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REVIEW: 8964 Titanium Command Rig


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#1 -R8-

-R8-

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 10:46 PM

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This set actually happened to be an impulse purchase. With a partially used Target gift card in hand, I was just about ready to give up on finding a decent set to purchase. Suddenly a small red sticker caught my eye. The box had a clearance tag on it for only $49.98. Deducting $33 from the gift card, the Titanium Command Rig was bought for about $17 out of my pocket.  :wub:

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Name: 8964 Titanium Command Rig
Theme: Power Miners
Year: 2009
Pieces: 706
Minifigs: 5
Price: USD 99.99, GBP 59.99, EUR 94.99

Further Reference: LEGO Shop@Home, Brickset.com, Bricklink.com, Peeron.com, flickr


The Box: Front

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Wow, quite an action-packed box design. No wonder the rock monster seems cranky, that big thing looks like it would make a racket as it's speeding through underground caves. The intense action and the features on the rig are bound to draw kids in to this set. On the bottom right there's a little inset with the dimensions of the set when the drilling platform is deployed: 35 centimeters/14 inches long and 44 centimeters/17.6 inches tall. Oddly Shop@Home says otherwise: 33 centimeters/13 inches long and 45 centimeters/17.5 inches tall. From the measurements I took, it would appear that the dimensions given on the box are more accurate.


The Box: Back

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The entire backside is devoted to all of the play features in the set, all of which will be covered in this review. Enough to make a kid blabber on and on about all the features on the car ride home from the store, likely driving their parents nuts (except the ones who love LEGO as much as their kids :classic: )


The Instructions: Front

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Unfortunately my instructions came crumpled underneath all the polybags  :hmpf_bad:  Design-wise, there is nothing new to say. However, both instruction booklets are oriented in different ways. Booklet one is landscape oriented, and booklet two is portrait oriented. The first booklet is mainly for construction of the chassis, and the second booklet is for the drill platform assembly.


The Instructions: Random Page and Back Pages

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The background is a very subtle and faint underground cavern, unobtrusive and fitting. Booklet 2 has a few pages in the back advertising the other Power Miners sets, and even has a cool checklist for collecting all of the rock monsters.


The Stickers

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Not so much of a 'dreaded' sticker sheet this time, since they are used rather sparingly for a set this size. The Power Miners stickers are actually pretty cool because of the fact that some of them have rough textures on them, an attempt to emulate a grimy and weathered surface.


The Pieces

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There are eight numbered bags, many of them have smaller polybags in them. Also enclosed are nine of the Power Miners wheels, all in black save for one in dark grey. The almighty 'Tremorox' gets his own bag - guess rock monsters need their space  :wink:

Here is a layout of all the pieces, by bag:

Bag 1: 1, 2, 3
Bag 2: 1, 2
Bag 3: 1, 2, 3, 4
Bag 4: 1, 2
Bag 5: 1, 2, 3, 4
Misc Bags: 1


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Most of the pieces are lime, dark grey, and black. There is quite a large abundance of Technic bricks and plates, as well as dark grey plates.


Notable Pieces

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The lime green girder piece is probably one of the more noticeable pieces in this set, and there are eight of them acting as the main support for the drilling platform. Frankly, I'm not sure how useful a lime colored girder could be in a MOC. A more generic and useful piece would be the lime green 2x1x2 slope, 14 of which can be found here. However, my favorite piece in this little bunch would have to be the inverted windscreen - it really is a nifty little piece and it unfortunate that it's found in only 17 sets including this one. But apart from that, there is a small handful of accessories, printed tiles, and yes - a banana for the hungry miners.


Minifigures: Front

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From left to right, Power Miners 'Duke,' 'Doc,' and 'Brains' are the trio who were lucky enough to be stationed on the command rig. The torsos feature similar albeit different designs, creating a sense of unity while giving us a little variation at the same time. What I like about the torsos is that they each bear an insignia respective of their positions, which adds to the set's play value. They've even got leg printing too! Even better are all the little details like the dirt and grime smudges on the outfits, especially Duke's (and his dirt covered face printing). Brains' presence in the Power Miners team proves that no matter your age, you can be like a cool youngster and fight rock monsters to save the world above.


Minifigures: Back

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The insignias are reprinted on the back with a slightly different design. Two of the miners have scared expressions, but leader Doc of course has an angry expression to scare away those cowardly rock monsters (or to yell at miners that slack off  :devil: )


Rock Monsters: Front

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The normal rock monsters dwarf in comparison to the larger ones like Tremorox. Although the big monsters would definitely appeal to many fans of the theme, I have mixed feelings about them. They give off too much of an action figure vibe for my taste. I don't have any strong contempt feelings for them, but at the same time I am not in love with them.

Unfortunately Tremorox's mouth doesn't open unlike the other rock monsters, but that may be because of the throwing mechanism inside.


Rock Monsters: Back

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The lever here can be used to make Tremorox throw rocks...or other rock monsters.


Rock Monsters: Side

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Poor Glaciator forgot to give up his lunch money one day and well...  :cry_sad:


The Build

The thumbnails can be clicked on for a larger image.

