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Lego Technic 2023 Lineup Review- Has Technic Seen The Better Year?

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For the sake of arguments- let's take year 2016 or 2018 or even 2019- the last best year for TLG's Technic theme [whoever of us think that way]. Whatever the last best Technic year was it is obvious the past few years specifically 2020-2022 Technic lineup from TLG faced backlash criticisms disappointments sentiments etc. to somewhat larger extent especially when the prices also got higher. Disappointments or critiques will always be there- no matter how great the year it is for the Technic Theme. However, I think 2023 is the year Technic at least did not make mistakes/disappointments to such extent.

Lets start with mini sets like the 30655 Polybag, 42147 Dump Truck, 42148 Snow Groomer- all of them seem to have no backlash.

Then the Monster Jam Series- no complaints there as well I think.

Last year, within similar lineup a backlash or two was raised with the introduction of TWO pullback sets where Zero cogs was used. This year no such complaints.

Then come the mid-semi big sets- the 42151 Bugatti Bolide (with its Blue version 42162), the Nascar which IMHO has all the upgrades that a Corvette ZR1 should have from the beginning i.e., the proper use of cams in the Engine etc. The Batcycle was a surprisingly solid bike although innovation was almost absent in it. The 42161 is subjectively clumsy. However, this set receives few complaints [or none] in terms of functionality. And if I have to guess correctly I think it has and will continue to have nice and attractive MOCs out in the wild. I think Functional Authenticity-wise the 42151, 42153, and 42155 all have been solid performers.

In this range, I have to give the 42152- the Firefighter Aircraft the upper hand although it is big. This set has surprisingly cool Techniques and functions [notably the lever which uses pullback mechanism to power the propellers is pure genius]- something that all of us desire to see in all the sets released within the same year.

All right, next up the 42154. I think it is one of its kind especially for the 2023 lineups. It introduces cool new parts which I guess MOC designers will appreciate much. Moreover, it was from Grohl whose last year's only official design was that lime pullback car. However, the Ford GT 2022 could not escape some backlash- i. its scale and ii. the suspension height. But hey! That's Lego Technic, and at the end of the day if all of them are perfect then what we would have to do LOL.

In this respect, I have to say whether you like the car savvy 18+ sets or not, this year the 18+ cars have proven to be better. That brings us to the big and beefier sets for the remaining of 2023.

The 42156 Peugeot has become a popular set for all the good reasons. Its clever and solid suspension system and rightfully sturdy body are something definitely deserve praises. Even though it has its little quirks I guess it most probably did the 18+ cars series a lot better.

The 42158 NASA Rover is a pure genius in terms of....well everything. It may not drive that well on the surface but it definitely incorporates dense Technic building marvels. 

Almost same to say for the 42157 John Deere Agro-vehicle. It does quite well whatever it was designed for. Yes, the Pneumatics operations' placement is awkward but the parts the build the details the operations are something not to complain much about it. Like the 42161, it also starts to see cool MOCs from Technic veterans.

The 42159 Yamaha bike is my 2nd most liked set for 2023 [the first being the 9x8 Hypercar]. Its introduction to the new gearbox pieces is one of the reasons 2023 is an important and perhaps the better year in recent times. Although it is 1:5 it is way less flimsy or wobbly and I think it functions quite well.

The 42160 Audi RS Q e-tron is arguably the most enjoyable stock Control+ set to date. It got many things right specially the axle setups, suspension mechanism and steering. The Buwizz team [lead by @Zerobricks ]made an excellent effort to make it faster with better steering.

Last but not the least, the 42146 Liebherr Crane. Well, it divided people. However, it is what it is. There are actually a number of people who bought two of the same model and made a giant [more accurate to proportion] LR13000. I can safely say, had it not been released in 2023 the year would still be considered as one of the better/significant year for TLG's Technic lineup.

I guess the two factors that affected this year are: 1. the ever increasing price and 2. "too much" cars.

However, if I am to put these factors aside, I think this year has brought improvements over the yester years. And although 2020-2022 seem lackluster/uninteresting in terms of lineups I guess each of the year brought significant Technical achievements/serious attempts i.e., 2020's 42114's transmission, 2021's Zetros's Technologies, 2022's H175 Airbus and even the 42139 All-terrain vehicle.

Let me know what you guys think of this year especially when compared with the previous years. Just don't shoot me or each other . And let's try not to act like a Lego representative. Free your mind.

PS: I did not use any translator. I write my own English. If any sentence/part seems hard to understand- my sincere apologies. I frequently visit to check if I made [mostly] any grammatical or factual error after-the-fact and if I find any I try to edit them as much as possible. Thanks.

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This year has sucked noodles, if you ask me. Easily on a par with 2020, maybe even a little worse. Aside from the Lieb, the only construction-themed set this year was the dump truck - and even that's only marginally construction-themed.

