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Technic Pricing General Discussion

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6 minutes ago, Maaboo35 said:

Four, actually, with the Zetros. The diff lock doesn't really count since it only modifies the driving performance rather than being a distinct function in and of itself. The A60H doesn't do much beyond driving either - only the dump bed raises it sbove that level, and don't even get me started on that useless gearbox, or the even more useless steering.

Sorry but no, that's not how this works. If the argument is that there should be a physical controller because most of the sets are just drive + steering, then how is a physical controller supposed to account for extra functions that may vary depending on the model? Smart or not, the majority of the PU sets do not fit the bill.

EDIT: K, editing is complete.

Edited by Bartybum

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3 minutes ago, Bartybum said:

Sorry but no, that's not how this works - you were wrong. If the argument is that there should be a physical controller because most of the sets are just drive + steering, then how is a physical controller supposed to account for extra indeterminate functions? Smart or not, the majority of the PU sets do not fit the bill.

EDIT: K, editing is complete.

My point is that the extra functions aren't worth it. Aside from the Liebherr.

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57 minutes ago, Bartybum said:

Sorry but no, that's not how this works. If the argument is that there should be a physical controller because most of the sets are just drive + steering, then how is a physical controller supposed to account for extra functions that may vary depending on the model? Smart or not, the majority of the PU sets do not fit the bill.

EDIT: K, editing is complete.

 Haven't seen a single function that needs programming in any sets - a gearbox can use a simple 90 deg stepper just like the supercar sets and one could even reduce the costs by using a dumb motor instead of the "smart" ones to actuate said stepper.

It would be justifiable if for example the differential would lock automatically whenever a certain condition was triggered, or there were LEDs programmed to blink automatically when steering... but right now the peak is using the tilt sensor to display the current angles the model is at - a gimmick at most.

Even if programming were required, if the hubs could store the programs, one could use the phone to configure the control scheme and add pre-programmed behaviours/sequences as well as map each joystick button to an output/action, store the program on the hub and connect the controller directly to the hub, booting into the program. Not rocket science, basically BrickController2 except with the behaviour of CADa remote-directly-to-hub connection.

EV3 already did it 8 years ago with the included remote... and RCX ~20 years ago (with the IR remote expansion kit). If they intent to add programming capabilities, then do it right, not worse than the predecessors from 2 decades ago.

Edited by syclone

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1 hour ago, Maaboo35 said:

My point is that the extra functions aren't worth it. Aside from the Liebherr.

Intent of the functions is more relevant than their execution in my opinion. What happens in the future if we end up getting more and more single-hub vehicles with functions that work well? Most of the sets are intended to be more complex than just driving and steering. I'm not against the idea of physical controllers for two-function vehicles, but I think there's hurdles to be overcome. How do you decide whether your vehicle uses conventional or skid steering? Is the controller intended to be able to be combined with others for more complex setups? If so then what's the point? Why not just stick with PF?

9 minutes ago, syclone said:

Haven't seen a single function that needs programming in any sets - a gearbox can use a simple 90 deg stepper just like the supercar sets and one could even reduce the costs by using a dumb motor instead of the "smart" ones to actuate said stepper.

EDIT: Nvm, misunderstood this. This is far more relevant to the discussion of the purpose of PU/C+, not the physical controller itself. Also, stepper mechanisms take up more space that isn't always available, depending on the model.

9 minutes ago, syclone said:

Even if programming were required, if the hubs could store the programs, one could use the phone to configure the control scheme and add pre-programmed behaviours/sequences as well as map each joystick button to an output/action, store the program on the hub and connect the controller directly to the hub, booting into the program.

Sure why not, but I'm only here because Maaboo started talking about screen time, so this comment isn't really relevant to what I was addressing.

EDIT: Anyway, I'm gonna stop discussing this. I'm tired of it

Edited by Bartybum

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1 hour ago, Maaboo35 said:

My point is that the extra functions aren't worth it. Aside from the Liebherr.

But the extra functions are the point of technic. Why do you need pneumatics if linear actuators are more precise? Why do you need a gearbox inside of a manual model if you can replace it with direct levelers?

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31 minutes ago, Tcm0 said:

But the extra functions are the point of technic. Why do you need pneumatics if linear actuators are more precise? Why do you need a gearbox inside of a manual model if you can replace it with direct levelers?

