For builders of a certain generation Dennis Bosman has performed a miracle of Lego reconstruction. The 8889 Technic Ideas book was published in 1984, just four years after the original 8888 book. 8889 showed just how quickly the parts available and building techniques for the Technic part of the Lego System had moved on. As well as step-by-step instructions for some builds (this writer’s favourite was the strange 6-wheeled vehicle) there were photos of additional models. Across two double-page spreads was a massive truck. How to build it though? This is what Dennis Bosman has done, using only contemporary parts. Click this link to travel back in time…
…are actually pieces of electrical equipment. Regular readers of TLCB will know of the Elves’ obsession with the Transformers franchise. Finding the best Lego cars on the internet provides Smarties and meal tokens but happiness involves explosions, robots, more explosions and Megan Fox. You can imagine their excitement at finding Jakeof_’s latest build. The smoothly modelled DAF XF95 tractor, towing a Nooteboom Pendel-X trailer with a large transformer as its load is typical of Jakeof_’s style. You can also imagine their disappointment once they realised what sort of transformer it actually was. Still, we’re happy with our find and recommend that you visit Jakeof_’s Photostream to see the details.
It’s a cheap day at The Lego Car Blog editorial offices. Smarties are made in neither black nor white colours and so we were unable to reward the Elf who brought in RGB900‘s Police Off-Roader. This stylish, futuristic vehicle looks perfect for all terrains and riot control too. It’s one of a series of 5-wide trucks from this Taiwanese builder. We found a rather nice fire engine in RGB900’s Flickr Photostream, so it’s a red Smartie for us!
Our Elves almost missed this charming creation from Galaktek, on Flickr. Unusually for a sci-fi build it isn’t covered in guns & missiles and our workforce has a proven penchant for such things. This delivery lorry could easily be from the near future of Lego’s “City” range and features some very neat “wheel” units. Click on this link to see how Galaktek made them.
Not just an excuse for a slightly rude title, but a comparison of Technic fork lift trucks….
We’ll start with set 850, just as Technic itself did, way back when the summers were warm and everybody was on strike. In 1977, this was the very first ‘Expert Builder’ set. In common with the other early sets, there were instructions for 3 models and a wealth of further ideas on the box. The model itself is very cute, if somewhat basic. A quick build, it uses the limited palette of pieces then available to good effect. The first technic model is still the one with the best steering system, for instance. Exceptionally smooth in operation, sensibly geared and with a generous lock; a system that simply hasn’t been bettered since. Ally that to the very short wheelbase and you have an amazingly manoevreable model.
Moving frontwards, things are less happy. The forks are too long and too close together, they don’t rise very far and the system to move them is very basic. Tilting them is but the fevered dream of a madman… as for loading them – you’ll need to put something heavy under the seat first. So, 850 the model is probably a 5/10. 850 the set is more like a 9. There’s a perfect mix of bricks and the new technic parts here to make all kinds of yellow building site stuff. The perfect starter kit.
Moving on to 1984, and a demonstration that original style pneumatics can actually work, in the form of the slightly unhappy looking 8843. Maybe it should just be red or yellow, rather than both… This time at least, the forks will tilt, and there’s even an additional hand-of-god steering control to supplement the one in the cab, which (praise be!) is still connected. It’s rather a pity, therefore, that the steering feels very stiff, because the system incorporates 8 bevel gears (4 of which are in the roof!) and these are the older, flat 14 tooth gears which seem to have more friction than the newer design. It doesn’t help that the cab’s wheel rubs against some of the pneumatic tubing as it turns.
Whilst it does feel somewhat churlish to criticize a feature that I’m always begging to see brought back, this would actually be better without it. Don’t think for a moment that this will stop me nagging to see its return on new models…. capricious, moi?
At the front, things are better. The pneumatic installation is quite neat, there’s an extra long piston (not as illustrated; the one pictured is assembled from my collection, with period pneumatics from 8040) to facilitate a good range of movement, and the forks are linked to it via short lengths of chain. Operate the pump and they whizz up and down very happily, and will do so with a reasonable load, as well. To achieve this, millimetre perfect lining up of the chain is necessary – it uses tread link pieces wedged in holes and some of the clearances are very tight – but do that and it’ll work fine.
