A crack team of Elves recently returned to TLCB Towers after their top secret annual invasion of The LEGO Group’s Billund HQ, giving our experts first look at next year’s new Technic sets. You can read our assessment of each of the new-for-2018 sets via the link above, but we left one set off the list, the 2018 flagship… the enormous 42078 Mack Anthem.
Top of the H1 2018 Technic line-up, 42078 continues LEGO’s successful run of officially licensed vehicles, following sets from Volvo, Volkswagen, Porsche, Caterham, Mercedes-Benz, BMW Motorrad and others.
Aimed at ages 11+ 42078 is one of the larger Technic sets of recent times and it includes a huge array of mechanical parts. Yes, mechanical, as 2018’s flagship for the first half the year includes no Power Functions motors (something we expect means that a seriously motorised set will arrive in the second half of the year).
Instead a multitude of hand-powered linear actuators are present along with two huge sliding booms deployed to stabilise the side-loading trailer. It’s this trailer which actually looks the more technical build, featuring an elaborate container loading mechanism that holds a wealth of wonderfully useful pieces.
In contrast the Mack Anthem truck, whilst big, seems a little devoid of functionality, with only working steering and fifth wheel, and an opening hood revealing a miniature straight-piston engine as its features.
And herein lies our issue. 42078 is more visually detailed than probably any Technic set to date, taking the theme to new levels of aesthetic realism. Lights, a complete interior, stickers, and even aerials and a hood ornament aim to blend the looks of a Model Team set with the functionality of a Technic one – surely the best of both themes?
Perhaps we’re just a bit grumpy today, but whilst a great idea in principle, the 42078 Mack Anthem offers neither the realism of a Model Team / Creator set nor the technical realism of a Technic one (although we must confess to rather liking the garbage truck B-Model). It’s a big green and grey compromise, a Range Rover Evoque convertible, trying to mash two genres together that are really best left separate. Which means we’re willing to bet that it’ll fly out of stores.
For us though, we’re still waiting for a 2018 Technic set that we can get excited about, because the 42078 Mack Anthem isn’t it.