Over the last few months I've been busy constructing a display for Bricktastic that's taking place in Manchester, UK next weekend, so I'm a bit behind with building sets for review, including the new Technic models. I'm therefore indebted to FlagsNZ for contributing this excellent review of this year's largest Technic set, 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245:
Often, sets are described as being a Flagship for a theme when they are really only the largest set of the theme for that year. 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245 truly deserves the Flagship title because not only is it the largest Technic set released in 2015, it's also the largest Technic set ever in terms of number of pieces (2793). Furthermore, it also introduces a new pneumatic system.
No wonder Technic fans have been eagerly awaiting its release...
When buying the large Technic sets in the second half of the year, you know it will be in a big box. Containing 2793 parts, the box needs to be the same size as last year's Flagship Technic set 42030 Volvo L350F Wheel Loader.
The box has several images of the 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245 and describes the new Pneumatic System on several sides. There is a new trade marked Pneumatic System V2 logo on four of the sides and inside the flap.
The Pneumatic System V2 logo is similar in design to the trade marked Power Functions logo and I suspect that LEGO may soon introduce a new category of pneumatic products in the same way as you can currently purchase separate Power Functions products.
The back of the box has images of the B model - Mercedes Benz Articulated Construction Truck although as of writing this review, there are no instructions available at the specified URL.
The box on display at the LEGO shop had a crushed corner and as I was soon to be travelling back to New Zealand I offered to purchase this as I planned to fold the box up in order to fit it in my luggage. The staff at the LEGO shop offered me a discounted purchase price due to the damaged box.
The instructions are bound into a book containing 471 pages. In the past I have liked having the instructions to these large sets in several booklets but I have to admit that the binding quality makes the large single books far superior to the smaller stapled versions.
I need to use a bookmark to mark the point in the build where I get up and take a break.
There is a sticker sheet which is packed in the plastic bag along with the book.
The truck has a customised number plate which recognises Markus Kossman as the designer.
The stickers numbered 25 are for the B model - Mercedes Benz Arcos 1845.
The parts come in numbered bags matching the six building sections.
2015 has seen the introduction of several universal Technic parts which are likely to be seen in lots of sets in the coming years. I will describe these parts in the various sections of the build.
Set aside several evenings to build this model. The construction is broken down to six discrete modules which can be built independently of each other and assembled into the final model at the end.
Module 1 – The front chassis
The front chassis includes two independent front axles with individual suspension. The steering is driven by a hand of god mechanism which is camouflaged as the orange hazard lights. Twisting either light will steer the vehicle.
Through clever linkages the front axle turns 28° while the second axle turns 19°.
The axles are suspended using three Beam 4M Ball Cups.
The two new shovels appear in bags 4.
Module 2 – The rear chassis
The rear chassis has duel differentials and independent suspension.
The rear axles have twin tyres for the first time since 8285 Tow Truck released in 2006.
Module 3 – The gearbox and outriggers
Module 3 builds the gear box with two outriggers underneath. The blue Pneumatic Pump is also embedded within the gearing.
The outrigger jacks are activated by hand which is an improvement on the power driven jacks of 42009 Mobile Crane MkII. These are strong enough to lift the truck.
On the left are the old Gear Wheel, 2M Gear Shifter Ring and 2M Gear Shifter Connector while on the right are the new 3M Gear Shifter Ring, Gear Wheel and 3M Gear Shifter Connector. The new Gear Wheel can be put on either way round and the shifter ring is located more positively on the shifter connector than the former versions.
Note how the colours have been inverted for the new parts.
Module 4 – The pneumatic arm
The pneumatic arm is the most complex module of this set. Allocate some time and clear the desk when getting to this stage.
The air hoses have been colour coded with blue being the air supply, grey extends the rams and black retracts the rams.
A new large turntable without teeth on the inner ring is used as eight pneumatic tubes pass through the turntable. The four pairs of hoses are threaded into four coloured beams (Grey, Blue, Black and Yellow). It took two attempts to complete this step as when I threaded the hoses in the order of the instructions, the hoses got jumbled up in the turntable which affected the arm’s ability to rotate. Instead, leave threading the hoses into their coloured beams until after all eight hoses are threaded through the turntable. This should ensure that the pairs of hoses are not tangled up.
There are two pneumatic two-way valves on each side of the arm.
On the image below is the new Z60 Turntable on the left with the old version on the right. The new turntable comes as two parts which are joined together and cannot be detached once joined.
Module 5 – Cab
Module 5 makes the front bumper and cab as two separate components.
The Mercedes Benz logo is printed on a No 6 Shield.
There are two blue seats, a steering wheel and printed dashboard and an array of wing mirrors to help guide the driver.
Module 6 – The tipper cargo tray
The last module is the tipper tray.
The completed model
All of the six modules can be built independently of each other and the full set can be assembled at the end.
The left gear lever controls the outrigger arms and slewing the pneumatic arm. The arm is constrained to an arc of 180° to the rear. It will not slew forward.
The right gear lever controls the air pump and tipper tray.
There is a lock on the tipper tray gate.
The left pneumatic controls operate the middle ram and the grab bucket.
The right pneumatic controls operate the lower and third rams.
Finally, the cab doors open and the whole cab tips forward exposing the 6 cylinder engine for maintenance.
This set introduces a new Pneumatic System V2 powered functionality to the Technic range. It will enable complex MOCs to be built with functions that were otherwise difficult to produce mechanically. I hope that this set will lead the release of more sets in 2016 with pneumatic functions.
The set retails in the UK for the same price as last year's Volvo 350F Wheel Loader but in Europe and USA this set is cheaper than last year's set.
Here is an interesting comparison of the recommended prices for the Flagship Technic sets for the last three years:
- 2015: 42043 £169.99 / $229.99 / 199.99€
- 2014: 42030 £169.99 / $249.99 / 219.99€
- 2013: 42009 £149.99 / $219.99 / 199.99€