Jim

[REVIEW] 42129 - 4x4 Mercedes-Benz Zetros Trial Truck

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REVIEW - 42129 - 4X4 MERCEDES-BENZ ZETROS TRIAL TRUCK

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INTRODUCTION
This is the second set of the 2H wave of 2021 I will be reviewing. To be honest; this wasn't a set I was really looking forward to building. We've seen a few preliminary pictures of this model and it has changed quite a bit since its first appearance. This model started as a 6x6, but ended up as a 4x4. Due to the smaller sized wheels, it got dubbed "sausage dog truck". While I absolutely agreed and had a laugh about it, I do think the final design looks better than I expected. The smaller diameter of the wheels provide more torque, so I do expect outstanding performance. I am looking forward to seeing this bad boy climb hills like there's no tomorrow :wink:

This set is designed by Milan Reindl who has been working at TLG for nine years now. Time flies. It seems like yesterday, he was churning out B-models here on Eurobricks hehe. In those nine years he has really made a name for himself and he has delivered an impressive list of cool models. Let's find out if this one can be added to that list.

Made for extreme conditions, the 4x4 Mercedes-Benz Zetros Trial Truck has the power to tackle the roughest terrain. Now you can build your own LEGO® Technic™ version of this mighty machine. Enjoy a challenging build then use the CONTROL+ app to steer the truck and operate the differential locking. Set up obstacles and use the flags to create a trial course. Can anything stop this mighty truck?

PICTURES
Pictures can be clicked to view hi-res versions. My Flickr album contains all the photos taken for this review.

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

SET INFORMATION
Number: 42129
Title: 4x4 Mercedes-Benz Zetros Trial Truck
Theme: Technic
Released: 2021
Part Count: 2108
Box Dimensions: 57,5 cm x 47,2 x 8,4 cm
Weight: 3210 gram
Set Price (RRP): 299.99 EUR / 274.99 GBP / 499.99 AUD / 299.99 USD / 399.99 CAD
Price per Part: 0.142 EUR / 0.130 GBP / 0.237 AUD / 0.142 USD / 0.190 CAD
Links: Brickset, Bricklink

THE BOX
The front of the box shows the trial truck in action. Apparently, it's perfectly fit to deal with rugged terrain. Looks like a ton of action. Makes you wonder how aggressively this model will climb steep hills. 

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The back of the box is used to emphasize the Control+ functions. The picture at the bottom right show a pretty steep incline. That definitely needs to be verified in real life :wink:

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CONTENTS OF THE BOX
The box contains:

  • 1x Instruction manual
  • 1x Sticker sheet
  • 1x Inner box
    • 5x PowerUp elements
    • 5x Bag for steps 1 and 2
  • 4x Tire
  • 11x Bag for steps 3 to 6

BOOK AND STICKER SHEET
The book and sticker sheet were a bit wrinkled. I sure hope we will get the cartboard envelope packaging for all bigger sets soon.

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I have tried to straighten the book a bit.

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The sticker sheet before recovery.

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The sticker sheet after having it pressed tight between the pages of the instruction manual.

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TIRES
Four new tires.

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INNER BOX
There is an inner box inside the regular box. This inner box contains all of the PoweredUp elements.

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And the bags for steps 1 and 2.

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BAGS

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HIGHLIGHTED PARTS

81 x 35 TIRES
The most obvious new part is the new 81 x 35 tire. It's the smaller version of the "Claas tire". This tire will make a lot of tractor builders very happy. 

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ELECTRONICS
This set contains four motors. Three PoweredUp L motors and a WeDo 2.0 motor. I would have prefered a new PoweredUp M motor, but it does show that other motors can be used in Technic models as well.

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MODIFIED LIFTARM PERPENDICULAR HOLES THICK 1 x 11
This set contains two 15L and nine 11L perpendicular liftarms. 

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2x3 QUARTER ELIPSE LIFTARM
This part already appeared in the Ferrari and two other 2021 sets. Actually, I have taken the wrong picture, because this set also contains these parts in dark bluish grey, making its first appearance.

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CLUTCH AND CV JOINTS
New-ish clutch parts and a new longer CV joint part.

