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  1. Review: 42059 Stunt Truck Name: Stunt Truck Number: 42059 Theme: Technic Year: 2017 Pieces: 142 Price: USD $19.99, Euro 19.99€, AUD $32.99 Brickset: Extra Info Technic Early 2017 Review Series Welcome to the fourth in my batch of 2017 Technic reviews! I was offered all the small sets early 2017 for review late last year... but I ended up getting them all! Thus I have a lot to review. I've been doing them in parallel and changing my process as I go so hopefully the latter ones will end up being the best. On that angle I'll probably retcon some of the earlier reviews if I improve my process. Due to this remember that I'm happy to take extra photos or provide extra info on request, and anything especially good will be added to the main body of the review. Do note though that sometimes the model may no longer exist if I have have made an alternate. On the subject of alternates, I will be making the alt model, if I have the instructions, think the model is worth making, and I have the time. Also I'll show mid stage construction only if I think it's relevant. Thus don't ask for construction photos or alt models if they aren't part of the review.... I am prepared to extract parts for detail photos though. Photos will all be hosted on Flickr so larger versions are available, and relevant videos will be on YouTube and linked to from here. I don't edit photos much; very rarely I'll crop one and almost never will "correct" them so the photos should be as natural as possible. I will try to not be repetitive; thus it's worth reading my other reviews. For example I'm not going to complain too much about the digital instructions; I'll try to complain about new things, or maybe not complain at all! Here's all the other reviews of H1 2017 Technic... 42057 Ultralight Helicopter 42058 Stunt Bike 42059 Stunt Truck (and 45058/42059 Combiner) 42060 Roadwork Crew 42061 Telehandler 42062 Container Yard 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure 42064 Ocean Explorer 42065 Tracked Racer Mucho multi thanks to the EB LUG Ambassador CopMike and the LEGO CEE Team and Designers for allowing me to review these sets for Eurobricks. So onto the review! Packaging Front.... ...back.... Unboxing Standard punch box. Only one instruction book and it's staple bound without a substantial cover. Secondary model has instructions online only. The build is not sectioned... OK it is sorta. There's a "1" bag... and another. So in short, it's not. The panels in "Medium azure" and pullback motor are slightly special, with the ramp and the... ...the anniversary part being slightly more special than those. Parts list. Random instruction page. Build It's done! Spare parts. Power is directly applied to the rear wheel. No gearing or any other functions are in this model. The ramp is a custom colour with a wheel pattern that matches the respective vehicle and has rubber feet to help it grip rather than slip. You can see the anniversary part here on the top. Action video! The stickers are quite effective in this set as they help blend the colours. Power Racer (Combiner) I was considering making this into a separate review, but ultimately I don't have much to say about these sets, so I think it's more fair to include it here. (Do note though that I don't count this model when rating the set.) I made it after the main sets so I don't have photos without the stickers. I believe these are the spare parts. There could be some missing.... one of our resident cats slept here (hair left as evidence) and left me with doubts. I did think this part of the build was cool, in that it took advantage of the 45 degree cutouts to increase robustness. Overall I liked the look of this model. It reminded me of some the the early studless Technic models. The stickers worked well, even though one is upside down (correctly placed, it's just designed for the A model), and the colours blend well, which is impressive since there isn't always an even pairing of parts. Both of the anniversary parts are used, but only one is visible. Quick action video! Longer action video! Since I won't be rating the combiner, I will make a quick comment that I was impressed with how well it handled; when aimed well it was fast and jumped high. Ratings Function: Technic fans probably should look elsewhere. 2/10 Parts: The highlight really is the "Medium azure" 6/10 Price: The Australian price of this set seems rather high IMHO. 6/10 Accuracy: Considering the limited parts it's not a horrid truck model. 6/10 Fudge: Pullback cars aren't really my thing. But it's a good kit for experimenting with them. 6/10 Overall: It's the better deal of the pullbacks, but even so, there's better Technic for less money 5/10
  2. REVIEW - 42043 - MERCEDES-BENZ AROCS 3245 INTRODUCTION So here we are, finally. Last year the Volvo review was published at the beginning of June, so you all needed to wait a little bit longer for this one. Rumors started early December of a licensed Mercedes set. What could it be, a truck, a car? Christmas Eve revealed the LEGO Technic 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245. The eager anticipation of news about a new model always has its special moments. This time Paul (Boratko) had seen a first glance of the model. This resulted in one or two questions being asked. What's the color scheme? Does it have pneumatics? Does it have new pneumatic parts? Does it have double wheels on the rear axles? Does it have front suspension? Does it have this, does it have that? Was I excited at the moment? Hmmm not really. To be honest; I figured this would be the Unimog all over again. It's a public secret that I am not the biggest fan of the Unimog. A pneumatic crane that doesn't work too well, flaws in the steering mechanism and the model is leaning to one side, because of the battery box. Don't get me wrong; it is a decent model, and it definitely looks great, but it just doesn't cut it for me. So my initial thought was "will this be better than the Unimog?". We will find out at the end of this review The model is designed by Markus Kossman, who is lead designer at TLG and is known for some other flagship sets (among other models): 8421 - Mobile Crane (2005) 8275 Motorized Bulldozer (2007) 8110 - Mercedes-Benz-Unimog-U-400 (2011) 42009 - Crane Mk II (2013) It's safe to say that Markus has some experience when it comes to designing trucks. At the beginning of each stage, I state how long it took me to finish it. Mind you, that when I'm building for a review, I lose a lot of time shooting pictures. So your building time will probably be 70% to 80% of my time. Note: Pictures, taken with a Canon 70D with 50mm Canon prime lens, can be clicked for hi-res versions. SET INFORMATION Number: 42043 Title: Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245 Theme: Technic Released: 2015 Part Count: 2793 Box Weight: 4455 gr Box Dimensions: 57,8 cm x 47,8 cm x 12,2 cm Model Dimensions: 54 cm x 23cm/51cm x 15cm (wo crane/w crane) Set Price (MSRP): Approximately € 200 Price per Part: Approximately € 0,072 per part Links: Brickset THE BOX The box is the same size as last year's 42030 - Volvo L350F (review). It's huge and it's heavy. Weighing in at almost 4,5kg, this actually does feel like the biggest Technic set ever. Unfortunately my box was severly damaged upon delivery. Even the outer box was damaged, and looked like someone had opened it. Luckily, the actual box was only damaged, instead of opened, so all the parts where still there. FRONT SIDE The front of the box shows the model (nothing new here), the Power Functions logo AND the new Pneumatics V2 logo. Hopefully we will see the last logo more often in future sets. Under the Pneumatic logo, all new pneumatic parts are shown. Three of the five parts are simply redesigned parts, but the two 11L cylinders (1x1 and 2x2) are brand new. INSIDE The inside of the box shows most of the features and functionality, combined with some fun facts about the real Arocs. The model will measure 54 cm upon completion. SIDES One of the sides shows the model and the two logos, while one of the other sides shows all the Pneumatic V2 and Power Functions parts. CONTENT OF THE BOX Being the biggest Technic set to date, means lots of parts. 2793 to be precise. 2 bags with 6 wheels 1 bag with instructions and stickers 1 bag with pneumatic parts 1 bag with L motor 1 battery box unbagged 4 bags #1 2 bags #2 5 bags #3 2 bags #4 6 bags #5 2 bags #6 SQUARE BOUND BOOK Like the 42039 - 24 Hours Race Car (some of them) this set has a square bound book sealed in a bag together with the sticker sheet. I really do like a single bound book, but when TLG divides the build into 6 stages, providing 6 booklets also makes sense. This would make building with your children a great deal easier. The instructions for the A-model count 105 steps, covering a whopping 471 pages! The sticker sheet with stickers for the A-model and two stickers (#25) for the B-model, apparently a Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845. For the first time (to my recollection) the 62.4mm D. x 20mm Tires are packed in bags. Normally they are scattered between the sealed bags. The new Pneumatic (V2) parts have been neatly packed together in a single bag. The hoses are cut to length, which makes assembly more straightforward. There's no need to measure and cut the hoses yourself. The L-motor comes in a bag, while the battery box doesn't. Normally the battery comes in a bag too. Since it has a slightly different color than the previous version, maybe the manufacturer or manufacturing process has changed. NUMBERED BAGS A total of 21 numbered bag, divided over 6 build stages. You can click on the bag to show a hi-res version of the picture. HIGHLIGHTED PARTS This chapter describes the interesting and/or new parts in this set. BATTERY BOX The color of the new battery box is slightly different than the old one. The dark bluish grey is much darker and the light bluish grey seems to be slightly different too. VERY SMALL SMOOTH PANELS IN WHITE For the first time a set comes with very small white panels (#21) and very small white panels (#22). These two panels complete the range of white panels available. WHITE PANELS Four other types or white panels are used in the cabin. NEW 60T TURNTABLE That kinda looks like a new turntable under the crane. Allanp was absolutely right about the introduction of a new 60 teeth turntable, resembling its smaller brother (bottom and top). As you can see in the comparison shot below, it's not much bigger than the old version. The design is much better, resulting in a smoother operation. The potential downside is that the new turntable doesn't have teeth in the inside, which can be limiting. That being said; I still think that this design is better than the old one, so thanks to TLG for bringing us this new turntable! Hopefully TLG will some day release an XL version with this design. TIRES Nothing special about these tires, besides coming in a sealed bag. So, why am I showing these tires anyway? It has nothing to do with the tires itself, but with the quantity. For the first time an official LEGO set contains more than 10 of these tires. The 42009 - Mobile Crane Mk II counts 10 of them and the same goes for the 8285 - Tow Truck from 2006. The latter also had double wheels on both rear axles, but it only had two front wheels. CRANE AND OUTRIGGER LIFTARM BRACKET AND GEARRACK I'm not sure what the part names will be, but crane arm outside and crane arm center are used for similar parts in the City theme. I will stick to Liftarm Bracket and Gearrack. These two new parts are perfect for outriggers and crane sections, but I am eager to see what MOC-ers come up with. I do see an application for Mindstorms Robots or TC7 Contest entries. The red section, containing the gear rack, is 15L. The gear rack itself is 14L. CLAMSHELL BUCKET Two clamshell buckets are introduced in this set. After the Grabber Arm Claw, this is welcome addition for crane enthusiasts. PNEUMATIC V2 Save the best for last, the new Pneumatic parts! Some people like pneumatics, some people don't. Nonetheless, it's great that TLG hasn't abandoned Pneumatics in favor of Lineair Actuators. They have redesigned some of the existing parts and even designed brand new ones. Some people on this forum will be so thrilled with these new parts. The outlets of every element have been redesigned in a way that the hose will be easier to attach. This means the existing elements do have new moulds too. SMALL PNEUMATIC CYLINDER The Small Pneumatic Cylinder isn't a new part, but it has been redesigned with new outlets. On the right you can see a comparison between the old (right) and new (left) cylinder SMALL PNEUMATIC PUMP 6L Like the small cylinder, the Small Pneumatic Pump 6L has also been redesigned. And TLG has used blue again, instead of the Unimog pump, where they used grey. I do like the blue version better, although you will probably not clearly see the pump in the finished model. The right pictures shows the three different versions of the pump. NEW 2x2 11L PNEUMATIC CYLINDER The new 2x2 11L Cylinder is 4 studs longer than the old Pneumatic Cylinder. I wonder if TLG will release a new version for the 7L cylinder as well. The picture on the right shows the 7L (right) and new 11L cylinder (left). NEW 1x1 11L PNEUMATIC CYLINDER When you do need length, but not a lot of power this new 1x1 11L will perfectly fit your needs. PNEUMATIC SWITCH The new version of the switch is simply a redesign of the old Pneumatic Switch with modified outlets. The pictures on right shows the comparison. PART LIST The part list, spreading over 3 pages, counting 2793 parts. THE BUILD The build consists of 6 stages: Front-end of the chassis Outriggers and gearbox Rear-end of the chassis Crane Cabin Tipping bed STAGE 1: FRONT-END CHASSIS Bags: 4 Duration: 120 minutes You start by building the front section of the chassis, with a small part of the cabin. No new parts are introduced in this stage, except for some newish parts from 1H 2015 and 2014, like Pin and Pin Hole and 3L Axle Pin with 1L Axle. The Arocs has a 6 cylinders inline fake engine. Of course the piston will move when you drive the vehicle. Here's a picture of the actual engine, used in the new Arocs. New 6-cylinder in-line engines with a particularly robust design and a longer life. An 88003 - PF L Motor is placed behing the fake engine, facing backwards. This motor is connected to a gearbox, which we will build in the next stage. This single motor will power all the motorized functions. Below you see the first front axle, with suspension. The 9L Technic Link is used to steer the front wheels. The front suspension uses the yellow Hard Spring Shock Absorbers, resulting in pretty stiff suspension. When the assembly is connected to the chassis, the 9L Technic Link is connected to a pivot point. Rotating the pivot point will move the link back and forth causing the front wheels to steer. The second axle is connected to the chassis. This axle uses a 6L Technic Link for steering. Using different links results in different steering angles for both axles. I did notice a strange anomaly; the front axle does have 1L Round Pin Connectors, while the second axle doesn't. The leftover parts only show one extra?! The video below shows how the steering mechanism works. Make sure the 12 Teeth Bevel Gear on the right is placed properly. I placed the gear in the same position as the one on the left, resulting in one of the lights making the model steer to the left side when turned right, and vice versa. The two pictures below show the model after stage 1. The build is okay so far. The most interesting thing about this stage is obviously the steering mechanism, attached to the pendular suspension. The mechanism is unlike steering mechanisms found in other models, so this required some out of the box thinking. STAGE 2: OUTRIGGERS AND GEARBOX Bags: 2 Duration: 45 minutes The first step of the second stage starts with the new bracket and gear rack. The outriggers could easily have been designed without this new gear rack, but since TLG designed it for the crane (probably); why not use it here. The stabilizers on the outriggers are operated manually. It would have been great to have motorized pads too, but it's not a big deal. The two outriggers are linked together in opposite directions. The new parts provide a compact solution, but there are no fixed mounting points for the driving gears. The gearbox consists of two layers with gears. The lower part of the gear box contains the Pneumatic Pump, much like the one found in the Unimog. Two black 12T Bevel Gears are driving the gear racks. The upper layer of the gear box contains the white Clutch Gear. This gear prevents the motor from stalling and overheating when the end of a function has been reached. At the end of stage 2 the gearbox and outriggers are connected to the front-end of the chassis. The truck is slowly taking shape. At this stage I was still not 100% convinced what I would think of the complete model. STAGE 3: CHASSIS REAR-END Bags: 5 Duration: 135 minutes With 135 minutes, the second longest stage in the build. In this stage you will build the rear-end of the chassis, with suspension and drive train. Four Flexible Rubber Axles are used in the base of the chassis. I am not entirely sure why TLG used these parts, since you will lock the assembly using liftarms. Possibly, it's a construction used in the real Mercedes, or these parts will be used in the B-model. I would love to hear your thoughts. The tilting mechanism for the bed uses a Linear Actuator, instead of Pneumatics. I have made a mistake by placing two of the Pin Connectors in a wrong angle. Won't be the last error with these connectors. The Rear suspension on the real Mercedes is actually a leaf spring suspension. TLG is mimicking this suspension type, by using the relatively new Steering Arms found in the 42021 - Snow Mobile and 75060 - Slave 1. Picture of the real rear suspension. The steel suspension on the Arocs impresses in every situation with its robust, solid construction, high performance and loadability. Two differentials are linked together using a small turntable. Although being linked together, the two axles still have the ability to move independently. The model will have two live axles, linked together by a drive train through the small turntable. Live axle vs Dead axle A live axle is a type of beam axle in which the shaft (or shafts, since live axles, while connected to move as a single unit, are seldom one piece) also transmits power to the wheels; a beam axle that does not also transmit power is sometimes called a dead axle. While typically used in vehicles with Hotchkiss drive, this suspension system can also be used with other types of power transmission. Or, to quote Allanp, who was right again: The rear axles are a single unit (suspended by 4 springs) that pivots longitudinally to allow the two axles to twist independently from each other by means of a 28t turntable piece allowing full suspension and both rear axles to be connected to the engine whilst all fitting between the dual rear wheels. Simples! Here's a video showing the rear suspension and drive train. WARNING We've all been there, a model with two differentials and one of them is turning the wrong way. TLG has published an explicit warning in the building instructions. Pay attention to the position of the differentials! After building the rear-end of the chassis, you will be merging it to the front-end of the chassis. This was the point where I needed to move my camera backwards a lot. The model is growing big. Double rear wheels on both axles, suspension and two live axles is quit a feat, especially regarding the limited available space. For me this stage was the turning point in the build. From now on you actually see the impressiveness of the model. STAGE 4: CRANE Bags: 2 Duration: 120 minutes Only two bags are provided for this stage, but it still took me quite some time. Connecting the pneumatic hoses does take more time than simply adding connectors. This stage did offer a variety of new parts, like the Pneumatic V2, new Turntable and the two Clamhell Buckets. Pre-cut hoses are quite convenient. The instructions clearly show which length you will be needing. There's little difference between 216mm and 240mm so watch out. The new 60 Teeth Turntable is mounted on the base of the crane. It turns a lot smoother than the old version. TLG really nailed this one! Normally I build in my LEGO room, but this time I was building in the living room. I was building, combined with reading topics on Eurobricks. At that moment I was reading Drakmin's response in the Technic Photography topic. He stated that he'd like to see making of pictures, combined with the end result. This made me take the next picture, where you can see my working place. And as you can see, sometimes a LEGO model needs a little spicing up The bottom view of the crane shows lots of tubing, which will add difficulty when you connect the crane to the chassis. The tubing is touching one of the gears, so you need to push the hoses aside. There's quite some stress on the hoses, so it can be difficult to get everything into place. A lot of Pneumatic Hose Connectors are used to guide the various tubes alongside the jib and booms. Instead of using a single longer hose, the sections are linked together using these connectors. The picture below shows the complete crane assembly. Normally I am not the biggest fan of pneumatics or building the crane on a truck, but I had a lot of fun building this one. Not sure why, but the size of the crane is very impressive and the techniques/parts used are pretty cool. STAGE 5: CAB Bags: 6 Duration: 150 minutes Stage 5 is the longest stage in the build. And it's probably the most rewarding, since you will see the truck come to life. You start by building the front bumper. The rear view shows how the slanting grill is achieved. The name Kossmann is clearly visible on the plate, making no mistake that Markus Kossmann designed this model. The front bumper is connected to the chassis by simply using connectors. The axles with the gears are sliding into the 7L liftarm, keeping them in place. At this point the chassis with crane is mostly done. You only need to add the rear bumper, before you can start building the cabin. The cabin grill is comprised of lots of Perpendicular Double Split Axle and Pin Connectors. I really like the design of the seats, because of its simplicity. The printed Mercedes logo adds a lot of value to the cabin. Here you can see another mistake I made with the pin connector. No way the steering wheel will fit like this. The Mercedes introduces two new white panels. They are used as "cab side edge turning vanes", which improve aerodynamics. There was some discussion about the looks of the cabin, but seeing it in real life, I can only draw a single conclusion; this cabins is one of the most beautiful cabins LEGO has ever designed/released. The front view is stunning! Here you can clearly see that I accidentally moved the head rests and didn't return them to the proper position. You will see this discrepancy returning in multiple photo's. I found a mistake in the manual, which can be somewhat confusing. I didn't look at the image when connecting the cab to the chassis, but when I did take a look when I was shooting pictures, I noticed this small flaw. The circle with the arrow, doesn't match the outlined image on the right. The circle with the arrow needs to be placed lower than its current position. Here you can see the tilting mechanism on the actual model. Front view of the cabin and grill. It does make you wonder whether this could have been the right moment to introduce a Dark Bluish Grey 11x3 Curved Panel. The front is instantly recognizable as a Mercedes. Obviously the Mercedes emblem helps a lot, but without the star it would have been clear too. At first I wasn't too happy with the white and dark bluish grey color scheme, but seeing it in real life makes a world of difference. Here's a picture of the actual cabin. The main difference is that the LEGO version only has three bars, instead of 4. I can live with this. The bottom front section of the cabin seems to be some sort of metal, so maybe Markus was right by using the light bluish grey panel. The radiator grille designed in a bucket tooth look lends the Arocs a striking, unmistakeable face and underlines its power and robustness. The leftover parts, I forgot to add to the previous shot. STEP 6: TIPPING BED Bags: 2 Duration: 30 minutes This is by far the easiest stage of the build, consisting of mainly grey panels and liftarms. The intersection shows the simple construction of the tilting bed. The finished bed looks....well uhhmm grey. A cool thing about the tipping bed is the lock at the end. This locks the tailgate of the bed to prevent cargo falling out. FINISHED MODEL After 10 hours of building the model is finally finished! I reckon most of you will do this in 8 hours (or less), if you don't rush the build. Markus delivered a great looking model, which is even more impressive in real life, than in pictures. As you can see in the picture below, there is quite some strain on the base of the crane assembly, where the pneumatic switches are mounted. Some of the hoses at the base can probably be cut a little shorter, to save space. BOTTOM VIEW The bottom view shows the entire chassis, with suspension, steering and drive train. Some of you said the wheels are too small and there's too much space between the wheels and the arches. Looking at pictures of the real Arcos, the second front arch, could have been placed a stud lower. Those minor details set aside, the finished model resembles the Arocs a lot! Even the rear view gives you the feeling you are looking at a real truck. With extended outriggers and stabilizers and operating the crane. I forgot to put the wheel chocks between the rear wheels for extra safety. My reviews always contain pictures taken in a photo studio. Unfortunately, this doesn't do this model real justice. That's why I left my comfort zone and went out to shoot some pictures at a local construction site. A friend of mine is the manager of the site and he happens to be building his own new house over there as well. There's no better excuse to take the Mercedes for a drive in his natural habitat. And while we are at it, why not let the Volvo tag along for the ride. FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS This set has quite a few features and functions. Controlling them is done by a combination of using the L-motor as a pump for the Pneumatic functions or by switching it to control three other functions. Switching is done by moving the levers on either side of the model. Reversing the function is done by the switch on the battery box. In the beginning this can be quite confusing. Since you are used to using a lever to switch between back and forth, I ended up switching between functions, instead of reversing the current function. MOTORIZED FUNCTIONS The Mercedes uses a single L-motor to motorize 4 functions: Rotating the crane Extending/retracting the outriggers Tilting the bed Compressor pump PNEUMATIC FUNCTIONS When the motor is driving the compressor, again 4 functions can be operated (as shown in the two images above): Opening and closing the bucket(s) Lowering/raising lower boom section Lowering/raising upper boom section Extending/retracting the jib MANUAL FUNCTIONS There are also quite some manual functions on this model: HoG Steering Tilting cabin Working fake enginge Wheel chocks Opening doors Stabilizers Tailgate tilting bed lock FEATURES Below is a list of the most important features: Double wheels on both rear axles Leaf sprung suspension on rear axles Two live rear axles Independant pendular suspension on front wheels OPERATING THE FUNCTIONS The long list of functions and features is great, but the most important question is "do they work properly?". Operaring the functions takes a little getting used to. Maybe it's just me, but I tend to get confused on whether to move the switch on the battery box or the lever on the side. For example; when you extend the outriggers and you want to retract them, you need to switch the battery box, instead of the lever, resulting in rotating the crane. Actually, I know that I am not the only one, since the guy demonstrating the model, didn't quite get it right too. Of course, after making the same mistake several times, you get used to it It helps a lot when you manage to use the right switches and levers. All the motorized functions work perfectly. The pneumatic functions do work a lot better than the crane on the Unimog, with a side note that movement can be a bit jerky sometimes. This is caused by gravity or strain on the pneumatic hoses. Besided the incidental jerky movement, you can actually fully operate the crane, which is something you'd expect from a flagship like this. Before we go any further, let's take a look at a video I shot demonstrating the functions: The video seems to be slightly out of focus. Sorry for that. As you can see in the video, I still need to find my way around the functions. The jerky and sometimes slow movement of the pneumatic functions is also visible. However, I still think the crane is as good as you will get using LEGO and Pneumatics. Lifting the entire crane simply requires a lot of power. All in all I am very pleased with the playability of the model. Here's an extra image, showing the truck with the cabin and bed tilted. B-MODEL Since the building instructions are not available yet, I couldn't build the B-model. This appears to be a Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845, as you can see on the back of the box. The cabin has more or less the same design, but the chassis is different. SUMMARY Here we are, at the end of this review. The main question I posed at the beginning of this review "Is this set better than the Unimog?" can be answered with a loud "Yes!". Your milage may vary, but the pneumatic crane is more advanced and it is working better than the one on the Unimog. There's no problem with the model leaning to one side and steering, although not perfect on this model either, works better than the Unimog. Which brings us to the obvious next question. Is this set also better than the 8258 - Crane Truck? The 8258 is absolutely a fantastic set (probably the most highly acclaimed truck to date), but to be honest; I think the Mercedes just kicked it from the throne. Without stickers, the 8258 doesn't look nearly as good as the Mercedes. Add the ongoing list of functions to the mix and the only possible conclusion is; the Mercedes is the best LEGO Technic Truck TLG has ever released. Aren't there any negative remarks? Of course there are, but they are minor. Because the steering mechanism uses more gears than usual, there's more torsional strain on the axles. Pneumatic control of the crane can be a bit jerky or slow. There are a lot of hoses between the switches and underneath the base of the crane, which requires applying some force when you attach it to the chassis. You also need to be mindful that the gear on the chassis doesn't touch one of the hoses. Here's a complete list with Pros and Cons: PROS The model looks awesome Biggest Technic set to date New Pneumatic (V2) parts 4 Motorized functions 4 Pneumatic functions The crane actually works Double wheels on rear axles Leaf sprung rear suspension Pendular front suspension CONS Steering causes torsional strain on axles Pneumatic controls can be a bit jerky (or slow) Lots of hoses underneath the base of the crane The last question I need to ask myself, is this set better than the Volvo L350F or the 8043 - Motorized Excavator? I'm not sure about that, but I will conclude this review by saying that the Mercedes did land a spot in my Top-3. SCORE How do I grade this set? 9 DESIGN Resembles the real deal a lot. 9 BUILDING EXPERIENCE The model grew on me during the build. 9 FEATURES Packs a ton of features. 9 PLAYABILITY The model offers lots of playability 9 PARTS Pneumatics V2 and lots of other interesting parts. 9 VALUE FOR MONEY You get a lot of Mercedes for your money. 9 BEST TRUCK TO DATE Thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions! More pictures can be found on my Flickr page. FINAL WORDS For those of you who are interested, I have tracked the time working on this review. I ended up putting around 35 hours in it, divided over: 2 hours of unboxing and taking pictures of contents 10 hours of building 3 hours of photo processing 18 hours writing the review 2 hours on construction site
