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  1. Hi All , I want to start this one with thanking JopieK for his powered up tear down ! Without this info I would have had to do a lot more work before doing this. So instead of having a lazy sunday afternoon , I decided to take up one of the challenges TLG gave us with powered up. I'm in the proces of modifying a 60197 with longer bases and 7 cars at the moment. I wanted to power this beast with 2 motors so I could add even more cars in the future. So I took apart 2 PUP motors and removed the wiring from the PCB on the motor. I then soldered a piece of flatcable in place to get me through the base plate. I had to modify the base plate a little (...) to able to fit 1 motor as a jacobs bogie. Then i soldered the 2 flatcables to one of the removed motor cables , effectively switching both motors in parallel. In one of the motor assemblies I also turned the electrical motor around 180 degrees to get both motors rolling in the same direction. Some heavy mechanical modding had to be done to achieve this. I can probably find a better way if I put my mind to it. Anywayzz... without further ado, 2 pics of the result below and a WIP of the beast itself :) Have fun doing this for yourselves and don't hesitate to ask !
  2. Recently our LUG got the new Powered Up passanger train which was a great fun for the kids at the holiday LEGO camp to assembly. However it seems that TLC will keep the big, one-part train fronts for all upcoming passanger trains, in other details the new City set seems a really good deal even for my AFOL-eyes. The color scheme, the easily removeable battery compartment solution is really nice, and the improved remote handles the speeds better (train not stopping at curves with speed 1). It is a real drawback, that only two outputs can be handled by a single battery box and connectors can't be stacked, but I hope there will be an official solution from TLC to put more motors on the same port (and maybe AA battery box). But back to colors... this bright orange, dark blue and light bluish gray combination is just perfect, I think it looks better than the 75% of real train colors. So I decided to make a try in LDD how this color scheme would look like on my Stadler FLIRT3 EMU (which was build for real recently). I had to change bright orange to simple orange - bright orange parts are still very limited. So, here are some screenshots from LDD: 1. The overall look: 2. Front pattern (light bluish gray cheese slopes missing but could be fit for real): 3. Overall look focusing on front: 4. Next to my GySEV FLIRT3: Basically only small details have been altered - the hinge connection by the front needed to be changed since the 1×2 plate with bar (closed ends) doesn't exist in orange. Also the side detail next to driver's cab and front window have been changed a little. However FLIRT trains have two different levels (upper one next to driver's cab and articulation, lower one anywhere else) I kept all color patterns horizontal through the train. Some lines with 1 plate height in Powered Up set have been increased to two plates (white on side and darb blue on the top), and made the full-orange front to have a line back at the bottom just like Railjet locomotives are painted with the red pattern curving back to the bottom. The doors became orange, sincs new TSI standards require to make doors with outstanding pattern to be easily identifyable to people with damaged vision. For this train I decided to make the plan with 3 cars - most LEGO passanger trains are given with 3 cars. Battery compartment could be hidden at toilet section. Tell me your opinion. :)
  3. Introduction: Thanks to @Jim the brand new Cargo Train has arrived early in LEGO City. Here a review of the set. I was very excited to get my hands on the set, not only because it offers a large potential but also because of the Powered Up system. Set Information: Number - 60198 Name – Cargo Train Theme – City (Trains) Year – 2018 Minifigs – 6 Pieces – 1226 Target age – 6+ (6 – 12) Price – €189.99, CA$ 269.99, $ 229.99, £ 179.99 Available from: July 1rst 2018 Links: Brickset - https://brickset.com/sets/60198-1/Cargo-Train Poll on the review: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GTQWQVX (suggestion: fill it in after you finished the review). LEGO Product Information Load up the powerful LEGO® City 60198 Cargo Train and deliver the goods on time! This cool LEGO City set features a motorized engine with 10-speed Bluetooth remote control, accessible driver’s cabin, a crane wagon with rotating and extendable boom arm, container wagon with 2 containers, and a log wagon, plus an armored truck with opening doors, and a forklift with opening roll cage and lifting forks. This cool LEGO train set also includes a full circular track with 16 curved rails, 16 straight rails and a