Racing Frog – Rocket Rally Car (31074)

Odd as it may sound, but sometimes there’s this lull where I just can’t seem to find something LEGO that would make for a nice diversion after having exhausted other options. That is of course something within my budget, given that many more expensive sets are out of reach for me, anyway. Therefore the Rocket Rally Car (31074) was kind of a filler in an order of three smaller sets.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Box

Even though in this case it wasn’t on top of my list, this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have bought it in the long run eventually. I have this odd thing going where I basically still want as many different parts in as many different colors as possible just in case I might ever need them for a custom build. This model has a few of them and the rest of the pieces also appeared useful, so I knew regardless of the sets own merits I’d get some value out of it.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Left Side View

Let me cut to the most important point right away: the color choices. Say what you will, but this is perhaps not the most attractive color scheme they could have come up with. In my view it’s some sort of bastardized Mia-themed vehicle as you would find it in the Friends series (minus the orange bits). That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing when viewed from the other side, as currently there isn’t such a vehicle in that series and this presents an easy option to expand the play value, but for a Creator 3in1 model it’s perhaps not ideal.

This can be spun in a million ways, of course, but something is off. Just like replacing the Lime Green with another color like Red would have worked, using indeed Orange in place of the Dark Azure pieces would have been an option. Personally this reminds me of photo editing work where you have accidentally inverted a single color channel and therefore the complementary colors appear.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Front View

The build turned out more elaborate than the marketing photos and other materials suggested and for me that’s always a good thing, be it just to extend the enjoyment of building by another five minutes. It’s nothing too complex or challenging, but you have to pay attention and keep track of things to not maneuver yourself into a snag. Keeping those brain cells stimulated is always a good thing in my opinion.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Front View with open Doors and extended Engine

The set builds into a reasonably robust model and offers a good selection of movable/ playable features. The doors are built from multiple plates and hinges and are actually quite large, so access to the interior through them is easy and unlike with other models there is no need to remove the roof. In fact the set offers no specific contingencies for this, so removing the top would drag along other items and damage the model. Using the doors is way to go.

The air scoop on the front can be pushed out using a simple mechanism hidden underneath the front bumper or pulled out manually. Unfortunately it never is fully flush with the rest of the hood, so it always looks kinda odd and not aerodynamically optimized as it likely would be on the real thing. I think if I were to build this again I’d simply forego the insert and cover the hole with some parts from the spares box.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Aft View

The rear comes with a fully openable trunk and in its basic form this offers a ton of stowage space. Should you decide to get this set as an ancillary model for some Friends fun, you could stuff a lot of things in there. One of the alternate uses is to tilt down the jet engine at the top and “hide” it inside, which again opens up some play scenarios like a transforming super hero/ secret agent vehicle or in more ordinary terms the engine just being tucked away for safety during transport.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Aft View with open Trunk

Interestingly, while I’m still critical of the selection of color, the Dark Azure parts such as the spoiler wings and the spoked wheel caps are rather unique and more or less exclusive for this set. I have no idea yet what I’m going to do with them, but I’m sure they’ll be handy one day. You could likely even just hang them as decorations on a wall in a Mia-themed house indeed. 🙂

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Aft View with Jet Engine inside

In its entirety this turned out a better experience than I had anticipated. The model comes together nicely and due to its play features would be an adequate choice for kids. It’s not worth the 20 Euro MSRP, but in most places you can get it for 15 Euro or lower and that checks out, given the size of the assembled model and perceived volume of stuff. I haven’t built the secondary models, but if I were to guess the Jeep would be quite similar structurally, just with a different outward appearance. the little quad doesn’t seem worth it at all, though, and sure wouldn’t be a reason to get this set.

Grey Beauty – LEGO Speed Champions McLaren Senna (75892)

I’m not a car person by any stretch of the imagination.The subject doesn’t particularly interest me to the point where I couldn’t tell cars apart if their names and logos weren’t on them. Therefore this review of the LEGO Speed Champions McLaren Senna (75892) will be solely based on my perception of the model and some quick looks at photos on the Internet, not an endless discussion about technical details and accuracy compared to the realworld item.

