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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Trains : Metro Liner

[Purchase Lego at Amazon.com] 4558 - Metro Liner

Rating: 5 Stars
Pros: Great design, fits in well and almost necessarily with the town theme
Cons: None...other than high price
Contents: 768 pieces including 11 mini-figs
Price: Discontinued.
Reviewed: 02-Dec-1997
Reviewed by: Joseph Gonzalez

4558 A speeding silver and black bullet cuts through midnight air. Carrying not a few wealthy individuals on express from Fortunato to Montresor, the train rushes through mountain canyons, passing moonlit lakes. The smallest of seams between joining rails creates a monotonous click-clack-click-clack to any who bother to notice, but piped in muzak and the loud laughter of partying travelers drowns out any possibility of hearing the mechanical lullaby, that is until the sounds of revelry are silenced by a sudden power outage while somewhere on the moving train a gunshot sounds. The lights return and a quick investigation finds a lifeless body in the rear baggage car. It's murder on the Montresor Express!

When I initially saw the 4558 Metro Liner I was not very impressed. The train seemed to cost more than the other train models and it didn't even come with a speed regulator. Ultimately, then, it is the high piece count of 768 that made this set so comparatively expensive. Anyway, around mid-1996 I noticed (by way of RTL) that the model was becoming something much sought for, and knowing that a nearby hobby shop still had one available, I finally picked one up for my collection.
The Metroliner is a three-car passenger train that comes with it's own loading/waiting platform. The construction of the entire train is of sturdy and sleek design. The first car has an engineer's compartment, a central access booth to the engine and a seating area in the rear for passengers. The second car is strictly a passenger car with an area for washing hands, and two tables each with facing chairs. The final car has a sleeping area (one upper and one lower berth), a cargo area, and another engineer booth facing the rear in order to proceed in the opposite direction when necessary.
The cars are built so that at adjoining ends to other cars there is an open exit/entry way, just like a regular train allows you to pass from one car to another, but in this case, the mini-figs have to jump from car to car. There are also opening doors on the sides of each car for passengers to enter the train that way.
The instructions include an alternate model with a two-faced locomotive, a passenger car and a cargo car. I won't go into detail with regard to this other model, but I thought it quite nice of the company to provide alternate instructions.
The set comes with eleven mini-figs, most of whom are passengers. There are a few unique pieces here including the funky lamp posts for the platform, contoured locomotive elements (nose, window section, and roof), and the train doors which seem specifically suited to a train rather than say a house or some other structure. I also enjoyed getting two bicycles (red and black) which are my first but this is certainly not their first appearance.
There are no dislikes with this set. Its traditional design of a passenger train and large piece count make it a set worthy of five stars!

95 readers have rated this set as 4.45 out of 5 stars.
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