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LEGO Technic 42053 Volvo EW160E Building Kit Review


Lego 42053 Takes Playability to a Whole New Level

A brand new release from Lego’s Technic line is always welcomed by fans of Lego cars and Lego collectors alike. Lego Technic builds have been around since the 90s, and there’s always a good sense of accomplishment whenever we manage to complete a build – The Lego 8480 and Lego 60130 remain our favorites.

During the early 2000s though, Lego’s Technic line went through a bit of a slump when their fans deemed plenty of the builds from that era as lackluster, preferring to pretend that they don’t exist at all. Ouch. Thankfully, this isn’t the case nowadays – Three of Lego 2017 sets, namely the 42053 Volvo EW1603, which includes a class tractor and a bucket wheel excavator, are now considered to be Technic line’s flagship models for this year.


The Lego 42053 was first introduced in 2015. It’s the newest one in a long line of Lego racer and excavators from Swedish car company, Volvo. Despite its bulky looks, the 42053, also known as the EW1603, is a highly versatile machine – Not to mention sophisticated, considering the company it represents. This version contains a hydraulically raised cab, allowing the person behind the wheel to peek into containers coming from above – Although this cab is purely optional, and you can take it out whenever you wish.

Despite its small size, the 42053 is considered one of the most perfect Lego Technic models out there.


If we take a look at the box’s details, we notice that there’s a shot of an alternative model. This is an L30G wheel loader, which is constructed from the same factory as the 42053. Unfortunately, no instructions are found online, and you might even have to purchase a second edition of the entire build to be able to start constructing.


This set marks the third time that Lego’s brand new Pneumatics V2 system is used – This comes right after the Lego 42039, as well as the Lego 42043 Mercedes Benz Arocs 3245. The Arocs used in the Benz utilized a motorized pump, while the 42053 manual pump, part 6152004. As far as we know, these are the only parts present with the build.


The Lego 42053 is divided in 403 steps, according to its 250-page instruction booklet. Those who have built this model didn’t really undergo any trouble when it came to rerouting the pipes. The pneumatic plumbing and chassis was also easy to set up. The manufacturers have already cut the pipes into correct lengths, so placing them together didn’t prove to be difficult, as compared to previous models.


Even though the 42053 utilizes a hand pump which has the ability to pressurize the truck’s pneumatic system, Lego was kind enough to include in a 6133813 Pneumatic Pump 1 x 6 No. 1, along with a second instruction booklet. The booklet teaches you how to operate the pump with the help of Power Functions. The pump is located deep inside the truck’s body.

The truck carries a cab-raising mechanism, which in contrast to the ones found in actual Volvo trucks, you can actually operate them mechanically using a knob instead of hydraulically – Or, in the case of other Technic builds including this one, pneumatically. Your model will be all set after 300 steps.


The cab itself is built separately. The orange portion of the truck, as seen here, are its handrails, which we think fits much better when placed on the side of the cab. However, the instruction booklet tells us that it looks nicer in its current place, which is the main reason why it’s present in most images.

You can also hold the cab into place with the help of several pins. After they’re attached, the only thing that’s missing are several portions of body work, together with a bunch of other cosmic parts.

Not including the arm, the model measures 25 centimeters long, 12 centimeters wide, and 16 meters tall. It’s a wonderful and compact model that you can show off to your family and friends. The orange parts, aside from its aforementioned purpose earlier, might indicate the parts of the truck that are completely safe for the truck operator (minifigure) to step on or touch. This makes the truck stand out from the other Lego Technic builds, including the Lego 42056, and make a world of a difference regarding its current look.


Like all Technic builds, the 42053 ultimately focuses on its functionality. You can raise up and lower down the front outrigger with the help of the gray connector found in the middle. You can also place the truck inside an intermediate position, even if its wheels are touching the ground. Pushing the vehicle down will lower it further, allowing the wheels to lift up. The cab can be raised high if you rotate the black gear found at the back.

The truck’s rear outriggers are only lowered manually. Its grey beams are separately moved, and can be attached to the black sections, allowing them to be locked into place. When you put the truck in this position, the wheels are also lifted off the ground. Right in the middle of the truck’s cab is the black gear, which controls the steering.



And finally, three levers of the truck handle the pneumatic system. Labels found on the box will tell you which part does which, but the direction of movement isn’t explicitly stated – So a lot of people get slightly confused once they start operating the truck.

The pneumatic pump is located behind the arm. You can use this hand-operated part to pressurize the entire system, which you can also do before or after working on the truck’s levers.

Additional instructions are given in case you want to include a Power Functions medium motor, alongside a battery box, to your truck. However, if you want to do this, you might have to take out a huge part of the truck’s chassis, to be able to accommodate even just the battery box itself. As a result, this slightly ruins the whole aesthetic of the truck. But according to most owners, they choose to skip this step instead since motorized pneumatics don’t work well with this model, unless a reservoir is installed inside the truck’s system – Something that Lego hasn’t done since 2004.





The Lego 42053 might be small, but it’s got a wonderful look to it – In fact, it just might be our favorite Technic model after the lego 42055.


What we really liked about the 42053 is that not only does it work nicely, it’s also fast and fun to operate, once you’ve managed to figure out how to drive the truck around with the help of controls. We also like its color scheme, and in particular, the tiny bits of orange on the side of the truck, since it gives the overall look a nice touch. In our opinion, the 42053 represents the actual Volvo vehicle nicely. And not only that, it provides a decent enough building experience that does not require too many pneumatic pipes routing difficulties. We’re glad that Lego decided to resolve this issue, to prevent representative stages and certain issues in the past regarding this. And finally, this truck might be small, but it’s chock-full of detail and has lots of functionality too.

But of course, every pro has its own set of cons as well, and we did have a couple for the 42053: For instance, the lack of a reservoir, since this feature makes pneumatically-operated Lego trucks such as this one work much more smoothly.

Applying stickers to the truck wasn’t even a chore as compared to other Lego models – When it came to the 42053, they were actually quite simple to apply on. In fact, a lot of Lego stickers are now made of a brand new material, so they should feel and look stronger than the previous ones.


In general, the Lego 42053 is a wonderful model and we recommend you purchasing this if you like collecting or building complex Lego sets. Children will also like this build, since this truck is, technically, a toy too – All models in the Technic sets are.

You can find them at the nearest Lego stores and toy stores, or buy them online at the official Lego Website. If you want to know more about the 42053’s functionality before you can decide if you want to purchase it or not, then don’t hesitate to watch a couple of review videos on Youtube as well.

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