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Box

The set first piqued my interest when the new line-up of sets for 2019 was announced last November. I almost instantaneously liked the orange and dark grey color scheme. This made it easy to decide pro the model, as elements in those colors can be used almost universally on a lot of other builds once the model would be disassembled. It also helped a lot that there’s a good number of newer parts like the curved wedge slopes or even the white arched tiles on the fan.

All this can be had for slightly above 10 Euro in some places, but actually even the full price of 15 Euro is more than okay, given that there are more than 200 parts. Some are larger ones like the wheel wells and canopy, but naturally the majority are smaller pieces. What really adds the value is their uniqueness and the fact that some of those parts only are available in other, more expensive sets otherwise. So for me as a parts scavenger this is really good bang for the buck. Of course if you just want to build the model and keep it around as a collectible item this won’t matter much to you.

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Overview

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Fan Front View As much as I love the set, there is a bit ofLEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Fan Back View a shadow looming in what I would call a completely squandered opportunity. That is of course the wind tunnel. I totally dig the idea, but not how it has been rendered here quite half-assed. The point is that shooting advertising photos of cars in wind tunnels (or alternatively in coating/ drying chambers) is totally a thing due to the unique lighting conditions in these specialized rooms and a good few parts of the surroundings being blank metal or various shades of white and grey, providing interesting reflections and a stylish cleanroom look. That being the case, it would of course have made for an awesome little vignette to place the car in such scenario. Granted, it would have easily doubled the price of the set due to the extra parts, but it would just have been cool. As it is, the simple frame with the propeller doesn’t do much for me, but I’ll gladly take the white tiles for rounded window frames on other projects at least. Really too bad…

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Left View

The car itself is pretty elaborate and uses quite some interesting techniques to render the details. Some of that trickery is however dependent on using stickers, so forgive for not having used them and the car perhaps not looking as good as it could otherwise. One spot where this becomes a glaring issue are the doors, more specifically the lower parts which on the real car have the same color as the rest of the body, but with a specific transparent window area. On the model this is in fact another windshield element used upside down, locked in place by the upper canopy and some plates and bricks around it. Quite ingenious!

The proportions overall look okay, but are limited by the standard six stud wide construction. It looks a bit narrow from certain angles and perhaps should be just that bit wider like on most of these super cars. Unfortunately it seems in this case this would mean something like two thirds of a stud or at most a single stud and that in turn would presumably cause a ton of issues with symmetry and parts usage, so more or less one will have to accept the decision to go this route.

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Front View

One thing that still puzzles me is the actual color of the orange parts. Apparently the livery represented in the set is a special edition (if the word “special” even has any meaning left when the baseline model already costs a few million) and on images it looks to be neither genuinely orange nor yellow, but more like a bumped up version of LEGO‘s own Bright Light Orange/ Flame Yellowish Orange shifted even more to the orange-y side. It’s really hard to pin down, as every image looks different depending on the lighting conditions. It’s unsatisfactory, so I only accept it with a few reservations. Chances are, though, that unless I see it for real myself I’ll never know for sure. Guess how likely that is to happen… 😉

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Right View

Another interesting technique are the front lights, which actually use Nexo Knights broad axe blades and yes, they are in Trans Neon Orange even. in the strictest sense, though, it’s more of a visual cue to hint at the flat, wing-like headlights than an actual representation of the real situation in this area. Personally I likely would just have wedged in rounded plates or tiles, so this is an interesting example of lateral thinking and a valuable lesson for inspiration.

The rear end uses the Nexo spear heads to similar effect for the respective lights. This isn’t quite as new, as the same approach has been used for a variety of purposes from simulating Ninjago dragon eyes to all sorts of glowing light elements, but this makes it no less effective. The spoiler and aft section themselves are reasonably complex and detailed, though the many black parts make it hard to discern details from a certain distance.

LEGO Speed Champions, McLaren Senna (75892), Aft View

Within the limitations of the Speed Champions line like the need to keep all cars to almost the same scale and combined with my own ignorance I would call this model an all out success. It looks nice and if I were into it, I’d not be ashamed to put it on my collector’s shelf. More importantly to me however it illustrates a certain sophistication of the design and construction. It’s wondrous how many clever tricks have been squeezed into this single small model. For that I give at a big thumbs up. I thoroughly enjoyed building this and it looks the part…

Dinner served Pink – Emma’s Art CafĂ© (41336)

A set I’ve wanted for quite a while, yet never made it to the final checkout with one of my online orders (that old budget thing and other sets always being a higher priority) is Emma’s Art CafĂ© (41336). Luckily a big supermarket chain had a promo pre-Christmas where you could collect rebate stamps with every purchase and got discounted LEGO sets in return. With the discounted prices matching the then best online pricing and the number of stamps required for eligibility being reasonably low it wasn’t much of a stretch to collect them on the weekly grocery shopping.

