REVIEW - 42070 - 6X6 ALL TERRAIN TOW TRUCK
It is that time of year again. The time when the most interesting new Technic sets will be (or already have been, in some cases) released. The flagship set is obviously builds loads of anticipation and expectancy. Interesting enough this year's flagship set isn't the biggest set, when we are merely regarding the number of parts. Even though the 42069 has more parts, this set is still considered to be the flagship. It's quite obvious when you see the size of the box or when you look at the price.
At first sight the set looks as impressive as the box. Six big wheels, introduced in the Claas last year. Full RC, which means you can use a remote to drive the vehicle and to operate the crane and outriggers. There is only one remote however, so the functions need to be switched, using gears and levers. I am anxious to find out how the gear box works.
Since several videos and reviews have been released, we already know that this set received a lot of criticism. One of the main complaints is the hefty price tag. It's as expensive as the Bucket Wheel Excavator, yet is has less than half the parts. There must be something in this set justifying the price tag. Why don't we start building, so we can find out what that might be.
Title: 6x6 All Terrain Tow Truck
Part Count: 1862
Box Weight: 4,0 kg (approx)
Box Dimensions: 58,0 cm x 47,7 cm x 11,9 cm
Set Price (MSRP): € 279
Price per Part: € 0,15
Links: Brickset, Bricklink
Upon looking at the box, it's clear that this set is this year's flagship. Obviously the lid/flap is a clear indication that we're dealing with the flagship, but the box itself is also pretty impressive.
The inside of the flap shows a single picture of the model, with the outriggers extended. Admittedly, it does look cool and appealing. According to the designers this is the truck that will tow the truck that was supposed to tow your car. If this bad boy doesn't get the job done, what will?!
The inside of the box shows the different functions, translated in no less than eight languages. At the bottom you can see an overview of all the Power Functions components.
The backside of the box also shows some of the functions, together with the B-model, a Research Explorer Vehicle. Not that I am particularly familiar with research vehicles, but it doesn't resemble anything I have ever seen :laugh:
CONTENTS OF THE BOX
The box contains:
BOOK WITH STICKERS
The way every bigger Technic (or LEGO set in general for that matter) should be packed, the sticker sheet combined with the book.
The book is quite heavy and it contains almost 400 pages for 590 building steps.
Since the sticker sheet is packed with the book, it's unharmed during transit. Hopefully the bear is unharmed too. The colors of the stickers are very vibrant, which perfectly match the Dark Azure look of the truck itself.
One of the key elements of this set are the six big tires, introduced in the Claas in 2016. I am big fan of these tires, so I was delighted that the rumors about a 6x6 Truck with Claas tires were true.
This set contains 18 unnumbered bags, containing a total of 1862 parts. The PF components are combined with the rims and are packed in two separate bags. By looking at the bags you can already a lot of different bright colors.
This section describes the interesting parts.
This set contains the following Power Functions elements:
Compared to the Bucket Wheel Excavator this set does have the IR Receiver and Transmitter, while the BWE doesn't. And it has an M Motor, which the BWE lacks. So it has three more PF components. This is important for comparing the price. It's a nice PF Starter Pack for those of you getting (back) into the hobby.
24-16 TEETH DIFFERENTIAL
Surprisingly, this set contains two old style Differentials. Upon close inspection, it seems that the mold has changed a bit, since the innards of the gear slightly protrudes, which wasn't the case with the previous versions. Admittedly, I would probably not have noticed if Sariel hadn't mentioned it.
Actually it makes sense that this set contains at least one of these differentials. Since it's full RC and 6x6 we do need a center differential to prevent strain on the axles when powering all the wheels.
DARK BLUE AZURE PARTS
When we first saw the pictures of this set, we had to guess which color blue was used. This is because TLG has treated us with a wide range of blue elements in the Technic line. Compared to medium blue or medium azure, I definitely prefer this blue color. It would be great if TLG picked one (or two) shade(s) of blue and worked with that for a while though. They probably have heard enough complaints by now, so hopefully they will stick to dark azure as the alternate blue.
