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[REVIEW] 42056 - Porsche 911 GT3 RS

42056 - Porsche 911 GT3 RS - Rating  

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I never imagined I would say this, but as of today I am the proud owner of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. How cool is that?! Waiting for this set to arrive seemed to take ages, so I was definitely on cloud nine when the set finally arrived.

The 911 is one of the oldest sports cars on the market. It's lineage dates back to 1963, which is quite impressive! Since the production of the 911 there have been lots of different versions, like the Carrera, Carrera S, Targa, Turbo, R, GT1, GT2, GT2 RS, GT3 and GT3 RS. The GT3 RS can be easily recognized by the race-inspired inlets in the front wheel arches. Due to legislation there's a grill in the inlets. It can be removed during track days, which will improve the downforce.

The LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS is a 1:8 scale model and is 17 cm high, 57 cm long, and 25 cm wide. It has been designed by Andrew Woodman and Uwe Wabra. When TLG started the initial drafts in 2013, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS project remained top secret. Therefore TLG had to build the first LEGO version using photos of the camouflaged prototype of the original from the internet. The first LEGO prototype was ready in a matter of weeks.

Like every sports car with the Porsche emblem on the hood, the LEGO version of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS also combines design, performance, and functionality. Still concealed in black-and-white foil as a mystery model at the Nuremberg toy fair late January, the color of the characteristic bodywork has now been revealed and shines in bright orange. Thus, it corresponds to the special coating of the original sports car in lava orange authentically.

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With the right skills you can get the GT3 RS around the Nürburgring in 7 minutes and 20 seconds. Factory driver Brendon Hartley took it for a spin on the Nardo circuit in Italy. The video can be found here. When you talk about a genuine sports car, you immediately talk about performance, which is pretty impressive, to say the least. Let's take a look at the specs:

Horsepower: 368 kW or 500 pk (at 8.250 rpm)

0 - 100 km/h: 3,3 sec

0 - 200 km/h: 10,9 sec

Top Track Speed: 310 km/h or 193 mph

Price: around 250.000 euro (no extras, Dutch price)

If you are interested in buying (or configuring) your own 911 GT3 RS, you can click here and indulge yourself. Instead of buying or configuring we will be building a Porsche 911 GT3 RS today. That's something not a lot of people could say, until now! Although I must admit that even though this version is a fraction of the price of the real car, it still has a pretty heavy price tag. Forking out 300 euros for a collection of ABS isn't something everyone will understand.

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Before we start I like to point out some of the questions which have arisen. For example; why is this set rated 16+ while the Mercedes is 12-16 year? Is the price tag of 300 euros justified? Does this model replicate some of the real world mechanics? Does the luxury packaging add any value to this set? These are just some of the questions I will be answering in this review.

This review will have a different setup than my regular reviews. Since this sets focuses on the entire experience instead of the model alone, I will try to share this experience in my review. Instead of opening the box, discussing the parts and taking you through the build, like I usually do, I like to focus on the different aspects of the set and model. When it comes to the model, I will try to compare it with it's real life counterpart. TLG made a teaser for this set using the word Ultimate. There will be little discussion about the real Porsche's association with this word. But will it's LEGO counterpart live up to the expectations?! I think it's time to move onto the interesting part and find out whether this LEGO Technic set also deserves the predicate Ultimate.

PICTURES

Pictures can be clicked to view hi-res versions. More pictures can be found in my Flickr album.

DISCLAIMER

This set has been provided by the CEE Team of TLG. It's not my goal to promote this set. It's my goal to give you an honest opinion about it. Therefor, the opinion in this review is my own and is in no way linked to TLG.

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Number: 42056

Title: Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Theme: Technic

Released: 2016

Part Count: 2704

Box Weight: 4,8 kg (approx)

Box Dimensions: 47,1 cm x 37,3 cm x 14,7

Set Price (MSRP): € 300

Price per Part: € 0,111

Links: Brickset, Bricklink

Will this be a Limited Edition set? No, it will be as limited as other Technic sets. Which is also stated in the press release:

The exclusive LEGO set of the exceptional sports car, which has been developed in close conjunction with Porsche AG, will initially be available at shop.LEGO.com from June 1st, 2016, as well as in the 13 LEGO stores throughout Germany and Austria. It will be available in other stores from August 1st, 2016.

This means that when you are reading this review, the set is already available, which is usually not the case with other Technic sets.

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The box is a key feature of this set. Instead of a regular Technic box, this set is packaged like the 41999 - Crawler Exclusive Edition. The term Exclusive indicates that we are dealing with a special set, which is obviously the case for the Porsche as well. The following question (asked by JGW3000) is more than justified:

Since the box presentation is a key feature of this set, perhaps Jim can comment on packaging and outer packing used to protect the box, so we can determine if we should go to a LEGO store or risk mail order in order to purchase this.

In my Review of the 42043 - Mercedes Arocs I explained that my box was severely damaged. Obviously that's something you don't want to happen when you are buying a 300 euro Ultimate LEGO Technic set, with exclusive packaging.

