review: Grafix Block Tech Fast & Furious Speed Racer (95 Pieces)

ffsr-boxBlock Tech’s Fast & Furious line continues to expand at the ol’ Dollar General store. Today, we look at one of the recent sets: Speed Racer, a name that surely will never draw the attention of Tatsunoko Productions and Funimation!

ffsr-contentsThe set’s parts come in two bags. As is customary, an instruction booklet and sticker sheet are also included. No cardboard tray this time, though. Note that the set’s name appears beneath the minifigure on the instruction booklet. Does that mean Speed Racer is the character’s name?

ffsr-car-3shotIf the character’s name is Speed Racer, does that make this vehicle the “Mock 5?” I suppose we should begin with the positive points. First, Block Tech has wisely ditched the cheap plastic wheels for honest-to-goodness rubber tires. It is amazing how much of a difference it makes. The build has significant heft to it, which is not entirely unexpected since this set has twenty-six more parts than the previous Fast & Furious set that I reviewed. The build is slightly more involved, without being unnecessarily tedious.

menace-vs-speedNow let’s talk about drawbacks. The largest one is that the vehicle looks nothing like anything found on the road today. The smaller Urban Menace has the advantage of resembling a custom street racer (in profile, at least). I’m not sure what the Speed Racer vehicle is supposed to resemble. A souped up taxi cab? The world’s fastest wedge of cheese on wheels? A short school bus from the future?

ffsr-car-w-driverThe other major drawback of the vehicle’s design is that it doesn’t allow for the included minifigure to sit in it. You can remove the canopy to make a crude seat for the minifigure, but it doesn’t so much sit inside the vehicle as it does sit on top of the vehicle. It’s a bummer, to be sure.

speed-racersSpeaking of the minifigure, here he is next to a Lego minifigure picked completely at random. The figure’s construction is nothing new. The printing of the leather motorcycle jacket is quite good (if a tad short), but the pageboy hairdo makes the minifigure look a bit silly. Actually, if you gave it sunglasses and lost the facial hair, you could have your very own terrible Ramones minifigure of sorts. He would have to be the least talented one, “Dum Dum.”

ffsr-completeConclusion

MSRP is USD$5, which is two dollars more than previous sets. On the one hand, you do get a more complex build and a minifigure for the slightly higher sticker price. On the other hand, the build is not particularly well thought out. The rubber tires are a nice touch, but it doesn’t come close to redeeming the vehicle design. The inclusion of a minifigure isn’t exactly a selling point either, considering that the minifigure is unable to ride in the vehicle by design. In the end, it’s a wash. The set’s not awful in any particular way, but there’s also nothing really special about it.  It’s the building block equivalent of a shrug. Without the Fast & Furious branding, there would basically be no reason to purchase this set.

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