Monday, 1 December 2014

Dino Crisis

As I've previously mentioned, in addition to my stewardship of Gimme LEGO I also write for Blocks Magazine. I'm pleased to report that Blocks editor Mark Guest has generously granted me permission to post some of my Blocks reviews and other articles on Gimme LEGO after an appropriate delay so that folks without access to Blocks can read them. I'll aim to publish content pretty much as it originally appeared in Blocks, with the exception that I'll add hyperlinks as appropriate. First up is my review of Set 5975 T-Rex Transport which was published in Blocks Issue 1 - enjoy!


Given the recent flurry of internet rumours regarding the possible release of LEGO sets based on ‘that’ popular dinosaur movie franchise (I’m sure you can figure it out !) I thought I’d go back in time and dig up a long-retired LEGO dinosaur set from the archives to see how it measures up by modern standards.

LEGO have been producing sets featuring dinosaurs for decades now, both in standard LEGO and DUPLO form; the set I’m focusing on here, Set 5975 T-Rex Transport, was released in 2000 as part of the Dino Island subtheme of the Adventurers theme and contains 321 pieces.


For some LEGO fans minifigures are the main reason to buy a set, and this set contains five of them which you can see in the accompanying photo. None are unique to the set, although slightly scary-looking lone female Alexis Sanister (second from the right in the picture) only ever appeared in one other set. According to Brickipedia, Alexis is the sister of theme villain Baron Von Barron (far left) who has a hook in place of his left hand. Fellow pith-helmeted Dr. Charles Lightning (far right) is a scientist and sports a bowtie and braces. Front and centre is theme hero and intrepid adventurer Johnny Thunder. He’s an ‘Adventurers’ theme regular – this ‘desert’ version of the minifigure appears in 21 sets, and alternative versions can be found in a host of other sets. Finally we have Mike, longtime companion to Johnny Thunder and Charles Lightning. He appears in a total of 5 sets. None of the minifigures have backprinted heads or torsos.


This set was released in the days before LEGO moved to its current colour palette of browns and greys and therefore contains ‘old’ brown, light grey and dark grey elements. Apart from the dinosaurs themselves which we’ll get to in a moment, the set doesn’t contain many rare or unusual elements, although there are a few of interest. The front of the ship is made up of large, specialised 8 x 10 x 1 bow bricks in light grey and white; the light grey bow bricks are unique to this set, and the white ones only appear in this set and one other. Further notable elements include a couple of red 8 x 16 bricks (this element hasn’t appeared in any colour since 2009) and a 26-stud long light grey trailer base.

Dinosaurs !

For me the most interesting aspect of this set is the three dinosaurs it contains. The dark grey triceratops is unique to the set, while the large T-Rex appears in this set and two others; both of these bad boys are made up of 5 separate elements and feature moveable fore- and hind limbs and tail plus a hinged upper jaw. The cute green baby T-Rex has appeared in a total of 9 sets, the last of which was released in 2006; the baby T-Rex has also appeared as recently as 2009 in metallic gold as part of the Agents theme. While undoubtedly far less realistic and detailed than the dinosaurs which grace LEGO’s later Dino 2010 and Dino themes, they still have a rough charm.

The Build

The set comprises three main components, the first of which is a ship. This is, to be honest, pretty basic but at 48 studs in length it’s certainly sizeable and more than capable of accommodating the triceratops with ease. Despite the lack of detail, the ship at least comes equipped with accessories for the minifigures to use – tools such as a spade and a pickaxe, and also weapons including rifles and a pistol. The ship’s wheel turns and the ladders hanging from the sides of the bridge can be raised and lowered but that’s about it so far as moving parts are concerned.

Next to be built is an articulated vehicle which is designed to carry the big T-Rex. I hesitate to call this quirky vehicle a truck since the tractor unit looks more like a vintage car, and it certainly doesn’t look capable of hauling a fully-grown T-Rex, but let’s not get too hung up about such details…. With the restraining bar at the top removed the sides of the trailer can be easily popped out of their clips to provide easy access to the flatbed, and the trailer pivots where it attaches to the tractor unit.   

Last up is a small car which it appears is used by the baddies to get about. It has the same odd vintage aesthetic as the truck and comes complete with a side-mounted rifle and a crate containing dynamite (or at least a 1 x 2 tile printed with a dynamite design….)

The Verdict

Collectively, while the various components of the set come together to make a decent play experience, it’s not really a set that you’d build and display. If like me you’re a fan of LEGO’s dinosaur sets, however, it’s a worthwhile purchase for the dinosaurs alone if nothing else, particularly the triceratops which is unique to the set.

I bought my used, boxed and complete copy of the set on eBay around five years ago for a little under £30 including shipping; at time of writing there aren’t any examples for sale on eBay, but you can pick up a boxed example on Bricklink for just under £50 plus shipping.

You can see all my T-Rex Transport set pictures here, including some not included in the review.


  1. My first look at the triceratops, I thought it was a Rhino. Will be considering to purchase this set if I can't find any cheap individual t-rex elsewhere.