Sunday, December 1, 2013

TBs TechReview 30 – 42024, Container Truck

Set reference: 42024                                                                                                                                                               
Set name: Container Truck
Theme: LEGO Technic
Release date: 2014.Jan

Number of parts: 947 (plus a few spares)

LEGO Designer: Alfredo (Alfred Pedersen)

Model under review: Main model
Weight: 800g (28.2 oz) approx. - w/o batteries
Approximate set dimensions:
Length - 37,8cm (14.9") Extended outriggers / 51,0 (20.1") Unloaded container
Width - 12,8cm (4.7")
Height - 16,5cm (6.3") Loaded container / 15,8cm (5.9") Unloaded container
Approximate box dimensions:
Length - 47,8cm (18.5")
Width - 28,0cm (11.0")
Height - 8,9cm (3.1")

Stickers: Yes
Building instructions: 2 booklets (84 and 84 pages)
B-model: Road Grader - Building instructions to become available online only

Recommended for ages: 10 - 16
Building difficulty level: Medium+
Estimated building time: 2h 30m - 4h

Price range: 80€ (estimation)
Price per part: 8,4 euro cents (estimation)

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



Container Truck 42024, or more precisely a Skip Loader, is the second largest 1H 2014 LEGO Technic set and also the second one being reviewed here at TBs .
It looks that Alfred got another Truck mission (along other sets he designed before: 8289, 8264, 8052, 8071, 9395, 42008, and now 42024 too). IMO his trucks are getting better and better.
I know some have commented the cabin of this one looks unfinished, although I disagree.

When I first saw this set it immediately reminded me one of the first Technic models I remember to have seen at YouTube, by Mentalspagat, when I returned from my Dark Age. It was also one of the first featured here in the Week TechVideos [1, 2, 3].
In fact a very rare type of vehicle to find implemented with LEGO, which delighted me since that distant day when I found Mentalspagat videos. And so it did this new set as well!

Let's see if this is up to the expectations...


1. The package and contents

Once this is a large set but not one of the largest ones, it comes in the regular punch to open box style.

It is not an off-the-shelf PF motorized set, but it includes instructions to upgrade with 8293 Motor Set.
An occasional strategy adopted to limit the price point of a set and make the purchase more attractive. At the same time an opportunity to appeal the purchase of an expansion kit, for those willing to enjoy the complete experience brought by such set.

Some illustrations in the front and back sides of the box, show the model main functions as they also make evidence of the integration possibility with 8293 to motorize the functions.
On the back side we can also see the proposed B-model (a Road Grader) whose building instructions will be available from LEGO.com/Technic some time ahead of this review, when the set gets commercially available.



Basically it comes clear some main and secondary functions:
  • Container load / unload
  • Container dump
  • Rear outriggers extension / retraction
  • Container detachment
  • Front axis steering
  • Opening cabin doors and steering wheel vertical adjustment

The first three functions are those possible to motorize, just using the 8293 Motor Set. In fact only two parts of this are required (The Battery Box and the PF M-motor).

Returning to the box images, each one of the four sides has the appearance below. A bit repetitive I know...




Inside we find the two building instructions books and one loose sticker sheet for set decoration.



Next I took out the rest of the contents, which consists of 7 unnumbered bags and no other loose parts. Quite unusual considering their size, but the tires come inside the bags in this set.
After sorting the bags over the table, here they are!



2. The new parts

The 1H14 bring us 9 new elements included in LEGO Technic sets. The Container Truck includes only a few (two) of them, probably not the most interesting ones, although they are both included in generous quantities in this set.

We get 6 of the new tires which are very similar in terms of proportions, shape and tread, to the 8110 Unimog U400, although in a much smaller scale. These might turn very useful for mid-scale sets like this truck and will definitely fill an empty hole in the flat LEGO tires assortment. For the record these have 49,5x20mm dimensions.