Lo and behold; the box arrived in pristine condition. The set box snugly fits inside the outer box, which avoids taking damage too easily. I am very pleased with the condition my set arrived in. I don't think getting the set in a physical store will guarantee a better condition. Thumbs up for shipping it this way.

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I hereby present, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS...in a box! It's way more luxurious than a regular LEGO box. Black and orange obviously work very well together. The bright color, combined with some post-crop vignetting really makes the Porsche stand out. I can honestly say that the box makes you anxious to open it. A LEGO box has seldomly made me feel more exhilarated before opening it. This is definitely a plus.

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This box is pretty big and feels massive. Since it's filled with additional boxes it feels very sturdy and doesn't dent easily. Since it's filled to the brim, the box isn't much larger than the box of the 41999. The width and height are the same. It's a bit deeper though, which can be seen in the image below.

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FRONT SIDE

The front side of the box shows the model itself, along with the Porsche emblem and the set information. In case you are wondering what the 18 means in the upper right corner; that's not 18, but 1:8, the approximate scale of the model. It also states that this set is 16+, which is rather unusual. Hopefully we can answer Allanp's question at the end of this review:

What makes this set carry the 16+ symbol? It isn't the largest or the most complex set to date, so why the 16+ age thing?

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BACK SIDE

The backside of the box shows a top down view picture of the Porsche, along with four key features (interior, suspension, engine, upholstery).

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INSIDE

The reason the box feels so sturdy is that it is literally filled to the brim. I can't think of any other Technic set which was filled like this. In the old days TLG used an inlay, but they never entirely filled a box like they did now. Showing the rims instead of packing them inside the box is a nice touch. The way the book and rims are being presented, is an indication that you are in for a treat.

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Another bonus is visible on the inside of the cover. It shows the history of the 911 from the original 911 (911) to the 2011 911 (991).

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The box contains:

  • 1 x Book
  • 1 x Sticker sheet
  • 4 x Box with parts
  • 1 x Box with rims and tires

Each of the smaller boxes depicts what you will be building during that phase. I sure hope we will be building more than just an engine, seats, hood and a spoiler :wink:

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After discussing the box, the book definitely needs our attention. It's presented as the center piece of the contents and it's an absolute eye-catcher. The book packs a whopping 580 pages (including the front and back cover), which is unprecedented (not having seen the 2016 2H BWE instruction manual).

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Being designed as a coffee table book, it doesn't simply provide the building instructions. It also contains an abundance of historic information about the Porsche 911 and of it's LEGO counterpart's design process. Comments have been made that this book makes the set more expensive, which is debatable. Around 40 pages have been devoted to this additional information, which boils down to around 7% of the book. Maybe I'm simplifying the calculation, but this means this book can't be more than 7% more expensive than regular instructions would have cost.

While we are on the subject of a coffee table book, TLG could have gone the extra mile and provide a hardcover book. This surely would have increased the costs, but you would get something in return. I'm not saying they should have, I'm saying they could have. Personally I think this book is fine, since it only contains about 7% additional information (concentrated at the beginning). It would have been a different case, if it contained more information throughout the book.

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Riffling through some pages of the book, we even see the previously mentioned Brendon Hartley making an appearance (top right image).

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The first step in the construction of your 911 GT3 RS is to build the drivetrain, complete with dual clutch gearbox (PDK), paddle shifters, suspension and the heart of the 911 GT3 RS, the 4.0 flat 6 engine. When you have completed all the steps in box 1 you will be able to test out all the functions and see how they work.

Reading this means we are working on the fun part of the vehicle. Which immediately raises the question; is all the functionality of the car built during this phase? The first box contains 11 numbered bags. It even contains the new fender pieces, two printed and four unprinted. Will we be using these already in the first phase?

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Below are two images showing the new (and orange) parts contained in the first box. New pieces are the orange fender pieces, flex axles, the 3L axle with stop (color coded brown), new wheel hubs, changeover catches, suspension with red finish, panels and a tile with a unique code (supposedly to unlock online content).

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Instead of taking you through the build, I will discuss the different technical aspects of the real vehicle and compare them to it's LEGO counterpart.

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The single most interesting part about this set is the gearbox, which you start building early on. The picture below shows where the lever, to change the selected gear mode (Drive, Neutral or Reverse), will be placed (between the two blue 3L pins). As you can see, selecting Reverse simply changes the direction of the gears. Does this mean we have the same number of gears in Reverse as we have in Drive? Yes, it does!

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It’s the year 1983. In the new 956 Group C racing car, Porsche is putting a double-clutch transmission – Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) – through the rigors of motorsport for the first time. PDK offers a crucial advantage: the driver can keep the accelerator pedal depressed and change gear easily by using buttons on the steering wheel, even in the corners.

This is how it works. PDK is essentially two gearboxes in one and thus requires two clutches. This double-clutch arrangement provides an alternating, non-positive connection between the two half gearboxes and the engine by means of two separate input shafts. During a gear change, therefore, one clutch simply opens and the other closes at the same time, enabling gear changes to take place within milliseconds. Highly responsive and particularly sporty.

