Review: 70004 Wakz' Pack Tracker
This 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?).
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).
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.
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!
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.