- Category: Technic history 2010s
- Hits: 50
2010 saw the release of 10 new sets which included some big surprises. The 8049 Log Loader contained pneumatics which fans feared had been entirely replaced by the newer Power Functions linear actuators. It also contained the option for a motorized compressor, only the second set in history to have one. The flagship model, the 8043 Excavator, contained a record 6 motorized functions and 4 motors with the most complex gearbox ever attached to them.
The set numbering also changed this year. The 8200 and 8400 series had been in used for 15 years. This year saw a change to 8000 series numbers which had previously only been used for Universal Sets decades earlier. In previous years you could deduce quite a bit from the set number if you had some knowledge, including whether or not it was a play set, a technical set, or universal set and how relatively large it was. The new numbers, by comparison, were merely sequential and therefore did not indicate much of anything. The largest model of the year had one of the numerically lowest numbers.
Most of the new parts this year were created specifically to make the gearbox in 8043 possible.
Gears and Axles
The 3L axle with stud was color coded to be dark tan instead the traditional dark gray.
A new 4L axle with stop was introduced. It is exactly like the earlier 8L version in function.
A new 7L rack gear was introduced. It is exactly like the earlier 13L version in function.
The new 20 tooth bevel idler gear was really important. Although the number of teeth and size of the new version is the same as the earlier version, this version has a smooth bearing hole instead of an axle hole. This was critical for 8043 because it allows an axle to be used for support without being required to rotate. The heavily loaded linear actuators which support the boom are connected to the same axle as the input gear which could not be reasonably rotated. Future years would color code the axle hole version in tan to distinguish it from this idler version.
Brackets and Connectors
A new bevel gear bracket was introduced (shown in black). Although similar to the bracket released in 2004, it did not replace the older bracket entirely. This part in particular was critical for the complex gearbox of 8043.
A new pin connector with central hole was very useful for supporting rotating axles.
A new set of panels (#1 and #2) filled in the gaps in the set introduced in the previous year.
Wheels and Tires
A new set of motorcycle wheels and tires was introduced. Even though the last set from 2005 had not yet been used in another set and were similar in design to the new wheels and tires, still a new set replaced them. These tires are much easier to install and remove than the prior.
- 8041 - Race Truck
- 8043 - Motorized Excavator
- 8045 - Mini Telehandler
- 8046 - Helicopter
- 8047 - Compact Excavator
- 8048 - Buggy
- 8049 - Tractor with Log Loader
- 8051 - Motorbike
- 8052 - Container Truck
- 8053 - Mobile Crane
- 66359 - Technic Super Pack 4 in 1 (8049, 8259, 8260)
- Category: Technic history 2010s
- Hits: 49
The 10 new sets of 2011 fulfilled a lot of fan wishes. After an absence of 12 years, the venerable Supercar line was renewed with a new supercar, the 8070. But even bigger news for the year was the 8110 Unimog. This was the first licensed product (Mercedes-Benz) in the Technic line and set plenty of other first as well. It was the physically largest model ever, had the most parts to date, was the first set with over 2000 parts, had brand new tires which were the largest to date, included only the second ever motorized pneumatic compressor, was the first orange Technic model, and introduced an entire host of new parts including shocks, portal axles, and pendular ball joints. Plenty of other sets this year were also notable. The 8069 backhoe had brand new mini linear actuators, the 8071 Bucket Truck expanded the palette of rare white studless parts including white panels, the 8109 Flatbed Truck included many new black 5x11 panels, and the 8068 Helicopter included an impossible to find Ferrari wheel cover as a tail fan.
The number of new parts for this year was large and important, touching many different categories. Most of the new parts were used in the Unimog, and many were clearly created with that model in mind. It was feared that some of the parts were so large and specialized that they may have no other application, but all have since appeared in other sets at a variety of scales.
Mini Linear Actuator
A new, smaller linear actuator was introduced. With an integrated 3L bevel gear bracket, the cylinder itself was only 1 stud in diameter. Despite the smaller size, this actuator has an impressive force output but is limited by an internal clutch.
