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Review: 8958 Granite Grinder

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Poll: How do you rate this set? (18 member(s) have cast votes)

On a scale 1 to 5

  1. 1 – Poor (1 votes [5.56%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.56%

  2. 2 – Below Average (2 votes [11.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

  3. 3 – Average (2 votes [11.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

  4. 4 – Above Average (4 votes [22.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 22.22%

  5. 5 - Outstanding (9 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

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#1 The Cobra

The Cobra

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:22 PM

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Do you remember the old Fleetwood Mac song? The (lime) green Miner-lishi with the two-pronged crown jackhammer.

Set Data:

8958: Granite grinder
Year: 2009
Theme: Power miners (link to the official site with info, games & more)
Subtheme: N/A
Pieces: 94 (including 5 small extra pieces and counting Monster head and body as two different pieces)
Price: 10 USD / 10~13 EUR / 7,85 UKP (S@H price for most European countries = 10 Euros; France = 12 Euros, Finland = 13 Euros!)
Building time: 15/20 minutes
MISB on review: Yes
More info: Brickset - Peeron

Box front: European version, no set name or pieces count.
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Box back: Highlighting the chance to build a combo model with 8960 Thunder driller and some moving parts.
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Box sides: The monster has a name (so does the minifig, but you still can't tell); and just like Thunderbirds (or Lego Agents), vehicles have their own numbers.
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Small prints: Some info in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian. Who cares about Italy...
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Box content: Two bags with pieces, one bag with rock monster Glaciator, two loose "Technic Treads Very Small", one loose "Tipper Bucket 4 x 6", sticker sheet and instructions book.
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Random instructions page: building the grinding mechanism (click for larger image)
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From the instructions book: Set inventory (click for larger image)
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From the instructions book: Theme overview and Monsters line-up (click for larger image)
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From the instructions book: How to combine 6 models to build 3 larger sets, and Lego club a.k.a. the Dead Themes Society (Exo-Force, Aqua Raiders, Mars Mission - click for larger image)
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Unusual pieces: Up to now, these very small treads have been available in 8 sets, one pair for each of them. The tipper bucket has been around for nearly 30 years (my first one came in the early eighties, see 6652) but for the first time it comes in Orange. Dynamite sticks are one of this year's new pieces (Dynamite previously available printed on a 1x2 tile); "Rahkshi Staff of Poison" if my first Bionicle piece not coming from an Exo-Force set (no, I never owned a Bionicle and I hardly will), also available in orange for the first time. The "roll cage" als is a new pieces and basically a PM trademark (4 sets out of 7, including the Boulder blaster, have it). Finally, as Sinner found out, no more plastic "rubber band holders" but a small cardboard sheet.
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Minifigs: enter "nasty and evil" Glaciator and "top engineer" Rex.
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Minifigs: rock monsters back has some detailing too; and human minifigs have double printed heads and torsos.
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Minifigs: can humans and monsters co-exist? I'm not so sure about it...
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Building the Granite Grinder: as good as it looks outside, the grinder hides a secret under lime green pieces. Here are a couple of "Technic knob wheels" that will force the grinder moving forth (the rubber band will force it moving back)
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Building the Granite Grinder: adding more Technic pieces, the final one will be the "Staff of poison" / Grinder.
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Building the Granite Grinder: a couple of grey baseplates protect the mechanism; now we're ready to build the upper/outside part of the vehicle.
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Building the Granite Grinder: Lime is the colour, along with orange they couple with grey and black pieces.
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Building the Granite Grinder: Building is nearly complete, see how the GG looks before adding stickers.
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Granite Grinder: A close-up of the cockpit without stickers.
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Granite Grinder: And now, the cockpit with stickers.
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Granite Grinder: A view from the right side. You surely need some lighting down there in the caves.
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Granite Grinder: A view from the rear. A chain is used to "carry" the tipper bucket. Those white pieces should be gas thanks.
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Granite Grinder: Set is complete, her are the minifigs too and some small extras.
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When I first saw those blurry and oddly colored pre-pics of this new "Power miners" theme, I thought: "What is this supposed to be? A bad remake of an old decent theme? A one-year-filler till they come up with some better ideas? A bunch of solid-neon colors pieces put together to form something eye-catching? Better pics didn't make change my mind. It took a few months, after I had a full chance to see what PM was all about, to decide. Yes, I was going to buy one set, and not just because I like to own at least one set per theme, but because the Granite grinder was something outstanding. Human minifigs are mostly good, except for Brains (8957), so that was no tie-breaker. Small monsters are just the same, except for the main color, and blue is by far my favourite. But the Grinder itself is really something. As a 10 bucks set, it's compact without being cozy, it looks good thanks also to the stickers, it has an opening "cockpit" thanks to the hinged roll-bar, it comes with not so few accessories, some of which are vehicle add-ons like those white gas tanks (I guess that's what they are) and the 2x2 round headlight. But the heart of this set is the grinding mechanism. I first thought "what is a rubber band supposed to do there?", then I found out and I though "ingenious". Kids will love how the "double pronged jackhammer" moves when the treads roll.


Color scheme: 5/5. Lime green and orange work great; as bad as these colors looked like in preliminary pics, as good as they do now.

