- Set 8263
- 590 Pieces
- 17.1 ounces, 484 grams
- Build time was about 2 hours (including taking all the pictures)
The box is surprisingly large. Pictures of the front and back can be seen below. This is not one of the boxes in which you need to cut the rear corners to get it open. Rather, it is one of the boxes which is made to be punched out on one edge. I opened mine with a letter opener instead to avoid tearing anything.
The instructions come in two large booklets: one for the main model and one for the alternate model. The book for the main model is 75 pages with 53 top level steps. The instructions are quite clear, as usual, and I found only one minor error. This error involved a part which was not actually part of the step.
Inside the Box
There are 5 bags inside the box. One of the 4 smaller bags contains all the treads. The largest bag contains all the panels and also has 2 smaller bags within it containing the pins and other small parts.
New and/or Noteworthy Parts
Those interested in the new parts will be very interested in this set as it contains a very good selection of them, as well as quite a few other parts which are not seen very often.
The most obvious new parts are these H-Beams. In keeping with the new tradition of using odd numbered lengths and widths for studless beams, this part is 5x11. There are axle holes in all 3 directions: 8 total on the face, 14 total on the sides, and 6 total on the ends. This vast array of connections make the part very versatile and usable in many situations. I consider this part POOP (Parts Of Other Pieces) in that the same shape was possible before from smaller parts. However, if this part were built up from others it would tend to parallelogram due to looseness in the corners. This large framed beam is very stiff in bending so I can imagine it becoming the foundation of many new large models. This model is no exception as this is the first part in the instructions. There are 4 of these parts in the set (TLG #64178), all in light bley.
There are also a number of new panels. There are 3 of the larger panels in black (TLG #62531). They are 11x3x2 with axle holes in all three directions. The front face is flat and smooth while the rear face is grooved. This difference makes them usable for totally different aesthetic effects depending on which way they are turned.
There are also some smaller panels. Like the older panels, these are numbered to easily distinguish left from right. In this case, the numbers are 3 and 4. The dimensions of these is 7x3x2 and, like the others, they have holes in all three directions. The set comes with 6 of them in black and 6 of them in red (TLG #64391 & 64683).
Although not brand new, this image shows a couple of other parts of note. There are 3 steering links which have not been seen in a while, especially the long one. There are also 3 of the (almost) new 9L axles.
There are two of the new 3x3 T Beams for the first time in light bley. There are also a pair of brand new 3x2 parts which I will call Axle Joiner, Perpendicular. They look like the old 1x2 axle joiner, perpendicular except with an extra stud appended on either side. I can imagine these being quite useful.
Finally, there are 12 tread sprockets and 66 black tread links. While the black treads have appeared in Mars Mission sets before, this is the first time in Technic. It is also worth noting that, although difficult to tell in the picture, the sprockets are not light bley. They are actually pearl gray.
Here are the parts left over after building the primary model.
It took me about 2 hours to build this, including taking all the pictures and munching on my dinner at the same time. The set is somewhat modular in nature like we have come to expect from recent sets. The model is almost entirely studless with a couple of pleasant exceptions which I'll detail below. Like all studless sets, the model is built from the inside out. There are some clever uses of the new parts and connections which make the model very sturdy and rigid. There are a couple of building techniques in the mechanism which have very rarely been used in official sets and are a very welcome surprise.
This first image shows a clever use of a yoke part to make a cantilevered gearbox. Note also the use of a T-Beam.
This next image shows the first core module. The previous gearbox is on the inside, driven by the black double bevel gear on the top. This turns the worm gear which, in turn, rotates the liftarm on the back via the pinion gear. The ball joint you see here will be used to lift the snow smoother on the back.
I like this next bit very much. A Bionicle ball joint is used as an input lever, almost like the control stick in an airplane. Movement of the stick forward and back pivots a crank arm which pushes or pulls the long steering arm visible on the bottom. This then lifts a linkage on the front which will be used to raise and lower the plow. Side to side motion of the stick rotates a central axle. This axle acts on a set of knob wheel gears which turn a lateral axle on the front. This axle will later be used with another steering arm to pivot the plow left and right. Although side to side motion of the stick also moves the lower steering link side to side, the presence of ball joints allows this to happen without interrupting the motion in the other axis. This results in two independent controls using one gimbaled input. I love this arrangement and it is very reminiscent of the excellent controls on the 8855 airplane.
This shows the completed core combining the first and second modules and adding some reinforcement.
Here is the undercarriage assembly. There is no suspension, just a planar set of bogies. The left and right sides are independent in rotation.
Now here's a pleasant surprise. The grille at the front of the cab is actually quite nicely detailed with cheese slopes and other Creator like parts. In fact, this area reminds me a lot of 6743, for instance. Construction involves some simple (but lovely) SNOT.
Here we can see the cab which makes heavy use of the new panels as well as a few more cheese slopes on the spotlights on the mirrors and on the light bar. There are a pair of flexible axles representing the side windows which are a nice touch.
Here is the completed chassis without the implements attached.
I love this model! Having seen all of the Technic sets, it is sometimes hard to impress me. But this set makes excellent use of new and rare parts, has a good price for its size, uses clever and innovative building techniques, has great mechanical functions, and even looks good! On top of all of that, it's not another construction vehicle. A snow groomer is a perfect subject for a Technic model, yet one which has never been used before.
- Price: 8/10
- Functions: 9/10 (for the size of the model)
- Appearance: 8/10
- Parts: 9/10 (lots of good stuff here)
- Total: 9/10 I'd consider this set a "must-have" for any serious Technic fan.
Here are some images of the completed model.
In case you are trying to get a feel for how big this is, I've included a couple of comparison pictures. The first shows the 8272 Snowmobile. The second shows this model along with Hans Crielaard's superb Prinoth Leitwolf snow groomer.
While building this model, I listened to "Back in Black" by AC/DC and "Pyromania" by Def Leppard. They seemed to work nicely. I considered "Bitor the Snow Dog" by Rush as being topical, but it seemed a bit too obscure.
I also tried out a new photography technique for many of these photos. The white backdrop is simply a white melamine book case. I placed the models inside. There is no direct lighting. Rather, all photos are taken with a single flash. But the flash is not mounted on the camera which is why you don't see reflections. You also don't see sharp shadows. This is because the flash was used for indirect lighting. My Nikon D70 can control the flash remotely (wireless) so you can put the flash wherever you like. I also pointed the light up at the next shelf up. This way the light bounces from the bright surface and illuminates the subject evenly like good overhead lighting. I thought it worked pretty well. You can see the setup in this picture. The picture itself has lousy lighting because I couldn't use the flash to take a picture of the flash!
Edited by Blakbird, 06 June 2012 - 03:00 PM.