LEGO® Set Review: 1728 Crystal Crawler
Crystal Crawler (us)
Lent Véhicule de Cristaux (fr)
Submarino Rastreador (es)
Aquanaut amfibiefartøj (da)
Aquazone / Aquanauts
Ages 7-12 / 92 Pcs
12 page manual. 1 model. 15 steps, (c) 1996. 1996 Catalog 2 (Wild West)
Price Range: $14.99 CDN
Review Written: 1 June 1996 by Kevin Stefan
Special Features / Compatibility
Perhaps a couple 1x1 Round Plates
The Crystal Crawler is a good set if you want to buy 2 (or more) and build a cool vehicle, in partial/full Aquanaut colours. Otherwise, it might be sale material.
[Editor’s Note: This was culled from a dual 1822 Sea Claw 7/1728 Crystal Crawler review. The review format wasn’t designed to handle dual reviews, so they have been separated into two]
The Crystal Crawler makes a yellow and black Aquazone vehicle, and has two big wheels and four tilting propellor arms, plus two movable arms. Presumably, it should crawl slowly along the ocean floor. Luckily (?) an ocean floor is provided, but it has absolutely no studs. The Alternate models are some sort of undersea robot, a vehicle that looks like a cross between a scorpion and a dragster, and a small submarine.
The Crystal Crawler seems to be an attempt to get rid of some truly cool
Of course, this could all be bias. There are 11 Aquazone vehicles to my count, (the 6 obvious ones in the catalog, this one, the Sea Claw 7, the two with the bases and the polybag) and 10 of them have no wheels. (I call them “submarines”, despite that all Aquazone is submarine). There is only 1 wheeled vehicle. On the other hand, despite all of the submarine movies, National Geographic specials, Jacques Cousteau shows and the like that I’ve seen, I have yet to remember an underwater wheeled vehicle. (There's probably some counterexample. Oh, well.)
They seem entirely impractical.
Set Rating:Good As far as pieces go, the Crystal Crawler has a few very interesting special pieces. It's got 4 “bent oct tubes”, 4 props, 2 “bigfoot” tires, 2 large arms, and 2 pieces that previously appeared as suspensions. The design puts these pieces in continual compression - this may reduce the spring's k-value (strength). The set also has a bush (green part only), and an “BONUS Aqua Playscape” that I hereby dub the AWFUL plate (for Aquazone Waste: Flawed, Useless & Lumpy plate). It looks like the protective cover for a keyboard that was co-designed by the Marquis de Sade and an ergonomist on crack.
Model Rating:Very-Good Some features that weren’t initially all too evident made the set a lot cooler then I thought it would be. The Crystal Crawler uses the suspension elements to keep the propellor arms in a few positions: up, down, across, and 45 degrees between these. I think that this use may eventually reduce the strength of the spring.
Otherwise, the Crystal Crawler is only moderate. The vehicle wobbles at the slightest touch because there are only 2 wheels. Its effectiveness in a real-world system would be dubious, at best. It has massive wheels – but almost no ground clearance. In what is almost certainly my only use of the AWFUL plate, I tried rolling the Crystal Crawler across it. The vehicle bottomed out pretty well constantly, and spent about 1/4 the time sliding on it’s underside. (As a side note, the AWFUL plate found a second use - it’s now sitting on the lowest shelf in my computer furniture, to discourage me from putting my feet there). I’d like to redesign it, but I’d want two. Then, I’d make a rolling vehicle, (with 4 wheels!) and a small sub. That would be OK.
Playability Rating:Good As noted earlier, the Crystal Crawler has poor ground clearance. The Crystal Crawler is not nearly as overall cool as the Sea Claw 7, for instance.
Some truly cool element, especially the suspension elements.
Looks offroad, but keep it to the streets. Wobbly. AWFUL plate.
Big wheels, “suspension elements”: a 1x2 x 2 brick high black brick, hollowed out, with a sliding hole capable of taking Technic pegs and spring in center.
The suspension element was used in the past. During my dark ages, I think. [Editor's Note: it was used in only one set prior, the Blacktron Future Generation 6833 Spectral Starguider]
Decorated pieces1 2x2 round Aquanaut logo on yellow tile1 1x2 yellow tile with “depth gauge”.
Mini-FiguresPilot: Black snorkel mask, white Aquanaut diving suit, zippered Aquanaut torso, white & blue legs, face w/ green shades & brown hair.
Age (at review)
All. Space, Town & Aquazone as of late.
I tend to buy sets for the elements, most of the time. Both sets that were reviewed were bought for the elements (as opposed to for the models). They were also bought because I hadn't got any good LEGO sets lately.
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