LEGO Friends, Emma's Art Café (41336), Box

As I said, the price clocking in at around 22 Euros is very much okay and you can get the set for something along those lines at many online outlets and might even find it in a local store not costing much more. I wouldn’t expect it to go much lower than that, though, since it contains a lot of large parts that simply tend to be more pricey. On the other hand the original 32 Euros MSRP feel like a bit of a stretch.

The point here is that I genuinely wanted the set for its parts, but ultimately if you’re not the person to build stuff with those extremely colorful pieces it is of limited use. That and some parts like the Medium Lavender bricks with the rounded edge are simply not easy to integrate in many builds, regardless of what color they are, due to the limitations they impose.

LEGO Friends, Emma's Art Café (41336), Overview

What makes the set so nice is that it actually represents at least an attempt to capture the real structure and appearance of a small pavilion/ bungalow style café constructed from light materials as you can often find them in recreational facilities and parks, most of the time of course only open during summer/ holiday season. This is not least achieved by including some useful exterior details thanks to some generous space being provided on a large 16 x 16 plate plus some smaller plates as appendages/ extensions.

LEGO Friends, Emma's Art Café (41336), Exterior Corner open

This is nicely illustrated by the small extra corner on the hinge or the cobble stone pavement being hinted at in front of the corner door. as can also be seen the set is relatively rich with vegetation, which when used right can enliven a scene considerably and set the mood (unlike with the many faux trees in Friends sets that often are just a sad excuse). Point in case: You’d feel welcome in such a nicely decorated restaurant or cafĂ©.

LEGO Friends, Emma's Art Café (41336), Exterior Corner closed

The artsy aspect is mostly carried home by the arrangements with the colored windows, which gives everything a vibe of this being a kind of club where people meet to discuss art, attend exhibitions and watch performances. I never use them, but the irony here is that applying the stickers would more or less ruin that atmosphere, as they look a bit too childish to be taken as serious art. In my view it would have been sufficient to just substitute the white tiles used to represent the image canvases with something colorful and it would have worked just the same.

LEGO Friends, Emma's Art Café (41336), Exterior Wall

Of course they would have had to think of something different for the large panel then, too. Naturally it looks a bit barren with nothing on it and one might need to replace the entire wall to create something interesting without those little adhesive buggers. This applies to the inside just as well.

While at it, I would likely also do something about the color scheme. It kinda bothers me that the Dark Pink is used so extensively. It really should have been reserved for the colored window frames. Most annoyingly even the window blinds are in that color. why can’t LEGO just be nice to us and produce them in a color that would look fine on a regular building as well like Dark Red, Dark Green, Dark Blue or one of the browns. *sigh*

The interior as such is functional, but not much beyond that. It feels like a lot of space has been wasted and the details could have been more refined plus there should be more of them. This should feel a lot more busy and to me it looks like the space is there for a second table or some stools on a longer counter. You should definitely consider pimping this set and rearranging the furniture, in a manner of speaking, should you keep this set around more permanently.

LEGO Friends, Emma's Art Café (41336), Interior

For me it was once more first and foremost a simple way to get some parts in interesting colors that are hard to come by otherwise. If you need some ideas: Those Dark Pink and Light Aqua window frames would look pretty gorgeous on a building in one of the dark colors, weird as it may sound. Yes, Black and Pink go well together as not only Lucy shows in The LEGO Movie(s). And those wedge plates for the sandwich pieces in Medium Dark Flesh are just sexy. They should be super useful on buildings with visible “wood” structures and similar things. Conversely, one can never have enough large plates in Tan.

So at the right price this is quite a well of pieces – within the limitations of any Friends set, that is. That being the case, it’s also one of the better, more useful sets in this series that would be easy to expand and improve upon, most simply by buying a second set and cannibalizing the pieces. Due to the large plate it’s reasonably stable and therefore should also be easy to handle by your little ones and offer a decent play value. As a bonus, this is also one of the few sets that actually has a male mini doll included and one of your girl gang can actually have a boyfriend (though given the terrible overall boys to girls ratio in this series, not every one of them will get a guy most likely…).

