Set 8150: ZX Turbo Racer
If there's one big downfall to the LEGO brand it is this: It ain't cheap. LEGO products tend to run about 10¢ each retail - putting a mere 200 piece set at the $20 mark. As such, I tend to think of shopping for LEGO sets a lot like visiting an upscale grocery. Sure, that bottle of 10-year aged Balsamic Vinegar might be pricey - but you know it kicks butt compared to the $5 bottle of swill you can get at the supermarket down the street.
Still - it'd be nice to be able to spend $5 or so and still go home with a quality LEGO set. To that end, LEGO has released the Racers line. Small sets - at a low price point - that still manage to kick some butt. Just at a micro scale.
The Racers line has been around for a couple of years now. There are larger (and more expensive) sets in the theme, but this review focuses on one of the new "Glow in the Dark" models for 2008 - the ZX Turbo Racer. It's a 1:55 scale model (meaning it's about three inches long), comprised of 55 parts and about $5.50 after tax. I don't know what's up with all the repetitions of "55" - maybe it's a tribute to Sammy Hagar.
The product text at LEGO.Com is a bit over the top:
Light up the night!
Here's a shot of the completed model and the sticker sheet. The stickers are printed on shiny silver foil - not quite as nice as if the parts had been pre-printed, but better than just "normal stickers."
Parts and Rare Bits:
Most of the 55 parts are quite common - but this set has two stand-outs. The first is the 2x4x2/3 black curved slope that creates the front windshield. This part is new for 2008 - so far only appearing in three Racer sets (8148, 8150, and 8152) and the big 2008 Police Station set (7744). I'm looking forward to re-purposing this slope in my own creations; nothing like adding smooth curves to a build to remove that stigmata of "block shaped".
This set was sadly mini-figure free, but Whiskey has offered to demo the second new part from this set: the Glow In The Dark Lightsaber Blade.
Oh, sure, they used it in the ZX Turbo as "glowing exhaust pipes", but we all know what the designers were thinking: Black Light Jedi Battles.
At the time this review was written, the ZX Turbo is the only set to offer this glowing blade - and they were selling for an average of $2 each on the secondary market. Considering that this set comes with two blades...well, you do the math. It's like getting the rest of the car for a buck. Not a bad deal.
So, How did LEGO do?
For an "impulse buy" set, the ZX Turbo is quite nice. It has good playability. The build is quick and clean. The glow-in-the-dark hook is well executed.
The lack of printed parts is the only issue keeping this from being a five-head winner, as otherwise I don't have any negative comments. And boy is that unusual.
Well played, LEGO.
I give the ZX Turbo Racer four out of five severed LEGO heads!
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