42074 Racing Yacht is one of two water-based Technic vehicles to be released in the first half of 2018.
LEGO has produced plenty of Technic hovercraft and a few ships over the years but this is the first yacht. It's always good to have some variety to punctuate the seemingly endless stream of wheeled vehicles, so I was particularly looking forward to building this set.
The 330-piece set is now available in brand stores and shop.LEGO.com for £24.99 / $39.99, so not only is it a interesting and colourful set, it's also cheaper on this side of the Atlantic for a change...
Parts arrive in four un-numbered bags, but with just 330 of them that is not a problem.
The set inventory reveals that all of the dark azur (sic) parts present in the set are new in that colour and that there are no new parts in it, other than the sail.
The sails are printed on a single sheet of translucent flexible plastic. They are die cut round the edges so it's easy to remove them without tearing.
Inevitably there are stickers but I've always found placing them on the large Technic panels to be relatively easy so didn't hesitate to add them to the model.
Instructions are provided for the 'A' and 'B' model, a catamaran, although when I took this photo I didn't realise that because they look so similar.
Construction begins at the stern with the two mechanisms for turning the rudder and rotating the main boom, which I'll look at in more detail later.
Next, the bow is formed from Technic panels and held at an angle by strategically placed pins.
Now's a good time to look underneath before the mast and sail are added. Two wheels in the centre allow the vessel to be 'sailed' on the carpet while the two on either side prevent it from toppling, and also serve to support it at a pleasing angle for display.
The completed model
More panels complete the top of the hull before the mast and sails are added. The finished model looks fantastic.
The starboard side isn't shown in the official pictures, probably because it's a bit untidy around the sails compared to the port side.
The main boom can be turned by about 20 degrees or in either direction...
...by rotating one of the wheels on either side. It's a neat mechanism that provides a control which, to the uninitiated at least, appears to mimic that on a real yacht, which is nice touch.
The boat's wheel allows the rudder to be rotated 180 degrees. It can be swivelled from side to side to enable control as the vessel rolls.
Stickers provide a readout of the boat's speed and other information.
It's worth admiring the design on the sails. The breaking wave is the first thing you notice but look closer and you'll see Technic gears at the top and a subtle light blue gear tooth pattern at the bottom. It looks great!
It is absolutely necessary to apply the stickers otherwise the contrast between yellow panels at the stern and dark azur ones at the bow would be too obvious.
Stickers applied to both sides of the bow advertise the boat's sponsors: Anchor Buoy nautic supplies, Kool Keels, Axle Beam and Up Away. There is also one that probably indicates the set's designers: WRE / NCH.
When viewed at a low angle like that above the wheels are visible but normally they are not seen.
This is a beautiful model that makes a very welcome change from trucks, cars and plant. It's quick and easy to build so makes the perfect introduction to Technic for newcomers to the system. The price, in the UK at least, seems very fair, too.
The colour scheme is very attractive, and we can perhaps hope that dark azur (sic) is the go-to shade of blue used in future Technic models so that we can amass a decent amount of it. The only thing I would change is the mast and boom: they would have looked much better in white which is far more commonly seen on real yachts. I guess a taller mast wouldn't hurt, either.
There's not much to play with: the controls that have been provided are cool but you probably won't find yourself bothering to operate them after the initial novelty has worn off. But, that's not really relevant for most of us because it's such a superb display piece so will most likely stay sitting on a shelf or desk much of the time anyway.
After a lacklustre year for Technic last year, things are definitely looking up.
Look out for my review of 42077 Rally Car next week.
Here's JANGBRiCKS' review, in which he shows the catamaran as well as the main model.