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Review: 42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

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View image at flickr

In this, my third and final review of the summer Technic sets, I am taking a look at 42054 CLAAS XERION 5000 TRAC VC, which weighs in at 1977-pieces, and is priced at £120, $180, 150€.

You might be inclined to think that a model of a tractor would be boring but you should think again: this one is packed with incredible feats of Technic engineering.


The prototype

CLAAS is a German manufacturer of farm machinery and is apparently the largest manufacturer of combine harvesters in the world.

The XERION 5000 TRAC VC is a relatively new model of tractor whose defining feature is four equally sized wheels on steered axles. The VC version has a 'variable cab' that can be rotated to allow the operator to reverse more easily and to get a better view of whatever is being done at the back.

Here is a picture from the product brochure that can be found on the CLAAS website.

Claas 5000 vc


Packaging and parts

Once again it's worth mentioning the picture of the alternative model that's shown on the box but nowhere else. It's a silage plough that's rebuilt from the logging arm. Although the product page is live at LEGO.com, the instructions for this, and for the other two summer Technic sets, are not available at the time of writing.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

Parts wise, the only new parts that have not been seen elsewhere this year are the huge balloon tyres, labelled 107x44R. They are pretty much an exact replica of those seen on the CLAAS website pictures.

Also of interest are the red 6x6 radar dishes that were highly sought after and hard to find after I suggested that the Ferris Wheel released last year looked better with four colour gondolas rather than three. They still fetch over £5 on BrickLink.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC


Construction

The 340-page instruction manual covers construction of the tractor in 422 steps and of the logging arm in a further 148.

Parts are divided into bags numbered 1 and 2. Bags #1 build the tractor, and account for around 70% of the parts total; bags #2 provide parts for the counterweight at the front and the logging arm.

The chassis is incredibly densely packed with moving parts and gearing, most of which is for the complex steering mechanism, which I will discuss later.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

There is not a lot of bodywork beyond the bonnet.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

The cab is built as a separate assembly and is one of the more fiddly parts of the build because there are bits flapping about in the wind until late in the build.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

The cab is attached using four grey pins and once in place the body is complete and awaiting the wheels.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

Here's the counterweight for the front, which is easily attached and removed.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

After building with black, grey and lime green, it's a refreshing change to red for construction of the logging arm.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC


The completed model

Let's take a look at the tractor on its own first. It looks fantastic, doesn't it!

The levers on the side provide control of the motor: the top one turns the battery box on and off, the lower rotates the cab. Steering is performed using the horizontal black gear at the rear of the cab.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

The bonnet can be raised and propped up to reveal the battery box.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

Both front and back have attachment points for equipment to be added, and both can be raised and lowered. The grey axle joiner at the bottom provides rotational power for the equipment.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

Here is the counterweight attached to the front.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

And here's the logging arm attached to the back. It's actually a bit fiddly to attach because a small axle needs to be inserted into the drive shaft at the back of the tractor and there's not much space.

It's equipped with outriggers that can be lowered manually to stabilise it during operation.

The gearbox at the bottom controls rotation of the arm and raises and lowers it. However the 'hand of God' needs to be used to raise and lower the grabber, and to open and close it.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC


Tractor Operation

The most impressive and complex part of the tractor is that which controls the steering. A three way lever at the back can be set for either 2-wheel steering, 4-wheel steering or crab steering, where both sets of wheels point in the same direction.

When in the middle position the rear axle is locked...

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

... so operating the steering gear moves just the front wheels.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

When in the left hand position...

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

...the rear wheels rotate in the opposite direction to the front ones.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

When in the right position, things start to get clever...

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

...the rear wheels move in the same direction as the front ones which is known as crab steering. This is useful for tractors to enable them to move sideways while keeping ploughs or whatever is attached to them perpendicular to the direction of movement.

