The 42069 was the first set I’ve bought for about 15 years, and despite my initial intention to play with it together with my 4-year-old son, I soon got into modding it quite heavily, and he went back to his City and 42023. :)
So here’s what I’ve done to it so far.
List of motors and electronic components added to the model:
4x PF L motors
1x PF XL motor
2x PF M motors
2x PF Servo motors
1x PF switch
24x Brickstuff LEDs
some PF & Brickstuff wires
The drivetrain/axle design is mostly RacingBrick’s design with 4x PF L motors (one for each track/wheel connected directly) and a Servo for steering, with some cosmetic changes to avoid self-disassembly of the suspension on rough terrain.
Both side compartments now house BuWizz units, the walls separating them from the middle section have been removed, and the space itself no longer exists, taken by a single sBrick and quite a lot of wires (more about the setup later). The fire extinguishers now sit right next to the seats, ready to use. The shovel drawer remained in place and functional, now also containing the first-aid kit. Pretty much all of the truck’s functions have been motorised, similarly to RacingBrick’s version. I left the rising door mechanism unchanged, I think it’s really cool as it is.
The winch mechanism has been completely ripped out and rebuilt. To provide greater momentum, I used the more powerful XL motor, which I installed right behind and below the front bumper. The first version of the winch was geared 1:1 using three consecutive 32072 knob wheels for extra durability over standard gears, but since they kept getting stuck, I replaced them with regular 16 tooth gears. I considered an alternative setup involving a worm screw, but I wanted to maintain decent speed of the winch. The whole mechanism fitted inside the original bumper design which I modified later (it looked a bit thin to me), so if you like the big motor but not the puffed up front bumper, you should still be able to employ it. Since I didn’t use a clutch gear (which would have ruined the performance), to protect the XL motor from being turned on accidentally a safety-valve was installed in the form of a PF switch, activated with a turn of the gear/knob originally used for the winch. The original tiny hook has been replaced with the 70644 metal hook for extra durability. Alternatively, I sometimes attach the 95354 anchor - it looks a bit freaky, but so does the whole model, and it’s the best solution for hooking the winch up.
There are also two PF M motors: one powering the fake V8 engine, geared up 5:3, and the other one raising the roof.
I put a lot of work into the light system of the model with the use of Brickstuff LEDs. Without the additional lights on the interchangeable roof racks the lighting comprises of 24 LEDs: two for each of the main headlights, one for each bullbar light, six blinking turn signals (including one light on each of the wing mirrors), two lights on the original roof rack below the antennae, two taillights (white LEDs under trans-red tiles), four stop lights (similar as taillights next to the reverse lights plus red LEDs under trans-clear round tiles on the trunk door) and two reverse lights. The LEDs are powered from one of the BuWizz outputs via a Brickstuff PF power source with variable outputs. This certain piece deserves a few more words, especially for the readers unfamiliar with Brickstuff. One of its three outputs is always on (thus, all LEDs except for the turn signals, stop lights and reverse lights light up the moment BuWizz connects with the controlling device) and the other two outputs depend on the PF channel activation; in this case the BuWizz output for the lights is synchronised with the steering Servo, resulting in lighting up the corresponding blinkers. Lastly, the stop and reverse lights system involves another Brickstuff gimmick: magnetic switches. The circuit is closed when a small magnet (which fits inside a Technic axle hole) approaches the switch. I put the magnet inside a 1x2 thin liftarm, connected to a Servo, controlled in sync with the track motors. When the Servo is in neutral (with the model stationary), the magnet closes the circuit powering the stop lights. In reverse it approaches another switch, closing the reverse lights circuit, and in forward position it opens both circuits, cutting out the LEDs. (I know it’s a bit much to add a heavy motor just to control some lights, but I couldn’t think of a better solution - any ideas?)
An extra bit of lighting comes in the form of two interchangeable roof racks, installed roughly in the location of the original HOG steering knob. I was curious about Brickstuff High-Power LEDs, so I put two of them behind some trans-clear 24116 curved panels and on the roof. The other version of the roof rack includes four regular LEDs similar to those put on the bullbar. The lights are connected to the main grid through Brickstuff vertical connector, which eliminates the need of connecting and disconnecting the fragile wires with every change of the racks or their complete removal.
Since the complex lighting system tends to consume a considerable amount of BuWizz’s battery juice, I used another vertical connector to put together an additional master switch, disguised as a red toolbox and located between the dark green jerrycans on the roof rack.
The last modification, or rather some additional equipment is a pair of bridging ladders, which can be folded and stored on the original roof rack. Fully extended, they’re 49 studs long each (just a bit longer than the truck itself) and, although a bit flimsy, manage to support the weight of the model while crossing gaps or climbing obstacles. There’s also a removable, extendable ladder added to the rear door.
As for the double BuWizz-sBrick setup and controlling the model: the BuWizz unit in the right side compartment powers both right L motors, the steering Servo and the winch, and the left unit powers the left L motors, the fake V8 and the sBrick. The raising roof, the LEDs and the Servo controlling the stop and reverse lights are all powered through the sBrick. That leaves one last sBrick output free for some other uses, i.e. motorising the doors. The whole setup is controlled through BrickController2 with the use of a physical controller (a bluetooth gamepad). The app works great with virtually no lag and allows for quick profile changes; I created two profiles: one for regular driving and one for tank driving.
Obviously, all the extra elements made the model quite heavy - it now weighs 2700 grams on tracks and 2575 grams on Unimog wheels. However, 2x BuWizz units manage the weight rather effortlessly, especially in Ludicrous mode.
Having modified an already sticker-heavy model, I decided to go a little bit further and add some BuWizz & sBrick stickers and Brickstuff printed tiles (three of those came as bonus with consecutive shipments from Brickstuff). The front of the model now looks a bit bulkier with the new bumper, and the addition of the bridging ladders to the roof rack gave it an even more adventure-ready look.
I replaced the 2654 trans-clear round tiles on the bull bar and roof rack lights with a trans-yellow variant - I like the look of yellow headlights on vintage race cars. Additionally, the 3069b trans-clear 1x2 tiles on wing mirrors have been replaced with trans-orange ones, because of their newly acquired function of blinkers.
Ling to the gallery: