Tuesday, September 16, 2014

42030 Commercials

Just in case you have not seen them yet, here the new TV commercials for the 42030 Remote-Controlled VOLVO L350F Wheel Loader.

The standard version for young men, in English



And a second version for Men... in German, once this is a marketing campaign started in Germany a few years back - LEGO for Men.



Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The images from 1H 2015 LEGO Technic sets, you won't see here...

Mostly for the fun, this weekend I was doing a video with images from real life models, suggesting what the 1H 2015 LEGO Technic sets could be, based on their names which we got to know a couple of weeks ago.



It was done in good time, since the preliminary images leaked a few hours ago, together with images from a few other themes. I got them in very good quality this time, although very preliminary box artwork.
No PF signs, 1:1 reference pieces, part count and stuff like that.
Even some of the indicated age ranges are different from what we got to know before. Honestly both sources seem to have their own discrepancies.

There is virtually no red this time and even yellow got a very modest presence for a change.
This half main colors are: white, blue, orange and green.

There are also some new parts easily visible and eventually some others we can't distinguish from the preliminary boxes artwork




As you know we are not allowed here to publish or link any watermarked images like those leaked today, so I'm just going to do a brief comment on each model, based on what I can see. As usual I may update this post with further details in the coming days.

So let's see one by one. Notice the final sets names in English are not yet know, hence these are best guesses.


42031 - Platform

If we take the video above as reference, it would look similar to this.


Mostly black and yellow, it doesn't seem to have even steering. Only function seems to be the ability to lift the arm with a platform attached to the tip.


42032 - Compact Track Loader

White and black, but because it is a small model, the typical blue seat also stand-out.
It looks like the white Bobcat below and uses the same conventional arms on each side to lift the front bucket.


There is also a kind of grille over the bucket, which I don't understand if it is to protect the driver, or it has some other function.
In terms of functions it is at least a push-pull tracked vehicle, and it can lift or tilt the bucket.


42033 - Action Rocket Car

This is one of the two pull back models in 2015. Like foreseen it resembles a rocket car somewhat similar to the one below.


It is mainly white and blue, and it uses the first SYSTEM canopy I remember to see into a LEGO Technic set.
Functions won't go much further the pull back motor as usual, if any.
It uses the 11x3 curved panel version with 10 holes [Design ID: 11954]. These may look Dark Blue as in 41999 4x4 Crawler Exclusive Edition, but it might be an illusion and guess these are plain blue, which would mean a first of any of those panels in blue.
Some stickers around.


42034 - Action Quad

Something like this.


Mostly black with bits of yellow and fussy stickers...
Another pull back model for the year, which might feature steering, but don't know about suspension (eventually something heavily oversimplified).

 Wonder how these two will combine to form something together.


42035 - Dump Truck

If I recall it right this is the first heavy dump truck in the Technic portfolio.
Something like an entry level vehicle in the mining dumpers. Something like the Komatsu below or event a similar CAT.


It uses the 42024 Container Truck wheels and tires, but most noticeable fact is the presence of a new panel - a trapezoid which make the 5 height to 3 height panels slope transition quite well. Here in yellow, I'd call these as "11 x (5-3) Technic panels" for the moment.
And no stickers with this one.

Functions here, seem to be HoG steering and container tipping, from the two gears visible.


42036 - Street Motorcycle

Well... it is a street bike an there is not much more to say about it.
Don't feel very attracted by the color scheme, which is primarily blue with some black panels and red highlights. Because of the lightning the blue it even look medium blue sometimes, but guess it will be blue in the end.
It has at least a two cylinder engine and the same front suspension and wheel/tires as used in the last motorbike (8051) from 2010.
No stickers in the image available, which is a bit unexpected. Maybe with the final version!?


42037 - Formula Off-Roader

Something like this, with the same prominent front suspension.


Color scheme is blue/lime - again the blue may look medium blue, but think it is a lightening illusion.
It includes steering, suspension to the 4-wheels and uses the same wheel hubs, wheels and tires as used in 42029 Motorized Pick Up Truck. It seems to use also identical or similar rear and front suspension setup, steering arms, etc...
The V4 engine camshaft seems quite exposedand there are some stickers around the drivers place.