The big caveat is that despite my having built it now and being aware of its positives, oddly enough I still don’t consider it a high priority item. The things it does it does very well, but it’s overall a pretty mundane model and I guess I didn’t have that “Wow!” moment when you discover an original building technique or solution you may not have thought of yourself. Or in other words: It’s perhaps a bit too simplistic to tickle your adult nerves. So if you feel like it, pick it up, but otherwise you’re not missing much and can skip it. No big revelations of any kind in this set, just solid, if a tad boring conventional LEGO.

Mission to Nowhere – Olivia’s Mission Vehicle (41333)

Visiting friends for a few days during winter time can sometimes lead to long evenings beginning early in the afternoon when it gets dark, so it was when I was visiting someone who’s handicapped/ with disability like me that I got a little bored and decided to take an excursion to the nearby large supermarket/ grocery store and stopped by at the LEGO shelf. I seriously wanted to take something home and choice was limited, so I settled on Olivia’s Mission Vehicle (41333)

LEGO Friends, Olivia's Mission Vehicle (41333), Box

Due to the limited selection this is one of the few occasions where I actually paid the full MSRP of around 20 Euros, but when you’re in that specific relaxed holiday mood even I don’t mind shelling out a bit more. However, honesty must be served and I don’t think this set is worth this much. The average 13 Euros you can get it for from most online outlets seems to be much more adequate and fair. Aside from my hyper-consciousness for price due to the circumstances there is simply not enough in the box that would justify it – as you will see.

LEGO Friends, Olivia's Mission Vehicle (41333), Overview

The “mission” is apparently some sort of animal rescue, which is set up by the little tree with the cat and the ladder. Aside from the small size not transporting the urgency of the matter very well and the ladder being more like one of those small step ladders you use to put up your curtains at home it’s okay, though. It’s a choice made by the designers, but including a genuine ladder and making the tree taller would probably have done the trick just as well and conveyed the desperation of the kitty not daring or not wanting to come down a bit better. 😉

LEGO Friends, Olivia's Mission Vehicle (41333), Tree LEGO Friends, Olivia's Mission Vehicle (41333), Ladder

The main build is of course the vehicle which also accounts for the bulk of parts. as is evident from the pictures, this takes more than a hint from the Ghostbusters Ecto 1 and 2 cars and as such one could say it successfully captures that vibe. The proportions are about right and it looks bulky and cluttered, yet elegant and driveable at the same time.

LEGO Friends, Olivia's Mission Vehicle (41333), Front View

LEGO Friends, Olivia's Mission Vehicle (41333), Aft View

Despite the model being large enough, there aren’t many functions or details to speak of, which is a bit of a shame. The small door feels like a cheap-out solution when in fact it should have been perfectly possible to build a full-sized one with a mirror attached. Similarly, there isn’t any door for the rear seats nor any way to open the trunk. Again, one or the other should have been perfectly possible as there is enough space to attach hinges of all kinds without impacting the structural stability too much.

LEGO Friends, Olivia's Mission Vehicle (41333), Open Doors

Instead of direct access through doors and flaps you are once more supposed to remove the roof to get inside. This is a two-step affair with the actual special equipment being mounted on a plate that isn’t even attached and just loosely glides into position by ways of some plates and the edges of the 2 x 1 slopes. In turn that of course means that it will simply fall off if you are angling the model too much, but with a little care this isn’t too big an issue and the placement is reliable enough.

At the same time, though, it doesn’t really make much sense as a “palletized mission center” like the military would use it. So from that angle it could just have been affixed to the main roof and instead more emphasis be placed on a proper roof railing and attachments like the ladder. In fact this might have allowed to include even more stuff like some rods, a catching net and so on.

LEGO Friends, Olivia's Mission Vehicle (41333), Map Compartment

Underneath the palette there’s only the standard Heartlake park map “hidden”, which makes this even lamer. It would have been cooler to have an actual hole here so one of the girls could be on lookout while standing in the car as it’s driven around. That would also have somewhat mitigated the disaster that is the actual interior in that it would at least have given some meaning and function to those large empty spaces as a way of providing room for figure placement.

