Monday, December 2, 2013

TBs TechReview 31 - 42022, Hot Rod

Set reference: 42024                                                                                                                                                               
Set name: Hot Rod
Theme: LEGO Technic
Release date: 2014.Jan

Number of parts: 414 (plus a few spare)

LEGO Designer: UFGE (Uwe Wabra)

Model under review: Main model + Alternative
Weight: 800g (28.2 oz) approx. - w/o batteries
Approximate set dimensions:
Length - 25 cm (10")
Width - 14 cm (5.5")
Height - 9 cm (3.5")
Approximate box dimensions:
Length - 35 cm (14")
Width - 19 cm (7.5")
Height - 6 cm (2.3")

Stickers: Yes
Building instructions: 2 booklets included
Booklet 1: Hot Rod (84 pages)
Booklet 2: Buggy (76 pages)
B-model: Buggy

Recommended for ages: 9 - 16
Building difficulty level: Medium
Estimated building time: ca. 1h 30m

Price range: 29,95€
Price per part: 7,2 euro cents

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

Now that the Racers division has disappeared from among the LEGO themes, it seems like other themes have an opportunity to take over part of the product line that Racers left behind. City is for example launching their version of a Grand Prix Truck with set 60025 next year, and Technic already started with a Grand Prix Racer and a few pull-back models the past year. Previously these kind of models were in the Racers territory, where it was more about looks and play, rather than lots of technical goodies with complex drive trains. But with the Racers division gone now, those boundaries seem to even further disappear...
Can the new 42022 Hot Rod be considered a real Technic model or is it mainly skin, but no meat?

1. Box and Content

The first thing to mention after analyzing the box is that this model is testing the waters for digital media, similar to how the new Mindstorms EV3 does, by giving you the possibility to try building with digital 3D building instructions. By the time of writing, those were not available yet, so I didn't get a chance to try them out...

This Hot Rod comes in the same size box as the 9392 Quadbike, which is a bit of a surprise, considering that this model has substantially more pieces. Of course the box also feels a lot heavier, which I think is a good thing, because it's more appropriate to what you would expect. When opening the box it's obvious that those extra parts take more space, with the box filled up nicely.

Besides the 2 instuction booklets (1 for the main model and 1 for the alternative) we have 4 bags, 2 tires of a new kind, and a small sticker sheet. Looking at the inventory, apart from the tires, there's not a lot of parts with special interest for a Technic builder. You have some new element which are used in the exhaust pipes and some parts in medium blue now, which is refreshing and a nice welcome. Surprisingly some of the smaller parts are used in different colours, in particular the bushes come to mind of which the full module version is used in grey and red, the 1/2 module in both grey and yellow. This doesn't happen very often, so it seems a bit odd.

2. Build

Building this model is pretty straight forward, although there are a few sections where you have to pay close attention on how certain parts are attached. I wouldn't be surprised if less experienced builders make a mistake here or there, but I don't think it will have major consequences. Overall I'd say the building process is decent. Personally I appreciate to see some clever building solutions on how everything comes together, but unfortunately didn't experience many of those during this build. The only part that I find interesting is the steering mechanism, which is not the usual steering rack and pinion, but some pull/push lever combination, although a similar solution has been used before on the 8455 Backhoe. As I do not have much more to add on the build I let the pictures speak for themselves.

And here is the final model in all its glory.

3. Functions

Obviously there is the steering mechanism as mentioned above. Although I like the way it's achieved in this model, it comes at a price. The triple beam combination on the frontaxle results in a fairly small steering angle. Combine this with the rather long wheelbase and you end up with a very large turning radius that requires a lot of space to manoeuvre the model around. It handles more like a truck than a small and nimble car.

The next function is the well known piston engine with the 6 cylinders moving up and down when you push the model around. Once we have a closer look at the drive train, we see that only the right rear wheel is connected to the engine! Although it was probably a budget issue, I find this a rather unfortunate decision and certainly not realistic. If the engine would be the power source, all this model could do was turn left handed circles. I can understand that there was perhaps not much space to integrate a differential, but I'd say both wheels on a common axle might be a suitable alternative. And with a turning radius this large a differential is not really necessary anyway...

