02 October 2020

LEGO® Technic review: 42111 Dom's Dodge Charger

Today we welcome back Alexandre Campos (the Ambassador for PLUG, a Portuguese LEGO User Group) for his insightful and, as ever, comical review of LEGO® Technic 42111 Dom's Dodge Charger. The products in this article were provided for free by LEGO; the author's opinions are not biased by this.


Much has already been said about 42111 Dom's Dodge Charger, especially about its fidelity to the source material (or lack thereof) and the source material choice itself, so I won't delve into that again. Instead I'll focus not so much on the final result, but more on how it was reached.

Recolours and interesting elements in LEGO Fast & Furious

There are no new moulds in this set. Ignoring colours, you could build it from your own inventory. However there are recolours of 2 existing elements. Both were already available in rather gaudy colours, but in Dom's Dodge Charger they come in more useful, neutral tones.

42111 contains a Gear Middle Ring (35186) and as you may know, this is a redesign of the older Middle Ring (32187). It was created to complement the other redesigned "clutch elements" (such as Gear Shifter Ring 3M (18947), Angled Gear Wheel Z20, W/ 4.85 Hole (35185), and Gear Wheel Z16 W. Ø.4,85 (18946). The main improvement is the doubling of dogs (woof!) from 4 to 8, thus minimising the still considerable backlash. You can see the difference between old (left) and new (right) below.


This mould was previously only available in Bright Yellow / Yellow and this year has brought us 2 new colours: Black in 10273 Haunted House and 75275 A-wing Starfighter, and Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray here. There is only 1 of this element in this set, and its ID is 6307931.


Interestingly, this normally functional element is used here in a strictly decorative role, to add detail in the engine compartment. Hence the need for this specific colour.
The more important recolour 42111 brings is Technic Beam Frame 11x15 (39790). This set contains one, which comes in Dark Stone Grey/ Dark Bluish Gray (6265646). Prior to this it was only available in the rather loud Medium Azure in the SPIKE Prime sets 45678 and 45680. This new neutral colour will make it a lot easier to integrate in your builds.

For comparison here it is  with the other currently available frame sizes. As you can see it shares with its smaller 7x11 cousin the pattern of alternating horizontal and vertical pin holes. This gives it multiple attachment points on each axis, thus greater versatility to build large models.

There is however something you should take into consideration when building large models with this element. Like the vast majority of LEGO elements, this piece is made of plastic, and at this size the material's inherent flexibility is considerable. This frame is quite easier to twist, bend and flex compared to its smaller variants, which means you should make sure to properly reinforce the structures you use it in.


This is presumably one of the reasons why 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37, which came out shortly after Dom's Dodge Charger, uses 2 of these stacked together, with a third tightly affixed to the other two.


It might not be noticeable at first, but this set contains many black elements. Many, many black elements; a Batmobile-load of black elements. Plus some very, very dark grey ones. This image can give you an idea of the smorgasbord of black panels, beams and other noteworthy elements you can find in this set. Suffice to say, this should be a good starting point if you're planning to create a stealth fighter jet, a raven, or something in this colouration range.

In total the set contains, amongst others, these black elements:

  • Single Bush 2 Module, Dia. 4,9 (65487 | 6282140) x 19
  • Design Shape W/ Tube, Crosshole (25214 | 6179182) x 14
  • Double Angular Beam 3X7 45° (41486 | 6271152) x 14
  • Technic Ang. Beam 3X5 90 Deg. (32526 | 4142823) x 14
  • Cross Axle, Extension, 3M (42195 | 6286381) x 13
  • Bowed Panel 3X7X2 W/ 4.85 Hole (24119 | 6150082) x 11
  • Technic 7M Beam (32524 | 4495935) x 11
  • Technic 13M Beam (41239 | 4522933) x 9
  • Bowed Panel 3X11X2 Ø4,85 (X19) (11954 | 6031916)  x 7
  • Technic 5M Beam (32316 | 4142135) x 7
  • Technic 11M Beam (64290 | 6029578) x 7
  • Flat Panel 3X11M (15458 | 6080356) x 6
  • Technic Ang. Beam 4X2 90 Deg (42137 | 271825) x 6
  • Left Panel 3X5 (87080 | 4566251) x 4
  • Right Panel 3X5 (87086 | 4566249) x 4
  • Technic Rotor, 2 Blades (50029 | 6280168) x 4
  • Angle Element, 0 Degrees [1] (42127 | 6284699)  x 3
  • Angle Element, 180 Degrees [2] (42134 | 6271869) x 2
  • Connector Beam 1X3X3 (39793 | 6265644) x 2
  • Flat Panel (64782 | 4566243) x 2
  • Technic 3M Beam (32523 | 4142822) x 2
  • Technic Angular Beam 4X4 (42165 | 6278125) x 2
  • Left Panel 2X5 (Nr 22) (43500 | 6319983) x 1
  • Left Panel 3X11 (64681 | 558774) x 1
  • Right Panel 2X5 (N0 21) (43499 | 6316923) x 1
  • Right Panel 3X11 (64393 | 4558731) x 1