42038 - Arctic Tracked Vehicle

A glorious large all orange vehicle.
It uses 4 tracked drive trains like those in the picture below, but is a bit different vehicle. It has a middle crane with rear cargo bay.
Guess the building process may turn a bit repetitive when it comes to the drive trains, as they seem all identical. The rear ones use suspension, though!


It seems we get the 11x3 flat panels also in orange now and some rare beams in orange too.
No stickers visible.

This is a very preliminary box artwork. There is no reference to any PF motorization, although there is still some hope for this to be a motorized set, or at least PF Ready with included instructions for motorization with 8293 Motor Set.


42039 - Long Distance Race Car

And finally this semester flagship. It looks like an endurance Audi R18 e-tron quattro running in Le Mans, but obviously with a different color schema.


Green on the sides a bit like the second car in the picture below, and center LBG in the front and white in the rear. Cockpit looks black as far as I can see.


Most prominent novelty are the new arch large panels that make the fenders here. These seem to have two attachment points only and appear in green (front) and black (rear). Additionally there are several panels in green color, some of them never released in green before (11x3 flat, #5, #6, #17 and #18).
There seems also to be two new panels in the front, with a new size never released before - 3x9 curved with slope. These will fit exactly between the correspondent previous 3x7 and 3x11 panels. The new panels are green.

It uses the same wheel/tire combination as 8070 Supercar, with black wheels and inner stickers.
The headlights use 4 curved slopes [Design ID: 30602] never released in trans-clear before.

It includes also loads of stickers and it is something really new to the LEGO Technic assortment. :fixe:

As for the functions it might have steering, A V-Engine in the rear side and hopefully the engine cover can also lift, which is probably the function of the gear we can see at the right side in the bottom. Maybe there is something more, but it is hard to imagine what it could be only from the image so far available. Some fancy opening doors? Lights? This is what comes to my mind sudden.
Main doubt goes to whether there is 4-wheel suspension included or not. Ground clearance is really low as in real cars like these which leaves too less margin for suspension travel, although the wheels top distance to the fenders is pretty high.

This is a very preliminary box artwork. There is no reference to any PF motorization and for the price tag previously found (94,99€) don't think it will have any included PF elements. Hope goes for it being also PF Ready to motorize some of the functions whatever they are, including instructions for motorization with 8293 Motor Set, as well.



And that's it for now! I'm sure you can find your way to the original images if you have not done so already.
.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The LEGO Ambassador program will become the LEGO Ambassador Network



Soon, the LEGO Ambassador program as we know it will be deeply changed. Keith David Severson, Senior Manager of LEGO Community Support, has this to say:


ANNOUNCEMENT:
The LEGO Ambassador Network will go LIVE November 1st, 2014
The LEGO Ambassador program was introduced in 2005 and has gradually evolved over the past 10 years. The LEGO Group considers the close dialogue with LEGO User Group (LUG) representatives globally extremely valuable. Due to the significant growth of the AFOL Community and increased interaction between LUGs and between LUGs and the LEGO Group, it has been decided to change the format of the LEGO Ambassador program and rename it to become the LEGO Ambassador Network (LAN). The LAN will continue to strengthen the LEGO Group’s relationship with the global AFOL community as well as provide new opportunities for AFOLs to better connect globally. The goal with the upcoming LAN is to offer LUGs the opportunity to become recognized by the LEGO Group. This recognition will put more structure and focus to the relationship and hopefully provide an even better basis for the LEGO Group to stimulate the interest in the LEGO® Hobby together!

A Fresh Start
When the new LEGO Ambassador Network goes LIVE on November 1st every LUG will need to apply for access into the program. This will allow access into the new LEGO Ambassador Network Forum site and 2015 LEGO Community Support Programs. After December 30th, 2014 the current LEGO Ambassador forum will be closed.


Documentation
Today’s announcement includes the release of three documents in which the AFOL Community can read and learn about all the details of the new “LEGO Ambassador Network”.
• LEGO Ambassador Network
• LEGO Ambassador Network - FAQ
• LEGO Ambassador Network - APPLICATION – Recognized LEGO User Group
• LEGO Ambassador Network - Release Form

What’s Next
Applications to sign up as a Recognized LEGO User Group will not be accepted until September 1st. Any questions or applications can be sent directly to the regional community coordinator/manager.

• North & South America
o Kevin Hinkle – Senior Community Coordinator
o Kevin.Hinkle@LEGO.com

• Asia, Pacific, Russia, Eastern Europe
o Jan Beyer – Community Manager
o Jan@LEGO.com

• Europe and Online LUGs
o Kim Thomsen – Community Coordinator
o KimT@LEGO.com

• All other regions
o Keith Severson – Senior Manager, Community Support
o Keith.Severson@LEGO.com


In case your LUG wishes to apply for the LAN, you can find important documents here:
LEGO Ambassador Network
LEGO Ambassador Network – FAQ
LEGO Ambassador Network - APPLICATION - Recognized LEGO User Group
LEGO Ambassador Network - Release Form

This is the timeline for the process:
September 1st – LUG’s can start submitting applications.
Mid October – All LUG’s which have been approved will start receiving login information into the new forums
November 1st – GO LIVE
Please reach out to your regional community manager (Kim, Kevin, Jan) if you have questions regarding the sign-up process.

Also, Jorgen Vig Knudstrop (The LEGO Group’s CEO) will give an interview about the LAN, somewhere around mid-November. So, this is a great opportunity to have your questions about the program answered! They have to be sent in before the 15th of October, so, to have time to aggregate and forward them, I’d like to receive your questions before the 10th of October.

Here’s hoping that the new LEGO Ambassador Network will further even more the links between LEGO fans and The LEGO Group!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tire Wide Ø81,6x44

As you know LEGO released a new tire with set 76023 The Tumbler, from DC Comics Super Heroes theme.
Its characteristics will make it very useful for certain Technic models (either official sets or MOCs), I'm sure!

Hence I decided to make a video to show these tires more in detail.



Because I'm not used to do such kind of videos where I speak and my English is also not very good, I didn't get much happy about this and decided to make a post to complement with some extra info not shown in the video.

First lets list the main data regarding these new tires.
  • Design ID: 18450
  • Element ID: 6084656

  • Dimensions: Ø81,6 x 44 mm
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Soft rubber
  • Weight: 38g
  • Tread pattern: Checkboard or Crossblock
  • Compatible with wheels: Ø43,2 x 26 mm (56908 or 41896)
  • Unit Price: Country dependent (e.g. UK 8,51GBP, Germany 9,85€, Portugal 10,18€). Search for your price at LEGO Bricks & Pieces


The new tires have an overall racing appearance and may look nicely in some sports cars, like formula cars (although the tire tread is not a perfect fit) or endurance race cars.

They present the same outer diameter as other LEGO tires like: straight (2997, x1825), thin sporty (32196), balloon (45982) and motorcycle (6596, 2902). All these have different widths and use different wheels.

These tires have a kind of "rumbling" appearance because they protrude significantly sideways, from the wheels where they fit. This fact caused concern among some AFOLs, fearing such design using tiny wheels means there will be not enough room inside the wheel to create accurate steering and authentic suspension setups. Low profile tires with large and deep wheels are commonly  perceived to allow the steering knuckle and ball joints to align with the inner face of the tire as it happens with real cars.



I think this is a misconception because there are several LEGO tires which do a very good job in this regard.
And the Tumbler tire also got a large inner chanfer to allow space for the wheel linkages at the proper place as we can see from the image below.



In the pictures below you can also see how the tires conceal almost completely the steering gear, looking at it from the front view. I also wanted to show this does not differ from the old steering gear (x873c01), the yellow one in the images. For these images I've attached the steering gears to both sides just to highlight these LEGO wheels are usable from each side interchangeably, although they have Negative Offset.



