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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Technic : Spy Runner

[Purchase Lego at Amazon.com] 8213 - Spy Runner

Rating: 4 Stars
Pros: Excellent Functionality, Great Design
Cons: Use of rubber bands
Contents: 100 pieces
Price: $9.99 - Discontinued
Reviewed: 08-Feb-1998
Reviewed by: D. Empire


Just as all Lego fans, I too eagerly awaited the release of the 1998 sets, especially the Technic series. A few catalog scans started sprouting up around the World Wide Web and added fuel to my anticipation of the new sets. However, that small green vehicle didn't spark too much interest until I saw 8213 Spy Runner in a local toy store. Then and there I knew I was about to shell out $9.99 for my first 1998 set.

What almost immediately captured my attention on the small box containing 100 pieces was how the model transformed from a one-man vehicle to a plane/hovercraft. The primary model is green which is a second year for the green pieces in the Technic line, trimmed in black and white. The model is 27 studs long by 12 studs wide by 8 bricks high at its highest point on the rear spoiler. What's really interesting is the hand full of specialized pieces new to the Technic line. White flex tubes contour the cab area while 4 small air filled 30.4 x 14 VR tires add a sportiness coupled with a white trimmed spoiler on the back.

The new pieces for 1998 include green cross axle connectors, small .5 length stop bushings without teeth, and white 3 x 3 "x" shaped pieces with balls on the end of each "x". What's unique is these white "x" pieces connect perpendicular to each other so that when one is rotated the other is also. Rubber bands loop over the toothless bushings and anchor to the rear frame in such a way that when the spoiler is pressed down, the white "x" pieces rotated the wheels 90 degrees beside the body and the white flex tubes become part of the frame in a visual manner. Really cool! So, the car vehicle becomes a flying one. Decorated in the center rear of the vehicle is a first-time green Technic chair.

As far as playability goes, how much fun the model is to play with, I would say good to very good. Being a very small Technic model, the spy runner is limited yet for its size there is much functionality. The wheels run smooth and the transformation to aircraft is almost effortless and very rewarding. However, no steering has been incorporated into this model. It's large enough and designed to carry one Technic action figure. My only complaint would be the use of rubber bands, yet a few extra were included in the box. Rubber bands tend to wear with play and decay with age.

A few stickers, three to be exact, were included and only cover single parts each. The alternate model is a truck like vehicle with the chair incased in a cab with a trailer pulled behind it allowing turning from a point just behind the driver's seat. The alternate is not too exciting and doesn't have near the functionality of the main model. The primary model only took about 30 minutes to construct.

Overall I was very impressed with such a small Technic model with so few pieces. Appearance won 4 stars, playability 4 stars, and piece content 3 stars since it's such a small model. For $10 the Spy Runner would be any Lego Maniac's choice, even for non-Technic collectors.

11 readers have rated this set as 3.865 out of 5 stars.
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