I also made the second review of this train on Eurobricks (under the Nickname Brickviller), and I think it's also good to review the set here, to share my thoughts on it.
The box is just as large as the previous cargo train from last year. As always a CGI-modified image of the set, with the blue-ish skyline of the city in the background. The back of the box is also recognizable as the other City themed sets. A part showing the bags and what's inside it for 'easy buid'. The rest shows the play features (wich is a lot) and a image of this train and the other train sets.
The instructions came in a plastic/cardboard protection, and that's something I really was not expecting after reading the review of the U.S. version. Because of this the instructions/stickers are not bend at all. In total we get 6 books, each to make a submodel of the set. And a stickersheet.
Inside each bag are a nice mixture of various parts. I don't really care about them, since I use them only to make the official model. However we do get and interesting red batterybox in a seperate bag, while the batterybox inside the cardboard box (together with the remote and motor) has the dark gray version, meaning it's probaly cheaper to include both. The rest of the parts, well, just check my Eurobricks review and see what parts are in it (see link)
We get 4 regular train workers in this set, one smiling one, one with a beard, another one with steriod eyes...I mean white glasses, and another half smiling one. So it's really anything special, not even the driver from 7939 or 7898 was included.
The build was for me fun, but that's also because it took me a lot longer to make pictures. However there is not really anything interesting about the build itself. Mostly just stacking bricks (what the main purpose of Lego is) and some techniques we've already seen in other sets. However that does not mean it's not a good build, because this kind of engine was not avaliable since 4512, and the maintance truck car is something I haven't seen in a decade or even more.
The completed model
The completed model is awesome. We get a nice European looking engine that's just as long and just as high as it's one year older cousin. The truck is also cool, the function is very popular amongst train sets. It can drive on track and on road. The other car is the maintance car, which also looks nice, and has some cool functions like lifting the crane. The brown ballast wagon is a little so-so. Not really great, not really bad. It does a good job, but some may not like the oversized piece. It''s not a specialized piece, since it's also used in the new rocket launch site. Still it looks kinda weird though. We also get a coal loading device and a small unloading platform. Also nice, but not really realistic if you look at it. However the mechanism works really well. The last wagon is the toxic waste car, and the idea is one of my favorite ideas. ( as a kid I loved to play there was a nuclear threath in a train). It looks good, and the new roof design does the job well, I was suprised to see so many bricks for a medium sized car.
With many things Lego brings out it's two steps forward and one step back. This set is no exception. The engine looks great, but as many of you pointed out is that it has a weird dummy boogie that does not looks as good as the ones from 7939 and 7938. Futhermore the figs you get is just pathetic. Four is not even a fair ammount and the variety is a laugh. I would have liked the inclusion of a hazmat fig, because of the toxic waste car, or at least a new driver. On the other hand, it's a cargo train set, and those almost never have a great variety of figs. Another con was the ballast wagon, it's really nice to have something in a different color that you don't see much in the City range, but the oversized part make it look a little cheap. Also unlinke the previous ones, you can't install lights, nor a rechargeble battery without modifiying the bricks.
However the train is in some ways better that 7939. Mostly because this one has much more playability. I mean you can repair the track, drive trough a place where ecoterrorist don't want to have the toxic goo, and load and unload the ballast. Ofcourse kids can think of much more than just this.
So all in all, its a decent set, and if you can get it cheaper than 7939 it's also good. The set is probaly ment as a placeholder between 7938 and 7939. Adults will probaly like the other trains more than this one. But kids will probaly love this one much more, because the playability is much better.
- Here's my review on Eurobricks, with a lot photo's:
23 out of 24 people thought this review was helpful.
It seems to be a growing trend with TLG's Train products that, as prices have risen, the component count as gradually reduced. Adjusting for inflation is obviously worthwhile, but this doesn't explain how 3677 product can end up so disappointing.
There is no one real answer. For £140, the user has the least amount of playability I've yet to see in a Lego Train product over the past ten years, and this makes me worry for the future products. Are TLG dumbing down the concepts for what makes an ideal train set? It would seem so.
For a start, the features are entirely linear. Of the two cargo tenders present, only one is capable of interacting with other depot/handling services within the set, and that is brown 'scooped' variant which has the ability to swing 90-degrees left and right - thus allowing its contents to drop out or drop in. The white and green wagon meanwhile, which contains some 'hazardous' materials, is a generally bland design and doesn't reflect the nature of its contents. Surely a wagon transporting this kind of cargo would have chevrons and warning patterns? It would also have some decals that tell the people outside (and the user, of course) what its purpose is.
The maintenance carriage that holds a track and road vehicle then is then largely estranged. Why is it hear? This kind of model would make an excellent small product that could be bought separately (with more details), but in an effort to consolidate the amount of train products present and to maximise profit, this will not be the case for the foreseeable future. It's a nice carriage with some good features, but definitely seems out of place.
Let's not forget the train of course, as for some people, this is what 'the set' is all about. How does it fare up against past cargo trains? Not bad, but then again, it doesn't strike me as anything special either. The use of Power Functions has certainly compromised the internal layout, but what I do find quite boring about the loco is the engine section in front of the cabin. It has so little detailing that it doesn't cry out anything classic at all, like our good old friend the 9V Yellow/Black cargo train from the 90's. The rear of the cabin is great, but thats about it from my perspective.
Don't get me started on the new all-plastic track that can 'bend' at your will... Sure enough, it incites some creative possibilities that were once limited with 9V, but it's just so easy for trains to derail (and LOUD) that it's no substitute for fixed straights and curves. Keep trying, TLG...
I was looking forward to this product when I first heard about it, but now I am only convinced that TLG are beginning to take advantage of parents who have little-to-no choice when it comes to Lego Train products. This is a pity, because it was the Train line that once set this company away from other toy manufacturers.
12 out of 13 people thought this review was helpful.