The LEGO Technic theme was a bold and dynamic mover in LEGO sets at the beginning of the 1980s. While the LEGO Group’s early products proved popular, they also came with clear limitations – a lack of detail and boxy, inert designs were the most obvious ones. Technic’s line of sets brought gears, pneumatics and more to models, offering exciting new functions for fans to enjoy.
Technic has been a success story for other product lines. The likes of BIONICLE and MINDSTORMS have clear roots in Technic, with the latter range bearing the theme’s branding in its early days. The former is (sadly) no longer with us, but MINDSTORMS remains a part of today’s LEGO landscape. Technic parts can also be used in the modern LEGO Education theme.
LEGO.com offers a wide range of LEGO Technic sets. They include models for all levels of experience and interest.
LEGO Technic history
Technic branding was introduced by the LEGO Group in 1982. However, sets made with its new parts were first released in 1977. These proto-Technic sets remained very close to the LEGO formula with easily identifiable bricks, plates, and other elements.
Many of these parts were modified to be able to perform mechanical functions. The LEGO studs were also present on plates and bricks. These could be used to hold pins and axles, which could then be used to hold wheels, gears, and other useful components.
The result was larger models with more realistic features. We were able to build working steering cars, forklifts with the ability to raise and lower their forks, as well as cranes that could lift and transport objects. Even an early motor, the 870 Technical Motor, 4.5V, could be used for powering our creations.
With the passage of time, Technic sets received additional functions. Models such as the 8040 Universal Set introduced a pneumatic system that allowed us to move parts with air pressure. 1986 gave us articulated figures, to bring – for a short while – a human element to the Technic range. The ‘90s debuted a rudimentary control system, in a forerunner of more sophisticated products.
LEGO Technic was beginning to create its own identity by 1996. Models like the 8443 Pneumatic Log Loader gave builders the ability to create different angles and more realistic body shapes. They were joined with half-width beams which enhanced the functionality and detail of the models we built.
The late ‘90s and early 2000s would further change what a Technic set could look like. A number of new subthemes popped up in this period – Slizer (also known as Throwbots) offered buildable robots with poseable arms, geared mechanisms and a disc-throwing play feature. Many of its ideas and elements would be used in the BIONICLE line.
RoboRiders continued in the same vein, but with wheeled robots rather than humanoid ones. The first generation of MINDSTORMS – which uses numerous Technic parts – offered a whole new realm of computer programming for LEGO fans. It would inspire international competitions, and a steady stream improvement to MINDSTORMS products over time.
While many of its subthemes are now gone, the core Technic theme has not stopped evolving. Its 21st-century products have been more iterative than revolutionary; sets in this era introduced panels to improve models’ body shape, while Power Functions made remote control more intuitive. The set’s size has increased and some models can now be controlled remotely using a dedicated smartphone app. Conventional LEGO bricks have also crept back into Technic sets, offering greater detail – and play value – than ever before.
LEGO Technic sets
Technic vehicles have been the mainstay of the Technic range since its inception. They are characterized by their emphasis on mechanical functionality. Although tastes and detail levels have changed over the years, you can still see the common threads across the range. trendsThey have emerged.
In the ‘70s and early ‘80s, cars, bikes and construction vehicles make frequent appearances. 855 Mobile Crane is a compelling peek into Technic’Its potential is great. It includes a working winch as well as a rack and pinion crane arm and a rotating cabin. Later sets, like the 8841 Dune Buggy offer a simpler steering mechanism and a more basic winch. While modern versions are more sophisticated, steering is still a selling point for today’s Technic models.
Later years would introduce a little more diversity into Technic’s roster. Technic’s early collection featured a few aircraft. This was continued with the 8855 Prop Plane, and the 8825 Night Chopper. The latter could hold a Technic figure, and the crank mounted on the side could spin the blades.
Fans from that era could also fly the (imaginary!) seas with 8824 Hovercraft. It features rubber pieces and bespoke rubber parts for extra realism. For the budding astronaut 8480 Space Shuttle offered a large-scale spacecraft, with LEGO’s notorious fiber optic feature included. 2007 also saw the debut of Technic’s first snowmobile (8272 Snowmobile), as well as a new farm vehicle (8274 combine harvester). Many other vehicles have been created for cold climates and farmland.
Technic sets, which are more in keeping with LEGO generally, have seen increased pieces and more licensing collaboration. The 42055 Bucket Wheel Excavator has almost 4,000 pieces. It measures 88cm in length and includes a conveyor belt. The Technic licensed set 42030 Volvo L350F wheel loader is an example of this early model. Other collaborations followed with the likes of Porsche, BMW and – controversially – Boeing. The 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey was cancelled prior to a wide release.
