randomwalk

[REVIEW] 7471 - Mars Exploration Rover

Recommended Posts

(Since this is my first review on this site, please excuse any shortcomings, omission of valuable information and inclusion of superfluous information - comments and feedback are welcome).

7471 Mars Exploration Rover Review - Technic in all but its name

Model Number: 7471

Name: Mars Exploration Rover

Theme: Discovery

Year: 2003

Number of pieces: 870

Full sized photos available at https://www.flickr.c...57645937216192/

There didn't seem to be any review of this set on this site, so I decided to add my own. Overall, this was an enjoyable build and I would recommend it highly to any Technic collector who is looking for something beyond the usual.

It is important to note that this set is not a Technic set, but was part of the "Discovery" theme in 2003. This theme was quite short lived and featured 6 sets of varying sizes and complexity. The mars rover is the only one in the series that is a Technic style build. In fact, this is the most "Technicy" non-Technic set I have yet encountered. Among the Discovery theme, this set is also has the highest parts count (870). Since the set is quite old, it may be difficult to obtain or may command a high price depending on where you live. However, it seems to be the least rare one out of the Discovery series.

Functions:

There are two knobs on the top of the set - one for rotating the antenna, and another for steering. The steering mechanism is quite interesting in that the outer four wheels are steered using a combination of push-rods and the "flex" system. The design of the steering system is quite impressive.

On the back, there are two knobs - one for rotating the camera, and one for extending the robotic arm. Additionally, the camera can be extended and retracted using a dampened spring (the same ones used for the doors on the 8448 super car).

The solar panels can be folded up and released with another dampened spring (see pictures). For some reason, the folded up configuration didn't seem to be very stable (any minor perturbation caused them to extend), however, that could be due to the way I built it.

Pictures:

Instruction booklet:

14749865245_39fb9cf29f_z_d.jpg

In addition to the instructions, there is also an informational booklet with various facts about the real rover:

14747523944_c5b62cce9e_z_d.jpg

Various parts:

14563193390_4c49010441_z_d.jpg

14749868545_4171ec88bf_z_d.jpg

14769737343_d96f4eb349_z_d.jpg

Partial progress:

14746696221_54738bd29f_z_d.jpg

About half-way:

14563185870_02c94165c8_z_d.jpg

Fully constructed, but before solar panels:

14726863396_9773ae0e19_z_d.jpg

With solar panels:

14563183870_20d0fac882_z_d.jpg

14746688521_9f95ff961a_z_d.jpg

14747517334_28a14cf275_z_d.jpg

Panels folded up:

14563416727_6442176139_z_d.jpg

14747515004_69ff922eb6_z_d.jpg

14563181130_701d91e137_z_d.jpg

Things I liked:

Novelty: It was very refreshing to build a Technic set that does not fall into a typical category (car, truck, construction vehicle, plane/helicopter). It would be great if Lego would produce more sets like this, rather than producing n-th iterations of the usual vehicles. I suspect that most people on this forum would also appreciate this.

Another novel aspect of this set was the color palette. Again, it was nice to build something that was not yellow or red. The set consisted mainly of light grey, dark grey and tan pieces. However, this choice (namely lots of grey) also has some disadvantages which will be discussed later.

Complexity: For a non-Technic set, I was really impressed with the functionality of this set. It is evident that the designers put a lot of effort into making it. It isn't revolutionary, but given its part count I think they pack a lot in.

Things I didn't like:

Although I liked the non-traditional color choices, at times it was difficult to distinguish between the different shades of grey in the instructions (mixing up white and light grey, light grey and dark grey, dark grey and black). Occasionally I would have to go back a step since I realized that I used the wrong color.

Summary:

If you are looking for a medium-large Technic set off the beaten track, check it out. Among the Discovery sets, this one seems to be the one that is most readily available. I really hope that in the future Lego will introduce more Technic sets like this (non-traditional vehicles/machines and in non-traditional colors). This is a fantastic example of what the possibilities are when they step outside the realm of the zillionth car / truck / construction machine.

Out of curiosity, if anyone knows other "Technic-style" sets that are not part of the Technic theme (like this one), please share.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh dang! I always wanted this set when I saw it in the catalogs as a kid. I'll have to see if I can find one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice review, thanks. I had never seen this set before, heh. Looks quite interesting, I'll try to track down a copy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@randomwalk - Welcome to the forum, and nice review :thumbup:

If you are interested in writing more reviews, you might want to check out the Eurobricks Reviewers Academy (http://www.eurobrick...p?showforum=110).

I picked this set up a few years ago, and even with all of the flagship sets over the last few years, this is still my favourite set. For the number of pieces, it has a lot of features, and the features aren't just your typical rack and pinion steering.

  1. Deploying the solar panels
  2. Deploying the camera mast
  3. Rotating the camera mast
  4. Rotating the high gain antenna (controlled using the UHF antenna)
  5. Two stage extending robotic arm
  6. Interesting steering mechanism (controlled using the low-gain-antenna)

Are those panels flexible?

The panels are a little bit flexible. You wouldn't want to fold them in half, but they can flex a little bit without damaging them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback. I didn't know that there was a reviewers academy. Unfortunately the link provided seems to require administrator access which I doe have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"technic in all but name" indeed. If someone had MOC'd this, it would certainly be called a Technic MOC.

I wonder how different it would be if it were designed today, with modern parts available (steering hubs etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the nice review and welcome to Eurobricks!

Unfortunately the link provided seems to require administrator access which I doe have.

You need to sign up for the academy first: it can be done here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice review. I own a copy and enjoyed building it as well.

For some reason, the folded up configuration didn't seem to be very stable (any minor perturbation caused them to extend), however, that could be due to the way I built it.
Same for me. It looks like this feature is a bit poorly designed.

What's your condition of a rubber bands? I bought mine used so most of them cracked or disintegrated by that time. Any chance of "Fact booklet" inside photo?

Are those panels flexible?

Yeap, thay are made of very soft plastic.

Btw. There are quite a few sets in Racers theme which could be considered as a Technic: 8682, 8649 and 8146.

Edited by zux

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any chance of "Fact booklet" inside photo?

Here is the first inside page (more available on the flickr page):

14757513235_17572e8ba9_z_d.jpg

What's your condition of a rubber bands?

For some reason, my rubber bands are in excellent condition. Could be that they were in storage for such a long time?

Edited by randomwalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice review for this uncommon set!

Maybe I will still get me one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's kind of expensive on BL, unfortunately. Can't find any second-handed copies on Marktplaats, either. If you do find some for cheap, buy me a copy as well :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

130 euro. Bit steep indeed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

130 euro. Bit steep indeed.

With your salary as a Technic Moderator, 130 euro should be peanuts!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question: are those the new or the old grays?

And yes, I have always found this set intriguing as well, due to the originality and the "technical" look of it. I don't own one, but have checked out the instructions more than once :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question: are those the new or the old grays?

And yes, I have always found this set intriguing as well, due to the originality and the "technical" look of it. I don't own one, but have checked out the instructions more than once :)

Rebrickable indicates old grays and since it is from 2003 that makes sense...

http://rebrickable.com/sets/7471-1/mars-exploration-rover-discovery-2003

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Germany you sometimes find used sets in good condition for ~ 50 to 70€ if you are patient... Best is to look at marketplaces like Kleinanzeigen.ebay.de

I got mine fir that price; Indeed great because unique model

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.