Review: 42079 Heavy Duty Forklift

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View image at flickr

42079 Heavy Duty Forklift is the smallest of the four summer Technic releases and, as we discovered in my article on the vehicles published last week, is the first fork-lift to be released since 2005.

The 592-piece set retails for £54.99 and $69.99 so the exchange rate applied has some basis in reality for a change.

On the face of it it's a nice-looking model but it has a design flaw that I'm surprised slipped passed quality control.


Box contents

Printed instructions are provided for both the A model and the B model, a tow-truck, which is unusual these days. Normally there are online only.

Parts are not packed in numbered bags but given the size of the set that is not much of a problem. There are no new parts, or even re-colours, which is disappointing.


Construction

Compared to some recent Technic sets the parts density is low so it's not a particularly challenging build. There are no complex gearboxes and even the steering and transmission are very straightforward.

View image at flickr

Once the chassis has been built, the cab and 2-cylinder engine are added.

View image at flickr

Then the side bodywork. The mast and fork lift mechanism is the last thing to be assembled.

View image at flickr


The completed model

It's about 32cm long, 11cm wide and 25cm high with fork fully raised. The colour scheme is reminiscent of 42055 Bucket Wheel Excavator.

View image at flickr

The type of engine suggests that it's based on an vehicle designed to be used outdoors rather than in a warehouse. Perhaps it would have been nice for LEGO to produce a model with a bank of batteries instead of a fossil-fuel guzzling engine...

View image at flickr

On the whole I think it looks pretty good: well proportioned and with a pleasing colour scheme. The stickers do enhance the aesthetics but you could leave them off and it would still look OK.

View image at flickr


Functionality

Technic sets are all about functionality and this one has all that you'd expect for a fork-lift.

1. The rear wheels can be steered using the exhaust pipe. The turning circle is pretty large, though.

2. The 2-cylinder engine is coupled to the front wheels via a differential, so the piston heads will rise and fall as it's pushed along.

View image at flickr

3. The fork can be raised and lowered using the light on the top of the cab. On virtually every other Technic vehicle this steers the vehicle.

This is as high as it goes:

View image at flickr

The new rack element is driven via a worm gear so it takes a good few turns of the light to move the fork to the extremes of its movement.

I found that the gear binds a bit when raising the fork which you can feel when turning the light.

View image at flickr

4. The mast can be tilted back and forth, by turning the black lever on the side of the body.

View image at flickr

However, it's way too loose and can't be stopped with the mast in a vertical position so if the load is on the raised fork when operated it'll slide off the front.

View image at flickr

I can't think of any application in real-life where it would be necessary to tilt the mast forward, for this very reason, so I consider this a design flaw.

Luckily the fix is straightforward. As designed, the lever is at 4 o'clock when the mast is tilted back.

View image at flickr

Simply remove it from the axle, position it 90 degrees anti-clockwise so it's at 1 o'clock. Then, it'll be stopped from moving too far anti-clockwise by the front mudguard which will hold the mast (almost) vertical.

View image at flickr

Another fix is to add a piece under the mast to stop it tipping too far forward. I used a black cross-block 3x2.

View image at flickr


Compared to 8416 Fork-Lift

Thirteen years have passed since the last Technic fork-lift was released. One difference between then and nowadays is that there's much more emphasis on cosmetics now: new panels and pieces have been introduced in the meantime that allow designers to create more realistic-looking and enclosed models. Not everyone agrees that that's a change for the better, though.

It's clear to see that in this comparison picture. The older one is much more 'open', and much larger, partly on account of the extra 200 pieces.

View image at flickr

8416 is a great looking model, though, and its functions work very well.

View image at flickr

The fork can be raised to nearly double the height of the mast, and much more easily than on the new model, by rotating the lever at the back.

View image at flickr

The mast tilting mechanism is a bit odd, facilitated by moving the triangular braces on top of the cab.

View image at flickr

Steering is performed by twisting the light on top of the cab, as one would expect.

View image at flickr


Verdict

There's a lot to like about 42079 Heavy Duty Forklift. It's a neat and compact model that looks great. It features all the functions you'd expect to find in a model of a fork-lift, although not all of them work as well as you would hope. The mast tilting mechanism, in particular. Luckily it's easily fixed.

Whether it's better that the previous version, I'll let you decide...

View image at flickr

Price-wise, as usual it seems a little on the hgh side but I've no doubt it'll be reduced by 20% before long at Amazon. Hold on... it's already reduced by 18%, to £45, at Amazon.co.uk! Prices there are volatile so if my review has piqued you interest, get in there before it goes back up!


Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for this review, which is an expression of my own opinions.

 

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16 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Forks can be tilted forward on the real thing, this aids things like tipping skips, attached to the forks, tilt forward to help when entering a pallet. Also forks must be tilted forward and to the ground, when not in use.
Great review

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By in United Kingdom,

Agree with @ meccanotwitch: Great review and tines do need to angle forward.
If you want to go up a hill and keep the load level you will need to tilt the mast forward.
Reminds me of the old Sanderson forklifts.
Pleasantly impressed by the finish of the B model with this set. Good set all round. Price not so great.

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By in United States,

I also assert the "design flaw" is not a flaw at all. On land rigs drilling for oil and gas, forklifts are essential pieces of equipment for picking up the long, steel tubes that make up drillstring components or casing pipe. These items are often left on long, elevated racks. When a forklift is returning a tubular to the rack, it will almost invariably have to tilt downwards to let the tube roll off the forks and onto the rack.

Although this Technic forklift is not the same design as those forklifts seen on rigs, the principle remains the same, and is a required function, not a "flaw". Maybe the mechanism could be controlled a bit tighter than with the simple lever, but that would require more pieces and a larger, more complex set. That doesn't seem to be what LEGO was going for with this one.

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By in United States,

my 42074 Racing Yacht came with an instruction book for the B model too

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By in United Kingdom,

Thank you for your enlightening responses. I concede that there's a need for it to tilt forward on real machines then, however in the case of a simple model like this I still think it would have been better if it didn't, given how easy it is to drop the load.

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By in Peru,

Real forklifts DO tilt forward.
This forklist appears to be a high-capacity one. Like 12+tons.

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By in United States,

masts tilt forward to enable the operator to get a load off the forks if it has slipped back towards the mast

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By in United States,

Great review! Wish you had shown the other model that can be built with it as well. I can also not understand for the life of me why it was necessary to mention that engines were fossil fuel guzzlers and that the set needed batteries instead. I understand that Batteries would be cool and would be an interesting detail to add to this sort of set but I just feel like mentioning that sorta seemed off to me that's all. I appreciate all that you guys do for us Lego followers and keep up the good reviews!

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By in Canada,

Remove the exhaust stack and bam it is now an electric fork lift.

Good review!

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By in United States,

For me the deal-breaker in this model is that the fork only moves up 1/2 of the distance it is supposed to go. Thank you for the review.

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By in Germany,

I love forklift sets, but with this one I will rather build and display the B model. Great that they include the instructions for that in printed form as well. Should generally be the case - just like it used to be!

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By in United States,

8416 was a masterpiece.

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By in Indonesia,

Good review, though strictly speaking the comparison with 8416 is a bit off topic of course. Nonetheless, I still like the comparison because of the similarity in functions and most of all because I have the 8416 Fork Lift proudly sitting on my desk for more than 2 years already cause it's such an outstanding Technic design!

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By in Poland,

Great review. I love your comparison to older version which is always something that makes a review more informative, interesting and quite simply, better.

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By in Norway,

Nice review! Might need to get this as the first Technic set since 2011 (#8109).

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