mostlytechnic

[REVIEW] 42108 - Mobile Crane

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Technic Mobile Crane

Thanks to Lego and EB for this review set - I had seen nothing about this set before reviewing it, and I've deliberately tried to stay away from discussions on it, so you can get my own thoughts on the set. 

Name: Mobile Crane

Set Number: 42108

Pieces: 1292

Price: $99.99

Minifigs: 0

Theme: Technic

The Box Front

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A very nice front to the box. Good action shot, a nice backdrop, but for some reason, the Lego graphic designers decided to cut off just a hair of the set at the top and bottom. 

The Box Back

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A usual Technic back - all the action features on display, some see-thru images, but wait... NO B MODEL? Seriously? On a $100 set, there's no mention of an alternate model? Not a good thing.

The Contents

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Again, pretty normal. Manual and stickers in a bag, parts in 3 sets of bags, plus an un-numbered back with the tires. 

The Manual

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Those parts will neatly break down into building steps. First the chassis, then the cab and part of the crane, and then the rest of the crane. 

The Stickers

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Again, typical Technic sticker sheet. Warnings, control instructions, and decorative parts. And with all the OK references in there, I'm assuming Olav Krøigaard designed this set. 

The Build, 1

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After a little bit of building, you have this frame. The 4 axles are in place, all of which steer. The outriggers are also in place, as are the front seats. The two vertical grey connectors behind the seats are both connected to the steering, so I see the HOG steering system already forming as well. 

The Build, 1b

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This crane seats three. And although those curved panels seem logically designed to be mudguard or similar, I'm pretty sure that seats has been their most common usage. 

The Build, 2

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At the end of bag set 2, the front end is done and the base of the crane is in place. Yes, that's one of the new long linear actuators as well. And unsurprisingly, the hazard lights on top of the cab are the steering knobs. 

The Build, 2b

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Most of the crane mechanism is in place. Both the linear actuator and the cable spool are here and functional. 

The Build, 2c

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Speaking of the cable spool, I appreciate the usage of the slit in the technic wedge belt wheel here. This was probably the easiest string to get started of any Technic set I've ever built. 

The Build, 2d

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Here's the underside. There's no drive connected to any of the axles - the "driveshaft" going the length of the crane is for steering. There's no fake engine in this, nor any suspension or any other complications.

The Build, 3

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Add the last of the parts and the crane is done. It looks pretty nice in this position, certainly very recognizable as to what it is. The crane arm gets in the way of the lights used for steering on top of the cab, but it's still drivable. The turning radius is surprisingly small, since all 4 axles steer. And yes, the 1 and 4 axles steer more than the 2 and 3 do, so the geometry is pretty good. But please, could you make that 20 tooth double bevel gear in a color other than blue? So far, this version of the gear (which has a smooth center hole, not an axle hole) only comes in blue. It just looks so glaring at the top of the boom there. Moving on to other details...

The Outriggers, Rear

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The rear outriggers are simple and semi-effective. They're easy to operate with the black gear knob, but they only just barely go overcenter, so wiggling the crane around can make them close. They just barely lift the crane off the ground - you have to be on a hard surface to notice. On carpet, it's not enough height. 

The Outriggers, Front

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The front outriggers are less good, IMHO. They have the same geometry, so the same issues with not actually doing a ton. To operate them though, you just pull the red ball with a finger. Once the wheels are attached, there's not much room to get at it. Kids would have less issues than I do, I'm sure. 

The Controls, Left

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The controls for the crane are very direct. There's no complicated gearbox or anything. On this side, the black knob extends and retracts the inner section of the boom. The red catch on top keeps it from retracting unexpectedly. And again with the blue gear...

The Controls, Right

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The right side has 2 knobs. One raises and lowers the boom and the other winds the cable. It too has a catch like the boom extension. Again, simple and ready to play with, but not complicated for the adult builders to enjoy. However, be ready to spend some time raising and lowering the boom. Thanks to the long actuator, it took me 60 twists of the knob (turning it about half way around each time) to raise it. That's a lot of twisting...

The Chassis

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The crane looked good in the down position, but when you raise the boom, there's a big gaping hole in the middle of the chassis. Would a few more pieces to fill that in have been too much to ask for? 

The Finished Crane

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Once you've finished building and raised the crane, this thing is huge. The height is very impressive. In fact, that may be the tallest of the Technic cranes. If you have the boom horizontal, out to the side, and fully extended, the crane WILL tip over unless you have the outriggers down, and then it just barely stays upright. 

The Comparison

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The logical comparison is to the previous Mobile Crane, set 42009. That 2013 set is significantly larger - the price was more than twice as much ($220 vs $100) with double the parts (2606 vs 1292, and it came with a battery box and motor). Even though they are at different scales, the actual crane booms are very close in length. 42009 had a 3 segment boom - so did the extra segment help with size?

The Comparison - Height

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Nope, the extra segment doesn't help at all. The smaller set actually reaches slightly higher. The extra segment on 42009 requires more overlap between the sections and more complicated mechanisms, so it doesn't actually extend the reach. 