That isn't my point at all. The extra functions that are often included in the C+ profiles don't seem to work well, or they serve little purpose.

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PF vs PU, big issue. I'm gonna give my opinion (this is going to be a loooong post).

First of all, the costs of the sets aren't my interest. I would rather buy some loose motors.

First, the functionality: PU allows you to program i.e. indicators, brake lights, gearboxes, and many more options. It's true that the PU app lacks support for all hardware, but I think (and hope) that that will come eventually. A good thing about PU is that also the Spike Prime sensors are usable with Technic/Train Hub. PF doesn't have these things. Yes, it was easier to use and implement, but PU has a lot more possibility to create complex functions, and nice features.

And now the issue of pricing for PU. If you compare functionality of PU and PF, there are major differences. With PF, it was impossible to create for example automatic blinkers. PU can. For me, that's a big step forward. If you want to program these kind of things with PF hardware, you need third party things. Let's take S-brick as example. Why? Because BuWizz is focused on high-performance battary's, and brands like Cada/MouldKing don't offer the facility to program certain things.

So, I'm comparing S-brick and PU, because they have the same functionality. First of all, there is the price. One S-brick costs around €60, and you need a power source (battery box) which was (when they were produced) around €8. You need an extension wire of about €10 (I don't know the exact prices). All in all, to have a four port, programmable, Lego compatible RC possibility, you need to pay €80. Remember, this is without motors. A Technic Hub, which has the same functionality as above mentioned combination, costs €70 on the official Lego website. On Bricklink the prices vary. The price doesn't seem that bad (at least to me). This is all without motors. The motors of PU are way more expensive than PF. I don't know how much the components in the Lego motors cost, but I think the price difference is too big to be only component cost. But than again, on Bricklink you can easily find a L-motor for €20.

Now, let's say that you want to make a simple driving car with return-to-center steering. For PF, you would need one Servo (€25), one L-motor (€15), a battery box (€8) and an IR reciever (€17). This adds up to €65. If you want to build the same with PU, you would need two L-motors and one Hub. On Bricklink, two L-motors cost €40, and one hub costs around €30, prices may vary. This adds up to €70, and you have proportional control and programming possibility.

So, the pricing is all in all not so bad, imo. For a simple car it is. but if you use it in more complex builds, I think the pricing is fine, especially if you buy from Bricklink, and not from TLG's official site.

Do what you want with this :)

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When PU will be perfect or almost they will use the new but for sure improvable generation that will make obsolete the PU, the neverending story that happens with cars, computers, phones...

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I've scanned diagonally through the topic, but I'm really not understanding the whole price discussion. I mean, we can discuss p rice-per-part, price-per-kg or price-per-whatever we want, but thing is, we're discussing sets. Technic sets to be more precise. There's lots of sources to get parts from, Bricklink, pick-a-brick, lego stores, whatever, but the singular thing that sets sets apart from almost all other sources is that the parts come with an instruction to build a model. And the singular things that sets Technic apart from almost all the other themes is that these models have functions. So, for me, the relevant question is not: what do I pay and what parts do I get, but: what do I pay and what model, what functions do I get.

And for me the matter of the bulldozer is simple: what do I get that I didn't get from 8275. As far as I can see, the only new functions are the ladder and the manual track tensioners. The blade has the same movement capabilities as that of 8275*, and the tracks work the same too. Besides adding two little extras, the model has bedome twice as big and heavy. Oh, and it has an app now, so controlling it has become a worse experience. I wonder, why would I ever want to build this model and play with it, if I had built 8275 before and enjoyed it?

I believe discussions on price should talk about price vs. value, and value, to me, includes parts but also includes the model and its functions, build experience, playability and other things.

For me, the question is, do I want to pay 450 euros for a huge yellow remote-controlled bulldozer with a raising and moving blade and track tensioners that doesn't do anything without batteries and phone-app, and/or do I want to pay 150 euros for a tow truck with steering, fake engine, pneumatic extendable crane with winch, car lift, outriggers and liftable axle that I can always tinker with and show to others without having to wait it to connect? To me, the second set seems more value, yet it costs a third. That makes the bulldozer a very easy "no".

*Edit: it seems that the blade tilting wasn't a function in 8275, so I stand corrected.

Edited by Erik Leppen

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8 minutes ago, Erik Leppen said:

I've scanned diagonally through the topic, but I'm really not understanding the whole price discussion. I mean, we can discuss p rice-per-part, price-per-kg or price-per-whatever we want, but thing is, we're discussing sets. Technic sets to be more precise. There's lots of sources to get parts from, Bricklink, pick-a-brick, lego stores, whatever, but the singular thing that sets sets apart from almost all other sources is that the parts come with an instruction to build a model. And the singular things that sets Technic apart from almost all the other themes is that these models have functions. So, for me, the relevant question is not: what do I pay and what parts do I get, but: what do I pay and what model, what functions do I get.

And for me the matter of the bulldozer is simple: what do I get that I didn't get from 8275. As far as I can see, the only new functions are the ladder and the manual track tensioners. The blade has the same movement capabilities as that of 8275, and the tracks work the same too. Besides adding two little extras, the model has bedome twice as big and heavy. Oh, and it has an app now, so controlling it has become a worse experience. I wonder, why would I ever want to build this model and play with it, if I had built 8275 before and enjoyed it?

I believe discussions on price should talk about price vs. value, and value, to me, includes parts but also includes the model and its functions, build experience, playability and other things.

For me, the question is, do I want to pay 450 euros for a huge yellow remote-controlled bulldozer with a raising and moving blade and track tensioners that doesn't do anything without batteries and phone-app, and/or do I want to pay 150 euros for a tow truck with steering, fake engine, pneumatic extendable crane with winch, car lift, outriggers and liftable axle that I can always tinker with and show to others without having to wait it to connect? To me, the second set seems more value, yet it costs a third. That makes the bulldozer a very easy "no".

The problem here is that the price vs. value is something that everyone must decide for themselves, there's no way to make an objective comparison between sets with that metric as everyone's priorities are different. Some want just parts, some want a cool model to show off, some want a toy to be played with, some want a nice building experience and I think most people want a little bit of each with some aspects being way more important than others. Price per part etc. are on the other hand, easily measured and quantified and comparisons between sets can be made quite easily. You obviously make the decision on value based on your priorities and so do others. Still, I don't think anyone disputes that the tow truck is an awesome set with lots of value for the money while most people probably think that the bulldozer has significantly less value for its cost.

I have bought sets for each of the reasons I mentioned above (parts pack, showing off, play value, build experience) and I can't say I regret any of those purchases. But vast majority of Technic sets I haven't bought, simply because they don't meet my criteria of value vs. price and even if money wasn't at all an issue, I probably wouldn't buy most of them.

The main reason I think the Cat isn't worth the money is that it's a bulldozer. It pushes things around and that's it, there's not much else that a bulldozer can be made to do, no matter how great design. In comparison the tow truck has tons of functions, small and big, and the same goes to various huge flagships of the previous years like 42082 and 42055 and even 42100. In my opinion the biggest shortcoming of the Cat isn't design or price or anything along those lines, it's just that a huge flagship set with basically a single play function loses its value way faster than almost anything else.

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59 minutes ago, jorgeopesi said:

When PU will be perfect or almost they will use the new but for sure improvable generation that will make obsolete the PU, the neverending story that happens with cars, computers, phones...

I don't think this will be a problem anytime soon, considering that TLG has invested a lot into the PU ecosystem. PF was introduced in 2007 and the last PF set to be released was 42095 in 2019, so that makes 12 years, way longer than the cycle with computers or phones. The 9V system before PF lasted I think from 1990 to 2005, so it had a similarly long lifetime. I'm very surprised if we'll see PU being phased out to be replaced with something incompatible before 2030.

5 minutes ago, Erik Leppen said:

I actually agree 100% with everything you say, @howitzer :classic:

Nice to have some agreeing here for a once :laugh:

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The discussion about some other brand with marble runs offering alternatives that you have to solve (kbalage's CAT topic) has also reminded that B-models have died (I think none 2021 sets have one?) - effectively halving the "value" of the set, since only one model is offered, and having such "easy-to-follow" means that the end user most likely hasn't learned anything and won't even bother dissasembling the set since there's no incentive to reimagine how the parts can be used to build something different (ironic, considering that this was the whole point of "The LEGO Movie") . Instead of showing a trillion images of a set you already own in the instructions, place a bunch of possible alternative model ideas, mechanism explanations/ideas... Or heck, you have a whole app, instead of stewpid "challenges" (omg, I can drive x meters forward, I'm so kewl, ooooh a golden medal for me) add mechanism explanations, or challenge to complete x mechanism with such and such parts from a picture (or a 3D model). Like they did a decade ago with official Flash games (IIRC there was a Tower challenge where you had to progress floor-by-floor comlpeting gear combinations to open doors, and another game had different sets where there you had to actuate functions by making fictitious mechanisms work), just with proper challenges. As Sariel pointed out, even on the outside of the CAT box there's no explanation of what it is capable of - compare that to old boxes where some even had flaps with detailed function demonstrations inside. At least include a QR code linking to a promo video where the model is shown working or something... But apparently making a Tik-Tok knockoff for little kids is much more educative :ugh:

