Review: 70004 Wakz' Pack Tracker

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70004 Wakz' Pack TrackerThis is the first of a series of reviews we'll be publishing at Brickset to mark the official launch of the next big thing in the LEGO world: Legends of Chima.

The first set we are going to be looking at is one of the 'construction' sets of the theme, 70004: Wakz’ Pack Tracker

Legends of Chima was originally planned as the natural successor to the popular Ninjago theme, although recently TLG have stated that Ninjago will continue into 2014 so these themes will be sitting on the shelves competing for your attention and cash.

Just like Ninjago, Legends of Chima is going to be backed up by a cartoon show to be aired on The Cartoon Network starting in 2013. This is a wise move I think, given how the Ninjago cartoon drove the sales of the sets, at least in the US (it was not aired in the UK due to strict toy advertising laws).

The world of Chima is said to consist of six tribes, three good: Eagles, Lions and Gorillas and three bad: Wolves, Ravens and Crocs. There’s no sign of any sets containing Gorillas in this wave, I’m assuming they will appear in a later wave, but all the other tribes make an appearance in the first wave.

In Wakz’ Pack Tracker we have a medium sized set containing 297 pieces, 3 minifigures. It costs US 29.99 and is suitable for ages 8-14.

Box and Contents

70004 Box Front

The box is one of the square variety, measuring approximately 28 x 26cm and is surprisingly heavy. I’m a big fan of smaller packaging for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it makes them easier to store. The artwork shows the Pack Tracker in action, battling with Equila from the Eagle tribe, and is in a particularly attractive and eye catching dark blue colour scheme to entice the buyer in.

70004 Box Back

As is standard nowadays, the back of the box draws attention to the play features of the set, with the missile launcher, movable wolf jaw and claw winch getting the treatment here.

70004 Box Contents

The box contains four bags in total: three large bags numbered 1-3 and a fourth smaller bag also numbered 3 that contains just six yellow Technic ½ bushes. This is a strange move to say the least, especially given that the larger bag 3 contains an inner bag with some of the bushes, but hey ho, it’s a small piece I guess and easy to lose.

The large wheels come loose in the box, and I’m pleased to report that are no stickers in this set whatsoever, which is always nice.

70004 Instructions

The Instructions also come loose in the box, no protective cardboard backing on a set of this size. The artwork is the same as the front of the box. The instructions are reasonably thick and contain 55 steps as well as a two page spread showing the minifigs from five of the six tribes.

Minifigs

Here we get three minifigs, two Wolves and one Eagle. All of the minifigs are superbly detailed and have double-sided heads as well as elaborate head pieces. The use of the head pieces is an interesting decision, assuming that in the cartoon these guys are in fact derived from eagles and wolves and are not able to remove their ‘helmets’, LEGO must have deliberated over using moulded heads (like we see in a lot of Star Wars minifigs) or using helmet head pieces as we have here. I think they chose wisely, they look fantastic and increase the playability and reuse factor for your MOCs.

Equila Front and Back Printing

First up we have Equila, and I have to tell you right out of the gate, I’m mightily impressed with this minifig. His name is possibly derived from Latin word for Eagle, ‘acquila’ which would make sense I guess. It’s not unique to this set given that it also appears in 70013 and 70101, albeit with different weapons.

Equila has elaborate front and back torso printing, as well as some nice leg printing on the front. He also comes with a double-sided head print, depicting him with and without goggles (do eagles really need goggles?).

Equila

As previously mentioned, he also comes with a lovely white printed eagle head piece which I think looks lovely. The golden armour he wears serves a couple of purposes (aside from protection), firstly it used to attach an orb of Chi to his chest in an Iron man fashion, which I can only assume gives him some sort of powers, or to quote form the TV show teaser trailer itself “Take an orb of Chi and place it in your chest, and feel the power of nature itself”. Secondly, there are two studs on the back used to connect two white clips to which you can attach the wings (which presumably give Equila the power of flight).

Wakz Front and Back Printing

As for the two wolves, first up we have Wakz, which I’m going to assume is higher in the chain of command than Winzar, based on the fact that he gets armour, an orb of Chi and his very own Pack Tracker. As with Equila, Wakz is not unique to this set, also making an appearance in 70113.

