Before next week’s big showy announcement for the Bugatti Chiron (42083) will flood all LEGO-related media channels (yes, I’ve already seen leaked images and have formed an opinion based on them, but more when the time is right) it’s time to what seems like half a look back at the Rally Car (42077) that came out at the beginning of this year.
Before getting to the actual juicy bits, I need to explain a few things. First off, I’m by no means a car enthusiast. The only reason I even started out my LEGO career with Technic was an accidental gift from my mom to my brother which he didn’t like and gave to me that got me hooked. Likewise, I’m usually more interested in exploring the engineering and construction principles plus decking out the functions.
That being the case, I got it in my head to buy the 6×6 All Terrain Tow Truck (42070). Of course that turned out to be a total disappointment, even if I only paid slightly less than 160 Euros for it. At the time seemed like a steal, but as of the writing of this article is its normal price. Talk about the market regulating itself!
Slightly miffed I was considering my options and then info about the Rally Car came out, which of course also hat a large array of the then new Dark Azure parts and several ones that didn’t exist before. This presented an opportunity to perhaps maybe build other stuff in the future in a consistent color scheme, so I waited a bit for prices to drop and got the set.
One thing you need to be aware of right from the start is that this isn’t a very elaborate or fancy model. This is by no means as detailed as the Porsche (42056) and it pretty much comes down to whether you can lieve with the somewhat skeletal appearance and limited functions or you might just want to get it to cannibalize the parts for future custom builds. For the most parts it’s really just a lot of panels popped on to a simplistic chassis that looks largely empty.
As far as those parts go, the thing to note aside from the many no. 13/14 and no. 17/18 large panels in White and Dark Azure are some 5×7 liftarm frames in Black (previously only available in Light Bluish Grey) and the many red parts which surprisingly include 16L link axles with fixed pin holes, an element that is used very rarely.
Interestingly enough LEGO also feel generous and throw in a full set of shock absorbers that were so sorely missing from the Tow Truck. It’s really hard to comprehend how they arrive at such decisions and it’s a very bitter irony that a model that would mostly sit flat on the surface has them, while another off-road vehicle with much greater freedom of suspension needs to do without.
The rest of the parts is pretty much standard fare, but can in particular help to bolster your supply of white components, as you really get a lot of them in addition to the usual greys and blacks. Naturally you get a lot of red items and some other colors, too, and that’s a bit a point of contention for me.
Despite the fact that even my designer tastebuds can’t argue with the overall color scheme, the red makes it look extremely aggressive and annoying after a while. The problem here is that one of course is supposed to apply a ton of stickers (the sheet is almost two-thirds A4 size) that would visually break up the uniformly colored surfaces and make them blend, but if you don’t use them (like I do) the concept doesn’t quite work.
Additionally, the interior also prominently features red parts like those 16L link axles for stiffening up the cage, which poses yet another stark contrast to the white and azure parts. It would have been easy enough for LEGO to just make those parts dark grey or black. What tops this off is the choice of regular blue for the seats, which really makes you go “WTF?”. This is just crazy! Throw into that their obsession with yellow axles (Why oh why, LEGO?) and it isn’t too difficult to imagine that quite simply it could have looked better.
As hinted earlier, this model doesn’t have many “guts”, but what little is there, looks actually pretty okay, the odd color choices notwithstanding. It’s equally light on actual functions which only extend to steering and opening various hoods and flaps. The aft section takes the crown on that one with the little flaps being connected to the large main one. This is reminiscent of some luxury sports cars that use a similar approach due to lack of space to provide access to their engine compartments.
On the other hand, the two fan imitations at the front are just a sad excuse. They aren’t even connected to the engine and wheels to at least rotate automatically and as they are the designers could have just left them out and covered up the floor with a large panel.
The shot from below nicely illustrates this see-through effect across the whole model even further That said, it also is a reminder that there’s plenty of room e.g. for adding your own motor and RC functions. I haven’t tried yet myself, but it looks easy enough to fit a battery box and an L motor in there…
On to more positive things, let’s have a look at the B-model. Aside from the things I mentioned in the introduction, this is also what won me over to actually buy the set. it looks very straightforward and simple, yet very credible as a rendition of a sand buggy/ dune buggy. In fact I almost regret that this isn’t the primary model as with a bit more work to add details it could have sold just as well.
This point is reinforced by the fact that the buggy doesn’t use a single of the large no. 13/14 panels in Dark Azure, which if you are a bit cynical like me almost makes it feel that the only reason the rally car exist is to throw those in and thus pad out the price. The same could of course be said for the leftover white parts as well. I guess my point here is that the buggy itself could have been a wonderful product in the 50 Euros range and LEGO didn’t recognize and realize this opportunity.
To me this model looks really like fun and they only would have had to sell it in a different color. Even something weird like Light Lime Green or Light Sky Blue would probably have looked fantastic.They also would have had to fix some issues. The window frame constructed from whatever pieces were left over is simply an embarrassment and pretty unbecoming of the rest of the model.
Otherwise the B-model has a lot in common with the A-model as should be evident in the images. Once your strip down the car body parts, changing the chassis is straightforward and pretty quickly done since things like the suspensions and seats don’t change while other parts can be handled as “chunks” where you only need to plug together panels or liftarms without needing to integrate them specifically.
The only seriously weak spot (again aside from color choices) is the way the front section has been affixed to the rest of the model. Yes, as shown in the faded image, it’s really just a 4×2 L-shaped liftarm on either side that holds the curved panel onto which in turn the other panels are attached. as a result, the curved panel can be moved and changes its angle. Arguably of course such buggys would be extremely lightweight and possibly have fiberglass bodys that would equally only be loosely hinged and held with a handful of screws, but I feel that this is something that needs to be rectified.
Overall, though, this was one of the more enjoyable technic builds in recent memory. If you take it for what it is and don’t expect something miraculous, this can be fun and you can get a result pretty quickly, even more so if you build the buggy. This isn’t something you are going to collect, so it’s a case of “use it or lose it” – you must have an idea what you do with the car (or its parts for that matter) or else you’ll be frustrated about its shortcomings.