Considering this, I wholeheartedly agree with Erik Leppen - be it parts or not as a model in itself the value of some sets has become quite low, especially when important functions of the real ones are left out (Raptor, CAT...) and the rest have been done before and sometimes for better price-value.

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4 hours ago, Maaboo35 said:

That isn't my point at all. The extra functions that are often included in the C+ profiles don't seem to work well, or they serve little purpose.

Many of them are stupid, yes. But options like gear switches that actually work and a tilt display for crawlers make sense. Also, different people use different control interfaces - something not possible with PF.

4 hours ago, Rebel_Lego said:

The motors of PU are way more expensive than PF. I don't know how much the components in the Lego motors cost, but I think the price difference is too big to be only component cost.

The reason why I'm not sure about that is that the mindstorms EV3 motors have been in a similar price range. They contain rotation sensors, but no absolute ones. The price is high but it is "constant" within the company.

3 hours ago, jorgeopesi said:

When PU will be perfect or almost they will use the new but for sure improvable generation that will make obsolete the PU, the neverending story that happens with cars, computers, phones...

PF was rolled out over serveral years as well. The servo came out in 2012. 5 years after PF was introduced.

2 hours ago, howitzer said:

The main reason I think the Cat isn't worth the money is that it's a bulldozer. It pushes things around and that's it, there's not much else that a bulldozer can be made to do, no matter how great design. In comparison the tow truck has tons of functions, small and big, and the same goes to various huge flagships of the previous years like 42082 and 42055 and even 42100. In my opinion the biggest shortcoming of the Cat isn't design or price or anything along those lines, it's just that a huge flagship set with basically a single play function loses its value way faster than almost anything else.

The bulldozer can be used as a remote controlled car in the snow. It can be used to move the snow away, to crawl through snow etc. For me that's worth something. I had great fun crawling through snow with 42099. Until my hands got too cold. But yes, that depends on the perspective and it's questionable if that's worth 450€. On the other side you can ask yourself if it's more likely that you play with the dozer in the snow or that you use the manual functions of the tow truck. I personally get back to remote controlled models way more often.

2 hours ago, howitzer said:

I don't think this will be a problem anytime soon, considering that TLG has invested a lot into the PU ecosystem. PF was introduced in 2007 and the last PF set to be released was 42095 in 2019, so that makes 12 years, way longer than the cycle with computers or phones. The 9V system before PF lasted I think from 1990 to 2005, so it had a similarly long lifetime. I'm very surprised if we'll see PU being phased out to be replaced with something incompatible before 2030.:laugh:

They will not keep up if they keep on pumping out so much hardware ;)

1 hour ago, syclone said:

The discussion about some other brand with marble runs offering alternatives that you have to solve (kbalage's CAT topic) has also reminded that B-models have died (I think none 2021 sets have one?) - effectively halving the "value" of the set

I think that 4 models from 2021 had B models. Both of the 10€ ones from january, the yellow excavator from march and the boat from march. I'm sure about all of them except for the boat.

Edited by Tcm0

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2 hours ago, howitzer said:

In my opinion the biggest shortcoming of the Cat isn't design or price or anything along those lines, it's just that a huge flagship set with basically a single play function loses its value way faster than almost anything else.

And that's true for all PU sets, they just drive, and some of them have, maybe, 1 more function (important, or not).

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11 minutes ago, Tcm0 said:

I think that 4 models from 2021 had B models. Both of the 10€ ones from january, the yellow excavator from march and the boat from march. I'm sure about all of them except for the boat.

Don't forget the Monster Jam trucks. Both have brilliant B-models.

