Cranes, fork lifts and diggers are the mainstay of Technic's industrial machine assortment but recently the designers seem to have something of a fixation with logging and timber handling equipment: 42094 Tracked Loader is the third one to be produced in 4 years.
Let's find out if this item of plant should be added to your fixed asset list...
Box and contents
The machine certainly looks impressive on the front of the box, although the operator appears to have dropped half the load.
The back shows the B model which is a tracked timber transportation vehicle. Instructions for it will be available online, but are not yet.
As is par for the course for Technic sets, it contains an extensive sticker sheet.
The 824 pieces are packed in unnumbered bags. There are no new parts. They are a few re-colours but nothing particularly significant caught my eye other than some dark grey curved wing panels.
Building begins with the chassis and a small gearbox at the back which is linked to a winch.
That is then clad in panels to form the back of the vehicle.
The cab is built as a separate subassembly which is attached to the turntable on the chassis using pins.
The grabber arm is added to the front, via the linear actuator, which will provide fine control over its movement.
Finally, the underframe is built and connected to the body via pins. Thus, the machine is quite modular and should you wish to deconstruct it slightly to reduce its size for storage it should be possible to do so without too much disassembly.
The third, higher, wheel within the tracks is mounted on a spring-loaded beam which helps keep the track taut.
The completed model
It's about 35 cm long and 14cm wide. It certainly looks like it's ready for action, with its wide tracks, toothed loader and reinforced cab.
There's a red fire extinguisher on the side: a detail that has been added to a few Technic models recently.
The stickers certainly improve its appearance but it would look alright without them, too.
The vehicle's main functionality concerns the grabber, which can be raised and lowered, and opened and closed.
Turning the rear-most gear on the top of the body raises and lowers it via the linear actuator. It can be moved from ground level, to an angle of about 45 degrees.
The claw is opened and closed by moving the red bush on the side of the arm back and forth.
When closed it grips the 2x2 log securely.
The cab is mounted on a turntable and can be rotated by turning the gear on the top of the body nearest to it.
Using the gear to turn it is totally pointless because it can be more easily rotated by hand.
The side doors both open to enable access
Inside, there's an impressive number of levers and lights, and a stickered control panel.
The vehicle is equipped with a winch at the rear which is operated by turning the gear on the right hand side. There's a gearbox, which is switched from neutral to fast or slow, by the red Bionicle eye piece at the rear of the body. This affects the rate at which the string is wound back onto the spool.
The red bush under the bodywork is attached to a piece that meshes with a gear to prevent the string from spooling out once its been attached to a load. It needs to be raised by hand and held there to wind it back in.
Two of the three mechanisms are totally pointless. The gear to rotate the cab is superfluous and the gearbox to adjust the speed of winding the string in is unnecessary. It's as if it's only been added because otherwise there's little other functionality.
I suppose, however, that it may have some educational benefit to those that might not be familiar with gearboxes and gear ratios.
Despite this, I really like it! It's an interesting machine, something that hasn't been produced in Technic before, and which looks tough enough to tackle anything the forest can throw at it.
I particularly like the use of the new 'macaroni' piece (design 25214), used for the pipework on the body and bars on the cab, which helps soften the straight lines and angles of the rest of it.
It'll be available just after Christmas for £54.99 and $79.99. For 827 pieces, the UK price in particular seems quite reasonable for a change.
Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for review. All opinions expressed are my own.