I mentioned in previous years how much I enjoy the LEGO Technic Pull-Back Racers collection. LEGO started the series back in 2013 with two racers, and since then, they have been adding two new racers each year (the exception is 2020, when three new racers were added). Each of the racers has a built-in pull-back motor, which allows the user to wind them up and release them. The racers run fast, they are very sturdy, and fun to play with. Earlier racers could be combined to build an alternate model, while starting last year, each set now has its own alternate model.
A few years ago, I started worrying about the series as the models were getting smaller and less complex, but last year, it picked up again with three excellent sets; the #42103 LEGO Technic Dragster, the #42104 LEGO Technic Race Truck, and the #42106 LEGO Technic Stunt Show Truck & Bike.
In 2021, two new sets were added to the collection; the #42118 LEGO Technic Monster Jam Grave Digger, and the #42119 LEGO Technic Monster Jam Max-D. This is the first time any of the sets in the series are licensed. Honestly, I don’t know what’s the point of this, as the series did just fine without attaching it to a particular brand. However, the prices remained the same and the branded stickers are nice, so I don’t really feel the need to complain.
In fact, the models are actually quite close to their original counterparts. This is especially true for the #42119 LEGO Technic Monster Jam Max-D with its spikes, unique color-scheme, and decals. The #42118 LEGO Technic Monster Jam Grave Digger is not as close to its inspiration, but still recognizable. Overall, they both look attractive.
Below are a couple of pictures of the sticker sheets that come with the sets. As you can see, they are nicely detailed with vibrant colors.
As far as the size of the new vehicles, it’s back to the older, larger format with attractive shapes and big chunky tires. The clearance under the vehicles is about an inch, so they can easily run and jump over obstacles. As usual, the pull-back mechanism works flawlessly, and the vehicles can run pretty fast, especially on smooth surfaces.
One thing I was a little disappointed about is that neither vehicle has any other function. Some of the previous cars had opening doors and hoods, or some other additional play-feature came with the set. The two Monster Jam sets have no additional play-features or add-ons. They do, however come with alternate building instructions, which you can access online. The #42118 LEGO Technic Monster Jam Grave Digger can be re built into an Off Road Buggy, and the #42119 LEGO Technic Monster Jam Max-D can be rebuilt into a Quad Bike. Both alternate models look okay, but I don’t think they are as nice as the original configurations.
The #42119 LEGO Technic Monster Jam Max-D comes with 212 pieces, and the #42118 LEGO Technic Monster Jam Grave Digger comes with 230 pieces. Although these may sound like low-ish piece counts, the complexity of LEGO Technic assures that they are engaging builds. It took me about 45 minutes to assemble each, including applying all the stickers. They are a good introduction to those who are just starting out with the LEGO Technic building system and engaging enough for more seasoned builders.
Overall, I’m satisfied with both sets. They may not be as exciting as the ones from last year, but they fit well with some of the best sets in the collection. They look good on display, the construction is sturdy, and they are fun to play with. Below, I’m including JANGBRiCK’s reviews, so you can also hear another opinion.
If you want to check out the LEGO Technic Pull-Back Racers collection, the sets from last year we talked about above are still available along with the two new sets. You can find them all at the LEGO Technic section of the Online LEGO Shop.
What do you think? How do you like the LEGO Technic Pull-Back Racers from this year? Do you collect the series? Do you play with them? Which is your favorite? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below!
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I have a couple of the older ones. I didn’t know they still make them. Neat.
I agree with Jang that the tires should be bigger, but other than that, they look awesome. I think I like the Max-D a little better than the Grave Digger.
I’m wondering. Are they big enough to install power functions?
I think they are large enough to accommodate Powered Up components. Keep in mind that you will have to remove the Pull-Back mechanism, but the good thing is that this will free up even more space. I don’t see what would be the point though. The Pull-Back mechanism works very well, and as these vehicles don’t have steering or suspension, it’s really all that’s needed to run them. However, if you like the shaping and the stickers, you could make a custom vehicle using the pieces. I think that would be a better option. 🙂
My kids still like these and play with them once in a while. There were a couple of them that came with a ramp, which they liked.
I haven’t built Technic for a while, so I might give these a try. Big sets take so long to build. And it’s easy to make mistakes. I’m worried about the stickers though. I always have a hard time applying those.
A really easy way to apply stickers is to use soapy water. Just apply a very thin layer of soapy water on the piece, then apply the sticker (it’s best to lift the sticker from the sheet with a thin blade or something similar and not your fingers). The soapy water allows the sticker to slide around for a few minutes, so you have plenty of time to position it just right. This is a technique that was shared by LEGO’s own designers and works very well. 🙂
So it’d still attach solidly and look clear even when the soapy water has dried?
Yes, everything looks perfect. You would never know soapy water was used. I should add that this technique requires a VERY thin layer of soapy water. I’m talking about just enough to make the surface a little bit slick so you can move the sticker around for a minute or two.
Using more soapy water won’t ruin anything, but it makes the sticker too slippery for too long, which makes the stickered piece awkward to use. So only apply a touch of soapy water. Just to make the surface look a tad shiny. Then apply the sticker, move it into place, and it’s done.
I have been applying stickers like this ever since I first read about it several years ago. The tip used to be posted on LEGO’s customer service page. 🙂