The Conclusion

I think the new crane is a great set, for certain buyers. It's not for the AFOL - we've got 42009 to meet our desires for big and complicated. The new mobile crane is a great play set. The controls are simple and direct, so kids will have no problem playing with it as a crane. Where it falls flat is the lack of B model, which leaves it feeling overpriced. By the standard 10 cents/part measure, it's a good value. But in reality, it doesn't quite feel like a $100 set. On sale, or if you have a newer Technic fan who wants a crane, then buy all means, grab it! It's also a pretty solid parts pack - quite a few wheels, gears, long beams, and of course the new long linear actuator. Overall, I give this set a B. It's solid, but not a star. 

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Here's the EB review of the new Technic Mobile Crane. What's your thoughts on the set? (and now that I'm done reviewing it, I can finally go read the 2020 thread to see what people were saying ahead of time...) 

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This looks like a fine model, but I agree it doesn't look like a 100 euro set. Feels a bit steep.

I like the backdrop you used for the review. And a nice review overall. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

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IMHO it looks nice, but to expensive for functions, so I see it like a parts pack; expensive parts pack.

Thanks for objective review. The way frames are attached in chassis gives me idea for one my small model that I work on.

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Thanks!

I'm building a large industrial model (Blast furnace, Hewlett unloader, coke plant, etc., and wanted something yo place in the "under Construction " area. This will work perfectly.

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8460 still holds the first place of medium sized Technic cranes.
Those outriggers are horrible, the set can't be easy motorized as 8053, and it even does not have a side mirrors on the cab!

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On 12/24/2019 at 1:10 AM, mostlytechnic said:

The height is very impressive. In fact, that may be the tallest of the Technic cranes.

42082 would like to have a word with you :laugh:

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4 hours ago, M_longer said:

8460 still holds the first place of medium sized Technic cranes.
Those outriggers are horrible, the set can't be easy motorized as 8053, and it even does not have a side mirrors on the cab!

Sadly, I never had an 8460. I did like the 8053, but I don't have it anymore to compare with.

2 hours ago, vectormatic said:

Any indication of the lifting capacity?

It's not a fair comparison - the winch is controlled directly by the knob and your hand, so the failure point would be the boom breaking. There's no clutch like larger cranes to limit it. 

Just now, Ngoc Nguyen said:

42082 would like to have a word with you :laugh:

Yes, that one is bigger. But it's even a class above 42009, so I didn't include it. (and I don't have one, so that would have made it tough....)

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8 hours ago, mostlytechnic said:

 

It's not a fair comparison - the winch is controlled directly by the knob and your hand, so the failure point would be the boom breaking. There's no clutch like larger cranes to limit it. 

 

Fair point, i dont have any technic cranes yet, but when i do get one, i want to display it lifting some other lego set, so im curious how much this set could lift.

 

As for the comparison with 42082, on piece count and MSRP it is indeed a step above 42009, but it is regularly to be found well below 42009s price, so i think comparing them is fair game, either way the gap is much smaller between those two sets then between 42009 and 42108

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3 minutes ago, Ngoc Nguyen said:

I dont really get the gearings for the linear actuator. 12-20 pairing followed by 20-12 pairing?? What was that for? 

The first (12-20) seem to beg to be turned around. That would reduce the number of twists for raising the boom considerably. The official instruction almost seems like a mistake to me...

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6 hours ago, rener said:

The first (12-20) seem to beg to be turned around. That would reduce the number of twists for raising the boom considerably. The official instruction almost seems like a mistake to me...

I actually tried that - it fits fine, but that gearing makes the boom basically unable to lift from horizontal. To get it started raising, you have to lift up on the boom with one hand while turning the knob with the other. Even once it's part way up, it's still surprisingly hard to turn. Definitely not kid friendly. They designed it to be slow but easy to turn. 

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2 hours ago, mostlytechnic said:

I actually tried that - it fits fine, but that gearing makes the boom basically unable to lift from horizontal. To get it started raising, you have to lift up on the boom with one hand while turning the knob with the other. Even once it's part way up, it's still surprisingly hard to turn. Definitely not kid friendly. They designed it to be slow but easy to turn. 

Nice to know you already tried that. Nice review btw, which confirmed my idea about this set: nice for kids, but not really worth it for AFOL’s (like me...)

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3 hours ago, mostlytechnic said:

I actually tried that - it fits fine, but that gearing makes the boom basically unable to lift from horizontal. To get it started raising, you have to lift up on the boom with one hand while turning the knob with the other. Even once it's part way up, it's still surprisingly hard to turn. Definitely not kid friendly. They designed it to be slow but easy to turn. 

Maybe the straight cut 16 tooth gears are a decent middle ground, rather then making the ratio 1:1,66 or 1,66:1, two of those 16t gears would make it 1:1

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On 12/23/2019 at 7:10 PM, mostlytechnic said:

easiest string

You only used the wrong knot, should be figure 8 so you can loosen it later.

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Thank you for the review. I'm not really a fan of this set, but I guess that for 100 euro, that's what you get.

Oh, and I think that you got number of parts for 42009 wrong, for about 2000 parts.

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2 hours ago, Cwetqo said:

Thank you for the review. I'm not really a fan of this set, but I guess that for 100 euro, that's what you get.

Oh, and I think that you got number of parts for 42009 wrong, for about 2000 parts.

Thanks for catching that typo - I fixed it in the review now (I'd mistakenly put the 42009 as 46xx parts instead of 26xx)

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