How this actually works is still a mystery to me, despite having built it! It's a very complex and clever mechanism that takes up most of the space within the body so kudos to the designers for getting it working and squeezing it in. I am not aware of any other Technic vehicle that features such a system.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

The other main feature is the rotating cab. It's operated by moving the bottom lever on the side. As it rotates it also lifts slightly which enables the front of it to clear the rear mudguards. In the image of the cab above you will see a wheel at the bottom. This simply rides over the bodywork and pushes the cab up a bit as it does so.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

Here's the cab in the rear view position. Motorising it seems a bit pointless to be honest because it can be pushed round easily enough.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

This picture shows the axle that runs the length of the body to provide rotational power to any attached equipment. It rotates all the time the battery is switched on.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC


Verdict

This is a model of two halves. The tractor is a fantastic looking model that closely resembles the real thing. The variable steering mechanism within it is an incredible feat of Technic engineering that works very well. Construction is varied and interesting. I really cannot find fault with it.

I am not so impressed with the logging arm though. It's a bit big and bulky, has restricted movement and relies too much on manual intervention for its operation. It's not really up to the same standard of design and operation as the tractor. Of course, something like it needed to be included in the set to provide playability and I suppose it's more interesting than a plough, thresher or seeder or something, but I think the model looks better without it.

Despite this, it's a superb Technic set that will delight fans both for its engineering and aesthetics and one I do not have any hesitation in recommending.

42054 Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC

The beauty of LEGO is of course that if you don't like something you can change it so I will be removing the arm and seeing what other compatible equipment I can come up with. Perhaps we should have a competition...


Video review

Here's Sariel's video review. The bit worth watching starts at about 21m 30s.


Thanks to the LEGO community team for providing the set for review, which is an expression of my own opinions and not those of The LEGO Group.

27 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice review, but I'm afraid I just can't bring myself to like the set.

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By in Bulgaria,

Looks great to me. Nice change of pace from typical Technic fare in both model type and coloring. I would even suggest it resembles its real-life counterpart even better than the Porsche model does.

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By in Netherlands,

Yeah, I agree. Unlike the Porsche this one looks a lot like the real model. Shame about the crane though, but really how many cranes do we need?

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By in Belgium,

Nice looking set. I agree, better without the arm. Thanks for the great review.

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By in Slovakia,

I hope for more CLAAS products in next years! ;) Once TLG has licence - the CLAAS Lexion harvester would be the next logical step! And CLAAS Axion tractor as B-model is also logical by an harvester as A-model. ;)

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By in United Kingdom,

Looks great and is the first one of the three I'll be buying. Would have been nice to have to have a more inspired implement on the back though.

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By in United States,

The instructions are probably up now for the snowplough attachment. I wonder what that thing does...

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By in Canada,

Personally having grown up in and around a farming community I would love to see a farm type implement attached instead of a logging arm. I was really wishing for this if Technic came out with a impressive tractor such as this one. Perhaps I will see what some of you can come up with as I am certainly able to design anything advanced.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ Yes they are now, thank you.

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By in Poland,

Tractor looks and works fine, but another crane is just plain boring. Anyway, I think I'll buy it eventually.

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By in Netherlands,

Thanks for the review! Excellent :-) Now I know for sure that this Technic set is going to find a place in my collection.

Best of the four major sets this year, if you ask me. Although I'm still on the fence about the Porsche. On one hand it's too expensive, disappointing in the Technic field, malfunctioning... On the other, it is a Porsche, it looks good and has a bunch of interesting extra's...

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By in Sweden,

I want to minimize my paying license fees. Does anybody know if this set is more expensive because of license fees to CLAAS?

It should be the other way around really, because this set does a great job of promoting the CLAAS brand. Shame about the red arm though---it's like pieces of cork in a great wine.

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By in New Zealand,

Another great review. Thanks Huw. I really like the colours and those tractor tyres, red wheels and radar dishes.
This set is on the purchase list and due here in NZ in September.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review as usual. I like the logging arm but it does seem a tad on the large size. The power take-off shaft underneath creates some excellent possibilities for attachments. Given that so much PTO shaft powered equipment is shrouded in protective covers (eg mowers, tillers, hedge flails etc) for obvious reasons and the action performed by such equipment is often rotary in nature the logging arm may have been chosen as something a bit more varied in its performance. The tractor is a brilliantly realised representation of the real thing. Its hard to imagine just where the designer starts when they start wondering which gear goes where.