Phew, that took some typing.


Another element of interest is the Cross Axle, Extension, 3M (42195). Like the Gear Middle Ring discussed above, this piece started life as a functional element; in this case, being an essential part of 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS' gearbox. Like the Ring, its usage evolved over time to more decorative roles, which is why we can find it in a larger variety of colours today. As can be expected, this set contains plenty of them in Black, 13 to be exact.  A bit more surprisingly the set also contains the same mould in Light Bluish Gray (6273212). The grey parts have an exclusively functional role in 42111, so they could have been any colour. If I'm not mistaken, more colours of the same mould increase production costs, so I have no idea why they couldn’t  all be Black here.


Also of note is a mixture of the very old and the very new: the set provides in Black (of course) 2 of the recent "biscuit" Connector Beams 1X3X3 (6265644 | 39793) and also 4 of the ancient Technic Rotors, 2 Blades (6280168 | 50029). I wasn't expecting the latter element, hailing from the old days of studded Technic construction, to make its way to modern times.


There is a pair of elements that, while not new, are uncommon and have been absent from Technic sets for 5 years: the Power Joint (6296844 | 65453) and its best friend forever Power Joint Ballpart (6296843 | 65452). These are useful to build a joint that can pivot around all axes while allowing an axle inside to turn without having to bear any structural loads.


I wasn't expecting to find these types of elements in a Technic set: Microphones W/ Ø3.2 Shaft (18740 | 6199163) and 3 M.Arches W.Knob And Shaft Ø3.2 (61184 | 4520320), 2 of each, in Light Bluish Gray. The former, as its name implies, is a microphone for minifigures to embarrass themselves at karaoke parties, and the latter is a "flick-fire" projectile usually found on more action-oriented themes. Surprisingly, both are used here in a functional instead of decorative way, as you'll see later.


Finally, this element isn't new or rare, but caught my eye. I noticed that the Beam 4 Module, W/ Ball Cup 5.9 W/O Frict (31794 | 6247352), of which there are 4 in this set, has this curious groove along one of its sides. The size of the groove doesn't appear to correspond with other elements, so I can only assume it's there to allow for an easier moulding process, or maybe to help users mount it in the correct orientation.


Oh, I almost forgot: for completion's sake, here is the whole set of bags (which are numbered 1 to 4) with the loose frame 11x15 and tyres, plus the Dreaded Sticker Sheet. The latter came, together with the instruction booklet, protected by a plastic bag but started curling up as soon as I removed it from its enclosure.

42111 Dom's Dodge Charger instruction manual

Unlike most Technic sets, which are not licensed, 42111's instructions booklet contains some photos of the source material, in this case Dom's Dodge Charger from the first Fast & Furious film, as well as his other cars from the sequels. I can't help but notice that all images of the original car, either here or in the packaging, show its right side, as if TLG didn't want us to know what's on the left side… I wonder why?



Unfortunately, like most Technic sets nowadays, the instructions keep the irritating tradition of having steps which add very few elements, in some cases only one. The case below is the one that grinds my gears (pun not intended) the most. Would combining these 2 steps make the building process that much more complicated?

Building the LEGO Technic Dodge Charger

Construction is for the most part straightforward, with the oversimplified steps making it even easier.

