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The "Golden Age" for lego Technic, is it now?


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#1 Kierna

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:52 AM

I found this thread in the general discussion and thought it was an interesting question.

http://www.eurobrick...opic=71246&st=0

I will begin with a copy of my post in that thread:

It is definately the golden age for TECHNIC. More complex parts than ever before, an entirely new building system REALLY getting into swing (studless beams) and radio control functions which were a dream when I was young. Mechanical functions are as detailed as you like, the colour palatte is small enough to have a good coherent collection of parts if you buy a few sets to get started.
Not to mention mindstorms, which is more attractive and functional than ever before. Self balancing motorcycles, indeed!

Technic is truly an adults product. Perhaps not neccesarily the kits, but the parts and the medium itself.
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#2 allanp

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:22 PM

Well, it's certainly on the up that's for sure, as for it being a golden age? Time will tell. Definately in terms of it's potential, the kits have a bit of catching up to reach it's current potential. The Unimog is probably the greatest kit ever sold with it's awesome complexity and range of complexity and host of new parts and realism/authenticity and so on. I remember the last golden age (widely regaurded as being from around 1988 to 1996-7). Most flagships used their parts to their full potencial, just look at the inner design of the 8480 space shuttle and the way they got a supercar from straight beams. New parts where released everywhere to gain more realistic mechanics and even the TV adverts were the best Lego have ever released! In the studless era, there have been some amazing sets, like 8455 and 8110, but they are just a bit too few and far between for it to be a golden age, but like I say time will tell. Maybe we are at the very beginning of a new golden age.
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#3 Ondra

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:27 PM

I must say yes, Few series, for example city, is now not so well in terms of set quality but technic and creator for example is better than any times before.

#4 DLuders

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:46 PM

I would say that YES, this is the "golden age" of Lego Technic.  Not only has Lego Power Functions allowed one to easily motorize diverse creations (such as trains, carousels, and vehicles), but also there is an EXPLOSION of guides (Sariel's book, virtual Building Instructions, YouTube videos, etc.).  The HUGE STRIDES in the quality of Technic MOCs show me that the capability of Lego Technic has been stretched to new heights.   :classic:

As far as saying that "Technic is truly an adults product," I know that there are many teenagers (TFOLs) lurking on this forum.  They are the future scientists and engineers that the world needs so much.  This "golden age" has allowed them to share in the available knowledge, and not just rely on the ~10 official Lego Technic sets that are produced each year.

Edited by DLuders, 27 November 2012 - 02:48 PM.


#5 Meatman

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

I would definitely say Yes, not only has Lego been releasing some amazing sets, but look at some of the models that AFOL have been producing.

#6 Carrera124

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:44 PM

No doubt, current Technic sets look great and offer lots of features. Anyway, I don't like them at all.
For me, "Lego" equals "studs". I don't like this modern studless bricks and style.
My personal golden technic age, is beetween ~1988 and ~1996.

#7 Jim

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:59 PM

Power Functions, Mindstorms, Robotics, a world record holding Rubik's Cube solver, fully remote controlled vehicles and a great Lego Technic AFOL community and fanbase, to name but a few great aspects. I'd say this definitely is a golden age.

But my guess is....there's probably more to come very soon. More additions to the PF family, possibly a new (smaller?) Mindstorms kit (better compatibility with PF?) and so forth.

Loving it today, but looking out for tomorrow!

Edited by Gekke Ted, 28 November 2012 - 07:25 AM.


#8 VFracingteam

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:04 PM

What Gekke Ted said is complete right this is for us the golden age now but  there is more to come :sweet:

#9 pluto7443

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 02:50 AM

View PostDLuders, on 27 November 2012 - 02:46 PM, said:

I would say that YES, this is the "golden age" of Lego Technic.  Not only has Lego Power Functions allowed one to easily motorize diverse creations (such as trains, carousels, and vehicles), but also there is an EXPLOSION of guides (Sariel's book, virtual Building Instructions, YouTube videos, etc.).  The HUGE STRIDES in the quality of Technic MOCs show me that the capability of Lego Technic has been stretched to new heights.   :classic:

