LEGO fan websites in Europe are at a disadvantage at this time of year when it comes to reviewing new sets because we normally don't see anything of next year's sets until just before Christmas at the very earliest, whereas many of them are on the toy stores shelves in the USA and Canada already.
So I was thankful to Kim in the LEGO CEE team for sending us three Technic sets to review. I'll be looking at 42021 Snowmobile now, and kempo81 will cover the other two later today or tomorrow.
Box and contents
There are no surprises as far as the box goes: Technic boxes have not been redesigned for 2014. Frankly I think they are a bit boring compared to other themes' boxes.
Inside there are two bags of parts, two instruction manuals, including one for the secondary model, which is a weird looking snow-scooter, I think, and a sticker sheet.
An inspection of the parts before construction reveals a lot of new (to me at least) parts. The small panels (numbers 21/22) appeared in last year's sets but I think they are new in black. The two dark grey pins at the front of the picture are interesting and are probably the sort of part that Technic builders will wonder how they ever managed without it. The other three new parts in this picture are used for the steering assembly and enable a very compact one to be built as we will all see below.
The final new part is this 'H' beam which is also used for the steering assembly. The picture also shows the lime green elements in the set. The model may scream 'lime green' when you see it on the box but when you open it, you find only a handful of parts in this colour.
This photo shows the steering assembly which is using the new parts. The H beam can be seen just behind the green ones. The new dark grey connecting pin can be seen right at the front.
The finished model
The 29 construction steps are not particularly complicated although what with the new mechanism above and the fact that hardly any two beams were connected at right-angles, it was an interesting build. That is, apart from connecting the 41 caterpillar track sections, which is always tedious...
The model uses a lot of stickers to give the appearance of 'lime green', on the front and on the saddle. It's a bit of a nuisance lining them up because the patterns continue across multiple stickers.
As you can see there's hardly a right angle in sight...
I haven't seen caterpillar tracks driven in this way before, using two gears, but it works well and looks good.
The front skis have suspension courtesy of two standard Technic spring units.
For me, Technic sets fall into two categories: 'more of the same' and 'must haves'. Every year we see countless buggies, racing cars, off-roaders, go-carts and other boring four-wheeled vehicles which I can happily pass on. We also see fantastic functional and great looking sets such as this year's mobile crane and excavator which I buy despite running out of space to display and store them all.
I think this one falls somewhere between the two: not having wheels makes it an interesting model, but once it's built there isn't a lot to do with it other than look at it and slide it across the carpet.
Technic aficionados will like it for its new steering mechanism and parts, although I suspect they'll also feature in other 2014 sets.
- Parts: 4/5 -- Lots of new ones, more in lime green would have been nice.
- Building experience: 4/5 -- not repetitive or overly complex, new steering mechanism.
- Playability: 2/5 -- not much to do with it once it's built.
- Value for money: n/a -- I don't actually know how much it will cost so not able to judge.
- Overall: 4/5 -- If you like your Technic, it's definitely worth buying. A bit too many stickers for my taste but that seems to be the norm for this sort of Technic set these days.
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