This evolution has been accompanied by the LEGO Group joining forces with well-known manufacturers of cars and construction equipment. It all started with 2011 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 400 in 2011 and was followed in 2014 with 42030 Volvo L350F Wheel Loader and last year’s 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245. And then there was the very first Technic direct-to-consumer exclusive, 41999 4x4 Crawler, which was a fan-created design based on the earlier official set 9298 4x4 Crawler Crane. There were only 10,000 made of this set and it came in an exclusive high-quality box and each carried a unique printed tile with serial number.
Now, is there any way to top or even combine all of these saliva-inducing Technic goodies? With the 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 R3, the Danes have not only released the most expensive set in the 39-year history of the Technic theme, it is also an exclusive set that screams luxury and extravagance, despite being a normal retail set. With steep prices (£249/99/€299,99/$299.99 and 2704 parts, this 2016 flagship set may not be an instant purchase. Is this a set surrounded by blatant hype, or does it do the sky-high price justice? Read on to find out why this may be the ultimate Technic Supercar that, yes, may need the occasional improvement.
Unboxed: a Coffee Table Book
Aside from the top view, the back of the box shows the four main stages of the building process, represented by pictures of each of the stages’ main assets, such as the gearbox, front wheel suspension, ‘fake’ six-cylinder engine and one of the two seats. The sides of the box show different views of the Porsche 911, the company’s logo and a 1:1 representation of the new black rim which is unique to this set.
The book is unique in its use of a new font and colour scheme and uses paper that is less shiny than that of the usual instruction book. The inclusion of so much info about Porsche and the many iterations and versions of the 911 GT3 RS makes it clear this is a toy not only focused at LEGO lovers, but also at admirers of the actual car.
Box 1: Fundaments
This is also the stage of the build that introduces three of the four new parts. One is a 7x3x2 panel that comes in Black (Element ID 150082) in this bag and Bright Orange [TLG]/Orange [BL] later on. This panel is a shorter version of the similarly shaped Panel Curved 11x3 with 2 Pin Holes through Panel Surface (Design ID 62531). It is used here in Black to guard the central axles of the gearbox. Another new element is a smoother version of the new 3-stud long Driving Ring Connector that was introduced only last year. This newer version comes in Bright Red [TLG]/Red [BL] (Element ID 3686615 | Design ID 18948). It has no noticeable ridges making it easier to slide a Driving Ring over it. This only works well, however, when the movement of the Driving Ring is controlled by a switch that is either secured by friction or a geared movement as used in this Porsche set. You get eleven of these, but only two are used as actual slides for Driving Rings, with the remaining ones officiating as simple connectors (a job once performed by part 32034, the good old Axle and Pin Connector Angled #2 - 180°. The third new part is a new steering hub in Black (Element ID 6145859), included twice. It is different from the new hub introduced in 2013 in its position of the steering arms. Finally, there is a printed 1x4 White tile containing a unique printed serial number (6160271).
Box 1 also contains a recolour of the 6.5-stud long Shock Absorber with hard spring; it comes here in Red (Element ID 6144791 | Design ID 76537). This new colour is in accordance with the suspension springs used in the real-life Porsche 911. It is a nice touch (or perhaps a demand!) from the Porsche officials, to include the springs in a new colour. Another useful part is the Axle 3 with Stop (Element ID 6135494 | Design ID 24316) introduced earlier this year. Because it is used frequently - you get a total number of eighteen - the amount of Reddish Brown on show looks somewhat odd, especially against certain backgrounds.
The front and rear wheel set ups (using the newly coloured hard springs and yellow brake pads typical for the Porsche 911 - but not functional in this LEGO version) and the six-cylinder engine (that becomes quite hidden from view once completed) swiftly follow, as well as the steering arrangement. This set has no so-called ‘Hand of God’ steering. This adds to the realism, but it makes the car, which has a disappointingly big steering circle, hard to drive around. The LEGO Digital Designer screen print above shows the gearing of the three main functions (steering, paddle shifting and the gearbox itself). All main functions are so well hidden within the depths of the model and covered by panels all around, that there is hardly any educational value once the build is completed.
Box 2: Cover-up
Even though it does not seem that exciting to build this stage, what makes it worth writing home about is when it is joined with what you already constructed in phase one. The overlay of the chassis fits like a glove and is fixed tightly into place with the use of Pins with Stop Bush. So far the build has been a combination of modular builds, especially the portion containing the steering and paddle shifters and the suspension sections and long lines of liftarms to join it all together. The overlay made in this second stage ties it all together. Last, but certainly not least you build the two seats, which make use of bended liftarms.
Box 3: Dressing Up
Posh Porsche Box 4:
And then there are there new Porsche rims and tyres. As you can see on the picture below, these are a lot bigger than the old rims and tyres used in similar cars. The rims are really deep in order to be able to accommodate the brake pads and have a stud used for the printed round tiles with the RS logo. The size of these wheels can pretty much dictate the overall size of the car. To finish things off the set comes with a small suitcase that can be stored under the hood of the car.
Now this set is really something. It may be abominably pricey and should have been about 10% cheaper in my opinion. A recent post on the LEGO Facebook page demonstrated this set has to be hand-packed in their Czech factory, adding to the cost of the set. It is a rather extraordinary set that is a true marvel in the technical field and utterly pleasing to put together; a lengthy build with a few exciting new building techniques. Most of the fun is in the first half, when assembling the gearboxes and paddle shifting/steering unit. Placing the overlay to complete the chassis is very rewarding. The completed car is extremely big; bigger than the box it comes in!
It does have a few flaws: first of all, considering the price and rather small sticker sheet, those parts should have been printed. The side mirrors look odd with the use of Technic panels. There is a dent near the headlights, breaking the smooth curve of the hood, and the rear lights look unfinished and rough. The overall colour is plain orange whereas the actual car is dyed ‘lava orange’, which is a bit more intense. I understand why the LEGO Group stuck to their own orange, but a brighter lava orange would have been a nice touch. No need to call 911; aside from these minor flaws this set is highly recommended. If you can afford it that is.
Products mentioned in this post were kindly supplied by the LEGO Group. All content represents the opinions of New Elementary and not the LEGO Group.
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