The second new part present in this set is the 'Axle 5 with Stop', color coded with Dark Tan. We get 8 of them in this set.
Some may question if we need to have all the axle type/length combinations, specially having already a very variant (4L). Time will tell which uses we will see for this element... For now they appear in two Technic sets, that will be released in a few weeks.



In terms of existing elements to highlight, we get now the 5x11 panel finally released in blue color - Two of them present in this set. Hope the other panel still not released in blue, will follow in a coming season...



From my side, I'm very happy with this release and I think it will be very useful in MOCs.

Another point worth to mention it is the fact, with this set e see the return of the yellow 1x6 thin liftarm (32063). Before it was only available in set 8457 Power Puller from 2000, hence a part which meanwhile has become quite rare and very expensive. The new Container Truck includes 4 of these.


3. The parts assortment

The first aspect I'd like to emphasize is the color scheme brought by this set. With the simultaneous and abundant use of three basic LEGO Technic colors (red, yellow and blue) we get a return to something we didn't see since some early studful LEGO Technic sets. Somehow a similar approach is used in the 42023 Construction Crew, although the concept is quite different and the use of different colors a more natural choice because each one fits in a separate model.

After the firs images from this set got known, I saw online some less favorable comments about the color scheme, but I believe it started to grow into everyone since that day. From my side I've been an unconditional supporter since the first moment as I liked the end result very much!

All this to say that this is most probably one of the predominant characteristics from this, set which naturally reflects in the parts assortment. Useful to get parts in several colors at once, not so useful for a small collection as you won't get much of each color, which in turn may add some difficulty to start building your own models.

Below you can see in detail the parts assortment, get with this set.



It is a normal assortment of parts, useful to build vehicles with some sort of additional functions,or more specifically trucks if we consider the tires specificity. In terms of higher valued parts I'd highlight the presence of a mix of three Linear Actuators (two large and one mini).


4. Building experience

Now we start building the model properly said and obviously we start with the chassis, the front steering axis and so on.
After a few pages I noticed an interesting detail as pictured below, which later I understood the reason for such technique being used. The half pin used to attach the two connectors intends nothing else then to create room for an half stud protruding axle that will come into scene more than twenty pages ahead. A smart solution indeed!



After a big leap and more than half book ahead (pp. 58) the chassis is already a rigid structure, includes the front steering, the switch box and the transmission that will control the model's main functions.



And this is the respective view as seen from the bottom side.



The construction proceeds with the rear outriggers and respective actuation mechanism, which also controls whether the skip container will be unloaded from the truck or pivoted to dump the debris on the floor behind the truck.
At the end of the first book, this is how it looks like.


Here we already have the three Linear Actuators in place. The smallest one for the outriggers and unload vs dump functions, and the two large ones to move the support arms that will load/unload the skip container.
I'd highlight the ingenuous solution adopted to fix and pivot the mini-LA mounting point with an half stud displacement relative to the chassis structure, giving us another interesting use for this connector.

On each side we also see now applied the stickers that explain the functions' controls. The yellow lever on the left side controls the switch box and consequently the function that will work under the action of the knob on the right side.



Book two proceeds with the completion and closure of the functions above, until I noticed another interesting or at least uncommon solution.
When the truck cabin started to take shape, I was surprised to see the steering axle going through the 5x11 yellow panel towards the HoG knob on the top, as seen below. Nothing extraordinary, just that I didn't thought about this before... In fact it works perfectly and the possibility has been always there waiting to be utilized.



Some steps ahead, inside the cabin I found another interesting detail. No STAMP (Stickers Accross Multiple Parts) as you can see for the instruments on the dashboard. There is one individual sticker for each slope instead one to apply across both of them.



And this is how the model looks like after having finished to build the cabin.



It follows with the assembly of the arms that will carry the skip, the wheels (intermediate steps not shown here), and finally the blue skip container itself, which uses the new 5x11 blue panels.

Notice the asymmetrical construction of the skip container, similar to the real ones, with the purpose of dumping the debris. See also the protruding bar at the bottom/front which is also necessary to trigger the dumping maneuver.



