Jim

[REVIEW] 42131 - CAT D11T Bulldozer

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20 minutes ago, Lipko said:

You misunderstood. I only brough up that as an example that too many of us act like they must be knowing what they are doing, we just don't have the insight to understand their decisions and make no mistakes.
It can be a good example too, of course, that they can change. Rising of clone brands is a game changer, hopefully Lego does know what it's doing.

Oh sorry I thought you meant it sarcastically.  

I do agree clone brands are a game changer.  All my comments need to be taken with a grain of salt because I do think that the market can dramatically shift with these.  Not so much right now, because they still make up such a minority of sales. But they are growing.  It will be interesting to see the field in 3-5 years from now.....

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On 9/14/2021 at 3:16 PM, Jim said:

Yeah, we are on the same page. Arocs, 8043 and Big Red were my Top-3

I don't have 8043, but the Arocs and Big Red are some great sets! From one hand, I kinda don't want to spend double of their price for the CAT, but on other hand - I spent 350$ for Bugatti and that one doesn't have any electronics) 

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1 hour ago, Lipko said:

We are acting like at TLG managers are know-it-alls and they cannot make mistakes so every decision they make is perfectly valid business decisions.

Lego has changed a lot in terms of "making decisions". It's not the "we follow a constant direction no matter what" company from pre 2000. They will make wrong decissions, but now they react to that and behaive much more analytic. And they try new things, that's something you can only do if you can handle a total and expensive failure.

Just out of curiosity I looked up some old reviews and comments. :D

"42030 was insanely expensive and 8265 was the better set" "motorized doors -> super cool function" ;-) I would say the <= 150€/$ sets are a way better datasource for a discussion on how pricing/models have changed than ~4000 parts RC models, that did not existuntil 2019.

It's always interesting to compair the old complaints and MOCs to the sets released two,three,four years later.

55 minutes ago, Lipko said:

Before Lego was cool (some time before The Lego Movie) I didn't meet anyone who knew a thing about Technic, even if they were somewhat into Lego.

Two or three years ago, I think they said "10% of the [total] sales revenue was generated by adults [for themselves]" or something like that. I think that number has grown, but the part of "technic enthusiasts" did not grow accordingly.

The problem I see with the new very cheap competitors (like MK, not talking about MB oder Cobi,..) is: The whole concept of selling only parts and packaging, but deliver the idea/manual for free will collapse if you can easily buy all the parts you need much cheaper. But you cannot clone the license/livestyle aspect, I think that's why they added so many licensed models.

It would not surprice me if they establish something like "speed champions but technic (and maybe not only cars)" like the 42123.

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17 hours ago, syclone said:

Unfortunately it seems they are including a lot of temporary sales into that for those who have none to minimal interest in Lego, and losing a bit on the long-term buyers, who instead buy their competitors that do offer what they desire. But I know nothing about the works "behind the scenes" in TLG, just seeing more and more fans and parents no longer needing the red square on the box and an embossed logo on the bricks...  (I'd be ready to start an inquisition some time ago had someone mentioned that someone could make a better set than the danish *huh*)

I don't think that especially the parents have ever really needed the red square on the box, but Lego has a very strong and widely recognized brand, and it has always been associated with high quality and playability, which makes Lego extremely easy buy for parents, as long as they can afford it.

My hypothesis about TLG's current push into the adult markets is that while selling sets is always well and good, they do it also to make sure that their brand continues to be recognized among the people who are right now getting toys for their kids and grandkids. What better way to keep the brand afloat among adults who otherwise have no interest in toys, than to pair the product with a license that is either nostalgia-inducing (Friends, Sesame street, etc.) or otherwise "cool" (car brands, construction equipment)? Even some of the non-licensed sets like Grand Piano and Lego Art could be seen as such, as they have special target audience that is very definitely adults, not kids. This way, TLG can keep itself at the apex of the market, even with all the push coming from clone brands, which are nowhere nearly as well known and recognized to the consumers. At least where I live, practically every supermarket, toy store and department store has a section dedicated to Lego, while I've never seen most of the other brands in the physical stores and if some brands are available, there's only a handful of sets tucked somewhere in the far corner of the toys section. Online shopping isn't that much different in the end, because to find other brands online, you'll have to know what you're looking for most of the time while all stores which sell any toys carry Lego in their own highly advertised section.