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PLANETARY HUB
This part already appeared in the 4x4 off-roader. It's great to see it make it into another set. The name on Bricklink has a nice ring to it:
Technic, Steering Axle with 2 Pin Holes, 2 Axle Holes and 2 Tow Ball Arms with Dark Bluish Gray Wheel Hub (46490 / 92909)

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28T DOUBLE BEVEL AND DIFFERENTIAL HOUSING
This part isn't new either, but I do think it's worth mentioning. It consists of a gear and housing.

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5L LIFTARMS
In case you need a couple of 5L liftarms in olive green, this is the set for you :wink:

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PART LIST
The complete parts list consisting of 2108 parts.

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THE BUILD
Upon opening the bags for the first step, I found a selection of various black panels and frames. These are used to build the center section of the chassis. The manual shows we will be using three of the four motors, which are probably used for the drivetrain. Besides two L motors, the WeDo motor will be used. I wonder how that motor is incorporated in the chassis and which function it operates. Let's find out!

As with most trucks, we start by building some sort of gearbox, placed in the center of the chassis. Two motors are connected to the center differential and the WeDo motor is connected to the gearbox. While I am not really sure, it looks like the WeDo motor is used to lock the center differential. It is linked to the gearbox which incorporates the two clutches.

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Same picture from a different angle.

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Having a gearbox makes a build more complex and interesting. While this step wasn't very complicated, it was less straightforward than the tow truck build. I almost missed an axle connector, which could have been hard to add at the end of this step. I strongly recommend hooking up the hub and testing the build with the Control+ app. At the time of building, I didn't have the update Control+ app to test the build. Of course, I could have used other apps to test my build, but I took the plunge. Who needs testing anyway?! :wink:

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Here's the entire chassis at the end of the first step.

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The second step is all about adding the rear suspension to the chassis. The bags for this step reveal another modest selection of black panels and frames. The parts also contain the new differential housing and as expected the recently releases planetary hubs, commonly referred to as Technic Steering Axle with 2 Pin Holes, 2 Axle Holes and 2 Tow Ball Arms with Dark Bluish Gray Wheel Hub :tongue:

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The rear differential will be locked simultaneously with the center differential.

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The video below demonstrates locking the rear differential.

https://youtu.be/saLTXnHbv2g

The picture below shows the rear suspension added to the chassis. While this build is totally different from the tow truck, I am equally enjoying it. It's been a while since I built Technic, so it's great to be building a gearbox and suspension again. The mechanism to lock the differentials is genuinely intriguing. I love the number of gears packed in such a small space in the rear suspension. I am looking forward to building the next step, which is the front suspension with steering mechanism.

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Bottom view of the rear suspension, where you can see part of the locking mechanism.

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The last motor is used for the rack-and-pinion steering.

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The front suspension assembly also uses the new differential housing.

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When I first saw this new-ish part, I wondered why it wasn't just a 3x2 liftarm. The picture below demonstrates how doubles as a "panel extension".

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Bottom view of the front suspension added to the chassis.

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Here we are at the end of the third step. I noticed my building speed is significantly lower than during build of the tow truck. Not that this is a difficult set to build, but it definitely is more advanced than the tow truck. So far it's a solid build. I'm not an experienced trial truck builder, but I reckon the experts will be quite happy with the chassis.

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The fourth step is the one with the most parts. We will be adding the cabin and hooking up the wires to the hub. In my review of the tow truck I mentioned the huge number of pages. This manual isn't too shabby either, counting 634 steps for 2108 parts. Again, a nice selection of panels, but this time they are dark bluish grey. A nice overall selection of dark bluish grey parts in this step (and this model entirely). We also get the smooth axle pin connector toggle joint in dark bluish grey. This set is turning out to be an incredible parts pack, in case you don't like the main model.

The cabin packs some nice details, like the windscreen wipers, exhaust and floodlights. Quite a few left-over pieces, even some duplicates. Made me wonder whether I missed a few. But since they all are the usual suspects, I'm probably cool. 

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The doors feel a bit flimsy, but that might improve when we attach the hood and secure the cabin assembly. This will be done in the next step. Looking at the bags, this step won't take long.

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The hood is attached to the chassis/cabin and it has indeed been reinforced with two liftarms. The doors (and entire assembly attached to it) still feel somewhat flimsy. Nothing to really worry about, but this being a trial truck, I'd expect it to be firm to stand a chance to the rugged terrain it will be traversing. But like I said, no biggie. 