The model is now finished and I'll just show a detail view from the transmission going over the switch box.



As well as a bottom view of the finished model.



And finally some images from the finished model with the skip loaded.




Did you notice the license plate (CU 11014)
After the "SU 54NN3" (Susanene) at 42008, for some reason the license plates on Alfred's models seem getting more and more enigmatic, unlike what's usual on models from other designers.
I didn't find any way to decipher the message, if any... Unless it is a real license plate with some personal meaning to Alfred!?
At least and as far as I've found, it follows the format from most real Danish license plates (two letters followed by five digits). Besides it is a valid format, even here the story doesn't seem fully coherent. Danish license plates in the 10000-18999 range, should refer to motorcycles, not trucks!...

Maybe it is the license plate from a motorcycle the Alfred owns or owned before...

In terms of building experience, besides I had no problem with it at all, I must say this set presents some steps above average difficulty level. Some alignments could be easily mistaken if you do not put extra attention and care in the building process.
It requires some building skills or experience eventually not accessible for novice builders.

But it is done and well... at least we got some spare parts as usual! Mostly pins...



And if you have nothing else to do... you can take the opportunity to see how fast I did build this set!...



Unbeatable, isn't it?


5. Functionality and playability

The essence of this set resides in manual functions, besides it can also be easily motorized.

As said in the beginning, the functions are:
  • Container load / unload
  • Container dump
  • Rear outriggers extension / retraction
  • Container detachment
  • Front axis steering
  • Opening cabin doors and steering wheel vertical adjustment
And that's what I'm going to try to show more in detail, at least the principal functions and not necessarily in the same order.

The skip is attached to the carrier with some pearl dark gray chain elements. These are not new, but former Bionicle chain elements (53551). A great part reuse and nice fit for this model, that perfectly attaches to any Technic half pin. Or wasn't it a part from original from a LEGO Technic derivate theme.



Once the skip gets detached from the chain, we can also observe how the trucks will look like traveling without payload.




Now let's see how to operate the skip load/unload/dump functions.

The yellow lever on the right side allows to set the switch box for load/unload vs dump mode selection, and the knob on the left to move the container according to the mode previously selected.
When the lever is raised, the knob on the other side will move the rear outriggers up or down. This also moves up and down a kind of hook in the rear side, whose function is to let the skip go over or to hook it, if dumping is the intended function.

Lets illustrate the to possible possible positions for the hook and the outriggers, in a series of different photos.





Besides the evident differences, realize on the similarities from the rear outriggers solution to that present in the previous Alfred Truck (42008 Service Truck).

As explained above, when the the rear outriggers are raised, the skip container is hooked, then it pivots and finally its content gets dumped.



On the other end, if the objective is to load/unload the skip, the outriggers must be lowered against the floor because the skip is moved away from the truck and if loaded it will certainly generate an huge momentum...



It happens that in order to load/unload or to dump the skip, one must due do a lot of manual turns to the respective knob.
This will hurt a bit... Much easier to do it with the motorized version.

If you want to play this set with some kind of stuff inside the container, then you could expect it to be even a bit more difficult, due to the extra weight. Although still manageable if you don't spend all day playing.


Here the unload sequence, with the container full of LEGO "debris".



And the same for a dump experiment.



Now that we have played wit the main functions, let's take a look into some ordinary functions.
The doors, as I imagine you'd like to be sure they really open...



Not easily seen in this picture, but you have others above to look at - For once the seats are not blue, unlike what we have seen since awhile in yellow Technic vehicles. And they're not adjustable too.


As it was already mentioned this is a set you could easily motorize, for the sake of your fingers...
The main model is pre-prepared for simple modifications and easy integration of the necessary parts from the 8293 Motor Set.
In fact I think it was never that easy to motorize a LEGO Technic set, as far as I can recall.

There is some empty space left behind the cabin, to easily install a PF Battery Box. For that purpose, there are some partially loose parts attached to the chassis, which look a bit weird in the original model.
When I first saw this in exhibition, I though there was something missing - In fact there was, although the model followed the original instructions... The battery box, because the model was not yet motorized.



