There’s an old saying : “Where there’s a will, there’s a relative.” And in the world of Lego, a variation might be, “Where there’s an ‘A’ model, there’s a ‘B’ model.
The Quad Bike lasted a week, but this morning it was dismantled, and I made a start on the second model, which is an off-road racer / dune buggy type vehicle. Normally the ‘A’ model gets a stay of execution for a couple of weeks, but in this particular case :
a) I’d really enjoyed building it, and wanted to see if the ‘B’ model was as interesting, and
b) I’d picked up the Cuusoo ‘Back To The Future’ DeLorean last weekend, and promised myself I wouldn’t build it until I’d done the Quad Bike ‘B’. (1)
In my limited experience of Technic, ‘B’ models have been pretty good, but relatively simple in comparison with the ‘A’ model, as they’re compromised. Obviously the ‘A’ model can be built from any parts at all, as the designer has the entire range available to her / him.
However, when it comes to the second set, they have to work with what’s in front of them, and maybe one or two other parts at most. So I don’t expect a whole bunch from a ‘B’ design.
At first glance, our Dune Buggy doesn’t look too far removed from the Quad Bike. That double wishbone suspension at the front looks awfully familiar, then there’s some ‘stuff’ going on in the middle, and what looks suspiciously like a rear axle with a single spring suspension set up. It’s the Quad Bike with the panels in a different place, isn’t it?
Well actually, no. It’s not.
If anything, I enjoyed this more than the Quad Bike.
We start off with that front, double-wishbone setup again, and while it’s not identical to the Quad setup, it’s not a million miles away. Then we get stuck into the ‘stuff in the middle’ and quite frankly, it’s complicated!
On reflection, maybe it wasn’t that bad (2), and it only seemed worse than it was because it was 8.30am on a Sunday morning, a time when I would usually be hitting the ‘Alarm off’ button, and contemplating at least another hour in the land of Nod. But for reasons which now escape me, I was at the dining table building a Dune Buggy.
I was expecting the single cyclinder engine, used in the Quad Bike, to make an appearance here too, but no, it stays in the box. The gubbins squirreled away in the middle of this model is yet another variation on the ‘hand of god’ steering mechanism. It involves a couple of gearwheels, and something approximating the steering mechanism of my first build, the 9390 Mini Tow Truck, to articulate the front wheels. I was a bit disappointed for a while - as mentioned previously, the range of steering on the Quad was pretty limited, and this appeared to be worse still. However, after a bit of head scratching, and some poking about, I realised that one of the axle pins, that would eventually have a wheel attached to it, had slipped into the steering mechanism, and basically jammed it up, hence the lack of movement. Some further poking about rectified the situation, and I’m happy to report that the steering’s actually pretty good.
The Dune Buggy definitely has all the interesting stuff going on up front. As I suspected, at the rear is a relatively simple axle with cushioning via a single spring, and that’s about all there is to say about the back end.
A few bits and bobs to give the suggestion of a cabin and the model is finished off with the addition of the body plates. In a neat touch, the ‘hand of god’ steering wheel is given a suitably rugged finish by wrapping a length of the chain round a gearwheel, rather than using the usual small wheel that I’ve seen on previous sets.
The Technic 9392 'B' Model - Dune Buggy
(Image courtesy of Brickset.com)
Complaints? Not really. The only things I could see were :
a) As you steer the vehicle by the HOG wheel, there’s a tendency to pick it up by this too, except that it’s not as snug a fit as it might be, and so every time you do pick it up like that, the wheel comes off and you drop the Buggy. Thanks to that chunky suspension, though, it bounces in a very satistfying manner.
b) The only other thing (which may not be a thing at all), is the rear axle. The left-side rear wheel fits flush with the end of the axle, while the right hand side has a few millimetres of axle sticking out, which annoys the neat-freak in me. The wheels look to be centred correctly in relation to the rest of the body, so I don’t believe that I’ve missed any spacers etc out, but it’s entirely possible. Depending on whether it continues to bug me or not, I may have to take the back of it apart and rebuild it.
But that’s about it! It can get a bit boring, reading reviews that constantly say ‘This is great, that’s great. That other one is also great!’, but in this case, it most definitely is. Less than £18.00 gets you a set with two very interesting builds that teach you something about wishbone suspension and then lets you drive it round the living room, leaping over things when your wife’s not looking.
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(1) This second point may have been what swung it.
(2) I sincerely hope that this is the case otherwise the big sets, like the Supercar and Unimog, are going to be a nightmare.