As it is, the inside of the car is the biggest disappointment and the main reason why, after all, I don’t think this is a good set. It’s lifeless, empty and generic and worst of all doesn’t make a lick of sense in the context of the set. Let’s remember: It’s called Olivia’s Mission Vehicle, but the vehicle is just not equipped to even take your granny’s groceries home. Most notably, if this were indeed meant for animal rescue it would have a separate compartment or a transport box for the creatures.

That play fantasy then could have been extended by including a food tray, a syringe for injecting a sedative and so on. The potential is there, LEGO‘s designer just didn’t use it. By extension, this could also have meant that you could have eliminated the footholds for the figures in the back and placed some boxes and drawers there instead to hold even more stuff that would be useful for soothing agitated pets and taking care of their needs. Why they fully decked it out to hold five figures is beyond me, anyway. Even if you actually have more girls from other sets, you wouldn’t necessarily use them here. This isn’t a taxi taking them to the Heartlake Airport

LEGO Friends, Olivia's Mission Vehicle (41333), Interior

In summary there isn’t really much to gain by buying this set. It’s not that I desperately regret it and want my money back as I still will have use for the parts at least, but this is sadly one more example of LEGO squandering the potential of a set. It could have been great had it been fully thought through, but in its current form it’s pretty mediocre. If you will – it’s just another car. At least it’s mechanically robust and thus your little ones may get some fun out of it rolling it on the carpet all day…

Mustard Pizza? – Pizza Cart (60150)

One of the good things about pre-Christmas season is that it brings some opportunities to fulfill your LEGO desires and get your fix cheap because there are lots of special promotions and discounts even in your friendly neighborhood grocery store. Sifting through the info flyers this weekend reminded me that I had this little gem in my collection already, so I’m posting my thoughts on it just in case someone might consider it as a small Christmas present and is looking for an opinion.

LEGO City, Pizza Cart (60150), Box

I got the Pizza Cart (60150) set in October when it was on sale in a large drugstore’s toy department for something like 12 Euros and that’s what it is typically being sold for in those promotions I mentioned as well. That also is the sweet spot that I’d consider a fair price, given that the model is basically a “shake box to assemble” simple affair. That’s not supposed to say it’s bad or any of that, it’s just not going to keep you busy for long and the suggested retail price of 20 Euros doesn’t feel warranted in that regard.

LEGO City, Pizza Cart (60150), Overview

I don’t do much City stuff, but the overall building style seems very prototypical/ stereotypical and judging from photos is used pretty much on every van-like vehicle of this type and size these days with only the details varying. Still, I think it’s nice, regardless, since overall it makes for a very balanced appearance and could be interpreted as many different car models from different manufacturers without explicitly hinting at a specific one.

LEGO City, Pizza Cart (60150), Front View

The big difference and standout feature is of course the color scheme. For me as a German it’s a bit awkward, as the yellow body and red trim are too reminiscent of the postal service/ DHL parcel delivery vehicles that drive around here. Yes, for a while they were in fact even using a Dark Red in parts, which makes this even more of a strange coincidence. LEGO‘s overcranked color corrections on their promotional photos and the packages to me also made it look like the yellow was in fact the more orange-y Bright Light Orange, but that’s not the case. It’s really just plain old Yellow.

Either way, based on my gut feeling I would have preferred a different color combination, but of course it’s clear that this could then feel just as odd to people from other countries where those same post vehicles are Blue, White, Orange and so on. Perhaps prominently using a third color on the exterior would have avoided some of that? Dunno. In any case, to me the car just doesn’t spell “pizza truck”. I can’t get over those years  of subconscious conditioning. 😉

LEGO City, Pizza Cart (60150), Aft View

Arguably this can also be attributed to the lack of some details and decoration. Granted, I never use them, but the sticker sheet on this set is rather sparse and not particularly well designed. There are for instance no sticker for the large rear panel or the bonnet. Usually this type of car is covered all over the place with self-promotion for the foods offered, has chalk-boards to write on the prizes or printed posters with that info and then some….

For all intents and purposes, this should look like a super-busy vehicle that hits the road every day and has a bit of a rustic charme. It’s also missing a standee that could have had this pricing info or prominently featured an arrow and some text to point the people to the delicious food and a garbage bin would have been nice, too.