Still I wonder about the newest steering gear design from LEGO, which moved the steering knuckle and ball joints 1L away from the wheel center. Although this may affect differently the several suspension types one may want to use

Below I wanted to show how much more (easily) compressible the new tires are and how it differs from other tires. Although it may not have significant impacts on LEGO vehicles within reasonable weight ranges.



To finish I'd like to show how the new Tumbler tires fit with 42029 Customized Pick-Up Truck front axle.
These behave perfectly and like the original tires without steering or suspension limitations, once there is enough space for everything to move as you can see from the image on right side.



One can here also easily observe the consequences caused by the new steering gears design, in the double wishbone geometry. The suspension arms became much more apart which I personally don't like to see, but it probably turns to be more realistic.


Given this I think the new wheels are very welcome to the new 42039 Long distance Race Car, if it happens to be the case.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

TBs TechReview 38 - EV3 Discovery Book

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book
By Laurens Valk
Publisher: No Starch Press


This is the book I brought into my holidays to fill the resting periods.

It is a new MINDSTORMS book from Laurens Valk which succeeds his previous work with "NXT Discovery Book". Laurens is also a MINDSTORMS Community Partner (MCP) and author of Robot Square blog, who has a proven experience building robots with the LMS platform.



You will find this a very detailed and comprehensive book with a rich color graphics and clean design, which goes much beyond a set of instructions to build a few robots.

This books assumes no previous experience with either building or programming with LEGO MINDSTORMS. It starts with simple ideas and explanations about the EV3 brick connectivity and operation as well as its built-in interface navigation.



But soon it evolves into basic and more advanced programing concepts like single and multitasking, or the execution of simple but not trivial tasks like making your bot following a line. All this is complemented with further explanations on how these work and how to achieve these with LMS EV3 IDE.



But there is much to take in consideration to build robots that are not just functional but also stable and sturdy to navigate across our uneven world.
Because of this it is also important to understand the building system behind the LMS which is fully based on LEGO Technic elements. Hence there are full sections dedicated to help you master useful building techniques and providing hints with several solutions to build sturdy drivetrains.



While this book guides you to build some new robots with one 31313 kit, it also provides plenty of detailed technical explanations on the mechanical principles required to build these along with some challenges that help you really understand the concepts convered. Some examples like gear ratio calculations, predicting compound directions and gear ratios from certain drive trains, or understanding the movement associated with multi-bar linkages are examples we can see from the sample pages below.



And all these with the objective of building cool and simple or more complex robots, like those in the examples below and many more.



Here a list of robots you can build with the assistance of "EV3 Discovery Book".
  • EXPLOR3R, a wheeled vehicle that uses sensors to navigate around a room and follow lines.
  • FORMULA EV3 RACE CAR, a streamlined remote-controlled race car.
  • ANTY, a six-legged walking creature that adapts its behavior to its surroundings.
  • SK3TCHBOT, a robot that lets you play games on the EV3 screen.
  • The SNATCH3R, a robotic arm that can autonomously find, grab, lift, and move the infrared beacon.
  • LAVA R3X, a humanoid robot that walks and talks.

After all this is a book that could be very useful for those initiating into LEGO robotics, but also quite interesting and capable to develop further knowledge to those with already some experience into this field.


Find it at:
No Stark Press (here you can also download a few sample chapter for a deeper preview)
Amazon.com


Friday, August 29, 2014

TBs TechPoll 43 (Results) - About the mobile devices you intend to use your SBrick



It was a couple of weeks ago we ran a few polls trying to profile the future users of SBrick. Which mobile OS, screen resolutions and devices they are planing to use (provided they support BLE or they're Bluetooth Smart Ready).

There is not much to say about the results neither a big surprise with them. Most relevant is the OS distribution with a small overall preference for the Android devices.



Although the other results are not much relevant with exception to the SBrick developers, here they're anyway.


Now we're all just waiting to see the first SBricks shipping!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Are these the 1H 2015 LEGO Technic sets?

2014 gave us 8 new LEGO Technic sets in the first half and another 3 in the second half.
Generally the amount of new sets has increased in the last years.