The last function is the convertible option, moving the roof down.The interesting part is that the roof and trunk are connected so the roof goes down in one smooth motion when you turn the knob on the side. This is actually nicely done. However, it's not a unique or new feature as a very similar solution has been used on the 4993 Cool Convertible from Creator a few years ago.

There is some sort of interior, but it is very basic with no functionality. The doors can not be opened either which is a pity. But luckily we have the alternative...

4. Alternative

The big difference with the main model is that you can now open everything, like bonnet, doors and engine cover. Even though those are often not considered real functions, they are nice features to have and add to both playability and realism.

The latter can't be said about the drivetrain, which again has only one rear wheel connected to the piston engine, which is located at the rear this time. The single wheel drive just doesn't fit well with the Technic dna in my opinion.
With the lack of a steering rack, the alternative has a rather odd steering mechanism as well. Although it's a bit clunky and doesn't work as smooth as the main model, at least the turning radius is much better, due to a shorter wheelbase and bigger steering angle. 

5. Conclusion

So is this Hot Rod mainly skin and no meat? I guess it depends how you look at it. In my opinion this set would be a perfect match for the Racers universe. It looks cool, has some interesting features and comes in a rare medium blue colour. At the same time it's built with  Technic parts, so kids get familiar with this building platform.
But is it a good fit for Technic? Well, from the AFC concept (Authenticity, Functionalty and Challenging building) both the authenticity and functionality need to be desired. Even though it does have a few functions, I find them uninspired and the driveline is very unrealistic. For a model this size and price I expected a little more.
Unfortunately the B-model doesn't offer much new either. 

But what about the parts and inventory? Is that perhaps worth the price? If you're new to Technic I'd say you get a fair deal, with the usual liftarms, pins, axles and a few gears. But if you already have a decent collection, this model hardly offers anything new. The rare colour with the new medium blue panels, and 2 new tires are not offering enough added value to justify a purchase.

So in conclusion this is more of an introduction model into the LEGO Technic building platform, because as a Technic model it lacks authenticity. It seems like this model's purpose is mainly filling the gap that Racers left behind; a lot of skin and a little bit of meat.

6. The Ratings

   as value for the money
   for parts innovation
   for set innovation
   for set design
   for functionality and playability

Overall rate: Average  

Do you like Hot Rods and building with LEGO Technic or want to give it a try, then you could certainly buy this model. If you are however a hard core Technic builder, I'm not sure if this is the set for you, because it hardly offers anything new. Perhaps build the model first with your spare parts, before considering a purchase...


Peng Yanjia said...

The hot rod is supposed to have such a steering mechanism to bypass the engine and is historically accurate. The small wheel turn radius is also what real hot rods have to deal with too.

crowkillers said...

I had done a hot rod not long ago at a similar scale and was contemplating using a steering system like this since it was more true to the style of the car, but in the end just didn't like it and wasn't sure how it would be perceived by everyone else... I do think that it is cool that Lego did go this route and mixed up something similar to that genre...

I think this model is a bit too long and while it looks good from certain angles, doesn't look so good from others, especially the side view with the 12 tooth bevel gear kind of hanging out... The body doesn't really seem to have any true lines to it which I guess is tough to do only using a few pieces...

I know Lego's principals are keeping it simple and practical, but a little realism isn't asking too much... but I would have much rather seen a shorter model with a V8 engine rather than V6... It is a bit odd to see a V6 engine with a blower on it... But then again we have seen midscale Lego models in the past with V4 engines in them which is also a bit strange...

csiquet said...

This model looks nice for young builders trying their hands at Technic. Besides, all but 2 models (42024 and 42025) presented for 2014 don't seem too challenging in terms of construction.
Now, for a Hot Rod, the B-model of the latest supercar (8070) is fantastic. You can see my MOD of this model:
While going through Brickshelf, I came across this nice MOC made with the pieces of the Grand Prix Racer (42000):

TechnicBRICKs said...

...from the same author of this review! :)

World is a little pea! :D

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