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Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

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Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby Staff » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:49 pm

75040 - Full Set

Anyone who's read my reviews knows that I like to do comparisons when a set is an update to an existing release. I've been collecting for a long time, and have a pretty decent collection of stuff to pull from to do it. I'd like to tell you this is going to be some great comparison review, showing the differences between the old Wheel Bike set, made in 2005, and this one.

Yeah, I parted out the old bikes years ago. It was an awful set based on an awful and absurd design. The Wheel Bike was basically the Star Wars version of the G.I. Joe Ballistic Battle Ball, something so ridiculous you have to assume it was some kind of covert plant by the opposing side to see how many troops they could kill just by getting them to use it. I mean, seriously, what is the purpose of a giant spinning wheel with legs and an energy bar thing when you're in a universe where flying stuff is everywhereIs there some sort of strange situation where a STAP and some shields aren't going to work, so you need a clumsy, slower, and much more shootable wheel? The thing is effectively a big rolling target.

I un-parted out the AT-AP I'd taken apart because that set was broken down because of storage space. I have more space now, because I've got more places to stash sets, and could put it back together. The wheel bike was parted out because it just sucked as a set and a vehicle, and I knew it wasn't something I wanted to put in a display (it was even bad at sitting on a shelf), and I had no intentions of finding the stuff.

The original also was one of those sets that was really a harbinger of things to come, as it ran $20 and only included 111 parts. Some of that space was made up for, in hindsight, by the creature that Obi-Wan was riding (it was called General Grievous Chase, after all), leaving only a smattering of parts to make up for that money. This new set increases the price to $25, but let's be honest... that's basically the same price point as $20 was back then. It also increases the part count way up to 261 parts... yet sadly, is missing the one thing that I bought the original for.

75040 - What I Remember From the last set

These are the parts I could find at a quick glance through my parts that belonged to the old Wheel Bike set. Actually, that's not true, it had printed dishes, I just couldn't find them, so I grabbed these instead. Well, that and the Grievous figure which shows up later in the review.  I'm sure their are other parts around, and I know I have the original Obi-Wan somewhere... it's just that I only bought the set for the Varactyl, a word I know because I was a big-time Star Wars Galaxies player and spent a lot of time killing them looking for loot and decorations.  And creature mounts are always fun... why the old Dewback is so cool (well, that and it came in a set that was unremarkable except for the inclusion of Greedo and a bunch of colors you couldn't get many other places).

75040 - Minifigs

We get two minifigs in the set, Grievous and Obi-Wan, the same as we got with the original set. Curiously, Grievous has lightsabers and Obi-Wan doesn't. It's been awhile since I've watched Episode III, and I was incredibly hungover at the time (thanks to the stuff I had to drink to watch Episodes I and II), but I could have sworn that Obi-Wan had his lightsaber at the point where grievous had four sabers (until he cut off a couple of his arms). It was only during the chase that he lost it and grabbed the staff from the Magna Droid (the saber was later returned by Cody right before right before he tried to murder one of the only competent Jedi in the galaxy). So the omission of a saber for Kenobi here is kinda odd.

75040 - Grievous

Grievous is the same model as we got with his Clone Wars starfighter (which was basically the exact same ship that was in Episode III). The only differences is the color (white instead of tan) and the printing around the eyes. He's still got those weird printed arms that don't look like they printed all that well, the offset legs, and the bad posture.

75040 - Grievous Back

This isn't a bad figure, I guess, and the arms were the best compromise that they could make in Lego (well, outside of the original which did it better but looked much worse). The big issue I've found with all versions of Dooku Grievous after the original is the complete lack of the cape that our almost-totally-a-robot friend wears all the time. I have to assume it's because it looks cool, because I don't think a heart, eyes, and brain get cold by themselves. The rest of him is foot-breaking metal, so I'd assume it's supposed to be cold.

75040 - Grievous Comparison

Grievous has always been a very weird figure and characters. If you're going by the movies alone, he's basically the Cousin Oliver added to the movie because they needed a new bad guy after Dooku had his neck ventilated at the beginning. When you toss in the Clone Wars cartoons, he's vastly more important and involved (yet, from the episodes I've seen, wildly incompetent... going back to my G.I. Joe themes, he is totally the Cobra Commander of the Droid Army to Dooku's Destro). The figure has come away from that ugly, yet more correct arms version to the more correct but worse arms that we have now. Seriously, that first one is probably one of the worse head sculpts Lego has done.

 75040 - Obi-Wan 75040 - Obi-Wan Alt-Face

We get a new Obi-Wan in the set, but this is a big case of "A new hat!" minifigure. If you don't get that joke... go look up The Simpsons episode "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy." I get that the episode first aired before a good deal of you were born (and that makes me sad), but the point is valid. The torso printing is actually different from the version we got with the green Jedi Interceptor, with the addition of a belt with a lot of gadgets and pouches (I guess Rob Liefeld is doing Lego torsos now), but the rest of the print is fairly close. A few accent lines here or there and more detail in the undershirt, but it's not a great change. The legs are the biggest change from the Interceptor version, as they're now printed to match his tunic. The face is the same, as is the hair.

