In our recent review of the 42030 Technic Volvo loader set, a reader did make the very valid point that the newer, more elaborate flagship sets, while very nice, do cost rather more than they used to. Where was the equivalent of those ’80s supercar sets for a reasonable price ?
Thomas, this is for you.
At £70 for 1063 pieces, it would seem that Lego has been listening with the recent 42029 Customized Pick-Up Truck set. With engine, steering, suspension, transmission (sort of..), a winch and a tipping truck bed this is at least as playable as, say, set 8860, the car chassis from 1980.
That fine old stager cost $59 for 668 pieces way back then, equivalent to $167 in today’s money according to the office abacus. 42029 is $100, or less than half the price of the Volvo.
Let’s see if it measures up in other ways…
First of all, the box is almost exactly the same size as 8860’s, and probably a good deal fuller. It’s simple and attractive in the modern Technic way, showing various different features of the Pick-up and the alternative plough / grabber crane B model.
Upon opening, you’ll find a selection of un-numbered bags, two crumpled instruction books and a creased sticker sheet. Arrgghh! I would have sprung an extra quid for some protection for these…
Moving on, it is a pity that 42030’s innovation of a single, large book isn’t continued here and, once again, there are no paper instructions for the B model.
I’ll stop complaining now. For a bit.
It’s a reasonably straightforward build, with some clever design and thoughtful touches to keep you entertained. There’s four of those excellent sliding Cardan joints here, as well as a quartet of the best springs for moccers – those yellow harder ones that are the same size as the old soft springs. And red panels. Lots of red panels. All good stuff, although I didn’t notice anything new here.
The result of your expenditure and labour is a bit smaller than the old supercars, but it looks good in it’s nicely styled red bodywork. It works alright too…
The engine’s a V6 (two pots short, surely ?) and looks nice under the opening bonnet with what appears to be a six pack of carburettors sitting atop the block. Or are they six turbochargers ? That’d be fun… It’s driven rather slowly by the rear axle. It’s good, but it would be better if you could hear it when the car’s being pushed along. For seventy quid I don’t expect to be making the ‘vroom’ noises myself…
Steering is by the usual hand-of-god gear behind the cab. It feels a little loose and the lock is just OK, but it works. The in-cab wheel is not connected, and it’s not angled, leaving it looking too low and not quite right. A note for moccers – if you make a fantastic looking car and bung the ‘wheel in dead straight and too low it RUINS it. Fact. For a reasonably priced set it’s forgivable however. Just.
Suspension is pretty impressive. Independent all round, with one hard spring per corner, it feels perfect in stiffness and travel; and a good deal better than what’s underneath most real vehicles of this type… The double wishbone design is very robust and capable. This passes the drop test! TLCB will not be liable for any breakages that occur when you chuck it down the stairs, however.
The transmission has nothing to do with changing engine speed relative to the wheels – instead the lever between the seats can toggle between drive from the gear on the side being sent to the winch or the tipper mechanism. There’s a secondary control just inside the door where it’s easier to reach, but I do love the fact that the ‘gearlever’ moves as well.
The tipping bed works via a single small linear actuator that you’d swear wouldn’t be man enough, but it is. A little wobbly, yes, and it does only go up about 45 degrees, but it can take some weight in the back. And hooray! for the fully lined bed; there are no holes left unplated and the tailgate will flop down. Very good.
Also good is the winch. It does what it says on the tin. The transmission that sends drive to it and the tipper is easy to motorize as well, although it’s a lot less necessary than it is on 42024, the Skip Lorry. The gearing for the manual control seems about right.
Styling is generally a success, although it does have a slightly unfortunate Hummer-esque aspect from head on. The front wing area is a little sketchy but this is nitpicking now. It’s a good looking model. The wide track seems to suit it’s (not cartoonishly) elevated stance. I’d leave the stickers off, though. The ‘roaring bear’ motif looks like he’s already broken his jaw, poor fella…
Inside, there’s not much to see. There’s the aforementioned vertical steering wheel, the gearlever and a pair of too-small seats. That’s pretty much it, although it’s good that the door mirrors are attached to the (opening) doors.
I really like the look of the B model. It’s an articulated plough / grabber truck thingy that looks like a fun build with a versatile result. I haven’t built it yet but the signs are good.
So. A Supercar replacement on a budget ? I’d say yes – it’s not better than 8860 but it is better value. 8/10. It should suit most Technic building petrolheads, including TLCB’s good friend Thomas.