Meanwhile, TLG has continued full blast with its damn car obsession and given us no less than SEVEN of the sodding things, most of which have the same ol' set of functions!

2024 sounds a little better, and hopefully it'll be a little better. But this theme has been in a tailspin for years now.

And hey, if it ain't working out, there's always...

Animal_Crossing_Logo.png

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Too many cars indeed. The only Technic set aside the smallest ones I've bought is the Perseverance rover, which is great but alone not enough to make the year great. Before the Lieb crane was revealed I thought I'd want to buy it, based just on the knowledge that it's a big crawler crane - but that decision was quickly reversed after it was revealed and I saw the price. So if you're a car person, this year is undoubtedly among the best but for others it's not as far as sets are considered.

However, the number of new parts and colours is huge and really lifts this year up in terms of goodies for MOCing. Many many new panels and colours, and then there's the new gearbox parts which open up a lot of new options for all kinds of builds. Even the Liebherr boom parts are nice, making building of large scale cranes easier. So all in all it's pretty divisive year, with both ups and downs to a significant degree.

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I think I'd agree with your assessment that this year is a step up from previous ones. I think the only major complaints we can make about this year are:

1. Poor choices of sets

and

2. High prices

These are valid enough criticisms, but they're nothing new. What is new, I think, is that given the lineup of set topics, pretty much everything is well-executed. If they're just going to do cars, at least they're doing decent cars!

Also, we complain a lot about the number of car sets being released, but it might be helpful to note just how many sets are being released! We've had 18 sets released this year (counting both colors of Bugatti), which is an all-time record for Technic, as far as I can tell! (1998 seems to be the previous leader with 17 sets, and 2854 and 8202 were recolors of the same model, just like the Bugatti, so either way of counting such sets, 2023 beats it). If the long-term standard was to have 10 sets, with 5 cars and 5 machines, and then they suddenly bumped it up to 18 sets, with 13 cars and still 5 machines, I don't think we have any reason to complain. Of course, that's not exactly what happened, but it's really just a fairly small decrease in number of machines coupled with a large increase in number of cars, making for a very disproportional lineup, but one that nonetheless contains only a bit less machines than usual, I would guess.

Also, the vast number of new parts is quite nice! Especially since they're not only panels this time around, with solid mechanical stuff too!

Edited by 2GodBDGlory

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Personally I like the (lower-?) medium sets most. Affordable but still big enough to incorporate interesting functions, and often plenty of alternates from MOC designers to build. And considering this, 2023 was a mediocre year. In the broad price range from 15 to 90 Euro there were only cars (and one motorcycle).

2022 we at least had 42136, and in 2021 we had 42120 and 42121. 42136 was kind of bad for having so little functions, but still I really liked those sets. I rarely buy sets above 100 Euro, even though I could afford them, but they are just too big for me. And most kids probably don't get so many 100+ Euro sets either.

I'm really looking forward to 2024 for the garbage truck, the space loader and the forage harvester. It seems like we will be getting some real Technic for everybody again.

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I will say it like this in plain and short. 

Awesome year for new parts and motorized models, but waaaaaay too many licensed cars. 

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17 hours ago, Maaboo the Witch said:

Animal Crossing

Monkey's paw: The set is an Animal Crossing licensed car.

Back on topic, unfortunately, the increase in Technic licensed cars, and licenses in general, produces good numbers for TLG, either externally (sales) or internally (focus groups). But honestly, look at the first few pages of this forum, and you'll still see licensed cars over-represented, in alternates or modifications, even in such a discerning audience. By contrast, outside of the headline-grabbers (flagships, innovative/novel designs) the other sets have gained relatively little traction. I don't see the trend being bucked anytime soon.

With that said, I've personally enjoyed most of said licensed cars. The Audi RS Q e-tron is my go-to recommendation for a Control+ starter set, the Peugeot 9X8 is the set 42039 should always have been, and both it and the Ford GT will hopefully start a new trend of relatively dense and functional ~1:10 models instead of the 1:8 empty shells that the Porsche 911 RSR and Ferrari 488 GTE were. The blue Bolide is just as cool as its yellow counterpart and the Monster Jam sets are still great gifts to youngsters getting into Technic.

Outside of the licensed cars, it's hard to avoid the Liebherr LR 13000-shaped elephant in the room. It's as impressive mechanically as it is flawed aesthetically and priced outrageously. The other sets represent a good range of purposes to me, with licenses being used more astutely to represent and demonstrate the ingenuity of the real-life counterparts, albeit they still were not required to do this in all cases, except possibly the Perseverance Rover. Special mention must go to the AR app for the MT-10 SP; I know it's not to the taste of most here, but it is just as big a step in Lego's use of software as the new gearbox parts the set comes with is for its use of hardware.

My biggest concern is the increase in price, beyond inflation and increased production costs. My cynical half says the licensing spree is an pre-emptive effort to justify price rises with their perceived value to the customer.

