LEGO® Set Review: 5591 Mach II Red Bird Rig
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Model Team / Model

Mach II Red Bird Rig (us)
Camion-remorque du super jet (fr)
Aguila rojo con cargador (es)
Flytransport (da)
US Jet Truck (de)

Ages 10-16 / 1172 Pcs
76 page manual. 2 models. Single sheet catalog. (Mine: 996917-US). ©1994
Special Features / Compatibility
  • None
  • Extra Elements
    • Blue 1x1 Round Plate
    • Grey 1x1 Round Plate
    • Clear 1x1 Round Plate
    • Translucent Yellow 1x1 Round Plate
    • Translucent Red 1x1 Round Plate
    • Translucent Green 1x1 Round Plate
    • White 1x1 Round Plate
    • Technic Small Pulley (–Half Bush—)
    Scale: Unlike 5580 Highway Rig, only the center of this hood opens (making for a much sturdier model), and the hookup is completely changed in this set (they aren't using a 4x4 round turntable brick anymore). The tractor has a connecter peg for the hitch, and the trailer has the female coupling. The height and connection make for a completely incompatible hookup with earlier Model Team Trucks.

    The scale of the jet cockpit is really bad, not even a Mini-Figure would look comfortable in there. This is especially mismatched with the side of the doors in the cab.
    Errors: None that I saw

    I would buy this set for myself, although I received it as a gift. I'd recommend it highly as a pieces source, as a display model, and especially for Model Team enthusiasts.


    Primary model is Red and White 10-wheel tractor pulling a 4-wheel red and white flatbed trailer. Trailer has a winch and removeable ramps for loading and unloading of red and white fighter jet (the "Mach II Red Bird"). Tractor has a flip open hood over a simple V-8 engine representation. The doors open on both sides of cab. Rear-view mirrors and windshield wipers move. A round 2x2 knob on the top of the cab is used to steer.

    The second model in the set is a steerable red and white T-top jeep pulling a smaller version of the flatbed trailer, upon which rides a red and white dragster. While the jeep is steered by a medium cross axle hub on its roof, the dragster doesn't appear to steer at all.

    No other models are referenced, either in the instructions, or on the box.


    As I said, this set is the best Model Team truck yet. It's similar to both 5580 Highway Rig and 5590 Whirl N' Wheel Super Truck (U.S. names) It's got the Highway Rig’s long-nose cab with lifting hood and engine underneath, and the Super Truck’s long connectable trailer with heavy equipment on top.

    I favor the 5591 Red Bird Rig’s trailer, and the jet seems more believable on the back of a trailer than the helicopter on the back of the 5590 Super Truck (since the helicopter would have to land directly on its trailer). I liked the fact that the 5590 Super Truck was black and red, which gave it a sinister look, but the split-color scheme of this set is impressive, not unlike the colors of the 5580 Highway Rig (although in this set they didn't cheat by coloring the doors serveral colors). It's always impressive to see the trouble one has to go through to keep a color scheme like this going through a set, since some many pieces in different colors are needed.

    The Jet has to be my favorite part of this set. It's balanced just right, and the swiveling front wheel makes it seem quite agile and steerable. Nice to hang as a model in flight, nice to straif in on things as well. It could have been better, of course. The cockpit doesn't open, and even if it did, no person could fit inside there. A lot of the stuff on the outside doesn't seem recognizable, just that it's thrown on to look "jet like." On the other hand, I was really impressed with the way the jet was built. There are several levels inside the jet that are colored just right, and you never see them except as you're building the model. That attention to detail is impressive. Also, the engines under the wings are of solid construction. This surprised me, as The LEGO Group often goes with hollow constructions where they can, to save pieces. Another gripe is that while the agile front wheel is quite nice when steering the jet around, it makes it quite difficult to winch the jet onto the trailer straight; you must guide it by hand, which begs the question, “why not just put it directly on there in the first place?”

    I received this set as a gift, and in order for the giver to see something in action while he was still around, I built the Jet first, out of the order of the instructions (5590 has you build the helicopter first, but 5591 has you build the jet last). Do yourself a favor and leave the best for last. You'll find it more satisfying.


    Set Rating:Very-Good

    Any Model Team is a good collection builder, and they usually add to your count of harder to get pieces. This set has a nice selection of tiles and plates, and it of course could double the wheel count of a collectors collection. There is a very good selection of red and white plates here.

    Model Rating:Excellent

    The rig building process at the LEGO Group is improving. This is a much sturdier and better thought out design than their earlier models (although the trailer isn't as solid as in 5590). It has fewer extra parts sticking out that could be knocked off, and it's quite impressive as a display item. The way the trailer opens at the back seems a bit unrealistic, but it holds the plane on quite well.

    Playability Rating:Very-Good

    (Very-Good to Excellent)
    This fills out my collection of Model Team sets quite well. It's the biggest of the bunch, and as such it doesn't disappoint. I would probably "play" with the jet more than the helicopter in 5580, and I have to admit, I get a kick out of loading and unloading the jet. I could see a kid going at this set for hours. Both driving of the truck and flying of the plane are available, and the trailer detaches for more action.


    The way the jet steers and balances on its wheels. The typical Model Team attention to detail. The clear, non-tinted windows and high coloration of the model. The size and piece count are very impressive as well.


    Scale of the cockpit of the jet; the fact that the cockpit doesn’t even open. Having to mess with lots of ramps manually on the flatbed. The erratic way the jet steers as it’s winched onto the trailer.


    Special/Unusual Elements

    Neat cockpit window on the jet. I like the latticed plates used on the bed of the truck. The rounded over bricks that are becoming more widespread, are very nice. The winch isn't a big item in too many sets, and using string in a Model Team is a good idea (it was also done in 5510 4x4 Off-Roader, but with a different winch style). Good selection of tiles of various colors, and lots of plate hinges. Greater use of Technic pieces in this Model Team set. I really like the larger wing plates on the jet, which look like:


    It’s neat that this set is using the new stop bush with side axle piece on the jet, but the big news is the use of the new cam piece on either side of the jet. Unfortunately, they're using in such a way that a lift arm would have sufficed (i.e. they're only structural, as opposed to mechanical), but at least they're in there. I'm anxious to see the cams put to work on something where they actually act as cams. I believe the jet canopy windshield is new to this set.

    Non-Plastic Pieces

    String in the winch, rubber on the tires.
    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Product Lines/Themes
    Joshua Delahunty 27 Technic, then Model Team, then Space

    I usually like Model Team sets as models, although I always welcome more elements. In general, I like most of my sets for what can be built with them, but I also will buy more than one of a set that has nice parts that are good for building in general.

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