railroad switch with lever, plus a control center with ladder and 2 buildable pallets with money bills, gold bar elements, a snow scooter and 6 LEGO minifigures. Includes 6 LEGO® minifigures: 4 train workers, a security officer and a crook. Features a motorized engine with 10-speed Bluetooth remote control, pantograph on the opening roof, and driver’s cabin with control panel. Also features a log wagon, crane wagon with rotating and extendable boom arm, and a container wagon with 2 containers with hooks on the roof for loading and space for pallets. Includes a control center with ladder and signal lights, a full circular toy train track with 16 curved rails, 16 straight rails and a railroad switch with lever, a money transport truck with opening doors, and a working forklift with opening roll cage. Accessory elements include a wrench, 12 gold bar elements and 4 money bills, plus 2 buildable pallets, 3 logs and snow scooter. Open the roof to access the engine car filled with cool details. Operate the cargo train with the 10-speed Bluetooth remote control. Lift and load logs onto the log wagon with the crane's rotating arm and hook. Push the lever on the railroad switch to drive the train to a different track for loading or unloading. Load pallets into the containers with the forklift before lifting them onto the container wagon with the crane. Set up the tracks in different configurations to load or offload cargo around your city. This product requires batteries (not included). Please refer to the product packaging for type and quantities. The included Bluetooth remote is not compatible with older infrared remote-controlled LEGO® train sets. Cargo Train in total measures over 4” (11cm) high, 32” (82cm) long and 2” (6cm) wide. Engine measures over 4” (11cm) high, 10” (27cm) long and 2” (6cm) wide. Log wagon measures over 1” (5cm) high, 5” (15cm) long and 2” (6cm) wide. Crane wagon measures over 4” (10cm) high, 8” (22cm) long and 1” (5cm) wide. Container wagon measures over 3” (9cm) high, 7” (18cm) long and 1” (5cm) wide. Armored truck measure over 2” (6cm) high, 6” (15cm) long and 2” (6cm) wide. Control center measures over 8” (21cm) high, 3” (8cm) wide and 4” (12cm) deep. Forklift measures over 2” (7cm) high, 2” (5cm) wide and 4” (12cm) deep. The Box: The box is huge, feels filled and heavy. This is the front of the box: and this is the back: They clearly mention that set is not compatible with older systems (read: Power Functions). They also promote the upcoming app(s) and the passenger train (+ the track sets). I found it a bit odd that they did not include the Bluetooth Low Energy logo and standard they use on the box. They mention Bluetooth but that could have meant Bluetooth Classic. Not too easy to see in the smaller resolution of the image, but they mention near the lightning bolt: "The Bluetooth technology is not compatible with older train products". For kids I think the box would be very appealing since they give a lot of hints on how to play with the set. Inside The Box: The box contains 12 numbered and additionally four unnumbered bags (three with tracks, train bases and a few other parts including the ladder, and then the PU train motor). Two stacks of four curved track sections and the PU controller and receiver came loose (interesting since the PF parts always came inside cardboard I think). The Instructions: The six booklets and the stickers came in a separate plastic sealed package, good thing since that keeps both stickers and booklets in much better condition of course: The Build: It is a massive set so I decided to take it on in a very structured way. Booklet 1/6: The Forklift The first pages of the forklift booklet contain some instruction on how to move forward bag by bag. It also explains the brick separator and scanning the QR code will even lead you to a tutorial video about the separator. Ok, well these are the parts of bag one: For the price of the set they really focused on money, so while you spend quite some money on the set, you also are rewarded with a lot of money related items. Some nice modern parts, a lot of familiar parts. They could have used the goldish version of the 'bars' (Piece 99563) but apparently they didn't (the piece was included in other 2018 sets though) and just used jumper and normal tiles. They have a lot of color variations, especially the jumpers, I thought that was a minor draw-back. At first I also found the "Bright Light Orange" parts looking somewhat poorly (reminded me of some clone bricks) but it worked out very well in the end. First one needs to build the minifig and the pallet. Here is what the figure and pallet look like. To the left the base of the forklift: Here is the final forklift together with the minifig and pallet full of cold uh, gold and banknotes. Here you can see for yourself that it wasn't a bad decision to make the