Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2H 2015 Technic sets in Nuremberg

Nuremberg Toy Fair 2015 is already running and yesterday it was open exclusively to the the press.

Hence we started to see the first images in the afternoon and there was a bunch of news about LEGO future products. Although and since everyone here is all about Technic, let's focus on the LEGO Technic sets news.

The first image we saw was from the 42042 Crawler Crane.

From this we clearly see it confirms a standard blue crawler crane with a long boom. In the photo presented it has applied the boom extension section, which is applied with some pins with stop bush. But this is basically what we already knew.
The news are on the details that we can see now from this detailed image. There is a four functions switch box, which looking into the details we can narrow down to be:
  • Boom raising/lowering (via cable)
  • Grabber claw up/down (via cable)
  • Superstructure rotation
  • Drive (forward/reverse)
These are the motorized functions which is a nice surprise, has most of us were probably expecting no more than two of them. The relative large scale of the model, has definitely contributed to make this possible.

There is also a manual function which allows to open/close the claws  in the grabber, from a knob in its upper side.

Biggest surprise here was to see the drive gets motorized first, and second it doesn't steer (see the axle in the front connecting the left and right track drive wheels. Although this is understandable if we realize this is not an RC model which make the steering function a bit less important (the presence of motorized drive is aleady a bonus). There was only one fourth function available and this cranes are necessarily slow, so it is natural the choice was made for the drive and to sacrifice steering.
There is a certain level of greebling in the superstructure which is also a nice aspect.

Some complain about the lack of realism in the boom, but is looks perfectly aligned to what we can expect from an official LEGO Technic model. Truss has never been easy to build out of Technic beams.

Overall this looks to be a very nice model and a must have!

Then in the evening we saw the first video for the LEGO Technic booth which made everyone to explode in joy!

This as been a valuable resource to take some quality snapshots where we can see all kinds of details.

Let me start with the first known image of 42040 Fire Plane. The details are not much visible from such small section in this video still, but together with the descriptions we have seen earlier, already enough to see the smaller set in the 2H looks to be very promising also

This is a single propeller seaplane which main noticeable fact in this image is that we can find several of the new trapezoid panels (Design ID: 18945) in white color. Further images should reveal also some additional details.

But that was not one of the stars in this video. It was the crawler crane which we already talked about and obviously  the 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245. Fortunately the video seems to have been done by someone with interest in the subject because it focus many of the main interest topics and questions about this model.

Believe it or not, one of the first things that caught my attention in these images was the presence of truck shims under the tipper. Those yellow parts that might be removable to put behind the rear axles, which btw are both double wheeled. A nice touch of detail indeed!

Then we have a lot more to talk about and I'll try to be synthetic, although I'm not sure where I should start...
  • In the boxes behind we both the crane and the Arocs have one PF L-motor and one battery box.
    The Arocs also includes 4 pneumatic cylinders (2x 2/11, 1x 1/11, 1x 1/5) with at least 2 new designs (2/11, 1/11). Not sure about the smaller one but it is like the same as before.
    There is also 4 pneumatic valves (no, not yet the PF version...) and one pneumatic pump (likely the same 6L version we got with 8110 Unimog and 42008 Service Truck), as seen in the box front view (image below).
  • It is obvious there is a new type of gear rack in DBG and one sliding sleeve where it runs through.
    We get one in red at the crane extensible boom and likely (although not clearly visible) another two for the outriggers deployment (eventually also in DBG).
  • The outriggers vertical adjustment is manual through worm gears as already expected.
  • The tipper is quite large and deep and it is a motorized function. From the video we can be sure it uses at least one linear actuator (presumably the large version), although this is not seen directly.
  • There is a clam-shell bucket in the tip of the crane which looks a bit smaller to my eyes then in the preliminary images. It might be a matter of perspective.  
  • The crane has 3 sections and it uses the 3 larger cylinders. The smaller one goes inside the clam-shell bucket to make it open and close.
    With 4 cylinders deployed in the crane arm the is obviously many pneumatic tubes around.
    There is also several of the recent pneumatic hose connectors with axle connectors (DBG) to join different pneumatic hose sections.
As for the motorized functions we see two levers, one at each side of the truck. Hence we should be able to have up to two of them working simultaneously.
On the right side we have the tipper and the pneumatic pump for pneumatic functions via the respective valves control (manual). And on the left it looks we have the outriggers deployment and crane rotation.

