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Building A New Look
Posted by Purple_Dave on March 6, 2003 at 10:30 PM CST:
First up is the littlest TECHNIC® set from the basic 2003 line. It's a forklift that's small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. As ridiculously tiny as it looks compared to the rest of the new sets, it does seem to be fairly close to the same scale as quite a few of them, when you really stop to think about how small a real forklift would be compared to the other four vehicles. It has a working mast for the forks, but that's really the only action feature.



The next set is the Front End Loader, which features a working scoop and a steering link in the center of the frame. Notice that the "C"-clip first introduced in the TECHNIC® R2-D2 set has now been reproduced in yellow to serve as mounts for the taillights.



On a similar scale as the Front End Loader, the Dumptruck comes with a similar steering link located between the cab and the working dumper. Hopefully people are looking for new sources of yellow parts (I know I am).



Now we start getting into the really interesting sets. The Backhoe is built on a significantly larger scale than the previous three sets, so quite a bit more detail has been included, such as real pneumatic action for the two scoop arms and the working extendable support feet located right behind the large rear wheels (and hooked up to control levers in the cab). I believe it's also rigged with working steering, but I forgot to check.



Of course, the one that seems to have all the serious TECHNIC® fans talking is the lime green firetruck. But wait! Since first appearing at the German Toy Fair, this beast has had a change of color, switching to the bright red that everyone associates with firetrucks (I've heard that the neon green color used on some modern firetrucks is supposed to be easier to see than primary red, which is why they switched in the first place, but people pay less attention to them because subconciously they know that "firetrucks are red", so it actually makes them harder to notice). Anyways, the features on this model are often rather hard to spot. The easiest one is that there's a knob on the top (disguised as the forward blue flasher) that controls the aim of the water cannon (sorry, it doesn't actually squirt), and the second easiest is probably to notice the working pistons in the rear-mounted engine. The back end opens up to allow access to the V6 engine block, and there are two side doors (immediately opposite each other) that can be opened, but there's a top-mounted slider that prevents them both from opening at the same time. All three doors open with a pneumatic assist to keep them from reclosing on their own, which might actually be why that slider bar is there (the side doors share the same pneumatic cylinder). Additionally, six of the eight wheels are supposed to be able to turn (you can actually see that the two front left wheels have been turned in these photos).



Of course, the thing that I found to be most interesting was the new piece. Yes, I said "new piece". Located on the top of the Front End Loader, you can see a pair of the new 1x2 full-width liftarms, which have two round mounting holes. This piece should not be confused with the 1x2 flat liftarms first introduced in the 2002 SW TECHNIC® R2-D2 and Darth Vader sets, which have a pair of plus-shaped mounting holes.

Anyways, my hope is that the return of more classic-style TECHNIC® sets will help quell the anti-BIONICLE™ backlash that started up almost two years ago, since most of the people who were complaining seemed to feel that BIONICLE™ had completely replaced the style of TECHNIC® that they enjoyed. As an avid fan of BIONICLE™, I just want to say that I don't want to feel (or be constantly told) that my hobby was made possible at the expense of someone else's, and these sets prove otherwise.



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