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Like the tow truck I have built this model without stickers and really think it looks awesome at this point. One can argue that it looks a bit boring with the grey and black, but I actually like it. Time to open up bags numbered #6 and finish the model. This step will add some color to the model, so it won't end up in boring grey :wink:

Pay attention when you attach the rims to the tires, because it's easy to mess up. Like the Claas and other models, there will be a lot of "you attached the wheels incorrectly" comments on social media.

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COMPLETED MODEL
Here is a selection of pictures of the completed model. I apologize for the cat hairs in some pictures. We used to have a cat...now we have two...and it shows :tongue:

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FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS
This being a trial truck is only fair to judge the set by its capacity to handle rought terrain. I have composed a video to show the truck in action. I'm sorry that one of the cats is photobombing the video, but he has severe FOMO, so I can't do anything without him checking it out. He is sorry for the hairs in some of the foto's :wink:

Edit: Milan (@grohl) was kind enough to point out that the front bumper is mounted 1M too far to the front. My bad. I didn't notice that when I built the model. Funny thing is that I automatically reattached the bumper after shooting this video....the right way. After reading Milan's comment I retried the "couch challenge" and the model passed this time. That 1M made a difference.

As you can see in the video, the truck is basically worthless if you keep the front bumper attached. If you want to climb a steep hill, you really need to lose the front bumber. The ground clearance is also a limiting factor. Not as much as the front bumber, but the wheel base is rather long, so it's easy to get stuck on a bump or small hill top. 

The rear lights are prone to fall off when you are bumping into something. This is a minor gripe, but I would expect everything to be rock solid.

If we ignore these limitations, the performance is outstanding. Its capability to climb steep hills is very impressive. Without the differential lock, the front wheels aren't up to the task, but with the differential lock engaged, the sky is the limit.

More torque means less speed, so it's no surprise that this set doesn't move that fast. Its top speed is rather low. I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too. Mods will start pooring in quickly and I am looking forward to seeing them. Slightly shorter wheel base, bigger wheels, higher ground glearance, stuff like that. That being said, I am very pleased with the out-of-the-box performance.

SUMMARY
This set has really surprised me, in a positive way. The build was way more enjoyable than I expected and I do think the finished model looks great. It's definitely not the sausage dog we feared hehe. Is it a proper trial truck? Since I am no expert, I am not the right person to judge. I do think it has two obvious limitations, which could have been avoided. One possible solution would be to lose the license and the need for this set to resemble a Zetros. Its capability to climb hills is impressive, so the picture on the back of the box is justified.

This is an outstanding set, with lots of potential. It will generate lots of interest, especially in the modding scene. Somehow, this set reminds me of the Unimog, which was immensely popular back in the days and still has a decent following. Personally, I do like this set better than the Unimog. So in my book, this is another win for Milan! Job well done.

PROS

  • Outstanding climbing performance (high torque)
  • Gearbox with intricate differential lock mechanism
  • Enjoyable build
  • New tires
  • Great selection of drivetrain parts
  • Lots of black and dark grey panels (and frames)
  • Great parts pack overall
  • Looks great without stickers.

CONS

  • Front bumper needs to be removed for proper climbing (edit: I hadn't mounted the bumper correctly)
  • Ground clearance can be limiting
  • It's a bit slow (is only logical given the high torque)
  • Rear lights fall off easily

SCORE
How do I rate this set?

8 DESIGN
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I do like how this set turned out.

8 BUILDING EXPERIENCE 
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Build was better than I expected.

7 FEATURES
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It does what you would expect.

7 PLAYABILITY 
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Okay, but the front bumper and ride height are kinda limiting.

9 PARTS 
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This set packs a lot of interesting parts.

7 VALUE FOR MONEY 
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Price is a bit steep but you do get a lot of interesting parts.

7,7 AWESOME SET, BUT NEEDS A TWEAK OR TWO

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Amazing photos as usual. Kinda surprised by how high you rated this set, especially considering the price tag.

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Set looks horrible with all those different coloured pins and axles. Pretty sure +18 people could manage black pins and axles only :thumbdown:

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Very nice photos as usual, review contains everything I wanted to know about this set 

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28 minutes ago, Sariel said:

Amazing photos as usual. Kinda surprised by how high you rated this set, especially considering the price tag.