Apart the Super-packs we had the distribution below across semesters:

  • 2008: 4 + 4
  • 2009: 6 + 4
  • 2010: 6 + 4
  • 2011: 7 + 3
  • 2012: 6 + 3
  • 2013: 7 + 5 (including the special 41999 in the 2H, resulting from the last Technic competition; This was also the year where we missed a set from the initial leaked sets list, 42003)
  • 2014: 8 + 3

This year we got a first list of 2015 Technic sets from a Swiss Toy online shop (Max Bersinger AG).
Searching for the new references starting with 42, we find 9 new sets. Due to the increasing amount of sets I even thought if these were not already including the 2H sets, but guess not (never happened to get both at the same time and that soon).

Google Translator converts these into:
  • 42031 - Platform
  • 42032 - Compact Track Loaders
  • 42033 - Action Rocket Car
  • 42034 - Action Quad
  • 42035 - Dump Truck
  • 42036 - Street Motorcycle
  • 42037 - Formula Off-Roader
  • 42038 - Arctic Tracked Vehicle
  • 42039 - Long Distance Race Cars

I guess the plurals on 42032 and 42039 references are just a translation issue and we should look for the singulars.

The 42033 and 42034 references look like the Pull-Back equivalent models, we have gotten since the last two years, and 42039 might be the new 1H flagship - Some sort of Le Mans racing sport car or similar.

Hopefully we won't be getting another missed reference.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

TBs TechReview 37 – 42029, Costumized Pick up Truck

Set reference: 42029                                                                                                                                                               
Set name: Customized Pick Up Truck
Theme: LEGO Technic
Release date: 2014.Aug

Number of parts: 1063 (plus spares)

LEGO Designer: Lars Thygesen

Model under review: Main model
Weight: 1.000g (2.20lbs)
Approximate set dimensions:
Length - 41,0cm (16.1")
Width - 20,0cm (7.87")
Height - 19,7cm (7.48")
Approximate box dimensions:
Height - 27,8cm (10.9")
Width - 53,8cm (21.2")
Deepth- 8,8cm (3.46")

Stickers: Yes
Numbered bags: No
Building instructions: 2 booklets (84 and 84 pages): 1/2, 2/2

B-model: Forrest Skidder - Building Instructions available online only: 1/3, 2/3, 3/3

Recommended for ages: 10 - 16
Building difficulty level: Medium+
Estimated building time*: 2,5h - 4h

Price range**: 89,99 - 109,95€ / $US 99,99
Price per part**: 8,5 - 10,3 Euro Cents / $US 0,094

Inventory (Bricklink): Link
Other user reviews (Brickset): Link


*) Estimation range between experienced and beginner builders.
**) Prices based on lego.shop.com, which are country dependent.



2nd largest LEGO Technic set from this half is the 42029 Customized Pick Up Truck, an American style pickup with custom supercharger protruding from the hood, on top of a V6 engine.
Design responsibility laid on Lars Thygesen shoulders and seems it will become a popular model among fans. Let's see why.


1. THE PACKAGE AND CONTENTS

The Customized Pick Truck arrives in a mid sized box reasonably filled with LEGO bags. The most distinctive aspect is probably the fact that we never saw this type of box being used with LEGO Technic sets before. Unlike other box types usually used in LEGO Technic sets like the punch-to-open, card perforated side ears or lift-up cover, this uses the same style used for instance in most Creator sets and Modulars. This simple option makes it very  simple to flatten the box and store it in perfect condition and least space for those who like to store every LEGO box like me...
Although it does include the locking slit that larger similar boxes do, but that's a minor detail.


Since I've being doing unfolded views from the LEGO Technic boxes in the latest TBs reviews, here it is also for this set box.



As usual the rear side of the box puts some emphasis on the set functions, and in this case it also advertises the possibility for motorization with optional Motor Set kit 8293 and provided instructions. It is also from the rear side we get to see the B-model proposed for this set - a Forrest Skidder.


Like it happened with 42030 VOLVO L350F Wheel Loader also this set didn't deliver on the "Try Building Digital" logo promise from the first boxes shown in this year's Toy Fairs. The actual box does not include this reference and image anymore.