    But the details about new pneumatic elements are not over. See the images below.

    Both type of the large cylinders are in fact 11L as you can easily measure using reference elements around these. They should extend about 5 to 6L which makes them 16-17L long when fully extended. :D
    And both have metallic rods. We are still to see how these perform or better said how the single motorized small pump can effectively supply these with enough air at convenient pace.
    The 1/11L cylinder looks specially interesting  to my eyes, obviously depending on the maximum stroke it can supply and the seals effectiveness to prevent air leaks. For specific applications and designs it looks really interesting and useful. Both of them in fact... We can already anticipate other amazing official pneumatic Technic models and MOCs off-course.

    From the image in the left we can also see the connection point in the base of the 2-wide cylinder got a new design and it has now 1L with. This makes it much easier to use the pneumatic cylinder with the Technic odd sized based building system.

    Unfortunately we wont get an updated design of the 2/7 old cylinders with this set.

    On the image at the right we can also clearly see the tipper uses curved 11x3 panels in the bottom, which is also a nice technique variation.

    As for the cabin design I'd say it really got the essence of the MB Arocs look, and the printed shield element with the Mercedes logo is a really nice detail.
    The whole model is not much dependent on stickers and those existing are quite small, which is also a good thing.

    Finally about this image, we can clearly see who is the designer of this magnificent model. Some were expecting it to be Uwe Wabra as he uses to build the large trucks, Markus Kossman got the job this time.

    From these images we get the confirmation about one of the most speculated topics around this Arocs model - "Will it have suspension or not?". Yes, definitely it has! Both of the front axles have suspension has the big distance between the wheels and the fenders made us to suspect from an early leaked image.
    The steering looks to be proportional and both alxes are connected through a linkage bar.
    It is also not totally clear but giving that we can see some gearing on an axle connected to one of the beacons, it looks reasonable to assume the steering control is done via HoG from one of these beacons, if not booth.

    As for the rear axles with double wheels and since the space available is quite smaller, it looks we get some kind of pendular boogie, but there are not much details we can see from the footage available so far.

    From this last snapshot of the video we can see the cabin can tilt, to reveal the L4 engine underneath.

    Now that we have most of the 2H sets mysteries solved it rests to wait for them in the shelves and make our wishes for 2016...
    I want a decent Forklift flagship as we never got one and also we don't see any Technic forklift for too long. It is also a great option to make an interesting B-model variant with some other kind of lift.  

    If I remember anything else worth to mention, I'll keep adding to this post.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Brickset has news about 2H15 Technis sets

    Huw and the gang at went for a walk at London Toy Fair, and look what they found out about the upcoming 2H 2015 LEGO Technic sets!

    • 42040 Fire Plane (£45, 578 pieces) - A white with red seaplane, maybe 30cm wingspan whose single propeller turns as it's pushed along the ground. It comes with trans blue 2x2 round bricks that can be ejected onto a fire below.

    • 42042 Crawler Crane (£110, 1401 pieces) - a very large and impressive motorised crane which, refreshingly, is blue and not yellow. The boom must have been 1m long.
    • 42043 Mercedes Benz Arocs 3245 (£170, 2793 pieces) - A stunning vehicle featuring power functions and pneumatics. The cab is white, the tipper grey. It has a pneumatically controlled red arm with an opening scoop at the end. The arm has a new rack housing at the end of it that solves the problem of it being too thick when brick built. It comes with a large motor, 4 pneumatic cylinders, a blue pump cylinder and 4 valve controls. There are three types of cylinder which might all be new. On the box they are labelled as 2/11, 1/11 and 1/5. The 2/11 is, presumably, 11 units long and 2 wide, the 1/11 was 1 unit wide and, well, you can guess the other one. The Mercedes logo is printed on a 2x2 boat stud. The alternative model, a flatbed truck, looks as good as the main one. This was easily the 'best in show' as far as I'm concerned.

    The news about the new pneumatic cylinders are simultaneously exciting and intriguing!
    New lengths appear different from the previous calculations, but 1-wide and long cylinders could bring some interesting applications ahead. I guess the indicative measures correspond to cylinder retracted lengths.
    It also seems to indicated that cylinder lengths move from half module units to entire module multiples, like it happened with the pump design, when the 8110 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U400 was released a few years back.
    Although the pump cylinder is mentioned to be blue, hence I wonder where we get the old pump element back which also existed in blue (and yellow ofc), a new color for the newest version, or even some new type of pump (e.g. 2-wide).
    As expected all this proves the artwork in the preliminary box images were WIP as usual, and just indicative before they have final illustrations for the new elements.

    The new rack housing element for the extendable section in the jib sounds very interesting, and I wonder where this could be used also with the outriggers to have them deployed.

    Still no news about the eventual presence of suspension.

    As for the Crawler we still see no much detail, although I have my doubts about the 1m lattice boom...
    Five (4+1) 15L beam sections as shown in the box we have seen, would mean just 60 cm. No way to get another 40cm just by attaching this to the super-structure, unless there are additional sections to be attached, not pictured in the preliminary box image.
    So something might be substantially wrong here. Either the information or the preliminary image... Although such boom length with the kind of lattice construction we have seen, seems something that will prove to be quite fragile.

    Regarding the Fire Plane, the information is unfortunately very scarce, but for sure this is not where we put our biggest expectations and hopes...

    Check it at Brickset if you want to rad others comments and also news about the other LEGO themes.

    Friday, January 2, 2015

    2H15 LEGO Technic releases

    We got to know about the list of names for the 2H 2015 LEGO Technic sets, a couple of weeks ago!

    • 42040 - Fire Plane
    • 42042 - Crawler Crane
    • 42043 - Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245

    Among my first impressions and my best guesses, I was convicted about a new incarnation of 8288 Crawler Crane from 2006, eventually at a larger scale and some motorized functions.

    Concerning the Mercedes-Benz Arocs and from the several possibilities we can find from images available online, I imagined a dump truck. It could a nice fit with the last flagship, the 42030 Volvo L350F Wheel Loader. This would eventually boost sales for both sets, but however and due to the large scale of L350F among wheel loaders it would fit a lot better with some sort of mining truck or any other larger MB heavy duty truck, than with an Arocs truck. This one would fit a lot better with some kind of smaller scale wheel loader, like 8265 Front Loader which is unfortunately not selling for a long time. So all the possibilities were open again (Tow Truck, Crane & Tipper, Concrete Mixer,  Dump Truck, etc...). Even we could get some version with 3 or 4 axles, although a 4 axle seems more likely for a $230 flagship.
    The only viable possibility for the wheel size, seemed to be the use of same tires and wheels as used in 8258 Crane Truck and 42009 Mobile Crane Mk II.
    Also it stood out that a simple dumper could turn a bit too short in terms of available functions, for a Technic flagship...

    As for the Fire Plane there is not much one can expect. From the set number it should be the smallest in the season with not much functions. Some propellers, bottom doors for the water tank, eventually some working flaps, rudder or retractile landing gears. Most likely not a motorized set.

    As of today you may have already noticed from certain forums, there are already a few images circulating in the sub-world of some die hard LEGO Technic fans... This has been a more than expected event as we got closer the new year 2015.
    Because TLG folks are always much concerned about leaks, we can't publish any watermarked images, but we can talk about them if we came to see some one. At least this has been the agreement!

    Please bear in mind that as usual by this time, images are quite small and to much blurry, hence with too few visible details. Also these are clearly not the final box artworks, what means some information may be incomplete, not precise or even subject to be changed in the final product (remember the huge differences with the 42039 24 Hours Race Car). So please take all the info below as just a bit more reliable than rumors.

    And let's finally take into the details...

    42043 - Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245

    This is indeed the new Arocs truck with its typical front grille and MB logo. Likely a sticker on a round tile, but I wish it would be a printed element as we also can't see many more stickers apart from the license plate.
    It is a tipper truck with a crane behind the cabin. A bit like 8258, although this one did not include the tipper.
    The truck is predominantly white with light or dark bluish gray elements (hard to distinguish at this low quality images). The crane is red and has a clam-shell made from one or two new elements.

    In terms of Power Functions, the box shows one Battery Box and what seems to be one L-Motor (remember some motors information have been imprecise in some preliminary box artworks before).
    And it also shows there are several pneumatic elements in this set (presumably 4 of them) which makes this mainly a pneumatics set!

