Review: 42099 4x4 X-Treme Off-Roader (1)

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42099 4x4 X-Treme Off-Roader is the first Technic set to make use of LEGO's new technology platform Powered Up, which is the replacement for the decade-old Power Functions system.

The technology first made an appearance in 2016, in the educational WeDo set and has subsequently been used in Boost, last year's City train sets, and the Batman Tumbler.

Essentially, the system consists of a hub into which motors and sensors are connected, and an app to control them, via Bluetooth, that runs on a smartphone, tablet and, in some cases, a PC.

Technic's long-awaited implementation of the platform is called Control+, which introduces a new hub, two new motors and a new app.

So, 42099 4x4 X-Treme Off-Roader is thus a vehicle which is remotely controlled from your phone. Let's take it for a spin...


Box and contents

It's actually a relatively small box for such an expensive set (£199 / $249.99 / 229.99€), and that's because, other than the huge wheels and tyres, there isn't a lot in it.

Its 950-odd Technic parts are packed in bags numbered 1 to 3, while the Powered Up components are packed in their own small box.

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The 220-page instruction manual contains 337 building steps, and there's also an extensive sticker sheet.


New parts

As this is the first set in which the new electronic parts have appeared it's worth taking a closer look at them.

The Control+ hub (6142536) is 9 units wide, 9 units long and just under 4 high. It has four input/output ports, two on each side, a green on/off button on the top, and a LED light on the end. Inside there are 6 sensors: 3 gyro and 3 accelerometers.

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The bottom comes off by squeezing two clips to access the battery box. It takes 6 AAs and the way it's been designed perhaps signals that a rechargeable battery pack will be forthcoming in the future.

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The larger of the two motors (6214088) is 5x5x7 and is furnished with a multitude of connection points which enable it to be used as a structural part of models if needed.

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The smaller motor (6214085) is 3x3x7 but has protrusions on the top and bottom. Again, there are plenty of holes in it to secure it firmly in the model.

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The new motors are capable of producing a lot of torque and we were told at the fan media days in May that a new joint was needed to be able to handle it. This consists of two pieces, one with an axle, the other with an axle hole. They clip together firmly and feel very robust although the range of angular movement possible is not as great as that of the older universal joint. The light grey part is element number 6262966. The dark grey part is not included in the inventory at the back of the instructions for some reason.

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A new wheel connector (6275902) has been introduced which contains a planetary gear system to reduce speed and increase torque. The gear ratio is somehere between 1:5 and 1:6. It's connected to an axle using the light grey half of the new joint.

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Cable management has always been a problem in Technic models so it's good to see a solution in the form of these cable clips. There's also a red one in the set: the colours are used to identify the cables.

Their element numbers are 6278194 (white), 6263067 (red) and 6263071 (blue).

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Construction

Construction begins with the front axle assembly. The front wheels are powered, steer (of course) and have suspension. It's a very compact subassembly, so is thus extremely complicated.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The rear axle assembly, is a little less complex but still very dense. The two turntables on either end of the front axle and its motors allow it to rotate independently and tackle rough terrain, as you'll see below.

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Here you can see the motors and hub in the chassis. The two large ones power the front and rear axles, while the smaller one in the middle handles the steering.

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The hub can be removed with a minium of fuss to change the batteries.

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The bodywork is built as a separate subassembly which will allow you to get creative and build alternate ones, perhaps in a different colour, should you wish to.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

It's covered in stickers although I think it would look OK without them. I probably wouldn't have applied them if I wasn't photographing it for this review.

Some of the vehicle's 'sponsors' are quite amusing: Accele Rate, Indi Kator, Firm Gripp, Mani Fold, Car Buretor and EN Gyne!

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The completed model

A pin at the front and two axles on the sides are all that are used to hold the bodywork to the chassis which therefore allows easy access to the hub.

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I'll let you admire the completed model from all angles...

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The rotating front axle allows the vehicle to tackle some rough ground, such as these 8cm tall squashy bricks. With a ramp leading up to them it would have no trouble driving over them.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Operation

Please continue to part two of the review to learn how to operate the vehicle and to read my verdict of the set.


Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

21 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

"An app to control them, via Bluetooth, that runs on a smartphone, tablet and, in some cases, a PC." I would be very interested in a PC version. Currently the UK Control+ page only lists Android and iThing compatibility.