More information can be found here

In the picture below we can see how TLG implemented the double clutch mechanism. There's a clutch at the top and one at the bottom. This is obviously a simplified interpretation of the real PDK.

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How about making your own four wheel drive Porsche? Does the transmission have an output that could be sent to the front easily, like 8448's (asked by Lego Nerd)?

The red changeover catch is probably placed for stability (you will connect a liftarm to it later on), but it also provides a possibility to turn this into a 4WD car. Of course, you would need two additional differentials, one between the front wheels, and one in the gearbox between the front and rear axles.

What's the point of having clutch gear inside all this? (asked by Allanp)

Unlike in a real car, there's no stop after the highest or lowest gear, meaning that you can switch the car from 4th to 1st gear and from 1st back to 4th. That's one of the reasons the clutch gear is used, since the axles/gearbox will generate a lot of resistance/strain at some point.

Another reason is that it's there to prevent possible damage to the gears if two speeds get temporarily engaged at the same time while rolling it. Or possibly if rolling in neutral and engaging drive while in first gear.

Here's a video of the gear changing sequence. I have temporarily attached an axle to demonstrate the gearbox.

Obviously you will not be shifting gears by turning a gear. You will be shifting this car, using the flappy paddle gearbox! How cool is that! The paddles are integrated in the steering assembly, which is shown below. The right paddle shifts the car into a higher gear, while the left one switches down.

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Here you can see the steering and shifting assembly attached to the chassis.

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The video below demonstrates shifting with the flappy paddles. Bear in mind that the subassembly is not yet properly secured, so there's some movement, which will be gone when the chassis has been finished. How am I supposed to shift gears by the way? As you can see there's no convenient position to operate the paddles. You need to grab the bushes and elastic bands to operate the gearbox. I can hardly imagine there's no better solution for this. Extending the axle by 1L would probably have done the trick. This feels somewhat cumbersome. The best solution would have been to design custom flappy paddles, but I understand this decision can't be taken lightly. What I don't understand is that TLG didn't provide an extra set of elastic bands. The bands will wear out after a few years on the shelf, rendering them useless. Providing a spare set would have been a nice gesture.

Onto a more delicate matter. Some of you might have heard or read the rumors about this set being potentially flawed. Before jumping to conclusions, let's take look at the supposed flaws of the gearbox.

First of all, the gear sequence is incorrect. Instead of switching from 1st to 2nd to 3rd to 4th, it's shifting from 1st to 3rd to 2nd to 4th. Say what?! I talked to Paul (Boratko, Crowkillers) about this possible issue, and without seeing any picture he immediately figured out that some of the gears must have been switched. As it turns out, there's indeed a mistake in the building instructions, or in the design, but I reckon it's not the latter. The video below demonstrates the incorrect sequence:

I can (more or less) understand why this mistake has been made. What I can't understand is that this has not been caught before production. Quality control guys most likely aren't petrol heads, like some of the AFOLs. Let's take a look at what's wrong. On the left you will see the assembly when you follow the building instructions. On the right you see how it needs to be built. The grey 16T Gear and the black 12T Double Bevel Gear need to switch sides. the center gears are placed correctly.

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Here's a short video of how to apply the fix. The mistake has been made on page 267, 268 and 269 of the manual. So make sure to apply this fix when you reach that stage.

After this fix, the sequence of the gearbox has been corrected. The gearbox is now shifting in the proper sequence, which can be seen in the following video:

So it's all good now?! Well, not exactly. There's an even more pressing matter which we need to discuss. Occasionally the gearbox seems to stall completely. Take a look at the video and see what happens:

Since you are not supposed to hook up a motor near the fake engine, the white clutch gear can't do it's job to prevent stalling. However, the main question is; why does the gearbox stall completely? And why does it stall so often? One of the reasons can be that the fins on the new red driving rings are slightly too thick. This will increase the change of the gears getting stuck. However, it happens quite often so I am not sure whether this is the case.

The majority of the people building this set will probably never notice this flaw, since the clutch gear will hide the gearbox issues. But this set being The Ultimate, you'd expect the gearbox to function properly. The gearbox being the single most important technical function in the car, I am baffled by the fact that the mistake in the building instruction has not been caught, and that the actual gearbox itself seems to be flawed. Next time TLG better contact Paul before releasing another supercar :wink:

This issue has been communicated to TLG, so let's wait for them to come with an official statement.

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Comparing the Porsche to the 42039 - 24 Hours Race Car we can see that the width from the end of the wishbones (where the ball joints connect) is 23L versus 19L. The Porsche itself is actually 4 studs wider than the 42039, two on each side.

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Compared to the steering assembly of the 42039. You notice the gear rack is much smaller, yet the turning radius is better. Two of half pins are limiting the turning radius of the Porsche. Removing them will slightly improve the radius, but the wheels might slightly touch the inside of the chassis, especially when the suspension is compressed.

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Here you can see the steering linkage, a pretty straightforward mechanism.

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Fitted as standard, the new rear axle steering with sport tuning combines performance and everyday driveability. An electromechanical adjustment system at each rear wheel enables the steering angle to be adapted based on the current driving situation, steering input and vehicle speed.