    Now the best part (sit if you are not already sited)...

    We can see three different sized cylinders!
    From the apparent proportions I'm assuming the one in the middle is the regular pneumatic cylinder (Design ID: 47224) and so the other two in the top should be a longer version of this one.
    Regular cylinder is 7/10,5L and from the proportions I guess the new one could be something like 9/14,5L (tbc).
    We should have also one small pump element, to build a motorized compressor. The last pictogram in the box doesn't seem to fit with the "new" small pump introduced with 8110 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U400 (Design ID: 99798). Rather it seems a bit shorter and thicker. Can it be a new short pump with 2L diameter!? I can't be sure, but it would make some sense, as the longer and several cylinders will require more air, and this is one way to produce it a reasonable pace.
    So you see, some clues here but also significant doubts about what we will get... Time will tell!

    The crane itself looks the have three sections with a clam-shell bucket attached to the tip. Only one pneumatic cylinder is clearly seen in the crane arm (parallel to the first section which folds/unfolds the second section), but I guess two/three additional pneumatics are also possible here - One in the column to fold/unfold the first section, one to extend the boom (second section) and one inside the clam-shell for opening/closing.
    This makes up to four cylinders and remember we can only see three (+ one pump) in the box. We could easily live with some crane arm geared functions to accommodate the difference, although the apparent amount of pneumatic houses around the crane arm sections really puzzles me...
    Although not clearly visible, at least the cylinder to extend the second section seems to be present, due to the hoses and the way the lay around the boom. It can be manually extendable though, with the hoses going to the clam-shell instead.

    Them we remain with another doubt... What about the tipper? Does it tip or do not tip.
    There is no single evidence in the box that it does, but one could expect it...
    Them I'd also expect it to be driven by one or two pneumatic cylinders (like in real Arocs if we think about hydraulics as pneumatics...). But these are already too much for those shown in the box and for a single set, so if it really tips I guess it will use one or two Linear Actuators.

    Now let's talk about the other functions...

    We can see two wheel axles in the front (both steerable). There is also an extendible out-trigger behind the second axle, which makes me think about gear racks now in LBG color.
    It is not really possible to clearly see behind this, but I still guess there are another two unseen axles. It wouldn't make too much sense to have two axles in the front and just one in the rear...

    The wheels/tires definitely look to be the same as in 8258 and there is a big distance from the mudguards to the tires, which suggests the presence of some kind of suspension... Wondering, but we will see!

    There is no evidence of the presence of any piston engine in this model, but it may be there as usual... We will also see!

    The cabin is 17 studs wide like it was the 8258 too, which means both trucks are in similar scale.

    The tipper looks to be at least 33 studs long.

    So in terms of functions, let's list the possibilities:
    • 4 rolling wheel axles 
    • Two steering front axles (HoG)
    • Suspension - ? (likely)
    • Pneumatic motorized compressor (via switch box)
    • Extendible outriggers (via switch box) - motorized ? (likely)
    • Tipper tilt (via switch box and LAs or pneumatics) - ?
    • Cabin tilt - ?
    • Cabin opening doors - ?
    • Adjustable rear view mirrors - ?
    • Fake engine under the cabin - ?
    • Tipper open door - ?
    • Rotating crane arm base - motorized (via switch box) ?
    • Crane arm first section folding pneumatic ?
    • Crane arm second section folding - pneumatic
    • Crane arm extensible second section - manual or pneumatic ?
    • Clam-shell opening - manual or pneumatic ?

    And this is it! If we consider we should get 2 or 4 motorized functions selectable via switch box, we need to prioritize which ones they should be, in case they're just two instead of four.

    42042 - Crawler Crane

    This is a crawler crane with lattice boom like 8288, but at a bigger scale. Although without the second mast (hence smaller boom) which otherwise would mean an enormous set for the price point.

    It is predominately blue with some white appointments, like the cabin.
    We can see a lot of blue Technic beams (inclusive in the lattice boom) and some blue panels too, like the newer version of the 11x3 curved panel (none of these 11x3 curved panels were released in blue before).
    Due to the larger scale, tracks use the large links (Design ID: 57518), which seem to be used here in DBG color.

    This is a set with Power Functions of the shelf, and the box artwork indicates it includes one Battery Box and also what seem to be one L-motor (again, remember some motors information have been imprecise in some preliminary box artworks before).

