but a complicated lift cable made of string doesn't quite cut it for me :tongue:. The previous winner of 'Best Lift in a System Set' Award would go to the version in 7047 Coast Watch HQ but this one beats it in terms of greater range and smaller size. The principle could easily be adapted to make elevators in town houses, for example.

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Better view of the mechanism, as Mr Foreman descends to ground level:

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Mr Foreman is pleased to note a construction minion awaiting him with lunch*:

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*Note: lunch not included, BBQ chicken sold separately :wink: BY THIS CREEPY BEARDED DUDE!

The lift apparatus next to the smart-looking shopfront building:

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I am really pleased to see the inclusion of this building in 7633, and to me it is what elevates this set from the usual bog standard construction set and makes it a bit special. So often in Lego City we have seen vehicles with nowhere to go and no way to use their amazing functions. Building cranes with nothing to lift; police command centres with noone to arrest; emergency vehicles with not a soul to rescue. The idea of actually combining a set and the object of its play function in one package is simple and obvious, and yet we haven't seen anything this detailed like it in a City set since Main Street. Even better, it's been designed as a modular system to allow endless recombination and play and to encourage kids to make their own shoppes and suchlike. Let's have a look.

The front:

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Angled side view:

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The back. For once Lego has an excuse not to provide an interior!  :tongue:

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The modules, which attach via the 1x2 red plates:

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Different combinations of the modular bits'n'bobs:

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OK, so architecturally this thing isn't going to win any awards, but there's a fair amount of useful bricks in here. As you can see, each end section is the large panel piece but the rest is all small bricks. Really, the only thing I'm not happy about is the new window piece and that's mainly because of the nasty glass:

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Mr Foreman inspects the work for defects: "You appear to be missing a floor, although the tulips you planted on the window sill are coming along nicely."

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Finally, the mobile crane. This isn't so much a 7249 XXL Mobile Crane as it is a M or even S Mobile Crane. I think it got shrunk in the wash  :tongue: It's worth posting the image of the earlier set (which was sold up until last year) because the similarities and differences are immediate:

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After so many years of everything getting bigger, I still can't look at these two pics and fully comprehend that Lego made a conscious decision to go *smaller* :wacko:. It's visually disconcerting after so many years of looking at pics of Classic Town sets where everything was teeny and then to see the 2009 equivalent! There are obvious differences in appearance, but in terms of functionality the main one is that the new crane can't bend in the middle. The crane can rotate, but the vehicle doesn't bend. Otherwise the new designers have done a good job of keeping it playable.

The movable columns which supported the body of the crane are now technic axles which can be propped against studs:

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The side control cabin is there, if teensy:

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The barrel still extends:

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The crane moves, but via turntable rather than a hinged truck body:

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This pin holds it in the straight position:

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There's classic greebles and stickers!

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The side support legs which used to be push back into the truck body now detach, with the foot pieces hooking onto the back of the cab and the technic axles sliding into a nook underneath the crane itself. This is very economical design :wub:

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The main weaknesses of the new crane are that (a) it is difficult to extend the barrel without first unwinding the string attached to the hook; (b) the handle which controls releasing the string is terribly weak and breaks off unless you wind from the yellow piece right next to the winch rather than the handle itself:

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And finally, another overview of all the submodels together:

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Part 3: In conclusion

I'm still unsure about the crane. After saying quite strongly in my review of the 7685 Dozer that scale doesn't matter :wink: I find myself wishing they'd made it slightly bigger - somewhere in between the shrunken version and the massive Godzilla version that knocks down buildings with its tail when it turns in the street!  But then I realise how much easier it is to move around a crane that isn't larger than an average minifig house and remember that it still does its job pretty well  :tongue: So, yes, I'm a little conflicted.

Indeed, this concern about the aesthetics of the vehicle and the shop could be applied to  *all* of the submodels (apart from the small digger which is pretty much perfect  :thumbup:) None of them - cargo truck, bley and red building, crane - would be must-have sets in their own right. If I saw them on a shelf in individual boxes along with beautiful designs like the 7632 Crawler Crane or even the little 7630 Loader I know which ones I'd pick up first :wub: So I'm forced to conclude that 7633 is a little bit less than the sum of its parts. It's a great concept, well-executed, but no must-have - especially if you already have an abundance of diggers and the XXL crane. Most people would already have the pieces; you can still look up the instructions and build that cool lift today! My reservations as an adult aside, if I was a kid I would be in awe of its breadth of play and great, versatile pieces. To conclude, I give this set 7/10 overall!

