REVIEW - 42030 - VOLVO L350F WHEEL LOADER
The Nuremberg Toy Fair is always an exciting event when it comes to revealing new LEGO sets. This year was no exception. We finally got to see visuals of the upcoming Technic Flagship. This time LEGO teamed up with Volvo to create an impressive version of the Volvo L350F Wheel Loader. In this review we will find out how TLG's interpretation compares to the actual Wheel Loader and whether it's worth the whopping 220 euro you need to fork out to own this bad boy.
The designer behind this model is Uwe Wabra, who has designed other great models like the iconic 8258 Crane Truck and the 8285 Tow Truck. It took him about eight months to design the Volvo L350F.
Volvo Spirit Magazine
"The Nuremberg Toy Fair in February saw global toy giant the LEGO Group unveil its latest flagship model from LEGO®Technic. With 1,600 individual pieces and the largest individual element ever created for the brand, the Volvo L350F wheel loader is not simply one of the company’s 2014 star performers – it is just as impressive as the real-life machine it is based upon."
Volvo Press Release
Volvo Construction Equipment and LEGO® Technic have joined forces to create a miniature remote-controlled L350F Wheel Loader in Volvo livery that not only drives, steers, lifts and loads just like the real thing it also converts into an equally impressive hauler.
Before we continue I would like to thank LEGO for providing the set and the possibility to publish this Exclusive review. Furthermore I would like to thank Volvo and Superkalle (our LDD Moderator) for giving me some very useful Volvo insights.
All images can be clicked for hi-res versions.
Title: Volvo L350F Wheel Loader
Released: 2H 2014
Part Count: 1636
Box Weight: 3541 gr
Box Dimensions: 57,5 x 47,8 x 12,0 cm
Set Price (MSRP): 219.99 EUR DE / 169.99 GBP / 249.99 USD
Price per Part: DE 0.134 EUR / UK 0.103 GBP / USA 0.153 USD
With a price tag of almost 220 euro, this is the most expensive Technic flagship to date. The average price of 0,134 euro part part immediately makes clear that this is no ordinary Technic set. A high price per part normally indicates that a set has lots of special parts, like motors and other Power Function elements.
The box measures 57,5 x 47,8 x 12,0 cm which is equal to the height and width of the box for the 42009 Mobile Crane Mk II. The main difference is that this box measures a depth of 12 cm instead of the Crane's 9 cm. The additional 3 cm is necessary for housing the new Bucket, which will be discussed later. The difference in weight between the Crane Mk II (4172 gr) and the Volvo (3541 gr) is about 631 gram which is not that much, taking in account that the Crane has 970 pieces more (2606) than the Volvo (1636). One thing is sure; this box will leave little room for other Christmas presents under the tree later this year!
The front of the box shows an impressive picture of the model, no surprise here. Like with most bigger models the size of the model is printed on the box. When finished, this model will measure a length of 58 cm and a height of 38.5 cm. The front also shows a Power Functions section stating it has "fully remote-controlled driving and digging functions.". The bottom right shows the large number of Power Function components this set contains.
The back side shows the B-model which is the Volvo A25F Articulated Dump Truck. The preliminary image of the back side explicitly showed an iPad with the digital building app. The iPad didn't make if to the final box, which makes you wonder whether the iPad instructions won't be available at all. Could it be that the size of the B-model is pushing the boundaries of building with the iPad app?! Another possibility is that the iPad app will be available later than the release of this set.
When opening the flip-up cover some cool facts of the real Volvo are revealed, together with a picture of the Power Functions and a demonstration of the manual functions. There's also a picture to emphasize the green engine.
Horse Power: 540 HP (397 kW)
Weight: 52 metric tons
Bucket Volume: 6,9 m3
The inside of the cover is devoted to the Power Functions. Again all the PF elements are shown. Two remote controls are used for operating the boom and driving the vehicle. It's not necessary to switch between these functions. Three small pictures explain how the Power Functions are controlled.
The side of the box shows the actual size of the bucket, which measures a width of 18,2 cm! Now it's clear why the box needed to be bigger than last year's flagship.
CONTENTS OF THE BOX
The box contains:
- 14 Bags
- 1 Booklet
- 1 Sticker Sheet
- 1 Bucket
- 4 Yellow Rims
- 4 Tires
- 9 Power Functions Components
The box contains 14 bags in varying sizes. Business as usual so far.
One of the first times we encounter a single booklet for a set this size. When you have built the 42009 Crane you might have seen this before. The first production runs of the Crane included 6 booklets, which later changed into a single booklet. I really appreciate a single booklet, since it more or less reflects the size of the model.
Not only does the sticker sheet contain stickers for the A-model, but it includes stickers for the B-model as well, which is pretty unusual. This does mean that you either need to remove the A-model's stickers when you are building the B-model, or buying a few extra parts dedicted to the B-model's stickers.
This section describes the unique and/or highlighted parts. We'll start with the massive Bucket which obviously is the star of the show!
This type of bucket is called a Spade Nose Rock Bucket. It's primary use is lifting blasted rock and the spade nose is to obtain maxium penetration when digging into the gravel. On a real bucket, the teeth are interchangeable, because they wear out.
Volvo’s range of buckets is very comprehensive, encompassing buckets for all types of jobs and all types of materials; from rock and stone to ore and wood chips.
Type: Spade Nose Rock Bucket
Capacities: 1,8 – 7,5 m3
Applications: Hard and stony material, shot rock and where good penetration is needed.
Options: Pin/hook-on, bolt-on edge, welded teeth & segments.
Using a real Volvo with spade nose bucket, you could easily haul over 200 LEGO Volvo boxes and probably more than 300 LEGO Volvo models.
The following two images show a comparison in size with the Bucket formerly known as the Big Bucket. The older big bucket is used in 8265 Front Loader. As you can see the previous version can easily fit inside the Volvo's Spade Nose Bucket. Makes you wonder how big the finished model will be!!
The distance between the upper and lower holes for attaching the bucket is 5L, where this is 3,5L for the older bucket.
POWER FUNCTIONS COMPONENTS
The number of Power Functions components is unprecedented. No other Technic set has such a vast array of PF components. Admittedly, the 8043 Excavator also has 9 PF elements, but that set only contains M-motors.
- 1x Battery Box
- 2x Infrared Receiver
- 2x Remote Control
- 1x M-motor
- 1x L-motor
- 1x XL-motor
- 1x Servo motor
All of the four available types of PF motors are included in this set. The new L-motor and Servo Motor are found in the 9398 Crawler and it's Exclusive Edition counterpart, the 41999 Crawler Exclusive Edition. The L-motor is also available in the beforementioned Crane Mk II.
What's special about this set, is the return of the XL-motor. This motor was about to become a rare PF motor, since it hasn't been used in an official set since 2009. The last Technic set it appeared in was the 8258 Crane Truck (also by Uwe Wabra).
What I really like about the XL-motor is it's coasting behavior. Coasting is performing a natural deceleration of a motor when the power is removed. In simple words; the motor doesn't immediately stall after you stop applying power to it. This results in fluent vehicle deceleration. The L-motor doesn't coast which results in the vehicle abrubtly stopping. I very much dislike this shocky behavior on the crawler, so I am glad TLG used the XL-motor for propulsion. Although it had probably more to do with the torque (40 N.cm for XL vs 18 N.cm for L) than the coasting behavior.
For the first time we get to see the Wheel 56mm D. x 34mm Technic Racing Medium, 6 Pin Holes in Yellow, which is great for bigger construction vehicles.
I was hoping the, so called, Unimog tires would make their way into an official flagship set at least once more. So I was glad to see TLG apparently had the same thought and used these great tires for the Volvo again.
WHEEL AND TIRE ASSEMBLY
Below is a picture of the complete wheel and tire assembly.
Technic Engine Cylinders come in two variants, Cylinders with Side Slots and a newer version Cylinders without Side Slots. The newer version only got produced in light bluish grey, up until now. One of the characteristic features of Volvo machines is their green engine color, originating from the Penta Corporation.
Volvo was founded in 1927 and the first engines were bought from Penta Corporation who made green engines, and so just shipped the same color to Volvo. In 1935 Volvo bought Penta (which became Volvo Penta, the marine division). The engines were continued to be painted green. All engines back then were petrol engines. Volvo's first diesel, VDA, was made in 1945. From the 1950's some engines were painted red, but mostly these were for Volvo Cars, and were petrol engines. As for production Diesel Engines in heavy machinery and trucks, they have always been painted green since the start.
The Black Thin Liftarm 1x7 is not very special, but it doesn't appear in Technic sets that often. The Yellow Thin Liftarm 1x6 used to be pretty rare, since it was only included in the 8457 Power Puller. However, last year this part got reintroduced in the 42024 Container Truck. The Light Bluish Grey Thin Liftarm 1x5 with Axle Holes on Ends was introduced in Black in 2013. This is the first time this part appears in another color.
AXLE AND PIN CONNECTOR
The Yellow Axle and Pin Connector #6 - 90 degrees was last used in the Technic 8258 Crane Truck in 2009, until it made it's comeback in 2012 in the 5885 Triceratops Trapper. Just like the XL-motor Uwe Wabra is using this part again in a Technic set.
Finally we can see a small selection of panels. Mostly old style Yellow Panel Curved 11 x 3 with 2 Pin Holes and a single Black Black Panel Curved 11 x 3 with 10 Pin Holes.
Here's the complete list for all 1636 parts.
Enough with the boring part...let's build a Volvo!
You start building the chassis and after a few steps, the pendular rear axle is taking shape. The small turntable proves to be an asset to the Technic parts catalogue. Another useful part is the Steering Portle Axle, which is rapidly becoming the workhorse of big Technic vehicles. Ordinarily it's placed vertically to provide higher ground clearance, but as you can see, it can be used horizontally as well.
Here you can see images of the front and rear sections, which will be joined a bit later in the build.
The front and rear section joined together. The wheelbase does not reflect the size of the finished model.
Here's a picture of the articulation mechanism of the vehicle.
The four motors are equally divided over the front and rear section. Because two of the motors (M and L) are placed in the front section, there's no need to transfer gears or axles from the rear section. Three (M, L and Servo) of the four motors are placed vertically, while the XL-motor is placed horizontally in the back.
VOLVO D16E LAE3 ENGINE
The Volvo D16E LAE3 is a straight six-cylinder high performance, low emission turbocharged diesel engine with direct injection, air-to-air intercooler and Internal Exhaust Gas Recirculation (I-EGR). The engine has a one piece cylinder head with four valves per cylinder one overhead camshaft. Furthermore, the engine has wet replaceable cylinder liners, replaceable valve guides and valve seats. The Engine with V-ACT (Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology) features split injection, optimized air handling and turbocharger with waste gate. High torque at low engine speed gives the engine its characteristic feature: quick response at low rpms, even under load.
The three white Round Pin Connectors with Slot are the engines oil filters. Two of them are normal, high flow filters and the third one is a fine filter that is optimized to catch finer particles, but has a slower flow. When engine load is moderate and oil/lubrication need is also moderate, much of the oil is directed to the fine filter. When the engine is working at maximum, all oil is instead passed through the two normal filters.
LOAD SENSING HYDRAULIC SYSTEM
The L350F features an intelligent load-sensing hydraulic system. Two variable piston pumps provide exactly the flow rate and pressure required at any given moment in time, distributing the power where it’s needed, when it’s needed. When flow is not required in the hydraulic system, all engine power is diverted to the drivetrain. This provides smoother operation, lower fuel consumption, and more precise control of machine and load. You always get full power, regardless of revs.
The LEGO version uses three Linear Actuators instead of an hydraulic system.
I made an error placing the LA. The top LA in the picture below should be flipped, resulting in the attachment point being at the bottom instead of the top. Thanks to Jantjeuh for pointing this out.
CHASSIS AND BODYWORK
At this point the chassis and bodywork are almost finished.
LOADER Z-BAR LINKAGE
The L350F is a heavy duty, primary production loader intended for multi-shift, high production applications. High breakout force in the digging position, high lift capacity and fast hydraulic speeds are the essential requirements for a primary production loader. The Z-bar linkage is a field-proven, effective linkage in this loader size class. The refined geometry is the same for both standard and long boom and allows common bucket range with an open design.
Below is an image of the Linear Actuators operating the Z-bar linkage.
A small detail I particularly like is the small rotating light on the top of the cabin. Other models use a transparent 2x2 Round Brick which is way too big. This smaller version fits better!
The image of the real Volvo on the inside of the box shows the steps on the left side of the vehicle, while they are mounted on the right side of the LEGO version. After some research I found out that the L350F used to have the steps on both sides of the cab, but it was not a safe solution for the operator when he had to climb up the steps into the cab with a lunch box. So late last year Volvo changed the design and eliminated the steps on the left side and made the steps on the rear fender standard. Another cool feature that Volvo included was the “remote door opener”, so as the operator approaches the machine, he presses the remote door opener and the door opens automatically and the entrance lights shine down on the steps for additional safety when climbing into the cab when it is dark.
The infrared receivers have been placed nicely behind the cabin, hardly visible. Although the box states that V2 receivers are included, there is no V2 sign on the ones I found in my set.
It took me approximately 7 hours to finish this model. I reckon most of you will finish it in about 6 hours.
The finished model looks stunning! It's really massive. Even though I love the looks of this model, I can't help wondering why TLG didn't make some wheel caps to fill the rims and make the wheels look more massive too.
The rear looks great as well. In this picture the battery box is clearly visible, but from a normal viewing angle, it's almost hidden from sight.
Just as you would expect. Nothing out of the ordinary to see here.
The side view of the Volvo is one of my main concerns. While the rear section looks massive and lifelike. The front section looks unfinished, especially the part in front of the cabin. Also, the bottom of the first section of the boom could use some more bricks to make it look more immense, just like the real machine.
Quite a few parts left, even three Axles (5L, 6L and 7L). Of course nothing the bucket can't handle!
This model has quite a few functions. The main four functions are:
- Articulated Steering
- Raising and Lowering the Boom
- Operating the Bucket
Wheel Loaders typically use articulated steering. Articulated steering is a system by which a four-wheel drive vehicle is split into front and rear halves which are connected by a vertical hinge. The front and rear halves are connected with one or more hydraulic cylinders that change the angle between the halves, including the front and rear axles and wheels, thus steering the vehicle. This system does not use steering arms, king pins, tie rods, etc. as does four-wheel steering. If the vertical hinge is placed equidistant between the two axles, it also eliminates the need for a central differential, as both front and rear axles will follow the same path, and thus rotate at the same speed. Long road trains, articulated buses, and internal transport trolley trains use articulated steering to achieve smaller turning circles, comparable to those of shorter conventional vehicles. Articulated haulers have very good off-road performance. (Wikipedia)
Steering is controlled by the Servo Motor. There was some disappointment in the community because the steering looked very jerky in the videos from the Nuremberg Toy Fair. I must admit I didn't like it either. The Servo Motor has two modes, on (in either direction) or off. This means there's no gradual steering mode, it's hard left, hard right or straight on. This is illustrated in the images below. Playing around with the LEGO model, I experienced that the steering indeed is a bit jerky, but for playability it isn't as bad as it seems. A solution with Linear Actuators would have been more realistic. But since the Volvo basically is a kids toy, I can accept the jerky steering.
LIFTING THE BUCKET
The boom and bucket are also operated using Power Functions. Both the boom and the bucket are operated with the remote and both functions are working properly at a nice speed!
The Volvo is powerful enough to lift it's own weight. That no surprise, since it can lift up to 1 kg of load!!
The engine bay can be opened from various sides for maintenance, like changing the oil filters.
Opening the back reveals the big green 6 cylinder engine with the cooling fan. The D16E engine has a hydraulically driven, electronically controlled cooling fan and intercooler of the air/air type. The system not only results in quieter operation, but also lowers the fuel consumption.
Replacing the batteries in the battery box is fairly easy. Remove the two axles with red bush and unlock the black long pin with stop bush and you can easily detach the battery box from the vehicle.
COMPARISON WITH 8265
Inevitable is the comparison with it's predecessor; the 8265 Front Loader. For a non-flagship set, the 8265 already was an impressive Front Loader. The following pictures show how big the Volvo actually is. It trumps the old Front Loader in every way.
The LEGO Volvo is nothing short of spectacular! I might even go out on a limb by claiming that this is one of the coolest LEGO Technic models....ever! If not THE coolest! True, there are better looking models. True, there are technically more advanced models. However, this models combines a lot of factors, like playability, looks and the sheer size is stupendous. Adding the Volvo brand and stickers is the icing on the cake.
My all time favorite Technic model is the 8043 Motorized Excavator, since this model combines, looks, functionality and playability. The Volvo shares the exact same properties, but it contains a lot more cool parts than the Excavator, a wider variety of Power Functions for instance, a gargantuan unique bucket and Unimog wheels.
In all fairness; reading my own summary, I can only come to the conclusion that I like the Volvo even more than the Excavator! Even though the price is pretty steep, I would definitely recommend getting this set.
- Offers lots of playability
- No need to switch between functions
- Finished model is massive
- LEGO Volvo looks like a genuine L350F
- Gargantuan unique bucket
- Unimog wheels
- The gap in front of the cabin
- Front section looks unfinished compared to the rear section
- Omission of wheel caps to make the wheels look more massive
- Jerky steering due to servo motor (minor con)
Design 9: Stunning looks and the sheer size is impressive. Volvo stickers are the icing on the cake.
Build 8,5: Very enjoyable build, but nothing too spectacular.
Functionality 9: Four different fully remote controlled functions, combined with some manual functions.
Playability 9: Fully remote controlled and no need to switch between functions.
Parts 10: It doesn't get any better than this. Entire range of PF motors (including XL Motor), Unimog Tires, unique Yellow Rims and much more!
Value for Money 8,5: Although the price is pretty steep, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
9 Bucket Size Does Matter!
Hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and please rate this set at the top of this topic!