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By in Ireland,

I've said it before: this is a great year for Technic! Like the Volvo, this is what Technic is about.
@Huw: here's a video explaining the steering mechanism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCCtl4mYRb4

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By in United States,

Really excited to be picking this set up tomorrow. Will probably be the next on my list of sets to build after Big Ben. Probably the best showing of Technic sets in one year I've seen in my lifetime.

@gjhartog What do you mean by "malfunctioning"? If you're referring to the sequence in which the gears shift, that's not so much a malfunction as a design decision. I have the 911 GT3 RS set built, and it's as sturdy as any other Technic set of this scale, and the gears shift very smoothly.

@Dude45 I don't imagine the licensing fees are reflected in the price. Looking at standard metrics like price per piece, it costs less than 10 cents per piece, which is the benchmark. There are also many large, complex elements like the tires, which are completely new. One should also factor in the inclusion of Power Functions, which I can't imagine is cheap for LEGO to manufacture as electronics are not their specialty. Overall, the set doesn't appear to be any more expensive than one of a comparable design that lacks a licensed brand name.

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By in Netherlands,

@myscrnnm: I mean by malfunctioning not the sequence (that's just dumb and a lame excuse from Lego if you ask me) but the fact that much force have to be applied to actually shift and that the gearbox can lockup, which causes the drive train to stall.

If the Porsche set was € 200 - € 250, I would have taken the issues for granted and bought it, but at this price, I don't know.

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By in Indonesia,

Nice review, though a bit late compared to reviews published by other websites in the Lego fan community

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By in United Kingdom,

^ I won't accept that criticism. There's no point posting them until, or just before, you can actually buy them. I don't need to chase every last page view to maximise advertising revenue unlike some competitors.

Besides, what's better: a rushed review or quality one...

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By in Guatemala,

Is the only difference between the A model and B model whether the tractor has crane or plow? Or is the actual tractor changed?

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By in Netherlands,

A bit offtopic, but I just tried to order the set, and shop.lego.com gives me a server error, stating that the page is not available and they are working on it. It's a typical Lego error page, but is it just me or are other people having that issue as well..?

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By in United Kingdom,

@Zackula Only the attachment is different, the rest of the tractor stays the same.
@Huw Well said, there is no point rushing and publishing reviews too soon just to be the first one out there. I know brickset prides itself on quality reviews and pictures of the models.

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By in United Kingdom,

Saw all the new Technic sets in Daniels toyshop in Windsor yesterday. I was another on the fence, but having looked at the box and read the review. The Claas is definitely on my list for the year. It'll go nicely with the 911 GT3RS on the shelf

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By in United States,

That steering mechanism is insane.

Also, didn't realize how big the tires were until that pic with them next to the 6x6 dishes. Holy...

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By in United States,

I'm not a TECHNIC collector but tend to pick one of the flagship sets from each year to add to my collection. Was torn on which one this year and was leaning towards the Bucket Wheel Excavator, but after reading all three reviews, this one it will be!

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By in Canada,

I have to say that after just completing this set myself, I'm a bit disappointed. don't get me wrong, the set does look great, but the steering system is way to stiff and limited. it should have a much tighter turning radius. My biggest issue though, is the little use of power functions. Compared to the 8043 Motorized Excavator,8275 Motorized Bulldozer,42009 Mobile Crane MK II, and 42030 Volvo L350F Wheel Loader. This set in my opinion, is taking a step backwards.

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By in Netherlands,

Great review, personally I agree with your verdict, Huw. This set shows some interesting new mechanisms, especially the steering. True, the steering is quite stiff, and driving backwards the front wheels seem to touch the chassis when they are turned, but it is such a compact build

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