Today, finally, the first non-“Confidential” pictures of 1H2012 sets have surfaced! Also, for the first time, we can see what the 9397 Logging Truck looks like. Not only that, but we also get to see what are the B-models for most of the sets (the Logging Truck is again late to the scene). The pictures surfaced at SeTechnic, where you can also find some comprehensive comments regarding them (English translation here). Here is what we can expect from next semester...
9390 Mini Tow Truck
Those who can’t afford an 8110 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 400 can now have the “zipped” version! On a departure from the tradition of entry-level Technic sets, this one isn’t based on a worm-screw-on-8T-gear mechanism, but instead features functional steering. This, allied with its building simplicity and low price, should provide lots of driving fun for kids and not-kids. For older FOLT’s, more abundance of orange elements is always welcome.
B-Model: Buggy or Formula 1 Car
Too bad the B-model is not a snow plow in the front, built from the cargo bed and the winch... but I guess it’s only a matter of time before someone somewhere makes this modification. I don’t know whether this vehicle is a buggy (large wheels, raised rear suspension), or an F1 car (no cockpit, the 20T gear placed like a driver’s helmet, front and rear wings). Anyway, this model’s function is also steering.
9391 Mini Crane
Looking at the new pictures, I have lost hope on this set having an mLA for pushing the arms that lift the boom. Nonetheless, this set should sell like hotcakes to MOCers because it features the new mini turntable (more on that later) on a low-priced set. Besides the obvious boom lifting mechanism which thankfully doesn’t look too straightforward, the rotation of the superstructure finally isn’t annoyingly manual, instead using a 20T gear driving the mini turntable. Like the “Minimog” above, I wouldn’t be surprised to see people modifying this model to become a mini 8043 Motorized Excavator.
This is a standard bulldozer, with a mechanism for raising/lowering the blade, and a manual ripper in the back. It leaves the mini turntable unused, free for MOCs if you intend to leave the set assembled.
9392 Quad Bike
This set doesn’t bring much new in relation to its immediate predecessors, the 8282 and the 8262: it combines the former’s chain drive with the latter’s suspension. It, however, has the advantage of premiering the small panels in orange. Like the 8051 Motorbike, its stickers feature racing numbers that can be flipped (66/99 in this case) to account for the upside down panels on the B-model.
Basically, it’s the A-model’s functions in a different body, minus the cylinder engine. I think this is the first time an official model has a gear completely wrapped in chain links.
9394 Jet Plane
I agree with practically everyone when they say this plane’s nose is UGLY! It looks more like a helicopter nose than a plane nose. The wing sweep mechanism appears to work via the sliding black beams along the rear fuselage instead of using LAs.
B-Model: Prop Plane:
A much nicer-looking (at least from this angle) plane, it appears to have at least functional elevators and perhaps propeller (although, being built from a beam and attached by friction pin instead of axle, wouldn’t be too efficient as one). Maybe its landing gear, like the A-model and the main model of 6745 Propeller Power, is also retractable.
9395 Pick-Up Tow Truck
This is a nice-looking tow vehicle, probably inspired, like many people say, by American designs (in Europe, tow trucks are much more usually like lighter versions of the 8109 Flatbed Truck). At this size, price range and the rest of functionalities, I guess a cylinder engine is practically mandatory. Besides that and steering, the only functions I see are a lifting tow fork and a winch, but, like the 8109, hopefully it hides some other nifty mechanism. Given that the part is commonly available in black, I find it inexcusable that the Technic, Axle and Pin Connectors Perpendicular holding the rear view mirrors are grey instead. I guess the “PB” license plate is a point against the theory that Uwe Wabra is the set’s designer, but then again nobody in the Technic Team has a surname beginning with a B...
B-Model: Loading Truck
This is some really weird vehicle, one I have never seen before... it has a lateral lifting platform, which can then rotate via the blue thick beams. The hole in the back of the truck is too narrow for the platform to lower into it. Also, in this model we can clearly see a red Technic Changeover Catch near the middle of the vehicle; it is likely this element is also present on the A-model, which suggests some other, still unseen function... or perhaps it is just meant to switch between the towing fork and the winch, with optional motorisation via 8293.
9397 Logging Truck
The big one! This could be the lovechild of the 8285 Tow Truck and the 8258 Crane Truck. The levers on the sides distribute the M motor power between the outriggers, the arm rotation, and the two sections of the arm. The claw rotation (using the new mini turntable) and opening/closing have their mechanisms adjacent to them. The arm appears to be smaller and lighter than the one on the 8258, which allows it to use an mLA instead of one of the regular LAs, and, as a log handling arm, looks realistic enough. To round up the spec sheet, there appears to be a inline cylinder engine under the bonnet. Like recent Technic trucks, this one lacks rear double wheels, probably for budget reasons. The Logging Truck's functions, general looks, colour scheme and year of release don't look like coincidence, and it sure could use a white bullbar... A nice homage, indeed.
B-Model: So far unknown
Last but not least: so far the one element we know for sure that will debut next year, the mini turntable. Menno Gorter, who we know for his amazing walkers, has zoomed in and enhanced one of the 9397’s images to better see it (as well as an example of the image editing LEGO does: the claw assembly would never be able to tilt forward from that position):
Like speculated, it has an outer diameter of 28 teeth. I made a quick and dirty LDraw doodle to show what it probably looks like:
Of course, we all hope the middle has a pin hole instead of an axle hole. Lots of future possibilities with this new fella!
Update 2011-10-16: I added a few notes to each of the models, plus a few thoughts about the new mini turntable.