I think it would have been preferable to keep these parts completely loose in the box, and go to use them only for the optional motorization. At least it should work better in terms of aesthetics.
But the designers choice is also a valid option. As you will see ahead, we'll need to take these apart, attach them to the BB and then fix it to the chassis structure.


But let's pick what it takes to motorize this set.



As written before, never it was so easy to motorize one set.
Everything is already prepared in the original version, so that one just needs to attach the PF M-motor in its place. The connecting pins and driving axle are already protruding in their place.



Then one just needs to install the BB, route the PF M-motor cable and connect it to the PF plug in the BB.



As you can easily deduce, the batteries are very easy and obvious to replace in this model, when required.


In the video below you can see in action all the functions described above, in a much more interactive way.



As you may have noticed from the last scene, the design is not totally idiot proof... but one eventual way to avoid it, wouldn't be obvious to design as well.


6. The B-model

The alternative model proposed for this set is pictured in the backside of the set box as usual. In the present case it is a Road Grader as seen below.

I should say the red / yellow / blue color schema fits a lot better with the Container Truck than the B-model, although we need to accept that such diversified schema would hardly fit both the same way.



It's not easily seen from the box, although I'd risk some functions for this alternate model.
  • Grader blade lifting controlled by the two large LAs.
  • Grader blade swivel
  • Front axle steering
  • Ripper lifting on the rear side

Eventually some additional function, but it is really hard to be sure. Although it is already a god feature set for an alternate model.

    7. Final thoughts

    A Skip Loader is something really unique in the LEGO Technic sets assortment and already a reason to justify adding this to your collection.

    It worked well in terms of aesthetics and the color scheme brought some diversity to the this LEGO theme.


    The optional motorization also turns the base set really affordable, and on the other end it was particularly well though, for an easy, simple and fast modification. This aspect also works in favor of the reuse of such specific parts in other models, without needing to disassemble the model or a significant part of it.
    On the fail side, the manual operation tends to be a bit exasperate due to the number of turns required to make any functions to move..

    Furthermore the design includes a set of smart and well designed functions, the switch box works flawlessly, and the new tires fit perfectly the vehicle scale while bringing a  needed and not available type of tire at this size.

    This set would have been even better if the designer did manage to include some other of the new parts inside!


    8. The Ratings

    I think is is all said above, but as an executive summary exercise I'd say,
    • Lower price per part because it does not include expensive electrical elements and for god sake we're not forced to pay for just another battery box...
    • "Exclusive" model.
    • Appealing and varied color scheme.
    • Nice design, well thought functions and good playability.
    • Balanced level of building difficulty.
    • Uncommon alternate model.
    • Does not include as many new and innovative parts as one could expect and should have been possible.

    Which with some other observations along this post, I've translated into this.

       as value for the money
       for parts innovation
       for set innovation
       for set design
       for functionality and playability (without the complementary motor set)

    Overall rate: Recomended  


    In resume, if I could not afford to buy all the sets being released this half, I'd certainly buy this one at least!

    4 comments:

    Filip van den Bergh said...

    See You 1-10-(20)14?

    Fernando Correia said...

    Jan 10th, doesn't make much sense as a release date! :/
    Although based on your idea, I though that since most Danish license plates have 5 digits, one could have played with the numbers and for instance came with:

    See You 1+1(2)014

    We never now what was in Alfredo's mind. :)

    Jim van Gulik said...

    Great review Conchas, as usual ;-)

    Like to read your story, since we both did a review.

    I noticed you've got one 3/4 pin less as a spare. Must have missed one :D

    By the way; your link to the "42023 Construction Crew" half way, points to the Unimog. Probably a copy paste mistake.

    Looking forward to your other reviews!

    Take cared

    Fernando Correia said...

    @Jim

    Thanks! Link just fixed.

    Maybe you just got one 3/4 pin extra. :)

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