Both the standard 16 tooth spur gear and the related clutch gear were updated. The standard gear was reinforced at the center for increased strength. The clutch gear was revised to remove the castellations which had been previously capable of mating with the toothed 1/2 bushings but was never used. The new version has a smooth edge.
After having been used in only a single set in 1992, the small pneumatic compressor was replaced with a slightly longer 6L version. With only a single port and an internal check valve, it was intended to be used in conjunction with a motor and driven at high speed.
An inline pressure fitting was also introduced (shown in blue) to allow easy connection and disconnection of pneumatic attachments.
A set of portal axles (geared hubs) hub was released. These large housings can contain a gear reduction right at the wheel, reducing the need for high torque in the driveline. A new 3 pin hub snaps into the housing to support the wheel and can be driven by either a straight axle or a CV joint. One issue with these hubs is that their steering pivot point tends to be far inboard of the wheel causing a large tire sweep distance at max steering lock.
A new structural ball joint allowed for an axle and u-joint to pass through the center. This allowed a strong pendular suspension supported by the ball instead of the axle, and therefore enabled low friction power transmission through the joint.
A new version of the large shock absorber included a much stiffer spring than the previous and can be distinguished by the black piston rod.
Finally, a mating socket for the CV joint was created to allow the CV joint to allowed on axles like a U-joint and not just in conjunction with a wheel hub. This CV socket was typically mated directly a differential output gear.
A strangely shaped bracket (shown in black) or axle and pin connector was released. It saw initial use as a head for crane booms or outrigger feet, but later served as a general purpose connector as well.
Wheels and Tires
While the new Unimog tires are similar in aspect ratio and tread to the older 62.4 x 20 truck tires, at 94.3 x 38 R they were as big as anything ever made including the massive Power Puller tires. They are shown with a mini motorcycle for scale. They have a tremendous internal volume of air and a tall sidewall, therefore there is a limited amount of weight they can hold without a noticeable flat bottom.
- 8065 - Mini Container Truck
- 8066 - Off-Roader
- 8067 - Mini Mobile Crane
- 8068 - Rescue Helicopter
- 8069 - Backhoe Loader
- 8070 - Supercar
- 8071 - Bucket Truck
- 8081 - Extreme Cruiser
- 8109 - Flatbed Truck
- 8110 - Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 400
- 66397 - Technic Super Pack 4 in 1 (8047, 8065, 8067, 8069)
- Category: Technic history 2010s
- Hits: 45
2012 introduced 9 models and some surprising new functionality. Since Power Functions had been introduced in 2007, motors had only been added to models to control functions or to propel tracked vehicles with skid steering. There was much speculation online regarding whether or not there would ever be a motorized, wheeled model. Some experts (like myself) argued this would never happen because the strength of motors exceeded the strength of axles so a fully motorized model would destroy parts. LEGO® would never produce a model that a child could destroy by simply using it. As it turns out, I was both right and wrong. In 2012 the 9398 Crawler was released which solved this dilemma by releasing new motors and new parts which could handle the torque.
Although 9398 was the clear flagship, it was not the only model of flagship size. Both the 9397 Logging Truck and the 9396 Helicopter were as big as anything else ever made in those categories. The two largest models were motorized, but the next 3 had the capabilty to have a motor added.
This year saw another change in Technic set numbering. The 8000 series had lasted for only 2 years, and this year it changed to a 9300 series. This persisted only a single year and was then changed again in 2013 to a longer lasting system.
After the introduction of the 8110 Unimog, orange gradually became a more common color and had more sets added to increase the parts palette in that color.
The number of new parts this year wsa not particularly large, but was critically important for motorized vehicles. In particular, the servo motor had been high on the fan wish lists for many years. With the capability to go to a commanded position and return to center, this brought a whole new level of controllability to models.
Two new motors were added to the Power Functions system. The L-motor (large) was added to the M and XL. It has nearly the same outward dimensions as the M, but uses entirely studless attachment and features higher output torque.