Downside of getting new colors is the range of available parts. Over time the inventory will hopefully grow, but for now we have to work with this selection of dark azure. Currently there are 215 registered parts in dark azure, but they won't be very useful for building Technic. Unless you like to add Duplo to your truck :wink:
CURVED PANEL 13x3
For the first time we get these panels in black, which is a very welcome addition to the parts selection. If we can get them in white too, that would be great, thanks :thumbup:
CURVED PANEL 3x6x3
Earlier this year this transparent version of the curved 3x6x6 panel was intruced in the BMW R 1200 GS and Uwe conveniently used it as headlights in this truck.
For the first time one of the frames (technically it's called a liftarm) is produced in a different color than light bluish grey. Six H Shaped Liftarms in red will be used in this set. One of my favorite parts and they perfectly fit the Mindstorms EV3 color palette.
AXLE AND PIN CONNECTOR HUB
This year the Axle and Pin Connector Hub is released in red. I already found these at the Factory Store in Legoland Germany and I wondered which set would use these in red. They are most likely not produced in red for this set, but for Baze Malbus from the Star Wars Buildable Figures.
This set contains a new rope. It has kind of a metallic touch to it. It is slightly ticker than the regular rope. Thumbs up for this new version. It looks and feels a lot better.
RED #3 CONNECTOR
Last but not least, the rerelease of the red #3 connector, last seen in 2011. Lots of MOC-ers will be very happy to be able to use these parts for an affordable price again. I almost forgot that these parts were pretty rare, so I shot this picture afterwards. Four parts is exactly the number I have (or had before now) in my collection. So basically I doubled up! Whoop whoop.
This set contains 1862 parts, which is not that many for a flagship these days.
Let's build ourselves a 6x6 All Terrain Tow Truck, now shall we! As with most trucks we start by building the center section, where the gearbox will be positioned. We immediately get cracking with quite a few gears, including the white safety gear (a.k.a. Clutch Gear).
Early on the M Motor is attached to the gear box. This motor will be used to drive several functions, switched manually by two levers.
This picture clearly shows that there are four switches to be operated. Eventually there are only two levers (one on each side of the vehicle), so let's wait and see how this will end up. So far the build is enjoyable. It's fun to add the gears and to slowly find out how they will be operated and which function(s) they will be driving.
After building most of the center gearbox you will work your way forward and attach the front wheel steering linkage. As you can see the steering is operated off center and the second 12T Bevel Gear is only used to guide the rack.
One of the things that also meets the eye is the different colored liftarms on the port and starboard side of the boat...uhmm truck. It seems odd at the moment, but it will prove to be useful later on...if you don't screw up anyway :laugh:
Talking about screw ups. I had quite a few of 'em during the build. It was late and I wasn't really sharp. An example of lack of sharpness is taking the L Motor to the photo studio (I was building downstairs) and not thinking clearly about where the cable should be positioned. I can tell you...not this way. There is little extra length on the cable, so you will need every centimeter (or even milimeter). Connecting it this way will end up with having too little length on the cable. Lucky for me I was able to turn the motor around without taking too much of the model apart.
I had a friend over who is interested in LEGO Technic as well. Obviously, he didn't want to be in spectactor mode during the entire build, so we alternated building every now and then. Since I misplaced the L Motor, you can see what happened in the picture below. The dark azure liftarms were placed over the wire, which got us into trouble half an hour later or so.
Let's talk a bit more about the different colors on the different sides of the truck. Since people tend to frequently make the mistake of misplacing the differentials in a 4x4 model, TLG provided a fool proof way of connecting the differentials. This way you almost cannot make this mistake. So, you would think. Unless you are building with a team mate and you incorrectly correct a mistake. That is exactly what happened during this phase of the build.
My buddy had built both live axles. He had built them correctly, but he reversed the second one, resulting in the red liftarms being on the wrong side of the vehicle. I noticed the mistake, but instead of simply turning the second live axle around, I started rebuilding the second live axle. This resulted in both differentials being on the same side. Needless to say, that didn't improve driving performance.