  3. I never imagined I would say this, but as of today I am the proud owner of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. How cool is that?! Waiting for this set to arrive seemed to take ages, so I was definitely on cloud nine when the set finally arrived. The 911 is one of the oldest sports cars on the market. It's lineage dates back to 1963, which is quite impressive! Since the production of the 911 there have been lots of different versions, like the Carrera, Carrera S, Targa, Turbo, R, GT1, GT2, GT2 RS, GT3 and GT3 RS. The GT3 RS can be easily recognized by the race-inspired inlets in the front wheel arches. Due to legislation there's a grill in the inlets. It can be removed during track days, which will improve the downforce. The LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS is a 1:8 scale model and is 17 cm high, 57 cm long, and 25 cm wide. It has been designed by Andrew Woodman and Uwe Wabra. When TLG started the initial drafts in 2013, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS project remained top secret. Therefore TLG had to build the first LEGO version using photos of the camouflaged prototype of the original from the internet. The first LEGO prototype was ready in a matter of weeks. Like every sports car with the Porsche emblem on the hood, the LEGO version of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS also combines design, performance, and functionality. Still concealed in black-and-white foil as a mystery model at the Nuremberg toy fair late January, the color of the characteristic bodywork has now been revealed and shines in bright orange. Thus, it corresponds to the special coating of the original sports car in lava orange authentically. With the right skills you can get the GT3 RS around the Nürburgring in 7 minutes and 20 seconds. Factory driver Brendon Hartley took it for a spin on the Nardo circuit in Italy. The video can be found here. When you talk about a genuine sports car, you immediately talk about performance, which is pretty impressive, to say the least. Let's take a look at the specs: Horsepower: 368 kW or 500 pk (at 8.250 rpm) 0 - 100 km/h: 3,3 sec 0 - 200 km/h: 10,9 sec Top Track Speed: 310 km/h or 193 mph Price: around 250.000 euro (no extras, Dutch price) If you are interested in buying (or configuring) your own 911 GT3 RS, you can click here and indulge yourself. Instead of buying or configuring we will be building a Porsche 911 GT3 RS today. That's something not a lot of people could say, until now! Although I must admit that even though this version is a fraction of the price of the real car, it still has a pretty heavy price tag. Forking out 300 euros for a collection of ABS isn't something everyone will understand. Before we start I like to point out some of the questions which have arisen. For example; why is this set rated 16+ while the Mercedes is 12-16 year? Is the price tag of 300 euros justified? Does this model replicate some of the real world mechanics? Does the luxury packaging add any value to this set? These are just some of the questions I will be answering in this review. This review will have a different setup than my regular reviews. Since this sets focuses on the entire experience instead of the model alone, I will try to share this experience in my review. Instead of opening the box, discussing the parts and taking you through the build, like I usually do, I like to focus on the different aspects of the set and model. When it comes to the model, I will try to compare it with it's real life counterpart. TLG made a teaser for this set using the word Ultimate. There will be little discussion about the real Porsche's association with this word. But will it's LEGO counterpart live up to the expectations?! I think it's time to move onto the interesting part and find out whether this LEGO Technic set also deserves the predicate Ultimate. PICTURES Pictures can be clicked to view hi-res versions. More pictures can be found in my Flickr album. DISCLAIMER This set has been provided by the CEE Team of TLG. It's not my goal to promote this set. It's my goal to give you an honest opinion about it. Therefor, the opinion in this review is my own and is in no way linked to TLG. Number: 42056 Title: Porsche 911 GT3 RS Theme: Technic Released: 2016 Part Count: 2704 Box Weight: 4,8 kg (approx) Box Dimensions: 47,1 cm x 37,3 cm x 14,7 Set Price (MSRP): € 300 Price per Part: € 0,111 Links: Brickset, Bricklink Will this be a Limited Edition set? No, it will be as limited as other Technic sets. Which is also stated in the press release: The exclusive LEGO set of the exceptional sports car, which has been developed in close conjunction with Porsche AG, will initially be available at from June 1st, 2016, as well as in the 13 LEGO stores throughout Germany and Austria. It will be available in other stores from August 1st, 2016. This means that when you are reading this review, the set is already available, which is usually not the case with other Technic sets. The box is a key feature of this set. Instead of a regular Technic box, this set is packaged like the 41999 - Crawler Exclusive Edition. The term Exclusive indicates that we are dealing with a special set, which is obviously the case for the Porsche as well. The following question (asked by JGW3000) is more than justified: Since the box presentation is a key feature of this set, perhaps Jim can comment on packaging and outer packing used to protect the box, so we can determine if we should go to a LEGO store or risk mail order in order to purchase this. In my Review of the 42043 - Mercedes Arocs I explained that my box was severely damaged. Obviously that's something you don't want to happen when you are buying a 300 euro Ultimate LEGO Technic set, with exclusive packaging. Lo and behold; the box arrived in pristine condition. The set box snugly fits inside the outer box, which avoids taking damage too easily. I am very pleased with the condition my set arrived in. I don't think getting the set in a physical store will guarantee a better condition. Thumbs up for shipping it this way. I hereby present, the Porsche 911 GT3 a box! It's way more luxurious than a regular LEGO box. Black and orange obviously work very well together. The bright color, combined with some post-crop vignetting really makes the Porsche stand out. I can honestly say that the box makes you anxious to open it. A LEGO box has seldomly made me feel more exhilarated before opening it. This is definitely a plus. This box is pretty big and feels massive. Since it's filled with additional boxes it feels very sturdy and doesn't dent easily. Since it's filled to the brim, the box isn't much larger than the box of the 41999. The width and height are the same. It's a bit deeper though, which can be seen in the image below. FRONT SIDE The front side of the box shows the model itself, along with the Porsche emblem and the set information. In case you are wondering what the 18 means in the upper right corner; that's not 18, but 1:8, the approximate scale of the model. It also states that this set is 16+, which is rather unusual. Hopefully we can answer Allanp's question at the end of this review: What makes this set carry the 16+ symbol? It isn't the largest or the most complex set to date, so why the 16+ age thing? BACK SIDE The backside of the box shows a top down view picture of the Porsche, along with four key features (interior, suspension, engine, upholstery). INSIDE The reason the box feels so sturdy is that it is literally filled to the brim. I can't think of any other Technic set which was filled like this. In the old days TLG used an inlay, but they never entirely filled a box like they did now. Showing the rims instead of packing them inside the box is a nice touch. The way the book and rims are being presented, is an indication that you are in for a treat. Another bonus is visible on the inside of the cover. It shows the history of the 911 from the original 911 (911) to the 2011 911 (991). The box contains: 1 x Book 1 x Sticker sheet 4 x Box with parts 1 x Box with rims and tires Each of the smaller boxes depicts what you will be building during that phase. I sure hope we will be building more than just an engine, seats, hood and a spoiler After discussing the box, the book definitely needs our attention. It's presented as the center piece of the contents and it's an absolute eye-catcher. The book packs a whopping 580 pages (including the front and back cover), which is unprecedented (not having seen the 2016 2H BWE instruction manual). Being designed as a coffee table book, it doesn't simply provide the building instructions. It also contains an abundance of historic information about the Porsche 911 and of it's LEGO counterpart's design process. Comments have been made that this book makes the set more expensive, which is debatable. Around 40 pages have been devoted to this additional information, which boils down to around 7% of the book. Maybe I'm simplifying the calculation, but this means this book can't be more than 7% more expensive than regular instructions would have cost. While we are on the subject of a coffee table book, TLG could have gone the extra mile and provide a hardcover book. This surely would have increased the costs, but you would get something in return. I'm not saying they should have, I'm saying they could have. Personally I think this book is fine, since it only contains about 7% additional information (concentrated at the beginning). It would have been a different case, if it contained more information throughout the book. Riffling through some pages of the book, we even see the previously mentioned Brendon Hartley making an appearance (top right image). The first step in the construction of your 911 GT3 RS is to build the drivetrain, complete with dual clutch gearbox (PDK), paddle shifters, suspension and the heart of the 911 GT3 RS, the 4.0 flat 6 engine. When you have completed all the steps in box 1 you will be able to test out all the functions and see how they work. Reading this means we are working on the fun part of the vehicle. Which immediately raises the question; is all the functionality of the car built during this phase? The first box contains 11 numbered bags. It even contains the new fender pieces, two printed and four unprinted. Will we be using these already in the first phase? Below are two images showing the new (and orange) parts contained in the first box. New pieces are the orange fender pieces, flex axles, the 3L axle with stop (color coded brown), new wheel hubs, changeover catches, suspension with red finish, panels and a tile with a unique code (supposedly to unlock online content). Instead of taking you through the build, I will discuss the different technical aspects of the real vehicle and compare them to it's LEGO counterpart. The single most interesting part about this set is the gearbox, which you start building early on. The picture below shows where the lever, to change the selected gear mode (Drive, Neutral or Reverse), will be placed (between the two blue 3L pins). As you can see, selecting Reverse simply changes the direction of the gears. Does this mean we have the same number of gears in Reverse as we have in Drive? Yes, it does! It’s the year 1983. In the new 956 Group C racing car, Porsche is putting a double-clutch transmission – Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) – through the rigors of motorsport for the first time. PDK offers a crucial advantage: the driver can keep the accelerator pedal depressed and change gear easily by using buttons on the steering wheel, even in the corners. This is how it works. PDK is essentially two gearboxes in one and thus requires two clutches. This double-clutch arrangement provides an alternating, non-positive connection between the two half gearboxes and the engine by means of two separate input shafts. During a gear change, therefore, one clutch simply opens and the other closes at the same time, enabling gear changes to take place within milliseconds. Highly responsive and particularly sporty. More information can be found here In the picture below we can see how TLG implemented the double clutch mechanism. There's a clutch at the top and one at the bottom. This is obviously a simplified interpretation of the real PDK. How about making your own four wheel drive Porsche? Does the transmission have an output that could be sent to the front easily, like 8448's (asked by Lego Nerd)? The red changeover catch is probably placed for stability (you will connect a liftarm to it later on), but it also provides a possibility to turn this into a 4WD car. Of course, you would need two additional differentials, one between the front wheels, and one in the gearbox between the front and rear axles. What's the point of having clutch gear inside all this? (asked by Allanp) Unlike in a real car, there's no stop after the highest or lowest gear, meaning that you can switch the car from 4th to 1st gear and from 1st back to 4th. That's one of the reasons the clutch gear is used, since the axles/gearbox will generate a lot of resistance/strain at some point. Another reason is that it's there to prevent possible damage to the gears if two speeds get temporarily engaged at the same time while rolling it. Or possibly if rolling in neutral and engaging drive while in first gear. Here's a video of the gear changing sequence. I have temporarily attached an axle to demonstrate the gearbox. Obviously you will not be shifting gears by turning a gear. You will be shifting this car, using the flappy paddle gearbox! How cool is that! The paddles are integrated in the steering assembly, which is shown below. The right paddle shifts the car into a higher gear, while the left one switches down. Here you can see the steering and shifting assembly attached to the chassis. The video below demonstrates shifting with the flappy paddles. Bear in mind that the subassembly is not yet properly secured, so there's some movement, which will be gone when the chassis has been finished. How am I supposed to shift gears by the way? As you can see there's no convenient position to operate the paddles. You need to grab the bushes and elastic bands to operate the gearbox. I can hardly imagine there's no better solution for this. Extending the axle by 1L would probably have done the trick. This feels somewhat cumbersome. The best solution would have been to design custom flappy paddles, but I understand this decision can't be taken lightly. What I don't understand is that TLG didn't provide an extra set of elastic bands. The bands will wear out after a few years on the shelf, rendering them useless. Providing a spare set would have been a nice gesture. Onto a more delicate matter. Some of you might have heard or read the rumors about this set being potentially flawed. Before jumping to conclusions, let's take look at the supposed flaws of the gearbox. First of all, the gear sequence is incorrect. Instead of switching from 1st to 2nd to 3rd to 4th, it's shifting from 1st to 3rd to 2nd to 4th. Say what?! I talked to Paul (Boratko, Crowkillers) about this possible issue, and without seeing any picture he immediately figured out that some of the gears must have been switched. As it turns out, there's indeed a mistake in the building instructions, or in the design, but I reckon it's not the latter. The video below demonstrates the incorrect sequence: I can (more or less) understand why this mistake has been made. What I can't understand is that this has not been caught before production. Quality control guys most likely aren't petrol heads, like some of the AFOLs. Let's take a look at what's wrong. On the left you will see the assembly when you follow the building instructions. On the right you see how it needs to be built. The grey 16T Gear and the black 12T Double Bevel Gear need to switch sides. the center gears are placed correctly. Here's a short video of how to apply the fix. The mistake has been made on page 267, 268 and 269 of the manual. So make sure to apply this fix when you reach that stage. After this fix, the sequence of the gearbox has been corrected. The gearbox is now shifting in the proper sequence, which can be seen in the following video: So it's all good now?! Well, not exactly. There's an even more pressing matter which we need to discuss. Occasionally the gearbox seems to stall completely. Take a look at the video and see what happens: Since you are not supposed to hook up a motor near the fake engine, the white clutch gear can't do it's job to prevent stalling. However, the main question is; why does the gearbox stall completely? And why does it stall so often? One of the reasons can be that the fins on the new red driving rings are slightly too thick. This will increase the change of the gears getting stuck. However, it happens quite often so I am not sure whether this is the case. The majority of the people building this set will probably never notice this flaw, since the clutch gear will hide the gearbox issues. But this set being The Ultimate, you'd expect the gearbox to function properly. The gearbox being the single most important technical function in the car, I am baffled by the fact that the mistake in the building instruction has not been caught, and that the actual gearbox itself seems to be flawed. Next time TLG better contact Paul before releasing another supercar This issue has been communicated to TLG, so let's wait for them to come with an official statement. Comparing the Porsche to the 42039 - 24 Hours Race Car we can see that the width from the end of the wishbones (where the ball joints connect) is 23L versus 19L. The Porsche itself is actually 4 studs wider than the 42039, two on each side. Compared to the steering assembly of the 42039. You notice the gear rack is much smaller, yet the turning radius is better. Two of half pins are limiting the turning radius of the Porsche. Removing them will slightly improve the radius, but the wheels might slightly touch the inside of the chassis, especially when the suspension is compressed. Here you can see the steering linkage, a pretty straightforward mechanism. Fitted as standard, the new rear axle steering with sport tuning combines performance and everyday driveability. An electromechanical adjustment system at each rear wheel enables the steering angle to be adapted based on the current driving situation, steering input and vehicle speed. The advantage for day-to-day driving: during low-speed maneuvers, the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to that of the front wheels. This has the virtual effect of shortening the wheelbase. The turning circle is reduced to make it easier to park. The advantage for sporty driving: during high-speed maneuvers, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as that of the front wheels. Driving stability is increased by the virtual extension of the wheelbase and agility is enhanced by the simultaneous steering of the front and rear axles, especially during overtaking maneuvers on the racetrack. One of the coolest feature about the real 911 GT3 RS is the fact that it has rear axle steering. It even alternates between steering modes! At low speed it counter steers (to improve the turning radius) and at high speed it steers in the same direction (to increase driving stability). That's so incredibly cool. And it's definitely something we expect to see in The Ultimate supercar TLG is releasing. Unfortunately they haven't. I am very disappointed to conclude that there's no real axle steering at all. Not even counter steering rear wheels, which would have sufficed. Obviously having both modes would be super duper awesome, but at least give us the counter steering mode. Not sure why TLG hasn't implemented this feature. They might have felt the need to do both of them. But omitting rear axle steering altogether is a huge letdown for me. RECTIFICATION I need to rectify something. According to this interview on the Top Gear site, Porsche vetoed the inclusion of the rearsteer. Obviously Uwe was able to recreate this mechanism. Makes you wonder why it wasn't included. This electronic active damping system offers continuous adjustment of the damping force on each wheel based on the current driving situation and your driving style. At the press of a button, you can select between two different modes. ‘Normal’ mode is designed for sporty driving on public roads and on wet racetracks. ‘Sport’ mode is specially tuned for maximum lateral acceleration and offers the best possible traction on the track. To continue with cool features, or letdowns, the 911 GT3 RS has, what's called PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management). This basically boils down to ride hight adjustment, which is another potential cool feature to incorporate into the model. Unfortunately, like the rear axle steering, this feature has been omitted too. The engine of the new 911 GT3 RS sits just above the tarmac. At the rear end, of course. With its low center of gravity, it was predestined for motorsport. Indeed, this water-cooled six-cylinder unit with four valves per cylinder, VarioCam and dry-sump lubrication with a separate engine oil tank could not be more ideally equipped for its role. The engine draws its power from a capacity of 4.0 liters. This equates to a power output per liter of 92 kW (125 hp), and acceleration that simply knows no limits: the sprint from 0 to 60 mph is completed in a mere 3.1 seconds. The real Porsche has been fitted with a 4.0 liter 6-cylinder boxer engine, while its LEGO counterpart is fitted with a flat 6 engine. The difference between a boxer and a flat engine, is the movement of the pistons. The boxer engine has horizontally opposed pistons (when one piston moves in, the opposite piston moves out), while the flat engine has pistons on each side moving in and out simultaneously. More information about flat engines can be found here. Edit: Techniccrack pointed out that it's exactly the other way around. So the boxer engine has pistons moving in and out simultaneously. Thanks for pointing this out. While the engine in the LEGO version isn't realistically correct, I certainly don't mind TLG choosing this solution. It would have been cool to see new engine parts, but it's perfectly understandable that TLG used the currently available parts. After 323 steps (of 856) you have finished 38% of the model, resulting in the chassis. If there's no additional technical functionality (which seems that way) this means that 62% of the build consists of adding body and interior parts. Constructing the gearbox is interesting, but the overall build of the chassis is a bit underwhelming. The engine has been completely covered by panels and other parts, which is true to the original Porsche. But it does prevent you from seeing the pistons move at different speeds when shifting gears. The calipers are looking rather rectangular. Makes you wonder if it would have been better to use black parts combined with a rounded sticker. This would have reflected the actual shape better. Another option would be to create a custom part, but we obviously TLG can't keep designing new parts. It's cool that they included the calipers in the first place. The rear side has double shock absorbers, while the front uses a single absorber (per side). The back of the car is very heavy compared to the front, so this is good decision. Another aspect which has been discussed is the color vomit in the interior. I don't really mind using colors in the interior (like UCS Star Wars sets), as long as the different colors aren't clearly visible. Clearly visible are the blue pins (especially two of them in the gear box (D/N/R selector). Shouldn't these pins be black? More on this later. During production of the real 911 GT3 RS there is a stage called 'the marriage', where the drivetrain is connected to the body of the car. In this box you build the floor plan of the 911 GT3 RS, complete with seats and roll cage, before placing it over the drivetrain in a similar way to the production of the real 911 GT3 RS. The second box contains 9 numbered bags. The orange parts, including a 11L liftarm and axle connectors, which I already spotted in the Maze set. For me this was an indication that the Porsche would be released in Orange. The floor plan of the car is built separately from the car, in a modular fashion. Note that the body can't be easily detached from the chassis after completing the model, so it's not a real modular build. Here's a video demonstrating the marriage: After the marriage, and adding the seats, the car looks like this. At this stage you have completed 531 steps (of 856) or 62%. I really enjoyed building the second box. Placing the floor plan over the drivetrain is gives you a sense of building a real car. Clearly visible is the roll cage behind the seats. In box 3 you start to assemble the body of your 911 GT3 RS. Starting with the rear of the car and then onto the build of the iconic hood, now with distinctive shaping. Then it's the roof, again with distinctive shaping indicating the lightweight magnesium design only found on the newest 911 GT3 RS. The third box contains 4 numbered bags. Since you will be building the body, this box mainly contains an abundance of orange parts, including lots of panels. This set contains the full range of available panels in orange, except the 5x11 Panel. If I counted correctly this set contains 31 black, 59 orange and 2 grey panels, resulting in a grand total of 92 panels! It also includes 18 frames, which is quite a lot. At the end of box 3 you have finished 79% of the car (679 of 856). It is starting to look like a real Porsche! I absolutely love the new-ish 13x3 Curved Panels. They work really well on this model. Thumbs up for the part designer who designed this part! Now you build the front before adding the distinctive wheel arches with air outlets only found on the 911 GT3 RS. Next you add the massive, motorsport inspired, adjustable rear wing before finishing off your 911 GT3 RS by adding the doors and the exclusive wheels. Like box 3, this box also contains 4 numbered bags. Also containing mostly orange parts and panels. This leaves us with a finished car...okay, almost finished. Next stop, wheels & tires. 20 inches at the front axle, 21 inches at the rear axle. For a wheel size combination, that’s a first in the 911 model range. The larger footprint makes another improvement to dynamic performance. The wheels are made from a forged alloy and feature a platinum-colored paint finish. The central locking device bearing the ‘RS’ logo is derived from motorsport. Compared with the conventional five-bolt wheel connection, it offers enhanced performance thanks to the reduction in rotating masses. And, of course, it ensures a faster wheel change, which is vital when you’re in the pit and the clock is ticking. The tire sizes on the new 911 GT3 RS are nothing short of impressive: 265/35 ZR 20 on 9.5 J x 20 at the front, 325/30 ZR 21 on 12.5 J x 21 at the rear. The last box contains the rims and tires (stored inside the box). As you can see the LEGO wheels have the same size for both the front and the rear wheels. I think this is a perfectly understandable choice. Different sizes would have been hardly noticeable, but it would have added significant costs. Great thing about these rims is, that they are custom designed rims for the GT3 RS. Another great technical specification is that the offset inside the rims reflects the real rims, resulting in a better steering geometry. The printed RS emblems on the 1x1 tile add a nice touch. What size of construction can fit inside the new wheels for when making custom steering and suspension geometries? 5x3? 7x3? 7x5? How deep are they? (asked by Allanp) Can you tell me if they fit on the portal hubs? (asked by Zblj) Hopefully the following images will answer both questions. The portal hub is touching the rims, so it's not possible to fit them without spacers. The image below shows how far the frame is protruding from the rim. Let's talk rims and tires! From left to right (links to Bricklink for easy reference): 42039 - 24 Hours Race Car (and 10 others) 42000 - Grand Prix Racer or 8146 - Nitro Muscle 42056 - Porsche 911 GT3 RS 8674 - Ferrari F1 Racer 1:8 42030 - Volvo L350F or 8110 - Unimog or 76023 - Tumbler 8466 - 4x4 Off Roader or 5659 - Power Puller This picture shows which wheels will fit nicely under the new wheel arch panels. Front view of all the rims. As you can see the Ferrari F1 tires are slightly wider and almost the same height. The Ferrari tires have a slightly higher profile than the Porsche tires. Hopefully this image will give you some reference as to how the different rims compare to each other. This clearly shows the depth of the different rims. After adding the wheels, you have finished your very own Porsche 911 GT3 RS! Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the looks of this car. It sure is a 911 GT3 RS, no doubt about it. I have read some criticism that the car doesn't look good from certain angles. I beg to differ. Taking in account that we are still talking about a LEGO model, I think this car looks magnificent. There's a gap between the headlights and bumper, which people have complained about. Admittedly, it would have looked better when the transparent dishes would be positioned half a stud deeper and half a stud lower, but I'm not too bothered with it. Here are several pictures showing how the model will look after approximately 10 hours of building time. I love the front view of the car, with the black gear racks in the front bumper/spoiler. And I love how the hood worked out, but that's because I love them curved panels Back of the car looks pretty decent too, although I am not really sure about the rear lights. On the other hand; these kind of shapes are hard to capture in a Technic model. EXTRA FEATURES We have spoken about the technical functions of this model, but obviously there are some extra features as well. These are depicted in the picture below: Open hood/bonnet Open trunk/boot Open doors Adjusting the spoiler (regulate downforce) A bag for storing your racing gear COLORS Take a look at the image below to see some of the color choices TLG has made. What's catching our eye, is that the decision has been made to use a Black 2L axle in the door handle, instead of the usual red one. Kudos for TLG! However, in the rear wheel arch they used a tan frictionless pin and a blue friction pin. Maybe I am missing something, but why did TLG use the tan frictionless pin?! There are no rotating parts in that assembly? Furthermore; wouldn't it have been a great opportunity to use black 3L friction pins throughout the model. This would acknowledge the fact that it's a 16+ set and it would have made bodywork look way better. This would also solve the blue gearbox pins issue. And while we're at it, throw in black axle pins, as the icing on the cake. I understand the regular color policy, but this set being a 16+ set, and the Ultimate, and blabla, catch my drift. 16+ AGE INDICATION This is the right moment to continue the discussion about the 16+ age indication. Asked by Allanp: What makes this set carry the 16+ symbol? It isn't the largest or the most complex set to date, so why the 16+ age thing? To be honest; I am not entirely sure. The build isn't that complex to justify the 16+ indication. My best guess it has something to do with the set being more of a display set than a play set. If it were a real 16+ set, all axles and pins would have been black and the instructions would have had a lot less steps. There's probably a good reason for it, but at the moment I can't explain why this set it 16+. COMPARISON WITH 42039 The picture below shows a comparison with the 42039 - 24 Hours Race car. While it's only 4L wider, you can see it's much longer. The next two pictures show the entire bill of material. A lot of discussion has been going on about the price. It is pretty steep, there's no denying that. But does this set justify spending 300 euros? I have tried to come up with a fair calculation, without any prejudice. Basically it's the same car as the 42039 (24 Hours Race Car), only bigger. Meaning it doesn't have Power Functions, Electronics or Pneumatics. Nor does it have an abundance of very special parts (some new molds and colors, which I will account for later). Both cars use lots of panels to make them look nice (don't get me wrong, I love panels). In my opinion a comparison with the 42039 is justified. I can even add the 42000 Grand Prix Racer to the equation. Also a car, more or less same scale as the Porsche, no Power Functions, Pneumatics, whatsoever. So let's do the math. The 24 Hours Race Car has an MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of 100 euro (same goes for the 42000). The Porsche has an MSRP of 300 euro, which makes it three times more expensive. The 42039 has 1219 parts (1141 for the Grand Prix Racer), so the Porsche should have around 3657 (or 3423 parts). Let's take the average, round it down and make it 3500 parts. 3500 versus 2704 parts. Something doesn't add up. Why am I missing around 800 parts?! Based on the 42039 and 42000, a Technic set like this should end up with a price per part around 8,5 cents (the average of 8,2 and 8,8 cents). Meaning the Porsche should have cost around 230 euro, but it doesn't. So, the conclusion of this little calculation is that you are paying 70 euro for added value. What can be considered added value? A nice book, special box (and packaging), new rims, and an official Porsche license. I don't think that counting the book as added value is fair, since any set of around 3000 parts will have a pretty thick book. The book actually contains around 40 pages without instructions. So around 7% percent of the book is added value. This seems negligible when it comes to printing costs. This leaves you with the box (including extra packaging) and the license. We've probably all seen the video where you see the packaging process, which is mostly done manually. Let's say the box and extra packaging adds another 10 euro. Still 60 euro to allot. For those of you who haven't seen the video; LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS Sneak Peek from LEGO Factory in Kladno: Some new molds have been created (rims, fenders, panels) and a lot of parts in orange for the first time. Imagine this this eats up another 10 euro per set. This leaves you with 50 euros for the Porsche license. Maybe I underestimate the new rims/molds, booklet or packaging. That could very well be the case. But it's a fact that this model is relatively more expensive than the 42039 or 42000. Simple mathematics, no more, no less. I'll let you decide whether the added value is worth paying the extra bucks Almost at the end of my review, it's time to summarize how I feel about this set. Usually I am not overly critical. I acknowledge the fact that at the end of the day, LEGO is a toy. However, this is a different ball game. Being a 16+ set and TLG calling it The Ultimate made it clear that this set means serious business. UCS TECHNIC First of all I am really pleased to see TLG venturing into the Technic realms of what's commonly referred to as Ultimate Collector Series in the Star Wars theme. We've seen hints about this being the first in a new series, so I surely hope to see more models like the Porsche. UNBOXING EXPERIENCE When the set arrived I was on cloud nine. This is more than your run of the mill Technic set, so I was really excited to get building. This excitement continued during the unboxing phase. The box has a deluxe appearance and it's filled with nicely packed goodies. All in black and orange, which absolutely looks stunning. THE BOOK The books which has been included contains some cool additional information about the Porsche. Mainly before the start of the build though. The vast majority contains building instructions. Being a coffee table book, a hardcover would have been cool. It's no biggie that it's not though. THE BUILD The technical part of the build is concentrated in the first box, meaning that after 38% of the build you are done with the functional parts, leaving 62% of the build adding cosmetics. This is somewhat underwhelming. I really enjoyed 'the marriage' phase though, which gives you the feeling that you are actually building a car. TECHNICAL FEATURES Unfortunately, when it comes to technical accuracy there's a lot left to be desired. No active suspension management or rear axle steering. So two of the most interesting potential features have been omitted. Being the Ultimate it would have been cool to see both, or at least one of, these functions implemented in the model. GEARBOX The flappy paddle gearbox is supposed to be the star of the show. It's absolutely cool that TLG has implemented this feature. However, the mistake in the building instructions leaves you with an incorrect shifting sequence. This issue will most likely be corrected in a later version and/or an errata will be provided. I am not sure whether TLG will address the gearbox locking issue. This being a display model, I don't think this issue will be noticeable for the majority of the builders. The fact that Reverse has the same number of gears as the Drive mode is not accurate, but for me this is an acceptable choice. The flappy paddles could have been implemented in a way that you can actually operate the paddles, without touching the rubber bands constantly. PRINTED PARTS The RS 1x1 round tiles on the rims have been printed, which is nice! Makes you wonder why the 1x1 tile on the steering wheel (with Porsche emblem) hasn't been printed. It's plus that the wheel arches have been printed. This ensures the model still looking good after a decade on the shelf. At that time the rubber bands will be petrified and will most likely break when operating the gearbox. Therefor, it would have been great if TLG provided an extra set of elastic bands, for future use. PIN COLORS TLG has used a black 2L axle in the door handle, which definitely looks better than red ones. However, they haven't included 3L black pins. Instead they still used the blue ones. If you decide to use black 2L axles, why not use 3L black pins in several places. WOW FACTOR I showed it to some friends (non AFOLs) and the only interesting thing to show is the gearbox. Which actually doesn't really present well, since you don't see what's happening. You don't even see the pistons moving faster. Basically there's not much to demonstrate, other than it's an impressively big model. A very good looking, yet slightly boring, model. PRICE I have devoted an entire chapter on the price of this model, of which the conclusion was that you pay around 70 euros for added value. It depends on the type of LEGO buyer or builder you are (and the size of your wallet) whether this is justified. The price tag of 300 euro seems a bit steep for what you get in return, so I can imagine some of you will wait for a nice deal to emerge. CONCLUSION TLG definitely brings a unique experience, and I really like the looks of the model. However, the feeling that this "could have been" a better set predominates. That being said, I still think it's a must have for every LEGO Technic car enthusiast. It looks cool when you put it on display. And it offers lots of possibilities to modify. Or like brunojj1 phrased it: Seems to me like the Porsche delivers a perfect base for MODing and MOCing variations such as B-models or PF upgrades to make it a real ULTIMATE. If you are looking for the perfect set, you better look further. If you are looking for a unique Technic set with great potential, this is the set for you! ...and with this bombshell it's time to end Leaves us with the scores. 9 DESIGN This definitely is a 911 GT3 RS! 8 BUILDING EXPERIENCE Build itself is okay, the total experience adds a point. 5 FEATURES It lacks two functions and the major function is flawed. 6 PLAYABILITY This being a display model, it's virtually non-playable. 9 PARTS New rims, entire range of orange panels and new orange parts. 7 VALUE FOR MONEY Depends on your budget, purpose to buy it and other motives. 7,3 COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER I really wish TLG would have been more clear about the embargo rules. Pictures and videos were popping up everywhere on the Internet, while the review embargo stated the 1st of June. Additionally, the set already seemed to be available at some locations. Other than that, I still enjoyed the ride and I'd like to thank TLG for providing me this set! Thanks you for reading this review. All pictures can be found in my album.