forklift Bright Light Orange after all: Booklet 2/6: The Bank Truck Bags 2 and 3 are needed to build the bank truck. I guess they did this to make the set suitable for the 6 year olds. This is the heap of bag 2 after I structured it: Not that many special parts, really straight-forward. There was one interesting step: You build the driver seat / engine compartment as 'one piece'. The engine is place in the middle of the truck as it appears. I guess they looked at real car factories and their "Hochzeit"-moment (German for marriage) moment when the bottom of the car and the body are coming together. That is it for the first part of the truck. This pile represents the contents of bag 3. The left-hand corner is the finished first half from bag 2. I always build using 'heaps' but I must say restructuring the parts means one can build very fast so I would recommend it to kids from now on: I like these parts better then the base parts. They did a very neat job with the smooth nose of the vehicle: it is basically a four-wide car piece and integrates very well. No bulky 'Jack Stone'-era like parts, but still a smooth and very buildable truck. I thinks kids and T/AFOL's alike will enjoy building it! Here is what the truck looks like when completed. A really nice and easily accessible cargo bay, nice for the 'players', but they did in fact also include those nice doors at the back. So fortunately they did not save on details making the set also interesting for a more mature audience. As you can see the pallet with money and gold bars will fit right in! The only draw-back I could think of is when the bay is closed you can see the gaps on the top. Hope it doesn't rain in your LEGO city and the bank notes are water proof (well, they are made from ABS so I guess they are ;)). A view from the front: you see how smooth and detailed it is while still using relatively small pieces. I did not apply the stickers yet, later you'll see why (and a neat trick). I would advice that also for kids, wait till your have built everything and ask a 'pro' to apply your stickers. Booklet 3/6: A stopper, crossing and... Part one of the Locomotive! Finally, the first real train builds! First some 'battery management'. The set needs a staggering amount of ten AAA batteries! Four for the controller and another six for the receiver / motor controller. I did only have for when I started and the shops were already closed so you'd better prepare and get good deals on AAA batteries before you start your PU (Powered Up) adventures. You need to pair the Bluetooth devices first. The controller and receiver probably have some initialization periode where they are able to pair to each other. We will see how that works if we will power on more than one controller or receiver in the future :) Maybe they rely on the signal strength though and will only pair to the closest devices that just booted up, just speculation, we will need to see when PU parts become more readily available and further experiment with it. As Sariel showed, powering of is easy: The receiver will apparently (from the video by Sariel) also power down after one presses the controller momentous switch for +5 seconds. Hope the troubleshooting guide will appear there around July 1rst, for now it does not exist (https://www.lego.com/themes/city/trains). Here are all the PU parts together: From top to bottom: - the receiver / battery box / motor controller combination - the remote control for two motor channels - the PU version of the train motor Now we should have started building the loop with the 'dead-end' behind the switch. The set comes with 16 straight and 16 curved tracks, and a (left hand side) turn out. Interesting to see that they included quite some straight track compared to older sets, but also that they did not include an extra curved track to make the 'dead' section behind the turn out in line with former LEGO guidelines that suggested us to always add a curved piece right after the diverted section of turn outs and never directly connect a straight section. B.t.w. booklets 3 and 4 show a yellow / orange tile on the turnout so you can remember that train will react to what side of the controller, but they included a green tile and correctly show you to add that green tile to the controller for 60198. Maybe they should have included a sticker that looked like 60198 for that tile as well but they didn't. You then are instructed to build the (unsafe) railroad crossing, more or less just like the one from the winter village station. There is also a rail stopper for the end of the dead section. Here are the parts for both builds: This is the rail stopper: The crossing is plain but effective: They could have added barriers for even more playability but I guess in freight shunt yards like this, have a crossing without barriers is most common. Bag five contains the