Finding happiness in the LEGO world often depends on the size and complexity of a model determining how it ultimately will look. While that certainly implies that bigger, more detailed models are usually better, sometimes small models still manage to surprise positively and that certainly is the case with the Creator 3in1 Cyber Drone (31111) and the Tuk Tuk (40469), which I’ve rolled into a single article.
Contents and Pricing
Both sets sell for 10 Euro, with the drone having 113 parts vs. 155 on the Tuk Tuk, which is pretty much in the usual range for these sets. With the Tuk Tuk being a LEGO exclusive set only available from them directly you have no real options to get it cheaper, anyway, but thankfully for once I don’t consider this too much of a problem with the model turning out reasonably sizable and looking good. The drone is available via normal retailers and due to its relatively small size definitely worth looking for discounts, even if it’s only the typical 20 or 30 percent. Those two or three Euro really make a difference, even more so if you plan on getting multiple sets to build the alternate models that use significantly less pieces compared to the primary build.
The Cyber Drone
The cyber drone represents a bit of an odd paradox in that it is a drone (plane) being flown by another drone (humanoid robot). In a real world scenario that probably wouldn’t make too much sense. The flying drone would already have all its own autonomous systems in place and not require anyone to control it, while the robot itself would then merely be a passenger. In a way this feels like those old sci-fi movies from the 1980s and early 1990s where everyone assumed that because computers were so expensive, you’d only have one and move it around in to plug it into dumb devices rather than those devices having their own intelligence. Of course today things are much, much different.
The minifigure, while not exactly a foreign concept in the 3in1 sets at large, is certainly unique for such a small set. Most of the time you only find them in sets for houses or larger vehicles that offer play features. What makes this even better is the fact that this figure is quite unique and elaborate. It has an overall Flat Silver body with a detailed multi-color print on the upper torso. The latter features the classic LEGO Space logo and in fact the whole harness design may be derived from an older astronaut figure, but i was too lazy to really investigate this. Similarly the head has some nice metallic printing stenciled out with Black and Medium Azure “glowy stuff”, making it indeed looking like exposed internal circuitry. for such an inexpensive set it’s really a great minifig.
The drone itself is recognizably based on the “drop ship” designs found in many classic science-fiction movies such as Alien, Terminator and a few others with a chunky section holding the cockpit or cargo bay and an extended tail boom with V-shaped control surfaces. there’s also the typical massively oversized jet engines that make the vehicle look imposing and threatening.
In terms of construction the set doesn’t go out of its way to do anything all too fancy or revolutionary. For me personally the only real novelty is the use of the 3 x 3 square Technic connector since I did’t have it yet in my collection. It is however not used as an essential structural element and more of a way to quickly bulk things up without having to use more extra pieces. You could totally build the relevant sections with other parts. You’d just have to do it differently and use extra bits to fill gaps.
One thing I definitely don’t like is the reliance on so many hinge-style connections. Aside from the double ratcheted plates used to attach the tail boom acting as a stiff connection all the other hinges are single axis/ single point connections, meaning the parts attached to them can easily be brought out of alignment. This begins with the engine pods themselves and continues with the various flaps. The point here is not so much my own nerdy obsession about engineering stuff, but this minimizes stability for play and could become a bit annoying if kids need to realign things over and over again.
The weakest area on this model is easily the aft section on the fuselage just behind the cockpit. The main issue here is the many large gaps and overall openness of the space that exposes too much of the construction details. This really feels like adding two or three more slopes would have gone a long way toward making it look better.
As explained previously, the set seems to assume that the pilot drone would connect directly with the onboard systems and thus there are no real details in the cockpit. the only concession are the grip knobs on the sides, which is more or less only a sneaky way to find a use for the ball joint plates that are needed for the alternate mech build. Regardless of this it would just have been nice to have some dials for the cockpit or for that matter an actual connection wire/ hose for the data link between the two machines.
The Tuk Tuk
The Tuk Tuk essentially fell out of the blue and surprised many people, including myself. Who could have thought that LEGO even were capable of coming up with something this simple, yet highly original? It’s not entirely unexpected, given that they are expanding in Asian markets, but at the same time not very typical of them. I’m also pretty sure their competitors in those regional markets already have covered the subject of these various Rickshaw-like vehicles quite sufficiently, making this even more unusual.
While I’m usually more for a harmonious color scheme, the Tuk Tuk appealed to me because very much like the original it is just the opposite. With many of these vehicles being under constant repair and being heavily customized by their owners in terms of colors and decorations, pretty much any and every combination of shapes and colors is fair game, not to speak of the ones that have been built from scratch using old motorbikes and random spare parts. Therefore this particular model more or less may only represent one exact real counterpart that is driving around somewhere.
The overall build is simple, yet efficient and pretty stable, given that the whole cabin is mostly a hollow box with relatively thin walls. This makes handling the finished article quite easy and it also doesn’t break apart immediately when it topples over sideways due to the small wheels and the high center of gravity. It does this quite a bit on surfaces that are not perfectly level, but it’s not entirely unexpected.
One thing I’d definitely wouldn’t have minded is simply more of this craziness. This is one of the few cases where in fact I might even have plastered the model with stickers, if it came with any. The more wacky these things look, the better. I think it would also have been nice if the vehicle had an extra external stowage box at the rear end.
One of the questions on everyone’s mind has been whether this will fit your custom LEGO city layout and streets and the answer here is “Kind of it may, but then again it may not.” The point here is that this model is not only notably wider than the regular 4 studs (even if you were to remove the little step protrusions), but it is also quite tall. A direct comparison with a minifigure seated inside reveals that it would actually be undriveable for this little guy.
Things do look a little better if you are playing on some optical illusions and your perception. In the image below the figure is placed just about 5 cm away from the model, yet due to the short focal length of my camera and resulting strong perspective distortion it looks much more to scale. That could mean that if you place the vehicle strategically in your scene without some other object near to it as size reference, it could still work out short of giving the model an actual work-over based on its original design.
Both sets turned out unexpectedly well. The most important takeaway here is that not only do they look good, but also have some actual play value, meaning you can’t do much wrong regardless whether you want them as display items for yourself or as toys for your kids. There are of course some limitations that are more or less inherent in the limited number of pieces and the resulting building style, but they are perfectly acceptable. There’s some good value here no matter how you spin things and that is something you cannot always say about this type of sets. I definitely can recommend a purchase for both items, assuming they suit your overall preferences and tastes.