When I first laid eyes on the CaDA Mercedes-AMG One C61503W, I was smitten. I knew I got to have one and as luck has it, I did, albeit a short after it was officially launched. You cannot imagine my excitement to have the opportunity to review this officially licensed Technic-style Mercedes-AMG One which is dubbed “the only road-legal F1 car”. But before we get on with the review, here are the basics of this set:

Product name: CaDA Mercedes-AMG One
Product number: C61503W
Number of pieces: 3,295
Completed model size: 55 x 22 x 16 cm (21.7 x 8.7 x 6.3 inches)

CaDA Mercedes-AMG One Building Set Review

The Set

The CaDA Mercedes-AMG One C61503W is part of the China brick-built toymaker’s Master series which is equivalent to LEGO UCS. Though it is not targeted at adults specifically. The box indicated it is for ages 6 and up but the website is 14+. Either way, this model is not for the faint of hearts and it is far from being a child’s play. It takes some experience and maturity as they are integrated cables to deal with.

For the uninitiated, the set is an officially licensed product by AMG as well as tire maker Michelin, and it is designed by MOC extraordinaire, Bruno Jenson. It is a Technic-style set with some traditional brick elements in the mix and at 1:8 scale which stretches nearly 2 feet long, making it a very shelf-space-demanding model. It is not only enormous but it is also pretty heft, weighing nearly 3 kilograms (2.9 kg, or 6.4 lbs, to be precise).

CaDA Mercedes-AMG One Building Set Review

The C61503W goes beyond a brick-and-display model. It is designed to be played with – thanks to its remote control function. That’s right. It is an RC toy too, controlled using the included wireless controller. Not using an app is a plus point as far as I am concerned because RC via app leaves the toy at the mercy of the longevity of the app. Let me explain.

If one day, the maker decides not to support it in on app store or for some reason, the app gets removed from the app store, that would be the end of the RC function of the toy. The set includes a bunch of unique elements specially produced for this set and every part where graphics are required are printed elements – save for the cable color codings.

The Package

The set packs a whopping 3,295 pieces which is a little less the brilliant LEGO Bugatti Chiron 42083. The 3,200+ pieces are divided into 5 major sections, each containing multiple plastic packets, and neatly packed inside a massive main packaging along with the wheels and the coffee table-like instruction booklet.

The main box, which is signed off by Bruno Jenson, features a couple of images of the completed model, the key features of the set, and the official logo of Mercedes-Benz, AMG, and Michelin, along with a glimpse of the actual car. Completing the package is the obligatory product information in Chinese.

The unique elements are packed inside the numbered bags, as well as in their bag. It has so many (bags) in total, a handful for the electronics.

The Electronics

The set is supplied with four motors in two sizes, a servo, 6 LED lights, four extension cables (aka power hub), a pull-back motor, a LiPO battery box aka main power hub, and a radio control pad. The electronics can be rather overwhelming. More so because this is the first set that I have come across with integrated electronics.

Integrated electronics is a nice touch because you need not to worry about the fitment of bricks with wire sandwiched between bricks. The main cables are all ribbon cables with plugs that are reminiscent of an Ethernet plug but flatter. They are intentionally designed to be super flat, thus allowing them to pass through tight spaces within the frame. The actual lighting cables, however, are basic round wires.

CaDA Mercedes-AMG One Building Set Review

Generally, I have no issues with the electronics. My only gripe is the length of the cables/wires is the length. Most of them, if not all are all but too long. This is especially true for the headlights where the headlights distribution brick is offset to the left of the car. This results in the left set of lighting cables having a bunch of excess length.

A bulk of my time was spent figuring out the best way to route the cables, and when that was finally done, I had to deal with “packing” the excess up so that it looked less of a mess. Overall, the electronics integration was pretty well executed. You may need some trial and error to find the ideal route for some cables.

The Power Function & Lightings

The model has power functions for forward and reverse motion, as well as the legendary launch control, which allows the CaDA Mercedes-AMG One to replica the real car’s launch control. There’s, of course, a steering function that is rigged to the steering wheel in the cockpit.

Not going to lie. I have an issue with the steering mechanism. The steering mechanism is the reason for this late review. I couldn’t, for my life, figure out why I had a tiny steering angle. I took it apart, scrutinized it step by step, and element by element, and yet, I couldn’t get it to steer full lock-to-lock. I need more time to resolve this. Let me clarify. It does steer but not as much as it should.

The final power function is dedicated to opening the scissor doors which also extend or retract the rear spoiler. When the doors are closed, the spoiler is up, and vice versa. I know. I wish it had separate controls for the doors and the rear wing. Then again, that would result in one more cable.

Also rigged to the main motors is the V6 engine which lets you witness the beauty of the piston movements of an ICE. Lovely!

CaDA Mercedes-AMG One Building Set Review

Because of the power function, you will not be able to manually move the spoiler, turn the steering wheel, and open the doors. It is an ultimate sacrifice IMHO. I wish it had a neutral mode where we could manually operate the steering, doors, and rear wing. You can push the car around though.