first part of the engine. The baseplate is 6 x 28 which is very common for recent trains (see: BrickLink). The inside of the train is very colorful. I know from designers that they typically do this for sets targeting a younger age, I don't mind it since the outside is still very acceptable. You see already quite some typical Train parts, so the LEGO Train story just continues with this set. The engine is very much symmetric as you can see, I value this very much since for children it helps them to better understand concepts like symmetry (I'm a beta teacher after all). Here is the half way built engine, I actually made a mistake with the yellow 1 x 4 panels, they should have been facing towards the inside of the train. The head is more or less a fusion between typical US and EU trains. We all know of course that the leaked initial images very much looked like typical EU engines, I think this way the train appeals to a wider audience (remember Jamie Berards recents comments on trains). Since the nose is SNOTted, it would be very doable to modify it without a lot of problems to suit one's taste maybe even better. The tile on the front will be fitted with a 'cargo' instead of the typical Train ('Northern') logo (<-O->). That was the end of booklet 3. Booklet 4/6: The rest of the Locomotive Booklet 4 lets you start with bag 6. You need to add the buffers and the motor as well. Here you see the parts from bag 6: Yellow bogie plates this time. The green train windows are not unique but after all most parts would also be reusable for MOC's etc. Here you see the finished bogies, one with the new UP motor, the other entirely brick-built: The buffers for the locomotive are of the snowplow variety. After finishing bag 6 we have this: The cockpits are easily accessible and the battery bay is very spacious: we don't have an IR receiver anymore of course :) There are two train parts in bag 7 that I have never seen before: the new pantographs! They look really neat I think. Here is the finished train with the controller next to it: You can see that the vertical part of the panels are now facing the inside. The 1 x 3 panels on top make a the entire engine very sturdy while it is still very easy to remove the entire middle section, just remove the four panels and one can lift the entire thing. It looks very much like a real cargo engine after all I think (although it appears a fusion between a continental and US train as we already discussed earlier). The roof section acts like a lever (comparable to what we have seen in e.g. the yellow and red cargo locomotives) for the battery box. Booklet 5/6: Crooked trees and a female operated rail crane Bag 8 contains the crook with the rail car and lumber. Not spectacular, but they did a nice job. I like the dark tan 1 x 6 fences. Looks like the crook is up to no good! Here the finished lumber rail car. The lumber fits very well and won't fall off that easy. Apparently this car is also the crooks ideal place he can observe from. Bag 9 contains the base for the rail crane. We have seen quite some rail cranes already (1972, 1975, 1977, 1980, 2006 and 2015 (I might have forgotten one or two), I already owned one (set 7814) when I was 2,5 years old, but I think (arguably) that only set 4552 from the 9V era tops this one. These are the parts, another (6 x 24) train base, the typical train railings again. The female crane operator has the same uniform as the train driver. Here you can see the finished base: The stabilizers are fully retractible as you can see and have a sturdiness to it as needed for performing heavy lifts common in railroad situations. This is also true for the bogies, very compact, really appropriate for a genuine real crane I think. This is what the crane base looks like after being but on it's bogies: Bag 10 contains the crane itself: I like the large round turntable. Also those technic parts. A good starter for engaging youngsters in Technics. This is what the finished crane looks like: M(r)s operator is now totally ready for every conceivable heavy lifting duty. B.t.w. those 'stamps' that you see connected to the hook are also used as joysticks for the operator. Behind the 'container' doors on either side are 2 x 2 tiles that will get a human machine interface / operator panel (stickers). Booklet 6/6: Rail yard control tower and container rail car. The final booklet contains the instructions for a duo container rail car and the yard control tower. First up is bag 11 that contains the rail car, containers and even a snow scooter. All the parts for the train car and the containers. No very special parts but nice color variations. First we build the rail car itself. A very straight-forward open rail car with a somewhat heavy duty base. Then the bank container that also doubles as a safe. Wondering why the crook only has binoculars, maybe he wants to