STAY TUNED tomorrow for a special visual demonstration of this set in action! :wink:

#2 Brickposter1748


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 08:24 AM

Very nice review of the Construction Site!-Now u have finally convinced me to get 1 of these!

#3 Lockt


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 08:58 AM

After many doubts I finally picked this set up, my first construction set since the 80s. Exactly like it is described by the reviewer I hated the many, many construction sets with nowhere to go... A lego town constructed from official sets have 30% of its population working for the police, 30% for the firedepartment and 30% for a construction company with nothing to construct.

When I first put my eyes on this set I was to much focussed on the vehicles with it. The small dumpster is nice, but I don't like the size of especially the truck, but after rethinking my point-of-view I noticed this was the only disadvantage of the set. The crane is very well built, the lift is of a clever and simple design and the modular building is amazing!

Since I am a lazy person that likes building cities with official sets and only make use self-constructed items to "furnice" the city I am very pleased with this set :D

I voted Above Average becaus of this.

One nice detail worth mentioning: modular buildings comes with flowers straight from the factory ;-)

#4 Svelte


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 09:00 AM

View PostLockt, on Jan 12 2009, 07:58 PM, said:

One nice detail worth mentioning: modular buildings comes with flowers straight from the factory ;-)

It's interesting as they're not on the box art. As long as they're not pre-fab plastic!  :tongue:

#5 Cardinal Brick

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 09:14 AM

Thanks for this review of an intresting set, I agree it's good that at last we have something to construct. I like the shrinking scale as it means the crane might be able to move around town without to many problems. It this set will make me part with my cash I don't know yet, I'll see if it growns on me.
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#6 Sandy


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 09:33 AM

It's nice to see that the construction group has an interior designer amongst them to plant the flowers on the windows well before anybody has even moved into the house. :tongue:

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#7 Klaus-Dieter


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 09:46 AM

Thank you very much for this great review, svelte corps! :thumbup:

I voted for Above Average since this set does not include only vehicles but even not only buildings - but both.
I think that mainly for JFOLs this is a great set. :thumbup:
I personally I'm not that enthusiastic about this set since I already own the S@H version of the excellent Main Street - and I don't need more than one construction site.
But I even think that the price of 100 Euros is ok since there are a lot of "things" included in this set: the great house, the mini digger, the mobile crane, the other crane and the transport vehicle.
Sine I grew up with all the nice and lovely 4-stuck wide cars I can't cotton to all these big vehicles :sceptic: . But the house itself is  :wub: !


#8 iamded


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 10:29 AM

Great review, svelte_corps! This was to me the most interesting of the construction sets in the '09 line-up. It makes for a great little scene on it's own, and I'm sure will fit in well with any Lego city (even if the streets are already crowded with the hundreds of construction vehicles collected over the years... :grin:). The petunias are an interesting addition, but I can't see them staying on the windowsill when the building's being hoisted into the air, instead just plummeting to the ground (oh no, not again). And if it's more of an after-construction detail, then why not add a separate interior to be installed as well? :tongue: Really I think that's the only way to improve the set, add some details for the interior and stick them in a container that fits in the back of the cargo truck. Okay, maybe I'm asking too much. :blush:
Anyway, it's a neat set, with a perfect review to share it with us. Thanks again svelte_corps. :thumbup: :thumbup:

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#9 Big Pete

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 02:09 PM

I am delighted with this set ... it almost makes me want to get Town / City sets again!

I've always been annoyed that in the past, when Lego has presented construction sets in the magazines, they're always seen constructing simple buildings and yet we never got them in the sets!  This changes that and it's a refreshing change.

Nice comments on the lift ... although I have to say, the best life I've seen came in this set from 1988!