Double-sided head and torso printing, front leg printing, head piece, armour and a lovely colour scheme make this another knockout minifig for me. He is also sporting an orb of Chi and a rather mean looking laser sword which I can’t wait to see in action when the cartoon launches.

Wakz

Here we have Wakz in all his glory, donning his head piece, armour, orb of Chi and his Eagle cleaver +4 sword (I may have made that name up). Just look at those menacing eyes, I wouldn’t mess!

Winzar Front and Back Printing

Finally there’s Winzar, who also appears in 70106. He has the double-side head and torso printing but no armour. Check out the mean looking scar across one of his eyes, presumably suffered in the heat of battle. It’s worth mentioning that both sides of the head actually contain fairly similar expressions.

Winzar

The head piece finishes the minifig off and contains the same scar found on the head. Winzar sports a less than spectacular looking sword, this guy really needs to get his Chi on!

Equila, Winzar and Wakz

Here’s all three minifigs in their full get up, including Equila’s elaborate and deadly looking golden axe that sports an orb of Chi, wonder what that bad boy does?

Construction

70004 after Bag 1

The first bag sees you building the top of the wolf’s jaw along with some nasty looking teeth and attaching it to the body of the Pack Tracker. There’s a fair few Technic pieces used at this stage to give the body some stability.

70004 after bag 2

70004 after bag 2

In bag 2, the suspension system is constructed and added to the base, which is almost entirely Technic-based and provides a reasonable amount of flexibility in the suspension due to the types of parts used. The lower half of the wolf’s jaw is also built at this stage and you can see how it will open and close as the front wheels rotate. You can see the nose of the vehicle start to form into the features of a wolf and there is quite a severe and aggressive forward tilt to the vehicle.

70004 completed model

Bag 3 sees the model complete and adds more detailing to the nose of the vehicle to complete the features of the ‘wolf’. Also added are the chunky wheels (complete with teeth spikes), a missile launcher and twin exhaust ports spouting flames.

The Pack Tracker is completed with a printed piece that is used to depict the Wolf tribes’ flag, a claw winch at the back and a blue crystal, which I can only assume is raw Chi. It’s worth noting that the blue crystal appears to be a new element, as does the new style clip that is used to connect the teeth to the end of the claw on the winch.

The Completed Model

70004 completed model

70004 completed model

70004 completed model

70004 completed model

70004 completed model

70004 completed model

Here’s the completed Pack Tracker. Build time is about 30 minutes and not too challenging which is befitting of a set aimed at the 8-14 year olds. I think they nailed the front of the vehicle, which really does capture the likeness of a wolf. The designers have made clever use of some fairly standard pieces to form the wolf’s eyes, eyebrows and ears and the result looks suitably menacing.

As the Tracker rolls forwards or backwards, the lower jaw opens and closes via the use of a Technic piece attached to the suspension.

The missile launcher on the back can rotate in any direction thanks to a ball and pivot joint and the launcher propels that missile a fair old distance which is all good fun. There is space for a Chi crystal to sit below the missile launcher, which is either powering the vehicle or perhaps transporting it.

You can seat a driver in the head of the wolf by lowering the ‘eyebrows’ and there’s room for another wolf to stand in the back and operate the missile launcher or the winch. The winch itself can be raised or lowered and has a menacing claw attached to the end, although I couldn’t actually find a legal way of attaching a minifig to the claw.

Conclusion

What I Liked

  • The minifigs are fantastic. A lot of effort has gone into these guys and it has really paid off, the head pieces in particular look great.
  • Nice colour scheme. This is personal choice of course, but the dark grey and red colour scheme is visually appealing and of course, is in keeping with the wolf design.
  • The missile launcher has some serious power. I think it was a great decision to include a proper missile launcher rather than a flick fire, it really adds to the playability.
  • There are no stickers, not a single one!
  • The front of the Pack Tracker is a great likeness of a wolf, with some really clever part use to recreate some of the features.
  • The model is fairly solid thanks to its Technics-based structure, and will stand up to moderately rough playing.

What I Didn’t Like

  • There are no unique minifigs in this set.
  • The back of the Pack Tracker looks a little sparse in comparison to the superb front.
  • There is no way of attaching a minifig to the claw on the end of the winch.