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TLG has moved upmarket for the adults segment.  The CAT pricing reflects that.  I think they are going after the kid-less adults.  Those folks tend to have more disposable income. 

No CAT for me, I still have to put the kid through university.  :pir_laugh2:

 

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13 hours ago, Maaboo35 said:

My primary concern with the Technic theme is that B-models are being phased out, at least in larger sets such as the CAT D11 (for now).

Part of it is more and more buyers are getting sets for display and not just with Technic. Look at Star Wars and Town themes. They're building up a collection or just want them to show off. Either way Lego has tapped into a new consumer base and it's working so they don't have a need to make "B" model. At the same time more kids just want to build it and play, so they aren't that concerned about official B models.

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6 hours ago, dr_spock said:

TLG has moved upmarket for the adults segment.  The CAT pricing reflects that.  I think they are going after the kid-less adults.  Those folks tend to have more disposable income. 

No CAT for me, I still have to put the kid through university.  :pir_laugh2:

 

Were called DINKYs

Dual income, no kids.

Even so, I can't justify $800 NZD on a new set. I'll wait & buy this on the second hand market. 

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Many thanks for your excellent review, Jim. A very enjoyable read and great pics! As per usual;)

One small question about the inventory: does this set contain 2 types of black friction pins? On the first page it mentions 146x type 4121715 AND 561x type 6279875...

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Great review @Jim with fantastic pictures as always. You did persuade me to get 42070 with your review of that set, but sadly not even you, with powers as great as that, has won me over with the CAT. One comment you made in the review was interesting.

"Reading lots of comments, I wonder if am looking for different things in a Technic set. Too big, too ugly, don't like this, don't like that. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I do get the impression that TLG designers cannot do it right. No gearbox, only motors. Gearbox too big, or in this case gearbox too simple."

It's the classic motor for every function vs one motor and a complex gearbox argument. But as neither of these solutions is what you would find on a real bulldozer or excavator or whatever, then neither is desirable to me. I want as close to "build for real" as is reasonably practical, Technic is capable of much better than either of these two scenarios.

I'll start with the bad so I can end with the good!

The Bad:

I do want big and expensive sets, I really do. But the price and piece count is not the reason why I want them. A set that is so realistic, mechanically authentic and detailed that it has to be that big and expensive in order to achieve it's level of awesomeness is the most desirable, a set that justifies it's bigness. The CAT however is mechanically unrealistic, it copies the functions but not the real life mechanics that makes them work, and it's a bulldozer so the functions it does have are kind of limited.

Actually there is one mechanically realistic thing, which is the planetary drive on the sprocket. However it's the wrong sprocket that's being driven by it and because there is so much gear reduction inside the angular motors already, there is literally zero gearing left for the builder to build. It's all done for you in pre-assembled components. To drive and to move things around is a bulldozers main function and you as the builder build none of it! How is this desirable in an almost 4000 piece Technic flagship? I love the planetary reduction hubs but these main drive motors still have way too much internal gearing. I think such gear reductions should only be in small servo motors designed to save space. 

Although much has been said about the high price, I don't think there would be as much complaining if the CAT did more to justify it. "Oh but it has this many motors and a hub and this many pieces and if you do the math it works out not too bad etc etc". I'm sorry but it's number of motors and hubs and pieces to me does not add up to a sufficiently mechanically authentic or interesting model to justify having all those motors and pieces. If you like it then that's great. I never want to see Technic sell badly so I am genuinely happy there are some fans out there that are excited to buy this set. I won't be buying this. 

The good:

It does look pretty awesome and impressive on the outside. I do like the various rare/new useful recolours, like the 5x7 frames and dog bones in yellow for example. I also like that the bag numbers seem to be increasing. Not counting a bag full of 2x2 round bricks, has a Technic set gone up to 8 before? It's not as high as it could be. The 89 batmobile had bag numbers going up to 24 or something like that, which is great for these 3000-4000 piece builds, and can be a much more useful tool for preventing mistakes. It also looks to be pretty solid and well engineered overall. The inclusion of a proper track tensioning mechanism for the first time is great. Most details are built with real pieces so there isn't much reliance on either printed pieces or stickers. 

