Lego Technic: An Unofficial Illustrated History

Psychiatrist’s Digest, Volume XVI

INTRODUCTION

What does it take to cause an otherwise sane person to write a 400-page book in their spare time, primarily for personal satisfaction? This important question will be investigated at length herein, using a well-researched case study concerning one Cole [Redacted], who, being myself, commands significant personal interest from this researcher. Beware of disturbing psychological evidence.

TESTIMONY

I am a Canadian Lego fan by the name of Cole, but since I prefer a little anonymity on the internet, I think I’ll leave us on a first-name basis. I’ve been interested in LEGO since I was five, when I got the awesome birthday present of my Dad and uncle’s 1980s LEGO Classic Space collection. Once I was a few years older, I got heavily into LEGO Star Wars. I was an obsessive sort of kid, and wanted to know everything I possibly could about it, which mainly meant spending hours poring over the DK LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionaries and Character Encyclopaedias. [Early signs of instability] As I matured, [Patient is unaware of the meaning of the word] though, I began searching for a new theme to become involved in.

Eventually, I decided on LEGO Technic, and acquired the 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245 set, which struck me as being a great deal and a great parts pack. For the price of $270 CAD, I could get 2,700 pieces, including a little of almost everything in the Technic lineup, including pneumatics and electronics. After building and enjoying the main and alternate models, and getting some more Power Functions, I ripped the set apart and dove head-on into MOCing. My learning process was heavy on trial-and-error (especially heavy on the latter part) [Low self esteem?], but I soon started up my online presence on the official LEGO Technic and Mindstorms galleries. Over time I moved from there to MOCpages, and then, following its untimely demise, I joined Eurobricks, [Patient displays tendency to mash unrelated words together] where I remain to this day. (My trial-and-error crash course had brought me to a point where my stuff wasn’t a total embarrassment on this more “high-class” site.)

Anyways, the story of my Technic book [The 400-page folly of the patient] begins a bit earlier, back in the MOCpages days, I believe. Because of certain circumstances, I ended up having a lot of spare time away from home (and my LEGO), that needed filling. Somehow or other I decided that it would be fun to write a book of all the Technic sets, since this was something that I really wanted to have [Turning point in the case]. I was still the same kid who wanted to obsess over Visual Dictionaries, but all I had for Technic was a stack of old LEGO catalogues. I’m not sure how far I expected to get when I started, but I was enjoying myself, and before I knew it, I had a binder full of a hand-written first draft covering the years 1977-2017! The next step was to type and format the whole tome, and I ended up practically rewriting large sections of the book in the process. It would have been way faster to just start the whole process online, but I didn’t have a laptop or anything, so I made do with what I had. Anyways, I did a proofreading or two, and then printed the whole thing out for myself at 20c per page (I’d added 2018 by this point) Eventually, after adding 2019 and 2020, I got around to trying to make the book presentable for other peoples’ use [Could this be contagious?], so I did a bunch more proofreading and checking, and eventually was able to put the book up on Eurobricks as a free download

This year I revisited the book, making a bunch of small fixes that readers had suggested, removed my rather subjective ratings (I’ve had people who liked them and people who didn’t. They’re gone for now, but they might just come back) [Patient is indecisive and easily swayed by public opinion], and added the 2021 sets. I put this on Eurobricks as well, and, as suggested by forum moderator Milan, reposted the book in a clearer format. For now, the book is finished, but I expect to have more changes coming eventually – apart from the inevitable 2022 update, another Eurobricks user volunteered to help me with improving some formatting things, so there may be an update of that sort coming sometime or other. [The patient shows no sign of concluding their fantasy]

SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE

So, what does this book consist of?

  1. Introduction

The book begins with a short paragraph explaining some of the reasons I wrote the book (sort of like the backstory I posted above, only way shorter, and written by a younger self)

2. Timeline

One of my favorite features of the aforementioned Star Wars Visual Dictionaries was undoubtedly the timeline at the start, which cataloged every Star Wars set of all time in a condensed form. Because of that, I knew I would have to include one in this book. Each page covers two years, and contains small profiles for each set containing the set number, name, part count, and image. This is a good way to view all of Technic history at a glance (granted, only proficient glancers could get through all twenty-three pages in a single glance, but it can be done), and can also serve as a rudimentary set index.

3. Book Mechanics

Next, I have a section that simply explains some basic things about the book, such as the “Data Files” included for each set, including a sample data file for a nonexistent dream set. [Delusional]

4. Yearly Introductions

Now the book gets into the meaty section. The sets are ordered by year of release, and each year begins with a page providing an overview of the year. This generally includes a quick description of notable trends, subthemes, sets, parts, or stories from a given year. The page also includes an image of the year’s “Flagship” set, as well as images of the new parts released that year. For most years, I utilised the images of a year’s new parts from Blakbird’s Technicopedia (more about that in the section on sources), which sometimes had different logic than I would have preferred, [Patient talks of ‘logic’ without hint of irony] sometimes including previously released parts that were merely introduced into the Technic theme in the given year. Nonetheless, I find it quite interesting to track the development of the Technic part palette.