The advantage for day-to-day driving: during low-speed maneuvers, the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to that of the front wheels. This has the virtual effect of shortening the wheelbase. The turning circle is reduced to make it easier to park. The advantage for sporty driving: during high-speed maneuvers, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as that of the front wheels. Driving stability is increased by the virtual extension of the wheelbase and agility is enhanced by the simultaneous steering of the front and rear axles, especially during overtaking maneuvers on the racetrack.

One of the coolest feature about the real 911 GT3 RS is the fact that it has rear axle steering. It even alternates between steering modes! At low speed it counter steers (to improve the turning radius) and at high speed it steers in the same direction (to increase driving stability). That's so incredibly cool. And it's definitely something we expect to see in The Ultimate supercar TLG is releasing.

Unfortunately they haven't. I am very disappointed to conclude that there's no real axle steering at all. Not even counter steering rear wheels, which would have sufficed. Obviously having both modes would be super duper awesome, but at least give us the counter steering mode. Not sure why TLG hasn't implemented this feature. They might have felt the need to do both of them. But omitting rear axle steering altogether is a huge letdown for me.

RECTIFICATION

I need to rectify something. According to this interview on the Top Gear site, Porsche vetoed the inclusion of the rearsteer. Obviously Uwe was able to recreate this mechanism. Makes you wonder why it wasn't included.

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This electronic active damping system offers continuous adjustment of the damping force on each wheel based on the current driving situation and your driving style.

At the press of a button, you can select between two different modes. ‘Normal’ mode is designed for sporty driving on public roads and on wet racetracks. ‘Sport’ mode is specially tuned for maximum lateral acceleration and offers the best possible traction on the track.

To continue with cool features, or letdowns, the 911 GT3 RS has, what's called PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management). This basically boils down to ride hight adjustment, which is another potential cool feature to incorporate into the model. Unfortunately, like the rear axle steering, this feature has been omitted too.

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The engine of the new 911 GT3 RS sits just above the tarmac. At the rear end, of course. With its low center of gravity, it was predestined for motorsport. Indeed, this water-cooled six-cylinder unit with four valves per cylinder, VarioCam and dry-sump lubrication with a separate engine oil tank could not be more ideally equipped for its role.

The engine draws its power from a capacity of 4.0 liters. This equates to a power output per liter of 92 kW (125 hp), and acceleration that simply knows no limits: the sprint from 0 to 60 mph is completed in a mere 3.1 seconds.

The real Porsche has been fitted with a 4.0 liter 6-cylinder boxer engine, while its LEGO counterpart is fitted with a flat 6 engine. The difference between a boxer and a flat engine, is the movement of the pistons. The boxer engine has horizontally opposed pistons (when one piston moves in, the opposite piston moves out), while the flat engine has pistons on each side moving in and out simultaneously. More information about flat engines can be found here.

Edit: Techniccrack pointed out that it's exactly the other way around. So the boxer engine has pistons moving in and out simultaneously. Thanks for pointing this out.

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While the engine in the LEGO version isn't realistically correct, I certainly don't mind TLG choosing this solution. It would have been cool to see new engine parts, but it's perfectly understandable that TLG used the currently available parts.

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After 323 steps (of 856) you have finished 38% of the model, resulting in the chassis. If there's no additional technical functionality (which seems that way) this means that 62% of the build consists of adding body and interior parts.

Constructing the gearbox is interesting, but the overall build of the chassis is a bit underwhelming. The engine has been completely covered by panels and other parts, which is true to the original Porsche. But it does prevent you from seeing the pistons move at different speeds when shifting gears.

The calipers are looking rather rectangular. Makes you wonder if it would have been better to use black parts combined with a rounded sticker. This would have reflected the actual shape better. Another option would be to create a custom part, but we obviously TLG can't keep designing new parts. It's cool that they included the calipers in the first place.

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The rear side has double shock absorbers, while the front uses a single absorber (per side). The back of the car is very heavy compared to the front, so this is good decision.

Another aspect which has been discussed is the color vomit in the interior. I don't really mind using colors in the interior (like UCS Star Wars sets), as long as the different colors aren't clearly visible. Clearly visible are the blue pins (especially two of them in the gear box (D/N/R selector). Shouldn't these pins be black? More on this later.

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During production of the real 911 GT3 RS there is a stage called 'the marriage', where the drivetrain is connected to the body of the car. In this box you build the floor plan of the 911 GT3 RS, complete with seats and roll cage, before placing it over the drivetrain in a similar way to the production of the real 911 GT3 RS.

The second box contains 9 numbered bags.

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The orange parts, including a 11L liftarm and axle connectors, which I already spotted in the Maze set. For me this was an indication that the Porsche would be released in Orange.

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The floor plan of the car is built separately from the car, in a modular fashion. Note that the body can't be easily detached from the chassis after completing the model, so it's not a real modular build.

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Here's a video demonstrating the marriage:

After the marriage, and adding the seats, the car looks like this. At this stage you have completed 531 steps (of 856) or 62%.

