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Review: 6991 Monorail Transport Base

  

41 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you rate this set?

    • 1 – Poor
      0
    • 2 – Below Average
      2
    • 3 – Average
      2
    • 4 – Above Average
      15
    • 5 - Outstanding
      22


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Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to my latest review, I thought as it was my 1000 post I should do something specail for you all. So back to Unitron reviews with the big daddy of them all the ‘Monorail Transport Base’

6991-00.jpg

Before we begin apologies that the photos aren't the best but sadly the set is to large to photograph well.

Set Name: Monorail Transport Base

Set Number: 6991

Number of Pieces: 568

Figures:4

Released: 1994

List Price: £Unknown (GBP) $178 (USD) Didn’t exists at the time! Though EMU did I think? (EURO)

6991 Peeron.com

6991 Bricklink Catalog

One of the three Lego monorail sets that were relased and the last one.

Lets us begin with the box.

6991-01.jpg

As usual with space sets from this era the sky is a grid iron pattern.

Due to the era we get a nice back of the box shot with a number of diffrent models which could be made from this set.

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Back of the box.

We also get a falp showing us some more views of the main model

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Flap up.

Now for what’s inside. As I had this set built already I wasn't going to deconstruct it in order to take some photos.

Now time for the minifigs we’re provided by only four of them which in a set of this size seems a little on the mean side. Every other Lego monorail had far more minfigs than this one. So we’ve got the Unitron ‘Chief’ two unitrons and a Spyrius robot spy.

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Here are the only two normal Unitrons ever released in Europe.

I’ve always been a bit confused about the Spyrius spy robot I means he’s hardly inconspicuas.

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Now time to look at the different components that make up this rather large set.

The Monorail Train

The most important part of the set obviously composed of the two standard monorail bogies between a monorail motor

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At this stage much like at the other trains.

What makes this different from all the other monorails is that the the pods on either side are only lightly connected and come of easily

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The two train pods.

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Trains with mounted pods.

As with the other unitron sets the pods can be interchanged

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Crater Crusier pod on the left and pod from Space Station Zenon on the right.

Launch Pad with Spy base

The next part of the set is what for want of a better term I’m going to call the launching pad this is where one of the monorail pods can be sent up I assume to blast off into space.

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Long shot of the launch pad.

Apart from the obvious there are two interesting parts of the set the first is a concealed computer unit inside the rocks, which I assume is used by the Spyrius spy in order to relay information back to his base.

6991-13.jpg

The spy sends out his message.

The Second interesting part is what looks lime some form of control of science station located near the top of the structure which with clever use of hinges looks like you can’t get into but can.

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With the sides down.

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Closer look at the control panels.

The Drop down

The next part consists of a very simple bit of base and some tack to enable the train to get down to the ground level and deposit one of the pods into a transporters. From the commercials it seems that this was some for of escape mechanism when a large number of Spyrius robots rrived to escape.

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Drop down and base.

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The transporter

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The front comes off though there's nothing in the set to go on instead!

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Pod on transporter.

Mainbase/Station

Next we come to the station, which has a number of intresting parts, the radar dish on the top rotates as the train goes through the station, this is moved by the wheel in the station. There's also an arm for moving train pods backwards and forwards.

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The main station looking very good in my opinion.

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Pod on the transporter arm.

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Side view you can see the wheel that turns the dish more easily here.

Track assembly

The final part of the build is assembling the track into the layout directed in the instructions, this being my first monorail there were a few problems with assembling the track mainly because I’d never doneit before. Attaching the struts underneaither and the side plates and sliding the parts together presented some problems till I got the knack of it. The main problem I had was the up and down parts which I confused and then wondered why they didn’t fit.

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Quick picture of a set of points.

Finally I worked out how I was being foolish and then put everything round the right way, time to put the set all together

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First view of everything.

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Second view of everything.

Launch pad

Here are a few pictures of the train delivering a pod to the launch pad on top

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Nearly there.

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Pod placed on the pad.

Drop down

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Train comming down the slope.

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Pod loaded onto the transporter.

Finally lets add the mini-figs and everything is done

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The Rating System

Figures: 7.5/10 (Nice space selection, though there could have been more for the money )

Parts 7/10 (A limited selection of parts though I like the black base plates.)

