REVIEW 7692 Mars Mission Recon Dropship


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  1. 1. So, Whatcha Think of the Set?

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Another second-hand set I've recently acquired. The was the second-largest kit in Mars Mission's innitial wave of releases.




Set Name: MX-71 Recon Dropship

Set Number: 7692

Theme: Mars Mission

Year Released: 2007

Number of Pieces: 435

Minifigs: 6

Price on Release: $39.99 (I don't know the Euro value)





A nice high-angle shot here filled with completely random action. The most impressive thing here is the sheer awesome power of the missile that the dropship's about to fire - anything getting hit by that's going to be the universe's newest black hole. Lucky for the alien he's nowhere near the line of fire, making me wonder exactly what is. Way below, the driller van is merrily chewing away at the unstable cliff it's precariously perched on.


The back features the usual clean action images, including the standard group shot in the top corner. I don't like that image; there's great action in it, but with most sets featuring two or more vehicles, the image mixes them all up and repeats a few of them and it's impossible to tell which ships are packaged with each other.


The manual and what's left of the DSS. The stickers were already applied but this might give you an idea of how many there are.


The manual has some major colour differentiation issues. In the top half here, the round spots are dark grey and the rectangular frame is black. In the bottom half, the sticker is exactly the same shade of black as the plastic (see below). White/light bley differentiation is similarly weak.


And here are all the stickered elements. I don't normally apply the stickers but these mostly work well with the elements they're on.


Some of the more remarkable pieces in the set, though there are surprisingly few I think. I'll take all the trans neon yellow TLG sees fit to give me.


And here's everything else. Sorry it's not a bit more organised but I was really pushed for time. The pieces are all basic stuff, really. Like most MM sets they favor Technic beams over standard bricks and use a lot of very basic Technic elements and techniques.


The set includes two humans and four snot monsters. Mars Mission recycled a lot of older minifig heads rather than make new ones and the selection can be rather mixed. I don't think these two heads work well together at all; one has the standard sizes for the mouth and other features, but the other is obviously more "extreme." They're not double-sided, but I've turned one backwards to show the back printing on the torso. Back printing's always nice but there's nothing incredible in the MM spacesuits. The human minifigs are basically meh.

The aliens make the humans look like sparkly golden GODS, though. I hate these guys. They look terrible and can barely move. No wonder the dropship is flatly ignoring them on the box cover. Expose them to strong light for a few minutes and their kidneys start to glow.



The set comprises three vehicles, and the first two are deceptively quick and simple to build. Probably five minutes each if I hadn't dumped everything into one big pile. I didn't take any mid-build images because there wasn't anything to show. First up is the autonomous test drill.


It's a cute enough little trolley, despite the lack of any controls. They could easily have stuck something small in front of the pilot, there's plenty of room even when the shield is down. The windshield isn't quite as fragile as it looks because it rests fairly snugly against the white sides of the cockpit, though I've had sets where a similar setup proved inadequate. The drill can't extend high enough to be fully vertical. Nothing too critically wrong with it.


Construction moves quickly onto the alien advance interceptor. I've nicknamed it the Slave 0.5 because of its shape. I'm not a huge fan of this, because it doesn't fit the styling of alien ships from other sets.


Don't let the stickers fool you, the construction of this thing is almost as simple as with the astro buggy. The aliens are attached by the feet to hinge bricks and then bent backwards. They fall out a lot. The cannon on the front rotates. The ones on the sides don't move at all.


Here's a look at the Slave 0.5's innards, with one side removed. Manual controls clearly don't exist on Mars, everything is powered by pixie dust. This shot also reveals a particular piece of bad designing:


The pressure from the greep tubes constantly pushes upwards here, and the model is always breaking in one of these two areas. Push one back tight and the other will snap off. It was a struggle getting them to stay intact long enough for the photos. An extra 2x2 plate inserted somewhere may relieve some of that pressure.

Overall, the alien craft looks okay if a little illogical, and it has that defect that keeps crumbling on me, while the driller is fine if a little simple. Together, they only represent a small fraction of the set so moving on....



The main dropship uses modular build style, with six or seven units being built separately before being snapped together. The cockpit's up first. This is it mostly built, it's just missing the canopy, the two guns on the side, and a couple of control sticks. It's connected to the hull with a ball joint so it can move around a lot. The pilot sits on the white bit and leans way back, over a yawning hole. That's fine for a Legoman, he can just tilt back no problem, but if this was real life it'd be hellishly uncomfortable. It loses points with me for just being completely daft.


The guns are cool. They rotate the full 360° and swing in and out. However, once complete, you can see how cramped that cockpit's going to be. It's not hinged, it must be removed entirely to let the astronaut in and out. There are two more problems with it:


First, it's not airtight.