Even more important was the servo. While every previous motor had no control other than clockwise or counterclockwise, the servo had an onboard resolver at the output shaft to measure position. This meant that it could be commanded to a specific position, not just in a specific direction, and then hold that position. This component needs to be used in conjunction with an I/R receiver rather than connected directly to a battery box. When used with the Technic I/R remote, the output shaft is at 0º with no command and at +/- 90º when energized. When used with the train remote, it can be commanded to any of 6 incremental positions in either direction. This latter functionality has never been used in a Technic set.
The new 9396 helicopter came with a set of bespoke rotor blades. The large main blades feature a rubber tip and are 31 studs long. The smaller 8L blades are more versatile for other uses.
A new, 3L diameter turntable was released to compliment the much larger existing 7L diameter version. Like its big brother, it has only pin connections. The central hole is square to allow the rod of a linear or pneumatic actuator to pass through.
A new tan 4L axle was released with an internal stop. This was very important for fully motorized models like 9398 because a regular axle can gradually migrate out of its supports with enough torque and motion. This new axle can be locked in place with careful construction so that gears and axles remain perfectly locked.
The old Technic triangle was replaced with a newer version with slightly modified geometry. The flat ends allow a Technic beam to pass by without interfering with the center.
To compliment the older #6 axle female 90º axle connector, a new male version was released. Unlike the #6 which comes in a variety of colors, the new version is more structural than decorative and is usually available in dark gray.
Finally, a longer version of the axle and pin connector perpendicular with 1/2 stud offset was released in light gray.
- 9390 - Mini Tow Truck
- 9391 - Crawler Crane (Tracked Crane)
- 9392 - Quad Bike
- 9393 - Tractor
- 9394 - Jet Plane
- 9395 - Pick-Up Tow Truck
- 9396 - Helicopter
- 9397 - Logging Truck
- 9398 - 4 x 4 Crawler
- 66433 - Technic Super Pack 3 in 1 (8293, 9392, 9395)
- Category: Technic history 2010s
- Hits: 54
2013 was quite a year. The 8421 Mobile Crane from 2005 had reached legendary status online but was very difficult and expensive to acquire in the secondary market. It was widely regarded to be the largest mobile crane possible for the retail market, and therefore it was assumed that it would never be topped. Enter 42009, the Mobile Crane MK II, with an additional axle, even more motorized functions, an even longer boom, and more than 2600 parts making it the largest set ever. You might imagine that the rest of the sets for the year would be dwarfed by comparison, but you'd be wrong. After a 7 year gap since the last big Formula 1 car, the huge 42000 Grand Prix Racer was released at the same scale. After only 3 years since the tremendously complex 8043 Excavator, the 42006 Excavator was released at the same scale but a much lower price point due to lack of motorization. The 42008 Service Truck was the first with motorization, pneumatics, and linear actuators, and the first set in (non lime) green in a very long time. There were also a pair of small models using pull-back motors, a throwback to older play sets which would be standard for low end sets in future years.
The most unusual thing of all in 2013 was the Technic Design Contest. The Technic team published the rules for an online contest to customize a new body for the 9398 Crawler, and the winning design would be actually produced as a limited edition set with 10,000 copies. There were a thousands of entries which spanned the range from terrible to magnificent, including some that were not suitable for production. The winning design (41999) was based on an American muscle car concept and released with custom parts and colors. It was the most closely the fan community had ever been involved with the company design team.
There were a number of new parts for the year, the most notable of which were new wheel hubs with reduced friction.
A new set of wheel hubs were released in a couple variations. One had steering arms with ball joints and the other did not. Both used a large bearing surface for the rotating hub with much lower friction than the old hubs, but also with more clearance and wobble.
A new set of smooth curved panels (#21 & #22) were released in a size which made it possible for even the smallest sets to use them.
The curved 3x11 panel was supplemented with a new version that had additional pin holes. This was apparently needed to add strength to the boom of the 42009 crane. The old panel remained in production.
The 8 tooth pinion gear which had been in production since 1977 was updated with a reinfornced version. The old version had been designed to be compatible with studded parts and therefore had a small diameter sleeve that fit between the studs of a plate. This older version did not work very well with studless beams because it dropped into the counterbore of the holes and therefore did not sit flush. The new stronger version solved this problem. The new version is always dark gray.
