[Set Review] 8297 Off Roader (lots of pictures)

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8297 Off Roader

Recently, TLC announced that their newest Technic building competition would be building a super car. Me recently coming out of my dark ages remember the 8880 Super Car from the catalogs as a set I always wanted to have, but never got when I was a kid. However, and of course far from coincidence, TLC recently released the 8070 Super Car as a set, which I went out to buy. Except that at the time when I wanted to buy it, I came across the 8297 Off Roader. I know that the Off-Roader was an older set and thus less likely to be in stores, so I picked it instead and it was for the same price (I actually bought the 8070 today and a local toy store was having an easter sale with 20% off on all Lego and Playmobil products).

The term super car is kinda wird. What most picture are is a sports car with a gear shift and a multitude of functions. While I agree with the latter, the requirement of "sports car" is rather unwarranted as I see it. The 8466 4x4 Off-Roader is considered by many a super car, and in my opinion the 8297 also fits the bill. It has a small gearbox, though not a "stick shift". The gear box channels the Power Functions medium motor the set comes with into either a winch, or a mechanism that raises or lowers the body. The latter is achieved by shifting the point where the shocks are attached to the body and it works quite well. The B-Model, a buggy, uses the motor to raise or lower its body. The main model as well as the B-model make use of power function lights for the headlights. Both also have a fake motorblock that moves its pistons when the car is rolled across the floor, and the A-model also has wing doors which work quite nicely with some air pistons. And of course, both models have a steering mechanism. Both models are also fully suspended with individual shocks for each tire.


Model Number: 8297

Model Name: Off Roader

Number of pieces: 1097

Date of Release: June 27, 2008 (US) / July 2, 2008 (UK)

Original Price: US $119.99 / € 109.99 / £94.99

Set out of the box:




Quite the standard box. Besides the box box for the 8043 Motorized Excavator (which I unfortunately had to get rid off. The box, not the Excavator), it's the biggest box of my recent purchases and I actually keep the other boxes inside this box, russian doll style. Of course, like with other Lego sets, the box doesn't actually have to be this large to keep on the parts in it, but it serves as advertising real estate.



The instructions are pretty high quality. The weird thing however is that the 3rd book is only 16 pages. Why they didn't just fit those pages into the other 2 is beyond me. Unfortunately unlike old sets, not all Lego Technic sets come with a book for the B-Model instructions, which have to be downloaded from the TLC website. I do appreciate though that TLC is putting up all instruction manuals as free downloads on their website. I make use of that feature rather often to decide what sets I buy, but a book would be nice. Some of the steps given are rather minuscule in nature, particularly compared to older sets.



This set is quite large with more than 1000 pieces and there's a lot of connectors. I actually didn't get the whole bunch of small beams and other parts on the photo. There's actually quite a lot of the loose, light-brown parts, which are rather rare in other sets.


The really interesting parts are of course the power functions (battery pack, medium motor, lights, switch) as well as the air pistons for the wing doors. Lots of gears, including a differential, and the type of suspension that is in my opinion some of the most indicative of super car style sets.

A-Model Construction:

In the first stages the A-Model consists of four main parts:

* The front, which houses the power functions motor, as well as the steering and the winch. It will later also house the headlights and the motor block.

* The gearbox, which switches between the power functions and also has the axle from the back wheels to the motor pass through it.

* The a small worm-gear to 28 tooth transmission which drives the mechanism that raises or lowers the body.

* The back which houses the differential.




These four parts are put together in the chassis, add steering, the two axles that run and raise or lower the point where the shocks connect to the main body of the car, and with it the body itself. In this photo you can also see the air pistons for the wing doors and the lights.


Next you build the car body starting from the back, which also holds the battery pack for the power functions. The V8 Motor block is added and the body finished. Attach the tires for the finished model. Also included a shot from the bottom, which showcases the gearbox and differential quite nicely.



B-Model Construction

The B-Model starts out with the rear differentl which later drives the motor block, sitting right above it. The start of the differential is actually very similar to the back-axle part of the A-Model. It then builds up with the steering function and the insertion of the motor to the front. The front also houses the switch, which is later rather hidden. The B-Model also houses a winch on the front, though it is turned manually.




After the chassis is finished, a body is constructed which is pretty much put on the chassis like a hood. The motor function is to raise and lower it. Attach the tires and you're finished.




This set is very nice. It is rather large and a lot of fun to build., There are a few points of annoyance though. The biggest is that the cord for the medium motor is rather short, and you will have trouble actually getting it to the switch in the back. The function of raising and lowering the body is also also interesting and somewhat unique, particularly the way it was implemented, but not that interesting either. I do have to admit though that this model taught me how a differential works, though perhaps I was just too lazy to look it up and I never had a differential in any of my previous models (weird, I know).

The weakness of the power functions that are used for raising and lowering the body in the main model is also present in the B-Model, where it simply raises and lowers the roof, and leaves the chassis standing. The B-Model could actually be a quite nice standalone model, building it out of the set lets a ton of pieces remain left. What I really liked about the B-Model however was the "motor block" type of detail that hides the switch for the power functions.

Despite its flaws, I really like this model and it was definitely a good purchase.

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I got this set only for the new parts. The most interesting feature was the lifting suspension which as you say, isn't really that interesting.

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Thanks for the great review! I bought this set as at the time it was the best way to get the rest of the parts I needed to build a "supercar". I didn't like the model itself much, but it was a great parts set with good mechanics.

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I saw a #8297 one displayed in the stand of a vendor during the last Legofest in Ballabio. I didn't like it. It has not three differentials, a working 5-speed-and-reverse gearbox and a working steering wheel. It's just a big toy with some special effect to fool the kids. If I buy it it's just to have a lot of useful parts.

Long life to #8466, despite the weakness of shock absorbers.

Edited by Plastic Nurak

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