8843 is a good effort; in some ways a useful improvement on 850, but it’s lost that model’s best features – the B model here is a sketchy looking tow truck and the varied colour palette means there’s not enough pieces of one colour in this small set to make convincing alternatives. 6/10.
Fast forward to 1989; it’s goodbye Berlin Wall and, somewhat less momentously, hello 8835. Much better looking than its predecessor, it also benefits from a lifting mechanism that closely mirrors the solution on real forklifts. Smoother steering too, although wouldn’t it be nice if there was a wheel in the cab….? (yes, yes, I know…)
The only demerit with this model concerns the jerky movement of the forks. The brick-built carrier that wraps around the spars is too tight-fitting to move smoothly, as if the designers had forgotten the far more elegant solution to this problem found on 8843. At least they hadn’t forgotten about the tilt function.
Although 8835 is just as multi-coloured as its predecessor, the colours are much more harmonious and this is a handsome model. The B model suffers in the same way as 8843’s, though. It’s a less-than-convincing tractor. Stick to the forklift though and this is a good set, with only one major flaw. 8/10
Still with me? You’re doing well, don’t give up now… Continue reading
And they’re the same lorry…
This is Technic set 42024, ‘Container Truck’ which will henceforth be referred to as a ‘Skip Lorry’ since I write this in the UK and that’s what it is. It’s a mid-market set that sits in the not-too-extravagant £60 sweet spot, so let’s see what it offers…
Firstly, Technic boxes these days look pretty good; a clear image of what’s inside and simple, elegant graphics. Shame you have to rip it to get into it. Now to empty the (un-numbered) bags into my customary unsortable heap and get building…. you may wonder at this point if a rainbow has vomited on your work surface…. Time will tell if all those colours work well (8860) or not (8865)…
It’s a fairly standard build that starts with a gearbox. This seems like an unnecessary complication, since it’s only switching between two functions and there’ll still be two controls, but there is a perfectly good reason for this. Be patient. There’s nothing too difficult here and the two instruction books give you completely clear guidance. What is refreshing is that it seems like there’s a few more pieces per build step than in many recent kits – a possible reflection of it’s intended age group (10-43 since you ask…)
After a leisurely hour or two you’ll have a skip lorry that looks quite nice, and your earlier fears over it’s colour co-ordination will prove unfounded. This is an attractive model. Although the feature count is quite modest, and nowhere near the let’s-stuff-everything-in 42008, what it does, it does well.
Even the stabilizers do a good job… they are linked to a connector that engages with a bar on the skip when left up. This enables it to tip the container, which is something I’ve never seen a skip lorry do; perhaps I’m just not paying attention. It’s an effective, well thought out system.
With the stabilizers down, two linear actuators move the skip in a graceful arc onto the surface behind, accompanied by much furious wheel twirling. As standard, this is a manual control model but said manual control is the usual black gear, when an old fashioned pulley and pin would be more ergonomic given the lowish gearing here.
Or better still, stuff a motor in. It’ll take a PF M motor and battery box with the greatest of ease – so much so I suspect that it was intended to be motorized all along (hence the gearbox). The only reason it’s not being that it didn’t hit it’s price point so equipped. Allegedly. This would be a much better set at £80 with the motor included, but I can see why Lego wouldn’t want it troubling 42008’s market position.
Now let’s talk about styling…
It does look good, and I think the colours help here, although it might be time for Lego to make a bit more effort in the cab area. There’s nothing bad here, but it’s a bit same-again. Detailing is a tad sketchy and ill-thought-out (if the doors had glass, the mirrors would go through it when they open, for instance). Presumably, it couldn’t be seen to out-shine the more expensive 42008. I prefer the grille treatment on 42024, though – those silvered grille tiles always look a little flat. Maybe I’m just pining for the 8292 Cherry Picker from a few years ago – an otherwise unremarkable set with a very attractive cab design. Or you can simply treat it as a blank canvas to put your own ideas on – it’s Lego after all!
One piece (or rather six pieces) of very good news is the tyres – new for this set (and the digger in 42023), they’re proper square-shouldered, not-too-wide truck *ahem* lorry tyres that greatly enhance this model compared to the smaller, wider items on 42008.