steal the combination? I guess no explosives this time :). The container has a hook so the rail crane can easily lift it. The 'money pallet' will fit in just like with the truck. The second container comes with a pallet that can fit a snow mobile. The back of booklet 4 already promoted the arctic explorer sets so I guess they wanted to link the set also to the arctic theme enthusiasts! The snow mobile next to the car and both containers. The last bag! Number 12 contains the following: There is one peculiar item that was new to me: It fits a cross axle to the side and can fit a 20482 part to both other sides. Although the signal tower might not be that realistic, it adds extra playability and is quite fun. We can always MOD it of course work more like the real deal. Initially I though, did they finally reintroduce the yellow helmet again to a train set after about 40 years, but alas, although the female hairpiece of the operator also looks very neat. The back of the tower has a knob so you can signal the train engine driver that he can start / stop shunting in the rail yard. So that was it for building. Here are most of the left-overs: There is also an extra small chain piece (from the lumber car). This is what the entire set looks like from a 'helicopter' vantage point: The Minifigures: Here is the line up of the minifigs: Having some diversity in the LEGO train world isn't that bad I would say. I like the uniforms, a lot of details in their prints. All torsos also have a printed back: Apart from the 1 x 4 train cockpit, 1 x 2 money tiles and these torsos all other artwork is done using stickers. Stickers, love them or hate them?! I think without the stickers the train would not look that great at all, but we have them so we can upgrade the looks of our set by applying them. Here they are: The artwork was done quite well, I like the metallics in the bank logo's. Nothing too complicated but nevertheless making the set much more appealing. The sticker paper does then to curl better put it somewhere safe till you are ready to apply the stickers. I obviously have a lot of experience applying stickers, my wife always ask me to help out on e.g. her technic sets for applying them, so do my cousins and nieces. But that does not mean that I never fail at applying the stickers just perfectly. Fortunately I know a trick and used that trick to apply the stickers on set 60198 as well. The solution: adding some drops of (mild) dishwashing soap to some water: You then moisturize your finger and apply the solution to the place where the sticker(s) need to be applied. The thin film soapy water prevents the sticker from immediately sticking to the ABS. You can then readjust the sticker till you are satisfied, squeeze a little to make the sticker stay in place and just let it dry. Applying the stickers makes all the difference don't you think? I just wanted to finish off with a last view from the yard tower: What a job, a great view... and: Even your own coffee maker: I just love that they added this detail! Summary: Playability: 10/10 Design: 7/10 Price: 6/10 Parts: 8/10 Minifigures: 9/10 Overall: 7/10 Wrap-up and some final notes: Hope you like the review, I did not have my photography tent / spots up and running at the moment so sorry about the differences in colors / shading, hope it wasn't too disturbing in the end. At my flickr page you can see more pictures I took while building the set. Now I just need some AAA batteries to start the engine! And remember: don't forget to fill in your opinions on the set: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GTQWQVX The quality of the video could be better but at least you get the idea I hope. One more thing: I have started a Powered Up review that includes a tear-down here. Hope many more will contribute to that! I'll do that in a separate topic since it is of course not only about set 60198.
  4. I just found this (kudos to zusammengebaut.de for posting this). I thought those informations would be welcome here as well. Powered UP AFOL Community Answers https://lan.lego.com/news/overview/powered-up-afol-community-answers-r146/ I haven’t made up my mind yet but I have to admit I have some mixed feelings about Powered UP.
