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Lego City 60098 Heavy-haul Train review

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So many people have waited ages for Lego to come out with a decent freight train set – And now, their wish has been granted, twice in a row.

Exactly one year after the release of the Lego 60052 Cargo Train, Lego has decided to complement this particular set with the release of its twin – The Lego 60098 Heavy-Haul Train.

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The 60052 Cargo Train build unfortunately suffered from poor sales because some Lego fans didn’t find this build particularly appealing: Namely, they didn’t like the look of the cattle truck as well as the US-style locomotive. These two trains haven’t even existed in the UK for thousands of years, so they lacked interest from the public. But when pictures of the 60098 first emerged, it did indeed look like a much better proposition than its counterpart. So people ended up saving up for this build, and shelling out cash eventually. Much like the 60052, the Lego 60098 contains three wagons, a loco, a trackside structure as well as a track. It costs at least $139, so it helps if you can save up your cash a bit before you decide to buy it or not. You can only find this in toy stores for now, and is not available yet in Lego’s online shops.

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There are five minifigures included in the build, and they all look wonderful – One of them is responsible for operating the grab-crane portion of the build. Meanwhile, the other two minifigures clad in olive green tops and high-vis vests comprise of the train crew. It’s not really certain what the guy wearing the blue dungarees exactly does – But he’s also included inside the grab-crane bags, so he’s probably good at operating it too. Meanwhile, the last minifigure in the set, the female construction worker, is good at driving the backhoe.

The five minifigures all possess torsos with both back and front prints. Much like most of Lego’s minifigures, they come with a rather impressive set of details. The female minifigure owns a one-piece hard-hat ponytail piece, which looks excellent on her. This set has yet to be inventoried at several Lego review and collector Websites, which signifies that they’re definitely a new bunch of characters – Although the train crew’s outfits of high-vis vests and olive green torsos have made their appearance in last year’s freight train set.

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And now we move on to the train – Technically, the 60098’s train is just a recolored version of the yellow Lego 7939 Cargo Train, released in 2010. There are plenty of similarities with the 7939 and the stark-red 60098’s own train – The most obvious one being owning the same type of canopy piece. However, the 60098 train utilizes these brand new slopes made specifically for the train’s roof, and actually runs on diesel instead of an overheard electric.

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The rails that go down the train’s sides, have implied that there’s this type of walkway located in the middle of the cabs on the exterior. The picture found on the 60098’s instruction manuals have showcased a minifigure standing right behind it. Its walkway measures at least a plane wide, so it’s definitely not huge enough for the purpose. People who are excellent in making mods for Lego train builds have decided to take out this specific part, and make the sides flush along with the rest of the train’s body, while at the same time substitute the 6 x 16 tiles using a spare plate, and add in a couple of grills and greeblings to it.

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After you have constructed the train, you will notice that its handrails stick out way too much, and don’t even look like the ones seen on a real-life train. When it comes to past Lego train builds with this issue, certain people have brought them in with the help of jumper plates, keeping the entire build completely aligned with the remainder of the train’s body – Although the top side still looks good.

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The train comes with its own IR receiver and Power Functions battery box. These are all kept tightly inside the train’s body. Even though you can still fit in these PF lights to the train’s nose pieces, so they can light up the 1 x 1 rounded tiles, they’re not exactly provided inside the set. But it’s still possible for you to create a substitute – And if you lack a certain set of skills needed for modifying a train, then not to worry, since the whole process is very easy. You can also add them into the train since the designers have thought about where to place in the cables required for the train to run. And instead of utilizing the typical 1 x 4 Lego bricks, Lego has decided to utilize 1 x 4 arches instead, so wires can be placed in underneath them.

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You can fit these in, and have them run along from the front side of the train, all the way towards the back. Just a tiny amount of modification is needed, and there’s enough room to fit in all of those extra connectors and wires in.

The next part of the 60098 is the simple yellow bogie wagon, which is affixed on the train plate that comes with the build. The wagon has a wonderful yellow color, and measures at least 6 x 28.

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Not much stuff can be mentioned about the wagon itself, however, despite its looks. In fact, its sole purpose is to simply secure the backhoe right into its position. Contrary to the wagon, the backhoe looks amazing, and its general outward appearance actually fits in quite well with the current Lego City demolition and construction sets. However, it’s a tad bit silly looking in regards to the chunky hinge bricks that Lego has used for the back hoe – But this is probably already expected.

The hopper is perhaps one of the reasons why people have decided to give this build a try. As proven from past Lego builds, building a hopper can be a bit of a challenge, and Lego fans really do like a challenge. The vehicle looks wonderful in brown. Brown hoppers actually do exist, and there are plenty of German wagons that come with this type. But it’s pretty certain that four-wheel hoppers are a bit of a rarity in other countries, since a lot of them have been converted into bogie vehicles.

The hopper has a rather sleek and realistic look and feel to it. However, this is all ruined thanks to the hinged flap found in one side of the vehicle. Not only does it come in a different color, but the studs look very much out of place. Of course, despite all that, the hopper is still an important factor for the 60098. The hopper can be discharged too, like the other vehicles in the set – But it still looks terrible, to the point where some owners have decided to remove this from their own builds entirely.

The interior of the hopper possesses a sloped look, so that the 1 x 1 round bricks that it carries will simply drop right down to the bottom.

This is the first time that Lego has incorporated a helicopter landing on the train. This probably won’t fit in the UK’s own loading gauges, but apart from that, it’s got a rather interesting wagon load and gives lots of playability to it as well. Once again, the flat wagon looks very simple and was made to just hold the load right into its position. The helicopter part of the build looks wonderful, and has a resemblance to the ones found in previous Lego Town builds. If you want to stop the rotors from spinning while the helicopter is alighted on the train, Lego was kind enough to provide a 1 x 2 plate with two handles. You can affix this on the backside of the train while mounted on a hinge. When you raise the train up, the helicopter is still held into place. Meanwhile, the chain accessory is simply for detail.

The trackside structure found inside this set is sure to give facilities for both unloading and loading the hopper wagon. The crane is fixed and is highly playable… For at least five minutes or so. You can slide it back and forth from inside its gray frame.

Perhaps the main flaw when it comes to the structure of the design is that the wagon is loaded up and discharged at the same time, with the exact same product – The same line of 1 x 1 rounded bricks. So why is it so necessary to load it on the train in the first place?

The last segment of the build involves a simple level of crossing. Nothing much to say about this one. This set is pretty much a huge improvement of the 60052. Despite its good looks, the build does come with its own set of faults. Train fans can still give it plenty of improvements, and give it a more realistic look and feel.

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