  4. REVIEW - 42054 - CLAAS XERION 5000 TRAC VC INTRODUCTION First of all my apologies. Sorry it took so long for this review to be published. Sometimes there are other things in life that need attention. Next year I will try to keep July free for LEGO reviews With all the news about the 42056 - Porsche GT3 RS and the 42055 - Bucket Wheel Excavator, you would almost forget there are two other great sets coming up during the second half of 2016. One of which is the 42053 - Volvo EW160E, while the other is the 42054 - Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC. Today we will be reviewing the latter. Like LEGO it seems that CLAAS also likes its name spelled with capitals, so from now on I will happily oblige. While I live in an area which is flooded by tractors and farm equipment, the CLAAS doesn't seem to be very popular in Holland, while CLAAS is a brand which originated in Germany, not too far away. I have never been a real fan of LEGO Technic farm equipment models. To be honest; I have skipped all of them. They just didn't look interesting enough. How different the CLAAS is. I'll just throw it out there...this is love af first sight. Sometimes the real model looks even better than in the pictures. If this is the case with the CLAAS, it's definitely one of the best looking models ever made. Usually you don't draw conclusions in the introduction, but I simply felt the need to address the feeling that I have when I look at this model. CLAAS being one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) manufacturers of combine harvesters, we might be treated with another CLAAS model in the future. So, not having bought a single farm equipment set, combined with my limited knowledge of real farm equipment, I had to invest some time to get acquainted with the CLAAS XERION 5000 TRAC VC. In case you are wondering what VC stands for, it's the designation for Variable Cab, meaning the cab can be rotated backwards, to facilitate driving backwards....or is it forward?! At CLAAS, VC stands for Variable Cab. The rotating cab is the most convenient reverse-drive system imaginable. At the press of a button, the entire cab moves from its central position to the rear-facing position above the rear axle in seconds. The controls rotate automatically with the cab, so all functions remain the same when operating in the rear position. For high driving comfort on the road, the cab is centrally positioned between the axles. In the silage clamp, on the field, in the forest or in the mountains, the XERION with the cab rotated over the rear axle becomes a user-friendly self-propelled machine with a unique view of the job in hand. If you are looking for more information, here's the Brochure and Technical data. Funny fact about this set is that it's simply addressed as one of the 2H 2016 sets, while with almost 2000 parts, it would definitely have qualified as a flagship a couple of years ago. This is a clear indication that the Technic product line has been evolving rapidly. I start to wonder how big this model actually is. Let's open the box and find out. SET INFORMATION Number: 42054 Title: Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC Theme: Technic Released: 2016 Part Count: 1977 Box Weight: 2834 gr Box Dimensions: 58,0 cm x 37,2 cm x 9,8 cm Set Price (MSRP): € 159 Price per Part: € 0,080 Links: Brickset, Bricklink THE BOX Having the Porsche and BWE around almost makes you forget that this isn't the Prima Donna of 2016. The box doesn't help either, since it's quite a big lady. A few years ago it could have easily passed as a flagship set. As usual, the front shows a nice picture of the model. The right side indicates that this is a PF powered set, where the M-motor and PF Battery Box are included. Bottom right tells us the crane arm and cabin are motorized. At this point it's not exactly clear what the motorization entails, but I bet the backside of the box will show us more details. BACK The back of the box (click to enlarge) shows us that the boom of the crane can be raised and lowered using Power Functions, as well as rotating the crane. Also, the cabin can be rotated using Power Functions, which is obviously super cool! I'm really anxious to find out how this works. The lower left corner shows us the three steering modes of the CLAAS XERION. Yes, you heard it right, three steering modes! Just like the Porsche should have had The lower right corner shows a picture of the B-model, which is actually the same tractor, with a different attachment. The crane has been transformed into a silage plow. As you can see, the cabin (and thus controls) are facing a different direction than in the picture of the A-model. Like the Unimog I expect lots of modifications and attachments for this model! CONTENTS OF THE BOX The box contains the following items: 1x Sealed instruction manual and sticker sheet 11x Bags for step 1 4x Bags for step 2 1x Unsealed PF battery box 1x Sealed PF M motor 4x Red rims 4x Awesome new tires This is how it looks when you throw everything on one big pile. INSTRUCTION MANUAL AND STICKERS The instructions are provided in a square bound book, sealed in a bag with the stickers. I really like this way of packing the manual and stickers. Keeps both the book and sticker sheet unharmed. Below are detailed pictures of the book and sticker sheet. The latter contains lots of little stickers for switches and controls. This means the model will have lots of functions....yay! PF COMPONENTS A PF Battery Box and a sealed PF M-motor. RIMS AND TIRES Without a doubt the single most eye-catching elements when opening the box are the new tires! 11 BAGS FOR STEP 1 4 BAGS FOR STEP 2 HIGHLIGHTED PARTS Back by popular demand is the Highlighted parts section. For this set it's quite elaborate. Not because it contains loads of new parts, but it does contain quite a few new-ish parts in large numbers. This indicates that the designer used some of the new building techniques in this set. And there's something funny going on with the axles, so let's start with those. AXLES Red and Yellow axles have been introduced in most of the 1H 2016 sets. What's striking though, is that this contains axles in both the regular black and grey color, as well as the latest yellow and red versions. Here you can see that we get both the grey and yellow 5L and 7L axles. I have included only a single grey version to make my point. Actually there are 11 yellow and 5 grey 5L axles and 6 yellow and 15 grey 7L axles. Same goes for the red 4L and 8L axles, which have a black counterpart (also a single one included in the picture). This set contains 9 red and 4 black 4L axles and 2 red and 2 black 8L axles. Makes sense, right?! At this point I am really starting to wonder what the strategy behind the axle color distribution is. Is TLG getting rid of their old stock or is there a better explanation? Hopefully we will discover some logic, but I highly doubt it. On the left you can see the new (2016) 3L Axle with Stop and on the right you see the 2012 4L Axle with Center Stop. Inclusion of the latter is not so special, if it weren't for the quantity. A total of 12 are included, which is more than in any other set. And even a single 11L axle in yellow, which completes the uneven yellow axle family (3L, 5L, 7L, 9L and 11L). Fun fact; the 3L axle in yellow has been introduced in 2015 (in the LEGO Ideas Wall-e set) and has been used in quite a few 2016 sets, but not in any of the Technic sets. Same goes for the 9L axle, which has been used in three non-Technic sets. Adds another layer to the axle mystery. Let's talk Pins and Pin Connectors. 3L PIN WITH 1L/2L AXLE This set includes 20 3L Pin with 2L Axle from 2015 and a whopping 31 3L Pin with 1L Axle from 2014. AXLE/PIN WITH PIN HOLE If you are in need of Pin with Pin Hole from 2014, look no further. This set contains 49 of 'em. Yes that's right, 49!! And 14 of its axle counterpart Axle with Pin Hole from 2016. AXLE AND PIN CONNECTOR HUB WITH 2 AXLES This set also comes with 12 Axle and Pin Connector Hub with 2 Axles. Already introduced in 2012, but relatively new in black. 1L PIN CONNECTOR Introduced in 2015, received with some surprise from the community. Why do we need this 1L Pin Connector?! Well, there's 54 in this set so we are bound to find out why it's useful. H-FRAME (DOG BONE) In my review of the 42023 Construction Crew (one of my two first reviews) I introduced this part. The Liftarm 3 X 5 Perpendicular H-Shape Thick a.k.a. Dog Bone Frame or H-Frame. A compact versatile frame which appeared in quite a few sets but never in such quantities. This set contains 10 of them. CURVED PANEL The 3 x 6 x 3 Curved Panel was already available in blue and yellow and now it's also available in black. You only get a single one in this set though. TURNTABLES This new turntable was introduced in 2015 and it's the first time it appears twice in a single set. It's comprised of two parts, The Top and The Base. STEERING WHEEL HUB Introduced in the Porsche (only because it was available first) and now also available in the CLAAS. Two of them in the Porsche but if you like to build 4W steering this is the set for you. It contains 4 Steering Wheel Hub Holder with 2 Pin Holes and 2 Axle Holes. LIME GREEN IS THE NEW YELLOW A reasonably large selection of lime green parts. Not sure if it's visible in this picture but apparently lime green is the new yellow, when it comes to parts being identically colored. Variation in lime green is significant. This picture shows a detailed view of the color difference. It's clearly visible near the 2x1 plate. The connectors and liftarm do differ as well. Good news is that there are some new parts available in lime green: 1x Panel Fairing # 5 Long Smooth, Side A 1x Panel Fairing # 6 Long Smooth, Side B 1x Panel Fairing # 1 Long Smooth, Side A 1x Panel Fairing # 2 Long Smooth, Side B 2x 16L Soft Axle (Flex Axle DISHES This 6x6 Inverted Rader Dish isn't new, but it's the first time we see it in red. This picture also shows the reflection of the light bounced off the ceiling. RIMS The rims are your run of the mill 56mm D. x 34mm Technic Racing Rims, with the unique feature that, like the 6x6 Inverted Dishes, these come in red for the first time. TIRES Four brand new 107 x 44R Tractor Tires! PART LIST Here's the complete list of 1977 parts. THE TRACTOR The build consists of two phases, the tractor and the crane. Obviously we will start with building the tractor. Get your #1 bags, rims, tires and PF components....we are about to begin! We start by building the chassis. The back side of the chassis to be specific. You can already see part of the steering mode selector mechanism taking shape. REAR MOUNT The manually operated rear mount which will later be used to attach the crane (or other attachments). Manual operations include raising and lowering the attachment. There's a PTO (Power take-off) which will be connected to the PF motor, so it's not operated manually. Here you can see the rear mount attached to the chassis. The bottom view shows the PTO drive shaft. STEERING Since this tractor has 4 wheel steering, the rear axle also needs to be steerable. To accomplish that, the new wheel hubs are used. No rack and pinion yet?! Or no rack and pinion at all?! I was wondering why the blue Axle Pin is used in favor of a Pin without friction. Normally my best guess is that these parts are used in the B-model, which isn't the case for this model. The only possible thing I can imagine is that the friction is needed to prevent wobbling, and the axle end makes sure the steering is smoothly. Best of both worlds kind of thing. The yellow 1/2 bush limits the steering angle. A limited steering angle is something that's bothering me frequently in Technic models. So I tried to remove the bushes and replace the 3L axles with 2L axles. This does improve the steering angle. However, as you can see in the pictures below, there's a reason the steering angle is limited. The left tire is touching the chassis. We will need to work with the default setup. Which actually isn't that bad in the end. The following picture clearly explains why we need red 4L axles, while there are also black 4L axles in this set. Or does it? Clearly no rack and pinion steering. Instead there's a cleaver mechanism transforming rotational movement into linear movement and back into rotational movement again. The linkage on the red axles can be moved into three different positions for the three different steering modes. Here's a short video demonstrating the mechanism: A manually operated lever on the back sets the linkage in one of three positions, selecting the steering mode. Stickers are used to indicate the different modes. Another short video of the steering mechanism: The pictures below show the different steering modes, respectively: Crab steering Front wheel steering Four wheel steering The video below shows a demonstration of the different steering modes: The bottom view of the chassis: The video below shows the bottom view of the steering mechanism: BARMAN Of course this mechanism is no surprise at all, since our good friend Barman already figured it out ages ago. Obviously a variation of the setup, but the basic are definitely the same. Well done Barman! PTO In the picture below you can clearly see that the PTO runs from the front to the back. Even though this model doesn't have a powered front attachment, it's prepared to have one. Kudos to the designer for this feature! GEARBOX This gearbox is used to power the different functions. As you can see there are two Clutch Gears. One is for the PTO and the other one is for the cab rotation. Here's how the gearbox will be attached to the chassis. Switching the change over catch results in changing direction of the function. This is confirmed by looking at the left side of the gearbox, the "differential like setup". MOTORIZATION A Power Functions M-motor is used to power all the functions. Since there's no driving or steering involved, the M-motor is just fine! CHASSIS Picture below shows the chassis without the battery box, but with both front and rear mounts Here you can see a video of how the battery box switch works. This is a rather ingenious mechanism. CONTROL PANEL In the images below you can see why we need 54 1L Connectors. They might not be necessary, but I do like 'em. They are aesthetically pleasing and avoids having gaps in the model. Otherwise bushes would be used, which definitely don't look as good as the 1L Connectors. Here's a detailed view of the control panel on the side of the vehicle. One switch will turn the battery box on and off, while the other rotates the cabin back and forth. Here's the control panel attached to the vehicle. This surely is one of the best looking control panels I have seen. HOOD The lime green hood, combined with the white roof and red rims, is one of the most recognizable sections of the CLAAS. Unlike other hoods this isn't just a couple of panels and done. It's actually quite a big build. The front of the hoods actually needs a CLAAS stickers, which I forgot before taking pictures. The hoods can be lifted and held up with a support axle. Usually you will see the fake engine, but now there's a battery box. To be clear; there's no fake engine at all. Which is perfectly fine given the fact that the battery box is well hidden inside the model. Closing the hood results in this pretty picture. I am already starting to like the looks of this model. The build also gets more interesting along the way. In the beginning there's much going on without really making sense. Seems like a bit here and a bit there. Some constructions seem rather flimsy. However, the further you progress, the better the builds get, to a point where it's actually a great building experience. CABIN Here you can see the base of the cabin, which actually has a nice feature. When the cabin rotates a little wheel underneath lifts the cabin a stud or two. This results in the cabin freely rotating around its axle. When it has turned 180 degrees, it falls in place again. Here you can see the up and down mode of the base of the cabin. The finished cabin looks stunning!! The back of the cabin has some intricate details, like the fire extinguisher and the 50 km/h sign. In the cabin there a computer display showing the field. I think you can even fit a minifig on the chair. Here's a sequence of images demonstrating the rotation of the cabin. You can clearly see the raising and lowering of the cabin when it rotates. FINISHED TRACTOR After finishing the cabin, you end stage 1 and the tractor is finished. I can only come to this conclusion: Yes, it looks great in real life too! And great is an understatement. This is one of the best looking Technic models ever! I wasn't a big fan of lime green, but it just went up a couple of notches on my ladder. Especially in combination with white and red! I can't think of a single thing I don't like about the tractor. Even the battery box is nicely hidden inside the model, while it still can be easily switched on and off. Cabin rotation is how it's supposed to be and there's a front and back PTO. Simply amazing! OOPS! I missed two of the headlights. Thanks to Charlesw for pointing this out THE CRANE After the 1st stage, you enter the 2nd stage...building the crane! I have included a picture of the crane on my work desktop, instead of my photography desktop. Looking at the pictures, it appears that I have no OCD when it comes to arranging parts before the build. On the left side of the crane (where I already applied the stickers) you can see the controls for the crane. Two levers, both with an up and down mode. One of them will rotate the crane, while the other will raise and lower the boom. For all you photography enthusiasts; these two pictures are taken with f14 instead of f20, resulting in a sharp picture but slightly blurred (out of focus) background. This draws attention to the model, while still being able to figure out what's going on in the background. I used to shoot everything with f20, which would have resulted in an entirely focused picture. Three more images of the base of the crane. This time without the unnecessary cluttering with extra parts. FINISHED CRANE Lo and behold, the crane! First of all, I am not the biggest fan of cranes. Why not? Because they have a tendency not to work properly, especially the Pneumatic ones (apologies to the Pneumatic fanboys). Therefor it's worth to mention that I actually like this one. A decent design with functions that actually work. Admittedly the manual functions are not that great and maybe a bit flimsy, but that will always be the case when building in this scale. Most important are the two motorized functions, which work like a charm. The mechanism to attach the crane to the tractor is nifty too, although it can be a bit of a struggle to attach it to the PTO. This takes some practice. FINISHED MODEL Meet the CLAAS XERION 5000 TRAC VC! I have said it before and I will say it again; this is one good looking model. The shapes, the design, combined with the CLAAS color scheme makes it really stand out. Admittedly, the crane doesn't improve the looks of the model. Being an attachment, I don't really mind. The nose of the CLAAS looks so cool. Especially with the weights on the front attachment and those new tires. I really love this picture. Another think I absolutely love is the cabin of the model. All kinds of small details and the overall look is stunning. The crane is....well.....a crane. It's not ugly, nor is it a beauty. Technically it's working properly, which is the most important thing. It does kind of bend over a bit, but it doesn't bend the chassis. It's caused by the way it's mounted to the rear attachment. Raising the attachment will straighten the crane a bit. The rear attachment is quite solid, which is good thing. The outriggers need to used for extra stability. This side view show what I mean by the crane leaning over. The rear view of the entire model. I love the fire extinguisher and the 50 km/h sign! Another front view of the model. LEFT OVER PARTS Quite a few 1L Connectors left. Makes you wonder whether I skipped a few. Or they are used in the B-model. FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS So the model looks good. Does it function properly?! And what exactly are the functions?! After the last building step, the manual shows four pages with functions! The first two pages concentrate on operating the crane and cabin, using the PF functions. The other two pages focus on the different steering modes. Let's take a look at the video to see these functions in action: The front attachment is manually operated and can be raised and lowered. Attaching to the chassis is easy, so it can be easily changed for another attachment. There's a front PTO, which leaves you with loads of options. I'm sure we will see some nice MODs being published in the future. Rotating the cab is quite fun to do. It works as expected and the automatic raising and lowering of the cabin adds coolness to the operation. Thumbs up for the rotating cab Then there's the three mode steering. Basically the steering modes work fine. The mechanism is very clever. So it all good? Well, there are some minor issues. Turning the steering gear needs quite a bit of force, which can result in accidentaly turning the cabin instead of steering. Another issue is the significant amount of slack in the steering mechanism. New wheel hubs were introduced this year, but they are no improvement in terms of slack. This model is best steering when driving it. This will reduce the amount of force on the steering linkage and it will also diminish the slack. All in all the steering modes work properly and the entire steering mechanism is awesome. This makes up for the lack of rear wheel steering in the Porsche! Like I said earlier; usually I am not a big fan of cranes. However, this one works properly. The motorized functions have been implemented very well. They are easy to operate, without confusion about which function does what. The manual functions work as expected, nothing special. I haven't paid much attention to the tires so far. I reckon they deserve a review of their own. Enough has been said about them already, so I will simply echo what other have been saying; they are awesome! Best tire since the Unimog tires. They have enough grip for Truck Trial. One thing I am not sure about though is how well they will stick to the rim. As you can see in the video, they detach pretty easily. Something which might happen when driving through rough terrain. I hope TLG will release a smaller version of these tires in the near future, for other tractors or even combine harvesters. Both the attachments can be mounted and dismounted easily and the mechanisms to do so are nifty. Attaching an axle to the PTO can be tricky, but it will get easier after some practice. B-MODEL When building the B-model the tractor remains intact. The crane turns into a silage plow, which actually looks quite good. I will leave this one for you to build SUMMARY To summarize how I feel about this set is pretty easy. I love it! This set has everything a proper Technic set should have. Stunning looks and lots of great functions. Not sure if this is the best Technic set ever, but it is the best Technic set I ever reviewed. PROS Looks amazing Lots of functions Super cool three mode steering Functions working properly Lots of playability Front and rear PTO Suitable for MODding Lots of new pins and connectors Cool new tires Some parts in new colors Battery box nicely tucked away inside the model CONS Slack in steering Steering needs some force and can result in turning the cabin instead Makes you want another one I'd like to stress that these cons are really minor cons! SCORE Okay, so how do I grade this set? 9 DESIGN CLAAS written all over it. Looks amazing. 9 BUILDING EXPERIENCE Starts a bit unstructured, but ends well. 10 FEATURES Can't do any better than this. 9 PLAYABILITY All the cool functions offer lots of playability 9 PARTS High quantities of new pins and connectors. Oh, and them tires! 9 VALUE FOR MONEY This is what to expect of a big Technic set. 9,2 PINNACLE OF LEGO TECHNIC FINAL WORDS This set will be modified heavily, utilizing the front and rear PTO. Can't wait to see what people come up with. It's only a matter of time before we see a double wheeled version: Well, that didn't take long (posted by ctx1769, see next page): And what to think of a potential new CLAAS Lexion Combine Harvester with new smaller versions of the CLAAS tires in the rear. Yes please! Thanks you for reading this review. All pictures can be found in my album.