A second version of the 8 tooth pinion was released with an oversized axle bore to allow it to slide smoothly on an axle. This allowed powered rotation with a translating axle and was critical for the outriggers of 42009. The frictionless version was always red.
A new version of the thin 5L liftarm was released with axle hole at the ends instead of pin holes.
The range of Technic axles was increased to include a 16L in black. This part had previously been available outside the Technic line in white.
Finally, an L-shaped pin connector was made available, although it was mostly used outside the Technic line.
Wheels and Tires
A new knobby off-road tire was released for the motorcycle wheel from 2010.
- 41999 - 4 x 4 Crawler Exclusive Edition
- 42000 - Grand Prix Racer
- 42001 - Mini Off-Roader
- 42002 - Hovercraft
- 42004 - Mini Backhoe
- 42005 - Monster Truck
- 42006 - Excavator
- 42007 - Moto Cross Bike
- 42008 - Service Truck
- 42009 - Mobile Crane Mk II
- 42010 - Off-Road Racer
- 42011 - Race Car
- Category: Technic history 2010s
- Hits: 46
2014 included 11 new sets. Among them was the flagship motorized 42030 Volvo wheel loader, the second wheeled model to have powered locomotion and the 4th overall. It was also only the second Technic model ever to be licensed. Other notable sets included the huge white 42025 Cargo Plane and the 42023 Construction Crew, a large set with 3 small models instead of one larger model, something that had never been done before in the Technic line. The two largest models were motorized and two others had instructions for optional motors.
The lineup this year was notable for the wide range of unusual colors including orange, lime, white, and even a brand new light blue. Stickers continued to play an enormous role in the overall appearance of the finished models.
There were a number of new parts for the year including panels and axle, but the most notable was an enormous new loader bucket which dwarfed even the largest of the previous offerings.
A new flat 3x11 panels was released to supplement the 5x11 with the same number of holes and general design.
A new thin light gray 5L suspension arm complemented the older dark gray wishbone. With a narrower profile and a similar ball joint socket at the end, it was usable in smaller models.
Axles and Pins
A new 5L axle with stop was added to the existing 4L and 8L offerings. While the even numbered lengths were dark gray, this one was color coded dark tan.
A new 3L axle pin was released in dark gray. This is a part that fans had desired for a long time, and it is surprising that it did not come sooner given its remarkable utility as a fastener.
A 3x5 I-shaped beam became available. This complemented the 5x7 and 5x11 frames as a simple way to strengthen structure with only a single part.
The big news for the year was the huge new Volvo bucket for the 42030 Wheel Loader. At 18x10, the old largest bucket (shown transparent) already seemed enormous, but the new 23x13 bucket could swallow it whole. In addition to the larger size, the design was changed to match the real thing. The front profile is V-shaped instead of straight, and a metal mesh is present at the top.
Wheels and Tires
A new higher profile 49.5 x 20 small scale truck tire was released for the old wheel. The new part had a much more realistic aspect ratio than the old tire when compared with real trucks.
- 42020 - Twin-rotor Helicopter
- 42021 - Snowmobile
- 42022 - Hot Rod
- 42023 - Construction Crew
- 42024 - Container Truck
- 42025 - Cargo Plane
- 42026 - Black Champion Racer
- 42027 - Desert Racer
- 42028 - Bulldozer
- 42029 - Customized Pick up Truck
- 42030 - Volvo L350F Wheel Loader
- 5004193 - Technic Collection (42026, 42027)
- Category: Technic history 2010s
- Hits: 44
2015 was a big year for both sets and parts. 2011 saw the first set over 2000 parts, 2013 saw one over 2600, and now the new licensed Mercedes Arocs 42043 was nearly 2800, the biggest set to date. And this was not the only large set; three other sets had 900 to 1400 parts. There were a total of 13 sets spanning the full spectrum of size and complexity, and including most of the historical Technic categories. Planes, trucks, motorcycle, cranes, off road vehicles, race cars, pull-back racers, construction equipment, 2015 had it all. Two of the sets were motorized out of the box, and two more could easily have motors added. The re-release of the five year old 8041 racing truck as 42041 was a bit of a surprise.