As I've tried to advance with a possible explanation already, I admit the main problem could have something to do with building instructions readability difficulties on mobile device displays for larger sets, or the high efforts which are currently necessary to spend in order to guaranty the tablet applications work properly with a reasonable range of devices and screen sizes/resolutions currently available in the market.
Another possibility is the full set of app developers being allocated to other digital projects for mobile apps projects, like LEGO Fusion.


Once opened the box the first thing I do is trying to find the instructions and stickers to avoid damaging them while removing the plastic bags with parts. Although these booklets arrived a little bit creased because they do not came inside plastic bag with card board, now usual for larger sets.



The sticker sheet arrived in perfect condition though.



And finally the ABS content...



Eleven bags and 4 loose tires come inside the box.


2. THE NEW PARTS

There are no new mold parts in this set, although there are two different panels never released before in red color.


Two 11x3 panels (Element ID 6064458 | Design ID 15458 Technic Panel Plate 1x3x11), and three 11x3 curved panels (Element ID 6036771 | Design ID 11954 Technic Panel Curved 11x3 with 10 Pin Holes through Panel Surface).


3. THE PARTS ASSORTMENT

Besides the panels with new colors shown above, there are a few other parts, which I'd highlight because of not being yet so common, or because they have not been available for already some time.



The 11x5 panel (Element ID 4541294 | Design ID 64782 Technic Panel Plate 1x5x11) is a good example of an element last released in a Technic set in 2009 and FLL sets in 2009/2010, and since then hiking to premium prices at BricLink and low availability.
The steering arm (Element ID 4523398 | Design ID 57515 Technic Steering Arm 6 x 2 with Towball Socket Rounded, Chamfered) never became a common element after its release in 8297 Off Roader from 2008 and 8070 Supercar from 2011.

The picture below gives you the overall list of elements included in the box.


A good assortment for those into building vehicles all kind!


4. BUILDING EXPERIENCE

We start building the real axle with independent suspension (sort of double wishbone) for each wheel and center differential.


It uses the newest wheel hubs (Element ID 6022949 | Design ID 11950 Technic Steering Portal with 2 Pin Holes) only used before with 42000 Grand Prix Race Car.

The chassis and bed tipper mechanism starts building around the rear axle we reach this.


Here we can barely see the main shafts of this vehicle functions going through the chassis. The connection from the rear axle to the engine in the front at an upper level. The front steering which connects to the vertical HoG axle behind the cabin. And at the topmost the tipper mechanism whose shaft connects to the switch box still missing at this point, but whose place we already clearly see.

From the other side of the switch box it will leave a shaft to command the front winch mechanism.
By the way here we have also a couple of views from switch box itself. This switch box drives two selectable functions which are the cargo bed tipping on the rear side and the winch at the front.


The changeover catch is interestingly used to simulate a gearbox stick in the middle of the seats in the cabin, as it happens to be exactly in the right place.

The building process proceeds with the cabin which is built on top of the switch box shown above, before getting attached itself to the chassis as we can see from the photo below.



Then we proceed with the V6 engine assembly with the respective supercharger in the top.



This goes immediately into place and you can see how the supercharger fits through the hood cavity.



And this is how we get the end of the first building instructions booklet.

The second booklet proceeds with the doors assembly immediately followed by the front steering axle. Again an independent double wishbone suspension geometry.




The next step consists in the assembly of the front winch. A relative common function at official LEGO Technic vehicles, but always built in different parts arrangement as the LEGO elements combinations are endless...



And we proceed with fairing details like the front grill, mudguards, hood completion and rear view mirrors. As well as some headlights going on the top of cabin. And this is how it looks like at this point already with some ferocious bear stickers applied and scratch marks...



We are approaching the end and it is time to build the bed tipper with respective rear mudguards that goes attached to this.
Some fairings on the lower side, a couple of stickers more, the indispensable wheels and that's it!