Value for money could have been a 6. But 2000 parts is around 200 euro plus a bunch of electronics. Guess I am kinda used to this price point. And it won’t be 300 euros retail.

Maybe it’s because I was surprised by it. I genuinely like this set.

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@Jim amazing review, as always :) It feels amost like a review of BWE. Hope that the next set will be reviewed by you as well :)

This set will be easily obtainable for ~200 euros pretty soon, so it may be an interesting buy. Time will tell.

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Wasn't a fan of it, still don't like it (the review is outstanding as always, great photography and meaniningful explanations). Better than that orange "offroader", but worse than 9398 IMHO. Sorry Milan, I know you guys working there pour your heart and soul into this, but TLG's end product doesn't cut it for me, be it the colourvomit, C+/PUp, the ground clearance... refer to die-hard LEGO® fans for positive commentary.  The set definitely has potential if these things are fixed, but at that point it'd be more of a MOC. Perhaps if this had a manual version with a significant price cut, it could be considered a parts pack for the aforementioned MOD/MOC.

New tyres look great. But they'll be available on BL and lego's part service :classic: Nice to finally see a locking differential, was about time.

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I'm a little more tempted by this than I was before reading this review! I've mostly been out of the Technic game since shortly after the rebooted Bionicle theme ended (since while I love a good Technic build, I'm much more a fan of fantasy and sci-fi than I am of "realistic" vehicles like Technic mostly focuses on). But if I were to get back into it this set seems to offer quite a bit of what I've missed out on—new differentials, CV joints, planetary hubs, clutches, and various other more recently introduced parts. Plus Powered Up, which I've yet to get a chance to experiment with.

For the set itself I like how solidly built it seems to be. I'm far from a "gearhead" who knows a lot about performance but there's a ton of little things I like, such as how effectively the large Powered Up hub is built into the back of the cab and the nice construction of the hood.

Also, mark me down as somebody who would be much less interested in this if it didn't have the colorful pins and axles. I may be "18+" but I'm bothered much more by avoidable difficulty than I am by the occasional spot of color reminding me that it's a Lego model.

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Excellent review as always. Scoring seems fair to me, but scores are very subjective so there's no real right or wrong.

I like this set a lot. I thought i would, and i do! I mentioned in the main thread that the building experience looked like it should good... and this seems to be the case. I love the diff locks and the gearbox, there's not too much bodywork as i find all those pretty bits boring to build!! The rrp is high, but nothing is actually bought for the full rrp.. Strongly suspect this will be around £200 with discounts in the uk, and thats ok with me.. i'd prefer 150, but some people spend 200 on cigarettes and beer in a couple of weeks. I don't do either, so if Lego is my 'vice' then i'm happy with that!! 

Looking forward to getting this!

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I like the Zetros, but I'll likely skip it because of the price. Thanks for the great review!

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Hooray, a positive review :) Your front bumper sits 1M further to the front, that might be partially the issue.

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Posted (edited)

To be honest, from all Control+ sets, this one looks excellent, but I still don't understand the 300 euros price.

Edited by Citromon

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I feel like the packaging is a bit deceiving - on the front of the box, the truck has motion-blurred wheels like it's flying along at high speed. And not a fan of the sticker vomit. 

That said, I like that it's got some decent climbing ability. I remember being a bit disappointed with older RC trucks from Lego (the orange 9398 crawler - which also had too small of wheels) and that they didn't have the torque or traction to climb. From videos though, it needs to shed a lot of weight on that cab to become less front-heavy. 

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Great work for a poor set, I understand what is a trial truck but trial trucks have to be funny and playable and with this prize and indecent turning radius it is very difficult.

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Nice review @Jim - thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts and make those great pictures. I like how you actually write your thoughts before and after, and how they change over time. I think this is good stuff to know, and your reviews are always a delight to see and read, and different enough from @Sariel's to make both have their place in the review scene.

It does make me more positive about the set. It seems to be a pretty cool set to build, with plenty of functionality going on. I can appreciate a good build, and those new "perpendicular beams" certainly help. I won't be getting this set, because I simply have no interest in these types of models, but I do appreciate it being made and I can imagine other people will enjoy building, controlling and modding it.

