Close your eyes and imagine a LEGO set: iconic 1970s Dodge Charger R/T, packed with authentic details. The opening hood reveals a model version of the iconic V8 engine; moving pistons, wishbone suspension, steering system, and air blower. There are even nitro bottles in the trunk. Just like the real thing! Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? According to LEGO, such an exciting set, in this instance, LEGO Technic 42111 Dom’s Dodge Charger, retails for just US $99.99 | CAN $139.99 | UK £89.99. Moreover, the model consists of just 1,077 pieces, which, by all means, isn’t a big Technic set. A medium-sized Dodge Charger in an authentic design for US $100 seems to be an absolute bestseller. But before you order one for yourself, let’s build it and make sure it is as good as we imaged it.
Box and contents
The box, which is actually more massive than it looks, is remarkable for its square shape. Still, the set comes with only a bit over a thousand pieces, and most of the box is empty.
Each of the four groups of plastic bags carries about 250 pieces. This makes the assembling perfect for unexperienced builders, say, a fan of the latest Fast and Furious movie who accidentally spotted the box on a store shelf.
Unlike many other tuned vehicles with screaming designs, Dom’s Charger stays classy in its plain black body, hence a very modest sticker sheet.
Every side of the box reminds you that this is not an ordinary sports car; it’s a Dodge Charger, and this is the one that belongs to Dominic Toretto. Unfortunately, not a single page at the beginning of the instructions is devoted to the story of the car. Obviously, this is not an exclusive set like 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS and 42083 Bugatti Chiron, which are known for outstanding building guides revealing all the secrets of the real cars. Still, I would love it if there were at least a couple of pages with the shots of the vehicle from the movies.
It’s not until the very end of the building guide that you come across a short overview of Dom’s cars. To be honest, I’m struggling to see how this insert contributes to the experiences of either a LEGO or the movie’s fan.
New and remarkable pieces
It takes just a quick glance at the box to realize that the car isn’t rich in peculiar or rare pieces. However, this is what can draw the builder’s attention:
- a massive 11×15 Technic frame in dark bluish grey color. This part is still very hard to obtain, so it’s nice to see at least one in the set;
- a wide variety of pieces in black, including connectors, biscuit pieces, and a ton of Technic panels. These must suffice for a custom vehicle designed in black.
The first two building stages result in a complete functional chassis. Although it’s utterly simple, the working suspension, the fake V-8 engine, and the steering should be enough to impress anyone without the broad experience of building with LEGO Technic.
The apparent advantage of the chassis is its scale; it won’t be an issue to install a couple of motors and turn it into a remote-controlled vehicle. I guess this chassis will serve as a perfect starting point for kids who like building with LEGO Technic.
The second half of the assembling brings a lot of Technic panels. Thanks to all these panels, the construction doesn’t feel tedious at all. Using panels allow for nearly modular building experience, which is smooth and enjoyable.
The complete model
The finished model measured more than 15″ (40 cm) long and 6″ (11 cm) wide. This bulky Dodge Charger has its style and quickly grabs attention even though it’s almost entirely black from headlights to taillights.
LEGO has released a ton of Technic vehicles through recent years. One of the things I dreaded when opening the Charger is that the assembling will be identical to all the other cars of the scale. However, the new Dodge Charger comes with a couple of surprises. For instance, the front end of the suspension is different and utilizes another type of steering knuckle. The way the steering rods are placed is also different. It’s always great to see all the work and effort invested in the model.
Nevertheless, the pleasant impression is dwarfed by a very arguable exterior of the model. Whichever part of the car you look at, it’s impossible to ignore countless imperfections. A massive opening in the hood right above the engine, a very flimsy supercharger, the shape of the front mudguard; these are just some shortcomings of the front part of the car.
Interiors have always been a trouble spot in LEGO Technic cars. Combining a decent exterior with a fully equipped interior is a nearly impossible task for such a compact scale. However, the inside of this Dodge Charger is simply depressing. Obviously, the designer’s creativity is severely restricted by the product’s budget. The model doesn’t seem to have excessive elements which can be sacrificed to the improvement of the interior, but you don’t need a lot of pieces to improve the design. I wish the was the iconic rearview mirror seen in many shots across several movies.
The light bluish grey elements of the bodywork look in person more appealing than in the official pictures. The design of the windscreen pillar is also great; I think I will borrow it for my own creations.
No doubt, the design of the rear of the Charger is on the whole other level. The taillights made of transparent red tiles look stunning and much more realistic than those of 42083 Bugatti Chiron set, which were of solid red color.
Now, let’s make a pause. Everything mentioned above describes my impressions from the product as a LEGO Technic set. However, things get much more complicated when you consider the fact that this is practically a scaled copy of the real vehicle. As soon as you place pictures of both vehicles side by side, it becomes apparent how oversimplified the LEGO build is. For instance, straight Technic panels can never convey the actual shape of the Charger’s bodywork. Obviously, it’s the exterior highlights that actually make some resemblance to the real vehicle: the iconic double headlights, the shape of the trim around the lights, and the supercharger.
Let’s explore the set’s main play feature, the wheelstand support. There is a simple flicking mechanism hidden in the center of the vehicle, which allows you to engage the support beneath the car. To be honest, this is one of the weirdest play features I’ve seen in a LEGO Technic set. Looking at this type of functionality, I can’t help recalling 42050 Drag Racer set. That model from 2016 was equipped with a support, too, but it was attached to the back of the vehicle.
The official product description claims that the model is perfect for both teenagers and adult fans, which means that set is a playable toy and a great shelf model. However, combining both in one product is rarely a good idea. The Charger is not an exception. The lever engaging the stand is located in the middle of the car’s interior; reaching it is quite a challenge. And when the support is engaged, it really spoils the car’s iconic look. Was it just a display model, it could have been equipped with a more stylish and discreet stand, which can be designed using robust Technic connectors.
Final thoughts and recommendations
LEGO describes the new 42111 Dodge Charger set as “an awesome replica model of the classic muscle car.” Is Dodge Charge a classic muscle car? For sure. Is the set an impressive replica? I doubt it. Budget limits and the scale of the model killed an otherwise fantastic idea for a set that could be popular with everyone. I can’t agree more with the opinion that this car should have been a Creator Expert vehicle built of System pieces.
Judging by the variety of opinions that appeared online, the set will find its audience. However, I doubt it will be popular among LEGO Technic fans; neither the pieces nor the building experience can justify the price. With all other great Technic cars released recently, you can easily find a much more valuable option for the money.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.