Thursday, June 11th, 2020 at 12:44pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
A set review? On BZPower? We haven't done one of these since 2019 according to my records, but today DeeVee is changing all that. LEGO was kind enough to send us a copy of 42111 Dom's Dodge Charger from the LEGO Technic and Fast & Furious collaboration for him to check out. Since he's a huge fan of the films this seemed like a perfect fit. Will the muscle car race off the line when the light turns green? Or will it skid out on the ice while chasing a submarine? (I think that happened in one of the movies, right?) Let's read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Image from LEGO official product shots
Dom's Dodge Charger comes in a large, glossy box, like most large LEGO sets. One of the things images don't properly convey is that this box is fairly large, being a good 4 inches or so deep, and is fairly heavy compared to many other large boxes from comparable System lines. I was honestly a bit surprised at just how BIG the box was when I took it out of the, well, box the box came in. Wow that was an awkward sentence! The LEGO TECHNIC logo looks large across the top, while the FAST & FURIOUS logo fills the bottom left, a smaller DODGE logo hanging out on the bottom right. The set itself sits on the front attempting to look like a car racing video game graphic, though the stationary wheels kind of ruin the effect. It's not the most eye-catching box from the front. The back has the usual "here's what the set can do" sort of shots along with a F&F branded image of Dom's Charger from the films' promotional imagery. Will it grab your attention and convince you to buy the set? I have a strong feeling that, as we'll see later, it's going to depend a lot on how you feel about the license itself.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Even though BIONICLE started as a Technic sub-theme, I've never been a huge Technic fan. I own a small number of sets, mostly ones that were given to me or ones I've won at conventions or in contests. As such, I'm not super familiar with the way Technic set functions and designs often come together, and some of the Technic intensive CCBS sets, such as the first Darth Vader CCBS set in 2015, really turned me off.
That said, this one really surprised me. It was fun to see the small functions come together, how the suspension works, all the way the small moving parts that can be hard to keep aligned create motion and movement. The set starts with a large Technic frame part, and slowly builds outward, the first few bags creating the internals, and the last several bags of parts creating the shell that covers them. I did, as per usual, leave the stickers off the final build. One of the stickers is a "Copyright Universal" one. Charming? I had fun! I took my time building, and it took up a good chunk of an evening in between dinner while watching YouTube. I could see myself getting more Technic car sets after this one, it was a surprisingly good time!
(Makes you wonder if this is the point of licensed sets like these, eh?? Wink.)
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Normally Set Design and Playability are two different sections in our classic review format. But it feels wrong, somehow, to separate these two areas which are clearly so intertwined in a Technic set that one can't exist without the other.
This is normally where we do a breakdown of new or interesting parts in a set. But in my research I could not find a single new mold or recolor in the set save one, the three-length Technic axle connector, in black, as seen in the image below:
The black Bohrok eye parts have a new part ID, it appears they may be a new plastic type vs old black Bohrok eyes, but the mold itself does not seem to have changed visually.
In a set with almost nothing new in the parts realm, the design and playability itself hold an even greater importance. As a licensed set (both as a Dodge Charger AND as a Fast & Furious icon), the set has a lot of weight to pull. Does it pull it off?
These Technic sets, in my experience, seem to be aimed at two different, but overlapping, people groups: Technic fans, who love a set for it's complex build and functions, and car enthusiasts who enjoy a complicated model car kit made out of LEGO, that represents their passion for cars.
I am neither. What I am, though, unfortunately, is a big big fan of the ridiculously awful yet equally fantastic Fast & Furious series. And yes, Tokyo Drift is the best don't @ me. So my feelings on this set and its design come from a place that seems mostly foreign in the other reviews I've read on this set. I don't know the first thing about car models or years, and I don't care about the realistic functions as long as they are fun. It's weird, in nerd spaces, in 2020, to see fan groups complain and moan about popular franchises that didn't start from once-obscure comics and science fiction properties. And while I'll be the first in line to talk about the issues of representation, especially for women, in the films, it seems like a lot of LEGO AFOL fandom went "that series is popular so it is bad, why would LEGO make a set from it?" I think Doctor Who is lame but I wouldn't begrudge it's fans their cool set. Nerds are weird.
And I think Dom's Dodge Charger is fun. A lot of fun! It's clearly based on the car from the first film, a bad Point Break ripoff with awful ADR sound that somehow became a classic. It looks enough like the car from the film that my first thought upon seeing the press photos was "oh HECK yeah I want that". Showing the set to some more car-inclined friends I heard "wow the A-column is awful, and the back window shape is all wrong". Neat! I know what those things are, but it looks like the car from the movie! I like that. It's big, it's bulky, and it's also powerful and sleek like a classic American muscle car. I like it! I think it looks cool, and the wheels spin and you can control the front two with a gear on the back. That's neat! I like it.
The car also has a lever inside that allows you to pop out a stand below so it can pop the iconic wheelie from the movie. That's awesome!
There are definitely parts of the set I'm not fond of. While Technic sets have, mostly due to the advent of all the newer panel parts, become more cohesive and full looking, the tehchnic parts in all black do cause some issues with the seams, making the set look a little less complete and a little more jagged. That's not the biggest issue, but it's definitely an important one to bring up in what is definitely meant as a display piece.
The car interior is a mess. There is only one seat, and the tank inside that takes up the passenger side feels like it was an afterthought. While the doors open to showcase the inside, I'm not sure why you'd want to. Where does your eye focus? The true Technic CHUNK of the set really shows from here. I don't think most folks are going to have the set on display with doors ajar, but it's still jarring how complete the set looks outside, and how completely NOT the inside looks.
The trunk, as seen (again) in this photo has two NOS canisters so you can go vroom PSSHHH VRROOOOM when you play. There should be more racing in the new F&F movies. Remember when they were about racing AND family? Good times. The hood pops up as well to showcase the engine block, and the yellow caps inside the engine move up and down to simulate the pistons firing as the wheels move. It's harder to see with the hood down, but the building process for these makes this simple mechanic very satisfying when it's all said and done.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
It's hard to review a car. There are no goofy poses to put it into for y'all, and your feelings on it are going to really come down to what you're here for. Are you a super intense car lover? As a 1970 Dodge Charger it's a decent recreation but not GREAT apparently. The A-column looks terrible I'm told. Are you a big Technic fan? The Technic mechanisms aren't super advanced, and the build isn't anything crazy different from other Technic cars (I'm told). Are you somehow a big Fast & Furious fan and an AFOL or a lapsed LEGO fan who hasn't touched the bricks since childhood? Great, buy this sucker right now.
I think sometimes those of us engrossed in the LEGO community forget these sort of licensed sets really exist to walk that line between generic AFOL and "potential AFOL." It's basically designed to be a gateway to other LEGO products, and the true success of the set will be in how well it does that. I've not bought myself a big Technic set, but I had a good enough time with this one that, finances post COVID willing, I will definitely look at more of them. This is a success in my book.
I don't have a traditional PROS and CONS list, I think sets like this are too nuanced for that. I liked the set, even if it gathered dust in our poorly-ventilated apartment after only sitting built for a few days. I really should have dusted it before taking photos....
Many thanks to Pat for taking the time to share his thoughts on this set with us, and thanks to LEGO for sending it out! Believe it or not, this isn't going to be the last review we do this year, and we've got at least one other in the works that we should be sharing soon. So keep checking back on BZPower to read that and stay up to date with LEGO news!
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