Your video didn't seem to show the steering though, is there a reason for that? After all, a RC set should also be fun to drive around. With the low speed and large turning radius, it seems like it would take ages to drive even a single full circle. How much play value is there in actually trying to navigate a parcours (is that a word in English?)?

By the way, for being bullied by a weird plastic animal on wheels for minutes on end, your cat seems to keep its calm quite well :P

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With all the great parts and the fact that I currently have $100 VIP rewards, dying to be used, this will definitely be a day one purchase for me, even with all it's shortcomings.

Again thanks Jim for a great review.

 

 

 

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@Jim since you mentioned flood lights and situation with flood in Netherlands I hope that in your area is safe so you can rest Zetros outdoors.

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41 minutes ago, I_Igor said:

@Jim since you mentioned flood lights and situation with flood in Netherlands I hope that in your area is safe so you can rest Zetros outdoors.

I am perfectly fine. Thanks for asking. I am near Rotterdam and the floods are near the German border. Very sad for the people who live there. I would hate to see my house flooded.

18 hours ago, 1974 said:

Set looks horrible with all those different coloured pins and axles. Pretty sure +18 people could manage black pins and axles only :thumbdown:

At the front (in the hood) there seems to be an intentional use of a black 3L pin with axle instead of a blue 2L pin with axle.

17 hours ago, blondasek said:

@Jim amazing review, as always :) It feels amost like a review of BWE. Hope that the next set will be reviewed by you as well :)

This set will be easily obtainable for ~200 euros pretty soon, so it may be an interesting buy. Time will tell.

Thanks for the compliment. I will be reviewing the Ford and hopefully the CAT as well. I really enjoyed building and reviewing, so I guess "I'm back in the game".

17 hours ago, syclone said:

Perhaps if this had a manual version with a significant price cut, it could be considered a parts pack for the aforementioned MOD/MOC.

I do wonder if this set would sell better if it were 150 euros like the tow truck and have manual controls.

16 hours ago, Lyichir said:

But if I were to get back into it this set seems to offer quite a bit of what I've missed out on—new differentials, CV joints, planetary hubs, clutches, and various other more recently introduced parts. Plus Powered Up, which I've yet to get a chance to experiment with.

This is definitely a great "starter pack". Packs a lot of the stuff you need to s experiment with.

16 hours ago, TeamThrifty said:

Excellent review as always. Scoring seems fair to me, but scores are very subjective so there's no real right or wrong.

Scoring is always difficult. I sometimes read my own reviews after a while, wondering why I scored an item a certain way.

16 hours ago, TeamThrifty said:

I like this set a lot. I thought i would, and i do! I mentioned in the main thread that the building experience looked like it should good... and this seems to be the case. I love the diff locks and the gearbox, there's not too much bodywork as i find all those pretty bits boring to build!! The rrp is high, but nothing is actually bought for the full rrp.

I liked the build way better than expect. It's a solid and interesting build. Milan did an outstanding job, as we have come to expect. I am not a big fan of the latter parts of a build either (bodywork, etc)

14 hours ago, Andman said:

I like the Zetros, but I'll likely skip it because of the price. Thanks for the great review!

Maybe you can pick it up with a discount. Or second hand. Or not at all :tongue:

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That is nice to know. Now imagine what people in Vukovar, etc suffered in 20th century!

Floods, earthquakes are unfortunately price for spreadind settlements from perfect areas like Mediterranean (ok Vezuc in Italy is not perfect example)...

Back to Zetros that is not available here jet (just checked store where I buy LEGO ...)

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14 hours ago, grohl said:

Hooray, a positive review :) Your front bumper sits 1M further to the front, that might be partially the issue.

It's a well deserved positive review in my opinion. Given your comment, that must mean that most other reviews are negative. I haven't had the time to check out other reviews. If you know me and my reviews, you know I tend to focus on the good stuff instead of the bad stuff. Of course, the bad stuff needs mentioning, but I still like to focus on the positive side of things.

I can totally understand when people say that 300 euros is too much for a set like this. But I don't think it's fair to grade a set based on the price alone. I know you are building within defined limits given certain parameters. And I do think you did a very good job. The build is solid, locking diff works great (and was interesting to build).

