'Diggers' are a staple of the Technic line up and there can't have been many years when a new one of one type or another hasn't been produced.
This year's offering is a little different in that it's based on a vehicle that doesn't exist, yet...
It came about at a "fun, informal team building event to inspire the Volvo CE and LEGO Technic design teams" that "evolved into [the development of a model of a] fully fledged autonomous concept wheel loader", according to this article on the Volvo CE website.
As a result it's one of the most interesting Technic sets of recent years.
There's not much to say about the set's 1167 parts because none of them are new and only one, a piece usually found in Constraction sets, is a re-colour, in yellow.
The parts are packaged in unnumbered bags which is a bit of a nuisance given their number.
And, as we've come to expect in recent Technic sets, there's an extensive sticker sheet.
As is usual, construction starts with the chassis. It offers 4-wheel steering, but no transmission or suspension.
Instead, there's a linear actuator connected to the rear axle that enables the wheelbase to be adjusted, as I'll demonstrate later.
The bucket arm features two points of articulation, again adjusted by linear actuators.
This is an electric vehicle so instead of having a cylinder engine, which I always find rather tedious to construct, it has a large battery power plant at the back. It's surprisingly complicated and parts-intense for reasons you'll see below.
The flaps on the sides open to reveal the 'electronics' inside
Once a camera has been attached to the back and the arm bulked out a bit, all that needs to be added is the bucket and wheels.
The completed model
It's surprisingly large, about 40cm long and 20cm wide and looks splendid in yellow and black, with a splash of orange here and there.
The stickers certainly enhance its appearance but it would look fine without them applied.
As this is an autonomous vehicle it's equipped with a camera and also a drone, used to survey the machine's surroundings, that docks onto the top of the power unit when not in use.
As this is a fictional vehicle it's fitted with features not found on today's wheel loaders.
Twisting the gear between the wheels adjusts the linear actuator which in turn adjusts the vehicle's wheelbase, from 25cm to...
... 20cm. The back end is raised as a result.
The battery power unit at the back of the vehicle is likely to be heavy so it might be useful to be able to move to back and forth to counterbalance loads in the bucket.
Twisting the gear at the back moves it back and forth by means of a rack-and-pinion, which explains the complexity of this section of the build.
The Volvo website has this to say about these features: "The frame is what we call a scissor frame that can be lowered or raised as needed. In this way it can balance and gain the optimal position and angle for the task at hand. Balance is kept by automatic movement of the counterweight.This means the ZEUX can alter its center of gravity as needed. "
The arm and bucket are raised, lowered and tipped using two gears on either side of the vehicle.
There's a good range of movement which will facilitate the loading, moving and tipping of whatever 'pretend rocks' you have available.
Finally, the vehicle's 4-wheel steering is controlled using a gear just behind the arm. Unlike many a Technic vehicle, it has a respectable turning circle.
I didn't think I'd like this much given it's a bit unconventional but now I've built it, played with it, and understood the thinking behind its design, it's actually my favourite of the four summer Technic sets.
It's not so huge that it takes ages to build and is difficult to display, it looks suitably futuristic and high-tech, and best of all it's packed with functionality that actually works. Pretty much the perfect Technic model.
At its full price of £109.99 it's a tad expensive but at the moment it's 32% off at IWOOT so you can pick it up for just £74.99, which is a bargain for such a large and impressive Technic model.
Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for us to review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.