Review: 79111 Constitution Train Chase, part 2
In the second part of my review of 79111 Constitution Train Chase, I will take a look at the build and the Constitution train itself. While many licensed sets rely on the Minifigures alone to carry the entire model, in this case I feel that the vehicle more than lives up to the standard of the superb figures.
In the first part I took a look at the Minifigures included and you can read about them here.
Once again, please avoid spoilers in the comments section for the sake of those who have yet to see the film.
I enjoyed building this set, thanks in part to the fact that this is a train, and I always enjoy building LEGO trains. Plenty of SNOT is used throughout the model, most notably to create the boiler on the locomotive. The ingenious creation of the Gatling gun is also a treat. Although this design is prevalent in the world of MOCs, this is a rare technique to be used in an official set, only appearing three times before now. It is interesting to note that the designer of this set is Marcos Bessa, an AFOL, which suggests the design may have been influenced even more than usual by designs exhibited online as well as past LEGO sets.
There are a couple of notable examples of NPU as well. Naturally, the aforementioned binoculars on the Gatling gun, but perhaps even more interestingly, Sensei Wu's hat from the Ninjago theme is cast in pearl silver and attached to the front of the boiler to add texture to the model which looks fantastic.
The Completed Model
There is a lot to this set. The locomotive itself is very detailed with various pipes and lanterns. A cowcatcher features and even a bell is included which is formed using a pearl gold fez piece. There is space for a driver in the cab and the acronym T.C.R.R. (Trans-Continental Rail Road) adorns either side of the vehicle. The front two wheels can turn, while the three behind that are fixed. Perhaps the only slight flaw in the design here are the lack of coupling rods on the wheels, although I do not mind this too much personally.
The next section to be built is the coal tender which can open up to hide a Minifigure inside and has a few black studs on the top to represent coal. All of the couplings on the train are made using the standard magnetic pieces of course.
The flatbed wagon is laden with all kinds of details, including a crate in a nougat shade which contains two silver ingots, two silver crystal pieces, and a green bottle. Behind this is the Gatling gun, which is mounted on a ratcheted turntable and can tilt up and down, to point just about anywhere. On the side is a handle which can be turned to twist the barrel, recreating the manner in which a Gatling gun fires. I must say, the inclusion of this on a train seems like overkill to me, but nevertheless this section of the model (as well as the rest of it) looks marvellous in my opinion.
The last section of rolling stock is the prison car at the back of the train. This is accessible by a sliding door on either side of the car and inside is a barred door into an area where a prisoner can be kept. The rear of the car can be blown off by pushing a lever on the roof, allowing the convict to escape and inside a sticker shows a tally of days spent in the cell carved into the wall, which is evidently twenty-eight.
What really sets this train apart from many others is the inclusion of twenty pieces of track, four straight components and sixteen curved. A water tower also features which can be knocked down using a level (cleverly disguised as an explosive plunger) to block the track, spilling four blue cylinders which represent water. Perhaps the least interesting part of the entire set is the exploding pile of rocks, which is very simple but functional nonetheless. I should imagine that both of these functions will be taken from the scene in the film, but we will see.
Despite the film itself being reputedly awful, there is no doubt in my mind that the sets are superb in the main. In my view, the Constitution Train Chase surpasses all other sets in this theme by some distance. This is high praise indeed given what it is coming up against, however I think it is completely justified in that both the Minifigures and the model itself are absolutely brilliant, even more so when the price is taken into account.
For many train fans, the ability to motorise the set is key. Unfortunately, this is not a particularly simple task with this model as the locomotive is nowhere near large enough to house a battery box. Despite this however, instructions for how to add Power Functions to the model are given in the 24th issue of the BrickJournal magazine. Feel free to send me a message for a scan of the relevant page.
The Minifigures are all extremely desirable, and trains are always popular, particularly when they are as impressive as this model is. The addition of track and a couple of trackside accessories only add to the excellence of the set and make this a real 'must have' model in my opinion, particularly if you are a train fan, in which case I can think of no better set than this.
Parts: 5 - Plenty of useful dark green, some silver ingots and the golden fez component make this set very attractive from a parts perspective.
Playability: 5 - Trains are always good fun, and there are plenty of lovely features which only add to the playability.
Building Experience: 4.5 - A few interesting techniques are used, although without any moments of real inspiration, I cannot quite award full marks.
Value for Money: 5 - No doubt that this set is well worth the price, it certainly feels as though you get a lot for your money.
Overall: 5 - Not quite faultless, but nigh on perfect for me in terms of Minifigures, the build and the set as a whole.
Thus that concludes the Brickset reviews of the Lone Ranger sets. Although this will almost certainly be a one wave theme, I must say that I (and the rest of the Brickset team judging by their reviews) have been very impressed with these sets overall. The Minifigures are about as good as one could hope and the models seem to have had a great deal of thought put into them. Only time will tell whether these sets prove popular, but from what I have heard from LEGO store employees this is not the case (in Brighton not a single Lone Ranger set was purchased on the day of release apparently). I certainly hope that the theme will grow in popularity however, if only to inspire LEGO to create a brand new unlicensed Western theme.