Friday, 7 June 2013

LEGO Technic Sets that Are Not Vehicles?

LEGO Technic Off-road Racer 42010 LEGO Technic Off-road Racer 42010 

I've been looking at the new LEGO Technic sets as my older son is heading into the age range for them, 7+. The sets look great and have lots of cool moving parts and even pull-back motors as well as compatibility with the Power Functions motor and other components.

But ... my kids are not interested in vehicles (unless tied in with some kind of fantasy theme.) They've never shown more that a passing interest in cars, trains or diggers. Now I know lots of kids, especially boys do love all kinds of transportation and yes, there should be LEGO Technic sets for those kids. But surely a bit of variety would be a good idea.

The Technic section in the LEGO store currently shows 18 sets and every single one is a vehicle of some sort including the four new models: Hovercraft, Mini Backhoe Loader, Off-Road Racer and Race Car.

Vehicles aren't the only things that move! Surely LEGO could get a bit more creative to appeal to a wider audience. It would be good to see Technic sets that would appeal to more girls too.

I've looked back at the historical range of Technic sets are there have been a few variations on the vehicle theme including the occasional animal and robot, but you have to go back quite a few years to find them.

I had to go back to 2001 to find the LEGO Technic Asimo Robot and that was a promotional set. The sets in recent years just seem to keep recycling the same old vehicles with updated designs.

Now I know there's also LEGO Mindstorms, but that's quite a different experience to the pure Technic kits. There are also Technic pieces in sets from the other themes (like some of the CHIMA sets we have.) And there are also some interesting LEGO educational kits.

But I'd like to see a wider variety in the LEGO Technic kits that are generally available where the focus is on construction using rods, gears and connectors, rather than the usual stud-based LEGO bricks.

So here are a few ideas of new LEGO Technic sets I'd like to see in future:
  1. A mechanical grabber that kids can use.
  2. A rolling 'hamster' play ball that kids can put a toy in (not real pets!)
  3. A Jack-in-the-box that pops up
  4. Mechanical automata like a dragon that flaps its wings
  5. Mechnical animals (my son would love a woolly mammoth!)
  6. Childrens play park with swings, teeter-totter, merry go round, etc
  7. Rube Goldberg type wacky contraptions
  8. A medieval catapult or trebuchet that really fires
  9. Kid-sized roleplay accessories like a light-up crown, sword or disc thrower
  10. Mini crazy golf course with ramps and clubs
Of course we can have a go at these on our own and lots of people have made cool custom Technic models. But when a child is getting started it is very helpful to have kits with all the right pieces that demonstrate good construction techniques.

I hope LEGO will be a bit more broad-minded when developing ideas that come from their Toy Alive research initiative too.

Update: This article was written in 2013 but a recent comment reminded me that the situation hasn't really moved on much since then. Over the years we've managed to make the best of the situation and we've written a few more posts about how we've used LEGO technic which may be useful to readers in a similar predicament:

More from Tech Age Kids:


Bira said...

That is exactely what I think. I have a 10 years girls that loves lego, and She will be crazy with a TECHNIC LEGO, but not one that is always a vehicle. I expect more from LEGO!!!

Unknown said...

What a spot on article!! I'm in the same predicament, hence how I found your article. I just left feedback on their site requesting exactly what you described.

Tracy Gardner said...

And here we are, four years after the post was written and things haven't changed! I've added some links to more recent articles that explain how we've made the most of the situation. LEGO have just announced a bit reorganisation, maybe they'll take a fresh look at Technic. We can hope!

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