#10 Pinpapollo


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 04:28 PM

Thank you very much for the review very well done. I love the set but the combination of various ranges (transport and construction) I do not like. The detail of the lift is really good, hopefully be used in new sets.
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#11 Asuka


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 04:53 PM

Thank you for that very fine review, svelte_corps.  :thumbup:
A very neat set, and a very good construction play-set right out of the box indeed.
The vehicles´re nice and well detailed. A solid and charming work that delivers a great
amount of fun for all of us building workers who prefer little plastic bricks over concrete.  :grin:

#12 Alywin


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 05:34 PM

Very insightful review.  Very good to those yet to buy!  Thanks a lot! :thumbup:
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#13 WhiteFang


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 06:32 PM

I enjoyed this review very much and it has defintely persuaded me to get this set no matter what, to compliment my town collection such as the Shop and wide range of construction vehicles. It's defintely valued for money and offer high playability at the same time.  :wub:

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#14 5150 Lego

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 08:18 PM

Great review. I recieved this set for christmass and was very impressed. You really do get alot for your money. One thing you forgot to meantion about the trailer..

It has 4 little swing out arms that have those new (well new to city) trans orange lights. They swing out to give more warning when the truck is transporting wide loads such as building pieces, or the elevator itself. I thought this was a nice detail that TLC included on this set.

My only disapointments in this set focus around the crane. While i understand that the design doesn't allow the outriggers to slide inside the body when not in use, i would have preferred TLC found some way to incorperate that into the design rather having to disasemble them.

My next gripe would be the that the turntable on the crane can not rotate a full 360 degree's. The rerar section of the crane will hit the cab section. So you better position it right when you get to the job site!

Other than that this is a fantastic set! Lots of detail, as well as great vehicles!
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#15 Zarkan


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 10:42 PM

Thanks for another wonderful, thought out review, corps.  :thumbup:

Honestly though, I think that this kit is far better than just a 7/10. Sure, none of the models are spectacular, but at the same time they are all VERY well designed and have great, manageable scale. Unlike you, I'm actually very glad that they cut down the size of the mobile crane so much. Sure, I really liked the design of the original one, but the scale of the new one is far more manageable and easy to fit into a town, while still being nice to look at and play at.  :classic:

Also, the simple fact that they put a building in the kit to construct gives this set a huge thumbs up from me. Aside from Main Street, basically every construction line from the 80's to the 90's to the most recent decade has suffered from a lack of things to construct. This new kit is a breath of fresh air, and I'm very pleased by it.  :thumbup:

Anyway, I dunno if I'll ever get this kit, as it's just one of many pricy sets I'm interested in. Still, it's captured my attention enough that if I ever find it on sale, I may pick it up. Good job, TLC!  :wink:

Edited by Grevious, 12 January 2009 - 10:43 PM.

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#16 The Cobra

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 11:06 PM

Great review! As for the set, I voted "average". Downpoints are: crane is a rip-off of a much better set, and the digger looks juniorized.
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#17 Omega 8

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 11:24 PM

I too received this set for Christmas and I LOVE it. The semi cab seems more "beefed up" than the previous city rigs (Garbage Truck and Mixer for example) and the building is brilliantly simple.

Thanks for the excellent review BTW.
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#18 Svelte


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 11:31 PM

View Post5150 Lego, on Jan 13 2009, 07:18 AM, said:

One thing you forgot to meantion about the trailer.. It has 4 little swing out arms that have those new (well new to city) trans orange lights. They swing out to give more warning when the truck is transporting wide loads such as building pieces, or the elevator itself. I thought this was a nice detail that TLC included on this set.

Good point - I did wonder about the purpose of those things as it seemed an odd design choice. I am already sick of the trans orange popsicles though  :tongue:

View PostGrevious, on Jan 13 2009, 09:42 AM, said:

Thanks for another wonderful, thought out review, corps.  :thumbup:

Honestly though, I think that this kit is far better than just a 7/10. Sure, none of the models are spectacular, but at the same time they are all VERY well designed and have great, manageable scale. Unlike you, I'm actually very glad that they cut down the size of the mobile crane so much. Sure, I really liked the design of the original one, but the scale of the new one is far more manageable and easy to fit into a town, while still being nice to look at and play at.  :classic:

This is why I generally resist putting scores in reviews; nobody ever agrees :classic: 7/10 is still a pretty good score, certainly in the above average range. To compare with other Construction sets, I think the Crawler Crane is an 8.5, the Dozer an 8 and the small loader a 7 as well.

