2GodBDGlory

[BOOK] Lego Technic: An Unofficial, Illustrated History

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Here is a presentation topic for my free book of Technic history, as requested by @Milan

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Backstory:

As a child, I was fairly obsessive about Lego Star Wars, and spent immense amounts of time poring over my Visual Dictionaries and Character Encyclopedias. Later on, when I got into Lego Technic as a teenager, I was disappointed by the lack of any books cataloguing the Technic sets in a similar way. Due to various circumstances, in spring 2017, I found myself having a lot of spare time away from my Technic collection, so I decided to start writing a Technic book for myself as a sort of passion project. At first I was writing by hand on notebook paper, but once I had a full first draft written out, I began the process of typing, revising, and formatting the book. Finally, in late 2019, if I remember correctly, I had a completed book on my hands, so I printed myself a copy, which I've enjoyed a lot (though I think my younger self would have appreciated it more--or maybe just a self who hadn't become familiar with the subject through writing a book on it). A year later, after doing some more proofreading and adding the sets from 2020, I made it available on Eurobricks as a free download. Finally, just this week, I've released the 2021 edition, which is being presented here in a more orderly post than the old one.

Features:

-Introduction

     The book begins with a short paragraph explaining some of the reasons I wrote the book (sort of like the backstory I posted above, only shorter, and written by a younger self)

Spoiler

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Please excuse these rather choppy screenshots

 

-Timeline

     A favorite feature of the aforementioned Star Wars Visual Dictionaries was undoubtedly the timeline at the start, cataloging every Star Wars set of all time in a condensed form. Because of that, I knew I would have to include one in this book. Each page covers two years, and contains small profiles for each set containing the set number, name, part count, and image. This is a good way to quickly find out what year a set is from, and can also serve as a rudimentary set index.

Spoiler

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-Book Mechanics

     Next, I have a section that simply explains some things about the book, such as the "Data Files" included for each set, including a sample data file for a nonexistent dream set.

Spoiler

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-Yearly Introductions

     Now the book gets into the meaty section. The sets are ordered by year of release, and each year begins with a page providing an overview of the year. This generally includes a quick description of notable trends, subthemes, sets, parts, or stories from a given year. The page also includes an image of the year's "Flagship" set, as well as images of the new parts released that year. For most years, I utilized the images of a year's new parts from Blakbird's Technicopedia (More about that in the section on sources), which sometimes had different logic than I would have preferred, sometimes including previously released parts that were merely introduced into the Technic theme in the given year. Nonetheless, I find it quite interesting to track the development of the Technic part palette.

Spoiler

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-Set Profiles

     This is what the bulk of the book is made up of. Every Technic* set ever is included in these pages, with a large section of general information such as functions, aesthetics, or other information of interest, as well as at least one image and a "Data File" These Data Files list the set's name, set number, part count, price (when available), release, and alternate model.

*Which sets are truly Technic sets can be somewhat ambiguous. In the end, I included any set badged as Technic that met my criterion of being a somewhat realistic model of real-world machinery, with the idea being to exclude such sets as early Bionicle and RoboRiders. I also included three Racers cars that are built of primarily Technic parts.

Spoiler

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Updates:

I plan on releasing updates for this book every year for the foreseeable future. This will likely include adding the new sets for the year onto the end, updating the timeline, and fixing any mistakes that have come to my attention.

Sources:

My primary sources for this book were the unofficial online Lego catalogue, Brickset.com, and the invaluable fan-made Blakbird’s Technicopedia, which exhaustively covers all Technic sets 1977 to 2001. I also consulted Bricklink.com, the official Lego catalogues I received in the mail, and Google images (mainly for images of older alternate models). I feel that the information found on Blakbird’s Technicopedia often fell outside the realm of "common knowledge," so throughout the book I have cited certain pieces of information from this website with a (BT).  This website was especially valuable, and I used not only its information, but also images of sets, and the renderings of the new parts from each year. I certainly could not have created this book without these sources, which I drew heavily from for both information and images!

Terms of Use:

Naturally, I would have liked to monetize on this time-consuming project, but its dependence on Lego's official images prevented me from doing so, so I am offering it online here for free. Feel free to download it and read it online, or print it out to read it as a paper copy, but just don't try to make money off of it. (You'll probably hear from Lego's lawyer about infringement on their images before you hear from me about infringement on my words!)

Disclaimer:

Not being a real author myself, this book is necessarily imperfect in style, especially because in this mere hobby project I'm not interested in doing the seemingly infinite rewritings I hear real authors do. More worrying, though, is the possibility that I may have gotten certain details wrong about sets, especially because I own very few of these sets. I would greatly appreciate it if any readers would notify me of any errors they find!

Inspiration for Printing:

Here are some images of the physical copy I printed myself. I printed it at the office my parents work at for 20c CAD per page, laminated the covers and punched the holes at Staples (an office supply store), and wound in the spiral binding myself. I like this setup because it wasn't complicated to make, seems durable, and can have new years added to it (It's a pain, but it's possible).

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Download Link:

You should be able to download the book from this link:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/146GuBJdz97X-KUeAncx57QT8zZKKov02/view?usp=sharing

 

I hope you enjoy it!

Edited by 2GodBDGlory

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Wow, that is massive amount of work done! Congratulations on perserverance! And thank you very much for sharing. :thumbup:

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9 hours ago, 2GodBDGlory said:

Here are some images of the physical copy I printed myself.

Yes, that's a good idea, my son will love it (and me too :wub:). 

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One thing: you describe the 42061 B-model as "good". Nope!

I do have an additional bunch of assorted minor gripes, but that's pretty much what they are - minor.

I didn't really like your personal asides in the text when I first read the guide, but I then remembered @Blakbird's set descriptions and on balance I think it's okay to offer an individual perspective.