It was a great year for rare colors. Four different sets included a wide assortment of white parts, there was a large orange model, a large blue model, the medium blue palette was extended, and the Le Mans car used a bright green which Technic had never seen before. Even dark blue made a token appearance.
Color was not the only big change. A very large number of new parts were introduced this year including the hotly anticipated longer pneumatics. Some of the small parts were useful connectors that it is a surprise did not exist earlier given how quickly they became indispensable. The 42043 in particular contained a wide variety of the new parts and put them to good use, particularly the gear racks and supports used for outriggers.
A new set of driving ring parts for transmissions was released. Functionally, they work exactly the same as the older system from 1994. The differences are that the axle joiner and driving ring are now 3 studs long instead of 2, and the number of detents has been reduced to 3 and made more positive. The old system had 5 detents or "click point" along the axle joiner, but 2 of them were never used. The end points and the center are the desired stopping points and are now the only stopping points. The ridges are also taller to more forcefully lock the driving ring into position. A new clutch gear is the same as the old except that it is now symmetrical and mates with the driving ring from either side so it cannot be installed backward by mistake.
A series of useful new connectors were introduced. A long axle pin in black has a 2L axle and a 1L pin, a match for the reciprocal part from 2014. There was a pin with pin hole (shown in black), and a 1L beam which is similar to the handle from 1995 which was only used one year.
After 11 years, the 56 tooth turntable was replaced with a 60 tooth variant. Apart from the number of teeth and associated diameter, another difference is that the new turntable has bevel teeth instead of spur teeth which allows it to be powered from a parallel or perpendicular axes. The internal ring gear teeth were removed. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the upper and lower halves now lock together around the outer perimeter instead of the inner. This produced a much tighter and better support joint while also greatly reducing friction.
A new clamshell bucket was released. This part is made to be used in facing pairs.
A very unique new gear rack and support system was released (shown in red and dark gray). The new gear rack is 11L long instead of 4L and incorporates several gear and axle attachment slots as well as a longitudinal rail groove. The mating part supports the rail which allows the rack gear to translate which remaining vertically supported. While the obvious use of this part is for telescoping outriggers, it was also used as a crane arm in 42043 already in the first year, proving its versatility.
A long awaited new set of pneumatics was released. This was officially labeled "V2" even though it is actually the 4th generation of pneumatic parts. The primary change to existing parts is the use of a beveled port which makes it easier to attach hoses. The switch, the small actuators, and the compressor pump were updated with this design. In addition, longer versions of the small and large diameter actuators were released with a stroke of 6 studs instead of the previous 2 and 3.5. The rod end connectors also changed slightly in profile to be somewhat more durable, and the head end of the large actuators also changed. This change makes it impossible to use them with the old pneumatic actuator brackets from 2005.
Two new panels were introduced. A variation of the 5x11 flat panel is now available which tapers to a 3 stud width at one end (shown in yellow). A curved 3x11 panel was introduced as a wheel arch (shown in bright green).
- 42031 - Cherry Picker
- 42032 - Compact Tracked Loader
- 42033 - Record Breaker
- 42034 - Quad Bike
- 42035 - Mining Truck
- 42036 - Street Motorcycle
- 42037 - Formula Off-Roader
- 42038 - Arctic Truck
- 42039 - 24 Hours Race Car
- 42040 - Fire Plane
- 42041 - Race Truck
- 42042 - Crawler Crane
- 42043 - Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245
- Category: Technic history 2010s
- Hits: 39
What a year! 2016 brought a lot of surprises. With 12 models, the overall size of the selection wasn't unusual, and the pair of new pullback racers weren't a surprise either. However, the selection of very large models was vast and opened up some previously untapped subjects and sizes. Just look at the size of the models in that picture! This year included 3 models with Power Functions, 1 more for which PF could be added, and 3 licensed models (Volvo, CLAAS, and Porsche).