The rest of the build instructions are dedicated to show how the functions work, how to motorize this set with 8293 Motor Set kit, and some other 2014 LEGO Technic sets.
But let's not finish without showing you the bottom view of the chassis. Always an interesting view when comes to vehicles.



As usual some spares are included, but don't worry! Nothing too much that can't be carried inside the tipper...



This set was built online in a Google Hangout on Air session and you can see the recording of the live streaming here. Although and since I guess you may not be willing to waste almost 5 hours of your time seeing this, here it is also the time-lapse video where I build it much faster...



Can you beat this?


5. FUNCTIONALITY AND PLAYABILITY

This set can be played manually or trough motorization if using some elements from 8293 Motor Set. In either case the functions are nearly the same but only two of them can be motorized per the instructions included.

Main geared functions are:
  • Bed tipper (via switch box; manual or motorized with 8293)
  • Front winch (via switch box; manual or motorized with 8293)
  • Steering (manual via HoG)
Secondary geared and non-geared functions are:
  • Push-pull rolling (manual)
  • 4 wheel independent suspension (double wishbone)
  • V6 engine with moving pistons
  • Roof lights (with 8293)
Other non-geared functions are:
  • Openable cabin doors
  • Openable hood
  • Openable bed tipper rear door
  • Adjustable seats reclination
  • Adjustable rear view mirrors

Let's grasp some of them in more detail:


Bed Tipper

The bed tipper is certainly the main function of this Pick-up model and it is characterized by a cargo bed that tilts towards the rear side of the truck, where there is also the door to easy the cargo unload.



Unlike every other bed tipper I have ever seen (yes it doesn't mean I had seen them all) which push the tipper from the underside to release cargo, 42029 features an unusual setup which works somewhat in the reverse way we would expect. The distension of the mini-linear actuator pushes the linkage and lowers the tipper, and retraction pulls the linkage while it lifts the tipper.
The images below try to make it clearer for you.



But if it was not the case, certainly these animations will do...



I doubt there is a significant mechanical advantage with this particular setup, but it seems to implement a good compromise to deal with the limits of the mLA internal clutch and the travel required for a complete tipping.
The last time we had seen a LA driven tipper was with 8052 Container Truck in 2010. It used a more regular lifting setup using the bigger size LA, but the B-model used some sort of inverted lifting mechanism similar to what we can see here.

Here some photos on how this tipper operates.




And again one sequence animation.



In what regards the tipper we can identify an easy opportunity for improvement.It lacks a lock for the rear door in its original version. This has the inconvenient of letting heavy cargo to fall out automatically once a certain tilt is reached. Such problem could have been prevented with a minimum of two or four extra parts like in the picture below, whether you want to have a lock at one or both sides.



The Suspension

As previously said about each suspension axle, this pick-up truck uses double wishbone (or a sort of in the rear axle) independent suspension in each wheel.

Unlike most of othe Technic vehicles released so far this one uses suspension travel limiters. Four Pin Connector Perpendicular 2 x 2 Bent (Element ID 4211880 | Design ID 44809) for the rear suspension and two Light Cover with Internal Bar elements (Element ID 4623199 | Design ID 58176) at the front suspension.


They are both limiting the suspension travel towards the bottom side, before the suspension spring reaches its limit, although the limit achieved is quite more effective on the rear suspension than in the front one.


It seems reasonable to assume these limiters are used to avoid the chassis raising too much because of the relative low weight of this model. I wonder if it would have been better to use the Soft Spring version rather the Hard version here used, but I admit it didn't because the front axle limit is almost doing nothing there and consequently a softer suspension would let the front to become lower.
Even the the vehicle forward facing attitude caused by the higher suspension the rear will be naturally eliminated once we put some load on the bed tipper.



Didn't made further tests with a softer suspension it as I'd need to dismantle and rebuild a considerable part of the model...


The video demonstration

And that's time for a short video demonstrating the functions built in this model.



Something else you'd like to know, just drop your questions in the comments to this post.


6. THE B-MODEL

There is not much I'd like to say about this except the obvious. The proposed 42029 B-model features a Forrest Skidder.