#19 Zorbas


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Posted 13 January 2009 - 12:23 AM

Excellent and very helpful review svelte_corps! (..as usual :wink: )
This is a great set for someone to buy i think, and that is because it provides a variety of elements, not necessarily strickly construction-themed oriented.
The mobile crane is very very good! I think that the size is the right one. Not too big and certainly not small, although something about the driver's cabin makes me sceptical.... Maybe (i cannot believe i'm writing this... :oh3: ) if the cabin was a little bigger the whole vehicle would look better overall.

The cargo truck is nice. I don't think is something really special but the good part is that you can easily blend it and use it with the other cargo sets, or even recruit it for your cargo fleet for special transports (train wagons, train tracks , big parts for a power plant construction :wink: ).

The buliding is a great addition in a construction set! As svelte_corps correctly pointed, it's really positive that the set you buy, you can actually use it alone. And of course an extra building in the City -small yes, why not? Not all of the buildings in a city are big.Maybe it's a Lego Shop only selling impulse sets! :tongue: I personally like it! Modular also? :thumbup:  :thumbup: :thumbup:

The lift is also a nice addition. The alternative use? Bungee jumping tower! :laugh: (after purchasing 5 copies of this set of course.)

The only thing i don't like in this set is the little dozer. It is not very eye-capturing , the wheels kinda look odd, it is like a vehicle designed for one of those Basic sets.

Thanks again for the review!

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Edited by Zorbas, 13 January 2009 - 12:36 AM.

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#20 marvinblue


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Posted 13 January 2009 - 01:12 AM

Thanks for the awesome review!! I'm definately getting one of these sets!! I agree with you on the excavator size: for the size of it's transporter, it could be a little bigger. I disagree on the size issue with the crane though. I think it's a perfect size. I Didn't get the XXL crane as it was too big for my City. Like 7726 - Coast Guard Truck With Speed Boat; awesome sets by themselves, but way out of scale for the City streets. I think the truck bed is slightly on the large scale as well, but I can sympathise with TLC for putting in the set and it doesn't detract from the set's overall playness or awesome-ness!!!  :classic:
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#21 Svelte


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Posted 13 January 2009 - 01:54 AM

View Postmarvinblue, on Jan 13 2009, 12:12 PM, said:

I think the truck bed is slightly on the large scale as well, but I can sympathise with TLC for putting in the set and it doesn't detract from the set's overall playness or awesome-ness!!!  :classic:

The truck is kind of bare, but that's the point. To put stuff on it!

I have been meaning to post this screencap from a movie from the Lego CITY subsite as I think the poor Crawler Crane gets the raw end of the deal only having one wall to move around and that set could have been improved by adding some extra in the way of constructibles:

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I'm not sure about the technic bricks in the green section - I guess these are supposed to be connected by pins to other wall sections you build yourself, even if it's not the way they're shown here.

#22 Yeow


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Posted 13 January 2009 - 02:48 AM

I find it weird how they used a different type of tire on the trailer part of the 18 wheeler. They look really odd compared to the cab's wheels. Nothing a little modding couldn't fix eh? Nice review as always!
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#23 sens1992


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    Country: USA

Posted 13 January 2009 - 03:08 PM

I bought the Crawler Crane 7632, the Front-End Loader 7630, the Dump Truck 7631 and the Dozer 7685 but I just can't buy the Construction Site 7633.  T think that the tractor trailer looks good, the little dozer too but the crane looks a little unfinished to me.  The control cabin is not even a cabin and the technic axles look like they curve when they are under too much pressure...  The lift looks good I have to say but then again, the bulding is kind of too minimalist.  Once again, way too many stickers but hey, 2009 will be a great year and I will be buying a lot anyways!  :-) :thumbup:

#24 Lloyd


    Posts: 15
    Joined: 09-October 08
    Member: 4109

Posted 13 January 2009 - 06:42 PM

This looks like a tidy little set. Although I won't be aquiring any time soon because of the lack of new elements and minifigs.
Insitive review  :thumbup:


#25 mania3


    Posts: 627
    Joined: 09-November 08
    Member: 4324

Posted 13 January 2009 - 06:45 PM

I've yet to pick one of these up, but I read your review last night and really enjoyed it.  Thanks for giving me a better look at this set.  All in all, it seems like an interesting one.  Though I can't really point out anything that makes it a must have with that $100 price tag.  No doubt I'll get it, but it wasn't one like Brickbeard's Bounty where I had to immediately buy it in spite of the cost.

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