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Problems with Land Rover Defender

Super complex and compact build, I had tons of fun building.  Unfortunately, the complex transmission it essentially useless.  There are 3 systems that are part of the transmission, 4 gears, a Hi/Lo switch and F/N/R.  The only thing you get out of this is the tiny pistons moving based on the settings of these 3 options.  The crankshaft rotates in the same direction in forward or reverse (when pushing the vehicle forward).  This makes the reverse useless (or I did something wrong).  I did thoroughly check these features before assembling the shell of the vehicle.

Can someone please explain the transmission of this model?  Perhaps I'm not understanding it properly.

In sum, awesome model, but all the complexity of the transmission just  to turn the pistons (covered by the hood) is not needed.  The ther other features (steering, winch, door latch) are great.  But I could remove the transmission/drivetrain/etc and have a great model.
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