One of the changes for the year was the use of uncommon Technic colors. The models this year included pearl gold, lime green, purple, dark blue, azure, and even orange in quantity. Purple had previously only existed in Competition sets, dark blue had only existed in 41999, and azure had never been seen at all. The huge selection of orange in 42056 was the biggest (pleasant) surprise since this color had only a small parts palette previously.
The largest model of the 1st half wave of sets was a huge new coaxial helicopter rivalling the only slightly older 9396. The 2nd half releases consisted of 3 sets all of which had over 1000 pieces. It took until the 8880 supercar in 1994 for the first set to break this magical hurdle, and then until 2011 for 2000 parts to be exceeded. This year the 42055 Bucket Wheel Excavator took the count to almost 4000! The scale and subject of this model were a big surprise. In previous years, any of these models could have been considered a flagship and all are worthy of the title. But the biggest surprise of all was the new 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. This 1:8 scale supercar is part of a new mysterious "ultimate" series and was developed in close cooperation with the OEM manufacturer. It includes premium packaging, instructions, and price.
New product lines, new licenses, new colors, new massive scale, what else could you ask for? It was also a banner year for new parts, most of which were made for the 42055 BWE and 42056 Porsche. A wide selection of new tires, panels, and specialty parts was introduced.
Several new panels were introduced. A shorter 3x7 curved panel (shown in black) was introduced to complement the existing 3x11. An angled panel (shown in blue) makes a good fender or seat. Finally, a purpose made wheel arch (shown in orange) was created especially for the 42056 Porsche and also exists in a printed version with vents.
Wheels and Tires
The tires this year were some really big ones! Although the 81.6 x 44R (left) already existed in the Batman Tumbler a couple of years earlier, this year it made it's way to Technic. This tire has an unusual tread and profile very different from other Technic tires. Another brand new tread is the chevron pattern on the new 107 x 44 tractor tires. These tires are truly enormous and rival the legendary Power Puller tires. Both of these tires use existing wheels. Finally, a unique new set of spoked wheels and 81.6 x 44ZR racing tires were included with the 42056 Porsche. These have the same tread as the tires from 8880 and are the same diameter but wider. The wheels have a particularly deep dish allowing the steering axis to be within the wheel.
Axles and Connectors
Way back in 1977 axles were available in even lengths from 2 to 12. Over the years the odd lengths were added, but it took almost 40 years for the 11L to show up, color coded yellow. There was also a new 3L axle with stop (brown) to complement the existing 4L, 5L, and 8L.
The 3L axle joiner shown in red is a variation of the white version introduced in 2015 for the new transmission driving rings. This version is pinched in the middle so it allows the driving ring to slide smoothly instead of click into place.
Finally, a small perpendicular axle and pin connector was introduced to round out the selection and match the pin connector from 2015.
To complete the line of updated pneumatics, a new manual pump was introduced (shown in blue). The old studded base was retired and replaced with pin holes, and the spring was now protected by a collar.
A variant of the steerable wheel hub from 2013 was introduced in black. This version lacks the integrated balls joints and instead has axle slots. This allowed the use of brick built calipers in 42056.
The final pair of parts were included with the 42055 Bucket Wheel Excavator. The new bucket does not vary much in size from what was already available, but the rear attach points were required to make the bucket wheel work. Finally, a huge new 90 degree sector and ring gear quadrant was introduced. Four of these make a complete circle with 140 internal teeth. Besides use a gear, this makes a great turntable or slew ring for very heavy loads.
- 42044 - Display Team Jet
- 42045 - Hydroplane Racer
- 42046 - Getaway Racer
- 42047 - Police Interceptor
- 42048 - Race Kart
- 42049 - Mine Loader
- 42050 - Drag Racer
- 42052 - Heavy Lift Helicopter
- 42053 - Volvo EW160E
- 42054 - CLAAS Xerion 5000 Trac VC
- 42055 - Bucket Wheel Excavator
- 42056 - Porsche 911 GT3 RS