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By in United Kingdom,

There's a Windows 10 Boost app and probably a WeDo one too, but neither is any good for controlling this. In any case it would be physically impractical.

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By in Germany,

no remote , no deal

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By in United States,

Looks like they could come out with a several "skins" for the basic chassis, and have a monster truck line.

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By in United States,

Accele Rate is also a "sponsor" on set #42050 Drag Racer, so it's fun to see some (fictional) continuity there

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By in United Kingdom,

I have the crawler and i thought it was great not any more!!!
Great suspension.

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By in South Africa,

I thought when I first saw the preview pics of this set that I might be keen to get it. Having now seen the detailed review and detailed pics I’m not so sure. Its for sure colorful and bold, but somehow seems just too basic. My 6x6 all terrain vehicle set is in my opinion more cool and more value for money too. Sadly this set will cost an arm and a leg here in SA, even if I did want to get it.

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By in Germany,

So, is this closed like Boost or potentially open?
Price is ridiculous, really. For the same price I can get a REAL RC car that is made of metal components, potentially water proof and can crash without instantly breaking, has a real power pack, goes 30km/h+, etc, etc. PLUS a decent Lego set without any electronics.
And why is the grey block visible and not hidden? This looks almost as bad as the blue failure.
Nice tires, though.

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By in United Kingdom,

It would have been nice to see it without stickers.
I know, I know, there are lot on here who like to see the stickers on, and will be very vocal about it, so you can't win. But I can look at the official photos if I want to know what it's like with stickers.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'd have been criticised by more people if I hadn't applied them...

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By in United States,

Could a picture have been taken prior to the stickers being applied?
Best of both worlds!

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By in United Kingdom,

Not easily, as they are applied, as always, as you go along.

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By in United Kingdom,

I know, Huw. I said you can't win. I don't get the "apply stickers" crew in cases like this, but they do like to rattle on about it.

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By in United States,

@Gelkster: It's been in quite a few Technic sets! In fact, more than half the brands on this set's stickers have been in other sets or themes! The oldest as far as I know is EnGyne, which dates at least as far back as 2008 in set #8495-1 from the Racers theme. Since then it's appeared in themes including World Racers, Technic, and this year even City set #60218-1 !

I've been steadily working on putting together a chart of all the different fictional brands I see referenced in non-licensed themes but I'm nowhere near done! Particularly since I recently expanded my scope to include not just brands, but the insignias of police departments, fire departments, etc. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1SmqX1bh8svtBmtRKtRkcCPGsv2v1hRmV9p44QCemZZ4/edit?usp=sharing

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By in France,

nice suspensions, but such massive gaps in the body, the front is an eyesore.

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By in United States,

Looks to me like a very interesting build, combining an unusually large number of functions into a relatively compact format. On the other hand, I have to agree--it needs a proper remote. Not all of us want to use an expensive electronic device to play with a toy!

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By in Austria,

I bought the model on Friday the 2.08. for 170,50€ assembled it and it turns out the HUB doesn't work properly in combination with Honor 10 smart phone. It wanted to make an Firmware update but this was not done successfully. After using another phone (not sure what type as it wasn't mine) the Firmware update was completed and now it works also with the Honor 10 phone but still "not always".

I like the look of the model also without applying of the stickers and I used a pair of 94925 gears in the drive train to get more "power". The speed is still OK but it performs better now.

It is fun to drive with it.

The app itself is quite OK and easy , looking forward to one app we can use for MOCs
Sometimes it is a bit tricky to steer as you do not have a real buttons, so you have to look at the car and from time to time also at the phone otherwise the fingers are not on the "sliders".

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By in Poland,

Maybe this one is a nice looking model but in terms of 4x4 performance (elevation, ground clearance, obstacle crossing) it is simply no match for 9398. Low torque results in cutting off power even when resistance is relatively small.

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By in Belgium,

Is Bricklink sponsoring the reviews now? ;)

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By in Germany,

Did someone get the LED Lights 88005 works? If i connect them on Port D, my app won‘t find the car :(

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By in United Kingdom,

I really want this set but I can't really justify the price, maybe once it's discounted heavily I'll pick it up. Is this the end of power functions? I can appreciate the app lets you do some cool stuff but I do wonder how long it would actually be supported.

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