There are many desirable Lego Technic sets in my opinion, but few are as compelling as Lego 8043, the Motorized Excavator.
There are bigger Lego Technic sets out there; Lego 8043 only weighs in at 1123 pieces according to BrickSet.com but because the articulating arm has so many moving parts running through one artery, the gearing is incredibly intricate.
The instructions comes in three parts with book 1 being the most difficult as that illustrates the drive tracks, the wheel base and most of the body detail as well.
“..Not suitable for kids”
As we have come to expect from Lego, the manuals are clear and generally precise although there are a couple of illustrations that did make my scratch my head. This is usually because the piece to be added is obscured by another part, you do need to make a few educated guesses in those cases; because of this I do not believe this is suitable for young children.
The base is relatively simple to build; it’s just a framework with only few gears to install. Even so, it was great fun install the tracks!
The real work (if you call Lego “work”) is the main body. This is where the bulk of the clever stuff happens; the body has to hold all the switching, a majority of the gearing and cogs, the 4 motors which are usefully heavy to offset the weight of the articulating arm, and the battery compartment which holds 6 AA batteries.
The gearing is powered by 4 motors aligned in parallel, 3 power the wheel tracks and the 3 point articulating arm, bizarrely one powers a switch so you can remotely alternate between move the entire Excavator OR move the arm; you cannot choreograph both simultaneously.
If you are interested in mechanics then you will absolutely love this build. Even thought I put it all together myself, there are several layers of parts that it is easy to confuse the function of each gear and axle!
The engines of Lego 8043 is powered by four of these moderately powerful motors. If anything I wish Lego would update these motors to something a bit more powerful, they are capable of making things move along but there’s no harm in more yumph! 🙂
After 3-4 hours I had made good progress but, excitingly, I realised there is still much to do but in a good way. Some Lego builds can be predictable however some of the recent sets I’ve aquired have stimulated many rainy evenings!
If there was a downside it would be the price. Since its release in 2010 when it cost £143, it can now fetch up to £300. I personally would never pay that for this set, I found it for significantly cheaper. The good side is that the value of Lego 8043 can only go up in price.
I thoroughly enjoyed sorted out the parts and savouring the moments putting it all together. In the 7 hours build time I was never bored but I was stumped a couple of times due to the illustrations not being entirely clear.