LEGO® Set Review: 5571 Giant Truck
Model Team Banner
Model Team / Model

Giant Truck (us)
Trucker (da)
Black Cat Big Rig (uk)

Ages 11-16 / 1743 Pcs
108 page manual. 2 models. (Model 1: 53 steps, Model 2: 51 steps). ©1996
Price Range: $139 (U.S.) Per Element: $0.08
Special Features / Compatibility
  • None
  • Extra Elements
    • Two #6 Cross Axles for use in alternate model
    Decals: Yes
    Scale: The wheels are the dead giveaway – this truck is of a larger scale than previous Model Team sets. The trailer hitch also works differently. This one has an angled Technic socket rather than the turntable that could accept an axle as found in 5590 and 5580. It looks like a Technic Figure might come close to fitting in the cab but I don't have one to try it out.
    Errors: None

    This is a really great set, though groundbreaking only in scale and detail, not design. I would definitely buy this set again, in fact I might if I can ever find one on sale. It's not going to stay in one piece for years like my 5590 has, but that's partly because there are large quantities of so many useful pieces in it. The lack of double rear wheels is annoying, especially because the frame of the truck is a just little two wide to squeeze an extra wheel on each axle without major renovation. If you already love the Model Team line like I do you'll definitely enjoy this set. If you're not sure, try a cheaper set first such as the nifty 5541 Blue Fury. Then after you've fallen in love with the line save up try to track down a 5590. If and when you fail, buy one of these instead. :)


    Huge black truck (tractor-trailer style) with red stripe and grey and chrome accents. The main model is very similar at first glance to 5570 Highway Rig from the original Model Team line, though with more than 2.5 times as many pieces, this is obviously much larger and more detailed. The color scheme is very similar to that of 5590 Whirl N' Wheel Supertruck. The alternate model looks sort of like a troop transport or something. No other alternate models are pictured on the box.


    I'd been looking forward to getting this set ever since first seeing the pictures posted on the Internet several months ago. At the time I figured I'd wait to get it until I could find it on sale as I did with most of the other Model Team sets. But after months of anticipation with no other new Model Team sets to build I gave in and ordered it as soon as it showed up in the S@H catalog.

    It arrived Friday, July 26th, about a week before the promised shipping date of "the first week in August." Fortunately I made it home from work before the apartment office closed so I could get to work on it that night. Total build time was about 10 hours but that included much Olympics watching, dog walking and other distractions.

    This is a great looking truck with a wonderful selection of pieces but there's one major annoyance – it only has six wheels! It's got beautiful 68.8 x 24 soft rubber tires that look very realistic, even compressing slightly under the weight of the truck. But there are only two wheels on each of the rear axles so to build a true 18-wheeler you'd have to buy three of these big boys. Hopefully S@H will eventually offer them in a parts pack but for now they only seem to have various balloon tires.

    But the truck is beautifully outfitted and decorated with lots of chrome and other realistic touches. And of course it's got that cute black cat hood ornament that gives it its European name. And for me what really sells it are the large number of certain hard-to-find pieces including 30, count 'em 30 black quarter-round (macaroni) bricks, plus another ten in red. Yowza!


    Set Rating:Excellent

    (MUST-HAVE for Model Team completists like me :) Any Model Team fan will want to save up for this one. It's a great (though expensive) source for certain elements but it does have one annoying short-coming (more on that below).

    Model Rating:Very-Good

    The truck itself looks excellent but there is nothing unique structurally about it for anyone who has built other Model Team sets. It's more a matter of scale – this truck is bigger and badder and has more accessories and add-ons than any other set I've ever seen. I love the use of rounded pieces (quarter-rounds and half-arches), continuing a trend started with the lovely 5541 Blue Fury hotrod.

    Playability Rating:Very-Good

    Like other Model Team vehicles this one can be steered around the room with a nob on the roof. The truck is so heavy, however, that pushing it only with the nob is a little tough so it's really a two-hand job. There are lots of moving parts – opening doors including a couple that conceal various hand tools, lifting hood, the seats even tilt forward! And there are several amenities to help you pretend you're a trucker on a cross-country haul. There is a coffee machine on the dash, a TV and walkie-talkie in the sleeper cab, and the aforementioned hand tools plus a fire extinguisher and even a Fabuland shovel. And when it's time to bed down for the night there's a handy reading lamp above the bunk.


    The big wheels, various realistic touches, huge number of rounded pieces (and pieces in general) and the color scheme.


    Only six wheels! No trailer, though of course that would have pushed the piece count up past 2000.


    Special/Unusual Elements

    30 black + 10 red 2x2 quarter round (macaroni) bricks 24 grey 2x2 round bricks 10 black 1x2 grooved bricks (horiz. on one side, vert. on other) Chrome pipes and headlights as found in the 5541 Blue Fury Lots of half-arches in black, grey and red Black 6x8x1 slope


    68.8 x 24 tires (over 2.5 inches in diameter) 12x2x4 windshield 6x1x8 brick high doors Chrome horn, railing, running light and antenna pieces 4x4x1 lift-up door/frame that snaps open and closed

    New Colors

    1x2 grilles in chrome cat in black

    Non-Plastic Elements

    Tires, including a small one for the steering wheel


    Typical Model Team decals - mostly stripes and grille patterns. I don't usually apply grille decals anyway and many of these cover more than one piece or conflict with the decal placement on the alternate model. Also cool looking but covering more than one piece are a decal for the sleeper cab's TV and an instrument cluster for the dash. Red stripes for the huge doors might limit future designs but really make the truck look finished.
    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Product Lines/Themes
    Doug Finney 28 --- Model Team

    Model Team is my one true LEGO love but I'm also a big fan of "cool parts." Thus my collection consists of all of the Model Team sets plus a vast smattering of sets from virtually all other themes including Freestyle, Space, Castle, Pirates, Town, Paradisa, Technic, Trains and even a small Belville set.

    This is a fan created web site. LEGO® is a registered trademark of The LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.
    All views expressed in the reviews on this site are those of the review author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Joshua Delahunty or the University of California.
    Set names and photos are copyrighted materials owned by The LEGO Group, used according to its Fair-Use Policy. Set photo scans courtesy of Pause Magazine.
    Background imagery supplied by and Copyright © Todd Lehman. Used with permission.
    3-D Element bitmaps supplied by and Copyright © James Jessiman. Used with permission.
    All product line and theme banner graphics hand-drawn (not scanned) and Copyright © 1996 Joshua Delahunty.

    Send comments on these pages to the editor at

    Return to Model Team Menu Return to LEGO® Reviews Menu