Models featuring a differential, whether the Differential 3M Z 28 (62821 | 4525184) present in this set or the other versions TLG has produced, often present a challenge when removing a wheel. You try pulling out the wheel but its axle comes along with it, detaching from its bevel gear inside the differential. This bevel gear is almost always impossible to reattach to the axle without some dismantling.


In the case of the Charger, however, I was glad to see a compact, yet elegant, assembly that makes use of the stop in the Cross Axle 5,5 With Stop 1M. (59426 | 4508553) to prevent all this from happening. You can pull out the wheel at will, and the axle and gears will go nowhere.


It is also in this same assembly, shown here from another angle, that you use the microphones. As you can see, they are inserted in the axle holes of 2M Fric. Snaps W/Cross Hole (32054 | 4140801), to eventually become limiters for the suspension's travel. When doing some "crash testing" of the finalised model these tended to pop off, so the connection isn't the most secure. I don't know why the designers didn't use Balls W. Cross Axle (2736) instead, which have a better grip. Maybe those would stick out too much.


This is the weirdest sticker I've ever seen on a LEGO set, and probably also the "most optional" one ever. It contains what appears to be a curse written in an ancient legalese dialect, and most likely was mandated by the copyright holders of the licenses involved in this set. Should you decide to apply it, the sticker ends upon the bottom of the car, so thankfully it doesn't stick out.


Two of the ancient Technic Rotors, 2 Blades (50029 | 6280168) are used in a curious assembly at the front to prevent the Track Rods 6M (32005 | 4629921) from popping out of their ball joints. This is an ingenious way to obtain a smooth surface on one side with attachment points on the other.


Here is where those 2 shooty-projectile-flick-fire thingies are used.


They go in the engine block assembly, to make sure it is mounted at the correct angle. Using V-Engine Holders ( 32333) would be a lot simpler, but perhaps the cylinders would be at the wrong angle, or the engine simply wouldn't look as good.



Unusually, by the end of bag 2 of 4 the model's functionality is completely built, even the wheels. You can already play with the model, although for the moment the missing steering wheel would make it hard for a Technic figure to drive it. On the other hand, this method of construction should make creating your own body for this chassis quite easy.


The remaining 2 bags only contain elements for the construction of the body. When attaching the hinge for the bonnet, the instructions tell us to insert on each side a 2M Fric. Snap W/Cross Hole (4140801 | 32054). The presence of a Connector Peg W. Knob (4211483 | 4274) in the way makes this operation awkward and makes us insert the snap at an angle, which unnecessarily forces all the elements involved. This could easily be avoided if the peg was added after attaching the bonnet.

I have been building Technic sets since 1988, and the following step may be the most difficult I have ever experienced. It involves attaching a sub-assembly on the inside of the car's roof (as can be seen in the callout on the image below), and requires aligning many pins with their respective holes. Unfortunately, I don't see an easier way to assemble this.


Here is another interesting building technique that helps define the rear of the car with a very specific angle:


The Left Panel 3X11 (64681 | 4558774) is attached by a single pin to the rest of the structure in a way that allows it to pivot around a lateral axis. However, its placement between the roof and the boot (helped by a Connector Peg W. Knob) is such that no movement is possible.


The rear suspension, unlike most Technic cars, is solid axle instead of independent. This was chosen in order to be more faithful to the source material. Curiously, the Shock Absorbers, Extra Hard (6027566 | 76537) are mounted very low compared to the axle. This was most likely decided upon to prevent them from sticking out too high from the car's body and preserve its looks. Since this is a road car and not an off-roader, I'm not bothered by the low ground clearance that results from this solution.

The completed 42111 Dom's Dodge Charger


As I wrote earlier, I'm not exerting violence upon the poor deceased equine by discussing how faithful or not this set is to the source material, whether or not it would be better represented as a Creator set instead of Technic, or how aligned the Fast & Furious license is with LEGO values. There are plenty of discussions about that already.


That said, and while I can forgive the model's blockiness due to the limitations of LEGO Technic elements, there's one thing I'm unable to give a pass: the lack of an external rear-view mirror. This is a large, not entry-level LEGO car: the lack of a mirror is inexcusable. It could be argued that the original lacks mirrors as well, but that's the case only with the right mirror: a quick Google image search will show you that the original car does have a left mirror. No wonder all photos in this set show only the right side of the original car.

