Review: 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245

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Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245

Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245

©2015 LEGO Group

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...

Box

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.

Instructions

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.

Parts

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.

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 front chassis houses the L Motor and eventually the battery box will slide down between the hazard lights.

The axles are suspended using three Beam 4M Ball Cups.

A new universal Cross Axle 2M W Friction Pin adds to the 2M Friction Pin W Cross Axle introduced last year.

The two new shovels appear in bags 4.

Module 2 – The rear chassis

The rear chassis has duel differentials and independent suspension.

Four Beam 4M Ball Cups holds the duel axle differential assembly. There is a compromise by using four 2M Rubber Dampers to anchor these beams to the upper frame.

Two 6M Track Rods are used accurately as Panhard Rods.

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.

The outriggers are principally made up of two new parts; 15M Gear Rack Housing and 14M Gear Rack.

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 new Pneumatic System V2 has three pneumatic rams and one air pump. The small ram is 5M long and extends to 7M. The medium and large rams are both 11M long and extend to 17M.

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.

Overall opinion

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€

33 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

So, presumably, Lego could have used the Merc licence for speed champions?

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By in United States,

A few more pictures would have been nice. But the set is still really cool.

I suspect the Volvo was ridiculously overpriced in the States due to some combination of licensing, power functions, and the huge bucket. In any case, the Mercedes blows that loader out of the water. Not least because A) it was about $100 higher that reasonable for that piece count B) there's quite enough yellow Technic sets and C) If I'm spending $250 on one set, it had better be unique, detailed, and fun to play with. A loader's not special. A truck like this, with a huge amount of pneumatic tubes, 3000 pieces, and more functions than you can shake a Bohrok at, certainly is.

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By in Ireland,

Surely this is Pneumatics V3, not V2?
V1 was the system with single ports on the cylinders as used in 8851 , 8843 and 8680 . V2 was the system introduced in '89 with 8854 and 8862 .
I'm tempted to get this set at some point but I still have the memories of the big disappointment of the previous Mercedes set, the Unimog.

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By in United States,

Been sitting on the Volvo 350F since I bought it last year. Picked up this Merc a few weeks ago, along w/24hr Le Mans car, and will likely assemble this before I think about cracking open the loader...

Great review, thanks!

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By in United Kingdom,

@Duq, if you include the change made to make some pneumatic parts studless a few years ago, it's V4.

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By in United Kingdom,

I finished building this yesterday, after a grand total of 17 hours 37 mins. Fascinating build, although you need to concentrate all the time, otherwise you do what I did, and reach for the last two black beams to complete the windscreen, and find one black and one grey!
No idea where the 'wrong' one went - it's in there somewhere.
Had to raid the spares box to complete it properly.

It was my first build with pneumatics and I'm not sure about them. It's 'all or nothing' - kill the switch and the arm drops like a stone, plus no fine control like you get with a linear actuator.
Really enjoyed it from a 'mechanical' point of view, but don't rate it's 'useablity' factor.

For any Technic fans though, if you can afford it, I recommend it.

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By in United Kingdom,

I loved the pneumatics when I was a kid, they were always my favourite technic pieces, so this will be a must buy.

Noob qns maybe but what does it mean that the rams are 11M extending to 17M? Is this "real life" scale ie metres, or some Lego unit I'm not familiar with? Just seemed odd to talk about metres if talking about the actual Lego parts.

Otherwise a great review. Would be interested in overall view of complexity and time taken too - thanks Boo for your additions there.

I like the modular aspect - the designer video suggested that made switching to the B model was quicker as some modules are kept virtually intact (?)

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By in Canada,

^ 11M would be 11 modules, aka 11 studs long.

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By in Australia,

Is it very different to the Unimog?

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By in Netherlands,

@Plimpy, Not really different then the Unimog. Pneumatic crane, PF motor drives gearbox (4 functions), dumpbed, all wheels suspension and tilting cabine. Only differents is that the Mercedes has a LA to power de dumpbed and has 1 extra pneumatic powered function.
Both models are basicly build in modules. Only big differents is that the Mercedes has a 75% B-model (only the Cabine and most part of the crane is the same). The Unimog only has instructions to change the crane en dumpbed to a snowblade.

@Duq & Huw, Lets call the studless version 2.1, because is only a small change, basic function is still teh same :)

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By in United States,

I might need to at least pick up the Mercedes shield, I see a new villain for Captain America in that thing...

I actually really dig the Mercedes truck build, the style is very different from the Mack's here in the states. I saw a lot of these Mercedes trucks when I was in Argentina, and the Lego model captures the smooth cab perfectly.

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By in United States,

I like the idea of the modular build. It makes it seem like it is easier to pick up and put down each time.

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By in Ireland,

Price differences probably could be exchange rate related - sterling stronger in comparison to euro than this time last year which would explain the difference in prices relative to each other

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By in Canada,

Nice built. Got it Last friday. One of the Best built ever. The suspension is awesome. The cab is great. Every thing works lire a charm. I only hope they think about motorisation. Since servo is non available.

