Pneumatics, of course! This is one of the rare currently available pneumatic sets, especially as the trend seems to be moving in the favour of the recently introduced mechanical linear actuators. Let's be honest: mechanical actuators unquestionably offer some advantages in comparison to pneumatics (among which the accurate actuator control is the most important), but pneumatics don't need complicated gearing and axle mechanisms behind them, while they provide some serious power nonetheless. I think pneumatics should, therefore, not get ignored (or even worse, discontinued by TLG), and this is one of the sets that keeps them a part of the Big Picture.
▪ BUILDING, IDEAS AND CONCEPTS
However, "efficient" and "sturdy" doesn't necessarily mean "simple". In fact, this set isn't the easiest to build (most of the time it's actually not difficult either, but a few steps regarding the weaving of pneumatic hoses could be very tricky for beginners), and it takes about an hour and a half to build the first time. But it's even harder to disassemble as it has lots of tightly neighbouring half-stud beams connected by the axles, a 'feature' I'd cheerfully live without.
▪ PARTS SUPPLY
It will provide you with six medium-sized and two large offroad wheels, an always welcome turntable and, of course, pneumatics ― consisting of one large (spring-loaded) pump, two cylinders, two T-distributors, two switchvalves and a (drum roll!) rare small pump.
Besides, the log-loading trailer is sturdy enough to be used as a base for some larger, custom contraptions. I guess it could support the crane at least twice the size and capacity, if one had the inclination and the hardware to modify it.
▪ GENERAL PROS & CONS
+ Pneumatics! Two pumps, two cylinders!
+ Fine supply of other parts (wheels, turntable...)
+ Easily customisable
+ Nice to play, well-placed controls
- Not the easiest to build
- Even less easy to disassemble
- The crane theoretically turns 360°, but the hosing gets twisted soon
▪▪ VERDICT ▪▪
Perhaps not the Technic flagship, but nevertheless a cute little playable set that keeps the pneumatic systems in the game, and as such, a great start for people interested in them. Not breaking new grounds in terms of mechanical solutions or functionality, but a good role model of simple and clean design, for a very reasonable price.