I started the build with high expectations. The first surprise is the sheer size: it does not have so many bricks (around 500) but the final plane is pretty big: it is longer and wider than any of my Technic cars.
I have been looking forward to all the functions. Let us take a look:
- The plane has a variable-sweep wing that can be adjusted by turning the jet exhaust. The whole mechanism occupies the aft part of the fuselage, but that is ok as there is no room needed for a real het engine.
- The landing gear is retractable. When extended it has to support the entire weight of the aircraft so it has to be very robust. It has Technic knob wheels that bear the load and a worm gears prevents the wheels from retracting by themselves. Real variable-sweep aircraft do tend to have different support mechanisms but this is not a serious problem.
- The controls also work albeit in only one dimension. This is cool even if it is not as sophisticated as the controls of the 8855 or my training plane which both can be moved in two dimensions.
- The cockpit can also be opened or closed by turning a knob. This looks great as it opens a thick frame around the actual cockpit as well.
All in all I think it is a cool set especially considering its price. At $49.90 it is not too expensive but pretty big (in Europe it's around EUR 40). It contains lots of red panels. I did not try to build anything else from it yet but others have managed pretty good things like this helicopter.