Fun Fun Fun 10/10 (Once you’ve built it there’s quite a lot of play and fun to be had here even a lot of swosihing)

Design 10/10 (Can’t fault Lego on the design it’s one of the best space sets in my opinion and superior to ever set the came out about that time)

Price 8.5/10 ($178 is the only price reference I can find for the set, which seems a tad on the high side but all the monorails were expensive.)

Grand Total 43/50 (A high rating but a fine set deserves nothing less)

Conclusions

This set takes up a very large area, which looks very impressive when built, I think it’s also the most technically complex monorail ever built with the great option to drop of both the drive pods at various places on it route rather than just running round and turning back on itself. The train looks good but seems to be rather minimalist but that doesn’t bother me it fits in nicely with the rest of the Unitron theme. That there are two well devloped stations is another great bonus in my opinion, also this is the only monorail set to come with a set of points so anotehr plus.

The price is still an issue, but you can now get this set second hand for less than you’d pay for it news so I don’t think in the long run that’s really mattered. Of course I’m sure it mattered at the time and consdring how few normal parts you got I think it might have deterred me at the time when as a child I could buy a 9V train set instead for if I remember a similar price.

Regardless of that I have it now and I’ve become a bit of a Spacer because of it! I think this is one of the best Lego sets I've built in a very long time, I look forward to hearing your thoughs.

Bonus Comic

6991-28.jpg

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YES, I've been waiting for someone to do a review on this set default_blush.gif Thank you Cardinal Brick.

Could we get a Video of it in action ???

Edited by The Red Brick

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Great review of a totally awesome set, thanks for sharing this Cardinal Brick! :classic: As a kid, this is one of those sets I only could've dreamed of having (still is, as an adult :grin:). The sheer massiveness and train functionality is something that has always amazed me when I first saw this set.

BTW, congratulations on being a Count, shouldn't you change your name now to 'Count' Brick? :grin:

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Great review! This set is really nice. I really want Lego to re-release Monorail so I can experience it first hand. It looks really cool :thumbup:

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Great review of a great set! I second the idea of lego rereleasing the monorail. Sadly, it will never happen. :cry_sad:

You never know, Lego might re-release some old sets in the future default_blink.gif

6991-28.jpg

Wait, shouldn't you have put 'How can you give me a speeding ticket when I'm driving a train' or 'When I drive a train' default_blush.gif

Edited by The Red Brick

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Good review. However, I think this set was generally the weakest of the three monorails. The track layout is great and it has some clever features like the turning radar dish and detachable pods, but the train and pods themselves and the large base are rather poorly designed. There is a lot of scope for adding more things to the set though, and my MOC layout originally started out as a mod of this set.

I’ve always been a bit confused about the Spyrius spy robot I means he’s hardly inconspicuas.

Strangely, the box shows him cooperating with the Unitron guys. Apparently TLG hadn't yet made Unitron into a theme of their own yet, and hadn't decided if they were friends or enemies with Spyrius. :wacko:

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Has this set never been reviewed before? Very hard to obtain at a decent price, but a very fun set to build & play with. I connected it with the rest of my monorail track, but unfortunately the wheel that spins the antenna is an obstacle for the bulkier older trains. The benefit of points - this part of the track can be isolated exclusively for the Unitron train.

I agree it's disappointing to only have 4 figs for such a large set. All it takes is a small hostile strike force and there's very little resistance. So, Bricklink calls!

The next part of the set is what for want of a better term I’m going to call the launching pad this is where one of the monorail pods can be sent up I assume to blast off into space.

Or parking for maintenance? I used it for both purposes.

Strangely, the box shows him cooperating with the Unitron guys.

Or doing what he's told by his captors.

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Thx for the great review !! and thx for letting me feel like i was 10! This set has a cool land vehicle and the best bases of all the monorails

:thumbup:

Edited by minion

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Nice review, this looks like it would have been a daunting task.

I must agree as a monorail set, the layout is nice, but I prefer the farlier monorail sets.

I applaud you on the review though, you really covered everything this set has to offer.