Second, in order to open it, you must tilt it back against the white arches, which loosens them.


Next up, the ship's backbone. This is about ten steps in and it had a nice, chunky-yet-sleek look to it already.


Flip it over and you see it's really quite hollow. Those two rubber connectors with the red things are important, I'll come back to them in a minute.


Attach the cockpit, build up the "shoulders" a bit to lock it in place, and assemble the tail parts, and the ship is beginning to take shape.


Just a few more modules to attach. Here are the wings. They're hinged, which is nice, and strangely asymmetrical. I'd have preferred them to have the same weapons - two of either would have been fine - but they don't look that odd when they're attached.


Couple of pods...


And the ship's landing struts. They look quite excellent, though they're fixed in place and don't move.



Stick it all together and this is the result. No matter what I do, those pods are stuck in vertical; the orange pipes push them into that position. This, despite the box and all the illustrations showing them in horizontal, with the pipes bending way more than mine want to. Not entirely sure what's going on there. I've loads of those pipes from previous sets and none of them are as yielding as the ones on the box.

Nobody point out that Slave 0.5 is missing a gun barrel! I know! I have no idea where that's got to! The set comes with four aliens but there's only spaces made for three (the second pod contains gems). The fourth one obviously had to walk to the action. Harsh, for a dude with no joints.


Don't lie. You'd forgotten that I'd promised to come back to this, hadn't you? The rubber things on the dropship's underside are used to grip the driller's square loop. This works surprisingly well; the driller wobbles around a lot, but it's quite secure despite being easy to attach and remove. I've held it off the ground and shook it a bit and it doesn't drop.


And finally, the detritus of the fabrication process. I like it when I get more than one copy of any particular spare. It feels like I've cheated the system. Three half pins. Take that, recession!


Like every Mars Mission set, there are some bizarre oversights mixed up with some nice ideas and smushed together to make a box of Lego. That flaw in the Slave 0.5 is pretty unforgivable in my book, and the dropship's cockpit could have been handled a lot better, but offsetting those are the dropship's sleek, efficient design and occasional spot of brilliance.

Design: 7/10: The Slave 0.5 doesn't really seem to follow the aliens' usual design style; the colours are the same but the flat surfaces are oriented vertically instead of horizontally. That may seem like a trite observation but it just feels like something that was slapped together and it doesn't feel like it belongs in the fleet. The driller passes. The dropship looks great and works well for the most part. The tubes and cockpit maybe need a second look.

Parts: 7/10: Mainly Technic beams and hull pieces. Nothing that screams of being interesting, but it's all useful. Aliens and associated pods excepted, of course.

Build: 7/10: The colour problems in the manual were an occasional hindrance but otherwise, things proceeded logically.

Playability: 8/10: Even with the pods at an odd angle, the end result is very nice, and assuming Slave 0.5 stays intact then it also looks nice. There's a lot to do with the set.

Price: 8/10: Seems about right.

Total: 75%: Again, as with any Mars Mission set I've seen, the niggles bring it down and it could have been great if TLG had taken the time to iron them out. If you don't let them bother you, it's quite a good set. I was pleasantly surprised, given my usual wariness with this theme.

Thanks for reading!

- Dunjohn

Edited by Dunjohn

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Meh. The only good thing about this set is the price, I suppose, and it has a decent part selection.

Edited by prateek

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Very good review Dunjohn.

This is one of the best MM sets, in my opinion. The dropship is well designed and has some nice features, like the rotable cannons and that simple, yet very effective grabbing mechanism for the drill vehicle. The landing struts are an interessing idea, too, and I used the concept in one my MOCs. The drill vehicle is nothing outstanding, but does it's job quite well. The set could be better if it wasn't for the aliens, but that applies to the whole Mars Mission theme. If they had omitted them completely and concentrated more on exploration and a bit of mining, MM could have been a nice continuation of the classic Lego Space lines. That also would have avoided the morally questionable tendency of the humans to abduct aliens to do "research" on them. Just locking them into these pods isn't enough, they do worse things in other sets ...

Another thing that bugged me with MM was that there was not one single female character in all of the 17 or so sets. It's almost as if there were no women allowed on mars.


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Another well done review Dunjohn, thanks for sharing! I'm with Plastemaurer here, I also think this is the best set in the Mars Mission line, the dropship has a very striking neat design with some cool playable features. The two other vehicles, the driller van and the alien ship, are pretty good complementary vehicles to the dropship. So overall this is an above average set for me.

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Thanks for the review! Many models from 2007 MM sets suffered from strange design. But this dropship is very good, beautiful and graceful. I definitely agree that this is one of the best MM sets.

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That's a lovely review of a great set. This was one of my favorite sets from the theme. Never did get it though.......

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