Cranes have been a staple of the Technic assortment since the birth of the theme in the 1970s so it's perhaps surprising that the design team is still finding different types for inspiration.
42097 Compact Crawler Crane is the first time this style of machine has been tackled and at first glance it's hard to tell at what scale it's been modelled.
Compact crawler cranes are, as might be surmised from their name, small, with some designed to fit through doorways, as shown in this video, so the model is built to a much larger scale than most Technic sets.
Box and contents
The box contains 920 pieces, one instruction manual and a sticker sheet. The parts are not in numbered bags so all have to be opened simultaneously.
There are no new parts and few recolours: the most notable being the yellow outrigger housing. Clearly this year's Technic element budget has been spent elsewhere.
There are three distinct phases to construction. First, the chassis. There are no complex gearboxes or subassemblies so it comes together quickly.
The five turntables on the top will be used to mount the outriggers and boom.
A frame to mount the boom is added to the central turntable. It can be raised and lowered by turning a lever on the far side, which you'll see below.
Next, the boom, the end of which folds back on itself for compactness.
It's attached using non-friction pins at the back and to the linear actuator at the front.
Finally, the four outriggers, which are built as two mirror-imaged pairs.
They're affixed to the small turntables using axles which completes the model.
The completed model
With everything collapsed, lowered and tucked away, the model is 33cm x 17cm x 15cm high.
You will no doubt have noticed that the model does not have a cab to house an operator. That's because the real machines are only about 2m tall and are controlled either remotely or via a panel which, on this model, folds down at the back.
You will see in the photos above that there are small black gears all over the model, and it is with these that it's operated.
The outriggers have three controls each. One to rotate them...
One to angle them down...
And one to extend the foot. That's a total of 12 knobs that need twisting to put all four into position.
The boom has a further five controls: one to lift the base, one to raise it via the linear actuator, one to extend it, one to rotate it, and one for raising and lowering the hook.
Here it is fully extended:
It's an interesting model, primarily because it's something we've not seen before in Technic. It offers a lot of control of its various moving parts but it's a shame that none of it is interconnected. It would have been nice, for example, to twist just one knob and have all four outriggers rotate at once.
There's nothing complex, technically impressive about it so I suspect it'll be a set that most Technic fans will overlook, particularly as it will be overshadowed by other far more compelling models released at the same time or later this year, which introduce us to Control+.
Nevertheless, it's decent enough and once it inevitably becomes available at a discount below its RRP of £80 / $99 it will be one to look out for if only for its parts, which include around 60 gears.
42097 Compact Crawler Crane will be available on August 1st at shop.LEGO.com.
Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.