$49.95 from LEGO Retail Store (Burbank, CA)
Build time 4.0 hours
Standard LEGO box with breakable perforated tabs and two sticker seals. It does seem like a departure for the typical printed design though, as it seems more stylish and kind of grabs your attention with some interesting comments on the box.
For starters, it says Ďspecial editioní in the upper right-hand corner of the box. Iím not sure why this is any more special than any other LEGO set, but nevertheless it claims to be special. I donít recall the Intimidatorís little brother the 8649 Nitro Menace being special but Iím not all that intuitive so who knows. Secondly, the box makes a claim that this set has 15% more elements than Ďlikeí LEGO models. OK, obviously LEGO marketing has some interns working overtime coming up with this stuff. Finally, the truck looks like it has some fancy green neon lighting inside the truck. Cool! Kind of reminds me of the streetcars I see when Iím cruising the streets in Reseda at 2 AM. See the photo:
The back of the box shows the model again with some additional photos and features. No alternate models are shown.
Inside the box, the parts are in the two types of standard LEGO packaging; perforated bags and standard sealed bags. The tires and rims are loose in the box along with the single manual and sticker sheet.
The bags were not numbered and my first impression was that it didnít seem like a lot of pieces. My sticker sheet was bent on one corner:
The manual had the typical nice features that we have come to expect lately
- Piece call outs for each step
- Parts inventory at the end of the manual
- Good color separation (in a few cases they highlight a specific color )
- Page numbers
Multi-steps are called out nicely
Nice job of specifying exactly the color to use
I did find an error in step 48. The part call out was for two ribbed tubes when there was only one in the set (and only one used in the instruction.) Also in step 48 the instructions showed putting two 6L axles in the sub step, but the subsequent image did not show the axles in place.
Also, you need to pay attention when inserting the long Technic pins as some instructions donít call for them to be pushed in all the way:
But in later steps you do push them in (to connect other beams):
Otherwise, this is another fine effort from the LEGO manual designers.
Other than the fact this is really a Technic set hidden in the Racing line, thereís not much going on here. Perhaps the inclusion of all the assorted Technic pieces is where they get the 15% more elements (than a regular set)? Presumably, any Technic set would have more pieces than a regular system set, right?
A couple of more things to note:
I didnít have the problem with the axle quality that I reported in previous reviews (8285 Tow Truck was one that had bad axle quality.)
Despite indications that the truck somehow lights up, there is no light brick or light source. That was kind of disappointing although it was not the reason I bought the set nor was there any indication of a light brick on the box (other than the photo.)
Also, I came across a piece that I did not recognize. Now, I have built a number of Technic sets in my day but this one threw me for a loop. Iím sure someone out there will recognize it immediately and recall a dozen sets from memory that have this piece so go ahead and recall my LEGO builder card right now. Here is the piece:
In addition, a major disappointment is that the engine is one big blob of a piece. You can see it here (sorry, I didnít take a separate photo of it).
Finally, here is a photo of the tires and rims:
Fairly straightforward build that flowed nicely. As I mentioned above, watch out for the long Technic pins and the error in the manual. Otherwise, there were no gotchas to speak of. Stickers are applied as the pieces are put on and not at the end of the build. Here are a few photos of interim building stages:
The design is kind of a good news bad news thing. First, I think the Truck looks great and definitely has some appeal. I am not a fan of the racing line or trucks in general but when I saw this in the store, something clicked in my head and I really liked it. I think the design is really nice. There are basically three moving parts:
- Hand of God steering
- Truck bed cover that lifts up
The hand of God steering is nothing new and is fairly common with all the Technic lines. Same goes with the hood although it covers up one of the major gripes I have with the set; the lack of a real engine! Plus, engine piece they use is ugly. Whatís the point of building a set like this to display only to lift up the hood and see this joke of an engine? Really lame in my opinion. Oh, I forgot to mention, we get the token stickers as filler for engine components. What a joke!
Now the good news: the truck bed cover lifts up and out pops some speakers, video game system and giant TV. You also get to see the Nitro tanks (or beer kegs if you prefer). The mechanism that does this is pretty slick and nicely designed. Here are a few photos to see:
OK, more bad news: stickers and those hokey Technic panel fairings. Get used to them because there are a lot of both. I guess this is not unexpected as you can tell from the box that there will be several Technic panels and one can only assume that LEGO is not going to give us a ton of printed pieces in a $50 set. I guess I am getting better at applying stickers since mine seemed to go on pretty well. You do have to line them up properly as they are expected to match stickers on adjacent panels (for the side doors.) If you mess it up, it will be noticeable.
Also, there are several STAMPS. Not a huge deal, but I thought I should point it out. I elected not to do this on the bed cover on the back. In the photo below, the large skull sticker was supposed to cover both panels. You can do as I did and just move it up so it is on only one panel.
The truck does feel a little thin and the lack of anything of substance under the hood leaves you wanting for more. Here is a photo of the Truck next to the Technic Tow Truck (8285) for size comparison:
And here are some additional photos:
Overall, it was a fun build and it is a nice looking truck. The detail in the back is really cool. The lack of a real engine is very disappointing and the model feels Ďlightí (as in missing something) overall.
However, I will say that I am impressed with the fact that I was compelled to buy this set right away. Keep in mind that the Racing line is totally off my radar and I donít even like racing (or trucks) for that matter. I think LEGO did a great job of making an otherwise mediocre set exciting. I was at Target getting paper towels and (of course) have to run through the LEGO isle to see if anything is on clearance. I saw this set (which I had no idea was coming) and really liked it. I liked it so much I ran out and bought it the next day. To compete in todayís toy/hobbyist market, LEGO has to make products like this that appeal to people who normally would not buy them. Even if it is getting AFOL fans to buy sets outside their normal target zone (like me and this set.) Good job on LEGOís part.
If you are in to the Racing sets, cars, Technic or just want to have a fun build, pick this guy up. In my opinion, it is a bit expensive at $50 US even though the price/part ratio is good. Since I saw it in the retail channel (Target) you will definitely want to give it a hard look when it goes on sale.
As usual, comments, complains, gripes are welcome. Let me know if you have any other photo requests too.
Final Rating: 70%
Build 9/10 (Pretty quick. No gotchas.)
Functionality 8/10 (It does a good job of being a truck but not much else. Flip up back panel is cool.)
Design 5/10 (BYOL (Bring your own lightsource). Also, really lame engine.)
Parts 7/10 (Joke of an engine and several STAMPS.)
Price 6/10 (The price ratio is good, but Iím still a bit hungry, i.e. wanting for more.)
Edited by xwingyoda, 24 October 2006 - 11:03 PM.