Review: 42068 Airport Rescue Vehicle

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View image at flickr

42068 Airport Rescue Vehicle is the smallest of three Technic sets that are released today. As we learned in our interview with Technic designers it was originally slated for release last year but with a very strong product line-up already it was postponed a year it to ensure it was not overlooked.

So, was it worth the wait?


Construction

The set's 1094 parts arrive in un-numbered bags so, again, I found it helpful to pre-sort the larger ones before commencing construction.

The cleverest mechanism in the model -- the steering -- is built first. Compared to many Technic sets, parts density in this one is low so there's plenty of room for the somewhat chunky mechanism that converts rotation of the dark grey axle connector at the end of the blue half-beam at the back of the chassis into front and rear axle steering.

The axles are turned at proportionately different angles: the front a maximum of 20 degrees, the rear by 12.

View image at flickr

There's no complex gearbox in the model, just a single two-way one, so construction is straightforward throughout the build.

View image at flickr

As you can see there's plenty of fresh air in it.

View image at flickr

Once the framework has been completed, large panels are added to the sides before the model is completed by the addition of the cab and the extinguising arm to the top.

View image at flickr

Overall I think it took around 2 hours to complete.


The competed model

The current range of Technic panels is vastly superior to the many different versions that have gone before and, at last, they allow for very realistic and aesthetically pleasing models.

Some may prefer the open-look of studded and older studless Technic models but personally I like the added realism the panels provide. This vehicle, particularly when adorned with its stickers, looks excellent.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The sides are hinged at the top and can be opened in three sections to reveal the interior.

View image at flickr

Inside there's a equipment/tool rack that can be slid out and removed.

View image at flickr

A selection of tools -- spanners, hammer, drill, wrench and so on -- is provided.

View image at flickr


Operation

The truck may look great but what about its functionality? To be honest it's a bit lacking in that area.

There are four controls: steering, using the tan gear on the top; rotating and raising the extinguishing arm by selecting one on the gearbox then rotating the black gear at the back; and extending the arm by operating a gear on the arm itself.

View image at flickr

The arm can be rotated 360 degrees and raised/lowered by 180 degrees, so it has a wide range of movement.

View image at flickr

The end of it is raised and lowered independently of the main section by rotating a gear at the start of the arm

View image at flickr

Instructions are provided for motorising the model. A Power Functions M motor can be fitted under the bodywork in the area shown below, along with a battery box, which takes the place of the equipment rack.

To be honest, I haven't bothered: it doesn't power the vehicle, just the rotating and raising of the arm, which are hardly strenuous on the fingers. I believe the switch on the battery box has to be used to change direction so it's not really worth the bother; I guess it's good that it was designed with PF in mind, though.

View image at flickr


Verdict

This is the fourth Technic fire truck and the second airport specific one. It's certainly a vast improvement on the previous models, particularly 8454 Rescue Truck, released in 2003 when Technic was going through its weird 'futuristic' phase.

It's a great looking model but one that's lacking any real functionality. The steering mechanism is clever, and... actually that's pretty much all really. The gearbox is superfluous other than to make it possible to motorise the arm movement with a single motor.

If this were a first half of year 'basic' Technic model I'd be very satisfied with it but as a second half of year one, which we expect to be complex and sophisticated, I'm a little disappointed, although it's not a bad set by any means.

View image at flickr


B Model

The alternative model is another fire rescue vehicle:

Instructions will be available at LEGO.com but are not there yet.

19 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Hmm. Thanks @Huw. As has been mentioned before, considering that this is the 40th Anniversary of Technic, you'd think the stops would be very much pulled out, but I'm a bit underwhelmed by the 2H:2017 sets.

I might pick them up if I can find them at a significant discount, but these may be the first Technic sets since I came out of my dark ages in 2012 that I don't bother with.

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By in Puerto Rico,

This looks too similiar to an Airport Firetruck in the City theme from a few years ago.

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By in United States,

The gray background for the model shots is so much better than the light blue!

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Yes I quite like it although it's much harder to get the white balance consistent: minor differences between photos shows up a lot more than with a blue background.

I can't get it exactly right in camera so I'm using a white card and taking a reading from it but even doing that can result in slight differences.

Compare these pics with those of the tow truck: these are much bluer but I can't figure out why, as the same method was used.

