Friday, December 11, 2009

TBs TechReview 09 - 8047, Compact Excavator

Today TBs is publishing the 2nd contribution here, from a Guest Blogger.
This time a review from one of the new 2010 LEGO Technic sets, written by Ryan (merman), who is one of our assiduous readers and also a member from LOWLUG forum.

Ryan writes:

One of the most appealing models of the first half of 2010 to be seemed the 8047 Compact Excavator. I live in downtown Amsterdam where they are building a new metro-line and the whole city is a humongous mess. This also means a lot of construction vehicles and I see these cute little compact excavators all over the place. The machine is quite funny since the whole thing looks way out of proportion with the cabin that is just too big and the relatively small arm and bucket. Lego nailed that aspect of the original wonderfully in set 8047. Another reason for me to buy this set is the presence of the treads (which I love) and the fact it has a new gear (that caused quite some speculation online), new panels and the new 4L axles with stop.

I bought the set at the local Toystore for €21.99, which I think is a little overpriced. This has little to do with Lego, but everything to do with the fact in The Netherlands there are about 4 major toychains, of which the biggest two are controlled by the same company, thus controlling the price level.

The box is the same size as last (or actually: this) year's 8261 Rally Truck: rather square and maybe a little oversized. The box has the excavator's bucket on one side in 1:1 ratio to show the actual size of the model. On the back you see the b-model, which I haven't built yet but looks very creative. The box can be opened by pushing in two 'buttons' on top of the box. I still don't like these things, since I always ripple the cardboard and it is hard to tear on the dotted lines. Inside the box you find two instruction booklets: one for the main model and one for the B-model. I like the fact these smaller sets have instructions for both, in fact, I still believe Lego should do this with the bigger sets too. I don't like building from a computer screen which is highly uncomfortable.

The set has no stickers and the booklets came out perfectly: no ripples or tears. There are 4 bags with parts, one containing the 56 treads and one bag containing another smaller sized bag with pins and bushes (so the choking hazard parts). The bucket is also contained in one of the bigger bags. On the first eye (and also confirmed after having built the excavator) all parts were present and no broken or damaged parts. To be honest: I bought a lot of (Technic) sets the past couple of years and I have never ever encountered one that had parts missing or severely damaged. It is amazing how well organized Lego is with filling their bags and boxes.

The set already is famous for the brand new light bley Gear 20 Bevel with Clutch which at this point seems to be unique for this set (and I see some possibilities I will elaborate on at the end of this review). The set also has two new dark bley axles 4 with stop, that are used very effectively and is a rather welcome addition to the parts assortment of Technic. It also has two new small panels numbers 1 and 2, that have the new curved design and pinholes in two directions. I already loved these panels in last year's sets since they are very esthetic and useful. These panels fit the studless building type perfectly. Then there are two axles 3L with stop in the new brownish color. The color of these parts is less annoying than I thought it would be and probably chosed to avoid mixing it up with the 4L axles with stop that are also dark bley. Then there are three of the new 3L pins with axles holes. Thank God they have friction (which is essential in set 8047!). Below you see a picture of all the new parts (not the right amount of each part).

Now let's get into building. Let me apologize on forehand for the rather messy table I built on (we have a very small house!). Building starts with the lower part containing the treads. This part of the building process is pretty straightforward lacking much surprised, but building the lower part of treaded vehicled in Technic always has been a little repetitive. This is also the part where you build the little adjustable stop to prevent the excavator from moving. During and after building the lower part the model looks like this:

The most exciting part is building the actual machine. You start building the chair that uses the new pin 3L with pinhole and a light bley pin joiner perpendicular bent (a part I love and that is not used as extenisvely as I'd wish). Beneath the chair there is an axle used to transfer the motion of the bucket and also perpendicular an axle with a crown gear used to move the bucket. A pretty clever and compact use of axles. The chair is attached to the turntable as seen below. This is also where the first worm gear kicks in (there are two in this set).

The next phase of the model is building the back part that uses the new #1 and #2 panels and also included the knobs you use to move the arm and bucket. The right know is stuck through a 5.5 axle with stop causing part of the axle to stick out. This looks a bit untidy. After this part some of the yellow side beams are attached to make the model sturdier.

Right after this construction of the arm begins. This makes use of the second work gear shoved over the new 4L axle with stop (very useful here!) and it also makes use of the brackets mainly used for Linear Actuators. After seeing the creative use of these parts in 8258 I cannot imagine ever having done without. The bracket is attached to an axle containing the new Gear 20 with Clutch. This way the gear can turn freely. The question is whether this set actually really needs such a new gear since some changes to the design could have made the use of the old tan gear 20 possible. Still, it is a nice addition to the parts range.

The following step is the construction of the remainder of the arm. Like sets 8419 and 8294 the bucket will move with the lower part of the arm. Even though this is about the only way with mechanical (gear/Linear Actuator) contruction, it is hard to play with the excavator in precision. I find it rather understandable and therefore acceptable in smaller sets like these. This part uses bended dark grey liftarms also present in some City contruction sets. Even though they have the same angle as the yellow 4x6 bended beams, these grey liftarms look a lot better.

The building process is concluded with the construction of the cabin. I like the fact the beams of the back of the cabin are placed perpendicular to the rest of the design. The cabin also uses the new brown axles 3L with stop and two more pins 3L with pinhole. After about 40 minutes of building (including taking pictures) the excavator is finished and looks like this. There are also some small spare parts.

Playability/Design: overal this model has three functions. You can manually lower the stop situated near the tracks. Then there are two knobs to raise and lower the arm and one to move the bucket. This last function is rather stiff to move, especially if you have move the bucket a little to far and the function gets jammed. The contruction is a little weak where the arm is fixed to the machine, only using four light grey axle joiners perpendicular 3L. Using a 9L axle in stead of a 5L axle for the arm may have been better contruction-wise but caused some throuble with the small 3L Technic beams on the sides. This set used 4 9L axles, again a part I cannot imagine ever having done without.

Veredict: I would definitively recommend this set. It has good playability, 252 parts (of which 56 are tread links) and a good parts pack also. You get 10 new parts in total and a total number of 17 gears (of 7 different types). 

Then my little theory about the new Gear 20 Bevel with Clutch: I have a feeling that with some good smart thinking and creativity this gear would enable you to send three seperate functions through a turntable. The key with this new gear is the option to put a perpendicular transmission to it. If you'd combine this with the two-function construction used in set 8258 I believe a third seperate function could be possible. It can be the space to further transcent movement is limited, since the inside of the turntable is too limited. I dare you to experiment with this!

Thanks Ryan, for writing this nice review for all us!


Anonymous said...

Does the new gear really include a clutch? It seems that it just has a pin hole instead of an axle hole.

TechnicBRICKs said...

No, it is just a pin hole.
Guess Ryan didn't mean a real clutch but a something like a "free-running" gear.

Anonymous said...

How did you mean with 3 functions throught turntable? Nice review, but i will prolly just buy 2 tractors :)

RjbsNXT said...

'Thank God they have friction (which is essential in set 8047!).'
Why is it essential?

Carlos Ribeiro said...

Excellent review Ryan

Ryan said...

Thx... of course I meand the gear has a round hole, not a clutch!

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