Monday, January 12, 2015

LEGO 60052: Cargo Train - REVIEW

This past Christmas served as a huge boon to my LEGO collection.  I probably ended up with more LEGO sets this year than I ever received back when I was a kid!  Despite all my good fortune, I couldn't help myself when I saw the LEGO 60052:  Cargo Train on clearance at my local Wal*Mart after Christmas was over.

I just had to have it.  And build it.  Immediately.

The back of the box shows off a lot of the play features - plus the fact that you have eight (!) numbered bags to sort through when building the train.

For a set with only 888 pieces, 8 different numbered bags seemed a bit excessive to me.  However, in the interest of good journalism, I dutifully photographed each bag as well as what was built from said bag.  This will certainly be an image heavy post - but it's worth it!

Bag 1:

Bag 1 has you build the cargo truck, a driver for that truck, plus a few random accessories (hand cart and a couple of trash bins).  You also get the useful brick separator in bag #1.

Overall, the Cargo Train has a TON of stickers (easily the worst part of putting together the set)...the cargo truck?  Well, it uses 5 stickers.  Personally, I found the cargo truck to be underwhelming, though I appreciate the fact that the bed of the truck includes jumper tiles that are designed to fit the crates for the train (which will be assembled later in the build).  For those that hate stickers as much as I do, here is the completely used full sticker sheet for the Cargo Train.


Bag 2:

The second bag finally gets you going on the actual train.  You know, the reason why someone presumably dropped $200 on the set (assuming you bought it at full retail price).  First, you need to track down a ton of AAA batteries (nine of them in all)!

The controller is nice enough - but both the controller and the engine box require a screwdriver to access the battery compartment.  That seems unnecessarily annoying to me.  Maybe it's a safety thing for kids?

Moving on the real build of bag #2, we get the lower half of the blue train engine.  The engine is by far the most interesting part of the entire train building experience.  It's the only piece of the train that uses any sort of interesting or non-standard building techniques.  Bag #2 also comes with a nice train worker.

Bag 3:

Bag three is used to complete the train engine.  I like how the large blue plates (seen at the top of the photo above) are used to hide the battery box.  I am not certain how easy it will be to take the engine apart to replace the batteries but we will worry about that bridge when we get there.

Overall, the blue engine is quite nice!  I like all the detailing (even if a lot of it is done via stickers).  Quite frankly, there isn't much that I would change about the model (though I would have preferred a grey binocular piece to serve as the train's horn rather than the way LEGO designed the horn).  That's being quite picky though...overall it's a great looking engine.

Bag 3 also has the yellow pieces needed to complete the Y-switch tracks.  The set comes with two Y pieces which is nice - it helps to have something besides a circle/oval for play purposes!

Bag 4:

The fourth bag introduces are first train car - and our third minifigure.  The car is a cattle car which comes complete with a cow, a farmer with (presumably) a bucket of milk, a feeding trough, and a stack of hay.  It's a solid design done with minimal parts.

I didn't own one of the cow pieces before so I'm happy to acquire that particular animal!  I don't quite get why there is a farmer included in the set though...is the farmer riding along with the cow in an open air train car?  I don't think so...and there isn't any particular vehicle included that the farmer would be driving.  It's sort of weird - but I guess I won't complain about extra minifigures (though another train worker would definitely have been preferred and made a lot more sense)!

Bag 5:

Bag #5 contains pieces to build the second cargo car - this one being a cable car.

There isn't a lot to say about this particular train car - it's incredibly simple but I think it's evocative enough that there is no confusion about what you are looking at.  I would have liked to see the LEGO Company include some string to wind around each of the "spools."  I also think there should have been two of the small chains included, but otherwise I have no complaints about the cable car.

Bag 6:

The sixth bag features pieces to build our third and final cargo car as well as pieces to build the forklift.

For me, this is the most disappointing train car as it really isn't anything special.  It sure feels like a cop out to have the wheelbarrow serve as a piece of cargo on a pallet.  I don't know anyone that would ship a single wheelbarrow via an open air cargo train.  It makes no sense.  I do like the small Octan gas tank though!  As for the forklift, it uses a rubber band to provide the springiness for the lifting fork, but otherwise it's entirely unremarkable.  It does add some play value for sure - but I don't think it should be in the third spot serving as a piece of cargo.  This particular train car should have been much more interesting with three unique pieces of freight!

Bag 7:

Finally, we move on to bag 7 which has us build the lower part of the train station.  The set comes with a pair of 16x16 grey plates upon which the cargo station is constructed.  Actually, calling it a station is probably being a bit generous as it's basically a single room building plus a crane.

I do like how the train track is incorporated into the design of the station - it'll be even more apparent once the final bag is opened up!

Bag 8

The final bag is used to finish off the cargo station.  Basically, bag 8 is used to build the crane apparatus which is then placed on the two tracks from the previous bag's build.  As you can see from the above photo, bags 7 and 8 could easily have been combined since there are so few pieces.  However, I am guessing LEGO chose not to do that since there a lot of large pieces in the final bag.

Overall, it's a nice looking depot - and the crane works like a charm!  The small red pieces are supposed to be a place for the forklift to sit the various crates down (presumably then to either move them to the truck or train).  Unfortunately, you have to be very careful when placing the crates or else they fall off...the width of the build isn't quite right - the top of the two stand pieces should have been 2 studs wide rather than just one stud wide.

Putting it all together, the instruction manual shows an oval with a small offshoot to serve as a go-around for the cargo depot.  If you build the layout that way, you end up with a pair of extra curves.  It should be noted, however, that you can go for a less symmetrically pleasing track layout and use all of the included track!

Overall, the Cargo Train is a great set - full of fun play features and a couple of great train cars (the cattle car and the cable car).  The train engine is also a work of art.  The depot is rather sparse, but it does provide a good deal of play value because the crane can move both forward/backward and left/right for lots of fun loading and unloading various vehicles and trains.

I did find the number of stickers used to be annoying - and the final cargo car is also disappointing. Neither of the two included trucks (the cargo truck and the forklift) will wow anyone with their design but they do open even more play options.

The Bottom Line:
Fun:  9
Play value:  9
Kid value:  10
Adult value:  9
Overall:  9

I would have given the set straight 10s across the board for the price in which I got the set ($60 off retail).  However, for a set priced at $200 it seems to be lacking in a few key areas. If only LEGO had gone the extra step in a couple of spots (the third cargo car and the depot mostly), this would have been a near perfect set.  Even so, if you can get it closer to $150 or so, I would consider it a must buy!

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