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Review: 10170 TTX Intermodal Double-Stack Car


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Poll: Review: 10170 TTX Intermodal Double-Stack Car (15 member(s) have cast votes)

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  2. Below Average (2 votes [13.33%])

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  3. Average (2 votes [13.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.33%

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#1 mostlytechnic

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 06:45 PM

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Lego 10170 TTX Intermodal Double-Stack Car

Lego train sets today come as full sets - train, track, cars, etc, except for the excellent Maersk and Emerald Night. Back in the day, Lego sold individual train cars so you could build a train how you wanted. One of those sets in 2005 was the TTX Intermodal Double-Stack car. It's actually two cars, sort of. Long discontinued, this car is one I've been wanting to add to my layout for quite a while. I was able to buy three sets at once - one with stickers applied, two without.

Name: TTX Intermodal Double-Stack Car
Set Number: 10170
Pieces: 366
Price: $40 (originally, now it sells for over $100)
Ages: 8+
Minifigs: 0
Theme: Train, 9V
Year of Release: 2005
Links: Bricklink Peeron Brickset

The Box Front
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The front of the box has a nice, large, clear photo of the cars. They're rolling across bare ground though - I suspect Lego didn't want to include tracks in the photo to prevent confusion since no tracks are included.

The Box Back
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The back of the box has several smaller photos of the set, showing how the containers are removeable and how the cars join together. The large photo also shows an optional rebuild with the car set up as a single unit. Not really a B-model, but better than nothing I suppose.

The Box Top
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The top of the box shows the set joined with the 10133 BNSF locomotive, but does not have the standard 1:1 part for scale. It does show a couple minifigs though, and since anyone willing to buy this set would have other train sets, that's good enough I suppose.

The Manual
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The manual pages are clear and easy to follow. The background continues the map theme from the outside of the box. Since the set doesn't have close colors, there's no issues with part identification.

The Manual: Building the Containers
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Near the end of the manual you build the three small containers. Lego shows how to build them by making the blue one. Why? It's pretty clear in this photo since the lighting is excellent, but in normal room light it's the hardest color to tell details on. Why didn't they build the red or white one, since they'd be so much clearer to see?

The Manual End
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At the end of the manual, it shows to build more containers in red and white. I'm not sure they'd do that today - I suspect they'd include full instructions for them since it is a different color after all...

The Stickers
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The sets I got came with these reproduction stickers. They look fantastic - I don't have originals to compare to, but they match the original photos I've seen and the color and quality is as good as anything I've seen Lego print.

The Car Parts
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The two train cars are made almost entirely of yellow and black parts. There's not really anything special or rare about them other than the train-specific pieces, which we'll get to. The only other part issue - this set has a LOT of stickers across pieces. Since I bought it used, gotta be careful not to damage them when building it (and a few times parts will be slightly out of order due to having to put both parts at once with a sticker on them).

Building the Cars, Part 1
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The beginning of the car is simple - a large bottom plate, some brackets at each end, and some yellow plates with grill tiles to support the containers later.

Building the Cars, Part 2
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There's a surprising amount of tiny parts in these cars. There are 1x1 plates, 1x1 bricks, inverted 1x2 slopes... and you can see here the first sticker across two 1x4 bricks.

Building the Cars, Part 3
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A bunch of panels make up the sides of the car, and ladders are on all four corners.  There's another sticker across these panels, and an 8 to identify the car (the other car in the pair gets a 7). Traditionally though, these car sets are given letters to distinguish the cars in the set.

Building the Cars, Part 4
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A ring of black plates and yellow tiles wrap around the well to make a stripe that will match the ends.

Building the Cars, Part 5
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Platforms at each end will attach to the bogeys eventually. One end is solid and will be the center connection. The left end here you can see the hole left so that the bogey has sufficient flexibility.

Building the Cars, Part 6
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And some decorations finish the well car. Personally I'd rearrange this a bit - turning those yellow tile with handles around so that they help guide containers in. And at this point, you get to go back and do it all again to make the second car.

Building the Cars, The Train Bits
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Here are the interestingest parts of the set. There's the train wheels, the bogey plate, and the magnetic couplers. This set has the older style magnetic couplers. Lego stopped making these because that magnet is removeable and could be a hazard if a kid ate it. Newer train sets have a non-removeable magnet (but also not as strong).

Building the Cars, The Bogeys
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This is a very common bogey design in Lego trains. There's just a 2x6 plate across the wheelsets, the coupler, and the bogey plate on top. One of these at each end of the car set handles the connections to whatever else your train consists of.

Building the Cars, The Middle Bogey
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In the center of the cars goes this wheelset. The red axles provide the pivot points, and the design allows the two cars to share the wheels. Since containers weight far less than train cars normally carry, sharing wheels like this is possible and reduces slack in the trains.

Building the Cars, Done
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The cars together make quite an annoyingly long to photograph set. However, this is not terribly realistic. Actual well cars are normally either single or in 3 or 5 car sets.