This was the moment that we called it a night. As you can see the wire is still incorrectly attached and the rear live axle has an incorrectly placed differential. Little did we know that we *cough* my buddy *cough* also missed a 20T bevel gear right smack in the middle of gearbox.
As you can see in the picture below, there is no extra length on the cable of the XL Motor. This is not the most elegant solution, but after you finish the cabin, you won't see the cable anymore.
At this point we still had the rear differential the other way around, so when I hooked up the battery box to test all the functions, we noticed the two rear axles turning in different ways...a clear indication you screwed up. I immediately realised that my buddy didn't screw up the build, but simple attached the rear axle incorrectly (or is this also considered a screw up hehe). We both had a laugh and fixed the mistake.
Here you can see that the red connector is a tight fit. Not much margin to work with.
The finished cabin looks cool. Although, I wonder why TLG keeps using blue panels as seats. I mean, this blue doesn't really match the rest of the truck. I'd say that any other color would have worked better than blue. Yellow would have been okay, or simply dark or light bluish grey, since the set is already very colorful. Come on guys, you can do better than that.
The enige powering this behemoth is a powerful 4 cylinder engine. Wait a minute?! That can't be right. A 4 cylinder enige....hmmmph. I reckon its real life counterpart wouldn't use a 4 cylinder engine, but Uwe probably prefered a non-V engine over the correct number of cylinders. I would rather see a big 8 cylinder engine, even if that meant a V8. Even Dokludi used a V8 in his replica, so there is space enough. Other than that; the engine with the two black panels looks cool.
The rear outriggers use more or less the same mechanism as the side ones, using an axle instead of gears to operate the stamps. Cool aspect about this technique is that it's quite rare for the outriggers to be operated by a motor. Usually you have to manually extend the stamps, which is rather cumbersome. Or be very patient when you have to wait for the 42009 outriggers to be extended. These outriggers are deployed in no time!
Here's the attachment of the gearbox to the mini LA. The axle still need to be pushed through the bracket.
When you are done with the rear outriggers you move onto the crane. The crane looks rather flimsy for a truck this robust. Some panels could be added to make it look more sturdy and robust. It feels unfinished this way.
At this point the model looks like you will be adding quite some stuff. On the contrary, you are almost done at this point. I remember my girlfriend looking at the parts I had left, looking at the model and saying "but you still need to build a lot". This is how your 98% complete truck looks like.
The fenders and the side panels cover up the chassis and after that you are done. As you can see, the rear of the truck lacks a proper bed, which leaves you with an unfinished feeling, again. The rear and (the looks of the) crane are definitely not the strong suite of this model.
The front of the model does look cool though. Unlike the cute bear, the front says "don't mess with me, I will ... you up". At the bottom you can see the 40 year anniversary brick (3L Liftarm), which is present in all of the 2017 sets.
Several "Tow 067" stickers need to be applied, but what they mean still remains a mystery. Since set 42067 is missing from the line-up many of us figured the 42067 would be introduced as a new supercar (or something similar) being towed by this truck. The designers were actually quite surprised with this theory (or they acted surprised) and they said it wasn't related at all. I it supposed to have a meaning though, which we will find out later.
Without further ado, I hereby present this year's flagship.....the 42070 6x6 All Terrain Tow Truck! Some basic observations when looking at the model. I didn't like the color at all when it was first presented. During the build I actually started liking Dark Azure. It works really well with red and the yellow details.
There is quite a gap underneath the doors. It's a plus that TLG included the bigger panels, but I can't help but thinking that the gap could have been avoided. The yellow rims with the black dishes work really well.
The overall look of the truck is rather impressive. When you start building and you see the six big tires, it's a sign that it's gonna be yuge. And that the Mexicans are going to pay for it...o wait now, that's something totally different. It is huge though. I am well aware that bigger doesn't always mean better, but I am a sucker for big models.
The front of the truck with the bull bar definitely matches my expectations for this kind of truck. The chains and the Teddy Bear add nice touches to the exterior.
