19 October 2015

REVIEW: LEGO Technic 24 Hours Race Car #42039

24 Hour party people.

We enjoy nothing more than sinking our teeth into a meaty brick-building project, and our recent LEGO Technic reviews have provided just that. Although slightly smaller than the behemoth Crawler Crane we reviewed a couple of months back, out latest build actually presented us with more of a challenge. We get revved up for the Technic 24 Hours Race Car #42039.

Yes, this is a bloody massive car, one that is made up of 1219 parts and features actual working mechanisms. Although it is short of matching the 1400 piece Crawler Crane, and certainly cannot beat the crane's height and wow factor, this was actually a far more difficult and complex build. Lets delve right in shall we?

What a beaut. This model is truly stunning both in terms of size and style. The designers have really nailed the smooth contours and also an excellent colour scheme, coupled with some nice mechanised features to keep you entertained. But, do you know what they also did? They put all those 1218 parts, most of which are very small pins and pegs, into un-numbered, non-sequential bags. Yep, the whole set is mixed and un-ordered, like a MEGA Bloks set. Meaning instead of sitting down and casually opening bag number one to begin (as you do with normal LEGO sets) you have to open EVERYTHING which looks like this:

A bit intimidating to say the least. But, once you start to sort the similarly sized and coloured parts into groups, it begins to get easier. A bit easier. In all, the build took us about six hours spread over a coupe of nights. As ever it was fun, if a bit fiddly.

It certainly has an aggressive look, matching perfectly the aesthetics of the real car. The low profile, the speed fins on the front and rear, and also the large wide tyres are all perfect and work very well in the finished model. There is a nice attention to the small details as well, with lights at the front...

...and at the back, along with a fairly decent use of stickers. Yes, there are tonnes of them, as there tend to be with race car sets (bloody advertising), but at least the designs chosen here are subtle and appropriate.

Here is your scale shot, with Ice Cream lady Jo being dwarfed by the 24 Hours Race Car. So not minifig scale, sorry. You could try to fit your baby in there though - it's almost big enough.

As with all decent large-sized Technic sets, there are mechanised functions. Unlike the aforementioned Crawler Crane, this set does not come with a motor and battery pack to power them, but can be fitted with the same should you have spare units. We've not bothered fitting them, as we think the manual approach is a bit more rewarding here. As you can see above there is a simple gear lever allowing you to select either the gull wing doors (top) or the rear engine canopy (bottom). Flick it to the door image and then...

...twist this little gear on the right side of the vehicle...

...and the doors will steadily swing upwards, Back to the Future style. Opening the doors reveals more detail in the cockpit...

...including a steering wheel and a rather fetching red driving seat. Next up, knock the gearing lever over to the rear canopy side, twist that same side side gear, and...

...the whole rear section of the car's body will lift into the air, exposing those beefy tyres and revealing some splendid engine detail.

You can see what we mean now about complexity. The engine block itself is made of those pumping pistons that we've seen before in the Bulldozer and Hotrod sets, which move in and out as you push the car along. You can also see some nice piping parts, and also a hint at the complicated gear system that makes it all work.

But that's not all - twiddle the knob on top (tee hee) and you get active front-wheel steering, allowing you to carefully drive this around...

...and also a few other flaps that open up, including the front storage compartment. Although designed to accommodate the battery pack should you wish to go down the powered route, this also serves as a handy boot space for playtime. You can also swing open the side body pieces that conceal...

...gears and cogs, so many gears and cogs. Nice to be able to open it up and see how it all works though. We built it, but we still assume its all achieved by magic or something.

And it would have to be a lot of magic: here's an unusual view of the underside, detailing the effort you have to put in underneath all those stickered-up body parts.

Oh, and last but certainly not least, each wheel on the car has individual suspension. It's actually very impressive to push down on the car once completed and see it spring back up, stiffly and smoothly. The suspension on the forward wheels, those that also have steering functions, is one of the most complex and fiddly parts, but waaaaay worth it in the end.

This is a challenging build for sure, even for thirty-something technology journalists, but boy is it rewarding in the end. The box says 11-16, but even the most experienced and nimble-fingered kid might have some difficulty at times with this. Hopefully that will only lead to some great parent/child bonding session as mum or dad helps out. Just try not to swear too much.

A fun, tricky and teeth-sinkable build producing a great model with plenty of play features. Just what we drool over.


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