When the previews for the ‘Ultimate’ Technic 42056 Porsche were circulating, I was certain that I’d buy one, as a Lego fan and petrolhead; even though I’m not overly fond of the Volkswagen Beetle Sport…. a review was promised in short order.
Well, here it isn’t – for a couple of reasons.
First, LEGO pulled it from sale before it was even offered, to fix a packaging problem we were told. If by packaging problem they mean packaging an errata sheet in the instructions… We will see. It seems the massive weight of that doorstop sized coffee table book was crushing the boxes around it.
Second, early reviews were not encouraging, highlighting a number of reasons why this isn’t really ‘Ultimate’ in anything but price.
Technically, the steering and suspension are identical to the 42039 Le Mans car. No fancy tricks, just the basics. I don’t really care about the colour of the springs if the geometry is nothing like the real car… The flat six engine is bog standard and completely hidden. There’s plenty of space back there to have a go at modelling camshafts, say, but no attempt was made at anything above the ordinary.
Likewise, no attempt was made at any kind of rear wheel steering, a notable feature of the real 911 GT3RS. The only technical aspect that shows any ambition is the gearbox, more on which in a bit… So, if you want the ultimate Lego Technic car, stick to your 8880.
What about that much heralded build experience? It’s an idea that’s appeared before, in the 8448, which does the modularity thing a whole lot better. Since I haven’t (and probably won’t unless 42056 appears at a steep discount) built the Porsche, the jury will have to stay out on that one.
Ultimate packaging maybe? It would be if the box had a strong plastic insert to sort the pieces into and lots of pictures of alternate builds. For that, you’ll need an 853. I do understand what they mean by the ‘premium experience’ of the Porsche but like a lot of things, the word ‘premium’ just means you pay more.
It is pretty, and the orange (close-but-no-cigar to the real Porsche’s ‘lava orange’ colour) does look good. But with its awkward gaps around the headlights and taillights, messy interior and clumsy rear end is it as pretty as the Creator Ferrari F40? Not to these eyes.
Now then, that gearbox, surely that must be the most impressive such thing in a Lego car?
If you like your changing up sequence to be 1-3-2-4 and lots of friction, then yes. A lot of said friction can apparently be blamed on this little fella:
It’s a small bevel gear assembly built in the very early stages, and the problem is that pin joiner, used as a spacer. Change it for a couple of bushes and it’s fine. Expect that to be instruction errata number 1. According to Sariel’s review on Eurobricks, there are twenty gears engaged in first gear; so don’t expect that to completely solve the friction problem. Now we know why the white clutch gear was included in the powertrain…
As for the shift sequence, this can be corrected by swapping a 12T double bevel and a 16T spur gear on the back of the gearbox, which suggests a simple error in the instructions. Or it would if LEGO hadn’t tried to tell us it was ‘to reduce friction and enhance the premium experience’ or some such tosh. According to everyone who’s built one, the positions of these gears makes no difference to the friction. That’ll be errata number 2.
If these two problems are solved – and they should be when it becomes available again – this gearbox will be an impressive feat, for all that you can still change up from 4 back to 1 and have four reverse gears. That sounds like fun. Finally, it’s possible to drive a 911 as if its engine is in the right place. Backwards…
So it might actually be the ultimate gearbox. £250 is a lot to pay for a gearbox.
Hang on a sec, it’s got a handbag as well, so there’s that… it’d better be a Hermes…
Sorry LEGO. I know you tried. The idea for an ‘Ultimate’ series of Technic models is a great one which should produce something fantastic that we’ll all love. It’s just that 42056 isn’t it. It feels like the product of two partners with conflicting priorities, rather like the McLaren-Mercedes SLR; when the 8880 felt like LEGO’s McLaren F1