I don’t mind admitting that I was skeptical of Legends of Chima at first. When it was announced and I saw the first pictures, I thought it could be a theme that I might skip entirely. I was wrong! I remember having the same feelings about Ninjago and I must have ended owning around half of that theme. Having built the Pack Tracker and got a close up look at the minifigs, I’m well on the way to being won over. The minifigs are undoubtedly the star of the show here, but I also love most of the Pack Tracker, it’s not a vehicle that looks good from every angle, but from the front it looks great and it also provides a lot of playability. I’m now keen to get my hands on more of the animal-based vehicles and in particular a look at the minifigs for the Lions, Ravens and Crocs.

My gut feel is that LEGO are on to another winner with Legends of Chima.

29 comments on this article

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By in United States,

This is probably the only set I really really like in the first wave. It look like a wolf and not a weird Technic based this. The wolves and eagles are really nice mini figures. However I doubt it will come anywhere close to what NinjaGo is.

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By in Australia,

I'm still way more into the flying sets (connected to the Eagles and Ravens), but this was a good review.

As an aside - since you did talk about the back of the box - does anyone else miss the days when the back of the box was a way to showcase alternative builds? Maybe I'm just living in the past.

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By in United States,

Very good review Huw! The up-close look at the set is very nice. It looks a lot better than I thought it would. I am not won over yet, but I could see this being popular with kids. I am not sure how this will do in comparison to the Ninjago Golden Dragon, which I believe is the same price.

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By in United States,

"The back of the Pack Tracker looks a little sparse in comparison to the superb front."

That's always what I've been saying about Chima:
They present a good front image, but when you look past that...

It's nice to know that the sets aren't completely terrible, though! =P

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ atkinsar posted this review, I'll be doing one later today/tomorrow.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review, and a great set!

Picked up a few Chima sets last week, and we're thoroughly enjoying them!

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By in Ireland,

I want this set mainly for Winzar, those scars look incredible! Almost violent, I'm actually surprised LEGO let them be printed in blood-red. :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review atkinsar. I thought I was going to skip the whole theme,but now I'm getting second thoughts.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review, thanks atkinsar. I have picked up the two smallest sets and only constructed Crawley's Claw Ripper so far, which, like the model reviewed here is actually a good set, far beyond what I had expected.

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By in Sweden,

If only they'd skipped the wheels and made it a "real" wolf instead (akin to the sphinx in 7326).

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review!

I was wondering if you could elaborate on your reasons for liking the smaller box size LEGO is currently using?

I've heard many people comment on how much they like this change, but I myself don't care for it at all. Smaller box sizes means instruction books and sticker sheets that are even more bent and curled than before, and there's a lack of empty space inside to act as a 'buffer' during shipping damage - I feel like the LEGO itself has more of a chance of getting scratched, torn, ect. Any comment on these ideas?

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By in United Kingdom,

It's not my review, but I'll pitch in anyway: Smaller boxes...

-- take less space to store
-- prevent the contents moving about a lot in transit, and therefore help keep the instructions intact
-- are more robust
-- are environmentally the right thing to do: they use less card and are more efficient to transport

The only thing I wish LEGO would change is the way they are sealed. I'd much rather be able to open all boxes without damaging them, not just large ones, which are the only ones that are tape sealed these days.

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By in United States,

That vehicle looks so bulky and blocky. I'm surprised Lego is actually releasing this stuff! But, as you said, we're at war now. Ninjago VS Chima I guess. Anyways, excellent review even though I disagree with the final result. :D Guess I'll have to see future sets to really determine if I'm "Ninja-Go, Chima-No"

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By in United Kingdom,

This is the set I've been most looking forward to out of the first wave. The only thing that's annoying me is the 30 USD == 30 GBP pricepoint for it. I guess I'll be waiting for ~30% off then.

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By in United States,

Chris, you do realize you are complaining a LEGO set is "blocky" right? haha

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By in United Kingdom,

@Crownie, this may seem like a cop out, but basicailly, what Huw said regarding the smaller packaging. As someone who keeps the boxes, I really do appreciate the smaller boxes both in terms of taking up less space but also because they stand up to storage wear and tear better. I also echo the environmental angle too.

As for those who are not feeling the love for Chima, I can totally understand because I was one of those people. As is so often the case, when I actually got the set in my hands and was able to examine it and the minifigs close-up, well, you know the rest, safe to say this wont be the last LoC set I'll be getting and ^^ yes, I'll be waiting for >30% too, but that's par for the course for us bargain hunters these days isn't it.