They enhance the B-model too – another grader! It looks pretty good though – at least as good as the 57,000 grader B-models that have preceded it… one of these days there’ll be a grader A model but I won’t hold my breath. You have to go online to build it, however, and that’s always a faff….
So, what have we learned? 42024 is quite stylish, in its multi-coloured, unadorned way, and it works quite well (if you add a proper handwheel) or very well if you put a motor in. 8/10 – if you’ve already got a motor. 6/10 if you haven’t.
I’ve just realized that I’ve done an entire Technic vehicle review without moaning about the steering. This lorry has a good system. It really does.
To see all the official LEGO sets reviewed by The Lego Car Blog, including 42008, visit the LEGO Set Review Library here.
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.
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With the red and green, it looks like it could belong to a jolly fat man… welcome to TLCB’s review of the Lego Technic 42008 Service Truck.
Not quite the latest in a long line of mid-range truck models that always seem to be the meat of the Technic range, this one with its 1276 pieces and £100 price is definitely edging upwards from mid-range, despite its still-modest size.
It’s got most of the sophistication of a much larger model too, as we shall see.
First impressions: Well, you’ll either get on with the green or you won’t… Personally, I think a grey or black (not red) chassis would have helped. Nevertheless, it is good to see Lego broadening the Technic colour palette once again – long may that continue! You get an entirely typical box, well stuffed with goodies and three instruction books. And a sticker sheet, natch. You’ll need that…
Building it is a reasonably familiar experience for anyone who’s had any other mid-range truck set in recent years, apart from the pneumatics, possibly. This may be unique in combining pneumatics, linear actuators and a PF motor in the same model – I can’t think of any others that have all three – and it’s this fact that makes the price seem pretty reasonable. It’s a fairly intricate and densely packed thing, with little wasted space, but the instructions are typically clear and simple to follow.
After a leisurely afternoon’s building, you’ll have a pretty impressive model with many functions:
Steering: A very well engineered progressive-rate system that operates on the first two axles via the usual gear on the roof. It works very smoothly, there’s a reasonable amount of lock and nothing for me to complain about. Technic steering systems would seem to be improving, at last.
Rear Stabilizers: Operated via the left hand gearbox and motorized, like all the following functions, these raise and lower via a pair of small linear actuators and are of limited use, frankly. They don’t lock in place and they’re not strong enough to lift the rear of the model. Next!
Hook: Anyone expecting this to take an age to raise and lower, like every other motorized crane, is in for a surprise. The thing fairly rips along, assuming you’ve lifted the stop-lever if you’re extending it…. which item won’t stay up on it’s own so you need three hands to do so. Grrr! It has the strength to pull a similar size model onto the ramp, so it does it’s job.
Boom Lifting: Done by a single large linear actuator and operated via the right hand gearbox, this works smoothly and well. It goes a lot further up than it needs to for a service truck, but I’m not complaining. Much.
The pneumatic compressor is actuated via the right hand gearbox and this powers the boom extension and the ramp lowering mechanisms. Each of these items uses a small pneumatic piston to actuate it, which works fine – if rather suddenly, as is the way with airtank-less pneumatics – without a load, but the small pistons don’t have enough grunt to do much actual work. The standard, larger, pistons would have been better.
That’s an impressive array of working functions for what is still a relatively small model; the more so because there’s a motor and battery box packed in as well. Most of them work alright, after a fashion, and it does make this an extremely playable set. The only major gripe concerns operating the motor via the switch on the battery box; you’ve got to be delicate to avoid switching it to the other direction when you want it off. Adding a PF switch would make this a much more manageable thing to use.
You can use it well enough, though…
Model Team trucks are pretty but they break down a lot…
42008 will never be called pretty, exactly, but it looks… purposeful. There’s a fairly minimal amount of detail around the cab, but there’s enough. The doors open to reveal the usual pair of angled-liftarm seats and a rudimentary dashboard and (unconnected) steering wheel. As for the colour, it’s certainly striking… I don’t usually apply stickers to my sets, but with this it’s very necessary; and they do successfully break up what is a big slab of green without them.
