The year that is 2017 is drawing to a close, and as is traditional in the final weeks of the year our Elves have been busy infiltrating The LEGO Group’s HQ. Armed with nothing more than their sharp teeth and ‘unique’ body odour, our mythical workforce have braved the cold of the air-conditioning ducts and the ferocity of the guard dogs (mostly) to bring you LEGO’s brand-new-for-2018 Technic line-up!
The surviving Elves are now safely back in TLCB Towers enjoying the fruits of their meal-tokens, whilst our experts have been evaluating their discoveries to bring you full technical details of each set. Let’s get started!
42071 – Dozer Compactor
Kicking-off 2018’s LEGO Technic line-up is 42071, a rather attractive dozer of the type found in open-cast mines and landfill sites the world over. As has become increasingly common within the Technic range (and a theme you’ll see right through today’s reveal) visual detail is on the increase, and 42071 features a couple of System pieces as well as a wealth of stickers to ramp up the realism.
New solid wheels make an appearance – although we suspect these will have little use outside of the fairly narrow niche they occupy in the real world – and the model includes a few neat playable functions, including articulated steering and a height-adjustable blade courtesy of some hand-operating cogs mounted in front of the cab. A decent start to 2018.
42072 & 42073 – Whack! & Bash!
Which rapidly ends with these two…
‘Whack!’ and ‘Bash!’ are LEGO’s entry-level Technic sets for 2018, and as is customary they are pull-back motor powered, making them ideally suited for play at the lower end of the Technic age spectrum, and they should be pocket-money priced.
But why do they have to look so terrible!? Looking like nothing in particular Whack! and Bash! feature nothing more than an engine which inexplicably falls out upon impact. We’ll move on…
42074 – Racing Yacht
…to the most unique Technic set that LEGO have launched in ages. The 42074 Racing Yacht is still at the lower-end of Technic age-range but has double the pieces of the starter sets above – including those two huge new sail parts which look brilliant for making Town-scale awnings with.
Being an un-powered vehicle 42074 cannot feature the usual engine and drivetrain combination you’d expect to find in a set of this size, and thus the Technic functions are a complete set of realistic controls for the main sail, including main sheets, a sliding kicker, and a wheel-controlled rudder. It’s a brave move in a market where engines dominate, and one we rather like. Pick it up in stores next year.
42075 – First Responder
Back to engine-driven vehicles and we have 42075, a small off-road fire responder. Stickers and lights abound once again, and the set features some reasonable mechanical functions, including Hand-of-God steering, a hand-powered front winch, a piston engine (albeit only two cylinders), and (potentially) rear suspension. Aimed at ages 9+ we expect 42075 to be in the sweet spot for value and features, and it could be a good purchase when it’s released next year.
42076 – Hovercraft
And now things get weird… This is 42076, an odd vehicle-transporting hovercraft, complete with an equally-odd vehicle being transported.
LEGO have dabbled in hovercrafts occasionally over the years, but none seem to have recaptured the excellence of 1993’s 8824. 42076 also fails to manage it, being probably less than mini-figure scale and thoroughly strange in its execution. It does include some mechanical functions though, with a linear actuator operated ramp, turning fans at the rear, and a lowering control bridge. But it’s still weird.
42077 – Rally Car
This is more our bag. 42077 rekindles the mad Group B rally era with a colourful mid-engined rally rocket complete with a V4 (or larger) engine mounted behind the seats, Hand-of-God steering, and rear suspension. There’s some neat detailing too, with an internal roll cage depicted via red Technic axles, bright decals, and a front mounted light-bar.
Aimed at ages 10+ 42077 moves us towards the upper end of the Technic range and we suspect many adults will like it too thanks to a wealth of useful pieces. Expect to see 42077’s parts reappear in various MOCs during 2018…
42084 – Hook Loader
We jump back to the start of the 2018 LEGO Technic line-up with this, 42084 Hook Loader. A sizeable gap in the set numbering system between the sets above and this suggests it was originally planned for release in the second half of 2018, but it’ll now be available from the start of next year.
176 pieces puts 42084 firmly in pocket-money territory, and in contrast the the pull-back monstrosities further up this page it’s a set we rather like. Working steering and a hand-operated hook-loading mechanism teach the basics of gears and levers at an early age, and the set doesn’t rely upon a plethora of stickers to achieve visual realism. It may be small, but 42084 looks to be a decent demonstration of what Technic building is all about.
LEGO’s 2018 Technic sets create a reasonable if unremarkable line-up, with some nice variation in themes but a continued trend towards aesthetics over technical realism that we’re not particularly excited about. However LEGO know what they’re doing and they (mostly) get it right when it comes to creating products that will sell in big numbers, so although we may prefer good old fashioned technical functions the market probably says otherwise. Still, we probably won’t be reaching into our wallets for anything in the H1 2018 Technic range just yet, but there is one more set to come…
Visit The Lego Car Blog tomorrow for our take on the final LEGO Technic set to be revealed for 2018, and it might just get TLCB staff excited…