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.
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:
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!