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11 minutes ago, Tcm0 said:

The bulldozer can be used as a remote controlled car in the snow. It can be used to move the snow away, to crawl through snow etc. For me that's worth something. I had great fun crawling through snow with 42099. Until my hands got too cold. But yes, that depends on the perspective and it's questionable if that's worth 450€. On the other side you can ask yourself if it's more likely that you play with the dozer in the snow or that you use the manual functions of the tow truck. I personally get back to remote controlled models way more often.

I guess you could do that and have lots of fun, but I wouldn't want to take my Lego outside so that kinda makes it hard to enjoy the set to the fullest. On the other hand, I don't play with my sets much anyway, I generally like to build the sets and keep a few on display until I take them apart for MOCing.

2 minutes ago, Citromon said:

And that's true for all PU sets, they just drive, and some of them have, maybe, 1 more function (important, or not).

42100 disagrees ;)

But yeah, it's true that TLG hasn't explored the potential of the PU system much, for me it appears that they are still experimenting with the basics and there is much more to be done - if they have the courage to take the full advantage of this system they have created.

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I think you just can't please people. Some want full remote control others want gearboxes, you try and compromise and everyone complains. 

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16 hours ago, Bricktrain said:

I think you just can't please people. Some want full remote control others want gearboxes, you try and compromise and everyone complains. 

I think this is a cop-out. The way I read it, a comment like this declares the complaints by default invalid. Maybe we complain a lot - my experience is that the exact same thing happens on any hobby forum - but the fact that it happens a lot is not an argument against their validity.

Meanwhile I think it's evident that compared to older sets, sets have become bigger, much more expensive without getting actually more playable (ok, the RC can be good fun for kids), and contain much, much more non-functional material (bodywork), and as a result become both prohibitively expensive and unwieldily large and heavy. And these humongous models like 42131 take the places previously taken by equally cool but affordable flagships. Also, many modern sets feel over-engineered to me. I mean, there's near-universal praise for the tow truck 42128, but, in a way, it's 8462 with outriggers. If you compare the designs of those sets, 8462 is a much, much more clean design where it's clear what does what. With modern sets, structural elements, function bracing and functions are all running through each other and even I didn't understand a thing about what all those gears in 42110 were even supposed to mean. I mean, 42128 is good set, but part count has tripled between these two models and the number of models has halved. Sure, studless and all, but TLC don't have to use studless. Technic bricks are still being produced.

It's obvious to me that the focus of the theme has shifted - like everything in the world, Technic has become superficial and shallow. The fact that a 450 euro Technic set is being advertised as "big", "heavy" and "yellow" (!) says a lot. Meanwhile, the building system has become much more complex and it looks very un-inviting for kids to actually try building something for themselves. With bricks at least you could just stack things. And those slick-looking sets set the bar higher than ever. To me, the modern Technic system just doesn't look well-suited for novice MOCing - I think it's way too complicated for that - and I find this concerning.

 

...But maybe, it's just because I grew up in a place and time where tinkering was encouraged.

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7 hours ago, Erik Leppen said:

But maybe it's just because I grew up in a place and time where tinkering was encouraged.

I find that in my Facebook group people are always asking for instructions, as often happens here too, but I always encourage them to have a go at building it themselves, ask for help if needed but try and work it out for yourself 

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11 hours ago, Erik Leppen said:

It's obvious to me that the focus of the theme has shifted - like everything in the world, Technic has become superficial and shallow.

Couldn't agree more. And TLG is charging top dollar for this shallowness. I don't blame the designers either; I blame the bean-counters and decision-makers for all of it.

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@Maaboo35 Yeah I am sure the designers could do a lot better if they had more freedom. Color vomit is something introduced by the management too I am sure. 

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11 minutes ago, Gray Gear said:

@Maaboo35 Yeah I am sure the designers could do a lot better if they had more freedom. Color vomit is something introduced by the management too I am sure. 

I find colour vomit more of a distraction than anything else. Plus, I suspect requisitioning parts in loads of different colours adds to production and transport costs, which will then inflate the price of the set.

Edited by Maaboo35

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Lego sets are always marketed in price groups, the difference now is we have a higher price group than we used to, the Zetros is the equivalent of past flagships but now we also have UCS  18+ sets.

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5 minutes ago, Bricktrain said:

Lego sets are always marketed in price groups, the difference now is we have a higher price group than we used to, the Zetros is the equivalent of past flagships but now we also have UCS  18+ sets.

Yeah, 18+ sets are hardly UCS grade. The Raptor, for one, is dull and oversimplified and has STICKERS for headlamps.

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