[REVIEW] 42119 Monster Jam Max-D

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Set Name: 42119 Monster Jam Max-D
Pieces: 230
Price: $19.99 | 
Year of Release: 1HY 2021

Welcome to my review of 42119 Max-D, one of the two pull-back sets for the 1HY 2021 wave, and also one of the two Monster Jam branded sets. Pullback sets have been released two per year since 2015, and while staying steady at $20, have gradually increased in parts count. Has this trend continued this year? How do they stack up compared to pullbacks of the past? 

Thanks to Lego for sending us these sets to review. As always, all opinions are my own, and we will analyze this set from a few different perspectives. 

Box front: 


Here we can see Max-D driving through a stadium. Nothing too exciting here; we have the Monster Jam brand logo, as well as the pullback feature logo. Interesting, the Max-D logo is not visible here, but rather on the sides of the box.

Box Rear


On the rear, we can see the set pictured again, as well as an image of the real vehicle with some specs underneath. On the right side we have the B model, a quad-bike inspired build. One interesting observation here is that the model is pictured without stickers; some have suggested that this is because the stickers would look rather silly on this B model (look, for example, at the yellow curved panel at the front; the Max-D logo would be flipped the wrong way here. However, I think the real reason is because the graphic design of these stickers within itself is a trademark to Max-D, and placing it on the B model would incorrectly brand it as a Monster Jam ATV. Just a theory, but it could explain why the monster jam sets are the two without any stickers on the B model. 

Another note about the B model- It's very reminiscent of 42034, one of the first pullback sets from 2015 when the two-per-year began. Coincidence or a 5 year anniversary nod?

Box Detail


On the side we can see more logos, and the tire is used as the 1:1 ratio. It's worth noting that these boxes seem thicker than previous pullback sets.



Content wise, this set is pretty impressive. So far, the Technic pullback set with the highest part count sits at 227, Max-D sets the record now at 230. We also have a sticker sheet, unsurprisingly.


Sticker Sheet


I'm not too familiar with Monster Jam, but from what I can see, this is one of many different designs Max-D has taken on, but seemingly it's most iconic. The stickers are cheesy in design, just like the real thing.



Here we have the 230 parts (plus whatever ends up being extras) laid out. We will talk about the new pieces in a moment, but one part I wanted to highlight- the orange wheel hubs, these have only been in 3-4 sets total, so it's nice to see them again here. Another point I'll mention a few times is that Lego continues to pack more value into these pullback sets. Last year, the average part count for one of these sets jumped from ~130 pieces to ~225. However, in 2019 many of those parts were used for side builds, whereas this year, all 230 parts were focused on Max D. You can see above that many of these elements are focused on smaller pieces necessary to created the spiked look on the vehicle. 

Anyway, let's talk about the elephant in the room: Lego introduced an absolutely beautiful new tire this year with the Jeep Wrangler set that would be a perfect fit for these monster trucks...and then didn't use it. I'm quite surprised by this, not only would it be a good way to stretch the new mold, but it would also make these licensed vehicles even more accurate. One working theory I have seen is that the new tires are a slightly more rigid rubber, and due to the light weight of this set, they would not grip the ground as well when the pullback feature is being used, unlike the softer tires included in this set. I do not have the Wrangler yet so I cannot test this now, but I do hope to do so in time.

New part - 3x7 Panel


We get two of the new 3x7 panel in DBG. Definitely a useful piece in a pretty neutral color. 

The Build - Pullback motor


Pullback sets are generally focused around one function - the pullback motor. We can see here how it is integrated into the frame, note the use of the tubing pieces are faux-suspension. 



You can see more of the framing here, the pullback ends up on an angle in the finished set. We can see some yellow & orange used to imitated the flames down the middle of the truck body.

Body shaping begins


Nothing much to say here, we can see how the shaping is added; everything is secured three times over to ensure durability.

Spiked Fenders


Max-D is covered in spikes; Lego made a valiant attempt here by slapping viking horns on the fenders. It's a fine effect for this price point, though I believe the roof should have a few as well. Plus, as you can imagine, they don't tend to stay perfectly aligned when you are handling the set. 

