Tuesday, August 5, 2014

TBs TechReview 36 – 42023, Construction Crew

Because we want to be in solidarity with NA community who had to wait until August to see the 1H LEGO Technic assortment fully available in their market, we at TBs decided to leave a small review for one of these sets to be published once these would get widely available.

And so we are here today with the missing review by Jetro.

Set reference: 42023                                                                                                                                                              

Set name: Construction Crew
Theme: LEGO Technic
Release date: 2014.Jan

Number of parts: 836 (plus spares)
Approximate box dimension: 48cm x 28cm x 7cm

LEGO Designer: Michael T with Aurelien (ROU)

Stickers: Yes
Building instructions: 3 booklets (60, 76 and 60 pages)
B-model: Unclear

Recommended for ages: 8-14
Building difficulty level: Low

Estimated building time*: 1,5 - 2h

Price Range**: €59,99 
Price per part: 7,7 Euro Cents

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

*) Estimation range between experienced and beginner builders.
**) Prices based on lego.shop.com, which are country dependent.


Construction Crew 42023 is the third largest set in the 1H 2014 assortment, although the individual models the set is made up of are smaller than those of some of the smaller sets. 

When I first saw the set I had mixed feelings: I normally prefer larger sets as they tend to incorporate more complex and interesting mechanisms, but the combination of several different vehicles that fit together in theme and scale also has an advantage. In addition I thought it was a good opportunity to get my kids interested in LEGO Technic and quite frankly, it worked: I have been relieved of possession of the models and they have been played with extensively.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves and take the set one step at a time.


The for this set is the same length and width as the one for the 42024 Container Truck, but slightly thinner and features the usual punch-to-open tabs.

The front of the box shows the models in this set n a rocky landscape as well as individually in a bar at the bottom. The customary "2 in 1" logo is missing as this set only contains instructions for a single build.

The back of the box therefore shows the models in yet another setting, as well as indicating some of their functions and the fact that each model comes in its own set of numbered bags. It also shows a small image of a laptop with what looks like an alternate for the front loader: some kind of grader and a link to the LEGO Technic website. Time will tell if this means there will be alternative models for the other two vehicles or for a combination of parts.

After opening the box I was surprised to see the larger bags are indeed numbered, but two of the three smaller bags are not. Fortunately the colour of the parts makes it quite simple to associate the larger and smaller bags for each model.

There are three instruction booklets, one for each model, and since they are quite small, they contain a considerable number of pages for each model. 

The sticker sheet contains a few stickers for each model that are conveniently numbered.


Since the models are relatively small and simple I will not show you much of the building process, but rather some of the outstanding features of the construction of each model.

Following the numbering on the bags, first up is the excavator.

The model begins with the lower structure which is built around the small turntable. This is where the new long axle pins are used for the first time together with a long pin with bush to make 5L pin structure. you can see this structure holding the two red beams on either side of the small turntable.

Next up is the first use of the "dogbone" beam. Three of these are used in this model.

The first function of the excavator is a mechanism to rotate the superstructure. I was at first quite sceptical of the use of this mechanism, but it turns out it works quite nicely. Rotating the axle connector that protrudes like an exhaust through the upper body rotates the top part at a ratio of 8:28, meaning that a full turn of the "chimney" will only partly rotate the upper structure and you get a sense of control with the movement.

The top structure is hollow, but nicely sculpted. It includes some studded bricks to create the back counterweight part of the excavator and is basically made up of two modules that are stacked on the base of the superstructure.

The arm of the excavator has two mechanisms, one accessed through the axle connector on the back of the model which links to the mini LA, for raising and lowering the main part of the arm, and a lever halfway the arm to manually move the second stage together with the bucket. The arm has considerable reach and the movement looks realistic.

Each and every model in the set comes with an assortment of 5 2x2 bricks round by way of construction material so the models have some actual material to work with. Loading the bricks in the bucket is quite tricky but fun and adds to the overall play experience.

Moving on to the second model, the blue and grey truck.
The cabin of the truck is a dense structure and it took me a while to realise I had built the steering mechanism as instead of gears and axles it uses a few beams.

The truck is basically built in two parts that are then put together. First the cabin, and then the rear.

The rear of the model includes another mini LA that can be accessed from a knob on either side of the truck to raise and lower the dumping bed

A bottom view of the ruck shows the black axle joiners that provide access to the mini LA function and the steering mechanism.

The third model in the set is a front loader. As mentioned previously, the new tyres on this model immediately stand out, but it also includes a new worm gear - more on that later.

The model starts off with the rear which houses the control for raising and lowering the arm. Just like in the excavator, the bucket is operated more directly with a lever on top of the arm, but it is nice to see how the mechanism for the arm passes under the steering mechanism by means of a universal joint.

The steering function works as is usual in front loader models, by rotating the whole front assembly with respect to the rear.



The set comes with quite a number of exciting new parts. Just like the 42024 Container Truck, the tyres used on the front loader are new and look really good on the model. They are thicker than the tyre that was usually put on these rims and look much more realistic on this model.

A second new part is the long axle pin, 8 of which appear in this set. I remember the part was suggested to me some years ago by a French AFOL and I'm happy to see it has been created. The material it is made of appears to be somewhat different from what's used for other pin parts and the dark grey colour coding should help distinguishing it from other visually similar elements.

Another great addition is the "dogbone" beam. It's kind of a cross between a frame and an angle beam and has holes facing in two directions. It is only used in the excavator (3x), but I'm pretty sure this is a part we will see quite a few of in future Technic sets.

Next up is the new worm gear. This one is a bit of a puzzle to me. While it is true that it is marginally easier to assemble and cannot possibly slide on an axle, the space it requires is exactly the same as what's necessary for the "old" solution and one can easily be exchanged for the other. I guess we'll never know the answer, unless the "new" element comes back into production again after a redesign.

There are also some parts that while not new have not been released in this particular colour or have not been seen for some time now. The first of these is the smooth axle and pin connector in blue. I can already imagine the piece being quite useful in some great Crowkillers MOC or other.

The second is the 3x5 liftarm thin, which hasn't been used in white since 2004. Not quite as exciting, but still worth noting.


The 42023 Construction Crew is basically a value pack with three small sets inside. The common theme and the inclusion of round bricks turns it into something more: a theme pack.
The fact that the vehicles can actually work together - scooping up bricks and loading them into the truck to drive them somewhere else - adds much to the playability of this set. Each model has 2 to 3 functions and together they make up a nice set that looks attractive and suggests fun playtime for younger and starting builders. The clearly different colour scheme for each vehicle is both a pro and a con: it defines each vehicle and makes the combination of vehicles aesthetically interesting, but at the same time it limits the possibilities of creating a larger, more complex model with parts from different vehicles, unless of course you don't mind if the resulting model is a bit of a colour mix.

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