Another thing to note is the spoiler is normally up if you want the doors to remain closed. I wish it could be retracted even when the doors are closed. The model has functioning LED headlights and taillights but they will only light up only when the car is in motion. It will be nice if we can turn the lights on separately. But again, that would probably mean more cables.

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Every electronics onboard is powered by the LiPO battery box which is rechargeable via a micro USB port. No adapter is supplied but it does come with a micro USB cable. A power bank can serve up the juice pretty well, so a USB adapter is not necessary if you don’t have one or you are worried about the compatibility of the power delivery. The controller uses a pair of double A cells (not included).

The Design

All I can say is that Bruno’s attention to detail can be fully appreciated here. Once you have the chassis completed, you know you have at hand a very sturdy build. You can just lift it without worries anything will pop or it will slump. My only complaint with the design is the central exhaust.

The Mercedes-AMG One has an F1-style exhaust that comprises a large round outlet and two smaller openings. Each of the latter is attached at a single point a stud which can pop off easily if you happen to carry it at that point. It could use a pin system to prevent this. Just saying…

Anyhoo, I love how there are no stickers to deal with. Everything from the dash display to the instrument panels, to the logo and all are all printed parts. Not only it saves me the hassle of aligning stickers but it also looks more professional. I never like stickers anyway. The only stickers you will have to deal with are the color-coded stickers for the cables which require not much effort.

The One’s signature roof inlet that fuses into the vertical shark fin is also replicated on this model with unique molded parts. The shark fin is complete with debossed AMG branding which is freaking cool! However, the tolerance for the connection between the inlet and the shark fin is super tight.

It required some effort to get the cross pin to be inserted and even then I could get it completely flushed with each other. But the tiny gap is not immediately noticeable unless you look for it.

The model also replicated the adjustable air vents on either side of the hood which you freely adjust according to your preference. Even more impressive is the taillights are brick built and how the pushrod suspension is faithfully replicated. And then there’s the brake calipers too.

The details are just out of this world. And did I mention that it has seat belts too? The three-point seat belt on each racing seat is recreated using a yellow rubber band. 

The Build

Guess how long this model took me? I almost lost count of the time, TBH. It took nearly 24 hours for me to complete. The building is definitely no walk in the park. One of the things that make this build so “master” grade is the internals – they are mostly, if not all, in black or gray elements.

Where LEGO leans to color elements to make the build easier on the eyes and more identifiable, this one does not. Partly because almost everything inside can be seen when completed.

This posed a challenge of frequent mistakes due to my not paying attention to the orientation change. With a mono or duo-color build, it demands your full attention. I suggest taking a break if you are tired and continuing when you are rested.

Beyond that, the build couldn’t be more logical than any of its competitors, including LEGO’s. As mentioned, wiring has to be taken into consideration as you are building this thing. But sometimes I have to undo some parts because it was only after completing certain sections I realized cables could take advantage of the space. This also contributes to the time used.

The Thoughts

Overall, this is a challenging set as expected of a Master series/UCS grade set. The build and design are logical and sturdy, and the instructions are mostly clear. For the latter, the only shortfall is the flip-around icon is sometimes placed far off a corner, and interrupted by the detail dialog, which can lead to misreading of the instruction.

As far as individual elements go, CaDA means business. Most of the elements bear CaDA branding and yes, it is a part glossary complete part SKU.

CaDA Mercedes-AMG One Building Set Review

Quality-wise, they are just as good as LEGO’s, IMHO. Every element that needs to be marked, is marked. Like L16, R17, and so on and so forth. Unlike budget sets from other brands that have issues with runner marks, I don’t find it on the parts of this set that very befitting its status as a high-end set. Fitment-wise, it feels and clicks like any quality brick build set – save for the special molded air inlet and shark fin.

I dig the set a lot. I may be biased because I am a car nut but then again that’s precisely why this set exists for car fanatics like me to put together the cars we like.

However, I would wish it had the option to choose an RC and non-RC version like some of CaDA’s sets. TBH, I can’t live without fancy electronics. OK, maybe just the lights.

The Verdict

For:

  • Solid, sturdy build
  • Attention to detail (I cannot emphasize more!)
  • Excellent quality
  • Printed parts galore!
  • Cool power functions and light-up features
  • Convenient opening engine cover

Against:

  • Long cables/wires
  • Spoiler cannot stay retracted when doors are closed
  • Can’t manually open doors
CaDA Mercedes-AMG One Building Set Review

Additional Notes

If you ask me, I will recommend this set wholeheartedly to any petrolheads even if they may not be a fan of LEGO-style building sets. This is a set that you fall in love with. The 24 hours spent was well worth it. Plus, it is not as pricey as LEGO if you were to compare the official price.

For example, the LEGO officially licensed Lamborghini Sián, which has 3,696 pieces, has a retail price of US$379.99 while the CaDA Mercedes-Benz AMG One, which is also officially licensed and has 3,295 pieces, sells for US292. The price per piece works out to be 0.103 for Sián and just 0.089 for the One. This means the One hands down is the set that is value for money.

If you are down, you may pick up the CaDA Mercedes-AMG One C61503W from the CaDA store for the aforementioned US$292.

All images by Mike for Mikeshouts.com.

Published by Mike

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.