Nothing very knew to the LEGO Technic line-up except some specifics maybe, like the front blade in a forest machine. Otherwise forestry machines use to be quite common when it comes to B-models (maybe they're just an easy fit for some main models as they do not require very specific).

This one might look similar to the configuration below.


Maybe the red color is not a very common one among Forrest Skidder equipments though!


As a model it provides a very reasonable set of functions:
  • Push-pull rolling
  • Articulated steering
  • Lifts/lowers crane arm
  • Open/closes claw tool
  • Rear winch
  • V6 engine with moving pistons
  • Adjustable seat reclination
  • Adjustable rear view mirrors

Although the front blade doesn't raise.


Unfortunately the building instructions are only available online for download (although it is very positive to save the environment), but as usual this focus in the building steps only and lack any explanation on how the functions work as usual for the B-model instructions... :P
Not that these are very difficult to understand, but they are also not the functions of the main model and these are conveniently illustrated in the main model instructions, so it would be nice to have the same level of detail for the B-model.


    7. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

    All in all this set offers quite a reasonable sort of elements if you're into building vehicles, maybe we could just wish a 4WD drivetrain instead of RWD, but that would be quite hard to achieve the way the front suspension is achieved and let's be fair, not a common feature at this scale.

    It is also a very good source for some newly introduced red panels and those 11x5 which had became quite rare in the mean time.


    Motorization

    Of the box motorization instructions cover just the functions attached to the switch box (bed tipper and front winch). There are inclusive some parts added to the main model with solely purpose of an easier integrations with the parts available from the motorization kit (8293).

    If you're aiming to do so, it won't be extremely difficult to pursue drive and steering motorization given you have the right skills. There is enough room in the chassis to do this and you just need to find adequate bracing solutions to the motors tight in place.
    Of course it just makes sense if you also aim for remote controlling, but even the PF IR Receiver can be easily fit in (e.g. in place of the passenger's seat).


    Aesthetics

    At first sight the used wheels may look a bit small for the overall model size. On the other end I feel the body quite slim for the chassis size which makes the wheels to protrude quite a bit too much IMO.



    From a side perspective the next size wheels are probably a better fit, but I leave it here for your own evaluation. Of course these keep protruding the same way as the originals.



    I've seen other proposals like the use of Power Puller wheels, but despite the nice looking those I feel completely ridiculous in this model unless you pretend for some sort of Monster Truck. But then it lacks adequate suspension, as the wheels touch the chassis too easily...




    In order to let you easily evaluate the model relative size I took a picture with the 2H2014 Technic flagship side-to-side..



    Very reasonably sized when compared to this year's flagship Volvo L350F.


    8. THE RATINGS

    Now that's time for the final Pros and Cons synthesis.


    PROS
    • Good parts assortment for those willing to build vehicles 
    • Reintroduces some parts that time made to become rare
    • Very good and realistic suspension
    • Very nice functions and enjoyable to play with
    • Can carry and lift a reasonable amount of load
    • Ready for motorization (some functions only)
    • Building is fun and not repetitive

    CONS
    • New parts resume to old elements introduced in new colors
    • Relative high price per part, given there are no PF elements included
    • Missing lock mechanism for the tipper door
    • B-model comes a bit repetitive within Technic portfolio
    • B-model instructions not included in the box and lacks demonstration on how the features work


      And now my individual ratings upon all the observations done until this point:

      AFC Concept Ratings
      Authenticity  (Does it looks authentic?)   
      Functionality  (Does it has the functions I would expect and do they work right?)   
      Challenging Build  (Is this set building experience challenging and interesting?)   

      Beyond AFC Ratings
      Parts Pack  (Is this set a good parts source?)   
      Parts Innovation  (Are there great new elements included?)   
      Set Innovation  (Is this set innovative in the Technic portfolio?)   
      Set Design  (Does it has some flaws?)   
      Playability  (How fun and easy is it to play with?)   
      Aesthetics  (Does it looks awesome?)   
      Value for Money  (Is this set worth its price?)   


      Overall Rating: Recommended  



      Take care with the bears!

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