Ever since I was young and began building my own designs with building bricks, many of my creations were based on real-life military vehicles such as tanks. Of course, since the bricks were fairly basic, they did not really look like the real thing. However, in my mind, they were great. Fast forward a few decades and I noticed some building brick kits that let you build tanks. Some looked good but I was not impressed enough to purchase them. After reviewing the 3-in-1 Medieval Weapon building set by JMBricklayer, I learned they had just released a new set: a remote control Tiger tank.
The RC Tiger Tank building set comes with over 800 plastic building pieces which can be assembled into a realistic looking PzKpfw VI Tiger tank. The set also includes a motor as well as a controller so you can drive the finished product. It is suggested for builders ages 14 years and up and made by JMBricklayer, a relatively new company that has a variety of different types of sets. The RC Tiger Tank building set is currently available directly from JMBricklayer as well as the JMBricklayer store on Amazon for the suggested retail price of $59.99. However, the JMBricklayer site is running a sale with select sets including the RC Tiger Tank at 25% off. That makes it only $44.99 through December 20, 2022.
When I opened the box, I noticed that the bricks were organized into three large bags numbered either 1 or 2. There was also a separate bag for the motor. The numbers referred to the two main parts of the assembly process. As I opened the bags with a 1 on them, each bag contained some larger pieces as well as smaller bags with smaller pieces. When building a set, I like to separate my pieces into several trays. This made it easy as I emptied each bag into its own tray or divided into two sides of a single tray. The first part of the assembly focuses on the hull and tracks of the tank while the second part adds details to the body of the tank as well as the turret. Along with the bags of pieces the set also included a 71 page manual with 137 steps. The building instructions are language independent with quality illustrations. For each step there is a box in the corner showing exactly what pieces you need. I like that for pieces which don’t have studs on them, such as axle pieces or smooth pieces, a 1:1 image of that piece is shown on the same page so the builder can actually hold the piece next to the illustration to ensure they have the correct piece. Furthermore each step focuses on adding just a few pieces at a time. To make sure I don’t miss something, I always find all the pieces for a step and then add them to the construct. The instructions also show the pieces added during that step with a red outline which is very helpful when building the tank since almost all the parts are gray.
I did not have any trouble assembling the tank since the directions were easy to follow. I was impressed with some of the technics used to turn bricks into a realistic looking tank. The details are incredible. For example, the rear of the tank features the two iconic round exhausts mufflers that are built sideways and lean at an angle like in the real tank. The turret has a lot of details including track pieces as well as the smoke grenade launchers. The front of the tank even has two specialized pieces for the driver’s slit and the bow machine gun. The included decals add even more detail.
The motor is located in the center of the model. In fact, the body of the tank is built onto and around the motor. It leaves an opening at the bottom of the tank so you can plug the included USB cable into the motor to charge it as well as access the power switch. The controller requires two AAA batteries or you can also download an app and control the tank from your phone. You can drive the tank forward and back, rotate the body to the left and right and also rotate the turret. There are two buttons on the controller as well. One makes a sound of the main gun firing and the tank even moves back on its tracks a bit simulating the recoil. The other button starts an automatic demo mode where they tank drives around on its own. As soon as you turn on both the tank and the controller, the tank makes a rumbling engine sound. If you are getting this product because you want a remote control tank, you may be a bit disappointed. It drives forward and back without any trouble and the turret rotates well. However, I found that it does not turn as well as I had hoped. The tracks are made of interlocking plastic pieces that don’t pivot perfectly when each track is going in a different direction to rotate the tank. While it is still fun to drive around, it might be tough to navigate an obstacle course with it.
I have built a few of the sets by JMBricklayer and I am impressed with each of them. I find the directions well illustrated and designed and really like some of the specialty pieces which add detail to the model. As a high school history teacher who majored in history with an emphasis on military history, and having done a lot of research and study on WWII, this model includes a lot of details that made the Tiger tank so recognizable as well as feared. The price of this building set is lower than comparable sets by other brands and you get a lot more for your money. I recommend the RC Tiger building set for both teenagers and adults who are interested in military history, enjoy building detailed models, or just want to have a Panzer sitting on their desk or bookshelf. I am definitely taking this model tank into my classroom when we study WWII next semester.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a sample of this item for review purposes.