VEX Battlebots Minotaur Set Review

Posted: August 1, 2017 in Engineering, News
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I love watching Battlebots. As an engineer I really enjoy seeing the design and strategy of each bot. I was delighted to find a box from VEX at my front door recently. Luckily I opened it right away (I thought it might be parts for a FIRST team) and found a Minotaur set. Minotaur is one of my favorite bots in the show. This bot from Brazil and is a joy to watch. Its spinning drum eats through other bots. Follow me past the break to see what I thought of this building set.

The Minotaur set came packed with lots of parts and an instruction book. The building system is the same as VEX IQ/HEXBUG. It has lots of little parts that might not be good for small children. The majority of the parts are black or gray. However, there was one yellow panel and yellow drum parts. For this project, the colors were close to the original bot. I really wish VEX had purple parts for the inside to match the glow of the real Minotaur and a gold drum instead of yellow. However, most people probably wont notice the difference.

The kit took me about an hour to construct with only one hiccup along the way. It is really difficult to tell the difference between a black plastic spacer and the black rubber stops for the axles. I was forced to pull a few pieces off to fix my mistake. Like my original experience with VEX IQ/HEXBUG, removing parts is really difficult and I wish VEX would include a tool. I resorted to a pocket knife to save my fingers from trying to pry the parts apart.

The drum is driven by the wheels. The chain came per-assembled at the correct length. Installing the chain was a breeze and the overall system is quite simple, as you can see in the photo above. The wheels directly drive the drum. There are no electronics in the kit to make a true “robot”. There is plenty of space to add some motors, if you wanted to re-engineer the bot.

Once assembled the kit was quite strong. I spend some time playing with it (and accidentally dropping it) and it held together. In fact, I think it would be very difficult to disassemble the kit due to the strong interlocking parts. In a lot of ways, however, this is a major downside for me as it somewhat discourages experimentation.

Interestingly, the kit had a bunch of left over pieces. I reviewed the building instructions to see if I missed anything (not that I was going to try and take anything apart), but every part was accounted for.

Overall I really liked the set. As a big Battlebots and Minotaur fan, it was really exciting to build my own model bot. I am really excited to see VEX bring so many of these bots to life, both in VEX IQ/HEXBUG brand and the smaller toy robots! However, the VEX IQ building system still leaves a bit to be desired. The panels do bend a fair bit and separating parts is extremely difficult. It is something that will likely remain assembled. If you are like me and a fan of Battlebots, this is a must-have set and I would recommend it. If you’re looking for something for young children, I would stick to LEGO. This set has lots of small parts and the intricate instructions are something best left for an older child.

 

To find out more information the Minotaur kit, visit HEXBUG.com or order the kit on Amazon.

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