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By in United States,

Another question:
Is there enough space in the back for the two wolves, plus some extra minifigures (if you wanted to put more in), or only those two?

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By in United Kingdom,

^ You could squeeze maybe four minifigs in, it's tight though as the missile launcher takes up most of the space and to do so would restrict the movement of the launcher.

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By in United States,

@Huw - Is Lego possibly moving away from the taped seal, as this is the easiest to plunder of minifigs and then return?

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By in Australia,

I reckon it looks alright to be honest. Personally I plan on getting a few of them and modifying them to compliment my 'mad max' theme build.
Very surprised actually at how well this set will look!

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By in United States,

The punch holes can't be "resealed" effectively, making them genius. However for us box savers, those punch-holes are going to make these boxes a space-killer. Most of the sets this upcoming year seem to have punch holes, sadly.

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By in United States,

@TheGreenBrickGiant Oh ... wow... didn't realize that. :D I meant that I was hoping for more slopes and cleaner built structure, like Jay's Storm Fighter or the Skull Truck from Ninjago. This looks too chunky, I guess.

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By in United States,

Cool Truck! It looks like "Brickeater" on steroids...

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By in Belgium,

Regarding the extra n°3 bag, I think there's a very simple explanation: LEGO probably did a mistake at some point, resulting in the main 3 bag containing the wrong number of bushes. Since they probably discovered very late in the production process, it probably was cheaper to add the extra bag than to repackage the regular bag.

I'm merely guessing here, but we've seen errata sheet for instructions in the past to avoid reprinting, so this could be the equivalent for missing parts. Unless of course the 6 extra bushes aren't used at all, in which case my argument doesn't hold.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ the 1/2 bushes are mostly used, you do end with 3 spares though.

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By in United States,

Good review. This set is nice and in many ways echoes Fangpyre Truck Ambush (9445) from this year's Ninjago wave-- but with a chomping jaw in place of the swinging tail.

Regarding the box size debate, I kind of miss the larger boxes, because back in the day I would often transport sets in their original boxes whenever possible and preferred minimal disassembly. This was a habit I picked up as a BIONICLE fan, since the packaging for the medium-sized BIONICLE sets was designed as reusable storage, but there was no similar storage solution for larger sets.

Anyway, my family got quite a few large sets for Christmas this year, and it frustrated me to have to tie them in plastic grocery bags to transport home! In the future I suppose I should bring sturdy Ziplock bags anywhere I might have a chance of acquiring and building a LEGO set. Already I have used this solution for the sets I brought to college this past semester, and it's probably more reliable than using the original boxes anyway, but it doesn't have the same charm as opening the box the set came in when it's time to unload it from transport/storage.

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By in Denmark,

I really love 70006 for all the olive parts. See it here http://www.lekgodt.no/2012/12/70006-chima/ , some photos but in Danish.
Nijago's minifigs were all the same. I have seen 22 different Chima minifigs so far and 37 sets are pipelined for 2013. Also they will issue action-figures. I have seen Lions, Eagles, Raven, Crocodiles and Wolf and still Gorillas are to come. All in all I think Chima will be hard to miss. One - Two - Chima!

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By in United States,

I would buy these sets have I been younger but I'm 15 and too old for this little kids' Lego.

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By in United States,

^I'm 21 and I'm excited about these sets. Sure, these sets are preposterous and over-the-top, but that doesn't make them any more childish than any other System sets.

In the words of C. S. Lewis, "When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." Except that unlike many LEGO fans, I never had a "dark age", and as a prerequisite to that, I had to abandon the notion of having exclusively grown-up interests long before I was pressured to adopt them.

Also, I ought to make one correction to the review: according to Mark Stafford (Nabii), Chima was NEVER meant as a replacement for Ninjago. That was entirely a miscommunication by Kevin Hinkle at Brickfair-- Chima was just a new "big bang" theme that was created independently of Ninjago and planned for a 2013 release regardless of whether Ninjago continued. With that said, just by virtue of being a "big bang" theme I have no doubt Chima will be taking away a bit from Ninjago's shelf space and marketing budget-- the Speedorz already seem to be more or less replacing spinner sets as the "collectible game sets" that will be rotated out every quarter.

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