42081: Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX Review

This month has seen the release of four new LEGO® Technic. One of the most interesting of which, is has been created in partnership with Volvo. Designers from the Technic Design Team and Volvo engineers, asked kids to help them create an industrial vehicle of the future. Using the Wheel Loader as a basis, the idea was to create a futuristic machine anchored in reality. The result is the Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX. Which has been turned into both a LEGO Technic set and a real life construction vehicle. For the first of my LEGO Technic Summer set reviews, I take a closer look at set 42081: LEGO Technic Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX.

Product Description

Explore the future of construction vehicles with the LEGO® Technic™ 42081 Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX. Developed in collaboration with Volvo, this futuristic concept model comes with an array of realistic details, including a buildable mapping drone. The vehicle’s design is high tech, right down to the futuristic rims wrapped with large heavy‑duty tires. Manual functions include 4-wheel steering, simultaneous or independent boom and bucket operation, and an adjustable counterbalance. This 2-in-1 LEGO Technic set comes with a classic Volvo colour scheme and a set of stickers for additional detailing, and rebuilds into a futuristic Volvo Concept Hauler PEGAX.

  • Set Name: Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX
  • Set Number: 42081
  • Pieces: 1167
  • RRP: £109.99
  • Measurements: measures over 18cm high, 59cm long and 21cm wide with counterbalance extended, and over 51cm long with counterbalance retracted
  • Availability: General RetailLEGO Brand Retail Store & shop.LEGO.com

The Build

I have a bit of a fondness for the Volvo Technic sets, all thanks to the Volvo L350F Wheel Loader I had to build for a review back in 2014. Although I had a few Technic sets when I were a kid, the build system has been overhauled since then. Less LEGO system-type bricks have been replaced by rods, pins and panels. So the Volvo L350F was my first experience of a modern day Technic set. After a several attempts of getting the gear system right, the final build was a intersting feat. A mixture of functionality and frustration, but it did ignite a new found interst in the Technic range. So when the Volvo Concept Wheel Loader was first revealed, it looked like another interesting result of the Volvo and Technic Design Team partnership. So imagine my delight at getting the chance to review it.

Back in the old days, LEGO sets came packaged in a selection of un-numbered bags. As the years have gone by and sets have used more elements, number bags were introduced. Although some like the old school nature of tipping all the parts out and diving it, for those who lack space, the numbered bags are a helpful feature. Unfortunately the Volvo Concept Wheel Loader parts come in un-numbered bags. Thankfully I’ve saved the plastic trays from past LEGO Advent Calendars, so set about sorting vast amount of Technic elements. Something I highly recommend. As with most Technic builds, you begin with the chassis, which normally features a intricate mixture of gears and axel rods. A simple slip up here can sometimes result in problems later on in the build. Thankfully the gear system here isn’t overly complex, making the build a little easier and as a result more enjoyable.

The gear system controls a number of fancily named Linear Actuators, which help to move the loader arm, bucket and suspension. Despite having to activate these manually, the movement is satisfying enough. It’s a shame there isn’t any Power Functions or the ability to add them to the set, because the various aspects of movement would be amazing if powered. Another unique part of the set is the rear section, which you build independently from the main body of the Wheel Loader. Considering this only forms a small part of the set, there is actually a large amount of building here. This sections acts as both a counter-weigh for the vehicle and a huge ‘battery’ to power it. This is portrayed by a series of stickered panels found under flaps on each side of the rear section.

This part of the Wheel Loader also acts as the cradle for the drone. As this is meant to be a near futuristic take on a construction vehicle, it’s not only powered by electric, it’s also fully autonomous vehicle. With the drone acting as a visual assistant to whomever is overseeing the Wheel Loaders operation. The drone sits on the back thanks to a couple of Technic pins and can be removed with ease. I also love the use of a Musketeer sword as an antenna. With Drone playing a key role in a number industries nowadays, it makes perfect sense that one could be used to help in the future to assist large scale construction.

As mentioned above the rear section can also be moved thanks to a new rack elements. Turning the rear gear dial allows the whole of the rear section to move back along the rack element. This vastly changes the look of the vehicle making it longer when in the lower stance or higher with the suspension raised. Thanks to the lack driver cab, the whole thing looks much sleeker and allows for cool build techniques across the whole of the set.

The Concept Wheel Loader uses the same digger bucket as its 2014 counterpart, an element specifically created for the first Volvo set. It’s nice to see it used again here, as it provides a nice piece of connective DNA between the sets. The bucket can be angled by turning the relevant gear dial as can the entire Wheel Loaders arm. Although stickers are used to add additional details to the bucket and arms the surface area makes them easy to apply.

The whole set from start to finish is a delight to build and the final product looks great. It’s a surprisingly big set and the play features are fun. It’s still amazing to how a series of pins and beams can result in the set you see here. That very first element you start the build with is intricately placed within a seemingly complex array of other parts. It’s no surprise that the Technic Design Team work so well with real world vehicle manufacturers. Technic sets may be on a smaller scale but the engineering needed to make a set like this has to be applauded.

Functionality

One of the key aspects of all LEGO Technic sets are their functionality, not only does this add an additional level of play to builds, they also make construction equally as interesting as the resulting set. The Concept Wheel Loader has a number of functional sections, all of which are activated via a series of gear dials. These are connected via a fairly simple gear system, simple when compared to other Technic sets.

The rear gear dial moves the Wheel Loaders rear counter-balancing weight, with the two separate gears on the digger arm, moving both the arm and digger bucket. The final gear dial found along the base of the Wheel Loader, controls the suspension. The best way to show these off in via the form of moving pictures, with the trio of videos below showing the range of movements of the set. You’ll also notice a further gear dial atop the Concept Wheel Loader, this controls the steering but directing the huge wheels.

Counter-balance Rear

Arm & Bucket Movement

Suspension

Overall

When I opened the box and saw the un-numbered bags I was quite annoyed, as someone who lacks space, being able to build in stages is a great advantage. But to my surprise the element free-for-all added to the overall enjoyment of the build. I’ve not built many Technic sets, but this as been my favourite yet. In fact it’s been one of my favourite sets to build this year. I highly recommend LEGO fans who may never venture beyond System sets, to just try giving one Technic set a go. You’ll get a completely different build experience and a new found appreciation of how varied LEGO can be. It would of been amazing if the set had Power Functions included or made use of the new Powered Up system, but it’s possible this could of limited some of the functions it currently sports. Another impressive feat with many Technic sets are their ability to be built into two alternate models. Having to make sure the elements in the main set work perfectly together is hard enough, but to then have those same elements become a completely different build is beyond impressive. The set can also be built into a second B model called the PEGAX. You’ll find the instructions for this alternate build here. The LEGO Technic Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX is available now from LEGO Brand stores, selected LEGO retailer and online via shop.LEGO.com.

These sets were provided via The LEGO Group for the purposes of review. The thoughts and opinions of the set reflect those of BricksFanz and not that of the LEGO Group.

Author: Adam White

Howdy I'm Adam, The editor of BricksFanz.com - your go to source for the latest LEGO news, reviews and much, much more. Some of you may know me from other LEGO sites so you'll know I have a good experience of the LEGO community and a deep, passionate commitment to all things LEGO. I specialize in seeking out the latest LEGO news and products, as well as being an expert on all thing LEGO gaming based. So welcome to BricksFanz - Fuelling Your LEGO Lifestyle.

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