Tag Archives: 42004

Backhoe Battle

Yellow building site stuff through the ages…

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On the right, from 1989, Lego Technic’s first JCB; the 8862 Backhoe. A startlingly yellow confection and the perfect showcase for the then-new second generation pneumatic parts. On the left, 2003’s 8455, slightly less yellow, and an even better showcase for said parts – it has more than twice as many of them…

Both of these JCBs sat near the top of the range, and although the Technic range may seem incomplete without one, there has only been these two and the more recent 2011 8069. This latter model was a lot cheaper and not as accomplished as it’s predecessors. It’s a good enough substitute for less cash, although the little 42004 is as well, for a lot less cash.

Where were we ? Ah yes, 8862 and 8455. First, the builds. The early one is naturally more basic, with it’s studded Technic beams, although the bigger build steps of these older models keeps you on your toes. It was a rare pleasure to build with brand new, unopened 25 year old Technic in this case – no second hand teeth marks and dog hair to contend with, until I have to pull out those infuriating early tight fitting black pins that is… maybe I’ll get the dog to do it… Anyway, after decimating the value of this 8862, I enjoyed a couple of hours of good old fashioned building.

I then cracked open the 8455 (unopened as well!) and gave that my full attention; needed because this little machine’s many pneumatic components, especially the tubing, are VERY compactly packaged. In order to squeeze it’s 10 pistons, 7 switches, 2 pumps and several yards of tubing into a model that’s smaller than 8862, as well as being more functional; you must concentrate at every stage of the instructions on where exactly to route the various pipes and so on. The cleverness of this machine’s packaging is such that not only will it work faultlessly as long as you do this, but all of it’s pipes are very neatly routed on the finished model as well; something that can’t be said of the old stager. With that, it’s a very technical build, not to be rushed.

Both of these models came with pneumatic tubing in long lengths that you cut to size yourself. In both cases, it’s important to cut to the lengths specified; even small deviations may cause packaging and clearance problems, especially in 8455. As is often the case, follow the instructions faithfully and you’ll be alright. Round one is a draw.

To look at, these two are very different, and show the value of 14 years of progress. 8862 is a good effort but it’s oddly proportioned: too tall and under-wheeled. And very, very yellow! Even both buckets are yellow. The black contrast provided by the seat, stabilisers and grille are not enough to offset the overbearing yellowness. Perhaps if I was prepared to get it muddy, it’ll look better…. 8455, on the other hand, looks like this:

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Better proportioned, right-size wheels…. and oddly, probably not yellow enough! There’s no pleasing some people… It does unquestionably look better, though. New technic wins at a canter.

As you’d hope for JCB models, both of these are fully functional. We’ll start at the front. 8862 has a system of angled levers and worm gears, manually controlled by wheels on the side, to raise/lower and tilt the front bucket. This system is not perfect. It won’t raise the bucket any higher than the level of the vehicle’s roof, although it does try to maintain the bucket’s angle as the arm is raised and lowered. It almost succeeds… 8455 has pairs of pneumatic rams to operate these functions: there’s a wide range of movement, it’s a strong system and the bucket maintains it’s angle regardless of elevation. The switches on the sides of the seat (if there was a seat) are a neat touch. This seamless operation hands new the win here.

8455 might not have a seat, but there is an engine; geared to turn quite quickly from the rear wheels; and this demonstrates yet more of that clever packaging that so characterizes this model. The steering system – via knob wheels and drag links – works around the engine, taking very little space and it works smoothly, if without quite the precision of 8862’s conventional rack and pinion. 8862 has no engine, despite it’s greater size. Another round goes to new.

The operation of their rear arms is naturally very similar: three single pneumatic rams to lift, reach and tilt the bucket each. 8862 has a manual control to rotate the arm, while 8455, in a display of wilful eccentricity, does this via another pneumatic piston. This is charming, although a lot harder to regulate… and good luck remembering which of 8455’s bank of unlabelled switches does what, as they lack the older model’s more logical arrangement. They are both very playable here, but I think the better ergonomics of 8862 hand old technic a much needed win in this round. Continue reading

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Construction Cuteness

Lego Technic 42023

Welcome to the Lego Car Blog review of set 42023 – Construction Crew, one of the latest additions to the Technic range. We’ve got our finger on the pulse here at TLCB towers…

So, there I was in the Lego store, staring at the Technic range and torn between buying this and the Skip Lorry. I’ve seen women choose shoes faster. We’ll see if I made the right choice soon enough…

First impressions are good. The three vehicles do look cute on the box, and they all seem to do stuff. The box is quite elegantly designed as well. There is, however, precious little sign of any B-models shown on it; just one tiny picture of a laptop with a road grader model that looks like the alternate for the front end loader. Said laptop won’t help either, for as I write this, the instructions aren’t up on Lego’s website yet.

Lego 42023

There are three instruction books and 3 pairs of numbered bags of pieces – one for each model – and a small sticker sheet that managed to survive the onslaught of not being protected by cardboard. Taking each of the three models individually, I’ll start with the blue one.