LEGO City, Pizza Cart (60150), Interior

The interior is not particularly logical, being that it suggests pizza comes out of a small microwave like oven. There is also no real workbench, no fridge/ freezer and any number of kitchen utilities…. Most puzzling, though, is the fact that there isn’t even a door to get inside there. Given the limitations of the small size and the simplicity of constructions those are forgivable omissions, it just feels incomplete to me.

The winged flaps/ doors are designed nicely and even have smooth inverted tiles to stabilize the connections on the undersides. What’s not so nice is the construction of the hinge. You can really see how the middle segment with the two hinge elements formed this kind of pattern and then they filled it in left and right with some modified tiles to make it look continuous. It doesn’t make much sense for a million reasons, though, and I would have preferred had they just raised the roof one plate height and faired over everything with tiles to disguise the hinges.

My article probably makes it sound terrible, but I’m really just nitpicking over minor issues. Taken at face value and what the set is meant for it is delivering what you expect. It’s meant to be a playable set to put in your city, not something to store and admire in your showcase and it does this job pretty decently. It’s a solid build that doesn’t distract with fancies and despite not being ultimately realistic offers good play value along with some interesting parts in nice colors. For 12 Euros you can’t go wrong with it, it’s just that I would spend my money on other sets if the price was any higher than that.

 

00Fail

Oh LEGO, oh LEGO! What has happened to you? You collaborate with companies on re-creating models that others would lick their fingers for, and then this?!

Sadly, the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 (10262) turned out exactly as I feared based on the first leaked image on that imaginary driver’s license card two weeks ago. In no way does it do the real car any justice. A while ago I was joking on Facebook that it looked like a customized Trabant (you know, that notorious vehicle from former Eastern Germany) and this is exactly that.

LEGO Creator Expert, James Bond Aston Martin DB5 (10262)

James Bond Aston Martin DB5, Photo ©2018 The LEGO Group

Of course there were and always will be limitations in capturing the complex curves of elegant cars just with LEGO and all the curved slopes in the world won’t change this, but this is disappointing, both when viewed as a LEGO aficionado and a fan of the James Bond movies (well, at least some of them, including Goldfinger with the great Gerd Fröbe).

LEGO Creator Expert, James Bond Aston Martin DB5 (10262)

James Bond Aston Martin DB5, Photo ©2018 The LEGO Group

What makes this even worse is that they didn’t even bother making this a special color. It would have been nice to at least get some metallic parts, but apparently all they could manage is to doctor up the photos so heavily to make it look like it has a metallic coat sheen when it’s actually just plain grey. Funny enough this more than seems to confirm that they were fully aware of this and still cheated.

So in conclusion this is yet another of the many half-fails of this year with ugly models in weird colors being sold at slightly mental prices. Nothing to see here, really, though I’m pretty sure there will still be enough people buying it.

Rigid Green and Black – 42077 B-Model MOC

When I wrote my review of the Technic Rally Car set (42077) I already mentioned that I almost like the B-model, the sand/ dune buggy, better than the main model and was thinking about how to fix some of its issues, so now here we are and I can present you with my solutions.

First let’s have look at some cosmetic changes, though. As I also mentioned in my article, I wasn’t particularly fond of the overall coloring. I have nothing against Red just as I have nothing against Dark Azur, but the disproportionately excessive use of both colors on the model is still a bit of an eyesore. That’s why I decided I would change it eventually early on. Of course the limiting factor is the availability of the parts in respective colors. An easy fix would have been to throw in some Orange parts, which go nicely together with the Dark Azur. I, however, was aiming for something a bit more exclusive and at some point settled on an overall Black model with some Bright Green trim elements.

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Overview

As it turned out this was an almost genius stroke of luck, mainly because indeed the extra Black and Bright Green parts were easy to procure and so cheap, I’m almost ashamed to admit it. Apparently there are still a lot of the green parts floating about from the 24h Racer (42039), yet there seems to be little demand for them, so in turn prices are low. The black parts are not quite that cheap, but still very affordable. Either way, I’m not complaining as I’m always on a tight budget. Of course you can try out other combinations and the recent release of the Bugatti Chiron (42083) would possibly even allow you to build a real “classy” buggy in Dark Blue with contrasting wings and “leather” seats in Dark Tan from its parts.

