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.
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.
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.
Once the chassis has been built, the cab and 2-cylinder engine are added.
Then the side bodywork. The mast and fork lift mechanism is the last thing to be assembled.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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:
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.
4. The mast can be tilted back and forth, by turning the black lever on the side of the body.
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.
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.
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.
Another fix is to add a piece under the mast to stop it tipping too far forward. I used a black cross-block 3x2.
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.
8416 is a great looking model, though, and its functions work very well.
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.
The mast tilting mechanism is a bit odd, facilitated by moving the triangular braces on top of the cab.
Steering is performed by twisting the light on top of the cab, as one would expect.
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...
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.