LEGO® Set Review: 4002 Riptide Racer


[4002 Set Photo] Riptide Racer (us)
Coureur des eaux turbulentes (fr)
Lancha de Carreras (es)
Speedbåd (da)
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Floating Boats / (Boat)

Ages 6-10 / 53 Pcs
11 page manual: 1 model, 14 steps. ©1996
Price Range: $16.00 CAD @ Zellers - South Etobicoke (30 cents/piece)

Review Written: 28 January 1995 by Calum Tsang
Special Features / Compatibility
  • Really Floats
  • Extra Elements
  • A pair of tile 1x1 green and red lights
  • extra joystick/antenna
  • spare black visor
  • Decals: Yes, on side of hull
    Scale: Mini-Figure scale
    Errors: Small chip in white part of hull

    Ratings: Set: Very-Good Models: Good (depends) Playability: Very-Good

    I'm sure I would have bought it as a gift for someone, but for myself, I'd probably wait for a better sale.


    The Riptide Racer is a powerboat in the new 96 LEGO Boats line. If you’re not familiar with earlier 40xx series models, basically, the Boats are models of seafaring vessels which also float in water. Unlike other boats in the LEGO System, such as Pirate boats or some of the Town boats, these can be played with in the bathtub or sailed across ponds/water fountains/reflection pools. The main element in 40xx type sets is the one piece hull, which is the base upon which you can build almost any kind of ship, be it a container ship, a fire boat, etc.

    If you’ve seen the other models in this series, you’ll note that 4002 has a small number, unlike 4030 or 4031, the larger sets. That’s because it’s the smallest LEGO Boat in recent history. (purists will remember the 4005, but that was a LONG time ago :) It’s the kind of boat you see strafing along the surface out in California, not up here in frigid Canada. The hull is black, but there’s plenty of flash colour choice up top, white, red, and chrome. A single seat and cockpit for the driver and an inboard engine are in the back, leaving most of the front as plain deck space. The powerboats I’ve seen are like this, and very few recreational boats don’t have a relatively flat bow surface.

    Aft, there’s a really neat little platform, like most powerboats have, and a big spoiler. The engine area, with a seethrough hatch (more on this later), is outlined by a pair of chrome mufflers. One Mini-Figure is included, a little racer guy with white suit and helmet with black visor (an OPAQUE black visor, mind you)


    I really looked forward to 4002, when I saw Lou Zucaro's catalog scans. However, after seeing the box at Walmart for the first time, I didn't buy it on the spot. I also thought the thing would be around $12 as opposed to $17-18. (as originally sneak previewed by someone) After this, I looked for the 4012 Wave Cops, instead. No one carried it so far, and didn't want a 4022 just yet. So when I found Zellers was having a $16 dollar sale on 4002, I rushed and bought it.

    I dunno, I guess just don't dig this sort of daredevil racing boat thing, but 4002 doesn't do all that much for me. I think I'll end up buying another if I see it on sale one day, and using two hulls to build a catamaran passenger/tourboat. I was also displeased with hull's lack of a mount point for a motor, and it's shape (which is radically different, yet difficult to build anything else for). It seems The LEGO Group's action-oriented trend (which I find disturbing and annoying) has leaked from Town to Boats. The 96 lineup is all action: a racing boat, a police boat, a Coast Guard cutter. While it's true the 40x1 line before it also had a police boat and a fire boat, these models were large, grand ships with a different "style" to them. Well, it's not as bad as that stupid Town set with the crocodile, rope bridge and a pile of money tiles. Perhaps the 4012 will be better.

    The following ratings, therefore, are more objective than personal, and I would recommend any LEGO fan to not buy a 4002, but wait for a 4012, or, get an older 4011 if you can. The 4011 Cabin Cruiser was also on sale for $20. It's a great set with two figures, a shark, a fishing pole, a hull that is also the basis of police boats. If you have the cash, go and get a 4021 Police Patrol, you'll be infinitely more happy with it too. I suppose the 4002 is a good low cost set, and better than a lot of Town models, but I just wasn't pleased with it.


    Set Rating:Very-Good

    I think 4002 has a good collection of parts: unlike some Town and Space sets, there's a good selection of basic pieces like flats and bricks, while keeping enough nifty pieces for the youngsters. However, for $16, you're not getting a lot pieces for your money.

    Model Rating:Good (depends)

    I think the elements were used well, and there certainly wasn't anything in the 53 pieces that was really not needed. From an objective standpoint, the Riptide Racer is pretty nice looking, it's sleek, fast and daring, which is not often the case with LEGO Boats. It's also a nice departure from the usual LEGO boat designs, like Fire Boats, Police Boats, Cargo Boats. It goes in nicely with other boats like the Town water race sets. However, I personally just don't like it. I don't like the speed demon idea and it sort of clashes with my Town, which is devoid of those "Race" sets anyways. In my harbour, I have the 4011, 4021, and 4031, and the 4002 really just sticks out. So, dependent on if you like powerboats, the 4002 may or may not have a nice look to it.

    Playability Rating:Very-Good

    As with all floating boats, playability is relatively high. I mean, it can float and you can play with it in the tub or sail it on your living room floor. However, I have some bugs about the hull design-for one, there is no notch for attaching the Playmobil thruster. Grump. That means you can't play with 4002 in a park pond, for if it blows away you'll have to wade in and get it back. Second, the hull is pretty useless for anything outside of a powerboat. The LEGO Group has shown how the 4030 hull can be both a container ship and a large fire boat, and others have said they've made oil tankers with them. Likewise with all the other hulls from 4010, 4020 etc. However, the 4002 hull is very narrow and long, which doesn't really lend itself to any alternate design.


  • new concept design, new hull
  • not much, new windshield, the fact it was a floating boat.
  • Dislikes

  • the powerboat idea, I don't like them
  • poor value
  • lack of thruster mountpoint
  • can't build much with the new hull.
  • Elements

    LEGO boats surprisingly still use quite a few normal, basic pieces, which is a GOOD thing in my mind. Major odd pieces include: This hull is obviously the best attraction of 4002-it's better in technical aspects because it doesn't take on water as fast as the 4011 or 4020 hulls, and it has a subtle tilt backwards to show speed. Pretty nifty. It seems a bit better suited to playing in the tub. One major complaint from me is that The LEGO Group neglected to put on the notch for the Playmobil 7201 thruster pack, which really makes ALL boats much more fun. A good point is the little aft deck which creative people could build diving equipment, big outboard engines etc.
    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Theme
    Calum Tsang 18 Town / Train / Boats / Dacta

    I'm building a large Town. Really.

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