Setting Sail – 42074

Since every second model in Technic (or for that matter in most LEGO series) is some sort of wheel-bound vehicle, I’m always a sucker for a bit variety and alternative designs and so I was immediately a bit giddy when first images of the 42074 Racing Yacht appeared. No, I’m definitely not the naval type (beyond the loose connection of my brother having served in the German Navy), it’s really just about diversity. That and I have definitely developed a taste for the new Dark Azure color. That’s why for the time being I can’t seem to get enough of it.

Lego 42074, Box

In addition, this set has four curved yellow panels, which might come in handy if I ever get around to re-building and MOCing some of my more construction-site-themed older kits plus some other projects that might come along the way. Generally this set is rather colorful, with LEGO seemingly going out of their way to introduce several parts not only in the new azure, but also offering some tried and trusted parts in different colors. This in particular refers to the two types of 3L axle pins, with the male version (previously dark grey) coming in red and the female version in orange (formerly red, black and light gray), see aft section in the image below. It really tickles my visual nerve and makes we want to buy a larger lot of the orange pins. ­čśë

Lego 42074, Bottom View

In terms of construction none of this is necessary, though, since ultimately the pins are hidden and wouldn’t blend in with the rest of the colors one way or another. the same unfortunately can’t be said for some other places, where red pins and axle connectors peek out. this looks a bit iffy, as the 2L short axle definitely exists in black just like the axle connector exists in light gray and those colors would have been a better choice here.

Lego 42074, Left View

The overall proportions are okay, though these kinds of models that deviate from the trodden path of automobiles always painfully illustrate the lack of genuine large radius Technic panels. It would definitely look much better if there were some curved transition piece between front and aft. Personally I also think the cabin fairings could have been complemented with small yellow no. 21/ 22 shields as a side wall.

I also feel that the model could sit higher on the wheels. Why? It would have allowed to add at least one or two liftarm bricks to the rudder plus possibly some emergency propeller beneath the hull or as an external motor unit. In my view the whole thing looks clipped a bit too high up above the waterline and unless you are playing on a plush carpet, the ship being immersed in water is a hard sell as a play fantasy.

Lego 42074, Right View

Speaking of which – while it’s an acceptable rendition, I feel LEGO these days never does seem to go the full mile when it comes to play value. I’m not in the least tempted to build the B model (the catamaran), because that would have required to throw in more components to mimic the two hulls. Yes, even a catamaran isn’t an affair of two half-shells.

Similarly I feel that it would have been easy enough to through in some rope elements for the railings, perhaps a chain and an anchor, some ladders, flagstaffs or even the safety mesh from the LEGO Friends recreational yacht. You know, all those little details that bring these things to life. It wouldn’t have increased the cost by much, but done a lot to make this more attractive. I honestly don’t get why they always have to be so measly about these things, even more so since those parts exist plentiful in pirate sets and others and should be at hand in the factory without much trouble.

Arguably the same could be said about the sails. I totally understand that it takes time and effort to design and produce these things, being a graphics artist myself, but in a day and age where printing on plastic foil is so common, would it have hurt to throw in another pattern or even a plain white pre-cut foil that could be colorized with suitable felt pens? Now that I think of it, it would have been a wonderful marketing idea – imagine opening the package with a bunch of white sheets and a box of sharpies in it… ­čśë

Lego 42074, Detail

Mechanically this model is robust enough to withstand stronger handling, though in fact some of that can ironically be attributed to some flimsy connections just as well. That is to say if somethings wriggles out of place, it would either totally fall off and remain undamaged or easy enough to reset in the right position with the rest forming a solid “core”, i.e. the center beams at the bottom and the upper deck. The only point of concern is the long mast that may totally break when your model hits the floor at an unfortunate angle.

The winching mechanism and the steering wheel work just fine, though I’d feel safer if LEGO were more generous and threw in a couple of spare silicone rubberbands. The steering mast also could probably have been constructed using five small cogs to make it a bit less obtrusive. I guess there’s another idea for a simple future MOC┬áhere in addition to adding more details.

Regardless of my niggles this is a neat little model for the simple fact that due to its flamboyant color scheme and choice of subject it pretty much stands out in any collection. Sure, it doesn’t bring much new to the table if you are an experienced builder, but it makes for a relaxing and enjoying quick build for an evening with an almost immediate gratification. Also the price is pretty okay, given that now it can be had for slightly above 22 Euros in some online shops. I picked up mine during one of my excursions due to my many medical appointments and paid a bit more, but that’s still okay with me.