8043 Motorized Excavator Review


The Technic Renaissance Continues…

This is not just a model. It IS an excavator, albeit a small one. Lego Technic appears to have arrived at the point where it’s possible to make a kit do everything the prototype does. All it lacks is its own motive power – but even this is taken care of if you have enough batteries…

First impression: Isn’t the box huge ?

Second impression: Why is it half empty ? Never mind, everything you need is here to build this hugely impressive machine. Unlike a lot of recent kits, it’s not foolproof – an expert builder will be fine with that; a novice might end up with a model that does nothing because of too many carelessly rammed together gears. Make sure each axle turns freely throughout the build and you’ll be fine. This is one to take your time over, and I for one welcome that.

So, what do all those cunningly combined gears and motors do ?

There are 4 medium motors in a module, driving the various systems through a mind-crushingly complex geartrain. These can either drive the vehicle along and rotate its body on the chassis, or manipulate the excavator arm at any of three joints according to the position of the gearbox selector. Like everything else, this is operated by remote control.

For driving it along, one might suspect the M motors would not be up to it; but their torque is surprising and it goes just fine, if rather slowly. Separate motors drive each side independently to allow it to steer. XLs with different gearing would doubtless make it faster, but since when was an excavator any kind of roadburner ?

As for the digging part, it’s very capable. Thank those linear actuators – less pure than the older pneumatics but much simpler and way more effective. There are four of them and they do a great job. Again, the gearing is quite conservative and movements are slow-ish to ensure the motors are up to it. They are, as long as the dirt is fairly loose (yes, I’ve got mine a little bit dirty – there’s just no way to resist..) It’s better still if you replace the supplied over-large bucket for a yellow one you’ve pinched from the back of a passing 8862.

The black bucket it comes with is much more suited to the B model, a handsome and useful bulldozer that’s possibly a homage to this kit’s 8275 predecessor. I do wish Lego would supply paper instructions for both models – it’s such a faff to download and it’s never the same building while staring at a computer screen.

Incidentally, have you noticed how much an 8275 will cost you now ? It’s frightening. That’s what happens to the very best models in any theme in this strange market. I just hope the price of this and other well regarded large sets isn’t driven by speculators; if so, expect it all to come crashing down any time soon… Still, when it does we’ll all still have our Lego to enjoy won’t we ?

Be that as it may, I would urge you to get this very complete model while Lego are still producing it. If you have the slightest interest in Technic, you’ll love it. 10/10.

2 thoughts on “8043 Motorized Excavator Review

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