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By in Belgium,

nice model, but no studs = no lego
it's produced by TLC, but i will never buy it
i also do not like the new parts: i think there is a way to accomplish the same with other parts (isn't that whats lego all about?)

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks willobee. All this time and I've near heard that term!

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By in Canada,

^ Studless technic pieces are in so many non technic sets these days, and are very compatible. As well, new parts versus using multiple old pieces is an argument that eventually is just "who needs anything but 2x4 bricks?"

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By in Australia,

Thanks for all the feedback on this review. It took three evenings to build and once you have completed module 4, all the Power and Pneumatic functions are working.

One new part not mentioned in the review is the 1x1 Beam ( http://brickset.com/parts/6100030 ) which would better be described as a roller or bush. If used with a frictionless pin it would make a great roller. You can see two on the first image connected to the yellow 1x5 Beam.

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By in Canada,

I think it was mentioned earlier this year in a review, as it came out in many January sets.

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By in Australia,

Thanks barman.

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By in Netherlands,

Great model, great review. About the pneumatics though, how does the new system work? I sadly don't own any other pneumatic sets than 8436-1 truck. In that era the pneumatic pressure was manually added by pumping air in the system with part 2797c02 (Yellow Pneumatic Pump New Style with Black Top). The pressure would slowly leave the pneumatic system otherwise.

Is there a new style pump these days, or has it been perfected to the point where no air escapes anymore? How do you add and maintain sufficient pressure?

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By in United Kingdom,

You pump it up with the little motorised pump when you want to use it, it seems to hold pressure for a little while, but it has alot of connections which are fiddly to connect unless you have tiny hands.

What it really needs and I thought the same about the Unimog, is an air tank like in the old technic submarine (lost my tank :( ) to smooth the flow as the pump on its own can be a bit jerky and uses alot of power being on constantly, so filling up a tank, then having smooth power would have been nice.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ The pneumatic reservoir makes a big difference to usability and playability, doesn't it. I also wonder why it's not used more. Its size maybe.

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By in United Kingdom,

Yeah, I think there was definitely room on the Unimog to fit it one side inbetween the wheels, like the tanks you see on alot trucks these days.

Maybe a bit harder on the arocs but much smoother thus easier to control if you actually want to play with it. I've noticed my arocs crane is very slow to lift up, it definitely needs a while for the pressure to build with the tiny pump.

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By in United Kingdom,

@barman, the Unimog is quite different in thats it uses portal axles to improve it offroad ability, the arocs model with its small wheels and large suspension/steering builds with small suspension travel heavily limit anything like that.

2nd, the Unimog has a pto front and rear which allow you to connect a motored and air powered device front and rear, the arocs simply has a fixed crane mounted behind the cabin.

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By in United States,

Nice review, I am still not done with mine. I got it last Saturday, started on Sunday, and working on one section at a time. One setback, had to tear apart the outrigger gear box when I discovered I left out one black gear..arghh!
I powered it up, and it all worked. Yay!
Playing with it though, definitely need to practice, and memorize the switches. I have to agree, it really needs an air reservoir tank. For it to work well, make sure you open only one valve at a time, more than one and it's barely able to move.
It should be mentioned that the engine cylinders only move if you are pushing it along, turning the wheels.
All in all I think it's great and tons of fun assembling. I still have the tipper box to go.

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice Talos, always nice when it works straight away.

I plan on getting my Unimog off the shelf shortly check out the differences between them.

Need to re arrange everything as i've built a few large models recently and am running out of room.

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By in United States,

Not really into Technic, but I'm digging the suspension!

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By in Netherlands,

Nobody seem to have noticed it, but the new cylinders are NOT THE SAME LENGTH!
The 1M wide one is 11M long, the 2M wide one is a tad shorter, more like 10.8M.
In full expanded situation, the length difference doubles as well, making the 1M thick one reach for 17M length, and the 2M wide one reaches 16.6M.

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By in United States,

Great review. I don't see all that much improvement in the pneumatics over the Unimog. As was said by others it's all or nothing, no fine control. Even so, I'll still probably get one. Good price per piece ratio. It's going to be interesting to see if anyone does an RC version. That drive train leaves little room to add PF. Thanks again for a good review.

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By in Netherlands,

I'm one of those people who just treats himself to one or two sets per year, and this is my first for this year. I got back into Technic Lego with the Scania of a few years ago, and every year I'm surprised as to how much has changed compared to last years' set. I didn't enjoy the build as much as I did with the Crane of last year though, but the suspension is nicely done. I did think the instructions as to how to connect the hoses were pretty bad, and this is the first time I bought a box that had 1 part in the wrong colour, and one part missing. I'm not sure if I'm just unlucky but when checking online it seems there are more people missing a part. Maybe it just contains too many pieces? I don't know, but not being able to finish it really but a bit of a damper on it. I do wonder what they've got in store for us next year, and it'd be nice if it wouldn't be another truck with a crane on it, because cranes seem to become the equivalent of police stations nowadays.

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