Overall I can see a huge amount of your time went into this guide and it's a feat. Great work.

Oh, and thanks muchly for mentioning my take on 9395's B-model! :thumbup:

Edited by Maaboo35

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Thanks! This is great work, and very appreciated! 

I liked the first version, and this seems even better. May actually print this, and would greatly appreciate any updates coming in the form of annexes that can be added to a printed copy.  :)

_ED_

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1 hour ago, Nazgarot said:

Thanks! This is great work, and very appreciated! 

I liked the first version, and this seems even better. May actually print this, and would greatly appreciate any updates coming in the form of annexes that can be added to a printed copy.  :)

_ED_

I'm glad you like it! The updates are set up to be added on, though some errata would be missed this way. This is what I've been doing personally, first adding the 2018 section, and then later 2019 and 2020 at once.

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Very good, we've been desperately needing such a book. Technicopedia has been my go-to resource for historical look, but since it stopped updating, there's not much info on anything from the last 20 years, which makes it severely deficient. It appears that your book is doing extremely important work to fill that gap.

I wonder though, if you'd be interested in publishing this also in a website format? The pdf is nice when you want to just sit back and have a long reading of the history, but when looking for some specific tidbit of information, a website would be much better as you can access it easily from anywhere without large downloads and so on.

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Hello 2God

This looks absolutely fantastic.

Would you be able to message us via the contact page at thelegocarblog.com?

We'd love to chat further with you

All the best

TLCB Team

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17 hours ago, howitzer said:

Very good, we've been desperately needing such a book. Technicopedia has been my go-to resource for historical look, but since it stopped updating, there's not much info on anything from the last 20 years, which makes it severely deficient. It appears that your book is doing extremely important work to fill that gap.

I wonder though, if you'd be interested in publishing this also in a website format? The pdf is nice when you want to just sit back and have a long reading of the history, but when looking for some specific tidbit of information, a website would be much better as you can access it easily from anywhere without large downloads and so on.

I agree that a website could be convenient, but I don't really have any skills in that area, or, to be honest, a desire to make that time commitment. I won't rule it out, but I doubt I will.

10 hours ago, TLCB said:

Hello 2God

This looks absolutely fantastic.

Would you be able to message us via the contact page at thelegocarblog.com?

We'd love to chat further with you

All the best

TLCB Team

Thanks!

Sure, I can send you a message there soon.

5 hours ago, emielroumen said:

@2GodBDGlory: great work! Downloading a copy as we speak, and will have it printed soon.

Thanks! I'd love to see what your printed copy looks like when it's done!

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Wow, the shear amount of work that has gone into this is no doubt impressive!  

The ongoing debate of what is Technic and what is not, I guess will never be finalised.  For me and my collection, if it has the Technic logo on the box, it's Technic.  This for me then excludes those racer sets you mention in the opening chapter that were built using a large number of Technic bricks, to me those are Racers, but unfortunately for my own person collection, it then includes some of the education sets which had a Technic Logo on the packaging.  Examples like set 1030, 1031, 1034 etc. are Technic in my eyes.  

Other possible and interesting chapters in future might be able to include Retail/Marketing and Promotional materials related to the Technic brand.  

Anyway, great job and I'm looking forward to reading in detail.

 

Also would love to know what the 8 books you found are relating to Technic, I know Lego themselves released 3 or 4 ideas books back in the day.  Out of interest, what were the others?

Paul

Edited by paul_delahaye

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2 hours ago, paul_delahaye said:

Out of interest, what were the others?

The book of Sariel: https://www.amazon.nl/Unofficial-Lego-Technic-Builders-Guide/dp/1593277601/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=lego+technic+book&qid=1632584367&sr=8-3

and the books of Yoshihito Isogawa.

All from No Starch Press. At least, that’s what I assumed when reading this paragraph of @2GodBDGlory.

 

Edited by GerritvdG

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3 hours ago, GerritvdG said:

The book of Sariel: https://www.amazon.nl/Unofficial-Lego-Technic-Builders-Guide/dp/1593277601/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=lego+technic+book&qid=1632584367&sr=8-3

and the books of Yoshihito Isogawa.

All from No Starch Press. At least, that’s what I assumed when reading this paragraph of @2GodBDGlory.

 

Yeah, I was thinking of Sariel's books, including the second edition builders guide, as well as Yoshihito Isogawa's stuff. I'm not sure what, if anything, what I was thinking of.

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What an interesting work! I wonder if the transition from bricks with holes to beams benefitted the sales. In fact we lost versatility to favour aesthetics.

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On 9/29/2021 at 12:26 PM, astral brick said:

What an interesting work! I wonder if the transition from bricks with holes to beams benefitted the sales. In fact we lost versatility to favour aesthetics.

I disagree on versatility. I'd say we gained a lot of it, because you can build more more interconnected builds in a constant raster of 8 mm in all directions.

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11 hours ago, Zerobricks said:

I disagree on versatility. I'd say we gained a lot of it, because you can build more more interconnected builds in a constant raster of 8 mm in all directions.

The presence of studs was the element of continuity between technic and the other themes. Same reasoning with the introduction of technic figures. I wonder what is the percentage and the age group of customers moving from system to technic nowadays in comparison to the past.

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Posted (edited)
On 9/25/2021 at 1:01 AM, 2GodBDGlory said:

Thanks! I'd love to see what your printed copy looks like when it's done!

As promised, here a 2 photos of the printed copy. I had it printed in A5 format, half the size of A4, after I test printed 2 pages at home in the same format.

It looks great, and it is a very nice almanac for offline use! 

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Since it was a full color, double sided print with glossy heavy cover (300 grams paper), it was around 40 USD shipped.

Thanks again for creating the book  @2GodBDGlory.

Edited by emielroumen
Typos

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