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I really enjoyed building the second box. Placing the floor plan over the drivetrain is gives you a sense of building a real car. Clearly visible is the roll cage behind the seats.

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In box 3 you start to assemble the body of your 911 GT3 RS. Starting with the rear of the car and then onto the build of the iconic hood, now with distinctive shaping. Then it's the roof, again with distinctive shaping indicating the lightweight magnesium design only found on the newest 911 GT3 RS.

The third box contains 4 numbered bags.

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Since you will be building the body, this box mainly contains an abundance of orange parts, including lots of panels. This set contains the full range of available panels in orange, except the 5x11 Panel. If I counted correctly this set contains 31 black, 59 orange and 2 grey panels, resulting in a grand total of 92 panels! It also includes 18 frames, which is quite a lot.

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At the end of box 3 you have finished 79% of the car (679 of 856). It is starting to look like a real Porsche!

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I absolutely love the new-ish 13x3 Curved Panels. They work really well on this model. Thumbs up for the part designer who designed this part!

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Now you build the front before adding the distinctive wheel arches with air outlets only found on the 911 GT3 RS. Next you add the massive, motorsport inspired, adjustable rear wing before finishing off your 911 GT3 RS by adding the doors and the exclusive wheels.

Like box 3, this box also contains 4 numbered bags.

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Also containing mostly orange parts and panels.

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This leaves us with a finished car...okay, almost finished. Next stop, wheels & tires.

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20 inches at the front axle, 21 inches at the rear axle. For a wheel size combination, that’s a first in the 911 model range. The larger footprint makes another improvement to dynamic performance. The wheels are made from a forged alloy and feature a platinum-colored paint finish.

The central locking device bearing the ‘RS’ logo is derived from motorsport. Compared with the conventional five-bolt wheel connection, it offers enhanced performance thanks to the reduction in rotating masses. And, of course, it ensures a faster wheel change, which is vital when you’re in the pit and the clock is ticking.

The tire sizes on the new 911 GT3 RS are nothing short of impressive: 265/35 ZR 20 on 9.5 J x 20 at the front, 325/30 ZR 21 on 12.5 J x 21 at the rear.

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The last box contains the rims and tires (stored inside the box). As you can see the LEGO wheels have the same size for both the front and the rear wheels. I think this is a perfectly understandable choice. Different sizes would have been hardly noticeable, but it would have added significant costs.

Great thing about these rims is, that they are custom designed rims for the GT3 RS. Another great technical specification is that the offset inside the rims reflects the real rims, resulting in a better steering geometry. The printed RS emblems on the 1x1 tile add a nice touch.

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What size of construction can fit inside the new wheels for when making custom steering and suspension geometries? 5x3? 7x3? 7x5? How deep are they? (asked by Allanp)

Can you tell me if they fit on the portal hubs? (asked by Zblj)

Hopefully the following images will answer both questions. The portal hub is touching the rims, so it's not possible to fit them without spacers.

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The image below shows how far the frame is protruding from the rim.

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Let's talk rims and tires! From left to right (links to Bricklink for easy reference):

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This picture shows which wheels will fit nicely under the new wheel arch panels.

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Front view of all the rims. As you can see the Ferrari F1 tires are slightly wider and almost the same height. The Ferrari tires have a slightly higher profile than the Porsche tires.

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Hopefully this image will give you some reference as to how the different rims compare to each other.

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This clearly shows the depth of the different rims.

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After adding the wheels, you have finished your very own Porsche 911 GT3 RS! Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the looks of this car. It sure is a 911 GT3 RS, no doubt about it. I have read some criticism that the car doesn't look good from certain angles. I beg to differ. Taking in account that we are still talking about a LEGO model, I think this car looks magnificent.

There's a gap between the headlights and bumper, which people have complained about. Admittedly, it would have looked better when the transparent dishes would be positioned half a stud deeper and half a stud lower, but I'm not too bothered with it.

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Here are several pictures showing how the model will look after approximately 10 hours of building time.

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I love the front view of the car, with the black gear racks in the front bumper/spoiler. And I love how the hood worked out, but that's because I love them curved panels :thumbup:

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Back of the car looks pretty decent too, although I am not really sure about the rear lights. On the other hand; these kind of shapes are hard to capture in a Technic model.

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EXTRA FEATURES

We have spoken about the technical functions of this model, but obviously there are some extra features as well. These are depicted in the picture below:

  • Open hood/bonnet
  • Open trunk/boot
  • Open doors
  • Adjusting the spoiler (regulate downforce)
  • A bag for storing your racing gear

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COLORS

Take a look at the image below to see some of the color choices TLG has made. What's catching our eye, is that the decision has been made to use a Black 2L axle in the door handle, instead of the usual red one. Kudos for TLG! However, in the rear wheel arch they used a tan frictionless pin and a blue friction pin. Maybe I am missing something, but why did TLG use the tan frictionless pin?! There are no rotating parts in that assembly?