As far as saying that "Technic is truly an adults product," I know that there are many teenagers (TFOLs) lurking on this forum.  They are the future scientists and engineers that the world needs so much.  This "golden age" has allowed them to share in the available knowledge, and not just rely on the ~10 official Lego Technic sets that are produced each year.
Lurking, indeed. And I do actually want to be either a mechanical engineer or an aerospace engineer. :classic:

#10 DarkShadow73

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:39 AM

View PostKierna, on 27 November 2012 - 07:52 AM, said:

I found this thread in the general discussion and thought it was an interesting question.

http://www.eurobrick...opic=71246&st=0

I will begin with a copy of my post in that thread:

It is definately the golden age for TECHNIC. More complex parts than ever before, an entirely new building system REALLY getting into swing (studless beams) and radio control functions which were a dream when I was young. Mechanical functions are as detailed as you like, the colour palatte is small enough to have a good coherent collection of parts if you buy a few sets to get started.
Not to mention mindstorms, which is more attractive and functional than ever before. Self balancing motorcycles, indeed!

Technic is truly an adults product. Perhaps not neccesarily the kits, but the parts and the medium itself.
@Kierna - that's probably why Technic, especially the medium to large sets aren't available too much in retail stores like TRU.  Heck I was building Technic stuff when I was 9 or 10 years old, long time ago (say about 30 years ago...) and Technic was much, much simpler then, but I do recall my dad buying a motor set and a simple Technic car, could I recall the # or name of the set anymore, nope...of course at that age, my brother and I were enthralled at watching gears move when we hooked up the motor to whatever it was 'driving', but that was like 1983 or so if I recall...still have remnants of the sets though, found some old cracked rubberbands and pulleys and a few OLD gears in a sorter a while back...I remember we combined Legoland as it was called back in the day, city blocks and such, and we made a truck with real steering, I still have the image of that model we put together, problem is we were kids and the steering rack constantly kept coming apart from the gear, but then we would just crash it into a baseboard or something. But I know we had the old Technic tires and rims that were around in the early 80's.  Lots of memories, long ago, but still vivid...

#11 chorlton

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:21 PM

View Postpluto7443, on 29 November 2012 - 02:50 AM, said:

Lurking, indeed. And I do actually want to be either a mechanical engineer or an aerospace engineer. :classic:

I studied Mechanical Engineering at University (20 years ago) largely on the basis that I wanted to work for Lego.

The Lego dream never happened but a colleague did go for an interview with them around '96/'97. He came back very excited - "They are working on something SO cool, but I can't tell you about it because I signed a non-disclosure agreement!"

I suspect it was the first Mindstorms kits. :classic:
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#12 Zblj

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:18 PM

I think it is! With the power functions, more colors, panels, gears the models really come to life in a relaistic and asthetically pleaseing manner.

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#13 DarkShadow73

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:58 PM

IMO, the golden age has come and gone, I really have gotten more into the vintage studded models in the past few months, sure their lines and such aren't as sleek as 2003-up sets starting with the 8455 and 8454 in '03...I think it ended summer 2011 with the 8110, just too bad it wasn't full RC, it really should have been...lots of new and improved parts on the models in 2011 and 2012, but no really great releases since the Unimog.  I wouldn't mind having the 9398, but money's tight and as I and another member commented the color scheme is wild, TLG should have stuck with one, with accents of another color, maybe the orange, definitely not the ugly white box in back), and I've heard good and bad about the 9398, esp the twitchy remote, you let go of the steering wheel and it immediately the model goes back to center...

I know there might be a bit of argument about one set, I really love the 8446 Crane Truck, it just looks elegant and the crane arm is very cool looking, the 8436 is really nice to, esp with the grabber attachment, the grappler hook one was a big mistake, always having to remove that red long pin with stopbush on it just to extend the crane arm, lots of times the whole assembly of black beams just slide back if you raise it up from level or lower...

Edited by TechnicFreak, 29 November 2012 - 04:02 PM.


#14 Richie

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:25 PM

View PostCarrera124, on 27 November 2012 - 09:44 PM, said:

No doubt, current Technic sets look great and offer lots of features. Anyway, I don't like them at all.
For me, "Lego" equals "studs". I don't like this modern studless bricks and style.
My personal golden technic age, is beetween ~1988 and ~1996.
I agree for the most part with this. LEGO should contain studs. For studless beams we have Meccano. :classic:  Although I have to admit there are very great studless MOCs, and combining the two can result in great sets (like 8275) and MOCs (like Designer Han's creations) as well.