The center of the chassis seems to be bending a bit, which isn't really surprising, given the size of the model. When I go on a cruise, the ship is bending all the time and that's not even a bad thing. I don't really mind this model bending a bit, although one could claim that it needs some reinforcement.
Is it even road legal to have the tires sticking out of the vehicle?! I wonder how it looks if you position the panels 1L farther to the outside.
This is how the vehicle looks from the back (sorry for the mirrors). As you can see I have placed both chains at the rear end of the vehicle, instead of one of the side.
From the rear you can easily see the chassis underneath.
The bottom shot of the chassis shows the old style center differential and the pendular axles. A couple of soft springs on each side would have been nice.
Some extra pictures for your enjoyment.
FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS
Now that we have built the model and we know what it looks like. Let's talk about the functions. This model packs six functions powered by two motors.
Unfortunately you can't switch functions with the IR remote, so you need to change the functions manually, using two levers. Each lever is mounted on one side of the model.
The left lever (the one on the driver's side) switches between the Driving Functions and Operator Functions. When you switch this lever to driving mode, the position of the second lever doesn't matter.
Instead of using a servo motor for steering, this truck iis using the M Motor, which is also used for some other functions. Steering is very smooth and operates nicely. There is no return to center, but you hardly miss it. I really like the way this is implemented. Downside however is the turning radius. As with much Technic models, this model has a very wide turning radius. You need to go back and forth quite a few times to make a 180-degree turn in a somewhat confined space.
Here are two video's demonstrating the steering mechanism.
Because of the weight of the vehicle, it's geared down using a 8T on a 24T gear in the portal hub. So, don't expect spectacular performance when it comes to top speed. It does have proper torque and it drives smoothly. Using an XL Motor instead of an L motor results in the model coasting when you release the "throttle", instead of abrubtly coming to a halt. All in all I am quite happy with the ability to drive (and steer) this model. Here's a short video of driving the truck:
Since I am not really interested in Truck Trial and/or outdoor operation, I won't go into much detail about how suitable this model is for that. If you are interested in that, I can highly recommend watching the video review of our top video reviewer Sariel. What I do like to address is the inability of the IR system to be operated outside. I have never done truck trial or other outdoor PF IR related activities, but it just not possible to operate the model outside of your home. I never really realised that this was a big issue, but when you buy a € 279 RC set you probably expect it to work in your garden as well. Makes me wonder how many calls have been answered by TLG's customer service regarding this matter. It's time for TLG to step up their game and come up with a better solution.
OPERATING THE CRANE AND OUTRIGGERS
When you switch the lever on the driver's side to upper position you are engaging the non-driving functions of the model. That is operating the crane functions and the outriggers. When you are using this mode you are depending on the second lever to select the functions you want to operate. It's either the outriggers combined with lowering/raising the boom or rotating the crane and raising/lowering the hook. This takes a bit of getting used to, but I found this model easier to operate than the Arocs, which uses a similar approach. The following video demonstrates the operator functions:
One thing that kind of bugged me during operating the outriggers is the fact that a 7L axle has been used and it has been stopped by two full bushes. This resulted in the outrigger getting stuck near the panel on the right side. I was surprised by this, since TLG usually makes sure that there is ample space for moving parts. I will be modding this by using an 6L axle and half bushes.
Besides the motorised functions, this model has some manual functions like opening the doors and the bonnet. And according to TLG's website, it has moveable lights. They have yet to be found though.
The B-model of this set is what TLG calls an Research Explorer Vehicle. A polar vehicle comes to mind, but the big tires are more suitable for other types of environment. I am not sure what TLG is aiming at. Usually I don't really care for B-models and that's no different for this set. I would be happy to see someone build this vehicle and show us what it's all about. I will take a rain check.
Now that we are almost at the end of this review you have probably noticed that I am rather enthusiastic about this set. Although we haven't found a clear explanation why this set has an MSRP of 279 euro. I was hoping we would find out during the review, but we haven't. Therefore, I am afraid we need to do some math to be able solve the mystery.
The most logical way to determine the price of a set is to compare it with similar sets. Other than the usual Technic elements, this set contains PF components and six big tires. Let's look at the Claas because of the tires, the Volvo L350F for the Power Functions and the Bucket Wheel Excavator because it has the same price.