LEGO Technic Minifigures
Minifigures in the Technic range are virtually non-existent due to their emphasis on large-scale models with stud-less construction and their emphasis on stud-less construction. We came closest to the 6932 Science and Technology Basis Set. This set, which was released in 2007 under the Education theme, features several Technic parts as well as two generic minifigures.
Technic instead introduced its own line of figures in 1986. These figures were a radical departure of the LEGO minifigure that had been around for eight year.
LEGO Technic figures were made in larger quantities, with more articulation and more realistic facial features. They were usually yellow in color, keeping with the LEGO brand. These figures are well-suited for the models of that time: their feet can stick on studded surfaces, their hands can hold Technic Pins, and their legs can also accommodate them.
The LEGO Group designed a seat element that would allow these figures to sit in, in order to better integrate them into the models. These Technic figures were not always included in the wider Technic range. The Competition subtheme – which launched in 1998 – would give us a few new variants, but by 2002 the figures had vanished from Technic sets for good.
Despite their relatively short lifespan, Technic’s figures were an interesting idea with solid play features. Today’s Technic sets don’t really lose anything without them, but they’re still a great addition to any LEGO collection.
LEGO Technic cars
The LEGO Technic car is a staple of the range. There are dozens of models from every decade. Some vehicles stand out from the rest.
A recent example of this is 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37. The LEGO Group has actually produced Lamborghini sets for some time – the first one was 8169 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4, which appeared in 2009 as part of the Racers range. 42115, however is the first LEGO Technic Lamborghini. It offers some pretty exciting features.
Like other Technic cars, this Lamborghini features working suspension, a highly complex gearbox and moving engine pistons – an old feature, but still greatly appreciated. It also has an adjustable spoiler which can be controlled from inside the passenger compartment.
The LEGO Technic Lamborghini comes with a striking lime green paint job and gold drum lacquered wheels. They are exact replicas. Five new pieces are included in the car’s body for more precise shaping. Fans wanting a peek inside can open the scissor wing doors, as well as the car’s bonnet and boot.
Another Technic car is the 42083 Bugatti Chiron. Featuring similar dimensions to the Lamborghini, this model draws inspiration from one of the world’s fastest production road cars. However, the real thing costs over €2 million, making a LEGO version slightly more affordable.
The 42083 Bugatti CHiron actually introduced several new pieces to Technic’s range. This allows for more elegant gear shifting and greater accuracy with the source material. Like its Lamborghini, the LEGO Group’s Chiron features opening bonnets, an adjustable rear wing and working steering. Its two-tone color scheme helps it stand out among other Technic models.
LEGO Technic may be the perfect substitute for the supercar enthusiast. Even though license sets are a popular part of the theme and a draw to car fans, they still require a significant financial investment.
LEGO Technic crane
However, the Technic range is missing conventional cranes at the moment. The most recent example – 42108 Mobile Crane – has now retired, with no news on a replacement. However, there are many other models that offer similar functions.
This model is the 42128 Heavy Duty Tow Truck. This beast measures 58cm and has 2,017 parts. Technic at its finest is also represented in this marvel.
The truck offers many features, including steering and moving engine parts. It also has a movable crane arm and a towing fork. The latter can be moved via pneumatic controls; it’s possible to raise and lower the crane arm, and also extend or retract it. For greater stability, you can use outriggers that can be deployed from a number of gears.
Technic’s focus is on vehicle recovery and excavation, rather than the model itself. There are two options available at the moment. 42121 Heavy-Duty Excavator comes at the lower end of the price range. Its movable arm, rotating body and other Technic functions are more affordable. You can also convert it into a tractor with backhoe function. This is a common feature in smaller Technic sets and gives you more bang per buck.
42100 Liebherr’s R 9800 Excavator pushes LEGO Technic at its limits. The real thing is one of the world’s largest mining vehicles. Similarly, the set it inspired is one of the largest, most expensive ones that’s ever appeared in the Technic range, with over 4,000 pieces and a £399.99 RRP.
Unlike the other sets we’ve just mentioned, 42100 Liebherr R 9800 Excavator goes all in on the electronics. The functions are controlled by seven motors, two Bluetooth hubs (which connects to a phone) and a dozen AA battery packs.
The excavator is easy to assemble and offers a lot of fun. Owners can control the bucket and arm with a variety of pneumatic hoses. The cab can also be accessed by imaginary workers via a folding walkway. The CONTROL+ app handles movement and mechanical functions, much like the one used in the past for DC, Disney, or CITY themes.
While some reviewers have reported control issues (and the reliance on an app raises questions about long-term use), 42100 Liebherr R 9800 Excavator demonstrates the continued ambition of the LEGO Group’s broader product design.
LEGO Technic Black Friday
This page is closer to Black Friday and contains our predictions about LEGO Technic discounts.