    The set includes a rock grapple made with the grabber claws (Design ID: 11953) used in 42006 Excavator.
    I'm sure the the new clam-shell elements introduced with the Mercedes-Benz Arocs would fit also perfectly here, but it makes sense to use some diversity in the sets that go into the shelves, so the designers wisely decided to have both in different sets.
    I'm sure this is something you're going to try!

    The grapple opens via a manual knob/gear seen at the top/side. It wouldn't be possible to make this motorized anyway, once it is suspended in the load cable.

    Additionally we can also see at the box, grabbed in the claws, a latticed blue section which I guess it can be used to extend the crane boom, thus making it even longer.

    Given these details and with one single motor, the functions we can expect to see motorized are the boom elevation and cable drum to raise/lower the rock grapple, or whatever you will install in its place...

    Thus, the function candidates for this set are:
    • Push/pull tracks
    • Manual superstructure rotation
    • Manually extensible boom, via modular section attachment
    • Manual rock grapple opening
    • Motorized boom elevation
    • Motorized cable drum (lower/raises rock grapple)

    As usual, still no details about the B-models so far!

    And looking forward to get additional details on these sets as well as the Fire Plane still unseen. Likely to happen when the Toy Fairs will start again all over the world, in some weeks.

    Saturday, December 27, 2014

    Have been playing with SBrick these days...

    Yes, as the title suggests I've playing a bit with a couple of SBrick prototypes (v3 and v4.1) these days, while the definitive are on their way to my mailbox.

    Since a couple of profiles were prepared for some of my favorite LEGO Technic official models which run with the iOS app, I started doing some footage last weekend and here it follows the results...

    I started with 8043S in front of a real Excavator and Wheel Loader in a seaside rock jetty repair scenario.
    It was a sunny day in December, so it was nearly impossible to see what's going on in the iPhone app and I didn't have the laptop with me to capture it.

    Then I've done something similar with 8043S at home. This time I've capture the iPhone screen while controlling my favorite Excavator, and added it to the video.

    Followed by some time to play with something else, so I picked my 8275S to play a bit!

    And finally I recorded also a video, while controlling the SBrick ports with a control app for Android, from Nordic Semiconductor.

    Now I'll rest waiting for the final SBricks to arrive, and continue preparing my reviews for the 1H2015 LEGO Technic sets!

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    Designers videos on 1H15 LEGO Technic sets

    Don't ask me how but sometimes LEGO official produced videos pops first somewhere else than LEGO website or even their own YouTube Channel...

    So it was again the case for the LEGO Technic Designers videos presenting the new 1H 2015 set, which appeared in the YT channel of a Dutch store.

    And here they are in order of the set reference.

    42031 - Cherry Picker

    42032 - Compact Track Loader

    42033 + 42034 - Record Breaker + Quad Bike

    42035 - Mining Truck

    42036 - Street Motorcycle

    42037 - Formula Off-Roader

    42038 - Arctic Truck

    42039 - 24 Hours Race Car

    It is missing the 42041 Race Truck, but nothing new as it is a re-edition from a 2010 set.

    On my side, I'm still working on the new sets reviews and videos...


    Monday, December 1, 2014

    LEGO Technic 42038, Arctic Truck - Live Build Event (Streaming Now)

    We are now broadcasting the LEGO Technic 42038 (Arctic Truck) Live Build Event on Google+ Hangouts On Air!
    This is one of the upcoming 1H2015 LEGO Technic releases that you certainly won't want to miss...

    We have enabled the Q&A application on Google+ Hangouts On Air, so you can enter your questions about this set at the event page. With this feature you can later jump directly into the video moment when we will be answering your specific questions.
    Instead if you're willing to chat about this set with the TBs staff and others attending the Live Build Event, join our Google+ page and write down your thoughts there - please notice there is about 20-30s delay in the live broadcast stream.
    Please avoid entering your questions by any other means like: TBs Facebook page, TBs YouTube page, comments into TBs posts or direct e-mail. As you might understand I'll hardly be able to spread my attention across these sources, while building this set for you.

    During the building process I'll also occasionally do some interruptions to take a few photos, that will be used later for an offline TBs TechReview.

    Another TBs Live Build Event. Enjoy!

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