And it wouldn't even be hard or expensive to add a mirror: the Bowed Panel 3X11X2 Ø4,85 (X19) (6031916 | 11954), used for the upper portion of the door, has a free pin hole in the right spot.


It took me less than 5 minutes to throw 3 parts there and whip up a mirror. Which one do you think looks best?

Well, with that out of my system, here are some more angles of the completed set including the deployed wheelie bar, to replicate that specific scene in the film.





And here it is, compared to other licensed Technic sports cars. My photo tent was definitely too small for such a gathering.



One thing I really like is the springiness of the suspension. Using Shock Absorbers, Extra Hard (6027566 | 76537) both in front and rear, it hits that difficult Goldilocks spot of being neither too soft nor too hard. It is a pleasure to bounce this car around, although the A-pillars and the microphone elements in the rear suspension will most likely get detached.

Conclusion



I'm a firm believer that the number of elements and price per part are very fallible metrics with which to evaluate a LEGO set: it's a totally different thing to have 100 1x1 plates compared to 100 EV3 bricks. So, for better or worse, I'll use the more subjective evaluation of "stuff you get for the price". As of time of writing, the set costs £89.99 / $99.99 / 97.47€. For what it brings, I feel this is reasonable, but barely. If around 10 of each currency were to be deducted from its price, it would be a lot more palatable.

That said, what do you get for the price? The most immediate answer is "lots of Black elements". There's a huge variety and quantity of them, and as I wrote at the beginning, this is a good starter pack if you're thinking about building a black MOC, such as a stealth fighter jet or a raven. For car builders, there is also the engine and suspension elements, as well as the low profile tyres. It's a shame, though, that many of the light grey elements aren't instead Metalized Silver/ Chrome Silver , or at least Cool Silver, Drum Lacquered/ Metallic Silver. That would improve the set, both as a model and as a parts pack.

As for the model itself, with its functional engine (with the added detail of the chain) and suspension, it is very playable. You can forget about playing with the wheelie bar though: it's almost impossible to extend or retract from the lever inside the cabin. Its look should be polarizing: fans of F&F, muscle cars, and/or the Dodge Charger will probably overlook the model's inauthenticity, while for others this will be a dealbreaker.


Even if the car was more in scale with Technic figures, I wouldn't want to ruin mine (the techfig, not the car) by ripping its hair out just to make this photo more screen-accurate.

Still on the subject of people who may like this set: surprisingly my girlfriend, who doesn't care much about LEGO sets in general, and couldn't care less about LEGO Technic specifically, loved the looks of it! And apparently, she wasn't the only one.





Help New Elementary keep publishing articles like this. Become a Patron!

Massive thanks go to our 'Vibrant Coral' patrons: Iain Adams, Font Review Journal, Baixo LMmodels, Andy Price, Anthony Wright, Geppy, Chris Cook, London AFOLs, Gerald Lasser, Big B Bricks, Dave Schefcik, David and Breda Fennell, Huw Millington, Neil Crosby, Antonio Serra, Beyond the Brick, Sue Ann Barber & Trevor Clark, and Kevin Gascoigne. You're awesome!

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Amazon USA: Amazon.com Canada: Amazon.ca UK: Amazon.co.uk Deutschland: Amazon.de

Search New Elementary


All text and images are © New Elementary unless otherwise attributed.

2 comments:

  1. Still not a fan of how your top box reads: "The products in this article were provided for free by LEGO; the author's opinions are not biased by this."

    Lots of bias is subconscious, so it's simply not accurate to claim there isn't any. *Everyone* brings bias with them, and it's a part of how people form opinions - and that includes subconscious feelings about value when buying/receiving a product. Would be much better to write: "The products in this article were provided for free by LEGO; the author's opinions are his/her own."

    I really hope you'll update how you introduce reviews, so they don't start with an inaccurate claim!

    ReplyDelete
  2. xD "A curse written in the ancient Legalese dialect"

    ReplyDelete

As an Amazon Associate, New Elementary earn from qualifying purchases.