Booklet 1

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The first booklet mainly for construction of the chassis where all the different 'modules' will be later attached. From early on, you can get a good grasp of how long the final model will be.


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Akin to just about all modern LEGO sets, many of the play functions utilize Technic for stability and strength during play. Take care to use the correct string length when assembling the cable line, since there are two different size lengths included and a careless mistake could cause one to mix the two up.


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Now that the chassis is complete, all that's left is to install the drilling platform and several other modules. Moving onto booklet 2...


Booklet 2

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The other string is used for the crane here. The gear rack is a neat way to control the boom elevation.

The strange water wheel piece pops up once again, this time for the rock monster cage.


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Now it's onto the big part - the drilling platform. The entire unit is reinforced by Technic axles, so it holds up pretty well to play. The crystals are a neat little detail too.


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The control post, adorned with a bunch of spotlights for maximum sight in the darkest of caves.


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It might be frustrating for younger builders to install the drilling platform, so some assistance from an older person may be required. Once set into place however, the overall appearance and size is quite impressive.


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Bionicle joints are used for the dynamite projectiles and net launcher.


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They save the best part for last: the assembly of the drill. There are gear teeth inside of Power Miners wheels, which allows the drill bit and the wheel to spin in opposite directions.


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After an hour or two of building, the Titanium Command Rig is ready to drill for crystals and kick some rock monster rear.  :thumbup:  The completed vehicle has a pretty imposing, robust look to it.


Extra Pieces

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The remaining pieces are the expected bunch of small Technic and System pieces.


The Design

The Set

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The completed set. You can get a rough idea on how big this is compared to a minifigure or a rock monster.


Side Views

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From the sides, the vehicle has somewhat of a haphazard and boxy, albeit heavy-duty profile. Although this design may be off-putting to some (as it did to me before), I personally feel that the design fits the rugged identity of the rig well. The lime green girders help contribute to that effect too.


Front View

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The drill looks relatively small from the front, and for that matter the front view itself feels rather vulnerable and exposed.


Rear View

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There is a considerable amount of room in the back, so it could be easily modded into a storage area for equipment or even for one of the smaller Power Miners vehicles like the Stone Chopper.


Playability

No different from most other sets this size, the Titanium Command Rig boasts a great deal of fun play features for people to enjoy (like me :blush: ).

Rock Monster Transportation

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Once the Power Miners crew has secured a rock monster for capture and examination, it is locked up and sent back to base...


Crane

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...and lifted by the crane into the lab for analysis.


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As stated before, there's a gear rack and a 'kickstand' that allows the boom to be lifted up and down. Notice the presence of the two 8 teeth gears on the side. Although it appears that they have no mechanical purpose, they actually create friction so the winch isn't too loose.


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Using another winch located on the right side of the rig, the crane itself can also be raised and lowered.


Drill



Indeed the drill function is probably my favorite feature of the set, but it does have its flaws. It operates just fine when moving forward, however when in reverse it snags. Moving the rig back and forth several times seems to help solve the problem.




It's obscured from view, but in the mid-section of the rig there are two small wheels spinning the gear that operates the drill. It's a clever idea, but like I said it's not a perfect method.

A quick tip: the rig has best traction on carpeted surfaces. Since the eight main wheels are made of plastic, some of them don't always spin on smooth surfaces.


Vertical Drilling Platform

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This little valve here appears to serve only as detail, but it actually serves as a lock to keep the drilling platform in place while in drive mode. Pull it out and:


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Suddenly the rolling powerhouse turns into a sophisticated and state-of-the-art drilling machine! This is a clever feature that the designers implemented, and gives the set a whole new dynamic.


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One glaring flaw is that the control post awkwardly tilts forward, but luckily this can be quickly solved. Simply removing the two dark grey grilles on top will make the control post more level.


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I think side railings would have been nice to have - it's not exactly a short fall off the top.


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Unfortunately the weapons have limited range while the platform is set up, and for that matter look misplaced while the drilling platform is erected. There's also a knob wheel that protrudes from the platform, and simply turning it-


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- spins the drill. It doesn't actually touch the ground...but criticizing that would be nit-picky  :tongue:


Projectile Features

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Considering that they are attached to flick-fire missiles, the dynamite does go an acceptable distance.


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The net goes a less than desirable distance. I'm not sure what's up with the launcher. Sometimes it goes about an inch or two in front of the rig, and at other times it doesn't even launch at all and just falls out.


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Tremorox's throwing arm is decent, even if it isn't what you'd consider to be a 'graceful' throw.


Examination Lab

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Not a very impressive set up, but I do appreciate the fact that this space was used instead of left empty. It's understandably bare, since when the drilling platform is collapsed there's essentially no room in here.


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A particularly annoying design flaw is that the grey piece the supply container is attached to occasionally falls off. This however can be easily remedied by snapping two plates on the underside.


Conclusion

Admittedly I was not so keen on this set when it came out, but its appeal has grown on me. As the largest Power Miners set, the Titanium Command Rig serves as a versatile 'flagship' of the mining crew and a great centerpiece to a Power Miners collection. Taking every aspect of the set into account, let's see how it all boils down to in the end.