The Real Thing
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Here's a real double-stack well car set. You can see Lego had to make compromises - there's not much detail in the Lego cars, and the real thing doesn't need as much of a platform at each end to handle the wheels.

Building the Containers, Part 1
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The color in the set comes here in the containers. Like the cars, there's nothing exciting in the part selection, but a number of annoying stickers across bricks.

Building the Containers, Part 2
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First up is the long light grey container. Lots of 1x2 grill bricks give some texture to the sides.

Building the Containers, Part 3
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The finished first container: It seems rather long and thin in person, but the proportions probably are pretty accurate. 40' containers are after all, pretty long and thin. I'm not sure about those handles on the corners though - not realistic. I have no idea why Lego put those on. The tiles on the roof let the container mate with the others.

Building the Containers, Part 4
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On to the blue half-size container. Two complaints: the stacked 1x6 plates on top (seriously, don't stack matching parts like that!) and the black stripe. The other containers are solid colored, but this one gets some black. For some reason, both the 1x1 brick with handle and the 1x2 grill brick are very rare in blue. Both weren't made within several years of 2005, so Lego used black here rather than producing a special run of parts.

Building the Containers, Part 5
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On the bottom of all the containers are 2x2 corners. These lock around the tiles on the tops so that the containers can be stacked.

Building the Containers, Part 6
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The blue container is done. The style matches the larger container. Build matching red and white ones and we're done.

The Loaded Cars
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The containers can be loaded in the cars in a variety of ways. The one thing you can't do is load a realistic double stack with a small container on bottom and a large one on top, since there's nothing to hold a single small container in the center of the car. (yes, stacks usually have the small container on bottom - small containers are usually small because they're so heavy)

Comparing the Containers
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Lego has made a variety of trains with intermodal containers. The left pair are from the 7939 Cargo Train. The right obviously is the Maersk set. New containers are much larger than these old ones, since they're 6 studs wide rather than 4.

Container Compatibility
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Nope, can't mix and match any of these containers. The sizes just don't match. Personally, I like the Maersk containers the best for looks, and the 10170 are second best. The 7939 build very fast since they're mostly large 6x5 panels.

The Container Cars
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Here are all 3 styles of container cars that I have. The 7939 one isn't a well style - that lets it have a 6 wide container on a 6 wide car. The TTX set is restricted to 4 wide containers since the 6 wide cars use bricks to make the sides of the well. On the Maersk, Lego managed to squeeze 6 wide containers into "6 wide" cars, since the sides of the wells are tiles attached to brackets. The car ends up being closer to 7 wide though.

The Video

(view on YouTube for full HD version) Here are the Maersk container cars, TTX cars, and 7939 cars all in a train so you can see how they compare in action. Again, I like the Maersk the best. The TTX are too small and the 7939 look like toys. (For the curious train people, I have 1x2 plates on the couplings all the way till the TTX cars so it doesn't separate. One of the 7939 locos at the front has double motors, the other a single motor. The first Maersk loco is unpowered and the second has a single motor. So all told, I've got 4 train motors powering this around my track.)



The Conclusion
This set is an oddity - Lego doesn't make many expansion sets like this. It's tough to evaluate it as a set, when it's not meant to be a stand-alone plaything. Over 10 years earlier Lego had made a similar double-stack train car set, but it included a truck and handler (set 4549). This set though, is just the train cars with containers. And frankly, the containers are lame. They're small and fairly plain, due to limitations on building the car. I much prefer the modern Maersk cars and containers, but they're a bit pricey to built a fleet of. The train base alone runs $3 on Bricklink - and they need full bogeys at both ends, rather than sharing like this one does. So I think the best compromise in my eyes is this design DaveBey came up with here on EB: MOC of 10170 / Maersk cross-styled. I like the yellow color since I see real cars that color all the time. And it's a nice functional design. It even has the realistic barely-there bottom. I'm highly tempted to make a bunch of his design for my layout, but I'm already running out of room!

The Ratings

Value: 6/10 - Even at release, this set was over 10 cents a piece, and there's nothing that rare or valuable in it. No figs, no rare parts or colors. Just some nice design and a nice sticker sheet.

Design: 7/10 - The design is nice - it's completely clear what this set is and it's a solid representation of the real world car. However, it's been beaten by the modern Maersk design, although that one uses a large train base that makes it more expensive.

Playability: 7/10 - The cars work as they should, and the four containers can be swapped around. However, there's no figs, no container loader, no truck to haul them... so that's a ding in playability as sold - but I actually like it because it keeps the cost down on a set like this which is basically an expansion for other train sets. It doesn't need all those things since you'd have them.

Parts: 6/10 - Other than the train parts, it's a basic grab bag of normal common colors and parts. Not a set anyone would be buying for any reason other than to build it as is.

Overall: 8/10 - Yep, I gave it an overall score higher than any of the sections. Its drawbacks are mostly due to the objective of the set - it's an expansion, not a stand-alone set. Within that objective it does its job well and is a solid design. Couldn't go higher though since the value isn't there and there's better containers and container cars out these days. At release I probably would have scored it higher.

