This review was my third in the Reviewers Academy. I thought the members of this forum would be interested in reading it. Enjoy!
For my final Reviewers Academy review, I decided to review a set that is out of the ordinary. And in my collection, they don't get much more out of the ordinary than this set, which has NO standard bricks or plates. Also, it's one of the few sets for which I actually have the original box.
Set #: 8378
Name: Red Beast RC
Theme: Racers \ R/C
Original MSRP: $40.00 USD
Links: Peeron, Bricklink, Brickset
The box shows what I assume is the main model. In actuality, there are instructions for four different models in the booklet, and the parts can be combined into literally thousands of different configurations, although they all look pretty similar. In the lower right hand corner you can see all four models that are in the instruction booklet. The front also shows the radio control unit, along with a pair of creepy, disembodied hands holding it.
The back of the box shows a better view of the four models. It also has a parts list in the upper right hand corner, which is nice, since there isn't one in the instruction booklet.
Instruction Booklet Cover:
The instruction booklet shows the main model again, with a return of the disembodied hands.
Instruction Booklet Back:
The back of the instructions shows other sets from the Racers line of 2004. I see at least two other RC sets.
I applied the stickers for this set years ago, so I was ecstatic when I found a picture of the DSS in the instruction booklet. Brings back memeories of trying to get the darn things on straight.
On the opposite page, you can see how to install the batteries. This set requires six AA size batteries, plus one 9V battery for the remote control.
The Table of Contents:
This page shows all four models, with page numbers so that you can find the instructions quickly. It helps a little bit, although I usually find the model I want faster by flipping through the booklet, trather than flipping to this page first. It might have helped if this page were first in the booklet, but it's not. It's three or four pages deep, which really hampers it's usefulness.
Random Instruction Page:
The instructions are pretty well laid out. There is an inset showing which parts are needed for each particular step. But with only 65 parts, it really isn't difficult finding which one is needed.
I chose to use the model that is most prominently displayed on the box for this review. All of the models are very easy to put together. Basically, you use these flexible pins for all connections, and all other parts are pinned to the main body using flexible brackets. Assembly takes about 15-20 minutes per model, and about that long to change between models as well.
I have to admit, the car does look pretty snazzy when complete. All sleek lines and powerful engines, ready to tear up the nearest asphalt.
Since this set contains no bricks or plates, nor any studded elements, for that matter, you might be wondering just how big the final product is. Well, here you can see it against set# 456 - The Spirit of St Louis. The wings on the plane are 4 x 10 plates, so you can see that the car is massive compared to any system sets.
Since all of the parts are used in at least one of the models, there are no true spare parts (well, there are a few extra flexible pins, but that is it.) So instead, I decided to show the parts list. I've never seen any of these parts in any other set other than this one (I'm sure they are in the other RC sets, though.)
The Important Part:
So far, I've touched on the nuts and bolts of this set, and how un-LEGO-like it is. But one very important question remains: How well does it function as an RC vehicle? Let me tell you, it ROCKS. The controls are very responsive. The instruction booklet claims that it has a range of 65 feet. I've never put a tape measure to it, but it certainly seems to have a large range. I've never had the car go outside of range, at least.
The car is a little slower than other RC cars I've played with, but not too bad. It doesn't do very well in tall grass due to it's low profile, but really short grass presents few problems, and flat surfaces like asphalt and concrete are ideal. Battery life is excellent for a RC vehicle. Those six AA batteries have easily given me over 4 hours of fun. Much better than the 15 minutes a standard RC NiCad battery generally gives. And the 9V seems to last forever in the controller. If you use rechargeables, you'll get lots of life between chargings. I use disposables, though.
The other major advantage is that the model can be readily changed. Don't like the looks of the model? Move some parts around. Because of the flexible nature of the connectors, the model is more durable than a standard hard plastic RC car, which might break on a hard impact. I would never worry about breaking one of these pieces in any impact.
Playability: 10/10 - The RC plays like an RC vehicle should. If you like RC, you'll love this.
Design: 8/10 - All of the models look cool, and it is as customizable as any other LEGO set.
Price: 6/10 - Despite being out of print, the sets available on Bricklink are still very close to MSRP. Can't beat that with a stick.
Overall: 24/30 - As long as you ralize that you are getting a LEGO version of an RC vehicle, you will not be disappointed. My son and I love racing each other out in the driveway. I highly recommend it if you like RC.
Here is a link to the Brickshelf Gallery, which will be viewable when public.
Edited by WhiteFang, 14 July 2009 - 09:19 PM.
Indexed and poll added