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Review: 3180 Tank Truck

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Poll: How do you rate this set? (21 member(s) have cast votes)

3180 Tank Truck

  1. Poor (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. Below Average (1 votes [4.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.76%

  3. Average (1 votes [4.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.76%

  4. Above Average (6 votes [28.57%])

    Percentage of vote: 28.57%

  5. Outstanding (13 votes [61.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 61.90%

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#1 Rufus


  • Schnell! Schnell! Kartoffelkopf!

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 01:22 PM

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for Lego’s 6-wide trucks.  I was very excited to hear about their latest fuel tanker truck, and picked one up as soon as it appeared in Lego Bluewater.  Read on to see if it lives up to my expectations…

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The stats

Name: Tank Truck
Number:         3180
Theme: City
Year of Release:2010
Pieces: 222
Figures: 1
Price: £14.99 | US$ N/A | EUR 20.90 (France) | AU$ 34.99 | DKK 179.95

Shop @ Home said:

Keep LEGO® CITY on the move!
Help keep the cars, trucks and airplanes of LEGO CITY moving by transporting gasoline to all the gas stations in town. Fill up the fuel pump with the truck’s extending hose line, or use the dispenser to fill the Tank Truck’s own gas tank to keep it rolling right along! Includes truck driver minifigure.
• Includes Tanker truck and truck driver minifigure!
• Use the extendable hose to fill up the fuel pump!
• Measures over 11" (27cm) long and over 3" (7cm) tall! Ages 5+.

At the time of writing, this set is not available in USA, Canada or Germany, according to Shop @ Home.

(Not yet listed on Peeron)


‘Tank truck’ sounds like a piece of military hardware to me; I like to think of this as the ‘Octan tanker’; which will place it in good company with the long pedigree of Lego petrol/gas tankers.  One of my first sets as a kid was the fondly-remembered 671 Shell Tanker, which if I remember correctly was one of the first Town sets to use a small 2x2 turntable to allow articulation.  See a selection of 3180’s ancestry below:

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Let’s have a look at 2010’s offering:

The Box


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Measuring H 188 x W 351 x D 88 mm, this box doesn’t take up all the room on the shelf.  It is, however, surprisingly deep; walking out of the shop, you feel you’ve got a lot of Lego for your money.


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The rear shows the modular construction employed by the more recent City sets, along with some play features, and Hey! an irritating Lego caricature in the top right hand corner.  As you open the box, the thumb tab will pierce him, mwahaha.

If you’d like to see a close-up of the back, here’s a link to a hi-resolution picture.

The Contents

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Out of the box fall two polybags, one for the cab and pump, and one for the trailer, along with the hose, pre-attached to nozzle, and three large green rounded pieces that form the tank floor.  The corresponding white pieces that form the roof of the tank are inside the second polybag.  Curious.

There is a smallish decal sheet:

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I didn’t apply the stickers, so I can’t comment on the ease of application, but you may be pleased to hear there do not appear to be any across multiple pieces.

The Instructions

There’s only the one book; mine came from the box a little curled:

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Here’s a page showing the beautiful simplicity of the articulation mechanism:

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The Pieces

Bag One:

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Bag Two:

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Pieces of interest:

We find some more of the new 1x1 side-stud pieces, and a nice little computer for the petrol pump.  This, the minfig torso and two 1x1 gauges (one is spare; see photo above) are the only printed pieces in the set.  The black tubing reminds me of 1985 Classic Space (look at the back of this or this for examples).

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Most importantly, there’s this, which I think is a new piece:

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This clever piece will be used to support the windscreen, and allows the cab to have opening doors yet retain its strength.  Perhaps the lack of such a piece goes some way to explain why Lego trucks haven’t had doors until recently.

The Figure

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This little dude (I’ve called him Oily Joe) looks quite happy to be driving the truck and filling the pumps all by himself.  His cap is the newer curved variety that first appeared in 2009’s City Corner; his jacket featured in the 7993 Service Station from 2007.  The latter would make a nice combination with this tanker, if it were still available.

He has no printing on the back, but like every seasoned trucker he has a mug of tea.

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The Build

First off, we put the little petrol pump together.

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The ‘classic space’ tubing is remarkably strong, and it took several attempts to attach it at both ends.  Oily Joe demonstrates its strength:

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Next up comes the cab.  The cab chassis reminded me of 7733 Truck and Forklift; the cab’s fuel tanks are attached with 90 degree angle brackets in a similar way.  There is the usual profusion of colours.