  5. It's 1964. Vietnam is starting. Martin Luther King receives the Nobel Peace Prize the year Nelson Mandela is jailed. Sony introduces the Video Cassette Recorder, and the computer mouse is invented. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor marry for the first time. The Beatles are riding high in international charts, but I want you to put I Get Around by the Beach Boys on your internal gramophone, grab your shorts and the keys to your Bug, and head on over to Californ-eye-ay coz' we are going surfin'! Apparently. The VW Beetle, or Volkswagen Type I, was already over 25 years old in 1964. It was conceived in Germany in 1938, but let's gloss over that part of its history; production didn't pick up until 1945. Over the car's 65 year production span, an astonishing 21 million were built; it is unsurprising therefore that the Beetle was named in 1999's Car of the Century competition as the fourth most influential car of the 20th century (after the Citroen DS? Really?) and that may explain its inclusion as the logical LEGO follow-up to 2014's 10242 Mini Cooper, which came second in that competition. Review: 10252 Volkswagen Beetle This is not The LEGO Co.'s first VW Beetle set. Believe it or not, it's not even the second - many of you will remember the largely studded 10187 from 2008. To find the first, we have to go all the way back to the first year of LEGO mass-produced toys - 1958 - when an ambiguously numbered die-cast metal 260 VW Beetle was available; several iterations of the Beetle featured in the early days of LEGO metal cars, including one from 1964, but I believe 10187 was the first to be built in LEGO bricks. This latest offering joins the Mini in the recently introduced LEGO Creator Expert range. It's a very different bucket of worms to the last Beetle, making use of curves and angles rather than its predecessor's studs-up sculpture, and ascends to the mainstream another peripheral colour: Dark Azure. Set Information Name: Volkswagen Beetle Number: 10252 Theme: CREATOR Expert Release: 2016 Parts: 1167 Figures: N/A Price: EUR €89.99 - 104.99 | GB £69.99 | US $99.99 | AU $149.99 | CA $129.99 | DKK 799.00 Links ... LEGO Shop ... Brickset ... Bricklink The Box Click for a larger full-frontal image The minimalist Creator Expert packaging shares more in common with the Exclusives sets than the main CREATOR range, but it's smart and allows the set picture to dominate. Here a surf-equipped Beetle drives itself (hilarity ensues) down a sandy track. The set manages to stand out even against the similarly-coloured sea; the choice of surf theme for the set really dictates the box art. I wonder whether the set's colour scheme was decided by the reference image, or whether the artist hunted around for a suitable image. If the latter, they found one, and it's displayed on the right hand side: Click for a larger image Judging by the roof rack, I think the set designer must have used this image for inspiration. It also affects the set's historical accuracy: the real-life Beetle here is a pre-1965 model, given the smaller window apertures. On the back of the box, the sentient car parks itself among the dunes, and leans its surfboard against a conveniently-placed inset of the set features: Click for a larger image I love that. The board even casts a shadow on the inset! The insets show off the set's salient features well, though the main image is rather similar to the box front and I would have shown the car's rear off here. The box measures H 279 x W 478 x D 72 mm (11" x 19" x 3" approx) and weighs 1352 g (3 lb). It is tape-sealed . On the underside is the Volkswagen licensing information, interestingly in the official VW typeface. As is customary for CREATOR sets, the set inventory is displayed on the box top. The Instructions Now, I was under the impression that The LEGO Company had listened to the whinges of its die-hard fan-base, and endeavoured to wrap the instructions and sticker sheets of the more expensive sets to prevent bad things happening. Not so here. My instructions were loose and crumpled in the box. I hope that is just because I have an early promotional copy of the set, and that this doesn't represent a policy change. The single, perfect-bound volume has a cover similar to the box front. There are no technical or historical tidbits, unlike the LEGO Ideas or Architecture sets; I'd like to have seen a bit of information about the Beetle, but not if it would inflate the price of the set. The instruction steps are clear, with part call-outs, and a handy yellow line to show you where new bits are added. This doesn't help when you miss an entire step, as I did! The only other problem I encountered was trying to identify the colour of a 1x1 round stud which looked either white or grey (but probably meant to be flat silver). Sticker Sheet Mercifully, my sticker sheet was only crumpled but not damaged by its journey loose in the box. There stickers are handily numbered, though not unfortunately in the order you apply them. There's a lot of redundancy here, so you can get away with applying as few as 12 of the 24 decals: stickers 13 - 16 are duplicated, and the instructions suggest only applying one of each. You can choose which country's registration to use, though I was delighted to find that there are tiles enough to allow you apply all of them, and change the registration plate to enable a James Bond escape or something. The countries represented are USA, Australia (I think, assuming 'QLD' is Queensland), the UK, and (West) Germany. The Parts The parts are divided into three modules, of 3, 2, and 3 polybags each, as shown here, and the tyres were loose in the box. My first task was to confirm the colour - having not read the official LEGO blurb, I did what I always do when confronted with an unfamiliar colour, which is compare it to a part in a known set. Most of our LEGO is packed away, but fortunately the kids came to the rescue. So Duplo confirms this blue is Dark Azure. The three modules' parts are laid out below. Click each frame for a close-up It's great to see such a large choice of parts in a relatively rare colour, previously found mostly on minifigs and Duplo, or, more recently, in Basic Bricks sets. Prior to this Beetle there were no plates available in Dark Azure. Whether this means there'll be an abundance of regular sets in this colour remains to be seen; I had high hopes for Bright Green after the CITY recycling sets a few years ago but nothing came of that. Unlike, say, Dark Green or Dark Red, I can't see that there'll be much demand for Dark Azure amongst MOCers, though it might make a nice base colour for a re-imagined Classic Space. Otherwise, there are a load of handy SNOT bricks and plates of various kinds, and a few parts of interest: The dark azure corner brick is a new part, ID 24599, and I think would be described as Brick, Round Corner 5x5. Its curvature matches that of the Brick, Modified 1 x 2 x 1 1/3 but it is only three plates high. The 24246 heel-print tile is new this year in a few Mixels sets, and only in white; 23443 bar holder with handle is new, and listed on Bricklink but not yet appearing in any sets. New to me are the 1 x 1 x 3 brick, though it's been around since 2014 and quite common, the Technic axle 3 yellow, and the Ring pull tile, which I can see being very useful. The Round 1x1 tile with gauge featured of course in the Mini and several other sets. The clippy plate is shown only because of the mold difference: both types occur in this set (or my copy, at least) - they are I believe Bricklink types b and d. Then of course there's the new VW print tile. The tile is light bluish grey with a slightly reflective 'negative' print; I would rather have seen a shiny VW 'positive' print on a darker tile, buy hey. There are two spares in this set and I can see these being useful for CITY cars. Finally, there's the vaunted 'updated windshield design': I didn't even notice this until I read the blurb when writing the review: hence the stickers are already on! The mold is a stud less deep, but still quite sturdy; this design would have been quite handy for the Mini whose older design windscreen is also shown here. The Build The build starts with the chassis and is largely pedestrian until towards the end of module one, where SNOT begins to be applied in more detail and things quite suddenly get exciting. In the interest of brevity, I will not describe the build process in detail here, but it is shown in detail on my flickr; I will instead show a few interesting techniques. This is the back end of the car, late in module 1: A large chunk of tan and bley plates and bricks has been inserted, studs facing to the rear, with male and female clips pointing upwards. It's not until module 3 that you find out what the clips are for - they attach the rear window and engine cover. Behind that, a light bley 2x2 SNOT plate tessellates perfectly with a dark bley 1x1 SNOT brick with two 1x1 bley plates: these hold the tail lights; this technique is used in a few places in the set. Interesting SNOT abounds (*thinks of children* ). Here the rear (centre) and front (right) seat uprights are made; the rear one makes use of a stack of headlight bricks alternating studs right/studs up to make a stud reverser that is exactly 3 plates wide; when combined with the left and right halves, this makes 20 plate-heights or exactly 8 brick widths - so the seat rear fits neatly in the gap. I'll remember that technique! The front seats use 1x1 bricks with studs on two sides; these seats are slightly wider than 4 bricks each as they don't need to fit into a confined space - see here (you can also see where I missed a step - the bley plates either side of the rear seat should be a brick higher ). The entire front end of the car is initially attached only via the front axle, and at a half-stud offset: This is then corrected with the judicious application of jumper plates. You'll be able to see more when we look at the underside later. More delightful SNOT-work builds the front wings, including a repeat of the tessellation I pointed out earlier: The small construction I have removed here contains a SNOT plate that is used to correct the sideways-facing studs shown in the picture. I love that sort of thing! You can also see how the headlights are attached, with a technique similar to the Mini's. You'll be able to see more when we come to the features, or check my flickr. The Finished Car I've chosen the German plates for my car, partly because it's a German car, and partly because I put the British number plate stickers on badly. Plus I built it left-hand drive before thinking about it (you can very easily convert it). It does also mean that I can point out The Significance Of The WOB. The bonnet boot luggage compartment cover (from now on, it's 'luggage cover' and 'engine cover', mkay?) has popped open in the above picture, which happens all too easily. Here it is from the reverse angle with the cover closed: The designer has gone to extraordinary lengths to recreate the challenging curves of this iconic vehicle. Look at the nearside headlight: below it is a SNOT-mounted 1x2 cheese wedge; above it a regularly-placed 1x1 cheese next to a 1x3 bow; the contour these form almost perfectly matches the curve of the new 5x5 cover piece forming the wing. The entire wing then marries reasonably neatly to the luggage cover, itself a two-part design attempting to recreate the curves of the real thing. Conscious as I am that the stuff on the roof distracts from the car itself, I removed it: You can see a bit more clearly how the wing curves of the 5x5 corner bricks matches the 1x1 modified bricks at medial ends of both front and rear wings. Strangely, without the roof stuff, the wheels and wings themselves start to look a little too chunky to my eye, but we'll do a formal comparison shortly. Note the use of the new bar with handle parts to mount the door mirrors. From this view, the problem with the car's windscreen is becoming increasingly apparent. There's something I just don't like about it, but it's hard to put my finger on what. Here's a comparison shot of a '64 Beetle: Image from It's not a perfect comparator. The wings are indeed a little too chunky on the LEGO version, but that's not the problem with the screen; '64 Beetles had flat screens with an arch shape, which the dark bley tile above the screen fails to recreate convincingly. Let's look at it in more detail from the side: Image from The rake of the windscreen is too steep. It's a small difference, and it ought to be subtle, but combined with the relative loss of curvature of the front end of the roof, it has a dramatic effect making the windscreen look more like a Citroen 2CV than a Beetle. However, aside from the chunky wings and steep windscreen, the overall shape is otherwise remarkably good. Let's move rearward, where things start to get better again. The wonderful curves continue towards the engine compartment: You can see how the tapered door pillar gives gradient to the side of the car, and the 4x4 corner slope helps to smooth the lines from the wider sides to the narrower rear. This part sits, incidentally, on one of these, which defines the slope of the rear window. The engine cover uses a SNOTty construction to achieve a half-plate step, giving the (faint) illusion of a lateral curve. The curves of the rear wings are a little fussier than the front ones, but they still create nice effect even if they are not quite as flared as the real thing: Image from The LEGO version uses grille tiles to depict the iconic air-cooled engine intakes; the effect is not entirely successful, and I wonder if they might have been better off using these (or even these, if they were still available). I do like the rear lights; I'm tempted to replace the deeper of the two bley 1x1 plates under the amber light with a body-coloured one (there are spares in the set!). Front-on, the gap between the luggage cover and bodywork starts to show, but this is the only angle from which it's noticeable. The windscreen, again, looks odd, but the wing curves look great. The tyres are possibly a little too wide. This view isn't quite so forgiving of the rear, which looks better from oblique angles, but I still think the rear is the car's best side. Note the bumpers, made with modern curved pieces, with a hinge to help at the rear; they are nice (but they're crying out for some chrome). I'm conscious at this point that I'm being quite critical. Take a look at this shot from above: Look at the apex of the luggage cover at the front, and follow the ovoid line of the bodywork backwards, round to the side, and in again at the rear, and then back again; then look again at the curves of the wings, especially at the front; then compare to the schematic: It is a remarkable feat to get anything near to the shape of this delightfully contoured car in LEGO. And back down to earth, quite literally: The underside is remarkable for one point, which I alluded to earlier: the axles are not threaded through the chassis as you might expect, but attached almost independently until the structure is built around it. You can also see how the front end of the chassis sits at a half-stud offset, I think in order to accommodate the spare wheel. Features Now let's have a look in a bit more detail. We saw this earlier, but here's another look at the elaborate work going in to get the wings looking as smooth as possible. It's not the most elegant solution, perhaps, and not perfect, but reasonable. Behind the wheel you can see some studs facing outwards - these are from two inverted brackets that form the walls of the luggage compartment; the studs don't connect to anything. Talking of which ... ... here it is, and looking roomier than in real life. The black bit with the VW badge is the fuel tank. The spare wheel just sits there; it rattles around a bit. Being the same size as the Mini spare wheel, it's also too small when compared to the main tyres! Some fiddly jumper plates go to make the door attachment, but the result is smooth and surprisingly sturdy, if a little unsightly. The seat construction is gorgeous, and I like the telephone door handles. The gauge behind the steering wheel is the sole instrument on the dashboard. No radio? I've removed part of the roof to give a better view of the interior. Again, the seat construction is highly effective; it's not obvious here but they are mounted on jumpers to give a brick-wide gap between in which sits the handbrake. Towards the front is a gearstick, made simply from a classic space aerial, but which sits on a semicircular curved brick representing the transmission tunnel ... ... and which continues to the rear: Both front and rear seats flip forward; behind the rear seat is a luggage shelf - true to life - in which the Picnic Rug is stowed. Note further clever SNOT supporting the door pillars. I alluded to this earlier, but here is how the rear window and engine cover are fixed: The upward-pointing male clips hold the window; the two flat silver (these are the ones that caused me trouble in the build) 1x1 studs prevent the window collapsing in. It looks fiddly, but it comes together easily and is remarkably durable. And here's what's in the rear: This is a simple but reasonable facsimile of the VW aircooled engine of the original Beetle. It looks like it might be a rotary engine but it's actually a flat 4; the larger wheel looks like it might be the fan, but it's actually the fan pulley - the fan being in the round black thing behind. In case you wanted to know! I think the LEGO version works really well. Finally, there's the window-dressing: A cool-box containing two green bottles and a green can with a ring-pull top, nicely made with simple but clever SNOT, and a surfboard that looks a little thrown together - I think it would be possible to make it without the white protrusions at the tip and the tail, but it's a minor thing. You might also just be able to make out the lip of a white 1x1 tile in the exact centre of the board - why they didn't use a plate here, I don't know. It all fits snugly on the roof rack, the box via one stud, the board by being wedged between the edges and those black rubber cheating-pieces: Comparison to 10242 Mini Cooper I don't have the 2008 Beetle, and anyway this set's immediate ancestor (and main competitor) is 2014's Mini Cooper. How do they compare? Next to the clean Mini, the Beetle's lines do look a little fussy. The Mini also highlights another minor complaint about the Beetle - the lack of chrome (or metallic silver, at least); though I understand that the Beetle would require a lot of silver parts or it would appear mismatched. The front end of the Mini is so good that meaningful comparison is lost; the Beetle is, after all, a much more difficult shape to render in LEGO. This really isn't a fair comparison! Everything about that Mini is spot on - probably the only thing about it I would change is the tinted windows. So how do they sit together on the shelf? Pretty well, actually, though the scale is off, and the Mini is noticeably larger than it ought it be compared to the Beetle (I estimate it would need to be 3 studs narrower to be at the correct scale). But who cares about that when they look so good! If you had to choose, which would you buy? The Mini, despite slightly fewer pieces, is more expensive, though only just - this may be a licensing issue. The Beetle is a more interesting build, even if the end result isn't quite so good. Here is how I would sum up this comparison: people might say of the Beetle, 'Wow, that blue LEGO car looks like a Beetle!' But they would say of the Mini, 'you know, that Mini model is actually made of LEGO!' But is that a good thing? Maybe it's all down to the Battle of the Picnics: Conclusion This has been a really difficult set to review. Inspired in no small way by the joy that is the Mini, I was eagerly anticipating this set, and really wanted to love it. I like it, but do I love it? I'm not so sure. The parts selection is interesting and useful, and largely in an unusual colour. The build is fun and instructive. The way those curves are achieved is delightful ... but it's just not quite accurate enough. I've been spoiled by the Mini's near-perfection, and this is a much more difficult and less forgiving original, so it's understandable - but disappointing all the same. Design 7 It's just not quite a Beetle, though it's close. Parts 8 A useful selection and unusual colour. More chrome or silver would be welcome. And what's with the crumpled instructions, TLG? Build 9 Fun, engaging, and instructive. Features 7 Opening compartments, doors, folding seats, picnic stuff, but this is a display set, really, and the cool box and surfboard are actually a bit of a distraction. Give me chrome instead! Value 9 At under £70 this is really good value - in the UK, at least. Overall 80% My Score 7/10 Do I like it? Yes. Do I love it? No. Would I buy it (if I didn't already have it)? Oh yes. Do I want to see more classic vehicles? Absolutely. I just wish they'd tilted that windscreen ... Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the review. Comments welcome. Rufus Resources 1. VW Beetle on Wikipedia 2. VW air-cooled engine My flickr album
  6. BOOK REVIEW: How to Build Brick Cars by Peter Blackert - Title: "How to Build Brick Cars" / "Detailed LEGO designs for sports cars, race cars, and muscle cars" - Author: Peter Blackert (lego911) - ISBN: ISBN0760352658-1 - Year of publication: 2017 - Publisher: Motorbooks, an imprint of The Quatro Group ( - Number of pages: 192 - Review by: Lasse Deleuran, a computer scientist with experience building scale LEGO models Hot in the press right now is the first book by Peter Blackert, also known as "lego911" in the LEGO fan community. The book titled "How to Build Brick Cars" and subtitled "Detailed LEGO designs for sports cars, race cars, and muscle cars" is being published by Motorbooks and contains 192 color pages with building instructions for 12 LEGO vehicles (15 if you count variants. A variant can be to have a convertible instead of a hard top version of a car). Peter Blackert is an expert in building realistically scaled LEGO cars. In his blog he writes that he started building LEGO cars back in 1981 which is before many of us (including myself) were even born! With this book ýou can recreate some of his models and experience how it is to build in his style. The focus of the models is clearly on aesthetics, but there has also been space for including interior details and functions such as opening doors, hoods, and trunks. For the advanced models there are even mechanical details, such as suspension systems and moving piston engines. I would say that the style is very much similar to the LEGO Model Team line, and with realism as we know it from the very large Creator Expert car sets (10242 Mini, 10252 Beetle, etc.) The book contains an introduction followed by three sections with building instructions grouped by difficulty. Each section contains the building instructions for three to five cars. For this review I have built one car from each of the first two sections and two from the last. The instructions for each model are accompanied with a text providing some background information with history and significance of the car behind the model to be built. This text is accompanied by a placard with information such as country of origin, engine stats, and body type. There is also a bill of material (BOM) and most of the cars have a certain body color where the parts in the BOM are highlighted. A list of colored 1x1 bricks indicates which alternate body colors you can build the model in. Sample page taken from the preview provided by It is recommended that the reader starts out with one of the Foundation models and I can fully back up this recommendation: The instructions are very compact with some innovative solutions which I have not seen before. I have made some mistakes getting used to this layout and am glad that most of my errors happened with the relatively simple 2CV rather than some of the advanced models! I have some general tips that might help others read the instructions: - Gather all parts before starting to build. There are some colors, especially when it comes to transparent elements, which are hard to see. This might just be a problem with the PDF-version; I have not seen the printed version yet. With the parts layed out in front of you it will be easier to guess the right colors should you ever be in doubt. - If you find yourself having a hard time getting from one step to the next in a sub-assembly, it might be because a new sub-assembly has started. The book uses only a single level for sub-assemblies, which means that, for example, steps 1 and 2 might be for one sub-assembly while steps 3 and 4 show another: Subsequent sub-assemblies might then combine former sub-assemblies. If a certain step confuses you, then I recommend looking some steps ahead and see where the sub-assembly is to be used. This has helped me every time I have been in this situation. - It can be difficult to see individual parts in when black parts are connected to other black parts. It might again just be a problem in the PDF version. I will know for sure once I get my hands on the printed book. When you are in doubt of which black parts to use, I recommend to simply build with what you prefer as long as you make the sub-assemblies as sturdy as possible. This worked for me, so chances are that it also works for you. Now. Let's take a look at the models. Citroën 2CV Charleston - 232 parts - 54 steps on 3 pages - Building time: 30 minutes - Body color: Dark red - 12 possible color combinations suggested. - Special features: Working front suspension. Opening trunk. Fits 2 minifigs. The Citroën 2CV is from the first category, titled "Foundation". This section contains cars in the small scale of 1:28 and seat minifigs. It turns out that you can fit a minifig into both the front and rear seat! The trunk opens: And my favorite feature: The working front suspension based on torsion bars: I will let the details of how the suspension is constructed be a surprise for the builders. As you can see, even though this model is categorized under "Foundation", it contains 232 parts and several interesting features. While none of the parts are rare, I personally failed to find a non-scratched windscreen in my collection. The instructions, while compact and spanning only 3 pages, were fairly easy to follow. When building you have to remove a couple of 1x1 bricks with one stud on the side in order to attach the headlight bricks for the front grille, but this is hardly a grievance. The model itself is fairly sturdy. The side windows are easy to push in and the 1x1 plates on the front bumper are easy to push out of alignment. Everything else is sturdy and the front suspension works really well. The building experience was also fun and I like the looks of the model. It is small, but instantly recognizable. Datsun 240Z Coupe - 312 parts - 98 steps on 7 pages - Building time: 1 hour 15 minutes - Body color: Orange. - 11 possible color combinations suggested. - Special features: Uneven width. Opening doors, trunk and hood. Interior and engine details. The Datsun 240Z Coupe is in the "Intermediate" category. Models in this category are aimed for 10-12 years old boys and this model is significantly more detailed and larger than the 2CV. Please notice that I have run out of 3x3 plates with cutout in gray, so the front bumper has been colored dark gray in my model. Orange is not a color I use a lot of, so I did not have the eight 2x2 corner plates needed. I tried instead to use 1x2 and 1x1 plates and luckily it turned out that you can indeed substitude these parts. In this model everything opens! I recommend using 1x2 plates with clip rather than the 1x1 plates with clip for the rear hatch. The 1x1 plates have a tendency to fall off when you open it. The doors can be difficult to close due to the simple hingle mechanism and completely flush body panels. I recommend detaching them rather than forcing them closed when closing the doors. My favorite detail is how the rear is sculpted with the curved bumper and body panels. Peter says that the black stripe on the side is there to allow fancy body colors like orange. If you choose to build the car in a color in which you can get the hinge plate, then you don't have to include the stripe. The interior is detailed and there are even windscreen wipers! I recommend using 2x2 carpet runners (or plates) behind the seats in order to support them and allow them to be adjusted without breaking. The inline 6 cylinder engine is nicely detailed and the hood is front hinged like on the real car. A cool detail is the placement of the side mirrors on the front - a characteristic of Japanese cars of this vintage. This is the only model in this review that does not come with any kind of working suspension. This is quickly forgiven when you see the many details that have been included instead. This is also the only model to be of odd width; The car is 9 studs wide (not counting fender flares) and is quite sturdy when considering the construction techniques that have to be used when making cars of this size. The fragile elements are mostly concerned moving functions (seats, rear hatch, engine cover). While I am in love with the styling, my better half has pointed out that she doesn't like how the front of the car is mostly studless, while the rear end is anything but studless. It shouldn't be hard to cover most of the studs in the rear with orange 1x1 tiles and transparent tiles if that is what you prefer. 2016 Ford GT Le Mans Racer - 587 parts - 111 steps on 8 pages - Building time: 1 hour 30 minutes - Body colors: American! - 1 possible color combination available. - Special features: 4 wheel independent suspension. Moving piston engine powered by the rear wheels. Interior and engine details. Opening doors. As a huge fan of Le Mans, the Ford GT Le Mans Racer was my first choice when selecting models for this review. It belongs to the "Advanced" category and this designation is no joke. The model is packed with details and even has a moving piston "fake" engine as seen in many Technic models. This is only a 2 cylinder engine (the real car has a V6) but it nicely shows how the MR-layout of the race car works. The coloring is taken straight out of Le Mans where Ford reentered in 2016 in order to celebrate its 50 years anniversary... with a win in its class. My favorite detail on the real car is between the main body and the rear wheel covers. Luckily Peter has recreated this detail on the model. You can see how the main body slopes together toward the rear section when seen from the top: The rear wheel wells are connected to the main body through these so-called "flying buttresses" This is a detail so important that even LEGO had to include it in their Speed Champions model Other details include opening doors. The doors on the real car open up instead of sideways. I do not know why Peter chose to hinge them this way on the model and why there are no side mirrors (both the Datsun and Veyron have side mirrors), but my guess would be for sturdiness - the models are supposed to be accessible for kids to play with. Inside there are interior details. This model comes with both a seat for driver and passenger. I believe the real race car only has a single seat and a lot of electronics occupying the other side. Another nifty detail: Deep front air ducts and the engine is also included. I prefer the level of detail paid to the engine in the Datsun, but that engine was also easier to decorate since it did not have any moving parts, and to be fair, the real race car has a very messy engine bay. You can't see the moving pistons from the outside. You have to look underneath for the action With 587 parts this is one of the largest models in this review. The parts are, however, mostly very common I only had issues finding the 2x4 brick with cutout for the right door and the 1x1 flat tile for the "blue oval" on the nose In my version it is a "blue square". Other details include the characteristic oversized rear diffuser and wing. Commentators at Le Mans didn't find these rear diffusers pretty, but I disagree. The rear lights on the real car have hollow centers - a clever aerodynamic detail. Here is an idea for you who like to MOD "official" models: Try to recreate this detail by replacing the rear lights with some that have a hollow center. Trans red 1x1 round bricks would be ideal. They should be turned so the underside faces outwards, but then you would also have to rebuild a significant portion of the rear light assembly. Unfortunately the round 1 x 1 plate with hollow stud doesn't exist in trans dark red yet. Overall I like this model. The building experience is fun with many sub-assemblies each having a part of the flat underside. This results in an assembly that progresses nicely as you slowly expand the base of the car. Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 - 593 parts - 104 steps on 7 pages - Building time: 1 hour 55 minutes - Body color: Red - 12 possible color combinations suggested. - Special features: 4 wheel independent suspension. Moving piston engine. 4WD. Colored interior. Engine details. Opening doors. Movable rear spoiler. This is by far the most challenging build. With 593 parts it is the largest models here, so its designation at the Advanced section is fully deserved There is also a trick to it. In STEP 8 you must flip the assembly from STEP 6 so that the gear is placed on the other side otherwise the car will be unable to drive. I have notified Peter of this, but it was unfortunately too late for the English language printing of the first edition. There are a couple of places where you have to remove parts in order to place sub-assemblies. I supposer this is part of the package when you have 104 building instructions steps compressed into 7 pages. Overall this is a very satisfying building experience: In some steps you have to open the doors in order to place sub-assemblies and in others you get a nice crunchy sound when pushing the sub-assemblies into place. The final model feels very compact and packed with details. The doors open: And the interior is decorated in dark red The suspension works with 4 wheel independent suspension and there is 4 wheel drive like in the real Veyron. The engine is a V4 (a similar W16 with moving pistons would be twice as long and at least twice as tall) The spoiler is even able to be moved into position so it functions as an air brake: Compared to the Ford GT the Veyron is similar, but with the double of everything: - In the Ford you can open the doors - in the Veyron you can also move the rear spoiler. - There is a V4 "fake" engine instead of a V2 (although you can't see the moving pistons on the Veyron either). - 4 wheel drive rather than only rear wheel drive And on top of that you have a prettier interior due to the dark red accent coloring and the possibility of choosing your own body color. In other words. This is a worthy flagship model of the book. Summary and conclusion While I have only built 4 of the 12 (or 15) models of the book, I can already now conclude that it offers a nice variety of builds with not only visually interesting, but also technically impressive LEGO models. I have learned new techniques (such as the drive trains in the advanced models) and I will look forward to give the remaining models a go once I get my hands on the full printed book. It seems like Peter has put a lot of work into each and every model. I am especially impressed with the Datsun; The proportions of every single detail seems to be spot on and it has actually overtaken the Ford GT as my personal favorite. Who would I recommend this book for? Anyone who wants to learn how to build scale models in the scales represented here. You will learn how to make compact drivetrains, compact suspension geometries, brick built windscreens, and try out different building techniques in order to recreate details in bodyworks of vehicles. I understand that there are mixed opinions when it comes to brick built windscreens. Not only are these real parts hogs, but many don't like the looks of them either. This is apparent whenever a MOC with this detail is presented here and in other fan forums. If you don't have enough transparent 1x2 plates or cheese slopes, then consider skipping a windscreen altogether. The models have interiors and A-pillars and will look good even without this detail. Finally I have a tip for before you go out and order parts on Brickowl or Bricklink. Take a look through the instructions and see where the parts are used. Black parts are often used in places where they can't be seen, or where they might as well be gray or dark gray. See if you can spot the places where I have used dark gray parts instead of black in the models here - it will not be easy ;) Thanks to Jim and the EB team for setting this up and allowing me to get early access to the instructions. And thank you Peter Blackert for giving the LEGO fan community this fine book. Disclosure: I was given advance preview of the parts lists and building instructions and have been promised a copy of the printed book.