5.  Technic Sets by Year

This is what the bulk of the book is made up of. Every Technic* set ever is included in these pages, with a large section of general information such as functions, aesthetics, or other information of interest, as well as at least one image and a “Data File.” These Data Files list the set’s name, set number, part count, price (when available), release, and alternate model.

*Which sets are truly Technic sets can be somewhat ambiguous. In the end, I included any set badged as Technic that met my criterion of being a somewhat realistic model of real-world machinery, with the idea being to exclude such sets as early Bionicle and RoboRiders. I also included three Racers cars that are built of primarily Technic parts.

Next, here’s some documentation on boring stuff like sources, terms of use, and disclaimers: [Patient likely of the opinion that PSYCHIATRIST’S DIGEST is boring too]

Appendix A; Sources:

My primary sources for this book were the unofficial online LEGO catalogue, Brickset, and the invaluable fan-made Blakbird’s Technicopedia, which exhaustively covers all Technic sets 1977 to 2001. I also consulted Bricklink, my official LEGO catalogues, and Google images (mainly for images of older alternate models). I feel that the information found on Blakbird’s Technicopedia often fell outside the vague realm of “common knowledge,” so throughout the book I have cited certain pieces of information from this website with a (BT). This website was especially valuable, and I used not only its information, but also images of sets, and the renderings of the new parts from each year. I certainly could not have created this book without these sources!

Appendix B; Terms of Use:

I’ll be honest, I would have liked to monetise on this time-consuming project, [First display of potentially sane motive] perhaps through donations, but its dependence on LEGO’s official images prevents me from doing so. Therefore, I’m offering it online absolutely free! [Motive moot] Feel free to download it and read it online, or print it out to read it as a paper copy, but just don’t try to make money off of it. (You’ll probably hear from LEGO’s lawyers about infringement on their images before you hear from me about infringement on my words!)

Appendix C; Disclaimer:

Not being a real author myself, this book is necessarily imperfect in style, especially because in this mere hobby project I’m not interested in doing the seemingly infinite rewritings I hear real authors do. More worrying, though, is the possibility that I may have gotten certain details wrong about sets, especially because I own very few of these sets. I would greatly appreciate it if any readers would notify me of any errors they find! (See below for contact information).

Personal notes:

1.Support

I’ve been requested by TLCB [Secretive group. May present an unsound influence on patient] to include ways the community can support me and my work. If this is taken to mean financially, I’ll reiterate that the legal ramifications of monetizing on LEGO’s images prevent me from accepting any money for my work. Beyond that, though (I’m not even sure if that’s what they really meant), there’s a couple simple ways you can support me. First, if you read this book, please let me know of any mistakes you find, whether in spelling, grammar, or facts! You can do that in the comments here, or if you’re a Eurobricks user, send me a private message on there. Second, and less importantly, I guess you can take a look at my MOCs on Eurobricks. I do always love getting comments!

2. Links

If you wish to obey my aforementioned injunctions (the suggestions I gave above), I guess you’ll need to know how to find me online. The three main websites I use for my Lego are Eurobricks, YouTube, and Bricksafe, and they can be found at these links:

https://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?/profile/192453-2godbdglory/

https://bricksafe.com/pages/2GodBDGlory/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzlXZMrskdNPx4HDNvfGmpA

[PSYCHIATRISTS DIGEST would not recommend humouring the patient]

Conclusion:

I think I might have written too much. If my college professor told me to write an 1800-word paper, I’d be rather miffed, but I guess I like writing about my hobbies! [Obvious delusion. A psychiatric facility is no college] Anyways, I hope some of you find my book to be worth the reading. I’d be happy with the book even if I was the only one to enjoy it, but if more people like it, that’s a great bonus! [Intent on propagation of fallacy]

The latest edition of the book can be downloaded from this link;

LEGO Technic; An Unofficial Illustrated Guide

It is the sincere hope of the staff here at Psychiatrist’s Digest that this case study will prove instructive in preventing other poor souls from descending into such an inextricable mire of insanity.

TLCB Staff here; a huge thank you to Cole’s psychiatrist, who may also be the patient himself, for sharing this incredible body of work. You can access ‘LEGO Technic; An Unofficial Illustrated Guide’ via the link above for free. Which makes Cole some kind of LEGO Community hero.

2 thoughts on “Lego Technic: An Unofficial Illustrated History

  1. Nikolaus Löwe

    Hi Cole,

    I am notoriously known for for my ability to find faults in other peoples’ work, so here I go: At first sight, I was struck by your mentioning of set “8439 Mag Wheel Master” in the overview on page 20. Shouldn’t that be 8417? The 2004 Front End Loader no. 8439 is correctly labeled, btw.
    Other than that, it takes a serious amount of obsessiveness to actually finish a project like this. Can I relate.

    Cheers,
    Nikolaus

    Reply

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