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#2 Wedge09

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 06:55 PM

Good review  :thumbup: :thumbup:  

I was just thinking if it was worth buying it, this review comes at a appropriate time  :classic: :classic:

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#3 hoeij

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 06:58 PM

This set looks wonderful if you have the BNSF locomotive
(you can see one in ),
but as you mentioned, you can't combine this with Maersk because
its not the same scale.

Edited by hoeij, 29 August 2012 - 07:01 PM.


#4 BrickPicker

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 07:03 PM

Nice review.  Love the Santa Fe train sets.
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#5 kyphur

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 07:29 PM

View Posthoeij, on 29 August 2012 - 06:58 PM, said:

This set looks wonderful if you have the BNSF locomotive
(you can see one in http://www.youtube.c...?v=JxSqNYumnJo),
but as you mentioned, you can't combine this with Maersk because
its not the same scale.

I've been thinking of rescaling this model to the Maersk containers, that would be loong rolling stock though...

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#6 JopieK

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 07:44 PM

Very nice review! And if you need stickers for it I can help you with that ;)

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#7 mostlytechnic

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 08:00 PM

View Posthoeij, on 29 August 2012 - 06:58 PM, said:

This set looks wonderful if you have the BNSF locomotive
(you can see one in ),
but as you mentioned, you can't combine this with Maersk because
its not the same scale.

Yep, just watched that video and you're right, these do look great behind the BNSF - of course, they should, since that's what they were designed to go with.

Still think I'm going to make bigger Maersk-style ones for my layout, since I've got Maersk locos and no BNSFs :)

View PostJopieK, on 29 August 2012 - 07:44 PM, said:

Very nice review! And if you need stickers for it I can help you with that ;)

Yep, the stickers that came with these 3 sets that I bought are yours, and they look great (as I noted in the review). I just didn't put the stickers on the other 2 sets yet.

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Survived to the conclusion as a winning Council musician / decorator Melanie Detruccio in TrumpetKing's CMF Mafia[/font][/color]

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#8 patje

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 08:24 PM

just a pity that the original stickers completely pulverize
on the set...
:cry_sad:

Edited by patje, 29 August 2012 - 08:26 PM.

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#9 Richie

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:07 PM

Thanks for the review mostlytechnic!  :thumbup:
This set arrived during my dark age. I did not buy any LEGO, but received the Shop@Home catalog. I was surprised to see the BNSF, and this set of course. As an European I'm not well-known to American rail equipment, but I really like the detail of these sets and hope one day I will get all of the Santa Fe, BNSF and TTX sets. Sure, it had to have some compromizes to be able to manage curves and points, but I still think it actually does look very good. In fact the best-looking container car so far.
As far as I know, this was the last ever car seperately sold. A shame sets like these are no longer produced.
While I like the switch to 6-wide trucks, it looks these 4-wide containers are compatible to the 4549 and 4555 ones.  :thumbup:

@Patje: I was yust going to ask about the quality, untill I read your comment. It seems many sets from that era suffer from flaky stickers. I've read the quality is better now, but I'm still sceptic about the current quality. Did the other sets (Santa Fe & cars, BNSF) suffer the same problems?

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#10 GRogall

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 08:39 AM

First: Thanks mostlytechnic for the great review!
I have this as as well and it was a great set when it came out. Also I was hopping that TLG would have brought out more cars for 10133 and not just the TTX container cars.

View Postpatje, on 29 August 2012 - 08:24 PM, said:

just a pity that the original stickers completely pulverize
on the set...
:cry_sad:


View PostRichie, on 29 August 2012 - 10:07 PM, said:

@Patje: I was yust going to ask about the quality, untill I read your comment. It seems many sets from that era suffer from flaky stickers. I've read the quality is better now, but I'm still sceptic about the current quality. Did the other sets (Santa Fe & cars, BNSF) suffer the same problems?

I have the sticker problem as well, but it seems to only be the white stickers that brittle the black ones are just fine!?
@mostlythechnic: Where; where you able to buy the replicated sticker sheet for this set?

Thanks and a great job on the review!

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#11 patje

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 07:27 PM

have no problems with the 2 other trains
Santa Fe & cars, BNSF

I have purchased other stickers
(replicas) excellent quality
for this set

Edited by patje, 16 September 2012 - 07:29 PM.

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#12 JopieK

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 07:41 PM

You can get the stickers @us. We are b.t.w. looking at getting a new sticker printer (but it costs quite a bit). Hopefully spring 2013, that way we will be able to make even better replications also for Maersk etc.

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#13 typo

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 11:59 PM

Nice review...Those sets look familiar... :wink:

#14 Anticyclone

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:49 AM

Excellent review, mostlytechnic.  :thumbup: These came out around the time I entered my LEGO dark ages and I was never excited by the designs LEGO was coming out with for their trains. I'm more into the Euro styled trains. They certainly look great behind the BNSF engine.  :classic:

#15 Ballast

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:25 PM

It's a great car which perfectly fits the BNSF, but as you said, the chunkiness of the Maersk train looks better  :wink:



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