It's not that for example the Unimog isn't a great set, but I think the sets in general look sometimes "unfinished". Like set 8049, the claw is operated by a wheel at the claw itself. This is something that should have been pneumatic, and I think they would have done in the '90s. Another thing I don't like about the new sets are the same PF elements everybody seems to like. It looks like every tipper or dump truck needs a motor. And the biggest sets have to be full RC, according to the opinion of many. I think a well-designed set should be great even if it didn't contain a motor. I think the PF-less 8880 will be an all-time classic, but I think the newer Super Car will become one of the many casual sets.

For me the old sets were better designed, according to the parts available at the time. The 8868 Air Tech Claw Rig was very blocky, had no suspension and was much smaller than the 8110 Unimog, but it was ahead of it's time, while the Unimog is more difficult to operate (for me), and much bigger while there are not thát much new features.
I think the 8480 Space Shuttle is still the best TECHNIC set ever made.

Edited by Richie, 29 November 2012 - 04:28 PM.

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#15 Burf2000

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:57 PM

Interesting question, for me 90's gave us some very good models (8880 etc).  Before the 4x4 9398 and the new helicopter I would of stayed with the 90's however these 2 models seem to be nice and fresh!.  The motors have never been so good to, we have 2 types of LA's.  The Excavator is pretty cool to.  I just don't get that excited about the smaller models.  I could of never made a LEGO Wheelchair out of stuff from the 90's, the motors where not good enough.

#16 Meatman

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:24 PM

I went through the entire studs to studless change in my years and I don't think that I would ever want to see Lego go back to the studded beams again.

#17 skylinedan

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:39 PM

When I was kid, I had expert builder. 851, 855, All I had was studfull back then. I got back into it about 2009 to find the whole thing changed, now wee building studless, and I like it. Its tougher, but the chalenge of building things is better in my opinion. I think the end results are so much better now, but i,m not sure we,ve made it to the golden age or not. Is they room for improvement ? Thats a good question, I think its more about what new pieces they come up with, and the sets they release. Look at the history of LEGO, sooner or later your gonna have to come out with something that was once the set to have. the 8275 or the 8455. they came out with the back hoe, and it was ok, but nothing like the 8455. I think it will be hard to improve on what they all ready have released, sooner or later your gonna run out of ideas on what to build next that has never been built.

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#18 Blakbird

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:30 PM

The definition of "golden age" is bound to be a highly personal one.  For most people, their selection of a golden age will be based more on nostalgic reasons than technical reasons.  The sets we grew up with or the ones that most inspired us are most likely to be associated with a golden age.  For example, I'd wager you will find almost no one under the age of 20 who feels that the golden age was any more than 10 years ago.  This is partially because they have never seen or built the older sets.

As someone who has built all the Technic sets, I guess I'm in a good position to look across the entire product line.  I also did not have any Technic as a child, so I don't have any particular nostalgia associated with any of them.  Personally, I think the golden age was 1994-1996.  This is based not only on the fact that I like the models, but the fact that Technic had a strong identity.  When you bought a Technic model, you knew what you were going to get.  It would be a highly functional model with function over form, using the parts to their fullest extent in unusual ways for unusual models.    Later, starting about 1998, Technic lost its way.  Micro models, Tech Play, and competition models were an attempt to branch out and make Technic appeal to a wider audience.  Later, this went even farther with Roboriders, Slizers, and then Bionicle (which was originally Technic).  While these are arguably all good products, they diluted the Technic brand to the point that it was no longer clear what a Technic model was supposed to be.