So the BWE has over twice the number of parts, no PF Receiver or Transmitter and a single motor, but it still has the same price. You can argue that the BWE was actually cheap compared to other sets. Okay, let's call the BWE cheap and ignore it.
Leaves us with the Volvo to compare to, since that set has a lot of PF components. The volvo has the entire range of PF components, including 2 PF IR Transmitters and Receivers. So it has a lot more PF components than the 6x6 Truck. The Volvo has approximately 200 parts less than the 6x6 Truck. At around 10 cents a piece, this would make up for a maximum of € 20. The Volvo is € 60 cheaper and it has almost double the number of PF components. The Claas isn't overly expensive, so the price of the tires probably don't add extreme costs to producing the set. When looking at the price of other sets, I simply cannot explain why the 6x6 Truck should cost 279 euro. Therefore, I can only jump to the conclusion that this set is overpriced.
I'd say the price should be somewhere between the Claas (€ 149) and the Volvo (€ 219). € 149 + 2 tires and PF components makes me feel like € 199, possibly € 219, but no more than that and definitely no € 279.
When I first saw this set, I wasn't very thrilled about it. Even seeing it in Billund didn't change my mind. It's just a big truck which can drive and has yet another shade of blue. I do like big models and I do like the Claas tires, but it just didn't do it for me. Bright colors for a truck like this?!
During the first stages of the build it was clear that this sets packs and interesting gearbox to operate some cool features. The set contains over 100 gears, so there obviously is interesting stuff going on. During the build we (I had some help during some of the building stages) made some serious mistakes. This wasn't because of the instructions. This was because it was late and we weren't paying enough attention. The funny thing is that this actually added some fun to the build. We had to take some stuff apart, and investigate were the problem originated. This was somewhat reminiscent of the good old days, where you sometimes had to puzzle your way through the build. So yeah, I really had fun during the build, even though I (we) made some very stupid mistakes.
Dark azure is a very nice shade of blue. It's way better than medium azure or medium blue. Now let's hope that TLG makes a pick when it comes to blue and add some connectors to the mix. Some parts of the truck look very cool and some look unfinished. Especially the rear of the vehicle and the crane look unfinished. It feels that some modding needs to be done to complete this model. I have very much come to terms with the bright colors though and I have started to appreciate them.
What I don't get is the use of bright orange parts in the chassis. Why not throw in some dark azure if you need to use another color than grey. I can totally understand that TLG want to make the build process as understandable as possible, especially with the target audience in mind, but in some aspects they are overdoing it.
Sometimes when I build a Technic model, the functions just don't seem to work properly. They look like a Proof of Concept, instead of actual working mechanisms. The good thing about this model is that the functions work properly. Steering, driving, operating the crane and the outriggers, everything works fine (except maybe the minor issue with the outriggers). Outdoor playability is virtually non-existent though. Don't expect your kids to have fun in the garden with this thing. They will get frustrated.
The main functions of the model are all operated by a remote control. Upside is that these functions work really well. Downside is that you still need to manually switch the functions, and you need to be inside. The outriggers are a blast to operate, they are so cool.
In term of special parts this set isn't exactly special. You get six big tires, which you might already own four of, when you own the Claas. For existing PF users, it's mostly parts in new colors. If you are new to Technic or new to PF, this set is a pretty decent starter pack.
VALUE FOR MONEY
This is where things get ugly. The hefty price tag of € 279 is way too much. Somewhere between € 179 and € 219 would have been reasonable, but € 279 is nowhere near reasonable.
After building the set and spending some time playing with it I can only come to the conclusion that I really like it. I am even thinking about modding this set and that is something I seldomly do. This set reminds me of the 42039, where I felt like the president of a fan club with very few members. Sometimes a set just works for me and this is such a set. And that's not because it's the best set right out of the box, but it has potential to have a lot of fun with it. Some sets are perfect, but you will hardly touch them after building. The real question is whether people will be forking out such an amount of money for a non-licensed set.