I've typically stayed fairly indifferent to the whole detail updates (even though the stuff in the Sandcrawler is just terribad)... but this torso really stuck out to me for some reason. The PT version of Obi-Wan has always been rather plain, because his character design was always pretty plain. I guess that this is trying to make up for that, but between the printing and the hair, this thing feels like more of a Clone Wars figure than it does a movie figure.

75040 - Wheel Bike Legs Down

The Wheel Bike is a huge upgrade over the original. Since I didn't bother with the set, let me show you the box art / instructions for comparison...


Basically, it was pretty much just the wheel, legs, and some binoculars stuck... places. Given the piece count of the set and what went into the Varactyl, there are probably 80 parts in total with that. The new one drops nearly 240 parts into the bike, so there's going to be a whole lot more going on. Everything, from the legs to the wheel to the seat is, in all senses, an upgrade. But given how little there was to the old one, I'm not sure how much you can take of it.

75040 - Wheel Bike Legs Up

I think that this set does establish some sort of record for "most parts used in a single step/page" I've ever seen...

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.39.13 AM

For those keeping count, that's 60 parts in a single step (there's another page in this where you attach the grill and studs). I collect the Modular Buildings, which look awesome but have some of the worst instructions around with the number of parts per step (sometimes being attached at completely different parts of the build). Here though, we basically have a very repetition step you're doing 12 times to make the outside of the wheel. Considering that the old one didn't even have an outside, this is the most notable upgrade to the thing. You can actually roll this one around!

75040 - Wheel Bike Side

Well, sort of. The legs fold up on the vehicle... for the most part. The joint is sturdy, but those long... hinge/plate thingies... pop off all the time when you're moving it around. That, however, is a minor problem compared to the issue of folding up the legs so you can wheel it around. The one ones basically flipped up or in... they were so small that it didn't really matter where you put them. The instructions show them nice and folded up, one on top of the other, but I can't help but notice they used an illustration and not a picture of the model. Probably because in practice, the folding thing is just terrible. There's a chance that I just don't understand how it's supposed to work (a good chance), but it just feels awkward and the instructions don't make it clear what to do.

75040 - Wheel Bike Side Legs Down

The binoculars are gone from this version, and that's a good thing. We know that binoculars are only used to make shotguns now! The whole gun side (and the chair side, for that matter), are a lot bulkier. There is an old-style flick-fire built into that mess, with the a mechanism for doing the firing with a technic axle. I've never been a fan of them, but this set is already full of technic parts that what is a few more. It is notable as this set is one of the few non-battle pack sets that doesn't use the new flick-fire bricks.

75040 - Wheel Bike Back

Of course, the beautiful thing with this set is cheese wedges in sand blue. SAND BLUE! The world is a better place with more sand blue parts. Sadly, we only get the 16 (plus an extra) cheese wedges along with a couple of wedge plates. Still, seeing sand blue back into the palette makes me happy. We got an Olive Green modular building, so I'm going to add a sand blue modular into my toolbox of unrealistic wishes (other notable entries include a CMF line based on DC and Marvel characters, a UCS A-Wing, and a Lego Store opening in Arkansas).

75040 - Spinning Wheel

Make no mistake, this set is a pretty huge update over the original. The wheel actually spins (and does it fairly well, like you can see above... I just wanted an action shot like that), it has some nice colors, and it adds a lot of bulk. On the other hand... outside of some sand blue, the tiles, and the big clear wheel (which is also unique to this set)... there's not a whole lot of value and utility. The feet have been all over Ninjago and Chima sets, if you've ever parted out something related to Batman (read, every DC set pretty much ever), you probably have those hinge wings, and most of the technic stuff is the same technic stuff we've gotten. So despite being better than the original, it's still not a very good set. I prefer the tan Clone Wars Grevious to the white, and Obi-Wan has some printing upgrades but I'm not sure that justifies the cost.

What I really wish would have happened is what we're getting in the Cantina set... an updated varactyl model (or better yet, just use the old one). That was the defining factor in the original that made a very bad set into an okay one (it was also the source of an Obi-Wan without a Light-Up Lightsaber or a headset). This one doesn't have something that really sets it apart other than a handful of sets. More than that, it's just an awkward vehicle with legs that really don't work all that well. I can't knock the designer all that much (though it does seem like they added a bunch of bulk that may not need to be there), because the source for it is also just a bad vehicle. In the $25, there are better sets to buy, unless you're specifically looking for these minifigs or you just really want a good Utapau battle that's missing the key creature for Obi-Wan.

What's that old saying about polishing?

What I liked

  • Vehicle is better than the original by a huge margin (140 extra parts will do that)

  • Sand blue cheese wedges are almost as delicious as real cheese wedges (though not blue cheese, that stuff is gross)

  • A break from the norm where an updated set drastically increases the piece count but not the price

What I didn't like

  • Even updated, it's still just an awful vehicle

  • Not a lot of useful parts outside the wheel hub and the sand blue

  • Lack of a lightsaber for Obi-Wan, and worse, a complete lack of his mount, make this version worse overall than the original

Verdict: 2 out of 5. If you want a set in this price range, like the V-Wing and the Jedi Interceptor, while certainly not perfect, are better value for figures and parts. You can buy 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike, and the rest of the 2014 Star Wars lineup, on Lego [email protected] right now!