The only problem is that the front bumper is 1M too far to the front....hmmm now wait a minute :tongue: :wink: You are absolutely right. That's a stupid mistake (I tend to make those once every set). Funny thing is, that I have reattached the front bumper after shooting the video and now it's how it's supposed to be (without reading your comment). I will to the couch test again :wink: 
( I do feel stupid for not seeing this myself, thanks for pointing it out)

Don't get discouraged by the negative reviews. You deliver quality builds and I hope you will keep doing that for years to come.

 

14 hours ago, Citromon said:

To be honest, from all Control+ sets, this one looks excellent, but I still don't understand the 300 euros price.

Tow truck is 150 euros for 2000 odd parts. That set has no license. This set has a license (probably adds abour 20-30 euros to the set) and five PU elements which also add another 100 euros. I agree it still feels a bit steep and I would wait for a nice discount instead of paying top dollar.

10 hours ago, mostlytechnic said:

I feel like the packaging is a bit deceiving - on the front of the box, the truck has motion-blurred wheels like it's flying along at high speed. 

You do get waaaay less action than depicted on the box. That's for sure.

9 hours ago, Erik Leppen said:

Nice review @Jim - thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts and make those great pictures. I like how you actually write your thoughts before and after, and how they change over time. I think this is good stuff to know, and your reviews are always a delight to see and read, and different enough from @Sariel's to make both have their place in the review scene.

I have changed my MO a bit. Instead of writing useless comments between the pictures afterwards, I immediately write a section when I have completed a step/assembly. I helps me express my feelings better and I don't struggle afterwards.

I like to include some short videos and I will do my best to improve on that, but it's definitely not my goal to "compete" with video reviewers like @Sariel and @kbalage. They do a waaaaay better job than I do, so I definitely agree there there's enough room for all of us :wub:

9 hours ago, Erik Leppen said:

Your video didn't seem to show the steering though, is there a reason for that? After all, a RC set should also be fun to drive around. With the low speed and large turning radius, it seems like it would take ages to drive even a single full circle. How much play value is there in actually trying to navigate a parcours (is that a word in English?)?

That's a valid point! I was focused on the climbing ability that I actually forgot to shoot a simple driving and steering video. I do thing there is little play value, because of the geared down drivetrain. Not sure kids these days will keep there attention.

9 hours ago, Erik Leppen said:

It does make me more positive about the set. It seems to be a pretty cool set to build, with plenty of functionality going on. I can appreciate a good build, and those new "perpendicular beams" certainly help. I won't be getting this set, because I simply have no interest in these types of models, but I do appreciate it being made and I can imagine other people will enjoy building, controlling and modding it.

The build is definitely interesting and I do like to see what people come up with. I will probably be keeping this set built until there's a nice alternative model on Rebrickable. Or maybe a modded version here on EB.

8 hours ago, 992bricks said:

Looks really great without stickers!

Yup, I agree. What I wanted to do (but lacked the time) was replacing the green with various other colors. It's very easy to swap colors if you are not into green.

5 hours ago, Johnny1360 said:

With all the great parts and the fact that I currently have $100 VIP rewards, dying to be used, this will definitely be a day one purchase for me, even with all it's shortcomings.

:wub:

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14 hours ago, grohl said:

Hooray, a positive review :) Your front bumper sits 1M further to the front, that might be partially the issue.

I retried the couch challenge with the bumper attached correctly and it was definitely the 1M that did the trick. I stand corrected :sweet:

I have updated my review.

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Too pricey for me considering what it offers compared to what I have already.

@Jim so these tyres fit in between the Class and Jeep ones ? Any chance of a photo comparison of all 3?

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7 minutes ago, Seasider said:

Too pricey for me considering what it offers compared to what I have already.

@Jim so these tyres fit in between the Class and Jeep ones ? Any chance of a photo comparison of all 3?

Sariel's video had a nice comparison, I suggest you check that out. And yes, the new tyre fits right in the middle of the Claas and Jeep tyres.

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2 hours ago, Jim said:

Maybe you can pick it up with a discount. Or second hand. Or not at all 

This is of course an option for me as a customer. But that won't help shops. Discounts will hurt them. TLG still gets their, in my opinion, overprized retail purchase price.

Btw, I haven't seen any comment on color inconsistencies in any review so far (ot i missed it). Did you notice any during your recent reviews?

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