It’s time for another Set Review here at The Lego Car Blog, and this summer we’ve been handing the Reviewer’s Pen over to you – our readers. Today we have a double review, courtesy of Saberwing007, and he’s feeling all Top Gun…
So, do you feel the need? The need for speed? I hope so, because we are going to be reviewing some really fast sets today.
Back in 2002, Lego released set 8475, which was the debut of their new system for making remote control models. I actually saw the set in catalogs at the time, but I did not realize how special it was, and I kicked myself for missing out on it down the line. However, I recently got both 8475 and 8366, partially for the parts, and partially to get a set I missed out on. There is another set, 8376, which uses the same system, but we won’t be covering that here today.
As some background, all three of the sets, 8475, 8366, and 8376 use the same basic RC parts, but are otherwise quite different. At the end of this review there will be an overview of the RC system, but for now, let’s head off to the races!
8475 The first set released, 8475 retailed for $130 in the US, but only had 284 parts. That seemed like an awfully high price for such a set, but today it’s a bargain, considering how much these sets go for on the secondary market. The set build is fairly simple, with most of the structure being made of the RC receiver, and motors. Despite this the finished set has fully independent suspension, which works well for keeping all the wheels on the ground. The styling is very much in line with the other Racers and Technic sets of the era, being mostly a wire frame made up of flex tubes, with only a few panels. This allows the set to have a fairly low part count, and keeps the weight down. In spite of the limited bodywork, it is an attractive model, probably due to the fact that most dune buggies actually look like that. The color is quite nice as well, with most of the parts being pearl dark gray, a very rare color that was only included in sets of this era.
Driving the set is a blast, due to its speed, and the ability to use the set outdoors, where said speed can actually be used. The set is actually much too fast to be used indoors, unless you have a large house or an empty gym to use (or TLCB Executive Washroom and Sauna, Ed.). Unfortunately, the center of gravity is a bit high, which could cause a flip if you’re not careful. Luckily, controlling the model is easy, as the controller is not only quite ergonomic, but the joystick for drive and steer are proportional. In an unusual move, the B model for the set has different tires than the A model. Said B model is far less attractive, being a rather sad looking pseudo F1 car with off-road suspension. As a hilarious side note, in the instructions for this set there is a mini comic that shows 8475 losing a race against another set, 4589, in spite of the fact that 4589 is much slower, does not have suspension, and uses IR remote control.
8366 Ultimately, between 8475 and 8366, 8366 is my favorite, as it looks really neat, has more parts, and is faster as well. Like 8475, it retailed for $130, but had 429 parts. Although there is an increase in part count 8366 does not have suspension, but it really isn’t needed. Like 8475, the build structure is primarily based on the RC Receiver and motors, with most of the parts going into body work. Unlike 8475, 8366 is much more paneled, but there are still many flex hoses used, particularly around the cockpit. It also has an actual cockpit interior, although it is neither mini-fig nor Technic-fig scale. Like 8475, it included many dark pearl gray parts, but mixes it up with some light gray panels, and red highlights, although those are only sticker details. In a somewhat odd twist, 8366 actually includes two different types of large panels, the 20 and 21 panels, and the 3 and 4 panels, with no other set including both. An additional unusual part is a pair of fully plastic wheels. These wheels are identical in size to the wheels used on the model, and are used to make it into a drift machine. However, this is an inelegant solution at best, as the model is really fast, and really hard to control with the drift wheels fitted. As well, the drift wheels scratch easily, so using them outside is something I would not recommend. Performance wise, 8366 uses the fast outputs of the RC motors, and so is faster than 8475. The lack of suspension actually helps, and keeps the car from flipping. Since the controller is the same as 8475, it is still easy to control, in spite of the speed. Also like 8475, the B model of the set is rather weird, being some sort of dragster that can pop wheelies due to how much torque the motors have, although I must confess I’ve never built the B model, it just does not appeal to me.
So, in conclusion, both of these models are quite fun to drive, and have useful parts for your own creations, even if the building process for the sets themselves is not the most interesting. It took me a long time to get my hands on these sets, and man was it worth the wait!
Now, let’s take a look at that RC system in detail….
The RC system; Before Power Functions, this was the system LEGO used to give remote control movement to their sets. This system is not technically under the Technic theme, but is still important. The RC system is based on radio frequency, not infrared, and can work in bright sunlight as a consequence. The system consists of four basic parts, detailed here:
The Antennas; Both the remote and receiver of the RC system have removable, screw-in antennas, which are rubberized wire with a yellow tip. The antenna is identical for both receiver and remote.
The Receiver; The heart of the system, the receiver is a large unit, containing the radio control equipment, a battery compartment for 6 AA batteries, and an integrated servo motor for steering. On the bottom of the unit are two switches, one for power, and one for switching between one of three frequencies. In addition, the receiver has two hinges, which can be used to make a robust suspension system. Finally, there are two motor outputs, one marked in red, and the other in gray. These outputs are identical in shape and size to standard 9v Lego electrical plates, and can be used to connect to any 9V Lego motor. Nominally, only the red output is used, the gray one being left unused. However, this output is functional, and can be controlled with the two shift paddles on the remote, making it useful for your own creations. However, there is a variant. While 8475 and 8366 both include a receiver that has an extra output, 8376 does not. The receiver only has the red output, with the auxiliary output blanked off. It is unknown what LEGO’s intent was with the inclusion of an extra port on some receivers – perhaps they wanted to release a model with a simple gearbox, but never did so, or perhaps they perceived the feature as adding needless cost to production, and then re-tooled the receiver to remove the output they weren’t using. A similar thing might have happened with Power Functions switches more recently.
The Remote; Like the receiver, the remote has a screw in antenna. The remote has a total of three controls, with one joystick for the drive motors, one joystick for steering, as well as two mysterious paddles. These paddles control the auxiliary output ofthe receiver, and are not used normally. However, this remote is compatible with a similar, though distinct other RC system, used in 8369 and 8675, where the paddles are used to shift gears. Finally, there is a frequency switch, and a battery compartment in the back, which holds a 9V battery.
The motors; Probably the most sought-after component, and used in many a high speed creation, the motors – sometimes referred to as ‘Buggy Motors’ or ‘5292 motors’ – are extremely powerful, and can be more powerful than PF XL motors, with the appropriate gearing. However, there is a price to be paid. The motors draw so much current that they can trip the thermal protection of PF receivers, unless they have the V2 designation. Another option for control that is not the standard RC receiver is the third party Bluetooth receiver called the SBrick (you can see examples of creations that use this option via the search function at the foot of the page. Ed.). As for shaping, the motors are a really odd shape, and have a strange geometry, where they are not a whole number of studs wide. Another feature is the two drive outputs. Each of the two outputs allows an axle to pass through, and both outputs are geared differently. The farthest output from the motor casing is geared down more, and so runs slower than the one closer to the motor casing. 8475 and 8376 use the slow output, and 8366 uses the fast one.
Well, that’s quite a lot of information. I hope you guys found this informative, or at least a little bit interesting!
Thank you to Saberwing007 for joining us here with a top quality double Set Review! You can read all of the reviews in the Set Review Library by clicking here, and if you’d like the chance for your own review to be published here at The Lego Car Blog then get in touch! There are currently even prizes available for the best reviewer…