Monday, May 16, 2011

Lego Technic 8070 Super Car Review: A serious road beast

Supercars have always had a distinguished position in the Technic world, often pushing the boundaries of what was achievable, introducing new parts and techniques, and being among the largest available models. It all began in 1977 with the set 853 which was built without friction pins and dedicated steering parts, continued through a couple of studded models culminating in 8880 and continuing in the studless era with ever more advanced models. The newest, recently launched member of the family is the 8070 Supercar, reviewed here.

Expectations from this type of a set are undoubtedly high, as the supercars are one of the toughest models to design. They need to cramp as many functions as possible within a limited volume, be sturdy, and yet be modelled to look nice, though not as much to hide the underlying mechanics. And above all that, they need to introduce new ideas and concepts, rather than just recycle some previously seen chassis.

This machine did not fail to do so. Already first half an hour into building, it is obvious that 8070 means business. The gearbox in the middle of the chassis and its surrounding area must be one of the most tightly packed systems one can hope to see. The gearbox isn't actually here to provide various ratios for the drive, but to choose between four motorized functions around the car: operating the left and right gullwing doors independently, opening the bonnet, and extending the rear wing. The PF motor serves only these purposes, not the drive or steering which are still manual.

There is a V8 engine under the bonnet powered by the rear wheels, and the car is steered by the knob behind the cabin (a well-known Hand-of-God method). All wheels have fully independent double wishbone suspension. The rear wheels' parts actually theoretically allows them to steer too, but they are fixed in place ― however it may be useful for your MOC's. The rear hood opens manually, and is cleverly designed to allow the wing underneath it to slide freely.

Looks are a matter of personal taste, but I find them fantastic. It is so nicely modelled and features many subtle angles and triangular structures in the bodywork, that I could easily believe it is an accurate model of a real-life sportscar. As usual, the chassis is built very strongly, while the bodywork panels usually connect to an axle or a friction pin, for the possible collisions not to incur too much damage.

With all these functions, there is hardly any remaining free space in the car. As a result, it is not the easiest to build either, with lots of delicate parts and components, mechanisms that need fine adjustments and many moving parts. By no means should it worry an experienced Technic builder (it took me about 4:30 from the unboxing to the finish), but you ― moms who are idolizing your 6-year-olds, please don't just rush buying the 8070 to your children as it doesn't ask just for dexterity, but plenty of patience too. Even more, dare I say.

But it is a great experience and a mechanical lesson, though at first you may be a bit confused about the seemingly unlogical steps you have to make, but after a while, it just comes all together into a great machine. The unusual steps in the beginning are just a normal consequence of the inside-out studless construction.

Therefore, a great set, whether you just like cars, want to play with an interesting one, need useful parts, or want to learn from it.

▪ BUILDING, IDEAS AND CONCEPTS

Fantastic construction ― nice, efficient and strong, though not the easiest to build. So tightly packed with functions, it is almost impossible to put a sugarcube anywhere in the model. Interesting concepts too with the motorized panels around the car controlled by the centralized gearbox. Although there is not anything we haven't seen yet, the feat of putting all that within the given volume (quite small in sportscars) is in itself a very good learning material.

It is not overly difficult for disassembly either, avoiding difficult parts (half-width 2L Technic beams) as much as possible.

▪ PARTS SUPPLY

You will find some very useful parts for any car, such as the suspension wishbones, hubs, engine, racing tyres, etc., and the set contains also a PF battery pack and a medium-size motor. The rest is a standard Technic building material with plenty of beams, pins, axles and a couple of panels. And with a bit over 1200 parts, it is a good amount, too.


▪ EXPANSIONS

Since the machinery is so deeply integrated, there's not much freedom to modify the car without having to rebuild some components entirely. A most basic addition would be to introduce PF lights in the headlights (this is so obvious that I'm somewhat confused TLG did not do it already). But there's little else to add.

▪ GENERAL PROS & CONS

+ Clever construction, great to learn strong and efficient Technic design
+ Lots of functions
+ Considerable supply of parts
+ Really nice to play with
+ Superb looks, very realistic

- Not trivial to build, needs some patience
- Steering wheel in the cabin does not work


▪▪ VERDICT ▪▪

With its complexity, advanced ideas and intelligent construction, the new addition to the Technic Supercars line up is certainly up to standard. It is not among the cheaper models, but one really does get a lot in return. Highly recommended, especially if you're into building MOC cars ― in that case you will find some very useful specialized parts here.

5 comments:

  1. Hello there, thanks for the info/warnings. I decided to buy this lego model because I miss my old school technical lego car. I wanted to return once more to the world of lego after 20 years of giving it up. The reason for buying the car instead of the trucks and earth movers was simply this, I like the red allover colour that doesn't look patch worky like most of the other designs. I just hope my £100 isn't a waste of money or time. Once finished I intend to display my car as an adult lego model (engineering). I miss the studded look though as to me lego is studs. Still, as a design it is stunning.

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  2. Thanks for the review, i was thinking of buying it on amazon for £69.99 which ,obdviously, is a sale and not to be criticising but i think you missed acog at the rear of the car so the steering really does work as i have seen it on a you tube video review

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    Replies
    1. Sure, steering works indeed, you can see a black gear at the rear on the photo no.2.

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  3. It's very easy to arrange to be able to switch the motor drive to the engine and wheels instead of the doors etc. Just leave off the little pale grey collar in build step 64 so you can slide the gear wheel on that shaft.

    If you gently slide that gear towards the engine so it drives the dark grey gear on the adjacent shaft then the engine and rear wheels work together from the electric motor. Of course you can't push the car by hand with the gear in that position.

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