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By in United Arab Emirates,

On the back of the epic 2016 line, this makes it feel as though Technic has finally 'jumped the shark'

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By in United Kingdom,

This one is really weak, IMO, due to the lack of functionality. 42069 really is this wave's saving grace...

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By in United Kingdom,

I personally quite like technic sets that look open and unfinished so to speak, I like to see the various cogs and mechanisms doing their job, this was the most disappointing aspect of 42056, it looks cool make no mistake but all the technical elements are completely covered to the point they might as well not be there and it might as well be a creator set like 10246, 10248, 10252 etc. 42055 however is the complete opposite, it looks brutalist and very mechanical with everything on show and I love that. I've just bought 42070 which I really like, the only real complaint I have about that is the price but apart from that don't really see why it's getting such a hard time. I'm going to get 42069 soon but will probably pass on this one as to me it's not really technic enough!!!

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By in Paraguay,

Great review as usual @Huw! Somehow a Technic set with over 1000 pieces lacks excitement.

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By in Ireland,

I was looking at the box in a shop on Sunday and actually thought the B-model is the better looking one. Quite rare for a Technic set.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Huw
Assuming you're using flash on these, surely the white balance should be just set to 'Flash' (I can't remember the kelvin value, 54k, maybe?). I guess that can't be the answer, otherwise you'd have nailed it down by now.
But if you're using a mixed light source, with flash and natural light both playing a part, it will be harder to get the balance right, for sure. And natural light changes temperature as the day progresses, making a mixed lighting setup harder to control.

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice review too, by the way :-)

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By in United States,

Try picking up a large 18% neutral gray card for your white balance setting and when taking the reading, cast a partial shadow across it using your white card. This can help account for more of the ambient light color (revealed in shadows) in addition to the strongest direct sources that reflect back. Also if you can, now that you have that spare room, block the window(s) completely so you can rely solely upon your artificial light. If your camera has multiple custom WB options, you should be able to store one for this room and practically never touch it again.

Overall I think the gray background looks fantastic; it's the perfect value and allows the colors of the model to speak for themselves. Thank you for this review also; I was very curious what all PF features it had and I've been on the fence about buying it. Your review of the 6x6 already saved me a lot of money!

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for the advice, both. I'm using flash but using the flash WB setting on my Nikon D610 produces images that are too blue. I can select individual kelvin values for white balance, and fiddle about changing the flash colour balance, but nothing produces a perfect white.

Adobe camera raw suggests a setting of 8400K with a tint of -41 to make the white card white and while I can dial in 8330K in the Nikon I don't think I can change the tint, by numeric value, at least.

I'd be surprised if the ambient light had much effect because I'm shooting at f20 or 22 which results in black images if the flashes aren't fired.

I will persevere!

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By in United States,

I use Canon cameras and I'm not sure if they use the same sort of internal calculations, but on mine the "custom" WB setting (separate from manual Kelvin-wise selection) adjusts both temperature and tint based upon a sample full-frame photo I take of a white or gray card. Looking at the manual for your Nikon it appears they call that feature "Preset Manual," abbreviated 'PRE' and perhaps that's the ticket. The good thing is that there are 4 presets slots that you can save to, so you could save one specifically for that room.

One other thing small thing that could possibly be a factor in variance from shot to shot is the positioning of other objects in the room when the flashes fire, yourself included! With light that bright a reflection off your own skin or clothing if you're nearby could have an effect.

Best of luck tracking it the culprit(s) down! The pictures still look great to most viewers regardless.

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By in United Kingdom,

Set 8454 was partly responsible for bringing me out of my Dark Age, my first pure Technic set, and got me hooked on the theme. I loved the way the old style panels followed the curve around the whole side of the vehicle.

It'll be fun to compare this model alongside it, and see how much (or little) has changed besides the much higher piece count

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By in United Kingdom,

@theJANG, thank you! I had to RTFM myself but have now got the preset manual setting working, and initial results look promising.

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By in United States,

Great review. Cool looking sets but seems lacking in functions.

Also, take a look at the instructions background for 8280. Looks like this is actually the third airport fire truck!

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By in United Kingdom,

I noticed the new seat element....can this fit a Technic figure? If so, this would have been a perfect set to reintroduce the Technic Maxi Figures...

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By in Sweden,

Stunning imagery. Another Technic set with focus on panels instead of features unfortunately confirms that the Technic line has taken a turn for the worse, at least for us who prefer old-school designs. This is a no buy for me.

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