  5. It's a bird, it's an App-Controlled Batmobile, it's a... oh it is an App-Controlled Batmobile. Ok then! Set Name: App-Controlled Batmobile Set #: 76112 Theme: DC Superheroes - Batman Parts: 321 Minifigures: 1 Year of Release: 2018 Price on Release: 100 USD, 140 AUD, 90 GBP, 900kr, 100 EUR (varies by country) Flickr Set LEGO Brickset Bricklink (not yet) Thank you to LEGO for providing this set for review. The review is an expression of my own opinions. INTRODUCTION The latest in a long legacy of stunningly gorgeous remote-control LEGO sets, 76112 App-Controlled Batmobile rolled out to much skepticism and bewilderment when information first became available, at least from what I read online. "$100 for that weird looking thing? You've gotta be joking mate!" But actually, if you check that handy link to a list of remote-control sets on Brickset, you'll see that this one lines up perfectly with what's come before in terms of cost for content. And while I'm clearly being a bit sarcastic about some of the horrendous-looking RC models that have come before, it seems from the user reviews that at least a few people quite enjoyed them. So, how does this stack up? As a Powered Up (tm) set, one you build and then drive with your phone because you needed more screen time with your LEGO, is it worth your hard-earned pennies? Let's find out! BOX I don't think I've ever seen a LEGO box with a picture of human hands holding a smartphone on the front before, so that's very striking right off the bat (geddit?). They've also used a completely different colour scheme than the rest of the DC Superheroes line and a modern stylish Batman logo that evokes the Rocksteady Batman games logo because this set feels vaguely "inspired" by the Arkham Knight Batmobile. All-in-all, it's a design that will surely stand out on shelves for its uniqueness. However for a 100 USD product the box is quite small, compared to another recently released 100 USD product. It's interesting to highlight the difference, but this isn't a regular set. The back is quite sensibly all about highlighting the functions, though I have no idea what some of those symbols near the bluetooth hub are meant to be because they don't appear in the app or anywhere else. I do appreciate that it opens like one of the more premium sets, and it forces you to Hashtag because all of the kids these days are Hashtagging and LEGO is for kids didn't you know? In other words if you don't have Instagram don't bother buying this. PARTS and THE BUILD Inside the box you'll find three numbered bags (ymmv on if all of the numbering styles will be the same), four loose balloon tires, the bluetooth/battery box hub, and two motors. Plus the instructions of course, but honestly there's nothing worth photographing in these instructions so I'll just say that I found it interesting that there are no written directions for how to download the app, just a page showing the app logo and an arrow pointing to your phone, and the name of the app to search in your app store. Bag 1 contains a bunch of technic-type stuff, random bright colours you didn't expect, the minifigure, and the juicy bat-cessory pack which I've covered in depth in this separate article. When you're finished with Bag 1 it's quite a colourful mess that could be anything (besides like a castle but ok you get what I mean). Bag 2 contains parts to start building up the shaping and look, and also one 1x2 teal tile for no reason whatsoever besides that the designers seemed to get a mandate this year to use as much re-introduced teal as possible I guess. There's also a sand green hinge base and tan cheese slopes which in combination remind me of Harry Potter, and the opaque black windscreens which are slightly but not all that rare, especially compared to many of the other opaque colours for that part. Here's that teal plate sticking out quite conspicuously: And then it's gone, never to be seen again unless you're looking down into the open cockpit from behind. Bag 3 finishes off the model, so naturally it contains mostly black and grey, and of course the red windscreen which has come in three sets in that colour so is nice but not particularly rare. I was surprised to see that the Nexo-shield On button was printed, though it's a kind of raised print application that has the resultant effect of looking like a sticker. But we know it's not, so it's great! The single technique that stood out to me most in the build was the on button. It's activated using just the natural give in long plates - no hinge, technic bit to push, or anything. The button on the bluetooth receiver is designed to be pressed with just the lightest touch, so depressing a plate with a boat plate attached is enough to activate it. On the less nice side of things, the back struck me as messy right away even with the wires as neatly folded as I could get them. MINIFIGURE Sadly for Batman minifigure collectors, this set contains an exclusive, very detailed Batman, so people who fit that collector description will have to buy it just for the minifig. Or, y'know, Bricklink. I do love the level of detail here from the torso all the way down through the toes. From glancing at images I expected both torso and legs to be gunmetal grey, but the torso actually is moulded in black. The figure looks perfect from the front, but the difference in colour is a bit more noticeable and jarring from the back. The face has some nice stubble originally made for grimdark Batfleck, but now good for grimdark