After recently reviewing set 4743 Ice Blade, I was inspired to revisit the Alpha Team theme. The only set I could find completely intact and ready for reviewing was 4742 Chill Speeder, so here's my stab at it.
This set was my second favorite of the theme, clocking in right behind the Ice Blade. I remember buying this set on vacation in Maine, and playing with it in the hotel for hours. It was cute and looked very good to me, and I'm still not quite sure why I liked it so much. Join me as I take another look at this set, and scrutinize what is so special about 4742 Chill Speeder.
Set Name: Chill Speeder
Set Number: 4742
Number of Pieces: 58
Minifigs:1 (Agent Flex)
Price: $4.00 USD (Now worth about $15 New)
Theme: Alpha Team / Mission Deep Freeze
Year Released: 2004
First up are the instructions, since I didn't save the box. They feature an icy background, typical for the theme. This is another one of those sets (like the Ice Blade) where a single Agent seems to drive by an ice orb and not quite notice it. There are some sequences of numbers in the upper right corner and a medium-sized Alpha Team logo at the top.
Inside, the instructions have a textured ice backdrop, which doesn't get in the way of the set's colors. There are no piece call-outs, but small submodels get their own little box.
Another typical part of an Alpha Team booklet is a little photo sequence demonstrating how to transform the vehicle. In this case, it only takes three frames. Note the agents' silhouettes in the foreground.
On the back is the blue Win! logo, which has now been replaced by the infamous screaming punk kid.
Instructions:: Thoughts: Easy to follow yet a little flashy at times. Either way, they serve their function.
Here are the pieces of the set, spread out for your viewing pleasure. You can see that the set is mostly black and sand blue, with touches of dark blue and white. It's quite a nice variety, ranging from basic tiles to Technic bricks and slopes. There's also a fair amount of specialty pieces, like the magnifying glass, pick, and printed parts.
Pieces of interest:
These are the more interesting pieces of the set. There are four lovely printed pieces, including printed slopes, which is a major bonus. Also included are accessories like the cool red magnifying glass, the pick, handlebars, and crystal ball. Finally are the rare dark blue torch pieces, which are exclusive to this set.
Pieces:: Thoughts: A very good quantity and variety, including lots of nice printed and rare parts.
The one minifig included in this set is Agent Flex, the orange agent. He has astounding printing on both his torso and legs, as well as a snug beanie, a smug expression, and some sweet shades. Note that his left arm is orange. All agents in this theme had a specific color, which was on both their suit, arm, and vehicle. There's no back printing on him, but it was uncommon back then, and the amazing front makes up for it.
Minifigs:: Thoughts: Lovely printing, which seems to occur throughout the theme. He's quite a cool agent.
The build is completed in 15 quick steps, shown at steps 4, 8, 11, and 15 respectively. The only major submodels are the two "legs" that extend in the front. The process is smooth, and although no particularly interesting techniques are used, the build is still quite entertaining for a small set.
Build:: Thoughts: Simple but entertaining. The Technic isn't very annoying and the process is relatively fun.
The Whole Set:
And we have our completed model! It looks very nice- almost like something out of Star Wars. The sand blue and the printing contrasts the black nicely, and the whole thing is just well-balanced.
From the front, you can see that the two stabilizers extended much farther out sideways than the rest of the speeder. Also, you get a nice view of all that lovely printing.
From the back, you can see the nice dark blue thrusters, and catch a glimpse of the white skis. The whole thing glides smoothly despite the fact that there's only one smooth plate on the bottom.
On the left side, you can see the pick-ax held below Flex's feet. Also, see that orange piece? It looks out of place, but it's actually signifying that this is Flex's speeder, since his color is orange. All of the other Alpha Team sets had a special cockpit, with a colored tile above it. However, since this set doesn't have a cockpit, this is the alternative.
On this side you can see the magnifying glass stowed. The special windshields found in all the other sets served another function: to "scan" the ice orbs. Here, a magnifying glass is used in the place of the windshield.
Here's a more upper angle. It real feels like all the space is used: there are tools stowed towards the base, skis and thrusters at the back, and extensions for the stabilizers at the front. It really feels perfectly designed to me.
Let's have a little demonstration shall we? Flex dismounts and grabs his two trusty tools.
Using his trusty magnifying glass, he can identify if the ice orb is activated or deactivated. If it's activated, he can simply disable it with his pick-ax.
All the Alpha Team sets could transform in some one, and this set is no exception! Here, it has become a walker. The feet can actually walk, and Flex is secured to some degree by the two thrusters, which are now apparently lights or guns. This changes utilizes a SNOT plate hidden in front of Flex in the other version. Clever! It's by no means as ingenious as the Ice Blade, but still more dynamic than many of the other vehicles.
From the side, you can see how precariously placed Flex is. Good thing he has the thrusters to hold on to! Also note that the tools are now in a upright position.
Design: 10/10 Everything is very efficient, functional, and coherent. It's not very often designers put so much effort into a little set like this, but the result is splendid.
Parts: 10/10 An amazing selection of rare types and colors, along with an abundance of printed parts. A simply stunning selection for a small set.
Build: 10/10 Even if it's short, the build is quite entertaining and interesting, with very little repetition. The process is smooth, even with the small amount of Technic it includes.
Minifigs: 10/10 For a $4 set, one minifig is expected, but one that's incredibly printed is a bonus. Flex is one of the cooler Agents, and his orange color scheme is nice.
Playability: 10/10 This set has as much playability as you're going to get out of a $4 set. There's an obvious mission for Flex, the correct tools to achieve it, and a swooshable vehicle. In addition, it can transform a variety of different ways, which just makes it even more fun.
Price: 10/10 58 pieces for $4 is above and beyond the golden ratio, so you really can't complain. It might be a little worse by today's standards, but it's really not as bad as other sets.
Total: 60/60 The first time and most likely last that I'll give a set a perfect score. This set is simply stunning on all levels, and is definitely deserving of the little shelf space it occupies. The only reasons I can think of to not buy it are that you have no interest in Alpha Team or you don't have the money.
Here's a little bonus- I created my own alternate transformation! I always used this one as a kid. Since I thought Flex didn't want to leave the deactivated orb in the field, he needed a way to bring it home! Here, he has a little hover-speeder with a cradle for the orb.
This angle reminds me of a boat. I really like the fact that this set isn't limited to the two options they gave you!
Thanks for reading!
Edited by WhiteFang, 18 April 2010 - 10:20 AM.