I do think that we are entering another golden age.  The focus on function in recent sets, the willingness to make bigger and more complex sets, to introduce new parts, and to reuse old systems (like pneumatics) have made for some really tremendous models the last few years.  I will always have a special place in my heart for studs though, and I miss them.  I understand the reasons for studless building and I enjoy it, but its weakness is stiffness.  Take any studless chassis and put it in torsion (twist it), and it bends like crazy.  If you happen to have 8436, it is one of the worst.  You can bend the rear of the chassis to a 45 degree angle with the front.  Studded chassis never had this issue.  The best combinations of the two systems were 8466 and 8457.
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#19 DarkShadow73

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:19 PM

View PostRichie, on 29 November 2012 - 04:25 PM, said:

I agree for the most part with this. LEGO should contain studs. For studless beams we have Meccano. :classic:  Although I have to admit there are very great studless MOCs, and combining the two can result in great sets (like 8275) and MOCs (like Designer Han's creations) as well.

It's not that for example the Unimog isn't a great set, but I think the sets in general look sometimes "unfinished". Like set 8049, the claw is operated by a wheel at the claw itself. This is something that should have been pneumatic, and I think they would have done in the '90s. Another thing I don't like about the new sets are the same PF elements everybody seems to like. It looks like every tipper or dump truck needs a motor. And the biggest sets have to be full RC, according to the opinion of many. I think a well-designed set should be great even if it didn't contain a motor. I think the PF-less 8880 will be an all-time classic, but I think the newer Super Car will become one of the many casual sets.

For me the old sets were better designed, according to the parts available at the time. The 8868 Air Tech Claw Rig was very blocky, had no suspension and was much smaller than the 8110 Unimog, but it was ahead of it's time, while the Unimog is more difficult to operate (for me), and much bigger while there are not thát much new features.
I think the 8480 Space Shuttle is still the best TECHNIC set ever made.
@Richie - agreed on the 8049, it was a great idea, but so many models use that turning axle connector, so does the 8295 Telehandler's tilt function, everything else can either be done by hand at the rear of the model (if you want to turn A LOT, and don't mind twisting and twisting a gear, in that set as well as the 8265 Front Loader, motorizing w/ PF is almost mandatory).  I whole-heartedly agree it wouldn't be a stretch to motorize ALL the functions, including the functions that are at the end of crane or claw mechanism.  Kind of stupid not to finish the models like the 8049 w/ an extra pneumatic function.  Sure you can motorize the 8049, but not the claw, just the raising and extension of the simple boom. At least the 8436's grabber mechanism is full pneumatic though.  

@Blakbird - I agree on the mid 90's, those were some good years for Technic, as a 39-yr old collector and builder, I have purchased quite a few sets from 1995-1997 and those were really functional and fun. It kind of went downhill from there as you have said, I recall seeing on the TRU shelves, since the internet was really just dawning at that time, those Tech Play and Tech Starter sets, and that horrid Universal Building Set, and thought what has become of Technic. I was in my dark ages then, but re-emerged in 1999 when I bought the 8428 Turbo Command, a great little car, bit futuristic as was the 8446 Crane Truck, but they were interesting and had a lot to offer as far as functionality and pure Technic, then came along the really dumb looking, at least IMO, the Slizer, Bionicle, and Robomodels, and those were all really just for a younger audience, and I thought is this it for Technic?  I had bought the 8448 Supercar, passed on the 8466 from 2001 initially (real stupid move), then got it for a decent price this year, brand new, just bad box. The 8465 IMO was a joke, it was like the mini-me of the 8466 so I passed completely on that set.  Then finally in 2003 things changed for the better with all the construction models, the 8455, 8453, 8454, 8451, and its been fairly good ever since and has increased in functionality and looks.  I still have a fondness for studded construction, but I do like the liftarms and sleekness of the models since too.

Edited by TechnicFreak, 29 November 2012 - 08:30 PM.


#20 captainmib

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:20 PM

This is a tough question, because there are a lot of (personal) factors in the equation.

I agree with blackbird that nostalgia is one of the bigger factors.

Having only a few studded sets from the 90's and a few studless sets from 2010-2012, i'm amazed by the progression. Getting back into Technic lego has been fantastic.

I have no aversion to studs, but with the studless parts there are so many combinations and techniques possible that it has opened a whole lot of great ways to design a model.
Maybe Lego should not forget where their (technic) product has started, and implement some more studded into the models.

If they would design a set like the 8485 Control Center II again, mix in both studded and studless, that would be a fantastic nostalgia trip.
Maybe that would be the direction i would like to see.

Golden age? Yes, why not. Every new wave of sets can be a golden age. As long as you enjoy building Technic Lego, build MOC's and learn - why not!