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Here we see the cab’s interior (right hand drive for the UK :wink: ).  Note the gear lever, and more importantly the new windscreen-attachment piece in place at the top of the usual SNOT front fascia:

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The trailer is built around the tank itself.  The three green rounded base pieces connect with technic pins:

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These sit directly on top of the rear wheelbase, which contains the hose reel and a cupboard (which we’ll come to later).

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In front of the wheelbase, a hinged stand is attached to the tank base, and as seen earlier, a single technic half-axle pin forms the articulation mechanism:

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The eagle-eyed reader may spot that I’ve made a very minor change to the build, compared to the instructions.

The Complete Set

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I think she’s a beauty.  Let’s take a look at some features.

Opening cab doors!  Joe proudly climbs into his truck, without having to take the roof off!

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Ketchup and mustard dispensers fitted as standard!  (Ok, so they are meant to be the hydraulic pipes for the trailer brakes).

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The trailer has a built-in hose-reel, a lever and a pressure gauge:

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Chocks away!  Joe can prevent the trailer going AWOL when it’s disconnected from the cab.  The chocks are stored in the cupboard when not in use.  Note the two 2x1 yellow cheese wedges.

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What is there not to love about this set?  Actually, there are a few things.

Mikey, in his review, has already drawn attention to the ‘unfinished’ ends of the tank:

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I don’t think this is so bad; the rear is hidden from view by the ladder, and you might expect ‘holes’ in the front to connect pipes from the cab.

I’m less keen on the exposed studs where the rear wheelbase meets the tank, which look untidy:

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For me, the biggest concern is the large plate that forms the base of the trailer wheels.  

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There’s only 1 plate-height clearance between the base and the road, and I worry about the trailer grounding on any bumps.  Perhaps this is why we have roadplates…


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Despite the few drawbacks, I think this is an excellent set, and well worth the price.  Lego have improved yet more on the 6-wide truck design, and it’s great to see the petrol tanker make join the ranks of beautiful trucks produced over the last few years.

Design:         9/10 Beautifully done, despite the few minor drawbacks; bar far the best Lego petrol tanker yet.
Build:         9/10 These trucks are always fun to build, and the new windscreen technique was a nice surprise.
Playability: 10/10 There’s a cab with opening doors, gearstick, and mug; the trailer has hosereel, lever, chocks in their own cupboard, rear ladder, and stand; and there’s a petrol pump that the driver can fill.  Anyone who thinks Lego should have thrown in another figure is just greedy!
Minifigures: 7/10 He’s okay, is Oily Joe, but nothing too special.
Price: 10/10 To me, this set felt well worth the money.

Overall, 90%.   I heartily recommend this set, not just to truck or Town fans, but to any Lego fan who likes a classic set.

I hope you enjoyed the review, please let me know what you thought of it.


I leave you with the consequences of forgetting the chocks:

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Edited by Rick, 24 October 2011 - 07:53 PM.

#2 Zorbas


  • Tough on stains!

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 01:42 PM

Thanks for the very nice review Rufus! :thumbup:

Although that I'm not a big fan of large LEGO trucks, I must admit that this one looks very nice. There are some great details and the design is quite good. It's good that TLG also included a small pump. Extra features are always welcomed. :wink:

The minifig is very nice in my opinion. This torso is great and really matches with the white legs.

It's also great that you've included some gas related tankers from the past. I own the 6695 Shell tanker but I think that the 6594 Octan tanker is the best. (As you've said, I'm a sucker for 4-wides. :tongue: )

The last picture made me laugh! What was he trying to do? Catch the trailer with his own hands? :laugh:  :wacko:
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#3 lightningtiger


  • Gungans taste like chicken

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 01:45 PM

Thanks 'Rufus' for the review on this cool tanker truck. :grin:
I enjoyed building this the other week and I will be MODing into a local fuel company instead of Octan to keep my Australian theme going. :sweet:
Yep, that guy should of chocked those wheels, ah well 'Destroyed In Seconds' he'll be on eh ? :laugh:
Keep on bricking ! :grin:

#4 Rick


  • Where's My Ostrich?

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 02:07 PM

This is a great truck, that I have yet to pick up somewhere. And a really informative and entertaining review (the cartoon at the end is funny).

#5 Kalahare


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 07:39 PM

Thank You for this review! Good work :thumbup: . I like this set (is in my wanted list :classic: ). Why? Lot of nice details, functional supports on trailer, cabine with doors, Octan stickers!, friendly price...

#6 ukbajadave


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 08:52 PM

Thanks for a great review. I'll have to convince the kids they want this so I can build it :)

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