Overall, I like it. It ain’t perfect, it ain’t pretty, but it’s packed with features and you get a sense that the designers were being ambitious with it. Perhaps a little over-ambitious, but there’s a lot to admire here. 7/10
We don’t often blog two creations by the same builder in one week, but when they look like this we felt we couldn’t ignore them. oLaF-LM is the genius behind this minute refuse truck, which follows on from his spectacular articulated truck blogged earlier in the week. See more here.
We don’t get many micro-scale MOCs coming into the office. Mostly this is because the Elves have tiny child-like brains and tend to find models with big wheels and racing stripes and suchlike. But one did return with this today; a magnificent articulated lorry in miniature. oLaF-LM has squeezed a remarkable amount of detail into his two-wide creation, right down to the legs for the trailer. See more on Flickr.
.. And living buried inside the Creator range. Meet set 7347, ‘Highway Pickup’
Mmmmm stripey! Nicely detailed too, at least as far back as the exhaust stacks. In case you’re wondering, this is one of TLCB’s occasional reviews of current sets – I’m back, baby!
So, where to start… how about unpacking its nice big, shiny box; that’s reasonably full for a change, with 800 or so pieces and there’s loads of good stuff here for vehicle builders of all kinds. The bags aren’t numbered, so there’ll be much sifting but we’re used to that, aren’t we? There are 4 instruction books – 2 for the main model – and isn’t it nice to have printed instructions for the secondary models ? Come on, Technic! Be careful, though, with the only blue parts of the set (two hinge pieces that fix on the dashboard) as they don’t appear all that blue in the book. Maybe it’s these old eyes again, but I spent several minutes looking for grey ones…
Building it is a pleasure, if not at all difficult, and there’s an intriguing mix of old and new Technic in the chassis. Studded beams give it a dose of rigidity, and studless ones at the back allow the truck bed to slide and tilt. Very effective. There are no mistakes in the instructions, at least for the main model – I haven’t built the others, mostly because they don’t look nearly as good.
The first part to build is the yellow car that goes on the back, and what a curious beast it is… out of scale with the truck (it ought to be two studs wider, at least), it’s otherwise nicely proportioned but clumsily detailed. You’ll be able to fashion something better, even if you just use these bricks.
Thankfully, a great deal more design effort was put into the truck. I’ll call it a truck, since it’s very much in the American style; although the second model is very definitely a lorry… Anyhoo, it features that sliding and tilting bed on the back, a winch, opening doors and bonnet and working steering. Just remember NOT to put in those black ball joint pieces at an early build stage, lest it end up with the turning circle of a supertanker. You’ll need something there, else the wheels will drag on the inner arches, but I found a 1×1 plate, stud in the beam’s hole did the trick. Now it’s got the turning radius of.. an ordinary tanker. Never mind, at least it’s nice and smooth in operation.
There’s also a pair of light bricks in the roof, that blaze forth when you press down in front of the steering control. It wouldn’t be too hard to make them flash authentically, or even stay on. A nice feature, but a bit of a gimmick.
Putting the cab together, with its very attractive stripes and comprehensive detailing is what reminds me most of the old Model Team sets. This is the same size as 5580 from 1986, and where this scores over that classic set is in the way the paintjob is achieved. It’s entirely brick-built. No stickers or printed parts. Hurrah!
And here it is in the company of an old friend..
I must say I do prefer 5580’s grille; those grille tiles on the new one do tend to look a little flat. The oldie also has a nicer engine, and the fenders are attached to the hood as they should be. Still, the new boy’s got some tricks, not the least of which is to be found around the back, precisely where 5580 ran out of ideas…
That tilting and sliding bed is very nicely contrived, but the thing could have looked less… basic, perhaps? Especially given the exuberance of the front. Lego have always been better at the front part of a truck : even the fabled 5571 ‘Black Cat’ looked a little unfinished aft of the cab, so I guess everything’s as it should be. Still, some rear lights and a licence plate back there might have been nice.
But enough carping. This really is a nice set, and it’s level of features and detail is just fine for the market it’s aimed at. Trouble is, the market it’s aimed at might baulk at paying £60 ($80) for it.
Is Model Team alive and well, then? Kind of, but you wouldn’t call it alive and kicking. 7/10.
We’d not heard of the Zubr A80 before, but Karwik certainly has, recreating it wonderfully down to the last detail. See more on Flickr.