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….