75040 Box Art
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby enigmapc » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:05 pm

12 x 5 = 60 for the most pieces per step argument.
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby dWhisper » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:37 pm

Sorry, I learned math in American public schools! (that and it was a typo on my part... actually had 60 in a draft that I had eaten by the internet wizards, and apparently put 50 when I retyped it).
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby banthafodder » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:39 pm

When I built first built this and folded the legs I folded them similar to yours with one on top of the other but found that the wheel really wouldn't role then I looked at the pictures they have each set of legs pointed towards the rear of the bike which leaves the rear legs protruding from the rear making it a bigger target. Overall though a big improvement over the first one though still an unremarkable vehicle.
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby FirstCircle » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:24 pm

God bless you!

A Rob Liefeld reference.


THAT makes me feel old.

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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby murphquake » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:38 am

....draws pouches everywhere....
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby dWhisper » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:33 am

I figure it's the most obvious explanation. Next we're going to start having muscles in places where they make absolutely no sense (which would match the minifig faces with lines that make no sense).
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby Flynn » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:48 am

Seriously, that first one is probably one of the worse head sculpts Lego has done.


No, I actually quite like the original Grievous mold, for about all the reasons you'd expect- it melds the look of the actual character with an undeniably LEGO aesthetic and comes out just charming as a result. It's from the same family of molds that brought us stuff like the original Vader and Boba Fett helmets and I can't fault it for that.
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby dWhisper » Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:48 am

See, I don't see it with the original mold. The angle of the head, and the flare, was entirely wrong, and that just put me off on the figure. It looks more like you should color it purple and call it a Zurg head.
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby Flynn » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:34 pm

Oh, it's inaccurate, absolutely, but I've never felt LEGO molds were supposed to be particularly accurate anyhow- the Vader mask certainly isn't, and that's an adorable mash of squashed proportions that fits totally with how weird and unrealistic minifigures intrinsically are.

For me, it needs to be a good balance of capturing the overall feel of the original mask combined with making it have that ineffable LEGO aesthetic I keep rambling on about. And the original figure does that for me.
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby darth_fett » Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:24 pm

Great review and brings up an interesting point. I always wondered why Clone Wars era vehicles resorted to wheels so much. That huge 10 wheeled monstrosity on the clones side, Hailfire droids and yes, the wheel bike. While i Lurve monowheel bikes, it doesn't fit in an anti-grav world. I'm guessing anti-grav doesn't completely negate gravity, but repulses instead. It would explain why speeders have a flight ceiling of such and such meters. My guess is on a world filled with bottomless sinkholes, a wheeled vehicle with claws is the optimum choice. No worries that the planet is going to bottom out on you. Plus it seems like a natural extension of Grievous' many spider jointed claws.

I haven't had issues folding my legs up, maybe u should check which way your L bar technic pieces are facing? I can't even fold mine up to look like yours. They fold horizontal when the counterweight in back is held up to a horizontal position and allow plenty of free rolling action. I have issues with the tightness of my ball joints on the hips, they constantly sag and drop the wheel. It's an exercise in patience getting them to all match perfectly for height. I just wish the claws could have 3 toes as i seem to remember in the movie. Likewise, my flaps are sturdy. Weight issues seem to be my major problem. That, and though the legs fold back, they are unwieldy looking; too thick width-wise imho.

Having the old tan Grievous, I'm loving his new White Clone Wars look, which always spooked me more. As for Kenobi not having a saber, it does seem to pick up from the scene in the movie post where he loses his, but by the time we get to their final battle, he's not dishing out Knight Justice, he's going all Clint Eastwood with the blaster. Also, is it me, or is the wheel teeth part a mite wide? Like nearly 2 studs too wide? It seems super bulked up all over, like the first releases of the POTF2 figures Hasbro came out with. Luke with his DD Moobs and Han nearly ripping his white shirt Hulk Hogan style?

Honestly this is my fave vehicle i've gotten so far, next to the tiny Kashyyk speeder my green clones are dune buggying around in. But it does have issues. I might've gone 3/5 when i compare it to the old bike. Jackhammers just made crappy claws.
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby jnd2k3 » Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:33 am

I am in the same boat as you darth_fett. The only real problem I have with mine is stopping the wheel from sagging. It looks like this model has one or more of the black pieces with the sand-blue wedges upside down. You will probably see improvement in the folding function when you fix that.
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Re: Review: 75040 General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Postby dWhisper » Fri Mar 14, 2014 5:50 am

Actually, looking at it, the whole wing section is just upside down, which was one of the things I dinged it for. It fell off (several times) while trying to take pictures, and I guess I just put it on backwards. But that doesn't really affect the folding, as it was the legs that were catching up when they came in.
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