Since the dawn of Technic 41 years ago cars have been a staple of the range and every year new ones are introduced.
Recently LEGO has looked beyond road cars and single-seat open-cockpit racers and has produced an impressive variety of vehicles including a land speed record breaker, an endurance racer, and a drag racer. This year's offering is 42077 Rally Car, a typical 'souped up' road car used in modern rallying events.
The 1005 piece set is the second most expensive one in the first-half-of-year Technic offerings, coming in at $109.99, £89.99 and 99.99€. Let's break open the seals and get building...
Parts are packed in un-numbered bags so I felt it necessary to do a bit of pre-sorting before commencing: pins in one tray, beams in another, panels in another and so on.
Last time I posted a picture like this I was asked about the trays. They are produced by Rotho and available at Amazon.co.uk.
You won't be surprised to learn that the set also contains a sticker sheet.
The car is a rear-engined V6 with 4-wheel suspension and front-axle steering. The engine and rear axle assembly are constructed first.
The chassis is then extended forwards, and the seats and roll cage fitted. The new 'macaroni' piece has found its way into several of this year's Technic sets: here, 4 are used on the corners of the roll cage.
The front axle and the front of the car are added, at which point the full length of the vehicle, about 43cm, becomes apparent.
With all the mechanisms out of the way the car is completed by adding a large number of panels, many of which require stickers.
The instructions suggest building it left-hand-drive, as usual, but it's easy to convert it to right-hand drive just by swapping the steering wheel and fire extinguisher over.
It all comes together very quickly...
The completed model
Here are views of the vehicle from various angles:
I should have folded the wing mirrors out before photographing!
As is often the case with Technic cars the brake lights look a bit small to me.
The bonnet is weakest looking aspect of the model. It looks OK from some angles but here you can see it doesn't look right at all.
Stickers are provided for the inside of the wheels but I judged that applying them straight and consistently would be difficult so I opted not to use them. All the others were relatively easy to apply: I always find attaching them to Technic panels to be straightforward and fairly forgiving of minor alignment issues.
The car looks pretty good but what Technic functionality does it pack in? You can...
- manually open the doors to reveal the interior. It must be a struggle getting in and out with those roll bars in the way!
- steer the car using the gear on the roof. Unfortunately the steering wheel is not linked to the steering mechanism.
- flip up the rear bodywork to reveal the engine and suspension. The sides of the car behind the door are mechanically linked to the 'trunk' and swing out as you raise it. Why? I don't know. I'd be surprised if that's a feature on real rally cars.
- open the bonnet to reveal two large fans. LEGO calls them engine cooling fans. I'm no expert but given they are so far from the actual engine in the boot, I'm not entirely convinced.
- admire the suspension, drive shaft and steering mechanisms from below.
In other words, there is not a lot of functionality but then I'm struggling to think what else could be added, other than a gearbox, which are usually reserved for much larger sets. However, the functions that it does include work well so I have no complaints.
Instructions for the alternative model, a beach buggy, are available from LEGO Customer Services. When I have a second copy of the set I'll build and review it.
The first thing that strikes you when seeing it is how vivid the colour scheme is. The dark azur (sic), red and white look superb together.
However, its visual appeal is largely down to the stickers: without them it would look very different, with jarring contrast between adjacent panels of different colours. If you're averse to stickers then I would not recommend buying it for this reason. Would it have looked better all blue? Actually, probably not.
The second thing that becomes apparent once you've built it is how impressively large it is: 43 x 20 cm, or so, which is close to the size of some of the super cars of yesteryear.
It's a relatively quick and easy build with no complicated assemblies or repetition so makes a good introduction to Technic so would be an ideal first set.
For those looking at it as a parts pack, it offers plenty of dark azur parts, which seems to be the blue shade of choice nowadays (let's hope LEGO standardises on it) but no new parts.
In summary, then, it's very much a display model: there's not much to play with and not much in the way of functionality, but if you're looking for something to grace your desk or display cabinet it fits the bill perfectly.