The yellow wheel hubs can be sourced from the infamous 6×6 All Terrain Tow Truck (42070) or the old Volvo LF 350 (42030) and I also had just enough yellow angled liftarms in my stash to match the seats. Primarily I opted for Yellow because the shock absorbers already are in that color and are very visible on the car. On the other hand – when you add more color you have to get rid of it elsewhere or else your model looks like a flamboyant parrot. Therefore I threw out as many Red parts as possible. A few are still in there due to the fact that I didn’t rebuild the set from scratch, but rather replaced the components step by step on the original build and didn’t want to disassemble it further.

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Side View

Replacing the “tubing” from the cage/ stabilizing frame is perhaps the biggest hiccup you will encounter during the build. Ever since LEGO decided to color code axles (Red and Black for even-numbered lengths, Yellow and Light Bluish Grey for odd ones) you are limited to those four colors and have to make do. In the upper section I could of course have gone with Black, but that would have eliminated every bit of contrast. So I opted for Light Bluish Grey instead. This has the unfortunate side-effect of the frame with the flashlights on it to be one unit shorter. thankfully, however, the lower section of the framework it is connected to is a bit of a cheat and only held together by flexible joints, so it can adapt and will only slightly change in angle.

An unresolved mystery is replacing the 16L Steering Link axles. Since they have ever only been included in a handful of sets in Light Bluish Grey they are rare as gold and prohibitively expensive even in used condition. Plugging together some suitable alternatives from shorter axles and connectors therefore is a lot less painful and when done in a thoughtful way it doesn’t looks that bad. The same goes for the windscreen frame.

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Front

Getting to the juicier bits, naturally it’s not all about looks One of the things that really teed me off on the original LEGO model was the sloppy construction of the front hood as laid out near the end of my original article. Treading the fine line between wanting to improve the model, but also not wanting to spend an eternity redesigning the entire chassis I went with a simple solution that is so obvious, it makes you wonder why the LEGO designers didn’t use it. Perhaps it eluded them, perhaps they were under the gun and not allowed to use more parts, perhaps something else. Either way, looking at it, it is an almost ridiculously easy fix. The only caveat is that undeniably it changes the appearance drastically and the whole section now looks a bit like the Caterham Seven‘s (21307) front.

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Aft Section Closed

The original aft section of the model uses the Technic mudguard/ wheel well panel as a shortcut for simplified construction, but due to my color choice and this part not existing in Black currently I needed to completely change this area. The benefits should be pretty clear. By eliminating this element completely from the equation, it frees you up creatively. You are no longer bound and limited to colors that have it, which is great. Additionally, the newly constructed hood closes seamlessly, making this much more believable as an engine compartment.

Personally I also think that a plain flat area is much more credible for a vehicle that drives around on beaches and similar locations. You could strap an inflatable boat, a rolled up tent, a bunch of sleeping bags, your surf board, fishing equipment or any number of other things to the flat platform.LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Aft Section Open

Most importantly, though, all of these changes make the whole affair a lot more rigid, both at the front and rear ends of the car. I’m not going to say that it’s stiff as a brick, but compared to the wobbly mess that the original construction is, I’d consider it a major improvement. Point in case: It may not be relevant for a display model, but if you ever plan on adding a motor and RC the greater stiffness will pay massive dividends.

Since all of this is hard to explain and also not easy to recognize by some simple photos, especially when everything is black, I have gone through the trouble of creating custom instructions. There are a few things you need to keep in mind, however:

  • I did not re-create the entire instructions and only the parts that actually require modifications are shown.
  • The build steps are more of a suggestion than a fixed order. They show you how things are supposed to work, but implementing the changes may require some fiddling.
  • Similar to the previous point, adding the modifications may require to disassemble the existing model, at least in part.
  • Color choices are based on my customized model. Feel free to use whatever you have at hand, especially in the internal areas that may not be visible from the outside.
  • Some extra parts (liftarms, panels, axles) not included in the original kit are required.

The instructions in PDF format can be downloaded by clicking on the image or the link below it:

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Instructions Cover

LEGO Technic Rally Car (42077), B-Model (Buggy), Custom Enhancements

If you have specific questions feel free to ask them here and on the forums where I’m active and will spread the news. Enjoy your build!