It’s a rather fetching looking tipper lorry, 9 studs wide and it features working steering and a tipping box, the latter raised and lowered by a small linear actuator. It’s not a difficult build, by any means, but it’s an enjoyable thing to put together. You build the front end first, then the box and the chassis rails that hold it all together come last. The resulting model does look nice, especially as attention has been paid to the colour of the fixings and blue ones have been used on the cab where possible.

So, it’s pretty, but is it clever ? In a word, no. The steering is rather vague and imprecise with a very limited lock, and the tipper bed has a few too many holes in the bottom – a shame as it did seem from the pictures that they might have designed this properly for once. It does work OK, though, and the hinged flap at the rear opens as it goes up. It’ll open before it goes up as well, unfortunately; there’s no means to lock it shut. So, an aesthetic success but not a technical one. Next!

A little red excavator, which wears stickers on the side that somewhat redundantly say ‘Excavator’, just in case we weren’t sure… this features another little linear actuator to lift the arm and it’s extended manually via a set of simple crossed levers. This aspect works well, and it’s got a control to rotate the body on the base. This is completely pointless as the thing will swivel around of it’s own free will anyway. If it was geared down it might have worked.

It’s got a pair of caterpillar tracks, using the older, small black chain link type – 40 per side so get clicking! – and I always like seeing these, although they appear to be made of a softer plastic than used to be the case. These need gears at each end to act as sprockets, and this model doesn’t have that – the chains simply slide over the ‘sprocket’ provided by pairs of bevel gears that don’t mesh with them, meaning the tracks have some free side-to-side movement, and will slip over the sprockets. They won’t slip right off, though. So, a partial success and, like the truck, it does look good.

The best of the three is undoubtedly the yellow front end loader. This looks very purposeful with it’s big yellow wheels, with new squarer tyres that’ll suit most of your truck mocs very well – and it features articulated steering and a lifting, tilting bucket at the front. The joint in the middle is very sturdy, it steers nice and smoothly and the bucket’s lifting mechanism is fine, although the bucket itself tips back as it goes up. The tilting action is a bit sloppy, however, and could not be more basic. That aside, this is a good model.

The three models are also provided with a small pile of round 2×2 bricks to dig up/load/carry. All great fun, although they had to be this big lest they fall through the holes in the truck’s floor…

If all this sounds a bit.. lukewarm, blame the reason I chose this set:

Lego Technic 42004

I already had 42004, the little JCB, and it’s a complete delight: the thought of three more like that in one set was extremely tempting. That wouldn’t be too much to ask either, as the 42004 costs £18 to 42023’s £50, and it has less than a third of the pieces. IT’S GOT AN INSTRUCTION BOOK FOR THE B MODEL AS WELL. If I shout maybe someone at Lego will hear me…

Whereas each of 42023’s models have 2 or 3 functions/moving parts, 42004 has 6 on it’s own, in a model that’s the same size. These functions are not perfect, but they’re at least as good as any similar systems on 42023. All this and cuteness; can’t ask for more.

So, to sum up, I should probably have bought the Skip Lorry… 42023 is a nice enough set, and it would make a very good starter kit for someone new to Technic, but there’s not really enough here for the seasoned builder at this price. 6/10. 42004 on the other hand, is an outstanding little model that looks even better value now. 9/10.

This is the Lego Car Blog. We make these mistakes so you don’t have to!

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2013 Technic Sets – Complete Line-Up

2013 Lego Technic Sets

The complete Q1 2013 LEGO Technic Range

Following our 2013 Set Previews, Utahlug have brought all of the Q1 2013 LEGO Technic sets together in one glorious image. Despite the fact that it’s seriously messing with our OCD (why isn’t 42000 in a box too… argh), we thought it was worth sharing. Unless you have OCD too, in which case, sorry. To see The Lego Car Blog’s Preview of each of the 2013 Technic releases, click on ‘News’ to the left of this post, or use the Search function at the bottom of the page.

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Technic 42004 Excavator Preview

Lego Technic New 2013, 42004

New for 2013; LEGO Technic 42004

The penultimate set* in our search for LEGO’s 2013 Technic releases arrived today, scooped from deep within The LEGO Group’s fortified labs. And at first glance 42004 might not look particularly impressive. However, we think this may be one of the best sets of 2013.

Firstly, 42004 has two lovely one-piece buckets. People will buy this set for these parts alone. The design, like most modern Technic, is almost all studless beams, but unlike a lot of modern Technic (see our review of 42010 and 42011) this set has no Power Functions / Pull-Back Motor / Linear Actuator gimmickry.

Instead, it features lots of proper mechanical functions. It steers via articulation in the middle, the front bucket can be raised / lowered and tipped, whilst the rear bucket can swing, extend and tip. All of this is accomplished by simple levers and mechanics, making it one of the most functional, and yet cheapest, LEGO Technic sets in ages.

LEGO Technic 42004 will go on sale in early 2013.

*Actually we previewed LEGO’s 42000 F1 Racer some months ago, because we’re awesome, but we’ll be posting an updated Preview (as soon as the slovenly Elf looking for new pictures returns) in order to complete the 2013 set. Plus it gets loads of hits…

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