Completed Set - No Stickers - Front


Here we have the completed set, minus stickers. I will admit that I usually tend to prefer sets without busy stickers, and this is no exception; it's a clean looking truck, and I do really like how the orange wheels pop against the gray body of the vehicle. 

Completed Set - No Stickers - Rear


Spinning the set around, we can see that again, the center strip of the vehicle is somewhat present thanks to the use of yellow/orange parts. 

Completed Set - Stickers - Front


The stickers add some extra color to the set and flesh out the flame effect down the center of the vehicle. 

Completed Set - Stickers - Rear


Flipping back to the rear again, I will mention the flag mounted at the back; it's loosely mounted in such a way that when this thing hits bumps, the flag will bounce up and down. Sort of a "feature," I guess. 

Completed Set - Stickers - Head-On


Moving to the front bumper, we- uh, well, there shouldn't be a front bumper. Max-D has no need for such silly things, how else is it supposed to crush cars and jump ramps? Like many pullback sets, this was likely built with the intention that kids will send this full-force off of a table, into a wall, whatever.

Completed Set - Stickers - Back


Ground clearance is a little worse at the back due to the pullback motor. If you try to send this over many obstacles it may get caught on the back tires more easily. 

Completed Set - Stickers - Profile


I'll mention again the tubing used as faux suspension. Certainly for these sets, real suspension is not expected, I think this is a fine cosmetic-only attempt. Certainly better than nothing at all.

Size Comparison with Grave Digger


Max-D has more parts than Grave Digger, but many of them go into smaller parts, such as the small spike details. Overall, Grave Digger ends up being slightly longer and taller. (The length is tough to see here, but it's about 1-2 studs longer)

Size Comparison With System Sets


Here's the size compared to a few random system sets. One thing is for sure, these pullback sets are much larger than those in the past.

Function Video

Set Ratings (relative to other sets in this size class):

Visual Design: 7

Build Experience: 6

Variety of Features: 3

Execution of features: 8

Playability: 7

Parts/Value: 6.5

Monster Jam trucks are pretty detailed vehicles, and pulling them off in Technic, at this scale, is tough. When you factor in the pullback feature, the durability required, the budget for this set, I think Lego did about as good of a job as could be expected. It's certainly an interesting looking vehicle, and more cohesive than many of the nonsense pullback sets in the past. Where the set loses points is a) the front bumper (I get it's there for durability, but it definitely messes with the look of the vehicle and b) the lack of the new tractor tires is a huge miss, though possibly one that was made due to the rigid tire material not working with the pullback feature as well as the softer tires used here.

The Build experience gets a 6, it's par for the course with pullback sets, though the full 230 pieces going into this build makes it one of the most complicated pullbacks yet. The variety of features gets a 3; it's a pullback, and nothing more. However, the execution of that feature gets an 8; it works great, the main two things working against it are the clearance issues caused by the front bumper and rear axle. Plus, it's durable; again, it's expected that kids will be an absolute menace to these things, launching them into walls, off tables, etc. I dropped this on the ground, and not a single piece fell out of place. Parts are fine, not much in the way of new stuff and certainly those who want gears and the like will skip this one.

Compared with Grave Digger


When you compare Max-D to it's brother, I think it comes out slightly ahead. It's just visually a little more successful and interesting, and does more to capture the look of the real truck than Grave Digger. 

What do you think? How do these sets stack up compared to previous pullbacks, and will you pick either of these up?

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Great review! The set looks good, but just like the Jam Grave Digger I wish the red pins were replaced...

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This one looks radical!! I do like this pair of pull backs.

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I wonder why they went for orange rims but yellow midsection in the body, is that accurate to the source material? I somehow feel that both being the same colour (whether orange or yellow) would've worked better.

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1 minute ago, howitzer said:

I wonder why they went for orange rims but yellow midsection in the body, is that accurate to the source material? I somehow feel that both being the same colour (whether orange or yellow) would've worked better.

Most likely explanation is that they are using the same orange rims in a City set or something.

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