Furthermore; wouldn't it have been a great opportunity to use black 3L friction pins throughout the model. This would acknowledge the fact that it's a 16+ set and it would have made bodywork look way better. This would also solve the blue gearbox pins issue. And while we're at it, throw in black axle pins, as the icing on the cake. I understand the regular color policy, but this set being a 16+ set, and the Ultimate, and blabla, well....you catch my drift.

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16+ AGE INDICATION

This is the right moment to continue the discussion about the 16+ age indication. Asked by Allanp:

What makes this set carry the 16+ symbol? It isn't the largest or the most complex set to date, so why the 16+ age thing?

To be honest; I am not entirely sure. The build isn't that complex to justify the 16+ indication. My best guess it has something to do with the set being more of a display set than a play set. If it were a real 16+ set, all axles and pins would have been black and the instructions would have had a lot less steps. There's probably a good reason for it, but at the moment I can't explain why this set it 16+.

COMPARISON WITH 42039

The picture below shows a comparison with the 42039 - 24 Hours Race car. While it's only 4L wider, you can see it's much longer.

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The next two pictures show the entire bill of material.

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A lot of discussion has been going on about the price. It is pretty steep, there's no denying that. But does this set justify spending 300 euros? I have tried to come up with a fair calculation, without any prejudice.

Basically it's the same car as the 42039 (24 Hours Race Car), only bigger. Meaning it doesn't have Power Functions, Electronics or Pneumatics. Nor does it have an abundance of very special parts (some new molds and colors, which I will account for later). Both cars use lots of panels to make them look nice (don't get me wrong, I love panels). In my opinion a comparison with the 42039 is justified. I can even add the 42000 Grand Prix Racer to the equation. Also a car, more or less same scale as the Porsche, no Power Functions, Pneumatics, whatsoever.

So let's do the math. The 24 Hours Race Car has an MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of 100 euro (same goes for the 42000). The Porsche has an MSRP of 300 euro, which makes it three times more expensive. The 42039 has 1219 parts (1141 for the Grand Prix Racer), so the Porsche should have around 3657 (or 3423 parts). Let's take the average, round it down and make it 3500 parts. 3500 versus 2704 parts. Something doesn't add up. Why am I missing around 800 parts?!

Based on the 42039 and 42000, a Technic set like this should end up with a price per part around 8,5 cents (the average of 8,2 and 8,8 cents). Meaning the Porsche should have cost around 230 euro, but it doesn't. So, the conclusion of this little calculation is that you are paying 70 euro for added value. What can be considered added value? A nice book, special box (and packaging), new rims, and an official Porsche license.

I don't think that counting the book as added value is fair, since any set of around 3000 parts will have a pretty thick book. The book actually contains around 40 pages without instructions. So around 7% percent of the book is added value. This seems negligible when it comes to printing costs. This leaves you with the box (including extra packaging) and the license. We've probably all seen the video where you see the packaging process, which is mostly done manually. Let's say the box and extra packaging adds another 10 euro. Still 60 euro to allot.

For those of you who haven't seen the video; LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS Sneak Peek from LEGO Factory in Kladno:

Some new molds have been created (rims, fenders, panels) and a lot of parts in orange for the first time. Imagine this this eats up another 10 euro per set. This leaves you with 50 euros for the Porsche license.

Maybe I underestimate the new rims/molds, booklet or packaging. That could very well be the case. But it's a fact that this model is relatively more expensive than the 42039 or 42000. Simple mathematics, no more, no less.

I'll let you decide whether the added value is worth paying the extra bucks :wink:

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Almost at the end of my review, it's time to summarize how I feel about this set. Usually I am not overly critical. I acknowledge the fact that at the end of the day, LEGO is a toy. However, this is a different ball game. Being a 16+ set and TLG calling it The Ultimate made it clear that this set means serious business.

UCS TECHNIC

First of all I am really pleased to see TLG venturing into the Technic realms of what's commonly referred to as Ultimate Collector Series in the Star Wars theme. We've seen hints about this being the first in a new series, so I surely hope to see more models like the Porsche.

UNBOXING EXPERIENCE

When the set arrived I was on cloud nine. This is more than your run of the mill Technic set, so I was really excited to get building. This excitement continued during the unboxing phase. The box has a deluxe appearance and it's filled with nicely packed goodies. All in black and orange, which absolutely looks stunning.

THE BOOK

The books which has been included contains some cool additional information about the Porsche. Mainly before the start of the build though. The vast majority contains building instructions. Being a coffee table book, a hardcover would have been cool. It's no biggie that it's not though.

THE BUILD

The technical part of the build is concentrated in the first box, meaning that after 38% of the build you are done with the functional parts, leaving 62% of the build adding cosmetics. This is somewhat underwhelming.

I really enjoyed 'the marriage' phase though, which gives you the feeling that you are actually building a car.

TECHNICAL FEATURES

Unfortunately, when it comes to technical accuracy there's a lot left to be desired. No active suspension management or rear axle steering. So two of the most interesting potential features have been omitted. Being the Ultimate it would have been cool to see both, or at least one of, these functions implemented in the model.

