Only now I managed some time, two finish my 2 cents about the first images known from the 1H2011 LEGO Technic sets.
As we all know from the past seasons, such preliminary images are based on CAD models usually developed so early in the design process that a lot of things in the final model may have changed meanwhile.
Often these 3D models are using "quick-fix" files modeling the new parts, so that the Art Directors have something to work with. Thus, there are often small mistakes or missing details, not so important to develop the retailer catalogs or first box mock-ups.
At least unlike what usually happens with the 2H sets, we shouldn't need to wait too long to see photos from the real models and take more accurate conclusions. Hopefully already at LEGOWORLD in Zwolle, the latest.
At this point in time you may have already deducted everything by yourselves, in the comments left here at TBs and many other forums. Nevertheless let me try to draw my thoughts...
Below the photo from an Italian dealers catalog with a few Technic sets for the 1H2011.
Again it makes me wonder that in many cases, we're getting at each half, larger and more complex versions of the same machines we have gotten in the previous semesters.
So let me speculate a bit and say - Could this mean that we may expect for a new flagship Excavator, in the years to come.
8069 - Backhoe
At first we notice the same large front shovel and small rear bucket, as used in the mythic 8455 (the last Back-hoe from LEGO, released in 2003).
While they fit nicely on the predecessor, the bucket looks quite small on the actual model which seems to be smaller or almost the same size as 8455. So this 8069 image, may have suffered some kind of distortion.
In second place we notice immediately something new, that looks to be mini-LAs (Linear Actuators).
In the midst of some excitement from some and skepticism from others, the main discussion at the moment seems to focus on whether these mini-LAs are fully functional or rather dummy versions (friction cylinders similar to those introduced earlier into other themes, 53586).
Personally I believe it wont make any sense to use dummy LAs into a Technic model, when they are used on the main functions the model exhibits. At the image we also clearly see one 20t bevel gear in tan color and another tan 12t bevel gear, into an identical setup to that one used into 8294 or 8043 (despite there the 20t bevels being idle gears).
Despite the several possible justifications raised for the gears existing next to these LAs, I still believe they are functional LAs. Also the explanation given by Daniel in the comments which is quite hard to see because of the watermark in the image, seems to be conclusive IMO. I tried to make it clear on the photo below, where of course I've used one of the old LAs.
Of course we shouldn't expect them to support significant loads (as their big brothers does...), to have large courses but it still seems plausible they are very capable to deal with the loads produced in this model.
Because of its apparent size, it is also a potential mystery how such a small LA internals could have been designed (with or without internal sleeve), but certainly there are achievable technical solutions, like some advanced also in the comments to this post.
Internal clutching as existing in the older/larger LAs, doesn't look a possibility for the mini ones either. This is not a problem as long as they are not intended to be utilized with actual electrical motors. However a low-torque S-motor is again claimed...
It remains to know, whether the mini-LA rod is a metallic or a plastic one. Here I bet on the plastic solution, but won't be too surprised if later I'll find it is metallic.
From all the considerations above it comes obvious that despite a smaller LA (shorter and thinner), it is still 3L wide on the bracket section as its old brother. I'm afraid it may look somehow not proportional or difficult to make if fit, for many possible applications.
Regarding the bracket, it doesn't seem to be detachable in opposition to the previous LA, which also seems a pretty obvious choice due to its smaller scale/space impositions. Because of that, mini-LAs seem to be a single piece of plastic and thus made in one single color (likely LBG as far as we can see).
Some already complained from having the mini-LAs in this model, almost directly linked to the respective operating wheel. However could we expect much more from a mid-range / mid-size model, with limited available space for gearing chains?
This is where pneumatic cylinders are strong and useful, if applied into such LEGO models..
As for the model functions and looking to the arrows in the picture, and some parts/construction details, we should have:
- Steering function. Likely controlled via HOG on the exhaust pipe
- Front arm lower/raise and shovel tilt. Likely a single combined function controlled from a knob in each side of the model and probably connected together with a pass trough axle.
- Two mini-LAs controlling the backhoe. One for the arm and another for the combined movement from the dippers and the bucket. The bucket looks coupled to the dipper with a 64451 Technic Link, like in 8047.
It is however unclear from where these are actuated, as there is only one extra knob on the cabin roof. The roof light is likely not used as another knob.
Maybe all the backhoe movements are tied together to a single knob. Again not surprisingly for a 50€ set.
It remains still unclear whether the backhoe can rotate over the vertical axis or not, but due the mechanisms to drive the mini-LAs we must be prepared to accept it won't.
- As for the outriggers, I have no idea how these get adjusted, but probably it is done manually.
These makes a total of 4 mini-LAs (2 in the front arm and two in the backhoe).
For its size and price, it looks a nice set to play with!
Apart from the mini-LAs, no other new parts foreseen so far.
8068 - Rescue Helicopter
This seems to be a nice looking small/mid-scale model, however the resemblances to the 2010 helicopter (8046) are too much.
One of them should at least to have a different color scheme. As the US Cost Guard helicopters are indeed red colored in the most cases, then maybe the former one should have had different colors.
If willing to detach a bit from the reality, it would also have been a perfect opportunity to launch something in orange, thats not a construction machine...
The model has however a strong adherence to the shape of real Rescue Helicopters.
As for the functions, it is quite hard to be sure at this point, about what is included, but it seems there are three knobs on the side. So I guess they may drive:
- the main and tail rotors.
- the winch.
- a set of landing gears.
As some already noticed, indeed it seems we got back the Fiorano wheel covers into a tail rotor. Likely this is one more evidence that this nice part is back into a new large car, than it won't.
Like it happened with the Excavator (8043), I just expect we also won't get a STAMP (STicker Across Multiple Parts) on the white fairings, just below the main rotor.
Again it seems we are seeing a recently released model to increase in size and functional detail. As many misses the main rotor tilt functions from the old 8856 (Whirlwind Rescue), probably the Technic Helicopter ever released, may we expect to see something similar soon... We never know...
8065 - Mini Dump Truck
Th cabin is red! Can you see it?
IMO there is a strong possibility it also includes one mini-LA, to raise the Dump.
Now it rests to pray, for images from the 8065 (Mini Dump Truck), 8066 (SUV), 8067 (Mobile Mini-crane), and obviously the 8070 (Super Car).
Just hope the Super Car won't came with new mini-LAs to open the doors and the hood...
New sets image, via Eurobricks