The LEGO Motorized Excavator with Power Functions remote controlled motors is an excellent base kit to build not only the Motorized Excavator model but the Tracked Loader and many other models.
Ease of Use, Performance: 5/5
Look & Feel: 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5
Total: 5/5 Stars
What a few weeks it has been since receiving the LEGO Motorized Excavator and a couple of books from No Starch Press but the fun is not going to stop here with plenty more LEGO building in my off time. First I received a book from No Starch Press titled The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide by Pawel “Sariel” Kmiec so naturally I scanned the LEGO site looking for a Technic kit that would fit well with this book.
After a little back and forth with LEGO’s public relations contact I received the LEGO Motorized Excavator kit but this kit will be going out of manufacturing soon so quantities may be limited through official LEGO stores. I do see plenty of kits still available on sites like Amazon and at local stores like ToysRUs so getting your hands on one soon should not be a problem but if you’re interested in this kit I would shop soon.
The LEGO Excavator is a motorized kit that includes 1123 pieces but the main attraction for this kit is the Power Functions remote control system that includes four motors and two remote controls. The kit has instructions for making the excavator in three books which goes to show how technical this kit can be and is not for the young as it does require a bit of dexterity and good instruction following to get some of the steps accomplished.
The 8043 kit is recommended for 12 to 16 year olds and I really would not consider this kit for younger than a ten or twelve year old but definitely get them a book about basic LEGO building techniques like the guide I mentioned from Sariel. These types of information books will help budding engineers understand more about building techniques, give hints and tips in building their own models and give ideas for more to do with the LEGO kits than just build the couple of models they include instructions for.
The 8043 kit can also be used to make the Tracked Loader model that you can also download form the LEGO website here without having to buy any other parts for the model and you will even have parts left over from the loader build. The downloadable instructions is a handy feature and allows you to assemble and look at other models from this kit but you may not have all the parts for other models but I will go into more of that later.
The Motorized Excavator kit is a perfect one to use with books that help to show the LEGO building techniques and engineering basics behind the technics sets but the kit is also a fun time just following the instructions LEGO provides. The LEGO 8043 kit comes with the four medium sized motors and the two remote controls with two infrared receivers and one battery pack to run the motors and receivers.
The Power Functions system is LEGO’s newest remote control system for motorized vehicles or whatever other devices you could create and is really a dream to work with especially given the line of sight required by the remotes and sensors. The sensors have a domed top and do a great job of catching that line of sight no matter what direction the model is running at compared to where the operator would be standing and I had no problems controlling a tank or the excavator from about fifteen feet away.
The LEGO Power Functions website says the remote controls and receivers will work up to 33 feet away which is the same for just about any infrared devices I have seen and a typical range for these types of controllers. The domed top of the receivers make for a better line of sight so turning the vehicle your controlling is much less of an issue and I had no problem with the arm of the excavator blocking the signal.
You will have problems if you try to use the Power Functions remote controls and receivers at that thirty three foot rage as it is just not very good for longer distances but closer in at ten to twenty feet is very good. This type of remote control is really much better and more fun to use at the closer ranges and I really see no reason to use it at that far a range as it is just not fun when you can’t see the model well.
I built the excavator in about six hours but this may not be typical because I was taking breaks to snap a few pictures and answer emails so the building time will vary on both age of the modeler and understanding of LEGO building techniques. The instructions are easy to follow and only one small error on my part by choosing the wrong part made my build in any way not as smooth as it could have been.
I simply added the wrong piece early on and only after getting about three quarters of the way through the instructions and not finding the correct part did I realize I might have already used that part earlier and should not have. I simply went back in the instructions, found the step where I used the wrong part and partly disassembled the excavator to switch out the correct part and reassembled the parts I had to take off.
The LEGO Motorized Excavator kit is a great one to use for budding engineers or anyone interested on how motors, gears and tracked vehicles work and especially with the complicated gear assembly this model uses. The LEGO engineers also built and have instructions for a tracked loader that you can download from the LEGO Technics website which can be found here for easy download.
The Technic website has downloadable instructions for a wide variety of kits and you can easily try your hand at building these and seeing which ones have close to the right parts by looking through the instructions. You may need to buy some extra parts to finish some of the models the Technic website has instructions for but you have a great start to many of the models with the 8043 kit or any of the construction kits with the same amount of parts.
To find out if the LEGO Excavator kit could build another kit or what parts you would need to buy to finish another model you can go to the Brickset website to find lists of parts by set so you can see the possibility of making other models using the Motorized Excavator kit parts. The LEGO sites that others have created to help builders and collectors are really amazing and this comes to the buying part of the review and a site in the United States where you can buy additional parts.
If your budding engineer is looking to branch out from the kit instructions of the two models and make something else but needs a few specific parts the BrickLinks website can help you find a store that has the parts you need. The site is not really easy to use but there are plenty of helpers and a forum to help you if you have problems finding the parts or ordering and with a few orders just placed for some parts I can say the site is easy enough to use.
The Motorized Excavator kit number 8043 is a fantastic kit and really makes a great start to any young person’s LEGO collection if the common bricks are just not filling that building void the youth may be experiencing. LEGO’s go way beyond the simple houses and buildings I used to build as a kid when there were only a few dozen bricks available and no hint that it would turn into such a toy craze that it has.
I highly recommend the Motorized Excavator as a basic Technic kit to start a LEGO collection and the Power Functions remote control it contains is enough to start your own models without much else to worry about at the beginning. Of course over time the LEGO collection may need a bit of expanding so other kits or just parts to fill out specific models may be forth coming.
LEGO Motorized Excavator Website
LEGO Tracked Loader Instructions
LEGO Education Storage Bin
LEGO Motorized Kit Video