GEARBOX

The flappy paddle gearbox is supposed to be the star of the show. It's absolutely cool that TLG has implemented this feature. However, the mistake in the building instructions leaves you with an incorrect shifting sequence. This issue will most likely be corrected in a later version and/or an errata will be provided.

I am not sure whether TLG will address the gearbox locking issue. This being a display model, I don't think this issue will be noticeable for the majority of the builders. The fact that Reverse has the same number of gears as the Drive mode is not accurate, but for me this is an acceptable choice.

The flappy paddles could have been implemented in a way that you can actually operate the paddles, without touching the rubber bands constantly.

PRINTED PARTS

The RS 1x1 round tiles on the rims have been printed, which is nice! Makes you wonder why the 1x1 tile on the steering wheel (with Porsche emblem) hasn't been printed. It's plus that the wheel arches have been printed. This ensures the model still looking good after a decade on the shelf. At that time the rubber bands will be petrified and will most likely break when operating the gearbox. Therefor, it would have been great if TLG provided an extra set of elastic bands, for future use.

PIN COLORS

TLG has used a black 2L axle in the door handle, which definitely looks better than red ones. However, they haven't included 3L black pins. Instead they still used the blue ones. If you decide to use black 2L axles, why not use 3L black pins in several places.

WOW FACTOR

I showed it to some friends (non AFOLs) and the only interesting thing to show is the gearbox. Which actually doesn't really present well, since you don't see what's happening. You don't even see the pistons moving faster. Basically there's not much to demonstrate, other than it's an impressively big model. A very good looking, yet slightly boring, model.

PRICE

I have devoted an entire chapter on the price of this model, of which the conclusion was that you pay around 70 euros for added value. It depends on the type of LEGO buyer or builder you are (and the size of your wallet) whether this is justified. The price tag of 300 euro seems a bit steep for what you get in return, so I can imagine some of you will wait for a nice deal to emerge.

CONCLUSION

TLG definitely brings a unique experience, and I really like the looks of the model. However, the feeling that this "could have been" a better set predominates. That being said, I still think it's a must have for every LEGO Technic car enthusiast. It looks cool when you put it on display. And it offers lots of possibilities to modify. Or like brunojj1 phrased it:

Seems to me like the Porsche delivers a perfect base for MODing and MOCing variations such as B-models or PF upgrades to make it a real ULTIMATE.

If you are looking for the perfect set, you better look further. If you are looking for a unique Technic set with great potential, this is the set for you!

...and with this bombshell it's time to end :wink:

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Leaves us with the scores.

9 DESIGN

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This definitely is a 911 GT3 RS!

8 BUILDING EXPERIENCE

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Build itself is okay, the total experience adds a point.

5 FEATURES

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It lacks two functions and the major function is flawed.

6 PLAYABILITY

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This being a display model, it's virtually non-playable.

9 PARTS

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New rims, entire range of orange panels and new orange parts.

7 VALUE FOR MONEY

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Depends on your budget, purpose to buy it and other motives.

7,3 COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER

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I really wish TLG would have been more clear about the embargo rules. Pictures and videos were popping up everywhere on the Internet, while the review embargo stated the 1st of June. Additionally, the set already seemed to be available at some locations.

Other than that, I still enjoyed the ride and I'd like to thank TLG for providing me this set!

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Thanks you for reading this review. All pictures can be found in my album.

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The 1st of June has come...finally. Hope you enjoy this review.

I've tried to give you guys (and girls) an honest opinion with enough additional information. I am also anxious to find out whether "Gearbox-Gate" is the result of me making a building mistake or that there is in fact an issue at hand.

I hope I have given you enough insights to draw the final conclusion yourselves. Comments, remarks, etc, are obviously welcome!

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I got a link for your review up at my Facebook page and I am also going to send out an alert about the error in the instructions.. :thumbup: :thumbup:

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I got a link for your review up at my Facebook page and I am also going to send out an alert about the error in the instructions.. :thumbup: :thumbup:

Thanks Paul! And thanks for your help on the gearbox! I really appreciate it :thumup:

Is the scale 1:8, not?

Absolutely. The 1:10 was an error in the initial press release, which I copied content from. Corrected the mistake. Thanks for pointing it out.

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Jim, what page was that error on..? 269..?

267 thru 269 (from the top of my head)

"Here's a short video of how to apply the fix. The mistake has been made on page 267, 268 and 269 of the manual. So make sure to apply this fix when you reach that stage."

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267 thru 269 (from the top of my head)

"Here's a short video of how to apply the fix. The mistake has been made on page 267, 268 and 269 of the manual. So make sure to apply this fix when you reach that stage."

Sorry.. I was trying to type it up and couldn't remember what pages it was on.. I used your pictures of the fix.. :thumbup: :thumbup:

Going to read the full review now.. :wink:

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Excellent review as usual, Jim. The mistake in the instructions is understandable, but I think the gearbox jamming issue will haunt this set until a solution is found.

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OMG! Such a bunch of information! Probably the longest and most complex review on EB?:) Very well done Jim! Excelent work. Great pictures and videos. Thank you!

Max :)

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Great review Jim. Although the set may diappoint, you never disappoint with the quality of your reviews. Your pictures look as crisp as ever.