other Batmen as well. Batman comes with the typical one Batarang and one spare, which he brandishes with a grimace. THE COMPLETED BATMOBILE Putting aside the functionality, which of course we'll get to, the model looks... weird. I'm not super-up on Batman vehicles throughout the years, but I know that Batman has had a wide variety and recently several tank-like cars like the Tumbler and the Arkham Knight Batmobile. This one certainly isn't out of line with those completely. Still, it looks a bit awkward in person. From the back things get worse as it becomes apparent that the set is more built for the RC functionality than for aesthetic purposes, though it doesn't have a huge antenna sticking out of it so that's good! You probably wouldn't look at it from this angle ever in real life, but this isn't real life. From this low angle it looks quite aggressive. The bigger Bat-symbols don't do much for me but the little one on the front is ace. It's quite tank-like when viewed this way. Aaaand it's a bit stubby and odd when viewed straight from the side. The back also sticks out in a strange way. Like in lots of vehicles, Batman has to lie down quite dramatically to fit in the cockpit. Luckily in this instance he doesn't have to operate his Batmobile though, since the human overlord (namely, you) does it for him from the app. The cockpit also dangerously opens down into the wheelbase which is surely quite loud and unpleasant for Batman, but the tan trim and printed control panels are nice details that let you know at least a little bit of design work went into it. APP-CONTROLLING THE BATMOBILE By this point I've established that the parts in this set aren't too interesting, the minifigure is great, and the completed looks of the thing are so-so, but obviously the real test and also point of interest of this set is how it functions. It's easy to find the LEGO Powered Up app in the app store, which will hopefully work with whatever smart device you have, and once downloaded and opened it gives you the option to choose the train control app or the Batmobile control app. There's space on that screen for more, so I presume we can expect more sets coming with the Powered Up control system. I've never had any motorised LEGO before (besides ZNAP... don't ask), but I've watched the development of the various systems over the years and the amazing thing that strikes me with this set is how it relies on so few specialised motor-parts for the functionality. A battery box is a given, but most previous RC LEGO cars have had some sort of big base, while this just uses two motors which can be used for anything that needs rotation really. I know nothing about app programming but I know that obviously these two motors have to be rotating in opposite directions to get the Batmobile to drive forward as they're mounted 180 degrees from each other. That in itself is probably easy to achieve but to a newb like me it feels really built from the ground up out of parts that could do anything, which is exactly how LEGO should be. Of course, that all fails if it doesn't run well or isn't fun to play with, so that's what I'll be looking at now. The app has two different modes for controlling and driving the Batmobile. I haven't found official names for these, so I'll call the red one the Driving mode and the blue one the Function mode. Here's the Driving one. You can slide the controls up and down to change speeds, and hit buttons to pop a wheelie, sort of turn around, or quickly drive forward and then turn around. Unfortunately you can't use the button functions in conjunction with driving, so if you want to pop a wheelie you have to stop, pop a wheelie, stop again, and then continue driving. In Function mode you can't pick a speed but the Batmobile actually controls more easily. Every tap of the plus or minus buttons makes it lurch, or if you hold them down it will go forward or back, as you would imagine. The function buttons here allow it to kind of shudder backwards in a fright, pop a wheelie (of course), or vibrate and jitter around. But you want to see it in action, don't you! That's why I've put together a couple of different videos. The first shows me demonstrating the app with minimal editing so that you can just see how it runs. Overall, as you can hopefully see, it is fun to drive, but there are some annoyances. In Driving mode it won't run at any speed under 40, which makes the numbers under 40 a bit misleading (they're effectively 0). Also when trying to drive just one of the sides it only works sporadically. I've tested this on a nice carpeted surface too and it has the same result, so it's not a problem of it having too little traction on my smoother studio surface. Driving in Function mode works better and is therefore more enjoyable, but I wish the Driving mode worked better because in theory getting to