The 42053 Volvo EW 160E is one of the three new Technic sets being released in the second half of 2016. It is also based on the pneumatic system v2 which don't come along too often.
There have not been too many pneumatic sets released, and this is only the third one I've owned. It is an interesting system and very different from all the other LEGO mechanics. The recent sets 42043 Mercedes Benz Arocs and 42008 Service Truck both came with Power Functions in addition to the Pneumatics. The 42053 Volvo however leaves out the Power Functions as an optional extra, although it does have comprehensive instructions for how to integrate them.
The box measures 37.5 cm x 35 cm x 9 cm.
- 11 unnumbered plastic bags of parts (full inventory).
- A 250 page instruction booklet
- 1 x Sticker Sheet (plastic wrapped with the instructions to avoid bending)
As is becoming standard, the instructions are bound into a single booklet which holds up well during the build. There was an error in the bill of materials at the end of the instructions which indicate only two 4697b T-Bar parts are required when there is actually three (plus one spare).
There are 1163 parts in the set (plus 17 spares). There are 2 new parts in this set - the 26280 Pneumatic Hand Pump with 1 x 3 Liftarm on the bottom and the 32L pneumatic hose. I believe the pump is the third iteration of the hand pump to be released. Previous pumps were 4701c01 (1984 to 1987) and more recently 2797c02 (1991 to 2010).
The other pneumatic parts included in this set are:
The small and large cylinders are the same parts that were in the 42043 Mercedes Benz Arocs from last year. I found the switches quite hard to move, and the extra levers that are added during the build are necessary. I supposed that is necessary to prevent air leakage.
Note: there are only 3 of the 99021 Hose Connector parts, I just didn't notice the other 2 until after taking the first photo and using the parts :(
There are also some parts appearing in new colors:
- 5102c48 - Hose, Pneumatic 4mm D. 48L / 384mm in Black
- 24116 - Technic Panel Curved and Bent 6 x 3 in Black
- 5102c23 - Hose, Pneumatic 4mm D. 23L / 18.2cm in LBG
- 5102c48 - Hose, Pneumatic 4mm D. 48L / 384mm in LBG
- 75c08 - Hose, Rigid 3mm D. 8L / 6.4cm in Orange
- 18943 - Technic Digger Bucket 5 x 7 x 4 1/2 Clamshell with Pin Hole and Axle Hole in Black
- 15535 - Tile 2 x 2 Round with Hole in Black
- 19482 - Pneumatic Pump 1 x 6 with Stepped Outlet [V2] in Blue
- 2819 - Technic Steering Wheel Small (3 Studs Diameter) in DBG
- 15458 - Technic Panel 3 X 11 x 1 in Yellow
Also of interest were the plentiful use of Yellow 5L and 9L axles, and Red 4L and 12L axles, rather than the more normal Black/Gray ones. The Yellow axles in particular helped keep the colors of the set matching nicely.
The full inventory can be found here.
The build starts with the front axle and creates the base of the truck.
The first pneumatic hose connection is easy.
The instructions make it very clear what is required
The main pneumatic switch-board is built next, and it starts to look a bit messy once the hoses are all connected.
Next up is the main grappler arm.
The pneumatic hose connections for this starts to get a lot messier on steps 188 to 193. The instructions try to help with color coded dots on the hoses, and close-ups of where they are supposed to be threaded. I didn't make any mistakes here, but it might have made things easier to introduce a Dark Bluish Gray hose so the different sizes are easier to distinguish.
I like the way the hoses are threaded through holes in the Technic connector parts, to help keep things a bit more organised.
Some of the paneling is added which starts to cover up the spaghetti mess inside.
Yes I know this is wrong, I missed the 3rd wheel here. I wondered briefly why there was a piston-looking contraption that didn't actually work. I realised my mistake when I have an extra wheel spare... 200 steps later :( NOT easy to fix on a completed model. However, this whole contraption is actually only used if you enable the Power Functions.
The bucket and last part of the arm is built next. The 2 halves of the bucket scooper move symmetrically.
Next up, we start to build the cabin and the mechanism that raises/lowers it. Like everything else in this set, it is modeled quite accurately on the real Volvo vehicle.
One of the new curved panels are used to make a nice looking seat!
The cabin is mounted and more panels added.
Finally, the Orange safety bars and mirrors are added, which help make it look more authentic.
The completed model:
You've probably noticed I didn't add any stickers. Well, except the one that indicates what each of the switches do. I think most Technic builders dislike stickers as it makes the parts harder to reuse. For this set, there are a lot of stickers that just contain the word Volvo. I don't think the lack of them makes the set any worse looking, but of course judge for yourself.
I like the use of a hand pump to drive the functions in this set. It reminds me of my old 8851 Excavator, but it feels far more solid to use. To operate it, move a switch to the left or right position and push down on the pump a few times. I found it doesn't tend to respond immediately as the air pressure needs to overcome the cylinder friction and weight of the LEGO parts being lifted. Also, when moving the arm down it would initially drop by itself due to the weight. However, it manages to hold it's position when the switches are in the central locked position - so there was no air leakage that I noticed.
- Switch 1 - drives the first arm segment
- Switch 2 - drives the second arm segment
- Switch 3 - drives the bucket open/close mechanism
- HOG wheel behind the cabin - raises/lowers the cabin
- Rear stabilisers - moved by hand, they have an interesting lock-in-place ability.
- Steering wheel at the back of the vehicle (not an obvious place for it).
- The whole body rotates quite freely around the central turntable. There is a stopper that prevents it from going full 360 degrees.
- The front fender/scraper can be raised or lowered manually.
If you pull the arm in fully, it actually presses into the ground and can raise the vehicle into the air (or cause the bucket to snap up into the front fender).
Optional Power Functions
There are an additional 30 steps of comprehensive instructions for adding the Power Functions if you so desire. They include removing a number of easily accessible parts and inserting a motor, battery pack and lights.
The use of PF here replaces the need for the hand pump. Instead, the motor drives the previously unused piston to pump air around automatically. Personally, I prefer to use the hand pump and keep electronics out of it. But it does add some decent technical play-ability to the set.
As usual, the B-Model instructions can only be found online. However, since the set has not been released yet (1st August I believe), I can't access them. The back of the box indicates that it is a Volvo L30G - some kind of forklift loader - which looks fine although a little too similar to the main model for my liking - little incentive to pull it apart and build it.
I have fond memories of playing with my childhood pneumatic Technic set, so I enjoy seeing these types of builds. I'd love to see something other than construction vehicles use them though! The actual model works well and is a very true reproduction of the Volvo machinery I could find on Google.
There are plenty of features to play with. The optional Power Functions adds an extra level of functionality at no extra cost which I think is great - how many Technic fans don't already have motors?
The introduction of the new hand pump will make this a mandatory purchase for many fans. I believe the set is to be released on 1st August, but couldn't find an official source for that information.