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Nice review. This is such a massive monorail setup and it certainly looks very fun to play with all of the high and low tracks. Too bad, we don't see such of these sets anymore. Once again, thanks for sharing. :sweet:

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I still have this set all put together in my basement from when I got it probably about 15 years ago. I remember having to go to 3 Toy R Us's after half a year of saving for it to find it, but god was it worth it. I've mined some pieces from it, but it's still in working condition, though the battery in it is dead right now. The only thing is that the colors are wicked faded after so long in a dank basement. Seeing these pictures almost shocked me to remember what it originally looked like. I wish I still had the box, thanks for sharing!

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I also began a review of this set (should have been my first post on the board). But since I won't have time to do it properly in the next weeks/months, I will just make a second opinion out of it:

Back in the days where I was at an age where playing with Lego was widely adopted by my social environment,

I loved to visit one of my friends who's parents where cash wise "fluent" enough to by him the bigger Lego sets on a regular basis.

He had a lot cool sets (especially from Space Police like the Galactic Commander), but 6990 was my favorite.

I always wanted to have one, but as a kid my parents simply couldn't afford it, and as a "grown up"

I had to wait for my kids to reach a certain age to have a credible excuse to buy one.

More or less unfortunately only this set was in my (shortened through affordability) grasp - but due to the above mentioned "history" this set has to stand up against 6990.

The minifigs

I'm no minifig - guy so no judgment here from my side

the train

The base is called "Monorail transport base" - but what is actually transported by this base ?

There is absolutely no cargo to transport (except you declare minifigs as cargo), even if there was cargo,

there is no space on the monorail for it.

The old monorail had a special cargo container, to transport goods (whatever that may have been), and even a passenger cabin.

The new one has only these cockpits or whatever the may be called, that can be loaded or offloaded. But why are they

"loadable" in the first Place ? I can't see any real purpose.

The train itself houses a cockpit at each end and the battery compartment, and a thing that i have no name for. It looks like

a rocket(?) propulsion, but that wouldn't make sense on a train (at least if they don't want to fry their main motor).

I'm also missing the cool "bumpers" from the 6990 monorail - I know the set had to adopt the design guidelines of the Unitron theme, but these cockpits seem to belong more to a starship than to a monorail.

The "loader"

The loader is the only (non rail-based) vessel in this set and isn't very well/boring built but serves its purpose very well. The Major downside on this one, are the flimsy connected wheels.

They often are "left" behind when the "loader" has to cross small obstacles or is "rough driven".

The reload station

I called it reload station, because its the only possible use I came up with, but I'm not sure if this is right.

Maybe "let the radar dish rotate" would be more suitable, because at least this makes some kind of sense:

A wheel is "loosely" placed near the track, so if a train enters the station the wheel is turned by the train itself.

The wheel is connected through a technic - axle with a radar dish on top of the roof to make it turn.

The second "function" is a platform that can host a "cockpit". The platform is connected to a footbridge that is based on a turntable.

If the monorail is halted, the platform is able to "swing" from one monorail nose to the other. My guess this should be used to

exchange the cockpits. But how does the cockpit move from the monorail to the plattform an back ? There is no crane or lifting mechanism,

that could help here. So they need to lift off by themselfs - but if they can lift off, why have this platform in the first place ?

They could simply fly to the other end.

The "tower"

The tower consist of a small compartment with terminals in it, and on top of that is an unloading station. My first thought on this was

"crud there aren't enough "direction manipulators" in the package (I bought it in very used condition from eBay) but Lego seemed to cut costs

by simply using a brick to invert the direction - which is clever, but another "direction manipulator" would have been cooler.

Anyway if the monorail drives on top of the tower the cockpit is unloaded on a plattform and then the monorails direction is inverted.

I'm also not sure what the cockpit does when its on the plattform, maybe lift off - it surely can't get back on the monorail again

I don't know what the guys in the control compartment are for, maybe controlling the monorail ? And as often the windshields don't

seal the compartment airtight they seem to have only decorative character.

The (un)loading station

Nothing special to say about that. It's function is to (un)load a cockpit on the loader vessel which also functions very well.

Except that there is again no mechanism that lets you - more or less - automatically load the cockpit from the laoder to the train.

The track

The tracks are the major advantage of this set. Having two track switches and 2 "direction manipulators" makes the

whole track network a lot more interesting in a sense of playing with the track layout as opposed to 6990 which had a quite boring layout.

One thing I missed from 6990 was the track decorations. Although they had no real purpose they were cool to look at, and they gave

to whole thing a more realistic look.