The build experience does look to be greatly improved by having you build notable things throughout. For example, when you build a supercar, all of the interesting stuff is done in the first quarter of the build, the rest is just bodywork. The CAT however does seem to have more notable things to build throughout, like the folding ladder and the gigantic blade to end the build.

And at the end of the day it is still Technic. I'm sure I'd have more fun building and playing with this than playing a computer game or whatever.

Edited by allanp

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I think id prefer this to Liebherr when it reduced some, but still have Liebherr in box! They do seem to be getting bigger and more expensive as same for all Lego.  When i was around 10 in 1990, my Nan would usually get me a Lego set for xmas/bday as my bday is on 27th December.  Back then I think sets were around £100 max for technic sets, there is inflation to but can imagine now out of reach of a lot of kids that would like and I know its says 18 but sure many could build still.

I guess some may prefer to an ipad say to is £300-400!

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As someone who has been dipping his toes into Technic sets this review is a joy to read! I'm still trying to learn the jargon Technic builders use, but you made it easy to follow along. What an amazing looking set and I can't wait to see it in action when you have access to the app.

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@allanp Good insightful comments, especially about the realistic accomplishment of functions. Sadly, I think Lego hardly ever does realistic functions, with the main exceptions being some piston engine drivetrains (without gearboxes), some suspension designs, and pneumatics. Personally, I really enjoy trying to make stuff realistic in my MOCs, even when it ends up being dysfunctional. A recent example would be the brakes in my Ford F-350, where I went with an extremely complicated matter cylinder system to operate the pneumatic brakes, even though there were much simpler, more reliable solutions available. I suppose you were at least partially referring to me when talking about people doing the math on the cost of this set, and I see what you mean. From a collector's standpoint, who really cares how many parts are in it, so long as it looks good and has good functions. Personally, though, I'm far from being a collector. I bought about 9000 pieces worth of Technic sets from late 2016 to early 2020 to build up a collection for MOCing, and have no plans to buy more sets (I'll buy parts)--not because I don't like sets, but because I don't need the parts. My mindset, though, is to get a set, build it once, then rip it apart in a few days, so part count is way more important to me than functions. I'm probably in the minority, though!

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Awesome review!

I really believe a LEGO bulldozer don't do much apart from pushing things around... but there's lots of fun in pushing things around a chasing cats, of course haha

LEGO did a great work in design with this CAT bulldozer. It is very close to the real one D11.

Is it expensive? Yes. But I wanna put my hands on this set, for sure! (and properly place a pair of linear actuators on the top of the ripper)

Edited by evortigosa

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One point of discontent people have expressed is the fact that the tracks of the real version is driven by the top sprockets while the Lego model is driven by the rear sprockets, so I wonder if any of our modders/alternate builders would be up for the challenge to change the driving sprocket as a sort of a "B-model" with existing parts?

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1 hour ago, howitzer said:

One point of discontent people have expressed is the fact that the tracks of the real version is driven by the top sprockets while the Lego model is driven by the rear sprockets, so I wonder if any of our modders/alternate builders would be up for the challenge to change the driving sprocket as a sort of a "B-model" with existing parts?

I think having the tracks driven by the top gear might end up in tracks skipping due to a lower contact area/angle. Also I think the Lego's drive sprockets teeth are much more rounded than the real ones.

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It's probably ok if there is sufficient tension on the tracks.  My tracks for the 8110 unimog are driven by a top sprocket. There could also be some mechanism or gear box for the ripper behind the upper sprockets in the way.  Too bad, the building instructions aren't online yet at LEGO.com.

 

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2 hours ago, Zerobricks said:

I think having the tracks driven by the top gear might end up in tracks skipping due to a lower contact area/angle. Also I think the Lego's drive sprockets teeth are much more rounded than the real ones.

Maybe. I'd like to see this done to find out if there's a real, engineering reason to have the driven sprocket in the rear instead of top so it would be nice to see if any of our talented modders can come up with a solution that works well without compromising the gearbox and other features.

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I just noticed I mounted the LA’s upside down :tongue: (the brackets)

I will correct them when I take pictures with the grey backdrop.

No sign of the app yet btw.

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