[REVIEW] 7939 – Cargo Train
I’ve wanted a LEGO train as part of my city layout for some time, but always balked at the price. The entry points into the current generation of RC Functions powered trains are either 7939 Cargo Train or 7938 Passenger Train. During the last Toys R Us sale, I bit the bullet and picked up the Cargo Train. It comes with more track and would mesh well with the upcoming Summer Harbour set. Is it worth the $179 MSRP? Read on. . .
7939 – Cargo Train
Pieces = 839
Minifigures = Four
MSRP = $179.99
Price per piece = 21.5 cents/piece
The large blue box is glossy, with many detailed shots of what the prospective builder can expect. As with other sets in the City line, there is an emphasis on the modular nature of the build, with no fewer than eight separate construction projects. We also get a glimpse of the expensive hardware that will make the train run: the Power Functions IR remote, IR receiver, motor and battery box.
The rear of the box lets us see the various play elements of the set. As one might expect, the biggest functionality of this set (that it runs!) is difficult to capture in still format.
Opening the Box & Minifigures
Inside the box, there are nine numbered bags, along with several instruction books and a large sheet of stickers. I’ve already become spoiled by the new cardboard backing for instruction manuals founds in the Pirates of the Caribean line; the manuals in this set were curved as was the sticker sheet.
In addition to the large lot of bags, there are two large green structural supports, a few unnumbered bags of track accessories and a non-descript brown box that contains the RC elements.
And of course, train track! Lots of train track! The set comes with 16 curved pieces, 8 straight pieces and two switch tracks. The flat plates seen on the left and right sides form the base of the engine and one of the train cars.
The set includes four minifigures. They are all fairly standard City folks. My personal favorite is the train engineer with his red neck kerchief.
Most of the minifigures have printing on the front and back of the torsos.
As noted earlier, the build is broken down into several stages. The main engine is by far the most interesting, due to the inclusion of the Power Functions elements. The first two bags take us through its build.
The base of the engine comes together easily and the three “meat and potatoes” of the RC functionality are added here: the battery box (seen on the right side of the engine), RC receiver (left side), motored wheels (under left carriage).
LEGO does sell a rechargeable battery pack for its train line, but we’re still on the fence in our household about it.
Here is the finished cab.
And a profile view of the top of the cab. The on/off switch for the battery box is cleverly located under the round plates on the top of the engine. In order for the RC functions to work, both the remote and the engine have to be in the “on” position.
With the engine done, we moved onto the remainder of the cars and other accessories. This set is great for a family build as the other train cars are very easy to assemble. My kids had the other cars done as I finished up the main engine.
First there is a tanker car. I am not a fan of stickers in general, but the ones used on this car were bright and complemented the set nicely.
Next up is a flat rail car used for transporting containers.
Here is the same car with the full-length container included in the set.
The final flat rail car is used to transport two tiny automobiles.
The cars themselves are not only cute, but functional. Each holds a single minifigure. Since their assembly, they’ve spent more time in our LEGO town setup than on their railcar.
The set also includes a big rig with trailer for hauling the containers that the train can carry. Here is a shot of the rig with the smaller, yellow container shown in the background.
And the rig towing the full size container seen earlier.
The final set element is the cargo crane. Its high support struts allow it to sit over the track. The cab of the crane slides back and forth and the command chair inside swivels 360 degrees.
The winch is controlled from the rear of the crane.
Here is the set shown all together with its various elements. The gray plate section in the upper right part of the track and yellow construction vehicle are actually from 7936 Level Crossing (a worthwhile addition for just $20!).
Impressions of RC Power Functions
After playing with this set for over two weeks with my kids, I can say that the Power Functions element delivers something unique to this LEGO experience. The remote allows for 7 speeds, in both forward and reverse. With our track perched precariously near the edges of a table, we found that 4th gear is plenty fast. The higher speeds are FAST and there have already been some unfortunate derailing accidents.
The range on the remote is excellent and the control is responsive. It is easy to move between forward and reverse (just flick a switch) which adds to the ease of handling the various cargo elements of the set.
LEGO must realize how fun and addictive these Power Function elements are, as the remote allows you to control multiple trains (if you have them).
The train runs!
Lots of novel, playable features
Enough track for interesting initial setups
Battery life seems good
Initial buy-in price is steep
It will probably suck you into buying more trains & track :)
Minifigures are not memorable
Extremely simple build
We really love this set. It has added a whole new dimension to our LEGO city table. I held off for a long time on the LEGO train front due to the initial startup cost. Now we are waiting for some sales to expand our track and maybe add the Passenger Train.
In addition to the powered engine, the other aspects of this set will keep you busy for a long time. It is definitely not a set for collectors nor is it designed to just sit on the shelf. But if you want a playable, exciting set that will offer hours of motorized fun, I’d encourage you to take the plunge.
With TRU BOGO50% on City sets right now, good time to pick one or two upbrickster90 wrote:Wow, nice review. I remember always wanting a Lego train as a kid, and now that I'm back into it, I might get one - but as noted, the price is steep.
I do really like the 'smart cars'.
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