  7. REVIEW - 42070 - 6X6 ALL TERRAIN TOW TRUCK INTRODUCTION It is that time of year again. The time when the most interesting new Technic sets will be (or already have been, in some cases) released. The flagship set is obviously builds loads of anticipation and expectancy. Interesting enough this year's flagship set isn't the biggest set, when we are merely regarding the number of parts. Even though the 42069 has more parts, this set is still considered to be the flagship. It's quite obvious when you see the size of the box or when you look at the price. At first sight the set looks as impressive as the box. Six big wheels, introduced in the Claas last year. Full RC, which means you can use a remote to drive the vehicle and to operate the crane and outriggers. There is only one remote however, so the functions need to be switched, using gears and levers. I am anxious to find out how the gear box works. Since several videos and reviews have been released, we already know that this set received a lot of criticism. One of the main complaints is the hefty price tag. It's as expensive as the Bucket Wheel Excavator, yet is has less than half the parts. There must be something in this set justifying the price tag. Why don't we start building, so we can find out what that might be. PICTURES Pictures can be clicked to view hi-res versions. More pictures can be found in my Flickr album. DISCLAIMER This set has been provided by the CEE Team of TLG. It's not my goal to promote this set. It's my goal to give you an honest opinion about it. Therefore, the opinion in this review is my own and is in no way linked to TLG. SET INFORMATION Number: 42070 Title: 6x6 All Terrain Tow Truck Theme: Technic Released: 2017 Part Count: 1862 Box Weight: 4,0 kg (approx) Box Dimensions: 58,0 cm x 47,7 cm x 11,9 cm Set Price (MSRP): € 279 Price per Part: € 0,15 Links: Brickset, Bricklink THE BOX Upon looking at the box, it's clear that this set is this year's flagship. Obviously the lid/flap is a clear indication that we're dealing with the flagship, but the box itself is also pretty impressive. INSIDE FLAP The inside of the flap shows a single picture of the model, with the outriggers extended. Admittedly, it does look cool and appealing. According to the designers this is the truck that will tow the truck that was supposed to tow your car. If this bad boy doesn't get the job done, what will?! INSIDE The inside of the box shows the different functions, translated in no less than eight languages. At the bottom you can see an overview of all the Power Functions components. BACKSIDE The backside of the box also shows some of the functions, together with the B-model, a Research Explorer Vehicle. Not that I am particularly familiar with research vehicles, but it doesn't resemble anything I have ever seen CONTENTS OF THE BOX The box contains: 1 Single book with stickers 6 Tires 18 Bags BOOK WITH STICKERS The way every bigger Technic (or LEGO set in general for that matter) should be packed, the sticker sheet combined with the book. BOOK The book is quite heavy and it contains almost 400 pages for 590 building steps. STICKER SHEET Since the sticker sheet is packed with the book, it's unharmed during transit. Hopefully the bear is unharmed too. The colors of the stickers are very vibrant, which perfectly match the Dark Azure look of the truck itself. TIRES One of the key elements of this set are the six big tires, introduced in the Claas in 2016. I am big fan of these tires, so I was delighted that the rumors about a 6x6 Truck with Claas tires were true. BAGS This set contains 18 unnumbered bags, containing a total of 1862 parts. The PF components are combined with the rims and are packed in two separate bags. By looking at the bags you can already see a lot of different bright colors. HIGHLIGHTED PARTS This section describes the interesting parts. POWER FUNCTIONS This set contains the following Power Functions elements: Battery Box Infrared Receiver Infrared Remote Control M Motor XL Motor Compared to the Bucket Wheel Excavator this set does have the IR Receiver and Transmitter, while the BWE doesn't. And it has an M Motor, which the BWE lacks. So it has three more PF components. This is important for comparing the price. It's a nice PF Starter Pack for those of you getting (back) into the hobby. 24-16 TEETH DIFFERENTIAL Surprisingly, this set contains two old style Differentials. Upon close inspection, it seems that the mold has changed a bit, since the innards of the gear slightly protrudes, which wasn't the case with the previous versions. Admittedly, I would probably not have noticed if Sariel hadn't mentioned it. Actually it makes sense that this set contains at least one of these differentials. Since it's full RC and 6x6 we do need a center differential to prevent strain on the axles when powering all the wheels. DARK BLUE AZURE PARTS When we first saw the pictures of this set, we had to guess which color blue was used. This is because TLG has treated us with a wide range of blue elements in the Technic line. Compared to medium blue or medium azure, I definitely prefer this blue color. It would be great if TLG picked one (or two) shade(s) of blue and worked with that for a while though. They probably have heard enough complaints by now, so hopefully they will stick to dark azure as the alternate blue. Downside of getting new colors is the range of available parts. Over time the inventory will hopefully grow, but for now we have to work with this selection of dark azure. Currently there are 215 registered parts in dark azure, but they won't be very useful for building Technic. Unless you like to add Duplo to your truck 4x Liftarm 2x4 13x Liftarm 5L 13x Liftarm 11L 1x #1 and #2 Panel 1x #13 and #14 Panel 6x Curved Panel 11x3 3x Panel 11x3 9x Panel 11x5 4x Tapered Panel 11x5 CURVED PANEL 13x3 For the first time we get these panels in black, which is a very welcome addition to the parts selection. If we can get them in white too, that would be great, thanks CURVED PANEL 3x6x3 Earlier this year this transparent version of the curved 3x6x6 panel was intruced in the BMW R 1200 GS and Uwe conveniently used it as headlights in this truck. DOG BONE For the first time one of the frames (technically it's called a liftarm) is produced in a different color than light bluish grey. Six H Shaped Liftarms in red will be used in this set. One of my favorite parts and they perfectly fit the Mindstorms EV3 color palette. AXLE AND PIN CONNECTOR HUB This year the Axle and Pin Connector Hub is released in red. I already found these at the Factory Store in Legoland Germany and I wondered which set would use these in red. They are most likely not produced in red for this set, but for Baze Malbus from the Star Wars Buildable Figures. ROPE This set contains a new rope. It has kind of a metallic touch to it. It is slightly ticker than the regular rope. Thumbs up for this new version. It looks and feels a lot better. RED #3 CONNECTOR Last but not least, the rerelease of the red #3 connector, last seen in 2011. Lots of MOC-ers will be very happy to be able to use these parts for an affordable price again. I almost forgot that these parts were pretty rare, so I shot this picture afterwards. Four parts is exactly the number I have (or had before now) in my collection. So basically I doubled up! Whoop whoop. INVENTORY This set contains 1862 parts, which is not that many for a flagship these days. THE BUILD Let's build ourselves a 6x6 All Terrain Tow Truck, now shall we! As with most trucks we start by building the center section, where the gearbox will be positioned. We immediately get cracking with quite a few gears, including the white safety gear (a.k.a. Clutch Gear). Early on the M Motor is attached to the gear box. This motor will be used to drive several functions, switched manually by two levers. This picture clearly shows that there are four switches to be operated. Eventually there are only two levers (one on each side of the vehicle), so let's wait and see how this will end up. So far the build is enjoyable. It's fun to add the gears and to slowly find out how they will be operated and which function(s) they will be driving. After building most of the center gearbox you will work your way forward and attach the front wheel steering linkage. As you can see the steering is operated off center and the second 12T Bevel Gear is only used to guide the rack. One of the things that also meets the eye is the different colored liftarms on the port and starboard side of the boat...uhmm truck. It seems odd at the moment, but it will prove to be useful later on...if you don't screw up anyway Talking about screw ups. I had quite a few of 'em during the build. It was late and I wasn't really sharp. An example of lack of sharpness is taking the XL Motor to the photo studio (I was building downstairs) and not thinking clearly about where the cable should be positioned. I can tell you...not this way. There is little extra length on the cable, so you will need every centimeter (or even milimeter). Connecting it this way will end up with having too little length on the cable. Lucky for me I was able to turn the motor around without taking too much of the model apart. I had a friend over who is interested in LEGO Technic as well. Obviously, he didn't want to be in spectactor mode during the entire build, so we alternated building every now and then. Since I misplaced the XL Motor, you can see what happened in the picture below. The dark azure liftarms were placed over the wire, which got us into trouble half an hour later or so. Let's talk a bit more about the different colors on the different sides of the truck. Since people tend to frequently make the mistake of misplacing the differentials in a 4x4 model, TLG provided a fool proof way of connecting the differentials. This way you almost cannot make this mistake. So, you would think. Unless you are building with a team mate and you incorrectly correct a mistake. That is exactly what happened during this phase of the build. My buddy had built both live axles. He had built them correctly, but he reversed the second one, resulting in the red liftarms being on the wrong side of the vehicle. I noticed the mistake, but instead of simply turning the second live axle around, I started rebuilding the second live axle. This resulted in both differentials being on the same side. Needless to say, that didn't improve driving performance. This was the moment that we called it a night. As you can see the wire is still incorrectly attached and the rear live axle has an incorrectly placed differential. Little did we know that we *cough* my buddy *cough* also missed a 20T bevel gear right smack in the middle of gearbox. As you can see in the picture below, there is no extra length on the cable of the XL Motor. This is not the most elegant solution, but after you finish the cabin, you won't see the cable anymore. At this point we still had the rear differential the other way around, so when I hooked up the battery box to test all the functions, we noticed the two rear axles turning in different ways...a clear indication you screwed up. I immediately realised that my buddy didn't screw up the build, but simple attached the rear axle incorrectly (or is this also considered a screw up hehe). We both had a laugh and fixed the mistake. Here you can see that the red connector is a tight fit. Not much margin to work with. The finished cabin looks cool. Although, I wonder why TLG keeps using blue panels as seats. I mean, this blue doesn't really match the rest of the truck. I'd say that any other color would have worked better than blue. Yellow would have been okay, or simply dark or light bluish grey, since the set is already very colorful. Come on guys, you can do better than that. The engine powering this behemoth is a powerful 4 cylinder engine. Wait a minute?! That can't be right. A 4 cylinder engine....hmmmph. I reckon its real life counterpart wouldn't use a 4 cylinder engine, but Uwe probably prefered a non-V engine over the correct number of cylinders. I would rather see a big 8 cylinder engine, even if that meant a V8. Even Dokludi used a V8 in his replica, so there is space enough. Other than that; the engine with the two black panels looks cool. The rear outriggers use more or less the same mechanism as the side ones, using an axle instead of gears to operate the stamps. Cool aspect about this technique is that it's quite rare for the outriggers to be operated by a motor. Usually you have to manually extend the stamps, which is rather cumbersome. Or be very patient when you have to wait for the 42009 outriggers to be extended. These outriggers are deployed in no time! Here's the attachment of the gearbox to the mini LA. The axle still needs to be pushed through the bracket. When you are done with the rear outriggers you move onto the crane. The crane looks rather flimsy for a truck this robust. Some panels could be added to make it look more sturdy and robust. It feels unfinished this way. At this point the model looks like you will be adding quite some stuff. On the contrary, you are almost done at this point. I remember my girlfriend looking at the parts I had left, looking at the model and saying "but you still need to build a lot". This is how your 98% complete truck looks like. The fenders and the side panels cover up the chassis and after that you are done. As you can see, the rear of the truck lacks a proper bed, which leaves you with an unfinished feeling, again. The rear and (the looks of the) crane are definitely not the strong suit of this model. The front of the model does look cool though. Unlike the cute bear, the front says "don't mess with me, I will ... you up". At the bottom you can see the 40 year anniversary brick (3L Liftarm), which is present in all of the 2017 sets. Several "Tow 067" stickers need to be applied, but what they mean still remains a mystery. Since set 42067 is missing from the line-up many of us figured the 42067 would be introduced as a new supercar (or something similar) being towed by this truck. The designers were actually quite surprised with this theory (or they acted surprised) and they said it wasn't related at all. It is supposed to have a meaning though, which we will find out later. FINISHED MODEL Without further ado, I hereby present this year's flagship.....the 42070 6x6 All Terrain Tow Truck! Some basic observations when looking at the model. I didn't like the color at all when it was first presented. During the build I actually started liking Dark Azure. It works really well with red and the yellow details. There is quite a gap underneath the doors. It's a plus that TLG included the bigger panels, but I can't help but think that the gap could have been avoided. The yellow rims with the black dishes work really well. The overall look of the truck is rather impressive. When you start building and you see the six big tires, it's a sign that it's gonna be "yuge". And that the Mexicans are going to pay for it...oh wait now, that's something totally different. It is huge though. I am well aware that bigger doesn't always mean better, but I am a sucker for big models. The front of the truck with the bull bar definitely matches my expectations for this kind of truck. The chains and the Teddy Bear add nice touches to the exterior. The center of the chassis seems to be bending a bit, which isn't really surprising, given the size of the model. When I go on a cruise, the ship is bending all the time and that's not even a bad thing. I don't really mind this model bending a bit, although one could claim that it needs some reinforcement. Is it even road legal to have the tires sticking out of the vehicle?! I wonder how it looks if you position the panels 1L farther to the outside. This is how the vehicle looks from the back (sorry for the mirrors). As you can see I have attached both chains to the rear end of the vehicle, instead of one to the side. From the rear you can easily see the chassis underneath. The bottom shot of the chassis shows the old style center differential and the pendular axles. A couple of soft springs on each side would have been nice. Some extra pictures for your enjoyment. FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS Now that we have built the model and we know what it looks like. Let's talk about the functions. This model packs six functions powered by two motors. Steering Driving Rotate crane boom Raise/lower crane boom Raise/lower the hook Raise/lower the outriggers Unfortunately you can't switch functions with the IR remote, so you need to change the functions manually, using two levers. Each lever is mounted on one side of the model. The left lever (the one on the driver's side) switches between the Driving Functions and Operator Functions. When you switch this lever to driving mode, the position of the second lever doesn't matter. STEERING Instead of using a servo motor for steering, this truck is using the M Motor, which is also used for some other functions. Steering is very smooth and operates nicely. There is no return to center, but you hardly miss it. I really like the way this is implemented. Downside however is the turning radius. As with many Technic models, this model has a very wide turning radius. You need to go back and forth quite a few times to make a 180-degree turn in a somewhat confined space. Here are two video's demonstrating the steering mechanism. DRIVING Because of the weight of the vehicle, it's geared down using a 8T on a 24T gear in the portal hub. So, don't expect spectacular performance when it comes to top speed. It does have proper torque and it drives smoothly. Using an XL Motor instead of an L motor results in the model coasting when you release the "throttle", instead of abrubtly coming to a halt. All in all I am quite happy with the ability to drive (and steer) this model. Here's a short video of driving the truck: Since I am not really interested in Truck Trial and/or outdoor operation, I won't go into much detail about how suitable this model is for that. If you are interested in that, I can highly recommend watching the video review of our top video reviewer Sariel. What I do like to address is the inability of the IR system to be operated outside. I have never done truck trial or other outdoor PF IR related activities, but it just not possible to operate the model outside of your home. I never really realised that this was a big issue, but when you buy a € 279 RC set you probably expect it to work in your garden as well. Makes me wonder how many calls have been answered by TLG's customer service regarding this matter. It's time for TLG to step up their game and come up with a better solution. OPERATING THE CRANE AND OUTRIGGERS When you switch the lever on the driver's side to upper position you are engaging the non-driving functions of the model. That is operating the crane functions and the outriggers. When you are using this mode you are depending on the second lever to select the functions you want to operate. It's either the outriggers combined with lowering/raising the boom or rotating the crane and raising/lowering the hook. This takes a bit of getting used to, but I found this model easier to operate than the Arocs, which uses a similar approach. The following video demonstrates the operator functions: One thing that kind of bugged me during operating the outriggers is the fact that a 7L axle has been used and it has been stopped by two full bushes. This resulted in the outrigger getting stuck near the panel on the right side. I was surprised by this, since TLG usually makes sure that there is ample space for moving parts. I will be modding this by using an 6L axle and half bushes. MANUAL FUNCTIONS Besides the motorised functions, this model has some manual functions like opening the doors and the bonnet. And according to TLG's website, it has moveable lights. They have yet to be found though. B-MODEL The B-model of this set is what TLG calls an Research Explorer Vehicle. A polar vehicle comes to mind, but the big tires are more suitable for other types of environment. I am not sure what TLG is aiming at. Usually I don't really care for B-models and that's no different for this set. I would be happy to see someone build this vehicle and show us what it's all about. I will take a rain check. PRICE Now that we are almost at the end of this review you have probably noticed that I am rather enthusiastic about this set. Although we haven't found a clear explanation why this set has an MSRP of 279 euro. I was hoping we would find out during the review, but we haven't. Therefore, I am afraid we need to do some math to be able solve the mystery. The most logical way to determine the price of a set is to compare it with similar sets. Other than the usual Technic elements, this set contains PF components and six big tires. Let's look at the Claas because of the tires, the Volvo L350F for the Power Functions and the Bucket Wheel Excavator because it has the same price. Claas has 1977 pieces and has an MSRP of € 149. Four big tires, PF Battery Box and M Motor.. Volvo has 1636 pieces and has an MSRP of € 219. Lots of PF including 2 PF IR Receivers and 2 Transmitters, big tires and a big bucket. BWE has 3929 pieces and has an MSRP of € 279. PF Battery Box and XL Motor. 6x6 Truck has 1862 pieces and has an MSRP of € 279. More PF than BWE, but way less PF than Volvo. So the BWE has over twice the number of parts, no PF Receiver or Transmitter and a single motor, but it still has the same price. You can argue that the BWE was actually cheap compared to other sets. Okay, let's call the BWE cheap and ignore it. Leaves us with the Volvo to compare to, since that set has a lot of PF components. The volvo has the entire range of PF components, including 2 PF IR Transmitters and Receivers. So it has a lot more PF components than the 6x6 Truck. The Volvo has approximately 200 parts less than the 6x6 Truck. At around 10 cents a piece, this would make up for a maximum of € 20. The Volvo is € 60 cheaper and it has almost double the number of PF components. The Claas isn't overly expensive, so the price of the tires probably don't add extreme costs to producing the set. When looking at the price of other sets, I simply cannot explain why the 6x6 Truck should cost 279 euro. Therefore, I can only jump to the conclusion that this set is overpriced. I'd say the price should be somewhere between the Claas (€ 149) and the Volvo (€ 219). € 149 + 2 tires and more PF components makes me feel like € 199, but no more than that, and definitely no € 279. SUMMARY When I first saw this set, I wasn't very thrilled about it. Even seeing it in Billund didn't change my mind. It's just a big truck which can drive and has yet another shade of blue. I do like big models and I do like the Claas tires, but it just didn't do it for me. Bright colors for a truck like this?! BUILDING EXPERIENCE During the first stages of the build it was clear that this set packs and interesting gearbox to operate some cool features. The set contains over 100 gears, so there obviously is interesting stuff going on. During the build we (I had some help during some of the building stages) made some serious mistakes. This wasn't because of the instructions. This was because it was late and we weren't paying enough attention. The funny thing is that this actually added some fun to the build. We had to take some stuff apart, and investigate where the problem originated. This was somewhat reminiscent of the good old days, where you sometimes had to puzzle your way through the build. So yeah, I really had fun during the build, even though I (we) made some very stupid mistakes. DESIGN Dark azure is a very nice shade of blue. It's way better than medium azure or medium blue. Now let's hope that TLG makes a pick when it comes to blue and add some connectors to the mix. Some parts of the truck look very cool and some look unfinished. Especially the rear of the vehicle and the crane look unfinished. It feels that some modding needs to be done to complete this model. I have very much come to terms with the bright colors though and I have started to appreciate them. What I don't get is the use of bright orange parts in the chassis. Why not throw in some dark azure if you need to use another color than grey. I can totally understand that TLG want to make the build process as understandable as possible, especially with the target audience in mind, but in some aspects they are overdoing it. PLAYABILITY Sometimes when I build a Technic model, the functions just don't seem to work properly. They look like a Proof of Concept, instead of actual working mechanisms. The good thing about this model is that the functions work properly. Steering, driving, operating the crane and the outriggers, everything works fine (except maybe the minor issue with the outriggers). Outdoor playability is virtually non-existent though. Don't expect your kids to have fun in the garden with this thing. They will get frustrated. FEATURES The main functions of the model are all operated by a remote control. Upside is that these functions work really well. Downside is that you still need to manually switch the functions, and you need to be inside. The outriggers are a blast to operate, they are so cool. PARTS In term of special parts this set isn't exactly special. You get six big tires, which you might already own four of, when you own the Claas. For existing PF users, it's mostly parts in new colors. If you are new to Technic or new to PF, this set is a pretty decent starter pack. VALUE FOR MONEY This is where things get ugly. The hefty price tag of € 279 is way too much. Around € 199 would have been reasonable, but € 279 is nowhere near reasonable. VERDICT After building the set and spending some time playing with it I can only come to the conclusion that I really like it. I am even thinking about modding this set and that is something I seldomly do. This set reminds me of the 42039, where I felt like the president of a fan club with very few members. Sometimes a set just works for me and this is such a set. And that's not because it's the best set right out of the box, but it has potential to have a lot of fun with it. Some sets are perfect, but you will hardly touch them after building. The real question is whether people will be forking out such an amount of money for a non-licensed set. 6,8 Thanks you for reading this review. All pictures can be found here.