I'm still undecided about this set honestly. TLG tried to make this special, but maybe it needed a little more time in development IMO

Edited by Rishab N

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Excellent review as usual, Jim. The mistake in the instructions is understandable, but I think the gearbox jamming issue will haunt this set until a solution is found.

Thanks. I had to look a couple of times to make sure I wasn't the one who made a mistake. I did check it several times today, to make sure. I am pretty positive that it actually is a mistake. And I must admit, it's a quite understandable one. Turning the model upside down, you can switch gears easily. An errata will probably solve this issue.

The gearbox jamming....we'll see. I am curious to find out too.

OMG! Such a bunch of information! Probably the longest and most complex review on EB?:) Very well done Jim! Excelent work. Great pictures and videos. Thank you!

Max :)

Take your time Max :wink:

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Thank you! The waiting has paid off.

I'll definitely wait for a better price at some other store than S@H

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Great review Jim. Although the set may diappoint, you never disappoint with the quality of your reviews. Your pictures look as crisp as ever.

I'm still undecided about this set honestly. TLG tried to make this special, but maybe it needed a little more time in development IMO

Agreed! I have been pondering about a conclusion myself, and while I think it could have been better, it's still a set I wouldn't wanna miss.

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Great review Jim

I have loved reading through the previous 108 pages of comments but so much better to read your actual review.

Agree with all your comments, thanks for clarifying the gearbox issues. This isnt a big issue for me. I can live with it.

I already have some ideas to improve it anyway, cant wait to start.

It might be $600 in New Zealand but I will be buying it as soon as Lego shop allows me to. I'm a car fanatic, so I cant help it.

Thanks for the review

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Jim, thanks for the name-check :sweet: , and especially for the excellent well-balanced review. Style, lay-out, comments and comparisons are all top-notch and set a new standard for 'ultimate' reviews for EB. For me, based on your review, an eventual purchase, but I won't rush out and get one. I will be stocking-up on black axle/pins and 3L pins, though.

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Thanks for the great review! Now I know all I need to know. Underwhelmed and not convinced by the extra cost of luxury coffee table book and packaging. I'm a Lego Technic fan, not a Porsche fan. Still I know that I will buy this set soon ...

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Great ( and honest) review. Brilliant pictures and vids as usual!

Thanks Gio!

Still I know that I will buy this set soon ...

Well, that's the thing. It might be flawed or underwhelming in some ways, but it still is a very special set.

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Thanks for the review. I haven't purchased a Technic set since the 80s. I think that's going to change very soon :)

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The pictures, just wow. How?!

Great review, as usual. But the gearbox friction issue that Anio ran into doesn't seem to be a concern... if that's the case, I'll let the occasional jamming of the drivetrain slide. It's virtually impossible to make a 100% reliable shifting mechanism with these parts ( from what I've experienced, that is, feel free to prove me wrong).

Seriously disappointed by the front suspension, I mean what is that?! it's absolutely 0% like the macpherson strut suspension of the real car. I've never seen a suspension system where the damper was fixed to the upper wishbone behind the pivot point.

All those yellow 5L axles...why?

Although I do love the "marriage" part of the build. Thats cool.

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What a gorgeous review. Some pictures look like renderings!

Concerning the gear-changing-mechanism: in your video the yellow knob wheels start perfectly horizontaly or in a 45° angle. But during the gear change this is not the case. Might this cause a problem?

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The pictures, just wow. How?!

:laugh: I'll take that as a compliment :wink:

Great review, as usual. But the gearbox friction issue that Anio ran into doesn't seem to be a concern... if that's the case, I'll let the occasional jamming of the drivetrain slide. It's virtually impossible to make a 100% reliable shifting mechanism with these parts ( from what I've experienced, that is, feel free to prove me wrong).

Actually I have spoken to Aino (and some of the other reviewers) and each of us had different levels of gearbox problems. And Paul concurs with a sequential gearbox not being 100% reliable. That's why I let each of you draw your own conclusion.

Seriously disappointed by the front suspension, I mean what is that?! it's absolutely 0% like the macpherson strut suspension of the real car. I've never seen a suspension system where the damper was fixed to the upper wishbone behind the pivot point.

I have too little knowledge about suspension to judge. I can imagine it's nowhere near reality, but I chose not to focus on that. I understand other member (i.e. you) think differently :wink:

All those yellow 5L axles...why?

I hear ya!

Although I do love the "marriage" part of the build. Thats cool.

Yeah, that's cool!

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@Jim

Could you please share the flickr album with all the other pictures?

(now only 27 of your brilliant pictures are available)

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Concerning the gear-changing-mechanism: in your video the yellow knob wheels start perfectly horizontaly or in a 45° angle. But during the gear change this is not the case. Might this cause a problem?

That might very well be the case. Care to elaborate? Not entirely sure that I understand what you mean?

@Jim

Could you please share the flickr album with all the other pictures?

(now only 27 of your brilliant pictures are available)

O darn, totally forgot to make it public. Just a sec. Thanks for the heads-up.

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