Pieces: 7/10 - For me personally, parts wasn't so much an incentive to get this set. Despite that, there are a handful of cool pieces like the banana, inverted windscreen, and net. More generic pieces would include the lime green slope as well as many Technic bricks and dark grey plates.

Minifigures: 7/10 - In their own respect, I think that the Power Miners gang have great designs. Comparing them to Rock Raiders minifigures, I don't think it would be sufficient to say that one theme is superior or inferior to the other. While the Rock Raiders minifigures had more differentiation and seemed to embody more of a generic miner minifigure, the Power Miners minifigures have a universal uniform design with small differences to indicate rank and positions. In my opinion, both themes' minifigures are great in their own respects. As for the rock monsters, my vote would go to the Power Miners line. The different colors and 'species' makes them collectible, and the larger rock throwing monsters also add a level of playability to the set. Although I am indifferent to the big rock monsters, they still would probably appeal to the fan who spots this set on the shelf.

Build: 8/10 - Building this set was great fun, and someday I will have to rebuild this without the interruptions of taking in-build pictures. What was particularly interesting for me was seeing all the Technic implemented into the set's design, for both structural soundness and play functions (and made the build more challenging). Nothing felt repetitive at all, which seems to be translated in the asymmetrical and unique design to the set.

Design: 7/10 - The initial impression the set gives off is a rugged and tough vehicle, very appropriate for the largest Power Miners vehicle. There's also a very good balance between playability functions and aesthetic value. Apart from the launchers, the playability functions appear integrate themselves seamlessly into the design of the set. There are a few design flaws, but the majority of them are easily fixable. Some areas of the vehicle seem bare and vulnerable, but that increases the possibilities with modifying this set into something cooler.

Playability: 9/10 - What can be cooler than a base and giant drill all in one vehicle? Sure, LEGO has never been very adept for the most part with launcher or projectile designs, but the drilling platform and super cool drill make up for that by a long shot. Even though there are many other large sets that feature some sort of 'vehicle to base' transformation, this set executes that function incredibly well. I think that younger fans and even older fans can appreciate and enjoy the play features this set has to offer.

Price: 6/10 - This set has a rather hefty price tag for 706 pieces. If you are planning on getting this set, I highly recommend looking for a store where it is on clearance sale. My local Target had this set for 50% off as I said in the introduction, but I am not sure if this sale is extended to other Target stores.

Overall: 7.3/10

And that just about covers it for the Titanium Command Rig! Seeing as the Power Miners line will soon be discontinued and the sales start popping up (especially for the 2009 sets), now is the perfect time to get this cool set.

Thanks for reading  :classic:

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#2 Rufus

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 11:32 PM

Stunning review, -R8-!  I was following your progress in the Academy; this is one to be very proud of.  You could have saved this one for gold! :wink:

It's quite a monster set, with a bundle of features, and I like all the lime green parts.  It's not the sort of thing I normally buy, so it's great to see it up close and personal.  Great job!  :thumbup:

#3 prateek

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 11:49 PM

Awesome review! The pics and text are great! As for the set. I'm in a similar situation to you. At first I wasn't all too fond of it, but then it grew on me. If I find it for the same price that you had, I'd get it. :thumbup:

#4 CMP

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 12:06 AM

Amazing review, great set. You lucked out on the price, didn't you?  :laugh:
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#5 WhiteFang

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 03:05 AM

As what Rufus has mentioned, "stunning". I wanted to grade this review earlier but seeing the rest of the dedicated teachers are helping you out, I will wait patiently for this graduation review.  :sweet:

It's not easy to handle a large set like this for your 3rd level and I must admit that you pulled it off well. First of all, I am not a big Power Miners fan, but after seeing your review, it kinds of tempted me to look at it again and wondered if I should get this in the first place for the drilling platform. Lots of fun for kids who love actions very much. Thanks for sharing this review.  :thumbup:

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#6 Scadartus

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 09:09 AM

Thanks for the excellent and well balanced review!  The level of detail is much appreciated.

I just bought this set for my son when BigW Australia had it on sale for AUS $50, a real bargin.  Even better, there was a 'mistake' in the packaging, so I now have two Glaciator minifigs!  LEGO FTW!

Have a great new year everyone!

#7 prozac

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 10:14 PM

nice review. I willsoon be getting this set and am very excited for it. Only one other PM set I want to consider PM done for me.

#8 Cinderbike

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 05:34 AM

Great review. I saw this set the other day. It is the first PM set I've actually considered getting.

#9 prozac

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 09:10 PM

GOt it today and assembled it. So far it's been the most fun to put together of the sets I've put together since comingout of my "dark ages". Probably the most challenging as well. Lots of new pieces(at least new to me), lots of playability, moving parts etc. Easily my fav PM set...though I haven't gotten the mining station yet...

#10 Lordofdragonss

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:27 PM

You forget to add that some of the stickers ( with rough textures on them) glow in the dark!
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