  8. REVIEW - 42069 - EXTREME ADVENTURE INTRODUCTION It's time for yet another review. This review will handle the second most expensive set of the 2H 2017 wave, the 42069 - Extreme Adventure. It represents a Land Rover like vehicle with a modified undercarriage. This vehicle has link treads instead of wheels. I am not the biggest fan of link treads, unless the vehicle is full RC. This is because treads limit the playability, especially on smooth surfaces. This is actually the first Technic set with rubber inserts, so I am eager to find out if they will improve playability. I couldn't help but think how this model would look with wheels on it. At the end of this review I will be attaching several different types of wheels, so you can check out for yourself. PICTURES Pictures can be clicked to view hi-res versions. More pictures can be found in my Flickr album. DISCLAIMER This set has been provided by the CEE Team of TLG. It's not my goal to promote this set. It's my goal to give you an honest opinion about it. Therefore the opinion in this review is my own and is in no way linked to TLG. SET INFORMATION Number: 42069 Title: Extreme Adventure Theme: Technic Released: 2017 Part Count: 2382 Box Weight: 2,79 kg (approx) Box Dimensions: 58,0 cm x 37,4 cm x 9,8 Set Price (MSRP): € 139 Price per Part: € 0,058 Price per kilo: € 49,8 Links: Brickset, Bricklink THE BOX The box is as wide as the box of this year's flagship (42070 - 6x6 All Terrain Tow Truck). Since it is less deep and high it doesn't look a lot smaller. You can't judge a book by its cover and sometimes you can't judge a set by the box! This set contains 520 more parts than the 42070 (2382 versus 1862). The part count obviously isn't the most important factor, but it doesn't happen often that a non-flaghip set has the most parts. The snow does a good job of making the model stand out. BACKSIDE There is barely enough space to show all the functions of the main model. The B-model looks more like a Research Exploration Vehicle than the one used in the 42070. It is called Mobile Base Vehicle though. The base seems to be detachable and it even packs a crane. It does help when the designer of the main model is one of the best B-model designers CONTENTS OF THE BOX The box contains: 1 Book and Sticker Sheet (packed together) 20 Bags (unnumbered) BOOK AND STICKERS THE BAGS No loose parts, just 20 unnumbered bags. HIGHLIGHTED PARTS PURPLE PARTS A modest collection of new purple parts. We already got some 3x13 Curved Panels in the 42048 - Go Kart in 2016 and now we can work with the parts below as well. Hopefully TLG will release sets with the bigger panels in purple, so we can all start building a purple Porsche SILVER RIMS Eight Wheel 18mm D. x 14mm with Pin Hole, Fake Bolts and Shallow Spokes in metallic silver have been provided in this set. That is quite a few, considering the fact that they only have been released in two sets, where you got one and two of 'em respectively. Sorry for the unsharp picture btw. 6x3 PANEL IN DBG For the first time this panel has been released in dark bluish grey. 40 YEAR ANNIVERSARY BRICK This set also contains the 3L liftarm, also known as the 40 Year Anniversary brick. PERPENDICULAR 3L CONNECTOR WITH CENTER PIN HOLE It has been a while since we have seen this in yellow. As a matter of fact I only owned two of these from last year's (2016) Volvo EW160E. Always funny that some common parts are actually not so common at all. Glad to see these making another appearance, much like the red #3 connector. RUBBER TREAD LINK ATTACHMENT These attachments already appeared in two Nexo Knights sets and now they make their first appearance in a Technic set. You get 52 attachments. In the Factory Store in Legoland Germany you can buy bags with these attachments, where each bag contains 28 of 'em. This is how such a bag looks like. SUSPENSION Not a very special part, but I still wanted to highlight the fact that you get six shock absorbers, four soft ones and two hard ones. Two of the soft ones will be used to dampen the door opening mechanism. ROPE This set contains a new rope. It has kind of a metallic touch to it. It is slightly thicker than the regular rope. Thumbs up for this new version. It looks and feels a lot better. (ctrl+c, ctrl+v from the 42070, which contains the same rope) 11L AXLE LBG Seemingly ordinary, so I almost forgot to shoot a picture of it, but this set introduces the 11L Axles in light bluish grey. Also found in this year's 10257 Carousel and 75172 Y-Wing Starfighter. Strange enough TLG introduced the 11L Axle in yellow first. DARK GREEN JUMPER PLATE Also a quite common part, but released in a new color, a dark green 1x2 Jumper Plate. PART LIST This set contains 2382 parts, spread out over two pages. THE BUILD Time to get building! This set contains 10 u-joints and in case you are wondering where they are going?! You already need four of 'em early on, in the middle of the chassis. After some additional building steps, you will be attaching the V8 engine to the chassis. It's very cool that this model has V8 engine, instead of a V6. Or even worse...a 4 cylinder engine. Thumbs up. You can also see the first few purple parts invading the model. As opposed to All Terrain Tow Trucks, we actually do find a winch at the front of this vehicle. How on earth would you go on an Extreme Adventure without a winch?! It has a cool lock which is made, using a simple Rubber Double Axle Connector. It has enough leeway to unlock the winch and it bounces back into place upon release. A very simple, yet very effective mechanism. The front of the vehicle shows the initials MR, which stands for Milan Reindl. Milan is one of the members who made the switch from Eurobricks to TLG, so it feels extra special to be reviewing one of his sets. I sure hope that Milan isn't in charge of designing the stickers though, because there are quite a few MR stickers on this model Here you can see the start of the door opening mechanism. The rotating axles will be connected to springs, to provide some cool damping when opening the doors. The axles are connected to the soft springs. This results in the need to apply some pressure when opening the doors, but when you have passed a certain point, the doors will ease out. Yet another thumbs up for this mechanism. Have we lost count of the thumbs up already?! Another cool feature is the roof that can be tilted up and down. It is operated by the mini Linear Actuator, connected to the liftarms. I will show the entire mechanism in a bit. Several steps further the doors have been attached and you have created the rear side compartments. This model has a ton of cool little details... ...which you see in the image below. Both side compartments contain a fire extinguisher and one the compartments even contains a medkit with a syringe. Adding these kind of "LEGO Sytem details" really add appeal and playability to the model. I will elaborate on that in the Features and Functions chapter. Here's is view from the other side, where you can also see the fire extinguisher. The following two pictures show the two states of the folding tent. I especially like the white color of the panel to emphasize that this is a different material. Another thing I really like about the tent is that it actually looks like a tent, even though it's just a simple panel. I am not really sure you would want to sleep in the vehicle with arctic temperatures though, but that's a totally different discussion The compartment under the tent holds a shovel, so you can dig in the snow or maybe even dig a hole in the ice to catch yourself some fish. You can also see the door lock which prevents the door from opening while you are driving. At this point we are almost done with the bodywork, except for the roof rack and the bonnet. Now it's time to build the undercarriage. The rear axle doesn't have a rack for steering, but it does have a differential. The front axle does have rack-and-pinion steering. Both axles are live axles, so they don't have independent suspension. At this point the bottom of the chassis looks like this. Two axles going to the front of the vehicle, one for steering and one for driving. One axle going to the rear of the vehicle, which is obviously for driving. There's no center differential in this vehicle, but it is 4x4...or 4WD...or AWD. There are subtle differences, and there will be discussion by the purists, but most of the time it boils down to marketing mumbo jumbo. For the average Technic enthusiast this is considered a 4x4. Voila, undecarriage complete. Live axles attached and we can hit the snow!! Let's not be hasty and get ourselves a proper bonnet and a roof rack first. Maybe we can throw in some jerrycans while we're at it. That's more like it. The roof rack has three different type of jerrycans, so be careful mixing them up. You don't want to be drinking fuel and driving on water (unless it's hydrogen powered). Luckily the cans have been color coded for our convenience. The roof rack even holds a couple of spare link treads, in case we ruin some of them. If you do actually need them, you must have had a pretty rough (and enjoyable) ride. The first time I laid eyes on this vehicle, my intial response was "yuck, what is that supposed to be. And what's with the color scheme?!". This was obviously after seeing some preliminary images. When the images from the toy fair popped-up things had changed for the better. And when looking at the following image, you can only say...WOW! I know some people aren't too fond of the black and purple color scheme. They think it's too dark, and while they might be right about it being dark, I personally think TLG nailed the color scheme. There's that typical Ken Block Monster vibe going on. FINISHED MODEL Unlike the All Terrain Tow Truck this model actually is a finished vehicle! The level of detail is extraordinary. There's so much to look at and to play with. Of course there will always be debate about purple and/or the color scheme, but I really love this purple color. Hopefully we will get more panels, liftarms and connectors, so the AFOLs can make better use of this color when building their own creations. The 3L printed liftarm is prominently placed in the front bumper, near the winch. Here you can see that Milan takes pride in his work...MR stickers all over the place. Narcissistic personality disorder maybe?! Just kidding of course. Milan is a great guy. Recently I had the pleasure of talking to him for a couple of hours and I am sure he will stay as friendly as he is now, even though his LEGO star seems to be rising! Enough with the praise, because this picture also shows a minor concern. The weight of the vehicle results in the treads slightly bending. It's not a very big problem, but it is noticeable. The rear of the vehicle, with the quadruple metallic silver exhausts, has been designed as beautiful as the rest of the vehicle. I do like the use of the yellow connectors and half bushes to add some yellow details. Yellow and purple make a nice color combination. Orange and purple works nicely on the Go Kart, but yellow and purple works even better. The tread wheel on the rear door provides a lock to prevent it from being opened. You have to turn the wheel before you can open the door. The side view shows the fake dampers in the suspension. All these cool details add value to this outstanding model. For the chassis lovers Milan didn't take the easy way out when creating the chairs. These aren't simple panels, but actual chairs. And last but not least....the icing on the cake....the jerrycans! 360 DEGREES VIEWER Back by popular demand, the 360 degree viewer! Okay...nobody actually asked, but I will throw it in anyway Swipe the picture to rotate the model. NOTE! In some browsers or in some cases the 360 degree viewer doesn't seem to work. I have yet to figure out why. Sorry for the inconvenience. FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS This set contains so many cool features that I don't even know where to start. ACKERMAN STEERING GEOMETRY This vehicle has HoG (Hand of God) steering. It works okay, but the vehicle is a bit too heavy to operate the steering when you are not driving. Other than that; the gear easily comes off. On the bright side; this model uses Ackermann steering geometry, which is something we hardly see in Technic sets anymore. 4x4 Four wheel drive has been realised with a differential in both axles, without a center differential. SUSPENSION The suspension is comprised of two live axles, which is done nicely. There's no independent suspension. WINCH Missing on the 42070, but present on this vehicle is the winch. Works like a charm and has a cool locking mechanism. The winch is operating by turning the 12T gear on the shotgun side of the vehicle. FOLDABLE ROOF/TENT By turning the gear on the driver's side of the vehicle, the roof can be lifted and the tent will pop-out. OPENING BONNET The bonnet can be opened manually, nothing out of the ordinary. OPENING DOORS What is out of the ordinary though, is the mechanism for opening the doors. Using a spring for each door, there's damping when you open and close the door. The door opens by moving the upper side up and the lower side down. This is a unique mechanism which we have never seen before and which will be hard to trump. OPENING REAR DOOR The rear door can be opened manually, by pulling the tread wheel. REAR DOOR LOCK The rear door has a lock to prevent it from being opened. You need to turn the tread wheel to unlock the door. OPENING SIDE COMPARTMENTS Both side compartments can be opening manually. SLIDING REAR COMPARTMENT The rear compartment slides out and contains a shovel. There's a mechanism in place to prevent the compartment from falling out of the vehicle. ADDED EXTRA DETAILS Something I like to emphasise is the added extra details, like the jerrycans, medkit and fire extinguishers. Not only do they look cool, but they actually add playability to the set. I highly recommend that TLG designers do this more often. Here is a video demonstrating the functions: PLAYABILITY I like to go into more detail about the playability of this set. One of the reasons this review has taken some more time is that I had my nephews visiting for a couple of days. They are aged 4 and 6, so they like to be entertained. And they brought a 7 year old friend LEGO-lover and his 4 year old sister. This is my chance to be the cool uncle. And a cool uncle has cool LEGO! This gave me a perfect opportunity to see how kids enjoy Technic models. They are too young to be building these models, although the 7 year old would probably be up for the job. Anyway, they all started with "WOWs" when I brought the sets downstairs. They have seen big Nexo Knight sets, but never any big Technic sets. Score one for the cool uncle. They definitely like RC vehicles, but they tend to operate the functions least they try to. After some time they asked for paper towels to make artificial snow and they were actually playing with the Extreme Adventure vehicle. It is so cool that this set includes new Technic figures, because the kids love to add them to the mix. Ohh, wait a minute....those were my 30-odd year old Technic figures. Come on TLG, bring back these guys. Kids really don't matter that they don't have the proper scale. Just sell them as a separate set if you are concerned about that, but how cool would it have been to include a Technic figure in this set. I can see the guy carrying the jerrycans, using the fire extinguisher, etc. You have done an outstanding job adding details, now go another extra mile and design some cool new Technic figures. I am not a big fan of models with link tread, except for RC ones (8043 is probably still me favorite model). The reason is that they tend to lack playability, especially on smooth surfaces. The slide over the surface, instead of driving. This bothers me. Luckily, this set contains the new rubber attachments, to make up for that. Obviously the total amount of grip depends on the number of attachments. You can add two to each tread, one on each tread, etc. This set doesn't have one on each tread, so it still slides over smooth surfaces. The weight of the vehicle does help though. I was surprised to see the kids drive the vehicle through the entire living room and kitchen. Apparently there is enough drivability in this vehicle, more than I expected. Fun fact is that the mother of the 7 year old and his 4 year old sister was picking them both up, so she was also looking at the models. She loved the purple look and figured it must have been used to appeal to girls as well. I am pretty sure this is not the case, but it shows what goes in the mind of potential customers. The 4 year old girl loved the Extreme Adventure, she couldn't stop playing with it. Technic Mini-dolls anyone?! All in all we had great fun and it was interesting to see these kids playing with both models (hadn't built the 42068 yet). The All Terrain Tow Truck required alternating turns, but the Extreme Adventure offered the possibility to play simultaneously. They liked both models, but they all prefered the 42069. And I did get the impression that having the jerrycans and the other playable extra's did the trick. I highly recommend TLG to motivate the designers to do this more often. B-MODEL The Mobile Base Vehicle looks interesting enough to give it a go. I am tempted to buy an extra set so I keep the main model built as well. The vehicle has a base which can be deployed. The base can open and close, and it even packs a crane. SUMMARY This set absolutely takes the cake. I was a bit hesitant about the playability with the treads, but my test team has proven me wrong. When you hear kids asking if they can play with the set again, you know you did a good job as a designer...and me as the cool uncle An impressive list of functions and features: Ackermann steering geometry 4x4 Suspension using live axles Winch Foldable roof/tent Opening bonnet Coolest door opening mechanism ever Opening rear door Rear door lock Opening side compartments Sliding rear compartment Added LEGO System details (jerrycans, medkit, fire extinguisher) I am starting to like the vibrant colors more and more after each build. Black and purple work really well together. Besides the color scheme, the design of the model is outstanding. From the well formed chairs to the jerrycans, the details are amazing. Even @Kitty (my partner) is very enthusiastic about this set and she is not into Technic at all. I am not allowed to put the wheels back on after switching back to the treads. Even though this model doesn't contain as much gears as the flagship, this still was a very enjoyable build. The cool mechanisms definitely make up for the lack of gears. Technically it's a very sound build as well. This set offers outstanding playability and at a total price of € 139 (5,8 cent per part ) you just can't go wrong with this set. We've lost a lot of good men out there! Milan Reindl a.k.a. grohl was one them. I feel sorry we lost him from our community, but I am very happy that he started working for TLG. As a wise man once said: "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". I really liked his Heavy Lift Helicopter and the Extreme Adventure is definitely a winner too. Please, do bring back the Technic figures SCORE How do I rate this set? 9 DESIGN Absolute eye-catcher. 9 BUILDING EXPERIENCE Lots of cool techniques used. 9 FEATURES Long list of cool features. 9 PLAYABILITY Playability proved to be endless. Treads do somewhat limit drivability. 8 PARTS Nice collection of parts, albeit mostly common parts. Does have a unique purple selection. 10 VALUE FOR MONEY Can't go wrong for 5,8 cent per part. 9,0 ANOTHER HIT BY MILAN EXTREME ADVENTURE ON WHEELS As promised I have added a bonus section to this review, showing you different wheeled setups. This is how the front and rear axle look like. It took some time to come up with a proper solution. I am pretty sure there will be better solutions, but this one does use four Technic 5.5L Axle with Stop, in order to prevent the wheel from falling off. I started with a different setup just to shoot the wheels, but since I had me nephews around, I needed a more "kid-proof" setup. I haven't had any problems with the setup below. As you can see I have also changed the antenna setup. They kept falling off, so I ran them through the connectors. The front and rear axle setup. The next pictures still use the old setup where I used yellow axles. POWER PULLER TIRES AND RIMS Technically these are the 8466 - 4x4 Off-Roader wheels, but people like to call them Power Puller wheels. These wheels do touch the chassis when steering. TUMBLER TIRES AND BLACK RIMS Batman just isn't up for this job. 4x4 CRAWLER TIRES AND BLACK RIMS These look okay, although we might need to try yellow rims. CLAAS TIRES AND RED RIMS Somehow red does look okay, but we would need some more red details in the car itself. These wheels do touch the chassis when steering. CLAAS TIRES AND YELLOW RIMS A little bit too much, don't you think. These wheels do touch the chassis when steering. With hub caps. I cheated a bit here UNIMOG TIRES AND SILVER RIMS I do like the Unimog tires for this vehicle. UNIMOG TIRES AND YELLOW RIMS Now this is what I'm talking about. I really do like this setup. Big wheels and yellow rims, but not exaggerated. With minor details (pulleys) in the rims. BACK TO TREADS Although I absolutely love some of the setups, I have come to the conclusion that this model is better with treads. Maybe not for playability, but they make this a unique set, instead of yet another 4x4. Thanks you for reading this review. All pictures can be found here.
  9. Full disclosure: This review is copied in its entirety from my blog. This is my very first review, and as such is full of omissions and errors. As the text itself states I am looking for criticisms and advice on how to improve. Thank you in advance. The Quake Mech hasn’t been officially announced yet, but we did get a sneak peek in the Ninjago Movie ‘Making of’ book. What we do have is a scaled down polybag version of the mech: The build itself is of the expected polybag-size and is very nicely built. The only thing I dislike is that the wheel itself is brickbuilt, but it would’ve been impossible to stand on its own otherwise. I do hope that the actual set will have an actual wheel, even if it has to have additional support in order to stand. The arms have a lot of articulation, although the shoulders are a bit flimsy, but brilliantly built. They’re bigger than the rest of the body and give the mech that ‘hulky’ look. As I’ve mentioned the wheel is brickbuilt and flat on the base. The droid arms are not attached to it and are only there for aesthetics. The wheel is actually attached to the rest of the body via a 1×1 round trans piece that. It has a black bar running through it. The mech looks quite good from the back side as well, if a bit bland. However, there is room for attaching additional pieces there, so it can be improved upon with clever tinkering. I have to admit that I was quite impressed with this build. So much, in fact, that I bought two – one for my collection and one to use as a decoration on my desk (on which I usually keep souvenirs from my trips). This was my first ever review and I hope you liked it. Is there anything you would’ve liked to be included, or anything I missed? If you have any other comments, criticism and/or advice I hope that you will share them. I will allow me to improve and you can enjoy better reviews.
  10. Hi, today I'm going to review the most famous piece of 'junk' in the galaxy far far away, The Millennium Falcon! This is actually a series one micro fighter version of Millennium Falcon. Introduction There are quite a number of Millennium Falcon released by LEGO in various sizes throughout the years. I've compiled the list of LEGO Millennium Falcons via Google and I found 10 different model here. 7190 Millennium Falcon (2000) 4488 Mini Millennium Falcon (2003) 4504 Millennium Falcon (2004) 10179 Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon (2007, UCS) 7778 Midi-scale Millennium Falcon (2009, mid-scale) 7965 Millennium Falcon (2011) 7958 Star Wars Advent Calendar (Along with other vehicles) 75030 Millennium Falcon (2014, Microfighters) 75105 Millennium Falcon (2015) 75192 Millennium Falcon (2017, UCS) However today, let's focus on the micro fighter version. Overview Name: 75030 Millennium Falcon Theme: Star Wars Subtheme: Micro Fighters Year: 2014 Pieces: 94 Minifigures: Han Solo Price: £8.99 / $9.99 / 9.99€ / RM49.90 Resources: Brickset The Box The front of the box features the Millennium Falcon flying through the galaxy with a Death Star image at the bottom right corner of the box. At the back you can see the flick cannon function and all six models of series one micro fighters. The only minifigure in this set gets featured as the 1:1 picture at the side of the box. The box is quite small, but they are quite nice if you put all six boxes together. The Instruction Manual The booklet is quite thin staplered together. I like the light weighed book as it was easy to flip through. The booklet is folded in half to fit in the small square box. After all, it stays quite well while building if you fold the booklet like this. The Build Wow, in a small model I'm surprised that it took the shape of the base of the ship in just a few steps building. The half round rear and both the forward mandible has already taking shape in this picture. I really love the color scheme used here. The combination of trans red, trans blue and dark red mixed well with the greys of the whole ship. It's quite amazing that the designers actually put a little bit of effort for the interiors of the ship. Despite being showed outside, these areas won't be appreciated after the completed build as they can't be opened. So let us put some imagination here. The trans red cones at the centre of the ship might have been the game room and the light saber practice chamber for Luke. The modified 1x1 bricks at the side added some rod like structure as details at both side of the ship. The interiors are then closed by these quarter circle plates. Then a seat for Han is installed behind the base of the cockpit. Both the forward mandible was strenghtened by the 1x3 with one side slope. Then the whole ship was covered by this 6x6 round plate which added some layering details to the ship. A 2x2 round tile was placed at the side as the escape pods. In larger Millennium Falcon, there should be two escape pods at both side of the ship but in this small model, there is insufficient space to put the other one. The top view of the partially finished build. Its quite dull with only grey color present here so the last few steps are to add details on this grey canvas. These are the 'legs' of the ship which used 2x2 plates and 2x2 round tiles. I liked the sphere looking landing pads here. The buldging of the round tiles added some height to the model and it surprised me that the bottom of this model looks good too! (Even with all those anti studs here). This printed part is representing the cockpit of the ship. Its not exclusive to the set but it only appeared in three sets including this one and one SDCC set. So its quite valuable, don't lose it! Haha.. Quad laser cannons are the only play feature here whereby you install these two flick cannons at the top of the Millennium Falcon. So now the canvas is painted with these 1x1 wonderful tiles. The sensor dish is presented with this round dish attached to a T shaped rod, so miniature and brilliant choice of bricks to be used here. The two dark red tiles really added much detail and color to the grey here. Tadaaa!!! This is the completed build of the model. The flick cannons, sensor dish and the cockpit installed! Look at the windshield, its so small to even cover the hand of the pilot, lol. You can view this model at every angle of this Millennium Falcon in this picture. The color scheme is really very eye catching especially if you are a Star Wars fan. The Minifigure Han Solo in the black vest is the only minifigure in this set. He came with a small blaster and the iconic outfit and dark blue jeans with belt. He is not exclusive to this set where he appeared in 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina too. This is the Han that appeared in episode four where he bragged about his beloved Millennium Falcon in Mos Eisley Cantina. He has angry face as the alternate facial expression of this minifigure. The back of the torso is also very nicely printed. Conclusion I love this very cute build of the Millennium Falcon in this set! Small but packed with so much details is definitely a very worthy ship to own! Review Summary Playability: 5/10 - Flick cannons are easy to lose if you really play with it, lol. Design / Building Experience: 9/10 - Very nice building techniques and amazingly detailed exterior and interiors with only small bricks and tiles. Minifigures: 8/10 - Han Solo is the owner of this ship, so he is very suitable to be in the set. The prints are very similar to the outfit in the movie too. Overall: 9/10 - Its a must buy but too bad its retired. With the latest 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon coming, this set would be a very cute companion to be displayed alongside with the big ones. Nice gathering with the ship as background! Can it fly off and come back as the UCS version? Haha..
  11. Hello, I know this is around two months since they are launched in Malaysia, but I'm happy to be able to review these four beautiful sets that represent Malaysia. Thanks to LUG of Malaysia (LOM) that gave me this opportunity to review these sets. These four sets are called Bunga Raya, Rumah Kampung, Wau and Ketupat which were lauched week by week in Toys"R"us Pavillion, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. *All the minfigures are NOT included in these sets. Let's get started. Bunga Raya (Hibiscus). Let's start with the first of the four Malaysia Limited Edition set, Bunga Raya. As we all know, Hibiscus (also known as Bunga Raya in Malay), is our national flower. Its scientific name is Hibiscus rosasinensis. After our independence day (Merdeka), our Agriculture Ministry was instructed to suggest a suitable flower to be our National Flower. However in the end of 1958, the ministry of Agriculture actually came up with seven suggestions which were Bunga Kenanga (Cananga odorata), Bunga Raya, Bunga Melur (Jasminum or Jasmine in English), Bunga Teratai (Nelumbo nucifera or lotus in English), Bunga Mawar (Rosa or rose in English), Bunga Cempaka (Carson Magnolia sp. or Champak flowers in English) and Bunga Tanjung (mimusops elengi or Spanish Cherry Flower in English). After discussion on 28 Julai 1960, 'Bunga Raya' was declared as the national flower of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu and continued to be until now. The Box. This set is not packaged in ordinary polybags but it came in a small yellow box instead. Front part you can see the poster of City of Wonders, and a piece count with 133 pieces in this box. At the back you can see other three sets to be collected and at the side, you can see the Bunga Raya but it is NOT actual size. As you can see here, it can be opened up like a lunch box. I liked it as you don't need to damage the box when you are opening it. Yeay! Lets pour everything out! You get the 133 pieces of LEGO which is mostly red in colour, and a piece of instruction paper. Its very amazing that this pile of LEGO will bloom out and become a beautiful flower. The parts consist of three main colour, red, green and yellow. As you can see in the picture, the pieces are mostly plates, inverted slopes and smooth curvy parts. I like the green and yellow parts showed up in the sea of red in this picture. They become the striking component here. Lets start building. Step one you can see the base is mainly plates. Then covered by curved parts for the bottom two petals in step two. After a few minutes building, you will get four petals attached nicely as in the picture. Step four is completing the five petals of our national flower. Its already a very nice looking flower just as it is. I love how the curved parts attached to become not squarish as LEGO parts are mostly square. Then tadaa! Build the green stem and yellow anther and you get yourself a very nice beautiful flower! In this picture you can see the bottom part of the flower. It was supported by those inverted bricks so that it won't fall apart like how it was before these slopes were attached. Then you can hold it on the stem and it will stay at your hand firmly. Lastly this is not a minifig scaled flower. With so much details inside it is quite hard to make it smaller. However, Antman (which is not included in the set) is always 'scaled' to any sized object so he can pose here nicely standing beside the beautiful Hibiscus. Pros What I really like about this set was the flower is very nicely designed with the striking combination of red green and yellow colour. Its a very nice display set where you can put on your working desk to proudly show that I LOVE MALAYSIA! Cons The only cons I think was the long pillar holding the anther tends to fall off quite often. But it doesn't really affect the appearance of the flower. Look how realistic is this. It almost looked like a real Hibiscus. Rumah Kampung (Village House). Hi, today I'm proud to present to you the second set of the LEGO City of Wonders, Rumah Kampung. Rumah Kampung is a traditional Malay houses in Malaysia. It originates before the arrival of foreign or modern influences, and constructed by the indigenous ethnic Malay of the Malay Penisula, Sumatra and Borneo. It was built with traditional architectural forms such as tropically suited roofs and they are captured in this very beautifully designed LEGO set. Let's go to the set. This set has 137 pieces, almost the same number of pieces with the Bunga Raya set but quite small compared to the Hibiscus. Emmet is excited to start building the nice village house with these bricks, plates and slopes! *Emmet is not included in this set. This is part one of the part list. The Rumah Kampung consists of brown plates, light bluish gray slopes and a dark brown clip. Part two consist of tan coloured windows and door, dark red tiles and tons of brown profile bricks. Lets open up the instructions and start building! Step one you can already see the base of the house lined with cozy dark red carpet. Emmet is comfortably sitting there watching me building. Hi! We have a helper now. The carpenter had already finished the windows and Emmet is helping him to install them for the house! After installing the windows, it started to rain! Luckily the base of the roof was done for Emmet to 'not getting wet'. Where did he get the umbrella? Hmm... Yeay! The roof was done! Now Emmet is happy that the house has two air vents at the roof to make the inside of the house cool. This is very important in our all year hot country! Then the pillars are installed. Now that the roof is taller than Emmet, he can't help but wondering 'How to get inside the door?' With the ladder, of course! I like the simple and accurately designed ladder. These are the views of the finished model. Amazing design! This house is stable and the slope of the roof are built at two nice gradient. The hole was purposely left brickless to resemble the air vent at the roof which I feel its an amazing touch to the house. In conclusion, this is a very nice set to get for your work desk! Thanks for reading and I'm not sure how tree beard feels in the next picture. Emmet: 'Can you keep that wood plank and the saw now?' *Emmet, Tree Beard and the carpenter are not included in this set. Pros Amazing design! This house is stable and the slope of the roof are built at two nice gradient. The hole was purposely left brickless to resemble the air vent at the roof which I feel its an amazing touch to the house. Cons The cons of this set is that you need to be careful of the legs that quite often fall off so you need to count the eight legs every time you bring the house from one place to another. The use of the profile bricks to make it looked like wood planks is a very nice touch to the house. It really has the village cozy feel here. The other two sets will be reviewed at the comment area. Please continue reading.
  12. Both BrickTsar and DunksterBricks seem to have had a lot of fun making a review of our automation system! BrickTsar focuses on how to get the system up and running while DunksterBricks shows what it looks like in a real layout. Now that the switch motors, traffic lights and sensors are out, what do you think we should focus on getting out next ?
  13. Third B-model of the 2H2017 is yet another "vehicle" (so helpful of LEGO to tell us that, now nobody will mistake it for a building ;) ). While it's the smallest of the three, I think it's quite interesting and good-looking, even if many of A-model's pieces are left unused and the functions are largely similar to those of the A-model.
  14. Avast, me hearties! A Pirate set marked down? I need a Bluecoat to fight my Redcoats. I must acquire this piece of AFOL treasure. SET INFORMATION: Number - 70409 Name – Shipwreck Defense Theme – Pirates Year – 2015 Minifigures – 2 Pieces – 84 Price – $15.99CAD, $12.99USD, £8.99 Links: Brickset - BrickLink -{} LEGO Product Summary Recover the hidden treasure from the pirate’s shipwreck hideout! Ahoy there! A Bluecoat Soldier has discovered a marooned pirate living among the ruins of his fortified shipwreck, along with a stash of stolen treasure. Launch a surprise attack! Fire the spring-loaded cannon and blast the swaggering pirate’s hideout to smithereens, then recover the treasure and put the rogue behind bars where he belongs! Enjoy swashbuckling adventures with the LEGO® Pirates Shipwreck Defense, featuring a pirate’s shipwreck hideout with a hinged port side for realistic cannon-impact effect. Combine with 70411 Treasure Island for an even bigger pirate adventure! Includes 2 minifigures with assorted weapons: a Bluecoat Soldier and a pirate. • Includes 2 minifigures with assorted weapons: a Bluecoat Soldier and a pirate • Features a pirate shipwreck hideout and a spring-loaded cannon with torch and flame • Pirate shipwreck hideout features a fireplace with hidden treasure, collapsing port side, mast with crow’s nest, flag, bottle and a paddle • Weapons include a gun, pistol and a cutlass • Hoist the Jolly Roger! • Hide the treasure • Blast the pirate’s shipwreck hideout • Shipwreck hideout measures over 4” (12cm) high, and 4”(11cm) wide and 1” (5cm) deep • Spring-loaded cannon measures over 2” (6cm) long, under 1” (2cm) high and under 1” (2cm) wide • Combine with 70411 Treasure Island for an even bigger pirate adventure! THE BOX: The front of the box shows a Bluecoat soldier attacking the pirate's shipwreck hideout with a cannon. The pirate has some precious gem stones treasure the Bluecoat might be after. The box features the pirates artwork logo and in the background there are sharks in the distance. There are the usual LEGO labeling. The ages 5-12 is merely a suggestion that AFOLs don't have to follow. Do be aware of the choking hazard warning. My box also has a discount sticker stuck to it. I got it for $10.98CAD plus tax. The back of box shows the features of this set. It demonstrates how to shoot the 1x1 cylinder bricks out of the spring loaded cannon. There is an insert picture of the 70411 Treasure Island set. 70411 can be combined with this set if you have it. This side of the box shows where the components are made in English, French and Spanish. It also have the same of the set in French and Spanish. Interesting if you like reading other languages. Here we see the choking hazard warnings in French and Spanish. Not for childrens 3 and under. Here we have the UPC barcode, trademark and copyright notices, URL for LEGO service and club, and the logo for responsible packaging. There is 08R5 packaging code which probably means it was packaged in Mexico in the 8th week of 2015. This side has a picture of a fish chasing after Bluecoat who is chasing after the pirate with the treasure. There is an actual size cutlass picture. We have finished our journey around the box. INSIDE THE BOX: There are two bags of parts and an instruction booklet. The bags are not numbered. I don't think it is necessary for a small set like this. Here are the contents of the two part bags spreadout. The pirate flag is a printed piece. Yay, no stickers. My favorite piece is the cannon. There are also plenty of other weapons like rifles, pistols and swords. There is not much reddish browns or dark brown pieces to reuse for pirate MOCs. THE MINIFIGURES: Here is the front of the minifigures. The pirate has the new style head rag wrap. Not everybody likes the new style. He has an anchor tattoo on his chest. His clothes are pretty ragged and patchy. He has a hashtag or tic-tac-toe mark on this cheek. The Bluecoat soldier is better dressed than the pirate. He has a shako, white epaulette, and is clean shaven. The shako appears to be same design as the Redcoat ones in 2009. Both minifigures feature back printing. The head rag wrap looks a bit like tied down bunny ears from the back. THE INSTRUCTIONS: Here is a sample page of the instruction booklet. The steps are well laid out and clear. I had no problems following them. In the back of the instruction booklet is a parts list. Handy for ordering replacements or extras through LEGO or BrickLink. THE BUILD: With 84 pieces and good instructions, the build was completed quickly and without any problems. I guess you can call it a speed build. Here is the finished set. Yikes,the pirate is looking down the barrel of a cannon. These are the extra leftover pieces from the build. You get a flame, two pistols, two swords, 1x2 curved slope, a white epaulette, and a piece of cheese Let's look at some of the features in detail. Removing the fish cooker from the barrel shows hidden treasure gems. The Bluecoat will never think to look under there. The side of the shipwreck hull tilts backward when struck with a cannon shot. Good thing the pirate has clutch powers in his feet to keep him from falling off. The crow nest provides the pirate a good view of the approaching Bluecoat. 70409 VS 6239: This set feels like a Bluecoat version of the 6239 Cannon Battle from the 2009 Pirates wave. How do they compare? 6239 has 45 pieces and sold for $6.99CAD. 70409 has 84 pieces and retailed for $15.99CAD. Canadian price per piece is 15.5 vs 19, a 23% increase. For playability, 70409 has more features and accessories. 6239 does have a nicer gun carriage. Personally, I think 70409 is more fun to play with. It is easier to right the shipwreck hull back up after a cannon ball hit than reassembling the wall pieces from 6239. SUMMARY: Playability: 9/10 Design: 8/10 Price: 7/10 Parts: 8/10 Minifigures: 9/10 Overall: 8/10 There is something fun shooting LEGO 1x1 cylinder bricks around with a spring loaded cannon trying to hit the shipwreck hull and that feeling when it is on target. This set certainly provides that kind of play. Along with the extra accessories and weapons, you can let your play imagination go wild. I give it a 9/10 for play. The design is good for a small set. I like the rock works and shaping of the hull. Also the tilt function is useful to reset the target after a direct hit. There are places to hide things and for the pirate to be located. 8/10 for design. Price-wise, it is what it is. It was the lowest priced set you can get a Bluecoat in the 2015 Pirates wave. I managed to get it on sale at a 13 cents CAD per piece which is around 10 cents USD at the exchange rate. 7/10. Looking at the parts, the cannon, weapons, and bottle of rum are great for pirate MOCs. The other pieces can find some use here and there in MOCs. It is good the pirate flag is a printed piece instead of stickered. 8/10. I really bought this set for the Bluecoat soldier. Having a pirate fig is a bonus. You can never have enough Bluecoats (and/or Redcoats). 9/10 for the minifigures. Overall, I give it at 8/10. Bluecoats and Redcoats are more interested in fighting each other than the pirates. So the pirates get treated to a good show with some food and drinks.
  15. THE UNOFFICIAL LEGO® TECHNIC BUILDER’S GUIDE: 2ND EDITION INTRODUCTION November 2012. That was the month that Nostarch Press released the first edition of the Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder's Guide. Written by, arguably, the most skilled LEGO (Technic) builder we all know. This book was the first to deal with all the aspects of building LEGO Technic models. October 2016. Four years after the 1st edition, the 2nd edition has been released. With 42 additional pages, this volume has even more content than its predecessor. The author, Pawel "Sariel" Kmiec, is a LEGO enthusiast based in Warsaw (Poland). He runs a well known blog on and he is a respected member of our Eurobricks community. The book has been technically reviewed by Eric "Blakbird" Albrecht, who runs the Technicopedia and is also a well respected member of the Eurobricks community. Sariel and Nostarch have given me the opportunity to review this book. I'm very thankful for that! Obviously, I am very sorry that I haven't published this review earlier, but life happens sometimes. TABLE OF CONTENTS Below is a rundown of the contents of the book. Four brand new chapters have been added to the 2nd edition and thirteen have been updated and extended. A total of 25 chapters comprise the entire volume of this latest edition. A whopping 394 pages of pure LEGO Technic pleasure, which is 42 pages more than the 1st edition (352 pages). Part I: Basics 1. Basic concepts (updated) 2. Basic units and pieces (updated) 3. Studless or Studfull? 4. Axles, bushes, and joints (updated) 5. Wheels (new) Part II: Mechanics 6. Gears and power transmission basics (updated) 7. Chains and pulleys (updated) 8. Levers and linkages 9. Custom mechanical solutions 10. The LEGO pneumatic system (updated) 11. Pneumatic devices (updated) 12. Building strong (updated) Part III: Motors 13. An inventory of LEGO motors (updated) 14. LEGO Power Functions system 15. LEGO RC system (new) Part IV: Advanced mechanics 16. Wheeled steering systems (updated) 17. Wheeled suspension systems (updated) 18. Tracked vehicles and suspensions (updated) 19. Transmissions (updated) 20. Adders and subtractors 21. Planetary gearing (new) 22. 3D printing custom pieces (new) Part V: Models 23. Form vs. function 24. Scaling a model 25. The modeling process PART 1: THE BASICS BASIC CONCEPTS The book starts with some basic concepts, like speed, torque, power, etc. This all seems quite obvious at first, but reading them does provide some interesting insights for both beginning and experienced builders. I found the sections about camber angle, caster angle and toe angle particularly interesting. BASIC UNITS AND PIECES The next chapter explains what FLU (Fundamental LEGO Unit) entails. It tells us that the width of a 1x1 brick is 8mm. This knowledge allowed me to answer that there are approximately 31 two-by-four bricks in a meter during our last annual Eurobricks Event. That's why you always need some basic knowledge when it comes to LEGO units This chapter also discusses the available pins and their characteristics. STUDLESS VS STUDFULL Something that has been keeping the community busy for quite some time is the debate about Studless vs Studfull (intentionally written with two L's). While Studless building is here to stay, there are lots of people still building Studfull. This chapter provides some useful insights when it comes to both building techniques. AXLES, BUSHES AND JOINTS The next chapter describes every axle, bush and joint. Together with the chapter about pins, this will prove to be very valuable information, especially for people getting back into the hobby. WHEELS Recent years have given us lots of different new rims and tires. This chapter describes most of them, explaining what the difference is between top speed and acceleration. It even describes some of the popular 3rd party wheels for truck trials etc. This concludes the first part of the book. PART II: MECHANICS GEARS AND POWER TRANSMISSION BASICS Having discussed the basics in the previous chapter, we are ready to dive in the mechanics. Mechanics are the heart of Technic and they define what Technic makes Technic. The first chapter about Mechanics is about Gears and Power Transmissions. An elaborate gear ratio table is included to calculate every possible gear ratio. Sariel also has an gear ratio calculator on his website. All the different gears are discussed, much like the pins and axles. I really do like these chapters, since the provide a nice overview for beginners and experts alike. CHAINS AND PULLEYS One of the chapters that deals with things you might not think of every day. Chains and pulleys can be quite useful though, so having some basic knowledge is imperative. The section about the different pulley setups is very interesting and useful. How many of you know what a "threefold purchase" is? I reckon, not a lot. LEVERS AND LINKAGE Levers can be found on many Technic models, but using them in a MOC can be more difficult than you would imagine. This chapter provides useful insights on using levers and linkages. CUSTOM MECHANICAL SOLUTIONS This chapter is about custom mechanical solutions, like custom differentials, differentials locks, rachtes, lineair clutches, and them some. PNEUMATIC SYSTEM The (new) Pneumatic System gets a lot of attention. The different pumps and actuators are discussed. PNEUMATIC DEVICES The next chapter shows a variety of pneumatic devices made using the pneumatic system. The picture below shows an example of a pneumatic compressor. BUILDING STRONG The last chapter in Part II explains why things will fall apart when we don't build strong. It's about finding weak links and understanding where to reinforce. PART III: MOTORS MOTORS The third Part of the book is all about Motors. It starts with an overview of every motor ever produced by TLG, even the watertight motors for propelling LEGO boats. LEGO POWER FUNCTIONS SYSTEM Chapter 14 covers the complete range of Power Functions (PF for short) elements. It's a nice summary of the total range and it even includes building instructions for a Remote Control with Central Steering Wheel. THE RC SYSTEM The third and final chapter in Part III is about the RC system. While the RC system hasn't been around for some time, it is still widely used by car builders. It allows for RC cars with relatively high top speed and high torque, compared to the current PF system. PART IV: ADVANCED MECHANICS WHEELED STEERING SYSTEMS After lots of interesting chapters we have come to the fourth Part, covering Advanced Mechanics. This sounds interesting! And obviously it is very interesting. It starts with an elaborate chapter about wheeled steering systems, covering quite a few different mechanisms. The picture below shows the Ackermann Steering Geometry, which is a well known system. WHEELED SUSPENSION SYSTEM What's a steered vehicle without a proper suspension system?! Like the steering system, suspension comes in a wide variety. Quite a few of them are covered in this chapter, together with some building instructions. TRACKED VEHICLES AND SUSPENSION Since not every vehicle is a wheeled vehicle, tracked vehicles get their attention in the 18th chapter. Different track types and suspension systems are shown with detailed images. Even some custom made track types are covered. TRANSMISSIONS Chapter 19 is all about Transmissions, covering systems like orbital transmission, ratchet transmission, lineair transmissions and lots more. This chapter proves to be very useful when you are designing your own gear box and drive train. ADDERS AND SUBTRACTORS Adders and subtractors are mechanisms used to couple two motors together. Coupled motors can be used to control a single functions. Working on a big robot project myself, I probably need to couple two motors to drive the behemoth. You can couple motors the easy way and the right way. Sariel covers the right way to do this. He also covers the math to calculate the torque and speed. PLANETARY GEARING There's an entire chapter devoted to Planetary Gearing, a system used in some bicycles, different kind of toys and even in mechanical pencil sharpeners. 3D PRINTING LEGO Purists probably will skip this chapter, but for other people this can be very interesting. It's about 3D printing certain parts, which are not available as official TLG parts. You can think of hubcaps and turntables, but also of a mounting connector for a GoPro camera. The possibilities are endless. This chapter concludes Part IV of the book. PART V: MODELS FORM VS FUNCTION We have come to the last part of the book, Part V about Models. The first chapter is about Form versus Function. How can you make a model work well and look good at the same time. Finding good reference material is key when it comes to designing. SCALING A MODEL Blueprints are types of reference material which work very well when it comes to modeling. Together with Sariel's LEGO Model Scaler you will be off to a good start. THE MODELING PROCESS The final chapter of this part, also of the book, covers the modeling process. It's about turning your idea into reality. Which leaves us with one last question... SUMMARY Whether you are a skilled builder or a novice, this book contains a wealth of interesting information. It is without a doubt the most comprehensible builder's guide to LEGO Technic. I highly recommend picking up a copy and enjoy the read! PROS The books looks fantastic. Full colored pictures on every single page. A wealth of interesting information. Useful for both novice and advanced builders. Great reference book. CONS This book offers little playability. Turning pages becomes cumbersome after a while. The parts are all glued together, which is probably why it's not an official book. Building experience is virtually non-existent. The title is incorrect. Obviously, it should have been "The Official LEGO Technic Builder's Guide" Obviously, I'm joking with the Cons. I rate this book a solid 9 out of 10. Why not 10 out of 10? Because there will probably be a third edition and I need to keep Sariel sharp CONCLUSION SHOULD BE TITLED OFFICIAL BUILDER'S GUIDE
  16. As could be expected, the 42069's B-model is way more interesting than the 42070's one, even if it's not too pretty:
  17. REVIEW: 41001 Mia's Magic Tricks

    Number - 41001 Name – Mia's Magic Tricks Theme – Friends Year – 2013 Minifigs – 1 Pieces – 90 Price – $12.99CAD, $9.99USD, £9.99 Links: Brickset - BrickLink - http://www.bricklink...m.asp?S=41001-1 LEGO Product Summary Practice and perform Mia's Magic Tricks for the big show! Mia's practicing hard for the big Heartlake City magic show. Help her to learn tricks with cards, a magic wand, flowers, her bunny and a top hat. Build her stage for the big performance then stun the crowds with a cute performing bunny that disappears into its own magic cabinet. Amaze the crowds when the bunny disappears! Includes Mia mini-doll figure. • Includes Mia mini-doll figure and a bunny • Features a magic cabinet with disappearing function and magician's stage • Accessories include magic wand, flowers, coins, cups, scarves and a top hat • Use the magic cabinet's magic function to make the bunny disappear! • Practice Mia's tricks and perform for Heartlake City! • LEGO® Friends pieces are fully compatible with all LEGO bricks • Collect all of the LEGO Friends sets for a whole world of LEGO Friends fun! • LEGO mini-dolls are LEGO figures made especially for the world of LEGO Friends that can be customized and combined in thousands of ways • Measures over 2" (7cm) high, 1" (5cm) wide and 3" (10cm) long" I purchased this set on a whim. Maybe because I like Mia in her snazzy new black tux. THE BOX: Typical Friends front box design with the girls in the upper corner. The back shows the features of this set. Warnings in French and Spanish on the side. Canadian price tag and IPC barcode on the bottom side. Actual size of bunny and the name of the set in French and Spanish on the other side. INSIDE THE BOX: There are two bags of parts and one Technic open center brick by itself. Not shown here is the instruction booklet. We'll see that later. Here are all the pieces laid out. The hat and wand look like they could be from Collectible Minifigs. Close-up of the printed 1x2 card tile. Bonus points for not being a sticker. These are the extra pieces after the build. THE MINIFIG: Mia looks fabulous in her black tux. There are nice small details like molded back pockets on her pants. Her back and arms say © 2009 LEGO. THE INSTRUCTIONS: Here is a sample page of the build instruction. This is the secret on how the bunny disappears. (Don't tell anyone.) THE BUILD: With Mia's magical help, the build was quick and easy. Instructions were clear and nothing was confusing. In a blink of the eye, it's done. SUMMARY Playability: 8/10 Design: 7/10 Price: 7/10 Parts: 7/10 Mini-figure: 10/10 Overall: 8/10 I really like Mia in her black tux. The bunny is cute and fun to make disappear. The magic cabinet could have been better colour coordinated. Although the grey pieces are in the back of the base of the cabinet, I think it would have been better to use white parts. The printed card tile is nice. There is not really much unique parts in this small set. At $12.99CAD, it is around 14 cents per piece. Interesting that the Lego product info on Shop@Home mentioned accessories includes coins, cups, scarves. But I don't see them on the box artwork nor in the bag of parts. THE MAGIC SHOW: And now, ladies and gentlemen, we are going to make the bunny disappear. Are you ready, bunny? This won't hurt a bit. ABBRACADBRA! Viola, the bunny is gone! Please note, no bunnies went missing or harmed in this magic show. The magic cabinet also makes a good diving board or walking the plank if you're a pirate fan.
  18. INTRODUCTION: Ready, aim, fire. Can you shoot the apple off hedgehog's head? I won this set in a contest. Can't go wrong with free LEGO review. SET INFORMATION: Number - 41120 Name – Adventure Camp Archery Theme – Friends Year – 2016 Minidolls – 1 Pieces – 114 Price – $12.99CAD, $9.99USD, £8.99 Links: Brickset - BrickLink -{} LEGO Product Summary Hit the target to help Mia win the archery trophy! Practice your skills with LEGO® Friends Adventure Camp Archery. It features a bow with shooting function and a target that falls over when hit, along with picnic accessories and a shelter to rest and watch the little hedgehog in its den. Includes a Mia mini-doll figure plus a hedgehog. Includes a Mia mini-doll figure in sportswear plus a hedgehog. Features an archery range with a knock-over target, a bow with shooting function, a shelter with a chair to rest on and a den for the hedgehog. Accessory elements include a trophy, flag, apple, sandwich, bottle of water, cherries and a barrel with projectiles. Fire the bow to hit the target and knock it over. Sit on the chair in the shade to enjoy a lunchtime sandwich. This set offers an age-appropriate building experience for ages 6-12. This set includes over 100 bricks. Archery range measures over 1” (4cm) high, 2” (6cm) wide and 1” (3cm) deep. Picnic shelter measures over 2” (7cm) high, 2” (6cm) wide and 2” (6cm) deep. Hedgehog den measures over 1” (3cm) high, 1” (3cm) wide and 1” (3cm) deep. Combine with 41121 Adventure Camp Rafting and the 41122 Adventure Camp Tree House for more Adventure Camp challenges! THE BOX: The front of the box shows Mia shooting targets at the Adventure Camp Archery. She has a barrel full of crossbow stud ammo. There is a shelter for her to rest and have some snacks. Hedgehog also has a hog house to rest in. The box has curved sides of the Friends line of boxes, plus the image of the fives Friends on the corner. The back of the box shows the features and accessories of the set. You can see Mia resting and going for a nice sandwich. The target has a knock-out bullseye. Mia is feeding cherry balls to the hedgehog. This side of the box contains URL to get service, origins of manufacture, copyrights, UPC bar code, item codes and notice of responsible packaging. Here you have text in several languages and graphics warning not for 0-3 years-old. This is the non-North American version of the box. This side has more text in several languages, warning graphics, and a 1:1 scale image of the hedgehog. INSIDE THE BOX: There are two bags of parts and an instruction booklet. The bags are not numbered. It may not be needed for a small set. Although I find I can build faster with numbered bags. Here are the contents of the smaller bag. You get a printed 2x2 bullseye target round tile. There are a couple of cherries and an assortment of flower/leaf pieces. Here are the contents of the larger bag. You get an apple and a hedgehog. The hedgehog has only been available in 4 other sets. You get one crossbow that first appeared in the 2015 Millenium Falcon set. THE MINIDOLLS: The set comes with one Mia minidoll. Mia is sporting new torso and legs for 2016. The same torso and legs would later be reused for the 2017 Friends Heartlake Sports Center set Mia. THE INSTRUCTIONS: Here is a sample page of the instruction booklet. The steps are well laid out and clear. I had no problems following them. THE BUILD: With 114 pieces and good instructions, the build was completed quickly and without any issues. Here is the finished set. Mia looks like she is ready to shoot something. These are the extra pieces. SUMMARY: Playability: 8/10 Design: 7/10 Price: 7/10 Parts: 7/10 Minidolls: 9/10 Overall: 7/10 There is something fun about shooting targets with a crossbow. It is a challenge to aim Mia's arm correctly. For play, I give it an 8/10. For design, I like the target stand and hedgehog house. But I am not sure about Mia's shelter. It feels like it was an afterthought add-on. Maybe it should be a weapon storage shed instead. I give it a 7/10. The price seems in line with other sets. I got mine for free so I can't complain. 7/10. Most of the parts are pretty Friends set generic. I don't see it as a part pack set. I do like the printed bullseye and stud shooting crossbow. You also get a hedgehog. I give 7/10. You get a Mia minidoll in a new 2016 outfit. She is my favorite Friends character. There may be some bias in the 9/10. Overall, I give this set a 7/10. It has good play value. It is not all that great for a parts pack. The weapon, minidoll and hedgehog are cool. Ok, hedgehog, please stay still... Pew, pew, pew... (Ok, so I like Star Wars sound effects.) The set goes together nicely with other Adventure Camp sets. Is there an archery challenge? Note: Chewie is not included with the Friends sets.
  19. Hi, today I will be reviewing something different, a medium or ordinary sized friends set. Friends sets started since 2012. The sets were targeted for girls and the mini-dolls are mainly female characters. The sets include pieces in pink and purple color schemes and depict scenes from suburban life set in the fictional town of Heartlake City. The main characters are Stephanie, Olivia, Emma, Mia and Andrea. But if you are to collect all variants of them, there would be tons to collect. As this is my first few sets of friends, let's start looking at it. Introduction This set was launched in 2015 and it was included in 66256 value pack. It featured Olivia who needs to get ready the studio for Livi the pop star to record her latest album. Overview Name: 41103 Pop Star Recording Studio Theme: Friends Year: 2015 Pieces: 172 Minifigures: 1 minidoll Price: £12.99 / $14.99 / 14.99€ Resources: Brickset The Box As usual, the box has the striking look of purple and pink color scheme which you will know this is a friends set at first glance. At the back of the box you can see Olivia is test running all the musical equipment for the superstar's arrival. At the side you can see Olivia's picture in the 1:1 actual size column. In this set you get one instruction booklet, one sticker sheet, and three unnumbered bags. Small, medium and large bags catering for their respective part sizes. I am quite fond of the parts distribution like this which makes it easier to find the parts even though they are unnumbered. There are three stickers in this set but I'm not complaining as the amount of printed parts are way more satisfying than the stickered parts. The instruction manual is a normal booklet and I suppose the one holding the mic at the top right corner is Livi the pop star. The Parts. These are the special and printed parts in this set. I loved them so much! You get a smart phone in azure blue 1x2 tile, a CD, a Cassette, purple Guitar, two keyboards, two glittering golden microphone, Mozart's notes, a newspaper in heartlake city and a normal looking panel. Wow! So much printed fun in such a small set! The Build. You get to build six small 'furniture' sized builds first before building the wall. These are the music note holder with a gold stand, video recorder on an octagonal base, and a mic stand. All of them are held by a pink flower at the base. These three minibuilds are great for modular interiors decorations. Then you get a controller with a keyboard, a pink sofa with a cup and the newspaper and a couch. These furniture are very nice especially if you are taking photos for your LEGO photographs. These are very nice household decorations as well! Let's start building the wall. First we build the CD player at the base of the wall with these grooved bricks. Then the CD ejector with a purplish black colored build. This is the sliding mechanism of the CD player. Its quite an interesting build here and I liked it. When we view from the top, this is how it works. Push the gold button and the CD will be ejected. After a few steps, you get the whole wall of the recording studio. It is quite well equipped with those smart phone controlled console, two speakers and a large music note signboard. There is a poster sticker at the trans clear door but the sticker on the right is actually a cupboard with musical certificate and trophies. The back of the wall is quite dull with a guitar hangar. Note that the cupboard screen is actually pure white instead of trans clear in color. A close up view of the controlling panels. Here you can see the music equalizer in a studio, a CD player, a smart phone and buttons. It does look like a recording studio. Tada! Completed build of the studio. I actually liked it very much after building the set. Now Olivia is ready for anyone to come for a musical recording! The extra parts are quite a number of 1x1 round plates and headphones. The Mini-doll. Olivia is the only Mini-doll in this set with a nicely printer torso and legs. The hairpiece is large compared to normal minifigure hair. Please don't put minifigure hairpiece on minidoll's head or else you will have a very hard time removing it. As with the headphone, its rubbery but it can't really stay on Olivia's hair and keep bouncing off. So I considered that as an 'extra' part. The legs are limited to bend forward, no other movements permitted. Here you can see the comparison between a mini-doll and a minifigure. Olivia is taller than C3PO while standing but the height is quite similar while sitting. The wrist of the mini-dolls are not movable so it makes them can only hold things in one direction but it was brilliantly put at an angle in which the accessories are held quite nicely. *C3PO is not included in this set. And Olivia invited all her friends for a jam in her newly set up studio! *Only Olivia is included in this set. Review summary Playability: 6/10 - The only thing to play is the CD ejector.Design / Building Experience: 9/10 - The design is very close to the real studio and the mini builds are very fun to build.Mini-doll: 9/10 - Olivia is a very nice figure in this set. The only downside is the headphone's weak clutch power to the hair.Price / Value for money: 9/10 - This set is quite worth the price with all those printed parts.Overall: 9/10 - For the first few sets of friends set, this one is quite fun and nice to build with very nice pink and purple color scheme. Conclusion This is my first few friends set and it amazed me of the design and mini builds. I thought I wouldn't like this set that much but it turned out differently. This is a very recommended set to have especially if you are building a modular building with a recording studio in it. I hope you like the review and thoughts and comments are welcome! Some karaoke session?
  20. If you thought the 42070 A-model was bad, the B-model is here to convince you it was actually pretty good. In fact, it seems to have been built solely for that purpose:
  21. REVIEW - 42030 - VOLVO L350F WHEEL LOADER INTRODUCTION The Nuremberg Toy Fair is always an exciting event when it comes to revealing new LEGO sets. This year was no exception. We finally got to see visuals of the upcoming Technic Flagship. This time LEGO teamed up with Volvo to create an impressive version of the Volvo L350F Wheel Loader. In this review we will find out how TLG's interpretation compares to the actual Wheel Loader and whether it's worth the whopping 220 euro you need to fork out to own this bad boy. The designer behind this model is Uwe Wabra, who has designed other great models like the iconic 8258 Crane Truck and the 8285 Tow Truck. It took him about eight months to design the Volvo L350F. Volvo Spirit Magazine "The Nuremberg Toy Fair in February saw global toy giant the LEGO Group unveil its latest flagship model from LEGO®Technic. With 1,600 individual pieces and the largest individual element ever created for the brand, the Volvo L350F wheel loader is not simply one of the company’s 2014 star performers – it is just as impressive as the real-life machine it is based upon." Read more... Volvo Press Release Volvo Construction Equipment and LEGO® Technic have joined forces to create a miniature remote-controlled L350F Wheel Loader in Volvo livery that not only drives, steers, lifts and loads just like the real thing it also converts into an equally impressive hauler. Read more... Credits Before we continue I would like to thank LEGO for providing the set and the possibility to publish this Exclusive review. Furthermore I would like to thank Volvo and Superkalle (our LDD Moderator) for giving me some very useful Volvo insights. All images can be clicked for hi-res versions. SET INFORMATION Number: 42030 Title: Volvo L350F Wheel Loader Theme: Technic Released: 2H 2014 Part Count: 1636 Box Weight: 3541 gr Box Dimensions: 57,5 x 47,8 x 12,0 cm Set Price (MSRP): 219.99 EUR DE / 169.99 GBP / 249.99 USD Price per Part: DE 0.134 EUR / UK 0.103 GBP / USA 0.153 USD With a price tag of almost 220 euro, this is the most expensive Technic flagship to date. The average price of 0,134 euro part part immediately makes clear that this is no ordinary Technic set. A high price per part normally indicates that a set has lots of special parts, like motors and other Power Function elements. THE BOX The box measures 57,5 x 47,8 x 12,0 cm which is equal to the height and width of the box for the 42009 Mobile Crane Mk II. The main difference is that this box measures a depth of 12 cm instead of the Crane's 9 cm. The additional 3 cm is necessary for housing the new Bucket, which will be discussed later. The difference in weight between the Crane Mk II (4172 gr) and the Volvo (3541 gr) is about 631 gram which is not that much, taking in account that the Crane has 970 pieces more (2606) than the Volvo (1636). One thing is sure; this box will leave little room for other Christmas presents under the tree later this year! FRONT SIDE The front of the box shows an impressive picture of the model, no surprise here. Like with most bigger models the size of the model is printed on the box. When finished, this model will measure a length of 58 cm and a height of 38.5 cm. The front also shows a Power Functions section stating it has "fully remote-controlled driving and digging functions.". The bottom right shows the large number of Power Function components this set contains. BACK SIDE The back side shows the B-model which is the Volvo A25F Articulated Dump Truck. The preliminary image of the back side explicitly showed an iPad with the digital building app. The iPad didn't make if to the final box, which makes you wonder whether the iPad instructions won't be available at all. Could it be that the size of the B-model is pushing the boundaries of building with the iPad app?! Another possibility is that the iPad app will be available later than the release of this set. INSIDE When opening the flip-up cover some cool facts of the real Volvo are revealed, together with a picture of the Power Functions and a demonstration of the manual functions. There's also a picture to emphasize the green engine. Name: L350F Horse Power: 540 HP (397 kW) Weight: 52 metric tons Bucket Volume: 6,9 m3 INSIDE COVER The inside of the cover is devoted to the Power Functions. Again all the PF elements are shown. Two remote controls are used for operating the boom and driving the vehicle. It's not necessary to switch between these functions. Three small pictures explain how the Power Functions are controlled. SIDE The side of the box shows the actual size of the bucket, which measures a width of 18,2 cm! Now it's clear why the box needed to be bigger than last year's flagship. CONTENTS OF THE BOX The box contains: 14 Bags 1 Booklet 1 Sticker Sheet 1 Bucket 4 Yellow Rims 4 Tires 9 Power Functions Components BAGS The box contains 14 bags in varying sizes. Business as usual so far. BOOKLET One of the first times we encounter a single booklet for a set this size. When you have built the 42009 Crane you might have seen this before. The first production runs of the Crane included 6 booklets, which later changed into a single booklet. I really appreciate a single booklet, since it more or less reflects the size of the model. STICKER SHEET Not only does the sticker sheet contain stickers for the A-model, but it includes stickers for the B-model as well, which is pretty unusual. This does mean that you either need to remove the A-model's stickers when you are building the B-model, or buying a few extra parts dedicted to the B-model's stickers. HIGHLIGHTED PARTS This section describes the unique and/or highlighted parts. We'll start with the massive Bucket which obviously is the star of the show! BUCKET This type of bucket is called a Spade Nose Rock Bucket. It's primary use is lifting blasted rock and the spade nose is to obtain maxium penetration when digging into the gravel. On a real bucket, the teeth are interchangeable, because they wear out. Volvo’s range of buckets is very comprehensive, encompassing buckets for all types of jobs and all types of materials; from rock and stone to ore and wood chips. Type: Spade Nose Rock Bucket Capacities: 1,8 – 7,5 m3 Applications: Hard and stony material, shot rock and where good penetration is needed. Options: Pin/hook-on, bolt-on edge, welded teeth & segments. Using a real Volvo with spade nose bucket, you could easily haul over 200 LEGO Volvo boxes and probably more than 300 LEGO Volvo models. The following two images show a comparison in size with the Bucket formerly known as the Big Bucket. The older big bucket is used in 8265 Front Loader. As you can see the previous version can easily fit inside the Volvo's Spade Nose Bucket. Makes you wonder how big the finished model will be!! The distance between the upper and lower holes for attaching the bucket is 5L, where this is 3,5L for the older bucket. POWER FUNCTIONS COMPONENTS The number of Power Functions components is unprecedented. No other Technic set has such a vast array of PF components. Admittedly, the 8043 Excavator also has 9 PF elements, but that set only contains M-motors. 1x Battery Box 2x Infrared Receiver 2x Remote Control 1x M-motor 1x L-motor 1x XL-motor 1x Servo motor All of the four available types of PF motors are included in this set. The new L-motor and Servo Motor are found in the 9398 Crawler and it's Exclusive Edition counterpart, the 41999 Crawler Exclusive Edition. The L-motor is also available in the beforementioned Crane Mk II. What's special about this set, is the return of the XL-motor. This motor was about to become a rare PF motor, since it hasn't been used in an official set since 2009. The last Technic set it appeared in was the 8258 Crane Truck (also by Uwe Wabra). What I really like about the XL-motor is it's coasting behavior. Coasting is performing a natural deceleration of a motor when the power is removed. In simple words; the motor doesn't immediately stall after you stop applying power to it. This results in fluent vehicle deceleration. The L-motor doesn't coast which results in the vehicle abrubtly stopping. I very much dislike this shocky behavior on the crawler, so I am glad TLG used the XL-motor for propulsion. Although it had probably more to do with the torque (40 for XL vs 18 for L) than the coasting behavior. WHEELS For the first time we get to see the Wheel 56mm D. x 34mm Technic Racing Medium, 6 Pin Holes in Yellow, which is great for bigger construction vehicles. TIRES I was hoping the, so called, Unimog tires would make their way into an official flagship set at least once more. So I was glad to see TLG apparently had the same thought and used these great tires for the Volvo again. WHEEL AND TIRE ASSEMBLY Below is a picture of the complete wheel and tire assembly. ENGINE CYLINDERS Technic Engine Cylinders come in two variants, Cylinders with Side Slots and a newer version Cylinders without Side Slots. The newer version only got produced in light bluish grey, up until now. One of the characteristic features of Volvo machines is their green engine color, originating from the Penta Corporation. Volvo was founded in 1927 and the first engines were bought from Penta Corporation who made green engines, and so just shipped the same color to Volvo. In 1935 Volvo bought Penta (which became Volvo Penta, the marine division). The engines were continued to be painted green. All engines back then were petrol engines. Volvo's first diesel, VDA, was made in 1945. From the 1950's some engines were painted red, but mostly these were for Volvo Cars, and were petrol engines. As for production Diesel Engines in heavy machinery and trucks, they have always been painted green since the start. THIN LIFTARMS The Black Thin Liftarm 1x7 is not very special, but it doesn't appear in Technic sets that often. The Yellow Thin Liftarm 1x6 used to be pretty rare, since it was only included in the 8457 Power Puller. However, last year this part got reintroduced in the 42024 Container Truck. The Light Bluish Grey Thin Liftarm 1x5 with Axle Holes on Ends was introduced in Black in 2013. This is the first time this part appears in another color. AXLE AND PIN CONNECTOR The Yellow Axle and Pin Connector #6 - 90 degrees was last used in the Technic 8258 Crane Truck in 2009, until it made it's comeback in 2012 in the 5885 Triceratops Trapper. Just like the XL-motor Uwe Wabra is using this part again in a Technic set. PANELS Finally we can see a small selection of panels. Mostly old style Yellow Panel Curved 11 x 3 with 2 Pin Holes and a single Black Black Panel Curved 11 x 3 with 10 Pin Holes. PART LIST Here's the complete list for all 1636 parts. BUILDING EXPERIENCE Enough with the boring part...let's build a Volvo! CHASSIS You start building the chassis and after a few steps, the pendular rear axle is taking shape. The small turntable proves to be an asset to the Technic parts catalogue. Another useful part is the Steering Portle Axle, which is rapidly becoming the workhorse of big Technic vehicles. Ordinarily it's placed vertically to provide higher ground clearance, but as you can see, it can be used horizontally as well. Here you can see images of the front and rear sections, which will be joined a bit later in the build. The front and rear section joined together. The wheelbase does not reflect the size of the finished model. Here's a picture of the articulation mechanism of the vehicle. PF MOTORS The four motors are equally divided over the front and rear section. Because two of the motors (M and L) are placed in the front section, there's no need to transfer gears or axles from the rear section. Three (M, L and Servo) of the four motors are placed vertically, while the XL-motor is placed horizontally in the back. VOLVO D16E LAE3 ENGINE The Volvo D16E LAE3 is a straight six-cylinder high performance, low emission turbocharged diesel engine with direct injection, air-to-air intercooler and Internal Exhaust Gas Recirculation (I-EGR). The engine has a one piece cylinder head with four valves per cylinder one overhead camshaft. Furthermore, the engine has wet replaceable cylinder liners, replaceable valve guides and valve seats. The Engine with V-ACT (Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology) features split injection, optimized air handling and turbocharger with waste gate. High torque at low engine speed gives the engine its characteristic feature: quick response at low rpms, even under load. The three white Round Pin Connectors with Slot are the engines oil filters. Two of them are normal, high flow filters and the third one is a fine filter that is optimized to catch finer particles, but has a slower flow. When engine load is moderate and oil/lubrication need is also moderate, much of the oil is directed to the fine filter. When the engine is working at maximum, all oil is instead passed through the two normal filters. LOAD SENSING HYDRAULIC SYSTEM The L350F features an intelligent load-sensing hydraulic system. Two variable piston pumps provide exactly the flow rate and pressure required at any given moment in time, distributing the power where it’s needed, when it’s needed. When flow is not required in the hydraulic system, all engine power is diverted to the drivetrain. This provides smoother operation, lower fuel consumption, and more precise control of machine and load. You always get full power, regardless of revs. The LEGO version uses three Linear Actuators instead of an hydraulic system. NOTE I made an error placing the LA. The top LA in the picture below should be flipped, resulting in the attachment point being at the bottom instead of the top. Thanks to Jantjeuh for pointing this out. CHASSIS AND BODYWORK At this point the chassis and bodywork are almost finished. LOADER Z-BAR LINKAGE The L350F is a heavy duty, primary production loader intended for multi-shift, high production applications. High breakout force in the digging position, high lift capacity and fast hydraulic speeds are the essential requirements for a primary production loader. The Z-bar linkage is a field-proven, effective linkage in this loader size class. The refined geometry is the same for both standard and long boom and allows common bucket range with an open design. Below is an image of the Linear Actuators operating the Z-bar linkage. ROTATING LIGHT A small detail I particularly like is the small rotating light on the top of the cabin. Other models use a transparent 2x2 Round Brick which is way too big. This smaller version fits better! STEPS The image of the real Volvo on the inside of the box shows the steps on the left side of the vehicle, while they are mounted on the right side of the LEGO version. After some research I found out that the L350F used to have the steps on both sides of the cab, but it was not a safe solution for the operator when he had to climb up the steps into the cab with a lunch box. So late last year Volvo changed the design and eliminated the steps on the left side and made the steps on the rear fender standard. Another cool feature that Volvo included was the “remote door opener”, so as the operator approaches the machine, he presses the remote door opener and the door opens automatically and the entrance lights shine down on the steps for additional safety when climbing into the cab when it is dark. INFRARED RECEIVERS The infrared receivers have been placed nicely behind the cabin, hardly visible. Although the box states that V2 receivers are included, there is no V2 sign on the ones I found in my set. FINISHED MODEL It took me approximately 7 hours to finish this model. I reckon most of you will finish it in about 6 hours. FRONT VIEW The finished model looks stunning! It's really massive. Even though I love the looks of this model, I can't help wondering why TLG didn't make some wheel caps to fill the rims and make the wheels look more massive too. REAR VIEW The rear looks great as well. In this picture the battery box is clearly visible, but from a normal viewing angle, it's almost hidden from sight. BOTTOM VIEW Just as you would expect. Nothing out of the ordinary to see here. THE GAP The side view of the Volvo is one of my main concerns. While the rear section looks massive and lifelike. The front section looks unfinished, especially the part in front of the cabin. Also, the bottom of the first section of the boom could use some more bricks to make it look more immense, just like the real machine. PARTS LEFT Quite a few parts left, even three Axles (5L, 6L and 7L). Of course nothing the bucket can't handle! FUNCTIONALITY This model has quite a few functions. The main four functions are: Articulated Steering Driving Raising and Lowering the Boom Operating the Bucket Besides these motorized functions, there are some manual features. ARTICULATED STEERING Wheel Loaders typically use articulated steering. Articulated steering is a system by which a four-wheel drive vehicle is split into front and rear halves which are connected by a vertical hinge. The front and rear halves are connected with one or more hydraulic cylinders that change the angle between the halves, including the front and rear axles and wheels, thus steering the vehicle. This system does not use steering arms, king pins, tie rods, etc. as does four-wheel steering. If the vertical hinge is placed equidistant between the two axles, it also eliminates the need for a central differential, as both front and rear axles will follow the same path, and thus rotate at the same speed. Long road trains, articulated buses, and internal transport trolley trains use articulated steering to achieve smaller turning circles, comparable to those of shorter conventional vehicles. Articulated haulers have very good off-road performance. (Wikipedia) Steering is controlled by the Servo Motor. There was some disappointment in the community because the steering looked very jerky in the videos from the Nuremberg Toy Fair. I must admit I didn't like it either. The Servo Motor has two modes, on (in either direction) or off. This means there's no gradual steering mode, it's hard left, hard right or straight on. This is illustrated in the images below. Playing around with the LEGO model, I experienced that the steering indeed is a bit jerky, but for playability it isn't as bad as it seems. A solution with Linear Actuators would have been more realistic. But since the Volvo basically is a kids toy, I can accept the jerky steering. LIFTING THE BUCKET The boom and bucket are also operated using Power Functions. Both the boom and the bucket are operated with the remote and both functions are working properly at a nice speed! LIFTING LOAD The Volvo is powerful enough to lift it's own weight. That no surprise, since it can lift up to 1 kg of load!! ENGINE BAY The engine bay can be opened from various sides for maintenance, like changing the oil filters. Opening the back reveals the big green 6 cylinder engine with the cooling fan. The D16E engine has a hydraulically driven, electronically controlled cooling fan and intercooler of the air/air type. The system not only results in quieter operation, but also lowers the fuel consumption. BATTERY REPLACEMENT Replacing the batteries in the battery box is fairly easy. Remove the two axles with red bush and unlock the black long pin with stop bush and you can easily detach the battery box from the vehicle. COMPARISON WITH 8265 Inevitable is the comparison with it's predecessor; the 8265 Front Loader. For a non-flagship set, the 8265 already was an impressive Front Loader. The following pictures show how big the Volvo actually is. It trumps the old Front Loader in every way. SUMMARY The LEGO Volvo is nothing short of spectacular! I might even go out on a limb by claiming that this is one of the coolest LEGO Technic models....ever! If not THE coolest! True, there are better looking models. True, there are technically more advanced models. However, this models combines a lot of factors, like playability, looks and the sheer size is stupendous. Adding the Volvo brand and stickers is the icing on the cake. My all time favorite Technic model is the 8043 Motorized Excavator, since this model combines, looks, functionality and playability. The Volvo shares the exact same properties, but it contains a lot more cool parts than the Excavator, a wider variety of Power Functions for instance, a gargantuan unique bucket and Unimog wheels. In all fairness; reading my own summary, I can only come to the conclusion that I like the Volvo even more than the Excavator! Even though the price is pretty steep, I would definitely recommend getting this set. PROS Offers lots of playability No need to switch between functions Finished model is massive LEGO Volvo looks like a genuine L350F Gargantuan unique bucket Unimog wheels CONS The gap in front of the cabin Front section looks unfinished compared to the rear section Omission of wheel caps to make the wheels look more massive Jerky steering due to servo motor (minor con) SCORE Design 9: Stunning looks and the sheer size is impressive. Volvo stickers are the icing on the cake. Build 8,5: Very enjoyable build, but nothing too spectacular. Functionality 9: Four different fully remote controlled functions, combined with some manual functions. Playability 9: Fully remote controlled and no need to switch between functions. Parts 10: It doesn't get any better than this. Entire range of PF motors (including XL Motor), Unimog Tires, unique Yellow Rims and much more! Value for Money 8,5: Although the price is pretty steep, you get a lot of bang for your buck. 9 Bucket Size Does Matter! Hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and please rate this set at the top of this topic!
  22. I'm happy to report that this thing is a delightful change from the awful 42070, especially in terms of suspension and details. It's like these two sets were designed on separate planets.
  23. I guess this belongs here, since we don't have a specific forum section for Creator cars and it looks Model Team-ish enough. I present you the bus that suffers from subpar accuracy (the front end looks atrocious) and marketing bull...t (no, it's NOT built at the same scale as other Creator cars), and yet manages to look really, really good on a shelf:
  24. The smallest of the 2H2017 Technic set is, in most aspects, a pleasant surprise. I was expecting something dead simple, but got something ambitious and complex instead, with a brilliant steering system and 2 boom functions that can be easily motorized. Additionally, I like how normal and realistic it looks compared to 42070 and 42069. It's a pretty, functional, well-designed set and it's delightful to steer. On the underside, 42068 contains literally zero new pieces or pieces in new colors, leaving you little reason to buy it - chances are, you can build it with the pieces you already own. And some parts feel like a few corners have been cut.