Minifigs and accessories: 4,5/5. Glaciator is my favourite rock monster, and those who know me wil tell you that's because it's Blue. Human minifig is good, with the torso printed on the back too and choice between two face expressions. the chain holding the tipper bucket works good with the monster stealing it (as seen on the box). And a blue monster deserves a blue crystal The only downpoint is: the Handaxe. What is Rex supposed to do with it? Are rocks made of wood?

Pieces: 4/5. I already told about shapes, colors and "rarity"; I'm not sure if someone would buy this set for pieces, but looking at the pics you know exactly what you can get.

Playability: 5/5. Do I have to explain? The rubber band is the core of the fun! And the monster can eat crystals (and dynamite?), and there's the tipper bucket, and...

Design: 5/5. The vehicle looks solid; using treads instead of wheels is a good choice since this is a sort of construction set (like a digger or an excavator), there are two figs, one on the "good" side and one on the "bad" side as you would expect in these themes. Building was easy (also thanks to piece call-out) and funny (thanks to the grinder mechanism!)

Overall rating: 4,5/5. Very close to perfect.

The final words: Amongst my friends, this is the favourite set in the PM theme. Wanna join?

Edited by WhiteFang, 23 May 2009 - 06:48 PM.

Most overread phrase on S@H: "Sorry, item is not available in this country: Italy."

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#2 soc399


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Posted 13 March 2009 - 12:24 AM

Great review, thanks!  I was also not too excited about this line, but I picked up a few of the smaller sets on a whim.  This one is definitely my favorite, and I totally agree on the drilling mechanism.  It works great and is by far the best aspect of the set.

#3 green dewback

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 12:31 AM

I'm interested in this set too, but same as you, I would only buy 1 small set from this theme.
My other potential candidate would be the slightly cheaper and smaller Mine Mech.

Ive already built a pair of weapon arms and flight pack for Mine Mech, just waiting to buy it, but I have plans too for this compact green mean rollin' machine   :laugh:  maybe reduce its width and sacrificing the jackhammer mechanism + adding weapons on the rear.
I have read from somewhere else the rubber belt doesn't really roll smoothly in this set, is that true ?

Great Review !  :thumbup:  very detailed

Edited by green dewback, 13 March 2009 - 02:24 AM.

#4 Front


  • Odonaman!

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 12:41 AM

This was the first powerminers set I got, and I simply think this set is outstanding because:
Rock Monster, love them.
Play value against price.
The fine new roll-cage and slope with slots.

Compared to the two other smal powerminer sets, this one is way the best.

#5 Algernon


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Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:44 AM

Got this set. I too think it's the best that PM has to offer. Especially being one of the cheaper ones.

Nice review.

#6 Peppermint_M


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Posted 13 March 2009 - 08:37 AM

Good review.
I bought all three of the smaller sets and this one is the best out of the three.
As for the tanks, I theorize that they are compressed air for the grinder, "plants" (technical name for construction kit) like those often have hydraulic driven tools.  :tongue:

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Tesni Hightribe

#7 baby


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Posted 13 March 2009 - 05:51 PM

This set is not bad. I most probably gonna buy some of the first wave sets to collect the rock monster and the Crystal King in second wave.

A nice review you made.  :thumbup:

#8 Bfahome


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Posted 14 March 2009 - 02:33 AM

It's a nifty set, to be sure.

Though I can't really decide between it and the Thunder Driller for my favorite.

But it's worth the money and that's what matters.

#9 Raven Brickroft

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 01:58 PM

Great review.

I like how you showed the mechanism for the Jackhammer. I've always been puzzled about how it's supposed to move.
This'll probably the only PM set i'll get for this wave. I love the minifig. UNIBROW  :laugh:

Question to those who have this set: is the stress on the rubber band just enough to return the jackhammer to its original position? I just think that the black part with the clip might break from playwear.

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#10 Lordofdragonss


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Posted 14 March 2009 - 04:12 PM

I think it is the best set from PM.
Rolling action, dynamite and Glaciator.
And don't forget the Monoeyebrow man! (Oh Is not Rex... Rex have Star on his uniform)
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#11 The Cobra

The Cobra

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 09:39 AM

I checked the PM site again; Doc is the guy with the Star.
Most overread phrase on S@H: "Sorry, item is not available in this country: Italy."

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#12 calebexo01


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Posted 07 May 2009 - 01:31 AM

this is one of my favorite Power Miners sets and a cheaper one too! the jackhammer is my favorite part. im glad i got it first. great review of a great set!

View Postgreen dewback, on Mar 12 2009, 08:31 PM, said:

I have read from somewhere else the rubber belt doesn't really roll smoothly in this set, is that true ?

the rubber treads go "bump bump bump" because of the jackhammer, but still roll nicely and dont get stuck or anything

View PostLordofdragonss, on Mar 14 2009, 12:12 PM, said:

I think it is the best set from PM.
Rolling action, dynamite and Glaciator.
And don't forget the Monoeyebrow man! (Oh Is not Rex... Rex have Star on his uniform)

it is unibrow, not monoeyebrow
there are 7 different miners and only 4 names so this set includes one of the nameless guys

Edited by calebexo01, 07 May 2009 - 01:33 AM.

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