Scores

Build: 6/10 The built is easy, no special techniques used. Its not very repetitive but there aren't many parts.

Playability: 6/10 The playablity has the monorail factor which catched my boys (5 and 2,5 years old) for quite a while. But apart from that there isn't much left to play with

Minifigures: 7/10 The robot guy looks cool - I like his transparent helmet.

Pieces: 6/10 Except from the monorail part no special pieces to mention.

Price: 6/10 I was lucky getting mine for "only" 60€ which I find rather overpriced. I don't know the original price, but at least here bases where/are always expensive

Design: 6/10 There was absolutely no "cool look at that" factor that my son and I have when building other models (like the very good 7692 MX-71 Recon Dropship).

Total- 37/60

All in all, I'm torn. I'm quite dissapointed about the whole set but thats surely based on the fact, that I can't look at it with my childhood eyes.

The tracks itself are good, but the rest of the set isn't. The buildings are poorly built and don't have a lot of (usefull) functions.

But on the other Hand its the monorail - the transport vessel for future colonies on other planets like Mars

(at least at the time it came out a lot of serious predictions (like from NASA and ESA) mentioned/showed a monorail).

Cool, but overrated - I Think

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i voted this set 'below average'. i remember when it came out and i couldn't really figure out what it was supposed to be or do. nor did it belong to a real subtheme... true, we're all comparing it to one of the most brilliant sets of all time, the classic Monorail, but still... it's just not the best design, not the best color combination, and a space faction that was never really accepted as a "classic".

i think most fans would have prefered a remake of the old Monorail, really...

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i voted this set 'below average'. i remember when it came out and i couldn't really figure out what it was supposed to be or do. nor did it belong to a real subtheme... true, we're all comparing it to one of the most brilliant sets of all time, the classic Monorail, but still... it's just not the best design, not the best color combination, and a space faction that was never really accepted as a "classic".

i think most fans would have prefered a remake of the old Monorail, really...

It belonged to Unitron, but this was the only Unitron set that was released outside the US. From what you say, it sounds like TLG never introduced the Unitron name and branding at all in Europe.

I like Unitron's color scheme, but this set was indeed pretty weak. I think the smaller Unitron base (1789) is much better designed, even though it lacks the coolness factor of a monorail.

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It belonged to Unitron, but this was the only Unitron set that was released outside the US. From what you say, it sounds like TLG never introduced the Unitron name and branding at all in Europe.

I like Unitron's color scheme, but this set was indeed pretty weak. I think the smaller Unitron base (1789) is much better designed, even though it lacks the coolness factor of a monorail.

well they did introduce it, it was in the catalog of 1994 or something, but as you say, Unitron was not exactly a fully established faction, and i think it was released pretty much at the end of a time frame, when the golden years of space were gone...

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In my childhood I always wanted this set. It had cool minifigs and cool colours. Now I realize this has to be the weakest of the three Monorail sets. But still I think this set is not thát bad. It's just not as good as 6990 (or 6399, but that's another theme).

I've never heard of Unitron until after my Dark Ages. At least in the Dutch catalogs, the name Unitron was never called. This set was displayed most times on the same pages as Spyrius. While the latter had the name and logo above the sets, the monorail was displayed without any theme information. I don't really care about the other sets, I think the monorail is the best of the theme, but it was interesting to find out other sets do exist.

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I've never heard of Unitron until after my Dark Ages. At least in the Dutch catalogs, the name Unitron was never called. This set was displayed most times on the same pages as Spyrius. While the latter had the name and logo above the sets, the monorail was displayed without any theme information. I don't really care about the other sets, I think the monorail is the best of the theme, but it was interesting to find out other sets do exist.

That's how it appears in the 1994 US catalogs too, and the box actually has the Spyrius blurb on it (the boxes back then had short theme-specific descriptions). TLG themselves didn't seem to know who exactly this faction was. :tongue: The Unitron name was only used in the US from 1995 onward.

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I like Unitron's color scheme, but this set was indeed pretty weak. I think the smaller Unitron base (1789) is much better designed, even though it lacks the coolness factor of a monorail.

think you're refering to "1793", right? hm... not a great fan of that one either :sadnew: the large trans blue window is a great plus for this model, it just lacks style and sophistication.

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