Edited by Jay Psi

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I only got the snow groomer this year. Brilliant little set with lots of functions, B-model and good value, in the good old spirit of true Technic. The rest is the usual sh!t we've have been seeing the past 5 or so years since Technic has gone down the drain.

The pullbacks are entirely functionless and uninteresting, I really hope they are killed off eventually in 2024. Same with all the copy pasted 1:16 and 1:10 car sets (Bolide, Huracan, Camaro, GT, 9X8). The Firefighter Aircraft could have been a lot better, but it has too few functions for its size, it has no B-model and the pricing has killed it, similarly to the material handler and the ATV last year. A simple comparison with the older 42025 makes it look sad. The Mars Rover looks like an unstable, janky mess. I'll admit, the John Deere skidder looks solid, but the lack of B-model is also makes it bad value to my eyes. The Yamaha motorbike is insanely overpriced even compared to the similar BMW bike and it is also a write off. The Audi eTron is just a sticker fest, is ridiculously overpriced and lacks a controller, and the Liebherr, well, where do I start.

So I'll have to agree with Maaboo that the Technic theme as a whole is in a tailspin since at least 2019, when they got rid of Power Functions and B-models and went all-in with the licenses and price hikes. And I am not that bothered by the Liebherr or other 100+ euro sets. What bothers me is the complete lack of any interesting model in the 50 euro range year after year. I have eventually moved to the Creator line that offers multiple builds, reasonable value and original ideas to get my Lego fix, even though I wasn't into Lego System sets ever before.

But what a bitter old fan says online may be totally irrelevant. Only Lego knows what sells and what not, and this licensed model kit strategy may work for them. But what that would mean is that Lego has all but lost its own branding power, and has been reduced to licensed merchandise manufacturer in order to make a sale.

Edited by johnnytifosi

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2023 was a really good year for Technic in my opinion and a step up from previous years.

Problems with cars and prices are already mentioned, also what @Gumalca said about medium sets: We really lacking non-rc vehicle in this year like a truck with under 100€ in the scale of the 42112 and something like the 42079.

Also I really really hope in 2024 and 2024 TLC makes use of the cool new tires (tractor and the ones from 42160).

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The best Technic years for larger sets were 2015 and 2016. 2015 wins alone just on the back of the Arocs but 2016 had 4 really strong sets.

Nice variety of models with excellent functions, no stupid control plus, reasonable pricing and B-models.

It´s been a slow slide into mediocrity since then.

Edited by valenciaeric

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1 hour ago, johnnytifosi said:

The pullbacks are entirely functionless and uninteresting, I really hope they are killed off eventually in 2024.

I actually really like the Monster Jam sets! Each truck has different build techniques - you could build all six in a row and never feel like you're building the same model twice. Plus, B-models, which have been getting better and better: the Crocodile Buggy might be my favourite so far. Also, they're fun!

1 hour ago, johnnytifosi said:

So I'll have to agree with Maaboo that the Technic theme as a whole is in a tailspin since at least 2019, when they got rid of Power Functions and B-models and when all-in with the licenses and price hikes. And I am not that bothered by the Liebherr or other 100+ euro sets. What bothers me is the complete lack of any interesting model in the 50 euro range year after year.

2019 was decent enough; we saw the last of the big B-models and there were some cool sets like 42094 and '97. But then we also saw the emergence of CON+TROLL and other crappy trends, so it's a year of two halves, really. And then... well...

47 minutes ago, valenciaeric said:

It´s been a slow slide into mediocrity since then.

 

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21 minutes ago, Maaboo the Witch said:

2019 was decent enough; we saw the last of the big B-models and there were some cool sets like 42094 and '97. But then we also saw the emergence of CON+TROLL and other crappy trends, so it's a year of two halves, really. And then... well... 

In 2019 already only about half of the sets (8 out of 14) had B-models. I agree on the rest.

Edited by johnnytifosi

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5 minutes ago, johnnytifosi said:

In 2019 already only about half of the sets (8 out of 14) had B-models

Several of those were big sets, such as the car transporter, and the 800- and 900-part sets had alternates as well. You wouldn't see that now.

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So, year 2023, with "Liebherr" 42146, would be the best Technic year ever ?

That's a good one !

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32 minutes ago, Anio said:

So, year 2023, with "Liebherr" 42146, would be the best Technic year ever ?

That's a good one !

I don't think anyone's arguing that it's the best year ever-just that it's not quite as bad as the last few years!

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5 hours ago, johnnytifosi said:

The Mars Rover looks like an unstable, janky mess.

I must disagree with you here, the Perseverance rover is easily the best set of 2023, with its ingenious steering mechanism and other functions. It's also quite affordable mid-size set. The looks is faithful to the real thing, which might contribute to the perception of it looking like an "unstable, janky mess" but that's what real life space exploration tends to be.

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