choose speed is the way you'd want to drive. As far as the pre-programmed functions in each mode go, the ones in Driving mode are more useful in theory because it's nice to do various turns at the touch of a button. The various jerks in the Function mode are cute novelties but would get a bit old. Like I've said, though, you can't continuously drive and touch a button and have it go straight from driving into the pre-programmed turn. Instead, you basically have to take your fingers off of the drive controls to properly hit the button, and no matter what the Batmobile stops before doing the function. Therefore the turns are rendered a bit useless, and I think kids will have a better time with the blue Function mode overall given the problems with the red Driving mode. Perhaps LEGO will work on making the app better with updates, but we'll see. The other major thing to mention is speed. In either mode, at full throttle it just doesn't go all that fast. Now, you wouldn't exactly want it to because it's made out of lots of fiddly bits that definitely will fall off if you crash, unlike those old not-really-LEGO RC cars that were super sturdy and could survive crash after crash from what I've read. So on the one hand, I'd get frustrated if it went fast and I had to fix it all the time. On the other hand, you just kind of want an RC car to go fast. It's a conundrum. But don't get me wrong. It still is fun to drive it around especially given that you've just built something out a bunch of parts that looked nothing like a drive-able car when you opened the box, and now you're controlling it with your phone! What a world we live in. CONCLUSION & RATINGS Ultimately having built and tested the App-Controlled Batmobile, it's no longer perplexing to me like it was when I first got wind of it. It's proving the versatility of LEGO's newest motors and battery box system, and I can see the wisdom in LEGO making their newest RC car a tie-in because, while a plain RC Car is somewhat cool, an RC Batmobile for (every kid's favourite character) Batman to drive around in is awesomesauce!! The exclusive, highly detailed Batman minifigure is icing on that remote-controlled cake. The price, while high, seems justified in the context of LEGO's previous RC offerings and of RC toys in general. I did a few quick searches for other remote-controlled Batmobiles on the market, and you can easily spend more for a toy that you can't deconstruct and turn into something else, or at the very least customize with other LEGO parts! Still, there are drawbacks. First of all, the model just doesn't look that good and it isn't really recognizable as anything. I get why it has the short wheelbase and big tires that it does, but without those slapped-on new bat-cessories it wouldn't even look like a Batman vehicle. We'll see how it fares on the market, but I can't help but feel that if it was based on a Batmobile from some media, any media, it might have a better shot than it does now. The driving functionality and app also have a variety of negatives, as I've detailed above. Parts: 8/10 - Nothing exceptional, but the new Bat-cessories and a few other parts like the windscreen are nice, and the battery box and motors are obviously where it's at. Minifigures: 9/10 - The minifigure looks great from the front but odd from some other angles due to the colour difference between torso and legs, and an additional villain minifig would've been nice so you'd have someone to run over repeatedly! Build/Design: 7/10 - It's quite frustrating trying to fold up those wires while building, and the finished thing doesn't look great from a variety of angles. The fact that it doesn't look very Batty besides the Bat-symbols also brings this down. Functionality: 7.5/10 - Obviously as far as LEGO sets in general go this one has amazing functionality because, y'know, it drives, but the driving functions have a number of issues and the car just doesn't go all that fast. Value for Money: 9.5/10 - It can't be judged against regular sets; as a whole package, building a solid vehicle (without any particularly specialised parts) that you control from your device, plus a great minifigure, makes it actually fair for the money especially compared with other RC Batmobiles out there. Overall: 8.2/10 - Ultimately this score reflects that the App-Controlled Batmobile is not without faults in both model design and app functionality, but it's conceptually and functionally a strong and fun enough set that I would recommend it even at full price if an RC LEGO car or LEGO's Powered Up system interests you. They've come a long way, though there are improvements to be made yet. Until next time!
  6. I finally had time to play with the Powered Up elements from the new Train sets. They surely don't represent the complete PU system yet, but we can draw a lot of conclusions from them: