[REVIEW] 42048 - Race Kart

42048 - Race Kart - Rating  

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If you are old, like me, there's a pretty good chance the 854 Go-Kart (or 948 Go-Kart for the US) was the first Technic set in your collection. I remember my dad had to help me building this set. Actually, I think he did most of the building and I watched in awe. If you are a dad and have a son (or daughter) this might very well be the set to introduce your kid to LEGO Technic. Is it interesting for us AFOLs too? Let's find out.

854/948 GO-KART FROM 1978

Here you can see a picture of the kart I am referring to. One of the first LEGO Technic sets, although it wasn't called Technical LEGO back in the days. Wikipedia: The concept was introduced as the Expert Builder series and originally Technical Sets in 1977,[1] and was renamed Technic in 1984..


Note: All images can be clicked for hi-res versions.


Number: 42048

Title: Race Kart

Theme: Technic

Released: 2016

Part Count: 345

Box Weight: 558 gr

Box Dimensions: 15,4 cm x 13,8 cm x 5,9 cm

Set Price (MSRP): € 26,99

Price per Part: € 0,078

Links: Brickset, Bricklink


The box shows the Race Kart on the starting grid and in the lower right corner you see the piston moving. There's also an arrow near the lever, going two ways, so there's probably a gear box of some sorts.



The backside shows the alternate model and a reference to the digital building instructions apps. The instructions weren't available in the app when I built the model, so I can't tell whether they are any good. They are probably up to par with the other instructions in the app, which are quite good.



The box contains:

  • 2 Instruction Booklets (A- and B-model)
  • 1 Sticker Sheet
  • 5 Bags


The instruction booklet for the main model.



Noteworthy is the inclusion of an additional booklet for the B-model. This is common in smaller sets, but I didn't expect it in a set this size.



One look at the sticker sheets and it's obvious where these stickers need to be applied. The small round sticker is for the tank cap. The purple and orange color scheme is clearly present in the sticker sheet as well.



Five bags containing all the parts for the model. No unbagged parts in this set.

22803319699_e82420c284_n.jpg 22777126337_af5b4fdc6d_n.jpg

22544240803_852034880c_n.jpg 22544240883_6366ef7c54_n.jpg



This section describes the new or highlighted parts.


The 5L Axle has never been released in yellow. As far as I can tell, this is the only 1H 2016 set with a yellow 5L axle.



The Axle 4L in Red hasn't been released since 2005. It has only been released in 4 sets in red, so it's not a very common part.



The 3L Technic Lifarm has only been released in Silver in the 10242 - MINI Cooper.



Also unique to this set is the 3x11 Panel Plate in Dark Bluish Grey.



The 3x13 Curved Panel, which was introduced in Bright Green in last year's 24 Hours Race Car, is being used in Purple.



The model uses 37 x 22 ZR Tires and 30.4mm D. x 20mm Wheels. Both are very common, but I mention them for easy reference.



The Race Kart consists of 345 parts. Here's the complete part list.

23199487952_7943dfb5d5_n.jpg 22680655903_bcb8f9e13d_n.jpg


The build is pretty straightforward, although the rear side with gearbox can be a bit tricky for the younger builders. The picture below shows the model halfway of the build. You can see the steering mechanism and lever for switching gears.


The finished model looks quite good. The purple orange scheme makes the model standout. I like it a lot. Now that TLG introduced Purple panels, I hope that TLG will release more parts in Purple. Purple will also work very well with White.

Steering is actually done via the steering wheel, something most car models lack nowadays. Of course the steering is easily accessible which facilitates the steering. The turning radius is quite big, which slightly reduces playability. This is clearly visible in the second video.


The rear of the vehicle looks great too. One can criticize that using a big panel lacks ingenuity, but I think the panel is perfect solution. Admittedly, I am a big fan of the 3x13 Curved Panel! Hopefully this panel will be introduced in White in the near future.


The next picture shows the chassis of the vehicle. As you can see, the White Driving Ring Connector is used multiple times as a 3L connector, where you normally might use a 180 Degree Axle and Pin Connector Angled #2. This is something you will find in the other new sets as well.


To be honest; I can't stop looking at the Kart! I also imagine a Bright Green and White version, using the panel from the 24 Hours Race Car. Actually, I have built the Kart in Bright Green and White. You can see the result and comparison at the end of this review.


The front and rear view of the Kart.

22803321349_c0a115c87c_n.jpg 23171294115_efca933623_n.jpg





This model has the following features:

  • Steering
  • Gearbox


The steering wheel actually steers the Kart, which is a plus. On the other hand, the Kart from 1978 already featured steering like this, so it's not very special. Hand of God (HoG) steering wouldn't make any sense on this model.

The Kart does have a pretty big turning radius, which does affect playability. I know the options are limited on a small model, but I would have liked some ingenious way of steering that would result in a smaller turning radius.


The Kart has a 2-speed gearbox, and a neutral. The gearbox is operated by the red lever.


The video below demonstrates the features of the Kart.


Since this set includes instructions for the alternate model, I decided to build it. Apparently this is a Track Car, although that is a broad concept. I can't really tell by the image on the back of the box what kind of Track Car this is supposed to be. There's only one way to find out :wink:

I still can't pinpoint exactly what kind of Track Car it is, but it is a pretty decent B-model. Unlike the main model, it does have Hand of God steering. And it features an opening bonnet/hood.


The steering wheel is for decoration purposes. It doesn't steer the model.


For a B-model the design is more than sufficient.


The next picture shows the chassis of the car. All things considered, this is a high quality B-model.



The video below shows a short demonstration of the Track Car.


This image shows the parts left after building the alternate model. The leftover parts from the A-model are shown on the left. As you can see the B-model uses one red Technic Bush from the extra parts.



Besides the rather large turning radius, there are no real downsides to this model. I love the looks and color scheme. It also it contains various unique and rare parts. It even features a working gearbox and working steering wheel. The set comes with printed instructions for the B-model, so it's basically a real 2-in-1 set.

For around 25 euros you really can't go wrong with this set. Given the price, this also makes for a perfect gift. A gift for someone else, or gift for yourself?! You decide!

I'd say this is definitely a worthy successor of me first Technic set ever!!


How do I grade the good guy in this year's duo.



Purple and orange work great together in this set. And it does look like a real Kart.



Fun to build. Great introduction to gearboxes and steering.



Working steering wheel and gear box on a relatively small set.



Limited turning radius slightly limits playability.



Some new parts and parts in new (rare) colors.



Totally worth the money.


As a bonus here are some picture of the Kart where the orange and purple color scheme has been changed to bright green and white. Not too bad, not too bad at all. It would probably look even better when the panels at the front could be replaced by bright green as well.


My favorite picture of the Green Kart!


The green fender works really well.



Here you can see a comparison between the Purple/Orange and Green/White kart. I personally like the Purple/Orange better, but it's fun to have options.



More image can be found on my Flickr page. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.

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Love this set! Clever steering and a gearbox on such a small set is absolutely very good news! Can't wait to be able to buy it.

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This set hasn't interested me at all until I read this review. This set will be on my shelf right away to compliment my 8842 as soon as I can find it!!

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Awesome review Jim! Thank you so much for doing the white/green kart at the end, the stickers from 42039 even work brilliantly!

This has to be my favorite set from this wave, they absolutely nailed the kart look, the chassis with big side and front panels, the details on the engine :wub: I also love the B-model, i cant quite pinpoint what kind of track-car it would be, it kind of reminds me of a lamborghini roadster with that big splitter and spoiler. Shame about the HOG steering on it, but not too big of a deal on a B-model (and might be fixable with some extra parts)

EDIT: the B-model also has an Ariel Atom / KTM X-bow thing going on, which are more appropriate for a track car then a lambo :P

Edited by vectormatic

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Looks like a nice set! The first actual multi-speed gearbox for quite some years, right? (Blackbird? :classic:)

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An actual working gearbox in a set we'll probably be able to find at a <20 EUR pricepoint. Not bad at all.

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Great set, but I was hoping they would introduce a new clutch gear for that. Well, it's good anyway :)

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I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised by this set, especially by the looks. I really really like the colors - dark gray works very well with the two vibrant colors, and good to see a new dark gray panel. And if I compare to the green-white version (relaly great idea by the way), I have to say I very much prefer the orange and purple version. I really hope we will see more purple in the future.

Also, good to see the large steering wheel make a return. Didn't even realize this on earlier photos.

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Also, good to see the large steering wheel make a return. Didn't even realize this on earlier photos.

I was about to mention this in my review, but it's actually not that rare. The Mercedes uses this steering wheel too. Neverheless, it's indeed a good thing!

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Ooh! This had already been one of my favorites of the new Technic sets, but I hadn't realized it included the 3x11 Technic panels in Dark Stone Grey. I had previously thought that those were only in the much larger Fortrex from Nexo Knights. I really want some of those panels to use for decorative Technic columns in Bionicle displays, so their availability set that I was already keen on (and unstickered, at that) is much appreciated. And the fact that the set is comparatively affordable should help drive the Bricklink price down so I can get some more in bulk.

The Kart also looks great in Bright Green, and Mario Kart fans could potentially put together some custom stickers to make a Luigi kart in that color! :tongue:

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Mario Kart fans could potentially put together some custom stickers to make a Luigi kart in that color! :tongue:

I hadnt even thought of that, and i main Luigi in MK

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Nice review..!

Looks like I came pretty close to figuring out how that gearbox worked... It makes more sense to have one ratio 1:1 and the other 3:1 since you can see the speed change much better when it rolls along..

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As others have said, I am pleasantly surprised with this set. The colors look great.

I think it's great that the gearbox parts are in a (relatively) inexpensive set. This is great for persons who are new to Technic, and teach young persons some simple functions. For us MOCers the new, and diverse parts are great.

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When I first saw pictures of this set I said "so what", now I say "Must Have". This review and Sarile's review made all the difference. I will get this set.

Andy D

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Wow, the kart definitely looks beautifully designed!

Before I saw the review, it looked meh, but not anymore, because I'll buy this. Definitely a must-buy for any TECHNIC fan.

Otherwise, thanks for a great review!

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I still can't pinpoint exactly what kind of Track Car it is, but it is a pretty decent B-model....

The Track Car is like thise super lightweight road going racecars.

KTM X-bow


Arial Atom V8


Edited by Chr.Maglekaer

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I was only considering the mining loader among these sets, but now I'm really interested in this Race Kart. Race Kart and Drag Racer for parts, including the Tumbler tires.

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I knew that I was going to try and get this set when I saw the prelim pictures and this and Sariel's review have cemented that. This set is great for all ages: kids because they will really enjoy that gearbox; older kids/teenagers because they will enjoy working out the mechanics of the gearbox and AFOLs because it look great with those new purple-coloured panels

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A good looking set that I think would look good in any colour. I would buy it for display and parts. I think it will be popular.


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Like the set, but as a truck fan and construction equipment fan, I won't probably be buying it.

But it looks like a nice playable set, steering has to be made to tighter, but looks interesting, maybe as a play thingy on the side.

Like it more in green/white.

Edited by Dafgek81

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Thanks for great review Jim :thumbup: This is one set that I will buy for sure of these new ones. Look of the kart is so, so cool that I just must have this for a display model to my shelf :sweet: Your alternative color scheme is also pretty awesome Jim :thumbup:

Edited by MacKaiwer

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