← Back to Battlebots Toy Reviews Return to Index  

VEX Robotics Kits Reviews

Minotaur
Having finished assembling this kit a few days ago in roughly 6 hours, I can say that it too is worth it once you're finished. Mine actually was missing a part but I was very lucky to find that exact part left over from the other kit. My fingers were sore but that's to be expected as is a mistake or two when building. I managed to rectify the problem with the Tombstone Kit by adding another nut to lock the axile in place but the Minotaur kit has a problem in the gearbox mechanism. One of the rods that holds two gears doesn't stay in long and can jam at an angle during play. This'll basically stop the toy from being usable at all so I had to adjust the metal rod's position inside the toy so that it was less likely to slip out.

The kit's drum is quite beefy, much more so than the Hexbug RC version's and that gives you a better idea of how the real one compares. The parts are all solid plastic and don't really have a chance at coming out from damage but the kit doesn't run well upside down as the design doesn't have "feet" at the front like it does when it's upright. What was also odd was that unlike the Tombstone kit where the top panel is entirely held in place with tiny "pins", the Minotaur one is not as some of the holes simply line up with the heads of connector pieces embedded into the chassis. Neither of these faults are enough to say don't buy it as there's plenty of good things to note about it to make up for them. Plus, you probably won't remember them after a while.

The tires are also done well as they were on Tombstone but there's nothing custimizable with Minotaur due to the fact that the real robot wasn't either. The stickers are just clear see-through  ones that can easily discolor when applied but honestly, I think it adds to the realism by giving it a sort of battle scarred look to it. Overall, I highly recommend both kits for anyone that is a fan of the show and look forward to any future kits VEX Robotics produces.
Tombstone
I was already familiar with this and the Minotaur Kit released by VEX Robotics but even having seen the amount of detail the kit ends up producing couldn't prepare me for how long it'd take to assemble it. It's actually much more in line with the effort it takes to build a real robot than the original BattleBots kits by Road Champs as you're building all the essential components that make the robot fight, gearboxes, weapons, and both weapon and drive chains but without the electronics. The instructions were pretty clear and even had visuals of the finished step's result but I found it strange that the drive axle wasn't one solid metal rod. Instead, there's a long metal rod for one wheel and a shorter one for the other wheel.

This created an unfortunate problem at the intersection where the two axles meet that can cause the gears to sometimes fall out when playing with the toy, making the toy fail to do what it's supposed to. On top of that, once they fall out, they're difficult to put back in due to where the gearbox is and the space given for the three gears to fit. What wasn't clear from the instructions was the length of the metal rod needed for some of the steps as there was just had a visual of the step and the viewer was just supposed to figure it out. Even as a 27 year old, I had problems with this and ended up having to take the kit apart at least once (which wasn't as easy as the box makes it seem and not just for the fact that multiple pieces are connected together).

When the kit is finally assembled (and it took me roughly 5 hours to do so I imagine it's at least double that for the intended audience), it was worth all the sore fingers and lost sleep. It's nice that you can build either of Tombstone's design and I now have the kit in its Season 2 design with the Season 1 blade that I liked more standing on its back end, which allows for more room. It's important to note that the instructions also tell you what you need for each of the steps. That's where I had one of my problems with building the kit as I had one too many links in the drive chain and one too few in the weapon chain, which left things working in a jerky fashion.