#21 AndyCW

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:43 PM

I really like studless and hardly ever pull out my old studded technic building parts.  I think it is better today than it has been in some time.  Hopefully the trend continues and it keeps getting better every year.  If this happens today will not be seen as a "golden age".  Today will only be seen as a golden age is if Lego goes downhill from here and that is not something any of us want.
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#22 Carrera124

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:05 PM

View PostBlakbird, on 29 November 2012 - 07:30 PM, said:

I understand the reasons for studless building and I enjoy it, but its weakness is stiffness.  Take any studless chassis and put it in torsion (twist it), and it bends like crazy.  If you happen to have 8436, it is one of the worst.  You can bend the rear of the chassis to a 45 degree angle with the front.  Studded chassis never had this issue.  The best combinations of the two systems were 8466 and 8457.
That's the point. Some weeks ago, I bought and built 8109. It looks great, and the features work fine.
But when I put my hand on the steering knob and start to move/steer the truck, the driver's cabin bends forward. I can't remember to happen something similar when moving classic studded Technic cars or trucks.
Unfortunately, I did not build 8466 and 8547. They were released during my dark ages, and today these sets are really expensive.
But I bought MISB 8446 ad 8448 and built them. Imho, both sets seem to offer a good and sensible mixture of studless and studded bricks.

#23 legomuppet9

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:22 PM

For me there hasn't been a golden age, however I do think 98-01 were the "dark ages" for the theme

#24 pluto7443

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:40 AM

View Postchorlton, on 29 November 2012 - 01:21 PM, said:

I studied Mechanical Engineering at University (20 years ago) largely on the basis that I wanted to work for Lego.

The Lego dream never happened but a colleague did go for an interview with them around '96/'97. He came back very excited - "They are working on something SO cool, but I can't tell you about it because I signed a non-disclosure agreement!"

I suspect it was the first Mindstorms kits. :classic:
Wow,that's pretty cool. If I can, I hope to go to the University of Waterloo to become an engineer

#25 DarkShadow73

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:25 AM

With the exception of the crazy Bionicle, Slizers and Roboriders which in IMO were a huge mistake for TLG...those may have contained Technic parts, but when I think of Technic I think of construction and air vehicles like all the helicopters that have been released, and the 9394 Jet Plane from 1H and really technical 9396 Helicopter from summer.  But, look at a lot of City sets nowadays, the 7632 Mobile Crane comes to mind and other City sets, a lot of them have what used to be only-Technic parts instead of just blocks and plates...

Like has come up in this forum quite a bit over the time I've been a member here, the studded beams and plates offered lots of versatility in MOCs and even modifying existing models, sometimes I try to think of a way to do something only just the studless sets, and many of my ideas are shot down because of lack of those types of parts in my spares boxes...like say you want to create a semi trailer, I used black smooth plates parted from a couple 8041 Race Truck sets, but I could have used a couple of those old style mudflaps of days gone by...they probably still use them in many City sets, but I don't want to have to buy, say a $40 set, just for a few pieces I need...

I like both sides of the conversation here.  If you'd asked me a year ago I would have said no, studded and old style Technic is not my thing, but after purchasing quite a few older sets from the 80's and 90's, I found them a lot of fun and good looking in a diorama or on a shelf, or since it is a toy after all even though we are AFOL's (I'm not sure if TFOL's are allowed or not on EB? Either way doesn't make a difference in this group, you either like Technic or not), playing with them :wink: .  Many pieces that are 'new' to me from days of yore...much like the newer sets released in the past couple years have offered up new parts that are also interesting to me...

One model in particular that enthralled me that was almost entirely studded was the 8853 Excavator (even though it was a front end loader).  I think it operates better than the 8453 or 8271.  I love the design of the studless 8453 and 8271, but on the 8453, you have to manually tilt the thin liftarms to tilt bucket forward and back...even though it was only $19.99 USD, I would have thought they would have geared it somehow...and many might argue with me, I thought the simplest and smallest regular excavator (the 8047 from 1H2010 was more of a mini-excavator), the 8419 was the best one in terms of playability and fun, and it was only $19.99 USD, well it was when it was in production anyway, look how much MISB ones fetch nowadays...



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